What the Butler Saw — Weekly Writing Challenge

Title: What the Butler Saw
Source:  Weekly Writing Challenge #170
The five words: LIVE, KNEEL, PLAN, EGO, LINK
Word count: 150 words

lady-colin-cambell-(1897)-by-Giovanni-Boldini

Lady Colin Campbell (1897)
by Giovanni Boldini

This was no way to live. Her marriage was a sham, orchestrated by her mother to raise her social status. Her mother insisted the wedding would take place even though her husband was not suitable. The road brought them here.

Gertrude watched the jurors kneel on the floor and peep through the keyhole of the dining room door. The judge charged them with determining the accuracy of the butler’s testimony. Could the butler, peering through the keyhole, see Gertrude In flagrante delicto with Captain Shaw?

The plan, of course, was a divorce. Prove the infidelity of a wayward wife, establish her dubious moral standards and suspect character, and sooth the great lord’s ego.

In the end, the judge denied the divorce refusing to sever the matrimonial link. Ostracized by society, she forged a new path, gaining acclaim and genuine friends. But, still, each day she prayed for her husband’s death.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Countdown — Friday Fictioneers

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

Copyright –Douglas M. MacIlroy

During the previous window, there was a moment, when it almost connected. Since then, the sisters had been working ceaselessly. They consulted the ancient texts, checked the schematics and reread the prophecy.

Sister Minette insisted they were close. She felt the equipment only needed minor tweaking. Sister Prudence demanded they pull it apart, dissect and question everything they believed.

They had been pursuing the answer for centuries, and in recent years, technological advances had given them new hope. It was hope they needed.

Sister Minette was giddy when they loaded the equipment into their cars and headed for the rendezvous.

 

***Note: Read about The Rendezvous here.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Birthday Breakfast Surprise

bright-colored-cereal-floating-in-milk

Photo by David Streit on Unsplash

Caleb woke early. Today was her birthday, and he planned to show her how much he loved her. He slipped from the bed and tiptoed to the kitchen.

He dropped bread into the toaster and prepared a tray. Standing at the open refrigerator, he realized he hadn’t thought beyond the toast. He set butter, jam, and orange juice on the counter then added Lucky Charms and milk.

He filled the bowl with cereal, then topped the box, spilling cereal onto the counter and floor. He tried to pour the milk, but it sloshed over the edge of the bowl and onto the tray. Smoke snaked from the toaster and he beat the handle until the charred bread popped. His tossed the toast onto the plate and attempted to scrape away the black spots. Crumbs flew everywhere.

When he poured the orange juice, he knocked the glass and sent it crashing to the floor. This wasn’t going as he planned.

“Caleb! What are you doing?”

Caleb was pushing orange juice across the floor with a soaked paper towel.

“I’m sorry, Mommy. It was an accident. I didn’t mean to,” Caleb’s voice quivered, and a tear trickled down his cherub face. “I was making you breakfast in bed, and now it’s ruined.”

Darlene surveyed the splattered kitchen.

“You did this for me?” she asked as her hand covered her heart.

Caleb nodded.

“This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me,” she said as she scooped him into her arms.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Rendezvous – FFfAW Challenge

Title: The Rendezvous
Source: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers
Word count: 170 words

dusk-car-headlights-in-the-distance-on-a-tree-lined-two-lane-road

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

Hours ago, I parked my Harley on the graveled shoulder where the road curved, creating a sightline for miles. Dead flowers, candles, and crosses piled at the base of a scared old oak bore evidence of the dangers lurking here. A faded photo flapped in the breeze.

I leaned against my bike, waiting. A well-worn path cut through the woods ending at a creek. Across the road, trees lined a soybean field and, in the distance, sat an old farmhouse. I had seen no activity, no cars, no wildlife and knew there was no satellite surveillance until 11:47 tonight. It would be close.

Dusk descended, and I waited in the darkness with my bike. Two cars, following closely, approached, pulling next to me. The sisters emerged, nodded in my direction and opened both trunks.

They assembled the equipment and nodded once more. Stepping to the control panel, my fingers flew, playing the sequence I had memorized as a child. Lights flashed. The sisters bowed their heads, and our work began.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Painted Faces — Flash Fiction Challenge

Title: Painted Faces
Source:  Flash Fiction Challenge
Prompt: Write a story about graffiti.
Word count:  99 words

graffiti-painting-john-Lennon-glasses-and-eyes

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I work at night, heading home as office workers rise. Later it reverses. They sleep as I gather my tools and lock my door.

Deep into the night, I tread, cans clanking in my bag. The world is silence. A cat slinks through the alley and the wind whispers secrets.

Arriving at my chosen wall, I don my respirator and shake my aerosol can. The can’s clinking echoing the sound of the approaching freight train. Ever vigilant, I spray the wall according to plan.

The morning light reveals my newest creation, and they smile at yesterday’s plain brick wall.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer