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10/20 Flash Fiction Finished!

Only 72 words over. I still would like to edit it down some, but here’s what I have. I finished it! And that’s the important thing. I realize my personal deadline’s only, well, over a month overdue. But 1k words was rough to jump back in on from being off the wagon. 🙂 I’ll still count it as an accomplishment!  Here it is:
___________________________________________

The ravens squalled overhead as I approached the contorted redwood. I should have let Toby come with me, but the deaf hag was insistent that I go alone.

“What if you get lost or run into a bear?” Toby argued. His arm was broken and he’d sprained his ankle.

“I suppose I’d have to feed you to it!”

The hag’s eyes were focused on our mouths. She grew tired of our bickering and bellowed, “Walk until the tree stops getting closer. Then you must hold your breath, turn around, and walk backwards.”

She yelled these words to me three times and I was left confused.

The sun was setting and I didn’t want to be in this creepy forest any longer than I had to. I took one more look over my shoulder at the sunset and made a dead-sprint for the tree. The mess of mangled limbs got bigger and bigger. I could make it before the sun sinks! Then, it stopped. I kept running, but the tree seemed to get smaller. It looked even further away than when I started running.

I stopped. The sky was getting dark.  I took a deep breath, faced the last shreds of orange light, and walked backwards towards the tree. I closed my eyes; I was light headed and my lungs were starting to spasm. I couldn’t hold my breath much longer.

My foot caught something and I fell backwards. The sound of splintering wood bounced off the trees. I was glad to breathe again. I turned around to get my bearings. I had landed on what used to be a pretty, wooden box. I picked off the cracked lid and found a mechanical chameleon. I found a crank on the bottom and twisted. A clashing wail cried out from the box and the lizard tried to spin, but wouldn’t.

We’d gotten into this mess because of a broken music box; here I was, breaking another one! The first had appeared in my mom’s old room at my grandparent’s house. Mom had found an old music box with a salamander in it. She cranked it; the salamander danced and flashed a fiery red and yellow while a song in a haunting minor key spilled out. She reached out to touch the lizard. It caught her finger with its tongue and she vanished in a burst of flames and the music box was nowhere to be found. Ever since that night 3 years ago, I have been searching for her.

As I stood, a gust of wind threatened to push me back down. Icy bits of rain tried to poke through my cheeks. I drew my hood more tightly around my face and looked up at the tree. It was riddled with notches all around the trunk and here was a hollow about 10 feet up. The tree looked like it could fall apart any moment, but I would freeze in this weather. The wind screamed and the thunder pounded through the forest. I nestled the broken box in my hoodie pocket then climbed and slipped my way up into the hollow.

Lightning attacked the trees. The forest floor glowed and danced as flames took hold of anything they could eat. They began to work their way up my tree. I huddled back as far into the hollow as I could and covered my face.

“Once song and fire combine, all will be fine,” the damn hag was echoing in my head. I cried out and chucked the music box out of the tree. The box came to life playing the same minor melody that had played for my mom. Flaming lizards crawled out of the box and headed straight for my tree.

The melody and blaze carried on through the night. Please, please, please,”was all I could muster as the smoke surrounded me. I don’t know who I was asking.

As morning broke, the smoke drifted away and everything began to cool. Coughing, I peeked out from my perch. Everything was scorched and parts of the forest were still smoldering.

The bark of my tree was cool enough to touch. I clambered down and got a better look at my tree. The lizards had fused with the bark in the shape of an archway and pulsed with an orange light. I reached out to touch one of the lizards. It snapped its head, hissed at me, and nipped my finger. I recoiled and a blister started to form.

“Jeez!”

I stood back to get a better view of the archway. The center looked hollow, so I tried to walk through it. Intense light flashed and I was thrown back, the melody ringing in my ears.

The entrance shimmered for a moment. When it stopped, I could see my mom on the other side. She saw me and tried to run through the arch. She was thrown back, too.

“Mom! Are you okay?” She got up and mouthed something back to me. I couldn’t catch it through the shimmering of the arch.

We both walked up to the arch and looked at one another. I waved and she gave me a sad smile.

We tried to break through a few more times before plopping down and staring at each other, exhausted. I snagged the music box. It survived the fire without the slightest scorch. Mom perked up and scooted closer to the arch. I moved to where she could see.

I opened the box and everything looked brand new.

Mom made a twisting gesture with her fingers, so I turned the box over and wound it. She motioned for me to wait. She pulled the music box from grandma’s house into view and wound it as well. She held up her fingers and mouthed, “count of three.”

“One.”

“Two.”

“Three!”

We opened the music boxes, the melodies clashed with each other, the lizards swarmed into a frenzy, and mom dove at me.

She made it through!

She tore the music box from me and chucked them both back into the archway. A horrendous screech blew us back. We just held one another and waited for our ears to stop ringing.

“It’s finally over,” Mom said.

“Where were you? What happened to you?”

“I promise I’ll fill you in soon, sweetheart. It’s a long story that I never used to believe. Your great, great grandma stole something she shouldn’t have. Now it’s where it belongs.”

__________________________________________________
The requirements:

~1,000 words (I’m at 1,072 without editing)

An Impossible Doorway–not QUITE impossible in my story, but I gave it a happy ending. I’m still considering making it a sad one in order to comply with the rules.

An Indestructible Tree–x

A Sudden Storm–x

An Ancient Curse–x

A Music Box–x

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Half of last Friday’s Flash Fiction

10/20 Flash Fiction:

Requirements:
~1000 words

An Impossible Doorway

An Indestructible Tree–x

A Sudden Storm–x

An Ancient Curse–x

A Music Box–x

______________________________

The ravens squalled overhead as I approached the contorted redwood. I should have let Toby come with me, but the deaf hag was insistent that I go alone.

“What if you get lost or run into a bear?” Toby argued. His arm was broken and he’d sprained his ankle.

“I suppose I’d have to feed you to it!”

The hag’s eyes were focused on our mouths. She grew tired of our bickering and bellowed, “Walk until the tree stops getting closer. Then you must hold your breath, turn around, and walk backwards.”

She yelled these words to me three times and I was left confused.

The sun was setting and I didn’t want to be in this creepy forest any longer than I had to. I took one more look over my shoulder at the sunset and made a dead-sprint for the tree. The mess of mangled limbs got bigger and bigger. I could make it before the sun sinks! Then, it stopped. I kept running, but the tree seemed to get smaller. It looked even further away than when I started running.

I stopped. The sky was getting dark.  I took a deep breath, faced the last shreds of orange light, and walked backwards towards the tree. I closed my eyes; I was light headed and my lungs were starting to spasm. I couldn’t hold my breath much longer.

My foot caught something and I fell backwards. The sound of splintering wood bounced off the trees. I was glad to breathe again. I turned around to get my bearings. I had landed on what used to be a pretty, wooden box. I picked off the cracked lid and found a mechanical chameleon. I found a crank on the bottom and twisted. A clashing wail cried out from the box and the lizard tried to spin, but wouldn’t.

We’d gotten into this mess because of a broken music box; here I was, breaking another one! The first had appeared in my mom’s old room at my grandparent’s house. Mom had found an old music box with a salamander in it. She cranked it; the salamander danced and flashed a fiery red and yellow while a song in a haunting minor key spilled out. She reached out to touch the lizard. It caught her finger with its tongue and she vanished in a burst of flames. Ever since that night 3 months ago, I have been searching for her.

As I stood, a gust of wind threatened to push me back down. Icy bits of rain tried to poke through my cheeks. I drew my hood more tightly around my face and looked up at the tree. It was riddled with notches all around the trunk and here was a hollow about 10 feet up. The tree looked like it could fall apart any moment, but I would freeze in this weather. The wind screamed and the thunder pounded through the forest. I nestled the broken box in my hoodie pocket then climbed and slipped my way up into the hollow.

Lightning attacked the trees. The forest floor glowed and danced as flames took hold of anything they could eat. They began to work their way up my tree. I huddled back as far into the hollow as I could and covered my face.

“Once song and fire combine, all will be fine,” the damn hag was echoing in my head. I cried out and chucked the music box out of the tree. The box came to life playing the same minor melody that had played for my mom. Flaming lizards crawled out of the box and headed straight for my tree.

Please, please, please,”was all I could muster as smoke surrounded me. I don’t know who I was asking, but the smoke drifted away and everything began to cool.

__________
Ok, 100 words less than half, but I’m warming back up!

I will get the 1000 words required of this story! I’m just trying not to force the pieces together. Trying to find a way for these items to naturally fall in place. But I gotta go peek at the next one up!

Resuming My Flash Fiction Challenges

I went back to one of my favorite sites to see what Friday’s Flash Fiction Challenge was, and I came back at a good time! This week’s challenge is a scary story in 3 sentences, but under 100 words. It must be a complete story, not a snapshot.

Since I only had to post in the comments, I’ll keep a copy of it here, too. Untitled right now.

____________________________________________________________

“Never look into the mirror after 3 am,” the blind man warned me, “you’ll see what she can’t remember.”

Here I stand and I stare, unable to look away from the agonized, bloody child crawling into my living room as the man in the plague mask stalks her.

The moment passes and I stand with my reflection; the hallway dark behind me.

_____________________________________________________________

Mirrors late at night freak me the hell out.

Man, I suck! No, wait… let’s be constructive!

Hahaha! I’ve had a new computer for a few months now and haven’t stuck myself back to the writing gig. Worst…. writer…. for the moment. I have gotten a kids’ book story board done; but not much since then. I log back in to find that I gained a comment and a follower since I last really did anything on here. That was forever ago that those things happened! Oops! Sorry about that!

Anyway, here are plans for the moment. I gotta get pumped back up. I’ve stopped swinging by my site that does flash fictions because I’m ashamed that I haven’t done anything yet (yeah, who’s that helping?) and so I’ve stopped writing my short pieces! I need to pick that back up.

Other plan–I want to start a little freelance editing! College papers, short stories, chapters, etc. I love seeing patterns and tweaking words to make better sentences. I gotta get a few things set up first, but the first several edits I offer will be free on the basis that I can use clips of your paper/piece to demonstrate my process. Please note, I am not going to post your entire work on the site, only a paragraph or two so I can show what kind of work people can expect of me. I’ll run it by you for your approval before I post anything.

Plus, if it’s a story and this biddness picks up, it’ll be free advertising for your book/story! If you wind up publishing something that I helped edit, I would be happy to post about it! Now, eventually, since this is going to be a freelance business, I’ll need to start charging at some point. Time is money, blah blah blah. Oh, yeah! And nerd needs software! I’ve still got my full-time bookstore job that I  love, so that’s not going anywhere. But I’m still living paycheck to paycheck.

Let’s help each other out! I still owe family from school, I’m still paying down college loans, and my parents are still helping me out with some of my bills.  You want to turn in something fluid, without errors, and tasty–you want to do this in an affordable way. I want to play with your words to make them that way and to get out of the thumb of debt while being affordable.

I want to edit more. I want to write more.

I have a few kinks to work out–how files will be sent, how payment will be received (eventually), as well as what the invoices will look like (I want to be legit, after all).

Let’s get these things to happen!

If you want me to edit something, send an email to rogwords@gmail.com and we’ll get started! For now, I’m doing this for free. I will do this for free until I have enough product to adequately show my skills! Send me an e-mail describing what it is you want to send to me, when it’s due (if it has a due date), how long it is (number of pages is fine).

Get it to me at least two days before your assignment is due–preferably earlier than that so I have time to do a good job of editing and you have time to see what edits you want to keep and which edits you don’t agree with.

Let’s do this!
~Paige

My Inner Two-Face

So! My feet have been dragging and kicking myself again! Procrastination strikes! Laziness has taken over. While I’ve had the drive inside to be creative, my other… inside… has preferred vegging out. And she’s been winning. I’ve been blaming the same culprits I’ve accused time and time again. Sleepiness, crummy computers, time, lack of energy. Really, I believe it’s because I haven’t set aside the time to get anything done. So the imp story hasn’t actually been developed beyond what I’ve written in the previous post. And that needs to change. At the very least, I need to get back to doing Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenges so I’m writing on a regular basis again.

Newest update, the Buttface and I are gonna be moving apartment complexes at the end of June. Rent’s gonna be cheaper so he’ll be able to better save for a car and I’ll be able to start having some play money instead of just getting by. I’ll also be able to actually save up for a computer while paying off my debts and having enough money left over for food and gas and a little flexibility! I know this because I’ve already figured up a spreadsheet through the end of December… We’re gonna wind up in a pretty spacious 1-bedroom apartment. We’ll miss having the extra bedroom and extra bathroom, but hey. Gotta save up! It’s only temporary!

In the meantime, I’m gonna start putting my cheapo-tablet to the test. Gonna see if I can at least start using it for writing since my laptop is on the fritz. I’ll see about getting this imp-story underway! (That way, next time I talk to my granny, I can tell her I’ve actually started writing things again!)

Imp Checklist

Alright, so my goal this year is to start a project, even if it’s not going to wind up published. This way I can get used to working through the process. I said it would start out as a flash-fic piece and that I would build from there. Why wait? I figured I’d start with this one. You don’t get writing done if you’re only thinking about it. But a world of imps, demons, ghouls, and poltergeists? I should probably have some background to work off of, even if only part of that background winds up in the actual story.

I was going to start with an outline, but I think I need to start a little bit further outside of the spectrum of the story for parts of this. Establish some parameters so I can be familiar with this world I’m wanting to create.

Little Imp-World-Building & Questions I Should Answer About this Story Checklist

  1. Imp’s back-story (same link as earlier) introducing his ticket to promotion
  2. Create background on how Imp became an imp; the choices that got Imp there.
  3. Describe the jobs of imps, demons, ghouls, and poltergeists.
  4. How many murders will guarantee promotion?
  5. How does the interaction between Imp and Human work? How do imps choose their targets?
  6. Describe the time Jessica and Imp had together from her first human kill.
  7. What happened to Jessica internally while her changes were taking place?
  8. How long did her murder spree last?
  9. Did she get caught?
  10. What happens come promotion-time? What happens to Jessica if Imp leaves?
  11. Can Jessica get so messed up that Imp is actually freaked out? Has Imp created something beyond its control?

That’s all I’m coming up with for tonight. More to come in the following days, but I have work early in the morning and should be getting to sleep!

~P

Throughout this process (if someone feels inclined to keep up with it or even glance at the occasional pieces) I’d appreciate good, honest feedback. If something’s really not working for you, please tell me. If something is fantastic for you, speak up! Don’t worry about hurting my feelings. Stories don’t get better by inflating people’s egos because you don’t want to hurt their feelings.

One of my fiction writing professors said it’s important to find at least 3 things you liked and 3 that you didn’t like about a particular piece. One further step you can take is offering an alternative phrasing/way to do it. If not for the benefit of the author, then for the benefit of yourself. How would you approach a problem if you came up against this in your own writing? Take a look at your own writing again, have you made similar mistakes? Here’s your chance to implement your new-found solutions! I really do miss the honest feedback of a writing workshop class. 🙂 Anyway! TO SLEEP!

Flash Fiction–Jessica Kill

Wendig’s flash fiction challenge this week is to put some music program/device on shuffle and the first song title is the title of your story.

Pandora gave me “Jessica Kill” by Sum 41.

I have 500 words… and… GO!

Jessica Kill

I’ve been an Imp for far too long. No promotion to my choice of demon, ghoul, or poltergeist until I can get at least one good, messed up murder spree completed. I’ve sat on many potentially great, terrible shoulders. I’ve worked the thoughts of many who “coulda-been,” but none pulled through. They all went crazy and died before they could do anything.

My first–Bartholomew the Court Jester: he was going to turn all the royalty’s heads into hand puppets and put on a performance I called, “The Royal Family at Dinner,” complete with 3 acts. He wound up helping some kid pull a dagger out of a rock, changed his hat, his name, and called himself a “wizard.” They played “King” and “Wizard” for months until the kid’s mom caught on and didn’t let them hang out anymore. Bartholomew lost it and ran off to some bog, ate a bunch of toads, and sank in a mudpit.

My 132nd–Morty the Undertaker: age 24, wound up buried alive in a magician’s coffin. The magician had actually died; Morty dove in before the funeral to be with 80 year old “Magnificent Vincent” for all eternity. He was supposed to carve out children’s spleens and serve them as hors d’oeuvres at their own wakes. He loved the idea. Once I got the cogs in his brain greased up, they started producing even more gruesome recipes than I could come up with. He was the ticket to my promotion. Instead, he fell in love with Vincent who was performing at a little girl’s birthday party. That little girl was the first, and only, victim I selected for Morty–he failed to kill her.

I was distraught. Morty was my 132nd failure at making a disturbing serial killer. 133 failures means that I would get demoted and sent back to purgatory. Oh, the paperwork of purgatory. Endless. No shredders. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Bah.

My last chance was at that party. She was there when Vincent died. Vincent rejected Morty’s advances and Morty knew in his heart that he had to be with Vincent forever. He spiked the magician’s drink with formaldehyde. Vincent heaved violently before the small girl who had just turned 10. Little girl with hair pulled back in a French braid and eyes the color of damp mulch. She just gazed at him as the glass in his eyes replaced his soul. Then she did the most beautiful thing; she grinned.

It was my invitation into that wonderful, freshly corrupted mind of hers. And she was open to suggestion. I started her off on her brother’s G.I. Joes. First task: carving out their eyes and removing their limbs. Second: practice on stray animals. On her 15th birthday, she was ready and I couldn’t be more proud! We wandered through her birthday sleepover; she and I were the only ones still awake. All 12 girls were sound asleep. All it took were two simple words: “Jessica, Kill.”