A Figure Came into Sight – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 7 March 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Hoodie
  • Green
  • Sight

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED AUTHOR

NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

A figure came into sight over the crest of the hill, a green hoodie obscuring their features. Berryl waited, leaning against the tree and taking small sips from the waterskin, waiting for the stranger to come to her. When the person got closer, she raised her hand in greeting, but the figure did not return the gesture, and simply continued down the road at a fast clip. Berryl blinked, her hand still in the air, and then hastily lowered it. She had been on this road for two weeks, and had encountered three people coming from the opposite direction before this fellow. They had been amiable enough travelers, and had stopped to talk and give news of the road conditions ahead. One had even offered her an apple they had pilfered from an orchard several days ahead. Berryl shrugged, picked up her pack, and set off down the road. She crested the hill the stranger had just come over, and surveyed the land on the other side, which looked much like the land she had just traversed, farmland interspersed with woodland. In the distance, a faint smudge suggested a larger forest, or perhaps mountains. Just as she proceeded to take her next step, a knife came from behind, and pressed against the tender flesh under her chin.

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LISA BARRY:

When I walked in the room the first thing that was not quite right was the grey hoodie thrown over the living room chair. As I continued toward the back of the house, the second thing to make me frown was the green… well it looked like hair. The hoodie wasn’t mine, but it could have been the cleaner’s who had come earlier or even the meal prep chef who hopefully had left the next week worth of meals in my freezer but the hair? Fuzzy blobs of green continued to greet my sight as I made my way into the kitchen. There was a ridiculous amount of on the floor near the sink and more leading to the back door.

Curiosity had me stop and check the freezer. Yep! Yummy meals for the week. I walked to the back door and flung it open looking out into the shadowed yard, the sun almost set. I heard a low growl and turned in time to see pale white skin with weird blotches of green fur and teeth. Very large teeth. A blur lunged at me and as it tore into my throat I could only think of one thing.

I’m not getting to eat those yummy meals.

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ANNE CARGILE:

“Well what do you think?” Mickey asked as he turned and showed off his new hoodie.

“I think you look ridiculous boyo. That green clashes badly with your red hair,” I replied, unimpressed.

“Oh come on, I thought it was quite dapper!” Mickey made a sad face, and started playing with his collar, adjusting the hood. It made him look like a twitchy green and red hunchback.

I harrumped and shook my head. Damn kids. “I don’t know what happened with ya kid, but as a leprechaun you’re a sad sight for sure. What are ya trying to do? Scare the wee ones from ever coming out?” I could tell I was upset by the length of my brogue. I may have lived in the new lands for a few hundred years, but the mother country never really leaves one.

I sighed. St Patrick’s Day was a blessed day, and one of the few days leprechauns could come out in the open without fear. My job was to teach the youngsters, and make sure no one got caught. As a breed we’re a greedy bunch, and any pot of gold one of my charges lost, I’d have to replace.

I looked at Mickey again. “I guess you could pass for a daft college boy,” I said.

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DALIA LANCE:

She flicked more cupcake off of her and although the towel was now covered she was still a sight.

“Explain what happened?” I asked trying to gather up all of the make-up wipes she had cast off. The alley didn’t need cleaning I just needed to do something so I wasn’t staring as she finally dropped the tablecloth to skirt level and pulled on my green hoodie I handed her.

“I wanted to surprise Steve as you know” I nodded as I could tell she was getting worked up now and just let her continue “and it turns out when I asked him what he wanted he said what he had really wanted was for me to meet his ‘book club’ which seemed weird, so instead of the awesome plan I had set-up I went over to his house.” I nodded again realizing she was waiting for encouragement.

“Turns out there isn’t books he meets once a month with a bunch of guys that like to watch girls sit on cakes and smash bakery items on themselves.” I pursed my lips so I wouldn’t laugh. I wanted to ask how she had agreed to such a thing along with about fifty other questions but all I could ask was “So did he have a good birthday?”

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JM PAQUETTE:

“I shouldn’t even be here,” I moaned an hour later, my arm numb and about to fall off, useless weapon landing in the dirt that was soon going to be drenched with my blood. “They weren’t even looking for me.” I glared at him, at his long, lanky body, at arms that had clearly seen some training, at those feet that knew exactly which way to step. “This is all your fault.”

“My fault?” he echoed, bending to pick up the flail and shove it back into my useless fingers. I used my other hand to hold it in place, knowing that all of this was useless. “I wasn’t the one who started shouting at the guards.”

I sniffed, looking away from his accusing green eyes, trying to ignore the sight of a slightly flushed sweaty elf standing less than a foot away from me. He was, after all, the elf that was going to kill me soon. It was just like that old gypsy woman said. “I wasn’t shouting at them. I was trying to find out what they wanted.”

He shrugged. “Don’t you know that guards never actually find what they set out looking for? They just find the next person who gives them any crap and lug them down to the stadium for some good times with Cyrus.” He gave me a once over, similar to the one he’d given me when we’d met at the bar last night, though with a different objective in mind.

“You’re pretty enough,” he commented. “I’m surprised you ended up in here. I figured you’d end up with him.”

I pulled my arms close around my body, barely ignoring the urge to pull up my hoodie and cover myself. But my arms didn’t work anymore, and I was sweating from all the movement.

He thinks I’m pretty, my mind yammered at me. Of course, now I’m going to die.

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

“Joe, are you sure you feel okay? You’re looking really green.” Joe pulled his hoodie tightly around him and nodded, afraid that speaking would break his concentration on keeping the contents of his stomach inside his body. He hated boats, but wanted to impress Rebecca by showing her the sights.

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BRANDON SCOTT:

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Are We a Coterie? – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 7 March 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Flail
  • Rushed
  • Coterie (an intimate and often exclusive group of persons with a unifying common interest or person (sense of negativity as the group excludes others))

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED AUTHOR

ANNE CARGILE:

“So are we a coterie or not?” Sandy asked.

Debbie glanced at her friend, her arm mid swing with the flail. “I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought about it. What does that even mean? Can you look it up?”

“Sure,” Sandy said as she pulled out her iPhone, her fingers flying over the mini keyboard.

The flail finished its swing and the scream echoed across the cavern. Sandy’s eyes darted to the sacrifice, then back to the glowing screen in front of her.

“Damnit , the cell service really sucks down here,” she whined. “We should pay for wi-fi.”

Debbie nodded in agreement as she eyed her victim critically. She hated to be rushed in these things. “So what does it say?”

“Oh. Sorry got distracted checking my snaps. Um, like, we’re an exclusive group or club with common interests it says.”

“Yeah, I guess we are then,” Debbie said as she laid another stripe down the man’s back. She grinned as the cavern filled with another round of echoes.

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LISA BARRY:

Christina’s arms flailed as she started to fall, the light moss on the ground deceptively slippery. Reno rushed to grab her but he too hit the moss and fell with her. Her turned as they went down, landing heavily on his back, Christina’s only damage ended up being her pride as she lay on top of him haphazardly. She scrambled from his grasp despite the strong pull to stay there. Reno stood and brushed himself off.

“Thank you,” Christina whispered, the sky was getting darker and despite her urges, she had to stop even thinking about Reno in any way especially that way. Mardella, the head of her coterie was betrothed to the man, since she was child they say. It broke Christina’s heart. A quick glance at Reno’s blushing face and she thought it might break his as well.

They rushed toward the distant fire burning in the clearing ahead.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

“You can’t excommunicate me, I founded this Coven!” Tera screamed at the robed figures condemning her from their high perches behind the half-moon table. Tall figures were suddenly on either side of her, grabbing her arms and rushing her out of the old cathedral, as she flailed and screeched. The sounds of her displeasure echoed long after she had been removed, and only when they had died down did the members at the table remove their hoods, casting uneasy glances at each other. Redd watched them with a carefully neutral expression. No one was certain about what they had done. As Tera had pointed out, she had formed the group, but under her tyrannical guidance, the Coven had become more of a coterie, and when Witches and Wizards who disagreed with her methods and beliefs started disappearing, and then turning up dead, it was determined that her influence was most likely at fault, and it had to end. “She won’t stop,” Treven, a nervous looking Wizard at the far end of the table said. “This will just make her angrier.” “Our laws won’t allow for anything more,” Nell answered briskly, pushing her glasses up her nose. “We have people watching her. She won’t cause any further trouble.”

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DALIA LANCE:

“Send me the address” I said trying not to giggle too hard. I could tell she was distressed and I didn’t want her flailing around spraying the cupcake all over the alley. That could be dangerous. I laughed at that thought as I rushed out the door ordering the Uber on the way.

She wasn’t far it turned out. In less then ten minutes I was able to get to the building and find the alley “Chrissie?” I tentatively asked, hoping she would reply.

She walked out and she was in fact covered head to toe in cupcake matter. “Ummm… What?” I didn’t get my question out before she was sobbing “It was terrible!”

I wasn’t sure what ‘it’ was, but again before I could form the right question to ask she blurted out “It was a coterie of cupcake smashers.” She was pulling frosting full of glittery sprinkles from her hair. I handed her the bag I brought with make-up wipes and towel and asked “Cupcake what?”

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JM PAQUETTE:

He stared at the weapon in my hand, eyes squinting. “Did you honestly just pick up a flail?”

I shrugged, trying to look as though I used weapons like this all the time. “Yeah. So what?” I asked. When he didn’t reply, I added, “You said to get a weapon. I pick this one.”

“Bloody farmer. There’s no need to be so rushed,” he told me. “You can take a moment, think things over. We have all afternoon to do this.”

I ignored the insult and looked around at the empty amphitheatre, at the rows and rows of seats that would be filled in a few hours, patrons eager to see the newest death match in Cyrus’s games. We’d gotten a lot of advertising for this one. I’d heard the slaves chattering about it when I first woke up in the cell beneath the stadium this morning, the coterie unwilling to share any more with an outsider like me. “I think we should probably figure out what we’re going to do sooner than that.” I gestured at him with the flail. “This will look good, no? Give them something to ooh and aah about? That’s what Cyrus wants anyway.”

I moved the handle from my right to my left hand, weighing it, deciding if I would be able to do anything at all with it when the time came. It definitely had potential to inflict damage. He shook his head, choosing an axe from the weapon stand and taking slow steps toward me. “Tell me you’ve had some training,” he muttered.

I held the flail up, hoping I had the right side pointed at him, the end swaying gently as I breathed. “I’ve had some training?” I replied.

“We’re both going to die,” he said, taking a deep breath.

“We’re in the games,” I told him. “That’s the general idea.”

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

Jax looked around the coterie of warlocks who were now gathered in a circle. In its center lay two candles nearly burned down to nothing, the scalding wax having spread across the pentagram that was etched into the floor. Rising from the center was a shadow that seemed to flail as if in pain, its arms and legs contorting into abnormal and frightening positions. Some members of the group rushed away frightened by what they had summoned. Others stared on, entranced by the macabre dance, but their eyes widened in horror as the translucent figure became solid.

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BRANDON SCOTT:

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I Wouldn’t Eat That – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 7 March 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Saturate
  • Cupcake
  • Alley

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED AUTHOR

JM PAQUETTE:

“I wouldn’t eat that if I were you,” Lily said, pointing meaningfully at the cupcake in Ella’s hand. Ella looked at her friend across a luscious layer of chocolate frosting.

“Why do you say that?” She considered the wonderful treat in her hand, seeing the lush browns of all those different chocolates overlapping, imaging the taste thick on her tongue, saturating her senses and overwhelming her restraint. “It looks heavenly. I bet it tastes even better.”

Lily grabbed her hand and pushed it away from her mouth. Ella held on to the cupcake, unwilling to part with it quite yet. The paper wrapping was smooth against her fingers, but she wasn’t going to drop it on the ground. She could wait. Waiting just made it taste better in the end. Eventually, Lily would forget about it.

“You are hopeless!” her friend chided, not forgetting soon enough. “Seriously, if some old lady in a back alley gave you a shiny red apple, I swear you would eat it!”

Ella shrugged. “And what of it?”

“Don’t you listen to anything?” Lily nagged. “You know what happened to Cinderella!”

“That was Snow White,” Ella corrected, “and from what I recall, she married a prince.” She looked back at the cupcake. “I’ll take those odds.”

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LISA BARRY:

The alley seemed particularly dark today, but Sheila took the shortcut anyway. It was the one place between downtown and her shared apartment where she could inhale the cupcake saturated with peanut butter cups and not be either deluged with requests for a bite or deal with comments about her weight. Yes, she was a little plump but not ridiculously so. And she only went to the bakery once a week when they had her favorite.

Sheila stopped midway and reached into the bag. Before she took out the sweet treat, a man turned the corner heading in her direction. A long dark cloak flowed behind him as his long stride had him closer than she was comfortable. One glance at his face and she stopped. It wasn’t the cold hard stare of a predator, at least not to her. He was beauty personified and suddenly she was much more interested in him than in her cupcake.

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ANNE CARGILE:

Hera stared at the mess splattered across the alley and shook her head as her partner carefully avoided stepping in a pile of chocolate goo.

“What the hell happened here Sanders?” she asked, her voice strange. The sugar content in the air was making it hard to breathe.

“A pissed off Baker? How the hell should I know?” he replied, pulling out a handkerchief and carefully wiping the side of his black oxford.

A soft groan came from further down, past the dumpster. Tip toeing carefully past the dripping metal canister saturated with frosting, Hera found a girl lying prone across a platter of tarts and cupcakes.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

Telly went up on the roof, carrying all her spell ingredients in the ancient cauldron that her great-great-grandmother had brought over from the old world. The second full moon of the month was bright, wrapped in a sliver halo that drowned out the closest stars. Telly took the old tome off the the top of the pile and flipped to the page of the spell. After emptying the cauldron, she lit a small fire, and proceeded with the steps. Noises drifted up from the alleys on either side of the apartment building, but she was lost in concentration, hurrying to get everything ready before the moon reached its peak. The potion was soon simmering gently, infusing the air with the smell of cupcakes as it seeped and was saturated with blue moonlight. Clouds began to drift in sometime before midnight, and Telly watched them with growing concern. Rain wouldn’t hurt the potion, but the moonlight was critical. Lightning flashed in the dark clouds that were slowly eating the stars, faint grumbles of thunder heralding something worse, and when the first fingers of darkness grabbed the edge of the golden moon, Telly saw with horror that the potion was changing before her eyes.

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DALIA LANCE:

“What do you mean you are hiding in the alley?” I wasn’t sure if I should be more concerned about the location or the fact that it was humorous that she was not in her apartment, safe and sound as she should be doing the event she had planned for months.

“Yes! I am hiding in the frickin alley around the corner from Steve’s apartment!” Chrissie said this all in a very loud whisper. So loud in fact that it was almost screaming.

“So you need me to come get you?” I wondered why this would be the option she chose. Then I asked the obvious “Can’t you just grab a cab or an Uber?” we live in the technology age, getting out of any situation was a matter of a few clicks in a app.

There was a sort of whine from her and then “I don’t think an Uber would pick me up” she sighed heavily. “Every part of me is saturated in cupcake and I am wrapped in a table cloth from Steve’s apartment. Please just come get me.”

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

The alley was dark, not even the moon was out to cast the slightest sliver of light, but that didn’t deter Mike from his path. He headed straight down, while shoving a cupcake, saturated with chocolate ganache, into his mouth then loudly licked his fingers. As he was approaching the end, he was startled by a noise coming from behind one of the metal trash cans. He stopped short, his sugar rush turning into adrenaline as a cloaked figure stepped out from behind. Mike was too nervous to realize, it would have been impossible for a human that large to have been concealed by it.

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BRANDON SCOTT:

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They Can’t Get Out – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 31 January 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Shirk
  • Iron
  •  Friend

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED AUTHOR

BRANDON SCOTT:

“You cannot just shirk your duties like that,” Kalvin said. “Do you know what could have happened?”

“Yes, I am aware,” Howard said, rolling his eyes. “But, like, I just got myself some coffee, it’s not a big deal.”

Kalvin wrinkled his nose a little bit and frowned. “Is that…coffee, huh?”

“Irish coffee,” he amended and waved out his hands. “It’s fine. Nothing happened.”

Howard, as if the restraints were not still in place, looked down at the pit. The twin beings, both small and tentacled, floated in the sealed area they’d been in for the last one hundred years.

“Look,” Kalvin said, “just because we are friends, I am not going to report this. But you need to be more careful. We have records of these guys taking out entire solar systems. The screams of that star exploding are still coming.”

“But they can’t get out, can they?” Howard said.

“No…”

“Exactly. See? They just float there in the void forever. And there is nothing to do when I watch them—and I do watch them at least. Not something online. At least let me have some booze while I do so.”

Kalvin rolled his eyes. “No. Do it again, and I will report you.”

“Fine,” Howard said and waved out his hand in defeat. “I won’t.”

Neither noticed the iron ring on his hand, loose, sailing into the pit.

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LISA BARRY:

“What kind of friend does that?” I asked Hugh. He shrugged before scooping up another pile of dirt with the shovel and tossing it into the hole.

I looked at the body he was burying and shook my head.

“I would never, ever, ever do that. What a moron.”

“It was upsetting,” he commented as another pile of dirt went flying.

“Did you try to iron out everything with your girl?” I asked. As more dirt was tossed into the pile, I suddenly realized that meeting Hugh’s wife would likely not be a smart move on my part.

“I did, of course. No one else ever really means anything to her, she just likes a different flavor every now and again.”

I didn’t comment on the fact that feasting off other people really shouldn’t be considered cheating. I mean, I’ll drink from men, women, kids, even animals in a pinch. I don’t think of it as anything even close to shirking my spouse. Hugh was suddenly very scary, and I was thinking I should probably move. Like really far away.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

Jaden took a step back, and the figure smiled. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Redial,” the man said and bowed low. “And who do I have the pleasure of addressing?” Jaden stared at him, pressing his lips together. “Oh, come now, how are we to be friends if I don’t know your name?” Redial said, his smile growing. “If you’re worried about the wizard, I can promise I haven’t done anything to him.” Jaden frowned. If that was true, then where was Shevin? Redial rolled his eyes. “Are you so enamored with him that you truly cannot believe he would shirk his duty? You don’t know him very well.” “I know enough,” Jaden said, stepping back again. “I wouldn’t go anywhere if I were you,” Redial continued the redness in his eyes sparkling in a hypnotizing way. “You have no idea what’s out there.” “What do you want with me?” Jaden asked. “I’m not going to hurt you,” Redial said. “If it makes you feel better, I want what Shevin wanted. To take you and,” he smiled slyly, “what you carry, to safety beyond the borders of the Woodland and the reach of the Iron King.” “And if I don’t want to go with you?” Jaden asked, drawing the knife a little further from its scabbard. “You’ll find you won’t have much of a choice,” Redial replied.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

Pelonius walked into the arena, clutching his iron close. He hadn’t been able to refuse his friend’s request, after all, once, on a battlefield long forgotten by all but those who lived, Argus the Greek had saved his life. One could not shirk a blood debt.

The damned fool had stolen a cart, and now here he was right next to the thief. Shoulder to shoulder with him, leather clasps from his armor were even digging into Pelonius’ arm.

The announcement boomed out from the horns across the countryside, as their host pulled the last stragglers in from the plaza outside. Every penny he could make before releasing the “dragon” they’d all been hearing about being brought in from the far east, chained on the backs of forty camels. It was just Argus’ luck he’d been the prisoner chosen to fight it.

The gate began rising across the arena, and the two men shuffled for better position, already sweating into their eyes, ready for the worst.

The crowd roared in laughter as the “dragon” appeared. A beast not eight feet in length, fat and rolly looking was being poked by a trainer, trying to force it out of his cage. The arena manager was climbing down off his dias to help.

Argus laughed, “Ten soldi says we’ll be roasting that thing on a spit in two hours.”

I laughed, “Make it one, my friend, and I’ll gladly pay to lose. Watch out, I hear their spit is poisonous, and that’s from a better source than this idiot’s magical creatures dealer.”

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JM PAQUETTE:

Ralph tried to see the knife blade held against his throat, but only succeeded in pulling an odd face. “I really think we need to discuss the definition of the word ‘friends,’ Marley,” he commented, the feel of the iron cold against his skin.

“Are we friends?” Marley asked, the blade pressing just a fraction closer.

“I don’t know what you mean, man,” Ralph tried, wondering just how much Marley knew. “Of course we are.”

“Let’s talk about friendship for a moment,” Marley suggested, and Ralph started to nod but stopped himself from doing Marley’s work for him just in time.

“Sure thing, mate.”

“Friends don’t shirk their duty and pretend to be watching the walls so others can sleep in peace. Friends don’t leave their comrades open to enemy attack at any moment.”

Oh crap, Ralph thought. He knows about that.

The blade crept a smidgeon closer, if that was possible, scraping off the top layer of Ralph’s skin. “And friends certainly don’t abandon their posts to engage in illicit activities with the commander’s wife,” Marley growled.

Ralph thought once more of Rebecca, of her fair hair and her wide eyes, of her smooth skin and her sweet voice, then stared at his commander and waited for the final blow.

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

“What are you doing?” Shayla asked Maxin in a frustrated tone. “There’s no way you’re going to be able break these shackles, they’re like iron.”

Maxin sighed, “They are iron,” I corrected. Shayla gave me an annoyed look and resigned herself to being stuck in the damp dungeon. Only one torch remained burning, but it wouldn’t last much longer. Maxin thought back to how they had gotten into this predicament. Apparently, shirking even the tiniest of responsibilities could have some serious repercussions. He had hoped that his friends would soon realize that he and Shayla were missing.

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He Totally Deserved It – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 31 January 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Killjoy
  • Fraction
  •  Slime

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED AUTHOR

JM PAQUETTE:

“But I don’t understand why you threw the ball of slime at him!” I shouted at Angela while dragging her along behind me down the alley. “You just started a war!”

“Don’t be such a killjoy,” Angela retorted, turning around quickly and raising her shield up just in time to deflect the arrows the angry mob had shot at us. They tinkled across the metal and skittered to a stop on the ground nearby. I was sure they were tipped with poison. You didn’t throw things in the face of the most beloved prince of all time and get away with it. If even a fraction of the people on the street heard what she had done, we’d be dead in minutes. “He totally deserved it,” Angela continued, sweeping her shield down and using it to parry another volley of arrows from behind us. She moved the arm I was gripping quickly, swinging me out and around the corner in  front of her, protecting my body with her own.

“How could he possibly have deserved it?” I shrieked. “Prince Lars is the best thing to happen to this kingdom in centuries!”

“Ha!” Angela snorted, letting me go for a moment as she drew her broadsword. “If you only knew,” she said smugly. “Throwing slime in his face is the nicest thing I could do to him.”

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LISA BARRY:

I inspected the slime on the counter. It was a light green with a hint of an orange glow periodically, or were those hairs? It was the oddest thing I’d seen in a long time. I was familiar with Joy Slugs, the killjoys that they were, but they left a light silver trail, not this mammoth hairy green trail. I looked at the barkeep.

“You say it was left by a person?”

“No, I said it was like a person, like a fraction of a person.”

“Can you help me out, man? Like what does that even mean? A fraction of a person…” I muttered to myself. How was I supposed to get to the bottom of this murder when the only witness is talking in circles.

“I mean, it was a weird blue man thing that looked slightly like a person.” The barkeep seemed to be as frustrated as me.

“Ok, well, tell me again what the man thing did, after he entered the bar and walked up to the deceased.”

“He took Hal’s beer mug, sniffed it and then broke it over Hal’s head.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

“Shevin?” Jaden called again, a little louder this time, his heart thundering in his chest. A figure stepped out of the darkness, but it was too short to be the wizard. It also wasn’t wearing the luminescent uniform of an Ember Guard. “Hello?” Jaden said hesitantly, gripping the hilt of the knife in his belt. “Oh, don’t do that,” a cheerful voice tainted with the slime of cruelty spoke up. “It wouldn’t do you any good anyway.” “Where’s Shevin?” Jaden asked, his voice wavering slightly as he searched the shadows hoping the wizard would appear and rescue him. “It seems your protector has deserted you,” the figure laughed. “I don’t know why you would choose to go with him anyway. He’s such a killjoy, all that duty and honor nonsense he’s so fond of spouting, and yet, when it comes to it, he runs away and leaves his charge to fend for himself. If only he truly believed but a fraction of what he said, but alas, this world is no place for saints, and eventually the darkness will reign supreme in everyone.” “That’s not true,” Jaden said. “Oh? And how would you know that?” The figure stepped forward and raised its hood revealing eyes like Shevin’s clear silver orbs, but rimmed in red fire.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

“That virtue signalling slimey smarmy bitch is such a killjoy. If she had a fraction of the humility and good graces she claims, she’d have saved the world already,” Geneva said, as she chucked her things onto the passenger seat.

“Whatever, I’m over it already”, I said, as I dropped my party favor next to her stuff on the seat, while the chair lift helped Geneva into the back seat.

We’d shown up at Laurie’s baby shower with a gift that was on the registry, only to find out that our much reviled hostess Becca had been making everyone donate to a save the bees charity in Laurie’s name, but neither of us had come prepared. So, when Becca announced the donation, she’d pointedly stared down those who didn’t contribute. A sum total of two folks, me and Geneva. Thanks for the warning, bitch.

She’d given us last pick of the lottery, fewer raffle tickets, etc. People had shunned us all through teh shower.

As we drove away, I congratulated myself on how well I’d handled it. I had known not to show my pain. I smiled, laughed, and talked about how great the shower was, while Geneva had been looking at me in puzzlement. I knew how to play the long game.

I was going to volunteer to be Becca’s hostess when that wheel rolled around. She had just announced she was pregnant on Instagram, after all.

www.DesisTwoCents.com

ALANNA J. RUBIN

Killjoys, that’s what we were called. It wasn’t a name we came up with ourselves, but we were mercenaries and hired to bring people in. Most of the time, we would crash social events or the occasional late night “social” call, so the name was given to us. Tonight’s mission started out no differently than most. We had to bring in Mr. Ting, a well-known bio chemist in criminal circles, but he had been tipped off and we found ourselves in a trap. Surrounding us was toxic white slime and touching it would cause serious pain or even death. “Don’t move a fraction,” I yelled at Varin, as one more step would have put her in immediate harm.

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BRANDON SCOTT:

“You are such a killjoy,” Olivia muttered, moving the barrel of her assault rifle away from the baby’s face. “Are you really suggesting that I—”

“Yes, I am,” replied Charles. “That is a monster thing to do.”

Olivia looked around at the small isolated town they’d entered not two hours ago, at the burning houses, and the destroyed cars, at the literal ten-foot-high pile of bodies. “Are you kidding me?”

“No, I’m not.” Charles pushed on the side of her gun, forcing it down. “We leave this one alive.”

“Really? Really…” She let the gun fully fall now. “What if it grows up to be the hero of the people and seek revenge, or something.”

“That only happens a fraction of the time, anyway. And—even when they do, it’s often just a virtue signaling little power boy slime, who can make fire with his hands or something. I’ve killed ten this week.”

“You do see the hypocrisy of that right? You just admitted to wanton murder, but one baby is too much?”

“Yes.” Charles frowned at her. “I only kill over eighteen-year-old children.”

“Killjoy,” she muttered again.

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Featured Author: Dalia Lance

FEATURED AUTHOR

Dalia Lance

www.DaliaLance.com

Dalia’s Facebook page

 

Every time the Ink Slingers meet, we do two to three writing exercises that must include three to four specific words that were unknown to the author prior to hearing the loud “START!” command and then getting to it! We love sharing the end result with you.

Sometimes the author will have three unique shorts and other times the author will write a continuing story from one exercise to the next. These continuations can be tricky to create but this Ink Slinger killed it with this fun story.

Enjoy!

____________________________________

Match, Island, Swing

She couldn’t believe her luck. She had waited her entire life for something like this to happen.

As she stared out of her cabana to the white sands and blue waters of the beach in front of her she could not imagine a more perfect place.

This was the island of her dreams.

Then she heard the sound that would plague her forever “Hey there” came a nasally voice from her left. She turned to see a man, well he was at least male, sitting in a wooden bench swing that seemed to be propped between her cabana and her neighbors.

“Ummm” she actually didn’t know what to say.

He decided to get up and walk towards her “So, did you just get here?” he asked. His voice was like liquid nails on a chalkboard.

“Yes” she said trying to look for something to occupy herself instead of speaking with him more.

“Well then we will be seeing A LOT of each other” he continued, she winced “I am here for another two weeks.”

This vacation was ruined in a matter of moments.

This was a tropical match made in hell.

______________

Rash, Wax, Phone

Shelly looked back to her cabana “I think that is my phone, excuse me” she turned and walked away not waiting for a reply.

She moved into her bedroom and released a sigh. She would have to figure out how to avoid him for the next week.

“Phones don’t work on the island” he was standing behind her. He wasn’t quite past the line where her patio ended and bedroom began but she felt invaded.

She looked around as if trying to find the noise she made up coming from something else “My mistake, I wonder what that was.”

He then crossed the threshold “Do you want me to help you look?” he asked and without a moment of hesitation she yelped “NO!” then a breath “No I am good. I think I will just take a nap”. A look of disappointment crossed his face as he turned to leave.

“Make sure you take the wax off of the fruit before you eat it.” He said as he was leaving.

“What?” she replied without thinking.

He turned back again “The wax on the fruit, it will cause a rash” and with that he turned and left.

Now she was confused, worried, annoyed and nauseous. She should have stayed at home for all of this.

____________________________________

Juice, Unwanted, Jelly

So how did the vacation go you might be wondering. She at least figured many of her friends and co-workers would be asking her this when she returned.

Well, she would tell them. She spent an entire week avoiding unwanted advances. Trying to see any part of the beach without hearing or seeing her neighbor Tim. That was his name she found out.

She also only ate juice and jelly on toast instead of any real fruit for fear of the mysterious rash that Tim had shown her on his arm and thigh. Not his leg, but pulled up his shorts and showed an upper thigh.

By the time she boarded the plane she sent her boss a brief, but concise email letting him know she would be using another three days of her vacation time starting Monday. She did not explain why, but more so that it was happening and she wasn’t asking approval.

She decided that she would pick up supplies and have a vacation on her couch, in her pjs watching Netflix and pretending calories and Tim do not exist.

____________________________________

About Dalia Lance

I have had a very interesting upbringing starting with growing up in Hollywood, CA. Never shy, I learned that if you are not willing to try something new you may let life simply pass you by. I love meeting people from all walks of life and these experiences inspire me on a daily basis. As a true friend once pointed out “You are never a complete waste, you can always be used as a bad example”. So what’s the worst that can happen?

What happens when you stop looking for Mr. Right and start looking for Mr. Right Now?

Check out the first book in the Randi Michaels series, My Home on Home Island, and prepare for Mr. Right Now!

 

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Eyes Weren’t Watching – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 31 January 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Shadow
  • White
  • Sunset

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED AUTHOR

NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

The sunset lit the sky in fire, and then the fire faded and died. Shevin watched the moon rise and the stars come out, sitting without moving and looking like a piece of the night itself. When he spoke, Jaden started with surprise. “We should break camp now.” Jaden nodded, rolled up his sleeping blanket and was on his feet in a moment. Shevin surveyed the shadows with his strange white eyes, eyes that saw more than they should. “This way,” the wizard said. Jaden followed him through the trees, trying to be as silent and swift, but his feet caught on roots and rocks that Shevin just glided over. Every night for the past week it had been the same, the pair traveling when other eyes weren’t watching, trying to make it to the border of the Woodlands without the Ember Guards catching them. “I have to stop,” Jaden called out, and doubled over, gulping for air and massaging the cramp in his side. He looked up to find he was alone. “Shevin?” he called out in a soft voice, hoping the wizard had not gone too far ahead. His only answer was the soft whisper of leaves.

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LISA BARRY:

I was waiting for the shadows to come before I went out for the night. What needed to be done did not need any witnesses. I dreaded the sunset for the first time in my life and had a very bad feeling that my life was going to take a sharp turn from ultimate white to deepest black. Just the fact that I was planning a murder was enough to make my knees shake.

“I’m heading the movies,” I hollered. My mother grunted acknowledgement as she turned the potion in the pot, sweat beading on her brow. I wasn’t going to waste my life with witchcraft, using up my strength and squandering animal lives on deities.

I stepped out of the house, three throwing knives strapped to my thigh, a gavotte on my pocket and a single phone number. Tonight would be my first kill, my first step into becoming the world’s greatest assassin.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

I sat down at the bar and ordered a scotch, dark shadows everywhere concealing that most of the patrons were already drunk. I was tapping my nails on the chipped, grungy bar top until the drink arrived out of nerves, but arriving early was helping me cope a little better. First dates are hard enough, but ones that you’re being forced to go on by your stupid sister are even worse.

She’d sat me down and told me to make a profile. So I had. It had asked questions that I didn’t consider relevant. Single white female seeking… what? I didn’t know. My sister had filled it all out for me when I balked and walked away from the screen.

“Activities?” she’d yelled across the apartment.

“What?” I’d cringed.

“Come on, Lila, What do you like to do?”

“Long walks on the beach at sunset!” I’d laughingly shouted back.

“Seriously!” Joy had cried out in disgust. “Never mind, I’ll make shit up.”

Lots of mysterious clacking on the keys later, Joy had finished my profile, and set me up on this date, that she’d pushed me out the door to go to tonight.

She’d told me “Jon” was a Libra with a good corporate job. He arrived, and sat down. Not bad looking, but I was too nervous to really judge. He introduced himself, and then said, “So… loong walks on the beach, huh? I like those, too.”

I had no idea what to say. I couldn’t kill Joy, I couldn’t even blame her.

www.DesisTwoCents.com

JM PAQUETTE:

She squinted into the fading light of the sunset, trying to make sense of the humped shape she could spy standing at the edge of the water. “Is that…” She turned just enough to elbow John in the side, not looking at him. “Is that a horse?”

John sat up, the book he had been reading falling into his lap as he squinted into the fading light. She could see the early evening shadows playing amid the rocks along the edge of the ocean, the waves crashing into swirls of bleached out color. “It could be,” John said, but his voice was hesitant. He pushed his glasses up his nose as if that would help him see better. “A white horse,” he said definitively. “Definitely.”

She made a face. “What is it doing just standing there like that?” She stared at it, able to see the looming shape a bit easier now that the ball of the sun had dipped below the water. “It wasn’t there a second ago, I swear. It just appeared.”

“Were you watching a second ago?” John asked, picking up his book and putting it aside only after carefully marking his page with a bookmark. “I thought you were reading.”

“I was, but I paused to watch the sunset.” She sighed a little, remembering the colors, the sound of the water, the sensation of peace and well-being that rolled over her. “And then it just appeared, like some water-horse out of a dream.”

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

Henrick watched as the sunset gave way to night and the white of the stars began to shine. A blanket of cool air wrapped around him as waited for the shadows to emerge. There had been stories in the nearby village of the shadows and their hunger for light. They could not keep fires going or even the tiniest of flames on top of a candle. The instant they were lit, they were extinguished. Henrick had been chasing these shadows across realms for years, in search of answers when he stumbled upon the villagers stories, and tonight he had hoped the ritual he performed would call them to him.

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BRANDON SCOTT:

The two sat underneath the sunset, staring as it dipped lower and lower. Boy, girl: you get the idea. But something was off about the entire scene. The most obvious part: the shadows. They did not have them in any shape that was normal, human, or even within the laws of the light spectrum.

Sweeping tentacles attached to bulbous, though small bodies—round like engorged pumpkins.

The girl turned to the boy. “Was it at least fun for you?”

The boy turned to her, and his pupils were milky white and retained nothing of an iris. “It was okay, you know. Rather okay. I wish it could have gone on longer.”

The girl picked up a handful of dirt, black as the night would be without any electricity in the world. “I know, it really is a shame. But there will be other worlds, other spaces, other places. We can raze it to the ground too.”

The boy harrumphed. “I suppose. I guess. But I liked this planet—so many of them did something, tried to stop us. When has that happened?”

“On that one planet with the long-necked ones?”

“I guess,” he said, but he still looked unhappy.

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Just My Luck – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 17 January 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Juice
  • Unwanted
  • Jelly

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED AUTHOR

DESIREE MATLOCK:

The bonfire of driftwood lit up the beach as the stars came out. It really was quite beautiful. It would have been better if I didn’t seemed to be the only person that the mosquitoes wanted to bite, which was just genetically unfair. The beach bodies that surrounded me honestly needed some flaw, and a few ugly mosquito bites only seemed fair. But maybe they just had better bug spray. I’d gotten mine at the health food store, which in retrospect looked like it might have been a mistake.

The brunette, whose name turned out to be Theo, plopped himself down on the sand next to my blanket, and somehow the sand that stuck to his leg in one spot looked like more of a Sports Illustrated carefully planned sandy patch than the one that was currently making my thigh itch.

“Hey,” Theo said. His voice was like honey. “Got anything to eat?”

“Um sure,” I rummaged again, glad to be this guys’ go-to for random items that the other folks on this beach hadn’t considered necessary. Maybe it would work out in my favor that I’d packed like a normal person. From what was going on around me, I guessed most of these folks had packed condoms and some party drugs. None of that was my style, and I didn’t see Sandra anywhere anymore. Oh wait. She was sitting over on the boat with one of the guys I’d tagged as probably not straight. Huh. I guess you never knew.

I found a juice box and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and handed them over to Theo. He smiled.

“Can I get two, actually?”

“Um, sure,” I repeated myself. I pulled out another one, and off Theo trotted, meeting up with the one who’d introduced herself as Tiffany, I think. OR maybe it was Luscious? Or was that the other one?

Just my luck I was the only unwanted person on this beach.

www.DesisTwoCents.com

LISA BARRY:

Margo pushed the unwanted glass of juice away and scowled.

“How can you lose a full-grown pixie?” she asked.

Dillon shrugged but barely moved his shoulder. If he had a tail it would be hanging to the ground.

Margo’s eyes blazed, a bit of gold sparked in them. She tried to hold down the fire. She picked up a slice of toast and spread two containers of jelly on it. Dillon had been smart to meet her at the diner. She would have been tempted to tear out his heart otherwise.

“Did you cuff her with the pokeweed like I said?”

He nodded.

“Did you play Mozart like I said?”

He nodded.

“Ok, so you should have had a sleeping, tied up pixie.”

He nodded.

“How,” she growled, “did you lose her?”

Dillon coughed quietly before turning slightly and pointing at a booth near the front door.

Margo paled. She saw not one but three full-grown pixies, including the one she had hoped to slaughter that evening, watching her with interest.

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DALIA LANCE:

So how did the vacation go you might be wondering. She at least figured many of her friends and co-workers would be asking her this when she returned.

Well, she would tell them. She spent an entire week avoiding unwanted advances. Trying to see any part of the beach without hearing or seeing her neighbor Tim. That was his name she found out.

She also only ate juice and jelly on toast instead of any real fruit for fear of the mysterious rash that Tim had shown her on his arm and thigh. Not his leg, but pulled up his shorts and showed an upper thigh.

By the time she boarded the plane she sent her boss a brief, but concise email letting him know she would be using another three days of her vacation time starting Monday. She did not explain why, but more so that it was happening and she wasn’t asking approval.

She decided that she would pick up supplies and have a vacation on her couch, in her pjs watching Netflix and pretending calories and Tim do not exist.

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BRANDON SCOTT:

Sasha winced, again, she knew that was the deal—she’d been offered the chance through some random dating app she’d been trolling for perhaps one decent guy in her city, but to be so blunt about it, well, she was not a blunt sort of girl.

“I guess so,” she said and stared off into the distance. For a long, profoundly awkward moment, they both sat there.

“Juice,” he finally asked, and she jerked her head back.

“Look, okay—they set these up, okay, and it’s always a little awkward.”

“How could you know –if you already…?”

The man darkly glanced at the ground, still holding a little glass jar of pear juice that looked heavenly to Sasha, she’d only eaten jelly on toast since she’d gotten here.

“Turns out, you always get five—everyone, by sheer math, always have five true loves in the world. If one becomes…unwanted, for whatever reason, or someone dies, they bring you back: for free.”

Sasha did not know how to take this data but did accept his offer of juice. Her head was swirling a bit, and full of something fuzzy. But, and she had to keep reminding herself of this, the matchmakers did claim they were true loves.

So, she took another sip, wished it were wine and looked him in the eyes.

He held her gaze calmly and said, “So, want to try it out?”

“Hell to it,” she muttered and kissed him so hard they fell out of the swing.

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Covered With What? – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 17 January 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Rash
  • Wax
  • Phone

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED AUTHOR

ANNE CARGILE:

“Are you kidding me?” she screamed over the phone. “I thought you said this place was legit!”

“What do you mean?” I asked. “I’ve been going there for years.” I twirled the cord in my hand, wondering how bad it had been. Whatever, I thought, she deserved it.

“You told me they did the best Brazilian wax in the state!” Amber screeched.

“They do,” I replied mildly.

“Then what is happening? I’m covered!”

“Covered with what?”  I pulled out a treat for my cat, Numbz, short for Numbnuts. A private joke with the vet. Numbz liked the duck jerky, and who was I to deny him?

“This rash”, Amber gasped. I heard something that sounded suspiciously like scratching, and taking the cue, scratched Numbz’s ears, much to his delight. His purr sounded like a freight train and I grinned.

“Oh dear,” I said. “I have no idea how that could have happened. I’ve never had any issue myself.”

“I have a date tonight with Brad!” she screamed.

“Oh, was that tonight?”  I smiled at Numbz. “I had totally forgotten.”

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LISA BARRY:

Donna’s rash words still hurt as Sam sat on the couch and stared at the phone blinking full of messages on his side table. It had been less than a day but last night’s fight had impinged. If she thought that was going to steer him away from his goal, she was not the women for him. The shrill ring of his phone echoed throughout his half-packed apartment. Funnily enough, Donna’s scolding had only made the burn to leave the city that much brighter. A situation he couldn’t refuse. To go to a place that Donna had vowed never to return. His father has passed. His brother was missing. He was the only one left to take over the clan. He felt the pull like a magnet to steel. He had to go. It was his legacy, his duty. He was the strongest left of the lionweres and he would make a difference. Donna could not ever change that. He picked up the phone and waxed enthusiasm.

“Hello, Mother.”

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DALIA LANCE:

Shelly looked back to her cabana “I think that is my phone, excuse me” she turned and walked away not waiting for a reply.

She moved into her bedroom and released a sigh. She would have to figure out how to avoid him for the next week.

“Phones don’t work on the island” he was standing behind her. He wasn’t quite past the line where her patio ended and bedroom began but she felt invaded.

She looked around as if trying to find the noise she made up coming from something else “My mistake, I wonder what that was.”

He then crossed the threshold “Do you want me to help you look?” he asked and without a moment of hesitation she yelped “NO!” then a breath “No I am good. I think I will just take a nap”. A look of disappointment crossed his face as he turned to leave.

“Make sure you take the wax off of the fruit before you eat it.” He said as he was leaving.

“What?” she replied without thinking.

He turned back again “The wax on the fruit, it will cause a rash” and with that he turned and left.

Now she was confused, worried, annoyed and nauseous. She should have stayed at home for all of this.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

Cathy’d been on the phone with the European Wax Center for twenty minutes already, getting passed from person to person. She’d been told to hold for the manager, and when the sultry smooth silky voice of the manager came on the line, and called itself, “Shiloh” she knew she’d reached the top of the line. Shiloh was a name reserved for Salon managers or hippies.

“How may I help you?” purred Shiloh.

“Um, did anyone already talk to you about my issue?”

“Please let’s begin fresh. Tell me how I can help you?”

Great. Nobody had bothered to explain to the next person why she’d called out of four people so far, so she’d had to re-tell the story, smack in the middle of her office, and by this time, she felt like maybe she’d need to raise her voice so that people more than two cubicles away could listen in better.

“Okay, so am I really definitely talking to the person in charge?”

“M-hm,” Shiloh intoned in a voice so soporific and calming that she almost forgot why she was calling. New age music whistled and bonged in the background at the wax center where she was calling, occasionally slipping past that voice.

“Fine. So I got waxed yesterday, and today I woke with a huge rash over the entire area.”

“What area might that be?” Cathy sighed.

“The private one,” she hissed. A giggle snort erupted from the cubicle to her South. Benjamin wasn’t even pretending not to be amused anymore.

“What private area?”

“How many do you have, lady? Let’s just call it the one so many Brazilians have.”

www.DesisTwoCents.com

JM PAQUETTE:

Angela stared at the burning candle, mouth twisting in concentration as the wax perched on the edge, seemingly defying gravity as it refused to spill down the side of the tall candlestick. “But…” she began, but the words trailed off. She looked from the candle to the beaker in front of her. More concentration, this time with her eyebrows joining the massive party of confusion across her face. “How…”

Arthur waited another long moment, seeing if she would articulate her issue, but her face was just too much, and he spoke, unable to keep the rash words inside, almost immediately cursing himself for the outburst. “What is it, Miss Price?”

Her face twisted even more, painfully at a loss, and sympathy suddenly overwhelmed his annoyance. “What?” he prompted, more gently this time. He had to remember that it was hard for first-timers. The stress of these tests was horrendous. He remembered those days. He should be kinder.

“It’s just…” again with the pathetic face, “how…how can I get the wax into the beaker?”

He stared at her for a long moment, wondering if he had heard correctly.

“I mean, it won’t even roll down the candle, so how do I get it into my potion like that?”

With a long-suffering sigh, he reached out and picked up the candlestick, tilting it so the wax ran freely off the side.

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BRANDON SCOTT:

The man on the swing chuckled and pushed away his oversized bangs. “They always do that, sorry if it made you nervous.”

She did not know what to say to him. When she’d signed up for the island’s program, she’d obviously know what it entailed—but that did not mean she really had a grasp on what was okay and what was normal in this place. She’d seen an awful lot of candles, thick golden wax candles, just lying around in a room marked first come, first served earlier.

“So…uh…” she trailed off and took a nervous step closer.

“Yeah, I know—it’s awkward. Just sit here, I don’t have a rash or anything.”

She did, after a few wobbling steps. He gave her a small smile, and then pulled out his phone. She did not know why, but she could not stop noticing how veiny his hands were.

The man flicked through a few things on his phone, before her own image sat there, smiling. She hated that look on her, but when they asked for a picture of her from the last five months, it was the only one she’d bothered to take—data limits sucked.

“So, then, your name is Sasha?” he asked.

“Yeah …”

“Well, Sasha, apparently you and I are potential true loves.”

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Featured Author: Brandon Scott

FEATURED AUTHOR

Brandon Scott

Brandon’s Website

Brandon’s Facebook

 

Every time the Ink Slingers meet, we do two to three writing exercises that must include three to four specific words that were unknown to the author prior to hearing the loud “START!” command and then getting to it! We love sharing the end result with you.

Sometimes the author will have three unique shorts and other times the author will write a continuing story from one exercise to the next. These continuations can be tricky to create but this Ink Slinger killed it with this fun story.

Enjoy!

____________________________________

Match, Island, Swing

“Are you sure it’s a good match?”

The boy, the one who did not appear to want her to know his name, nodded and gestured down to his phone.

“But, like, how can you be sure?”

He raised an eyebrow and rolled his eyes, but still did not speak. He had not spoken a word, not since they’d met—as if the island was not creepy enough as it was.

“Okay, fine…fine…” she muttered and continued walking along the path. The sand was too sifting, and the heat just a little bit too hot. She’d overestimated the wine’s potency and was not nearly as drunk as she would have liked.

The boy moved fast, tiny legs easily skimming over the hot sand, and went up a sharp hill. She, with a little panting, followed along, cresting the hill and looking a tad white. What she saw next seemed to undo any of what her time on the luxury island had done for her complexion. All that remaining tan went with a little sweep of emotion.

“Uh…” was all her brain managed, as she stood not too far from a man on a swing, kicking out his feet in little pushes and then coming to almost melancholy stops.

The boy pointed, and then, without a word still, ran back the other way—leaving her there alone with him.

 

 ____________________________________

Rash, Wax, Phone

The man on the swing chuckled and pushed away his oversized bangs. “They always do that, sorry if it made you nervous.”

She did not know what to say to him. When she’d signed up for the island’s program, she’d obviously know what it entailed—but that did not mean she really had a grasp on what was okay and what was normal in this place. She’d seen an awful lot of candles, thick golden wax candles, just lying around in a room marked first come, first served earlier.

“So…uh…” she trailed off and took a nervous step closer.

“Yeah, I know—it’s awkward. Just sit here, I don’t have a rash or anything.”

She did, after a few wobbling steps. He gave her a small smile, and then pulled out his phone. She did not know why, but she could not stop noticing how veiny his hands were.

The man flicked through a few things on his phone, before her own image sat there, smiling. She hated that look on her, but when they asked for a picture of her from the last five months, it was the only one she’d bothered to take—data limits sucked.

“So, then, your name is Sasha?” he asked.

“Yeah …”

“Well, Sasha, apparently you and I are potential true loves.”

 

 ____________________________________

Juice, Unwanted. Jelly

Sasha winced, again, she knew that was the deal—she’d been offered the chance through some random dating app she’d been trolling for perhaps one decent guy in her city, but to be so blunt about it, well, she was not a blunt sort of girl.

“I guess so,” she said and stared off into the distance. For a long, profoundly awkward moment, they both sat there.

“Juice,” he finally asked, and she jerked her head back.

“Look, okay—they set these up, okay, and it’s always a little awkward.”

“How could you know –if you already…?”

The man darkly glanced at the ground, still holding a little glass jar of pear juice that looked heavenly to Sasha, she’d only eaten jelly on toast since she’d gotten here.

“Turns out, you always get five—everyone, by sheer math, always have five true loves in the world. If one becomes…unwanted, for whatever reason, or someone dies, they bring you back: for free.”

Sasha did not know how to take this data but did accept his offer of juice. Her head was swirling a bit, and full of something fuzzy. But, and she had to keep reminding herself of this, the matchmakers did claim they were true loves.

So, she took another sip, wished it were wine and looked him in the eyes.

He held her gaze calmly and said, “So, want to try it out?”

“Hell to it,” she muttered and kissed him so hard they fell out of the swing.

 

 

 

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About Brandon Scott

Hey, my name is Brandon Scott (though I often go by the name coolerbs). In 2014 I became a professional writer and it has been the ride of my life. I’ve met so many incredible people, and created more than I thought I ever could. And I am so excited for the future.

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