My kids! Where are my kids?

Babin zub na Staroj planini

Babin zub na Staroj planini (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cheryl burst through the door, “Mom, Dad, have you seen the kids?  I can’t find them anywhere!”

Cheryl’s dad pulls himself out of his papason chair, “Now just calm down, Cheryl.  What’s going on?”

“I don’t know where Meggie and Brent are!  They’re not in the house.  I went down to the shed to see if they were in there playing and they’re not there either.  And Dad, the dog is still in the yard.  Lady would have gone with them if they’d gone out in the woods.”  Cheryl starts trembling, covers her face with her hands to hide her tears.

Her father puts his hand on her shoulder, “Honey, we’ll find ’em.  We will.  I promise you that.”

Cheryl whirls around to face her father, the tears streaking her cheeks, “Dad, you can’t promise me that!  You don’t know!”  Cheryl’s voice rises in panic.  “You can’t guarantee that they’ll be alright, Dad!  You can’t!”

Cheryl’s mom grabs her daughter’s arm and forces her to look at her, “Stop it!  Stop it right this minute!  You falling apart isn’t going to help anything.  We’ll call the neighbors and they’ll help us look for the kids, but you need to pull yourself together, missy.”

Cheryl takes a shaky breath, “You’re right, Mom.  I’m..I’m sorry, Daddy.  I’m just so scared.  My babies are out there somewhere and it’ll be dark in a couple of hours.  What if we don’t find them before it gets dark?  They’re so little…they’re just babies.”

Cheryl walks to the window and looks out at the vast forest that surrounds them.  “They could be anywhere.  I don’t even know where we’re gonna start.  I just…I just want my babies back safe.”  Resting her forehead against the window, Cheryl is weighed down by the hopelessness and fear.  She whispers, “Come home, Meggie, Brent…please, babies…just come home.”

Outlining your stories

Outline for article

Outline for article (Photo credit: hawkexpress)

Do you?  Outline your stories, that is.  I’ve never really sat down and plotted the beginning, middle, and end of my stories…not really.  I mean I’ve always kind of had an idea of where I was going (okay, honestly…I haven’t always had that idea…there have been times when I just started writing with no planning on my part), but now I’m thinking about trying to write with at least a loose outline.

Sometimes I think I know exactly what my characters are going to do and then they surprise me by taking the story the way they want it to go.  And that direction is usually much better than what I had planned.  It’s possible that I was concerned that an outline would hem me in, but isn’t that a silly thought? Just because I plotted it one way doesn’t mean I can’t turn around and take a different path, does it?

So, that’s going to be my lesson for the next couple of stories I write…we’ll see how this works out.

What’s your writing style?  Do you plan everything out before you start or do you let your story flow freely?

Run from the darkness


fear (Photo credit: siette)

“Please, please, please, don’t let him find me.  Don’t let the monster get me.  I be good.  I promise I be good.”  The little boy, cowering in the back of the dark closet, kept whispering this as he tried to become invisible by closing his eyes and covering his face with his hands.  He heard the monster roaring, knew he was coming for him, just like he’d come for him all those times before.

The monster was getting closer.  His monster feet were pounding against the floor, shaking the entire house.  He was slamming doors as he looked in each room for the scared little boy.  With every minute that passed, the monster’s shouts became louder and scarier.  “You better get your ass out here now!  Get out here and take it like a man, you damn little brat!”

The door banged against the wall causing the little boy to jump in fear.  “No, no, no…please don’t let him find me…please.”  The closet door was wrenched open so fast it almost came off the hinges.  The boy tried to move further back into the dark corner of the closet, tried to silence the whimpers escaping from him.

The monster stepped into the closet, shoving clothes around.  “I know you’re in here, you little bastard.  I can smell you.  Did you piss yourself again?  You’re nothing but a nasty, filthy little thief.”

The little boy gasped as the monster’s face appeared right before him.  Then he felt the monster grab him and yank him from his hiding place.  He knew there was no escaping the monster now.  The monster stood there in the middle of the room, roughly holding the boy at arm’s length, several feet off the floor.  Shaking the boy so violently that his body went limp, the monster yelled in his face, “I know you took it!  I know you did! What have I told you about taking things that don’t belong to you?”

Tears were running down the boy’s cheeks, his mouth open in a silent scream.  The monster shook him again then threw him against the wall.  The monster walked up to the crumpled little body, then stood there with his hands on his hips.  The boy’s dark brown eyes looked up at the monster in fear.  He whispered, “I sorry.  I be a good boy.”

The monster pulled his leg back and kicked the little boy in the stomach.  “You’ll never be a good boy.  You’re nothing but a piece of crap.  I wish to hell you’d never been born.”  Then the monster squatted down, putting his monster face right in the boy’s face, his monster breath washing over the boy.  “You stay right here.  Don’t you try to hide from me again.  It’s time for your punishment, you little thief.”

Where do we go from here?

Lovers and Joggers A couple holding hands and ...

Lovers and Joggers A couple holding hands and a brace of joggers make tracks towards Totteridge Lane on the Dollis Valley Green Walk. The slope of the ground towards the Brook, which is out of shot on the right, is evident in this photo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Becky directs Sean to her house, the two of them talking about everything and nothing during the late-night drive.  Becky has calmed down and is actually surprised that she’s feeling comfortable with Sean, something she’s never experienced before with any other guy.  Sean is quite pleased that the tears have stopped and that the two of them are able to enjoy being with one another.  Sean, like most guys, isn’t at ease when a girl is crying, but he feels pretty good about the way he handled the situation.

When Sean pulls the truck up to the curb in front of Becky’s house, he turns the key to shut off the engine, turning halfway around in his seat, leaning against the door, wanting with all of his heart to lean over and kiss Becky.  But he’s concerned about how she will react.  He definitely doesn’t want to scare her, doesn’t want to start the flow of tears again.  He’s never found himself in a situation like this before.  Usually the girls are all over him, wanting him to come inside and spend the night.  He doesn’t expect that from Becky, but he isn’t exactly sure what to do next.

He reaches over and to run his fingers through her silky  hair.  He smiles, “I’ve really had a good time tonight, Bec.  I…uh…I hope you’ll let me call on you again.”  Then he mentally bangs his head against the dash, thinking, Let me call on you again?  Who says that?  What kind of dork is she going to think I am?  “Um… could I maybe get your phone number so I can give you a call later?”

Biting her lower lip, Becky meets Sean’s gaze.  “I’d like that…a lot.  I want to thank you for making this such a nice evening.  I really enjoyed myself.”  Taking the paper and pen that Sean holds out to her, Becky writes her number down for him, wondering if he would ever really call her.

Sean takes the paper from her, folds it, and puts it in his pocket.  “Here, let me give you my number.  I’ll give you my number at home and at work, just in case.”  He writes both numbers down and hands her the slip of paper.

Sean finally tears his gaze from Becky and says, “Well…let me walk you to the door, Bec.”  He gets out of the truck and walks to her door, opens it and lifts her down out of the truck.  His hands on her waist, hers on his upper arms, both not wanting the night to end, neither knowing what happens next, wondering where do we go from here?

Holding hands, they slowly make their way to the front door.  Becky worries that he will want more from her than she is willing to give.  Sean wondering if it would be okay to at least kiss her.  As they stand in front of the door, Sean lifts Becky’s hand to his lips and gently kisses the back of her hand.  Then he whispers, “You go on inside. I’ll stay here until I hear the door lock and I know you’re safe.”

Becky nods her head, unlocks the door and steps inside.  She turns to look at Sean.  He’s standing there smiling softly at her.  Again he whispers, “‘Night, Bec.  I’ll call you tomorrow…or today, I guess it would be.  Anyhow…um…guess I better be goin’.”

“Good night, Sean.  Again, thanks.  Talk to you later.”  Becky then closes the door and locks it.  Sean stands there until he hears the lock click into place then turns to walk back to his truck.  Halfway down the walk, he turns around and looks back toward the door.  On the other side of that door, Becky is leaning against it, the back of her hand resting upon her lips, still feeling the tingle of that kiss.  She smiles, thinking what a polite southern gentleman Sean is, asking if he can call on her again, hoping against hope that he does.

Sean turns around again, walking toward his truck when it hits him.  He just met the girl he wants to spend the rest of his life with.

The surprising gentleman

A man and a woman holding hands with fingers i...

A man and a woman holding hands with fingers intertwined (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She turns to face him, the tears still glittering in her eyes.  Becky waves her hand back and forth between them, “This…this guy and girl stuff…I’m so shy…I hate being this shy…I’m not…I’m just not…I don’t know how to do this.”  Her voice catches on the last word and she struggles not to burst into tears, beating herself up for being an idiot, knowing that Sean will be thrilled to get her back to her house and out of his truck as fast as possible.  And that he won’t waste any time getting as far away from her as his big truck will take him.

Sean’s looking at her with those deep chocolate eyes.  He sighs softly and brushes her hair from her cheek.  “I don’t want you to feel bad, Bec.  I mean, I like you…I really,  really like you.  But I would never…I wouldn’t expect you to, I don’t know, do anything you didn’t want to do…or weren’t ready to do…I mean, I didn’t really notice that you were that shy, seemed to me like we talked together pretty good, ya know?”  He stops talking and just shakes his head.  “I don’t want to make you sad or make you cry, Bec.”

Becky lowers her head, covering her eyes.  She then releases her pent-up breath, squares her shoulders, sits back in the seat and meets Sean’s concerned gaze.  “Really, Sean, it’s not you.  It really is me.  I’m guessing you’ve had lots of girlfriends…and me?  I’ve not been able to figure out the whole relationship thing.  I imagine I’m not like most of the girls you’ve gone dancing with, huh?”

Sean smiles sweetly, rubbing his thumb along the palm of her hand.  “Well, I’m thinkin’ you not being like most of the girls I’ve gone dancing with is probably a good thing.  It just hit me, all those other girls, mostly I wouldn’t ever have wanted to take any of ’em home to meet my mom, but you? You’re different.  My mom would be happy to meet you.”  Sean lifts his hands between them, “Not that I’m saying we have to do that any time soon, but still…”

Becky looks at Sean with a question in her eyes.  “I…you surprise me.  I would have thought you’d be like every other guy I’ve known and high tail it out of here.”

Sean snorts, “I think you’ll find out I’m anything but like every other guy.”  And then he gives her a bawdy wink and wiggles his eyebrows.

Becky laughs softly.  “Yeah, you just might be right.”

Sean turns the key in the ignition, “So, how do I find this house you share with those other girls?  I don’t know if you know this or not, but it’s after two in the morning…not all that late for a guy like me, but I’d be willing to bet it’s pretty darn late for a girl like you…right?”

What do you do when the words won’t come?

The Oxford Book of English Short Stories

The Oxford Book of English Short Stories (Photo credit: dalcrose)

For the most part, while I’ve been working on my short story dance series of posts, the words have been flowing from my fingertips as quickly as my fingers can move.  But the last post took me two days to write and, even then, I wasn’t really satisfied with it. The previous posts in that series saw me smiling the entire time I was writing…not so with the last one…that one saw me typing, re-reading, deleting, getting up and pacing around, re-reading, holding my head in my hands…not quite the pleasant and joyous experience of the previous eight days or so.  What in the world was going on?

Of course I know this is only the first draft and that revision is a huge part of writing, but that last post had me questioning  myself.  And then to go through all of that and still not be satisfied with the results.

There was a ray of sunshine breaking through the dark clouds though.  As I finished that post I immediately started on the next one and it practically wrote itself…don’t think that didn’t put the smile back on my face!

Last dance

2008 4x4 Ford F-450 Pick up truck.

2008 4×4 Ford F-450 Pick up truck. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sean chuckles, “I think she likes you, Becky.  She’s a pretty special lady.  I’ve known her for years and she’s taken quite  a few of us under her wing over the years…”

Blushing, Becky half smiles at Sean’s comments.  “Well, I could tell she definitely likes you.”

Sean leans back in his chair, shrugs, and asks, “Hey, what’s not to like?”

Sean and Becky spend the rest of the evening dancing and talking, then dancing and talking some more.  They are both surprised when they hear the announcement that the club is about to close.  Sean escorts Becky out to his truck.  Petite little Becky stands there with her hands on her hips looking at the huge truck.  “This is your truck?  You actually climb in and out of this thing…without a ladder?”

“Hmm…well, I am a little taller than you, I guess.  Let me help you up.”  After opening the passenger side door, he offers Becky his hand and then realizes she’s going to need more help than that to make it up into the truck.  “I think I’ll have to lift you up so you can get in…okay?”

Becky’s cheeks flush and she looks down, then lifts her gaze up to meet Sean’s.  “Um…yeah…I think I’d have a hard time climbing up into this thing with a dress on…so…yeah…”

Sean’s  hands span her tiny waist.  Becky reaches up for his shoulders, neither of them able to take their eyes off of the other.  He effortlessly lifts her into the truck, “Watch your head, Bec.”  She nods and smiles at the nickname.  She sits down, smoothing her skirt under her legs.  Sean closes the door and runs around the front of the truck and leaps into the driver’s seat.

Shaking her head, Becky notes, “You make that seem so easy.”

Sean reaches over and envelopes her tiny hand in his much larger one, laughing…”Hey, when yer 6’6″,  big trucks are no problem…it’s those tiny little cars that make life difficult.”

Becky likes the feeling of their hands being joined, but finds herself blushing again.  Then, to her mortification, she feels tears in her eyes and quickly looks away from Sean.

“Uh..Bec…are you alright?  Did I do something wrong?”

Still not looking at Sean, she shakes her head and wipes the tears from her cheeks.  “No, it’s not you…it’s me…I just don’t know how to do this.  I’ve never been good at this.”

Sean gently touches her shoulder, “Good at what, Bec?  I’m not…not sure what you’re talking about.”


Dancin’ queen


Tiagpointe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Angel steps back from Sean, her hands cupping his face.  “Let me look at you!  Still the handsomest devil to set foot in this old dance hall, aren’t ya?”

Sean laughs and bends down to kiss the cheek of the older woman.  Angel is not a small woman, a bottle blonde, wearing a rust-colored suede skirt and vest, cream-colored low-cut blouse and hand-tooled cowboy boots.  She looks like she lives in a country dance hall.  “So sweetie, are ya home for the winter now?  We sure did miss ya around here all summer.”

“Yeah, we just got back last Sunday.”  Sean winks at Angel.  “Missed you too, gorgeous!”

Angel swats him.  “You’re definitely a sweet talker.”  Angel smiles at Becky.  “So, handsome, are you gonna use the manners I know your mama raised you with and introduce me to this cute little girl?”

Angel silently screams for joy as she watches her favorite young man sharing a look with the little blonde.  Sean gently touches Becky’s hand.  “Angel, this is Becky.  She’s new in town and one of the best dancers I’ve ever seen.  And Becky, this is Angel.  She owns this place and keeps us all in line…ha, get it?  In line!!”

Angel laughs, “Honey, it’s a good thing you don’t have to rely on your comedic talent to earn a living.”

Sean falls back in his chair, hand over his heart, “Ouch…”

Angel offers her hand to Becky and says, “Nice to meet you, Becky.”  In a stage whisper, she says,  “This one here is pretty special.  I try not to say that in front of him too much, don’t want him thinkin’ he’s God’s gift or anything.”

Becky shakes Angel’s hand, responding shyly, “I’m pleased to meet you too, ma’am.  I love your dance floor, it’s really nice.”

“Well, thank ya, hon.  I hope we’ll see you around here a lot.  Now, I gotta get back to the business of runnin’ my business.”  She points at Sean.  “Make sure the two of ya aren’t strangers around here this winter.”

Sean rises from his chair and hugs Angel again.  She whispers, “Hon, I think this little gal is a keeper.  You be good to her.”

Sean whispers back, “Oh, I intend to.”

Angel steps back, waves at the young couple and sashays across the dance floor, greeting her other customers, a smile on her face as she thinks about the two kids she just left.  After watching the girls throw themselves at Sean over the years, she has a good feeling about that little Becky.  She seems to be a different kind of girl.  Maybe, just maybe, the girl who can bring Sean some peace and contentment.