Happy Labor Day!  I hope most of you are enjoying a day off from work.  Hopefully, you'll have a few moments to share your wonderful stories with us.

We talk about the dangers of prejudice, but all of us have it, no matter how open-minded we like to believe we are.  When you first meet someone, you innately trust or distrust them based on appearance, speech and the circumstances under which you met.  I'd like to explore that theme today.

The Judge

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Married, childless, long term desk jockey trying to write my way out of the box. I live in a 107 year old home, have a really big Rottweiler and make dessert wine from concord grapes and plums. I’m currently working on a novel and trying to let myself write what I need to, not what I feel pressured to. When I get writer’s block, I write poems, since they’re the only things I can seem to finish! Some of them are posted at www.mariefrizelle.com





The Prompt

There was something about the [man/woman/boy/girl] that made me uneasy.

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!

Robin Abess
9/3/2012 05:10:05 am

Melinda

There was something about the girl that made me uneasy. I wasn't quite certain what it was, as she seemed perfectly normal. Maybe it was that she seemed a little too perfect. Her dress very modest, her long brown hair neatly combed, her shoes low and comfortable. She folded her hands in her lap, while her mother talked to me, not fidgeting in the least. Altogether, a very polite young lady. No child of eight should be that still and quiet, I thought. Most children I knew couldn't sit till for five minutes, let alone the hour her mother and I had been talking.

“Melinda is an exceptional child and I know she would do well here in your school,” Mrs. Martinson concluded. “Will you take her on?”

I could feel the girl's dark eyes watching me, and I shuddered internally, still not knowing why.

“From everything you've told me today, Mrs. Martinson, I see no reason why not. When would you like Melinda to begin?”

I fancied I saw a flash of relief in the woman's eyes, but it was gone before I could truly know if I was right.

“We brought her things with us, actually, in hopes that you'd take her. We can settle her in immediately, if you've no objection.”

Ignoring my inner voice that was screaming plenty of objection, I nodded. “I'll show you to the open room that we have available.”

The three of us walked up the stairs, our feet tapping lightly as we moved. The room was on the far end of the third floor, and had a window seat and large window that overlooked the grounds. It also overlooked the small cemetery on the property. Knowing this made made some girls uneasy, I commented “If you don't like the view, we can see about changing you with another student as soon as possible.”

“Oh no,” Melinda spoke sweetly. “The view is perfect.” Her tone was low and well-modulated. An internal shiver passed through me again, but I ignored it. She looked at her mother, and the woman smiled and nodded.

“Let's bring up your things then.”

Melinda settled in quickly and was a model student, even if she didn't seem to develop friendships very easily. Sometimes, when checking on the girls at night, I would hear her talking softly in her room, but I assumed she was saying her prayers and left her alone. What a fool I was.

Three weeks later, the first zombies rose from the cemetery, Melinda leading the way to the school, where she watched as they feasted on the other students. Those that were able to flee did so, but few escaped.

Now I wait, in the bunker I have made for myself in the basement, my food and water almost exhausted and I hear the polite knock at my door yet again. “If you come out, Miss Haversham, I promise it will be quick.”

500 words {including title}
Angelique_Rider

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9/3/2012 06:41:06 am

There was something about the boy that made me uneasy. Maybe it was the reverse widow’s peak on his forehead or the way he wiped away his snot with the back of his hand. It could have been his red flannel shirt that reminded me of the hillbillies from the mountain that used to terrorize me at school or the orange sneakers that looked so out of place with his khaki slacks. Whatever it was, I didn’t like him.

“There’s something weird about that kid,” I leaned over and whispered to my wife.

She put down her magazine and rolled her eyes. “Are you kidding? You’re really going to start this again? You almost got us arrested when you told the hotel manager that the clown looked dangerous.”

“That was different. I have a…”

“A feeling. Yeah I know,” she said, returning to her magazine. “You’re such a weird paranoid freak sometimes. It’s just a sick kid. Close your eyes and go to sleep. It’s a long train ride home.”

I reclined my chair back as far as it would go and closed my eyes. It was just a kid, but he was getting to me. I don’t know how long it took me to fall asleep, but when I finally did, I slipped into a dream and found myself on the train. People were yelling and screaming as the little boy stood from his seat and opened his jacket to reveal sticks of dynamite strapped to his chest.

When I jolted awake with a yelp and stood from my seat, the other passengers on the train were giving me strange looks and my wife was covering her face with her hand in embarrassment.

“Sit down,” she demanded.

“I had the worst dream,” I whispered. “The little boy stood up and…”

Right on cue, the little boy stood from his seat and began to shuffle down the aisle way, sniffling and coughing as he went. My hands tightened around the arm rests. “Oh no. It’s happening. It’s happening!”

I tried to stand back up, but my wife held onto my sleeve. “Don’t you dare,” she said. I ripped away from her, but she caught me across the face with a slap. The passengers looked back over at us and I sank into my seat, holding my cheek. The boy shuffled by us and into the bathroom without incident.

“When we get home, you’re going to the doctor,” my wife said.

When a six foot tall, three horned scaled monster emerged from the bathroom in place of the little boy, I wanted to tell my wife “Look, I was right!”, but I was too busy running for my life.

448 words - @hlpauff

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9/4/2012 03:56:11 am

Hah! What an ending, I really enjoyed this piece; well done.

9/3/2012 06:41:31 am

Blind Date
By Lisa McCourt Hollar

There was something about the man that made me uneasy. Wrapping my fingers around my drink like a talisman, I stared across the table at him. I’m not an unfriendly person, which may be the reason I attract so many losers, but this guy was sending off vibes that made my skin crawl.

“So it’s nice to finally put a face to the name,” he said, flashing me some ultra-white teeth.

Sheesh, I thought, he needs to hold off on the whitener. For a moment I thought he was going to blind me.

“You saw my profile photo.” I looked confused.

Why did I feel the need to shop around these dating sites anyway, nothing but a bunch of losers?

John laughed as he leaned back in his seat. He picked up his own glass and took a sip while looking me up and down appraisingly. “That picture didn’t do you justice.”

His eyes lingered on my cleavage. Good Lord, another creeper, but weren’t they all? I really should see a therapist. Then I felt his leg. Was he really trying to play footsy with me? Biting my lip, I smiled across the table at him, coy. Someone get me some help, I’m depraved.

“Maybe we should get out of here… unless you want to finish that.” he nodded towards my untouched glass.

I glanced at the drink. The ice had melted, probably making it unsuitable. “Naw, I’m good.” Slipping out of the booth, my skirt hiked up, revealing more leg than I would have liked. His eyes traveled up and I thought I saw a bit of his excitement showing in his pants. Taking my hand, he led me out of the bar. I would hate myself in the morning.

A few blocks later I found myself in the back seat of his car; they never wanted to take me home and spending the money on a motel was out of the question. His hands groped under my shirt…clumsy. He must have had too much to drink. The slobber on my neck was turning me off, I wanted to get this over quickly so I could go back to my self- loathing.

“Tell me baby,” he breathed in my ear. “How old are you… really?”

“How old do you think I am?” I undid his pants, my fingers finding what I was looking for and squeezing.

“You said eighteen… but sweet thing, you can’t be more than sixteen,” he gasped at my stroke, “maybe fourteen.” His voice was hopeful. He was nearly ready.

“I used to be fourteen.” I nibbled at his ear, then moved my lips to his neck, licking the skin. It tasted salty.

“So, tell me…Oh Gawd…” he was breathing heavy. A few more strokes and he’d be done.

“Two-hundred and seventeen,” I whispered in his ear as he released himself against my stomach. Then I bit into his neck, taking what I needed. I would hate myself in the morning.

Word Count: 495

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9/3/2012 10:36:37 am

Getting The Job Done

There was something about the man that made me uneasy. Uneasiness is not a feeling I particularly care for. When I start to feel uneasy about someone or something, it usually means something very, very bad is about to happen. Oh, it never happens to me, mind you, so you might wonder why I care one way or the other about it. Well, what can I tell you? It’s all part and parcel of the job description when you’re a freelance Guardian Angel.

You’re expected to care about people and things to a degree others don’t. It only gets worse when you’re a freelancer like me. Instead of having the luxury of investing all of your love, devotion and concern in a single, special individual, I get lumped with the enormous entirety that is all of mankind.

Now, what was it about this mook that had my celestial Spidey sense going haywire? I suppose it might have been the handgun he had poorly concealed beneath his blue plastic windbreaker. In my experience, poorly-concealed pistols tend to mean trouble. The very fact that they’re not better hidden, suggests they’re not something the individual totes around with them. See how the reasoning works?

If I had to guess, and I don’t really, what had every bell and whistle ever conceived going off; I’d have to say it was the fact the guy was alone…solo…all by himself. Now, as a general rule, that’s not such a such in the grand scheme of things. There are, literally, millions upon millions of the Big Cheese’s handiworks that simply don’t play well with others. That’s okay, I’m sure He understands that.

It was more than the aloneness, though. He was at Super Happy Fun Time Land all alone! Nobody, and I mean nobody, does that unless there’s some seriously hinky stuff about to go down. It’s not the kind of place one goes to be alone, see?

Reaching for the gun, he pulled it out, nearly ripping his slacks off in the process. Before he could recover from the momentary distraction, I made my move. Locating the exact spot and delving to his inner core, I deftly slipped his immortal soul from his body and into a convenient storage receptacle. While things might not have worked out exactly as this poor sod had expected, at the end of the day, everybody gets to go home with memories of a joyful and magical theme-park variety. I guess that beats all aces out of harboring the memory of a mass shooting any day, eh?

So, I can see you’re kind of confused here. Why was I doing the Angel of Death’s gig and not my Guardian Angel shtick? Well, I’ll let you in on a wee bit of a trade secret. They let us freelancers do the “taking immortal souls” routine, too. Cool, huh? So, just remember the next time you contemplate doing something that might just give me cause to feel uneasy…I got the cure for that.

500 words @klingorengi

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9/4/2012 04:14:25 am

This was right up my alley; well done! I love the voice of this piece, and the actual story. ;)

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Marie Frizelle
9/3/2012 11:25:22 am

There was something about the woman that made me uneasy. It wasn’t the sharp, claw-like fingernails or the deadly looking stilettos, no, it was more in the way she practically hissed at me when I came by to re-fill her coffee cup. She was a piece of work in her tight, black mini skirt, tap-tap-tapping a fiendishly red fingernail on the Formica tabletop like she was sending a signal to her minions that it was time to strike.
I steered clear of her, focusing my attention on the rest of the customers. Some of them threw me understanding looks and I think all of them were picking up on the evil emanations. They kept their heads bowed and seemed to be eating at a breakneck pace.
I circled the room once more and tried to pass her table without incident but her head snapped up from her plate and she pierced me with the most hate filled pair of green eyes I’d ever seen.
I couldn’t help myself. I had to ask.
“Something wrong with the food?”
“Damn right there’s something wrong with the food. I ordered an egg white omelet, which this clearly is not, and I also said no green bell peppers. They’re everywhere! How hard can it be to get a simple order correct?”
I put on my ‘the customer is always right’ smile and struggled to be polite.
“I’ll be happy to get that fixed for you,” I said while reaching for her plate, knowing full well that is not what she’d asked for when I’d taken her order.
Her left hand shot out and grabbed my wrist, those manicured manacles sinking into my skin, and I knew I’d been right to fear her. One touch and I was finished, my freedom revoked.
“Game over, Alice.” Her Cheshire grin filled up my vision until I felt myself falling back down into the oblivion I’d so recently escaped.
321 ineligible words
@marie frizelle

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9/3/2012 12:46:36 pm

HUNTED

There was something about the woman that made me uneasy. It wasn’t the fact that she was trying to kill me, so much as the fact that I didn’t know of any reason why she should want to. Heck, I didn’t even have any clue who she was.

I’m a simple guy, and I don’t go out of my way to offend people. True, I am in a somewhat unsavory line of work and make a few enemies—but it pays the bills and as long as I’m still breathing I won’t complain. Thing is, like I said, I had no clue who this lady was.

My build is tall and lean, I hit fast and frequent more than hard. That said it was pretty tough not to laugh when this cute little Asian charged screaming out of the alley as I was leaving the pub. Aside from a nasty scar bisecting her face she looked soft and fine. Not a threat.

So why was she trying to kill me? Digging and raking like she thought her fingers were claws? Maybe she took one of the hits on me. That seemed unlikely, the nonsense she was screaming and desperation in her movements made it seem personal.

She could have just been crazy. I was ready for things to get out of hand when we passed by a young couple out for a moonlight stroll. Her attention remained entirely on me. On target. Of course that couple would have called the cops, so that introduced a timeline for resolving the situation.

Crazy Lady was wearing a wedding dress. Nice one too. Maybe I looked like the guy who left her at the altar? Though why was she screaming about me being “one of them”? I suppose she could be possessed too, though if the scar on her face was any indication she hadn’t worked out as good an arrangement with her demon as I had.

Her movements were too fast for me to track. As she got warmed up I was only barely keeping ahead of her. Even my demon seemed nervous.

Then it occurred to me, maybe this was the older sister of that demon-hunting magical girl I beat up last week. I hoped that wasn’t the case. Lady Scarface was liable to get hurt at the rate we were going. Little Sister I was able to just knock out, but this crazy woman I’d be the one who got hurt if I tried to pull my punches.

Sirens. Time to decide one way or the other.


427 words
@DavidALudwig

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Rebekah Postupak
9/3/2012 01:52:41 pm

THE ROAST

“There was something about the woman that made me uneasy,” said Paula.

“Oh, me too, for sure,” said Nance. “She almost made me ill, actually.”

“Looked fine to me,” said George. “Great car, I thought.”

“Well, you’re a man,” said Paula. “We wouldn’t expect you to notice anything.”

“Men never do,” said Nance. “Blind as bats.”

“Idiots,” sniffed Irene.

“As I was saying, something just seemed *off* about her,” said Paula. “It wasn’t her clothes, exactly—”

“Oh, no, her clothes were fine,” said Nance. “Her skirt was really cute. I wonder where she got it. It kind of shimmered.”

“It was a cute skirt,” Paula agreed. “But she still seemed, oh, I don’t know. Wrong.”

“I liked her shoes,” said Svieta. She didn’t usually speak up at these post-block-party meetings, but surely nobody could argue against such a perfect pair of candy apple red heels.

“I know, right??” said Nance enthusiastically. “What a great red! Not too perky, not too dull. I want a pair.”

Paula felt herself rapidly losing control of the discussion. “We need to talk about whether she’s right for our neighborhood—”

“Red can be ‘perky’?” said George, shaking his head in mock amazement.

Nance giggled. “Oh, you *are* a hoot, George! Like you don’t know your reds better than any of us.”

“You totally nailed the red in my kitchen,” Irene agreed. “In fact, I was hoping you wouldn’t mind taking a look at the den, next.”

Fury crawled up the back of Paula’s neck like a dozen tiny scorpions. “Back to today’s newcomer…”

“I thought she was nice.” Svieta couldn’t believe she’d dared say it. She studied the floor intently. How would the others respond?

“Bravo!” said Irene. “And since you made the motion, let me second it. Lizzie stays!”

“Who’s Lizzie?” George asked suspiciously.

“The new girl!” said Nance. “The one you said has a great car.”

“SHE’S WARMBLOODED AND I DON’T LIKE HER!”

Everybody’s mouths dropped open, and Paula suddenly realized she’d shouted the thought out loud. She hastily sat back down.

“I’m just saying, maybe we should take a little time before voting,” she said weakly.

George raised an eyebrow. “We all seem to be fine with her except you.”

“Yeah, what’s your problem?” said Irene.

“She makes me nervous,” Paula whispered. “She’s creepy.”

“I know exactly what you mean,” said Nance. “Creepy is as creepy does.”

Irene threw a barbecue mitt at Nance. “That doesn’t even make sense. Anyway, times are changing. We need to get used to the short-toothed kind.”

“Yeah. Not everybody can be lunch,” Svieta said, feeling bolder by the minute. “And it won’t kill us to let her stay.”

The room fell silent as everyone now gaped at their newest member, her words still hanging awkwardly in the air.

Paula swallowed hard.

Swallowed again, almost choking with the effort.

But it was no use. Within moments the howling laughter of an entire garage full of vampires echoed down the empty street.

496 words
@postupak

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9/4/2012 03:50:08 am

Storytelling.

“There was something about the boy that made me uneasy, and even today; thirty years after, it makes my bones ache,” Alexander said, and looked down at his grandkids all sitting on the floor looking up at him.
“What was wrong with him?” the youngest asked; the one who loved playing cowboy out in the woods.

Alexander laughed huskily, and patted his knee; the boy was quick to climb up.

“Well, let’s see,” he said, and rearranged him on his lap.

“He seemed like a regular kid, at first; I remember he loved playing cowboy in the woods,” he said, and winked. “Not to mention fishing in the lake, jumping on the trampoline and going to the movies,” he added, to the horror of his other grandchildren.
“They didn’t have movie theaters back then,” the oldest whined, though her cheeks were slightly flustered.

“You’re right, Isabelle. Well, there was something about him. He was all quiet like, and never had much friends either,” he said, and rubbed his chin. “One day, he came down the road. I decided to talk to him, he’d gotten a new dog, you see,” he said, and looked out the window.
“It was a fine day, sun shining, birds chirping; much like today out here by the cabin. He didn’t look right, like something was botherin’ him, so I nudged him and asked what was wrong.”

The kids sat silently, big eyed, and listened. They’d heard the story before, but it was their favorite.

“He said nothing to me, just gave me a look,” he explained.
“What kinda look?” the youngest whispered, her face covered in freckles.

“It gave me the shivers, that’s for sure.” he replied, and shook all over, making his grandchildren laugh.

“His eyes were dead, as if his soul had been taken out of him. There was no joy to be seen, or anything for that matter.”

A chorus of ‘oooh’ erupted around him, and he saw his daughter leaning in the doorway.

“He’d been out to the woods, not one mile from this very cabin. There was a witch there, you see; though, she died many years ago,” he whispered.
“Then what happened,” the oldest whispered, she was clutching her sister’s hand.
“The dead witch cast a spell on him; she drained his soul, right out of his nose!” he shrieked, and launched out of the chair, racing after the hysterical kids.

“Dad,” Miranda, his daughter, said and walked over to him after the kids had all escaped to the outdoors. “Do you really have to scare them like that? Brian refused to sleep in his own bed for days after the last time,” she chided.

He laughed quietly and kissed her forehead. “They know it’s just a story, honey. I used to tell it to you all the time,” he reminded her.

His wife Carlie, rounded the corner. “Dinner’s ready!” she called, and rang the bell on the porch with a smile on her face.

Word count: 496

@ChessnySilth


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