Drive — Thursday photo prompt: Onward #writephoto

Title: Drive
Source:  Thursday Photo Prompt: Onward #writephoto
Word count:  301 words

I adjusted the car’s rearview mirror for the hundredth time. There had been no cars for miles and I know where I have been. I shifted, peeling my leg from the red vinyl seat, my sweat pooling underneath me. I realized why granddad draped a towel on the seat whenever he wasn’t showing someone his baby with chest-thumping pride. The Goat, Grandfather of Muscle Cars, Grandad’s pride and prized possession. He bought the car, brand new, for $3,500, a lot of money in those days, all the money he had.

The Goat was a red convertible with a black ragtop and a big block V8 engine. In the blistering sun with no AC, I left the top on as I sped down the highway, watching the white lines streaming by, turning solid.

I stole the Goat from Grandad’s garage last night. Well, it wasn’t really stealing. The car would be mine someday he said, and I left a note. Grandad wouldn’t call the cops. I grew up listening to his stories. Stories of him evading the law, hiding out when he was my age.

By now they’ve told him what Hannah did, what I did. I pulled the chain around my neck working it free from my tee-shirt. The ring raked across my heart as I pulled, scratching my chest. When it popped loose, I pushed it onto my index finger to the first knuckle. A small diamond winked at me. I thought it would be enough. A promise. A place to start. I bought it using all my money.

I’m like Grandad. You don’t throw away the things you worked hard for, the things you love. I hold on to promises and the trinkets, thinking they are treasures. Like the weather, life changes. I kiss yesterday goodbye, and I drive.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Intervention — 100 Word Wednesday

Title: Intervention
Source:  100 Word Wednesday: Week 99
Word count: 100 words

Image by Andre Hunter

Anton checked. No bars. How did people live here? If he had a signal, he’d get an Uber and go. Where he wasn’t sure. Anywhere would be better than here.

“Give it up, man.”

Anton turned and saw Carpenter.

“It’s jammed. You ain’t goin nowhere til you see light.”

Anton pursed his lips, the furrow on his brow deepening.

“It ain’t so bad. I know. I am just like you.”

“You know nuttin bout me,” Anton said, shoulder checking Carpenter as he strode past.

Carpenter watched him walk away.

“Sorry, my man. But I know all about you. You’ll see.”

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Last Dance — 3 Line Tales

From Sonya’s 3LineTales at Only100Words.
You can find the original prompt here. Thank you, Sonya.

butterfly-close-up-on-yellow-flower

photo by Boris Smokrovic via Unsplash

I flit and flutter and fly, waiting and searching for you, my dearest love.

High and low I seek, knowing I must find you before I die.

When at last we meet, we waltz across the skies, lovers, soul mates, our destinies entwined, if only for today.

______________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Bird Away — FFfAW Challenge

Title: Bird Away
Source: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers
Word count: 270 words

three-skeet-shooters

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Yinglan. Thank you, Yinglan!

Slim, Joey and me was out in that old, dry riverbed. Just past old man Whiteblood’s place? Ya know? I was slinging pigeons, cause they wouldn’t let me shoot. Said it weren’t no fun when all my pulls was kills.

Likes I says, I was slinging pigeons, and they was a shooting. Missing, mostly. And after a while, my throwing arm was gittin sore. On account theys such bad shots, I could throw some birds three or four times.

Anyways, as we was shootin, the clouds started rolling in. They wasn’t like ordinary clouds, they was kinda spooky, not natural. Ya know? So, I was walkin out, picking up away birds and all of a sudden like, it got pitch black. And it got real cold. I got those goosebumps all over.

Then we seen this light. Brightest light I ever saw, coming through the clouds. Joey asks me ‘Did I see it,’ and I says ‘Yeah’. The boys they came and stood right besides me.

And thats when this big old silver disc appeared. Hangin right over our heads and all full of flashin lights. Kinda like a Christmas tree. Ya know? So, we was standin there watching and not knowin what to make of it all. And none of us sayin nothing. Didn’t want to sound all crazy like. Ya know?

Then this door thing, maybe a like a hatch or something? Ya know? Well it opened up. And this creature, I don’t know what you’d call it zactly, but it walked just like you and me. Ya know?

Well, that’s when Slim handed me his double barrel.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Enduring Love

stick-figure-hanging-from-a-red-heart-shape-pointed-on-wall

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

The hairbrush whizzed past my head, and struck the doorjamb, before falling to the floor and skidding under the bed.

“You bastard. You’ll ruin my life,” she screeched.

I stood in the doorway prepared for the onslaught, ready when it came. She slapped my face, and I felt my flesh burn. Her fists pounded my chest, and I smelled her familiar fragrance, it always enveloped her. I tasted it when we kissed and smelled it in my clothes when we were apart.

“You can’t leave. We love each other too much,” she said as the pummeling stopped. She leaned in, her arms weaving themselves around my neck. I wanted to hold her but forced my hands to obey.

“You love me. I know you’re angry, but you always come back. So just stay,” she cooed. Pressing against me, she lifted her head, wanting to be kissed.

I turned, and her lips grazed my still stinging cheek.

Offended, she pushed away, “Why does it matter? Why do you care?” she hissed and stared at me, tears welling in her eyes. Then she turned, collapsing on the bed and sobbing into her pillow.

That’s how I left her all those years ago. Smeared mascara, highlighting bloodshot eyes that said everything was my fault. It was a lie. It was too late. It was over. No one blamed me. They knew about the hidden bottles, the late nights at smoky bars and the denials, rehabs, and relapses.

Late at night, my phone buzzes.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

One More Step — Friday Fictioneers

Title: One More Step
Source:  Friday Fictioneers sponsored by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple
Word count: 100 words

rr-tracks-at-harpers-ferry

PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn M. Miller

I step past the tangled tree limbs encroaching on the railroad bridge, stopping at the edge.

“Do you dare step onto the bridge?” the voice asked. “One more step and no one can save you.”

I crossed hundreds, thousands of bridges, in my traveling years. I had never heard this voice.

“One. More. Step.”

I glanced around. I was alone.

Fast-moving water churned thirty feet below, the chill wind tugged my threadbare coat, my pack dug into my shoulders the weight a ton of bricks.

I stood.

Minutes? Hours? A lifetime?

Time to go home. It was one more step.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Dark Clouds — Weekly Writing Challenge

Title: Dark Clouds
Source:  Weekly Writing Challenge #170
The five words: LATE, STORM, FRAME, STRIKE, WRAP
Word count: 370 words

lightning-strike

Photo by Brandon Morgan on Unsplash

“Mom, we’re gonna be late,” Carrie yelled as she ran to the minivan. The large equipment bag hung from her shoulder, bouncing on her hip and her leg as she ran. She gripped the strap of the backpack slung over the top of equipment bag to keep it from sliding and crashing to the ground.

Missy stood under the gym canopy with the other moms while the girls chatted. She clicked the fob, unlocking the door for Carrie.

“Looks like it going to storm,” Rina said pointing to the dark clouds on the horizon.

Missy nodded, worry lines creased her forehead. She had checked her phone, finding angry red blotches on the radar display. It projected the storm would run straight at them.

“Mom lets go.”

Missy said goodbye to Rina, waved to the girls and hurried to the van.

***

The van’s windshield framed a massive lightning strike. Missy jumped, and Carrie screamed then giggled nervously.  Blinded by the brilliant flash Missy felt the hair on her neck and arms stand on end. She blinked, trying to focus on the highway in front of her.  Thunder cracked and boomed around her, slamming through her chest and rocking the van.

More lightning flashed, rippling across the sky, pulling giant chains of thunder through the sudden blackness it left behind. It was morning, but the sky was dark as night.

“Oh man,” Carrie said as she rubbed her hands over, her bare arms.

Then, almost on cue fat raindrops pelted the windshield and obliterated their view of the highway. Missy slowed the van and turned the wipers on high. The rain rose to the challenge and fell harder as the wipers danced. All around them the storm raged, and Missy slowed the van, pulling onto the shoulder before she stopped. It didn’t take long for the windows to fog as the temperature changed.

Carrie dug a hoodie from her bag, wrapping it around her in the sudden chill. They sat, huddled in the van and watched the greatest show on earth.

As the storm diminished Carrie reached over and held her mom’s hand.

“What a cool reason to be late.”

Missy smiled at her daughter and pulled back onto the highway.

 

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Out with a Bang

Photo via LoSchmi via VisualHunt.com

Photo via LoSchmi via VisualHunt.com

Despite everything, yesterday turned out to be a good day for writing.

It had been a while since visiting my MC so I went back to re-read. But I soon found that I was wanting to make changes. The huge sensor monster wanted to commandeer the keyboard and “fix” things. It was a battle with me insisting that I only needed to see where I had left the story to move ahead. I forced myself to keep reading.

“Really? You are not going to fix THAT?” he demanded as he pointed at a glaring error where an entire word had been left out.

“Fine. I will fix that one, but no more. If I start now I won’t ever get this written. Please come back when I am in Edit mode.” I slammed on the keys as I added the missing word.

But holding the sensor monster at bay is hard work. Finally, after resorting to subterfuge, and misdirection I managed to stuff him back in his box. Knowing that if I kept reading he would manage to escape, so I gave up and decided just to write.

By this time, I had it all planned in my head. I knew exactly what I wanted to get down, but that didn’t happen. Nope, the story was highjacked by the MC and we took a detour that wasn’t on the map. He insisted on a flashback. The session ended up with him dictating and me writing. Normally I hate flashbacks. If this was something that I needed to know in the story, then why didn’t you tell me earlier?

But this one was kind of cool. It was sort of like having a tour guide give you an account on how the place came into existence. To be honest I didn’t mind being the stenographer since I really didn’t have to come up with much. Nope. Just write.

When we were done, the tally came to just over 1,200 words.

Keep on Writing

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

Photo credit: Pensiero via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Pensiero via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Yesterday I dusted off my crystal ball and saw some amazing things.

Lists are king. At least in my world they are. They are how I get things done, keep track of all the minor details and have all the ingredients I need to fix a wonderful meal without having to go back to the store because I forgot something. To say that I am a list junkie is a bit of an understatement, but they do keep me focused. They are also a bit of a ritual.

I don’t make New Year resolutions per se. Instead I make out a list of all the things I want to accomplish in the coming year and I don’t stop there. That list then gets prioritized and broken down into Little Goals and Big Goals. Little Goals are things I can get done in a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Big Goals are those things that take much longer, months, years even. Big Goals are treated much differently than Little Goals.

First, I only take on one Big Goal at a time. This is the thing that I will spend 80% of my time working on. Everything else gets the remaining 20%. You see the key to my lists is that I want to get things D-O-N-E, done. In the past, I have tried working on multiple Big Goals and nothing seems to ever get done. There is a reason for that. It has to do with time and the perception of success.

Consider the table below. Say I have 160 hours to work on my goals in a month. So, working on five goals that each take a month to complete if I work on them evenly, I will be 20% done with each goal at the end of the first month. At the end of five months all five goals are 100% complete. In theory.

table-1

But I will guarantee you, I know how my little pea brain works and by the end of Month #2, I will have given up on a couple of them. Working this way, I will be lucky to have two of the goals 100% complete by Month #5.

Now consider this table.

table-2

Same five goals that each take a month to complete. But here I only work on one goal in the first month. At the end of the month I have one goal D-O-N-E, done. Success! Then the same thing happens in Month #2, D-O-N-E, done. Success! Using this approach I am a goal obliterating superstar! At the end of Month #5 you had better believe that all five goals will be 100% complete. (Since I am a now a goal obliterating superstar I may have even added a goal or two.)

They say success breeds success and I am here to tell you that is absolutely correct. So, what happens when the one Big Goal that I am working on is going to take five months? Easy Pease. I just break that down into what I want to accomplish in each of the five months.

And then I take it one step further. Those monthly goals are broken down by week and day. Just like with Nano. How do you write 50,000 words in one month? You schedule to write 1,667 words every day. In theory.

I know that I am not a machine and there is no way I am going to be able to keep up with that schedule. Life gets in the way and your best friend who you haven’t seen in ages comes to spend the weekend. Do you think I am going to tell her “No”, “Don’t come I have to write 1,667 words”? Absolutely not. She is going to come and we will be up past our normal bedtimes doing girl stuff and I won’t write a word.

To make sure that life can happen and I still reach my goals, I schedule buffers, and catch-up days. For Nano I scheduled 2,500 words per day for 20 days. Still very do-able, and it gave me 10 days for life and to catch-up on those days that I couldn’t come up with even 500 words.

Yesterday’s gaze into the crystal ball reached well into 2019. Three whole years! Amazing! To get there I must take care of what is on the list for today. What happens in the future depends on what I do today.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

To Looking Forward

Photo credit: Cali2Okie (April) via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Cali2Okie (April) via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to the fast-approaching new year.

Here, the joy of Christmas was made more poignant due to a death in the family. My uncle’s passing served as a powerful reminder of the need to recognize what is truly important in life. Perhaps it was just me, but this season’s gatherings seemed to have more meaning for everyone. From the Christmas card that conveyed an expression of thanks for including their family in the festivities, to the way people lingered at the door, reluctant to leave as the time neared for the gathering to come to an end. All of this and more reinforced my belief that these celebrations need to happen all through the year.

While I have spent the last two weeks fully engaged with other priorities, the importance of getting the first draft of my book completed has skyrocketed to the top of the list. Speaking of lists, it is also that time of the year as well. Time to plot out the journey for the coming year. Time to dream of all the things that we want to accomplish. Time to figure out what mark we want to leave on 2017. Time when endless possibilities lie before us. We can take the best from the past to build on to make the new year unforgettable.

I have dusted off the crystal ball and am preparing to…

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer