Tag Archives: Author Nicole DragonBeck

She looked Adorable – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 13 December 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Telescope
  • Stickler
  • Beard

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

DALIA LANCE:

“I can’t see a thing” Marcia said seeming even more frustrated then before.

Chris smiled a little because she looked adorable looking out of the telescope into the night sky.

Since he spent most of his time studying the stars, when he had met Marcia and saw her joy and wonderment it renewed his passion for his work.

He got up and walked towards her “Let me help you.”

As he came up behind her putting his hand on her waist she turned and at first gave me a small pout on her lips and then smiled reaching up to his face. She put both hands on the side of his chin, running her fingers through his beard and pulling him in for a kiss.

After a few moments on simply enjoying each other Marcia pulled away and smiled again “fix it please.”

Chris of course couldn’t resist and looked out of the telescope and sure enough there was something blocking the view. He moved around to the front of it, not wanting to leave her embrace and looked at the lens. There was a sticker on it that had hearts and said “I love you”

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LISA BARRY:

 

I scratched my short beard and thought about the best plan of action. If I went over there, the little witch might be able to do something foul to me too, but I was stickler for punching bullies where it counts. Carson was human, so he wouldn’t be very useful except…

“Hey Carson, let’s go have ourselves a chat with some little hotties.”

Carson stood nervously from his chair, but he was totally into it. As soon as we got over there, Pink met my eyes and gave me a smile that would have stopped a normal mans heart. The witch frowned but when Carson finally got the courage to say hello, her concentration dropped and Pink girls words, to me I noticed happily, were heard halfway through her sentence.

“I wondered when you would come same hi,” she said. I sat down and asked if I could get her another coffee.

“Get lost,” the witch said to Carson.

“I think you may need to rethink your friends,” I said softly to Pink even though I was a little scared to telescope in to her friend like that. She frowned but knew I was right. I girl that looked exactly like the witch came from the back of the coffee shop and blinked her lashes at Carson. He immediately started talking to her. The witch huffed and left the table. Carson and I smiled at each as we realized that we had actually scored some decent babes.

 

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

 

She swallowed, and edged to the side. The wolf’s eyes followed her, and when she had almost made it around the the chair, when the wolf backed around and cut her off. “Can you call him away?” she called to the man behind her. A sharp whistle made the wolf pad past her and back to its master. “Come sit with me.” She sighed. “I really don’t have time for small talk.” “Then we won’t talk small. Sit.” Something in his voice couldn’t be argued with and she sat. His beard was thick and neat, his face worn. The wolf sat with its head in his lap. An open satchel on the table showed an array of impressive tools, a knife, a telescope, a crystal ball, and other things that she didn’t recognize. “I’m sorry for the informality, I’m not a stickler for pomp and circumstance,” he said, and chuckled. “I suppose I’ve been out in the Wilds for too long to be fit company for civilized folks.” “Whatever made you go out there?” she asked. “The question is what made me come back,” he replied, the jovial expression falling from his face.

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BRANDON SCOTT

Henry’s gaze was like a telescope on Little Timmy, growing closer and closer. And despite the weak protests of Kyle, so small beside him, he moved forward almost automatically. Flowing forward on his feet and with eyes wide.

“I am sorry,” he said, his voice weak. For that moment, with the darkness of his fetish in his soul still bared, he looked frightening. His beard, though mostly managed, was a scraggly thing, reddish-flecked but mostly brown.

Little Timmy looked up with wide, tear-colored eyes. So full of reflected light, it contrasted with the red puffy skin beneath. “You blew out my birthday candles. You blew out my candles!”

Henry did not flinch, did not react much beyond the darkness in his eyes growing more powerful, more pronounced, as he stalked forward. This talk of candles was doing things to his body. And he was doing a poor job of controlling that.

“Oh, don’t be such a stickler for this. Don’t be so that way, okay?”

Little Timmy sniveled but still looked at him with disdain. Some things, it appeared, were not so easily forgiven. And, to a kid, that may have been the greatest crime ever committed.

“Suck it,” Timmy said, drawing upon the strongest swear he felt comfortable to use—even if the meaning was lost on him slightly. Suck what?

“It’s all over, okay? I don’t have any more candles; can’t you protect me and forgive me?”

Protect?” Timmy spat back, and then his eyes widened. Henry was still stalking forward, but that was not what he was looking at, what he was gawking at right then.

Henry got it too late, and turned, only to have a flower pot explode on his face, and the water wash over his skin. His eyes swam, and the kick to the groin dropped him into unconsciousness.

Kyle panted, and stood over him, eyes wide in a different way. He was not aware he could be that violent—it had not occurred to him.

“I’m calling the police,” he muttered.

“Yeah—the cops will get him for my birthday,” Little Timmy said.

Kyle pursed his lips and bopped his head. “Sure…yeah. That is what he’ll go to prison for. Right.”

He let out a sigh and looked up at his son. “Tim, buddy, could you maybe wait upstairs?”

“I want to see the police,” came the immediate request.

“I’ll buy you a new cake,” Kyle said, his voice flat.

Timmy was pretty sure he did not have to give into demands on his birthday but went along with it.

 

 

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Someone was Watching Her – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 13 December 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Candle
  • Black
  • Wax

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

She made her way down to the tavern. The streets were rapidly emptying as everyone scurried to their homes. She adjusted the basket of bread on her shoulder, and went through the wide doors. Warm golden light and the smell of ale greeted her, and she relaxed. Walking up to the counter, it was several moments before she realized someone was watching her. It was several more before she found him, sitting in the darkest corner, his eyes glittering like gems. A single candle flickered in front of him, the wax oozing down the sides. She was disconcerted when she saw it writing and looping on itself to form the likeness of a beautiful flowering vine.

“Do you like my work?” a voice issued from the shadows.

She averted her eyes, and dropped into a shallow curtsy more as a reaction rather than a gesture of any respect.

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean, sir,” she murmured, and though she was no longer looking in his direction, she could plainly see the wax dripping into a perfectly normal puddle in the saucer.

“I’m sure you don’t,” the voice agreed.

She turned to continue to the bar to drop off the bread for dinner, and found herself confronted with a massive black wolf, its golden eyes level with hers and a pink tongue lolling from its mouth.

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LISA BARRY:

Carson’s love interest reached deep into her bag and pulled out a black candle. I couldn’t help but raise a brow. Where I’m from, that it not generally a good indicator. But since we were on Earth’s plane, I found it hard to believe that the pretty dark girl could do much more than stink up the quaint coffee shop we were situated in with random herbs and scents of burning waxed. I wondered if the proprietor would even allow for burning candles. I took a sip of my coffee and realized that it had gotten cold while I drooled over the pink girl. In a lovely accent, she kept chatting away at her dark-haired friend who seemed bored really, as she set the candle on a napkin between her and Pink and lit it. She leaned in to the candle whispered some words tossed an herb on, saw that coming, and then smiled at Pink who kept talking. I realized that there was now no sound coming out of her mouth. I sat straight and took a better look at Carson’s girl. She nodded and smiled at Pink but I knew damn well she couldn’t hear anything. I glanced around but no one else seemed to notice that lack of noise. Well, hell.

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DALIA LANCE:

Mari realized talking Cara down from this euphoric high she had from Brad’s spell wouldn’t happen without real proof. Brad was presently in the part of Man-of-her-dreams after-all so breaking the spell before he broke here was going to be tricky.

 

Mari picked up her phone and texted Brad: Can we meet?

 

She thought about being more subtle, but again, time was of the essence. 

 

Although Brad had told Cara he was busy with work and that is why he couldn’t see or talk to her now, Brad replied almost immediately: What were you thinking?

 

Mari looked at Cara and then responded: I will be at your apartment in an hour. Be ready.

 

He replied with a thumbs up emoji. Boys are dumb.

 

Making a bad excuse, Mari left Cara at the bar and headed home. She needed to grab one thing to be ready for the encounter.

 

She made it to his door with exactly five minutes to spare and when he opened the door his apartment was lit with only candles and he was wearing a black robe. She looked down as it was hanging open and asked “Did you wax for me?”

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JM PAQUETTE:

“Like a candle in the wind!” I was singing along to Elton John, sitting in my office, staring at the computer, lines of words streaking across the screen, wishing that finals week was over and I could just listen to music without using it as crutch to get me through the day. “Never knowing who to cling to…” I continued, bopping my head in time and leaning forward, trying to find a thesis statement amid the seemingly random words of the student essay I was grading.

            “Uh, miss?”

            I jerked upright, words falling silent as I looked at the door. A student stood there–well, I thought she must be a student. She had the right look for this time of the semester–harried, uncertain, nervous but desperate enough to venture into the professor’s office for one last chance to plead her case. She ran her hands through her black hair, a nervous gesture, and I swung my chair around to face her while reaching out to lower my soundtrack.

            “Yes?”

            “Are you Dr. Paquette?” She looked around the office, back to the door with the nameplate on it, then down at the stack of papers on my desk, my name clearly printed on the upper left hand corner of the top one.

            “I am,” I admitted, waiting for her to lay into her plea.

            “Oh,” she said, standing there nervously.

            “You can sit down,” I gestured at the chair opposite my desk, and slid the stack of papers away from the edge so she could lay down her notepad.

            She stood there for another long moment, and I wondered if she was expecting an engraved invitation, complete with a wax seal. “What can I help you with?”

            She sat, shoulders slumping heavily, eyes wet with desperation. “Well, you probably know that I never came to class this semester but…”

            I leaned back to listen to her story.

 

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BRANDON SCOTT

“But, truly, you do not understand,” Henry said, again managing to push his will into the world and standing up to his full height. He was taller than Kyle by a good foot, and Kyle took a step back in alarm. A child was upset, but he did not want to be decked for defending him.

“Okay, then…explain it to me.”

Kyle regretted this almost immediately as a gleam came into Henry’s eyes. Something not wholesome in the slightest. Something almost dark in him, or at least shaded.

“Well, it’s like this…” he began, his face more and more animated. “The wax—the smell of it. That’s what goes for me to do it, okay? I can smell the heat and—”

“Okay. Stop,” Kyle said, looking a tad green. “That’s enough—I did not want to know. It’s a candle though. Like, it’s not like we are talking about even ears or feet here. Don’t you see it’s just wrong…”?

“Wrong?” came Henry’s question. “It’s a burden, yes—and I am sorry for Timmy. But it’s not like it’s morally an issue.”

“That’s not the point. You stole a child’s wish.”

“Oh, like that’s real,” came the snappy retort.

Off in the corner, quiet and sulking, Timmy began to sob uncontrollably.

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Brandishing his Sword – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 13 December 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Blow
  • Infatuated
  • Streak

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

JM PAQUETTE:

“Only a word?” he recited. “Why not couple it with something? Make it a word and a blow!” At this, Christian stood up, brandishing his sword at Bryan, who was supposed to leap back in a display of cat-like ability. Bryan was playing Tybalt, after all, prince of cats, and he needed to show that he deserved the title. The audience would need to see it.

Of course, Bryan’s reflexes were more dog-like than feline at the moment, and he stepped back awkwardly, knocking over the table where Christian had been resting his feet, lounging as his character Mercutio was supposed to do until he jumped up and Romeo arrived and the real fight started.

The table fell with a crash, a few drinks spilling and bouncing around on the floor. Marie made a note to not fill them with anything on the night of the performance. Bryan may be adorable with his lean limbs and long brown hair, his face offset by the streak of white blonde just down one side. He swore it was natural, but Marie doubted it. The line was just too perfect. No doubt he went to the hair salon each month to get it colored. She just couldn’t picture him doing it at home, standing over the bathroom sink with a strip of foil scrunched up around his face, waiting for the timer to ding so he could rinse it off.

No, surely Bryan didn’t do such mundane things as stand in front of bathroom sinks. But as she thought about it, she decided that maybe he did. And he would be adorable as he stood there. Everything he did was adorable, even knocking over tables and spilling drinks. That’s what happens when you are infatuated with someone.

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LISA BARRY:

She had a streak of pink down her hair on right side and I couldn’t tell if it was natural or not. People here might think me dull by that comment but honestly where I’m from, her hair colors could easily be natural. I thought about blowing from this hang, but she was just so cute. And she had these little fangs sitting on her lips. I wondered if those were real too. If they were, she would be a really fun time.

“Check her out,” my friend Carson said and pushed his long jaw toward my pink girl. I was about to growl at him when he continued, “she’s got that thick dark hair that I would love to wrap my hands in.”

“I glanced over and saw that pink girl was sitting next to a raven-haired girl with rosy cheeks.

“Oh yeah, for sure,” I commented. I think it would be easy to be infatuated. I wondered if other people were curious about my pointy ears. Did they think I got plastic surgery? Or did they know with certainty that I was born with them. Pink glanced up and met my eyes. She smiled and those teeth, man, fake or not, I’d like to play with her.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

Ever since she could remember, she had been infatuated with the stars. She would sit for hours just watching the skies, with the glittering diamonds streaking and falling. And then one day they were just gone. All of them. She went out every night and waited for their brilliance to return, but all she had for company was the chill wind blowing through an empty sky. The others were scared, and set alight huge pyres to appease the gods, but the stars did not return. She was not scared, but she was sad to lose her sparkling friends. For a long time, she wondered where they had gone, and continued her nightly ritual though it was a cold and lonely time without the stars. After a while, she no longer went out every night, and then not every week. Finally, she no longer noticed the flat black sky that was left when the sun disappeared behind the horizon, and her childhood wonder never entered her thoughts. That all changed when the man with the silver eyes arrived in the town, at his side a massive wolf.

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DALIA LANCE:

As Mari looked across the table at her friend she could tell she was totally infatuated with her new beau Brad.
Cara’s look could only be described as swooning and it was making Mari nauseous. Honestly Brad was a player. A horrible flirt and Mari knew that Cara was just the latest in his long line of conquests. 

Brad, for whatever reason, like the thrill of the hunt. Making the girl fall head over heels so when he merely entered the room you could blow the girl over like a feather because the only life raft was him.

He was on a real streak too. This was his third girl in less than a month. Mari usually didn’t care because the vapid airheads he normally chose to pray on were better gone from the circle but this was actually one of her friends. 

“… and then he told me his heart beat only for me…” Cara was finishing looking even more wistful. Mari decided she had to do something.

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BRANDON SCOTT

“I am infatuated with it, yes,” he said, sitting there, his face only slightly red. “I mean, everyone’s got something right? Don’t shame me.”

Kyle shook his head slightly, working words he could say around in his head until they fit what he thought was a good way to put it. But, none came to fruition, so he just went with: “Yes…sure…but most people don’t do that…most people do not have a streak of ruined parties.”

“It wasn’t ruined,” he protested, his voice somewhat shrill.

“Will they ever speak to you again?”

“Some of the kids did…” He trailed off and looked out the window, trying to find a counter-argument to the accusation.

“The parents?”

“No,” came the flat answer.

“Well, alright, so you admit that you should not blow—”

“Now wait,” he interrupted, standing up and raising his hand. “That’s not—that’s not…I need to, don’t you understand.”

“Then get help.”

These words seemed too heavy for him, as he fell back down into his seat without much defense. Eventually, he mumbled out: “It’s not like it is hurting anyone really. What’s a few…people make exceptions for your eccentricities all the time.”

“Yes, but I am allergic to cats and I am afraid of knives—different entirely. You can’t do what you do.”

“But—”

“Henry, you cannot blow out every birthday candle you see in sight. Little Timmy will never get over this.”

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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.

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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

Coming soon!

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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.

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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

Coming Soon!

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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.

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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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Curious Little Creatures! Featured Author: Nicole DragonBeck

FEATURED AUTHOR

Nicole DragonBeck

www.NicoleDragonBeck.com

Nicole’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!

____________________________________

Turkey, messy, narrow,

 

He walked down the narrow alley, the dead turkey swinging at his side. They would eat well tonight, better than they had all winter. The dead bird was scrawny, and had not been plucked, so it would be a messy preparation, but still his mouth watered at the thought of hot, roast meat. His stomach gave an answering grumble. Shadows moving behind him pulled him from his lovely fantasy, and he groped for the rusty knife in his belt. He turned to look, but the alley was empty. After a moment spent searching the darkness, he convinced himself that he had been imagining things. He shrugged and turned to continue home. He ran into the tall man standing in front of him, swinging the silver topped cane with a smile that bared pointed teeth.

____________________________________

marked, butterscotch,  grime,

 

“Who are you?” Tim stammered, clutching the turkey to his breast as if it would protect him.

The second man smiled wider. “My name is Toppam.” The man bowed and touched his hat.

Tim started. No one had ever bowed to him.

“And who do I have the pleasure of addressing?” The man had a pleasant smell reminiscent of butterscotch hanging around him, and his fine clothes seemed to repel the grime of the dirty alley they were standing in.

“My name is Tim. Tim Calloway,” Tim nodded, and raised his hand to his forehead though he had no hat to tip.

“Mr. Calloway, it is an honor to make your acquaintance,” Toppam said. “Would you walk with me this evening?”

Tim didn’t think he had a choice, so he nodded and fell into step beside the tall, sinister man.

“You are probably wondering why I came to seek you out,” Toppam continued in the same dignified voice that hinted at a private joke.

Tim nodded. “Yes, Mr. Toppam, sir, the thought has crossed my mind.”

“No, it’s just Toppam,” the man corrected, flashing pointed teeth again. “And it is a simple enough answer Mr. Calloway. You’re a marked man, sir, a man marked for greatness, if you would only allow me to assist you in that endeavor.”

____________________________________

Zone, ghastly, tickle,

 

Tim swallowed. “I don’t know about that Mr. Toppam, sir,” he said, forgetting that the man wished to be called simply Toppam. “I’ve never done anything great in my life.”

The tall man threw his head back and laughed, then turned and patted Tim kindly on the shoulder. “You are such curious little creatures,” Toppam murmured, more to himself than to Tim. “Such potential, and yet so shortsighted and narrow-minded at the same time.”

Tim gave a nervous cough, and distanced himself by two paces from the frightening man. “Mr. Toppam, sir-”

“Just Toppam, if you please, Mr. Calloway,” Toppam smiled, this time his lips pressed closed.

A tickle of unease rippled down Tim’s spine, and the fact that the man insisted on calling him Mr. Calloway made him more uncomfortable still.

“Toppam, if it please you, sir,” Tim continued, pushing past the lump in his throat. “If it’s all the same to you, I just want to go home to my family. They’re hungry, sir, and waiting for me to bring them supper.”

“Unfortunately, it’s not the same to me, not at all.” Toppam gazed at the sky, a ghastly expression on his face, one of age-old suffering, then he twirled his cane once more, and the expression was gone. “That is a fine bird. Tell me, how did you come by it?”

“Won it in a game of cards, fair and square, Toppam, sir,” Tim said, lifting his chin.

Toppam chuckled. “If it makes you happy to think so.” Toppam snapped his fingers, and the turkey vanished.

Tim let out an unmanly scream, and stumbled back against the wall, quaking as Toppam stepped towards him, reaching into his jacket.

“Please don’t,” Tim pleaded.

Toppam grimaced. “I’m not going to hurt you.” He withdrew a small square of paper. “Have you ever seen this woman?”

Tim squinted at the picture of a girl with blond curls and dark eyes for a long time, just to be sure. “No, sir.”

A sigh escaped Toppam’s lips, and he looked relieved, the darkness leaving his face and his eyes lighting. “There may be time yet,” Toppam said.

 

About Nicole DragonBeck

NicoleInto the AbyssNicole DragonBeck was born in California one snowy summer long ago, the illegitimate offspring of an elf and a troll. At a young age her powers exploded and she was banished to the wilderness of South Africa because her spells kept going inexplicably awry. There she was raised by a tribe of pygmy Dragons and had tremendous adventures, including defeating a terrible Fire-Demon that had been tormenting a sect of Dwarf priests. In gratitude they taught her the arcane magic of writing and the rest is horribly misinterpreted history. She reads as much as she writes, is obsessed with dragons and Italians, enjoys cooking, listening to music and can often be heard fiddling on a keyboard or guitar. She currently lives in Clearwater, Florida, is a member of The Ink Slingers’ Guild and is working on several novels, all of which have at least one mention of a dragon. She lists friends, music and life among her greatest influences.

The fourth book in DragonBeck’s Guardians of the Path fantasy series was recently released. Check out the first book in the series, First Magyc, and prepare for adventure!

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That One’s Marked – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 18 October 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Marked 

  • Butterscotch 

  • Grime 

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

LISA BARRY:

Sully licked the butterscotch from his fingers and sat heavily into the stool. He looked over the small pub and smiled, his missing teeth making Fitch, who was standing nearby, flinch. The room was covered in grime and old beer but the night had been a good one and even the grime couldn’t keep Sully from his joy. He tossed a copper to Fitch who barely caught it.

“Get some’in to clean it, eh?” he said. Fitch nodded and pocketed the coin.

“What about ‘em?” Fitch pointed toward the far corner.

Sully’s lip curled down and he frowned. “That one’s marked, he is. I don’t know if’n we should leave ‘m there or kick him out.” He jingled the coins in his pocket. “Feeling lucky today. Let’s leave him to dry out, yeh?”

Fitch nodded and patted Sully on the shoulder before heading to the stairs toward his room.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

“Who are you?” Tim stammered, clutching the turkey to his breast as if it would protect him.

The second man smiled wider. “My name is Toppam.” The man bowed and touched his hat.

Tim started. No one had ever bowed to him.

“And who do I have the pleasure of addressing?” The man had a pleasant smell reminiscent of butterscotch hanging around him, and his fine clothes seemed to repel the grime of the dirty alley they were standing in.

“My name is Tim. Tim Calloway,” Tim nodded, and raised his hand to his forehead though he had no hat to tip.

“Mr. Calloway, it is an honor to make your acquaintance,” Toppam said. “Would you walk with me this evening?”

Tim didn’t think he had a choice, so he nodded and fell into step beside the tall, sinister man.

“You are probably wondering why I came to seek you out,” Toppam continued in the same dignified voice that hinted at a private joke.

Tim nodded. “Yes, Mr. Toppam, sir, the thought has crossed my mind.”

“No, it’s just Toppam,” the man corrected, flashing pointed teeth again. “And it is a simple enough answer Mr. Calloway. You’re a marked man, sir, a man marked for greatness, if you would only allow me to assist you in that endeavor.”

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ERIKA LANCE:

“I don’t think that is butterscotch” she said as she pointed to the grime on the cookies.  

 

“What do you mean?” He replied. 

 

“Well, for one, it is green.” She said, and when he seemed unconvinced she continued “and then there is the smell.” 

 

She realized then, although first mistaking him for human he had none of the senses.  

 

“Why were you marked?’ She asked as she dumped the tray of cookies covered in green slime into the trash. 

 

At first she could she he was going to be defensive. Then before he uttered a word his head dropped, no longer meeting her graze and said “Twice. This year and the last.” 

 

She felt some pity for him. When a fay lost their senses, sight, smell, hearing, they became more and more human losing any identifier of their race. 

 

“What did you do?” She asked. 

 

“I fell in love and then wouldn’t give up on her” he replied. 

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

Axton wiped the grime from his brow and then popped another butterscotch morsel into his thin-lipped mouth. He’d been trapped in the tomb for at least a day, he calculated, based on the remaining number of morsels in his bag of candy. Axton had followed the instructions marked on the worn map he’d found on a dig in Giza. It had promised the riches of one of the wealthiest dynasties of Egypt, but so far, he was met with nothing but death. The natives had warned him of the curse, he didn’t listen and now he was in serious trouble.

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BRANDON SCOTT

“Uh, no, well, I would not appreciate it,” Henry replied, and took a step away as it waddled toward him, still disturbingly glistening and now somewhat tainted by the floor’s grime.

“Oh, well, hypocrisy and a butcher then,” the bird said, his voice taking on a grim tone. “We can’t have that. Perhaps I teach you how we serve humans on Bird’s-Giving then.”

“You made that up,” Henry commented, stalling for time. He looked for some sort of weapon—but it was dead already, so he had no idea what would help.

“I did. Yes.” The turkey made the inside of its hollow neck produce a sucking sound. “But, then, since I did, I get to decide the traditions. How about you are drowned in butterscotch, or lit on fire with brandy. How about I stuff you with cactuses?”

Henry did not like the sound of any of that. A deep sense of confusion was also making the whole thing odder. How had he gone from a cook making his soon-to-arrive family a meal to a marked man fighting a demon turkey?

“Gobble, gobble,” the creature said, his voice slow and menacing. With one leap, he flew into the air—not actually flying, his wings were plucked—and slammed into the face of poor Henry.

Henry let out a shout but still managed to grab the demon by its leg, and hang it upside down. The bird suddenly, and comically, had no real way to deal with this.

“Oh,” Henry muttered. “Right.”

Strength or no strength. It was still tiny.

“I guess you’re not done cooking yet,” Henry said. “I guess some more time in the oven might be in order.”
Noooo!!!!” the turkey roared.

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I Warned You – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 18 October 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Turkey
  • Narrow
  • Messy

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

ALANNA J. RUBIN

Jordan narrowed his brown eyes as he stared down at the messy wooden table. “Not again,” he muttered as he watched a turkey with green and red tail feathers peck at the food. “Max,” he said in a scolding manner, “how many times have I warned you about using my wand?” The turkey looked up at him with human green eyes. It was a bit disconcerting to see those eyes in a turkey’s body, but Jordan shook off the eerie feeling as he went about looking for his wand. He was walking about the table trying to dodge over-turned dishes and chairs when he heard a crunch. Jordan swallowed hard as he gingerly stepped back to reveal his wand lying on the floor in two pieces. He caught Max’s gaze, who human eyes now held a worried look.

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LISA BARRY:

As I skimmed down the narrow alley trying to be as quiet as possible I thought about the coming events. A duel. I’d never been in a duel before. I was fast, sure, but I’d never needed to really know how fast. I always thought I would eventually be in a duel but not for something like this. I ran into a gentleman. Completely by accident. Messy business that. Not in a million years would I be so foolish as to do something like that on purpose. I gnawed the last bite of my turkey leg and carefully placed it on the ground at the end of the alley. I looked around the corner hoping… but there he was. With an entourage too. I pushed my shoulders back and, head high and walked toward them. As I passed the first man I was taken aback as I was flung to the ground, my knees hitting hard. I bit back tears, pulled in a breath and stood. Then I realized my hat had been dislodged. It toppled to the ground. My heavy long mane spilled out and a hush took over the crowd.

He is a girl,” someone declared. I cringed.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

He walked down the narrow alley, the dead turkey swinging at his side. They would eat well tonight, better than they had all winter. The dead bird was scrawny, and had not been plucked, so it would be a messy preparation, but still his mouth watered at the thought of hot, roast meat. His stomach gave an answering grumble. Shadows moving behind him pulled him from his lovely fantasy, and he groped for the rusty knife in his belt. He turned to look, but the alley was empty. After a moment spent searching the darkness, he convinced himself that he had been imagining things. He shrugged and turned to continue home. He ran into the tall man standing in front of him, swinging the silver topped cane with a smile that bared pointed teeth.

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ERIKA LANCE:

This was going to be a complete disaster. 

 

Monica looked out at the motion that was her living-room; parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren all crammed into a tiny space. All were waiting to gorge themselves on more food than they ever needed to eat in one meal. 

 

She looked back in the kitchen to the messy island that the now thoroughly burnt turkey was sitting on. Monica weighed her options. 

 

On the one hand she may be able to come up with an excuse and a horrific story that involved a narrow escape of some life-threatening incident that caused the further demise of the afore mentioned turkey. Or possibly she should use option B. 

 
As she watched grandma Ethel pull out her dentures to show Mikey, Monica’s seven-year-old nephew who immediately went screaming towards his mother who was engaged in a conversation with her sister’s husband that looked way to flirty for a family event she made her choice. 

 

She turned, removed her apron, grabbed her coat and left through the back. 

 

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BRANDON SCOTT

The table could be called several adjectives, each more extreme than the last. But, for the sake of avoiding rude language, Kevin went with the simple go-to of “messy.” Smeared in gravy, doused in tiny pieces of bread, and containing a long trail of yams and cranberry sauce like some massive snail had gone through the area.

All of this paled though, from the thing standing on the table, on its’ hind legs, wielding a carving knife with supreme hostility.

“You…you butcher!” the thing cried, and Henry flinched. Not because he was insulted—he was a literal butcher, after all, that was kind of the whole reason the creature was here actually—but because he could not fathom how or why a headless turkey would be able to talk to him.

It glistened underneath the lights, the golden-brown skin of a perfect roast only increasing the surrealist nature of the proceedings.

“Um…I’m sorry?”

“Sorry!?” shrieked the bird, and Henry flinched again as a knife missed by a narrow margin his ear. He glanced back as the implement stuck out of the wall, still vibrating.

So, the bird was super strong, too. Great.

“I am very sorry?” Henry ventured. “I did not…well, it’s Thanksgiving and all. It’s the custom?”

“And you expect me to care?” the fowl said and jumped down off the table. “I suppose, then, if it were the right holiday, it would be okay to cook and eat you?”

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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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