Tag Archives: poetry

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


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

David Reiss: Solo Ascent

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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January 2019 Prompt


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

Solo Ascent

By David Reiss

Mark pulled his goggles from his face and tucked them under one arm, squinting against the frigid wind; snowflakes scoured his face, but removing the fogged eye-protection allowed the field researcher to confirm that his wrist-computer’s screen was dead.

“Damnit,” he swore. Even with the sea of clouds whipping below the peak and obscuring the landscape below, Mark had been reasonably certain of his bearings. His tracker was working, at least; if he’d gotten too far off, someone should have contacted him. “HQ, this is Rover Three. I need a coordinate check. Where the hell am I?”

There was a pause. Mark shifted from side to side on his skis and waited.

“Rover Three, this is HQ. Hey, Mark.” The speaker’s voice was recognizable despite the scratchiness of the signal. Justin, Mark sighed to himself. The intern. “I put you right at site twenty-four. Good job.”

“Well, there’s nothing here,” Mark growled, shaking out his facemask and replacing it on his frostbitten face. “Not a damned thing. Site twenty-four is empty.”

“Uh…negative, Rover Three. There’s a strong signal from beacon twenty-four.”

“Then there’s something wrong with your equipment,” Mark bit out, feeling suddenly tired; it had been an eight-hour slog from the lower peak where the helicopter pilot had been able to let him off. Eight hours, for nothing! It was probably the intern’s fault. “Is Shelly around?”

Shelly was the expedition’s tech guru; she couldn’t be trusted within five feet of a pair of cross-country skis and her coffee was awful, but she knew the system better than the guys who designed it.

“Nah, Shelly’s sleeping in,” the intern replied.

“Well, wake her up,” Mark insisted. “Either I’m in the wrong place or site twenty-four turned invisible.”

“I’m gonna let her rest,” Justin chuckled softly. “She works too hard, y’know? Hold on, I got it. Rebooting now, okay?”

Shelly had horrible taste in men; she’d been flirting with Justin ever since the kid signed on.

From the sound of it, the intern reciprocated her interest; he probably thought he was doing her a favor, letting her sleep in even though official protocol was to keep the technical lead up to date if there were any anomalies. He was correct that Shelly would’ve been irritable upon being roused—her prickly pre-coffee disposition had become legendary among the other researchers—but she was going to be positively livid when she found out there were problems and she wasn’t alerted. Justin was sabotaging his own romantic aspirations…but Mark certainly wasn’t the type to offer unsolicited relationship advice.

The field researcher brought his hands to his face to breathe warmth into his cold-stiffened fingers, focusing on burying his irritation with every slow exhale. He was chilled, he was tired…but he had the open sky and a mountain to himself. And besides…once upon a time, he’d been young, too.

And, hell, maybe Justin would grow up a bit, Shelly would like him and they’d work things out. She was a good kid, she deserved a bit of happiness.

“Oh. Oh, shiiiii…” Justin trailed off. “Rover Three, this is Justin. I mean, this is HQ. Hunker down a minute, I have to figure this out.”

Hearing that kind of panic across the radio link should have been nerve wracking, but Mark was experienced enough to know better. He was alone up here, safe and secure, being treated to a view that few could ever have imagined.

Clouds poured across the horizon, whipped by chill gusts and swirling, eternal gales. Each breeze stabbed like knives, and the air was clear; Mark could see for miles in every direction, as though he had the entire world to himself.

Ten years ago, the weather would have looked completely different. That’s why the team was here: to study the changes and make sense of shifting wind patterns. Satellite footage and weather balloons could only tell you so much, sometimes you needed feet on the ground and local equipment. Site twenty-four should have had a small radio tower bristling with sensors (which needed regular maintenance, hence the team’s presence) and a survival shelter.

The tower could be only a hundred feet downhill and it would have been wholly obscured by the roiling mists.

“I was on the wrong screen,” Justin announced suddenly. “You need to head west. You’re not far off.”

Mark squinted, staring downhill where the mountain cut into the flowing clouds like a ship through the ocean waves. The wind was painful above the icy fog; heading lower wouldn’t be fun. In the emergency shelter, at least, he’d be able to get warm.

“All right,” the field researcher sighed and began shifting about to make sure that his gear was properly balanced for transportation. “I’ll head west.”

“You’re, um, not going to tell Shelly…are you?” Justin sounded so forlorn that Mark couldn’t help but bark in amusement.

Young, Mark thought to himself. Poor Shelly is going to have her hands full.

“No,” he chuckled. “Don’t worry about it, no harm done. This is Rover Three, going radio silent. Keep your ears on, I’ll let you know when I get to twenty-four.”

“Thanks,” the intern replied, relief palpable.

The old explorer laughed as he continued his own lonely, extraordinary journey.

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Please visit David’s website and click on his blog tab to find this story and other works and learn more about his books. https://davidhreiss.com

Write the Story: January 2019 Collection

D.L. Tillery: Lost in the Clouds

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.)

Lost in the Clouds

                      By D.L. Tillery

As life leaves me bare I seek the clouds of
                        despair.
If freedom was my mother I would suffer, I would feel the warmth of her bosom even in the coldness of her stare…Yet is it fear
               that’s put me there?
Here I climb to the peak, am I lost or am I
                           free?
        When I listen I hear you speak.
           ‘I am you and you are me.’
Yet here above it all, it’s not you but the
                 cold that frees me.  

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Please visit D. L.’s blog and follow her! https://authordltillery.wixsite.com/authorsite

Write the Story: January 2019 Collection

E.C. Fisher: I climb high

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!

January 2019 Write the Story Prompt


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


I climb high

by E. C. Fisher


I begin with the huddled masses
The mountain ahead stirs us; a journey to the peak
Grasping for the hanging fruit; trying to enjoy its sweet nectar
Obstacles stand before me; barriers on my journey
Daunting tasks as I make my trek up
I climb high; reaching out for the stars

I glance back to see those who started faltered
Do I despair; give up; and join the ranks of the dearly departed
The ascent perilous; I find myself with doubt
The unknown journey ahead leaves me swaying
The sun shines through the clouds; a light in the darkness
I climb high; reaching out for the stars

I find myself at the top; alone I’ve made it
The view on high is beautiful; I wish I could share it
I climbed high; reaching out for the stars

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Please visit E. C. Fisher’s Facebook author page for more of his amazing writing and be sure to like his page!

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Write the Story: January 2019 Collection

Barbra Badger: Simon

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!

January 2019 Write the Story Prompt


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

Simon

By Barbra Badger

Simon was the only object in sight for miles that wasn’t totally snow white. Every tree, parcel of land, or even the rabbit that crossed his path ahead was sparkling, stark white. He looked up at the sky with a few innocent fluffy clouds and smiled to himself as he swooshed along. Feeling self-satisfied that he had remembered to wear his snow glasses to keep snow blindness at bay, he kept moving cross-country in a rhythmic pace. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, he could let his mind wander. Then he began to notice a slight angle to the ground, just barely causing him to strain. His ankles bent slightly, and he had to push harder, then harder. His breath came with more difficulty. He stopped to look around. The trail he made was perfectly straight. Shook his head and went on. The subtlety of increase of effort hooked his competitive spirit, and he took the challenge. Soon he was grunting and groaning to put one ski ahead of the other and leaning forward so far he could only see his feet. When the ground leveled out, and his efforts eased, he stood straight up, and before his eyes lay an ocean of cloud. From his feet to the horizon clouds danced gently across the expanse. Thinking he had reached heaven, he stood in reverence, filled with overwhelming gratitude.

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This story and other works by Barbra Badger can be found on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/writingbybarb/

Write the Story: January 2019 Collection

Guest Blog: Kelli Gavin — I Don’t Mean to Brag

 
 I DON’T MEAN TO BRAG, BUT MY POSTS ARE ENJOYED BY WELL OVER TWENTY PEOPLE WORLDWIDE 

A friend asked me the other day if I minded that my writing posts on social media don’t get very many likes.  I kid you not. Even I didn’t have a response to this question. I sat there dumbfounded. Not sure how to respond. If I should make a joke out of it or respond honestly.

I have been actively writing for less than two years.  Blogging for only 9 months. When I started writing, I discovered the long forgotten joy that writing brought me.  When I was a kid, my dad and I enjoyed writing short stories together. I took my first stab at writing a book when I was in junior high. Made it about 80 handwritten pages in and abandoned the project altogether.  When I was in high school, I discovered my love of poetry and storytelling through short statement sentences.

I had a few great teachers who influenced me and encouraged me to keep writing.  I completed a poetry assignment of 20 poems and handed it in two days after it was assigned. I had two more weeks before it was due, the teacher took it from me and said, “Are you sure you don’t want to spend a little more time on it?”  I told her no, I worked hard and was ready to hand it in. She started to page through the packet and asked, “How did you come up with 20 poems in 2 days?” I told her I had a free period the last two days and wrote them out on the computer in the library.  She stared at me. “You wrote 20 poems in 2 days? You didn’t write any of these poems beforehand?” I confirmed, 20 poems in 2 days. She was silent for such an uncomfortable amount of time, I had to say something. “Great. I will see you Friday in class.”

Poetry flowed out of me. I could hardly contain it.  Even if I wanted to. I wasn’t sleeping well at the time, I was working through a lot of emotions and feelings and all those teenage woes made great food for fodder. I wrote about relationships with my parents, with friends, with boys. I wrote about a relationship that needed to cease.

I was asked by the same teacher to stay after class on Friday. I completely panicked. She must have hated my poetry packet. I was going to fail this class as it was 50% of my grade. I approached her desk as all of my classmates exited the classroom and felt tears poking at the corners of my eyes. “Kelli. Your poetry packet is amazing. You have a clear voice. A distinct way of communicating what you want using a very limited amount of words. I could tell the two required rhyming poems were challenging for you. But I found them whimsical, humorous and delightful.  I doubted your ability to complete this project in such a short amount of time. I should have never doubted you. I am giving you a perfect score. You exceeded my expectations on both content and effort. Well done. I will be using two of your poems in class as encouragement to the other students.”

Encouragement to the other students? Wait. What?  I asked her not to use my name. She said no problem. She wanted to use one of the fun rhyming poems as an example that sometimes the best things come out of not trying too hard. I wasn’t sure if that was actually a compliment or not. But I wasn’t going to ask any further questions.

I quickly exited the classroom and headed to my locker so I could race to my next class.  I smiled the rest of the day.

I was inspired. My teachers’ compliments were all that it took to inspire me. Words of affirmation from an adult other than my parents.  I continued to write poetry for the remaining portion of the two weeks and knew that I was improving each time I hit the save button on the library computer.  When my poems were shared in class the next week, silence followed after the first one. I wrote about that relationship that needed to cease. I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible, but I knew I was fidgeting in my seat and probably was the most unnatural shade of red all down through my neck.  

“Okay.  Was this poem written by a girl? Because that was beautiful.  A boy wouldn’t be able to talk that way about something he wants but knows he shouldn’t have. It makes me want to know what happens next.”  Nodding and agreement. Our teacher proclaimed a mighty, “YES! That is what good poetry should do. It should make you want more. You should be intrigued by the first line and it should make you desire more. It should make you feel something deep inside. It should change you. It should make you think differently.”

Our teachers’ words spurred me on to write even more. All those hours I was awake at night made me burn through notebook after notebook. I wanted people that read my work, to want more. I wanted them to be hooked from the first line. I wanted them to desire more. And I wanted them to think differently and to be changed.

I continued writing and felt so fulfilled. I was proud of myself.  I felt better about who I was and felt that I had a purpose. To write. Even if only for a short time. Writing gave me a purpose.  Life happened and I wasn’t then writing as much. I worked hard the summer before college and then felt utterly consumed by moving away and overwhelmed by college and the workload that was expected. I sat down to write one night at school, and nothing. Nothing. I had nothing to write about. I didn’t feel inspired to write. I felt I should do it because I hadn’t. It felt like a task. It no longer brought me joy. It started to stress me out.

Filled notebooks and blank notebooks sat on my shelf above my desk in my dorm room. And they continued to sit there. By the end of my freshman year, I had completely abandoned my love for writing.

I have filled all of these past 25 years with some pretty amazing things. I got married, worked in a profession I loved and succeeded in. I was blessed by having two children. I started two companies and enjoyed the work. I began to write articles for the local newspaper when artists or writers came to town.  I would write about their life, their career, and my impressions of their speaking engagement. Sometimes, I would have a prearranged interview set up with them and others times would just make a point of asking questions and recording the answers.

I believe myself to be pretty savvy on social media. (That is a lie. I am a stalker at best. I would track those coming to town down on social media and assault them with numerous private messages until they answered me and agreed to an in-person interview or to respond to my questions. My shenanigans worked more often than not. ) Each of my articles was accepted at the paper. I was so excited.  Was I a writer? I sure was. I was writing more, and writing well. I thought I would take another stab at writing.

Once I began, I found that only about a dozen or so poems were ready to be written.  But I sat down and found I had a story to tell about my mom. My mom died about 5 years ago now.  She was so young, only 67. She was a ridiculously quirky woman who never met a person she didn’t love. I wanted to write about her. I wanted to write about my childhood with her as my mom. I wanted to honor her.  I started writing short, one or even two-page stories, every week or so. Then the stories about being a special needs parent came to mind. And about organizing your home and life, which is my line of work. Mostly, I wrote about my daily life. About conversations that I had with my kids and my friends. And sometimes I even wrote about the conversations I had with complete strangers.  

When I wrote a story, it was about something important. A lesson I had learned. Something that brought me joy.  Something that maybe still made me ache today. They were stories about memories I held dear. But when I told my stories, they were stories I thought others would also like to hear.  I felt they were stories that others needed to hear. Subject matters that would touch hearts and maybe even heal them. Stories that others could have written themselves. I wanted other people to know they were not alone.

I began submitting stories to dozens upon dozens of companies that specialized in storytelling.  I was quickly discouraged as I received 29 declines in my first 6 weeks. 29. But then yes. Another yes, we would be happy to publish this piece.  And even, what else can you send us? Editors started emailing me and actually asking for more samples of my work.

Absolutely, it feels great when a contract for printing is received. I have published with 20+ different companies and organizations and continue to submit weekly. 9 months ago when I started blogging, I didn’t just blog about my daily life, I added in all of the poems that I wrote, some of the newspaper articles and the books reviews.  I also started including all of my life stories in my blog.

And to the original question. Does it bother me that so few people like my writing posts on social media? No. The honest answer is no. How many people read my blog on a consistent basis? I don’t know.  But you know what matters to me? The messages that people send me or write on posts. The times when people ask me for help in solving a similar situation. The times when people tell me they are ready to call their mom and ask for forgiveness. But most of all, I enjoy the thank you’s. Thank for being honest. Thank you for writing about something that hurts. Thank you for helping me figure out this whole special needs parenting thing.  Thank you for making me cry, I needed that.

“Kelli,  I don’t know you.  We have never met. But we have friends in common.  I wanted to tell you I found your blog. I can’t stop reading.  Were we twins and separated at birth? You and I are the awkward honest girls. The ones that cry watching the news and retelling stories. Thank you for not making me feel so weird.”  Those are the messages that make me want to write more.

“Oh, sweet Zach. I read your article in the paper.  I had the joy of helping him at school a couple times last year.  I miss him so much. He was always smiling and so funny. I liked reading about your daily lives.  Thank you for the insight into special needs parenting.” Special needs teachers. I want to hug you. Thank you for all that you do for my son every day. Thank you for your patience, your ability to teach and your love for my son.

I have started writing a book. For real this time. A real book.  With chapters and page numbers and everything. This book will be more of the same. More of what makes me laugh. What makes me cry.  More stories I think others will want to hear. Stories others need to hear. No, I won’t ever sell a million copies, and make a bunch of cash.  But I will have told my story, filled my life with even more joy, and connected with people I have never even met. Hopefully inspired someone along the way.  And that sounds like a mighty fine endeavor to me.

“You don’t write because you want to say something. You write because you have something to say.”  — F. Scott Fitzgerald

About the Author

Kelli Gavin lives in Carver, Minnesota with Josh, her husband of an obscene amount of years and they have two crazy kids. She is a Writer, Professional Organizer and owns Home & Life Organization and a small Jewelry Company. She enjoys writing, reading, swimming, and spending time with family and friends. She abhors walks on the beach (sand in places no one wishes sand to be), candlelit dinners, (can’t see) and the idea of cooking two nights in a row (no thank you).

Find Kelli on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @KelliJGavin Blog found at kellijgavin@blogspot.com