Fiction Fragment Fridays: What Will You Write? Ed. 5


The most recent “What Will You Write?” over at I Read Encyclopedias was put on hold shortly after being announced to allow for the fact that a lot of people are pretty busy during the month of July with things like Camp NaNo. However, July is almost over, so in anticipation of the challenge reopening I decided to share my entry a little early.

This prompt, offered up by former winner Tara Southwell is a little different than the previous ones. Instead of writing the beginning of a scene and having us finish it, Tara has offered up this concept:

Just write a story, 1000 words or less, which includes one character taking a small object out of their pocket and saying, “It’s time to shake things up a bit.” Any genre, any character, as long as they have pockets.

So with that strange and wonderful idea in mind, I present my entry for the 5th “What Will You Write?”


Jeremy yanked hard on the stiff collar of his brand new black and white suit. He glared at his mother out of the corner of his eye, and although she couldn’t possibly have seen him with her eyes fixed on the road in front of her, she immediately clicked her tongue in disapproval.

“Don’t you give me that look, young man,” she said in her frustratingly high-and-mighty tone. She removed one hand from the steering wheel to smooth her silk floral dress, and then glanced in the rearview mirror to make certain that her perfectly coiffed blond hair was still in place. The look she gave herself indicated that she saw perfection in the mirror. Jeremy saw only a cruel devil woman.

“You’ll be the model son tonight,” she commanded in what only she thought was an authoritative voice. “Or else.”

Jeremy glowered at her and yanked at his collar again. “It would have been easier on everyone if you’d just let me stay home,” he whined. “No one is going to give a damn if I’m there or not.”

“You watch your mouth,” mother hissed as she pulled the car into the hotel’s front parking lot. “This discussion is over. I’ve already told you, this is a very important business party and my boss insisted that families attend.” She chose a parking spot, turned off the ignition, and turned to give Jeremy the meanest glare she could muster. “So you will smile, and you will be polite, and you will prove yourself to be the most well-behaved child here, or so help me!” Here she whipped around with a huff and exited the vehicle, having apparently made what she thought was a point.

Jeremy moved as slowly as he could while still technically following. He frowned as they entered the huge old hotel with its twin lion statues on either side of the front doors. He frowned as the desk attendant greated them cheerfully and directed them to the confererence room where the party was being held. He frowned all the way down the long hall with the super-fancy, super-ugly old antique rug. He smiled as they entered the party, smiled as his mother proudly introduced him to her stuffy, grotesquely overweight boss, and then frowned all the way over to the table that had been set aside for the children in the far corner of the hideously-decorated room.

Jeremy was the fourth child to join the table, alongside a pretty dark-haired girl about his age, and two younger twin boys who were fighting over what appeared to be a parent’s cellphone. Jeremy sat next to the girl and together they stared grumpily out at the room full of adults in their fanciest clothes, talking and laughing quietly while sipping wine and listening to horribly boring music.

“I’m Jeremy,” he offered to the girl.

“Stephanie,” she answered back.

“You bored yet?”

“Dear God, yes.”

Stephanie turned to Jeremy with an expectant look and he couldn’t help but smile. He reached into his pocket – the bulging one that he had been careful to keep out of his mother’s line of site since she’d hustled him into the car. Inside was something coiled into a tight little ball.

“What is it?” Stephanie asked, excited, seeing the look on his face.

Jeremy grinned, and his gaze landed on his mother, chatting it up with her hideous boss. These were the two women whose fault it was that he was sitting here in this ridiculous party instead of playing street hockey with his friends. With a look of elation on his face, Jeremy pulled the object from his pocket and showed Stephanie the snake as it uncoiled and flicked out its tongue.

“It’s time to shake things up a bit.”

Fiction Fragment Fridays: What Will You Write? Edition #3

Today’s “fragment” is another entry for Jay Dee Archer’s ongoing “What Will You Write?” series of writing challenges. I have to admit that I almost skipped this one because I’ve been really busy lately and I didn’t think I could spare the time required to actually put thought into writing something (me brain tired), but in the end I was reluctant to miss the challenge. For one thing, I’ve already participated in the first two and I kinda want to keep going because I like accomplishing these kinds of challenges, and for another thing I realized that it would probably take me just as much time to hunt down something else to post for today. So, here we are.

As always, the beginning of the story (in bold) is Jay’s prompt, and what follows is my entry to the challenge. As a fun side note, since I won the first challenge, I’ve been invited to write the prompt for next week’s edition. Look forward to it!

The pride of lions stalked us.  Their hungry eyes focused on my little one, my only daughter.  She didn’t understand the danger.

I warned her, three infrasonic grunts.  “Come close to me,” I said.

She shook her head and stumbled.  The largest lioness crept closer to my daughter.  I couldn’t wait any longer.  I charged at the group and they scattered.  But there were too many of them, I realized.

I cried out to the herd – a single long, loud blat – but I couldn’t tell if they’d heard me because suddenly I was knocked to the ground as clouds of sand and dirt flew up into the air all around me. I heard my daughter cry out and I squealed for her to run, but it didn’t really matter. The pride had a new prey now, and my body would feed a lot more hungry lions than my daughter’s would.

A part of me wanted to just let them take me down, if it meant that my daughter would be safe, but survival instinct is a very powerful thing. I simply could not ignore it. I began to kick and thrash with all of my strength. I felt my hind leg connect with one of the lion’s jaw and heard it snap. With my trunk I managed to grip one of the smaller beasts around one leg and I used all my strength to throw it as hard and far as I could. I heard it cry out as it hit the ground and I couldn’t help but feel a morbid sense of accomplishment.

My small victory was short-lived. A pair of jaws found their way to my throat. The pain was immeasurable. I cried out again, and I thought I heard a reply but I couldn’t focus. I was weakening, covered in a blanket of teeth and claws. I was going to die, I realized, and I didn’t have the strength left to do anything about it. I could feel the darkness coming. There was a thrumming in my ears that was surely the rushing of blood from my body.

No…no, this sound was something else. It was getting louder.

The ground was vibrating against my skin, I realized. So that meant that the sound I was hearing was actually…

Trumpeting cries filled the air, barely audible above the sound of a hundred feet pounding the ground. One lion went flying from my body in a wide arc as a trunk caught it full on the side of it’s body. Two more roared angrily and ran off of their own accord. The world around me was noise, noise, noise. It was beautiful.

I felt as though I’d fallen asleep. The next thing I knew I was looking at my daughter’s face through moist eyes. She was nudging me with her trunk, making sad little squeaky noises. For a moment I thought that she was hurt and I almost panicked, but I then I realized that she was crying for me.

There were a few others from the herd standing around me. I could hardly make them out through the haze in my eyes. One of them trumpeted at me: “Can you get up?”

I felt suddenly very old, very tired, and very sad. But I couldn’t help looking into my daughter’s eyes then. I reached out with my trunk and wiped the moisture from her eyes.

“I’ll try.”


Fiction Fragment Fri- Uh, Saturday: What Will You Write? Edition #2

Last week for my “fiction fragment” I took part in the first edition of the What Will You Write? challenge, hosted by fellow blogger, Jay Dee Archer. My entry ended up winning the very first challenge, which I have to admit gave me the happiness. 🙂 It was a fun challenge with a fun premise, and there were lots of great entries. I had so much fun that I knew I was going to have to continue playing along. So here’s my entry for the second edition of What Will You Write?

A reminder: the bold text is Jay’s prompt, and what follows is my idea of how the scene continues.


Ferd opened his eyes, his head throbbing.  Scrambling up to his feet, he remembered the rock slide.  That was no accident, he thought.  Someone tried to kill us.  Us.  Where is Cassia?  He couldn’t see through the dust, but she had to be there.

“Cassia!” he shouted.

“Ferd?” The faint voice came from the direction of the cliff.  “Ferd! I can’t get up!”

Ferd edged his way to the precipice and looked down.  Through the dust, he saw Cassia.  She held onto a branch over the chasm.  He reached for her, but she was too far away.

“I can’t reach you,” he shouted miserably.

He could hear the tears in her reply. “I can’t hold on much longer!”

Ferd stood up and contemplated as quickly as he could. His eyes scanned the nearby landscape, but he couldn’t see anything that might be used to help him reach Cassia. Rocks, rocks…nothing but rocks. There was no other way…in order to save Cassia he was going to have to reveal his secret to her. His gaze landed on the ledge where they’d been walking and the mess of dirt and stone that had come barreling down it. Was that the intention of whoever had started the landslide? To force him to reveal his secret? He bit his lip. The consequences…

“Ferd!” Cassia cried. “Help!”

He heard her fingers slip from the branch, rather than saw it, and in that second his mind was made up for him. He turned, ran, and leaped over the side of the cliff. The wind beat up against his face as he began to fall, hands outstretched for Cassia’s. She stared back up at him with abject horror, a scream frozen on her face. And then Ferd began to change.

His bones cracked and his skin stretched. Normally his face would have contorted in pain, but he was too focused on the end game. Skin and shirt alike ripped open, sending a splay of blood and fibers out into the air above them. Now Cassia really did scream, although it could barely be heard against the air rushing past them. The thoughts that must have gone through her head at that moment…Ferd could only imagine.

And then Ferd’s fingers touched Cassia’s, and the whole world was filled with blackness. He pulled her close, hugging her to his body as their direction ricocheted and suddenly they were moving up, up into the sky.

For what seemed like a long time, Cassia didn’t move. She kept her face firmly pressed against Ferd’s chest. But eventually, with the soft beating of wings in her ears, she peeked up at Ferd and her eyes went wide. She took in the huge black-feathered wings with the look of a child first discovering that magic was real.

“You’re an angel,” she whispered.

And Ferd had never felt so relieved in all his life.



Fiction Fragment Fridays: What Will You Write? Edition #1

Recently, Jay Dee Archer over at I Read Encyclopedias decided to start a new writing challenge called “What Will You Write?” The idea is that Jay posts the beginning of a scene, and we (the participants) have to finish it. There’s a deadline, and once it is past Jay will judge all the entrants and decide who he thinks did the best job. There are a few other rules, and if you’re interested you should check out the first edition of the challenge here. By the time you read this the first challenge deadline will likely be up, but keep an eye out because I’m sure there will be many more coming. 🙂

Since the writing for the challenge is fictional in nature, I thought this would be a great opportunity for something new to post for Fiction Fragment Fridays. So this is the way it goes: the text in bold is the “prompt” written by Jay. What follows in regular text is my addition. Please feel free to let me know what you think! And if you’re interested in joining in on the next challenge, make sure to visit Jay’s blog and follow him so that you won’t miss it! 🙂


Conrad opened his eyes to a view of a massive blue globe.  He jerked back and twisted around in the microgravity.  He touched something solid in front of him.  A window.

He pushed against the window and turned around.  Conrad scanned the small room, no larger than a public bathroom stall, and empty except for an EV spacesuit and door.  He studied the view through the window.  Neptune, he thought.  How did I get here?

His head was ringing, and his body was covered only by his boxer shorts and a loose white t-shirt. He tried to think back, but the last thing he could recall was sitting in that little coffee shop on Mars. Had he even finished his coffee? The memory was hazy, as though it had happened a lifetime ago.


What happened to me?” he whispered to himself. He was surprised to find that his throat was hoarse and croaky…a sign of lack of use?


With few options available to him, Conrad reached for the spacesuit and manoeuvred himself into it. Even with the microgravity working with his body, he felt achy and weak. He didn’t want to think about it, but the evidence thus far caused him to believe that he must have been unconscious for quite some time. Or perhaps he had been drugged and the effects hadn’t worn off. Either way, he was concerned.


The door didn’t have a handle, but it slid open at his touch, moving as quietly as a baby’s breath. Conrad peeked out into a vast white hallway. It was silent as a grave, and empty save for the dozens of identical doors that lined both sides of it. The end of the hall nearest Conrad appeared to be a dead end. The opposite end was so far away that he couldn’t tell if there were any turns from here. All he could see were the doors. He thought there must have been a few hundred of them.


Tentatively, nervously, Conrad stepped out into the hallway. The door to his room slid shut behind him. He immediately began to shiver a bit. There was something truly frightening about this completely white hallway, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He almost reached for the door to his room, intending to return and hope that someone would come to him, but when he turned to it he noticed a tiny white placard on the wall next to the door. It was so small that he might never have seen it if it hadn’t been at exactly eye level. It blended into the wall, but the small black letters were what had caught his eye.


Conrad Skye

3 Counts of Premeditated Murder

Lifetime Sentence


Conrad felt his heart constrict. He reached out with a shaking hand to touch the words, praying to ever God that ever was that he was imagining what he saw. But no. He could feel the indentation of the words drilled into the placard.


You’re new,” a gentle voice spoke. Conrad nearly jumped out of his skin. He whirled around and found the source of the voice. A girl – no older than 15 – was standing in the open doorway of her own room across the hall. She had been pretty once, Conrad thought, with her long blond hair and bright blue eyes. But her hair was hanging limp, and her eyes had very dark circles around them that gave her the appearance of having not slept in a very long time. “You’re new,” she repeated.


Conrad opened his mouth, closed it, and opened it again, but he wasn’t sure what to say. He stared at the girl, confused, upset, angry, before his eyes found the little placard next to her door.


Eliza Ratchford

5 Counts of Kidnapping and Child Endangerment

30 Year Sentence


Conrad’s eyes returned to meet Eliza’s. His mouth felt dry. “I didn’t do it,” he found himself saying. His hand seemed to move of its own accord to point at the placard with his name on it. “I didn’t do it,” he said again. “I never killed anyone.” He licked his lips. He felt as though he was listening to his own voice from a far away place. Surely this had to be a dream. “I’ve never even been in a fist fight,” he added, as though that meant something.


Eliza smiled a little, but her eyes were sad. “We’re all innocent here,” she told him. “But that doesn’t seem to mean much to the politicians whose crimes we’ve been chosen to pay for.”


Panic was setting in. All of a sudden a thousand images were flowing into Conrad’s mind. His wife and daughter, whom he’d left sleeping in bed when he decided to visit his favorite coffee shop. His sick father, who would be needing his medication soon. His mechanic job at the interplanetary travel agency, where his closest friends would be wondering where he’d gone. All the things he’d planned to do and not yet done. All the things he’d never known he wanted to do, but were suddenly filling his mind and body with desires.


I can’t be here,” he croaked. “This isn’t right. I have a family, a life. I haven’t done anything wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong!” By now he was screaming, and all up and down the long, white hallway, other heads were starting to peek through their respective doors. Some of them had begun to walk toward Conrad, and it was making him feel like a small, trapped animal. He tried to back away, but Eliza had moved in front of him and had her hands on either side of his face.


I’m sorry,” she whispered. “But unless you think you can jump to Neptune from here, the life you left behind is over. Welcome to the Intergalactic Government’s robotic, automated prison for completely innocent scapegoats.”