Thursday, March 20, 2014

Scaredy-cat, Scaredy-cat

Finish That Thought #37 (Judge's Comments)
Prompt: [She] knew [she] shouldn't have opened the basement door.
Special Challenge: Include an urban legend

I knew I shouldn't have opened the basement door. A rat scuttled across my foot, sending me shrieking and running for a broom. Twenty minutes later the basement had its inhabitant returned and I was trembling on my overstuffed chair with knees tucked under my chin and phone clutched in my hand from dialing pest control. It was my usual perch after a freak-out or panic attack. Sometimes I’d sit there for hours. It was safe there. I was safe. The potatoes could wait in that black hole.

The truth is I’ve spent my whole life dodging from the monster under my bed. Once that light is out, I leap under the covers and tug them over my head. I know if even a strand of hair is visible on my pillow, the monster will slaughter me in my sleep. I’m not brave and I’ve given up ever trying to be.

Pest control dialed, I worked on calming the violent shivers. I wish I had a husband. Pest control, maintenance man, and lawyer all rolled into one. But of course, I had been too scared of that as well. Stood him up at the altar and got on next train out.

I looked at the clock on the mantel across the room. One hour until he’d come and kill the beast. I continued trembling and looked down at my pedicured feet. I hated being such a scaredy-cat, but I was used to it by now.

It all started at a slumber party in elementary school. The only reason I was there at all was that silly rule “if you’re going to pass out invitations in class, you have to invite everyone” and my mother insisted I socialize with people other than book characters.

I can remember it as clearly as if it had happened yesterday. We were all sitting in a circle on our scattered sleeping bags when one of the girls brought out a flashlight and told a ghost story. It was innocent fun, just trying to scare each other, but when Megan took her turn, everything changed. 

Courtesy of subhadipin @
“I know a real ghost story,” she’d said, taking the flashlight and illuminating her pale features and jet black eyes. She proceeded to tell of her cousin’s best friend’s sister who had done the Bloody Mary challenge with two other girls. They went to sleep laughing. Only two of them woke up. The third girl had been lacerated.

And so, being girls, we all had crowded into the bathroom, flipped off the lights, and I was chosen to hold the candle. We twirled. We chanted. We laughed. We slept. I woke up with cuts on my wrists and a note pinned to my pillow. “Ugly duckling as you are, I’ve left you with just a scar. Should you call my name again, I’ll use more than just a pin.” I swear that note had been written in blood.

The doorbell rang, jolting me. I was using a nightlight tonight.

First Day of Spring!

It seems I unintentionally unleashed Second Winter full throttle here in Alberta with my last blog post.  Oops!  

And so this is my view out back on the first day of Spring.  Lovely, isn't it?  With the wind blowing and snow falling outside, one would think it the middle of January, not the end of March!  The forecast calls for that white, fluffy stuff off and on for the next week.  I think I'll have to wait on that snowman until things calm down a little!  There will certainly be plenty of snow to spare.  And to think, we were just praising the sunny skies and warm temperatures yesterday.  (Seriously, 45-50 F is t-shirt weather this time of year.) 
How do we cope with this sudden turn of events?  (Besides eating chicken noodle soup and drinking ginger mint tea with honey and lemon to ward off The Sickness)  Crochet, computer games, movie nights, LEGO, and playing in the fort that Mr. M built, of course! 

Next on the agenda?  Pillow fight!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Commemorating Second Winter

Well, it looks like winter is still here!  After a very sunny week that left the dry river basins of our sidewalks raging rivers, snow dusted the earth again last night.  It was delightful waking up with a fresh layer of powdered sugar over the muddy slush of the past few days.  To commemorate this "second winter", here are a few of my favourite shots from this past winter wonderland.

Nov: Ice stalactites, frosted bicycle, and gray skies

Dec: Snowed in up to our thighs!

Dec: Whipped cream waves lapping the house

Feb: Snowflake ornaments on a snowy, sunny walk

Now excuse me, I have a snowman to build!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Brassy Buttons

Finish That Thought #36 (Judge's Comments)
Prompt: [Her] stop was still several blocks away, but [she] stepped off the train anyway, just beating the closing doors.
Special Challenge: Include at least one fantasy creature (chimera, leprechaun, talking animal, etc)

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Courtesy of marekwo @
Her stop was still several blocks away, but she stepped off the train anyway, just beating the closing doors. She wasn’t sure why she felt the need to get off. Perhaps it was the thick air of colognes, or the constant wheezing of the woman beside her. Or she mistook “McNeely Street” for “Harley Street” on the loudspeaker. It was all of them together, she decided, and nothing to do with the wobble in her four-inch heels or her fuzzy vision.

She had just shaken out her umbrella to catch the falling raindrops when a flash of green darted through her peripherals. Glancing up, the young woman surveyed the shop windows. She teetered over to the jeweler’s display case and peered inside. Jewels of every caliber littered the velvet cushions, but the green had vanished. The only sight was her smudged mascara and droopy red lips. Raising her umbrella over her frizzing, blonde curls, she continued wobbling down the sidewalk.

“Was I drinking last night?” she mumbled to herself. Wrenching a hankie free from her breast pocket, she wiped the moisture from her forehead trying to remember. Last night was a blur, all a blur. There was a knock on her door and then a whoosh. Had there been a light? Her temples throbbed, assuring her there had been. Next thing she knew, she had overslept and was late for work.

There it was again! The green flash whistled at her. She blinked. It was a little man in a green tuxedo with a four-leaf shamrock tucked into his green top hat.

“Lassie! Come ‘ere a moment.” He waved her over. She looked over her shoulder, didn’t see anyone else, and obediently followed him into the alley.

“I believe ye have somethin’ o’ mine,” he continued.

“Something of yours?” she echoed.

“Ye didn’t get a package last night? Nor a message to meet me here?” the little gentleman puffed in surprise.

“I did...that is...I think I did,” her voice quivered in confusion. “I’m not’s all such a blur...”

Before she could say another word, the leprechaun yanked the briefcase from her trembling fingers and pried it open. Amidst the papers, folders, and booklets scattered inside was a black velvet bag. When he touched it, it gaped open to reveal gold.

“Ah,” his eyes gleamed “Thank ye for yer coop’ration. And now...” He fumbled around in his tunic and pulled out a strange looking box. “Look inside it, lass.” She did.

Suddenly the ground opened and swallowed her. She didn’t have time to think, or notice him still holding her briefcase. Down, down, down, she fell...

Beep. Beep. Beep. The alarm pulled her out of a deep sleep. Rubbing her eyes, she yawned and looked about the room. Everything seemed so normal, the dream almost forgotten, but her briefcase was missing. Instead there was a bag. Crawling out of bed, she tiptoed over and opened it. Sparkles flew out, momentarily spelling THANK YOU before vanishing, leaving four flakes of gold.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

No Flash Fiction Today

As the title clearly states, there is no Flash Fiction from me today.  "Why is that?" you may ask.  The answer is really quite simple!  If you read my post last week, you would have seen why.  Now that's tricky isn't it--- trying to gather more views by making you go hunting through past posts.  Tis shameful!  I can't have you thinking me tricksy, so here's a link

Ha!  Caught you again!  An honest person would just tell ye the news and since I'm an honest person, here it be:

I won last week's Finish That Thought challenge!  What all does that entail?  First of all, it means I didn't have to write a story this week.  Secondly, I got to judge the stories submitted this week! 

It was a lot more nerve-wracking than I thought it would be. 

There are so many excellent writers out there and the stories that show up in places like Alissa's challenge are many times phenomenal.  The anxiety of "picking the right one" can be overwhelming.  Which one do you pick?  Why?  Will others look down on your choice?  Was there another story that obviously should have won and I didn't choose it?  Will I lose my right to ever judge again?

Silly, I know, but these thoughts plagued me.  I know I'm not the best writer and to judge people's imaginations [some of them being professional writers!] seemed... I don't know the right word, but it felt funny in the deepest parts of my tummy, like how I feel when I have to make a public speech.  It just doesn't feel right.

I rallied my spirits, however, and enjoyed handing the Sceptre of Judging Responsibilities over to someone else for next week.  I doubt Alissa would have let me keep it two weeks in a row anyway.