Meeting an old acquaintance can bring all manner of emotions to the fore.  You might rekindle an old flame or rehash an old grudge or maybe just reminisce with an old friend.  This week’s challenge is about old memories made new

The Judge

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This week's wilnner Alissa Leonard won her first challenge with an introduction to a classroom in a very unique enviroment.

About herself, she says "I am a wife, mother of three, and a writer."


The Prompt

I never thought I'd see you again

The Rules

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  1. The story must start from the prompt.  This means the prompt must be the first words in the story.
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be invited to judge the following week and post the winner's badge similar to the one on the right.
  6. Have fun!

Example

Dear Henry
By Wakefield Mahon

I never thought I’d see you again.   Though I can’t say I’m really surprised, you were always the one friend I could depend on when the missus went on a rampage.  Well she’s good and mad now.  Liza’s done run off and left me for good this time, I know it.

See it all started this morning when I went to fetch a bucket of water from the stream so I could lubricate the whestone.  Wouldn’t you know it?  There was a big old hole in the bucket.  So I says to my dear Liza, “There’s a hole in the bucket.”

Well she rolls her eyes but says real patient-like, “Then fix it my dear Henry.”

Now I don’t know ‘bout you but when I get someone who talks to me like I ain’t got a lick o’ sense, I kinda get testy.  But I tried my best to mind my tone.  “What am I supposed to fix it with, dear Liza?”

“Um, with straw, dear henry.”  That time I knew she was being smart.

So I gave it right back to her.  “The straw is too short, dear Liza.”

Then her feathers got all ruffled up.  “Then CUT it dear henry.”

“And what do you figure I’m a-gonna cut it with, dear Liza?

“Well, dear Henry, I suppose you might cut it with an AXE.”

“Yeah, I got that, dear Liza, but the axe is too dull.”

“Confound it, dear Henry, why don’t you go sharpen it then?”

“’Cause I ain’t got nothing to sharpen it with, obviously, dear Liza.”

“What about the WHETSTONE out by the barn, DEAR Henry?

“I might use that if it weren’t too DRY, dear Liza.”

“Are you puttin’ me on?  My dear Henry if it’s too dry, then wet the dadgum thing!”

Now I was getting to my point so I lowered my voice smiled real wide-like. “And how do you suppose I wet it?”

She lowered her voice too, but that usually means she awfully sore.  “Most folks would do it with water, dear Henry.”

“And how in tarnation do you expect me to fetch the water, dear Liza?”

I knew she was fuming now cause she still didn’t get it. “With a bucket, DEAR HENRY!”

“There’s a hole in the bucket, DEAR LIZA!”

“For goodness sake, Henry why didn’t you just say so in the first place?”

I was going to tell her I did say so but she stormed out of here without saying another word.  She took her money bag with her, like the time she stayed at her momma’s.

So like I said, it’s just you and me, old friend.

“Oh for crying out loud, Henry, put the bottle down!  I just went to the market to buy another bucket.  Did you know they make them out of plastic or metal now ? I bought two, just in case.

500 silly ineligible words
 


Comments

Robin Abess
07/16/2012 08:21

Reunion

Wayne made his way through the hushed stillness of the grove, surrounded by the warm night air. He blended into the scenery easily, dressed from head to toe in black. The ramshackle old house was just ahead. From what he could tell, he was the only one who ever came here, which suited him. This had been the last place he’d ever been happy. The place he had met Laura, and shared so many wonderful hours with her, exploring the ruined mansion, then exploring each other eventually. The place where she had died. He still blamed himself for her death. He’d been so intent on kissing her, he hadn’t realized that the snake was there, until it was too late and she lay gasping her last breath in his arms.

He had shut down after that day. Abandoned all his friends. Changed jobs and moved to a different apartment. He let his hair grown out the way Laura had liked it best. Every year, he came back to the house on the anniversary of her death, to pay homage. This was his tenth trip. As he neared the house this time, Wayne felt a subtle change in the air. A feeling of anticipation swept over him, and an excitement he hadn’t felt for years. Slowly, he crossed the rotted boards of the front porch, smelling the scent of night blooming jasmine and honeysuckle. Absentmindedly, he noticed that the vines had all but taken over the entrance.

Pushing them aside, Wayne walked through the crookedly hanging front door. More dirt and debris had piled up since last year, he noted. As he set foot inside the foyer, he thought he caught a whiff of something else besides the flowers outside. Laura’s perfume? He quickly made his way into the first room, but he found nothing. He always saved the room where she had died for last, and he did not intend to change that now. He checked over the rest of the house, noticing a few more holes in the floors, and more stains on the walls and ceilings, but nothing else.

Gingerly making his way down the stairs, Wayne slowly moved to the back of the house, to the kitchen. This was where Laura had met her end. Bushes covered the windows and the door was missing from the back entrance. Leaves littered the cracked linoleum. He walked across the room over to the corner where she had perished, and knelt down, bowing his head. Tears began to slip down his cheeks, then he felt something touch his shoulder. He looked up, seeing a column of mist hovering there beside him.

“Laura?”

No answer, but he felt a sudden sharp pain in his leg. Looking down, he watched as the snake slithered away into the darkness. Smiling, he looked back at the mist.

“I never thought I’d see you again.”

No answer came, but as he lay down on the dirty floor, he felt her waiting just out of reach.

500 words {without title}
@Angelique_Rider

Reply
Robin Abess
07/16/2012 09:27

Re-write to do things properly!

Reunion

“I never thought I’d see you again.”

Thoughts drifted through Wayne’s mind as he lay waiting on the kitchen floor.

He had made his way through the hushed stillness of the grove, surrounded by the warm night air. The ramshackle old house was just ahead. From what he could tell, he was the only one who ever came here, which suited him. This had been the last place he’d ever been happy. The place he had met Laura, and shared so many wonderful hours with her, exploring the ruined mansion, then exploring each other eventually. The place where she had died. He still blamed himself for her death. He’d been so intent on kissing her, he hadn’t realized that the snake was there, until it was too late and she lay gasping her last breath in his arms.

He had shut down after that day. Abandoned all his friends. Changed jobs and moved to a different apartment. Every year, he came back to the house on the anniversary of her death, to pay homage. This was his tenth trip. As he neared the house this time, Wayne had felt a subtle change in the air. A feeling of anticipation swept over him, and an excitement he hadn’t felt for years. Slowly, he crossed the rotted boards of the front porch, smelling the scent of night blooming jasmine and honeysuckle. Absentmindedly, he noticed that the vines had all but taken over the entrance.

Pushing them aside, Wayne had walked through the crookedly hanging front door. More dirt and debris had piled up since last year, he noted. As he set foot inside the foyer, he thought he caught a whiff of something else besides the flowers outside. Laura’s perfume? He quickly made his way into the first room, but he found nothing. He always saved the room where she had died for last, and he did not intend to change that now. He checked over the rest of the house, noticing a few more holes in the floors, and more stains on the walls and ceilings, but nothing else.

Gingerly making his way down the stairs, Wayne slowly moved to the back of the house, to the kitchen. This was where Laura had met her end. Bushes covered the windows and the door was missing from the back entrance. Leaves littered the cracked linoleum. He walked across the room over to the corner where she had perished, and knelt down, bowing his head. Tears began to slip down his cheeks, then he felt something touch his shoulder. He looked up, seeing a column of mist hovering there beside him.

“Laura?”

No answer, but he felt a sudden sharp pain in his leg. Looking down, he watched as the snake slithered away into the darkness. Smiling, he looked back at the mist.

“I never thought I’d see you again,” he repeated.

No answer came, but as he lay down on the dirty floor, he felt her waiting just out of reach.

500 words {without title}
@Angelique_Rider

Reply
07/16/2012 12:35

“I never thought I'd see you again. It’s been so long.” Paulo exclaimed.
Yes, Paulo it’s me your Angelica. I thought I’d be seeing you much later in life but I must admit it’s good to see you now.” I replied.
“Angelica? Wow, I thought you were beautiful when we were kids, but you are even more beautiful all grown up .How long has it been? I remember, I fell and hit my head and you helped me. I promised to marry you on the playground.”
“Yes, cad that you were you moved away never to be seen the next day.” I answered laughing.
“My parents never did hear the last of that. So how is life treating you? Are you engaged, married, other? Please tell me no.”
“No I’m not involved with anyone.”
“I’m not either.” Paulo answered. ”We have lots to catch up on.”
“Yes we do Paulo.”
“So I’ve been working as an executive in a big oil company. I travel all over the world. What have you been doing?”
“I help people.” I answered “People just like you.”
“I don’t need help, but it’s great to see you.”
“You look like you do.” I muttered softly.
We talked for a few minutes. He told me about himself and what had happened to him in the last thirty years.
We were interrupted by people pointing at the flight board, gasping.
”I should check the board and see when my plane takes off. It looks like they may have changed flights. They were talking about an impending snowstorm before I left for the airport. Maybe they changed my flight and we can get some dinner together.”
“I don’t believe that will be possible.”
“Why not Angelica?”
“Look at the board and look around Paulo.” I commanded.
“This is Pittsburgh isn’t it? Where I was flying to, but I don’t remember landing.” Paulo exclaimed puzzled.
“Remember Paulo. Remember it all.” I ordered touching his forehead.
Paulo looked and I could see it all come back to him. He remembered boarding the plane. He remembered the plane bouncing and then the pilot’s directive to take a crash position. He remembered my touch on his shoulder as the plane went down and then being transported here.
“I recall it all. You saved me again Angelica.
“Paulo do you remember what I told you when you were six years old.”
“I recollect you picking me up and holding my head in your hands. I remember you kissing my brow and telling me everything would be okay. You explained you were my Angelica.”
“No Paulo, what I said was I am your Angel. Now thirty years later, I have come to take you home.”
“What of the other passengers?”
“Their angels have come for them, be not afraid. We must go now we’ve tarried too long.” I insisted.
I took his arm and we flew though time and space. We entered God’s heavenly light and he bathed in no worries, just eternal peace.

500 Words
@SweetSheil

Reply
07/16/2012 14:27

“I never thought I'd see you again.” She held a 9mm Glock. Pointed right at me. “Why didn’t you die?”

I remembered the flash of light, so brilliant it blinded me. It was followed by intense heat. My clothing had simply caught fire in that heat. My hair. Then my skin. Then, the shock wave struck. Blew out the fire. Hell, blew me clean out of the car. Through the steering wheel, then the windshield. Across the hood, onto the pavement. Parts of the interior flew out with me. Landing on the pavement.

One of the most painful experiences of my very, very long life.

I’d loved her once. She’d been there when I needed someone to love. Like each of the others. My marriages and relationships usually ended in mutually beneficial separation of some kind. In the worst case, I’d had to pay support for a couple of decades. That had ended soon enough. She’d grown old. Died. End of support requirements.

But this time? A bomb? In my car?

“What did you use?”

“C4. Why aren’t you dead?”

C4. Well. That explained how the car had been destroyed. With me in it, of course. It had been a bitch to stand up and walk away from that one. But then, I couldn’t exactly lie there on the pavement, and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Have you ever had to explain to someone why you’re alive when you should be dead? Why your body was healing right before their eyes? So, yeah. I got up and walked away.

I laughed. Looked at her gun. “You blew the hell out of my car with C4. While I was in it. And I’m not dead. You really think you can kill me if you shoot me?”

The gun wavered. Then steadied once more. “No one’s bullet proof.”

I sighed. “Yeah. That C4 hurt. Stung like a bitch.”

“Why aren’t you dead?” There was that question again. “No one could have survived that!”

I laughed again. “No one human could have survived that.” The gun lowered a bit. She was confused. Understandable. But the gun returned to pointing right at me. She was tough. I’ll grant her that.

“Why aren’t you dead?” she asked again.

I shook my head. “I’m not human, dear” I knew she’d never leave the room alive. I wondered how many humans I’d had to kill over the centuries to keep my secret. One more wouldn’t matter. Quickly, my body shape shifted. Clothing, hair, shoes, arms, legs. And I separated into my constituent parts. Several million parts.

I imagine my disembodied voice was quite disturbing to her. “I am Legion, dear. Legion the machine.” My body parts spread. Like a cloud. Filling the air of the room. Enveloping her. Then consuming her, as I used her as raw material to repair myself.

492 Words.
@LurchMunster

Reply
07/16/2012 15:17

Worth A Wager?

“I never thought I'd see you again.”
“Just because you assaulted me last week?” he asked sardonically.
“It was in defence; you tried to ruin me!” she reminded him, backing up against a tree.
With an arm on either side of her, she was encircled. His gaze held her with unnerving steadiness. “What is the meaning of this, Mr Hunt?”
He leaned only a little closer but the effect it had on her was embarrassingly clear. He seemed pleased with the way she struggled to breathe. “Please just leave me.”
“You have to listen to me, Miss Turner.”
“Why on Earth should I do that?” She had no way to distance herself from him. Should only one member of the ton decide to visit Hyde Park now, her reputation would be as valuable as her maid’s paste-jewellery.
“Scream and you’ll be discovered far more easily by any passerby,” he warned, understanding her cautiousness.
“Why are you doing this to me?” she whispered.
“I need to speak to you.”
“Then hurry.”
“Your Mr Rivers isn’t the gentleman you think.”
“This coming from his rival,” she said dryly.
His face tightened and his eyes dropped into a tarnished silver that made him look entirely menacing. “Listen to me, Miss Turner.”
“What?” she croaked.
“It’s a wager. It’s all a wager.”
“I beg your pardon, what is?”
“You’re part of a wager between Rivers and I.”
“That is not funny, Mr Hunt!”
The man sounded genuinely anguished when he immediately said, “I know. God, I know it, but forgive me, it’s true.”
She said nothing for a while, wondering why he’d had such a change of heart when only recently he’d tried his best to isolate her at the Faversham Ball. “Why would you tell me this after so long?”
“He’s going to propose. The dolt said it was practically a done-deal,” he said bitterly. “I don’t want you to say yes to him.”
“He’s going to propose?”
He nodded confidently. “But I’m sure he doesn’t intend to stand by it.”
She let out a mirthless laugh, a short one that barely lasted a few seconds. It was more to stop the stab of incoming tears. “I should’ve known something was afoot.”
Silly girl that she was, she’d thought an Earl could have sought her as a wife. And when she was already twenty seven.
His eyebrows furrowed closer and confusion washed over his swarthy face. In a senseless moment of instinct only, he pulled her into his arms. She settled into him, the length of him much warmer than the tree she’d been resting on.
“What was put forward in this wager?”
He said nothing but his voice grew quiet. Shameful. “A stallion.”
“Well, that’s nicer than a Shetland,” she replied, trying to inject a little optimism into her voice.
“I’m truly sorry. But if I could, Francesca, I’d like to visit tomorrow.”
She pulled back. “Why?”
“I want to court you in the way you deserve; with a heart completely yours.”



500 words (excluding the title)

@Afsaneh_Dreams

Reply
07/17/2012 11:40

Little annoyed I just picked this up, sorry to all!
In 'It was more to stop the stab of incoming tears.' the 'more' should be 'only'

In 'He said nothing but his voice grew quiet.' the 'but' should be 'then'

Reply
Miranda Kate
07/16/2012 15:28

I never thought I'd see you again after you left me on the side of the street that morning, all those years ago, and drove away.

I know you had to; I know I was going, and I know you didn’t want me to go - even though you only verified that with a call a couple of hours after. But I thought that was it: the end – until I found you 11 years later.

I couldn’t believe you were living so close; couldn’t believe that the door had opened again, and I couldn’t believe that we arranged to meet up, even with my best friend as chaperone.

Having you mobile number in my phone was a delight in itself, and as I neared our destination my stomach fluttered with excitement and anticipation. And when I called you to apologise that we were late and were almost there, I heard your voice again, like an old piece of music my ears had been dying to hear for a lifetime; my trembling hands barely able to keep the sound of it still against my ears.

And then I saw you. You were so easy to identify; your youth still standing out, and your searching eyes finding mine hidden behind my glasses as I rushed forward to greet you. Our embrace was so easy, so comfortable, like we’d seen each other only days before, and our conversation flowed, desperate to catch up on all those years in between.

The chemistry between us prickled as we walked beside each other once more; the thought of touching somehow dangerous now that we belonged to other people. Holding eye contact was initially hard, with the nakedness of our feelings too easily seen, and I was thankful that I’d brought a third party along with me to divert our attention.

But by the end of the visit we had returned to our original state; able to laugh and tease each other once more, with side glances and quick witted comments. The last of which reminded me that you hadn’t forgotten how we’d been, and that it was all still there.

My head spun as I left you a second time, and my heart missed you within seconds - as though transported back to that day 11 years before. And I sit here now a year on, I wonder, was that going to be it or is our time still time?

Reply
Miranda Boers
07/16/2012 15:32

Oops, that was:
404 Words
@PurpleQueenNL

Reply
Miranda Boers
07/16/2012 17:42

Messed up last line! Meant to be:

And as I sit here now a year on, I wonder, is that going to be it or is our time still yet to come?

Makes word count: 407

07/16/2012 16:24

“I never thought I’d see you again,” Anastasia directed her words into the night, but she knew Radolf heard her.

She sat on her balcony rail in an embroidered burgundy dress like she used to wear, heeled boots dangling over the electric lit street six stories down. He stood in just inside her apartment, behind the curtain where not even the stars could see.

“You don’t sound entirely pleased,” his thick German accent made her want to laugh. She’d lost hers centuries ago.

“Why would I be pleased?” Anastasia took a breath to keep her voice from cracking. “You put me through hell!”

The Dark Hunter could feel the heat of the wild sorcerer’s temper at her back. He would come and push her off the railing, but she would catch him and they would both fall to the pavement below. Her lips curled up at the thought.

“Anna, I’m sorry… You loved me, once. I, had hoped…”

Anna… Dammit. Why did he have to call her that? No one ever called her that. The simple endearment recalled unwelcome childish feelings. Why had she invited him up? She should have just killed him in the street. Now perched on the rail, back to her old flame, she couldn’t attack easily. Waiting for him to make the first move was killing her.

Anastasia lowered her head, “Hoped what? That I’d be your stooge again? You never cared about me; I was a means to an end!”

No anger? Why wasn’t he angry? Radolf was never able to hide his temper, and he never stood being talked to the way Anastasia was doing now. She wanted to turn around, see what he was thinking, but she couldn’t. If she saw him now, before it was time to strike, she’d lose the last of her resolve.

“I was in hell too, Anna. I was literally in hell. After they had stripped away my sense of self, even my memory of my mission, it was a thought of you I was able to hold onto. I was able to escape because of you,” Radolf stepped out onto the balcony behind Anastasia.

No. Not now. The Dark Hunter couldn’t help tensing as the sorcerer reached for her, only to feel all her tension melt as he held her shoulders tenderly.

“I love you, Anna. I’m sorry for what I put you through, but now we can finish what we started. We will be true immortals.”

“Leave,” Anastasia surprised herself as much as Radolf with the command, but found strength in it. “Leave, now. I don’t want anything to do with you, and if I see you again I will kill you.”

Radolf’s fingers dug into her shoulders. Would he try to kill her now? She hoped so.

“Anna! We’re so close! Don’t waste what we’ve both been through!”
Turning her cursed crimson eyes to Radolf’s own, Anastasia hoped he wouldn’t see her tears.

“I’m a Dark Hunter now. Monsters like you are my prey.”


499 words
@DavidALudwig

Reply
07/16/2012 16:27

Agh, is it too late to change the second paragraph from "He stood in just inside her apartment," to "He stood just inside her apartment,"? Knocking the word count down to 498.

Shoulda caught that one on one of my editing passes.

Reply
07/16/2012 16:53

“I never thought I’d see you again so soon, Officer Wolffe.”

Lady Aislynn looked haggard and worn despite the elegantly cut evening gown and the sparkling diamond jewelry adorning her throat, ears, and hair. A twinge of guilt ran through Chayse, but he brutally squashed it. She’s the monster, not me.

“Where’s your brother?”

“Stay away from my brother.” Fury blossomed through his chest.

“Is that why you came here? To warn me away from your brother?” Aislynn sighed and shook her head. “You made that clear on your last visit.”

“I’m here because I still have questions regarding the murder victim.” His voice came out hard, just the way he liked it, and another woman moved up protectively behind Aislynn. He flicked his gaze over her and inhaled the scents of sandy soil and blood.

Vampire.

“I didn’t kill him, if that’s what you’re asking, Officer Wolffe.”

“I know. He was drained of blood.” Chayse pinned the vampire with his eyes.

“There were no puncture wounds on the body, Officer.” The vampire’s voice was sultry, but it didn’t grab him by the balls like Aislynn’s did.

“How do you know that, Miss?”

“Because I was the one who found the body.”

“Where did you find the body?”

“In the Lap Dance lounge.”

“Fully dressed?”

“Yes.”

“Then how do you know there were no puncture wounds?”

The vampire hesitated and glanced at Aislynn. The succubus said nothing, her face filled with exhaustion. Chayse raised his eyebrows.

“There were no vampire punctures on his neck or wrists, I meant. I didn’t drain him.”

The vampire smelled nervous even though truth rang in her words. She hid something and curiosity hummed through his veins. How far could he push her?

Before he could open his mouth to ask his next question, Aislynn raised her hand and stilled them both. “Felicia didn’t kill the victim and she did find him, but she didn’t find him in the Lap Dance lounge.” When Felicia moved to protest, Aislynn laid her hand on the vampire’s arm. “It’s all right, Felicia. He knows about the Underground.”

The vampire subsided, but her expression settled into wary distrust as Aislynn focused on him. “Felicia found the victim in one of the dungeons. He bled out there.”

“Why didn’t you tell us this before?”

Aislynn leveled him a dry look. “Officer Wolffe, the Underground is not a public place. It is for the members of our club. Each member is vetted and their backgrounds extensively checked. No one goes below stairs unless they are within the membership.”

“Then one of your members is a killer, Lady Aislynn. I’ll need to see your list of members.”

“That’s not possible.”

“Which, seeing your member list or that one of them is a murderer?”

“Both.”

Fury flared from where he’d banked it back. “Then you’re aiding and abetting a murderer.

“I’m protecting my members from unnecessary intrusion into their private lives.”

“And I’m protecting the whole city from your sickness.”

490 #WIP500 words
@SiobhanMuir

Reply
07/16/2012 20:25

Title: Commitment

I never thought I’d see you again. I thought about it --wished it even-- but I never thought it would actually happen. After all, our parting wasn’t on the best of terms. Not by a long shot.

We used to be great. We had such plans. It was going to be so incredible. I could picture it instantly.

Then plans changed. You really did it to yourself, though. You changed. You left me no choice.

It pained me, what I had to do, but it was the only way. If our roles were reversed, I think you would’ve understood and done the same thing. Although, now that I think of it, if our roles were reversed, I never would’ve done what you did, making all this nastiness that happened unnecessary.

But we can’t change the past, can we?

If you had just stuck to the plan. Why did you force my hand? I don’t regret much in my life, but I regret what I had to do. You know I had to do it, right? I know you’d understand. We understood one another so well. We were in sync ... or so I thought.

You loved being at the cliffs, which is why we were there. I wanted it to be someplace you remembered fondly. We had been fighting. You told me you weren’t so sure about our plan anymore, that perhaps you wanted out. I couldn’t let that happen.

The hardest thing I’ve ever done was pushing you over the edge of the cliff. Hearing you scream nearly killed me. It was blissfully short before your voice was silenced forever. Tears were streaming down my face as I hiked the trail back to my car, but you left me no choice.

If word of our plan got out, no one would understand. Only you understood. You agreed! You agreed with me, and then you turned your back on me. I couldn’t allow that.

I thought that chapter was closed, yet here you are. No one was more shocked to see you sitting there in that café than I was. I don’t think you saw me, but would you remember me? How are you sitting there? I saw you fall! I watched your body bounce off of those rocks. I may not have heard your bones break, but I certainly saw them.

I hope you don’t remember me, but even so, I can’t take the chance that you might. I hate to have to do this to you again, but it has to be done. You have to die ... again.

@MLGammella
432 Words

Reply
07/17/2012 06:28

“I never thought I’d see you again.”

Certainly not in the middle of downtown, the descending sun shining, birds singing, in front of God and everyone. I huddled in my trench coat against the December chill. Even in gloves my fingers felt stiff and cold. Our breaths came out in white puffs, merging in the space between us.

A sly grin answered my greeting. “You mean you hoped, right?”

“More or less the same thing.” I walked, forcing him to follow to keep up. Too dangerous to have this discussion out in the open. “Figured you had enough sense to stay the hell out town.”

“You always said I didn’t have the sense God gave a mule.”

“That’s true.” I sighed, a sound half resignation and half regret. “You didn’t always have to prove me right, honey.”

“I’m an overachiever,” he said, surprising a small laugh out of me. I saw hope in his eyes, the first crack in his devil-may-care armor. “I needed to see you again. I missed you.”

“So you risked everyone and everything put in place to protect you—to keep you alive—to see me?”

He winced. “Admittedly it doesn’t sound so great when you put it that way.”

“It’s unbelievably selfish.” And so like him, really. “I can’t think how to put it to make it sound better.”

“Aren’t you even a little bit happy to see me?”

I honestly had to consider the question. I’d spent half my life married to him. I’d brought three children into the world with him. And I’d loved him well enough that it had broken my heart to see him go.

“Leaving meant living, you fool,” I said softly.

“Living doesn’t seem to mean as much without my family,” he said, reaching for me. “You’re my anchor. My safe haven.”

I shook my head and ducked down a quiet alley. The sun came down in a blinding swath that would make us invisible to anyone looking in, affording us a few moments of privacy.

“Mob informants don’t have safe havens,” I said. “They have witness protection programs.”

“I wasn’t followed,” he said.

I snorted a laugh. “You think you lost your tail like some kind of goddamned Jason Bourne?”

“I wasn’t followed, I swear.” A ruddy flush stained his cheeks. “You’re understandably angry.”

“You gave up your family,” I said. “I would never—could never—”

He bowed his head, eyes closed.

Not ideal, I thought, but the situation wouldn’t get better.

“I would do anything to protect my family,” I said.

The silenced .45 made a discreet pop when I pulled the trigger. The top of his head exploded in a less discreet fashion. The unmarked gun fell from my gloved hand to the ground. I stepped carefully around the mangled body of my husband, heart pounding, breathing less than stable as I emerged from the alley and disappeared in the early evening crowds.

I walked ten blocks before making the call.

“It’s done,” I said.

@caramichaels
500 words

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07/17/2012 07:33

“I never thought I'd see you again!” Sophie tripped into the large room, trailing snow as she went. The smile took up her face as she saw Malcolm standing there. “I thought you had died in the snow with the others.” She jogged up and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tight, her head against his chest. “We need to go.”

“This is my home now.” His arms remained by his side, making no move to return the embrace back.

“What?” Sophie frowned and pushed herself back, keeping her hands on his arms. “What are you talking about? This isn’t your home.”

“Oh, but it is, precious.” The woman who had appeared at the campfire came forward, dressed in a gown that had a long train, sliding across the floor. “He has no want to go elsewhere.” The woman’s dead eyes stared at Sophie while her arms twined around Malcolm’s neck.

He turned into the woman, finally moving his arms to embrace her as his lips settled against her neck. Sophie’s jaw dropped at the embrace. The woman must have bewitched him.

“You see? He is perfectly happy here. He has no need to for anything while he stays with me. While down there, he has to work and work and work for a mere pittance. It is a kindness that I keep him here.” The woman gave a chuckle, shaking her head. “Poor little girl, you just don’t get it. He’s mine now.” The smile faded from the woman’s face as she stared at the girl. “I have been generous in allowing you making it this far. Don’t test my patience.” The witch flicked her fingers. “Go on now, girl. Leave. Don’t try to come back. You won’t be welcome.”

The girl’s lips tightened and she reached into her bag and pulled out a sword, holding it towards the witch. “I will not just leave. I’m going to take my friend home with me and there is nothing you can do about it. And you will leave the others go as well. There were a few missing men, not just Mal. Leave them go and maybe the Constable will go easy on you.” The sword was heavy but she was determined to not be pushed around.

There was silence as the woman looked from Sophie to the sword and back before she threw back her head and laughed, turning away. “See to it that she is comfortable in a cell. I’m sure a few days there will change her mind.”

Sophie gritted her teeth and gave a yell, charging at the woman. She was grabbed around the waist by Malcolm. “What are you doing? Put let me go! I’m going to kill her!” Another pair of hands pulled the sword out of her hands and tossed it aside. She recognized one of the other village boys. “Jonathan! Let me go! She’s evil! Snap out of it!”

They dragged her from the hall as the witch continued to laugh.


500 words
@solimond

#wip500



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Rebekah Postupak
07/17/2012 07:52

“I never thought I’d see you again.”

“I’m sorry about that.”

He studied her hungrily. “You look good.”

Even blushing, she looked good. “Thank you,” she said softly. “This is just my everyday dress, you know. Nothing special.”

“You always say that. It’s not true, though.”

Her face split into a grin. “I might have saved up for it a while, now that you mention it.”

“You worked a second job for six months!”

She relaxed into a laugh and looked across the table at him. “Eight months, actually. And it was worth it. This blue dress was the prettiest thing I ever saw.”

“You look like an angel in it. No; a queen. Always have.”

“Still awfully free with compliments, I see. You probably hand them out to all the girls, with your phone number scribbled on the back.”

It was his turn to laugh. “What other girls? There was never anybody for me but you. Not since I saw you, not since that first day.”

“True,” she agreed. “But that’s because nobody else would have you.”

“Nobody else could have put up with me for so long.”

“You’ve been a burden, all right,” she said, smiling. Her hand gripped his. “Why I come here every day, I’ll never know.”

“Every day?” He stared at her in sudden confusion. “I haven’t seen you since the divorce.”

“I—I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”

He pushed himself painfully to his feet, reaching for his walker. “Why did you come here? Were you trying to mock me? Do you think it’s fun?”

“No! No, never. Please—sit back down. It’ll be all right.”

“I won’t sit down!” he said wildly. “You can’t make me! Go away! Go! Leave me alone!”

“It’s going to be okay. Please, I beg you. Sit back down. Let’s talk about the old days. Our honeymoon in Topeka, do you remember? That funny, broken-down motel?”

But he was already stumbling away from her, his feet scuffing marks of panic and grief across the sterile black-and-white tiles. “I never want to see you again! You’re mean. You’re mean to me, and I don’t even know who you are!”

As he vanished into the darkness of the hallway, an attendant in a bright yellow sweater appeared at her side apologetically. “I’m sorry about that, Mrs. Jackson. Not a good day, I guess.”

“Some days are better than others. But today wasn’t too bad.” She stroked the skirt of her dress fondly.

“May I ask a personal question?”

Mrs. Jackson was standing now, turning to go, but she paused. “Of course, Lily.”

“You come see him every day.”

“Yes.”

“If I may ask—you’ve been coming here so long—just how long ago was your divorce?”

Mrs. Jackson laughed. “Never,” she said. “We never divorced.”

She laughed until the tears fell, raining in dark blue streaks along the frayed edges of her wedding dress.

485 words
@postupak

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