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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bony Fingered Limbs Jungle Gym photo Flash Fiction Challenge


Jungle Gym of Love, by L. Anne Wooley


     There she is... that red headed girl. My secret love. She is so pretty...and graceful...and smart. She is taller than me. "Willowy," is a word used by Miss Johnson my teacher. Daddy would say, "She hangs the moon." He explained to me, that was a figure of speech. It meant that whomever was saying it about the other, was in love with that other person. The moon is a symbol of love. It made more sense when Daddy said it. Yes, she hangs my moon.
     I watch her swing from one rung to the next...and the next, effortless. While others can only hang on one rung, then drop. I sit about 30 feet away, on the swings, gazing upon her.
    She swings her legs up between the rungs, and bends them around the bar. The upper part of her feet hold her in place on the next rung over. She lets go and hangs only with her feet and knees. Her long hair catches the sun, as if it were on fire.
     She sways back and forth, her hair whips behind her, and she looks over at me. My heart skips a beat, and she blinks. She then blows me a kiss, winking. She whispers my name, and she tells me, "You are the only one for me Seamus Egan.... Then we are on the beach, we are running hand and hand...
    "Hey Bookworm!" the sneering voice told me I had company. Toby Boyd is five feet five inches, to my four feet two inches. His hair is a shaggy dirt brown, which matches his eyes (as I've been that close). He is not gargantuan...a word I've had to spell...and is pretty clumsy. And I was sickly, asthma is my downfall. I always carried a rescue inhaler with me. It sucked not being able to play normally with the other kids. But Toby Boyd, he has no such infirmity. He is dangerous at close range. I choose to ignore the cretin.
     "Hey Bookworm," the sneer in his voice deepened into a mean chuckle. The answering chuckles told me my arch nemesis Toby Boyd was not alone. I could hear my Mama's voice telling me, "...to ignore bullies Seamus. They are beneath you. They are unworthy of your attention."
     I lean forward on my swing and I look toward the main part of the playground. The playground monitor should be somewhere close by; but, of course, the monitor was on the other side of the playground. And I have asthma, running is out of the question.
     A sudden shove, and I am airborne. My glasses preceding me to the ground. I reach out with my hands to break my fall. I feel them scrape the blacktop as I came crashing down. They sting as I reach out to pick up my glasses, and I decide I'm better off on the ground. I now think that it is a good time to try to talk him out of hurting me more.
     "Hey Toby. Why do you pick on me? What did I ever do to you?"
Toby Boyd ignores me. Instead he says, "What are you looking at Bookworm?" Tobys eyes narrow, and I feel like I'm a bug, who is about to get squashed. "You think you are so much better than us! Always showing Miss Johnson how much you know! Teachers pet!"
    "So you don't like me because I don't dumb myself down to your level?" I couldn't help it...it was out before I could take it back. The 'Teachers Pet' was a low blow however. Nobody wants to be singled out by a Teacher!
    Toby Boyds hand curled into a fist. I could see the knobs where his fingers bent. The skin tight and whiter than the rest of the surrounding skin.. I steel myself for a blow and close my eyes tight.
   "Splat," following closely by "thud," and I cautiously open my eyes. I see red hair in front of me. I hear sobbing, and I lean to my right, to see around the red headed girl, and see Toby Boyd who is now on the ground. Fascinated, I see blood seep between his fingers. His buddies helped him up, and they all run to the school building.
     I straighten again, and red head turns around. I know every line of her, every freckle as if she had a face full of stars. I knew then, we were destined to be together for always. She asks, "Are you all right Seamus?"
    I nod and feel my heart beat faster. I feel my face break out into a blush. "She knows my Name!"
   "You better get those hands checked out by the school nurse.... you have some pretty nasty scrapes there." She smiles and then turns to walk away.
    I feel stupid, I gotta say something! "Thank you Maggie Morse."
     She looks over her shoulder and winks, "You are most welcome Seamus Egan."


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stevens Castle for Boney Fingered Limbs Sand Castle Competition


Stevens Castle  by L. Anne Wooley

"But Mom... I want to go to the mall with Chelsea!"
"I told you young lady, your father and I are going to the open house this afternoon, and you have to watch your brother Sarah Grace!   You're going to have to call Chelsea and cancel.  That is final."
"But..." then I heard the dial tone.  Mom hung up on me.  It was so unfair!  I never got to go out with my friends, I always watched my autistic brother Steven.  He is disconnected, could not even communicate.  Steven is 12, tall and skinny, with brown hair and matching eyes.  His eyes were always moving.
I brushed the hair away from my eyes, wishing for the umpteenth time that I had brought a ponytail holder.
Steven was good at one thing; he could create beautiful works of art out of normal objects or substances. He could create the most exquisite detailed replicas of whatever castle he saw a picture of, and turn it into art.  I wondered if he lived far away in one of his castles, where he could be normal.
Today is my 16th birthday.  I didn't want to be tied to my idiot brother all day.  Then I felt guilty, it wasn't Steven's fault.  I could hear my mothers voice saying much the same. Steven was oblivious to my turmoil, or even that it was my birthday.
Malibu was unusually slow for a Saturday morning.  I was glad, Steven hated crowds.
I looked at the time on my cell phone, ten thirty a.m.  then I noticed my friend Chelsea had texted.
'Were r u?"
I opened up my keyboard and typed "@ the beach.  no can go 2 day! :("
"?"
"Mom...hav 2 watch Steven."
"Bummer...it bein ur bday :("
"I'll ttyl."
"K.  Happy Bday!"
"Thank u."
I closed my phone, and looked over at Steven.  My heart started a slow dreaded thump... pausing... and thumped again.  I ran over to Stevens side just as the foot of six foot five inches of pure ugly mean smashed the castle!   "Back off Eric.  Leave my brother alone!"  I locked gazes with him knowing right behind him were his gang of thugs.
"Well well, the retards got a protector," he sneered at me.  I got ready to defend my brother.  I wish I had my purse close by, it had pepper spray my father had given me.
"Oh Steven isn't the retard here....  He know's more than you ever will," I matched him sneer for sneer.
Eric took his foot again smashing the castle. Steven waited patiently until Eric moved his foot back, and then began rebuilding.
Eric said, "Look at the retard.  He doesn't know when to quit"  Eric kicked sand into Steven's face, that's when all hell broke loose.  Steven hates sand in his face!  Steven began keening, an undulating scream that seemed to come from every pore.
I aimed low, charging Eric slamming into his mid section.  I went down on top of him, and started using my fists.  Eric's buddies decided to take off muttering or calling, "You're on your own Storm."
"Stop Sarah, stop," someone was tugging at my arm, and I looked up into the blue eyes of Erics' twin brother Shawn.  I allowed him to pull me up, and I stood shuddering in reaction.  Eric was bleeding from his arm, and his nose.  He put his arm up, clamping the end of his nose to stop the bleeding.
"You're going to pay BITCH!"
"Eric, you started it.  Picking on someone smaller than you, with four others!" Shawn stood face to face, toe to toe with his twin.  Eric stood four inches taller, had black hair, and green eyes.  Shawn had blond hair, and blue eyes.  Eric backed down, unable to cower Shawn.  He turned and left.
"Thank you for stopping me," I said quiety.  "I'm not sure I could have stopped....would have stopped... had you not intervened.  I wrapped my arms around my body, shivering and feeling curiously numb.
"Let me look at your hands," was all he said.  He reached out halfway so as not to startle me.  I held them out, reluctantly unfolding my arms.  I was glad he was watching my hands, because I began blushing furiously.  I allowed my hair to fall into my face, covering as much of it as I could.
He then let go of my hands, took off his school jacket, and then his white t'shirt over his head.   He tore off part of it, and used it along with water from my bottle to clean my open wounds.
I tried to not look at his bare chest. I had a huge crush on him.  He was so unlike the Storm family. His parents were addicts, and Eric had been in trouble since he was 8.
Shawn had a gentle touch as he wiped away the blood.  I had to keep my eyes on his chest, I breathed shallowly, my mouth went dry.  Oh yea, I had it bad.  He ripped more of his shirt as he bandaged my hands.
"There," his voice made me jump a little.  I hoped this moment would last.
"You may want to ice these when you get home."
I nodded, unable to speak other than a stammered "Thanks."
Shawn looked over at Steven, admiring the castle.  Steven was now happily working away.  Oblivious to all that happened.
"Wow, he's really amazing.  I'm sorry for what Eric did."
"It's not your fault.  Besides Steven will just start making it all over."
Shawn said nothing, but went over to the tools and began helping Steven.  I held my breath until Steven didn't make his usual fuss when someone messed with his castles.  I went back over to my towel, and sat, watching the man I knew I would marry  Picking up my cell, I called Mom to let her know I was probably going to be in trouble, and somehow not caring.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The NaNoWriMo First Draft Pledge


The NaNoWriMo First Draft Pledge

Dear Internal Critic (IC).

            Although I value your input, I respectfully request that you refrain from your task whilst I get the first draft down on paper, PDA, cell phone, Ipod, Nook, Kindle, Mac, and/or computer (PC/Laptop).
            While I need your capable assistance in the rewrite/revision process; I humbly request you cease and desist to interfere with this part of the creative process (first draft).
            What this means for you, is that you can take a vacation!  Heck, you and the other writers/Nanoers I.C.’s could get together with our external critics (i.e. parents who don not support us, bf/spouses of that same ilk), could go on a holiday….heck, even have a convention!
            Ahem…once our rough drafts are done, and I mean rough (or why else would they be called that), you may come back, roll up your sleeves, and get back to work…  constructively of course.  Until that time, let us be free to write the worst crap in the universe!
            Thank you for your support and cooperation in this matter.

                                                                                    Your Friend

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Crystal Visions


Crystal Visions
by, L. Anne Wooley

“Step right up, and try your hand. Three balls for three dollars. Knock down three bottles and you….” the voice of the carney faded, as Jackie Simmons walked away from the game, pulling the hand of her husband Christopher. She ignored all her favorites. The smell of hotdogs, popcorn, and elephant ears, mixed with the scent of late summer as she walked towards the deep purple tent with a forest green top at the end of the thoroughfare. Christopher tried once more to talk her out of seeing a fortune teller. “They are nothing but a bunch of charlatans.”
“This is the last day of the carnival, I must see her!”
He shook his head but followed anyway, “Might as well be talking to a wall, you obstinate mule!”
Christopher looked at the tent, and saw that the proprietress was standing just inside. The tent had a garish design of a woman with black hair floating around like Medusa. A third eye painted slightly above and between her eyes stared back at them benevolently. The woman inside beckoned them with the crook of her finger. “I don't think this is a good idea....” Christopher resisted. But when Jackie walked inside, he had no choice but to follow.
***
“Come in my children,” Magenta's voice penetrated the thick fog of incense smoke.. Her husky voice had a slight eastern European accent, Magenta stood aside to allow the couple to enter. The fresh air, which at first had helped Magenta's migraine, was now filled with the scent of carnival food, and was making her stomach roll.
Jackie passed her, followed by Christopher. The smoke from the incense that was sitting on her reading table, quickened as if it were going to blow out. Then Magenta closed the tent flap, and the incense slowed and curled into a ribbon like transparency.
Magenta walked around to the other side of the table. She was a few inches over five feet with long black hair that resembled the picture on the outside of the tent. Her long skirt was of indeterminate color, and her shawl was of equal color. Her gaudy bejeweled fingers indicated the chairs where the couple could sit. Jackie did not hesitate, sitting down immediately. Christopher stood reluctant to sit, until Jackie looked over glaring at him. She then pointed to the chair on her right.
Christopher pulled the chair back, and folded his six foot four inch frame into the metal chair that was too small for him. He leaned forward pulling the chair up to the table. He sat back with his arms crossed.
He noticed everything in the tent. The square table had a purple cloth with an unknown symbol on it. The crystal ball, was on the right side of it, and the tarot cards were in the middle in a stack. He saw the table against the wall with new age paraphernalia.
Magenta intoned, “Do you wish the cards or the ball?” She indicated each in turn, her long nails painted blood red. The rings were Magenta's legacy from her mother. Her mother had run off with another man when Magenta was three. She never knew her mother; therefore, the rings held no sentimental value. Her father, who rarely spoke about his wife, had told her that her mother had the gift. Magenta did not, but she had done this so long, she could fake it well.
“I don't know,” the young woman tugged on the end of her hair, and bit her lip.
“Jackie, I think we should leave,” Christopher reached out his left hand and grabbed her right arm tugging it lightly.
“Please, Christopher...I have got to know!” she implored him, placing her left hand on top of his right one gently. The tears started making paths down her pink rouged cheeks.
“You wish to know if you will conceive a child,” Magenta shuddered for a moment.
“Yes,” Jackie responded with the tiniest whisper.
“How did you know?” Christopher interjected at the same time, his eyes narrowed in speculation.
“You have tried to have children before, but have not succeeded. You want to know if you will succeed this time,” Magenta's eyes went cloudy, though Christopher thought that might be due to the smoke. But that did not explain, how did she know?

Magenta placed her hands on either side of the crystal ball, and peered intently into it's depths. She saw a scene form inside. She frowned as she looked at it closer. Suddenly she felt dizzy and her vision narrowed to a single point of light. Then her vision opened wide just as suddenly, and a barren landscape formed.
She stood among a group of armed men. They didn't see her as she walked forward to a tank. On top of the tank stood a man in a generals uniform. Behind him was a movie screen with a scene of dead people. She saw men, women, and even down to the smallest child were all dead. With growing horror she looked up at the general, and into a younger version of Christopher's... face.

She came back in a rush.
“You said our son would be like Hitler!”
Magenta realized that Christopher's hands were around her neck squeezing. The last sound she heard was Jackie screaming and the shattering glass of her crystal ball.

The Bottle (for Message in a Bottle) Bony Fingered Limbs contest.


The Bottle, by L. Anne Wooley

     Among the dusty artifacts that were in the attic, there was one that was stranger than all the rest. Maggie was almost too frightened to touch it. It wanted her to touch it. It wanted her to touch it very, very, much. She couldn't seem to fight the impulse as it dragged her closer and closer; nearer and nearer, until she was beside it.

     It looked quite ordinary, and the muted design covered whatever was inside the bottle. In this light she could not tell either the color, or the design. It was like the "I Dream of Jeanie" lamp from the old TV show with Barbara Eden playing the lead role. But Maggie was not into that esoteric crap, nor did she believe in that shit.

     However, she could swear the bottle was swaying. It was like it was almost saying, "But we believe in you!" She shook her head, maybe some of the outer cobwebs, went in through her ear and were making a home in her head. The shaking only served to make her dizzier.
     She backed up, bumping into the hanging light making it sway. It made the attic alternately bright... then dark. Bright... then dark. She absently put up a hand to catch it arresting its momentum, and bringing it to stillness. Then she leaned back against the armoire, grateful for its support.

    When she did, she saw the lamp sitting on the table where she had left it, and it was most definitely rocking. Not a gentle rocking, but an increasingly violent shaking fit, like it had epilepsy or something! The bottle beckoned her, and as she reached out to touch it, the damned thing jumped into her hand. The stopper popped out, and a loud "Whoosh!" entered the stillness of the attic.

     Before Maggie stood a ginormous figure that had a transparent head, and opaque white clothes that flowed from the generous sized body. She could not tell if it was male or female. "Oh!"

     "Oh???? Is that all you can say young woman!"

     "Definitely male," Maggie stated.

     "Of COURSE I am a Male! You are a very stupid woman," he was very put out. He paused... "But, I forget you being a woman... I must adjust my way of speaking so that you can understand me clearly."

     "Um... yea... I CAN speak clearly, and am quite educated sir!" Maggie was incensed, nobody had ever called her stupid before, nor been quite this rude.

     " Well then young lady, I have a message for you."

     "Oh great! I thought that messages in bottles were supposed to be on paper?" she raised her eyebrow at the pesky poltergeist.

     "Show's what you know!" he harrumphed back at her.

     "Well, then out with it! Go on, give me my message!" Maggie was almost done with this whole ridiculousness. She was tempted to do whatever she needed to, to get this... thing... back into the bottle and throw it away in the refuse. She waited her arms akimbo, while tapping her foot.
     "Well, if you are going to act like that, I won't give it to you!"

     "OH for PETE's Sake! Stop messing around and give it to me if you must. Or don't, it makes no difference to me! Or have you forgotten it?"

    "Who is 'Pete Sake'? And no of course not, I am a professional as you call it."

     "Look you. There is not any more room in my head for my eyes to roll back any further!" She pinched her lips together, making them form one thin line, and glared at him for good measure.

     "I am instructed by your Grandmother to tell you NOT to sell the lamp... and thereby not sell me!" he recited imperiously.

     Maggie blinked incredulously. "Is that all? Is that all you came to say? After all that rocking and carrying on?" she almost had smoke coming out of her ears by this point. She wanted so badly to shove the thing back in the bottle, and toss it in the rubbish heap out back.

     "Yes."

     Maggie tossed her hands up in the air, and marched over to the table to grab the stopper that had erstwhile been inside the bottle. "Get back in there NOW!"

     A startled look crossed the genies face, and he yelled "What are you going to do with me? His face contorted like a fun house mirror as he was sucked back inside the bottle.

     "Sticking you where the sun don't shine," and she pushed the stopper in before walking over to the window. Then she thought, "I better fix this things little red wagon," and she walked over to the area she had set up for boxing the stuff she wanted to keep, and grabbed the duct tape. She took the bottle and placed it between her legs holding it in place like a vice. She took the tape and pulled off a section, and then started to tape the thing shut. "THERE, I am going to get rid of you!"

   Maggie walked back over to the window. She opened the shutter outward, before opening the window. She threw the bottle with all her might, satisfied to hear the thud it made as it landed in the rubbish pile. She brushed the dust off of her hands onto her skirt, breathing a sigh of relief as she thought to herself, "Good riddance!"

     Then she decided that she had done enough for the day, and started walking to the door. She tried not to look, but then it was too late; back on the table was.... that damned bottle... minus the duct tape.

     "NO!"

   As she ran out the door, she could've sworn she heard a chuckle. Then her foot slipped on the stair, and she went flying, flying down the stairs; hitting her head and then knowing no more.

The End

Real life and fodder

Real life is rich in story possibilities.  You just look around you, read your newspaper, or even read others ideas.  The world is a writers fodder.  I have often caught snippets of conversations, little gems that I write down.  I put time/place and some small details about the background (what I know of it anyway) pertaining to the snippet.  I have a file set aside for these snippets.  My favorite so far was something I heard at a Barnes & Noble several years ago...."I'd sell my body to pay the rent!"  I worked that in to a story.  Story's should be rich in detail, showing not telling.  And as they say, "Truth is stranger than fiction."  

Monday, January 9, 2012

Facebook issues

I'm really getting aggravated with Facebook.  I am hoping that it is just them putting the new timeline into effect on my facebook page.  I cannot read private messages (or even open them), chat is non existent (not showing at all in the lower right corner), I cannot post a status, share anything; and I cannot get into my games!  grrr....I was able to earlier today.  So I'm looking around at other sites to see if they are working.  I am so not happy right now.  Though hopefully this timeline thing won't be too much of a headache.  I've been wanting something to help find older posts that I hadn't been able to find, or had to scroll forever to find.

Anyhow, my rant is over.  :)  Have a good day, and thanks for listening.  Hailing frequencies closed.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Crystal Visions

Hello again.  Working on my next Bony Fingered Limbs challenge :)  I've done the first draft by hand, now typing it in to Open Office.  Yes, I have a fancier writing program, but I figure I will save the fancier ones for novels.  So this one is the picture of a woman looking into a crystal ball.  I'm naming mine, "Crystal Visions."  And it has been fun to write. :)  Getting back into the short story mindset has been really a good idea for me.  A break from the longer novels that I've been working on.  And this gets me into practice for the 24 hour short story contest Writers Weekly is putting on.  They have one every quarter (season).  I have not won for the story's I have written, but I have one numerous 'door prizes'. 

Anyhow, back to the typing.  Then onto revision.  I so love revisions....not!  But I also don't want the first draft to be the ones that folks see.  Have a good night....hailing frequencies closed.  (I got that from when I was writing my Star Trek fan clubs newsletter "Communications Log."  :)  You should have seen my book reviewing system....a Tribble Rating! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year 2012

Another exciting year of writing begins.  :)  I just finished a new short story (with edits done and everything).  My NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2010 edit process is going along well.  2011 edits will begin in March during NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month).  Don't you love the acronyms?  And I will be participating in the Writers Weekly Winter 24 Hour Short Story contest in a couple of weeks!  I also plan on doing more short stories for Writers Journal, Write to Win! contest as well.  May even rework some for other contests that they have.

I also hope to get some articles done and a freelance career going.  I am still caring for my mother who is 87 (but does not look it!).  Anyhow, that is the plan for the year.  I continue to learn and grow as a writer and human being.  Thanks for listening :)  Over and out....Hailing frequencies Closed.