Tag Archives: Writethestory

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


Leeah Taylor: These Four Walls

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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These Four Walls

By Leeah Taylor

I stare at these walls

So colorless and blank

Trapped in this room

Bound to this place

These four walls

Tall as they are deep

Guard all my dark secrets

Only I trust to keep

With nothing but time

All I do now is wait

Only whispers I hear

Succinct and sweet

Then darkness will come

And all will be gone

Only in these four walls

Do I find comfort to weep

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Please visit Leeah’s FB page and give her a like…. https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLTaylor/

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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Please visit Calliope’s blog and follow her. https://bit.ly/2RJwNrS

Write the Story: February 2019 Collection


Lynn Miclea: Memories of Murder

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.)

Memories of Murder

by Lynn Miclea

Keegan stood there, staring at the chair. He had loved using that chair and he cherished what it represented. The memories flooded back. He remembered tying his victims to that chair. The red-brown bloodstains on the floorboards were still visible.

The memories made him smile. He could see the terror in the eyes of his victims when he brought out the knife. He could still hear the screams. He hadn’t killed again in all these years since then. But that chair brought back the cherished memories, and he chuckled.

Keegan remembered how the police were closing in on him and how he quickly left. He had been careless, and they had gotten too close — they had almost caught him. He had barely managed to stay one step ahead of the cops, but it was not easy. They were good.

He fondly ran his hand along the back of the chair as warmth filled him. He was too old now to kill again — he was no longer interested in that. But the memories were wonderful.

They did not bring back the family members he had lost, but they had brought him some relief, even if it was only temporary.

He silently said goodbye to the chair and the memories. It was dangerous to even be here.

Tomorrow he would retire from the police force. This case would remain unsolved, and his record would be spotless. He thought about retiring on Maui, with endless sun and sand — a fitting end to a brilliant career.

A broad smile erupted on his face. He had done it. He was free.

As he turned to leave, he heard tires screeching out in the street in front. A neighbor in a hurry? Then he heard more tires. What was going on?

A loud voice thundered through a bullhorn. “Police! You are surrounded. Come out with your hands up!”

Images of Maui beaches dissolved into images of a jail cell. Where did he mess up? What had he done wrong? How did they know?

He glanced out the front window. Four cop cars were out in front. His own squad — he knew them all. A huge sigh escaped him. He knew they were already at the back as well. All exits were covered.

He would not go to jail. There was only one way out now.

He opened the front door and saw the shocked looks on the faces of the officers who he had worked next to all these years.

He raised his handgun, aimed it at the cop who he knew was the best sharpshooter … and felt his body jerk backward as rounds of ammunition hit him.

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Copyright © 2019 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

Please also visit Lynn’s blog, like the story there, and follow her at – https://wp.me/p4htbd-o9

Write the Story: February 2019 Collection

Sean Bracken: Danny Finn’s Dream

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.)

Danny Finn’s Dream

by Sean Bracken

Danny Finn reached over in the bed for his wife Ann. Still only half awake, he realised that her side of the bed was empty. He guessed that she had gone down for a glass of water and lay back on his pillow. It was then that the awful truth came back to him. Ann was gone. He was on his own except for the children, Danny Junior, Heather, and little Harry. The never-ending grief and horror washed all over him again and he cried out in his despair, “Why? Why, Ann, Why?” Tears now streaming down his face, he pulled himself up from the bed and made his way downstairs and into the bar.

He reached up to a shelf and pulled down a bottle of “Black Bush” and stumbled back upstairs to what had been Ann’s old study. The room, once vibrant with old furniture lovingly restored by Ann was now sparse and cold. Danny had donated much of it to charity and given the rest away to friends and family. And yet the room still held her essence, her soul, the smell of her. Her perfume lived in the walls. Here, she lived in Danny’s mind. Here he talked with her, night after night.

Her ‘writing’ chair stood solitary guard before the empty hearth, now devoid of warming flames, and her grandmother’s old coffee table lay upside down in the corner, kicked over in a drunken rage the night before. Danny righted the table and set it down beside the chair. He picked up a glass and an ashtray from the floor and placed them on the table along with his whiskey and cigarettes.

He poured a generous measure into the unwashed glass. A Pall Mall in one hand and drink in the other, his tears subsided as he switched on the stereo. It was three o’clock in the morning. God, would he ever know peace again?

The soothing sound of Vivaldi sang to him as the whiskey started to take effect. Danny knew that without his drink and smokes, nothing could prevent him from joining Ann in oblivion. Lord Jesus, how he missed her. Images of her dead body on the bed, one leg on the floor, the empty Prozac bottle beside her, paramedics working frantically to revive her, the God-awful funeral with the children clutching onto him, the condolences from people that were sincere, did nothing to ease the pain conspiring to destroy his soul.

He loved the kids with all his heart, but for the past year he had only been pretending to be alive. He woke them up in the mornings, fed them their meals, helped with homework, and put them to bed at night. It took all he had just to wash and shave in the morning. Then on autopilot behind the bar for the day, until bedtime for the children and time for him to relax with his whiskey and wallow in self-pity.

He barely ate anything at all and lived on coffee, sixty smokes a day and a bottle of Irish every night. Once a healthy twelve stone and full of life, he was now just a fraction over six stone and looked like a survivor from a Nazi concentration camp. His friends, family and the regulars in the pub had all tried to help him, but he preferred the isolation. All he wanted was his bottle and the numbness it brought.

Violins reached towards the climax of The Four Seasons when Danny’s doorbell chimed, rousing him from his memories. He noted that it was a little after three-thirty and wondered who on Earth could be calling at this hour. Probably another poor soul in need of a late night drink. He wanted to ignore the caller but decided to go down to answer the door.

A total stranger stood on the porch, doing his best to shelter from the falling snow. “Mr. Finn? Can I come in, please?” asked the man as he shook snowdrops from his dark hair.

Danny looked the man up and down. He seemed to be quite calm and, other than his rather pale skin, appeared to be unremarkable. “Who are you? What do you want?” Danny asked.

“I’m so sorry,” replied the stranger. “I realise how late it is but I need to talk with you urgently. It’s about Ann and it can’t wait.”

“Come in then, if you must,” mumbled Danny, feeling unsteady from the alcohol. He led the man up to the living room, and after they were both seated across from each other, he asked what was so urgent that it couldn’t wait ’til morning.

“Ann sent me to talk with you, to help you, to guide you,” replied the stranger.

An incredulous Danny was incensed and shouted at the man to get out of the house. “Leave me alone, you bastard! That’s impossible. My wife’s been dead for a year! Get out, get out, get out,” roared Danny, as he struggled to his feet.

“She said you might react like this,” said the stranger quietly. “She told me to show you this. She said it would help to convince you,” he said, holding out a necklace that Danny recognised. He had given it to Ann on the birth of Danny Junior, and it had been buried in her coffin with her. Danny sank back into his chair and, crestfallen, he looked up at the stranger. “How can this be?” he asked.

The stranger replied that Danny would soon understand and started to talk to him about his life. How hard he had worked. How devoted a father and husband he had been. He also explained that Ann was so sorry for taking her life and for the pain it had caused. As the stranger continued with his soothing words, Danny began to calm down, and he realised how selfish he had been for the past year. He felt deep shame for the way he had behaved, for withdrawing himself from his friends and family, and for treating his children as if they were a burden.

He asked the stranger to tell Ann that he would always miss her, and that he was ready to be a decent father to the children and to make a fresh start.

The strange, pale man smiled gently and put his arms tenderly around the grieving husband. “That’s all I wanted to hear, Danny. At last Ann can rest in peace, but never forget that I will be keeping a very close eye on you from now on.”

Danny woke up back in the study, shaken from his dream. It had been so vivid, so real and so intense. It was then that he noticed Ann’s necklace on the coffee table right beside the empty whiskey glass.

The End

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Please visit Sean’s website and check out his other great stories and follow him. https://sean-bracken.site123.me/

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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Please visit Barbra’s FB page, Barbra Badger’s Writing Tablet and give her a like!

Write the Story: February 2019 Collection

LEAH PRYOR: COMING HOME

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.)

Coming Home

By Leah Pryor

The room had been cleaned out. Void of anything that resembled the life they made in it. The pictures that adorned the walls were gone. So were the vases that once held fresh cut roses from the garden, the bookshelves that were filled with the classics and catalogs, even the furniture that had been purchased with the dowry money from their wedding, were all gone. It didn’t matter, she could point out where everything belonged. She saw it in her mind the way it used to be. But it wasn’t that way anymore. The only thing left was the chair that sat in the corner by the small green closet door. Only it wasn’t by the door now. It had been pulled up to the small fireplace that once kept the cold out and the newlyweds warm. The warmth was gone now too. The cold found its way in through the old and dilapidated structure. Gone were the memories but not forgotten.

Martha didn’t want to remember this place as just another bare room. Her best memories were in this room. This was first place she had ever felt comfortable enough to call home. It was the room that she birthed their only child in. It was the place that they celebrated birthdays and holidays in. Just the three of them. Cramped but exceedingly happy. She hadn’t been here in nearly twenty years but could still feel the essence of the home that they made it.

She shook her head as she turned in the middle of the small area. She took in every inch of it. The cradle that never got used for more than storage once stood by the window. Adeline had slept in the bed with her and Frank until she was two. Than the cradle was sold and a small mattress was purchased. The mattress was placed at the foot of their own small mattress. During the day both mattresses were laid up against the wall and the small loveseat was put in the center of the room. The food was prepared in a Dutch oven that hung on a metal bar in the fireplace. She could almost smell the stewed meats, potatoes, and vegetables that would waft from the fireplace. Enticing smells that would bring the neighbors knocking. This was once home. This small green room that once was the cradle of their lives, held nothing now but her memories.

Martha sat in the chair. Her strength was waning. She was an old woman now. Frank had passed away some years back. Adeline was a mother. Her two grandchildren were no longer children, but young adults on their way to universities. They both had lives of their own. “What happened to the time?” she thought out loud. Her voice echoed off the hollow walls. It crackled back at her reminding her of an old phonograph. Reminding her of the fact that she was old enough to have owned a phonograph.

“It seems like yesterday, Frank, you were carrying me through the door of this place. Oh, Frank. If you could see it now. How small it really is. How many years did we spend here? We were happy, weren’t we, my love?”

Her echo was the only answer she got back.

“This place is going to be demolished, Frank. A big fancy motel is going to be put here instead. I don’t know why it bothers me now. I guess I thought it would be here forever. But forever is a long time, isn’t it, Frank? It was too long for you. Hell, it’s too long for me too. So I suppose it’s fitting that it should be torn down. Something new and useful should go here, I guess. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could go back? Do it all over again? I miss it, Frank. I miss Adeline when she was a wee babe. I miss you. I miss this place. I want to go home, Frank. I’m tired. I have nothing to live for. Nobody to care for. Now they all take care of me. I feel like a… like a… well, like I am an old fart. There, I said it. I feel old. And without you, I feel… I feel like I’m just waiting to die. Frank? Are you even listening to me? No. I suppose you aren’t. You barely listened in life, so why would death be any different. I came here to tell you that I love you. I always loved you. I loved our life. I loved this room.”

The tears were forming in big glops around her eyes. They stuck to her long lashes and dropped down her paper-thin cheeks. She felt as if this room was holding on to the last bit of life she had left. Once it was demolished she was sure she would die shortly after.

When Frank had come back from the war he had purchased a new tract home on the other side of town. They moved out of this room and into the new home when Adeline was nine. But the rent was so cheap on the room, they kept paying it. When Adeline turned sixteen, she and her friend moved in, but soon found the small room too confining for women of their style. They moved out, leaving the place empty. It didn’t stay empty. They were able to supplement their income by subletting to young couples and single people. It had been a godsend during times when money was tight. But it hadn’t been rented in years.

The building creaked and shuddered as the cold seeped in through the old home’s bones. Martha shivered from the cold. She felt it in her bones too. It was time to say goodbye. The space was starting to feel as empty as her heart. It took her awhile to stand up and straighten out. Before she left she would open the small green closet door just to see if anything of value might have been left behind by any of the room’s other occupants. The old bulb flickered as it warmed up and set the small closet ablaze with light.

The light blinded Martha. She put her hands over her eyes until the bright streaks faded from her vision. When she removed them she gasped in awe. She was no longer standing in the small empty closet of the empty room she once loved. She was standing in her home. The room was filled with all their things. The cradle was against the window where it belonged. She could smell the stew cooking in the Dutch oven as the fire crackled. Frank was sitting in the corner rocking their baby girl. Their sweet Adeline asleep in her father’s loving arms. He smiled brightly at Martha and her tears flowed freely.

“We’ve been waiting for you. You’re home now,” he said to her. He held their baby out and she took her child from him. She held her in her arms while she cried tears of joy. Frank stood and kissed her deeply. He welcomed his loving wife back to their happy life and back to her first home.

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Visit Leah’s Facebook for more of her writing and be sure to give her a “Like.” https://www.facebook.com/asentenceaday2019/

Write the Story: February 2019 Collection