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Calliope NJO – My Journey

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 Journey”

By Calliope NJO

A place of ruins filled with memories of the past. The breeze carried voices of the people who once inhabited this place. If one dug underneath, I would not be surprised to discover the remains of the warriors who once battled to save this kingdom.

I didn’t know if anyone else did, but I heard voices carried over the breeze. Crying and screaming for the next order in the hopes it meant retreat. Horses stomped and cried as loud as their riders did.

If I listened hard enough, swords clanked together as a distant warrior shouted that arrows rained down on them. I took a deep breath in and smelled the salty air as the waves crashed. I closed my eyes to entice peace. It worked because when I opened them, the breezes stopped as did the noises.

I needed to take all this back home with me to create that story. A novel about a love lost in battle. About that princess who waited for her warrior to return so they could live the rest of their lives together.

Almost as if someone heard my thoughts, I felt a strong urge to walk towards the window remains. I needed to dig. Without tools, I had to use my hands. I didn’t mind getting my hands dirty because the greatest of treasures sometimes required to be dug up to find them.

Two piles of rocks, and about as many piles of dirt later, I found a book. Water and dirt soaked into it. That and whatever ink had been used to write with made it tough to read. I believed I was brought here for a reason and I needed to try to at least understand the pages. There had to be a way.

I tucked it in my bag and walked away. I vowed never to forget this place and all that it had.

When I returned home, down the hallway, into the bedroom, and on the bed I went. I wished I could have slept, but that proved impossible. Those voices kept tickling in my head.

People say that playing music the opposite of that earworm often helped to kill it. Beethoven’s Fifth often cured that, but nothing could counteract cries and screams of battle.

Prayer may be a possibility, but I never thought of myself as religious. My only choice was to wait.

The house had a master bedroom and a writing room. Poster boards encompassed the walls. Everything from a landscape and architectural board to a rough outline of names and plot points. They took up an entire room.

If anyone came in, they might have commented on how funny it looked. This story needed the space though. A new story about an exotic place, all that material needed to be there, but word count dictated otherwise. What and how to cut I had no idea.

I took a closer glance at the book I found, and an unusual phenomenon happened. The pages cleaned themselves up, and the words became brighter and more visible. Maybe Grammy’s gift had been passed on to me.

She used to tell me stories of such events happening to her. I thought it was because grandmas tell wild tales. After this experience, I started to understand her better.

All that information and I had no notion where to start. Yes, from the top, but I had no concept what was considered the starting point. I needed to tackle this on my own because nobody would understand. My job was to find the story.

We sewed new clothes, baked bread and cooked stews, and with her help, explored the abilities we had. Growing up, I enjoyed my stays with her. I felt empty when she died.

I clung to that book and read it multiple times. About to put it away, the realization that the book was not a personal diary but a recount of events came to mind. There were descriptions of dinners and ceremonies but nothing intimate. No stories written from her point of view filled with feelings or interpretations. I couldn’t imagine not reading into that.

Another thing I missed was the note on the first page: I hope this pleases you, Your Majesty. So maybe her mother or father had been overseeing her writing this. She needed to hide something, could have been a love interest.

Well, not much to go on, but it gave me a place to start at last. Her words became mine as if her soul inhabited my body. I didn’t recognize the wording so she must have had some part in it.

Three years in the making and the final draft done, getting it looked over by my editor was the only thing left to do. It got saved in a thumb drive and put aside for safekeeping.

The thought of a break and a walk among the living for a change sounded enticing. A personal celebration for getting that story finished. A good steak dinner with baked potato and sour cream, green beans, and a salad sounded so good. A slice of cheesecake for dessert. A very rich idea but a very well-deserved treat.

I opened the garage door so I could pull the car out. Not sure what I expected to see, but the same Lincoln Town Car parked across the street with the same yellow Volkswagen Beetle right behind it.

I laughed at myself and shook my head. The thought of losing my mind rose to the surface. A bit of food would help to alter those thoughts.

I sat in the car and couldn’t get over the fact that a big hole still lurked in that story. Something that she didn’t want me to know or the rest of the world to know. That hole in the wall when I punched it after Mother told me writing was not a real job but a complete waste of time came into full view. My hand broken, I had to drive to the ER one handed since Mother refused to take me. Things sure got heated after Grammy—

That was it. My story needed that interaction with the parents. My own experiences told in story form. Thumb drive out and loaded, I rewrote the entire story.

* * *

Love From a Window stared back at me. I couldn’t help but think it all started from a trip to look at ruins of a castle. I insisted on them using my picture, it seemed fitting, and I couldn’t be happier.

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Please visit Calliope’s new blog and follow her: https://calliopenjosstories.home.blog


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Doug Blackford – Storm Front

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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“Storm Front”

By Doug Blackford

The storm sounded like a train over the house. It was just like sixteen years ago except that I was experiencing memories and feelings that I hadn’t had then. Well, not just like it. Micah wasn’t with me this time. The storm made it difficult to remember what was past and what was present and keep them separate. All of the pain, anger, grief, guilt, and everything else that made me feel like shit made it harder still.

I could hear his voice. I could almost smell his cologne — that slightly musky spice of Lagerfeld blended with undertones of the sandalwood incense he was so fond of having in the house. I was just as guilty as Micah. Living on the southeastern coast of the U.S., we had both been through hurricanes before. A Cat 1 or 2 weren’t really big deals. A Cat 3 deserved some serious consideration, and if it was stronger than that it meant getting the hell out and hoping you had something to come back to when it was done. His reassurance was all I had needed to decide to ride it out. After all, it was just a Cat 1.

This one had started as a Cat 1, too. It was well past that now, but not yet where it needed to be. Not long now. I just needed to stay focused. Keep the memories foremost in my mind, but be mindful of the present. It wasn’t nearly as easy as it sounded. Master Fetch’s words passed through my mind.

“You can observe your past, but you cannot physically travel there. Memory is a window, but only for the mind. You must always keep in your mind that you are not physically there or you risk becoming unstuck and adrift. Your body is your anchor. Let its weight keep you in the present.”

I reaffirmed my resolve and determination and settled into a more comfortable position on the bare floor. The cold hardness of the tiles helped ground me. The only other things on the floor were the mattress I had bought for the house’s sole furnishing, and an obelisk of crystal in the room’s center. I couldn’t afford distractions, and I didn’t expect to be needing anything else. I climbed back inside my memories and worked toward getting the storm in my mind synced to the one outside.

We had gone to bed, not worried about the storm that was due about two in the morning. We heard the wind and rain when it came onshore, but we just rolled over and went back to sleep. No big deal. We knew it was going to be a stormy Saturday, so we slept in till almost eight. When we got up, the storm was raging. It should have mostly passed by then, but no, it was raining so hard that I could barely see the car in the driveway.

“What the hell?”

I turned from the window at Micah’s voice, then looked at the TV as he took it off mute. “All we can tell you right now is that the storm has stalled just offshore and is increasing in strength. At this time, meteorologists are investigating what is feeding it and what has caused the stall. The latest satellite imagery indicates there is a massive well of heat rising through the storm’s center, but we are unable to determine its source. A hurricane hunter is in the air and en route to acquire more data.”

I looked from the TV back toward Micah and asked, “That’s not normal, is it?” I had seen a couple of storms stall and get stronger before, but this one seemed … different. A well of hot air they couldn’t determine? What was that about? Micah did not get upset easily, but I could tell he was now.

“Damn.”

Just the one word, then Micah looked at me with tears in his eyes. I stood there stunned. I was getting worried now and unsure what to think. “

Current measurements estimate the storm’s strength at 147 mph sustained winds and increasing. The stall has most of the damaging winds located offshore, but this is a solid Cat 4 storm, folks. The storm is still pushing a powerful surge, so please take immediate action and evacuate. We will have continuing coverage and will let you know the moment we have new or updated information.”

Click.

The turning off of the TV was like breaking a spell and I sat down next to Micah on the couch.

“What’s wrong, baby? We can just grab some things and leave. The worst is still offshore, so the causeways should still be open.”

Micah let out a long sigh and looked down as he took hold of my hands. “It doesn’t matter. If we tried to run, they would follow us inland and countless lives would be lost.”

Now I was confused. “They? They who?”

Micah leaned back on the couch and closed his eyes for a moment, a frown creasing his face. I wasn’t sure if the frown was because he was trying to think of an answer or if he was worried about the situation. “

I should have told you, but I never thought they would find me. I really didn’t.”

I couldn’t feel one of my feet and remembered when and where I was. It was so easy to get lost in the memory. I ran Master Fetch’s words over in my mind while getting up to stretch. “

Nature cannot abide a paradox. That is why you cannot travel into your own past, or the past of your past. Your own timeline cannot be accessed in the past except through memory. That is not to say you cannot travel into the past at all, but when you travel into the past, no matter how far back you go, it is to a different timeline than the one that produced the unique you sitting here now.”

I think I understand, but that isn’t much help.” “

But it is, child. You simply fail to see it from the right perspective. You have but one true past, thus it is inaccessible because your past cannot alter your present self. On the other hand of time, your future has not yet been experienced by your present self, thus all possible futures are available to you.”

I had thought long and hard on that one, weeks and months. I had already been studying The Ways for three years by that point, but I didn’t get it and I finally told him so. “

Master, you have taught me much, but I still don’t understand how not being able to travel into my past, yet being able to access any future is helpful toward my goal.”

“That is because you think of time only from your now. You wish to find the love from your past, but you only think of how to get to then from now. You fail to realize that then is now. All time exists in a single moment and that moment is unique to every living and nonliving thing. The now of now is a future of then, which means the then can connect to the now.”

As confusing as it had sounded, it made perfect sense.

The Ways taught about matter and energy — how they were different and how they were the same. It provided instruction about leylines and the paths of power. It included lessons regarding movement in space and time. It honed one’s mind into a tool and weapon of focus and will. It had taken me fifteen years to graduate, but it had been worth it. At least, I hoped it had been worth it. I would know soon enough.

The storm felt right. I took a stance over the focus crystal and called forth my memories once more. Summoning a storm of this size wasn’t the easiest thing, but it was essentially just elemental magic and like called to like. What I was about to do was magnitudes more difficult and I would only get the one chance. “

I have to go, Maggie.”

“Go? What do you mean, go?! Go where? And who the hell are you talking about with they?”

I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know what he was talking about. I was confused and getting scared and my natural reaction to that was to get pissed. I could see that Micah recognized the signs. He had gotten up from the couch, but he reached down and took my hands, then knelt in front of me.

“There’s no easy way to say this, which is partly why I never said anything.

That, and there was no need and you wouldn’t have believed me anyway.” That had me more worried than confused, but the shift was just enough to calm my rising temper. “

Just tell me, Micah. I’m a big girl.”

“I’m not from here. I mean, I’m not from this world.”

How does a person deal with something like that? Laughter at the absurdity of it? Worry for the other person’s sanity? Fear for your own safety? I didn’t know how to respond, so I just sat there.

Micah continued. “This is no ordinary storm. That’s pretty self-evident, I suppose. At its center lies what you could call a gateway. On the other side of that gateway is where I am from. Some might call that place Hell. Others might call it Heaven. Depends on your perspective, but either way, escaping it is not supposed to be possible. I did and now the gatekeepers have found me and are here to take me back.”

This was what going into shock felt like. No, that’s not right. Insane, that’s it. I was losing my mind. He couldn’t be serious, which meant he had lost his mind. But he seemed serious, which meant I must be losing mine and I was scrabbling for the edges to hold on with my fingernails.

“No.”

Micah screwed up his face in puzzlement. “No?”

“I didn’t stutter. No. You’re not some alien or whatever from another world. You’re my husband. Why are you saying these things?”

I was ready to cry now. The most solid part of my life was crumbling and I didn’t know what to do. What was I supposed to do? To say?

Micah stood back up and began glowing. I watched in stunned silence and disbelief as he seemed to grow horns, then have them disappear. Monstrous feathered wings stretched out to his sides from behind him, then they took on a leathery bat-like appearance before also disappearing. What was most disconcerting, though not the weirdest, were his eyes. They were his, then completely silver, then completely black, then his again. It felt like reality was slipping away.

“I’m sorry, Maggie. I love you.”

Reality was slipping away! I jerked back to my present and broke the focus crystal on the floor as Micah closed the door in my memory. I went to the door after Micah in my memory, but the wind and rain forced me back inside. In my present, I stepped out into the storm.

The Ways had taught me how to speak to the elements. The wind and rain flowed over and around me, but did not grab hold. The storm of my past was now intertwined with the one in my present. My now was a future of my past. I could not go to then, but I could bring part of it to now. My memory ended at that door, but the storm’s memory was here now. I followed the Micah of then as quickly as I could. With the breaking of the focus crystal, the storm would soon die.

I had not believed Micah then, and I was not sure I believed him now, but I had learned many things that I would have thought were fantasy sixteen years ago. I needed to find him, so this is where I had to start. The storm’s memory was taking me to the heart of the storm, just as Micah had told me. When I reached it, my doubts left me. At least this part had been true. Spinning in front of me was a swirling vortex of darkness and light fighting for dominance. It was like one of those wormholes you see in science fiction shows, or a powerful whirlpool, but made of some kind of energy instead of water.

“Okay then. If I have to go to Hell to get you back, then that’s where I’m going. Maybe you’re a demon or a devil or an angel or whatever. I don’t know, but you’re still my demon.”

I stepped through. Copyright © 2019 DJ Blackford. All Rights Reserved.

Please visit the author at: https://smithandscribe.wordpress.com/

Paula Shablo: April Showers

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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April Showers

By Paula Shablo

For Shane, there was never a question of if the spring storms would come. They would come; they always came.

The only question was: when?

Well, that wasn’t entirely true. The other question was whether he’d have enough advance notice to batten down the hatches—so to speak.

Year after year, it was the same: Summer, Fall, and Winter devoted to repair and replace; Spring, watch it all be beaten, battered, and destroyed.

Start over.

Every. Single. Year.

It seemed his every penny earned went into putting back together what Spring storms tore apart. Time after time, he’d have to try to explain his thinking to parents, lovers, children.

Why? Why did he stay?

He’d stand on the shoreline, looking at his house, and ask himself that question every year. He’d resolve to repair quickly, sell the place and move inland—far enough from the shores to avoid this annual mess, but still close enough to come to the beach on a regular basis.

But—”Look at that view!” he’d exclaim. The house and deck, by this time intact and looking good again, fairly sparkled in the sun. Autumn, year after year, brought him a sense of accomplishment. The roof looked great, the siding was new, the deck was stained and sealed. Sitting outdoors, with whomever had posed the, “Why not get out now?” question, Shane would look out at the ocean, ever-changing as the water rolled in to meet the white sand, and marvel.

There was nothing to marvel at today, however. You could only repair a house if enough of it was left standing to work with.

Shane stood with his back to the ocean, tears obscured by pelting rain, and stared at the remains of his home—a home that had been through over a decade’s worth of devastating storms, new roofing, new siding, new windows, new decks, sometimes new interior walls, and twice entire new rooms.

Flattened. A bedroom wall here, a bathroom door there; the refrigerator on its side; the stove upside-down on top of what looked to be the remains of the kitchen island. A lone door—perhaps the one to the master bedroom—stood in its frame as if a sentry looking over its fallen comrades.

A search of the beach and surrounding areas would probably turn up beds, televisions and the like. There were no signs of those things here. Shane supposed they might also be buried under wood and aluminum.

Oddly enough, the deck was almost entirely intact. “The mighty oak,” Shane whispered, then snorted a bitter laugh.

Hearing the “slap, slap” of running feet hitting saturated sand, Shane turned and saw his son approaching. “Landon,” he said, his voice rough with grief.

Landon stopped running when he reached his father, bent at the waist to grasp his knees and coughed. “Jesus, Dad,” he choked. “What are you doing still out in this shit?”

Shane sighed deeply, staring at the deck. “Lan,” he said, “I think I’ll buy a motorhome and park it right there along the deck.”

“Dad—!”

“And when the storms are coming, I’ll just drive away…” Shane’s voiced hitched, and he tried to stifle the sob in his throat before his son could tell he was crying.

Landon, who was nothing if not a good son, ignored the obvious. His father had a right to his grief, even if they had all begged and pleaded with him for years to, “Move, for God’s sake, move away!”

He draped an arm around Shane’s shoulder and turned him away. “It’s past time you learned to come in from the rain,” he joked lightly. “Come on, Dad, there’s a hot coffee in the car with your name on it.”

Shane sighed again. “April showers,” he said. “No May flowers this time, I reckon.”

“You’ll get your flowers,” Landon told him. “We’ll put ’em on the deck in soda cans. You can drive them around in your motorhome.”

Shane grunted in surprise. “Really?”

Landon grinned, pushing his father along to the car. “Why not?” he said. “We’d all feel better knowing you could just drive off before the next storm hits. Melissa will love helping you shop for it. And think of the money you’ll save next year when you only have to rebuild a deck.”

“I was kidding,” Shane protested.

“Too late.” Landon opened the car door and gave Shane am encouraging shove. Shane got in, and Landon shut the door.

As promised, there was coffee. Shane grabbed up the cup and sipped the steaming brew.

Landon got into the driver’s seat, shut the door, and started the engine. “Listen, Dad. If you do that—buy a motor home—you’ll still have that same great view.”

True.

Shane smiled gratefully at his son. “Still,” he said, “there’s a lot of work to do.”

“After the storm, Pop.”

And Shane nodded. “Yes. After the April shower.”

_______________________________________________________________________

***For Shane Thompson

People go through a lot for their beautiful views. It’s worth it to them, even if others can’t understand why they do what they do.

I knew a Shane who never gave up his view. I miss that guy. He was a good one.

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

Write the Story: March 2019 Collection








Write the STory: April 2019 Prompt


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

***** Write the Story April 2019 Prompt ****

Here’s the plan:

You write a story of 3000 words or less (doesn’t matter, can be 50 words or a poem) and post it on the author site that you want to promote. Please edit these stories. We will do minor editing but if the story is not written well WU! reserves the right to reject publishing it.

Send the story and link to the site via Messenger to Deborah Ratliff. Put “Write the Story” in the first line of the message.

WU! will post your story on our blog and share across our platforms, FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. WU! will also add the story to the Write the Story page on our blog…where it be for all to read along with the other stories.

We do ask that you share the link to the WU! Write the Story page so that your followers can also read the works of your fellow writers.

The idea is to generate increased traffic for all. May take some time but it will happen if you participate. The other perk of this exercise is that you will also have a blog publishing credit for your work.

The April prompt is below… write the story!

Periodically throughout the month, we will post the current prompt as a reminder.

DO NOT post your story to this prompt. The idea is to have your STORY or poem published on your site, the WU! blog and shared to gain followers for your writing. We will not accept a one- or two-line caption. For the most part, we are fiction writers and poets…. please write a story or poem, not a caption.

If you have any questions regarding this, you may ask the question in the comments.

Thank you.

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

 

Paula Shablo: You Can’t Get Into Heaven With Someone Else’s Dog

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.)

You Can’t Get Into Heaven With Someone Else’s Dog

By Paula Shablo

You can’t get into Heaven with someone else’s dog.

Yep. Lessons learned from dreams. So weird.

I crawled back into my bed this morning after taking the dog out. I was cold. I didn’t want to be up yet; I just wanted to lie in bed, toasty warm.

About the time I decided to get up, because I was never going to fall asleep, I … fell asleep!

And, holy cow, such a weird dream ensued.

Molly and I came upstairs and found a big black dog with a white star on his forehead sitting in the kitchen. Never saw him before in my life. But— “Hi, Scout,” I said. “How’d the surgery go?”

He was on a leash, but there were no bandages or anything, so … I don’t know. He wasn’t able to follow us to the living room, though, and that’s where we went next.

Mom and Dad were sitting in their chairs, watching television. I sat down, and a black dachshund jumped up into my lap and squirmed her way next to Molly. I started petting her like this was nothing unusual, although, like the dog in the kitchen, I’d never seen her before.

She was soon joined by two more dogs, a black-and-white border collie and a brown something-or-other with a tail that spun like a propeller with his joy. Within seconds, Scout joined us all, dragging his leash.

None of us seemed at all surprised with this abundance of dogs in the house.

None of us were surprised when my son appeared at the door, ready to take me somewhere, along with all six dogs. Mom and Dad greeted Sam much as if they saw him every day, rather than once every year or so, and waved us all out the door.

At the curb: one hellacious motor home. That thing was gigantic! We loaded the dogs and I took the passenger seat, a comfy captain’s seat that swiveled 360 degrees. Wow!

I turned, expecting to see my daughter-in-law, but instead, there was an old classmate of mine, Tina, and several more dogs.

Wherever we were off to, it had something to do with all the dogs. We drove down the street, turned onto Cedar, and …

… now, we were on crowded city streets. People walking to and fro, lots of traffic. I looked to my left as the motor home took a lurching left turn at a traffic light, and—my daughter was behind the wheel!

What the hell?

“Oh, crap!” she cried, as she straightened the vehicle. “There’s a cop behind me! I hope he didn’t follow me all the way from Grandpa’s!”

“Where are we?” I demanded. Molly was clinging to me like a little monkey.

Suddenly, a little black Chihuahua darted out in front of us, dragging a thick red leash. Sarah slammed on the brakes and swerved, just missing her. “Was that Molly?” she shrieked.

“Molly’s right here,” I said, trying to pry the dog off my neck. “Pull over!”

She parked the vehicle and I leaped out the door to catch the little dog before she could be hit by a car. Molly jumped out of my arms. “Molly!” I yelled. “Get back here! Are you crazy?”

Wonder of wonders, she came right to me and let me pick her up. The other Chihuahua followed and also allowed me to pick her up.

I stood up and looked around, hoping to see someone looking for this little girl. People were hustling through the street in all directions, but no one seemed to be searching for a missing pup.

I turned and noticed a tall building with a crookedly hung wooden door. A sign over the door read: “Enter here.” I turned back to look into the open door of the motor home to tell my daughter I was going to go in and see if anyone recognized the dog.

My son was in the driver’s seat.

Ohhhh…kaaaay.

Tina appeared in the doorway. “Are you going in?” she asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “Maybe someone knows who this little girl belongs to.”

Tina looked over my shoulder at the door. “Uh … all righty, then.” She looked at Sam. He looked back at her, eyes wide, and shrugged.

I shook my head. “Don’t be scared,” I said. “These big bad dogs will protect me.”

I opened the door and stepped inside. The door clapped shut behind me. Molly squirmed and whined, but the other dog was perfectly calm.

I was in a narrow passageway with a long line of people waiting to climb a rickety staircase with half-sized risers. A few people were coming down, but the majority were waiting to make the climb.

I stood on tiptoes, looking up, up, up. I couldn’t see the top. I also couldn’t turn around, as there were now people behind me in this cramped line.

We climbed. Molly tried her best to greet everyone, wagging her tail and stretching out her neck for a pat whenever possible. The few people headed down nodded solemnly, pet the dog and went on without speaking.

The steps were scarily narrow, and I tried to watch my feet while holding a dog in each arm. Not easy.

Finally, we reached the top, and I was overwhelmed to see a path, slightly inclined, with logs half buried in rich, dark soil every few feet. Trees lined either side, and people began the final hike upward.

“Molly,” I whispered to the beloved little black dog, “this is where that photo was taken.”

Molly stared up into my face, just as if she was asking me what photo I was talking about.

“You know,” I told her. “The photo we were supposed to write the March story about.”

The dog sighed.

I didn’t blame her.

The other dog looked straight ahead at the path, and we started the last part of our climb. My mind was racing, trying to make sense of things.

At the end of the path, there was another door. It wasn’t crooked or shabby like the first door, but it was obviously old. One by one, people entered. Once in a while, a person would come back out and start walking back.

At last it was my turn. I went inside, and there, I met God.

Don’t ask me what he looked like. I have no idea.

Don’t ask me how I knew it was God. It was God. I knew it, that’s all.

“What are you doing here?” God asked.

“I found this—” I began, lifting the lost dog toward him.

“That’s not your dog,” God said.

“I know!” I agreed. “She—”

“You have to take her back,” God said. “You have to return her to her owner.”

“Yes, but—”

“You’re not supposed to be here,” God continued. “It’s not your time. Run along now.”

I’m thinking fast during this exchange. What if it really was my time? Molly is so young! She should go back to Mom and Dad.

“It’s not Molly’s time, either,” God said, and I thought, He heard me!

“That’s good,” I said, “because—”

“When it’s her time, she’ll come. You, too. But today is not your time, so off you go now!” And He took me by the shoulders, turned me around, and pushed me gently back out the door.

Now I’m going down, down, down, and wondering if all the others who were taking that same walk were being sent back to life, or if they were being sent farther down.

I decided I didn’t want to know that.

Molly was trying to kiss everyone we passed, and most everyone gave her smiles and pats while avoiding looking directly at me.

Maybe they were wondering the same thing I was about that downward trek.

Finally, someone spoke to me: “The steps are scary.” It was a nice-looking gentleman with a head full of thick, white hair. “Be careful.”

“Thank you,” I replied. “It’s slow going with my hands full—can’t use the handrail.”

“What handrail?”

He was right—no rail.

I picked my way down carefully, my size-six feet feeling enormous on the narrow steps.

I was almost at the bottom when I saw another old schoolmate about to start the upward climb. She was wearing a lime-green visor cap and looked much younger than her fifty-something years. She passed me, saying, “Excuse me, ma’am.”

I turned to watch her climb the steps and called her name, then said, “It’s me! Paula!”

“I thought so,” she replied. “I didn’t want to say anything. Your kids are getting a ticket.”

I was at the door. “What? Why?” I cried, but she was gone.

I went back out into the street. Molly leapt out of my arms and started trotting down the road toward the motor home, which had been moved.

I chased her, the foundling dog bouncing serenely against my breast, watching Molly. “You come here, right now!” I admonished the little stinker. “Are you nuts, Molly? Look at all this traffic!”

Molly sat down next to the motor home and looked up at me. The passenger door swung open. Sam looked relieved as Molly and I climbed in.

“You got a ticket?” I gasped. “Why?”

“Parked in front of a fire hydrant,” Sam replied.

I sighed. “How much?”

“Nothing.” Now my son grinned at me. “We told the cop about the dog in the road, and when he saw you come out that door with the dogs, he gave me a warning instead of a ticket.”

“Thank God!” Tina said.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “You can say that again.”

“What about her? Did anyone know who she belongs to?”

“God knows,” I said. “But He didn’t tell me.”

“Huh?”

And … I woke up!

Now I don’t know if I got the dog back to her owner, or who the owner is, or where we were taking all those dogs, or what town we were in …

Or anything else, for that matter!

But I do know you can’t get into Heaven with someone else’s dog.

So there’s that.

_______________________________________________________________________

Dreams are weird. Have I told you that before?

I’ll probably tell you again sometime.

Until we meet again!

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Visit Paula at her blog! https://pshablo.blogspot.com/

Write the Story: March 2019 Collection




Thank you!

*** Write the Story ***

As we close out the month of January, I want to thank all the members of Writers Unite! who participated in our first month of the Write the Story project. The participation was stronger than we expected for the first month and the stories were excellent.

Thanks also to all of you who took the time to read these fantastic stories and to visit the authors’ pages, blogs, or websites. The focus of this project is to have fun and do a creative exercise by writing a story from a prompt and then sharing the story to increase everyone’s following. I can say that I saw an increase in followers on my blog after my story posted. I hope everyone else did as well.

We are about to do this again! February’s prompt will be revealed tomorrow. Warm up your laptops or open those writing apps… time to write February’s story!

If you are not a member of Writers Unite! on Facebook, you can still participate. Write your story and submit it to daratliff07@gmail.com and include Write the Story – February in the subject line.

If you missed any of the January stories or would like to read them again… you can find them HERE!

Thank for kicking Write the Story off to a successful start!!!