Creative Exercises: Change your POV

    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.)

    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:

    • Your story must begin 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 Change Your POV allows you to exercise your writing muscles by writing a story in the rarely-used second-person POV. Remember, this is not a memoir, it’s a story.

    Scene Stealer #20

    You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. 

    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.

    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.

    • David Murray says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope.

      After a moment’s hesitation you drop its contents into the palm of your hand. It is a key. A car key. You open your mouth to question the usher, but he has vanished. The aisle is empty, and you cast around in search of him. Awkwardly your eyes meet those of the man in the row behind you who gives you a look that screams ‘mind your own business, freak’.

      Hastily you return your gaze to the screen, and cautiously hide the key in your pocket. You’re not sure why. It’s not so strange as to have a car key in your hand. You leave it there nonetheless, and after a few minutes you’ve forgotten all about it. The movie continues, and eventually ends. The credits roll, and you are surprised to see your own name on the screen. You didn’t think it was odd that a character should also have your name, but the same LAST name as well? How strange… Your hand touches the key again and sparks a memory of that mysterious usher. Coincidence?


      A few patrons stand to leave and you smirk to yourself as you watch. They mustn’t know about the secret ending after the credits. You’d heard about it from a friend. A friend? You didn’t really have any friends. Who told you about it? Now you can’t remember. How curious. You begin to doubt whether or not you imagined the whole thing.

      The final credits scroll off the screen and a room appears on the screen. You glance around to find that you are the only one left in the cinema. Then you hear your name. Your full name, first, middle and last. There is a man in the chair on the screen. He seems to be talking directly to you. In his hand is a key, the very key in your pocket. And he says, “It’s time. You know what to do.”

    • Hi there, i am that we found a person frequented this blog site and so i came to give back a opt for? . Now i am trying to find problems to reinforce my website! I assume its alright to make use of a just a handful of ones principles!

    • Vince Nakovics says:

      Hahaha! I think I would be more paranoid that someone gave me a popcorn kernel back. I enjoyed it very much.

    • Franki says:

      Scene Stealer #20

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope.
      Inside is a freshly pulled tooth. So fresh, it still has blood on it. Although it was dark in the theater, we could still see a little bit.
      ” Annie, Why would anybody give me a tooth?” I open my palm and hold it out for her to see.” look, Roots and all.”
      Annie taking the tooth said,” It’s ugly and a little brown, kinda creepy looking.” She touches it. “yuck, gross, take it back Dora, I don’t want it.” she then added,
      “This is funny, I guess you could put it under your pillow tonight or, stick it on a chain and wear your new lucky tooth!”
      ” What I would like to know is why do I have this, and who gave it to me?” Both of us girls sat quietly for a few minutes.
      “Oh my gosh, maybe my family is in trouble, maybe its a signal that they have been kidnapped, and I’m the only one left. I start shaking.
      “Dora, that’s crazy, now I think you’ve gone off into another world. I’m sure there is an explanation.
      Now crying, I say, I have to get out of here, I have to go home and make sure everything is ok. My brother Bobby had 2 loose teeth in a week. Maybe some one kidnapped him and this is one of his teeth.
      “You know Dora, I saw that Bobby had 2 loose teeth. Maybe this kidnapper wants money.Where can you get ransom money at this time of night?”
      “I’m going to have to go to the ATM, I’ll withdraw the maximum. Maybe that’ll be enough for the pay off. I have $800. in there.Do you think that’s enough?” Do you have any money?
      “I think I can give you $22 that’s all I have.”
      I got up, Dora was right behind me, my mind blank, I’m in a sweat. As we got up to the front of the theater, the usher ran up behind me, tapped me on the shoulder, he said, ” Miss, I hope you don’t mind that I gave you back the popcorn you dropped, We try to keep the theater clean, and when people drop things, we want them aware of the mess, we hand it back to them. I heard your friend say your name, so I wrote it on the envelope.
      Again I’m sorry.”
      Dora and I looked at each other, I opened the envelope, lo and behold, in the envelope was a a buttery piece of half popped kernel.!
      We went back in and watched the movie.

      —–Original Message—–
      From: Write to Done
      To: Frances Laskowksi
      Sent: Sun, Mar 9, 2014 1:41 pm
      Subject: Scene Stealers: Change your POV (2)

    • Hannah N says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know that you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. Inside is a single photo, and the realization that this is your next assignment hits you. Slowly, as to not cause suspicion you reach behind your back to grip the barrel of your gun. Letting out a sigh, you get up and walk out of the theatre into the dimming light. “This has to be clean” you think as you drive away from the parking garage and toward your next target.

    • Cynthia Pearson says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. Then you see a smaller envelope inside than the one you are holding in your hand. It is brown and fraying with your own handwriting on it. Somehow it seems vaguely familiar and then you open it to find items that you never think you would find in your wildest dreams.

      Shaking, you clutch the envelope to your chest, look at the usher with eyes brimming with tears and you whisper, “Thank you” with embarrassment yet with pure joy.

      Four weeks ago, you went to the movies alone feeling depressed though you knew it would not have cheered you up. It was something that you always did when you felt really down. Since there was enough time you felt you could go to the pharmacy to get medication before going to the movies. You had an envelope in which you kept your driver’s license, some money and medical insurance cards. But filling the prescription took long which meant that you had to hurry to catch the movie, which had almost started. At the ticket counter, you hurriedly took out the money from the envelope to pay for the ticket and shoved it back in your purse.

      Unbeknown to you, your envelope fell out of the bag, which someone had handed in to the receptionist. But, a few days later, when you reached to get your license, the envelope was missing. A heaviness fell over you because you could not remember where you might have lost the envelope or whether someone had stolen it. You tried to retrace your steps but mentally it was a big jumble.

      Getting more anxious as the weeks pass without a trace of it, you make your way again to the movies. As you get to the door, you notice that one of the ushers is staring at you strangely. Suddenly, he darts inside a tiny office and returns with something in his hand.

    • Gill says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. Inside is a picture of Julie . Pretty, funny, crazy Julie. Your best friend. But Julie went missing a year ago. The digital photograph has yesterday’s date on it.

      Your blood runs cold. Your stomach turns. Sweat is flowing out of every pore. Tentacles of fear wrap themselves around you in an icy grip. By the time you pull yourself together enough to ask the usher how he came to have the envelope he has disappeared. Was he an usher at all?

      Your mind is ripped back to thoughts of Julie. The last time you saw her, she seemed quiet and in a pensive sort of mood. That was unlike Julie. She was usually full of the joys of life. She brushed your concern aside and hurried you along for your Friday evening ritual of burgers on the beach, The next morning you discovered that she had left her jacket and laptop in your car. You sent her a text message. Then another. No answer when you called.

      Control is a long-lost option as you fling your popcorn aside and rush out of the theatre. Is she really still alive? Semi-blinded by tears, you slam into a man. Before you can apologise, he grips your arm painfully and whispers gruffly in your ear: “Julie’s laptop. Be back here in an hour. Alone. Or her picture might not look as pretty in the next envelope.”

      Panic! Fury! Confusion sets in as you drag yourself back into reality again. You and Julie had both fallen asleep after arguing about printing an article she had written for her newspaper regarding an as-yet unnamed serial killer. Somebody, to whom she had just put a name. Relief at having dreamed the whole scenario is short-lived as your eyes are drawn to that somebody staring at you from the doorway.

    • ngb says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope.
      Your fingers pause between the envelope and the card tucked within. Seriously, who would know you were here? This theater was your secret sanctuary. Your hideaway in moments when you were feeling down or, in this case, mad.
      David doesn’t even know about this place.
      How a fight about not washing the dishes had turned into not caring about the relationship was beyond you
      Curious, you free the card and handwritten in thick, blocky letters it read: TURN OVER.
      You flip it and see the words: LOOK UP.
      The screen flickers and the over stylized car chase that had filled it fades to white. Murmurs well up throughout the theater, but you don’t take your eyes off the screen. Another flicker and you gasp as David appears thirty feet tall on the screen.
      “Hi honey. I know you’re confused, probably even wondering if you’re crazy, but trust me, you’re not. I guess the first thing I should do is apologize for the stupid fight this morning, but it was the only way to get you here.”
      Your heart is pounding so hard that the sound of it in your ears threatens to drown out his words.
      “I know you come here when you want to wallow, but I hope after today it becomes a place that you come to when you want to lift your spirits. I hope it becomes the place that reminds you of how much I love you and the day that you agreed to become my wife.”
      The house lights come up as the screen fades to black. The audience stands and as your eyes go from face to face you recognize your family and friends. In unison they all extend their arms to your right and at the end of the aisle stands David. You turn to face him and he drops to one knee.
      Then, you christen your transformed sanctuary with tears of joy.

      • Kris says:

        @ngb, Cool story! Clever!

        • ngb says:

          Thanks so much! I truly appreciate it!

          • Cynthia Pearson says:

            Good story with a surprising twist.

            • ngb says:

              Thanks so much Cynthia! It was a fun exercise.

      • Orion King says:

        This was a brilliant story. It shows the power of love so well.

        • ngb says:

          Thanks Orion King! That was super nice of you to say! Appreciate it greatly!

    • engemi says:

      engemi ferreira ©

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now?

      You open the envelope.

      You withdraw a thin sheet of light grey onion skin with words written in the red ink you know so well: your own ink, probably written with your own Mont Blanc fountain pen. You sharply draw your breath, expanding your lungs till they feel like bursting; this can’t be true. You didn’t tell a soul you would be here today. You feel exposed. You have to keep your head very still, so as not to express the angst you feel creeping up your spine.

      Slowly you turn around and exit the movie house. You go to the nearest coffee place and sit down in the nearest chair. Fortunately it’s facing a wall, you need to hide. Once more you read the note. You’re trying to analyze the words but you can’t see them any more, they’re fading to nothing as you watch.

      What is this? Who is trying to scare you? Who wants to turn you into a wreck? And besides, those words could have an ordinary explanation, not so? If only you could read them once more, but you will never know now, as you can’t see them anymore. They’re gone. Obliterated

      You turn the paper around and breathe; the words are there:

      FRIDAY 13 NOVEMBER, 12:00,

      You look up. You see movement. The wall is a mirror. You see two men in white bearing down on you. Who are they? What do they want with you? What is the meaning of the letters CWL on their uniforms?

      “Good morning, sir,” one of them greet you gently.

      “Who are you?”

      “We came to fetch you for the meeting at your office, sir, like we do every Friday. You will precede in making your weekly speech as CEO. You started your company seventeen years ago after a near-death experience in which you were told to help people like yourself with loss of short-term memory.”

      (350 words)

    • CC says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. Your hand begins to shake uncontrollably when you suddenly remember that there was a time when you constantly had to look over your shoulder. Could it be that he is back in town? You slip the card out of the envelope and see the short typewritten message. “You’re going to be sorry now.” Your mouth goes dry. The usher leans down and puts his hand on your shoulder.
      “Are you all right, Miss?”
      The blood has drawn from your face as you stare at the note. You feel stuck to your seat in that dark theatre.
      “Who gave this to you?” You shriek.
      Your voice erupts just above the noise of the soundtrack. A man in your row looks over at you and growls, “Take it elsewhere, people are watching a movie here!”
      You get up and the usher leads you out of the theatre. You instinctively look over your shoulder and realize that your worse nightmare is starting all over again. You kick yourself for becoming so complacent and thinking that everything was going to go back to normal once you put that man behind bars. You just assumed that all your troubles were over.
      The usher looks at you worriedly, “Is everything all right, Miss? Can I help you with anything?”
      “Who gave you this envelope?”
      “It was a young lady.”
      “A young lady…?” Your voice trails off.
      Your mind begins to spin with even more questions. Why would she be dropping off a message like this? Had he managed to find another young girl to do his dirty work?
      “What did she look like, this young girl?”
      The usher looks surprised and answers, “Well, she looks a lot like you, Miss.”
      Suddenly, he remembers and says, “She said she was your sister.”
      The soundtrack of the movie crescendos and rumbles through the crack of the theatre doors as if on cue. The problem with that is you don’t have a sister.

    • Orion King says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. ‘John Roberts’ is scrawled in messy black ink. You notice the crest, unmistakable. You stuff it into your pocket, glancing furtively around, checking whether anyone noticed. Someone behind you hisses for you to sit back down. Your thoughts are reeling. How could they have found you? You’d hidden your tracks so that even the government shouldn’t be able to find you. Everyone seems so normal. ‘I should have known you can’t just simply quit’ you lament silently. John Roberts, your old name. You can’t just stay still. The letter urges you to read it. Another person tells you to sit. You ignore them, quickly striding through to the back of the cinema, your messy smock of brown hair trailing down into your eyes. Bright sunlight. Weak legs. You’d spent around an hour in the cinema; they had calculated their timing brilliantly. You dive into the small arcade alcove and pull the letter back out.
      ‘John Roberts
      You can’t run. You can’t hide. We have a job for you.
      5o’clock, Veterans memorial park.
      – Anonymous’
      All of a sudden the lights and noises seem too much for you. You find yourself clutching onto one of the machines. You never should have helped Anonymous in that hack. Stop online piracy, classic denial-of-service attack. A smile flickers at the edge of your face. ‘The FBI had it coming.’ The smile fades as you realise what you’re stuck in. They said it all; you can’t run, you can’t hide. They have a job for you. There’s no escape. Hackings not a hobby, it’s a way of life. How did you think you could just quit it? Behind your disgust hangs glee. You’re revising techniques; remembering friends. It’s time to get your group back together. The phoenix shall rise from the ashes. They called you for war, but not the war they bargained for. The phoenix will rise and anonymous shall fall. The war is on.

      • Kris says:

        Bravo. I like your story. Makes me want to read more.
        Thank you for the compliment.

        • Orion King says:


      • Mrs. C says:

        You ARE a writer! Good stuff! Mrs. C.

        • Orion King says:

          Thank you, my dream is to get published so i guess this is a good step.

          Just out of my random curiosity, around what age would you say i am from my story.

    • Kris says:

      I was still breathing heavy as I had run all the way here. I had been running aimlessly the whole afternoon, not knowing where to go.

      Inside the envelope were two sealed letters.

      One said: “Open if you want to live.”

      Second one said: “Open if you want to die.”

      I lost my breath as my heart started pounding out of my chest.

      I know what this is all about. How did he know I would be here? He must have given the usher a picture of me from his cell phone.

      I started to shake, to panic. What should I do now? My thoughts raced.

      I knew he’d eventually track me down, but how did he do it so quickly? He’d been studying me for a long time, a life time. He knew my habits, my strengths, and my weaknesses especially my tendency for escape when things got tough.

      Running away to the movies was so predictable. Why didn’t I foresee it? He knew I would be here. I hadn’t a clue. I didn’t know where I was going until I arrived at the theater, my actions being instinctual not thoughtful.

      I looked down at the two letters.

      Well of course I want to live. But that other letter! Despite the morbid title, fearful curiosity won out and I opened the letter “If you want to die.”

      I read the letter. It said:

      “Don’t be silly. Open the other letter.”

      I opened the other letter. It read:

      “I know you can never have peace with me in your life. I know you have wanted out for a long time. I love you so much it hurts. But I know that being together hurts you more. So this is my gift to you. I give you your life back. I will love you forever. Look to the front door now…..It’s the last time you will ever see me. Je t’aime ma chérie.”

      I looked up. We locked eyes for a brief moment, before he turned and walked out the door, out of my life forever.

      • Orion King says:

        well played. very well written. I like the unexpected turn. To me it seems predictable to go into government secret agency stuff which is why i like it. Unlike me you escaped the predictable.

        • Kris says:

          @orion king
          So kind of you. Thank you very much. You made my day. 🙂

          • Kris,

            You had me on the edge of my seat wondering what type of fate awaited your character. Still I think the guy standing there was just as creepy as his 2 letters…well done.


            • Kris says:

              @michael – yeah creepy. Lol. Maybe that’s why she wanted out. 🙂 thank you for your feedback!!

    • Anni Grey says:

      Scene stealer #20

      Your hand is trembling as a sudden fear grips your heart. That sudden presence of trepidation causes you to cast your gaze into the darkness, the shadows of the unknown, drawn faces illuminated by the swiftly changing images on the screen take on a macabre appearance. No one knew that you were going to be here at this precise moment, yet as you slip your finger through the lip of the envelope, your hackles rise and you can’t help but swallow nervously.

      The haunting music booming from the state of the art sound system further exacerbates your dread; you can already imagine the words that will greet you. As much as you want to believe that you remain anonymous, there are those who can sense the power humming just underneath your surface. It’s why you choose to travel in the shadows, remain quiet, unimposing. You only have to survive this lonely existence for another two weeks before the bounty is off of your head and yet as you pull the flap of the envelop up and pull out the card, you don’t feel an ounce of relief.

      The card stock along with the embossed lettering is fairly plain. There is no flourish, not an inkling of personality. But, the dread remains. For it is not the card, or the lettering that has your heart aflutter with despair, it is the message that makes your blood run cold. It’s unassuming. It’s harmless. It leaves you despondent.

      No escape.

      You cast another anxious glance through the theater and realize that not all eyes are focused on the silver screen. Someone is looking right at you, their eyes glowing in the shadows.

      The question toils around in your head as you hold the eerie gaze: leave or stay?

      Fight or flee?

      Live or die?

      Be courageous or keep running?

      You crumple the vague threat, the card stock incinerating under your heated touch. You’ve made your decision and telegraph your intentions through a knowing, devious grin.

    • Cecily Mahoney says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. You discover that Dr. Haversham is demanding that you present yourself to him for your Masters thesis and evaluation. How, though, did he know you were at a movie and not in the dorm room preparing the thesis? You note that your appointment with him is tomorrow at two PM. You decide that leaving the movie to go back to the dorm is probably a good idea. Too bad, though,the movie was just getting good.
      On your return to the dorm, you ask around to find out who told who that you were at the movie. Nobody knows.
      You also bring up the thesis on the computer, and realize to your dismay that part three, the conclusion to the thesis hasn’t been started. It has to be a minimum of 500 words, and it’s going to take all night to get there. All the presumptions have to be repeated and the conclusions to each thoroughly explained. And your roommate, your ever loving room mate, was on a private bender this evening, and is now sleeping it off, very noisily.
      You state the first presumption, and he snorts and rolls over. You address the conclusion, and he farts, not very quietly, but rather wetly. This isn’t going to work. So you pick up the laptop and head for the lounge, buy a Coke, sit back down and start again. As the evening wears on, you drink more Coke, eat a few candy bars, and do whatever it takes to stay awake and focused on the thesis. By four AM it’s done. You complete it, email it to Dr. Haversham, and you decide a short power nap will give you the strength you need to meet later in the afternoon with your advisors. And, God be praised, the roommate has left the room for whereabouts unknown.
      As sleep approaches,you are sure your next meeting with Dr. H will have a positive result.

    • Vince Nakovics says:

      The Librarian did it in the end. 🙂 Very good.

    • You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now?
      You open the envelope but don’t take out its contents. You gaze around the mostly empty seats in this old place. You don’t even have your phone with you. It’s locked in the car. It seems it is impossible to escape the ever watchful eyes these days but you had hoped this place would be remote enough. The price you paid seems too high. You fold the envelope closed again and relax against the dusty faded cushioning. You are determined to see this film alone without distractions and the message in the envelope can wait. The advertising bores you and you gaze at the familiar old fashioned chandelier and plaster carvings around the walls. Quaint disappearing décor of yesteryear makes you smile and recall the easier days of your youth. A time you could not wait to escape from and here you are more trapped than ever you were then. No one knew your name or face; you were just some pimply kid riding a bike down to the sea. You clamp a lid on your sentimentality. You have made it to the top. So what if you lost a bit of privacy. You have everything else. Everything that pimply kid had dreamed of. You watch the movie and smile a little cynically. You open the envelope during the credits and suddenly you remember what it feels like to be that kid again. Anxiously with sweating palms you exit the cinema. The salt air tickles your nose and you walk down the old street and turn left. You nervously enter another building of yesteryear and there she stands. I knew it was you slinking into the theatre she says and her voice slices years away. Here she says and takes the envelope, I never forget. Pay your library fine today before you leave town again. 305

    • You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope.

      Inside there is a slip of paper, on which is written a single phrase: “Get out.”

      You look around. The usher has gone and the cinema is nearly empty, with just a few couples dotted around the back rows, and one other person on their own.

      You’ve been wanting to see this film for weeks, but tonight was the first chance you’ve had to get away. Do you stay and watch it, or to you pay attention to this unexplained note? You had to pay over the odds for the babysitter, as there was a big party that all the usual girls wanted to go to.

      If you left now, Marie would still want paying. That, plus the cost of the ticket, already made this an expensive evening. Why should you give up your one evening out just because of a note from someone who didn’t even leave their name? And why should you get out, anyway?

      You decide to stay. The advertisements come to an end, and they are showing trailers for other movies. None of them appeals: you know the one you want to see, and it’s the one that will be on very soon.

      Now the trailers have ended and the lights come up. Why do they do that? Maybe it’s so that the last stragglers can find their seats, not that there is any great rush to come in. There can’t be more than twenty people here.

      The lights dim, and the film starts. First the certificate, assuring that what you are about to see has been deemed suitable for public showing and that you won’t be corrupted by it.

      Then the music for the titles, loud and booming with a bass note that makes your seat shake. There is a huge crash – you’ve never heard a soundtrack like this one, they’ve really pushed the boat out.

      And then the ceiling falls in, and all is darkness.

    • Vince Nakovics says:

      Scene Stealer #20:
      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. Inside the envelope is another envelope with your invited in calligraphy. You open that envelope and remove the red card, it reads; you have been selected to represent your world in a contest of general abilities. Do you see the circle in the right hand corner of the screen, keep looking at it. You stand up and look for the Usher, but he is gone. You think about going to look for him outside, but decided to look for the circle that the letter claims is on the screen. You become mesmerized by it and start to feel like you are on a ship at sea gently moving. You wake up and the theatre is empty, the screen is blank. You wonder where everyone is and more importantly what just happened to you.
      An Usher comes up to you and hands you an envelope with your name on it. The usher rudely informs you the theatre is closed and you need to get out now. Hurry up he tells you. Somewhat bewildered you get up and try to ask the usher who gave him the envelope, but all the usher says is hurry up get out and walks off. You grab your jacket and start to leave. You stop look at the screen for the circle and at the same time open the envelope. The blue card inside simply says thank you for your participation. The theatre lights go out and you depart through the exit doors wondering what just happened.

      • Dawn says:

        A great start, with many possible directions.
        Thanks for sharing.

        • Vince Nakovics says:

          Thank you. Your very kind

      • Orion King says:

        Very good, well written. I found it very enjoyable. One piece of advice, when you wrote ‘ You open the envelope. Inside the envelope is another envelope with your invited in calligraphy’ the words written on the envelope should be surround by single quote marks e.g: ‘your invited’ in calligraphy. I could be wrong but it makes it easier to understand. other than that it was brilliant. Well done.

        (If this seems mean or like I’m obsessing over nothing I apologize)

        • Vince Nakovics says:

          Truthfully I posted my unedited version and I didn’t know how to delete and re-post. Having said that, I do not believe I would have thought to add the quote marks. This is what these exercises are for there is nothing to feel the need to apologize for in any shape of form. Thank you for your observations. The trick is to remember them for next time. 🙂 Thanks again! Vince

    • Dawn says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope.

      The scent of lavender twitches into the dim lit theatre and two small gold edged cards peep above the opened edge. You lean forward, hunching your shoulders suddenly feeling watched. The writing, in fine calligraphic script, is unreadable in the dimmed theatre lights. You tuck the cards back in to the secret scented sanctuary and softly press the small star sticker that seals the flap.

      You look to the left, calculate the number of steps it would take to reach the exit door. The movie flashes straps of light and screeches the decibels of skidding cars and collisions as the epic inner city car chase heats up. Now would be a good time to run. Light, noise, action, all guaranteed to defer attention.

      You stand quickly, the envelope drops to the floor and slips in to the gap at the back of the seat in front of you. You gasp, quickly bring your hand to your mouth and sit back down.

      Mystery has become fear. Urgency taps your rational thought. Your heart pounds. Your spine tingles. Intrigue kicks in. Now you want to know. Now you want to solve the puzzle. You lean forward. Now you really want to …

      “Hey what d’ya think ya doing?” The big Maori guy in the seat in front of you turns around and sneers with popcorn and disgust. You retreat.

      ” I’m sorry man, I just dropped something down the back of your seat.”

      “Get it after bro! Ya missing the best bit.” His gold tooth flashes between you and his contempt. You take a punt.

      “I kinda gotta get it now man. It’s important”

      He growls, leans forward, buries his head in to another fistful of corn.

      The thin papyrus edge peeps just above the worn velveteen and black metal. It slides out with ease.
      “Thanks man!”

      You leave. A swift manoeuvre to the left, under the green exit sign, through the swinging door out into the carpeted entrance hall.

      You hold the card before you. The sweet lavender scent tickles your success. And the name on the card shines bright and gold beneath the magnificent fluorescent overheads. ‘Winner’ it says.

      You wince at your stupidity then quickly smile at your good fortune.

      “Winston. Hey Winston, how ya doin’ man? You alright? Lookin’ a bit pale there bro?” Your work buddy calls from down the hall.

      “Hey Joseph.” You reply. “Yeah man I’m all good. Gotta couple of freebies. You wanna catch the next movie.”

      “Awh yeah. Cool as. I’ll just grab some munchies.”

    • You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope.

      Meet me in the lobby. It’s an emergency.

      You can’t imagine who would send such an urgent note. “If it’s an emergency, they’d call, right?” Then you remember you turned your phone off during the credits. Your sister? Or, Brother? “Oh, God, not one of the kids!” Your thoughts are racing, as you quickly grab your purse and rise. When you get to the lobby, the only person you see is looking nervously out the glass wall and scanning the street. As you approach, they turn around, and it stops you in your tracks.

      “How? Who…?” You cannot believe your eyes. You are staring at – You!

      “No time for that now. We have to go. Follow me.” The second you takes your hand and you pull away.

      “Go where? Who are you? I can’t just go without an explanation!”

      The you that isn’t you reaches for your hand again. “No time for that now. I’ll explain everything once we’re out of here. You must trust me. Come on!” You stand your ground, not budging. “Look, all I can tell you is that your life, our life, is in danger. I know this is weird and confusing. OK, you want proof that you can trust what you’re seeing? Right now, you have a checkbook, your asthma medicine, lip gloss, your credit card case with your driver’s license, and $2.75 in that little purse. Right?”

      “But, but, how?” You stammer like a broken record.

      “Don’t start that again; you’re beginning to sound like a broken record. Just come on. NOW!!” And with that, the second you takes your hand and leads you out of the theater. There’s no more resistance and it’s all you can do to keep up.

      Outside, and barely looking, across the street, and right a couple blocks before the other you slows. “I think we’re…” BOOM!!!

      An explosion? No, a cacophony. You can’t unscramble the sounds as they come together with fury. You shake your head and try to focus.
      You are on the ground. Looking around, you see the theater, a smoking tangle with large chunks missing, or on the sidewalk and in the road. Several cars have collided, and others are trying to maneuver the scene. People on the ground; some crying. Some that were too close to the blast are trying to assess injuries. You check; you’re OK. Man, were you lucky! Then you remember and turn to check, but she’s gone. As you move to get up, you notice small piece of paper in your right hand. Once standing, you look around. There’s no sign of her. Sirens can be heard approaching the chaos. You un-crumple the paper.

      You’ll understand when the time comes. Take care of us.

      • Kris says:

        Awesome! Loved it! I want to read the rest!

        • Janice says:

          Thanks, Kris! This was my first Scene Stealer. I appreciate the feedback.

          • Kris says:

            It made me wonder if I would really like myself or find me to be endlessly annoying. LOL 🙂 Maybe it would be a little of both.

    • You’re surprised when the user hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope.
      Are you enjoying the movie? Meet me at O’Toole’s is written in a familiar scrawl. You turn your head to find the author of the note. There are very few people in the theater and none of them are looking your way.
      You told your assistant you would be working from home. You were restless and decided to take in a movie. What a mistake. It was a romantic comedy. That wasn’t what you needed today. Dan asked you to marry him last night. You had your life planned out and marriage at the age of twenty five was not part of that plan. You knew Dan wanted children. You did too, but you wanted to make your first million dollars before that happened.
      You looked at the movie screen and saw tears running down the heroine’s cheeks as she watched her man drive off with another woman. Suddenly, you knew that no matter what the plan had been, life held surprises when you least expected them.
      You jumped from your seat, spilling buttered popcorn as you ran from the theater.
      “Is everything alright ma’am?”
      “Couldn’t be better” you called to the usher.

      It was dark in O’Toole’s bar when you opened the door. He looked up and you saw the relief on his face.
      “I wasn’t sure you would come. I’m sorry, Vanessa. I know I shouldn’t have pushed you into marriage. I do want to marry you and have children with you, but I can wait. I want you to be happy and we will stick with your plan.”
      “Dan, how does a June wedding sound to you? I need to get busy and begin to make some new plans.”

      Dan and Vanessa married, had four children and Vanessa never did make that first million dollars, but her life was richer than she had ever planned.

      • Jane nicely done i like how you wove what was on the screen with your character.

    • You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope.

      You try to use the dim light from the movie screen to look into the envelope, but there is nothing there. But at a second glance, you notice some writing on the inside of the envelope. Getting more curios, you tear apart what you now realise is a hand-made envelope, only to see one short sentence:

      “Get out while there still is time”.

      Your heart starts racing, and you can feel the adrenaline pumping. Who sent this? Why you? How? What is going on?

      You try to disregard it, focusing back on the movie with Jennifer. But it doesn’t take long to see you can’t focus on the movie now. You try to convince Jen to join you to go home, but after the fight earlier she’s not listening. You decide to take a cab home, and try to figure all this out in the morning.

      The next day you wake up with a headache. You fell asleep on the couch pretty much right after coming home. Grabbing a glass of water, you try to go into the bedroom to see if Jen made it back alright. You open the door, and see she isn’t there.

      You go online to check the news – and there it is – the cinema you were in was attacked last night. A bomb. And it went off just after you had left. And the panic starts to set in.

    • 338Lapua says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. In it, you find a stack of pictures. Pictures of you, your family, and almost everyone you know. You look around, but you see no one you recognize.Where did these come from? You try to remember seeing paparazzi following you around and taking pictures, bit your mind yields no such memories. As you shuffle through the pictures, you find a note.

      Meet me at the back of the city library at the back of the fiction section at 1900 hours. Your life is in grave danger, and so are the lives of everyone you know.

      You take a moment to convert 1900 hours into 7 o’clock, then wonder why your life would be at risk. You shrug, then leave the theater and get in the car.

      “Well, it seems like I’m in for an adventure tonight,” you say out loud to yourself.

    • George says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. As you remove the letter you can feel your heart beating faster, and faster. Louder, and louder. The music in the background begins to grow, there are no words, only the increasing volume of the melody, pounding away to the beat of your pulse. Thump. Thump. Thump. Inside the envelope is a card, you read the front, it’s blank. In a strange, seemingly perfect symphony, as you turn over the card, the music stops. The room is silent as if the entire night was staged for this moment, waiting for you to read the letter. You’re trembling. The shakes of your hands and fingers make it difficult to focus. Finally you gather yourself to read the small print, centered on the back side of the card. it doesn’t say much, but it’s enough to make you question every decision you have ever made that has led you up to this moment in your life. The letter was very clear and got right to the point: “We Found You.”

    • Mrs. C says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope.

      You stop, just short of pulling the note out. No one knows that you are here, don’t open the envelope It must be a mistake. The usher didn’t even ask you your name, and there is no name on the envelope. Is this someone’s idea of funny? You pull out the small note and read “fear is the opposite of love” written in the most beautiful penmanship you have ever seen. You don’t dare turn around. You are spooked, and become sweaty and anxious because you have just been diagnosed with a malignancy and before you left for the movies, you prayed to God for healing and peace. You said, “Lord, I know that I am not worthy, but only speak the word, and I shall be healed.” You confessed that you are always full of fear; still you really want to trust Him this time. No one knows this but you and God, though. Your heart starts to pump faster than it ever has as you begin to affirm, “fear is the opposite of love”. You recall what your friend said about the power of God that abides in you and the tears are flowing as you declare “I AM healed, I AM love” I know that sickness cannot live with love. You become the love and healing that you desire, right there. You cannot contain your joy, so you get up and walk out. You can hardly find your way to the exit because your tears blind you and you are still mumbling, “fear is the opposite of love”. You get into your car, experience a total breakdown, and break up with fear. You vow to never allow fear access again. You say aloud, Lord, you must love me an awful lot to send an angel to the movie theatre to deliver me a note. You offer gratitude for that love, and you will not walk in fear again.

      • Kris says:


        • Mrs. C says:

          Thank your for the kind words. I am not a writer, but took the plunge anyway. My way, again of walking away from fear. Mrs. C

      • Orion King says:

        I really liked this story, the fact that it held that religious touch added power to it. I’m going to take a wild guess and say you are a christian. If not then, well… then I’m wrong. but either way putting your beliefs into something gives it a real power. Keep on doing it.

        • Mrs. C says:

          Orion King…thank you for your comment. Yes, I am a light bearer, and a follower of the teachings of Christ. I am not a writer, but decided to use the opportunity to speak to someone who may need to hear that fear has no power. It has shown up too many times in my life, and I refuse to let it stop me from any good thing. I am not a writer, still a blogger, some may say. I write what’s on my heart. Your words mean everything. Mrs. C

          • Orion King says:

            You may not be a writer but you should write more stories and post them on your blog. Fiction holds truth within it, whether it be the truth of who we are, life or God, fiction holds many a truth in it.

            • Mrs. C says:

              Orion..I do and I create podcasts to accompany most of them. If you are interested you can drop by ispeakistir.com and take a look/listen, and please, leave a comment! Peace! Mrs. C

    • You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope.

      Why can’t you open an envelope without a paper cut. Sucking your fingertip, you taste the small drop of red that oozed through the slice. Your other hand fumbles with the envelope. Letting the envelope drop to the floor sticky from spilled soda, you shake the paper open and hold it to the light.

      The theater wraps its darkness around you. Read it now or wait till the show is over? Decisions don’t come easy for you. You spent your entire high school career deciding which college and then another four months to decide a major. Your major changed three times before graduation.

      Decisions haven’t been any easier lately. Get a divorce? Stay married? Remain in the same job with no future and no money? Or do you step out and switch careers. Deciding to change paths, you have interviewed five times in the past two weeks.

      Holding the paper in both hands, the debate in your head continues. Do I go outside? Do I stay here? You feel the perspiration soaking into the paper as your feet kick an empty tub of popcorn, jumbo size. Seeing that you’re having a hard time reading the letter, your friend hands you his cigarette lighter. You flick the wheel against the spark and the flame shoots out…catching the corner of the paper.

      Fine, onion-skin paper goes up like a magician’s flash and it’s halfway burned before you can stomp it out among the spilled soda and tub of popcorn, jumbo size. Salvaging the charred remains, you rush towards the lobby. Trembling, you read, “Congratulations Mr. Johnson. We are offering you the position which you interviewed for. Please contact me immediately at….”

      The letter ends there. Lying in the floor with the spilled soda and tub of popcorn, jumbo size, is the charred remains of your job offer and your life.

      • Dawn says:

        Hi, I really enjoyed how you weaved so much back story and character development in such a small piece. Well done.
        Dawn 🙂

      • Jerry,
        I love the irony at the end very funny. That guy sounds like a lot of us…well I`ll speak for myself.

    • Harry Kingaby says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. Instantly You wish You had not been so heavy handed. A white powder as thin as fine talc spills onto black trousers.
      Anthrax! You whisper on the inhale. No one hears. At that moment light spills in from the wide entrance doors. The jumbled silhouettes of a dozen armed police officers fixes the other possibility in your racing mind.
      Not anthrax. Heroin. This is a set-up.
      And wasn’t it done well, you smile. They have tried everything and failed every time. Now they nab you with the goods in your lap.
      It’s pointless to run. You concede defeat this time, and as the gendarme snaps on the cuffs you console yourself that it’s not the first time you’ve worn the bracelets and you got out of them that time, you’ll do it again.
      The Chief Inspector wears a small smile that does not show his teeth. “I’m surprised you didn’t run, Peter.”
      You look at the dusty white on your trousers. “Would it have been worth it?”
      “Maybe. My men wouldn’t have chased you too hard for a little illicit baking powder.”
      Your stomach flips. This was a close call indeed. How fortunate that you followed strict procedure and slipped your accomplice, the usher, the envelope with the incriminating evidence.
      Baking powder doesn’t carry much of a penalty.

    • Jim Franks says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. It said simply: Row B, Seat 5. “What?” He turned to ask the usher but he was gone. He got up moved down the aisle to see that Row B was right up front, the second row. He counted down the seats to the fifth. It was empty with people on either side. His eyes fell upon the person in seat 6. She was smiling right at him with eyes so blue they seemed to have a light within. Her raven black hair fell around her shoulders and framed the most beautiful face he had ever seen. He excused himself and moved toward the seat. She continued to watch, smiling more broadly as he moved toward her.

      Hi, how are you? I’m Jim

      I’m fine, my name is Erica.

      Nice to meet you. You’ll never guess why I’m sitting here.

      Because you wanted to sit next to me?

      “Yes, that’s definitely it, how did you know?”, Jim laughed.

      She put her hand on his arm. “I have a confession. I said to myself that whoever sat next to me …”, she trailed off, blushing, clearly embarrassed.

      That’s ok. You can tell me another time. Right now, I’m glad to be here, with you, watching what I hope is a tremendous sequel. All during the movie they touched. Hands, arms, leg. At one point Jim picked up her hand and kissed it softly. She sighed and snuggled closer. “I’m glad you sat here,” she whispered.

      Walking out of the theater, he pulled out the envelope and gave it to her. “Erica, I want you to know the truth. Here’s why I sat next to you.” She opened the envelope, pulled out the paper and read it. She got a puzzled look. “Are you inviting me?” She showed him a flyer for the carnival coming to town next week. “Yes, I am, he said, Yes I am.”

    • You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. You read the words written in cryptic handwriting. You try to read it in the dim light of the movie theatre. You start to sweat; yes even in the cool temperature of the theater. And now you start to think people are staring wondering why you are sweating and looking nervous. Laughter erupts in the audience from what is taking place on the big screen. It’s time you go and shuffle past the few people left in your row of seats. You attempt to be subtle as you apologize to everyone you bump knees and shins with on your way to the aisle.
      You get to the aisle and fold the note back in your pocket carefully and head to the theater lobby. You take a deep breath and exhale. You pull out the note and walk slowly to the counter. A man stares you down as you get closer to the counter and hand him the note. He reads it and frowns in disappointment at you and reaches down and lifts something up from behind the counter.
      The evidence is now right there in front of you there’s no way you can get away with it now. The man says “is this yours?” You look at him and nod. Just as your reach out, the front door of the theatre opens and through the door walks a lady in red. You look at her as she smiles back at you. She says “did you get the snacks yet dear?” You tell her “yes I did I just forgot the bottle.” You hand the bottle to your wife and she says “I swear sometimes I think you would leave the baby on the counter you’re so forgetful.” You hand her the bottle and she says “grab the baby dear I don’t want to miss a minute of the movie. The man behind the counter looks at you and shakes his head.

      • Kris says:

        Awesome! Nicely done!

        • Kris,

          Thank you very much, after I posted it I was wondering if I should have said the counter was a candy counter of refreshment counter. Although I figured everyone would get it.

    • Doug Gorman says:

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope.
      Inside is a hand-written note, in what seems to be a feminine hand. Your wife asks, “What’s that?”
      You tell her you don’t know, which is true. Then you shove the note into your jacket pocket and turn your attention back to the screen, as if you had no interest in the note.
      “What does it say?” she asks.
      You tell her you can’t read it now, it’s too dark.
      She hands you her phone with the flashlight app illuminated. “Here, read it.”
      Fearing that nothing good can come of this, you turn off the flashlight and hand the phone back to her. “Shhh” you hiss, as you continue to focus your eyes on the screen.
      “Don’t shush me you asshole, I want to know who is sending you notes in the movie theater.”
      “I don’t know.”
      “Well find out!”
      A man behind you says, “Take it outside.”
      Your wife’s eyes meet yours. You want to make this go away. On the 3D screen, massive chunks of a busted-up titanium spacecraft are flying in and out of view. You wanted to see this, but you can’t ignore this woman whose whispers demand your attention over space debris and a screaming Sandra Bullock.
      “Okay,” you whisper as you get up from your aisle seat and start towards the door, thinking you can get to the lobby. You didn’t recognize the handwriting, but you’re sure it’s a woman, a woman who knows you. An old flame perhaps, a former lover who wants you back. She must have seen you entering the theater. She doesn’t have your number so she couldn’t text. She wants to re-connect.
      Your heart is pounding as you open the door to the lobby. Your wife is ten steps behind you. You read it quickly thinking you’ll destroy the evidence before she arrives.
      “Sir, you left your wallet at the ticket counter. We will hold it for you.”

      • Ken says:

        Clever… nice twist at the end!

      • Kris says:

        Well done! Excellent pacing! Having the wife there really added the element of “Uh oh!!!”

    • You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. Your mind is quickly trying to make connections, but nothing makes any sense. Before you have the chance to see any letter, you pop into a red cordon that is nicely attached to the envelope. What that suppose to mean? You think while you are feeling up the envelope’s wrapper. You start to wonder what can be hidden inside the envelope, and if there is a secret admirer that maybe followed you up to the cinema and now he is somewhere around looking to see your reaction. You assume there is a letter, but when you drag the cord and try to open the envelope further more, you bump into a big surprise. Inside you find a parched white rose. An unusual scent is taking over you, and you feel like your body is melting away. Eventually, you collapse.
      When you come back to your senses, you are laying on a couch with unknown surroundings, and you can hear lounge music coming from the other room. Have you been kidnapped? There is a mysterious air in the room, and you are unable to see what’s around you. What are you going to do now?

    • You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. Inside is a golden slip of paper, just like a ticket to the Willy Wonka chocolate factory. You look around, wondering if there is a friend here playing a trick on you. That is the only explanation, as you told no one you would be here.
      It’s too dark to make out the face of the guy sitting to your left, much less the people at the edge of the beach behind you. In fact, now that you think about it, you don’t even have any friends in Hawaii! This doesn’t make any sense. There is only one person in the world who even knows you took a trip to Hawaii because you were going crazy at work, and they would never expect you to be watching a movie on a blow-up projector screen on Waikiki beach at this exact moment in time.
      You reach into the envelope and pull out the golden ticket. It’s an invitation to a ball, tonight at eight o’clock. There is a note tucked into the envelope as well, and when you read it your heart skips a beat. It is from the governor’s son! The one you thought was gorgeous when you saw him from afar at the speech his father made yesterday. He noticed you as well, the note says, and more importantly, admired your beauty. He couldn’t stop thinking about you and said he would send a horse drawn carriage to pick you up from your hotel at 7:30 p.m.
      ‘I only have half an hour!’ you think to yourself, ‘How will I ever be ready in time?’ You stand up and brush the sand off, running off into the night, unable to think of anything but the man’s beautiful green eyes, and your future together with him.

    • Scene Stealer # 20

      You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope.  The contents were hand written.
      The writing said, “look back,.” You spin around,a lady gives you a knowing wave..
      She knew my name? then you realized it’s on your uniform from work.

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