e3941297e17226345b367b4f61e62e3e98e44947f806b5be70

    Writing Prompts: Improve Your Dialog Skills [Scene Stealers]

    Welcome to our second Scene Stealers.

    We’re thrilled that so many of you participated in our series of writing prompts. (Click here to read the first round submissions or add one of your own.)

    We’d like you to submit ideas for upcoming scene stealers. If we select your idea you will receive a byline and the opportunity to link to your blog or website. Send your submission to Mary [dot]writetodone[at]gmail[dot]com

    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 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 can appear anywhere in your story.
    • Your story must be 300 words or less.
    • You’re 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 prompt is designed to help you work on character development and dialog writing. That’s why we’ve left the characters’ names and the placement of the quote up to you.

    Scene Stealer #2

    “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.”

    Now steal this and take the story wherever you want …

    We can’t wait to see what happens.

    And don’t forget to send in your ideas for Scene Stealers.

    About the author:
    Mary Jaksch is Editor-in-Chief at Write to Done. Grab her FREE report How to Write Like an A-List Blogger. Mary has helped thousands of students successfully create outstanding and profitable blogs at  A-List Blogging and is the blogger behind Goodlife ZEN.

    About the author

      Mary Jaksch

      Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at WritetoDone.com. Grab her latest all new course Blogwriter's Bootcamp 2.0 or a copy of her free report, How to Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet in Less Than 5 Hours. In her “spare” time, Mary’s also the brains behind AlistBlogging.net. and GoodlifeZEN.com, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.

    • Vic Lewis says:

      What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened – she ran away!

      “I did it like the role-play. I tried complimenting her; but she just smiled and left. She might have thought I was crazy, or ugly or too thin or boring or whatever –You know what I’m saying? Am I any of those things?” Asked Norman.

      “Not all of them respond as well in the real world; it takes time” said Viper stressing every syllable with his overly constructed Machiavellian impersonation.

      “Look! Viper you’re my teacher, my guru. I need another technique; I need a fix – I want some of your magic.”

      “Remember your training – Francesca said you’re a great looking guy, a hunk as they say – you just need to nail your confidence and charisma. And by the way you’re not Norman out here in the field – you’re Max, a successful playboy.”

      “Yeah, I’m Max, I got it.”

      “OK, let‘s go! show time” said Viper.

      Norman and Viper sauntered into a wine bar.

      “That one”, said Norman pointing to a beautiful Italian looking woman sitting alone.

      “Are you sure Norman? ”

      “Yes, I think so, I’m feeling confident.”

      “OK, let’s do it! And don‘t forget your instant charisma exercises. Get prepared, this one’s gonna be a challenge,” Viper drawled!

      “I’m on it”

      “Remember, She’s confident, and she’s heard it all before. Maintain eye contact; introduce yourself; touch her lightly on the arm; give her the default compliment; and flirt with her non stop…”

      “I’m not so certain”, she’s kinda hot, and so cool” his voice trailing off.

      He stopped in front of the brunette; collapsed at her feet – and blacked out.

      Next morning Norman walked into the office of Dr. Francesca Rosa – Psychiatrist.

      “Hello Norman” said Dr. Rosa, is Viper with you?”

      “He’s right there” said Norman pointing to an empty chair!

      “Maybe we can try again tonight?”

      “Great! I won‘t let you down” said Norman.

      “But tonight – I want Viper‘s magic. ”

      “Viper? OK! I‘ll tell him it‘s show time” Norman drawled!

    • sham shaww says:

      “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.”
      Silent conquered. I can barely hear Joey’s voice. His voice sounded full of abject guilty; wasn’t like before which was more joyful. Joey Ross, his full name. Nobody calls him Joey, but me. I knew him since we were young, about twenty-two years ago. I don’t know exactly how we met. The only thing I realize is Joey will always be best comrade, whenever we go, whatever we do.
      “Look at you.” he paused for seconds and continued, “I shouldn’t have listened to you at the first place. It’s all my fault.”
      Joey was considered a late-stage liver cancer patient. He was diagnosed with that killer disease three years ago. I shocked. I thought he was joking the first time he mentioned it. But when I looked at him, I knew he wasn’t bluffing. I didn’t know how to react. What should I say? I tried to comfort him. Miserable feeling emerged deep from the core. I didn’t want to lose him.
      “What the doctor said?” I asked.
      “I only have a month left,” answered him.
      “I rather die than seeing you like this.” His sobbing broke my reminiscence. I see someone standing next to him, a tall figure with white coat.
      “We aren’t sure what is happening to him. The donation was successfully done. We’d tried our best effort to bring his back to normal.” said the doctor. I presumed he is speaking to Joey.
      “Will he regain conscious if you put back his liver in?” Joey asked.
      “He won’t make it. I’m sorry,” the doctor said. “He has only a few days left.” continued him.

      #please correct any fault. I will appreciate your attention. =))

    • Holly says:

      Nothing was going right, it was all wrong. Everything had been painstakingly planned with precision and patience.
      “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.” Theobald’s face was red and flustered and his tone angry and accusing.
      “What do you mean?! We planned this together, the two of us, so don’t start pushing the blame on me!” Suzie fired back with anger flashing in her eyes.
      “Don’t patronize me! Of course we planned it together but you always seem to have a problem following the plan. Don’t you see? You always mess it up. This time you promised me nothing would go wrong Suzie.” Theobald peered down into Suzie’s eyes and instantly wished he could take back what he just said. She was on the brink of tears.
      “I’m, …I’m…sorry. I should just go.” Her words came out cracked and in a whisper and Theobald knew how much he had hurt her.
      “Look Suzie, don’t go. For goodness sake don’t go. You know I can’t do this without you. I just need you to stay focused and remember the plan. Can you do that?”
      “I don’t know Theo…”
      “Of course you can!” He shook her by the shoulders. “Now come on!” He knew then he’d made another mistake. “Oh damn it.” There was a long awkward silence. “Look Suzie. I’m just tired. At my wits end. You’re my best trainee and I don’t want to see you fail now. Do it for us.” Was this a bribe? Suzie didn’t want to think about it. Her mind was in such a wrangled state. She couldn’t remember the plan and she didn’t want to.
      “Okay. Lets go.”
      Theobald patted her on the back and without another word they set off into the darkness.

    • Jacob Blanchard says:

      Esteban wrung out a bit of moss beneath the oak that wasn’t black with horse blood. The mare had bled through the blanket long ago. Now a pinkish spray leaked from her muzzle at every wheeze and jerk. Beyond help. He turned to his sister, Marisole. She glared at the darkening pasture below, clutching the old rifle with white hands. DePape’s sheep were scattered.
      “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.”
      She swallowed.
      “Now?” she said. “We must kill her.”
      She placed the rifle against the tree. They knew a gunshot still risked drawing Don DePape. Marisole unsheathed the bowie knife. The mare’s eyeball swerved towards her. It blinked a fly away with the same ease it had an hour ago.
      “Marisole, I can do it,” Esteban said.
      She shook her head, but made a clubbing motion. The mare’s jugular ran up its neck muscles just like a sheep’s. She patted its ears as Esteban unfastened the tomahawk from its saddle. He took the weapon in both hands and circled the oak tree like a bowed ascetic. The mare watched him, flattening its ears as he slipped behind the trunk.
      “Someday, little sister, this knife will be in old DePape’s throat,” she whispered to the mare.
      Esteban reappeared, the hammer end of the tomahawk above his head. The horse choked as it tried to rear up. The tomahawk connected. Esteban recoiled from the blow as much as the mare. Marisole opened the mare’s vein and staggered away as it finished its life. Flies as long as Marisole’s little finger appeared and reveled in the blossom of blood. She snatched the old rifle and hurried up the slope. They still had an hour of daylight. And come morning, they would make California.

    • Tied to the hand railing in the basement parking lot of an abandoned high rise, Jackie flung her head to the right over her shoulder sending her long silk blond hair to her back.
      “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.”
      Her voice echoed off the soot and rust stained gray walls as she chided Brad for his lack of insight.
      “Don’t worry; everything’s going to be alright.” A sheepish grin crossed his face as he shrugged his shoulders and cocked his head to one side.
      How could she stay mad at him? At the agency when no one else wanted her as a partner, Brad took her under his wing and defended her honor. “Everyone deserves a second chance.” He told her. Why would anyone want partner up with someone who lost their first partner through a foolish mistake?
      “Incase haven’t noticed.” She raised her eye brows and motioned her head from one side of the basement to the other. “Those colorful wires and blocks of putty aren’t playdough and spaghetti.”
      “I know! Let me think.” Brad beat his head against the rusted rail and a piece of rust fell next to his foot.
      A scream filled the garage amplified by its emptiness. Brad turned and looked toward the scream and saw Jackie pumping her feet up and down like someone pedaling a ten speed bicycle in low gear.
      “What’s the matter?” Brad pulled against the rope that bound his hands to the rail.
      “A rat!”
      “A rat?” Brad started laughing and slumped against the rail. “Awhile ago, your were worried about how we were going to get away from here, and now you get all excited about a rat.”
      “It’s not funny, I hate rats!”

    • “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.” Panic was starting to fill her voice.
      I had convinced Sarah that as part of her therapy she should face her fear by going somewhere high, somewhere she would never have gone six months ago when we first met and her therapist agreed.
      Now we were stuck at the top of the Weymouth Sea Life Tower, Sarah was starting to panic and people were beginning to stare.
      An announcement came over the P.A system. “Ladies and Gentlemen we apologize for the delay. Unfortunately a pigeon seems to have landed on a rung half way up the tower. We are doing our best to deal quickly with the situation. Thank you for your patience.”
      “You’re doing well” I told Sarah, “just keep breathing.”
      “That’s easy for you to say” she said, between short breaths, “I was fine until this thing stopped”
      “Fucking pigeon”. She spat out, almost under her breath.
      She was beginning to shake now. I pulled her in close to me and she buried her face into my shoulder. I could feel her begin to get desperate. This was when things could go seriously wrong.
      Then an idea flashed across my mind. I had planned to do this when we were safe on the ground again, but I had to distract her.
      Gently, I pushed her off of me and stood in front of her. Lowering myself onto one knee I pulled a small red velvet box out of my pocket and opened it revealing the diamond ring.
      “Sarah, I love you and I can’t ever imagine my life without you. Will you marry me?”
      She didn’t say a word, but just got down on the floor and threw her arms around me tightly.
      As people began to cheer, we heard a gunshot and the gasp of the crowd below.
      As we felt the downward movement I could tell Sarah was beginning to relax. She grabbed the ring and pushed it onto her finger. “Perfect” she whispered.

    • Driving in our convertible is so invigorating and adventurous. As we drive around the city, the wind blows through our hair and the sun beats down on us. We have become much closer to each other since we bought our convertible. We hadn’t planned on buying a convertible yet, that was our goal when we moved to the beach. But it’s so much fun exploring the neighborhoods that we may never have driven through in our jeep. We save the jeep for exploring through the mountains.
      We jump in the convertible on the weekend and take off to nowhere. One Friday night we decided to take the car out for the evening, we have only had it a couple weeks and had never been out after the sun went down. Now it was time to experience the moonlight over us and the coolness of the night breeze.
      I drove up to the zoo at the top of the mountain, it was closed already, but we took a chance and pulled into the parking lot. I parked the car right in the middle of that huge lot, turned off the engine and laid back in the seat as we looked up at the stars. Listening to the sound of the animals after the sun went down was pretty awesome. Then the officer pulled up next to us with his flashlight in hand. What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened. Busted

    • John Mohrman says:

      Both young men were approaching from opposite directions to the same street corner populated by their mutual friends. John yelled out to his friend Gary, from about forty feet away,”hey, Gary, what do you call that bro? ” What do I call what John?” Gary answered in a more that equitable tone in fervency. What do we do now?” You told me nothing could go wrong and look whats happened.

      I lost my last three months savings on that race, John said .Gary retorted,” John I lost more than you did and it was my brother who gave me the tip.” Dont blame me or Bobby for what happened, someday we’ll win it back!” I dont blame you or Bobby just from now on , dont tell me its a sure thing, agreed? Agreed, I guess sometimes you win sometimes you lose. Then at the same time both young men exclaimed simultaneously, and sometimes the blues get ahold of you, oh memories…

    • Diane says:

      We were dating only a few months when Tom had what he thought was a brilliant idea.

      “Let’s go to Hawaii,” he announced during dinner.

      “Where?” I asked nearly choking on my salad.

      “Hawaii, Hilo to be exact. I have a buddy who’s invited me to the opening of his restaurant.” Tom filled his Cheshire grin with steak and potatoes. He washed it down with a long swig of beer.

      “It would be a great adventure. What do you say, Babe?”

      I had my doubts, but who could say no to a trip to Hawaii?

      ******
      “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened?”

      Our rented jeep was deep in mud. Tom hit the accelerator again.

      “Will you stop? You’re making it worse.” Our first day on the Big Island and we’re stranded in a rainforest.

      “Well, do you have any bright ideas?” Tom jumped out of the car and sank into the mud. “Shit!”

      “Since you’re already dirty, why don’t you push and I’ll drive?” I gave him a wink and a smile.

      Tom growled as he slogged to the back of the car.

      He pushed. I accelerated. He pushed again.

      I wondered if palm fronds would give us traction when the door opened and Tom pulled me into an embrace. He was covered head to toe in mud.

      “Wait! No!” I couldn’t stop laughing as I tried to push him away as muddy kisses covered my face.

      “I did promise you an adventure, didn’t I?”

      As if on cue, it started to rain.

      • Sarah says:

        That was cute. I enjoyed it. If you plan on making more of it, I feel like it could be really nicely stretched out. Well done!

        • Diane says:

          Thanks Sarah! I wish more of my writing ideas came this easily. Been working on short stories lately, so I’ll see what I can do. 🙂

    • Heather says:

      “Hmm.”

      “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.”

      Kurt looked at, ah… uhm… Whats-his-name. “what do you mean? Nothing’s gone wrong for me.”

      Whats-his-name put his hands on his hips, a decidedly non-masculine thing to do. “This is all alright for you then, yes?”

      Kurt frowned, “in the short term, things have gotten a little… janky. But the grand scheme is still very much intact.”

      “Janky,” Whats-his-name said, sinking. “The walls have come crashing around you, the air is filled with poison and, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m slowing sinking into a pool of lava. You call this janky?” He gestured to an audience that wasn’t there.

      “You do realize what’s wrong with this picture, don’t you?”

      Whats-his-name’s hands returned to his hips, “imminent death?”

      “No, no,” said Kurt, and broke it down since he realized the person he with whom he was talking was thick as mud. “You’re not burning.” He pointed to Whats-his-name’s feet and the lack of smoke, or heat, or melting flesh.

      “It’s all an illusion, due to the concentrated amount of neuron-enhancing compounds floating in your brain at this present time.”

      The hands on the hips again. Kurt sighed. “I’ve drugged you. See?”

      “Drugged me? So I’m not melting?” Whats-his-name asked. His relaxed a little, eyes drooping.

      “Nope,” Kurt said.

      “No lava?” He yawned and felt his knees to weaken and ease him down into the not-lava.

      “No lava,” Kurt said, grabbing his bag.

      “No imminent death?” Whats-his-name settled into a comfortable spraw and went to sleep.

      “Well,” Kurt said, pulling out a hack saw. “I wouldn’t say that.”

      • Sarah says:

        I like how you paired such a dark thing with people who were so light about it. I was a little confused as to who was speaking with what’s his name, but otherwise I enjoyed it!

    • They stood there dumbfounded , shocked that this could have happened. They planned everything so carefully. It was supposed to be an easy switch so that no one would notice and no one would be any the wiser for it. They were sure the family would have someday thanked them for what was supposed to happen.

      “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.”

      Inflectionless, its mechanical voice popped quietly through the stark darkness of the hall of family heirlooms, although its human companion could still detect the distress in its voice: “My maintenance schedule was followed precisely. There was no indication of potential failure in presystem diagnostics. No anomalies at all. All systems nominal.”

      “Obviously not. Perhaps your diagnostics need a serious update.” As soon as he said it he regretted it. He was rather hurt by the self insinuation that the diagnostics routines needed updating. After all he wrote the routines himself and he was amongst the best diarobotics programmers. Perhaps this was a subconscious intrapersonal commentary, a Freudian slip? Did he subconsciously doubt his own skill or this job. Hmmm…. his therapist was going to have to have a go at this later.

      A brief moment passed as the droid’s mind processed the ramifications. Its quantum powered processors never considered the possibility of a failure of its physical chassis. Its actuator had surprisingly failed at the very moment it was picking up the vase and caused its mechanical arm to knock it over instead of carefully and gently picking it up. Pale red light from its eyes gently illuminated the broken pieces of the invaluable vase laying on the polished stone floor, illuminating its destruction like a crime scene.

      “I am sorry Dave:” was the last thing he heard.

      • That is my first writing before I noticed the emphasis on dialog:

        They stood there dumbfounded , shocked that this could have happened. They planned everything so carefully. It was supposed to be an easy switch so that no one would notice and no one would be any the wiser for it. They were sure the family would have someday thanked them for what was supposed to happen.

        “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.” Inflectionless, its mechanical voice popped quietly through the stark darkness of the hall of family heirlooms, although its companion could still detect the distress in its voice. They just wanted to help keep a valuable family prize and heirloom safe, but instead they destroyed that which they meant to protect.

        Both of them stared down at the shattered pieces of the family’s most prized heirloom, the Salas Vase, which was over 230 years old and was crafted by their great, great, great grandfather, a world renown and legendary master craftsman of his day. This vase was one of the few of his works remaining in the world. Pale red light from their eyes gently illuminated the broken pieces of the invaluable vase laying on the polished stone floor, illuminating its destruction like a crime scene.

        A mechanical whirr could be heard as both droids simultaneously shifted their heads to look quizzically at the first droid’s left arm actuator. The actuator had surprisingly failed at the very moment it was picking up the vase and caused its mechanical arm to knock it over instead of carefully and gently picking it up. The droids’ minds, even with all of its quantum state computing power, never considered the possibility of a failure of their physical bodies.

      • Third try: not so well done:

        “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.” he asked, accusation was hard in his tone.

        “I know, I know.” she cried, the tears streaming down her delicate face, the ugliness of sadness marring her oh-so-approachable perky girl-next-door beauty. “I don’t know what happened. It all went so fast. They weren’t supposed to come back until tonight.” Holding her hands to her face she continued t sob.

        John slowly sat next to her and put his arm around her. A single tear began to work its way down his cheek. “I know. I know. It is ALL ruined.”

        “I didn’t think the chiffon would clash so much with the lacey place mats, and the green is just, just off. I don’t know what I was thinking. I was just soo excited to be planning this for them.”

        In unison they both said with a sigh “They will never understand.”. They bot sat there feeling naught but despair and defeat. The party was ruined. Their parents are coming home in a few hours and they do not have time to replan everything or to even find a party planner to compensate for their obvious lack of refinement.

        “What should we do?” Sarah asked more as a rhetorical question, not really expecting that there could be any real answer for their hopeless situation. She was more just giving the question out to the world hoping that some sort of miracle would just happen by on its way to the store to pick up eggs at the grocery store.

        Ella, their amazing miracle working maid, quietly slid out onto the balcony with them. She looked down at them, annoyed, and thought to herself ‘Here I go again.’ Putting her hands onto her hips she sighed.

        • Vic Lewis says:

          Hi James,

          Great! you nailed it in the end – nice detail.

          Vic

    • What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.” A violent unexpected hurricane had blown our Hot Air Balloon way off-course, and we could all see that a dense forest was soon to be our landing pad! At this point in time I remembered what happened to Colin McCrae, the famous Racing Driver on a short helicopter flight close to his home outside Lanark over the hills not far from our old home as we saw the approaching density of the woods. In my head I could still hear that strange frightening noise coming from the sky just above where we used to live seconds before Colin met his sad untimely demise from planet earth. We all huddled together not even daring to breathe and quietly I whispered to my usually supportive long-term partner who was by this time ‘FRANTIC’ ‘Let’s PRAY for a MIRACLE.’ Within seconds the weather became eerily calm again without warning and we navigated the Hot Air Balloon to land safely as the rapturous cheers of our friends were captured in the precious air around us forever. Fortunately we landed just outside the forest just a few yards from the main road where we were able to walk home, catch our breath and give ‘silent thanks’ for our miraculous rescue. Did a Higher Power stop the weather? We all believe so even until this very day.

    • “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.” I’ve got both hands pressed over the hole but water is still leaking in. The wall is starting to crack from the pressure.

      “I told you no such thing” Selene whips around to face me and continues “You just worry too much.”

      “Worry?!?” I can’t believe she brings that up now.

      Selene turns back to the controls. “Besides, the wall’s still holding. Just patch it up, Omara and I’ll get us out of here.”

      I know she’ll be no help at all so I leave the wall briefly, reach up and grab the patch kit. It wouldn’t bug me so much if she wasn’t right most of the time. I hope this is one of those times.

      My hands shake but I apply the biggest patch there is, hoping it will hold the wall together long enough for Selene to fly us up and out of here. Above, only air would leak in and we can deal with that. Air wouldn’t make us sink and fall and oh god I have no idea how deep this lake is.

      “It’s done.” I can’t stop my voice from shaking.

      Selene laughs and flips a few switches, like she’s done this before and not just watched. We accelerate smoothly – I can’t believe it – she pulls back on the throttle and then we are through. Blue water to blue sky. We’re this close to drowning and then, suddenly, we’re not.

      Selene never feared for us. She knew I’d get the patch done so she could repressurize and get us out. She knew it like I know how to breathe. Like I know the sun will rise.

      “See, I said you worry too …..” That’s when I punched her.

    • Prosper says:

      “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.” Jim paced back and forth, frantically trying to get the blood off of him. Don surveyed the scene, trying to think.

      “Just stay calm man, we’ll figure this out.”

      “Stay calm!? He’s dead Don, he’s dead and we are so completely fucked!” Jim sat down abruptly, running his hands through his hair, streaking the blonde with dark crimson. “Oh shit.”

      Don’s lip twitched with disgust. What was he thinking choosing this baby-faced pussy as a partner? He hadn’t had much choice, but what kind of man fell apart at the sight of blood? He shook his head, as usual he would have to take care of it.

      “Shut up and go get some tarp from the trunk,” Don ordered as he walked over to where Liam’s body was hunched against the wall, his blood pooling around him. It was going to be a pain in the ass to move that fat fuck. “D’ya hear me?” he asked when Jim didn’t move.

      “What are we going to do?” Jim asked quietly.

      “What are we going to do?” Don repeated scornfully, “We’re gonna clean up here, dump the body, and then get the hell out of here before anyone realizes what happened. You gotta problem with that?”

    • Anna Labno says:

      “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what happened.”
      “Kate! Blame all on me like you always do.”
      “Oh, now it’s Kate, no Katie. Well, it was your idea to take this road. We’re in the middle of nowhere. Where are you going?”
      The car door slammed shut. Joe lit the cigarette and just stood there. What is he thinking? How will we make it for a wedding? With a shaky hand, I groped for a phone in my purse.
      Dialing…
      “Sally, I’m so sorry. I don’t know if we’ll make it to the church on time. Do what you have to do. Choose one of the brides maids to be your maid of honor. Joe had an emergency. Don’t worry about anything. He’s okay now.”
      Disconnecting the phone, I came out. Does anyone even live here? Oaks on each side of the gravel road, grass dead from the heat. And he just stands in the middle of it.
      “What do you think you’re doing”? Feeling perspiration on my head, I pulled on his sleeve. Another lie because of him. “Come on.”
      “Now, you drive. You won’t blame it on me, woman.”

    • Mary crept back toward the bedroom window she’d fled only hours earlier, barely noticing the world around her. Tom had asked her to marry him and she’d said yes. Of course he hadn’t had a ring yet, so they wouldn’t tell anyone for a few months while he continued working at McDonald’s to save up the money. And she supposed it would probably be even longer after that before they could save up enough to actually exchange their vows.

      Still, he was worth waiting for, she thought happily as she scaled the apple tree outside her bedroom, slid back into the window and settled into bed.

      ***

      Two months later—and still ring-less—Mary sat on the toilet at Tom’s parents’ house, door open, pants around her ankles. They had skipped last period so they could make it to the convenience store and then to Tom’s house before his parents came home.

      “Fuck. It’s positive. The pregnancy test is positive.” She looked at Tom. “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.”

      “Shit. I ain’t never said that,” Tom responded. “Look I’ve been setting aside money for a ring, like i told ya. We can use it to pay for the abortion Mary. We can’t afford no baby.”

      Mary felt the world tilt and spin. They’d never talked about what they’d do if she got pregnant. And now he wanted her to abort it? Abort _his_ baby? Maybe he wasn’t the man she’d thought he was after all.

      • “she’d fled only hours earlier, barely noticing the world around her.”

        Ha! And I thought she ‘had fled’ because his proposal came without a ring. I mean, any other woman would have seen the red flag.

    • Sherilyn says:

      Jeanine surveyed the scene outside the theater. After streaming out in terror, people now stood in clumps as the police began herding them into buses to be taken to be questioned. She didn’t want to talk to the police or anyone else about what she had seen or experienced.
      “Jeanine, honey, let me see your arm,” Robert said. “I can see that it’s bleeding.”
      She clasped her left arm to her side closer. It hurt and she could feel blood dripping onto her hand. “No. I just want to go home.” Suddenly enraged, she turned on him. “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.”
      “I know, honey, I know I did,” Robert ran his fingers through his hair. “No one knew this would happen, except the guy with the gun. At least I’m pretty sure there was just him. Jeannie, I really have to see your arm. I need to know you’re okay.”
      A policeman appeared to her left. “Ma’am, are you hurt? I can take you to a hospital to get that looked at.”
      “No,” she shouted at him. “I want to go home. If you want to take me somewhere, take me away from here.”
      He patted her right shoulder gently, exchanging glances with Robert. “I can take you away from here. We’ll make a quick stop at the emergency room to have that arm looked at, okay?” He was gently guiding her to a police cruiser, Robert’s arm wrapped around her waist. “Sir, I think you’d better come with us.”
      “You couldn’t pry me away,” Robert spoke with firm determination. “We were married this morning. I will never let her go.”
      The policeman’s face suffused with sympathy and some pity. “I guess not.”

      • Sherilyn says:

        I apologize for this. I live in the Denver area and everyone here is reeling from the theater shooting Friday night/Saturday morning. This was all I could think of. These are not real people, just what I thought someone might do in this horrible situation.

      • Though I’m a tad confused about what happened, I especially love the statement “No one knew this would happen, except the guy with the gun…”. Witty.

        Nice piece.

    • Sarah says:

      “Cheryl, it’s going to be alright baby, we’re gonna be just fine.” Tommy spoke as he got out of the car.

      Cheryl sat in the passenger’s seat, arms folded, staring straight ahead. The desert heat was making her hair flat. She was sweating. And she hadn’t seen what she would call civilization in hours.

      Tommy walked around the car. Steam smoked from under the hood. He sighed. Looking around he saw desert, desert and more desert. “Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.” He said under his breath. Yelling to be heard through the closed windows he said, “It doesn’t look too bad, hun! I think we’ll be moving in no time.”

      She could see him laugh awkwardly. Rolling her eyes she turned to look out the window, “Mother was right.”

      The hood popped, making the car jump. Cheryl braced herself against the door. Annoyed that her misery was now blocked from his view she got out of the car.

      “Well?” She asked, standing over his shoulder.

      “Uh. Well.” He coughed through the steam, “It’s fine. It’s…okay, I don’t know. It doesn’t look so good.”

      “Uh huh. So, what do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened?” She waved at the car, “This was why I wanted to fly. We would have been there by now. Not to mention we would have had air conditioning, and good food, and, oh yeah, I always fly first class and I’m sure that would have been a new experience for you!”

      “Sorry.” He lowered his head.

      “We’re done.” She spat.

      He nodded his head. “Okay.”

      “You’re not gonna even fight about it?” She placed her hands on her hips.

      “No, our marriage wouldn’t last.” He finished.

      He walked back to the car leaving her standing in the dust.

    • Taylor FitzGerald says:

      “What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.”

      Reynald seemed far less handsome when he was afraid, Mary decided, although she could not entirely blame him; her heart was beating unnaturally fast as well. She looked down at the still body of her husband, lying in a pool of his own vomit. Carefully, she prodded him with the toe of her boot. Henry was certainly dead, and sooner than they had planned. Perhaps her hand had been shaking just a little when she had administered the poison. It was not shaking now.

      Reynald was still speaking, and now he looked nothing like the handsome errant knight that Mary had thought she loved. The realization of the past tense frightened her more than Henry’s untimely death.
      “They will hang us in the castle courtyard,” he said, “I never planned on this. He was not supposed to die until we were far gone from here.”

      “I know what was supposed to happen,” she snapped.

      “We have sinned,” Reynald said, unable to look away from Henry’s body. “Courtly love should be pure; we should never have planned to flee…”

      No. He is right. We should not flee.

      “But we love each other,” Mary whispered, drawing close to him. Her kiss brought Reynald to himself, and eagerly he returned it.

      Reynald had often said in jest that he would like to die whilst lying next to a woman. Mary supposed that standing next to one was close enough. Her dagger easily slid through his velvet doublet and she watched him fall, watched his last breaths spill forth his soul.

      “Help!” she called after a moment, pleased with how frantic her voice sounded. “Murder! A man has killed my lord husband, and tried to attack me! Murder!”

      • Sarah says:

        I liked this a lot. The characters each had a strong POV and stuck with it through the end. And you kept me nice and curious throughout the whole thing. Nicely done!

      • Aren’t women a devious lot.

    • Glewen glided after the human towards the ethereal White Fall where her cold body waited. One more mile and she would be whole again, able to touch, feel…again. Adel had promised.

      Adel, however, stopped cold below and Glewen hovered, confused.

      She whimpered, “What is it?”

      “Seers.” His voice was calm, despite his laboured breathing. “We are surrounded.”

      “Gods!” Unlike her fellow ordinary spooks, seers – dead wizards – could discern the presence of other grey beings and, worse, had a flair for absorbing them in order to grow more powerful. “What do we do now. You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.”

      Oddly, Adel smiled with glee. “Sorry. After three millennia, how could you think that something more than wrecked bones could be left of your body – buried in the Frost Mountains or not?”

      She gazed into his gleaming eyes and knew. “You trapped me?” Summoning her WispSword in anger, she slashed. The wispy blade slightly dispersed as it went through him, leaving no cut. She cursed. He was FEARLESS.

      Just then, a figure, a seer, loomed some yards aways, jerked forth his hand, and a WispNet sprouted out and scooted forward, encasing Glewen. Weakness prevailed and she reckoned that non-existence had finally found her.

      Oh, my, death was distasteful.

      • Sherilyn says:

        “Death was distasteful.” I love that! I will so have to use that sometime. I liked your scene and character building. The way you created the fantasy world through dialogue was nicely done. My only criticism is that you didn’t need to use all caps for the word “fearless.” It was distracting and took away from the rest of the scene. That said, I really enjoyed what you did here and look forward to reading more of your work.

        • Thanks for the encouraging note, Sherilyn. I had to use capital letters for ‘fearless’, as my phone, with which I posted the scene, doesn’t support the use of italics.


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