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Writing Prompts: Create a Protagonist [Scene Stealers]

writing prompts Create a Memorable Protagonist[/caption]

Welcome to Scene Stealers, our series of writing prompts designed to flex your creative muscles.

We’re thrilled that so many of you are participating in our writing prompt series. (Read the other Scene Stealers here and add one of your own.)

 

In case you’re not familiar with Scene Stealers, here’s how it works:

  • We set the scene
  • You steal it, make it your own, and
  • Share your creation in the comments section of this post

Of course, it’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to share your work, but we hope you’ll do the exercise anyway.

 

Now for the ground rules:

  • You must use the exact wording we provide—in this case, it must appear in the beginning of your story.
  • Your story must be 350 words or less.
  • Your work must be original and not previously published.
  • WTD provides an encouraging and safe environment for writers to grow and learn from each other. We’d love you to comment on other people’s submissions in a friendly and supportive manner.
  • We reserve the right to delete any comments or entries we deem inappropriate and those that do not meet the specifications above.

This week’s installment is designed to develop your ability to create a memorable protagonist.

 

Scene Stealer #15

In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only one I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away.  

 

Now steal this and make it your own.

We can’t wait to read what you come up with, so please add your submission to the comments section of this post.

 

By Vinita Zutshi, Guest Post Editor at Write to Done. Vinita also blogs at Carefree Parenting.

Image: Protagonist courtesy of Bigstockphoto.com

 

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35 thoughts on “Writing Prompts: Create a Protagonist [Scene Stealers]”

  • Carnie says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away.
    My clients were usually fidgeting in their seat, struggling to maintain eye contact for more than a couple of seconds. But she looked at me intently. It wasn’t a stare, yet it made me uneasy. Was this my problem or hers?
    At school standing up in front of the class, I couldn’t bear to have all those eyes on me. I thought I’d gotten over it. I’m an adult now, and this person has come to me for help. I can’t let my troubles overshadow her’s.
    “Now where were we?” I spoke softly, “Your dreams. Tell me everything you remember.”
    She didn’t look away as she explained her latest nightmares. She gazed at me, as if trying to find the answers through my eyes. This time I was the one fidgeting in my chair.
    I stood up and walked to the filing cabinet. “Have you noticed any similar themes running through these dreams?” I said fumbling, in the cabinet for a notepad, “I think the best thing for you to do is to note them down, any familiar characters, places…”
    I turned around. Her eyes were following me around the room. I placed the notepad on the desk in front of her and took my seat.
    “Just a short session for you today isn’t it?” I tried to smile at her reassuringly, “As you’re going to see your mother today you may want to ask her if she remembers any nightmares you had as a child.”
    “Thank you,” she said standing up.
    As she turned to leave she glanced back at me and smiled. It was the first time she’d looked nervous. Then she was gone.
    “Thank god that’s over,” I took a deep breath and leant back in my chair.
    I stood up and straightened my skirt. “Janine, I’m taking a long lunch,” I called to my receptionist.
    I needed some air… and maybe a therapist of my own.

    Any feedback is welcomed :) For more creative writing check out my blog.
    Carnie recently posted..I Should be Feeling Creative, it’s World Poetry Day!My Profile

    • Brian says:

      Really enjoyed it, it’s always fun to when the tables are turned on the person in power. Wish ‘she’ got to speak a little more though. Now I’m wondering will the therapist run into that client again while out for a walk. Or maybe start having nightmares?

  • In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away. She had earned my trust in 3 sessions yet I’m still learning to trust my own sister, she has a real smooth ,caring and genuine way to her work, one that I have come to admire, her words and expressions never come across in a judgmental way, it is as if she knew exactly how I felt like she had experienced every movement of my exsistance. I never question he advice it seems to mold right to my situation in life, a life that is unstable, emotional and reckless yet in my sessions she has a way of making me feel like a star, like I matter, like there is no other place in the world she would rather be but right there next to me. This amazingly intelligent woman has changed my life forever and I will continue to admire her for this the rest of my life for I’am a changed person.

  • iFaith says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away. Sometimes I think she is judging me behind those clear blue eyes or is she simply thinking that I am too stupid to get it and that is why I am there three times a week, needing her support, her advice, her judging blue eyes.

    But what choice do I have? I am the real therapist and she is the patient. And she doesn’t even know it. Stupid fool! I must do this to cleanse and renew my therapy sessions, my own practice. And pretending to be the patient is so much fun! And this one, this blue eyed fool with her straight back and her well tailored suit thinks she knows me. She thinks she is the doctor and I am the patient. Ha… stupid fool!

    She is my thirteen so called therapist that I have seen and I am just so tired of closing the door on this one and restarting again. Am I really stupid or unworthy or simply too crazy to know that most people can survive without a therapist. No, not again…I am getting antsy and my eye, my left eye is twitching again…. a definite sign that I need to breathe and relax and not let my imagination get the best of me.

    After all… I promised mama to kill again. But this one is too pretty to kill. This blue eyed therapist that looks at me with knowing eyes, that seemingly understands and supports me and yet, mocks me… again and again with those blue eyes that stares into my soul is a liar and a quack.

    Yes, I must kill her. She deserves to die. She is mocking me and judging me even now. Again and again, she keeps staring at me and waiting for me to say the right words. I have no choice. She must die! Mama told me that staring is bad, that you must say hello and say thank you and always smile at strangers. Yes, she must die and die tonight she will.

  • iFaith says:

    Oopsie! LOL!

    My fingers got the best of me… my first scene stealer participation and the protagonist died and its evil twin twitched his way into the room!

  • Carnie says:

    Hi, I posted mine on here earlier and it hasn’t come up.. and I didn’t save my story :( .. anyone else have this problem? It didn’t say there was an error or anything.
    Carnie recently posted..Daily Prompt: Exhale – Story/Poem – Rainy DayMy Profile

  • Mona says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away. Her gaze was intense and made me both uneasy and excited. I had found myself looking forward to the sessions with her; they were the highlight of my week. You could say that I was getting obsessed or even addicted to her. Very unprofessional of me.
    She had come to me because she´d had a series of panic attacks. She wanted to know what lay behind them and how to stop them.
    During the first session she had told me about her work and family life and nothing pointed to be the reason of the attacks. It was hard for me to get a proper read on her since she was very openly looking at me, concentrating, it seemed, all of her energy at me.
    The second session contained of the telling me about her childhood, again nothing of what she told me seemed to cause the panic attacks.
    For this third session I took a different approach. Starting with asking what her hopes and dreams for the future was. She looked surprised but didn´t break the eye contact. Another dead end. Nothing there could be the reason for her panic attacks. The session ended and she got up to leave. I the doorway I stopped her, I had to know.
    -Why don´t you break eye contact? She smiled and gave me a mischievous look.
    -It helps me.
    -How?
    -To keep my story straight. Her appearance changed. She looked expectantly at me.
    -Why would you need help with that? She sighed and gave me a disappointed gaze.
    -Think about it, doctor. See you next week. With a final smile she left and closed the door. I stood there, staring at the door, trying to figure out what she meant. Then it hit me. She was lying. Everything she´d told me was a lie. I had to admit that I was impressed.

  • Kerry says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only one I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away.

    “Mari, how are you feeling since our last visit?” I asked her.

    Mari’s dark brown eyes stared at me, or perhaps through me. Her expressionless face told me nothing much had changed.

    “Fine,” she murmured, her voice flat, lifeless. “Dad’s trying hard to make things normal again. But nothing’s ever going to be normal again.”

    I nodded. I understood. When a 16 year old witnesses the death of her own mother, who would think anything would ever be normal again for her.

    But as an investigative psychologist, it was my job to get her to talk. Hard as it was going to be for Mari, she was only one who might be able lead investigators to her mother’s killer. And the investigators were getting impatient. Mari’s mother had been a specialist in homeland security, and had been working a case involving a potential terrorist plot to bomb Time’s Square this coming New Year’s Eve. Her murder meant the information she had recently found was spot on. Unfortunately, that information had died with her.

    “Mari, I know how hard this is for you,” I told her sympathetically. “And I’m sorry you are going to have to relive this, but we need to know everything you saw. You know how important this is.”

    “I know,” she answered. Still flat, still staring right at me. She gently tucked a loose strand of her bleached blonde hair behind her ear. “But…” She broke eye contact and looked down at her lap. That was a change. Perhaps we were finally going get somewhere. “it will change everything.”

    “What do you mean, Mari? How will it change everything?” I asked. What could this poor girl have possibly seen?

    Mari closed her eyes, and a single tear fell down her cheek. “Because it was Director Banes, Mrs. Adamson. Mom’s boss killed her.”

  • David says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away. In those previous sessions I’d not been able to break through the ice-cold gaze. I am reminded of the stare a true predator would make. Sated by her last meal but alert to the rustle of high grass; the instinct of the hunt never grows dim.

    “How are things with you Anna?” I said, opening my notebook to our last session.

    “Fine Doc, as fine as they can be considering.” she stated in a flat, even voice.

    “Considering… what?”

    “Considering I have only a few more days left in this… place.”

    I shifted in my chair, nervous I guess, the noise of the creaking leather breaking through the stale air of my office like the grinding steel of a train wreck. She never flinched, her eyes never moved off of me. “What makes you think you only have a few more days left here at the hospital Anna?” I said looking anywhere but into her eyes.

    “Well Doc, there’s nothing really here for me to do. I’m bored. I’m bored with my cell, the food, the staff and, more importantly…” she paused long enough to lean over the edge of my desk, “I’m bored with you.”

    “I think you can agree with me that I’m not here for your entertainment Anna. I am here to find out the reasons why you… hmmm, cannot function in today’s society. Why you feel you must hurt those who are only trying to help you.” I said looking over my notepad at the tassled blonde hair on top of her head.

    “You should know by now I’m not prejudice,” Anna said, her words caustic, “I’ll hurt anyone who gets in my way, including you.” She leaned closer, never breaking eye contact. A slight smile creasing her lips she said, “And Doc, you should never underestimate your entertainment value. In a few more days you are going to find out how truly entertaining you can be.”

  • Nathan Williams says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away. I found this interesting since I know how troubled she is by her mental demons. I have always been able to not only sense my patients’ problems, but to also view what is on their minds, much like a living slide show inside my mind. This patient had problems that she had yet to even begin to delve into, yet she continued to give off this almost innocent aura, looking me straight in the eye while telling me blithely about her husband leaving her feeling unfulfilled. I almost chuckled out loud because I knew of her extra-marital affairs and her pride in having kept them secret. The reason I did not find it too amusing is that I also knew of the much, much darker secrets that were lurking in the labyrinth of this woman’s mind. The deep hurt that she had caused so many people, the loss of life, the loss of innocence. However, I also knew that I could help this dark, secretive person; I had helped so many others over the years with what seemed to be insurmountable problems. So, I calmly interrupted her shallow internal dialog and asked her “What time is it?” Confused, she looked at her watch and then seemed to freeze in place, her eyes glazed, breathing shallowly. Now that I had her “full attention” I truly delved into the deepest, hidden recesses of her mind. I calmly filed away the horrid memories, the midnight black things that she had done over the years, into what I like to call “locked storage”. I swept cobwebs off the good things in her past and brought them to the front of her mind. In essence, I rewrote the book of this woman’s life. I sat back in my chair and asked again “What time is it?” She jerked with a convulsive movement and slowly, a broad smile crossed her face.

  • Lanski says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away.
    Her gaze was defiant, self-confident and a pinch angry.
    She believed, as many other patients who come to therapy as an obligation, that she was better than me, that she was over that stuff and that it wouldn’t help her, so she might as well have fun messing with the therapist. Unlike all those many others, I couldn’t yet figure out how to overcome this constant vigilance.
    She stared with her chin high and the bottom lip slightly pouted in disgust. When she spoke, with a hoarse voice for not doing so very often, it was to lie blatantly or to call me off with my therapist bullshit.
    She did this last thing rolling her eyes and pushing back her blond hair. She had small hands with long fingers that combed the hair until the back of her head, where the column joins the skull.
    She liked that movement, and she did it frequently: from the front to the back of the head, slowly, feeling the pressure against the scalp, the nails lightly scratching the skin. Her bob hair always found its way back to the initial position, so she had frequent occasions to indulge in this sensual pleasure. That was probably the only authentic thing I saw about her before the incident.

  • Ali Jayne says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only one I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away. She smiled kindly and said, “so, what should we talk about today doc?”
    I felt for her, I really did. She didn’t need therapy, we both knew it. I admired that she was trying to make the best of it. I did enjoy our conversations, but that’s what they were – conversations. We were not therapist and client; we were two people talking about life.
    I felt bad taking her money, not for the first time I wondered if I should reimburse her.
    Why was she here? Who in their right mind would imagine she needed therapy before she could adopt a child?
    Yes, she’d had a difficult upbringing, but she had worked through it and come out the other side stronger. In all my years, I’d never met a more confident, loving woman.
    Why was she here?
    “Doc?” her eyes searching mine.
    “Sorry, I was miles away. Should we talk about your mother?”
    “We could do that, but if you are distracted today we could talk about you, are you ok?”
    Her interest was genuine, no hint of malice, she cared about people. In fact, she would make a great therapist.
    I looked at the ground to hide the sadness that would be apparent to her gaze, expelling the emotion with a sigh I said softly, “why are you here?”
    “Has she contacted you yet? My social worker?” she asked me.
    “No. I called after our last session and left a message. I followed up two days later and…nothing. I am so sorry.”
    Not for the first time it struck me that I was the one apologising, this lovely woman didn’t need to be here, she only wanted to be a mom, and she would be a great one. If only they would listen.
    “It’s ok Doc, she’ll come around. It will work out.”
    Her faith in the goodness of people always touched me. I really hoped she was right.
    Ali Jayne recently posted..Adoption – First Home StudyMy Profile

  • wyldkat says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only one I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away. There was fury in that unwavering gaze. She hated it here. She hated all of the staff. I’d been called in after she had attacked an attendant.

    “You know no one here is going to harm you.” I kept my voice low, soothing. “We want you to get better so you can leave.”

    She didn’t respond, but then I didn’t expect anything. I sat down across from her and just talked to her. It didn’t matter what I said, as long as I kept my voice soft. I’d done this hundreds of times, by now they usually back away, showed some sign of submission, or started ignoring me. She didn’t. She just kept staring at me. That lack of fear, the intensity, intrigued me and unnerved me at the same time. I found that I really wanted to reach this one.

    After fifteen minutes or so, I reached out to touch her head. “I would like to be your friend.”

    She pulled back, her eyes flickering from my face to my hand, so I stopped.

    “I won’t hurt you. We want to help you.”

    She lashed out, missing my hand by a whisker’s width. I snatched my hand back, trying not to break the eye contact. Her pupils dilated and she crouched down. She’d had enough.

    “Okay, we’ll try again tomorrow.” I stood up to leave.

    “You okay, doc?” The attendant at the door asked as I backed out of the enclosure.

    “Yeah. It was a bluff swing. She wasn’t really trying to hit me.” I stepped out and chuckled. “As fast as she is, if she had been serious, I’d be bleeding.”

    I looked back in at the ten pounds of black fury glaring at us. I wanted to save this one, give her a second chance. I just had to convince her that no all humans were cruel.

  • Sophi says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only one I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away.

    Her story was as old as the world. Many women had perched on that same worn sofa and shared their version of it, picking at the grey nap as they spoke, eyes averted. Owning the shame and embracing their victim hood.

    I sensed no shame this time. She seemed almost bored as she calculated everything with her eyes, judging my expression and body language as she spoke. She didn’t fidget or seem to notice the gleaming handcuffs that kept her wrists together. Her legs were crossed casually. She could have been at the beach.

    I jotted occasional notes, mostly as an excuse to look away every now and then and break the pull of her gaze. Sensing that she understood that, I finally interrupted her.

    “What is it you really want to share with me?” I asked, hoping to catch her off guard. “I read your case history. You haven’t told me anything I can’t read for myself about you.” Indeed, aside from her file, I had a box filled with news clippings from the year leading up to her admittance into the experimental clinic where I practiced.

    She was not thrown off. She kept her eyes trained on mine. Her left eyebrow rose into a perfect arch.

    “I don’t belong here. I’m ready to leave. You’re going to get me out.” As soon as she said it, I knew it was true. I would help her leave this place.

    My brain began to filter the possibilities. My mouth said, “You’ve been here for six years. You know it takes more than a recommendation from me to start the exit process.”

    “You know that isn’t what I meant.”

    I did know. On paper, she was dangerous and guilty. There had been death threats, protests, even a Molotov cocktail pitched through our gates when she didn’t go to prison. An escape was her only shot.

  • SCENE STEALERS # 15 – MY CONTRIBUTION.

    Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.

    Regards,
    Keith Knott.

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only one I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away.

    I tried to avoid eye contact, but each time I looked away, I found that I was mesmerically caused to glance in her direction. Try as I may, with every glance, I found it increasingly difficult to look away, before my glance turned into a stare. Was it rude to stare?

    I abruptly looked away again, and tried to concentrate on my notes..

    However, I kept on being distracted by her presence. Distracted by her beauty. Distracted by her beautiful blonde hair, so sleak and shiny. Distracted by her eyes. Those beautiful blue eyes. The windows to her soul. What secrets hid behind those windows. The bluest and most beautiful eyes I have ever witnessed.

    Time again, I was distracted by her regal presence. Her surreal presence, that continued to stare at me with those beautiful, hypnotic, blue eyes. Those eyes that stared right into my very soul. Those eyes that followed my every move.

    I continued with my notes, trying not to let her distract me any longer. I had work to do, and I was running a little behind time. I succeeded for a while, but then I feeling her beautiful hypnotic stare bearing into my being once more. I had to look. Just a glance in her direction. To see her beautiful blue eyes again. What harm can a small glance in her direction cause to me? What distraction could it bring?

    I resisted her for a while, before succumbing to the temptation and glanced in her direction. She sat there regally, and perfectly framed by the window. But, her image had changed somewhat. She no longer seemed to be, as clearly visible, as before.

    Then, I noticed that it was snowing again, and my neighbour’s beautiful Siamese cat was imploring me to open the window, which I proceeded to do, and let her share the warmth of my sitting room and the fire cracking in the hearth.

  • Apologies for the typo in the 3rd last paragraph – ‘I feelng’, should read, ‘on feeling’.

    I’ll go and stand in the naughty corner.

    Keith Knott
    (South Africa)

  • Cat says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only one I ‘d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away. This was actually quite a feat when you considered the disfiguring scars located on the top left side of my face. An unfortunate accident at a summer job during my junior year in college had left its permanent mark. Until this young lady had unexpectedly stepped into my office, all my clients had spent most of their billable hour looking towards a point above the right side of my face.

    Suddenly, she changed all my expectations of the lowly human race and I was curious to find out why. What made her immune to my lack of aesthetic beauty and, more importantly, why did this single fact make her so special to me? As a middle-aged man educated in the sciences of the human psyche, my training had not prepared me for the extraordinary and most transforming experience which listening to this unique woman, ironically named Hope, would have on my career and my life.

    It all began innocently enough on an unseasonably warm and sunny autumn day. My receptionist, Susan, called my line to ask if I would see a new patient after my last appointment. Something in her voice convinced me that this was not a run of the mill request. Part of my talent, which allowed for generous accolades from colleagues and clients alike, was my innate ability to hear the emotions beyond the mere spoken words. What I heard that day was a whisper of a smile, a rare occurrence when one considers that my field of work addresses the most common ailment of our species, human suffering. I deliberated for a few seconds whether this was enough to cancel my game of golf and somehow, albeit reluctantly, on a quiet Friday afternoon, I made the decision that changed everything.

  • Tiny says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away. She had been direct. The first session was her testimony. Her nature was revealed. Her demons were going to be tamed and she came to me searching for an ally.

    During the second session, we solidified our purpose but in spite of her courageous posture, the real issue remained elusive to me. We began deep discussion. I was only getting to the fringes. It would take time and that is not uncommon.

    Today was different. She was not wearing the confident air in the previous sessions. Something had changed. She seemed to be losing her battle. A façade was breaking perhaps. She focused intently. She was looking for strength.

    “It was too easy to let my guilt go.” She kept her gaze. I made notes.

    Something about her intensity was exhilarating. After two decades of counseling I felt I was treading on new ground.

    “Guilt? How long have you felt this?”

    “A long time. The first time bothered me a bit but the money was good. I needed cash. As terrible as it was, is, to do these things…what gets me is my lack of guilt. I should be guilty. I should be sorrowful, morally bankrupt. I’m getting weak.” She did not break eye contact. How odd. No reflective gaze into some empty space.

    “What is it that you do that you should carry such guilt?” I braced.

    No reaction from her. A pause. She managed to intensify her need to understand herself. Her eyes pleaded. What was clinical up to now became personal. She had drawn me into her fight and her demons, whatever they were, were somehow going to close in on me. What the hell is going on here?

    She sighed, sat back, relaxed, and smiled. Her guilt spilled onto the floor of my office.

    She looked out the window. I tracked her gaze lost in the moment and lost control of this session. Something final was happening.

  • Blake says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only one I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away. I could see my eerie reflection glaring back at me in her calcifying eyes, which makes maintaining eye contact with her quite a challenge.

    What is it about her demeanor that has me in such awestruck wonder? Could it be she’s mirroring an image of myself that I’ve been shielding from my own eyes, for fear of finding out the truth? Am I crazy for thinking she’s of the supernatural or some form of an optical illusion?

    “Is everything ok Dr. Pryor? Did I say something wrong?”

    I’ve never been in the hot seat before, but here I am, letting a girl half my age ask probing questions.

    “Um, no, not at all.” I stammer. “Please continue telling me about this near death experience you had.”

    Anyone could tell she’s not easily intimidated and certainly not afraid to be direct with others. She must have developed this strong willed personality at a young age, for she seems much older than she is. As I wait for her response I try and jot down the chaotic thoughts running through my mind.

    Her posture, the way her hands sit in the same place over her right thigh, along with the way she controls each facial expression is that of a statue from the Renaissance Movement. She’s articulate, enticingly unordinary and stern, yet full of intangible bliss.

    “Dr. Pryor, no one likes repeating themselves. You’ve either no interest in what I’m saying or you have too many voices inside your head to hear mine.” Pausing, not to take a breath but to study my eyes as if she were peering into the future.

    “Tell me, Dr. Pryor, what it is you really want to know?”

  • In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only one I met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session and she had yet to look away. Her Caribbean -blues nailed me, searching for something. Something she could hold onto. I read vulnerability and…fear in their depths.

    “How did you feel when he did that?” I asked.

    What did she seek? Trust? Truth? Honesty? A protective father figure? I hoped not. Those feelings stirring inside me were anything but that of a father toward his daughter. Besides, there was only a seven-year difference in our ages.

    I pulled my wayward thoughts back in time to hear her respond to my question. Pain filled her eyes, tears pooling on the surface. “It’s not so much what Kurt did, but what he said that hurt me.”

    “Oh? What did Kurt say?”

    “That I wasn’t enough, never had been, and never would be. That Carina was exciting and glamorous–a real party girl. She’s a redhead. I suppose he lied when he told me he preferred blondes.

    You know, I’ve never been big in the party scene. My father taught me to expect consequences for any rash decisions I made. I try to think things through before I act. Isn’t that what you are suppose to do?”

    “Your father sounds like a wise man. Did Kurt tell you his next move?”

    “He told me he would file the divorce papers.” She stopped to sob. “And…and if–I didn’t get out by Friday, he would throw my things in the yard and move her in at the same time.”

    I sounded like a threat. “What do you plan to do about it?”

    “I hoped you could tell me that.” Her red-rimmed eyes searched mine, looking for answers.

    Answers I could not legally give. Some days I hated being a therapist. My first instinct was to punch her husband in the face, then kick him out of the house, his floozy along with him.
    Laurean Brooks recently posted..Annual Authors’ Event and Memories from The ACFW ConferenceMy Profile

  • Scarlet says:

    Scene Stealers #6

    He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected.

    A woman stood at the window. Had he not known better he might have mistaken her Monica.
    Suddenly she turned and he saw it was her: Monica, his late wife.

    “Mon–? Monica?” His knees had already weakened and now his entire body began to shake uncontrollably.

    She didn’t move, just watched as he staggered over to the bed and sat on the edge. Her expression might have been one of concern, but somehow not. Really, she seemed not concerned at all, but rather –well, triumphant. “Are you ill?”

    “Yes I’m ill,” he heard himself say. “I’m mentally ill. I’m losing my mind. I’m sitting here talking to a ghost. I am insane. You are not here, you are dead and I’m in the midst of a nightmare.”

    “Pity it’s not that simple.” She stared at him and again he saw that off-kilter expression. “Your gambling addiction, the debt that ballooned and was so overdue you faced a case of pay or die; we could have worked it out together, you and I. But resorting to such drastic measures to fix it yourself…I must say I’m disappointed, Bernie.”

    He squeezed his eyes shut. “Monica is not alive,” he whispered to himself . “I found out about her nut allergy and slipped almond oil into her dinner while the cook was distracted. I watched her die of anaphylaxia. I killed her so I could inherit her fortune and get out of my mess on my own.”

    “There you go, love. Hope it feels better, getting it off your chest….Did you get all that, Detective Connolly? Need we go on?”

    “Got every word, thanks. Bernard George Potter I’m arresting you for the attempted murder…”

    As they led him out, he heard Monica say: “Attempted murder isn’t life. At least you might see light of day again when you’re 85. If you survive that long.”

  • Kevin says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only one I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away. Being blind in one eye might have something to do with it. On my notepad I wrote, “Is she blind because she’s crazy, or crazy because she’s blind?”

    A year ago, she thought her eye was on fire (side effect of prescription drugs), and ripped it out. Plucked it like an apple off a tree. It made sense at the time. I suppose everything makes sense in some way. Her life declined thereafter and didn’t rebound.

    – Does the hole tickle?
    – Sometimes.

    She said she would feel better if we talked about the eye. You know, give the elephant in the room some peanuts. I’ve never seen a one-eyed elephant.

    – What do you want from these sessions, Marcie?
    – I don’t know.
    – Guess.

    Her good eye moved up and left. She was preparing to lie. The dark socket stared straight at me.

    – I want to love.

    Liar. She wants me to think she’s wants to improve. Ok, let’s play this game through.

    – Why do you want to love?
    – Because It feels good.
    – Why?
    – I’ve actually never loved anyone, but I hear it feels good.
    – Why get help now?

    I could see the eye space out. She’s great at this game. I like it too, but it’s not helping her.

    – Since I lost my eye, I see with a depth I never did with two eyes. I see everything is in my head. Everything we deem reality is physiologically in our heads. I always thought things were “out there”. External. But they’re not. They’re internal. Everything. Always. When I close my good eye, I see we’re all blind. No one sees the real world. I want to love so the blindness makes sense.

    Maybe she isn’t lying. Probably, but maybe not.

    I signed the papers and let her go. She’s crazy for sure. But sometimes that’s OK.

  • Sydney M says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only one I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away.
    “Why don’t you tell me about your parents, Clarissa?” I begin, this morning’s oatmeal still stuck in my molars.
    Clarissa’s eyes are pure steel and cold blue. She doesn’t answer.
    I cross my legs and she copies me.
    “Your father is a lawyer, and your mother a homemaker?”
    She gives nothing away.
    “You hate it that she stayed at home, your mother,” I say, knowing it takes pressure to break a nut. Her brow flinches.
    “You saw it as a weakness. You still do. That’s why you made something of yourself after high school. Ivy league college, diplomas to line three offices, promotion after promotion from your first job on, and even now you have your own clinic, isn’t that right?”
    A large vein pulsates on Clarissa’s forehead, anger in her cheeks as a red rash begins to sweep up her neck.
    “But still you go home, lonely with no one there to welcome you,” I add. “You rejected love because you feared that any man worth his salt would try to dominate you, make you choose him over your career and you would be forced to stay at home, like her.”
    Clarissa is about to explode, the energy of it digging into her chair through her fingernails. The tears running down her cheeks are new, though. That didn’t happen last week. We’re making progress.
    I stand suddenly. So does she.
    “And you’re still confused, aren’t you?” I ask. “Because you have become someone others admire, you have accomplished more than most, so many awards, and you even help people! Yet you’re never -”
    The receptionist walks in before I can state my prognosis. “You’re five o’clock is here, Dr. Miller,” she says.
    I nod and she leaves. Turning back to the mirror, I pick up the large frame from the couch and look into my steel blue eyes.
    “Until next week,” I say before hooking it back onto the wall.

  • Harry Hopson says:

    Untitled February 13, 2014

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only one I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away.

    Throughout my less than illustrious career I have never been involved romantically with a patient. Now for the very first time, I have fallen hopelessly in love with a psychiatric patient that I have been treating for an extreme obsessive compulsive disorder. Though incredibly beautiful and with many persuasive talents all her own, Patricia Nutz is deeply disturbed, her metal acuity is in rapid decline, and she displays terrifying, unprovoked homicidal rages. As unsavoury and regrettable as my personal involvement with my patient appears, I have begun strategically extricating myself from this unfortunate situation with methodical and thoughtful precision. Patricia has displayed terrifying, unprovoked homicidal rages and I am becoming evermore concerned for my safety. I am also finding it increasingly difficult to maintain eye contact with her, she continues to stare at me, like dinner. And she had yet to look away……

    Last evening I called Patricia at her home in an attempt to express my concerns and alleviate my fear of her impenetrable, bowel loosening poker faced psychosis. My steadfast resolve to stand up and do the right thing, to be strong, evaporated. Seeing Patricia today has left me further convinced that I am a hopeless victim. She smells like wild flowers and she is even prettier today than she was yesterday. Determined to put this unfortunate trouble to bed, she smiles and says hello. If she is aware of my feelings for her, she hides it well and shows no sign. In my mind her walk and her profile is that of the centerfolds, beauty queens, and pageant dolls. Those oh so lovely creatures who mystify and instantly command the respect and attention of millions of smitten admirers, they all want to breath the same tainted air. Those foolish and miss guided souls, it’s too late, she is looking deep into their eyes, she won’t break away, and she has yet to look away……..

    I am no different than any other man who has fallen for a deranged woman and I have been completely consumed by her mere presence. With her grace and unmatched social responsibilities, southern bells and charlatans alike are no comparison and stand little chance. She is cultured and she is refined. She is breathtaking as she smiles and glides through the door. Taking her place beside me at the evening dinner table, she is remarkable in her casual jeans and University of BC cotton sweatshirt. The untouched and simple beauty of her pale white skin is reminiscent of Colonial England. She is completely unaware that hers’ is the power to seduce the world around her. She is genuine, not the usual vanity-induced cloud of nauseating stench, permeating from the rich-scented oils of makeup and expensive perfumes, afforded the spoiled daughters by their wealthy fathers. Her smell is only of clean, washed skin and a very faint aroma of an unknown inexpensive, lavender wash. Selfless in her ways, this is perhaps her one indulgence that she has allowed herself. Her long seductive hair is swept back up into a simple pony tail and the whiteness of her neck and face contrast exquisitely with her natural, blood-red lips. While almost appearing anaemic, her high, blushed cheekbones and pearl-white teeth, give the young woman an original, healthy lustre. Her lively, oval-shaped eyes are forever etched in painful memories of a seemingly naive, kindred spirit; eyes portraying the innocence of a much younger woman, an innocence unbiased in her acceptance of what both have considered his betrayal. Predictably, that sweet smile falters and her beautiful hardened eyes stare deadpanned straight ahead. Her delight and unabashed feelings are curious, knowing, soft, kind, and so, with a bedazzling look, she has changed his life, allowing him a glimpse into her world and the love that cannot or should not ever be.
    Stubbornly she maintains eye contact and she has yet to look away……

    Once again helpless, he stares into her haunting eyes and strangely, she already knows that his weakness is self-doubt, fear and pride. He takes little comfort in her controlled demeanour and finds he is terrified of the power she unwittingly holds. She watches him for any sign of weakness, for her it is a weakness and so she is unable to accept his tears or his cryptic, analyzing, psychiatric babble. She has exacted her vengeance on her own terms. Through perseverance and some misguided personal commitment, she will continue her quest for true love, and when she’s found it, she will continue to maintain her eye contact, she will never look away…….

    The End,

    Harry James Hopson

  • Paloma says:

    In twenty years as a therapist, she was the only one I’d met who maintained eye contact. This was her third session, and she had yet to look away.

    She was eighty-four years old and I even wondered for a moment if she was blind. Perhaps she forgot she was talking to me and stared at the space between my eyebrows lost in a memory. Either way, I enjoyed our sessions together. She had a subtle calmness that made me feel at ease, like only my childhood art teacher could. I think I even remember her name. Mrs. Vera. Mrs. Vera owned a donkey and taught us after-school kids how to grade different shades of gray. I wasn’t very good but I remember she reassured me, “It’s not important how other people view your work, it only matters how you feel about your art.”

    Today again, my client was pristinely dressed with white pants and a silk shirt. Around her neck lay a huge tiger’s eye in a gold inset. Her earrings, unlike my delicate studs, were heavy, short, gold crescents. She waved her left hand when she spoke even though she penciled in our appointments with her right hand. Her rings cast a light across the coffee table.

    As she spoke, her lips moved freely, “I loved my husband for sixty-two years. The day after our sixtieth wedding anniversary he died of heart failure. And two weeks later I had an affair with his chess partner. It was no big deal. Four weeks after that, it was my niece’s boyfriend’s great uncle. It doesn’t matter who really, I just like the company.”

    I look away, through my window I could see my partner leaving early again. “My daughter says that if I don’t come to therapy she will stop visiting me. She is embarrassed that her mom is a loose woman now. She’s been married two times and thinks she knows everything. I won’t stop seeing men. But I can keep seeing you if that’s okay?”

    “Of course,” I say, and push my hair back around my neck.

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