e3941297e17226345b367b4f61e62e3e98e44947f806b5be70

    Writing Prompts: Make Your Readers GASP! [Scene Stealers]

    Can You Make Your Readers GASP?

    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.

     

    The ground rules:

     

    • You must begin your story with the exact wording we provide.
    • 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 month’s installment is designed to help you shock or startle your reader.

     

    Scene Stealer #13

    The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.

    But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”

    I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly

    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.

    Check out our other writing prompts for inspiration!

    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.

    Image: Shocked woman courtesy of Bigstockphoto.com

    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.

    • I pay a quick visit everyday some web sites and websites to
      read articles or reviews, however this web site offers quality based articles.

    • Would anyone who has been a component with the program from the beginning mind sending me copies from the prior letters? I’m signed up now but unfortunately did not hear of this until now. Many, many many thanks in advance.

    • carnie says:

      Suddenly what?!?!

      I hate cliffhangers. Well actually I love them because they leave you wanting more…

      Great beginning. If you made this into a book I’d read it.. in fact it’s going to bug me if you don’t because I want to know what happened!

      • Crystal says:

        Ha ha, I didn’t mean to write a cliffhanger, I just couldn’t think of anything else to write! I’ll let you know when I get an actual idea. 🙂

    • B. Daniel says:

      LOL! We were supposed to gasp, not be left with a cliff hanger – that’s just cruel 😛

      B. Daniel

    • Crystal says:

      This is my first time, so hopefully this turns out okay.

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.
      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly…

      Nothing happened. Oh, who was I kidding? Nobody had arranged to meet me here, and obviously my life was going to continue on the way it had for the past 15 years, with absolutely nothing happening out of the ordinary. I sighed and looked down and saw a scrap of paper fluttering in the wind. No. I was not going to pick that up. It was probably a candy wrapper or something. I tried to keep my vision focused on the grass, but I kept staring at that scrap of paper. Maybe it…no. But…Fine. I would pick it up, if only to save the park from littering. I slowly stood and walked over.
      The paper was on the ground, when suddenly a wind rustled through the trees, pushing the paper off of the ground. I lunged for it, landing hard on the ground. But I had the scrap of paper in my hand. I slowly uncrumpled it, waiting for something, anything different. I scanned the piece of paper with my eyes, going over every fiber of it before giving up in defeat. I dropped it and walked back to the park bench, my earlier thoughts of recycling forgotten. Wait! Had I looked at the other side? I questioned myself, telling myself I must have, that I was just fooling myself. Unable to stop myself, I turned around and walked back to it. The piece of the paper that might change my life. I picked up the corner and flipped it over. And then I gasped. Suddenly-

    • David Bernstein says:

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.

      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”

      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly a soft touch warms my shoulder and before I can turn to see this person the landscape changes. A distorting haze radiates from my focal point and erases all that is familiar, replacing it with something that sends chills down my body. No longer does the park have its youthful spirit, its innocence replaced by an overgrown and rusty shell of itself. Muddy sand spills onto the cracks pathways. Trees stand tall yet lifeless and barren of foliage. The summer warmth is transformed into a chilly and stale autumn evening. Air rushes from my lungs as I gasp at the transformation. I turn for answers only to find a void of darkness that surrounds me in all directions. All that remains is the lifeless impression of my childhood park that lies before me.

      “Hello?” I shout. “I don’t understand, what is this?” My eyes scan the area looking for answers.

      Then I see it, laying in a puddle of dark water near the remains of the play-set. A toppled over and weathered stroller that I somehow remember from my fragmented childhood. Then something catches my attention and my heart sinks. Footsteps leading from the waters edge creep onto the walkway with no body to accompany them. I have to be dreaming, I can’t really be seeing this am I? The tinny footprints that seem to have a mind of their own turn my way. They speed up, one-two, one-two, one-two. I back up without taking my eyes off the horrifying sight. One-two-one-two-one-two, they now move even faster. Stumbling now, desperately I fling my body backwards slamming into something. I turn to see I am leaning up against the black void. I fail to swallow as my mouth dries up and my breathing becomes raspy. The footsteps stop inches before me. I fold my arms in front of me to shield whatever comes next.

      “Kaylin, it is time to remember,” mutters from a young child’s voice. “You know you are meant to be more, the time is now to show the world.”

      • David Bernstein says:

        *cracked

        probably too late for anyone to read and comment on huh?

        • Carnie says:

          It’s way too descriptive, which makes it very hard to read.

          • David Bernstein says:

            That is funny you said that, because I tried to be more descriptive for this challenge as I have been told I am not descriptive enough! Then the comment below like it.. so now i am lost!! 🙂

            • Carnie says:

              Sorry. It just seems a bit much for me. Try reading it out loud. That usually helps me.

            • David Bernstein says:

              Yeah I understand.. I wrote this on-the-fly in the comment box, so with some revising I am sure I would clean it up for sure.

      • B. Daniel says:

        This is very richly described, eerie, and despite seeming direct and dark, it is actually a very delicate telling of a painful personal journey. Very nicely done!
        Very riveting and actually, upon rereading it, I did gasp that what I first suspected (tale of a very personal journey) was true… yes, I had to read it several times as I have rarely seen what you wrote described in this way. Excellent.

        B. Daniel

        • David Bernstein says:

          Thank you! I like the way your review is written too 🙂

          • B. Daniel says:

            Thanks. I see all the efforts here as ‘off the cuff’ for fun and getting the creative juices flowing – not polished pieces. I love description to set mood, ambiance and theme. And for just belting your piece out right here, kudos!

            I happen to enjoy the very subtle twists (to my mind!) and different ways of telling a story that don’t rely on strict literal translation.

            But in the past, I have easily gotten lost in stories with too much… not even sure what to call it, but using common metaphors that aren’t really common to non-native English speakers like me.

            Each reader brings their own experience to the writing 🙂

            B. Daniel

    • G. Hagar says:

      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch: it was 1:14. Suddenly a white spotted dog burst on the scene disturbing the calm as the children played unaware. In his mouth was an arm. It appeared to be human. The women screamed in unison and began grabbing their things in order to get out of the place as quickly as possible. The children looked up at the alarm the women were displaying. They grabbed their respective children and fled.
      On closer examination, I could see those were not spots on the dogs white coat, it was dirt mixed with blood. He had obviously been digging for the arm. He dropped it several yards from me and looked around carefully. Satisfied, he dropped and began to eat at the torn flesh of the arm. Evidently he was starving. Slowly so as to not draw his attention, I reached for my phone and dialed 911

    • Caleb says:

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.
      But the note had been emphatic “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly there was a pierceing flash of light, and a wave of force so strong I felt it move my car. I stepped outside and waited for the world to reach visual cohesion. I kept trying to look for the park but as my vision cleared I realized, there was no park. A perfectly round and semi-sphereical crater was where the park should have been.
      In the center was an object, like a coffin off the set of some science fiction blockbuster. It was smooth on the outside, but underneath was a textured surface, like a scarab shell, it even refracted the sun light in that familar way.
      I’ve seen this movie, I know it’s damned stupid to touch it; but I felt drawn to it. Against my better judgement I was kneeling next to the thing. I touched the surface of it with a trembling hand, my brain screamed at me to stop. When my full palm and fingers were in contact, it lit up like a CES demo device.
      After a moment, the object emitted the hiss of released gas. I lept back, and watched as half of the object tilted toward me, making it’s coffin analogy complete. A figure sat up, it was draped in some sort of cloth, similar to the textured part of the shell. An appendage moved and pulled the material away. I hid my face. This will change everything, I thought.
      A moment later I heard a voice in my head. “You’re right. Things will change I am the answer to that great question.”
      I peeked through my fingers. “Which one?”, I squeeked.
      “Are you alone in the universe.”

    • She knew now that what she thought was the end was really just the beginning. Rhonda examined her reflection. The eyes were hers’ but she didn’t recognize the spiked blonde hair. She touches the bandages covering her face tracing the openings for eyes, nose, and mouth with her fingertips. As she closed her eyes, the image of the headless body lying next to a Rottweiler on the street. Rhonda’s head, red hair drawn back in a pony tail, rests on the curb staring down at the bodies. Help Me! Her knees buckle, and she sits on the edge of the bed. Her elbow strikes a water pitcher sitting on the nightstand. It totters for a moment; falls and shatters on the hardwood floor. The room spins. Chills rack her body, and spasms travel along her spine. The bedroom door flies open, and Tony rushes in, lifts her trembling body, and clutches her against his chest until the trembling stops.
      “I saw that ghoulish picture when I closed my eyes. You know I’ve been on the streets since I was fifteen. Between Detroit, Gary, and Calumet City, I figured I’d seen it all. Men cut open and gripping their stomachs to keep intestines from falling out, women beaten so badly their faces were unrecognizable… I thought I couldn’t be shocked,” Rhonda sobbed, “God was I ever wrong. That monster hired a hit man to decapitate me.”
      “He’ll never get another shot at you.” Tony said. “You’ve got fifteen of the twenty-five grand Whitey paid the jerk. The other ten went to pay for your surgery. Your best friend could sit next to you in church and think you were a stranger. Whitey will be dead by the time you get back to the States.”
      “Ha, my best friend, church! What freaked me was the dog collar; you got close enough to read his name. I know the picture was staged but… the dog was trained to kill.
      “You’ll see when the bandages come off. As for the dog, sometimes tranquilizer darts are an assassin’s best friend.

    • She knew now that what she thought was the end was really just the beginning. Rhonda examined her reflection. The eyes were hers’ but she didn’t recognize the spiked blonde hair. She touched the bandages covering her face leaving openings for eyes, nose, and mouth. As she closed her eyes, the image of the headless body lying next to a Rottweiler on the street, with Rhonda’s head, red hair drawn back in a pony tail, eyes staring down at the bodies from the curb, caused her to gasp. Her knees buckled, and she sat on the edge of the bed, to avoid collapsing. Her elbow struck a water pitcher sitting on the nightstand. It tottered for a moment; fell and shattered on the hardwood floor. The room spun. Chills racked her body, causing spasms to travel along her spine. The bedroom door flew open, and Tony rushed in, lifted her trembling body, and clutched her against his chest until the trembling stopped.
      “I saw that ghoulish picture when I closed my eyes. You know I’ve been on the streets since I was fifteen. Between Detroit, Gary, and Calumet City, I figured I’d seen it all. Men cut open and gripping their stomachs to keep intestines from falling out, women beaten so badly their faces were unrecognizable… I thought I couldn’t be shocked,” Rhonda sobbed, “God was I ever wrong. That monster hired a hit man to decapitate me.”
      “He’ll never get another shot at you.” Tony said. “You’ve got fifteen of the twenty-five grand Whitey paid the jerk. The other ten went to pay for your surgery. Your best friend could sit next to you in church and think you were a stranger. Whitey will be dead by the time you get back to the States.”
      “Ha, my best friend, church! What freaked me was the dog collar; you got close enough to read his name. I know the picture was staged but… the dog was trained to kill.
      “You’ll see when the bandages come off. As for the dog, sometimes tranquilizer darts are an assassin’s best friend.

    • Sam says:

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.
      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly, I felt an arm slide around my neck, and a sharp point against my temple. I didn’t dare move, not even the slightest bit. My eyes wandered to the women, pleading silently. They didn’t look over.
      “Wh-who is this?” I breathed.
      “So you came,” a throaty voice whispered. I cringed, a shiver passing through my body. There was something about that voice…

      “I-I’ll call the police.” My hands rushed to the ever so tight grip of his arm around my neck. I felt like I was suffocating. A woman from the bench looked over, giving me a strange look. She opened her burgundy purse, searching in it. Hope, I thought to myself, but then she pulled out a napkin, wiping the dirt off a screaming boy.

      “The police will call you crazy,” the voice whispered by my ear. “Those women too, think you are mad.” It was a man. His breath was hot against my ear.
      “Please, whatever it is you want, I-I’ll listen,” I stuttered, moving back as the man moved back. And then, all of a sudden, the arm disappeared, the pressure against my temple vanished. Shocked, I spun around, trying to find the man. He was nowhere in sight. The air before my face began to shimmer, and there, the man. I jumped back, tripping over a root. He was not a man at all. His body had traces of adolescence. He was not much older than me. Again, there was something about him… but I could not see his face, it was covered by a dark hood. I looked closer, catching a glimpse of ghostly pale skin.
      The prince of Azalea.
      He said, “Azalea has been destroyed.”

    • Zabrina Ng says:

      So many first time posters (or postees?)! I’m joining the group!

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.

      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly one of the kids sent a plastic pail flying over my head. I barely looked up as his mother came over, apologizing profusely.

      It was now 1:16. I grimaced bitterly. Danny had always been late, and today was no exception. It was two days ago when I saw him slip the note into the box of an office downtown.
      He should have known better.
      Who does he think I am?
      I see everything.
      I made sure they didn’t get the note though, barged into the office telling them I slipped the envelope through the wrong slot, even showed my id. Fake, of course.

      Only fools tell the truth.
      Danny needs to learn that.

      One secret out and the whole operation falls like a house of cards.
      I heard a car door slamming, and out came Danny. Black glasses, tuque, the whole disguise.
      I felt an urge to laugh. How naive!
      Danny looked around and as his gaze landed on me, he gave a start. I waved him over. He approached me apprehensively, like a beaten puppy. I gave the bench a little pat, motioning for him to sit. He sat.
      I smiled at him, not unkindly.
      ‘Danny boy,’ I said, ‘You need to understand.’
      I took my left hand out from my pocket and put the gun to his temple.
      He stiffened, and a tear leaked out from behind his sunglasses.
      One click, and it was all over. I left him sprawled on the park bench and walked away, taking no notice as a frantic mother soothed her screaming child.

      Danny is no fool now, is he?
      He won’t tell the truth any longer.

    • The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.” I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. suddenly the sounds of blaring sirens, screeching tires came to an abrupt but forceful stop at each corner of the park.

      I looked around as the police ran like lunatics escaping the asylum or rats leaving a sinking shop. They`re ran everywhere but nowhere. Women grabbed their children and held them close to their breasts as if today was their last day on earth. The police shout “down, down “their assault rifles cocked and ready. All of a sudden a thunderbolt of pain scorched through my lower back and up through my shoulder blades. Next, I found myself face down tied up in a half nelson by one cop and legs bounds by a minimum of three other police officers.

      “Gotem Lieutenant” said the officer as he tightened the handcuffs on me. The Captain saw the note from the killer in my right hand and pried it loose and took a long hard look at me. “Jeffries the reporter from the Post right?” I nodded “Captain Davies how are you?”

      “Geezuz Jeffries how many times have I told you to stay out of this? This guy is crazy, crazy enough to blow up this entire park! Cut em loose him men.” Just following a lead captain”. I turned around and saw the cops surrounding my van. “That yours Jeffries?” I stared at the van then reached into my pocket and pulled out my keys. That`s when I heard an officer “We found something captain”. The captain looked over my shoulder and his eyes widen. I raised my hand to show the captain my keys smiled and pushed the button. To which he said “You son of a bitch…”

      The End

      • B. Daniel says:

        Oh that was good! LOL! Definitely a surprise… definitely ended with a bang. LOL!
        Just kind of hard to continue the story afterwards… 🙂

        B. Daniel

        • Thank you.. I was actually thinking of working it backwards. like the movie moment. Anyway that’s what I was thinking.

          Michael Hall

    • Taylor says:

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.
      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm.
      Suddenly I was aware of being watched. Shaded under the Elm tree in the distance stood a man. His angular jaw-line tilted as he cupped his cigarette alight; thick filigreed billows hung within the midst of our gaze. In that moment an icy chill clung to the foundations of my soul –  
       
      Sure, I’d had some bad calls in my career. Who doesn’t? Shit, I was a real news guy, not like these assholes taking payoffs to cover-up the bullshit. My reputation was Platinum. I rode a hard-ass line and exposed REAL political corruption. I’d opened up a Pandora’s box of political greed so ruthless it’d turn your guts into slimy little knots until your skin crawls. Yeah, it got deep, real deep. I got 6-feet deep into the lives of men who were getting away with murder.
       
      He handed me the envelope and then quietly walked away.
       
      A few blocks away I tucked myself into Barney’s, the local pub, just so I could somehow wrap by mind the letter I was given. I sat at the quiet end of the bar and pulled the envelop from the pocket of my overcoat. Jeez, I can’t stop my hands from shaking.

      “Three-fingers of Marker’s?,” the bartender asked.“ “Yeah, that’ll do it.”
       
      As I waited I read the letter; .
       
                              Mr. Whiting,
       
      While working for the Tribune you were instrumental in thwarting a vendetta against your family. Unfortunately Mr. Whiting, you did not survive. Should you chose to do so, the timepiece of which you were given has the unique ability to move back in time, but only once. And Mr. Whiting someone will need to take your place. The choice is yours.
       
       
      Yours truly,
       
      Death

      • B. Daniel says:

        I really liked this though this theme isn’t normally of interest to me – but it reminded me of the gritty detective novels of old, very descriptive and… vibrant. Adding the mystical element with Death just makes it even more interesting. Especially love the wording – ‘tucked myself into Barneys’… 🙂

        B. Daniel, also a fan of Maker’s Mark at times 🙂

    • Diane says:

      It’s been awhile since I’ve submitted one of these . . . .

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.

      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”

      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly, a man sat down beside me. Tall and handsome, he was dressed in a black suit, white shirt, and narrow black tie.

      “Come with me to receive your scoop of a lifetime,” he said.

      “How do I know you’re not going to kidnap me, ship me to the Far East, and sell me into prostitution?”

      “You’ll just have to trust me.” His smile reminded me of a teeth whitening commercial.

      I remained unconvinced and unmoving.

      He handed me his iPhone to read a message.

      “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

      “We’re running out of time.”

      The man zigzagged along the freeway in a black Mercedes sedan. He reminded me of Jason Statham in “The Transporter.”

      I glanced at the passenger sitting next to me. Casually dressed in a white shirt, blue blazer, jeans and boots, he removed his aviator sunglasses. His eyes glinted with mischief and he tried to dazzle me with his mega-watt smile.

      “Are you ready?” he asked?

      Twenty minutes later, we arrived at Graumann’s Chinese Theatre. Cameras flashed like strobe lights as we alighted from the car.

      The next morning, on page six of “The Daily News” the headline read: “Who’s Tom Cruise’s new girlfriend?”

      • B. Daniel says:

        Cute story – the only thing that ruined it for me was Tom Cruise! LOL!

        B. Daniel

    • Mau says:

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.

      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”

      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly a tall blonde woman, dressed in white garments that glowed until the point of blindness, appeared in the distance, approaching as in the movies in slow motion, her bright and blurred silhouette resembled in my mind the image of an angel, I even could hear the bells tingling in the background.

      As I witnessed the surreal scene, I noticed that the kids stopped playing and kept staring at this person as she walked towards me across the park. And as if she was this angel, the mothers ran to their kids, they started smiling and the kids cheered up and shouted in joy to the newcomer.

      My mind was blank, my heart frozen as I could even grasp the strange moment I was witnessing. Suddenly she stopped in front of me and I stared her like watching the void in space. She extended her hand with a metal instrument close to my face, it felt cold, the smell of sweetness invaded the air.

      Then everything came clear. Life went again at normal speed and I was there staring at her hand in front of my mouth. I said -What is this?- She replied: -Try this, this is the scoop of a lifetime! from Nestle, if you like this, we have a truck with more ice cream-

      I felt annoyed that the magical moment was a marketing campaign, that the bells in the background was the sound of the ice-cream truck, that I was recently high on pot, and the worst is that after I ate the scoop of ice cream I remembered that I am lactose intolerant. 🙁

      • Carnie says:

        I see what you were trying to do with the twist. But how can you forget you’re lactose intolerant?

    • Write to Done

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.
      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly
       the sky clouded over, a cold gust of wind came up, irritating rain started to sting my face. A thin man, tall, in a large raincoat too big for him, and a fedora pulled down over is face came up grabbed my arm and directed me to the restaurant beside the park. We went in, soaked, and he pointed toward a booth, where I sat down, startled. He nodded to the waitress, a blond, heavy, dressed in pink, and she brought us coffee and a menu spattered with old gravy. “When are you going to answer my emails?” he said. “Don’t you want the five thousand dollars put in your account?”

    • The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.

      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly a tortured scream broke the silence. We all looked at the hedge whence it appeared to emanate; even the children stopped their play. After a pause that might have been a lifetime but which was probably only a few seconds, it repeated, even louder and more anguished than before.

      The women grabbed their children, or perhaps it was the other way around. Either way, they huddled together, wondering what awful event was taking place just a few feet away from them.

      As the only adult unencumbered by parental responsibilities, it fell to me to investigate. Besides, wasn’t this why I’d come? I edged towards the bush: it was taller than I, and delineated the boundary of a house – the sound was coming from someone’s back garden.

      Behind me, the parents had buckled their charges into the security of their strollers, and were heading for the exit. Now, it was just me and . . . whatever it was.

      The hedge was old, and irregular. While some parts were completely impenetrable, others were much thinner and I could see glimpses of the white walls of the house. I inched closer, crouching.

      At one point, the growth was so feeble that a hole, perhaps six inches across and just below head height, opened up. Slowly, I approached and peered through. There was the house – exactly like all the others nearby. A child’s tricycle lay, wheels spinning, on the grass. A paddling pool, freshly filled.

      And the remains of a small child, blood pouring from gaping wounds.

      Unable to get closer or to recoil in horror, I froze. And then the bear’s paw flew at my face through the hole, and darkness fell.

    • Debra says:

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.
      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly, right on time music was heard from behind the trees just off to our left. It was the sounds of drums and symbols *Boom Boom. Boom Boom Boom Boom Clang* The children immediately stopped playing and just sat in amazement. Margo and I got up and moved to where the children were lifting them into our arms. Yet we didn’t move.
      In fact we couldn’t move. There was nowhere to retreat too all the exits were occupied. Coming from each of the remaining walk ways came groups of performers. There were clowns, tight rope walkers, acrobatics, musicians, baton twirlers. Even small animals on leashes.
      Before long the children were back in their seats watching as a man approached us. Both Margo and I received flowers and the kids balloon figures. Within minutes a man in top hat and tails emerged from the crowd.
      The music died down and he cleared his throat and began to speak.
      “Parks in our nation are beginning to dwindle and become as empty and desolate as this was when you entered. But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. We can make them as children friendly as they are supposed to be. And don’t you want to know how we can do that?”

      Margo and I just looked at each other.

      “I’m glad you asked.” The man said continuing. “It all begins with you.”

      \

      • B. Daniel says:

        A very cute idea and well presented, but personally, I have to say that it’s a bit of a turn off for me personally because it’s just one more to pick on all our supposed apathy and faults…I feel bombarded by these messages every day.

        When an editor insisted we had to mention (not sure what this board is rated) uh, protective devices for use in intimate relations in our stories as a public service message, I ‘retaliated’ by writing a short that focused on the various types – scented, glow in the dark, expired and so on, basically mocking the requirement… because I think fiction if fiction, I read it to get away from the real world… though that story turned out pretty funny for the hapless couple who never actually got to use them at all! 😉

        B. Daniel

    • Sanya says:

      Okay…first timer here, people. Show a little mercy! 🙂

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.
      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly there was a thud, followed by a short scream. Then another thud. I whirled around quickly, my heart beating at an abnormal pace. On the ground, a child lay fallen. A short distance away, a woman.
      But there was no one there. And I didn’t hear a gunshot, either.
      And then it came. Another thud, followed by three more in succession. I whipped my head to the side, my heart in my mouth. I could feel my palms getting sweaty. Another child, another woman, and a stroller. A missed shot.

      And then, a tiny wail suddenly resounded throughout the area. That was when I realised that the stroller falling wasn’t because of a shot gone awry. It was a deliberate attempt to kill somebody. Somebody who was still alive, somebody who was no more than an innocent infant.

      I franticly ran towards the stroller, my feet striking the ground with force as I made an attempt to reach the child as quickly as possible. And I did it. My chest heaved as I picked up the baby and clutched it to my chest, tightly holding on to it. I waited for something, maybe for the child to die in my arms itself, but nothing happened. I couldn’t believe it. I was safe. I was safe! I finally began to relax, my breath slowing down as I was filled with something akin to relief-or maybe disbelief.

      But illusions don’t last forever. I froze as I saw a gloved hand slowly creeping over my shoulder, the metallic black of the gun it held strongly contrasting against the white. I was paralyzed by fear, a chill running down my spine as the hand pointed the gun at the infant’s forehead, the trigger slowly being pulled, muted silence as the child died, it’s cries unfinished.

      Then the gun turned, rotating until it faced me, and then there was another thud. The only difference was that this time….it was me.

      • Sanya says:

        Um….could somebody please give me tips on how to improve this? I’d be really grateful for your help. Thanks a lot!

        • Carnie says:

          It’s very descriptive.. maybe too much in some parts.
          There are alos parts where you’ve used and at the beginning of a sentence. Usually people tell you to not do this. But you use it very well at times.

          But there was no one there. And I didn’t hear a gunshot, either. —- that and isn’t needed.
          And then it came. Another thud, followed by three more in succession. — that and works very well at the beginning of a paragraph.

          Also, how is the person telling the story if they are dead? If you were thinking of carrying it on, I’ve read a couple of good stories with ghosts as the narrator. That’s a good direction to think about.

          Overall it was a good story. It’s very emotive and gets your heart racing. And ending on a cliff hanger is always good 🙂

          • Sanya says:

            Thank you so much for the feedback,Carnie! I’m just 14, so i’ve been basically trying to brush up on my skills a little…. 🙂
            PS: Even i’d thought there was something off about that line. Thanks for pointing it out!

            • Carnie says:

              No problem 🙂
              If you’re already writing this well at 14 you should definitely keep going. 🙂

            • Sanya says:

              Thank you! 🙂

    • Lani says:

      Hopefully this attached to my last blog post (I’m technology hopeless lol) but I’ll post it here as well…

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.
      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly


      the unmistakable melodic sound of the ice cream truck bell seemed to toll out of nowhere. I rose, a small smirk twisted the corners of my mouth, as I walked up to the now approaching truck. Someone must have a sense of humour I thought to myself The scoop of a lifetime.

      I waited patiently while the parents and children received their icy treats before greeting the ice cream man myself.
      “And, what would you like miss?”
      “The scoop of a lifetime,” I couldn’t help but smile.
      “Just a minute, I have to get all the ingredients“
      I rocked anxiously from one foot to the other but it wasn’t long before the salesman handed me a cone, with a scoop of strawberry ice cream and a beautiful ring resting on top.
      “OH my!” I gasped.
      Suddenly, the truck door opened and out came my boyfriend holding a bunch of roses.
      “I know it wasn’t the scoop you were expecting but I hope you enjoy it just the same,” he grinned cheekily. “So, what do you say…?”
      “Yes!!! This really is the scoop of a lifetime!!!”

      • Jess says:

        Haha brilliant!! This put a huge smile on my face!!

    • Pauline says:

      Evening News Exclusive
      By P. F. Palm
      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary wall, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, stroller put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.

      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.

      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly I heard rattling like a train going over an iron trestle. I glanced in its direction and saw the rusty iron merry-go-round whirl, shake. Pieces began to fly off. One piece barely missed my head. Shrapnel spewed everywhere. I ran into the sandbox and gathered the two toddlers under me. I could hear their caretakers scream. Then silence.

      When I woke up in the hospital, the evening news was on the television in my room. “A tragic accident occurred this evening in a local neighborhood park. Pieces of the merry-go-round there broke off and killed two mothers who were watching their children. The two toddlers were saved by our reporter, Ann Trever when she covered them with her body. Ann and the children are recovering. The mothers did not survive.

      • Carnie says:

        I loved this. But it’s the kind of story I can’t read because it haunts me.

        The only one criticism is you said “Pieces of the merry-go-round there broke off and killed two mothers who were watching their children.” Then after.. “The mothers did not survive.”

        The ending would have been better if you’d have said it broke off and hit the two mothers.. then.. they didn’t survive. The end isn’t so dramatic if you already know they’re dead.

        • Pauline says:

          Thanks. Pauline

    • Oleg Starko says:

      First attempt, but here goes.

      A Free Sample

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.

      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly, a booming voice tear through my thoughts.

      “Here for your scoop?”

      I flinched and turned to face an ice-cream stall. I wasn’t there a minute ago.

      A smiling man, bronze-tanned and silver-haired, stood behind it; in his outstretched hand there was a cone of ice cream. The lone scoop had a mother-of-pearl color to it, as though a rainbow coiled within.

      “Go on, it’s a free sample!” exclaimed the stranger, oozing friendliness. His eyes, however, pierced me.

      I licked my lips and risked a timid reply.

      “Thank you… I guess. Ice cream would be good right now, in this heat.”

      Compelled by the man’s unyielding gaze, I took the cone from his hand, and gave it a hesitant lick.

      …I was at a book signing. A line of adoring fans curved, serpentine, through the spacious bookstore and out of the door, continued along the sidewalk for at least another hundred feet. All those people, there for me…

      Ecstatic vision of the perfect life continued to unravel though my mind. Then, the world reasserted itself around me, more boring than ever.

      “Did you enjoy the free sample?” asked the man, smiling.

      Apparently, I had finished off the ice cream. There were traces of it on my lips, waffle cone clutched in my hand. I didn’t remember eating it.

      I nodded.

      A question came, soft, irresistible. “Would you like to live this dream?” Out of nowhere, the man snatched a one-page a contract and a gilded pen. It looked sharp.

      I understood everything. Ensnared by his gaze, I pricked my thumb with the pen’s tip.

      My mouth was full of sweet-tasting saliva. I swallowed.

      “Where do I sign up?”

      • B. Daniel says:

        Okay, now this is a bit eerie – not only do I have an ‘Oleg’ in my current WIP, I also wrote about scoops of ice cream and of course, being a writer, do have those dreams of long lines of avid fans!

        And what wouldn’t we all do to get there!

        Well done!
        B. Daniel

        • B. Daniel says:

          Oh, and one of the protagonists in that same WIP – her name begins with Starko…
          B. Daniel

          • Oleg Starko says:

            The Universe runs on freaky coincidences, it seems. I’m glad you enjoyed the piece, even if it was due to something entirely unintended. 🙂

            Oleg

    • B. Daniel says:

      Here goes my first crack at this 😀 Hope you enjoy it! B. Daniel

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.

      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm.

      As the ice cream truck stopped by the curb, I groaned in realization. Not your normal ice cream truck, selling novelties, but a truck offering scoops of freshly made organic ice cream in waffle cones. ‘The Scoop of a Lifetime’…

      About to leave in disgust at the out of control advertising tactics, I rebelled against going back to my cubical at the office. It was bright and sunny, the sky beckoned with it’s inviting blue hue as clouds scudded by playfully.

      My diet precluded the purchase of an ice cream, organic or not, but I could still have some fun. Climbing up the steps of the tall metal slide, I felt a bit foolish as the women gave me disapproving glances .Would they call the police since I wasn’t here with a child?

      The hell with them. I sat at the top of the slide, most likely wearing a silly grin of insurrection. I refrained from shouting out ‘Ahoy Matey’.

      The view was spectacular, though I was only 10 feet up at most. For a kid, this must have been near airplane height. Tall buildings surrounding the park had yet to cast their long shadows on the day. The air even smelled cleaner up here.

      I glanced at the sudden delicate puffs of white smoke from one rooftop, wondering what they could be. They were gone before I could make any conclusions about them. I saw a man apparently cleaning some structure on that roof before disappearing again. Probably pressure washing something.

      When I looked down at the sudden silence, I bit back a scream of pure horror and disbelief.
      The two women smiled up at me, their eyes vacant, a small, dark mark on their forehead that wasn’t there before.

      I’d seen dead bodies before, but never this fresh…

      • Diane says:

        That I did not expect. Gasp! 🙂 Nice work.

        • B. Daniel says:

          Thanks – the very words I live for!

          B. Daniel 🙂

      • Alicia says:

        I thought of ice cream, too! This is very creative. I liked it.

    • Carnie says:

      This is my first time posting my creative writing on here… or anywhere really for a while. But any constructive criticism will be appreciated.

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.

      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly the heavens opened. The women scooped up their children and ran for cover.

      “Oh, great,” I mumbled under my breath, “This better be worth it.”

      “Well you can decide that for yourself,” a voice said from behind me.

      I turned around to see a man dressed from head to toe in grey, with the umbrella to match. I stepped towards him. I’d seen his type before, dark and mysterious, with nothing much to say.

      “You’re not exactly what I expected,” he said, chuckling to himself, “I don’t know if you’re the right person for this.”

      “Of course I am. If there’s a story I’ll find it. I’ve uncovered some of the biggest scandals this year alone,” I said, “Maybe I need a little help sometimes. But that’s where you come in.”

      “Ok then,” he said, “Take a seat.”

      We sat down on the soaked bench and I watched as he stared into the distance.

      After a few minutes I looked at my watch, “It’s 1:21.”

      “You can’t see it,” he laughed, “Look.”

      He was pointing far off into the distance. I couldn’t see anything through the rain.

      “Wher…” I started to say as I saw it, “What is that?”

      “This may be the time for the camera,” he said.

      I jumped up and ran towards the trees, ripping the camera out of my bag, spilling everything. I needed this. I had to be the one to break this story. I wasn’t even sure what it was.

      Suddenly there was a strange humming and a dim blue light, slowly getting brighter. I stopped. Before I knew what was happening the light has surrounded me. The humming got louder.

      Then it all went black.

      • Alicia says:

        I think you have a very lovely writing style. It’s easy to read and descriptive.

    • The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.
      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly, I see an all too familiar car pull up. I could spot that black Suburban anywhere thanks to the dent in the passenger side. A smile tugs at the corner of my mouth. I never would have thought Tom to be so romantic to instigate a date this way.
      A quick touch up of lipstick and a tossing of my hair before taking off toward my Redneck Romeo. As I start to stand, a red convertible pulls up next to Tom. My mouth gapes open as he quickly jumps in the passenger side and gives the blonde a passionate kiss. I can still hear their laughter as the car pulls away.
      I storm across the park toward Tom’s car. Anger coursing through my veins.
      “How could he?” I seethe. My mind raced to make sense of the situation, but the only thing that I kept coming back to was revenge. I smiled as I found the keys to his car. “Buckle up Tommy Boy, it’s Mama’s turn to play.”

      • B. Daniel says:

        This certainly inspires quite a few questions!
        Who sent the note and why?
        If it was a friend, who needs enemies. If it was an enemy, well, an enemy of who then? 😀
        The tense went back and forth between present and past, but I do that all the time as well. I write present tense for games, but past tense for writing and forever get them jumbled.
        B. Daniel

        • Margie Hall says:

          Thanks, I should’ve taken the time to read it prior to posting. It’s my first time participating in one of these. 🙂

          • Carnie says:

            This sounds like the start of a book I’d love to read! With the tense.. I would stick to past for this. Those bits worked better 🙂

            • Margie Hall says:

              Thank you so much Carnie 🙂

    • sundar says:

      My first attempt too….

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.
      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”

      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. suddenly there appeared a red swank car out of nowhere and halted in front of the gate of the park. A beautiful actress elegantly stepped out of the car with a guy who looked like the local industrialist….My God! I can’t believe my eyes! Such a beautiful actress walking with this gentleman who had a beer paunch! I know him as the leading hotelier in my town. There was a rumor going around in town that he was seeing the actress. But we never believed it! How can she be with this fat, middle-aged industrialist!
      It was a scoop alright! Of all the places they chose this park knowing fully well there will not be many around with prying eyes.
      The kids were going up the slide and coming down sliding together. One of them started climbing up from the sliding side while the other used the ladder to come on top! It was fun watching the kids…
      The nannies were watching what the babies were doing but paid no heed to their pranks. They too recognized the actress. She was so stunning in her red sari matching the car that was deep red almost crimson red. She was wearing a lipstick that too was red…a fiery red combination!
      I was reeling under the impact of this scoop and thinking how I will coin the headlines already. It was so hot in the afternoon and it was sultry under the sun. But the sight in front of me was out of the world.
      I never imagined that I will see the actress in front of me so close that too. So close, that I could even faintly smell the perfume she was wearing!
      How many movies of her I have seen and admired her!

    • Alicia says:

      First timer…not sure if this makes readers gasp, but let’s give it a try.

      The tiny park was almost deserted. Boundary walls, lawn, play area. Two toddlers throwing sand at each other, their mothers or nannies chatting next to them, strollers put aside. Nobody else – not even a gardener or dog or cat.
      But the note had been emphatic: “Be there at 1pm. At 1:14, you will get the scoop of a lifetime.”
      I fidgeted and glanced at my watch. 1:14pm. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see a short, slightly oversized black woman staring up at me. She wore cornrows in her hair and covered them with a winter cap—perhaps to keep warm on the chilly, overcast day.
      I took a closer look at her. She appeared as if she hadn’t showered in days and perhaps hadn’t slept in that time, either. She had bags under her eyes and wore several layers of clothing, the top layer tattered and torn.
      Her big eyes jumped from right to left as if she was scanning for eavesdroppers.
      “Shhh,” she warned me as she put a finger to her lips and grabbed my wrist with the other hand. Without saying another word, she dragged me away from my bench and back towards the trees. We stopped at the tree line before she spoke.
      “They’re coming,” she hissed.
      “I—I’m sorry,” I stammered.
      “They’re coming,” she repeated.
      I failed to see how this statement made any sense in the context of the story I was working on. I thought I was getting inside information about celebrity relationships—after all, that is what the magazine is about.
      “Who?” I asked, curious if this woman actually had any useful information for my story.
      “The aliens!” she told me in a serious tone.
      “Oh God,” I said, rolling my eyes and turning away.
      She grabbed my wrist. “You’ll be sorry you didn’t listen,” she warned.
      I couldn’t believe I came all this way based on an anonymous note. I was angry. I jerked away from her and left.
      It wasn’t until the invasion three months later that I realized I should have listened.

      • Nann Dunne says:

        Nice job! A little wordy, but good to read. These Scene Stealers are fun.

        • Carnie says:

          I really liked it. But the last line should’ve been a bit more dramatic. I’m not sure if that’s the right word.. I just felt like it should have been like BAM!

          • B. Daniel says:

            Don’t I feel foolish! @Carnie – sorry, I got an email that seemed directed at me and my story below to which I responded – only to find your comment here on a different story!
            My apologies at the misunderstanding – I didn’t realize some of these messages would be delivered via email and the headers weren’t as clear as they could be.
            Red-faced… B. Daniel

            • Carnie says:

              No probs. Don’t worry about it 🙂

            • Alicia says:

              Thanks for the feedback everyone!

      • B. Daniel says:

        I was wondering all the way to the last line – very well done. 😉 I lived in NYC for quite some time years and years ago – this was very easy to imagine!

        But it didn’t feel like that last sentence was part of the story anymore.

        I like the tension of something happening right away rather some time in the future, especially for a very short story like these tend to be.

        B. Daniel


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