It might be just a note, but I wonder why it was so important to her. Maybe this could be the beginnings of a future romance. Hmmm….
She swallowed hard before washing down the fried egg she was eating. “You have the note with you? I wrote a list on the back of it. I need it back. I have to go to the store to pick up more dog bones.” Kendra checked her black T-shirt, hoping she didn’t drop any of her breakfast on her shirt or blue jeans. Her brown hair hung just above her eyes. She’d need another hair cut in about a week when it would start poking her in the eyes once again.
“I threw it out,” Randy explained. “I didn’t think it was important. Why would you write your shopping list on the back? People use post-it notes for that.” He’d driven all the way from Plattsburgh to listen to her complaint about a stupid note. Maybe he should get on with it and break up with her. Their relationship wasn’t ever going to go anywhere anyway. Who was he kidding? All she cared about was her dogs. They always seemed to come first in her life.
“You threw it out?” Kendra dove for the trash bucket. She needed that note, not just the list. That note had the password to her account. That’s the last thing she needed a trash picker to get their hands on. What the hell was he thinking? Throw the thing away – gad.
Before Randy could stop her, she had the entire contents on the floor. Nowhere was there a note to be found. “Kendra, listen to me. You’re nuts. Look at you. The note isn’t there.”
“You said you threw it away.”
“I did. But it’s gone.”
“It can’t be. I just saw it this morning.”
“Oh, that note. It’s here.” He held up a little brown paper bag, out of her reach. “Tell me you love me.”
“Randy, give that to me now!”
“Nope, not until you tell me you love me.” He continued to dangle the bag above her head, out of arms reach.
“Randy! I got to have that note!”
“Fine!” He tossed the bag across the room, away from her. “That’s it, we’re done. Don’t bother calling me.” Randy pocketed his car keys from the table, snatched up his jacket from the back of the chair, and let the screen door slam behind him.
Kendra sat on the floor holding the note she pulled from the bag. The slam of the screen door, bringing her to her senses. It was too late. Randy had already driven away.
Jason’s hands shook while he tried to hold the screwdriver steady against the screw. He only had a few more hours to go before the sun would be up. It had been years since he last put a bike together. The darkness made it hard to see as he assembled it by the light of a flashlight.
He had to be quiet or they would hear him. That was the last thing he wanted. If they heard him, it could be the death of him. If only he had a better place to build this thing, like a garage, shed or some type of shelter. Instead he was outside, in the open, hidden only by trees and brush. They’d come too if they saw the light.
This bike was a lucky find for him. He’d been on foot for nearly a week when his car had run out of gas. That was when he and Carrie found themselves going different ways. She was now his dearly departed, yet she still followed him from a distance that he hoped to widen by miles.
All had been going well up until they came across what had been a roadblock on the highway. Unfortunately for the officers, their tactic didn’t work in their favor. The dead had gotten them, eaten them or, just bitten them. So much for keeping the virus contained. Was there no safe haven left? Carrie had told him there had to be somewhere they could go, somewhere safe. But what if she were wrong?
He promised her he would keep looking. She opened the car door, saying how she needed to go pee. Figuring if she remained close to the car, nothing would happen to her. But she never saw the Biter two car lengths away. It grabbed onto her arm and pulled her from the car as she began to climb back inside, sinking its teeth into her arm.
There was nothing Jason could do for her. Of course, he was scared. He was scared of the Biter and now he was afraid of her. He couldn’t keep her in the car with him now that she was bitten. She would be one of them in a few hours. He couldn’t risk it. The Biter ripped her from the car and he stomped on the gas, leaving her behind. He could still hear her screams for help. That was two weeks and states ago. Since then he had to give up the car that ran out of gas and made it on foot.
He rarely slept. When he did, he tended to sleep in a tree, out of their reach.
This was the last screw he needed to tighten. A branch cracked close by. Jason stopped what he was doing, holding his breath, he waited and listened. A rasping sound would come from the Biters. He wasn’t sure if it were breathing or throat gurgles he had heard. But one could hear them coming, most times.
There was that crack of the branch again. Jason didn’t want to take any more chances. He pocketed the screwdriver and grabbed onto an overhead branch, pulling himself up. He didn’t stop there either. He kept climbing until he had some distance between himself and the ground. Here he would stay until daylight. Then he’d be able to see clearly in the distance and know if the Biters were close by.
One more crack, then the sound of a Biter coming close to the base of his tree. Maybe the Biter could smell him, but that was unlikely. Biters were walking rotting flesh. Nothing smelled as bad as them, except for the bear it stumbled across. Jason peered down from his branch and watched the showdown between the bear and the Biter. He wasn’t sure at first, but the bear did win, tearing the Biter to pieces with its claws, never once affected by Biter. Apparently a bear hide was pretty thick and effective armor.
I hope you enjoyed my little story. Writing about zombies is out of my comfort zone. They say that people need to get out of their norm from time to time to widen their horizons. If you can’t tell, I’m a Walking Dead Fan. I also fell in love with Fear the Walking Dead that aired last Sunday night. I love the shows because it’s not all about the zombies. It’s about survival and relationships and the writers have created well rounded characters.
If you did enjoy this story and you’re looking for more to sample before trying one of my many novellas, you can find Time Pieces: A Short Story Collection free on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Apple. Look under my above tab for books if you need the link to your favorite store.
I haven’t been working much on my work in progress. I’ve been messing with my blog again. And as you can see, playing with a bit of flash fiction. I did hit my word count today of 500 words +, so I guess I’m heading in the right direction and away from my Writers’ Block.
I don’t want to call it Writers’ Block. How about empty head syndrome. Time to fill the well and think up new ideas. My character in my work in progress has been behaving like a stalker. I don’t want that. So, it’s time to stop where she is at and make her take a big swallow and step out into the light. Something big has to happen to make her realize, its now or never and your never going to be able to turn back the clock to the way things once were. Get over it sweet heart and move on with your life. I don’t know what she’s waiting for? Me? Maybe – I like the unexpected. I have to catch this character off guard. It’s the way I act.
I will continue to ponder on how to motivate my character. Until then, I’ll keep on writing some thing. It might not be the work in progress, but it is something.
Short Story – Make sure you look over your items before holding a Garage Sale.
I only wanted to clean the attic. It’d been months since I’d had a chance to take a look up there. I’d been busy doing this and that and never got around to going up there. Now that I had time, here I was. The entire contents came with the house. It didn’t matter to me what was up here, I wasn’t going to keep any of it.
Old mirrors, a wooden trunk, rickety rocking chair, baby bassinet, a high chair, and books, lots of books piled to the ceiling. Well, I could just donate those at the next school fundraiser event. Better yet, I could make some money off this stuff and hold a yard sale.
I dragged it all down and piled it in the garage. Marking everything was too much of a bother. I decided on charging a dollar an item regardless of what it was. It rained that day. So much for a big turnout I’d expected. There were a couple of people who showed up looking for antiques. The rocking chair and the mirror went first. I hoped that the books would go too. I even offered to through a couple of them in for free, but I had no takers.
It wasn’t but for an hour before the next customer appeared. That was when I began looking at the titles of the books. Most were classics that I’d already read. Those ones I put aside closest to where I sat hoping that they would draw the eye of the next person. I wasn’t looking forward to lugging all those books back inside and up to the attic.
Next I noted the books I had heard of and hadn’t read. Those ones I scattered about on different tables. If they didn’t sell, I’d still have a chance to read them. There was only one book among them that got my whole attention. It was a diary. I opened it and started to read it when the next group of people arrived. I had just set the book aside when a customer began ogling it. I thought of slipping it under the table out of sight. I wasn’t done with it yet.
“How much for that book?”
I was surprised by the question. “Which one?”
The man fingered the diary. “This one.”
“I wasn’t going to sell it.”
“No? What would you say if I offered you a hundred dollars for it?”
That raised my eyebrows. Hmm… I was still reading the book. “It’s not for sale.”
“Five hundred bucks for the book.”
His companion turned his attention to our haggling. “Do you know what happened to the owner of this house?”
“I do, they moved far away.”
“Not as far as you think, more like six feet under.”
“Yes and without a will.” His eyes stared at the diary. That longing look, it made me wonder what was so special about the book. “I’ll give you a thousand dollars for the book.”
I thought the dude was joking. “Are you serious?”
The guy pulled out his wallet and began counting out hundreds. How could I not accept that? It was more money than I had anticipated for the entire contents of the garage. I wanted to get rid of the stuff, all of it.
“I’ll tell you what… For the thousand dollars, I will give you the book, but I want you to take the rest of this stuff too.”
“Just the book. That’s all we want.”
“No, you have to take all of it or leave it.”
“How about we just take the book and you keep the stuff.”
The guy was ticking me off. I hadn’t spent all those months in the field to sit here and continue to haggle over a stupid diary and a bunch of junk. I followed my instincts. I drew my weapon and cocked it. The handgun was pointed at the man’s temple. “You give me the money and take all the stuff.”
He didn’t say another word as he handed over the money. Surprisingly his hand didn’t shake as he accepted the book. But now he had all the other stuff too. I stood there watching and waiting for them to begin loading their vehicle. They’d probably have to make a couple of trips.
“Allen, have a look at this.” The guy who’d offered me the hundred bucks first opened one of the classic books. It was hollow, but not empty. He pulled out a bag of white substance.
“Just as we thought.” He pulled out his badge and his gun and pointed it at me. “Your under arrest for distributing. Drop your weapon.”
“You got to be kidding me!” I never once looked inside any of the books. “How was I supposed to know that was there?”
“It doesn’t matter. You sold us the contents of this garage and that was included.”
I did lawyer up. But that’s another story, I’ll tell you some other time. Hopefully when I’m out of this cell that I’ve been sitting in for the past four months. My court date isn’t until next month. I just pray the lawyer I hired will be able to get me out of this mess.
So much for that work in progress. It was a long week at work. I was so tired after being out that long. No matter though, I’m happy to be back to work. The writing will come another day. What better way to get back into the grind than by writing a bit of flash fiction. I’m not much into writing crime and mystery, so if someone would like to collaborate and help me finish this story, that would be fun. I always wanted to try doing a collaboration with someone. http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=258664
Jogging down the path hardly traveled, I expected an attacker to jump out of the bushes at any minute. I could have brought the dog with me, but then I would have to stop every fifteen feet for him to pee on a tree. A can of mace would have to do.
The attacker never showed their face. Instead, it was a dirty old envelope that stopped me in my tracks. I could have continued on, ignoring it as trash. Instead, I picked it up and noted the address and date it had been mailed. It had a piece of folded paper inside. My curiosity got the better of me and began to read, tears welled in my eyes by the end of the love letter that was dated December 1932.
A photo had been within the fold of the paper of a man in an army uniform. I had seen that face before, I’m sure of it, even though he was much younger then. He was a man I knew that lived in a retirement community not too far away. The woman, I wasn’t so sure about. I wondered what the chances were that she could still be alive today.
I followed up with a search on the internet. One of those paid searches led me right to her. Fate would have it, she lived in the same community, and chances were that they probably didn’t know that either still existed. The only way to find out would be to deliver that letter to the woman the next day.
She hugged me like a rag doll and blessed my little ole heart. I wasn’t sure if the tears I was feeling on my face were from the joy I saw in her eyes, or of her squeezing of my ribs in that bear hug of hers. She thought he had died in the war.
“No, No… he didn’t die,” said I. “He lives on the fourth floor.”
“Joe, on the fourth floor?” she asked. “That can’t be. I saw him yesterday and he told me his name was Howard.”
“His name is not Howard.” I laughed. “I’m sure he was asking you how are’ d you? He’s always had a lisp since I’ve known him.”
“A lisp?” she asked.
“He told me he’s had trouble with his tongue ever since the war. He had been in a prison camp before the war ended.”
She agreed to go with me to visit him. He opened the door with a blank look on his face. I had neglected to tell her that Alzheimer’s had begun to take his memories away from him. He could no longer remember his wife’s name nor his daughter’s.
“Joe, I brought an old friend of yours to visit.”
He smiled and invited us in. Pictures of family decorated his walls, but he no longer knew the names that went with the faces. He still remembered his days in the army. That was probably a memory that would never be taken away from him. The bad ones always are the last to go.
While he shuffled about his little kitchenette making cups of tea, my guest began to study the photos on the wall. She stopped beside the one of him that was taken when he entered the army just before going off to war and drew out the photo she had in her pocket and held it up to compare the two. They were the same.
I don’t know if it was the dress she wore or her hair. Something sparked inside him. “Margaret? Is that you?” The teacup began to shake in his hand.
“Daddy, do you remember her?”
He rushed toward her and pulled her into his arms, as though he were just a young lad once again. I was a forgotten memory. It was the first time I had seen him happy in years. The reunion, eighty-three years overdue.
Image Courtesy of Lone wolf moon by AbyssWolf666 via creative commons
2014 will go down in history as the year I used to fill my writing well.
Here is to hoping that I can finish some unfinished stories I started writing over the past three years. For starters, I need to finish up my Orgarlan Saga, or at least write the next book in the series, that is, if it is going to be a series instead of just a trilogy. Then there are a couple other stories I began over the years, two of which are half written.
My writing discipline has slipped over the past two years. I used to write a couple of short stories a year. I need to get back into the flash fiction habit.
As you’ve probably noticed, even my blogging has slacked this year.
This is a good time to compile my New Year’s Resolutions.
1. Blog more often.
2. Write short stories when I can’t seem to form more than one sentence for a work in project.
3. Finish the slush-pile stories, even if they are crappy stories. A finished story can find new life during an overhaul edit.
4. Read more books – especially the fantasy, historical, and romances. Nonfiction titles are handy for researching.
5. Remind myself, I’m a writer – so write…
6. Exercise more. I have a new puppy that is waiting for adventures in the great unknown world of walking down the street.
7. Buy chicks to rebuild the pet laying hens. Our flock took a hit this year when some strange monster ran off with a couple of the chickens in the middle of the night leaving a trail of feathers behind.
8. Create items to take to the farmer’s market in the spring. I can sell my books while I’m there too and let the locals know that they have a writer living in their town.
9. Publish more books.
10. Continue to re-edit already published works if I see a missed edit. This is a never-ending process, and I’m grateful when a reader takes the time to point something out to me that I apparently missed.
I do have a couple of beta readers, but if they really enjoy the story, then they seem to miss proofing errors too, when they are sucked into the story.
11. Make all the ROW80 check-ins. I really slacked in this area last year and may have been my biggest contributing factor for feeling the need to refill the well.
And last but not least.
12. Listen to more music. A must when it comes to writing and setting the mood and setting for a story.
My year in review:
I went to my first RWA Conference – NEC. I’m looking forward to going to NEC again in April. This will be my annual conference, even if I can’t really afford to go, this will be my must-do-thing. I learned so much from the workshops I have to do it again.
Deb Dixon happened. That was the workshop my RWA group held that happened the weekend after NEC. I think by the end of that weekend I was on information overload that may have helped contributed to my needing to refill the writing well.
Finished and published next work in progress. But because the story was on the other end of the spectrum I had to publish it under the pseudonym of Lydia Clark. That is all I’m going to tell you. You’ll have to search Amazon for the book; it’s exclusive in the Kindle Select Program where it is going to stay for a while.
In fact, I’m moving all my books to Kindle Select for a while. It appears that Oyster and Scribed are effecting the eBook sales for most of the Smashwords titles. So I might as well take advantage of Amazon’s program, maybe I’ll sell some print copies at the other sites. I think more people are going back to buying print books anyways. It is only a matter of time before the eBook craze ends and reading returns to the print norm. There’s something about being able to hold a real book in one’s hands and you never need to worry about the battery running low.
Do you know how many times I’ve forgotten to recharge either my cell phone or my Kindle?
By the way, I discovered the Kindle app for my cell phone. I don’t need to carry my kindle with me to work anymore. I can just read those same books on my cell phone.