Tag Archives: Author Desiree Matlock

Catching a Unicorn – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 15 November 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Derail
  • Reflection
  • Sugar

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

ANNE CARGILE

“You know, this plan isn’t very good,” Shane said. “Everything I’ve read about catching a unicorn has to do with a virgin or something. I’ve never heard of using sugar.”

Janice sighed and rolled her eyes. “Just stay close and do what I say, ok? I’ve read the instructions a thousand times. Since we don’t have a virgin…”

“No kidding,” Shane muttered.

“Shut up. Since we don’t have a virgin, the idea is to entice them with the sugar and then catch them in their reflection.”

“Um, ok, not to derail your wonderful plan, but what exactly will they be reflected in?”

“We know the unicorns come at dawn to butterfly pond, right? So we can spell the water, and when it goes to take a drink…”

“Gotcha!” they said in unison.

Shane grinned. “Lead the way.”

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LISA BARRY:

My plans were derailed when the sugar factory sent me the pink slip. Seven years I had slaved in the sales room and gotten some of the biggest contracts they had. They fire me because Nick Saint wouldn’t give me the contract. Well screw them. He was the smartest man I knew and seeing his reflection in the mirror behind me after a wild Friday night was worth every penny that I wouldn’t get this week. I sat on the edge of my bed and sighed. Now what? I wondered. A call flashed on my phone. I debated ignoring it as per usual but I needed a distraction from my current poor existence.

“Yes?’ I said into the phone, my voice still a little deep from my amazing weekend.

“How would you like to visit the South Pole?” a low voice said. My back went pole straight and my nerves flashed with energy.

“Mr. Saint? I can’t think of anything else I’d like to be doing right now.”

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

Everything was in place to derail the king’s coronation. The street urchins had been payed to tip the barrels of oil over the procession. The sharpshooter with the flaming arrows was positioned on the corner of the highest roof of the square, his arrow coated in black to dull the sun’s reflection on the metal.

“What do you mean, the coronation has been called off?” the sulky lord shouted. “They can’t call it off!”

“I’m afraid they can, and they have,” the elderly advisor said without sympathy. “It’s raining. They cannot hold a party in the rain.”

“When will they reschedule?” the lord asked. “They did not see fit to give that information to me,” the advisor said, only now the slightest signs of strain seeping through his carefully controlled demeanor.

“Well, then, find out!” the lord said, throwing himself across the feather bed pouting. “First bring me some mulled apple cider. With sugar!” he added in an imperious tone at the retreating back of the old man. The advisor closed the door to the lord’s chamber, and only now did his impassive face melt into a disgruntled scowl.

“Perhaps someone should plan your assassination, you spoiled little brat,” he muttered to himself, before he walked off to get the tea.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

The reflection of the sugar glider in the lake was almost maybe starting to calm me… I hadn’t had time for a walk in over three days, what with my sister Carmen’s visit derailing every tiny detail of my usually impeccably methodical routine.

Firstly, booking a flight that arrived so late that she ended up on the last train out and got here to the end of the line at 3:20 AM. Neither early enough to require waking up early, nor late enough to conveniently allow for staying up a little. There literally couldn’t have been a worse time to need to be picked up.

I’d suggested Uber, but she’d never heard of it. Lyft either. And of course didn’t trust cabbies. She didn’t care about my fitbit circle, or my various yoga meetups. She still lived in the dark ages from before all these apps around which I’d built my life.

And it turns out she’d brought her dog with her, which on paper was a support animal, but in reality, my couch could barely support the damn thing. So here I was, distractedly forgetting to do my breathing exercises, alone at the park, just taking a fucking break from Carmen. Which didn’t move my fitbit count up one tiny bit, but I was too exhausted to care.

As I sighed, chilling out just looking at the glistening ripples of the lake, the sugar glider swooped by, depositing a little offwhite wet crap on my lap. Yup, that pretty much topped off the week.

www.DesisTwoCents.com

JM PAQUETTE:

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Jasmine said, downing another shot and putting her hand on Rebecca’s shoulder. She grabbed the next glass on the bar and downed it as well, coughing a little as she turned to face her friend. “Not a word,” she declared.

“Ok,” Rebecca agreed, ever the supportive friend, but her face was red with suppressed emotion, either horror or hilarity, Jasmine couldn’t tell, and she was starting to think it was a little bit of both.

“I mean it!” Jasmine insisted, turning to face her friend as the whiskey burned through her. “Not. A. Word.”

Rebecca mimed a lock and key in front her lips and sat perfectly still, the red in her face growing deeper with each passing second.

“I don’t ever want you to mention this again!” Jasmine snapped.

“Mention what?” Rebecca asked, turning away to face the bar, carefully not looking at her friend, suddenly very interested in her own reflection in the mirror behind the bar.

“Was it…” Jasmine let the words trail off. She grabbed the third shot, downed it, and faced her friend again. “Was it really that awful?”

“Do you want the truth or do you want me to sugar coat it?”

“Just hit me with it.”

“It was more than that awful. So much more. You certainly know how to derail a discussion, Jaz.”

Jasmine winced. “I know. It was terrible. I don’t know what came over me.”

Rebecca smirked, “Well, there are worse things in the world. Nothing comes to mind at present, of course, but I’m sure they exist.” She pondered. “Famine. Pestilence. War…”

“Ok,” Jasmine told her. “That’s enough hard hitting truth.”

“Are you kidding?” Rebecca asked. “That was sugar coated.”

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

“Oh sugar,” Cali exclaimed.

“Really?” Max replied. “You can actually swear you know. It’s not going to be a poor reflection of your character.”

Cali shrugged. “I just didn’t feel like saying it. Sometimes swearing derails my train of thought, but now considering this ridiculous conversation, I should have just gone for it.” Cali’s voice rose in tenor, the way it normally did when she was aggravated. “Now, where was I?” She asked no one. “Right,” she said answering herself, focusing back on the shovel in her hand and continued to move the dirt off the top of the coffin.

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BRANDON SCOTT

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All That Scotch – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 15 November 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Poison
  • Top
  • Satisfy

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

DESIREE MATLOCK:

I had no idea how much of this I was supposed to use. I’d heard that cardamon was a poison in high levels, but not enough and the pie might just taste like pumpkin mush… so there was that.

If I could somehow walk that fine line between mum’s dissatisfied narrow eyes face from poorly baked pies and mum’s dissatisfied narrow eyes face from sending uncle Pete to the hospital, maybe my stress levels would come back down before Christmas.

Maybe the internet could help. Or maybe I should just stick to the recipe for once, like I’d planned to from the top. But… I was never any good that that. I’m naturally impulsive. It works out great in the bedroom and the board room but it definitely is a mixed bag of issues in the kitchen. Sometimes, once in a blue moon, I could make something amazing happen.

Doubt it would affect mum’s face either way, but I was determined that if I was hosting the entire Thanksgiving spectacle this year, the cardamon levels of my pumpkin pie were going to be perfectly in balance with all that scotch I already added. Uncle Pete loves Scotch. I smiled and poured in what seemed right.

www.DesisTwoCents.com

LISA BARRY:

“What is this?” I asked, holding up the clear bottle of blue fluid.

“It’s the poison you asked for,” Tig answered without glancing up from the letter he was scribing. He frowned.

“This is not what I asked for,” I snarled. Tig looked up in alarm, his mouth gaping like a fish.

“What I asked for should be a greenish brown color, with a layer of gold on the top.”

His mouth moved slightly, no words coming out. The alarm in his eyes was growing. He grabbed his throat and I could tell he was trying really hard to pull air into lungs that I had blocked with a stray piece of magic. That’s how easy it was for me. I didn’t really need poison, but it would lay the blame elsewhere since everyone knew I would never stoop so low. I smiled at Tig. His eyes were just starting the satisfying roll into the back of his head when I pulled the magic back and let it seep back into the air. He fell onto the table, gasping and moaning.

“Just get me the right stuff, boy and we’ll discuss your tenure later.”

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ANNE CARGILE

“You know, we can be civil about this,” the witch said kindly as she poured iced tea into one glass, and milk into a small bowl. She brought the beverages over to the table and set the bowl in front of the cat.

Lily, the cat, was sitting politely on top of the stool at the table, watching her. The occasional twitching of her whiskers the only indication she agreed.

“Thank you,” Lily said, and took a polite drink of her milk.

The witch nodded, and said, “I don’t particularly like to use poison you know, but I can’t have the mice running through my supplies and contaminating my herbs. Makes for very bad results when I cast a spell and it has mouse poop in it. I’m sorry that your friend was made ill, but what can we do to satisfy both our problems?”

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

Nat very carefully drew the tip of the arrow through the poison, watching the black liquid gleam and then sink into the metal. This particular batch was for an assassin who was very difficult to satisfy, but there was a reason Nat was called the best. Nat set the arrow on top of the roll of leather, and reached for the last arrow. He held it up to the light, admiring the grain of the wood, the expert fletching, the razor sharp head. Instead of drawing this through the jar in front of him, he stood and walked to the shelf behind his work-desk. He pulled the blue book from its place, and pressed the hidden lever. The false back swung forward, and revealed the little cubby he kept his most rare and potent potions. The tiny bottle had but a single drop left, and Nat has been saving it for a very long time, but now the time was right. He tipped the liquid onto the last arrow, and watched as the metal began to glow as if it has just been pulled from a fire. Then the glow faded, but if one held the arrow up to the light, the tip of the arrow now had a slightly paler gleam than the others. Nat smiled grimly. It was time for payback.

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JM PAQUETTE:

“What if I just poison her?” Cassandra offered. “It’s quick, simple, effective. You’ll never have to think about this again.”

Helen sighed, considering the offer for a fraction of a second. It certainly would make things easier. “No,” she said after a pause. “That’s too easy. I mean, even if there’s suffering involved, it’s too nice. She needs to pay for what she did.”

“And death is just too good for her? When did you become so hard to satisfy?”

“After I started boning a man who is literally the gods’ gift to women,” Helen quipped, unable to stop herself.

Cassandra blanched. “Come on,” she said. “I just don’t want to think of him on top of you, the two of you doing all manner of things…ugh!” she shuddered. “He’s my brother!”

Helen looked slightly abashed, but the expression fled quickly. It was kind of fun to nettle Cassandra when she got the chance. For a woman who saw everything, Cassandra was shockingly prudish when it came to relationships. Helen thought that being pursued by a sex-crazed god might do that to a person, but then again, she’d been pursued by all of Greece and she still appreciated a good time. It was just too bad that Paris hadn’t survived the war.

Being back home with her husband was nothing to compare. She didn’t think she would have been contemplating assassination if she’d still been in Troy.

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

Alistair searched the top shelf for a cobalt blue vial, “Where is it?” He muttered to himself, shuffling bottles to and fro. “Come out, come out, wherever you are,” he sung quietly trying to coax the missing bottle to appear. “Ah ha!” He blurted out with excitement and snatched the vial, satisfied with the results of his search. Alistair climbed back down the ladder and went over to the table where he had a scroll unfurled with opposite edges held down by a bowl. He slapped the paper with his finger and read the measurement…two drops. Two Drops was all it would take to make the deadliest poison the realm had seen in hundreds of years. Two drops, was all that stood between him and reclaiming his birthright as Archmage. Two drops and the King would cease to exist.

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BRANDON SCOTT

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Regardless – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 15 November 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Regard
  • Ruler
  • Format

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

JM PAQUETTE:

“Regard Less?” she read the name from the list carefully, focusing on each syllable as she spoke, not wanting anything to run into the next sound. She put the paper down and looked around the room. “Seriously? Regard Less? That’s your name?”

A boy in the front room nodded miserably. “It’s a family name,” he muttered. “My grandfather was Beauregard, but my ma thought that was too long.” He paused, then went on, “She wanted something nice and short, like our last name.”

The instructor nodded sympathetically. “Like Less. I see.” She paused, then read out the name with all of the dignity she could muster. “Regard Less, ruler of Garmin, land of Dragons and Misery.”

The class was in awe until she read that last word. A few awkward giggles swept through the assembled royal children.

“Are dragons all that bad, mate?” asked the boy sitting next to Regard, forgetting the etiquette and proper format of address.

The teacher squinted down at her paper, then held it up to the light. “Mystery,” she corrected in a low voice. “I see now. I really must get a new scribe.” She cleared her throat and tried again, “Sir Regard Less, ruler of Garmin, land of Dragons and Mystery,” she intoned. “Much better,” she decided, and Regard smiled at her.

She looked back down at the list of names. “Irr?” she asked, scanning the faces. “Regard…Oh, come on! Irr Regard?” She put the list down in disgust.

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LISA BARRY:

When I saw Ben take out the ruler, I turned and ran. Down the hallway and straight out the back door. The man was obsessed and despite my pleas he would not let it up. There was absolutely no way in hell that the distance between my cauldron and edge of the table was 2.5 inches and there was no way I was going to blow up the house. His lack of regard of my sensibilities was absolutely discouraging and I could not, nay, would not stay married to him another moment. My cauldron was my life and had been ten long years longer than my marriage. No man would ever tie me down again. Never. I stopped breathing hard from the run. I found myself in front of the local ice cream shop and perked up. Ben walked out the door and held out chocolate mint on a cake cone. He was lucky to have the format of dimension twisting down cold to have beat me here. He smiled sheepishly and showed me a ruler broken in half in his other hand. Gawd, he was handsome. I took the ice cream, watched as the ruler hit the ground and took his arm for the walk home.

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ANNE CARGILE

The plans just weren’t coming out. Dana rubbed her forehead, where a steady thump had developed. She regarded the paper in front of her and said, “Screw this”, threw her ruler down and turned off the desk lamp. A nice cup of tea might help she thought.

Colin was in the kitchen, where he’d been very nicely minding his own business while she’d worked. He looked up from whisking something that would probably end up being fattening and yummy and grinned at her.

It never failed. That grin had the power to make her heart stutter every single time, and the bastard new it.

“Did you figure out the format for the wedding reception?” he asked, winking.

“No,” she said and groaned. “There are too many people who don’t like each other. I can’t figure out where to put them that a fight won’t break out.” Dana groaned again and reached for the whiskey instead.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

“Your problem is that the format of your spell is wrong,” Moss pointed at the pile of feathers at the end of the pentagram. “What is that?”

Sara looked at the bloody mass, and her face colored. “I’m not really sure. My cat brought it in this morning, and it seemed fresh enough…” She trailed off at the pained look on Moss’ face.

The wizard pinched the bridge of his nose, gave a deep sigh and pulled out a ruler. He knelt down, being careful not to touch the cat’s offering, and began to measure the lines she had drawn. “Off by two inches. Off by two and a half inches. This one’s better-only off by one and a quarter.”

Sara was fighting tears, determined not to let him see how upset she was. Fortunately, he was so intent on critiquing her spell that he didn’t have attention for her. “And with regard to the placement,” he pointed at an oblique angle towards the door. “It should be lined up with the point to the North-north-west. If you truly want to summon the spirit of your grandfather, you’re going to have to start again.”

Sara sighed, and went to get the bleach. That blood was going to take some work to get out.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

Without regard for the wishes of any of the office, and while the rest of us were still considering the options, our branch manager Patsy had booked us for a team building exercise reenacting the civil war at the memorial.

This was from the woman who once tried to format her Word document with a ruler and a marker. Needless to say, I had a feeling it was going to go strangely. I was nearly certain that she’d gotten the job through nepotism or blow jobs.. There wasn’t any other way to quite make sense of her placement atop our branch’s pecking order.

So, on the day of, my first sign that the team building exercise was going sideways was that just after arriving, Patsy started trying to storm back to her car, saying she’d been gypped.

“Obviously, this isn’t the real battleground. I mean, there aren’t even any bullet holes in the statues! We got scammed.”

Rob from accounting talked her down – thankfully he knew better than to try to explain her mistake – while the rest of us clambered into tents to change for the mock battle. Dear God I hope there wasn’t any live ammunition, because I was certain to try to use it on her if there was.

www.DesisTwoCents.com

ALANNA J. RUBIN

Frank stared at the blank white paper and the ruler that he had placed neatly next to it and breathed out feeling ready for the next phase…making the architectural drawing. His feeling of satisfaction was fleeting as he realized he didn’t know what to design. The client had given him specific instructions, a format to follow, but the whole thing seemed odd. However, Frank couldn’t disregard the client’s very specific instructions. The client warned him that if he did, there’d be consequences and Frank believed him or to be more specific believed the very sharp fangs he saw in the client’s toothy smile.

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BRANDON SCOTT

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Faded Ribbon – an ISG Writing Exercise

On October 4th, these three words were chosen:

  • Leaving
  • Broad
  • Ribbon

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

The ribbon had been a present from her mother, given on the day of her first leaving, so many years ago it was lost in the fog of the past that shifted and evaporated in her decaying mind. “Grandmother?” a gentle voice asked, and her eyes focused on the bright face in front of her, pretty, with blond curls and bright greens eyes. Something stirred in the fog, but it was so hard to remember.
“Grandmother, can you hear me?”
The girl was probably seventeen, just younger than she had been when she had gone through the ceremony and the terrible ordeal that followed. Or was it an ordeal that had been followed by a ceremony? The memories were getting more and more mixed up now. She looked down, and focused again on the faded satin ribbon, the gold thread shining weakly against the burgundy cloth.
This ribbon had kept her safe. That much she was certain of, and she was also certain that the girl in front of her had to have it, for a reason she couldn’t explain, just that she felt in the depths of her ancient bones. She held it out to the girl in a trembling hand, and gave a sigh of satisfaction when she saw it in her hand, somehow broader than she remembered against the girl’s slim wrist and dainty fingers.
“Grandmother, what is this for?”
But Fate dictated that she would never answer that question, as her final breath slipped from her lips and she sank into the whiteness.

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LISA BARRY:

I finished tying the ribbon around her rich brown hair and admired my handy work. When the cops found her, they would have to appreciate my incredible work. It takes a lot of talent to make a dead body look this good. I pulled the broad belt around her waist a little snugger and then looked over the scene. An incredible replica of Sleeping Beauty but with a few extra touches to really make the scene pop. The vibrant blue flowers really brought out her dress and the hand drawn tattoos were awe inspiring if I do say so myself. Before leaving I spritzed the air with a long-lasting natural orange spray and took one last look around. I smiled broadly. This was so beautiful that I couldn’t wait to find my Snow White.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

I only had a few more hours left when the ribbon started to slip from my hair. I scrabbled for it quickly, terrified it might fall completely out, leaving me right out here in the open where anyone could find me.

I carefully re-tied the ribbon and walked through the broad iron posts of the courtyard, looking for my beloved in the hazy gaslight from the streetlamp.

“Laurent? Are you here, my love?” I whispered, not wanting to wake anyone from within the building. What they might see if they looked, I didn’t know. I had no idea how far the glamour could cast, but they’d certainly raise a cry either way. Laurent was not meant for me, and this was my last chance to let him down easily.

“My dearest,” Laurent was right beside me! I started in surprise as we embraced. I had missed him so since the last time I’d been able to see him.

“I’m leaving-” I began, as he cut me off.

“I’ve decided to run off! But, join me, please my dear.” He grabbed me by both hands, “we’ll travel the east indies, we’ll see the colonies! I don’t care, I just want to be with you.” His silk vest caught the light as his chest swelled with plans. Oh how I wished I could.

“I cannot. It just can’t be done.” His crestfallen look broke my heart. I wished I could tell him the truth, but I knew he’d never believe it. It would destroy him.

Instead, I said what would let him down most easily. “I’m sorry, dearheart, it cannot be.” I brushed a lock from his forehead lovingly, “I’m leaving tonight. My father promised me to a well-to-do tailor in Venice and I meet him tomorrow.”

He exclaimed, bravely as I’d expected, “I’ll follow you! I’ll live as your paramour, a canal driver, it will be so romantic.” He pulled me into an embrace.

“If you must.” I kissed him softly before I gently stepped free and turned to leave. Let him wander Venice streets. He’d never find me, as I’d still be in the graveyard around the corner from his childhood home.

www.DesisTwoCents.com

ALANNA J. RUBIN

The broad ribbon of sunlight seemed to move like a snake through the clouds, stretching its golden rays toward the grass and to Aidan’s surprise, it hit the ground with a bright flash that forced him to look away. When the light dissipated, he turned back to see the crater that it had left behind. Curiosity trumped Aidan’s judgement and instead of leaving for safety, he drew closer. As he neared the crater, the soft green grass turned into burnt stalks and eventually there was nothing but ash at the edge.

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BRANDON SCOTT

“I’m leaving,” she announced, getting up as the television still displayed its multicolored lights. “I am leaving now and you can’t stop me.”

Gerald looked over to her, his tired eyes only showing comprehension after a solid few seconds. The drugs in his system were slowing him down, not to mention the alcohol.

“Why?” he asked, his voice slurred. “Why you going, babe?’

She stared long at him and then cocked her head. A soberer man would recognize it as an “are you kidding me?” stare.

“Because the ribbon on her blouse is red,” she said, gesturing out at the television.

Gerald took another full second to turn his head toward the television again and peer at it. He smacked his lips once and then again. “Oh, no it’s not…”

“Oh, so you were paying attention to things, huh?” she said. She made a broad sweep of her arms to the entire room. “You want me to move in? Live here. And you let it be like this?”

She reached down and picked up an empty bottle of some energy drink, then a bottle of beer, then, weirdly, a bottle of hot sauce, half-empty.

“You expect me to live in this?” she stated, again, dropping all the bottles with a crash.

“Uh…” Gerald said, then blinked. He looked at the light of the screen as if it might have an answer. “Yes?”

She then left.

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It’s a Bug! – an ISG Writing Exercise

On October 4th, these three words were chosen:

  • Busy
  • Crisis
  • Bug

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

ERIKA LANCE:

“Stop it” he said as he watched his little sister flail around the room. 

“It’s a bug… It’s a bug…. AAAAHHHHH” she was screaming. 

He stifled a laugh, she would not be happy in her moment of crisis if he was chuckling at her expense. 

There had to be a tactic to getting her to stop running, so if she was in fact being plagued by an insect he should be able to remove this creature and rid himself of the noise she was making. 

He had been busy reading up on Poe for his literature class final, which was sure to be loved by every emo girl in his class when the ruckus had started. 

“Hold still” he said grabbing her arm as gently as he could.  

She mostly stopped and looked up at him and that is when he saw it. A huge centipede looking creature that was presently burrowing into his sister’s neck.  

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LISA BARRY:

I calmly watched the huge bug make its way from the tree branch to the window. It was pretty cool to see it’s underside and the stinger from this angle. My sister flew past me from the bathroom to the closet. I continued to watch the bug. It stung a good-sized ant and proceeded to bite its head off.

“Where is my yellow top?” Blair half yelled, half cried from the closet.

I thought about becoming a scientist. This shit was pretty interesting.

Blaire stuck her head out of the door, face red. “Since you’re so busy, how about helping me!”

“What is your crisis?” I asked, back to watching the bug devour the ants middle section.

“This is important! I have a business meeting and then lunch with Dave!”

I looked at her. Really looked at her as she tore up the closet. Dave was mine. I rose from the window bench and walked in. She stopped still and looked at me, backing up a step or two.

“Not the Dave you’re thinking of…” she whispered and dropped her eyes.

I backed up.

“Good, next time use a last name.”

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

Just when she thought things couldn’t get any worse, the bug showed up. It was a hideous things with too many legs, mandibles that clicked with a hungry sort of questioning repetition, and glossy wings that rustled against its back. It was also the size of a cat. Kella had been busy trying to avert the crisis brewing in her cauldron, but now she was on the table, her heart hammering in her chest as she watched the monstrosity crawl through her kitchen, praying to the gods that it couldn’t climb the furniture.
Out of the corner of her eye, the witch noticed the purple froth begin to flow more energetically over the rim of her cauldron, pooling on the the kitchen floor like luminescent fog in the wee hours of the morning. The flames spluttered, but clung stubbornly to life, which made the purple mist pour out faster and faster, and soon the floor disappeared under it. Kella could still tell where the giant insect was, by the way the mist moved, and the pair of antennae that hovered above the blanket of mist, but then even those were hidden.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

I was wrapping up the quarterly report when Jenny walked up, and I didn’t look up from my screen, instead opening the next set of spreadsheets and starting my review.

“Hey, Jenna.”

“Hey, Jenny. What’s up?” I was too busy for this. But, in typical Jenny style, she thought having nearly matching names meant we were destined to be besties. And she couldn’t see me busy without walking over to air whatever minor melodrama was occurring in her life at that moment. And since she was my boss’ personal assistant and most-favored plaything, I had to humor her, no matter how much she bugged me.

“So, my friend’s cat’s funeral is tomorrow, and I need to know if I can borrow your car in the morning to get there, since mine is being used by a friend of Mr. Jenkins. He asked me especially last night.” She beamed, as though a boss requesting inappropriate personal favors in off hours was a good thing.

“You got a morning off for a cat funeral?”

“Um, no I got the whole day off, silly. It’s in Topeka, and I’ll have to drive four hours there and four hours back, and then maybe I’ll need to sleep in the day after because that’s exhausting, right? You’d really be doing me a solid.”

“This isn’t really a crisis, Jenny. Can you borrow someone else’s? I need my car. You know, to go to work and stuff.”

She pouted. “Mr Jenkins said you’d be a sport.”

Damn. My boss assuming inappropriate things again. I finished working the spreadsheets and opened the next project.

“Okay, sure, but make sure he knows I won’t be here tomorrow or the day after, since you have my transport. You can get that approved, right?” She frowned, but sighed and flounced away.

Jenny, the walking drama. My fingers flew as I wrapped up the project notes. I knew just what I was going to do with my two days home.

www.DesisTwoCents.com

ALANNA J. RUBIN

Jared simultaneously wiped the sweat from his brow and shooed a bug away. He always felt tense when planting explosives due to the thought that one wrong move, and “boom”! He pushed the thought from his mind as he busily added the fuses. He wished he could be as calm at Thomas, who was standing guard at the doorway to the vault, not a hint of worry on his face. Nothing seemed to bother him. He was the perfect person to be on a mission with. No crisis seemed to ruffle his feathers.

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BRANDON SCOTT

“Son, I am having a crisis,” came over the phone, and Charley hopped into action without a thought. His phone dropped on the ground and his feet flew along the hardwood floor. Out he went from his house, stopping briefly to see the busy street in front of him.

“Crap,” he muttered, before taking out his keys like one might pull out a switchblade, and stabbing the lock, then the ignition. The car seemed to be in on the excitement because it roared with him as they both screamed down the road.

Or, rather, moved up to fifty, then back to ten at the nearest light. The traffic atrocious. His eyes bulged out of his head from the sudden stress of it, and then he decided.

This decision managed to upheave a large amount of the day for several thousand people and made him a more hated man than some political figures, but he did it anyway.

He got out of the car. Just leaving it sitting there. Several horns blared at this, but track team had been good to him in his youth and he was already about thirty feet from his vehicle.

Several people, close to a hundred, stopped what they were doing and looked at him as he sailed across the ground. His mouth hanging open and air spilling forth from his urgent lungs.

A final shuddering turn got him in front of the house. The final dash sent the flowers in their pots swaying.

Charley did not bother to knock. Instead, finding the hidden key under the doormat and opening the door with a bang.

His mother opened her eyes wide as he stood there. She stood, frozen, with a fly swatter in her hand.

“What’s the crisis?” Charley demanded, practically shouting.

“A… bug,” his mother replied, her eyes still wide.

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We Needed a Distraction – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 20 September 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Popcorn
  • Fox
  • Hustle

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

The queen sat on the makeshift throne, the silver cape lined in fox fur thrown over the stump. Her face was rigid, and her eyes were cool as she gazed out at the motley assortment of woodland folk in front of her.

“What is the meaning of this?” she demanded, her voice as regal as her expression.

The gathered creatures shuffled and looked at the others on either side of them, hoping someone would step up and take charge. No one did. “I do not have all day,” the queen said, her voice hardening further.

“Tell me what is the meaning of this?” She threw her arm out and pointed at the mounds of fluffy white material that covered the fields for as far as the eye could see.

A small fairy with blue wings stepped forward, bowed hastily, and then again as if this would buy him time.

“Well, your majesty, you see, it went like this,” he began, and then coughed nervously.

“They stole it from us first!” an angry voice shouted from the back, and a chorus of agreement sounded out.

It disappeared immediately when the queen raised her hand. “You’ll have to start at the beginning.”

“Those humans stole our magic jewels,” the blue fairy said in a bolder tone, now empowered by his fellows. “We just wanted to get them back. So we came up with this idea, for a hustle, you might call it.”

“That doesn’t explain why the farmer’s crop is now popcorn,” the queen said.

“We needed a distraction,” the little fairy told her, and glanced at the red dragon at the other end of the group. “Ember flew overhead and set the field on fire. We thought it was just going to burn, we didn’t think it would do that.”

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LISA BARRY:

“You’d better hustle, doll, the show starts soon.”

I glanced at my watch and panicked. Why is he always right? My roommate lounged carelessly on the oversized couch skipping through channels while I tore around the apartment to find the ticket. The stupid ticket that made my blood absolutely boil. Whose parents have a Harry Potter wedding and require you bring your invitation? Seriously. I love my mom but this is just weird. I glanced at the image of a fox on a chest and stopped. I opened the small box and sure enough, my ticket, invite whatever, was nestled inside.

“Can you stop for popcorn on the way home,” my roommate asked. Before I could tell him there was some in the pantry, he coughed out, “I ate the other bag already.”

That had been mine. Typical. “Hustle, doll.” He commented and I grabbed my bag. After today, I was finding a new roommate. As I drove a little too fast, I prayed that my Hermione outfit didn’t look too ridiculous and that whoever my parents had gotten to be Ron would be hot so I could at least have something tasty to hang on to as I walked down the aisle.

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ERIKA LANCE:

“God you’re a fox!” The guy said and then whistled. What year are we in? She thought as she continued to move through the crowd. Trying to add a little more hustle in her step lest that fine specimen of a man think she was interested. 

 

She began covering the movie premiers because of the free popcorn combined with her delight in watching celebrities watch themselves on the screen. 

 
Regardless of what they said in interviews, watching their reactions to their own acting or their co-stars on screen spoke volumes. 

 

I mean when your leading man makes a cringing discussed face during a kissing scene, he most likely didn’t enjoy his co-stars abilities. 

 

She grabbed her popcorn from the stand and made her way into the theater finding the perfect vantage point for this little thriller. 

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

I’d had to hustle to make it to the audition on time, and yet here I’d been, waiting for two hours with a dozen other women who could fit the bill for a “foxy older woman” that the casting call needed, while the casting agent took his time. He was probably not even working. He was probably doing lines of coke off one of the girls from yesterday’s casting call for “fresh-faced nouveau”, the one my agent had bluntly told me there was no way I could still pull off.

I rearranged myself in the pleather seat, uncomfortably stuck at the thighs to this hideous hollywood chair. Like most things in this damn town, the chair was all about how it looked, damn the comfort.

A beautiful young thing that I could have played ten years ago sat behind the reception desk and tapped a pen against her manicured nails in a rhythm waiting to be told which of us to send in next.

The fresh-faced idiot behind the desk picked up a phone and then called out, “Joyce Weathers?” At least this meant they were actually doing the auditions now.

The leggy woman sitting next to me stood, pulled her mini skirt down, and went into the room. Was she prettier than me? I sighed deeply and tried to give myself a pep talk while I stared up at the popcorn ceiling. But all I could think about was that all of these casting companies must use the same construction crews. If it isn’t fiberboard tile ceilings, it’s slightly sparkly popcorn ceilings, as though sparkles change how drab a low ceiling makes an office building. I tilted my head side to side to watch the sparkled on the ceiling, and to kill time.

Fuck this, I thought, ready to stand and leave. Just then, a greek god sat next to me. “Are you Denise?” the god said.

“Why, yes.” I jolted upright but was too stunned to say more. Or to pull out my headshot, as I’d trained myself to do.

He smiled, “Ah. I’m Stephano Morphopolous, the director. Let’s skip all this. You know, I saw you in “Vesper Court”. Dear god, no one had seen that historical drama, my best work. A total dud at the box office, though. No one except this guy, apparently. “I’ve got the perfect part for you.”

I must have looked startled because he laughed. “Come.” I peeled myself from the pleather and followed him, curious.

www.DesisTwoCents.com

 

JM PAQUETTE:

Seth put the popcorn in his mouth slowly, face uncertain as he considered the new flavor. She watched the curiosity morph into delight as he began to chew. “This is marvelous!” he exclaimed, a wide grin crossing his face as he grabbed another handful.

“I’m glad you like it,” she told him, glad as always that he was so accepting of this world, so excited about every new thing he saw or heard. Last week, he had grabbed her hand when she got home and showed her the new dance he learned from the television. “I think it’s called The Hustle,” he had said, swinging her this way and that as he moved his feet. Seth could adapt anywhere. It was why she loved him. That and the certain way he had of looking at her when he thought she wasn’t watching, that sly fox gaze that still made her stomach tighten and her legs giddy.

“Where does it come from?” he asked before shoveling another handful of glistening pieces into his mouth.

“It’s corn heated up,” she explained. “It bursts with the heat. Then we add butter and salt.”

He finished chewing and reached for another handful. “And the peddlers sell it in these special bags for the micker wave?”

She nodded, loving the way her words came out of his mouth. He had spent the first two days heating things up in the microwave, delighted at the ease with which food was made ready. “If you’d spent your life waiting for water to boil or a fire to kindle,” he had told her grinning face, “you’d do the same thing.” When she had laughed at him, he reminded her of her reaction to the first magic spell she’d seen. “You nearly fell right over,” he told her.

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

Maryn wandered the lush green grass letting her sense of smell lead the way. Her master had ordered her to hustle, but what did humans know. They didn’t understand what is was like to be a fox and the sense of freedom the outdoors held. It had been years since the human had placed Maryn into servitude and she cursed every day for breaking into the human’s house lured in by the smell of popcorn. The human had caught her in the middle of her snack and promptly cast a spell that bound her to him. Foxes were considered good luck in the Village of Castille, but Maryn was going to do her best to change that starting today.

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Hold Your Tongue, Woman! – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 20 September 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Hate
  • Dissension
  • Leather

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

DESIREE MATLOCK:

The ship creaked, and she nearly tipped off his lap, already teetering toward the floor before the ship hit a sweel. She could not believe it had led to this, to being thrown over his knee as she was in his quarters. He held her firmly against his leg as she struggled uselessly. She knew it was coming, but it still filled her with fresh hot hate when the leather strop slapped her behind. It stung more than she’d like as it hit, but she bit her tongue to keep from crying out.

“Hold your tongue, woman, and take your punishment honorably, or I’ll tan your hide again.”

“I did nothing wrong!” She protested. Another smack of leather spoke otherwise.

His eyes widened in disbelief at her words. “Nothing wrong? Nothing? First, you pretend to be a man for three weeks, pretend to be “Ben”, my first mate, no less, and then second, you Ninny, you sass me in front of the crew at shift change. I won’t have you creating dissension on top of all the superstition! A woman on board!” he yelled once more, and threw the strap at her, stood and walked away, letting her fall to the floor.” He looked momentarily guilty and she took advantage, arguing her case.

“So what I’m a woman? So. What? You would have let ‘Ben’ dress you down. You would have let me help you argue out your plans. It was working for us, for the whole crew! We were a great team. Does it have to be so different now?” She stood quickly, and smoothed the skirts the crew had found for her.

“Damn ye, you’ve got a sharp tongue on you.” His eyes softened, but he still looked cross, “I need Ben here, and not this shrew you’ve turned into.”

“I’m no shrew, no ninny and I’m right here!” She stood in her usual way, boldly, without feminine artifice. “If you need to argue out your plans, call me Ben or Jim or Saint Thomas for all I care. I’ll still find the way forward with you.”

He sighed deeply and sat. He glowered for a moment, then a sly grin creased his tanned face, and he nodded toward the door out to the deck. “You know what they think we’re up to right now?”

So what if they are? she thought to herself, while huffing. Out loud she said, “So what’s the plan?”

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LISA BARRY:

Cara looked around the warehouse in awe. When she was captured three days ago, this was not at all what she expected the rebellious crew of Lord Hate to look like. His was known for his hate, his torturous guards and most of all, his lack of mercy. But this? This was a den of leather covered men, happily playing poker, eating together and drinking something that smelled of honey and beer. Cara waited for the joke to end. Waited for the dissension, the leers toward her, the spitting, the…the other things she was too afraid to name. But these men, they laughed. They barely gave her a glance as she was led through the center of the busy room. At the end, more leather clad men were sharpening swords while they sang an odd but catchy tune. When the reached the other side, she was brought into make-shift kitchen where two young elves were busy doing food preparation.

“Shile,” the guard leading her called. One of the elves stopped and her purple eyes met his with a smile.

“Here’s some more help for you.” Shile gazed at Cara and nodded.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

“And what’s this?” Heather asked, pulling a bottle filled with black mist from the shelf. A red cork stopper kept the mist from escaping, but it still looked like it was pushing and fighting to get out.

“Hate,” the wizard said, and snatched the bottle from her. “Don’t touch anything.”

Heather crossed her arms, head turning right and left as she followed the irritable man through his lair. So many interesting things sat on the shelves, bones, and feathers, golden orbs, and fanged creatures floating in green liquid.

“Right,” the wizards snapped, and Heather looked forward.

They stood in front of a huge bookshelf. It towered over their heads, and disappeared in the dark gloom above them. Heather didn’t think she could read all the books on the shelves if she had three lifetimes. The books were all shapes and sizes, and piled haphazardly, like soldiers in the throes of dissension, no rhyme or reason to their placement, at least that Heather could see. Her hand reached out, fingers bushing the soft leather, but the wizard knocked her arm down.

“Didn’t I tell you not to touch anything?” he grumbled, then waved his hand and summoned a ladder which flew to him. “Wait here. I shan’t be gone long.”

He rapidly ascended the rungs, and was soon lost from sight far above her, and Heather was left alone with the books.

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ERIKA LANCE:

I don’t believe this could possibly be happening to me now she thought standing in the skin-tight leather outfit, bullwhip in hand. 

 

Mia peeked through the curtain again and sure enough her parents were sitting in the third row. She hated Chris right now. Come do an art show he said, you will be wearing a mask, no one will see you.  

 

As her anger level rose, so did her sweating. This was leading to a clingier feeling in these tight clothes.  

 

“Are you ready?” She heard a voice say behind her. Thinking it was Chris she turned around with such venom in her eyes that Tommy, not Chris actually jumped back from her. She liked Tommy, a lot, he was her favorite “cat” to tame during the show. 

 

Before she could even form the words to apologize, Chris walked up and looking between the two of them asked “Dissension between the kitty and his master?”  

 

Then her claws came out. 

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JM PAQUETTE:

“You know I hate it when you do that,” she snapped, the anger in her tone unmistakeable even as she tried to hide it. She grabbed the whip from her husband, smacking the leather loudly against her palm. “If you’re going to beat me with this, you’d better do it properly.”
“Oh my,” her husband tutted, “dissension in the ranks, and I’ve barely begun.”
She glared across the bed at him, whip tapping out a steady rhythm against her hand. “I just don’t want you to start something you can’t finish.”
He looked offended and snatched the whip from her hand, a stern look entering his eyes. “Look here babygirl,” he told her. “There is nothing I can’t finish.”
“Oh yeah?” she asked, a teasing tone entering her voice now as she turned to face him where he stood next to the bed. “You going to do this right?”
“You know it,” he whispered in what he no doubt thought was a sexy voice.
She frowned. “Nope. It’s just not working for me.” She crossed her arms across her chest, shaking her head slowly, long hair sliding this way and that across her back. “I don’t believe you.”
“Why not?” There was true concern in his voice now. He really was trying to do this right for her.
She gestured at the whip held loosely in his left hand. “Seriously?” she asked. “You barely know how to hold that thing.” She reached for it again, hopping to her feet as she did so. She pointed at the bed.
“Your turn,” she told him.
“What?”
“I’m going to show you how to use this thing,” she announced. When he seemed to hesitate, so put on her most stern voice, the one that made the nurses on the ward jump to attention. “Get. On. The. Bed.”

 

 

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

Gabriel held the black leather-bound book in his hands. Within its pages contained incantations laced with centuries of hate and dissension. To open it, was forbidden, but the current situation was dire and any means to stop Lord Dracon from enslaving the world, was worth the risk. The sun began to set, casting the sky with an ominous red glow. “It’s time,” Gabriel whispered into the air while opening the book.

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Small Bones – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 9 August 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Ghastly
  • Tea
  • Crunch

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

LISA BARRY:

Mauri took a sip of her tea and something crunched between her teeth. Her stomach turned as the many possibilities of items possibly in her mouth ran thru her mind.

Jon took a sip and made a face.

“Oh, that’s ghastly,” he commented and put the cup down. “Mauri, darling, your tea making skills have not improved.”

“I didn’t make that pot, mum did,” Mauri complained. Then giggled. “It is terrible, isn’t it.”

He rolled his eyes and stood, taking the pot with him to the sink.

“Ghastly,” he said again and looked into the sink. He stared.

“What it is?” Mauri asked.

When Jon didn’t answer she stood and rushed to look in the sink. Bits of fluff and small bones were scattered against last night’s dishes.

“Oh no, not again,” Mauri whispered as she watched her nose expand and fur sprout from her arms.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

“So, how did it go?” Tripsy asked when Nella staggered through the door.

“Uh, ghastly,” the little pixie groaned. “And the worst part is that I have to go back next week.”

“Whatever for?” Tripsy asked.

Nella looked sheepish. “Well, she asked me again, and I just couldn’t say no. What?”

Tripsy gave her a stern look. “You know she’ll just keep asking. You have to learn to say no.”

“But she’s so…” Nella fluttered her glimmering wings as she searched for the right phrase. “Large.”

“And what does that have to do with anything?” Tripsy tilted her head curiously.

“She looks like she could eat me in two bites, her teeth just crunching right through my bones, and then pick my wings out of her teeth with a sword,” Nella protested. “I can’t just say no!”

“Well, then, I guess you’re having tea every week with Mrs. Freston,” Tripsy shrugged and turned back to the book she had been reading. A gasp made her glance up, and then she was on her feet, hurrying to her friend, who had turned white and staring, her hand fluttering inarticulately. “What’s wrong?”

Nella turned glassy eyes to her. “I left my wand.”

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

Without thinking, I repeated myself. “Hello?”

I shouldn’t have done it, I realized too late. Did I really want to meet whatever terrible creature could respond from beyond time?

Out of the hole popped a hand and at first, I imagined a ghastly manifestation, some kind of spider snake thing. But no, I quickly realized it was just a normal hand. I watched as it was followed up by an arm, a shoulder, and shortly, the robed midriff of what looked like a somewhat confused person. He was holding a cup of tea in one hand, a pencil in the other.

“What are you doing here?” he pointed the cup of tea at me accusatively.

“Um, shouldn’t I be asking you that?” His eyes suddenly widened, and with a yelp and a crunch, he fell back into the hole.

I knelt down and yelled after him, “I demand an explanation!” more out of curiosity than anger. Before the hole completely closed, a scrap of paper floated up and out, landing in my hands.

“Response for petition of redress: Appearance before council on 38th March 113492.784. Compliance mandatory.”

I shoved it into my pocket. I had no idea how I’d make it wherever that was, whenever that was.

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

Samuel sat down on the cold rock in the woods and nursed the fire he had started to remove the chill from his immediate surroundings. While waiting for his friends to arrive at the campsite, he set the pot of water to boil to make some tea. If he was going to leave all the comforts of home behind for this guy’s weekend, he was at least going to have his tea.

The water finally boiled, so Samuel reached over to take the handle when a flame shot up and encircled his arm. He recoiled quickly, but not quickly enough to avoid a burn. At least it wasn’t that ghastly, he thought to himself. Samuel got up to grab the first aid kit when he heard some leaves crunch behind him. He turned around expecting to see his friends but was greeted by the toothy growl of a grey and white wolf.

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BRANDON SCOTT

Sipping his tea, Henry sat in his chair, at his table, and just breathed. It had taken a long time, as predicted, to bury those bodies. More than eight feet deep that hole by the end of it. It was a good thing he had had a ladder with his car, just for such an occasion.

But, now, as he drank, he tried to put it all aside. His wife, oh, without his wife around, he did not have to hear any noises or field any requests. Silence and calm, and all his money his now.

He lifted the tea to his mouth and then frowned when the liquid dripped down his hand. It wasn’t too warm or anything—the tea had cleared up in heat, but it was still odd.

He lifted the mug above his head, and found, at the bottom, a little-broken part. A sliver cut into the ceramic. He frowned, and then jolted when the whole structure of it broke apart with a crunch.

“What?” he said aloud, only to flinch, yet again, when a ghastly sound rang out and the entire table slide on its legs into a pile of disconnected wood. The teapot hit the ground too, shattering.

Then, the silence again. He stood up, unsure of how that had happened.

But, it was not over yet. He could tell—just from the hum in the air. The slight wind. And the peeling of the paint on every wall.

“Shit,” he muttered.

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Between Him and the End – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 9 August 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Die
  • Technology
  • Mouth

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

After the age of technology had died, passing in flame and ash and leaving the shape of the world changed, rivers dry and flat lands where mountains used to be, only a few remembered how things used to be. Martin reflected on this as he stood at the mouth of the cave, the dark forbidding and complete. No sound came from inside, it was as if time had stopped and swallowed whatever lay beyond. The midday sun burned down, heating the back of his neck where his cowl had slipped off his head, but even this did little to make the cool darkness appealing. Martin would have rather roasted alive than stepped foot within, but he had made it this far on his fated journey. He would continue, but only after a rest, a moment spent gathering his thoughts and steeling his will. The legends did not say what awaited him at the end, only that he must go, for if he didn’t, the silver monsters would return, and this time they would leave nothing of the world at all. A slow deep breath escaped Martin’s parched lips, and he took his first step towards his last days on this earth, no more knowing what lay between him and the end than he knew of the end itself.

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LISA BARRY:

“Die! Die! Die!” Connie yelled at her little brother. He sat curled in the chair where she struck him over and over again laughing his head off.

“What is wrong with you?” she screamed and backed away pointing at him. “How can you do such a thing!”

Rory was laughing so hard tears streamed down his face, wetting the front of his shirt.

Connie ran to her room, tears of anger threatening her burning eyes. She slammed the door and found herself in front of her monitor. Her mouth was pressed together so tight her teeth were starting to hurt.

“Damn technology” she finally whispered to herself. Then slumped into her chair. The screen blinked at her. A picture from her birthday party three years ago was on the page, repeated over and over and over again. She was just wearing underwear, boys Spiderman underwear no less and she was laughing at something. Her brother must have taken the picture and now her life was ruined as it was spread across the school’s blog. A ding sounded and the first text rolled in. The tears started to fall.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

“Redress of WHAT?” I thought. But, there was suddenly no one to ask. The hole closed up. I walked back over to my guests, looked down at my cake and time started up again.

And, back to miserable reality. I blew out the candles and put cake in my mouth, pretended engagement in boring small talk about other people’s weddings, babies and promotions. I nodded and smiled. After they left, I opened up my presents, leaving a small one with no tag for last. I looked at it, silver wrapping paper glistened strangely. Curiosity got the best of me and I picked it up. It immediately fell open, disintegrated, and left only a gleaming die in my hand. Not proper dice, just one. And not a fancy D&D style die either. Six totally normal sides. Totally normal except that I had no idea what technology could open, evaporate and otherwise nullify wrappings. Nice touch, though. No cleanup.

I inspected the die, bringing it up to my eye. The die was perfectly normal, but when I looked at the pips, they appeared to contain too much mass. I twirled to the one side. Looking at the single black dot hurt my eyes. I felt dizzy, like the impossible was in front of me, but couldn’t quite put my finger on why exactly.

“Okay, now what?” I said, sitting down on the couch. Nothing at all happened, no reply.

Was it weird that I found that disappointing?

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

Samuel’s eyes grew wide and his mouth went slack, looking into the eyes of the creature in front of him. The only thought running through his head was, I’m going to die. He stood motionless as the saliva dripped from the wolf’s mouth and wondered if it would hurt. As the seconds ticked by, Samuel’s fear began to subside and was replaced by curiosity. Why hadn’t it attacked? That’s when Samuel noticed it, a collar around the wolf’s neck. Except it was no ordinary collar. It looked like a piece of technology since there was a glowing green dot emanating from it. He began to approach slowly and the wolf remained still, but when the light turned red, the wolf lunged, and Samuel let out a scream that could wake the dead.

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BRANDON SCOTT

Next up in Henry’s new problems was the sudden and annoying malfunction of every piece of technology in his house. Just all of it at once blowing out and going dark.

And, thus, in the dark, he said, in the same intonation as before. “Shit.”

Then, he looked around in the dark and waited for something to appear. He had, of course, during the planning of the murder, thought of this as a possibility. But, he still did not want the word for what this was to come out of his mouth.

So, instead, he just said: “Hey honey. So, I take it God did not want you? I thought at least the devil would be willing.”

No response came, and he added underneath his breath: “Of course she would still be doing this even after I made her die.”

Only then did the next step in the supernatural process begin and the air in the kitchen took on a progressively warmer quality.

He sighed, knowing then, as everyone knows, that, in this specific circumstance, she would be right behind him. He had, at least, wanted to play around—maybe some poker—with her life insurance money, but, it appeared that moment of bliss with his tea was all he was getting.

That was until a revolutionary idea occurred to him. So inspired, in fact, that he would write a book on the subject and make millions.

He, without looking back, without exploring the meaning or the method of the horror, just walked out his door. His wife never bothered to lock it. It was one of the annoyances that had driven him to kill her in the first place.

He laughed hard as he walked to his car, already opening new property listings on his phone.

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Featured Author: Desiree Matlock

FEATURED AUTHOR

Désirée Matlock

www.DesisTwoCents.com

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!

 

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Silver, Spin, Birthday

The seventh time it happened, I really had somehow convinced myself over the course of the year that it had all been a figment of my imagination the previous six times. But, no. Here it had gone and happened again.

Just as I was preparing to blow out the candles, time froze, yet again, and a crack opened up in the world, right next to the ground. Just as the year before, and the year just before that, the world honestly felt as if it had just stopped spinning like every atom was wrong. Trapped even.

Every prior year, I’d just closed my eyes in panic, wished for the world to go back to normal, and blown out the candles. I’d kept them closed until I heard the simple sounds of reality again. The ones you don’t realize you need until they’re gone.

This time, instead, I held my panic at bay, took a deep breath and walked away from my party-goers. As I approached the crack in the world, I could swear it was growing a little. Seemed like it was more of a sliver now.

“Hello?” I asked. There might have been slight movement there, or it might have been a trick of the eye. If things inside the crack could change, had the world started up again? I looked out the window, but nope. Time was still. Everywhere.

I looked down, and the crack had become a proper hole. And there was definitely movement.

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Ghastly, Tea, Crunch

Without thinking, I repeated myself. “Hello?”

I shouldn’t have done it, I realized too late. Did I really want to meet whatever terrible creature could respond from beyond time?

Out of the hole popped a hand, and at first, I imagined a ghastly manifestation, some kind of spider snake thing. But no, I quickly realized it was just a normal hand. I watched as it was followed up by an arm, a shoulder, and shortly, the robed midriff of what looked like a somewhat confused person. He was holding a cup of tea in one hand, a pencil in the other.

“What are you doing here?” he pointed the cup of tea at me accusatively.

“Um, shouldn’t I be asking you that?” His eyes suddenly widened, and with a yelp and a crunch, he fell back into the hole.

I knelt down and yelled after him, “I demand an explanation!” more out of curiosity than anger. Before the hole completely closed, a scrap of paper floated up and out, landing in my hands.

“Response for petition of redress: Appearance before council on 38th March 113492.784. Compliance mandatory.”

I shoved it into my pocket. I had no idea how I’d make it whereever that was whenever that was.

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die, technology, mouth

“Redress of WHAT?” I thought. But, there was suddenly no one to ask. The hole closed up. I walked back over to my guests, looked down at my cake and time started up again.

And, back to miserable reality. I blew out the candles and put cake in my mouth, pretended engagement in boring small talk about other people’s weddings, babies and, promotions. I nodded and smiled. After they left, I opened up my presents, leaving a small one with no tag for last. I looked at it, silver wrapping paper glistened strangely. Curiousity got the best of me, and  picked it up. It immediately fell open, disintegrated, and left only a gleaming die in my hand. Not proper dice, just one. And not a fancy D&D style die either. Six totally normal sides. Totally normal except that I had no idea what technology could open, evaporate and otherwise nullify wrappings. Nice touch, though. No clean up.

I inspected the die, bringing it up to my eye. The die was perfectly normal, but when I looked at the pips, they appeared to contain too much mass. I twirled to the one side. Looking at the single black dot hurt my eyes. I felt dizzy, like the impossible was in front of me, but couldn’t quite put my finger on why exactly.

“Okay, now what?” I said, sitting down on the couch. Nothing at all happened, no reply.

Was it weird that I found that disappointing?

 

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