Wednesday Words: Behaving Childishly Was an Artform.

Today’s flash fiction prompt is: Behaving childishly was an artform.

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Photo by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash

Bethany rolled her eyes at him. “Are you telling me that you set up this whole toy village yourself? Why?” She waved her arms around at the expansive diorama. “Why would you want to spend your time and your money on this kind of stuff?” Her lip curled up as she took in the various collections in the room.

Bryan fought to keep a straight face. “What else would I spend it on? Ridiculously priced jewelry?”

Bethany’s eyes narrowed. “I see. Well, when you decide to grow up and join the real world, give me a call.” She blazed out of the room, slamming the door.

“Not likely.” Bryan turned back to right the toys that had tipped over in the angry exodus. Behaving childishly was an artform. One that protected him and his money from women like that. Oh, he sincerely enjoyed collecting and displaying all kinds of toys—they inspired his muse for his own artwork and just brought him joy—but playing up his attitude had been his safety net for a while.

Come check out the other flash fiction at Wednesday Words!

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Wednesday Words: What a Time to Start Daydreaming

This week we have flash fiction on a Friday! The prompt for Wednesday was “What a time to start daydreaming.” And we have a special appearance from our cryptozoologists.

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Photo by Guy Roberts on unsplash (edited)

Alinta found herself skipping around through her mind. Her thoughts wandering to other places.

I think when this is all over, I’ll take a vacation.

Somewhere cold. And empty. Oh, I know. I’m going to get one of those bubble rooms out in the middle of nowhere in Norway and watch the northern lights. That would be perfect.

A vicious shake of her arm brought her back to the present. Yes, her arm was still in the gaping maw of the Ozark Black Howler. Her steel-reinforced arm guard kept the teeth from penetrating her flesh, but the lion-like head of the beast was still powerful enough to make the experience uncomfortable. The massive ram horns curling out of the top of the shaggy, black fur on the top of its head were currently trying to dig into the burning hot sand on either side of Alinta. What a time to start daydreaming.

“Could you pick up the pace a bit, Connor? This is not getting any more comfortable.”

“Done.” Connor stepped back from the bear-shaped back with an empty syringe.

Alinta noticed the confusion in the Howler’s eyes as the sedative began to kick in. “Don’t worry. I promise we’re doing this to help. We’ll get you somewhere safer than this.”

 

Come see other’s on Wednesday Words, or play along in the comments. 🙂

Wednesday Words: The Picture Lied

Today’s flash fiction prompt is: the picture lied.

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Photo by ORNELLA BINNI on Unsplash

 

Sofia pulled the last of her books out of the box and arranged them on the bedside table. A photo fluttered out of one of her notebooks and landed upside down on the floor. She sat on the bed to bend over and pick it up.

“What could this be?” She flipped it over and was suddenly glad she was sitting.  Her stomach clenched, and a familiar ache flared in her chest. The picture showed a laughing group of friends flying kites at County Line Beach. Front and center in the photo was an obviously happy couple.

The picture lied.

Sofia’s naïve joy had been genuine, but Hector’s? Her ex-fiancé stared at the camera with a small smile. Before, she had thought it was the content smile of a man who was fulfilled by his life. Fulfilled by her.

Now she could see it for what it was. The self-centered smirk of a man who was more concerned with who was looking at him than the person right beside him.

Good riddance.

So why did it still hurt? Not a mistake I will make again.

 

Come check out other people’s take on this prompt at Wednesday Words.

Or, play along in the comments!

 

 

After the Plunge

I have had a post sitting in my draft folder for two years. Exactly. On October 26, 2016, I started a post entitled “After the Plunge.”

It was referring to my post from September 27th, “The Precipice”,  that I wrote the day before I started chemotherapy for colon cancer.

I had intended to give an update about my first chemotherapy experience but the title was as far as I got.  I would like to go back at and share a few of those thoughts now.

So, I have a few images from Chemo #1!

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I had a port catheter placed in my chest for administration of the chemo and for blood draws. (You can see the healing cut from the surgery just above my neck line in the photo.) I am planning on doing another post on just that alone.

This was me and my ‘last’ drink with ice. You see, the chemo combination I was going to be getting is called FOLFOX and it consists of FOL- folic acid, F- Flourouracil (5FU), and OX- oxaliplatin. One of the side-effects of oxaliplatin is a ‘sensitivity’ to cold. I can tell you now that by the time I was done with chemo, I had to drink warm water–even room temperature water was too cold.

My mom drove me over because I wasn’t sure how I would react to the chemo and how I would feel immediately after.

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I had my soft blanket and I am all hooked up to the I.V. line. The process was a two hour drip of Leucovorin (the folic acid- helps increase the efficacy of the 5FU) and the oxaliplatin. Then, when that finished, they would do an ‘I.V. push’ (a dose injected over 5 minutes or so) of the 5FU. Then came the pump.

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This is a picture of my lovely pump. I would go home with this and it would administer the 5FU over the next 44 hours or so.  I went in on Wednesdays for my treatments and then back again Friday mornings to get the pump off. It was nice for me that the worst of the side effects would kick in over Saturday and Sunday when I didn’t have to work. It would always make a soft noise, and sometimes would give off loud–and awkward, depending on where I was–beeping alarms if something wasn’t quite right.

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I had to carry it around in a fanny pack. It went everywhere with me. The store, teaching class, running kids to school, etc. I was hoping it would start a new fashion trend and everyone else would want to wear one too, but that was not to be. 😀

Funny story about the cold sensitivity:

The evening after my first treatment I had to go teach a lab. I was a little tired, but didn’t really feel any effects yet. The ‘cold sensitivity’ kept running through my mind. And, being a scientist, I decided I had to test the hypothesis.

The drinking fountain in the hall near my classroom wasn’t one of the coldest on campus. I figured I would start with a small drink from that fountain. So I did.

At first I didn’t really feel anything. And then, in my throat, something.

 

The best way I can think of to describe it is this. You know if you are eating nachos and a tortilla chip gets caught in your throat?

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Mmmmm nachos. (Photo by Natasha Bhogal on Unsplash)

(Of course, you probably chew your nachos before eating them instead of inhaling them. But I digress.) That poking sensation of something sharp, stuck in your throat was there and then it felt like it melted away. Crazy strange.

And yes, I tried again. Because you need multiple tests to prove your results, right?

Same thing happened.

It was just the beginning…

Wednesday Words: She Threw Her Bag on the Floor

This week’s flash fiction with the prompt: She threw her bag on the floor.

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Photo by Chris Child on Unsplash

Sofia slammed the door shut, sending Whiskers from a dead sleep to a yowling streak of fur. She winced and glanced back to make sure she hadn’t knocked anything off the walls.

Oops. A little excessive. I need to calm down and think. “But the nerve of that man!” She threw her bag on the floor and began to pace. “I’m sure he waited until the moment Aunt CeeCee left town to find me.  ‘You are in danger of losing the farm, young lady.’” Sofia mocked the bankers stuffy tone and then growled in frustration.

“I will not lose the farm. I promised I’d take care of it and everyone here in case Aunt CeeCee could come back someday.”  She glanced at the alpacas outside in the corral. “We’ll figure this out.”

 

Come see what others did at Wednesday Words or play along in the comments yourself!

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Words: No One Had Heard the Wind Blow Like This Before.

This week’s prompt is: No one had heard the wind blow like this before.

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Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

Outside, the storm raged. No one had heard the wind blow like this before. Ever.

Connor and a few of the other advanced class students had gathered in the corner of the lunchroom. They waved Alinta over. As she approached them, she glanced around at the other students—fear radiated from all of them.

“Can you believe all of this?” Alinta waved her arms around, trying to indicate everything.

The sound of the wind pierced through everything.  It shook the solid building around them and—according to security—it could even be heard in the underground continuation of the school. Normally the hidden rooms, habitats, laboratories, and quarantine units were as oblivious to the world as the world was to them. Not with this storm.

The wail of the wind seemed unearthly. Conner had gone even more pale than normal; his freckles were much more obvious. He stared off into the distance, rocking back and forth slightly.

“Banshee.” He murmured under his breath.

“What?” Alinta grabbed his arm. “Are you kidding? How is that possible?”

Conner snapped out of his trance. “Look around. We have a Mothman, a Loupe Garou, a Sasquatch, a Lady in white, and that’s just on the faculty. How can you doubt anything? It’s a Banshee. And someone will die.”

Come find what others did with this same prompt at Wednesday Words! Feel free to play along in the comments. 🙂

Fun Book Week for Me!

A couple of weeks ago I had a couple of exciting things happen–book-wise. To set the stage, I need to back up. Specifically to November of last year (2017).

Last November, I won first place in the young adult novel category in the creative writing contest put on by the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. The book is currently titled “By the Blood of the Witches”.

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Me and my other half at the awards ceremony

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It was super exciting. 🙂

The Division of Arts and Museums

decided to do some author readings with their contest winners and local, established authors in their category. So, this September

I was privileged to do a library reading with Carol Lynch Williams.

 

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Exactly none of those books are mine. 😀

Since I don’t have an extensive library of books to fall back on–I was just going to read from the book that won the contest–I fell back on my experience as a professor. . .

And I did a PowerPoint. 😀  (So I at least had something to look at while people slept 😉 )

 

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I was also really happy to have Carol sign one of her books for me.

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A few of my ANWA sisters (my writing group) surprised me and showed up for support. They rock!

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Also- My first officially released story came out that week too!

It is called “The Dragon’s Maid”. It’s a fairy tale retelling of a Norwegian fairy tale–Master Maid.TheDragonsMaidCover

It is on a free reading app called StoryShop. (Find it at http://fictionite.io/ ) The stories are released an ‘episode’ at a time and I currently have two episodes out. I even have an author page on the FV press page!

It was a pretty momentous week for me.

Wednesday Words: The Clue Seemed Innocuous at the Time

This week’s flash fiction with the prompt: The clue seemed innocuous at the time.

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Photo by Cederic X on Unsplash

 

Katie picked her way through the rubble carefully. The castle seemed to be falling in on itself.

Let’s hope it holds up until we find what we need.

The evening light faded but she was hesitant to turn on her flashlight—not wanting to broadcast her location. Hopefully Takeshi would catch up to her soon.

The Warden—Takeshi—had gone to investigate a different part of the castle. “Doesn’t he know that’s the worst idea ever? Hasn’t he seen any scary movies?” Of course he hasn’t. That would mean he did something fun instead of just working.

Katie peered into the next room and thought about getting the anonymous tip. “Your search will end in Germany.” The clue seemed innocuous at the time. But now, in an abandoned and reportedly haunted castle, searching for a shapeshifter with unknown intentions—the clue took on a more ominous tone.

How exactly would the search ‘end’?

Come see what others did with the prompt at Wednesday Words. Or play along in the comments with your own take on it!

Wednesday Words: The Snow Fell and Fell

This week’s prompt is: The snow fell and fell

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Picture by Jesse Orrico on Unsplash

The large Malamute stood stiff-legged and growling in font of the cabin door. The winter storm was howling outside, and Caleb couldn’t hear anything above that and the sound of the fire in his fireplace.

“Do you hear something outside, Girl? Who would be crazy enough to be out in this?”

When he walked to the door, Caleb could hear the unmistakable sound of a goat yelling. Stepping out onto the porch, he took in the scene. A goat was stuck in his blackberry bramble, caught on its leash.

A leash?

A woman was pulling at the strap, trying to untangle it.

The new neighbor?

“Can I help you?” Caleb grabbed his coat from inside and jumped down off the porch.

She turned and gave him a little wave. “Oh, I won’t bother you, I’ll get Betsy unstuck and head home.”

“You should wait out the storm here.” Caleb broke one of the branches caught in the leash.

She straightened up and pulled the now-freed goat towards her. “Thanks, but home isn’t that far, really.”

“This is your first winter here, isn’t it.” The early darkness made the forest foreboding and the snow fell and fell.

“This is my first winter with snow at all.” She laughed to herself.

“You’ll never make it back the two miles to your place, it’ll be a whiteout soon. Put the goat in with my sheep—she’ll behave won’t she—and come on in by the fire.”

 

Come see the other #flashfiction responses to this prompt at Wednesday Words or add your own in the comments!

Wednesday Words: They’d Had a Lot of Freedom Back Then

Flash fiction prompt for the week: They’d had a lot of freedom back then.

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Photo by Rúben Marques on Unsplash

 

The students were clustered in small groups, dispersed about the large lecture room. A low murmur ran through the room as everyone tried to determine what was going on.

Dr. Biston huddled in a corner with Ms. Garou, seemingly attempting to placate the school secretary. His dark, tailored suit went well with what most people assumed was a velvety black and white cape. That, his sunglasses, and the two long feathers in his dark hair gave him the appearance of wearing a Mardi Gras costume. Alinta knew that actually, the professor’s cape was his wings, the feathers his mothman antennae. And from the way they were twitching, he was pretty agitated.

Ms. Garou, for her part, was flinging her arms around and pacing. Her remarkable reach had already knocked a hat off one student and glasses off another.

A student near Alinta shook his head. “Why do all the cryptids wish for the days when they were unknown to humans? Wasn’t the fear of discovery worse?”

Alinta didn’t look away from the teacher while she answered. “Not all wish for it. But you have to understand that they’d had a lot of freedom back then. A few people searched for them, but most didn’t believe. Most people left them alone.”

 

Play along in the comment section or come find more #flashfiction on Wednesday Words!