e3941297e17226345b367b4f61e62e3e98e44947f806b5be70

    Writing Prompts: Tell a Story

    creative writing

    Welcome to Scene Stealers, our series of writing prompts designed to boost your creativity.

    We’re thrilled that so many of you are participating in our writing prompt series. (Read the other writing prompts 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

     Now for the ground rules:

    • You must use the exact wording we provide somewhere in your story.
    • Your story must be 350 words or less.
    • Your work must be original and not previously published.
    • WTD provides an encouraging and safe environment for writers to grow and learn from each other. We’d love you to comment on other people’s submissions in a friendly and supportive manner.

    This week’s instalment of our writing prompts is designed to develop your storytelling skills.

     Scene Stealer

     She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but

    Now steal this and make it your own.

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

    About the author:

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

    Have you registered for the WritetoDone Flash Fiction Contest yet?  Win the  first prize of  $500 and see your short story published on WritetoDone!
    CLICK HERE to register
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    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.

    • Angus says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but when Death’s cold hand knocks at the door and tells you that he, your darling Jonny now lies in the cold embrace of a new mistress in a far off land, you return to the only place you can. To where it began. You return and you walk the places you walked, linger by the streams you played in, return to those arms you left so long ago. And you weep. Weep for the memories, weep for the days that will never be again. Weep for his children you’ll never bear, no one to bear a reminder of his smile. Weep for the emptiness.
      A tap-tap-tap of hammer on chisel rises up from the village as Anna bent down and picked up her suitcase, the same tatty suitcase Jonny had carried from the village, and began to walk down the hill. The hot slates of the school roof shone in the sun, the bell suddenly ringing out, a baton to a symphony of children’s screams as they burst from the doors, another day finished.
      ‘That’s where Jonny first pulled my pigtails,’ thought Anna as the school swings, resplendent in their fiery red, came into view, ‘And there’s Mrs Vicars who told him off for it’
      Anna walked past the school, crossing the dusty road before reaching the Post Office and followed the sound of the chiselling. The War Memorial stood in the centre of the square, none of the village’s old men sitting on it today. Only one, tapping gently away, carving the last letter of Jonny’s name.
      The figure, sensing someone standing behind him, stopped in his work and stood, leaning stiffly for a moment against the memorial before turning round.
      ‘Oh Anna, my dear, you’ve come back’
      ‘I’m so sorry, Dad’

    • I have read so many articles or reviews about the blogger lovers but
      this paragraph is genuinely a pleasant post, keep it up.

    • Fred Kutz says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but the limp is getting worse lately, the very limp her father insisted would improve with time.

      The last two years at “Miss Marjorie’s School for Young Women” had worked out better than Anna could have hoped. The seclusion behind the wall of stone, the female companionship, the dress code, and the sunshine during her forays to the yard, all helped Anna live a life she dared not dream… before.

      And now she was back. Anna slumped slightly as she anticipated the dark halls of her fathers ancient and finely furnished home, those all too familiar and seemingly endless halls. She knew all too well she would not see light bright enough to cast even a shadow until the procedure was complete and she was once again healed; at least as healed as she could be.

      Anna reached for the brass pull on the huge wooden door as her remaining hand subconsciously reached for her top button and then moved for a final tug of insecurity at each sleeve to be sure she was adequately covered. Anna has never been able to open the main door without help. In the back of her mind, and in spite of her father’s repeated protests, she always imagined the door had been re-built as it was to keep her locked within, she sighed deeply at the thought.

      Craggy old Uncle Alexi opened the door, the same old man who’s only acknowledgement of someone in the room had been that his eyes were open. With a tenuous smile Anna greeted the short wisp of a man and with a start paused and pondered if he could actually be, if not smiling, perhaps at least revealing a wrinkle not previously visible.

      With as much flourish as he could muster, woefully missing the the intended effect, the doors swung wide. Anna’s jaw dropped and would have fallen to the floor if it had not been so well secured during…

      • Leann says:

        Hi Fred,

        My favourite sentence is “Anna reached for the brass pull…”. Why? Because you ‘show’ me how Anna opens the door, what the door looks like, how she reached subconsciously for her button… etc. I really enjoy it when I can read a story that leads my imagination to be present in the story. Great descriptive imagery.

        I enjoyed your writing.
        tks,
        Leann

    • One by one her friends began disappearing – young men first, then gradually her girlfriends, women with whom she’d apprenticed in Bucharest’s haute couture salons.
      “Have you noticed,” Anna asked, ” how dangerous the streets are becoming for Jews but haven’t changed a bit for gentiles?” She argued with friends at the cafe where they met regularly after work. “You’ll see! If you think it’s bad now for us Jews here in Romania? Wait – soon it will be worse than ever before. Remember, Hitler’s gained power?”
      As they continued their debate, Anna resolved that come first light, she’d begin the dangerous journey home to the village where her parents still lived.
      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but couldn’t imagine that reality. That beautiful view, etched indelibly in her memory, would help keep her and her sister

    • Paul says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. It hadn’t really changed much over the years – it was still a small collection of two and three-room cottages nestled in a little valley with a small, flat school to the east and a church dominating the center. Steam rose off the rooftops to mingle with smoke drifting lazily from chimneys. She could almost make out a few people in their yards, turning over the soil in preparation for winter.

      When she’d written her parents that she wanted to come back home for a visit, the response had been terse: “That would be fine.” Sixteen years of absence had done little to mellow her mother’s feelings. Her father…

      The last thing she’d heard from her father had been shouted after her as she dove into Franz’ rusted VW Beetle with nothing more than a stuffed backpack and two layers of clothing. “No good will come of this!” he had warned. “You’ll be back full of remorse and a swollen belly!” Her mother had stood behind him, voicing her agreement through loud, gulping sobs.

      She’d tried to explain her dreams to them – to all of them – but it had been a disaster. Only Franz had understood. Hadn’t he had the same dreams of doing more in the world? Of cities and countries and far-off places where there was more to life than trees and the mill and whomever God was going to smite next?

      Anna had been so sure she’d never return, but..

      “For God’s sake, Mom, you’ve been out here for ten minutes! Can we just go? I’m freezing!”
      Anna looked back at her daughter, 14 years old and ready to fly with fledgling dreams of her own. It seemed to Anna that she had spent a lifetime helping her grow, but now all her efforts were to pull her back from the flimsy boundaries that separated her from the dangerous outside world.

      That’s why she was coming back home today – to let her parents know that she understood.

    • Steve says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but now as the plane circled she realized it had always been inevitable.

      The military base had always been ‘the way out’ for her village, family and friends. As a child she had said goodbyes and hellos so often that it became a normal part of life – Dad would be home in six months, uncle Charlie leaving again next week.
      As she grew older escaping seemed exciting. The destinations, letters and stories all seemed so thrilling.
      Eventually she knew this is what she wanted to do.
      How many of us have thought similar thoughts? We see the grass as greener somewhere else. How many paradises lost to this ‘wonder lust’ of youth?
      She had left angry, but with no regrets. She would show them (and him) she was a person of worth.

      Anna warmed to the military life and blossomed as she grew to love being a Marine. She was bright and hard working and advancement seemed to be almost automatic; automatic but not without hardship. The Marines need a few good men – women allowed but not coddled.
      To a male Marine this means everyone gets equal treatment.
      To the women involved this means something different; it’s a man’s world, hazing and worse is the norm but most of these women think – I will succeed – because I must.

      Anna did all the above with a flourish and enthusiasm her village was known for. Coming home, as the highest ranking and most decorated female field officer in the Corps made her smile. As the plane dropped altitude her village came into focus. For the first time in over 20 years she saw her village clearly and warm feeling for family and friends filled her heart.
      The Marine Corps Medal of Honor felt heavy on her chest. As her flag draped coffin was lowered into the earth Anna was finally home.

    • Alison Heilman says:

      Forget about being humiliated and publicly disowned, what happened to Anna was way worse. Every time she tried to understand her new stepfamily, they would all but slam the door in her face. What was intended to be a nice family breakfast, ended with Anna running home in tears. All she had suggested was allowing her to begin schooling with her stepsisters, instead of remaining at home. Anna was certain she would never go to a Perkins again, not with all of these unpleasant memories.
      Anna had been living with her stepfamily for the past year. One would think that a mother would love her daughter. Alas for Anna this was not the case. In the beginning it all went smoothly, with Anna doing her best to help the family in whatever way possible. Unfortunately, this family seemed to believe that she was beneath their notice. In the past month, things had been getting worse. Her stepsisters were beginning to liken her to Cinderella. Anna was through with pretending to be Cinderella. She was not what her stepfamily wanted, and that was that. There was only one thing left to do: escape.
      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was 18 years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but she knew her stepfamily would search for her until she was found. If only she could fade into the oblivion of the forest nearby. But that would be too easy, and unrewarding, seeing as Anna had never been camping before. She would have to try to find a new town to live in, one where she could find friends and a steady job. It would not be easy, but neither have her life been for the past year.

    • Adrian Estment says:

      The roar of the plane receded rapidly as it fell like a stone into the deep blue sky above her. Anna opened her arms and let the webbed wings of her flying suit spread. Enough to turn her into a diving bird. She adjusted her limbs and achieved a near-horizontal angle, diving towards the ragged grey and white Earth below.

      Anna swooped down, down, down, down, the rush of the wind taking her breath away. The jagged rocky mass of torn crust, upended, twisted, angled up, rushed towards her.

      Down she flew, until it came into view. She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but if she did, it would be in some dramatic way.

      She was dropping in to see an old friend.

      Never mind the steep, twisting road up the valley and mountain to the virtually inaccessible clutch of red-tiled houses. She was coming in as only she could. A twitch of her shoulders and she was oriented better in relation to the cliff-face below.

      She started the countdown: 10-9-8-7- … -3-2-1- pull!

      A sudden whoosh and a sharp tug on her shoulders, and Anna was soaring. She grasped the straps and tugged them to swing away from the cliff. Her momentum slowed, she turned in ever-decreasing circles, down towards the gently-rising village perched on the sheer edge of the drop.

      And then she saw him. Running across the uneven, stony ground, up towards the grassy patch that he knew she would make for. Bursting his lungs.

      She landed as he got there, tucking in her chin, her legs hitting the grass. She stepped a few paces, then pulled the collapsing canopy to her.

      He stood stock-still, panting, on the stony outcrop just before her, eyes dancing in delight.

      “Hi Armando,” she gasped, “am I in time?”

      “Oh yes,” he laughed, “oh yes”.

    • Steve says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but now as the plane circled she realized it had always been inevitable.

      The base had always been ‘the way out’ for her village, family and friends. As a child she had said goodbyes and hellos so often that it became a normal part of life – Dad would be home in six months, uncle Charlie’s leaving again next week.
      As she grew older escaping seemed exciting. The destinations, letters and stories all seemed so thrilling.
      Eventually she knew this is what she wanted to do.
      How many of us have thought similar thoughts? We see the grass as greener somewhere else. How many paradises lost to this ‘wonder lust’ of youth?

      She had left angry, but with no regrets. She would show them (and him) she was a person of worth.

      Anna warmed to the military life and blossomed as she grew to love being a Marine. She was bright and hard working and advancement seemed to be almost automatic; automatic but not without hardship. The Marines need ‘a few good men’– women allowed but not coddled.
      To a male Marine this means everyone gets equal treatment.
      To the women involved this means something different; it’s a man’s world, hazing and worse is the norm but most of these women think – I will succeed – because I must.

      Anna did all the above with a flourish and enthusiasm her village was known for. Coming home, as the highest ranking and most decorated female field officer in the Corps made her smile. As the plane dropped altitude her village came into focus. For the first time in over 20 years she saw her village clearly and warm feeling for family and friends filled her heart.

      As her flag draped coffin was lowered into the earth Anna was finally home. The Marine Corps Medal of Honor felt heavy on her chest.

    • She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but as the little aircraft banked west toward tomorrow – all her tomorrows – she could feel it expanding deep within her.

      She would always be Anna from Marcuston.

      When you’re a kid, everywhere looks big, important. Every store Macy’s. MHS seniors were gods and goddesses. Mom and Dad were infallible superheroes.

      Looking around as she crossed the worn risers, she noticed the breeze-ruffled, faded, patched skirting. She recalled answering a customer’s query in the Town ‘n’ Country where she’d worked until yesterday with the same tired line: “No, I’m sorry, we don’t have that in stock but we can order it online for you.”

      Nope. Just Marcuston.

      Not Macy’s. Now a graduate, she chuffed audibly through her nose. Gods and goddesses? She knew every one of them. Please … And Mom and Dad? They’d somehow traded spandex for work clothes. Their tearful goodbyes signaled yet another sturdy, resilient couple resigned to dusty, empty-nest life in the dusty, emptiness of the town.

      It once was bigger than her eyes as she tried to take it all in. Now? Just another place to gas up on the way to somewhere else.

      Anywhere else.

      “You, too?”

      “S’cuse me?”

      “You leaving, too?”

      “Oh. Yeah …” Anna mistrusted her voice and tear ducts. They’d already betrayed her once. The old guy’s keen gaze was soft around the edges and changed as she finally looked at him. She’d heard it called–what? Middle distance?

      He gently smiled. “All my life, right down there.” As they both looked down through the plane’s window, Anna said, “Oh, look, there’s our–I mean Mom and Dad’s . . . house. Where’s yours?”

      “Missouri.” There wasn’t a word to describe the sere expression on his face. Anna followed his gaze as Marcuston and her past slipped beneath the wing.

      His eyes had been locked on the cemetery.

    • Anna packed the borrowed suitcase. It was a well-traveled bag that her friend Penny had loaned her. Anna carried then wheeled it into her parents’ living room. The birthday sweater and three books added a weight that didn’t match their worth. The room’s windows dominated Anna’s attention. She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but she had to see Joan. For her. Only for her. Anna wasn’t positive she would make her way back for the funeral.

      Anna wanted to remember Joan, her feisty English teacher, as she had been in life and during this visit: a rebel. In this case, she was a rebel against disease and not a rebel against split infinitives. Joan insisted on the gifts she’d bought for her former pupil, but hadn’t had the strength to mail. Anna had always enjoyed Joan’s classes and the bond she felt with Joan was a strong one, replacing the ones she had with her own discordant family. Joan was the one who had encouraged and challenged Anna to leave the village and to escape into the world.

      Anna’s parents continued to disapprove of her choices to teach English in a small rural county far from this village. Anna’s visit didn’t improve her relationships with her parents, but the visit didn’t release any new venom. Anna looked forward to returning to the solitude of the community that didn’t know any of her childhood conflict. She looked forward to returning the suitcase and never borrowing it again.

    • Dan says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, and it had been so long she had trouble recalling memories of her days there. After two hundred years and three – no four wars, she couldn’t believe that it was still there. Thoughts of her siblings edged onto her consciousness. Zack, her older brother by just a few minutes had always managed to bring age into whatever argument they were having. Rudolph, the youngest, had managed to hold out until the next day before he was born. He was the happy-go-lucky one and had left when he turned thirteen to seek his fortune in the world. From her vantage point beside the rapids, she peered down the sheer face of the granite mountain that swept up to her position and then continued up behind her to the peak of the mountain that had given the valley its name, Scrabble. To live there, one eked out a living from the rocky soil and the stubble that grew in the cracks and crevices. When she left she found you had to travel for days scrabbling up and scrambling down the rocky faces of countless canyons before reaching the next settlement. From higher up on the mountain, the rain and melted snow was forced into rapids that raged down the narrow trough beside her and launched into space before crashing into the huge basin in the valley. She remembered carrying water in stone buckets from the basin to the hut they called home. She wondered who lived there now and what they had done to warrant the attention of the outside world. But she was a warrior with orders and so mounted the shell onto her weapon, aimed at the middle of the huts and pressed the weapon’s release that was keyed to her body’s unique biological signature. She turned away from the valley and her exoskeleton protected her from the thermonuclear blast that melted the valley into a smooth rounded granite pipe with no evidence of life.

    • Odessa says:

      She looked down on the tattered village that had once been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but now as she stood there watching the ash fall. Anna reached out to let it dissolve in her fingers. Everything was gone: her life, her family, and her personality.
      Anna sunk down on the grassy mountain side. The sky was now blue and the clouds were returning to their flocculent selves. Her hair blew in her face, it was aurulent colored and hung to her waist. Anna felt so sure that she could return to be greeted by her family. Their smiling faces welcoming as they swept up her luggage and peppered her with light kisses. She would lay on the bamboo roof: her hideout and watch the stars glisten her stomach content after the homemade meal, but her feet would ache from the trek from the mountain. When Anna came back down from her hideout, she would curl up next to her younger sister coddled under a mountain of covers, but that life was no more.
      The volcano had swallowed any possibilities of a happy reunion. She walked forward more till her toes hung over sharp precipice into the expansive canyon where her village once lay. Her bare toes tingled. The wind whined against her stubborn body. Her eyes watered. Anna’s eyelashes fluttered. She swallowed. She swept her hand across her eyes defiantly and spoke into the world, “You took have taken back my world and I will retrieve it.”
      She did a graceful swan dive into the open air. The air resolved her fall. Anna shut her eyes tightly. Her stomach flipped nervously. She was tangled in her life, tangled in time. Time had stopped for her. She was stuck in mid air. She breathed out as she realized she had been holding it in. She breathed in and out several times before she whispered to the wind that she was ready. The wind let her fall and she fell.

    • Lessee says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but, as seemed to be the irrevocable pattern of her life, here she stood against her will. From her vantage point atop the hill that boarded her childhood home, Anna could clearly see her family’s rooftop, nestled amidst the village shit- and slaughter-houses. The mere sight triggered her remaining senses and she almost gagged on the rememberd stench that seemed to tangibly invade her nostrils.

      • Leann says:

        Keep going Lesse, I want to read more. I really wasn’t expecting Anna’s home to be ‘nestled amidst the village shit- and slaughter-houses’ when I was reading your prose. That type of writing grabs you. I was comfortably slipping into a nice little village when, whamo!

      • Fred Kutz says:

        No kidding Lessee. Nice. I’d like to see where it leads!

    • She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but after days of running, it beckoned. People here knew and loved her. They had cried when she left. Yet they had rejoiced too, for now she was the wife of the Lord.
      In the valley below, she had enjoyed friendship, something sadly missing in the year she’d been gone. Lord Martin had isolated and smothered her with his oppressive attention. At first it seemed like caring, yet as the lonely days flowed one after another with no outside contact, she came to understand his obsession. He would not share her with another for even one moment. Not even a ladies maid attended her. No one but Martin ever entered her chamber.
      Tears filled her eyes as she gazed at her childhood home. No, she could not go down. To take even one step into the village would bring their destruction. He would come and if he found her there, she shuttered. His wrath knew no bounds. No. Better to leave.
      She wiped her eyes and lifted her pack. With one backward glance, she trudged away. Yes, the village offered everything thing she craved, companionship and love. But she would not bring his anger down upon those she cared for. Better to keep moving and hope someday she could return.

    • Leann says:

      The music hummed with electro beats, as her bare feet danced on the sand; the freedom in the gloaming inducing hedonistic pleasures. Whether she had come to this place to lose or find herself, she was unsure, yet what had found her, she could not ignore. Having left her village abruptly some two years ago, she never would have thought the answers she sort then, she would find here. Back then going beyond the familiar terrified her, yet her leaving was of her own accord. Had she stayed, certainly her life would have ended, and more than likely at her own hand.

      As no explanation for her sudden departure and no method of contact were given, Anna was acutely aware that she had left many questions unanswered. The burden of the pain she had caused her family, weighed heavy upon her heart. Had they wrongfully assumed that she had fallen victim to foul play? Was she a lost soul, a small shrine erected in her memory on the mantle in her mother’s home?

      It had only been a week since she felt the granules of sand beneath her feet, but standing here, it was as if the past two years had never happened. Now she looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return but knew that this day would be her reckoning, and that the dreadful truth was hers to tell.

      Arriving at the curb, she fought the urge to drive on. Stepping from the car, she walked under the arbor and up to the familiar wooden door of her mother’s home and pensively rapped on its frame. She could hear slow, shuffling footsteps making their way down the hall. A rattle of the lock, and the door opened wide.

      “Hello Mother,” Anna said.

      Her mother’s face looked contorted; the pain of the shock evident in her squinting eyes. Anna’s mother reached out. Anna leaned forward to greet her just as the frail hand stung her cheek with all the force her mother could muster.

      • Fred Kutz says:

        Wow Leann. As soon as I finished this “scene” my mind flew to, not only past scenes, but future villages, grand castles and halls later in the prose as well. Nicely done.

        • Leann says:

          Thanks for your feedback Fred. I love to hear others’ interpretations and recommendations of my writing and you’re the only who gave me any feedback. Thanks!!!!

    • Patrick Stivers says:

      Anna still had nightmares about her ordeal, as well as the scars to remind her during the day. She rubbed her wrists each time she reminisced about it. The windowless walls, the stagnant cold, the dirt floor mixed with gravel and mouse droppings. The physical and psychological pain she suffered was only multiplied by her village’s lack of response.
      The local elders were no help. No one would listen to her. She claimed to know who did it, had told everyone. But village enforcers were reluctant to take action because they did not feel the girl’s claim was strong enough without evidence. Although police from the city did come down as a matter of protocol, an inconsequential village warrants little attention from city officials. Friends and family tried being there for her, but no one could really understand. The only friend she had that could have was taken along with her. She’d also been killed, just as Anna would have been had she not escaped. Not that it matters now. He was dead too.
      Still, Anna had been disgraced into leaving. Even with him gone her neighbors, people she had grown up with and respected, looked at her uncertainly. She felt shunned and embarrassed. So Anna simply packed a few things one night and disappeared. She struggled and managed to forge a new life which even included a loving husband and baby girl.
      Now, she has returned. Now, she risks losing the life she’s struggled to put together since leaving this hell. Now, she’s the only chance these missing girls have. She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was sure she would never return, but a new string of brutal abductions has drawn her back. The question burning in her tormented heart and soul is “if the man I killed wasn’t the one who abducted me, then who is?” By returning she knew she would be suspected of her accused’s murder as well. But she couldn’t live with herself knowing the real killer was still here.

      • Leann says:

        Hi Patrick, …ooohh this tale looks like it will take a sinister turn. It reminds me of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. I would definitely read more of your story.

        One small suggestion though is that when the accused was first introduced ‘he was dead too’ I had to read back a bit to confirm who he was. I may just be me but I was reading about the dead friend then he jumped in. Like I said, it’s just the way I read it. Perhaps that introduction could have come in a new paragraph, I’m not sure. Maybe someone else could advise?

    • Linda Brown says:

      So many years had passed for Anna. So many that she had lost count.
      Yet, here she stood. Preparing to re-enter her old life. Preparing to re-encounter what was creating trepidation within her heart.
      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but she felt in her heart and spirit that this was the right time to go home. She had to do it now – or never. Was she ready to re-open her heart to those in the community? Could her spirit bear the weight of old memories?
      Anna would never know unless she began. So, with one foot in front of the other, she began the journey down the mountain to the lights below.

      • Leann says:

        Keep going Linda. You’ve got us thinking about all the questions you’ve posed and the snippets of information about Anna’s past, so now maybe expand on one of the bits of information you’ve given us e.g. why is the community so important to her, or why is it now or never?
        I like your story so far.

    • Irene says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but here she was, as alone as the day she was banished. She wondered if her tribe heard of her successes and failures, if they knew of her latest shame.
      Anna had hurried her steps hoping to see Mama once more. Was she was too late? Her legs refused to move. She sat on the ground. Did her brother have a brood of children? Were those who banished her still ruling the village? Would they ban her from spending her last days with her family?
      Anna felt her heart writhing in her chest. She got up and focused on discovering her future. Her weighted steps spoke of the struggle to move ahead or turn back. She would no longer live where she was not accepted for who she was. That was behind her.
      She climbed down the rise where she had hidden to hear the words that removed her from her family and sent her on a great adventure. The effort took her breath away. She was no longer young and sound.
      Taking a moment to calm her breath, what she saw did not surprise her. There were more huts than when she left and it took a moment to find her family home. A new building took up the space where the tribe would meet around the fire. She assumed this was now where the Council of Elders met.
      Anna headed for her final stop. The place where she would either recover from their loving care or die. A group of children played in the meadow where the goats and sheep still scampered. She walked past wondering if they were her nieces and nephews.
      Her eyes shaded with her hand, she searched the area. There he was. She would know him anywhere. She yelled out her brother’s name. “Nathan, Nathan, it’s me. I’m home.” She ran toward him before he turned to yell back, “Anna, is it really you?” We fell into each other’s arms.

      • Leann says:

        Irene, I love your line ‘Her weighted steps spoke of the trouble to move ahead or turn back’. It made me think of how difficult it is to walk forward knowing you will face a difficult time, your legs not wanting to take another step. I put myself in Anna’s shoes and was able to, as the reader, empathise with your character.

        One thing you might want to check is the change from third person to first in the last line i.e. she.. to we… Maybe someone else could advise us on this one? I know it puts a twist in your tale but I’m to sure of the grammatical correctness of it.

    • Shy says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but something strong drew her towards the aged, damaged city. A chilling breeze snaked up her back, the thick leather jacket doing little to protect her from the bitter air.

      Anna treaded carefully down the sharp slope. Using her gloved hands, she assisted herself in the descent toward a town she once loved. Within a sharp moment her footing was miscalculated and she fell toward the base of the hill.

      Anna landed in a small ditch, which sent a sharp stinging sensation toward her skull. Anna rubbed her aching head. Standing up, on her insecure legs seemed a difficult task.
      As Anna walked closer to the town, a smell of smoke tingled her nose and the sound of crying and screaming invaded her ears. Stepping as silently as an assassin, she moved toward the noises. The cries that seemed to be escaping from a young girls mouth.

      Anna took a sharp corner, and sitting there was a extremely young girl that looked the age of about 8 or 9, crying her eyes out. Anna ran up to her and picked her up gently, cradling the young child in her arms.

      At once, she heard a ghastly howl. Anna sprinted, holding the crying girl, toward a small cottage, which seemed to be the least destructed.
      She placed the child down on a wooden table and shut the door, hoping the wolf, wouldn’t catch their scent. She sat down on a chair with the child.

      “Whats your name?” Anna asked.

      “A-Amelia…”

      “That’s very pretty,” She replied quietly. “I’m Anna.”

      Immediately the door was broken down by a grand black wolf. Amelia began crying once again. The wolf dived over me and grabbed Amelia by the scruff of her shirt.
      Anna stood in fright as the young girl screamed. The wolf rushed at the wall, crashed through it and travelled off into the night.

      “A-Amelia…” Anna Stuttered.

    • Shy says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but something strong drew her towards the aged, damaged city. A chilling breeze snaked up her back, the thick leather jacket doing little to protect her from the bitter air.
      Anna treaded carefully down the sharp slope. Using her gloved hands, she assisted herself in the descent toward a town she once loved. Within a sharp moment her footing was miscalculated and she fell toward the base of the hill.
      Anna landed in a small ditch, which sent a sharp stinging sensation toward her skull. Anna rubbed her aching head. Standing up, on her insecure legs seemed a difficult task.
      As Anna walked closer to the town, a smell of smoke tingled her nose and the sound of crying and screaming invaded her ears. Stepping as silently as an assassin, she moved toward the noises. The cries that seemed to be escaping from a young girls mouth.
      Anna took a sharp corner, and sitting there was a extremely young girl that looked the age of about 8 or 9, crying her eyes out. Anna ran up to her and picked her up gently, cradling the young child in her arms.
      At once, she heard a ghastly howl. Anna sprinted, holding the crying girl, toward a small cottage, which seemed to be the least destructed.
      She placed the child down on a wooden table and shut the door, hoping the wolf, wouldn’t catch their scent. She sat down on a chair with the child.
      “Whats your name?” Anna asked.
      “A-Amelia…”
      “That’s very pretty,” She replied quietly. “I’m Anna.”
      Immediately the door was broken down by a grand black wolf. Amelia began crying once again. The wolf dived over me and grabbed Amelia by the scruff of her shirt.
      Anna stood in fright as the young girl screamed. The wolf rushed at the wall, crashed through it and travelled off into the night.
      “A-Amelia…” Anna Stuttered.

    • Daniel Garza says:

       She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but that dreadful message she received about her brother going mad was just too much to stay away! She worried about him. Every day she thought of how he must have felt after she left. She regretted it deeply every day. She missed her brother. She loved him very much!
      “He killed them. Aaron has gone crazy. He killed them! You must hurry!”, read the telegram.

      She stood there and just smiled. Memories of her parents came to her. Then of her brother. Of all of them together. Her smile then slowly faded. What would be of her brother? She pondered the thought for a few moments until finally deciding to turn around and walk back the way she came from.

    • Daniel Garza says:

       She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but that dreadful message she received about her brother going mad was just too much to stay away! She worried about him. Every day she thought of how he must have felt after she left. She regretted it deeply every day. She missed her brother. She loved him very much!
      “He killed them. Aaron has gone crazy. He killed them! You must hurry!”, read the telegram.

      She stood there and just smiled. Memories of her parents came to her. Then of her brother. Of all of them together. Her smile then slowly faded. What would be of her brother? She pondered the thought for a few moments until finally deciding to turn around and walk back the way she came from…

    • Embe Charpentier says:

      The old consider the vengeance of the God of the Old Testament as fate. Those who recognize Jesus as ultimate arbiter see bad luck as the affiliation of mercy and free will. Then there are those who know not to challenge or question fate, merely to face it with equanimity, knowing that the truest confidence is acceptance of our lot.

      Miss Anna believed in the third for herself, the second for those who needed consolation, the first for those who preferred justice over mercy. Her stepfather was firmly fixed within Camp 1, so Anna assumed his toes were pretty warm after a few days down in the bowels of Hell. She couldn’t help believing the self-righteous deserved the Hell they constructed perfectly for others, their own Alighierian Inferno.

      She commanded the cab stop. She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but below her lay quaint, red-roofed homes and ambling alleys of small shops; in the distance, the funeral home awaited her, welcoming her stepfather’s third and final visitor.

      Viewing Martin Trump proved unpleasant. His ghoulish appearance? Cringe-worthy.

      Anna anticipated receiving nothing from Martin’s estate. The attorney read the bizarre contents of the will slowly.

      A competition? Given one-half her stepfather’s money, she was to compete against her half-sister Mariette. At the end of twenty-four months, one would either inherit all, or lose it all in a cruel twist of fate that involved building wealth only to forfeit it.

      Anna had not come prepared, but Mariette had considered her options. “Meet with me tonight, Anna.”

      As Anna knocked on her father’s door, Mariette was ready: the gun in hand, an officer of the law by her side, an immediate alibi.

      “I would have won anyway,” Mariette said, then screamed as a shot rang out.

      The cop looked down at Mariette’s body, positioning the body and gun before calling the station.

      The satisfied officer smiled. “I suspect you’ll be more reasonable than she was.”

      Anna’s private Hell had just begun.

    • Jennifer says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but she heard her mother’s words as clearly as though she was standing beside her.
      “Anna, you will always have a home here. No matter what happens, you can always come back,” said her mother in her sweet, caring way.
      Tears spilled down Anna’s face. She knew she couldn’t go back, but she missed her home with an overwhelming fierceness. Anna’s mother was dead. The home where she had been raised was no longer hers. She was no longer welcome in the village.
      Anna turned and walked up the hill. She knew she had to move on with her life, even if she had no idea what she was going to do. She had to leave and walking over the hill was the best idea she had. She pushed aside the tears as she reached the top.
      The sight and sound of the cars caught her attention. She had heard cars before, but no one in the village had one. She could feel her heart beat faster as she watched the cars fly past. She may have lived close to the highway for eighteen years, but its sight and sound always excited her. Her mother was scared of the road – for good reason. Her own parents, Anna’s grandparents, had been killed when their buggy had been hit by a car many years before.
      “Nothing good ever comes from people on the highway,” said her mother. “Only bad, bad things.”
      Anna felt bad about approaching the road. She knew her mother would not want her daughter near the highway with its Godless people and machines. Anna had heard the arguments for years and could recite them even now.
      But Anna knew she had no future in the village. Her fate was sealed when her mother died. Anna could not live alone. She had no guardian. She had nothing but the suitcase she was carrying.
      Anna moved forward, toward the highway, knowing she had no other option.

    • Barbara says:

      It wasn’t the best time for Anna. A year of not the best time. And every time that she’s coming back to that day, when everything started, she’s sure that there were no signs of it all coming. Now she’s here again.
      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but as things didn’t go as she planned there’s no surprise in her coming back either.
      Everything seemed different. Houses, fields. She smiled to herself.
      – It’s almost funny, this place. See? I was playing there, close to that red house, when I was little. I would swear it was much bigger.
      They stood there in silence. Anna wanted to remember. She was looking for something in her mind, she didn’t even know what exactly it was. This memory was well hidden.
      – Let’s go. I’ll show you more places. It’s a small village, but it has special places. At least, I hope they are still here.
      While walking Anna was looking for a clue, for some kind of sign. Last year events where strangely connected with her memories, or rather forgotten memories.
      She almost couldn’t hear anything, she began to feel dizzy, her heart started to beat so fast she could feel like her chest was moving with it.
      “It really happened, it really happened” was trembling in her mind. A scream! It wasn’t her. She started to look around , but there wasn’t anyone beside Liz. It wasn’t Liz either. Memories started to come back, fast, they where overwhelming her.
      “It really happened”.
      -No!

    • JC Haley says:

      The incessant humming, would it ever stop? She felt vibrations travel through her body like chop on a wind beaten lake. As time passed, her anxiety rose. Was something wrong? She wondered, “Should the event last this long?” What if the humming continued until her body ripped apart? She forced herself to remain conscious.

      Anna’s day began with an omen that would have shaken someone less scientific than herself. On the way to work, she ran over a squirrel in front of children heading off to school. Upon entering her lab, the assistant dean of the department of applied physics met her at the door to inform her that her project was being phased out for the coming fiscal year.

      The news wasn’t unexpected, just the timing. She had been rushing through her work on the tesseract for the last few months. She knew the time was running out; time that really didn’t exist in the first place. However, she needed the lab to complete her work on the dimensional gate and prove her theory.

      Now, as she floated in blackness with all sensation gone she questioned whether she had blinked out of existence and this was all that was left. Maybe she was caught in a dimensional limbo.

      Suddenly a burst of light brighter than anything thing she had ever encountered enveloped her. It struck through all of her tissue at once like a thousand shards of glass. As the light toned down, the area below her faded slowly into view like one of those old Polaroid pictures of her youth. First there were outlines of trees and a steeple and then the color soaked into the flowers and pavement. Unbelievable!

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but here she was back in Adelaide, Alaska and there she was… a girl of five years old.

    • Celeste says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but rumors had reached her in the city. She’d finally closed her tiny shop, a nondescript sign at the window.
      She’d come on foot, with just a backpack and her boots, seemingly ill-prepared for the horrors she’d heard awaited below.
      She went to round up the old crew, but got short stories instead: dead, gone, missing, dead and John.
      John was the only one left.
      John was complicated.
      She knocked on his door, all butterflies and deep breaths. The door opened and she forgot the past until,
      “Those boots are pretty dykey, even for you.”
      Anna snorted, shaking her head slightly. She stomped inside, weaving expertly around the table that jutted into the hallway.
      “Fill me in,” Anna said as he followed her.
      “Shit’s otta control and everyone’s done. But you knew that or you wouldn’t be here.”
      “You know what we have to do right?”
      He nodded once with grim defiance. She pulled a leather book from her backpack.
      “Okay, I’m going to call them.”
      She handed him an empty jam jar.
      “And you are going to catch them in this.”
      He looked down at the jar.
      “We’re gonna save Allenton with a jam jar and your diary?”
      “No. We’re going to save the world with a jam jar and my diary.”
      She flipped open the book and chanted an eerie incantation. Her hair whipped about her face in a windless room as the jar shuddered and grew so cold John almost dropped it.
      “Close it!” She shouted.
      He screwed the lid tight and Anna’s hair fell limp. She scooped the jar and the book into her bag and stood up. He must have sensed her air of finality because he asked,
      “So what now? You go back to your bookstore and your cats?”
      Anna shouldered the bag. “I go back to protecting you. All of you.”
      John snorted, shaking his head slightly as she turned and walked out.

    • April says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but now it was time for her to face her past and own up to her mistakes. She squared her shoulders and continued down the mountain road, now overgrown with disuse and neglect. She had been so young when she fled with her mother. She had not understood the implications of her actions, talked into believing she was doing right by her people, her family; her father had died because of her.

      She had almost died.

      Her heart clenched seeing the small houses with curls of wood smoke reaching out to the grey sky. The pain of betrayal was all she could remember.

      All because of him. He had been so sweet at first. So charming. A man just passing through, needing a place to stay before moving on. A stranger. And she had fallen in love with this man, with his smile and his eyes; so trusting. Anna never saw the malice within his blackened heart, poisoned with greed.

      They were miners, deep in the mountains. Trade was prosperous, trading gold and silver for food, clothing and all other amenities that were too difficult to produce. But the town also attracted the hopeful, the destitute, and the desperate. There were constant offers to her father, the mayor, but he turned them all down. He was not very trusting of others.

      The stranger had charmed Anna, got to know her and her father. Showed interest in her and the business. She’d been so stupid as to tell him everything, thinking she had found love and he could do no wrong. Only to find him in their house, in the middle of the night, killing her father before he could defend himself. She heard the screams, ran to her parents room to save her mother. He attacked Anna, but they escaped, barely.

      Now she was back, stronger and determined to avenge her father. She had lost so much, it was time to get it back.

    • She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but here she was, standing tall in spite of it all. She must accomplish her mission, her story must never happen to any one else. She stood atop the hill as she remembered that night so long ago.

      She and gone out with her friends and it was a little late in returning. She had done this on purpose so that she would not be home alone with him – she had long ago stopped thinking of him as her stepfather and her counsellor had asked her to stop calling him the devil – she had tried to ensure she arrived at the same time with her mother. Her timing was off and he it was who opened the door.

      ‘Hello Anna’ said her stepdad

      ‘Hello’ she responded

      ‘Your mum is not home yet’ he informed, probably trying to make small talk

      ‘Ok, i will be in my room’ She bounded up the stairs, desperate to use the restroom.

      In her rush, she had forgotten to lock the door and that singular mistake had haunted her for a long time.

      She felt his presence in her room before she saw him. He had always been very stealthy and this time was no exception. She had been lying with the back to the door. She was lost in thought, looking out the window at the beautiful scenery outside.

      As she turned and saw him, her face asked the question before she could verbalise it. She wondered why he was in her room.

      ‘Finally sweetheart… we are alone’ she hated it when he called her ‘sweetheart;

      ‘I’ve seen the looks you’ve been giving me behind mum’s back, and i understand it’

      ‘What looks?’, she asked appalled

      ‘Don’t worry, I figured it out. You want me as much as I want you… he grinned

      ‘You’ve got it all wrong, I don’t want you’ she replied vehemently

      ‘Yes you do. by this time, he had reached up to the bed and was standing over her, looking into her face and licking his lips. He grabbed her hair and kept muttering ‘yes you do, you like it rough’ while rubbing his hands up and down her body.

      She struggled hard against him, but he was a big man. Her body said no, but it also said yes. For she hated the intrusion from him, but she was not dry. Her willed the wetness away, but it was not to be. Many years of counselling had helped her to hate herself and her traitorous body less.

      That was the last time she was here, for she ran away after that incidence. She didn’t come back when mum had died. She ran way for her sanity. She was unsure if it had returned.. he had taken it all.

      Here she was, looking down at the village. She knew she must confront her demons, she must confront him but she did not know how to start…. perhaps she should go back.

    • She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but now she was back with the man who had altered her life, and opened her eyes to the fantastic.

      Anna had left three years ago, with the intention of finishing a degree in astrophysics. She’d excelled throughout the first two years of her course. That all changed the following summer, when she’d decided to take a trip into the vast forests near the campus.

      Anna’s interest in the wilds had taken her miles from civilization, but she was beginning to miss the creature comforts of the campus. As she was looking for a camp sight, the light had begun fading, and there was no doubting the sounds of a large creature approaching her camp.

      Long minutes had passed, and Anna watched as a huge canine padded out of the underbrush, aware that she was no match if it decided she was a threat. However, there’d been something in the creature’s demeanor that suggested he was as curious as she was. She’d held her ground cautiously, not wanting to startle the wolf and risk scaring it.

      The wolf had stopped, and then with a series of noses like bones popping and muscle tissues realigning, the creature transformed in front of Anna. Her amazement had been nothing compared to the shock of recognition, as the man the wolf had become, approached her.

      She’d watched Jack from the back the lecture hall, studied his features in her dreams, but had never understood the fascination she had for him. And now here he was, naked, a sharing with her a secret that made Anna think she was dreaming. He’d taken his time to approach, and explained that he had seen her eyes watching across the room, his curiosity piqued. And then his scent had caught her nose, and Anna had realized there was no resisting him, and they had fallen into each other’s arms.

      That encounter had freed the beast inside her, the one that had remained buried within, waiting the catalyst of another. The presence of one of her own kind, in order to manifest. And now she watched the village below through the eyes of the wolf, before turning away from the life she’d known, and entered one full of wonders.

    • Will it

      The old consider the vengeance of the God of the Old Testament as fate. Those who see Jesus as the arbiter see bad luck as the affiliation of mercy and free will. Then there are those who know not to challenge or question fate, merely to face it with equanimity, knowing that the truest confidence is acceptance of our lot.

      Miss Anna believed in the third for herself, the second for those who needed consolation, the first for those who preferred justice over mercy. Her stepfather had dwelled in Camp 1, so Anna assumed his toes were pretty warm after a few days down in the bowels of Hell. She couldn’t help believing the self-righteous deserved the Hell they constructed perfectly for others, their own Dante Alighieri Inferno.

      She commanded the cab stop. She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but below her lay quaint, red-roofed homes and ambling alleys of small shops; in the distance, the funeral home awaited her, welcoming her stepfather’s third and final visitor.

      Viewing Martin Trump proved unpleasant. His ghoulish appearance? Cringe-worthy.

      Anna anticipated receiving nothing from Martin’s estate. The attorney read the bizarre contents of the will with great ceremony.

      A competition? Given one-half her stepfather’s money, she was to compete against her half-sister Mariette. At the end of twenty-four months, one would either inherit all, or lose it all in a cruel twist of fate that involved building wealth only to forfeit it.

      Anna had not come prepared, but Mariette had already considered her options. “Meet with me tonight, Anna.”

      As Anna knocked on her father’s door, Mariette was ready: the gun in hand, an officer of the law by her side, an immediate alibi.

      “I would have won anyway,” predicted Mariette, then screamed as a shot rang out.

      The cop looked down at Mariette’s body, positioning the body and gun before calling the station.

      The satisfied officer smiled. “I predict you’ll be more reasonable than she was.”

      Anna’s private Hell had just begun.

    • Joe says:

      The day started out as any other day, Anna was reading through the books that she checked out from the library. As the mayor’s daughter, she felt it was her responsibility to learn as much as she could about the history of her ancestors, to prevent some of the catastrophes that happened to neighboring villages over the years.

      “You shouldn’t bother yourself with that gloomy history”, he father told her, “we have defenses set up to stop the raids from happening.” She knew that, while her village did have better defenses in place, that it was probably not enough. She knew that the neighboring villages had been subject to raids and a few months later, all of the inhabitants had been driven mad. She didn’t know what it was, but she suspected that the raids were simply a diversion for something…more.

      That’s when the horns began to sound. She scrambled upstairs to look out the window and saw a dark cloud approaching. She remembered the stories, this is what they all said; there was a dark storm cloud that reached from the ground to the sky, it bore down on the unsuspecting villages and before they knew it, the raids were upon them.

      She ran outside and saw her father barking orders to the town watch, they were scrambling to make sure nothing breached the wall, but it was too late. It looked like there were men coming through the wall, rather than over it. She grabbed as much as she could and ran to the back gate pleading for her fellow villagers to come with her.

      As she reached the hill just beyond town, she looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but she knew that one day when she was ready; she had to in order to save them from the doom that was certain to follow.

    • niko says:

      Although my attempt at this round of Scene Stealers was much too long, I wanted to thank you so much for the prompt! It helped me out of the block I was in for the weekly fiction I post. Thanks for such a great, encouraging website and I can’t wait for more!

      • Fred Kutz says:

        Wow niko… Your piece was unexpected to say the least. Your opener may have been a little over 350 but… Via the few additional words relegated to this piece you may have well found a story that could turn convention, at least on one age old tale, on its pointy little ear. WELL DONE!

    • She looked down on the villagers had been her home until she was eighteen years old.Anna was so sure she’d never return.but here she stood.something about this place called to her/and she’d come back/and here she stood at looking down back at 36/a commander of 40.000 well trained well fed army building her dream took time and cunning/”tonight we camp/in the morning give thanks to the Herodites a new moon will give us the mornings advantage/hitch horse supper and bed for every man woman and feed the clydesdale horses first “Anna swept her tartan shawl across her right shouldered flowing raven hair was no coincidence of the name of her 18 hands horse”raven she rubbed his neck tomorrow all your Valhallas will come alive”she understands a conquered village can change in eighteen years/having been a guerilla partisan of the Herodites/an old Norse tribal group she was ever so much a Scot”allied to her clan the history of this island was drummed into her her swordsmanship was second to no one . in her family tree/ were every ilk of folk one could imagine/having. campaigned guerilla tactics and got an order to leave her old conquered village as her final answered conquest/heaven’s/grant the sun an unblemished star in Ana for tomorrows fate awaits a driven cloud of raining swords and arrows/”her valet pulled her tartan shawl from ravens saddle”goodnight Anna”make haste your dream for the morn bring you victory sweeter than any field commander could stomach” “valet” yes mam”go to sleep in one hour weaken the whole camp we will abandon the Herodites plan of action sleep well I will meet you at the village wall on the southern flank/be there with 10.000 gold pieces one for every villager who is not of our enemies kind/we will awake in one hour no plan just total surprise/ the camp fell still leaving visible mist rising as Ana slipped to sleep/shush”two burly men cusp Anna’s mouth from alerting the camp/carrying her into the night he’ll that would erupt in less than an hour the valets daft face snoring into the night like a

    • She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but her entire existence was here. The bothersome climb to the watch tower on the summit was her way of working off the excitement surrounding the decision to leave her home and devote her life to the ship. Sara gripped the safety rail and inhaled.
      Two days was not long to prepare for a lifetime aboard the ship. Chosen from a group of two hundred graduates, it was considered an honor to be chosen for the mission—Sara was one of the brightest.
      Markus, her first love, was not so fortunate and would have to remain in the village for many years until the next ship arrived. He would eventually marry and have a family.
      She looked out over terraced mountains that provided so much for her people. Sara’s people never felt abandoned. The ship malfunctioned and forced them to find a safe place to live. For over five hundred years her family had transformed the isolated mountains into a garden of plenty. They were happy here and safe and had prospered beyond expectations.
      Sara’s father was one of the main engineers that designed the aqueducts that provided the water needed to grow food and quench their thirsts. The water had to travel around many mountains to reach their village.
      The climb down from the summit was fast. Sara reached the main road within a few minutes. She walked to the village square and saw several of the other chosen talking and laughing. They were excited about seeing the ship. The description of the huge ship had been handed down from generation to generation.
      Sara listened to some of her crew members talk about what they wanted to do when they first boarded the ship. Most wanted to see their quarters and some wanted to see the powerful engines. Sara wanted to see the library and learn of her people’s ways. She had won the naming contest for their village.
      Machu Picchu.

    • Jane Saylor says:

      As she made her way through the jungle Anna came upon a familiar river bank. The water rushed across the silvery rocks. It was well shaded there. After taking off her moccasins Anna made her way across. Miss Adelle followed. Once on the other side, the path broke off into several different directions. She tried to recollect which path to take. She knew she had been there before but it was so very long ago. Anna peered up at the canopy above, the blue sky peeking through.

      It’d been years since she’d wandered the jungle. The white people had taken her from the village when she was eighteen and brought her to the United States where she worked for an affluent family as a lady’s assistant. The lady she worked for was known as Miss Adelle.

      Years passed and although she thought about her family often, she knew she couldn’t leave. Miss Adelle’s husband was cruel, not only to Anna but to his wife as well. She knew she couldn’t leave Miss Adelle, the two of them came to be very protective of each other. They counted on each other. Both women would nurse each other’s wounds when the man of the house became physically enraged.

      Years passed and they spoke of running away. Both of them. Together. Anna told Miss Adelle that she would take her to her village. After one particularly brutal night when the man of the house nearly beat Miss Adelle to death, it was that night that Anna finally convinced her to leave.

      They boarded a flight, landed, drove as far as they could then made their way on foot. After hours of making their way through the deep jungle Anna finally came upon the valley she had once called home.

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but with Miss Adelle beside her, they walked down the ridge together.

    • charan says:

      Its a interesting post, good for story writers.. amazed and thrilled for your idea and implemented … thanks for the post

    • Francois Nolte says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but now she was left no choice. They have found the trail. Left undisturbed it would lead them to her and destroy her.

      The cold started seeping into her body as she removed her gloves to be able to properly grip the rifle. As she lay down in the snow behind the cold steel she started to slow down her breathing. The soft snow was cold below her body. She mentally checked her vantage spot. Concealed, high ground with multiple escape routes. The sun set twenty minutes ago and a cold, blue darkness was painting the landscape. It was a good spot, she though while loading a cartridge into the chamber.

      She struggled more than normal to displace the discomfort. Every time she move the cold further away in her mind it snuck back at her from the other side. She could feel her heart, slowing down, not as calm as normal. She has taken hundreds of shots like this: 607 meters, not a single sign of a breeze, slightly elevated position and cold air. She could have probably stayed higher up the hill without decreasing her chances of success but she wanted to make sure. She wanted to make it clean. The cold started seeping into her body. She had been lying still for almost two hours.

      She panned over the landscape, again hoping to find nobody home. A warm beckoning light lit up the kitchen of the small house. The woman was busy preparing dinner. She slowly exhaled and stilled herself. The warm glow of her old home kept on inviting her in as her mother’s head exploded in a red mist. A single tear rolled down her cheek as she found her gloves and stood up. Now she was safe.

    • She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but now she was back with the man who had altered her life, and opened her eyes to the fantastic.

      Anna had left three years ago, with the intention of finishing a degree in astrophysics. She’d excelled throughout the first two years of her course. That all changed the following summer, when she’d decided to take a trip into the vast forests near the campus.

      Her interest in the wilds had taken her miles from civilization, but she was beginning to miss the creature comforts of the campus. As she was looking for a camp sight, the light had begun fading, and there was no doubting the sounds of a large creature approaching her camp.

      Long minutes had passed, and she’d watched as a huge canine padded out of the underbrush, aware that she was no match if it decided she was a threat. However, there’d been something in the creature’s demeanor that suggested he was as curious as she was. She’d held her ground cautiously, not wanting to startle the wolf and risk scaring it.

      The wolf had stopped, and then with a series of noses like bones popping and muscle tissues realigning, the creature transformed in front of her. Her amazement had been nothing compared to the shock of recognition, as the man the wolf had become, approached her.

      She’d watched Jack from the back the lecture hall, studied his features in her dreams, but had never understood the fascination she had for him. And now here he was, naked, a sharing with her a secret that made her think she was dreaming. He’d taken his time to approach, and explained that he had seen her eyes watching across the room, his curiosity piqued. And then his scent had caught her nose, and she had realized there was no resisting him, and they had fallen into each other’s arms.

      That encounter had freed the beast inside her, the one that had remained buried within, waiting the catalyst of another. The presence of one of her own kind, in order to manifest. And now she watched the village below through the eyes of the wolf, before turning away from the life she’d known, and entered one full of wonders.

    • Jim Porter says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but knew as soon as she saw the first Panzer turn, one track grinding while the other was locked in place, she’d have to leave. Anna, clothed only in the school uniform from the L’Académie Tremont pour les jeunes femmes, just down the road, realized she could not stay. The western Allies, the Americans, had poured into Sainte-Mère-Église early the day before.

      Naturally, she had dismissed the news because she had, in these few short years, heard many promises that freedom was near, only to have it quashed when les Allemands, Le Bosch, turned up again, knocking on doors late at night, dragging honest, hard-working citizens from their houses. Often the French were slapped and threatened from their beds. Shots would ring out, and, the next morning, men would appear in the village asking for help to bury their late fellow villagers.

      But Anna was not going far. One night, a Gestapo detail had battered down the doors of the Proulx house–a bad mistake on the part of the Germans. For the Proulx family had fled months before, leaving the abandoned six room cottage empty. The Resistence had moved in immediately, stuffing weapons and radios into the basement. Resistance men were in the house when the Gestapo arrived. As many as a dozen Bosch, screaming like the vermin scum they are, died in the hail of rounds and grenade explosions laid down by the men of the Resistance.

      Anna, curious, made her secret way to the house the next day. And, des miracles, she found a German weapon, a machine gun of sorts that she didn’t know the name of. She picked it up, thrilled at the power of the hard steel gun jacketing, smiling as she rubbed her hands on the weapon.

      She would leave. She would not come back. And, mon dieu, she would make sure at least one German would never enter her village either.

      • I could imagine this as a movie, Jim!

      • Ken Casey says:

        Who knew the extent of imagination that anyone could put into just 350 words?! I like how you built such a world chock full of imagery for this exercise, Jim. Keep it coming.

      • Fred Kutz says:

        Wow Jim. The talent within this site humbles this novice. It’s also motivating.
        Your “entry” to a much grander story is gripping and generates an amazing picture as well as a very real mood. I can see this as an opening scene to a pilot for paid TV. Perhaps a trailer? 🙂

    • (A super religious story. But, hey. It’s Christmas.)

      Just For the Asking

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but here she stood. Something about this place called to her and she’d come back and God had blessed her with the immaculate conception of her young daughter, a good, sweet, holy girl and Anna thanked God for the miraculous gift of Mary. Another gift, a miracle of miracles, was about to be bestowed not just to Anna or Mary but to the entire world. A savior, the Savior, would be presented and kings would bow before Him and the poor would be clutched to His heart and none would be turned away and it was all so simple, salvation would be there just for the asking.
      Anna gazed over the landscape she recognized and it seemed that in that village, that small town, she saw the entire world and everyone in it and again she gave thanks to the God of Love. She watched her people walk and work and conduct their business unaware of the pending miracle and tears filled her eyes for love of them and their struggles to survive and thrive in a world so busy and passing by; she saw them past present and future and knew that now there was a future to hope for, a sweet, holy, happy future that no money or security or accomplishment or fame could buy.
      He would come and bring a future for them all, for the ones He loved and it would come tonight, that miracle of miracles: Love Itself, Love Himself. Yes, Love would come and stay…just for the asking.

      • Ken Casey says:

        I admire your message and positive direction for this Christmas Writing Prompt. Your use of long sentences (15-20 words plus) intrigues me. As they are easy to read and mentally digest, your story flow continues at a good pace for me, the reader.

        I had picked up an idea on Pinterest that suggests for self-improvement, one should start a 52-week program–of anything. In 2014, I chose ‘Science-Fiction Author Study’. This week, I chose you. Thanks for taking your writing talent and adding your output to this exercise on Write to Done. 🙂

    • William Owen says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but she never said never. As the bus traversed the steep and winding road to the valley, she reached for the letter that had arrived only three days before.

      “Your father is dying. You must come home.”

      And so, without a second thought, she went. She boarded a bus the same day, wondering all the while if she was making a grave mistake. Anna hated her father, but, he was her mother’s husband, and she loved her mother as much as she hated him.

      As the bus approached its destination, she stared out the window at the town where she had grown up.

      Rudolph Waterston’s wife sat at his bedside, her hand holding his as she listened to him wheeze and cough, each sound tugging at her heart. Anna should be arriving soon. She hoped he could hang on until she arrived. Then, he could go, and her secret, would be safe. It had been a terrible mistake. One she barely remembered, but always regretted.

      “Olivia,” his voice was weak, “Anna? Is she coming?”

      “Yes, she will be here soon.”

      “I need her here. I must see her.”

      Olivia’s skin tingled. Did he know? Would he tell her? Would he break her heart, and destroy the love and respect Anna had for her mother?

      A ray of light stole into the room as Anna, in stockinged feet, stood at the door. Her mother went to her, quietly sobbing. Anna turned and closed the door.

      Olivia returned to his bedside. She didn’t reach for his hand. His eyes opened. “Anna?” he whispered. “Can you hear me.”

      “Yes,” she said, as softly as she could manage.

      “You are my only daughter. I once thought differently, but many years ago, when you were small, I had it confirmed.” He paused, out of breath. “Do not hate her. It was long ago.”

      He stopped. He was gone.

      The door opened again. Anna stood, silent. Her secret was safe.

      • What a cliff-hanger, William. I wanted to know exactly what the secret was…

      • Ken Casey says:

        I like your interrogatives, Jim. Your phrase describing how light ‘stole’ is excellent imagery.

      • Barbara says:

        I would like to know the secret as well.

        • Thanks for the comments. I thought I had let slip what the secret was, but if I haven’t then good for me! LOL.

    • Ken Casey says:

      She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but the news that her surviving brother and sister were in mortal danger from being captured by rebel forces scared her into taking up her arduous trek across the Amazon rainforest. She had to warn them. Two villages along the vast tropical river were still smoking from recent attacks by those pillaging bastards.
      Anna still felt the searing phantom pain in the three fingers of her right hand that those murderous soldiers removed during her torture, just days before her eighteenth birthday.
      Anna was 19 now, her siblings, just two and three years younger.
      “Madre del Dios,” she spewed, as the death-grip on the machete she sported failed her after several frantic hours hacking at the endless undergrowth. Her canteen empty and still miles away from her family home, the powerful equatorial sun faded fast, leaving her in the sopping dusk.
      ‘I could build a small fire,’ she thought, ‘but I would alert the rebels to my camp.’ She knew she had to travel through the dark, navigating by sound and feel. ‘It will be slow. I must make town before dawn. That’s when the rebels I overheard will arrive at Villa Viejo. I must journey on.’
      Her hair reeked of river water, her clothes soaked with the acrid scent of fear, Anna pressed on, praying to God that she will make it to the village in time.
      ‘Tiempo. Tiempo. Must-go-on.’ Anna dragged her weary legs over slimy, moss-covered logs and around quicksand puddles. A new day was dawning. The summer sun rose, enrobed in red. ‘An omen. No, Dios. No.’ She summoned up her last strength; her almost broken body limped on.
      ‘Rat-tat-tat-tat.’ A sound echoed in the distance. Screams. More gunfire. Closer. Anna pushed through the last brush to the outskirts of her village. Her brother was strung up a tree, dangling like a bloody fruit of flesh. Her sister, nowhere to be seen. ‘Rat-tat.’ Pain. Blood. Her last vision, the red sky.

      • What a gripping story, Ken! I’d love to see this as a longer story in our Flash Fiction Contest.

        • Ken Casey says:

          Thanks, Mary. My brain, fingers, and keyboard are ready. It just took your prompt and encouragement get me writing. It’s flash fiction time. Ready, go!

          • Daniel Garza says:

             She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but that dreadful message she received about her brother going mad was just too much to stay away! She worried about him. Every day she thought of how he must have felt after she left. She regretted it deeply every day. She missed her brother. She loved him very much!
            “He killed them. Aaron has gone crazy. He killed them! You must hurry!”, read the telegram.

            She stood there and just smiled. Memories of her parents came to her. Then of her brother. Of all of them together. Her smile then slowly faded. What would be of her brother? She pondered the thought for a few moments until finally deciding to turn around and walk back the way she came from…

            Hey Ken. Seems its not letting me post it so I am putting it in a reply to you to see if it works.

      • niko says:

        This is so wonderfully written. You have some beautiful and powerful turns of phrase in this piece. Great work!

        • Ken Casey says:

          Thanks, niko, you’re very kind. I just read your Fiction Friday blog post, and enjoyed your Anna. I think your heroine needs to populate a few pages in a magazine, so that millions of readers could enjoy your cool plot twist. 🙂

        • Barbara says:

          I’ve checked already your website. The story you’ve wrote with Anna is just great!

      • Barbara says:

        It’s really good!
        I hope to see it as a whole. You’ve got me hooked already!


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