Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Two Short Stories In One Blog Post...

It's Worth the Wait!

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

(and please check out more stories under the 
"Stories, Short & Otherwise" Tab!)

I had so much fun participating in a writing exercise last week I thought I'd do it again today. I wrote one story and it was dark, as was the one I wrote last week. So I wrote another one that wasn't dark (I don't want to get labeled...).
The rules of the exercise remain the same, 500 word maximum, the above picture must play a part in the story, five words must be included in the story, there's a week to complete the exercise and then the story must be linked to Nicole Pyles's blog (HERE). This week's five word to include are: 


So if you've arrived at this site from Nicole's "World Of My Imagination" blog, don't forget to read both stories. That is, of course, if you really want to...

Story 1
A Morning Conversation

    A gentle knock signaled to Felicia Maxwell that Meg, her favorite nurse, was waiting just outside her door. “Felicia, honey. It’s time for your meds.”
    “Come in, dearie,” Felicia said excited to see her friend who entered the room smiling. Felicia was Meg's favorite resident at Oak Manners Nursing Home and even though she told every resident the same thing, with Felicia it was true.
    “Good morning, Felicia. You’re looking wonderful this morning!” Meg said to the elderly woman sitting proudly on the edge of the bed.
    “You’re so sweet,” Felicia said, a blush forming under her wrinkles. “Your husband’s a lucky man.”
    “Now, honey,” Meg said placing one hand on her hip. “I argue with a lot of people here, but I’ll never argue with you about that.” Both women laughed. 
    Meg bent to place the small tray she held on the nightstand next to Felicia’s bed and stopped. “I’m sorry,” Meg said. “Can I move this stuff for you?” 
    Felicia reached for the notebook, pen, and rosary that she absentmindedly left on the nightstand. Normally she cleaned off the space for the nurses before she went to sleep.
    “I apologize for that. I’m usually better at keeping things tidy.”
    “Are you kidding me?” Meg laughed. “This place? Why, only a chameleon could hide in here—it’s spotless!” Meg set the tray on the nightstand and began to prepare the morning meds for her friend.
    “What have you got here?” Meg asked.
    “Oh, it’s just a note I’m writing to my granddaughter. It’s her birthday next week.”
    “Jenny, or Becky?”
    “Becky. She’s turning 16,” Felicia said smiling. “And she’s in love.”
    “That’s sweet,” Meg said as she filled the Dixie cup with water from the small sink in Felicia’s room.
    “I suppose, except she wants to get married.”
    “Oh, no…she’s way too young.”
    “That’s what I’m writing to tell her. In my day we didn’t move in together like Becky wants to do. It was simpler then. If your beau gave you his letterman pin, well, that meant you were a couple and then the courtship would start. I think she should wait don’t you?”
    “Definitely,” Meg said, even though she eloped when she was seventeen. Thank Heavens it worked out for her and her husband, she thought as she handed Felicia a combination of drugs and the small cup of water.
    “Now, even though I’d love to stay and talk to you all morning, I’ve got more people to visit.”
    “Meg, sweetie, could you be a dear and check the thermometer.
It feels a little cool this morning.”
    “Of course, Felicia.” Meg gathered the cup and tray from the nightstand. “You’re right, it is a little cold in here. You should be fine now," Meg said as she adjusted the dial on the wall. She then turned and said goodbye. The nurse closed the door behind her leaving Felicia alone in her room.

485 Words

Story 2 (the dark one...)
Late For Work

    Detective Lisa O’Rourke entered the musty room; the smells of humanity hit her tired brain. These places always smell the same, she thought. Her partner, Joe Barnes, was already there with a couple of Jakes who were just finishing up securing the crime scene.
    “Glad you could make it, O’Rourke,” Barnes said, small flecks of the doughnut he was eating flew from his mouth. “What? It your birthday today?” O’Rourke ignored the piggish man—no wonder he had three ex-wives and was working overtime to create the fourth.
    “Zip it,” O’Rourke said to Barnes. She had spent another nightmarish night dealing with her teenage daughter and was in no mood for Barnes’s crap. No minding her manners this morning. “What we got?”
    “The usual,” Barnes said as he crammed the last bit of his doughnut into his face. “Crack mom O.D.’d in the bathroom, an entire chem. lab in the kitchen, no one else around.” The single mother of two glanced into the bathroom of the tiny apartment and saw the corpse lying facedown on the bathroom floor. She’d deal with that horror soon enough.
    “Don’t touch that window,” O’Rourke said to Barnes as he walked over to the room’s only window to close it and stop the freezing air from rushing in. “Not until the photographer gets here. I don’t care what the thermometer says.”
    “We got this,” Barnes said leaving the window and walking to the room’s only furniture, a small card table and two folding metal chairs. “Looks like mommy did a little writing.”
    O’Rourke peered at lonely table where a notebook rested open on the cracked surface. A pin of jewelry and a silver pen lay atop what appeared to be someone’s personal note. “It’s worth the wait,” O’Rourke said to the frigid air, her breath visible.
    “Yeah,” Barnes chuckled. “I wonder what she meant by that?”
    “This probably wasn’t her writing,” O’Rourke said confidently. “Most crack heads can’t write this well—can’t even hold a pen steady.”
    “Maybe she’s some kind of…” Barnes said, snapping his fingers. “Oh, what’s that animal?”
    “You know? That animal that can change colors…”
    “A chameleon?”
    “Yeah!” Barnes exhaled.
    “What are you talking about?”
    “I meant, maybe she’s like a chameleon and can still write.” O’Rourke gave Barnes a look conveying her confusion, a look he’d seen before.
    “Like she could be strung out, but yet still write this,” Barnes said pointing to the note. “Like she was two people…that’s what I meant.” After a moment Barnes said, “So, who do you think wrote it? Her daughter?”
    “Probably. Where is she, anyway?”
    “She’s at Human Services,” Barnes said looking at the notebook.
    “We’ll need to talk to her after we’re done here,”
O’Rourke lamented…the only thing worse than looking into the face of the dead was looking at the eyes of those still living.
    O’Rourke walked to the bathroom as the two uniformed officers were leaving. Their job was done; O’Rourke’s was just beginning.

495 Words


  1. Wow!! What an awesome contrast!! I knew someone could turn that photo dark and disturbing! Good one!! :)

    1. Dark and disturbing seems to be pretty easy for me (which is a little dark and disturbing on its own...). I'm amazed at all the different takes people come up with. Thanks for the comments! Can't wait for next week...

  2. Very different. I preferred the first one. The second felt a little disjointed, like the words were forced. The first had much better flow. Both were VERY interesting stories! I am interested in both these women (Lisa and Felicia)

    1. I agree with you on the forced bit. That darn "Chameleon" word (Curse you!, he said with a raised fist...). The first story was easier to write and the granddaughter's story conjuring the memories (and the excuse to use "letterman pin") did help it flow. Thanks for the kind words!

  3. I really liked these.

    The first;
    It felt very real, and you wrote the scene well. I can vividly picture her room, and the two women talking. It feels very sweet and warm, which is how, I suppose, everyone would want their elderly days spent. So well done on this!

    The second;
    There is something, like mentioned in previous comments, about the flow of this. But I do think it's good! I think, perhaps, if you'd spent an hour or so pining and sweating over each and every word, you would've come up with an alternative way of wording and the flow would've been there. I know I have to do that, often, and then the voice of the story changes completely. I do like your descriptions, and I like the fact that you wrote about the cold temperature. It's a great way of adding 'horror' into a story.

    Well done on both, keep up the great work!

    1. Chessny--thanks for commenting, and for the helpful words, and for the follow! You made me realize something...I placed almost all the required words in dialogue. Next time I'm going to try and write story without any dialogue. It think that's going to be tough.

      I do agree with you about taking more time and coming up with an alternative way to make the story flow better. That's good advice. Thanks again! Take care.

  4. I really liked the first, could actually picture in my mind that conversation between Felicia and Meg. Story was simple, flow was smooth, emotion was warm.

    Not so sure about the second though you managed to surprise me with how a relatively innocent-looking picture could mean so much more. Good twist!

    1. Thanks Anne! You seem to be in the majority with your thoughts on the two. Story one appears to be the consensus winner. It's been a lot of fun using the photos and words as "helps." Thanks again for the comments!

  5. Haha, I have a bit of a different take. The first one did flow better, but it didn't capture my attention like the second one. Of course, that could be because I'm currently reading a story about the daughter of a drug addict.

    Can't wait to see you experiment with less dialogue. :)

  6. Can I vote for my favorite of the two? Both great, but I love the second one. Late for Work. It is a real talent to be able to write distinct characters like that. I love it and love your different views of the photos; from different ends of the spectrum.
    Nice job.

    1. Sydney--thanks so much for the comments! And just between you and me, the second story was more fun to write... It was easier to write, anyway ;)

  7. I really liked both of these stories but preferred the second. It was much more gritty and I really got a sense for the characters, even in such a short word count.
    The first story was a nice little tale but I prefer the darker stuff.

    New follower here looking forward to more stuff.

    1. Heather--thanks for the comments and thanks for the follow! Good luck on your June novel! I should have done it, too. But, then again, there's always November!

  8. Wow, what a contrast!I think the first one might end up being a sweet and uplifting story. The second one is great as well and one I would enjoy reading.

    1. Thanks Jane! It would be fun to someday to expand these and write a novella or something longer. Who knows...maybe one day. Thanks again!