Tag Archives: fiction

Kathleen Treubig: Chair

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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(Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Chair

By Kathleen Treubig

I wanted to come before the sale. Before Uncle Tom’s spirit was left a guest in his house. The room is void now. The empty void that welcomed the silence free of Tom’s barbs. His empty chair in his empty house. Restless spirits wandered my Uncle’s farmhouse. I wondered if Tom’s spirit joined the others or wandered alone.

Uncle Tom did not want to die, but karma caught the tail of his coat. Cancer. The ultimate equalizer. Tom’s bravado was eaten by cancer, along with his eyes. God’s interesting choice to take Tom’s vision; Uncle Tom who thought his view was always correct, efficient. Tom was efficient but not correct. Stop it! Don’t do that in my home! Get off! Clean that! But those were decorations to the biting remarks not made but shouted from his eyes, “You’re less, you’re less, you’re small.” Uncle Tom’s words cut through my spirit like a vicious teenage joke, and I was small.

I didn’t feel his spirit in his room. It was empty of feeling. The chair looked at me. Take me, the chair said. Take me away, cried the chair. I could not. The chair had become one with the house and Uncle Tom. No. I’m not small, Uncle Tom.

No, I don’t want your chair, your karma or memory.

I left.

I heard the chair cry.

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Please visit Kathleen’s blog and follow her! http://www.failingfifty.com/chair/

Write the Story: February 2019 Collection


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Paula Shablo: An Unexpected Homecoming

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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(Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

A note to readers :

This is not a Pro-Life or a Pro-Abortion story. This is an attempt to highlight the many misunderstandings that can occur when people jump to judgment without having all the facts.

Things happen. Take a breath.

An Unexpected Homecoming

By Paula Shablo

She hadn’t expected to love the place, but for Maggie it was instant infatuation. She hugged Josh enthusiastically, and held up their infant son. “Look, Johnny,” she cooed. “We’re home.”

Josh looked less enthused, but admitted grudgingly, “It has…potential.”

Getting home had been a painful process of misunderstandings, outright prosecution and near-bankruptcy.

Johnny had been the center of a controversy that Maggie still could not wrap her head around. She had suffered with severe toxemia in the latter part of her pregnancy, had been hospitalized, and had elected to have an emergency Cesarean section in her 30th week due to the dangers of continuing the pregnancy to term.

Her medical record stated: “Patient elects to terminate pregnancy at this time.”

Her medical record further recorded the Cesarean birth of her son, and that he was delivered alive and transported to NICU for further care, but the anti-abortion mole working in medical records, and stealing information in charts so that protesters could target women who had abortions, hadn’t read past that sentence fragment: “terminate pregnancy…”

Protesters had Maggie’s name and hospital room number and showed up in droves to persecute her, accompanied by members of the Press.

Bewildered and frightened hospital staff had them removed by police immediately, but the damage was done. Stories of law-breaking by medical staff made headlines. Maggie and a few other unfortunate women had their names brandished about on protest signs, declaring them murderers of the worst kind.

During all this, Maggie sat in the NICU, stroking her son’s cheek, singing to him and thanking God for every ounce gained. She pumped milk so he’d have the best nutrition possible. She was released in good health after a couple of weeks but rarely left the hospital.

After all, she had nowhere else to go.

Josh had lost his job shortly before Maggie became too ill to continue the pregnancy, and with that loss came the loss of their medical insurance. They’d been forced to sell their house and one of their cars in order to pay for many unexpected bills.

The mole was caught and arrested for violating privacy policies.

The protesters ignored any evidence that refuted their zealous vendetta and continued to chant and brandish their signs.

Redacted news stories clearing the hospital and Maggie of any “wrong-doings” appeared in the back pages and the mostly ignored television news banner feeds, and did no damage control whatsoever.

All the bad publicity took a toll on Josh’s job search, and he wasn’t able to secure employment again until just before Johnny was finally ready to go home.

Josh rented the one-bedroom flat sight unseen, borrowing money for the deposit from his mother. He picked up the keys from the realtor and went to the hospital to pick up his family.

When he and Maggie exited the hospital that afternoon, a protester recognized Maggie and screamed, “That’s her! Murderer!”

Maggie, finished with all the false accusations, screamed back, “My baby is alive and well, you vultures! Go to hell!”

The nurse quickly ushered the little family back inside and locked the door.

The next time they exited the building, it was with a police escort. Protesters swarmed about, wanting to see the “miracle baby.” Some were so enthusiastic in their approaches that they were given an immediate trip downtown to the Police station. Maggie and Josh were more than happy to have them charged with malicious harassment.

Now they stood in the doorway of their shabby little place. A lone, rickety chair sat before the iffy-looking brick fireplace. There was nothing else in the place yet; their furniture would be delivered soon.

“Mom’s going to faint,” Josh said, sighing.

“Paint,” Maggie said. She beamed at him. “A little elbow grease. There’s nothing here that can’t be improved upon.”

Josh smiled down at her, kissed her lips and then kissed Johnny’s tiny forehead. “They got one thing right,” he said. “He really is a miracle baby.”

“Yes,” Maggie agreed. “And we’ll be just fine.”

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Please visit Paula’s blog and follow her! https://pshablo.blogspot.com/

Write the Story: February 2019 Collection


Roger A. Legg: This Old Chair

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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(Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

This Old Chair

By Roger A. Legg

“It’s empty,” said the large man in coveralls. His head was bent down to look at the old lady. He was monstrous against her slight frame. His coveralls were dirty and worn. So many years of moving furniture had taken their toll on them.

“Did you leave the chair?” asked the old woman.

“Yes,” was all the man said. He wanted to get the last of this woman’s things on his truck so he could get home. It was Friday night and the sun had already set.

“You know, that old chair was here when I moved in,” said the old lady as her eyes wandered into a past that only she remembered.

The large man wanted to be polite, but knew if he asked he would be drawn into another story. No, another memory, still sharp in this old woman’s mind. Jonathan picked up two boxes stacked on the ground and placed them in the back of his truck.

It was as big as he was. With a sixteen-foot box. This old truck had moved thousands of household goods all over the state. But this trip was different. His truck was mostly empty.

The old lady had so little, and now she didn’t even have her home. He was to move most of her stuff to a storage unit that had been rented by a man he assumed was her son.

The rest was to be delivered to a retirement home thirty miles away. With the last of her stuff on the truck and truck’s braces installed to keep the load from shifting while he drove, Jonathan jumped down from the truck. He felt the pain of all 320-some pounds as his knees bent from the shock of hitting the ground. He would soon have to start climbing down as his body wasn’t as young as it used to be. Mortality was catching up with him more and more each year. Jonathan looked at the old lady sitting on the curb. It was warm and the sun had been out all day. About four hours ago she had planted herself in a folding chair and had not moved since. She watched as everything she owned was moved out of the old house and placed on the truck. She said little. Now a tear was on her cheek and her eyes were lost in the past.

“Ma’am,” said Jonathan.

She didn’t answer.

“Ma’am!” Jonathan raised his voice a little. He didn’t want to scare the old woman.

“Oh. I’m sorry,” said the old woman. “Are you ready to leave?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” said Jonathan, wondering who was going to collect the old woman.

“I should go back inside.” The old woman started to get up, but the folding chair was lower than she was used to and she was having trouble.

Jonathan raced to her side. “Let me help you,” he said, and with his huge hands he helped her to her feet. She was frail and Jonathan almost snapped her out of her chair. She couldn’t have weighed more than a buck-ten. Her arms were so thin. Jonathan could not help it. His heart ached for this woman. She was alone, her house empty, with the exception of the old chair.

Jonathan snapped up the folding chair and followed the old lady into the house. It was not her home anymore. Her home was piled on his truck.

The old lady walked into the living room where the chair sat in front of an old fireplace. Unlike most homes, this old house had wood paneling which had been there for decades. The paint was faded in some spots and peeling in others. It had been a happy shade of green some decades before. Now it just looked old and moldy with gray wood peaking through some of the areas totally devoid of paint.

“My husband painted this wall when we first moved in,” she said, pointing at it.

“That must have been some time ago,” said Jonathan with regret as it indicated that it was in such a state of decay.

“1931,” was all the lady said.

“What?” asked Jonathan in surprise.

“That’s right,” said the old lady as she sat in the chair. Despite her slight weight, the chair creaked as she sat in it.

“Yep, just before David was born,” she said, as if Jonathan knew the names of her children.

“Wow,” Jonathan said, looking at the wall. “That’s old.”

“He died in the war,” said the old lady as her eyes left him again.

“Who?” asked Jonathan.

“Steven,” she said. “In June of 1944 they came to my door and said that he died.”

Jonathan hung his head. “I’m sorry.”

“They didn’t even bring him home. They said there were too many and that they buried him somewhere in Europe.” Tears were rolling down her face.

“I’m sorry.” Now Jonathan knew it was hopeless. He would be here until someone came and collected her. His big heart could not leave her here alone.

“Is David coming to pick you up?” asked Jonathan.

“Oh, no. He died in ‘68,” she said matter-of-factly.

Jonathan was sorry he had asked.

“He was in some jungle, but they brought him home and he is buried in Arlington,” she added.

“He was in the military?” Jonathan asked.

“United States Air Force,” she said proudly.

Jonathan paused for a moment trying to word his next question right. “Who is coming to pick you up?”

“Janet,” was all she said.

“Your daughter?” Jonathan asked.

“My great-granddaughter,” she said with pride. Then without being prompted, “She is my second son’s daughter’s child.” There was a pause. “He died in 2001. He was in New York.”

Jonathan’s heart was killing him. She had two sons and a husband taken from her by war and violence, yet she was still here. He was afraid to ask of any other family as it might be yet another story of loss. He remained silent. Jonathan looked at the old wall in the pale yellow light of an incandescent lamp that hung from the ceiling. It looked so grotesque in this light.

You could see nails that once supported pictures and the faded outlines of where they once hung. Then as if he could not help it, “How many kids did you have?”

“Four,” she said, without hesitation.

“And?” Jonathan asked with a great deal of misgiving.

“Dead,” she said with a pause. “All of them.” Again she paused as to gather her thoughts of each and every child and how they died before her. Memories that had to be painful. Slowly she said, “Deboria died of cancer after her third child. You see, they only found it after she was pregnant, and if they treated her, it would have killed the baby. She declined treatment and was dead by the child’s first birthday. She was the delight of my eye as she was the only daughter and such a princess. Then there was Tom, my adventurer. He was a reporter and loved to write. He would have won a Pulitzer if he had survived the IED in Afghanistan. Instead his work was blown all over the desert.”

Jonathan was glad that he was getting the Reader’s Digest version of her life as the details would have been too great to bear. This woman had lost everything and now was losing her home. Jonathan was fighting back tears. He had so much compared to this old woman. His kids were healthy and his oldest was about to get married. No great calamity had struck him or his family. He still had drinks with his father on Sunday afternoons and his wife’s parents dropped in once in a while as they were traveling from one retired adventure after another.

His life was good and full. He looked at the old woman. Frail and alone. A tear was welling up in the corner of his eye.

Just then the flash of red and blue was seen through the window. Jonathan walked over to it and looked out. It was a police officer and he was walking up to the door. Jonathan walked to it as well and opened it. The officer told him to stay where he was and had placed his hand on his gun. Jonathan was surprised. He was black, and though not wealthy, it was predominantly a white neighborhood. Johnathan put his hands up.

“What are you doing in this house?” the officer asked.

“I’m a mover,” Jonathan stammered. “That’s my truck.” He looked in the direction of his truck as he did not want to move his hands that were above his head.

“Who asked you to move the contents,” the officer asked.

“The owner, she is sitting in the living room. Go ask her.” Jonathan again indicated the direction with his eyes. They were large and brown and the whites were so white right now. It was not hard to see what direction he was indicating.

“Until I sort this out, I’m going to need you to put your hands behind your back and let me cuff you,” the officer said. Just then a second police car drove up and the officer sprung from the car and raced to the door. She had her weapon in her hand.

Jonathan complied and did not fight. He turned slowly and put his hands behind his back. This was not his first run-in with the cops and he knew if he was cool, everything would work out.

He was cuffed and the second officer entered the premises. She was only about five-foot-four, but stocky. Most likely from the bulky bullet proof vest they wore. She checked each space carefully as she made her way to the living room.

Jonathan watched from the entry as the police officer bent down to the old lady. She asked her, “Are you okay?”

The old lady did not look at the officer. “Yes,” was all she said.

“Ma’am.” The officer tried to get the old lady to look at her. “Did this man hurt you?”

The old lady became very animated. “Oh, no! He is very kind.” The old lady looked at Jonathan. “He stopped to listen to an old fool.” Then looking at the officer, “Not many will do that these days.”

“Ma’am,” the officer asked, “what is your name?”

Jonathan thought that was a strange question. And who called the cops? Something was wrong with this picture, and how was it that they didn’t know who the old lady was. She’s the owner…

“Ma’am.” The officer was trying to get the old lady to look at her again. “Ma’am, this is not your home,” she said as a statement of fact.

The hair on Jonathan’s neck was tingling when he heard the statement. Not her home? Oh, crap! Whose stuff was in the back of his truck? Instantly Jonathan turned to the police officer that was standing next to him, “Officer, I was hired. By her. To…” he stammered. “I’m an honest businessman.” He thought for a moment. “The work order to remove all the stuff is in my cab with her signature.” He paused. “I swear.”

The police officer thought about it a second and then turned to Jonathan. “Let’s go take a look.”

Jonathan tried to relax as he was taken to the truck with his hands behind his back. Neighbors were starting to gather, and the name of his company was plastered all over the side of the truck. All Jonathan could think about was how this was going to hurt his business. One that was built on his reputation more than with advertising money. This was bad.

Once at the truck, the officer placed Jonathan on his knees and then opened the truck. He climbed up and found the clipboard that had the contract. Sure enough, it had the address, phone number and signature that made it legal. The officer scrutinized it for any flaws, but there were none. He looked at Jonathan. “How did she contact you?”

“She called and said that she had to move before this weekend. I told her that I had just had a cancellation and could help her on Friday. She accepted and here I am,” Jonathan explained, with some hope in his voice.

The officer walked away and talked on his radio. He waited with his back to Jonathan. It was obvious that he did not consider him a threat. The radio confirmed that Jonathan was the owner-operator of his business and that everything was up to date and accurate. The officer turned and walked back to Jonathan, helped him up and removed the cuffs.

Jonathan rubbed his wrists and looked at the officer for an apology or explanation. The officer did not offer either.

Just then a black SUV pulled up in the driveway and a woman got out. She was dressed in a colorful nurse’s outfit with blue scrub pants, crocs on her feet and a multi-colored smock. She looked at the officer who said nothing and headed for the old house.

“Do I get to know what that is about?” asked Jonathan.

“I guess you deserve that much,” the officer said and signaled for Jonathan to follow. They entered the home and found the nurse and the female police officer talking to the old lady. She was talking too quietly to hear, but she was nodding her head and seemed in good spirits. The female officer got up and came over to her partner. She signaled for them to walk outside.

Once on the lawn, she told them what she knew. “The old lady, Helen, was one hundred and four years old as of two days ago. She disappeared from her apartment that evening and apparently ended up here. The door was not locked and she helped herself.” She looked at her notes. “The homeowner is in Florida and could not sell the old place so they were keeping it until the market got better.”

Jonathan broke in, “So all the shit about her husband, kids and this place was bullshit!”

The male officer whose name tag Jonathan finally read, Bret, broke in, “She’s one hundred and four, don’t you think you should give her a break?”

Jonathan pointed to his truck, “I just loaded someone else’s stuff in the back of my truck, which took me all afternoon, and now I have to take it all out?” He looked around. “I’m sure her check will bounce as well.” This was not the real point. The real point was that Jonathan believed her story. Felt sorry for the old lady and even shed a tear for her. Needless to say, he was angry.

Bret, the male officer, pointed to the SUV. “I’m not so sure the check will bounce, that SUV cost at least 60k and she has a personal nurse.” He looked at the house. “She might have a few screws loose, but she’s got to be loaded.”

Jonathan looked at the officer. “You don’t mind if I talk to her and her nurse, do you?”

The officers looked at each other. “I guess not,” was his response.

Jonathan walked back into the old house and entered the living room. The nurse was still talking to Helen in a quiet tone. When she saw Jonathan enter without the police she rose to meet him.

“I need to talk to her,” he said in a flat tone.

“She’s had a long day and she’s tired,” said the nurse.

“She’s had a long day?” Jonathan said, exasperated. “I’ve been loadin’ someone else’s stuff in my truck all afternoon and now I have to unload it all.” Jonathan was not ready to accept such a feeble excuse.

“She will compensate you,” said the nurse in a cold manner.

“Lady, that old woman told me such a sob story, she…” He paused, not sure if he wanted to admit that he’d been sucker-punched by a centurion. She might have been old, but she sure could spin a lie. “Well, she was playin’ on my feelings.” He looked away. “Ya know.”

“I know,” she said with a tone that showed that she too had heard the stories.

“And just because she’s over a hundred, we’re supposed to just let her?” Jonathan was not really looking for an answer. What answer could the nurse give? Helen was over a hundred.

“We will compensate you for your time. Besides, we have already contacted the owner, and he was going to clear the place to get it ready to put it on the market. You don’t have to unload all of it, just the appliances, and I need you to put that chair in the back of my vehicle.”

Jonathan was about to say something, but the request was a bit odd. “The chair?”

“Yes, it’s hers,” she said, pointing at Helen. “Steven made it for her as a wedding present.”

“Wait, Steven was her husband?” Jonathan was confused.

“They were all real stories,” the nurse said.

“And the way they died?”

“Yes.” The nurse paused and then looked at Jonathan as if he was to follow her. She walked into the barren kitchen and turned to Jonathan who had to follow. He had to know what was truth and what was false.

“Most of what she told you was true.” The nurse looked back toward the living room. “Her father died on the Lusitania, her husband at Normandy, her oldest son in Vietnam, and her youngest was running up the stairs when the towers fell.”

There was a pause, so Jonathan asked, “What about her daughter?”

The nurse responded, “Oh, she died of cancer.”

“So it’s all true.” Jonathan didn’t know whether to feel bad or not. She did lie about this being her house and for wasting his Friday afternoon.

“I really shouldn’t tell you this, but you seem like a real nice guy,” said the nurse.

“What?”

“Well, you see, Helen is a writer. A kinda famous one.” The nurse looked around as if someone was listening. She lowered her voice and continued, “You’re going to be famous.”

Jonathan’s face contorted at this statement.

“She does these little excursions every time she wants to find a new lead for a book.” The nurse looked down. You could see she was not happy about something.

“What?” asked Jonathan.

“It also means I’ll be gone soon,” the nurse said sadly.

“What?”

“Well, you see, we’re in the book right now, and to protect everyone’s ignorance I will be written out,” admitted the nurse.

“You’re as crazy as she is.”

“At least you will be famous.” She looked out the window.

“I’m not in a book, this is me in the flesh.” Jonathan patted his chest. He could feel the impact of his hands. He was real.

“Oh, you’re real alright, but out there.” She pointed up.

“You’re nuts, lady,” said Jonathan.

The nurse looked at him. “Okay, where do you live?” She paused. “Or where were you taking her stuff?”

Jonathan thought about it. He didn’t know. He didn’t know where his office was or where he was going to take the old lady’s stuff. It was supposed to go to a storage unit, but where? He stammered, “I… don’t know.”

“That’s because she hasn’t written it yet.”

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Please visit Roger’s blog and follow him. https://ralegg.blogspot.com/2019/02/this-old-chair-its-empty.html


Write the Story: February 2019 Collection


Familia Suarez Jimenez: The Chair

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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(Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

The Chair

By Familia Suarez Jimenez

The Chair let out a creak
As she tiptoed down the hall
Expecting to see him there
But there was nothing there at all
Once fires, built, from his chest
As grand as she was tall
But now only ashes covered the hearth
And he wasn’t there at all
She returned to her room
And buried her face in her blanket
Only to hear a scratching
Coming from the room adjacent
So she tiptoed, back, down the hall
Looking to see who came
But still, there was no one there
Only the wind teasing the window pane
As she crept back to her room
Chastising her imagination
She could feel the air change just then
And she began to lose her patience
She turned around, in time to see
Smoke filling the room
Of the fire built from his chest
And The Chair no longer
As empty as his tomb

cj Suarez 2.2.19

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Familia does not have a blog or author page yet but wanted to participate. Please like and comment on her poetry and check back next month for more of her work.

Write the Story: February 2019 Collection


Calliope NJO: My inheritance

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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(Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

My Inheritance

By Calliope NJO

I never heard of Briarsville. I received a map, key, and a renovation fund in the mail from a lawyer’s office from said place. In short, I got it because the deceased left it to me. The old lady liked me. I had no recollection of ever meeting someone other than in passing. I checked out the lawyer, and he had been practicing law for at least twelve years. So he seemed legit enough for me to believe him.

In between projects, with nothing else to do, I needed to have a look at my new place. Good thing I had my 4×4. The rocky, unpaved road did make things a little bumpy, however. The trees had to be at least ten stories high with massive trunks. My GPS gave me an error message and the map applications sent me someplace else. I wouldn’t have been able to find it if nobody gave me a map.

The old line of being nestled in the woods fit the description of the property. A two-story wooden house with a big stone chimney. The wooden front door still remained in its place. All the shattered windows needed to be replaced.

The front door opened. I called out but nobody answered, so how the H-E-Double hockey sticks did it open. All by itself. I went back to my 4×4 and scrounged for something. It gave me an activity while I figured out if I wanted to go in.

I couldn’t hesitate any longer so I entered. I thought I heard a woman tell me it’s about time you came in. I looked and like before, nobody. My mind drifted off into the unknown. I had to use logic and reasoning or risk losing my mind. If I didn’t already.

Careful steps needed to be taken or risk falling through the Swiss-cheese floor. I stopped in a green room. The green wall contrasted with the red brick fireplace, and chances were some varmints set up house in the unused chimney.

The longer I stood there, the more the chair in the front rocked. An old lady appeared, looked at me, and disappeared. Maybe I should’ve left too but I couldn’t. My feet stayed attached.

Bizarre or mad, either word would best fit me at that moment. Some food would help to fuel my brain and stop the weird experiences.

I got in my truck and started down the long road again. Trees and boulders watched me as I drove past. I got to town and it looked nice. Kids running up and down, some on their bikes. Adults walked back and forth.

The diner on the corner sounded like the spot to refuel. I wandered in and sat down at the bar. Burger and coffee would hit the spot.

A skinny man sat next to me. The unmarked white baseball cap caught my attention. I smiled and nodded.

“Hey there,” he said. “The name’s Oliver. Say, uh…I never saw you around these parts. New?”

“Yeah. Sort of.” I wasn’t sure who this guy was so I tried to keep things short.

“We don’t get much new ones. Where you at?”

“A cabin in the woods.” Not that far from the truth.

“Oh. I know that one. That’s the Kingston cabin. William Kingston was his name. Built it for his family so his younguns had space to grow up. Yeah. Nobody knows what happened, not really, but they say he got shot while out on a huntin’ trip. Yeah. ‘Cause nobody delivered the body, his wife kept on waitin’ for him. Some even say she still waitin’.” He turned around. “I gotta get. Good luck and may the Lord be with you.”

Not quite sure what to think about that bit of info, I mulled it over while I ate. I never believed in the afterlife. Once you’re dead, you’re dead. After what I experienced though, it made me wonder if I should change my views.

After I finished, I went back to the cabin. Maybe I asked for it, but I couldn’t help but remember the story that man told me. I couldn’t get past the idea that someone waited for somebody else all this time. Unbelievable.

I walked in. “Hello? Mrs. Kingston?” What was I saying?

Maybe the floorboards were loose. That wouldn’t surprise me. What surprised me was a young woman appeared in front of me.

“Oh. There you are. You had me worried. I longed for your return.” She held me. “You seem surprised.”

“Uh…” That’s the understatement of the century.

“Come now, William.” She grabbed both my hands and kissed them.

I felt it. I felt her kiss me. Did I need to tell her the name’s Shawn? “Uh…” About the most intelligent thing I could utter.

She took me to a room down the hall. I expected dilapidated furniture and holes in the wall. Instead, a perfect four-poster bed sat in the middle of the room. A clean and shiny window let the light in. OK, somebody had to have put something in my food because none of this could have been real.

She lay me down and stroked me. I had to admit I fell asleep. When I woke up though, I lay on the floor instead, and the once unbroken window didn’t exist. The night sky shone through the framed hole.

I ran out of that house as fast as I could and hightailed it out of town. I got the house for free, yeah, and with a little bit of work, I could’ve made it livable. Not as long as those strange things were in there, I couldn’t do it, renovation fund or no renovation fund.

I made it back to the city. The nice congested, polluted, no trees existed in the backyard if there was a backyard city. I put the key away for safekeeping. Maybe in the future but that would have to be under extreme circumstances.

I took the car keys out of my pocket and put them on the nightstand. Along with it, a gold ring came up. Inside it read: To my only love. Two hearts. One soul.

The End

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Write the Story: February 2019 Collection


Barbra Badger: Did you see…?

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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(Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Did You See…?

By Barbra Badger

Ethel reached for Paula’s hand while ducking her head to protect the flowers on her hat. Paula pulled her gently out of the car and Ethel emerged, hat unscathed.

“Ahhhhhh.” Ethel had a musical sigh most of her family enjoyed. Paula had never been to the ‘old farmhouse’ although the stories she had heard convinced her she would know it as soon as she saw it. Stories had been told from the memories of relatives who grew up in the house when everything was fresh and cared for. Their memories were so vivid, Paula could see the fresh curtains and smell the accumulated family dinners with herbs and spices mixed with the charcoal residue in the fireplace.

The sight before her now did not measure up. The porch awning was hanging by a row of nails that could be seen in the space between the eaves and the main support of the roof. Shingles had taken leave of their posts, and paint was down to only a few steadfast patches clinging in scattered array.

Ethel strode confidently on the warped boards which formed the platform of the porch. Paula noticed her aunt’s form was framed by the lace curtain in the window behind her and took a mental picture.

Paula dashed ahead and got the door.

“Wait, Auntie, it may be stuck. I will get it for you.”

Immediately Ethel’s memory replayed the day her beloved Vincent brought her home to ask her parents if he could marry her. Vince’s face was beaming as he leaned in to open the door. She squeezed his solid bicep as she stepped past him to give reassurance—she would stand with him. Their joy was palpable when they went inside, and the room lit up with it. A few years on, this house became their home.

Today the ear-splitting squeak the door made brought her back to the moment. Time had not stood still but had slowly ravaged and besmirched the very air that filled her nostrils.

A reflexive cough squeezed her eyes closed, but when she opened them there sat ‘his’ rocker facing the empty fireplace. Empty chair, empty fireplace, this empty house was a mirror for the emptiness she had not faced since Vince had died. She groped for the chair with tear-filled eyes, overcome.

Paula said nothing but helped her aunt sit in the beloved chair, then went exploring.

So many aunts, uncles, and cousins had passed since the house was built. Though few had passed in this house, the many did not choose to inhabit it in spirit. No ghosts here. The only floors that creaked were the ones she stepped on. The only moaning sounds were the wind slithering through a gap in the window frame.

Ethel sat in Vince’s rocker staring at the cold fireplace and rocked herself into a nap. His rocker was where they read to the children; comforted them after a fall or heartbreak; cradled them to a heavenly sleep.

Emerging from her reverie, he was plainly standing before her holding out his hand to help her rise as he had done when they played music and danced in the night while the children slept. A smile so warm and welcoming she could never resist. Even days when so much washing, cooking, tending animals and children made her bone tired, his smile and gentle hand drew her to her feet.

Paula entered the room just as Ethel let out a laugh and leapt to her feet. Ethel clapped her hands and danced in a circle with more vigor than Paula had at the moment.

“Auntie! What?”

“Did you see? Did you see him? He came and asked me to dance.”

Paula knew who she was speaking of and tossed it off to Ethel’s deep state of denial.

“No, Auntie. I didn’t see him. But I am sure he was here for you.”

Ethel’s face was lit up as though the fireplace was in full glow. She twirled around two more times, nearly fell, and Paula rushed to her side to help her into the chair again.

“We should go now, Auntie. Is there anything else here you wanted to see or do first?”

Still glowing, but perfectly calm now, Ethel sat silently rocking slowly.

“No, child. I have what I came for. Let’s stop by the cemetery on the way home. I haven’t been since he passed.”

On the way out the door, Paula was seriously tempted to take one of the glass knobs or the lace curtain as a memento, but instead she bent down and scooped up some earth with a paper cup.

Ethel smiled a warm, welcoming smile all the way to the cemetery and all the way home.

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Write the Story: February 2019 Collection

Larry Stephens: My Room of Choice

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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(Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

My Room of Choice

By Larry Stephens

How do you like my room?

True, it’s really not much to look at; nor is it well-furnished—not like the dozens of other rooms in this rambling, sprawling mansion where generation after generation piled more rooms on top of older rooms in a crazy, haphazard way that actually gives me a headache when I consider the overall construction of this… monstrosity.

There are older rooms in this place—some dating back to the first construction in the early 1700s, buried in the rolling hills of southwestern Pennsylvania. But I avoid those rooms. They scare me; feels like they’re haunted and they creep me out.

No, this is my Room of Choice, and while it looks old, I actually have not a clue how old it really is. There are no dates scratched in the paneling, no roughly-etched heart shape with two sets of initials bisected with a plus-sign. There’s no evidence that so-and-so was here in 19-something-or-the-other.

But the beat-up paneling tells so many stories, as does the charred fireplace and the worn, spotted floor, so really, it’s pretty easy to get lost in here.

I found a chair—like the most austere chair I could find in this endless cluster of windowless rooms, rooms with doors that open onto brick walls, doors that open to winding tunnels carved out of the raw earth—and brought it to this room. After all, a man’s gotta sit, right?

I come here every day; burn a little weed before I get here and wash it down with some Johnny Walker Blue, then I grab some H2oH, then trundle down some steps, out of the ‘waking world’ of sunlight into this room that time forgot where I take up my super-austere chair and then find a story.

I don’t have a creative bone in my body. You ask, ‘How can that be?’ And the answer is straightforward. Because I don’t. I’m not built that way.

It’s this room. Without this room, I’m nothing. There would be no best sellers with my pen name gracing the spine.

But this room…

There are so many stories that this room commands me to tell. Look here at this panel just to the left of the fireplace. What do you see?

Worn panel. That’s funny. And stupid.

Why is the paint on that panel worn differently than the ones on either side of it? Maybe it has something to do with the fireplace? Maybe that’s the perfect panel to lean against to get just the right amount of heat and light from the fire. The one to the right? Too hot. One to the left? Not hot enough. So why not lounge right there while puffing on a pipe while a lady perches right in front of the fire? Maybe she’s knitting.

Maybe it’s 1902 and she’s asking her man why he has drops of blood on his rough, wool shirt. Again. And perhaps this time he’ll finally tell her why. And then show her.

Understand? No? Okay, let’s look at that fireplace. Now some of these spots on the floor that look to be more worn than the rest of the floor. What’s that stuff telling you?

You’re cracking me up, but it’s good to hear that you’re a little more serious in your answer. ‘Favorite spots where people gathered ’round the fire.’

What if those people consisted of all one family? An entire family’s lives lived in one room. Think about that. Now, what if it were two families? And they were slaves.

But we know there are defectives in every group, right? All sorts of defectives; some with physical deformities and some with mental ‘problems,’ especially if there was inbreeding, which I heard was common in situations like this at the turn of the 19th century.

But folks were not stupid; they knew how to thin the herd no matter the cost in personal, emotional pain.

Doesn’t that just open up all sorts of possibilities? Now, look at that spot right there, right in front of the fireplace. Look at the color of that spot. Kind of looks like the floorboards are… stained.

Don’t look so shocked.

Now please leave me; the Room is calling me and it’s very, very demanding.

You can see yourself out.

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Write the Story: February 2019 Collection

E. C. Fisher: The Ending Flame

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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(Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

The Ending Flame

by: E.C. Fisher

The seasons pass and winter is here

Alone I sit beside a roaring fire

The wood crackles and pops

The warmth seeps into my bones

As the icy chill blows

The dancing of the flames entice my eyes

Mesmerized by its roaring life

The crackle and pop my only companion

As the icy chill blows

Memories of our life together flash in the flames

The love, the fights, the cries, and the laughter

Only silence fills me now

As the icy chill blows

Behind our bedroom door, you sleep

Now you rest eternal my dearly departed

I sit here watching the flames dance

A mesmerizing tango of rage and fury

As the icy chill blows

Rest now my sweet, for I will be with you shortly

The last flicker of the flame smothers out

Our dance is at its end

The smoke rises through the chimney

Joined with you, together, our eternal sleep

As the icy chill blew out our fire

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Visit E.C.’s Facebook page and check out his work and give him a like. www.facebook.com/ecfisherauthor

Write the Story: February 2019 Collection

Kelli J Gavin: The House in Maine

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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(Please note: the images we will use as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

The House In Maine

By: Kelli J Gavin

My husband asked if I wanted to take one last look. One last look at the house, the remaining contents, everything I was leaving behind. I wasn’t sure I could. Could I walk back into the home where I grew up and not be blasted by every beautiful, every breathtaking, every heartbreaking occurrence that took place within those walls?

The trailer was packed, and so was the car. Only enough room left for the two of us in the front seat. I sifted through everything in the house as quickly as I could, leaving donate piles, garbage piles and clear instructions of what furniture should be sold and what should be loaded onto the trailer that would return to my home. I carefully packed keepsakes and treasures myself. I located the wooden crate in the back closet next to the fireplace in the living room, which contained my grandmother’s journals which she had begun keeping at the age of ten. That crate would be loaded into the car. I found her beautiful costume jewelry and scarves and handbags, and pulled a special few to be packed away for me. Treasures of which I had used as a child when I liked to play dress up. Such a simple time. When all that mattered was that my diamond earrings sparkled and that my handbag matched my shoes.

My mother and I moved in with my grandmother when I was seven. Mom said cancer in her bones would take her within the year, and she wanted to make sure that I was well taken care of. Where would this cancer in her bones take her? I didn’t understand but also didn’t ask any questions. I had never met my grandmother before. She lived in Maine. What was Maine? I was told it was a state very far away from Chicago where we lived. My mother never spoke of my grandmother and only mentioned her name when I asked my mother if she had a mother. She smirked at me, “Vera, everyone has a mother. Some are just better than others.”

We arrived at the worn-down home in this odd place called Maine that smelled of fish and mold. Everything seemed dirty, and boots were needed just to walk outside as the rains had turned the ground to thick mud that you would sink into if you didn’t keep putting one foot in front of the other. Grandma, or Gran as she requested to be called, was short and thin with beautiful white hair. She wore sweater sets with matching shoes and brooches and pearls. Gran looked exactly like what my seven-year-old mind thought a grandmother should look like.

We were welcomed quickly, ushered in swiftly and tucked into our quarters immediately. I do not believe that Gran was slow at anything. Everything was done in haste as if there were bigger and better things to do next. Always something to be done. Something to be accomplished. Gran never sat still. She polished silver, she organized the china hutch, she folded and re-folded linen napkins. She applied lipstick and smoothed her skirt that didn’t need smoothing. She smiled larger than necessary and poured more tea even when it wasn’t requested or had already been refused. Gran was a nervous force to be reckoned with.

My mother slowed down quickly after we moved in. She began to request meals on a tray be brought to her room two weeks after we arrived in Maine. Gran and I were happy to oblige. Constance, the housekeeper, arrived every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. sharp. She cleaned and cooked and did the laundry and often left me Butter Rum Life Savers if I helped hang the laundry on the lines. She was kind and sweet to my mother and hummed hymns as she worked.

Mom died six weeks after we arrived in Maine. She passed quietly in her sleep. I lay next to her for half a day before going with Gran to the kitchen. My grandmother arranged everything with her local church and funeral home. The funeral would be in a couple days. I sat with tears in my eyes looking at Gran as Constance poured us both a cup of tea. “What happened with you and my mother? Why didn’t I know about you until now? Why have I never met you?”

“Vera. I loved your mother very much. She was my only daughter. I hurt your mother a number of years ago and she was never able to forgive me. I told her last night that I loved her and how sorry I am that we wasted all of these years away. I told her how enchanting you are and how I was learning to quite enjoy being a Gran. Vera, I am sorry. I will love you like you are my own daughter. You can live here as long as you like. When it is time to go to college, everything will be taken care of. This is where you can call home.” Gran leaned over and gave me an awkward kiss on my forehead.

My young mind couldn’t figure out how Gran had hurt Mom years ago. I thought about it for a number of years but then I eventually stopped caring. Gran and I developed a great relationship. She enrolled me in school, helped with my homework, and encouraged me to get involved with extracurricular activities. She had Constance drop me off at church on Wednesday nights for Youth Group, and a local mom brought me home. I made friends, I enjoyed school, and I learned to like living in Maine.

I always missed my mother. Nothing could fill that void in my heart. I started writing and found that stories of my mother and Gran were what I enjoyed the most. I went to the local college and majored in Creative Writing. I received my Masters in English with a focus in Literature. Gran couldn’t have been more proud. She began to decline in her later years and Constance had passed away when I was an undergrad. Lucille came to clean our home and take care of Gran. I would go home on weekends. To visit and smile and read to Gran. Our time together was nothing short of magical.

When Gran passed, I found it difficult to return home. I should have rented the home out. But I couldn’t stand the thought of anyone else living there. I married the love my life and we enjoyed living in New York City. My husband told me it was time to sell the home as it had fallen into ill repair. We hired a team and it took us three days. The project was complete. And the final clear-out enabled the home to be put on the market as is. I prayed for some amazing home improvement lover of broken homes to come along and restore the home to its original glory.

After walking the perimeter of the home, I went in for one last look. “Are you leaving that chair, ma’am?” one of the movers asked as I was startled.

“Oh yes, just for a few minutes please.” I approached the chair next to the fireplace and gently sat down in Gran’s chair. Gran had always liked this chair. It wasn’t particularly comfortable. But I came to find out it had been her father’s chair. Gran said she felt close to him when she sat in it. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. I could swear that the house still smelled like Gran’s perfume and Constance’s chocolate chip cookies. I savored these smells, these memories, and wasn’t sure I was going to be able to remove myself from the chair anytime soon.

I heard a heavy shuffle of feet behind me and a gentle placement of hands on my shoulders. “I have made a mistake. I need this chair to come with us, honey. Can you find some rope and figure out a way to strap it to the top of the car? This chair can’t be left behind.”

My dear husband. After I finished making my rounds of each room of the house, I found him outside with rope in hand securing Gran’s chair in place on top of our car. I smiled as tears poked the corners of my eyes. Yes. Now I had everything I needed from the house in Maine.

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Visit Kelli’s blog to find more of her writings and be sure to follow her! hehttps://kellijgavin.blogspot.com/2019/02/the-house-in-main.html

Write the Story: February 2019 Collection

Kenneth Lawson: Things Best Left Forgotten

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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February 2019 Prompt


(Please note: the images we will use as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Things Best Left Forgotten

by Kenneth Lawson

The fire had long ago burned out. There was nothing left but ashes.

I turned toward the door, forgetting about the lone chair in the room, and tripped, sprawling across the floor. I got up slowly, right knee stinging, but kicked the chair out of my way. The grating sound it made as it scraped across the wooden floor was satisfying. Damned chair.

I grimaced as I gave the chair a wide berth and walked to the door. I turned the old worn knob, its luster long gone. Hell, the door and knob, even the chair was older than me. In another time I had sat in the chair reading by candlelight and the glow from the fireplace. Music from a long-ago era had filled the room. Now the room was only the remains of a life I had known decades ago.

Returning to my grandfather’s dilapidated homestead had been a mistake. As I walked into the entry hall, memories crept into my mind. Grandma baking cookies. Grandpa playing cards. The hours I spent with him learning to hunt and fish. His old shotgun still sat leaning in the corner next to the entry door. I picked it up, cracking open the double barrel and the breach. Sure enough, it was loaded. The brass ends of the shells were now corroded from years of sitting in the gun untouched and uncleaned. He would have been appalled. Grandpa never let anything get dirty, least of all his guns. I put it back.

I pushed open the front door and exited the house. The porch once held a hanging swing where I’d spent many an hour listening to him tell tall tales while we drank lemonade. It was now barely recognizable, lying on the rotted deck in a broken heap. The once beautiful lawn he’d kept was now a sea of overgrown weeds and hay, dotted with the occasional flower that managed to eke out an existence in the tall grass and weeds.

Plowing my way through the weeds I found his old truck. After a bit of a struggle, I pried the door open. The interior was covered in dust and junk. The tools he’d used last were still sitting on the passenger side of the bench seat. He’d died in this truck—heart attack hit him, and he was gone. Grandma died a month later from a broken heart. I shuddered, the memories were becoming overwhelming. Slamming the door shut again, I spun so fast I was dizzy, but I had to get back to my car and away from this place.

“Robert!! Wake up!! You were dreaming again.”

I blinked from the glare of the sun streaming through the window and sat up, rubbing the sleep from my eyes.

She sat on the edge of the bed. “You dreamed about the farm again?”

I nodded. “Yes. this time I made it to the truck.”

“But you didn’t see the box?”

“No, I didn’t see the box. I don’t know where grandpa hid the money.” I threw the covers back and got out of bed. “All I have are these nightmares from the damn drugs. They aren’t helping me remember what happened all those years ago.”

“You told me there was a box of money. You saw him hide it.”

“I was sixteen years old when he died. I thought I knew where he hid it but when we searched the place it wasn’t there. I just can’t remember where it was. Damn it, Charlene, it’s been nearly twenty years.”

“But baby, no one’s been there since your grandparents died but us. We’ve gone over and over the place. The only way we’re gonna find out where he hid the box is for you to remember.”

“All the damned drugs you’re shoving down my throat are giving me a headache and flashbacks to things I don’t want to remember.”

“But baby, it’s a lot of money.”

Those baby blue eyes of hers were misty as she gazed at me.

“Okay, I’ll keep taking the drugs until we find the money.”

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Visit Kenneth’s blog and follow him! http://kennethlawson.weebly.com/

Write the Story: February 2019 Collection