One Last Hurrah – Friday Fictioneers – 04/18/14

Welcome  to Friday Fictioneers, where writers from across the globe construct stories of 100 words (more or less). Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for her devotion to this group, and to this week’s photo contributor, Doug MacIlroy. Thank you, Doug.

I miss one week of Friday Fictioneers and I feel rusty. I drove more than a thousand miles and most of it in a two-day period. Why is it that we don’t have wings? Certainly, we need them now.

Please be kind. I’m just glad to be back.

Click HERE for more offerings from the Fictioneers. Why not give it a try yourself? Everyone is welcome to participate.

Genre: Mystery (106 words)

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Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

One Last Hurrah

Ever since the sleep study, Lenny wore the diver mask.

“It’s your husband’s old mask,” Ellen said to Margie over the phone, her voice shaking. “I don’t know how he got it.”

Margie sobbed over the static. All but the mask had disappeared. His body vanished at sea.

Ellen trembled as her son Lenny blasted the music and played air guitar.

“He won’t take it off.” Ellen called out to Lenny, “Turn that down.”

But Lenny pounded his head into the wall until he collapsed.

Ellen shivered, taking off the mask. Lenny’s eyes appeared like dark buttons on a shriveled doll head.

‘”Margie,” he said, and rolled over choking.

 

The Man in the Fedora Hat

Note to Reader: This is a continuing story. The story begins here if you would like to start from the beginning. I included the last bit from the previous installment to jog your memory. Don’t worry, I’ll be moving on soon from beauty products. I promise!

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She knelt at the creams as if in prayer, whispering the ingredients, “Bionic serum, butylene glycol, plant stem cells, madonna lily, alpha-arbutin.”

This is how the handsome man in the fedora found her.

*************************

“Oh, what do you use? The Alpha Hydroxy Acids? Good, that’s good,” he said, his eyes beamed. Tessa had never seen this man before, but he seemed familiar.

Tessa stood and shook his outstretched hand, his eyes the consistency of warm almond butter and never absent from her deadlocked gaze.

“I used to work for Chanel,” he said, with Tessa supplying the typical nod of admiration and awe. “Now my partner, you know he works for Disney. He has multiple patents supporting the poly. Two is better than one, yes? Remember science class? Let me show you something.”

He did say he worked for Chanel. Did he work here now, she wondered,  studying his requisite all black attire, the fedora hat a stylish touch. If did work here, there had been no announcement or recognition that Sultrix had an in-house expert. She teetered behind him as he led her by her wrist.

“Look now at this,” he said, pointing to an expensive line of skin care products called Radi-Essence, displayed in glowing blue bottles.

The man in the fedora hat flashed a smile, radiating warmth and a set of pearly white teeth, set in a jawline quite possibly chiseled from Michelangelo himself. He could have been a poster boy for the blue-bottled products, or anything for that matter. His olive complexion and mysterious accent hinted at the exotic.

He rubbed a cool white cream on Tessa’s hand, a seamless transition as she had never let go of his grasp.

“These products are made from all natural ingredients. Green tea, grape seed, aloe, cucumber, ginseng.” Each of her fingers received a generous massage with each reference to plant, food, or herb.

Tessa hoped she wasn’t drooling. A heavy tug-of-war played in her head, pounding back and forth between her temples. The price for last night’s drinking was rearing its ugly head. She tried to concentrate on the soothing scent and its known properties to erase and purify, two things Tessa wished for at that moment.

The man in the fedora couldn’t have noticed, as she closed her eyes and appeared tranquil, smiling, the massaging working wonders, escorting Tessa to a sunny, white sandy beach.

“Now this,” he picked up a smaller bottle filled with a clear liquid. Tessa fluttered her eyes open. “This is a bionic serum with a targeted pigment control system. It has a triple boost of collagen. It’s going to help you with any redness in your face. Here.” He rubbed the jellied serum on the top of her hand, one of the few remaining untreated spots. The redness left her hand, replaced by a yellow hue.

“Would you look at that?” he said. “Smell this. Mmm.”

“Wow,” Tessa said.

“It’s like nectar from the gods,” he put the container up to his nose. She smelled a tangy sweetness, followed by an urge to hurl.

“Wow,” Tessa said. His manicured hands smooth like silk touched hers. Tessa then realized it was the only word she had spoken to him the entire hand-holding session. It seemed natural for him to touch her, and she didn’t want him to let go.

“You could start with this kit,” he told her. “You would have your daily moisturizer with sunscreen, and the restorative cream for night, and then there’s this.” He had one last trick to perform. Tessa held up her other hand. Instead her dotted her cheek with a small amount of cool gel. “This is the bionic serum,” he lightly patted her cheek and now dabbed an infinitesimal amount on her nose and the other side of her face. “Antioxidants to repair any existing damage. You look radiant.” He put the kit in her hands with a smile.

She looked down to study its contents, and the man in the fedora vanished, almost as if had never been there at all. She closed her eyes in exhaustion, remembering she had yet to work. Maybe with enough points and her employee discount, she could afford the box of magic potions. She didn’t want to let down the man from Chanel. Radiant, she thought.

photo credit: harry harris via photopin cc

Drama Queen – Friday Fictioneers – 04/04/14

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers. A huge thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for leading this pack, and to Kent Bonham for the photo. I love this prompt.

Having been in a few theater productions myself, I think the real drama happens backstage.

I went over a few words, but since some of my words are directional, I hope you’ll allow me a little latitude. (Fixed with Rich’s help. Thanks, Rich!)

Click here for more stories from the Fictioneers.

Genre: Humor (100 words)

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Copyright – Kent Bonham

Drama Queen

Offstage:

“It’s the director’s wife’s sister’s husband,” the stagehand said, whispering into the mic of his headset.

“No, it’s the brother of the director’s wife,” a voice answered.

“No.”

“Yes.”

Onstage:

The leading lady begins.

“Love is…

She throws her shawl on the floor

“…a slow caress…”

Offstage:

“She’s off script again,” said the stagehand.

Onstage:

Thud. Her shoes drop to the floor.

“Her lips on mine…,” she fixates on a woman in the front row.

She slides her dress past her waist, exposing her nipples to the air.

Offstage:

“It’s the director’s wife.”

“Fade to black.”

“Not a chance.”

 

 

 

 

Tessa Takes a Walk in Her Party Boots

Note to Reader: This is part of a longer story. How much longer, I really can’t say. I hope you find it entertaining. As always, thanks for reading.

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It was much too early for Tessa Tillsdale to summon the strength to provide compelling proof that she deserved access to the full functioning of her brain. Every time she composed a thought, her head pounded, blocking entrance. Not so fast. Give me proof of who you are. It teased her.

Her Doc Martens would have served her better than her stiletto party boots. Tessa sunk into watery patches of what she deemed solid through the marshy wetlands. She imagined the “No Trespassing” sign at the end of her journey, forbidding passage across what must be preserved open space. But certainly if there was a path, it was acceptable to walk on through. For the time being, it was the only place to be. She saw her town across the field, if only a mile away. Still the marshy field felt like endless, unchartered territory, the likes of which she had never seen before.

When Tessa felt she was in the wrong place, she shrugged it off. It was something she was accustomed to anyhow. Her hometown of Colinwood never felt like home. Its name suggested a town surrounded by an idyllic forest. Newcomers were often disappointed with its miles of strip malls and overpriced boutique shops. This wetlands preserve, if that’s what it was, could be added to the list of the town’s natural attractions, along with some parks and a polluted pond. The longer Tessa walked through it, the less she thought it could be preserving anything worth a sign.

Her heels choked up glop and slime, soaking her leather pants. She would skip work entirely, except her boss knew of last night’s plans. How could she not after Joelle announced it to the whole store, as if were some prize. Joelle, her roomie and co-worker, not to mention her best friend, bubbled with enthusiasm, “We’re going to The Crush.”

She could have just as easily called it The Velvet. But heavens, would never be caught calling it by its actual name, Velvet Crush. You didn’t belong then. Tessa swore the place off, but somehow returned again and again, usually at Joelle’s pleading.

Last night’s events at their beloved Velvet Crush floated through her mind like pieces of rusty junk metal with nothing willing or able to connect. Joelle was there and then she wasn’t. They had been together at the bar, drinking and dancing in a sea of sweaty bodies with their ears ringing. Tessa felt sucked in and swallowed, and then she found herself in a warehouse, empty, dark, snuggling in a blanket and then lights out. All of it. There had been a guy. Good-looking she remembered, but his features were fuzzy. Then she was alone. And now this walk.

It would have been impossible to make it back to her apartment to change and ready herself for work. This much she knew. She padding her jacket for her cell phone again. It was still missing, and she had no idea what time it was. The position of the sun in the sky indicated she might make in time for her 10:00 a.m. start time. She could hardly react. All that mattered was making it through the marshy field. For whatever reason, she convinced herself that her arrival at work would fix everything. It was within reach, the building glistening like a beacon in the sun.

When she opened the doors of Sultrix, the glare of the white walls blinded her in waves and she stumbled, grabbing onto a glass shelf to steady herself. She slipped through the back and hurried to her locker that she shared with Joelle. Sultrix, the only retail outlet that provided lockers to their workers. That really should have been the only red flag that Tessa needed. Still she needed this job, and she needed a change of clothes.

A quick turn of the combo lock and Tessa spied what she was after: a fresh, black shirt. Tessa held the fabric up to her nose and sighed relief. It was one of Joelle’s favorite. She climbed through the sleeves. It hung on her like she was playing dress up with her mom’s clothes. No matter. It was clean and possibly a better wardrobe selection than she had in her closet in their apartment. She splashed water on her face and made her way to floor. Her head of hair, a bird’s nest with at least a year’s worth of spray, would hold up for another eight hours. She would apply a few test samples of product to her face and be good to go.

The usual preparation for work would take considerable more time, and Tessa gave credit where credit was due. It was Joelle who kept Tessa in line, looking sleek enough, lathered and primped with the proper products. Tessa admitted “beauty” was never her strong suit. After applying all the products for her specific skin type and color, Tessa felt she paled in comparison to her co-workers, suited in their chic, black attire. Any combination of black was acceptable, so long as your makeup was the star; it must shine through and say to the customer, “You, too, can have eyes like me.” It meant a discount on all beauty supplies at Sultrix and a quest for eternal youth.

Sultrix had any beauty fix you needed; undo, redo, de-age, unblemish, brighten, tone, firm, prime, plump, volumunize. Poof, Sultrix had your number and she kept score. Points on all your products. She knew you better than you knew yourself. It’s not something Tessa knew before she worked there and now that she had settled in over the last five weeks here, it creeped her out.

Passing by the mirror, Tessa stopped and focused, as she usually did, on the circles around her eyes, appearing deeper and darker than they did yesterday. At 23 years old, her youthful glow diminished by the day, or so it seemed. She scanned the scores of eye creams on the shelves, all promising age defying odds of perfect skin, and packed with minerals from alien planets, stuff she had never heard of. Dead sea salt, that can’t be good. She knelt at the creams as if in prayer, whispering the ingredients, “Bionic serum, butylene glycol, plant stem cells, madonna lily, alpha-arbutin.”

This is how the handsome man in the fedora hat found her.

photo credit: …love Maegan via photopin cc

The Forest of Tempered Secrets – Friday Fictioneers – 03/28/14

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers. Our challenge is to write a 100-word story (more or less) with a beginning, middle, and end based on a photo prompt.

With the prompt up early this week, I am able to get my story together before my usual time. I typically do not have repeat characters in my Friday Fictioneer stories, but I made an exception this week. Freya and Eli just begged to come back. You can also read about them in this story.

Thanks as always to our gracious leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, and to John Nixon for this week’s photo.

For more fantastic stories from the Fictioneers, click here.

Genre: Fantasy/YA (100 words)

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Copyright – John Nixon

 The Forest of Tempered Secrets

Eli braced his arm across Freya’s stomach, much the way their father did when danger surfaced. Freya halted before a contorted lot of trees covered with moss, their branches a maze of wooden tendrils strangling each other. Dead branches in pain.

“Don’t move. It’s the Forest of Tempered Secrets,” Eli said. “You must give them up. Otherwise….” He pointed.

Freya’s expression matched the grotesque grimace of a stranger’s last scream branded into the bark.

“What choice do we have?” Eli said.

A touch of her hand and they melded into the forest, blowing through undetected, like leaves in the wind.

 

I Met the Banner of My Dreams – Thank you, Adam!

I just met my the banner of my dreams thanks to Adam Sendek, Designer Extraordinaire. See the masterpiece above! I just want to give a shout-out to Adam over at The Chowderhead for his artistic talent and vision. I want to personally thank him for sticking with me and creating something far and beyond what I imagined.

We first talked about a new banner back in September of last year. So you see it’s been quite a process. Adam has been extremely patient with me. I wasn’t sure what I wanted and we tried a couple of different ideas. Finally, Adam requested that I better define the purpose of my blog, and not just for him, but for myself as well.

So, if you’re considering a blog makeover or just want a little lift, I highly recommend Adam’s services, even if you’re unsure of what you want. Adam will help you get there. Our process was somewhat collaborative in that I found 49 images which I thought were interesting. Yeah, I know. I went a little crazy. No worries, either, Adam is a professional and respects copyright laws. I also want to add he’s quite efficient with a quick turnaround time.

When Adam asks, “Are you giving me creative control of it?” You simply answer, “Yes.” He will not only give you what you want, he’ll take it up to a completely new level and a few more notches. His masterful creation totally blew me away and far exceeded my expectations.

I now want to live inside my banner! It will be my go-to place when I need to meditate and just be. You are also welcome to be inside my banner anytime you wish!

Contact Adam for your custom banner or other creative design needs. Here’s a link to his Banner Design Services. Chowderhead

 Thank you so much, Adam! \m/

 

A Vampire’s Lair – Friday Fictioneers – 03/21/14

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers. It’s my first time writing about a vampire. I couldn’t resist. My other option was a saucy meetup, which I was not in the mood to write. I know my fellow Fictioneers won’t let me down. I hope to read about many meetups this week.

My thanks and gratitude, as always, to Rochelle Wishoff-Fields who hosts this group and provided this week’s most excellent prompt.

For more amazing stories from the Fictioneers, click here.

Genre: Urban Fantasy (100 words)

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Copyright – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

A Vampire’s Lair

Henri and the elevator had a partnership, as far as it concerned the residents of 113 East 66th Street, with four dwellings on its three bottom floors, and one penthouse belonging to a Mr. Everitt.

The occupants only knew of Everitt because of his misdelivered items in their mailboxes. Henri hand-delivered Everitt’s packages, as well as guests to his penthouse. Residents laughed that a bloodsucking vampire lived among them. New faces came and went, but rode down on the elevator, and not up.

To the basement they went to wait with the rats. If residents heard screaming, they turned their music up.

Striking a Pose in the Twitterverse

You heard that right. I’ve struck a pose in the Twitterverse. Twitterville. Twiiterland. Land of Tweets. Oh, I guess we could just say Twitter. Yep, I finally took the plunge.

How I currently see Twitter.

How I currently see Twitter.

I owe my thanks to Jon of Jumping from Cliffs and his lovely post, How to Win at Twitter in 7 Easy Steps. Only 7 steps? AND I can win? Yes! I couldn’t pass this up. Jon has all sorts of good advice. You really should follow his blog if you don’t already.

Now, I am properly feathered. Now I know, for example, that I should NOT be spammy. That’s perfect. Hate that stuff. And to tweet, retweet and such.

Also, the importance of the bio cannot be overstated. I thought up the following bios for myself:

I suck at this. Won’t you please help me?

That might give the wrong impression. No? Well how about this, because less is more on Twitter:

She’s lost. Help her? 

Seriously, I did come up with something else, which I’ll probably change tomorrow, regardless of the notion, according to some in the know, that no one cares. Okay, that would be my husband who said this. I suppose after thousands of followers, maybe.

Still working on the “sprucing up” part. You’re my friends, so I know you won’t hold this against me, right? I included the blue flamingo in my banner because “Blue Flamingo” used to be my nickname when I danced in this dance theater group. This is how is came about:

Dancer: Amy, you will be a flamingo.

Me: Okay, but I don’t want to be pink.

Dancer: Then you will be blue.

There you have it! It worked for me, because I like blue. I was the Blue Flamingo for a bit. There was also a Giraffe.

I’ll admit that I’m slow to adopt the social media since I’ve never considered myself to be a Me Me person. I’m not saying you are. It’s just that whenever I think about social media, generally, it’s all about Me and Look at me. I said, LOOK at me. LOOK at ME, ME. Meeeee. Are you still looking at me, because I don’t feel that you are? How can I say this any other way. LOOK AT ME!! LOOK LOOK!! I’m not trying to exaggerate.

And now with DeepFace, oh help us all. A missing airplane and now this.

Actually, Twitter looks to be a fun, informative place, and as the ever so gracious Guapo revealed, “a wicked (fun) timesuck! And then I responded, and he favorited my tweet. I got very excited about that!

Oh, and Tipsy Lit favorited my comment, even welcomed me. They are a class act.

And on Day two, thanks to Carrie for the warm welcome.

Now I can follow Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. I always wanted to do that.

And you. I want to follow you! I have followed some of my friends here in a very random, haphazard manner. So, if you reach out to me, I promise I’ll be following you back.

I’m @amyreesewrites
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Meet you at the pond!

My inquiring mind wants to know: Do you have any Twitter tips for me? Do you have recommendations on who to follow? Any celebrities you enjoy?  Is Twitter a big timesuck? What isn’t a big timesuck these days? I need answers. 

photo credit: sinkdd via photopin cc

K.Z Morano’s 100 NIGHTMARES- COVER REVEAL!

Each week, I delight and marvel at K.Z’s Morano’s chilling contributions to Friday Fictioneers. Her fiction often leaves me spooked and looking over my shoulder.

It’s my pleasure to present K.Z. Morano’s Cover Reveal of 100 NIGHTMARES.

Copy of 100 nightmares ebook cover

100 NIGHTMARES – COVER REVEAL!
COMING THIS APRIL! — official date TBA

100 NIGHTMARES by K.Z. Morano is a collection of horror stories written in exactly 100 words and accompanied by a few illustrations.

It takes a brief encounter with death to cause enduring nightmares.
A single well-placed blow could maim you for life…
One well-placed word could haunt you forever.

Micro-fiction is a blade—sharp, swift…
Sometimes it goes for the jugular, killing you in seconds.
Its silver tongue touches your throat and warm blood hisses before you can scream.

Sometimes, the knife makes micro-cuts in the sensitive sheath of your sanity, creating wounds that will fester throughout eternity.

Take my 100 words daily like a slow-acting poison or read them all and die of overdose.
Your call.
It’s your suicide after all.

The Author
K.Z. Morano
is an eclectic eccentric… a writer, a beach bum and a chocolate addict who writes anything from romance and erotica to horror, fantasy, sci-fi and bizarro fiction. Over the past few months, her stories have appeared in various anthologies, magazines and online venues. Visit her at http://theeclecticeccentricshopaholic.wordpress.com/ where she posts short fiction and photographs weekly.

For more updates on the story collection like K.Z.’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/100Nightmares.

 

Safe Passage – Friday Fictioneers – 03/14/14

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers. For once, I’m ahead of schedule, or maybe on schedule. This week’s story has been inspired by my son, who insists I write fantasy. I’m not sure this qualifies, but in his honor, I made an attempt.

This is also my opportunity to plug his blog. Yes, my son has started a blog. I want to thank all of you who have visited him already. I appreciate it! Thank you so much. His blog is called Fantastic Fantasy Inc. Please check it out when you have a minute. He’s posted a few stories.

Thank you to Rochelle for her dedication to this incredible group, and to Adam Ickes for the photo. It’s beautiful.

For more stories from the Fictioneers click here.

Genre: Fantasy – YA (100 words)

Copyright – Adam Ickes

Safe Passage

Steam lifted from the swamp beneath them, bubbling in reaction to their presence on the bridge.

Eli consulted his map. “If we stay on this path, we will have safe passage to Valcor.”

His little sister Freya choked, “All I see is grey and ash. Now burning fire.” She shrieked with her eyes closed.

“No, Freya. It’s a blanket of flowers, fresh, blooming. Can’t you smell them?” he held her shoulders firmly. “Concentrate, Freya.”

A strong Visionary had power to manipulate the elements. Eli gasped at a colorful meadow before them.

She smiled, but in her eyes Eli saw fear.