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Water
Written by Jumotki

The Flood

The morning starts as a holiday. Our jobs call and cancel until further notice. Yawning, we drink coffee in the dark of the living-room, immersed in the sound of rain drumming all around us. The night was sleepless and turbulent because of thunderclaps that shook our apartment and triggered car alarms.

It rains in buckets, in rivulets, in streams. 

I have never seen so much water in my life.

The streets are unfamiliar—everything vanishing under a churning river—and we watch, with bated breath, an ambitious car venture out of the apartment gates and drift to the middle of the road. We predict he’ll be swept downstream, into the backwaters of backroads.

The car struggles around the intersection and retreats back to the apartment.

We laugh. There is no danger yet.

Flashing lights in the gray swirling clouds. 

And still it rains. 

We watch the news on my phone—cars completely submerged, kayakers paddling down freeway rapids, the downtown area transformed into a swirling sea from which skyscrapers poke out the top of their heads.

We watch as a woman in a white vehicle steers around a security barrier and into a submerged underpass ocean. A construction worker runs after her car, his mouth open in a silent shout. The light of her cell phone waves frantically as the car sinks slowly into the dark waters.

The car disappears and so does the light.

Eight people drowned that day.

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Water
Written by Jumotki
The Flood
The morning starts as a holiday. Our jobs call and cancel until further notice. Yawning, we drink coffee in the dark of the living-room, immersed in the sound of rain drumming all around us. The night was sleepless and turbulent because of thunderclaps that shook our apartment and triggered car alarms.
It rains in buckets, in rivulets, in streams. 
I have never seen so much water in my life.
The streets are unfamiliar—everything vanishing under a churning river—and we watch, with bated breath, an ambitious car venture out of the apartment gates and drift to the middle of the road. We predict he’ll be swept downstream, into the backwaters of backroads.
The car struggles around the intersection and retreats back to the apartment.
We laugh. There is no danger yet.
Flashing lights in the gray swirling clouds. 
And still it rains. 
We watch the news on my phone—cars completely submerged, kayakers paddling down freeway rapids, the downtown area transformed into a swirling sea from which skyscrapers poke out the top of their heads.
We watch as a woman in a white vehicle steers around a security barrier and into a submerged underpass ocean. A construction worker runs after her car, his mouth open in a silent shout. The light of her cell phone waves frantically as the car sinks slowly into the dark waters.
The car disappears and so does the light.
Eight people drowned that day.
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Drabble me this. 100 words of fiction. Not 99, not 101, not 847. One hundred words precisely.
Written by desmondwrite in portal Flash Fiction

The Immortality Cube

There's always that one friend who sticks to the group like a discount sticker on a used book, and who is tolerated by necessity because any removal might leave behind a sticky residue. Among Skye, Keith, and Kim, this was Lames, whose Mom had long admitted to being high when she tried to write "James" on his birth certificate. When Skye, Keith, and Kim came upon the Cube, without hesitation they excluded Lames from the Pact. And they didn't care years later when, at Lames's 89th birthday, he glared bitterly at their youthful bodies. They could wait a little longer.

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Drabble me this. 100 words of fiction. Not 99, not 101, not 847. One hundred words precisely.
Written by desmondwrite in portal Flash Fiction
The Immortality Cube
There's always that one friend who sticks to the group like a discount sticker on a used book, and who is tolerated by necessity because any removal might leave behind a sticky residue. Among Skye, Keith, and Kim, this was Lames, whose Mom had long admitted to being high when she tried to write "James" on his birth certificate. When Skye, Keith, and Kim came upon the Cube, without hesitation they excluded Lames from the Pact. And they didn't care years later when, at Lames's 89th birthday, he glared bitterly at their youthful bodies. They could wait a little longer.
#fantasy  #scifi  #fiction  #friends  #immortality 
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Trident Media Group is the leading U.S. literary agency and we are looking to discover and represent the next bestsellers. Share a sample of your work. If it shows promise, we will be in touch with you.
Written by Thirstypen in portal Trident Media Group

Confidence Men

Chapters 9 - 10

Red

       He told me to get in. Get in this car that’s gonna try to leave the flashing lights and cocked guns in the dust…no chance. The seconds ticking by on the expensive watch Mr. Fox bought me were currency more precious than gold, sex, or power. Then there was a twitch from the near-dead ‘officer’ in my arms and Dom’s eyes fluttered, probably winking at the devil wherever his consciousness was…we’re gonna lose him…I can’t lose him, we need him. I got in the car.

       The majestic pine trees lining the English countryside would have been a haunting sight, kneeless in the early morning fog, but trees begin to blur, really blur when you reach about 110 mph, something I never knew before my life as a fugitive from justice. I guess I never had a reason to look out the window of a car while more than doubling the regional speed limit.

       An air of malcontent spread over our tense crew like a wet blanket, the very road rising up to meet the speeding wheels of our getaway like the prickling spine of a waking dragon. Off to our left, thick rushes spread over dales and mounds of earth that rose and fell into the fog swept distance like deep sea waves, barely aware of our race for survival, save for the sparkling dew that occasionally broke through their local atmosphere reminding me to blink my dry, dazed eyes. The morning was light enough, but I could not see the sun.

       I sat motionless, staring out the tinted window. My clothes were a mess, Dom’s blood coating my vest and shirt, but I felt warm and calm like the blood. I couldn't bear the thought of him dying so I sat and stared while Val spurred our car’s horsepower toward its limits. The engine of our ‘borrowed’ Cadillac CTS-V whirred and whined like a dozen ponies instead of the 649 horses its namesake boasted. Occasionally Co would lean out the driver’s side backseat window to spit a few harmless bullets into the air as a reminder to the pursuing beat cops to keep beating. POP! POP! POP! The immediate pressure following each squeeze of the trigger momentarily silenced the rest of the horns, engines, and wind in my ears.

       Mr. Fox had trained us well for much of what we’d encountered but not for this, not for losing one of our own. The car rocked like a clumsy phone booth during an earthquake. I ignored my nausea. Val wrenched the emergency brake, threading our car like a needle through oncoming traffic and onto a moor beside a bright stretch of rush-hour highway…the thick grass was more than aware of us now.

       The English are far more blasé than Americans give them credit for. If we were in Texas, soccer moms and screaming teenagers would be screeching this way and that, but we zipped to and fro on the English lanes without so much as a second look, almost as if the police sirens were echoing ‘mind your bloody business!’

       Val took a risk at the first break in the median and wrenched a U-turn going in the opposite direction of our pursuers. He stomped on the gas pedal, taking full advantage of our momentary separation. We exited the expressway as soon as the flashing lights disappeared from the rearview, under cover of a recently descended hill. Once off the freeway, we were back on track to our pre-mapped escape route. Our driver was a marvel, with a pulse closer to reading a book on a Sunday than in a race for his life.

       My friend, fellow captive, and the chief contributor to the mission we just accomplished lay eerily still, long since passed out in my lap. I'd been talking to him, reminding him of how pathetic he'd have to be to quit now after all the hellacious struggles he'd already endured, struggles that made being stabbed in the left lung with a fountain pen seem more like a break from work than a serious injury. I spoke to him until his closed eyes and pale face were the only response to my encouragements and then I gazed out the window knowing I would probably lose my strongest ally unless something was done soon. Up ahead I could see the safe house. Maybe there’s still time.

       The morning sun filtered through the half-closed blinds as we burst into the pre-rented apartment off Oldham Street and Cobb. Dom was more like a corpse now then my friend. I felt sick laying him on any other table than an operating one or God’s altar. Instead, we strew him across the kitchen table and within ten seconds, his blood covered it like a crimson tablecloth. I had no idea we had that much red inside us, but he made it seem endless.

       "…You send that medic! Do it and bloody yesterday, wanka’. You’re on my time now! I’d rather not have to pay a visit to St. Catherine’s Primary School on Drury Lane…” The dead line on the other end had an effect on the atmosphere in our very room. Mr. Fox must have been calling in a favor from one of his network of undesirables, but even I felt a chill at the mention of an elementary school in the same sentence as a criminal request. He had a way of communicating that was both clever and razor sharp. His tone of voice was always filled with excitement, but rarely framed in a space where it was merited. It was almost funny if he spoke that way on purpose. He sounded like a bad friend, ‘Surprise! Your wife is cheating on you!’ or the way a disbarred doctor might explain, ‘Got some news! You’ve got a week to live!’ Despite his interest level, however, it was contrasted further by his discomforting whisper. His volume was eerie enough to cool the blood in your veins to a slurry, like hearing your name whispered at night in your bedroom, alone, within seconds of drifting towards dreamland. It was the kind of voice that made you pray the speaker didn't know where you lived or where your kids were.

       Mr. Fox growled the instructions that originated from the phone white-knuckled to his ear. He had the look of a man who deeply resented going through the motions of a rescue that we all knew would fail, taking time that was beyond value to those fleeing the scene of a crime – time that compromised the entire purpose of our small mission and may render Dom's unexpected sacrifice utterly pointless. We reacted like sleepy college kids to an unplanned exam, trying to piece the how and why when we should only be focused on the ticking clock. Co shoved an Epi-pen into my hand, which I plunged into Dom’s heart. Co was trying to paste a special three-sided petroleum jelly patch on the wound itself to keep it from sucking air into the lung the wrong way, but Dom came back to life for a few seconds in a big way causing the patch to be secured to his abdomen, missing the wound altogether. This process was made all-the-more juvenile by Dom’s unconscious arms randomly swinging in large arcs like he was having a night terror about Apollo Creed, clocking me in the eye here and Val in the nose there. Note to self: read a damn book on military field surgery and pray you never have to practice what you've learned again.

       Ironically, the ideal man to conduct a debunked MacGyver surgery, reusing syringes and employing I.V.'s made of salinized Aqua Pura bottles, was the pre-cadaver unraveled on the table. I would happily trade places with the man simply because I knew he'd save me if our roles were reversed. My forehead pulsed, pounding all thoughts and memory out of my mind except one, ‘do a good job!’

       Levine Sikes, or "Co" as he'd come to be known, short for "Company," short for the man you'd want to be the face of your company because nothing can stick to a man like that, was the weakest in the presence of blood yet was diligently swabbing as much as he could from Dominic's gushing wound. Shirtless due to our lack of towels, his fit and scarred body would lead anyone who couldn't see his face to a very different conclusion as to what sort of man he was.

       Mr. Fox swept through the three of us surrounding Dom’s limp frame and scooped him up like a football player recovering a fumble, "We're out of hea' chaps.” Just then, as if Bad-timing herself wanted to prove her worth by example, the large door downstairs snapped open and MI-6 came pouring through the opening before the splinters hit the floorboards. Blindly, we followed the pallbearer as Co lay down cover fire into the hallway to give our party the precious few seconds we needed to climb the fire escape to the roof.

       Laurence Mayfair was watering her geraniums for the second time that day trying to get them to bloom. Still without success, she frowned and decided it was time to take them back to the store when she heard fireworks from somewhere below her. "Outrageous!" she whispered to herself, knowing exactly who it was breaking the apartment bylaws; her son Daniel and his friends should be setting an example, not breaking her own rules! She angrily reached for her coat and the doorknob when the unmistakable metallic clang of the fire escape rattled behind her. "Daniel! I've half a mind to..."

       Laurence never finished that sentence. Instead, she crashed to her knees in shock at what she saw. As she looked on, a furious constable carrying a dummy, an unbuttoned beat cop, a shirtless runner with a gun, and a construction worker scaled the escape onto her flat and they were all covered in blood. It seemed like she could hear a little joke forming in the back of her head about an old American rock group, The Village People. She always fell to her dark sense of humor when she was nervous, but before she had time to finish her thought the crack of the constable's threatening voice fell on her like the priest's fire and brimstone sermons that terrified her as a child. Men like this made her believe in God because she was looking at the Devil.

       "Look at me calfer! I need your car keys and its location or you'll look like this bloke hea', ga' it?” Laurence got it and moved mechanically and quickly, no questions asked. She walked fast to him, handed over her keys, and then pointed downstairs on the opposite side of the street at a small, yellow hybrid. Then, without waiting for a response, she lay face down on the floor and spread her arms and legs as if she knew it was unsatisfactory. A good thing for her, too, because as soon as Mr. Fox fixed his eyes on the worst luck in the history of luck, he instinctively backhanded the air where she had been standing and excruciated “Dof Doos! I bet you went an’ bought a fuel-efficient vehicle like that ‘cause it makes you feel better about being a wasteful oinka', eh?” Then, to drive his frustration home, he flipped over her gardening table, knocking her plants to the ground. Now eye-to-eye with the geraniums, Laurence caught a glimpse of a tiny bloom and smiled at the spilt dirt. I felt sick being near a man like this but sicker still at the idea of sharing showers at the local penitentiary for the rest of my life, so I said nothing.

       We dropped Dom as carefully as possible into a garbage heap below the near balcony and then leapt together into the black stench that we were hoping would be soft, but wasn't. With course shouting at my back, I gripped Dom’s collar and dragged him free as we all ran for the Hot Wheels version of a car across the road.

       Val, our handyman behind the wheel looked cramped as he shoved the E-brake into the release position. Mr. Fox seemed to respect him most of all. The two of them looked at each other as if making some heavy-handed decision and without a word depressed the gas pedal and their trigger fingers out the window as ten or twelve service men were falling, scrambling, and firing down the street at us.

The Chase

       My stomach fell and the lump in my throat tasted like the first day of school wrapped around the seconds before hearing the answer to a wedding proposal. Swerving through the narrow lane amidst oncoming traffic and pissed beat cops, the tension in our tiny car was so tangible I felt sure that if Val braked too hard my head would smack against it like a taxi partition. It was like a nightmare, watching death attacking us from every angle to find purchase and only Val's steady hands keeping the Reaper's sickle dry. Still, while Co chewed his nails to a pulp and I gripped my knees, Val looked calm, almost sleepy. Working the wheel and wrenching the emergency brake more often than the brake pedal, the man needed no advice on how to best handle our predicament. The drifting of the tires and the bumps of jumped curbs gave me the impression of a cheap carnival ride and then it happened…quietly. I realized I was having fun, looking around at the tense faces and Dom's comatose one, I was instantly ashamed that I was smiling. Smiling my ass, I’m grinning like an idiot. It had been such a long time since I had been in the company of a few good men my age that the camaraderie filled some need I'd been denying myself back in my small academic life.

       I thought back to my studio and the ants there diligently working away in their farms. These little complex companions had become my focus due to their incredible capacity for weak and stupid action when singled out. In fact, get a few together and they still have no sense, but observed in the grace and fluidity of their hill or farm and their every movement has a purpose; their every choice, a carefully rationed calculation. Once they reach a critical mass of antennae sets, each ant goes from zombie to mindful engineer. The real question is not whether this happens…but how? All throughout nature, it has been documented. A bee separated from the hive falls listless and dies without the closeness of its brethren. The theory of a collective unconscious isn't new but it's been difficult to prove until…"Ow! Damn! I'm shot!" The side of my head burned like it was scraped with red-hot sandpaper.

       Mr. Fox reached back without looking and gently stroked the wound, then eyed the faint amount of blood on his hand and made it clear "No you haven't! You've barely got a kiss, a bit far from the big fuck, ain't ya?” Relieved but oddly insulted, I ducked my head hoping to avoid the kind of intercourse that would lead to my final outercourse.

       Looking like he was losing a game of strip poker, Co took his sweatband and put it low on my forehead to stop my small but painful injury from bleeding into my eyes. Then the car went dark and Co disappeared.

Title: Confidence Men

Genre: Thriller

Age Range: 22-40

Word Count: 90,000

Author Name: Hanif S. Ali

Why it's a good fit

Many would agree that the times we live in are deeply troubled and those without firm belief systems find themselves not knowing where to look for answers on a day-to-day basis. Whether it's a school shooting in the States, to bombings in Aleppo, to drive-by's in London, Confidence Men is a tale of one place we all can find strength: in the stranger next to us. Confidence Men is not just relevant, but necessary because it takes a magnifying glass to the integrity in men's hearts. Philosophically, it skirts and explores the line between what makes a person good or evil, while simultaneously raising awareness of human trafficking, refugees and other social issues.

Hook

When four young professionals at the top of their game are blackmailed into joining the criminal underworld, only the depth of their combined intelligence and the power of the brotherhood they form stands between them and the dawn of the next World War.

Synopsis

If you’re orchestrating three significant heists across three countries, you’d want the very best criminals on the job – but, there’s a glaring issue: criminals, by their very nature, cut corners. The South African mercenary in charge of these heists, code name: Mr. Fox, can’t risk that behavior. So, what’s a soldier of fortune to do? Simple – abduct four high-profile figures with unparalleled skill sets and blackmail them into doing the jobs for you. The problem now? When four brilliant minds unite, even a veteran merc like Mr. Fox could turn from a predator into prey.

Target Audience

I have played some form of team sports for the majority of my life. Though my experiences on the field helped shape who I am, it has been my teammates throughout the years I relied on to cope with the difficulties life has thrown my way. Now, as an adult and teacher, I do not have much time for teammates and scoring goals; yet, as buildings fall, bombers and hackers attack our way of life, and the daily news feed is cluttered with chaos, climate change, terrorists and Brexit, I long for, now more than ever, that feeling of shared adversity and brotherhood to make sense of it all. Confidence Men is a book written for millennial men and women who feel like the world is out of control and wish they could physically fight back with a crack team in their corner.

Author Bio

Raised by a Muslim father and a Christian mother, I grew up in a house full of culture, ideas and fierce opinions in a city that consistently shelters people from every corner of the globe seeking the Happiest Place on Earth. My name is Hanif S. Ali and though I was born and raised in Orlando, FL, I feel more like a citizen of the world. I received my education at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with degrees in English and Philosophy. Though my interests are eclectic – from painting to mentoring, attending concerts and physical fitness – it’s my lifelong love of reading that led me to become a media assistant in a library until I was approached to head the Composition program at a prestigious preparatory school in downtown Orlando. After several years teaching and designing curriculum, I founded a writing academy and worked to inspire other writers daily, while polishing my own craft.

My outlook on life is that of a realist and a problem solver, but my background as a philosopher adds an extra layer beneath all of my writings – a lens for those who see the bigger picture and read between the lines. From the names of my characters to the shades of gray in the hearts of my villains, there’s always something more to be found for those who are willing to look.

Platform

I have been a closet writer for nearly all of my literary life – until recently. For this reason, the social media-minded might find my platform somewhat paltry. That said, between Instagram, Facebook and Prose, I have approximately 1,200 followers, all of whom are real contacts that support me. My website is under development and can be found at www.hanifsali.com.

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Trident Media Group is the leading U.S. literary agency and we are looking to discover and represent the next bestsellers. Share a sample of your work. If it shows promise, we will be in touch with you.
Written by Thirstypen in portal Trident Media Group
Confidence Men
Chapters 9 - 10

Red
       He told me to get in. Get in this car that’s gonna try to leave the flashing lights and cocked guns in the dust…no chance. The seconds ticking by on the expensive watch Mr. Fox bought me were currency more precious than gold, sex, or power. Then there was a twitch from the near-dead ‘officer’ in my arms and Dom’s eyes fluttered, probably winking at the devil wherever his consciousness was…we’re gonna lose him…I can’t lose him, we need him. I got in the car.
       The majestic pine trees lining the English countryside would have been a haunting sight, kneeless in the early morning fog, but trees begin to blur, really blur when you reach about 110 mph, something I never knew before my life as a fugitive from justice. I guess I never had a reason to look out the window of a car while more than doubling the regional speed limit.
       An air of malcontent spread over our tense crew like a wet blanket, the very road rising up to meet the speeding wheels of our getaway like the prickling spine of a waking dragon. Off to our left, thick rushes spread over dales and mounds of earth that rose and fell into the fog swept distance like deep sea waves, barely aware of our race for survival, save for the sparkling dew that occasionally broke through their local atmosphere reminding me to blink my dry, dazed eyes. The morning was light enough, but I could not see the sun.
       I sat motionless, staring out the tinted window. My clothes were a mess, Dom’s blood coating my vest and shirt, but I felt warm and calm like the blood. I couldn't bear the thought of him dying so I sat and stared while Val spurred our car’s horsepower toward its limits. The engine of our ‘borrowed’ Cadillac CTS-V whirred and whined like a dozen ponies instead of the 649 horses its namesake boasted. Occasionally Co would lean out the driver’s side backseat window to spit a few harmless bullets into the air as a reminder to the pursuing beat cops to keep beating. POP! POP! POP! The immediate pressure following each squeeze of the trigger momentarily silenced the rest of the horns, engines, and wind in my ears.
       Mr. Fox had trained us well for much of what we’d encountered but not for this, not for losing one of our own. The car rocked like a clumsy phone booth during an earthquake. I ignored my nausea. Val wrenched the emergency brake, threading our car like a needle through oncoming traffic and onto a moor beside a bright stretch of rush-hour highway…the thick grass was more than aware of us now.
       The English are far more blasé than Americans give them credit for. If we were in Texas, soccer moms and screaming teenagers would be screeching this way and that, but we zipped to and fro on the English lanes without so much as a second look, almost as if the police sirens were echoing ‘mind your bloody business!’
       Val took a risk at the first break in the median and wrenched a U-turn going in the opposite direction of our pursuers. He stomped on the gas pedal, taking full advantage of our momentary separation. We exited the expressway as soon as the flashing lights disappeared from the rearview, under cover of a recently descended hill. Once off the freeway, we were back on track to our pre-mapped escape route. Our driver was a marvel, with a pulse closer to reading a book on a Sunday than in a race for his life.
       My friend, fellow captive, and the chief contributor to the mission we just accomplished lay eerily still, long since passed out in my lap. I'd been talking to him, reminding him of how pathetic he'd have to be to quit now after all the hellacious struggles he'd already endured, struggles that made being stabbed in the left lung with a fountain pen seem more like a break from work than a serious injury. I spoke to him until his closed eyes and pale face were the only response to my encouragements and then I gazed out the window knowing I would probably lose my strongest ally unless something was done soon. Up ahead I could see the safe house. Maybe there’s still time.
       The morning sun filtered through the half-closed blinds as we burst into the pre-rented apartment off Oldham Street and Cobb. Dom was more like a corpse now then my friend. I felt sick laying him on any other table than an operating one or God’s altar. Instead, we strew him across the kitchen table and within ten seconds, his blood covered it like a crimson tablecloth. I had no idea we had that much red inside us, but he made it seem endless.
       "…You send that medic! Do it and bloody yesterday, wanka’. You’re on my time now! I’d rather not have to pay a visit to St. Catherine’s Primary School on Drury Lane…” The dead line on the other end had an effect on the atmosphere in our very room. Mr. Fox must have been calling in a favor from one of his network of undesirables, but even I felt a chill at the mention of an elementary school in the same sentence as a criminal request. He had a way of communicating that was both clever and razor sharp. His tone of voice was always filled with excitement, but rarely framed in a space where it was merited. It was almost funny if he spoke that way on purpose. He sounded like a bad friend, ‘Surprise! Your wife is cheating on you!’ or the way a disbarred doctor might explain, ‘Got some news! You’ve got a week to live!’ Despite his interest level, however, it was contrasted further by his discomforting whisper. His volume was eerie enough to cool the blood in your veins to a slurry, like hearing your name whispered at night in your bedroom, alone, within seconds of drifting towards dreamland. It was the kind of voice that made you pray the speaker didn't know where you lived or where your kids were.
       Mr. Fox growled the instructions that originated from the phone white-knuckled to his ear. He had the look of a man who deeply resented going through the motions of a rescue that we all knew would fail, taking time that was beyond value to those fleeing the scene of a crime – time that compromised the entire purpose of our small mission and may render Dom's unexpected sacrifice utterly pointless. We reacted like sleepy college kids to an unplanned exam, trying to piece the how and why when we should only be focused on the ticking clock. Co shoved an Epi-pen into my hand, which I plunged into Dom’s heart. Co was trying to paste a special three-sided petroleum jelly patch on the wound itself to keep it from sucking air into the lung the wrong way, but Dom came back to life for a few seconds in a big way causing the patch to be secured to his abdomen, missing the wound altogether. This process was made all-the-more juvenile by Dom’s unconscious arms randomly swinging in large arcs like he was having a night terror about Apollo Creed, clocking me in the eye here and Val in the nose there. Note to self: read a damn book on military field surgery and pray you never have to practice what you've learned again.
       Ironically, the ideal man to conduct a debunked MacGyver surgery, reusing syringes and employing I.V.'s made of salinized Aqua Pura bottles, was the pre-cadaver unraveled on the table. I would happily trade places with the man simply because I knew he'd save me if our roles were reversed. My forehead pulsed, pounding all thoughts and memory out of my mind except one, ‘do a good job!’
       Levine Sikes, or "Co" as he'd come to be known, short for "Company," short for the man you'd want to be the face of your company because nothing can stick to a man like that, was the weakest in the presence of blood yet was diligently swabbing as much as he could from Dominic's gushing wound. Shirtless due to our lack of towels, his fit and scarred body would lead anyone who couldn't see his face to a very different conclusion as to what sort of man he was.
       Mr. Fox swept through the three of us surrounding Dom’s limp frame and scooped him up like a football player recovering a fumble, "We're out of hea' chaps.” Just then, as if Bad-timing herself wanted to prove her worth by example, the large door downstairs snapped open and MI-6 came pouring through the opening before the splinters hit the floorboards. Blindly, we followed the pallbearer as Co lay down cover fire into the hallway to give our party the precious few seconds we needed to climb the fire escape to the roof.
       Laurence Mayfair was watering her geraniums for the second time that day trying to get them to bloom. Still without success, she frowned and decided it was time to take them back to the store when she heard fireworks from somewhere below her. "Outrageous!" she whispered to herself, knowing exactly who it was breaking the apartment bylaws; her son Daniel and his friends should be setting an example, not breaking her own rules! She angrily reached for her coat and the doorknob when the unmistakable metallic clang of the fire escape rattled behind her. "Daniel! I've half a mind to..."
       Laurence never finished that sentence. Instead, she crashed to her knees in shock at what she saw. As she looked on, a furious constable carrying a dummy, an unbuttoned beat cop, a shirtless runner with a gun, and a construction worker scaled the escape onto her flat and they were all covered in blood. It seemed like she could hear a little joke forming in the back of her head about an old American rock group, The Village People. She always fell to her dark sense of humor when she was nervous, but before she had time to finish her thought the crack of the constable's threatening voice fell on her like the priest's fire and brimstone sermons that terrified her as a child. Men like this made her believe in God because she was looking at the Devil.
       "Look at me calfer! I need your car keys and its location or you'll look like this bloke hea', ga' it?” Laurence got it and moved mechanically and quickly, no questions asked. She walked fast to him, handed over her keys, and then pointed downstairs on the opposite side of the street at a small, yellow hybrid. Then, without waiting for a response, she lay face down on the floor and spread her arms and legs as if she knew it was unsatisfactory. A good thing for her, too, because as soon as Mr. Fox fixed his eyes on the worst luck in the history of luck, he instinctively backhanded the air where she had been standing and excruciated “Dof Doos! I bet you went an’ bought a fuel-efficient vehicle like that ‘cause it makes you feel better about being a wasteful oinka', eh?” Then, to drive his frustration home, he flipped over her gardening table, knocking her plants to the ground. Now eye-to-eye with the geraniums, Laurence caught a glimpse of a tiny bloom and smiled at the spilt dirt. I felt sick being near a man like this but sicker still at the idea of sharing showers at the local penitentiary for the rest of my life, so I said nothing.
       We dropped Dom as carefully as possible into a garbage heap below the near balcony and then leapt together into the black stench that we were hoping would be soft, but wasn't. With course shouting at my back, I gripped Dom’s collar and dragged him free as we all ran for the Hot Wheels version of a car across the road.
       Val, our handyman behind the wheel looked cramped as he shoved the E-brake into the release position. Mr. Fox seemed to respect him most of all. The two of them looked at each other as if making some heavy-handed decision and without a word depressed the gas pedal and their trigger fingers out the window as ten or twelve service men were falling, scrambling, and firing down the street at us.

The Chase
       My stomach fell and the lump in my throat tasted like the first day of school wrapped around the seconds before hearing the answer to a wedding proposal. Swerving through the narrow lane amidst oncoming traffic and pissed beat cops, the tension in our tiny car was so tangible I felt sure that if Val braked too hard my head would smack against it like a taxi partition. It was like a nightmare, watching death attacking us from every angle to find purchase and only Val's steady hands keeping the Reaper's sickle dry. Still, while Co chewed his nails to a pulp and I gripped my knees, Val looked calm, almost sleepy. Working the wheel and wrenching the emergency brake more often than the brake pedal, the man needed no advice on how to best handle our predicament. The drifting of the tires and the bumps of jumped curbs gave me the impression of a cheap carnival ride and then it happened…quietly. I realized I was having fun, looking around at the tense faces and Dom's comatose one, I was instantly ashamed that I was smiling. Smiling my ass, I’m grinning like an idiot. It had been such a long time since I had been in the company of a few good men my age that the camaraderie filled some need I'd been denying myself back in my small academic life.
       I thought back to my studio and the ants there diligently working away in their farms. These little complex companions had become my focus due to their incredible capacity for weak and stupid action when singled out. In fact, get a few together and they still have no sense, but observed in the grace and fluidity of their hill or farm and their every movement has a purpose; their every choice, a carefully rationed calculation. Once they reach a critical mass of antennae sets, each ant goes from zombie to mindful engineer. The real question is not whether this happens…but how? All throughout nature, it has been documented. A bee separated from the hive falls listless and dies without the closeness of its brethren. The theory of a collective unconscious isn't new but it's been difficult to prove until…"Ow! Damn! I'm shot!" The side of my head burned like it was scraped with red-hot sandpaper.
       Mr. Fox reached back without looking and gently stroked the wound, then eyed the faint amount of blood on his hand and made it clear "No you haven't! You've barely got a kiss, a bit far from the big fuck, ain't ya?” Relieved but oddly insulted, I ducked my head hoping to avoid the kind of intercourse that would lead to my final outercourse.
       Looking like he was losing a game of strip poker, Co took his sweatband and put it low on my forehead to stop my small but painful injury from bleeding into my eyes. Then the car went dark and Co disappeared.


Title: Confidence Men
Genre: Thriller
Age Range: 22-40
Word Count: 90,000
Author Name: Hanif S. Ali

Why it's a good fit
Many would agree that the times we live in are deeply troubled and those without firm belief systems find themselves not knowing where to look for answers on a day-to-day basis. Whether it's a school shooting in the States, to bombings in Aleppo, to drive-by's in London, Confidence Men is a tale of one place we all can find strength: in the stranger next to us. Confidence Men is not just relevant, but necessary because it takes a magnifying glass to the integrity in men's hearts. Philosophically, it skirts and explores the line between what makes a person good or evil, while simultaneously raising awareness of human trafficking, refugees and other social issues.

Hook
When four young professionals at the top of their game are blackmailed into joining the criminal underworld, only the depth of their combined intelligence and the power of the brotherhood they form stands between them and the dawn of the next World War.

Synopsis
If you’re orchestrating three significant heists across three countries, you’d want the very best criminals on the job – but, there’s a glaring issue: criminals, by their very nature, cut corners. The South African mercenary in charge of these heists, code name: Mr. Fox, can’t risk that behavior. So, what’s a soldier of fortune to do? Simple – abduct four high-profile figures with unparalleled skill sets and blackmail them into doing the jobs for you. The problem now? When four brilliant minds unite, even a veteran merc like Mr. Fox could turn from a predator into prey.

Target Audience
I have played some form of team sports for the majority of my life. Though my experiences on the field helped shape who I am, it has been my teammates throughout the years I relied on to cope with the difficulties life has thrown my way. Now, as an adult and teacher, I do not have much time for teammates and scoring goals; yet, as buildings fall, bombers and hackers attack our way of life, and the daily news feed is cluttered with chaos, climate change, terrorists and Brexit, I long for, now more than ever, that feeling of shared adversity and brotherhood to make sense of it all. Confidence Men is a book written for millennial men and women who feel like the world is out of control and wish they could physically fight back with a crack team in their corner.

Author Bio
Raised by a Muslim father and a Christian mother, I grew up in a house full of culture, ideas and fierce opinions in a city that consistently shelters people from every corner of the globe seeking the Happiest Place on Earth. My name is Hanif S. Ali and though I was born and raised in Orlando, FL, I feel more like a citizen of the world. I received my education at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with degrees in English and Philosophy. Though my interests are eclectic – from painting to mentoring, attending concerts and physical fitness – it’s my lifelong love of reading that led me to become a media assistant in a library until I was approached to head the Composition program at a prestigious preparatory school in downtown Orlando. After several years teaching and designing curriculum, I founded a writing academy and worked to inspire other writers daily, while polishing my own craft.

My outlook on life is that of a realist and a problem solver, but my background as a philosopher adds an extra layer beneath all of my writings – a lens for those who see the bigger picture and read between the lines. From the names of my characters to the shades of gray in the hearts of my villains, there’s always something more to be found for those who are willing to look.

Platform
I have been a closet writer for nearly all of my literary life – until recently. For this reason, the social media-minded might find my platform somewhat paltry. That said, between Instagram, Facebook and Prose, I have approximately 1,200 followers, all of whom are real contacts that support me. My website is under development and can be found at www.hanifsali.com.
#fiction  #prosechallenge  #thriller  #ConfidenceMen  #tridentmedia 
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I was so drunk on you, that I couldn't see...
Written by sandflea68 in portal Poetry & Free Verse

Savage Seas

I was so drunk on you

that I couldn’t see

that you were only

a ship in the harbor

of endless turbulent seas

full of hungry whores

and the rage

of empty bottles discarded.

I hesitated to blot out

the jangling reality

of your hostile façade.

Torn and drowned

in rapture,

I hardly noticed

the deep bloody scars

but I remember

the hammered pain,

the acid tears

burning a hole

in my psyche,

and my frozen heart

and empty soul

as I lost my grip,

piece by piece,

pleading to walk

with you

through savage seas.

Our voyage ended

when you sailed off

without me

but I still craved,

and remembered,

the driving rain

and your vacant eyes

as they drilled craters

into my essence.

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I was so drunk on you, that I couldn't see...
Written by sandflea68 in portal Poetry & Free Verse
Savage Seas
I was so drunk on you
that I couldn’t see
that you were only
a ship in the harbor
of endless turbulent seas
full of hungry whores
and the rage
of empty bottles discarded.

I hesitated to blot out
the jangling reality
of your hostile façade.
Torn and drowned
in rapture,
I hardly noticed
the deep bloody scars
but I remember
the hammered pain,
the acid tears
burning a hole
in my psyche,
and my frozen heart
and empty soul
as I lost my grip,
piece by piece,
pleading to walk
with you
through savage seas.

Our voyage ended
when you sailed off
without me
but I still craved,
and remembered,
the driving rain
and your vacant eyes
as they drilled craters
into my essence.

#challenge  #recovering  #DrunkOnYou 
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Written by Prose

News at 11: Prose.

Writers,  

     

     Seattle Refined did a remarkable spot on us. From a bar in West Seattle to the downtown offices of Prose., this three-minute piece came out nice and clean. Link is below.

     We hope your sentences are hitting the page lean and mean, and to see more of your work across this spectrum words. Thanks for being here. 

Go to minute 14:00. 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=fm-uquSrxSI&

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Written by Prose
News at 11: Prose.
Writers,  
     
     Seattle Refined did a remarkable spot on us. From a bar in West Seattle to the downtown offices of Prose., this three-minute piece came out nice and clean. Link is below.
     We hope your sentences are hitting the page lean and mean, and to see more of your work across this spectrum words. Thanks for being here. 


Go to minute 14:00. 
https://youtube.com/watch?v=fm-uquSrxSI&;
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Written by Fauxhero in portal Poetry & Free Verse

The Best Made Plans

And so I carry

What's left

Of who I am

Of a life

Thus far

All that I am

By straps tight to my shoulders

The weight of which

Always pressing

So I reassess

Continually

Who I am

Prioritize

And shed pieces of myself

That I can't carry any further

And never look back

At ideas with outstretched arms

Abandoned

Though I still covet

The best made plans

Morph

Into burdens

When the path is this long

Pressing forward

I know I am lost

Perhaps by intention

Or anxiety

Of being found

And forced

To walk my path

Of best made plans

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Written by Fauxhero in portal Poetry & Free Verse
The Best Made Plans
And so I carry
What's left
Of who I am
Of a life
Thus far
All that I am
By straps tight to my shoulders
The weight of which
Always pressing
So I reassess
Continually
Who I am
Prioritize
And shed pieces of myself
That I can't carry any further
And never look back
At ideas with outstretched arms
Abandoned

Though I still covet
The best made plans
Morph
Into burdens
When the path is this long
Pressing forward
I know I am lost
Perhaps by intention
Or anxiety
Of being found
And forced
To walk my path
Of best made plans
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Trident Media Group is the leading U.S. literary agency and we are looking to discover and represent the next bestsellers. Share a sample of your work. If it shows promise, we will be in touch with you.
Written by virgo494girl in portal Trident Media Group

Chapter 1

‘ Its not you, its me.” We have all heard this line before. It is the world’s old cliché. It is the simplest way of bitch slapping a person without being called a swiney toad or something equally horrid. But this is what exactly what I got after 3 years of relationship with Zac.

It happened a few hours back. It was raining heavily and I was running back home with the groceries in my arms. Running because I thought walking would be a good exercise and I would be able to enjoy the lovely breeze which is of course turned into a raging storm.

Anyway, rain or no rain I was excited about dinner as Zac was back from his work trip. He wanted to meet up and talk, so we decided dinner was the best option.

I was planning on cooking his favorite- lamb. The recipe which I had perfected in these three years though I am a vegetarian. Now, I can work it without even stopping to think twice about the ingredients.

To add spice to the lovely dinner at home, I had dolled up in a red dress that showed off my curves perfectly. I know he likes it when I show off. I wore my tallest pair of heels, put on a little make up with a splash of bright red lipstick and poured myself some wine to pass my time until Zac arrived.

Zac came. But what he brought with him wasn’t exactly a bouquet of flowers. It was a load of crap, to be specific. It left behind days of grief, depression and a huge urge to eat buckets and buckets of Belgian chocolate ice cream instead of the healthy meals, which I always made a point to cook no matter how hard I slogged at work.

Now, I am sitting alone in my apartment, staring at the delicious looking lamb, smeared make up and a broken heart. Not able to talk, not able to take in what happened a few hours ago and all I could think about was how this could happen to me. Me, the best editor at the most reputed publishing house in all of London. With all the efforts I put in, with all the hard work I did to perfect this recipe, all I get is a measly, sickly line of an excuse.

It wasn’t even an excuse. It was just a way of getting me to walk away without creating much of a scene as he packed up his stuff and moved out of the apartment. “Our” apartment. As he picked up his bags and left his key behind in the bowl, all I could do was sit and stare at the wall filled with pictures and pictures of us, the “us” that now had become me and him. This wall had memories from the day we met, just because Zac was a photographer and believed that he could capture any moment in a pictures.

But was this a moment to be captured. To a photographer it would be appealing to capture such grief but for me, the editor, everything spelled itself out in words, words that brought flood of tears.

Maybe it was life’s way of fun, to see the eyes that could make anybody cry, bring up drops and drops of hurtful heart wrenching tears. And all I could do was go along with it and let myself fall apart.

Chapter 2

“Come on, Amy”, “Drink up girl”, “You beat that pretentious little drunk”, “Show him who’s boss” was all I could hear in the bar.

It was the party after the graduation of the class of 2010. We , my friends and me, made our way to our tiny, but favourite bar______________ to celebrate the achievements. After years and years of studying, making projects, grazing books in the library and having dark holes where my eyes should be I had finally done it. I had graduated and could finally start making a mark on the world, working towards my one and only dream of becoming the top editor at ‘ The Wardrobe Writers’.

All I had to do then was start concentrating on working myself to the bone to achieve my childhood dream of providing the world with the books people would read and feel the love, joy and sadness of the characters. . But before that, I could give myself this significant night to celebrate the achievement of my first step towards the dream come true.

And as usual the competitor in me had brought herself a challenge within an hour of hanging out at the bar. And, the glorious challenge was to beat the sexy hot bod sitting opposite me in a drinking game.

The challenge was pretty simple, we would take shots of tequila turn by turn , stand up and walk around the bar back to the table. The one to fall to the floor first would pay for all the booze.

Slowly, with every walk around the bar we had captured the attention of everybody sitting there and thus, the cheering started. Bets were placed. The music was tuned down and everybody forgot everything else for the duration of the game. It was like a underground tournament where spectators come to cheer their favourite player.

Standing in between this spectacle were Zac and me. Yes, that’s where we had met three years ago. My friends and I walked up to the bar and there he was, all 6 feet of him, looking all handsome , charming and charismatic. For obvious reasons, all the women in the bar had noticed the same thing. So, I decided to give his charms a slip because whatever I wanted to do on my graduation night did not involve sitting and gawking at a stranger in a bar for the night.

Sitting in our corner we all discussed our future plans. Where we would apply, who’d get the best job, who’d do what. Turned out everybody knew my dream to the core. Apparently, I repeated it a over and over or as my friends put it I would tell anybody within earshot about it.

When it was my turn to order drinks, I went to fetch a bottle of tequila for the table. Now that I was holding a huge bottle filled with the precious fiery liquid, there was no way I wasn’t going to trip, which I did, on my own shoe too. Yes, it is possible to trip on you r own stilettos when you are so drunk.

Anyways, that’s a different story altogether. THIS was the exact moment the stranger at the bar had walked into my life , held me steady, and said “It looks like someone is going in for a shot war.” To which my friends cheered and suddenly Zac and I were standing opposite each other, shot glasses in hand. By the end of it we were both so drunk that we did not care who won. But, turns out the whole bar did and when Zac fell trying to get off his stool after what seemed like his umpteenth shot, there erupted a loud cheer from the whole bar and I was hauled up the bar to claim my victory, which it turned out I did and then fell into the crowd.

The next morning I woke up with a flash. No, it is not a figure of speech, I actually woke up to Zac clicking a picture of me. After all the drinking and falling, my friends thought it was a good idea to invite Zac and his friends over. Zac was out for the night like me. It was this picture of me that Zac had enlarged and framed when we moved in together and it still hung as a centerpiece on our wall of picutres. Our moments.

Chapter 3

Every time I looked at any of the pictures in the apartment all I could do was cry and not just small sobs and tears, it all started afresh. I cried loudly, tears streaming down my face, a stuffy nose and above all a red face. I know I am an ugly crier but now I can’t help it. It hurts too much.

I haven’t gone to work for three days in a row now. I had called in sick and my boss said I could take all the time I need and should be back feeling rejuvenated and ready for some action. But, I still feel like I can’t get my miserable self out of bed. I haven’t answered any calls, haven’t replied to any messages and haven’t cooked any food. All I’ve done is, drive to the store, pick up some ice cream- only ice cream and back to my bed, or the couch whichever seems to be within two steps of reach.

I have been meaning to call Meg, my best friend, my boyfriend-trasher since high school but I am still not able to get over the fact that Zac dumped me and I am still living in hope that he will return.

Buuzzzzz. Open up Amy! Buzzzz. Someone is breaking down the buzzer. As I walk towards the buzzer, with a headache, after my evening nap- which is my routine for the past few days, I cringe as I recognize the voice. It is Meg. I knowit is rude, but, I wasn’t expecting her so soon.

As soon as I hear her voice I know she is here. She has got a whiff of me and Zac breaking up and she is here to do what she does best. Roadroll over every memory of my ex-boyfriend so that I move on with my life and start over.

But I don’t want it, not so fast. It’s not even been a week of mopping and she is already here. I also know her first plan of action, she’s going to tear down my wall of pictures, my wall of memories.

Maybe, I could just ignore it, avoid the buzzing sound and later on tell her that I wasn’t home when she came around. I would cook up some excuse. After all I am best editor in whole of London.

As I started walking back to my room the buzzing stopped and I somehow felt relief wash over me, thinking that Meg was gone. But this isn’t Meg, no way. After a few minutes of there comes a loud banging at my door, it turns out, my neighbor, a lovely lady of 65 had let Meg on the pretext of my safety and now Meg is pounding on my door swearing and threatening.

I finally open the door to the World’s Most Ferocious Drama Queen.

Chapter 4

“Hey Meg, what a surprise!” ‘ you can cut the crap and let me in’ is all she said and walks inside the room which lay in such a mess that even my mother, a total cleanliness freak, wouldn’t come near it.

But Meg went straight to target, The Picture Wall. This isn’t happening, I cant let her take away my lovely memories like this, I have to stop her and I will. “Oh no! NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. you are not doing this. It is all staying where it is. These are the best moments of my life and no one can take them way. No one. I wont allow it.” And all she has to say is ‘ Watch me.’

And I had to. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how many times I pleaded and tired to put the pictures back on the wall, she came and took them right off, put them in a box and slid it by the door. I know it is no use arguing with her, she will continue doing what she is here to do, so, I am doing what I can. I am sitting on the sofa and crying. And again, it was not soft sobs and silent tears. I will never understand how women manage to cry like that.

I couldn’t, even if I tried and all that is coming out is shriek howls that could scare anyone in the dark. Seriously, anybody.

So here I am, sitting and howling on the sofa and here is Meg, standing in the kitchen, making coffee for both of us. By the time she came over with the coffee I have already managed to swell up my bloodshot eyes, like that of a frog and have reddened my nose, which could now compete with Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’s nose. But this in no way stops me from continuing my regimen I have set for myself. Meg sits next to me, holding me tightly in her arms and passing me one tissue after another from the tissue box.

After hours and hours of sobbing, on my part only, and feeling totally washed out of energy we just sit there silently staring at the now empty wall and as provocative as Meg is, she knows what to do next.

‘Alright, you’ve officially cried your eyes out for the past three days, have eaten all the ice cream you could, but, now it is time to move your ass we have a wall to decorate.’ And as I stare at her with an expression full of sadness coupled with what the hell are you talking about.

‘Oh, come on! Do you really think I will let you wallow in your sorrows over loosing that asshole. He wasn’t even worth a day which I could’ve taken care of if you had enough sense to call me.’

I know Meg will not listen to any sorry excuses I have to offer so I have to do as she says, get my sorry ass off the sofa and walk towards the bathroom. ‘ And while you are at it, take a shower as well, you smell like you just stepped out of a garbage can.’ Such words of encouragement.

Though I know she is kidding to try and get a different reaction from me. I can’t think of any satisfactory rhetorical remark, so I just agree and carry on walking to the bathroom.

By the time I come out of the shower, Meg has found a trash bag and has rid half the living room of the tissues and ice cream tubs, which had temporarily found a home in some place or the other around the sofa.

‘There’s bacon, toast and eggs on the counter with some orange juice for you, eat up and we can leave.’

“But that’s breakfast and it is past lunch time and why are we leaving? Where are we going? What are you up to?” All I can say before she looks at me like a crazy person with a menacing grin on her face.

‘I made you breakfast because I believe that you have just woken up after three whole days or just lying around and also because those were the only item I could find in the refrigerator besides your personal stash of Belgian Chocolate. Now eat up.’

I can do nothing but follow the instructions and instantly started feeling a bit more upbeat. The shower and food worked their trick on me. As I was eating the food, Meg was clearing out the apartment, most of the stuff covering my floor, sofa, coffee table and bed.

Chapter 5

‘ So what will it be, something bold and beautiful or something soft and cozy.’ We are standing in a hardware store in the paint aisle. “Why can’t we let the wall be the shade it is. Pearly white looks so perfect in the setting.”

Meg rolls her eyes at me, like she always does when she knows she is right and I am just procrastinating.

‘Oh please! As if you like it. Amy, the whole world knows you love color. You are the one who always suggested unusual combinations which everyone would refuse, but you’d paint them anyway and the outcome would be so pretty that we’d throw a party just to flaunt the new paint job.’

‘Now Amy, focus. I know there must be a new combination you are dying to try in that boring, old lady living room of yours.’

“It is not boring. Don’t look at me like that. The room looks beautiful as it is and we just re did it a few months ago. It is Zac’s favorite place in the house.” And with that, the pain was back and the tears on the verge of falling, when a trolley bumped into me and one of it’s front tyres made their way over my toes.

‘Hey! Watch it.’ Meg called out and the stranger turned to look at us and saw the tire half way up my left foot. “Oh My God! I am so sorry. Does it hurt? Are you alright? Did I break something? Don’t cry, please don’t cry. Will you be able to walk? Do you wish to sit down? I am so so sorry.”

I can’t help it anymore, the guy was so apologetic, his expressions so pained that I Just can’t hold it in anymore, it was too much. I burst out laughing. Meg and the stranger stared at me bewildered, not knowing the reason for the sudden outburst when I was at the brink of crying a few seconds ago.

“Is your friend ok? You think we should take her to the hospital or something for her foot?” The stranger kept on talking but Meg wasn’t listening anymore. She had just been struck with an idea and is already planning to put it into action. She looked at the stranger up and down and a smirk spread across her minx-like face.

‘Oh no, she is ok. I don’t think we need to take her to the hospital for now. But, it would be great if you left your card with us and we can call you just in case there is a problem later.’ Meg said blinking those mischief filled angelic eyes. She could be the most innocent of people, or at least look the part, when she wanted to.

The stranger agreed and gave her his card without a second thought, which she very carefully kept in her wallet.

“Well, I should moving on or I will be late, are you sure you don’t want to go to the hospital to get yourself checked?” He asked me again, concern still reflecting in his big eyes and all I can do is refuse and say Thank you between burst after burst of giggles.

After he left, Meg gave me a curious look- ‘Having fun?’ She asked with a raised eyebrow and the same smile she had on her face earlier.

“oh meg, it was just so funny. He was such a sweetheart and worried so much, even though he hadn’t hurt me much, he wanted to take me to the hospital. The way he was looking at me with those huge puppy dog eyes and crinkled forehead I felt as if he was not gong to listen to us and force me into an ambulance and rush me off to the emergency room, just because his trolley rolled up on my toes.”

And we both start laughing right in the middle of the aisle and none of us able to stop. People stared while trying to get across from us. ‘Ok, OK. Let’s focus now. We are hereto find you some paint for your living room. What do you want- lively or cozy?’

In about two hours we had chosen paint, rollers, brushes, various other tools and now are sitting in our favorite Chinese restaurant waiting for our chopsuey and dimsums.

‘What do you want to do after? Go get drunk, shake a leg and hit on guys or do you want to stay in, watch one of your favorite romantic comedies.’ Asked meg sipping her wine.

“How about we get home and go straight to bed?” I don’t know what fuel she runs on the way she keeps jumping from task to task one after the other without so much as a second thought.

‘I am sorry., but this is not an option presented on the table. It is either clubbing or movie- take your pick.’

I knew this was coming and there was no way she was letting me get away with it so we agreed on watching movies at home while holding popcorn and spreading ourselves on the couch.

genre- Romance

age range-16 to 40 years,

word count-3425, 

author name- Ashima Narwal, 

target audience-young adults,

platform-https://dreamlair.blogspot.in 

education- MBA

 hometown-Rohtak, Haryana, India

 age-27

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Written by virgo494girl in portal Trident Media Group
Chapter 1

‘ Its not you, its me.” We have all heard this line before. It is the world’s old cliché. It is the simplest way of bitch slapping a person without being called a swiney toad or something equally horrid. But this is what exactly what I got after 3 years of relationship with Zac.

It happened a few hours back. It was raining heavily and I was running back home with the groceries in my arms. Running because I thought walking would be a good exercise and I would be able to enjoy the lovely breeze which is of course turned into a raging storm.

Anyway, rain or no rain I was excited about dinner as Zac was back from his work trip. He wanted to meet up and talk, so we decided dinner was the best option.

I was planning on cooking his favorite- lamb. The recipe which I had perfected in these three years though I am a vegetarian. Now, I can work it without even stopping to think twice about the ingredients.

To add spice to the lovely dinner at home, I had dolled up in a red dress that showed off my curves perfectly. I know he likes it when I show off. I wore my tallest pair of heels, put on a little make up with a splash of bright red lipstick and poured myself some wine to pass my time until Zac arrived.

Zac came. But what he brought with him wasn’t exactly a bouquet of flowers. It was a load of crap, to be specific. It left behind days of grief, depression and a huge urge to eat buckets and buckets of Belgian chocolate ice cream instead of the healthy meals, which I always made a point to cook no matter how hard I slogged at work.

Now, I am sitting alone in my apartment, staring at the delicious looking lamb, smeared make up and a broken heart. Not able to talk, not able to take in what happened a few hours ago and all I could think about was how this could happen to me. Me, the best editor at the most reputed publishing house in all of London. With all the efforts I put in, with all the hard work I did to perfect this recipe, all I get is a measly, sickly line of an excuse.

It wasn’t even an excuse. It was just a way of getting me to walk away without creating much of a scene as he packed up his stuff and moved out of the apartment. “Our” apartment. As he picked up his bags and left his key behind in the bowl, all I could do was sit and stare at the wall filled with pictures and pictures of us, the “us” that now had become me and him. This wall had memories from the day we met, just because Zac was a photographer and believed that he could capture any moment in a pictures.

But was this a moment to be captured. To a photographer it would be appealing to capture such grief but for me, the editor, everything spelled itself out in words, words that brought flood of tears.

Maybe it was life’s way of fun, to see the eyes that could make anybody cry, bring up drops and drops of hurtful heart wrenching tears. And all I could do was go along with it and let myself fall apart.

Chapter 2

“Come on, Amy”, “Drink up girl”, “You beat that pretentious little drunk”, “Show him who’s boss” was all I could hear in the bar.

It was the party after the graduation of the class of 2010. We , my friends and me, made our way to our tiny, but favourite bar______________ to celebrate the achievements. After years and years of studying, making projects, grazing books in the library and having dark holes where my eyes should be I had finally done it. I had graduated and could finally start making a mark on the world, working towards my one and only dream of becoming the top editor at ‘ The Wardrobe Writers’.

All I had to do then was start concentrating on working myself to the bone to achieve my childhood dream of providing the world with the books people would read and feel the love, joy and sadness of the characters. . But before that, I could give myself this significant night to celebrate the achievement of my first step towards the dream come true.

And as usual the competitor in me had brought herself a challenge within an hour of hanging out at the bar. And, the glorious challenge was to beat the sexy hot bod sitting opposite me in a drinking game.

The challenge was pretty simple, we would take shots of tequila turn by turn , stand up and walk around the bar back to the table. The one to fall to the floor first would pay for all the booze.

Slowly, with every walk around the bar we had captured the attention of everybody sitting there and thus, the cheering started. Bets were placed. The music was tuned down and everybody forgot everything else for the duration of the game. It was like a underground tournament where spectators come to cheer their favourite player.

Standing in between this spectacle were Zac and me. Yes, that’s where we had met three years ago. My friends and I walked up to the bar and there he was, all 6 feet of him, looking all handsome , charming and charismatic. For obvious reasons, all the women in the bar had noticed the same thing. So, I decided to give his charms a slip because whatever I wanted to do on my graduation night did not involve sitting and gawking at a stranger in a bar for the night.

Sitting in our corner we all discussed our future plans. Where we would apply, who’d get the best job, who’d do what. Turned out everybody knew my dream to the core. Apparently, I repeated it a over and over or as my friends put it I would tell anybody within earshot about it.

When it was my turn to order drinks, I went to fetch a bottle of tequila for the table. Now that I was holding a huge bottle filled with the precious fiery liquid, there was no way I wasn’t going to trip, which I did, on my own shoe too. Yes, it is possible to trip on you r own stilettos when you are so drunk.

Anyways, that’s a different story altogether. THIS was the exact moment the stranger at the bar had walked into my life , held me steady, and said “It looks like someone is going in for a shot war.” To which my friends cheered and suddenly Zac and I were standing opposite each other, shot glasses in hand. By the end of it we were both so drunk that we did not care who won. But, turns out the whole bar did and when Zac fell trying to get off his stool after what seemed like his umpteenth shot, there erupted a loud cheer from the whole bar and I was hauled up the bar to claim my victory, which it turned out I did and then fell into the crowd.

The next morning I woke up with a flash. No, it is not a figure of speech, I actually woke up to Zac clicking a picture of me. After all the drinking and falling, my friends thought it was a good idea to invite Zac and his friends over. Zac was out for the night like me. It was this picture of me that Zac had enlarged and framed when we moved in together and it still hung as a centerpiece on our wall of picutres. Our moments.

Chapter 3

Every time I looked at any of the pictures in the apartment all I could do was cry and not just small sobs and tears, it all started afresh. I cried loudly, tears streaming down my face, a stuffy nose and above all a red face. I know I am an ugly crier but now I can’t help it. It hurts too much.

I haven’t gone to work for three days in a row now. I had called in sick and my boss said I could take all the time I need and should be back feeling rejuvenated and ready for some action. But, I still feel like I can’t get my miserable self out of bed. I haven’t answered any calls, haven’t replied to any messages and haven’t cooked any food. All I’ve done is, drive to the store, pick up some ice cream- only ice cream and back to my bed, or the couch whichever seems to be within two steps of reach.

I have been meaning to call Meg, my best friend, my boyfriend-trasher since high school but I am still not able to get over the fact that Zac dumped me and I am still living in hope that he will return.

Buuzzzzz. Open up Amy! Buzzzz. Someone is breaking down the buzzer. As I walk towards the buzzer, with a headache, after my evening nap- which is my routine for the past few days, I cringe as I recognize the voice. It is Meg. I knowit is rude, but, I wasn’t expecting her so soon.

As soon as I hear her voice I know she is here. She has got a whiff of me and Zac breaking up and she is here to do what she does best. Roadroll over every memory of my ex-boyfriend so that I move on with my life and start over.

But I don’t want it, not so fast. It’s not even been a week of mopping and she is already here. I also know her first plan of action, she’s going to tear down my wall of pictures, my wall of memories.

Maybe, I could just ignore it, avoid the buzzing sound and later on tell her that I wasn’t home when she came around. I would cook up some excuse. After all I am best editor in whole of London.

As I started walking back to my room the buzzing stopped and I somehow felt relief wash over me, thinking that Meg was gone. But this isn’t Meg, no way. After a few minutes of there comes a loud banging at my door, it turns out, my neighbor, a lovely lady of 65 had let Meg on the pretext of my safety and now Meg is pounding on my door swearing and threatening.

I finally open the door to the World’s Most Ferocious Drama Queen.

Chapter 4

“Hey Meg, what a surprise!” ‘ you can cut the crap and let me in’ is all she said and walks inside the room which lay in such a mess that even my mother, a total cleanliness freak, wouldn’t come near it.

But Meg went straight to target, The Picture Wall. This isn’t happening, I cant let her take away my lovely memories like this, I have to stop her and I will. “Oh no! NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. you are not doing this. It is all staying where it is. These are the best moments of my life and no one can take them way. No one. I wont allow it.” And all she has to say is ‘ Watch me.’

And I had to. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how many times I pleaded and tired to put the pictures back on the wall, she came and took them right off, put them in a box and slid it by the door. I know it is no use arguing with her, she will continue doing what she is here to do, so, I am doing what I can. I am sitting on the sofa and crying. And again, it was not soft sobs and silent tears. I will never understand how women manage to cry like that.

I couldn’t, even if I tried and all that is coming out is shriek howls that could scare anyone in the dark. Seriously, anybody.

So here I am, sitting and howling on the sofa and here is Meg, standing in the kitchen, making coffee for both of us. By the time she came over with the coffee I have already managed to swell up my bloodshot eyes, like that of a frog and have reddened my nose, which could now compete with Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’s nose. But this in no way stops me from continuing my regimen I have set for myself. Meg sits next to me, holding me tightly in her arms and passing me one tissue after another from the tissue box.

After hours and hours of sobbing, on my part only, and feeling totally washed out of energy we just sit there silently staring at the now empty wall and as provocative as Meg is, she knows what to do next.

‘Alright, you’ve officially cried your eyes out for the past three days, have eaten all the ice cream you could, but, now it is time to move your ass we have a wall to decorate.’ And as I stare at her with an expression full of sadness coupled with what the hell are you talking about.

‘Oh, come on! Do you really think I will let you wallow in your sorrows over loosing that asshole. He wasn’t even worth a day which I could’ve taken care of if you had enough sense to call me.’

I know Meg will not listen to any sorry excuses I have to offer so I have to do as she says, get my sorry ass off the sofa and walk towards the bathroom. ‘ And while you are at it, take a shower as well, you smell like you just stepped out of a garbage can.’ Such words of encouragement.

Though I know she is kidding to try and get a different reaction from me. I can’t think of any satisfactory rhetorical remark, so I just agree and carry on walking to the bathroom.

By the time I come out of the shower, Meg has found a trash bag and has rid half the living room of the tissues and ice cream tubs, which had temporarily found a home in some place or the other around the sofa.

‘There’s bacon, toast and eggs on the counter with some orange juice for you, eat up and we can leave.’

“But that’s breakfast and it is past lunch time and why are we leaving? Where are we going? What are you up to?” All I can say before she looks at me like a crazy person with a menacing grin on her face.

‘I made you breakfast because I believe that you have just woken up after three whole days or just lying around and also because those were the only item I could find in the refrigerator besides your personal stash of Belgian Chocolate. Now eat up.’

I can do nothing but follow the instructions and instantly started feeling a bit more upbeat. The shower and food worked their trick on me. As I was eating the food, Meg was clearing out the apartment, most of the stuff covering my floor, sofa, coffee table and bed.

Chapter 5

‘ So what will it be, something bold and beautiful or something soft and cozy.’ We are standing in a hardware store in the paint aisle. “Why can’t we let the wall be the shade it is. Pearly white looks so perfect in the setting.”

Meg rolls her eyes at me, like she always does when she knows she is right and I am just procrastinating.

‘Oh please! As if you like it. Amy, the whole world knows you love color. You are the one who always suggested unusual combinations which everyone would refuse, but you’d paint them anyway and the outcome would be so pretty that we’d throw a party just to flaunt the new paint job.’

‘Now Amy, focus. I know there must be a new combination you are dying to try in that boring, old lady living room of yours.’

“It is not boring. Don’t look at me like that. The room looks beautiful as it is and we just re did it a few months ago. It is Zac’s favorite place in the house.” And with that, the pain was back and the tears on the verge of falling, when a trolley bumped into me and one of it’s front tyres made their way over my toes.

‘Hey! Watch it.’ Meg called out and the stranger turned to look at us and saw the tire half way up my left foot. “Oh My God! I am so sorry. Does it hurt? Are you alright? Did I break something? Don’t cry, please don’t cry. Will you be able to walk? Do you wish to sit down? I am so so sorry.”

I can’t help it anymore, the guy was so apologetic, his expressions so pained that I Just can’t hold it in anymore, it was too much. I burst out laughing. Meg and the stranger stared at me bewildered, not knowing the reason for the sudden outburst when I was at the brink of crying a few seconds ago.

“Is your friend ok? You think we should take her to the hospital or something for her foot?” The stranger kept on talking but Meg wasn’t listening anymore. She had just been struck with an idea and is already planning to put it into action. She looked at the stranger up and down and a smirk spread across her minx-like face.

‘Oh no, she is ok. I don’t think we need to take her to the hospital for now. But, it would be great if you left your card with us and we can call you just in case there is a problem later.’ Meg said blinking those mischief filled angelic eyes. She could be the most innocent of people, or at least look the part, when she wanted to.

The stranger agreed and gave her his card without a second thought, which she very carefully kept in her wallet.

“Well, I should moving on or I will be late, are you sure you don’t want to go to the hospital to get yourself checked?” He asked me again, concern still reflecting in his big eyes and all I can do is refuse and say Thank you between burst after burst of giggles.

After he left, Meg gave me a curious look- ‘Having fun?’ She asked with a raised eyebrow and the same smile she had on her face earlier.

“oh meg, it was just so funny. He was such a sweetheart and worried so much, even though he hadn’t hurt me much, he wanted to take me to the hospital. The way he was looking at me with those huge puppy dog eyes and crinkled forehead I felt as if he was not gong to listen to us and force me into an ambulance and rush me off to the emergency room, just because his trolley rolled up on my toes.”

And we both start laughing right in the middle of the aisle and none of us able to stop. People stared while trying to get across from us. ‘Ok, OK. Let’s focus now. We are hereto find you some paint for your living room. What do you want- lively or cozy?’

In about two hours we had chosen paint, rollers, brushes, various other tools and now are sitting in our favorite Chinese restaurant waiting for our chopsuey and dimsums.

‘What do you want to do after? Go get drunk, shake a leg and hit on guys or do you want to stay in, watch one of your favorite romantic comedies.’ Asked meg sipping her wine.

“How about we get home and go straight to bed?” I don’t know what fuel she runs on the way she keeps jumping from task to task one after the other without so much as a second thought.

‘I am sorry., but this is not an option presented on the table. It is either clubbing or movie- take your pick.’

I knew this was coming and there was no way she was letting me get away with it so we agreed on watching movies at home while holding popcorn and spreading ourselves on the couch.

genre- Romance
age range-16 to 40 years,
word count-3425, 
author name- Ashima Narwal, 
target audience-young adults,
platform-https://dreamlair.blogspot.in 
education- MBA
 hometown-Rohtak, Haryana, India
 age-27
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Written by GhoulCircus in portal Poetry & Free Verse

Requiem

Skin tarnished brass,

I am sensitive now

To the frangible bones

Crafting rust on my brow

Shaking dust from my tongue,

Oil lathering teeth;

This is how I lament

The deception beneath

Foul breath in my throat,

Lacerations my words

If I bleed you the truth,

Every wound weeps unheard

Opportune in decay,

They resound and remiss

From my lips growing cold

On the grave of your kiss

I am sensitive now

To the wintry touch

Of your spiritless limbs,

Leaden ghosts in my clutch

Honored host of your death,

I’ll conduct every dream

Of the way my numb hands

Choked away every scream

Fingers scathed in the fight

Between pulse and desire

If you bleed me the lies,

Every truth catches fire

On your skin, tarnished brass

I am sensitive now

To the bend of my waist,

I'll present one last bow

No resent in my smile,

Reminiscing my art;

This is how I lament

The deceit of my heart.

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Written by GhoulCircus in portal Poetry & Free Verse
Requiem
Skin tarnished brass,
I am sensitive now
To the frangible bones
Crafting rust on my brow

Shaking dust from my tongue,
Oil lathering teeth;
This is how I lament
The deception beneath

Foul breath in my throat,
Lacerations my words
If I bleed you the truth,
Every wound weeps unheard

Opportune in decay,
They resound and remiss
From my lips growing cold
On the grave of your kiss

I am sensitive now
To the wintry touch
Of your spiritless limbs,
Leaden ghosts in my clutch

Honored host of your death,
I’ll conduct every dream
Of the way my numb hands
Choked away every scream

Fingers scathed in the fight
Between pulse and desire
If you bleed me the lies,
Every truth catches fire

On your skin, tarnished brass
I am sensitive now
To the bend of my waist,
I'll present one last bow

No resent in my smile,
Reminiscing my art;
This is how I lament
The deceit of my heart.


#poetry  #intermission 
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Writer's block.
Written by JessicaJohnson

A Ghastly Barricade

We rip out phrases by their roots

Only to be met

With fistfuls of nothing

As the silence deepens.

We encompass the empty

And bleed into the barren,

Broken,

And devoid of beauty.

And when disembodied voices whisper,

"Only a little farther..."

We tread these polluted waters,

Bartering souls with wraiths

For inspiration and haste

If they would only move us

Beyond this god forsaken waste...

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Writer's block.
Written by JessicaJohnson
A Ghastly Barricade
We rip out phrases by their roots
Only to be met
With fistfuls of nothing
As the silence deepens.

We encompass the empty
And bleed into the barren,
Broken,
And devoid of beauty.

And when disembodied voices whisper,
"Only a little farther..."
We tread these polluted waters,
Bartering souls with wraiths
For inspiration and haste
If they would only move us
Beyond this god forsaken waste...
#horror  #writersblock  #uglypoetry  #becausealossofwordsisaghastlyfate 
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What is the story behind why you write?
Written by Mnezz in portal Dreams

Do what you love

Time and time again, we are told to find our drive. Our passion. Something that motivates us. Well, I adore writing! If asked why. I'd say that writing to me takes me to a whole new universe. A different world.

Writing acts like a wheel, that I love to keep turning. I also love to read other writers creations. To write, is a form of art and life. One can't simply carry on with life, and not do what they love. May the torch of writing always burn bright.

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What is the story behind why you write?
Written by Mnezz in portal Dreams
Do what you love
Time and time again, we are told to find our drive. Our passion. Something that motivates us. Well, I adore writing! If asked why. I'd say that writing to me takes me to a whole new universe. A different world.

Writing acts like a wheel, that I love to keep turning. I also love to read other writers creations. To write, is a form of art and life. One can't simply carry on with life, and not do what they love. May the torch of writing always burn bright.
29
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