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Written by Stormlight in portal Fiction

The Flood

The boy awoke to the sound of rain as it pelted the roof of the workshop. There was a howling in the air as winds battered the walls. The door to the building rattled back and forth on its weathered hinges and the boy prayed that it would hold for the night. He shivered and squirmed deeper into his nest of blankets and rags, scrounging for the remnants of warmth within them. He opened his eyes, though it served little purpose. It was still nighttime and the night was always darker than any shadows or voids he could possibly dream of. Opened or closed, he was blind to the world.

During the day, he had found dried, crusted cloths stained black with oil hidden inside one of the large metal cabinets. He used the cloths and twigs he had gathered from outside and built a tiny fire using one of his matches. He had watched the thin wisps of smoke rise and seep through the vents mounted high on the walls and eventually fell asleep to the sound of the crackling flames.

The fire had died some hours ago and now he sat in the cold and the quiet. It was so dark that he could barely see his hand when held inches from his face. The outlines of cabinets, shelves, tools and the husk of an old car could barely be seen, fuzzy and not quite there as if some glaucoma had dimmed what little of the world remained.

The sound of the rain and wind outside had grown violent with the booms of thunder claps as if God himself had come to rage upon the ashes and wash them all away.

With the fire gone, the cold clawed at his skin. The boy curled into a ball and pulled the rags tightly over him. His cheeks and hands were raw and the back of his throat burned with every breath. With no fire, he feared he might die.

He began to hum a tune to himself, although where he had heard it and what the lyrics were, he did not know. It always calmed him. It was the only song he knew and it reminded him of different days – better days. Ones he wished he could grab the memory of and relive.

An hour passed and still the boy lay wide awake, shivering in the cold. He could feel hunger rising within, biting him with the teeth of a starved beast. He had bottled water and cans of old soda, but no food left. He could go many hours without food these days, but it had now been a full day since he last ate. The taste of the canned broth still rested on his tongue and his stomach groaned in remembrance of it. The pain of hunger was something he had grown accustomed to, but it was often still enough to keep him awake at night and even when he slept through it the hunger visited him in dreams.

The rain continued to fall. Sometimes the sound of it would lull him to sleep, but on nights where the storms were especially bad, on nights like this, he’d lie huddled in a corner, frightened that it would slip under the door and drown him and everything else in the room. It could rain for days. The world would flood and overnight it would transform itself into an impassable bog of sludge and black ice. The boy couldn’t even drink from the puddles because it would burn his throat whenever he tried, as if the sky had cried acid.

When it last rained, the boy had been trapped inside an abandoned block of flats. The rain had fallen for only three days, but he remained stranded for an entire week as the water gradually dissipated enough for him to move on. He had survived on what little food and drink he had left, and on the rats that scurried up and down the halls.

The boy hoped the rain would stop soon. There weren't any rats here. Only strange tools and metal cabinets.

Again, he hummed the tune he didn’t know. The nameless song that so often replaced the grey of the world with colour. He hummed it to the dark of the night and to himself and hoped that one day it would hum back.

He closed his eyes and tried to think of the better days. He sang the tune in his head and tried to remember the words. He tried to ignore his hunger; he tried to ignore that he was cold and alone in a world of no one and he tried his best not to cry.

The earth shook with thunder once again and he felt an icy wetness seep into his blankets as the room began to flood.

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Written by Stormlight in portal Fiction
The Flood
The boy awoke to the sound of rain as it pelted the roof of the workshop. There was a howling in the air as winds battered the walls. The door to the building rattled back and forth on its weathered hinges and the boy prayed that it would hold for the night. He shivered and squirmed deeper into his nest of blankets and rags, scrounging for the remnants of warmth within them. He opened his eyes, though it served little purpose. It was still nighttime and the night was always darker than any shadows or voids he could possibly dream of. Opened or closed, he was blind to the world.

During the day, he had found dried, crusted cloths stained black with oil hidden inside one of the large metal cabinets. He used the cloths and twigs he had gathered from outside and built a tiny fire using one of his matches. He had watched the thin wisps of smoke rise and seep through the vents mounted high on the walls and eventually fell asleep to the sound of the crackling flames.

The fire had died some hours ago and now he sat in the cold and the quiet. It was so dark that he could barely see his hand when held inches from his face. The outlines of cabinets, shelves, tools and the husk of an old car could barely be seen, fuzzy and not quite there as if some glaucoma had dimmed what little of the world remained.

The sound of the rain and wind outside had grown violent with the booms of thunder claps as if God himself had come to rage upon the ashes and wash them all away.

With the fire gone, the cold clawed at his skin. The boy curled into a ball and pulled the rags tightly over him. His cheeks and hands were raw and the back of his throat burned with every breath. With no fire, he feared he might die.

He began to hum a tune to himself, although where he had heard it and what the lyrics were, he did not know. It always calmed him. It was the only song he knew and it reminded him of different days – better days. Ones he wished he could grab the memory of and relive.

An hour passed and still the boy lay wide awake, shivering in the cold. He could feel hunger rising within, biting him with the teeth of a starved beast. He had bottled water and cans of old soda, but no food left. He could go many hours without food these days, but it had now been a full day since he last ate. The taste of the canned broth still rested on his tongue and his stomach groaned in remembrance of it. The pain of hunger was something he had grown accustomed to, but it was often still enough to keep him awake at night and even when he slept through it the hunger visited him in dreams.

The rain continued to fall. Sometimes the sound of it would lull him to sleep, but on nights where the storms were especially bad, on nights like this, he’d lie huddled in a corner, frightened that it would slip under the door and drown him and everything else in the room. It could rain for days. The world would flood and overnight it would transform itself into an impassable bog of sludge and black ice. The boy couldn’t even drink from the puddles because it would burn his throat whenever he tried, as if the sky had cried acid.

When it last rained, the boy had been trapped inside an abandoned block of flats. The rain had fallen for only three days, but he remained stranded for an entire week as the water gradually dissipated enough for him to move on. He had survived on what little food and drink he had left, and on the rats that scurried up and down the halls.

The boy hoped the rain would stop soon. There weren't any rats here. Only strange tools and metal cabinets.

Again, he hummed the tune he didn’t know. The nameless song that so often replaced the grey of the world with colour. He hummed it to the dark of the night and to himself and hoped that one day it would hum back.

He closed his eyes and tried to think of the better days. He sang the tune in his head and tried to remember the words. He tried to ignore his hunger; he tried to ignore that he was cold and alone in a world of no one and he tried his best not to cry.

The earth shook with thunder once again and he felt an icy wetness seep into his blankets as the room began to flood.
#scifi  #fiction  #shortstory  #postapocalypse 
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Write a set of three haikus that follow an individual falling in love. The three stages are: Falling in love, Being in love, and Falling out of Love. Be creative, bold, and unforgiving. Best of luck! Tag me in your post, I really want to read your ideas.
Written by apromptaday in portal Poetry & Free Verse

Rise & Fall

life was happier

and when we were together

the world was brighter

We both had demons

But our love was strong enough

To withstand the winds

Until it wasn't.

We began to fall apart

Broken and alone

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Write a set of three haikus that follow an individual falling in love. The three stages are: Falling in love, Being in love, and Falling out of Love. Be creative, bold, and unforgiving. Best of luck! Tag me in your post, I really want to read your ideas.
Written by apromptaday in portal Poetry & Free Verse
Rise & Fall
life was happier
and when we were together
the world was brighter

We both had demons
But our love was strong enough
To withstand the winds

Until it wasn't.
We began to fall apart
Broken and alone

#fiction  #romance  #lyrics 
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May the 4th is Star Wars Day. For this challenge write a micropoem in the point of view of any Star Wars character (Canon or Legends). Include the hashtags: #starwars, #maythefourth
Written by CAJohnson in portal Micropoetry

Obi-wan Kenobi

I lost my student,

I gained his son.

Exiled to a land of sand,

I wait.

The Jedi shall rise again.

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May the 4th is Star Wars Day. For this challenge write a micropoem in the point of view of any Star Wars character (Canon or Legends). Include the hashtags: #starwars, #maythefourth
Written by CAJohnson in portal Micropoetry
Obi-wan Kenobi
I lost my student,
I gained his son.
Exiled to a land of sand,
I wait.
The Jedi shall rise again.
#fiction  #poetry  #starwars  #maythefourth  #theNewHope 
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///// Nightdwellers 'Beginning Line' Challenge (April) ///// Write a piece of literature with the beginning line ‘Twilight, and the ocean breaks…’ Tag it #nightdwellers #beginningline. http://www.facebook.com/groups/NightdwellersWrites/
Written by apromptaday

Sirens

Twilight, and the ocean breaks

In dark shadows, her soul it takes

when waters churn a melody

fantastical tunes drag her to sea

Notes of beauty, life sublime

Sky of stars and sands of time

waters wondering, in a swirl

inviting promises come little girl

Deeper, deeper, down and down

One step more to finally drown

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///// Nightdwellers 'Beginning Line' Challenge (April) ///// Write a piece of literature with the beginning line ‘Twilight, and the ocean breaks…’ Tag it #nightdwellers #beginningline. http://www.facebook.com/groups/NightdwellersWrites/
Written by apromptaday
Sirens
Twilight, and the ocean breaks
In dark shadows, her soul it takes
when waters churn a melody
fantastical tunes drag her to sea
Notes of beauty, life sublime
Sky of stars and sands of time
waters wondering, in a swirl
inviting promises come little girl
Deeper, deeper, down and down
One step more to finally drown


#fantasy  #fiction  #horror  #poetry  #nightdwellers  #beginningline 
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Written by WarriorKate in portal Poetry & Free Verse

Axes and Ohhhhs

Something worth being a secret,

Should be carefully shared.

Otherwise the entire town will know,

Keep your secret, or Be prepared.

Gossip at the local salon and saloon,

Word travels with lightening speed,

The story changes in truth,

Pretty soon you're the front page read.

Life is full of petty little liars,

Nice to your face,

But behind your back,

The worst disgrace.

You find out who your friends are,

When times are tough.

Some will come through to help,

some will vanish into the rough.

In the blink of an eye,

Life can change.

Your world can go from glitter and roses,

To burning down in flames.

In these dreaded moments,

You have to be smart and strong,

Because those friends you need,

May do you very wrong.

Judgmental little assholes,

Dirty, tasteless fools.

Lined up talking shit,

Drunk and sitting on the local bar stools.

You thought I wouldn't hear it,

You think I don't know?

Everyone whispers loud around here,

That's why rumors so easily grow.

There is nothing left to speak about,

So they revert to tasteless chatter.

Their own lives are so boring,

That my tragedies become the subject matter.

So next time we meet,

I'll hug you a little tighter,

I'll tell you that I appreciate the support,

That you've made this burden much lighter.

Then I'll tell you the story,

Of the golden rule,

The one we heard together in bible school,

And I'll grin and play it cool.

I'll give you little clues,

Drop a few names and make you sweat,

You'll start to wonder if I know,

Your face will blush with regret.

I'll tell you how my world is crumbling,

That I'm hanging on by a thread.

Then I'll tell you all the crazy things,

That pop up in my head.

Like how sometimes I sleep walk,

I'm not sure where I go.

But sometimes I wake up,

Holding a shovel and a hoe.

How sometimes I find myself,

Standing in front of giant fires,

Like the big one last week,

Where they found the smoldering tires.

That for some strange reason,

There is an ax in my car,

I have no idea how it got there...

Really weird since they found a chopped up body not to far...

I'll tell you that yesterday I woke up,

Naked next to your lover,

All warm and cozy,

And how the bartender fucked your mother.

I'll let you ponder this,

Long enough to wonder and think it through,

Am I telling the truth?

I guess you better hope that

I'm a better liar than you.

You thought you had something to talk about,

Congratulations, now you do!

Go tell everyone all the things,

That I just said to you.

Go- Climb up on that barstool!

Share some stories and drink a beer!

What's wrong? You're going home already?

Your face is full of fear.

Don't blame me, I'm just returning the favor,

Just like you, I'm the friend of the year.

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Written by WarriorKate in portal Poetry & Free Verse
Axes and Ohhhhs
Something worth being a secret,
Should be carefully shared.
Otherwise the entire town will know,
Keep your secret, or Be prepared.

Gossip at the local salon and saloon,
Word travels with lightening speed,
The story changes in truth,
Pretty soon you're the front page read.

Life is full of petty little liars,
Nice to your face,
But behind your back,
The worst disgrace.

You find out who your friends are,
When times are tough.
Some will come through to help,
some will vanish into the rough.

In the blink of an eye,
Life can change.
Your world can go from glitter and roses,
To burning down in flames.

In these dreaded moments,
You have to be smart and strong,
Because those friends you need,
May do you very wrong.

Judgmental little assholes,
Dirty, tasteless fools.
Lined up talking shit,
Drunk and sitting on the local bar stools.

You thought I wouldn't hear it,
You think I don't know?
Everyone whispers loud around here,
That's why rumors so easily grow.

There is nothing left to speak about,
So they revert to tasteless chatter.
Their own lives are so boring,
That my tragedies become the subject matter.

So next time we meet,
I'll hug you a little tighter,
I'll tell you that I appreciate the support,
That you've made this burden much lighter.

Then I'll tell you the story,
Of the golden rule,
The one we heard together in bible school,
And I'll grin and play it cool.

I'll give you little clues,
Drop a few names and make you sweat,
You'll start to wonder if I know,
Your face will blush with regret.

I'll tell you how my world is crumbling,
That I'm hanging on by a thread.
Then I'll tell you all the crazy things,
That pop up in my head.

Like how sometimes I sleep walk,
I'm not sure where I go.
But sometimes I wake up,
Holding a shovel and a hoe.

How sometimes I find myself,
Standing in front of giant fires,
Like the big one last week,
Where they found the smoldering tires.

That for some strange reason,
There is an ax in my car,
I have no idea how it got there...
Really weird since they found a chopped up body not to far...

I'll tell you that yesterday I woke up,
Naked next to your lover,
All warm and cozy,
And how the bartender fucked your mother.

I'll let you ponder this,
Long enough to wonder and think it through,
Am I telling the truth?
I guess you better hope that
I'm a better liar than you.

You thought you had something to talk about,
Congratulations, now you do!
Go tell everyone all the things,
That I just said to you.

Go- Climb up on that barstool!
Share some stories and drink a beer!
What's wrong? You're going home already?
Your face is full of fear.
Don't blame me, I'm just returning the favor,
Just like you, I'm the friend of the year.








#fiction  #poetry  #culture 
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CotW #65: Write a story about infidelity. The most eloquent, elegant, entertaining entry, ascertained by Prose, earns $100 and stays atop the Spotlight shelf for six straight days. Feel free to invite friends, distant family, even strange acquaintances to play this challenge with you anonymously. Please use #ProseChallenge #itslit for sharing online.
Written by JessicaJohnson

Deception In The First Degree

The shoddy streetlight barely pierces the darkness as I stumble down the old sidewalk to the east side of the deserted warehouse.  It is nearly midnight, and I am still searching for the illuminated door. Beneath my shoes, I feel the sidewalk give way to loose gravel as I continue past more boarded up windows and shadowy interiors. As the darkness continues, I wonder if perhaps I am at the wrong rendezvous point. Or if perhaps Carmen came to her senses and abandoned our tryst before it could ever fully begin. And as these thoughts creep in, I feel a disappointment settling itself behind my rib cage as I continue on into the dark.

But, wait! What is that ahead? I feel my heartbeat skip as I quicken my pace, anticipation flooding my veins. A faint yellow glow is seeping behind a cracked door. I brace myself as I approach and inch the door open. As I peer down the corridor, I see a makeshift table with a lantern sitting atop it. And, leaning against the makeshift table, I set eyes on the most exquisite woman I have ever seen. Carmen is all legs in her strappy heels and short, clingy black dress. As I approach, I watch a slow smile splay across her painted red lips as her blond hair tumbles in waves over her bare shoulders. Her lips meet mine with insistence, sparking instant desire as her arms wrap around my neck. She deepens the kiss as she trails one bare leg down my side, my arousal fully evident between us. As her tongue forces its way into my mouth, I feel a slight pinch and a tingle at the side of my neck. I then feel Carmen slowly disengage herself from the kiss and step out of my arms. My confusion at her sudden halt is consuming my mind. Yet, my eyes are having trouble focusing on the smeared red lipstick on her face. As I try to read her expression, I feel my limbs become heavy, and the room begins to spin. Then my whole world goes black.

***12 hours earlier***

"This is such a nice little place. I can't believe we have never been here before. Jenny from my book club mentioned it the other day, saying we should definitely stop in sometime." My wife prattles on as we sit in a booth at Grandma's Cafe on the corner of 5th finishing our lunch. "The food and the coffee have both been excellent," she continues, still sipping from her mug. On a spur of the moment whim, my wife decided we should venture out for lunch. I'm finishing my turkey club and inserting the appropriate "Mhmm's" and "Yes, dear's" to keep the conversation flowing. Yet, I can hardly focus on any words leaving her mouth.

Across the room, Carmen is sitting alone, sipping coffee and flipping through a magazine. It's taking most of my willpower not to stare at her long legs stretched out under the table in those shorts. Our eyes met when my wife and I entered the cafe, and the ghost of a smile that graced Carmen's lips sent my pulse racing. Carmen and I have actually ate at this cafe before. Earlier this month, I met up with Carmen twice for dinner here while my wife believed me to be working late. We have never ventured beyond dinner, a few lingering kisses, and many inappropriate text messages, but I feel we are approaching a new transgression. Last night, Carmen sent me a message with a photo displaying her full cleavage. Attached to the photo was the one word text of "Soon."

My wife has finished her lunch and excuses herself to the restroom. After my wife disappears from sight, I watch Carmen slowly rise from her seat. As she saunters to the door, she swings by my booth with a smile and a wink as she slides a folded napkin across the table. My hungry eyes watch her leave the cafe before I open the napkin and read, "Tonight is the night. Meet me at the old warehouse on Lincoln, east side, at midnight. Look for the illuminated door. Love, C."

***In the warehouse***

My head is groggy and my neck aches. As my senses slowly drift back to me, I realize I am sitting in a upright position. I attempt to move my arms and legs to a more comfortable position only to find I cannot move them. My eyelids are heavy as I force them open to stare down at my hands, which are bound with rope to each side of a chair. I cannot see my ankles, but I think it's safe to assume that they are bound to the legs of the chair. The panic from my restraints forces me into a more wakeful state as I slowly take in my surroundings and attempt to remember what happened. As I gaze around the room, realizing I am in a warehouse, the pieces slowly fall into place. I was meeting Carmen. I was kissing Carmen. Then I passed out? I must have. But I am still in the warehouse, tied up and groggy. Why?? And where is Carmen?

The room I am restrained in is relatively well lit. And now that I remember where I am, I take slower stock of my surroundings. Across the room from me is another chair, empty, with a small black suitcase sitting next to it. A small bit of rope is coiled next to the chair, and next to the rope is an ash tray with several cigarette butts. The smell of cigarettes linger in the air as if one was recently smoked. To my left, I notice a large table with many photographs spread out across it. And in the far corner of the table, I notice long, wavy golden locks of hair, the exact color of Carmen's hair. The exquisite locks are piled at the corner as if they were a wig...

Yet, my eyes are drawn from the wavy locks to the photographs on the table as I glimpse what appears to be my face. My eyes then move slowly from one photograph to the next, realizing I am in each picture. And each photo depicts me locked in a damning embrace with a different woman. I recognize Miranda in one photograph, and Anna in another. They are my more recent affairs. I recognize Heather from a drunken one night stand around a month ago. I continue to peruse the photographs and recognize Amy, Diana, and Rachel from several months ago. And as I continue to scrutinize each photograph, I realize there are many women who's names I cannot remember. Where did all these photos come from? And who has been taking them?

"Well, hello Martin. So glad to finally see you're awake." I jump at the sound of Carmen's voice coming from the doorway to my right. "I was worried you many never wake from the tranquilizer dose I gave you. You went down a lot faster than the usual, but I believe I injected you straight into the jugular. Intravenous rather than intramuscular. It has a faster, yet more deadly effect."

I watch, dumbfounded, as Carmen steps into the room still in her black dress, yet with her feet bare as her heels dangle from one hand. Her smeared red lipstick has been wiped away. And her hair is clipped short and brown. I glace from her face back to the table with the golden locks.

"Ah, yes. Those golden tresses are a wig. Elizabeth told me you had a weak spot for blonds, as many of these photos on display for you would indicate." Carmen saunters into the room and takes a seat in the empty chair across from me, crossing her legs and lighting up a cigarette. "Now, where should we begin?" she asks, as a takes a slow drag from the cigarette.

A whole string of questions and curses fill my head as I sit bound across the room, but very few words make it past my lips. "Why are you doing this? I have done nothing to you! Let me go!"

"Oh, Martin. Don't you know?" Carmen asks, a glint in her eye. "Your wife Elizabeth asked me to do this. And she can be rather convincing. She actually hired me a couple years ago to follow you, confirming her suspicions about your affairs." Carmen lets this revelation sink in as she takes another slow drag from her cigarette before continuing. "After I confirmed her suspicions, I became her regular contact. Every time she believed you might be having a new affair, I got a call. You both have kept me very busy. She paid me extra to frighten away a few of your lovers that she believed you might be getting too serious with. But the straw that finally broke the camel's back, as they say, was your last affair. I believe her name was Miranda, yes?" In the following pause, Carmen takes my silence for confirmation. Miranda was my most recent affair...

"Yes. I thought so," Carmen continues. "Well, Miranda was a member of your wife's book club, and her seeing Miranda every week was the true breaking point. It was then I got a very different call from Elizabeth." A sinister smile stretches across Carmen's lips as her next words roll off her tongue with foreboding, "And here we are!"

As I stare at Carmen, I realize she hasn't divulged whatever my wife has hired her to do. But I think it's safe to assume I will not like it. "I will pay you!" I blurt desperately. "Whatever my wife has promised you, I will double it if you let me go. And no one has to know about this. Nothing has happened here that we can't take back."

"Martin, Martin..." Carmen muses as she finishes her cigarette and leans over to put it out in the ash tray beside her chair. She then rises from her chair, with the black suitcase in hand, and advances to the table with the photos. She sets the black suitcase upon the table as she gathers up the photographs into a neat pile. "This is a rather shady part of town for you to be out in so late at night, Martin. I believe you probably gave Elizabeth some lie about not being able to sleep and needing to take a drive to clear your head."

I watch with building fear as Carmen opens the suitcase and dons a pair of gloves before she again continues. "A lot of bad characters prowl these streets at this hour. And one of these bad characters has been selling some questionable drugs to kids around town. I have been hired to deal with him also."

My dread keeps building as I hear Carmen assembling something behind the opened lid of the suitcase. "I discretely lifted this from our drug dealer for tonight's special occasion," Carmen states matter-of-factly as she flashes a pistol in her right hand, silencer attached. "As it turns out, this gun can be directly linked to our neighborhood drug dealer through ballistics. And I happen to know he will be closing a deal approximately a block over very soon. Such a shame that you had to witness the deal on your evening drive. Your untimely demise will be quite the tragedy. And our sleazy dealer will find himself off the streets and behind bars for murder in the first degree." Carmen moves from behind the table and positions herself directly in front of me, a sly glint reflected in her eyes. "Two birds with one stone," she states, smiling.

"Please, please, please..." I beg. "Don't do this! I'll do anything! Please!" Yet, at my pleading, her smile only broadens.

"HELP! PLEASE! SOMEONE HELP ME!" I scream. "HELP!!!'

"Your screams are useless Martin. No one will hear you here. And even if they did, they would not dare venture into these shady streets at this hour." Even as the words leave her lips, I know this to be true.

"You won't get away with this! You will go to prison!" I yell, tears stinging the corners of my eyes in a mix of rage and terror as I struggle futilely with my bonds.

"Martin, darling, I have been getting away with this for years," Carmen purrs, her words sending shivers down my spine. I watch as she levels the gun at my forehead, terror fully seizing me as my bladder gives way, the acrid smell of urine filling my nostrils.

"Please..." I plead, tears spilling down my cheeks.

"It's nothing personal, Martin," Carmen states, gun in position. "But your wife has quite the impressive life insurance policy on you. And, as it turns out, you are worth more dead than alive."

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CotW #65: Write a story about infidelity. The most eloquent, elegant, entertaining entry, ascertained by Prose, earns $100 and stays atop the Spotlight shelf for six straight days. Feel free to invite friends, distant family, even strange acquaintances to play this challenge with you anonymously. Please use #ProseChallenge #itslit for sharing online.
Written by JessicaJohnson
Deception In The First Degree
The shoddy streetlight barely pierces the darkness as I stumble down the old sidewalk to the east side of the deserted warehouse.  It is nearly midnight, and I am still searching for the illuminated door. Beneath my shoes, I feel the sidewalk give way to loose gravel as I continue past more boarded up windows and shadowy interiors. As the darkness continues, I wonder if perhaps I am at the wrong rendezvous point. Or if perhaps Carmen came to her senses and abandoned our tryst before it could ever fully begin. And as these thoughts creep in, I feel a disappointment settling itself behind my rib cage as I continue on into the dark.

But, wait! What is that ahead? I feel my heartbeat skip as I quicken my pace, anticipation flooding my veins. A faint yellow glow is seeping behind a cracked door. I brace myself as I approach and inch the door open. As I peer down the corridor, I see a makeshift table with a lantern sitting atop it. And, leaning against the makeshift table, I set eyes on the most exquisite woman I have ever seen. Carmen is all legs in her strappy heels and short, clingy black dress. As I approach, I watch a slow smile splay across her painted red lips as her blond hair tumbles in waves over her bare shoulders. Her lips meet mine with insistence, sparking instant desire as her arms wrap around my neck. She deepens the kiss as she trails one bare leg down my side, my arousal fully evident between us. As her tongue forces its way into my mouth, I feel a slight pinch and a tingle at the side of my neck. I then feel Carmen slowly disengage herself from the kiss and step out of my arms. My confusion at her sudden halt is consuming my mind. Yet, my eyes are having trouble focusing on the smeared red lipstick on her face. As I try to read her expression, I feel my limbs become heavy, and the room begins to spin. Then my whole world goes black.

***12 hours earlier***

"This is such a nice little place. I can't believe we have never been here before. Jenny from my book club mentioned it the other day, saying we should definitely stop in sometime." My wife prattles on as we sit in a booth at Grandma's Cafe on the corner of 5th finishing our lunch. "The food and the coffee have both been excellent," she continues, still sipping from her mug. On a spur of the moment whim, my wife decided we should venture out for lunch. I'm finishing my turkey club and inserting the appropriate "Mhmm's" and "Yes, dear's" to keep the conversation flowing. Yet, I can hardly focus on any words leaving her mouth.

Across the room, Carmen is sitting alone, sipping coffee and flipping through a magazine. It's taking most of my willpower not to stare at her long legs stretched out under the table in those shorts. Our eyes met when my wife and I entered the cafe, and the ghost of a smile that graced Carmen's lips sent my pulse racing. Carmen and I have actually ate at this cafe before. Earlier this month, I met up with Carmen twice for dinner here while my wife believed me to be working late. We have never ventured beyond dinner, a few lingering kisses, and many inappropriate text messages, but I feel we are approaching a new transgression. Last night, Carmen sent me a message with a photo displaying her full cleavage. Attached to the photo was the one word text of "Soon."

My wife has finished her lunch and excuses herself to the restroom. After my wife disappears from sight, I watch Carmen slowly rise from her seat. As she saunters to the door, she swings by my booth with a smile and a wink as she slides a folded napkin across the table. My hungry eyes watch her leave the cafe before I open the napkin and read, "Tonight is the night. Meet me at the old warehouse on Lincoln, east side, at midnight. Look for the illuminated door. Love, C."

***In the warehouse***

My head is groggy and my neck aches. As my senses slowly drift back to me, I realize I am sitting in a upright position. I attempt to move my arms and legs to a more comfortable position only to find I cannot move them. My eyelids are heavy as I force them open to stare down at my hands, which are bound with rope to each side of a chair. I cannot see my ankles, but I think it's safe to assume that they are bound to the legs of the chair. The panic from my restraints forces me into a more wakeful state as I slowly take in my surroundings and attempt to remember what happened. As I gaze around the room, realizing I am in a warehouse, the pieces slowly fall into place. I was meeting Carmen. I was kissing Carmen. Then I passed out? I must have. But I am still in the warehouse, tied up and groggy. Why?? And where is Carmen?

The room I am restrained in is relatively well lit. And now that I remember where I am, I take slower stock of my surroundings. Across the room from me is another chair, empty, with a small black suitcase sitting next to it. A small bit of rope is coiled next to the chair, and next to the rope is an ash tray with several cigarette butts. The smell of cigarettes linger in the air as if one was recently smoked. To my left, I notice a large table with many photographs spread out across it. And in the far corner of the table, I notice long, wavy golden locks of hair, the exact color of Carmen's hair. The exquisite locks are piled at the corner as if they were a wig...

Yet, my eyes are drawn from the wavy locks to the photographs on the table as I glimpse what appears to be my face. My eyes then move slowly from one photograph to the next, realizing I am in each picture. And each photo depicts me locked in a damning embrace with a different woman. I recognize Miranda in one photograph, and Anna in another. They are my more recent affairs. I recognize Heather from a drunken one night stand around a month ago. I continue to peruse the photographs and recognize Amy, Diana, and Rachel from several months ago. And as I continue to scrutinize each photograph, I realize there are many women who's names I cannot remember. Where did all these photos come from? And who has been taking them?

"Well, hello Martin. So glad to finally see you're awake." I jump at the sound of Carmen's voice coming from the doorway to my right. "I was worried you many never wake from the tranquilizer dose I gave you. You went down a lot faster than the usual, but I believe I injected you straight into the jugular. Intravenous rather than intramuscular. It has a faster, yet more deadly effect."

I watch, dumbfounded, as Carmen steps into the room still in her black dress, yet with her feet bare as her heels dangle from one hand. Her smeared red lipstick has been wiped away. And her hair is clipped short and brown. I glace from her face back to the table with the golden locks.

"Ah, yes. Those golden tresses are a wig. Elizabeth told me you had a weak spot for blonds, as many of these photos on display for you would indicate." Carmen saunters into the room and takes a seat in the empty chair across from me, crossing her legs and lighting up a cigarette. "Now, where should we begin?" she asks, as a takes a slow drag from the cigarette.

A whole string of questions and curses fill my head as I sit bound across the room, but very few words make it past my lips. "Why are you doing this? I have done nothing to you! Let me go!"

"Oh, Martin. Don't you know?" Carmen asks, a glint in her eye. "Your wife Elizabeth asked me to do this. And she can be rather convincing. She actually hired me a couple years ago to follow you, confirming her suspicions about your affairs." Carmen lets this revelation sink in as she takes another slow drag from her cigarette before continuing. "After I confirmed her suspicions, I became her regular contact. Every time she believed you might be having a new affair, I got a call. You both have kept me very busy. She paid me extra to frighten away a few of your lovers that she believed you might be getting too serious with. But the straw that finally broke the camel's back, as they say, was your last affair. I believe her name was Miranda, yes?" In the following pause, Carmen takes my silence for confirmation. Miranda was my most recent affair...

"Yes. I thought so," Carmen continues. "Well, Miranda was a member of your wife's book club, and her seeing Miranda every week was the true breaking point. It was then I got a very different call from Elizabeth." A sinister smile stretches across Carmen's lips as her next words roll off her tongue with foreboding, "And here we are!"

As I stare at Carmen, I realize she hasn't divulged whatever my wife has hired her to do. But I think it's safe to assume I will not like it. "I will pay you!" I blurt desperately. "Whatever my wife has promised you, I will double it if you let me go. And no one has to know about this. Nothing has happened here that we can't take back."

"Martin, Martin..." Carmen muses as she finishes her cigarette and leans over to put it out in the ash tray beside her chair. She then rises from her chair, with the black suitcase in hand, and advances to the table with the photos. She sets the black suitcase upon the table as she gathers up the photographs into a neat pile. "This is a rather shady part of town for you to be out in so late at night, Martin. I believe you probably gave Elizabeth some lie about not being able to sleep and needing to take a drive to clear your head."

I watch with building fear as Carmen opens the suitcase and dons a pair of gloves before she again continues. "A lot of bad characters prowl these streets at this hour. And one of these bad characters has been selling some questionable drugs to kids around town. I have been hired to deal with him also."

My dread keeps building as I hear Carmen assembling something behind the opened lid of the suitcase. "I discretely lifted this from our drug dealer for tonight's special occasion," Carmen states matter-of-factly as she flashes a pistol in her right hand, silencer attached. "As it turns out, this gun can be directly linked to our neighborhood drug dealer through ballistics. And I happen to know he will be closing a deal approximately a block over very soon. Such a shame that you had to witness the deal on your evening drive. Your untimely demise will be quite the tragedy. And our sleazy dealer will find himself off the streets and behind bars for murder in the first degree." Carmen moves from behind the table and positions herself directly in front of me, a sly glint reflected in her eyes. "Two birds with one stone," she states, smiling.

"Please, please, please..." I beg. "Don't do this! I'll do anything! Please!" Yet, at my pleading, her smile only broadens.

"HELP! PLEASE! SOMEONE HELP ME!" I scream. "HELP!!!'

"Your screams are useless Martin. No one will hear you here. And even if they did, they would not dare venture into these shady streets at this hour." Even as the words leave her lips, I know this to be true.

"You won't get away with this! You will go to prison!" I yell, tears stinging the corners of my eyes in a mix of rage and terror as I struggle futilely with my bonds.

"Martin, darling, I have been getting away with this for years," Carmen purrs, her words sending shivers down my spine. I watch as she levels the gun at my forehead, terror fully seizing me as my bladder gives way, the acrid smell of urine filling my nostrils.

"Please..." I plead, tears spilling down my cheeks.

"It's nothing personal, Martin," Carmen states, gun in position. "But your wife has quite the impressive life insurance policy on you. And, as it turns out, you are worth more dead than alive."
#fiction  #horror  #prosechallenge  #Itslit 
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Written by AtMilliways in portal Paranormal

Uneasy (Presence, pt. ii)

When Jo was little she’d been afraid of the dark, but she’d grown out of it. At some point in high school she’d realized that most monsters looked like regular people and came out in daylight just as often as they lurked in the shadows.

So why, as a twenty-eight year old woman with her own life and apartment, were old habits coming back? She kept her eyes closed from the time her head hit the pillow until her alarm went off in the morning, as if not seeing anything meant nothing could see her. She tried to breathe as quietly as possible so as to not attract attention. If she absolutely had to get up in the middle of the night to pee she turned on every light on the way there, then raced to get them all off again and back under the covers before the toilet finished running. And she never, ever bent down to look under the bed.

Her cats seemed uneasy too. All three of them had started keeping close to her after dark. Even Artie, who hadn’t been so snugly since he’d grown out of being a kitten, was cozying up to her feet every night. Sometimes their eyes seemed to be following things that hers couldn’t see — except weren’t cats always like that? They were weird, moody little shits, but she was still relieved to have their constant company. Especially since she’d blown it with her only remaining friend by being a complete idiot.

Sometimes she daydreamed about that kiss, though. Hazel’s lips on hers, kissing her like she wanted her… But that was a laugh. Who would want someone who made a move on someone right after they found out their ex had just died? Not to mention that Ariel had been her friend too, sort of. In a ‘mutual toleration’ kind of way. In a ‘had sex half a dozen times just for the hell of it’ kind of way, before Hazel had come into the picture. It hadn’t meant anything, even though it was Jo’s first time admitting she wanted to be with women, and if she’d ever thought it meant anything she quickly reminded herself that Ariel never had.

Ariel had never been her type. She was too calculating and manipulative. Plus all the booze, cigarettes, and drugs. Jo didn’t mind the first one so much, but she’d been a competitive runner ever since junior high and had no interest in sacrificing her health on the altar of tobacco and painkillers.

She still didn’t get what Hazel had seen in her. Maybe it was just that Hazel was a better person, able to see through Ariel’s concrete-hard layers down to the lost little girl underneath. Jo had never been that nice. Which was why she didn’t deserve Hazel, and hadn’t deserved that kiss.

Jo was just washing up after the obligatory daily scooping of the litter when her cell phone rang, startling her with the sudden blaring chorus of Pharrell Williams’ Happy.

“(Because I’m happy!) Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof!”

The soap flew out from between her fingers and hit the bathroom mirror just right to send cracks spidering across the reflective surface.

“(Because I’m happy.) Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.”

Cursing under her breath, she hastily wiped her hands on a towel and ran to catch the call. That was the ringtone she’d set for Hazel’s calls. Mental note, she told herself, find a less obnoxious ringtone later.

“(Because I’m happy) Clap along if you know what happiness is—”

“Hello?”

There was just static on the line. Just static, until she heard a familiar voice in the white noise, and it wasn’t Hazel.

“Stay away from her,” it whispered, just barely over the crack and snap of the bad connection “Stay away from her stay away from her stay away from her stay away from her stay away from her you bitch.”

The little hairs on the back of Jo’s neck were standing up. Dinah, who’d been curled up on the table next to the phone, was on her feet now with ears back and tail twice its normal size.

It was Ariel.

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Written by AtMilliways in portal Paranormal
Uneasy (Presence, pt. ii)
When Jo was little she’d been afraid of the dark, but she’d grown out of it. At some point in high school she’d realized that most monsters looked like regular people and came out in daylight just as often as they lurked in the shadows.

So why, as a twenty-eight year old woman with her own life and apartment, were old habits coming back? She kept her eyes closed from the time her head hit the pillow until her alarm went off in the morning, as if not seeing anything meant nothing could see her. She tried to breathe as quietly as possible so as to not attract attention. If she absolutely had to get up in the middle of the night to pee she turned on every light on the way there, then raced to get them all off again and back under the covers before the toilet finished running. And she never, ever bent down to look under the bed.

Her cats seemed uneasy too. All three of them had started keeping close to her after dark. Even Artie, who hadn’t been so snugly since he’d grown out of being a kitten, was cozying up to her feet every night. Sometimes their eyes seemed to be following things that hers couldn’t see — except weren’t cats always like that? They were weird, moody little shits, but she was still relieved to have their constant company. Especially since she’d blown it with her only remaining friend by being a complete idiot.

Sometimes she daydreamed about that kiss, though. Hazel’s lips on hers, kissing her like she wanted her… But that was a laugh. Who would want someone who made a move on someone right after they found out their ex had just died? Not to mention that Ariel had been her friend too, sort of. In a ‘mutual toleration’ kind of way. In a ‘had sex half a dozen times just for the hell of it’ kind of way, before Hazel had come into the picture. It hadn’t meant anything, even though it was Jo’s first time admitting she wanted to be with women, and if she’d ever thought it meant anything she quickly reminded herself that Ariel never had.

Ariel had never been her type. She was too calculating and manipulative. Plus all the booze, cigarettes, and drugs. Jo didn’t mind the first one so much, but she’d been a competitive runner ever since junior high and had no interest in sacrificing her health on the altar of tobacco and painkillers.

She still didn’t get what Hazel had seen in her. Maybe it was just that Hazel was a better person, able to see through Ariel’s concrete-hard layers down to the lost little girl underneath. Jo had never been that nice. Which was why she didn’t deserve Hazel, and hadn’t deserved that kiss.

Jo was just washing up after the obligatory daily scooping of the litter when her cell phone rang, startling her with the sudden blaring chorus of Pharrell Williams’ Happy.

“(Because I’m happy!) Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof!”

The soap flew out from between her fingers and hit the bathroom mirror just right to send cracks spidering across the reflective surface.

“(Because I’m happy.) Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.”

Cursing under her breath, she hastily wiped her hands on a towel and ran to catch the call. That was the ringtone she’d set for Hazel’s calls. Mental note, she told herself, find a less obnoxious ringtone later.

“(Because I’m happy) Clap along if you know what happiness is—”

“Hello?”

There was just static on the line. Just static, until she heard a familiar voice in the white noise, and it wasn’t Hazel.

“Stay away from her,” it whispered, just barely over the crack and snap of the bad connection “Stay away from her stay away from her stay away from her stay away from her stay away from her you bitch.”

The little hairs on the back of Jo’s neck were standing up. Dinah, who’d been curled up on the table next to the phone, was on her feet now with ears back and tail twice its normal size.

It was Ariel.
#fiction  #lgbt  #ghoststory 
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Written by diffdelusions in portal Fiction

SafeHaven

Dr. Hortence Took is a therapist on SafeHaven, an online therapy platform, and her newest patient has a guilty conscience, a dark secret, and a dangerous intent. Episodes 1 to 7 of my serial chat story "SafeHaven" are all available on the Hooked app.

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Written by diffdelusions in portal Fiction
SafeHaven
Dr. Hortence Took is a therapist on SafeHaven, an online therapy platform, and her newest patient has a guilty conscience, a dark secret, and a dangerous intent. Episodes 1 to 7 of my serial chat story "SafeHaven" are all available on the Hooked app.
#fiction  #suspense  #therapy  #chatstories 
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CotW #65: Write a story about infidelity. The most eloquent, elegant, entertaining entry, ascertained by Prose, earns $100 and stays atop the Spotlight shelf for six straight days. Feel free to invite friends, distant family, even strange acquaintances to play this challenge with you anonymously. Please use #ProseChallenge #itslit for sharing online.
Written by sandflea68

Cyber Sex

She was not being unfaithful, she told herself over and over. She loved her husband and he satisfied her every sexual need except….well, she needed more reassurance, more self-esteem and yes, more foreplay. She felt like he almost took her for granted. She wanted to be told she was the most beautiful woman in the world and that he couldn’t do without her. It was always the same, he rolled over twice a week, and pulled her to him and planted kisses as he reached between her legs and drew her to him. It was almost like he had a sex manual in front of him, following it by rote until she climaxed. Sometimes she faked it when the awkward pawing became too much.

She started experimenting by going online, writing sexy little stories guaranteed to titillate and provoke her audiences. She quickly lost her shyness as she noticed other women doing the same thing on the writing site. Soon, she felt she almost knew the others on the site but felt she needed to go elsewhere. Certainly, she realized that people could be anything they wanted to be on the internet and that their attributes were probably exaggerated.

It was amazingly easy to find another site where interested parties flirted with one another without any intent to carry it any further. Before she knew it, she was fully involved in a cyber affair. At first, they were innocents, just getting to know one another but soon, their conversation became more explicit. They had agreed to just show one another from the neck up but began to discuss all types of foreplay in the most descriptive terms. She could feel the wetness begin as soon as he said “hello” in his husky voice. By the look on his face, he was fully involved as well. Soon, they were moaning and groaning as they touched themselves, using facial expressions and passionate narratives of their activities. After a while, they removed their clothing and lowered the camera.

Without realizing the intensification of their affair, they began to describe the things they wanted to do to one another in graphic detail. When she had built up to a point where she was almost climaxing, she purred her good night, clicked off the computer and crawled into bed with her husband and began the very things that she and her cyber lover had been talking about. Her husband became putty in her hands as he murmured, “Where have you been all my life?”

Realizing that she had the best of both worlds, she stayed with her husband in wild sexual romps but also kept her cyber lover as a spare and as an instigator for her arousing and exciting new sensuality. She wondered to herself offhandedly whether she ought to take another lover but right now, her hands were full. But there would always be another day!

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CotW #65: Write a story about infidelity. The most eloquent, elegant, entertaining entry, ascertained by Prose, earns $100 and stays atop the Spotlight shelf for six straight days. Feel free to invite friends, distant family, even strange acquaintances to play this challenge with you anonymously. Please use #ProseChallenge #itslit for sharing online.
Written by sandflea68
Cyber Sex
She was not being unfaithful, she told herself over and over. She loved her husband and he satisfied her every sexual need except….well, she needed more reassurance, more self-esteem and yes, more foreplay. She felt like he almost took her for granted. She wanted to be told she was the most beautiful woman in the world and that he couldn’t do without her. It was always the same, he rolled over twice a week, and pulled her to him and planted kisses as he reached between her legs and drew her to him. It was almost like he had a sex manual in front of him, following it by rote until she climaxed. Sometimes she faked it when the awkward pawing became too much.

She started experimenting by going online, writing sexy little stories guaranteed to titillate and provoke her audiences. She quickly lost her shyness as she noticed other women doing the same thing on the writing site. Soon, she felt she almost knew the others on the site but felt she needed to go elsewhere. Certainly, she realized that people could be anything they wanted to be on the internet and that their attributes were probably exaggerated.

It was amazingly easy to find another site where interested parties flirted with one another without any intent to carry it any further. Before she knew it, she was fully involved in a cyber affair. At first, they were innocents, just getting to know one another but soon, their conversation became more explicit. They had agreed to just show one another from the neck up but began to discuss all types of foreplay in the most descriptive terms. She could feel the wetness begin as soon as he said “hello” in his husky voice. By the look on his face, he was fully involved as well. Soon, they were moaning and groaning as they touched themselves, using facial expressions and passionate narratives of their activities. After a while, they removed their clothing and lowered the camera.

Without realizing the intensification of their affair, they began to describe the things they wanted to do to one another in graphic detail. When she had built up to a point where she was almost climaxing, she purred her good night, clicked off the computer and crawled into bed with her husband and began the very things that she and her cyber lover had been talking about. Her husband became putty in her hands as he murmured, “Where have you been all my life?”

Realizing that she had the best of both worlds, she stayed with her husband in wild sexual romps but also kept her cyber lover as a spare and as an instigator for her arousing and exciting new sensuality. She wondered to herself offhandedly whether she ought to take another lover but right now, her hands were full. But there would always be another day!

#fiction  #challenge  #infidelity 
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CotW #65: Write a story about infidelity. The most eloquent, elegant, entertaining entry, ascertained by Prose, earns $100 and stays atop the Spotlight shelf for six straight days. Feel free to invite friends, distant family, even strange acquaintances to play this challenge with you anonymously. Please use #ProseChallenge #itslit for sharing online.
Written by joyceanne

Scrapbook

Karen slipped into the canvas of my life, a pallid wash of work, marriage, births, deaths. Old wounds were not so much forgotten as denied. No matter how I tried, I couldn't get free of her, put away the past.

She showed no surprise when I arrived with the scrapbook. Cradled in her rocker, my once luminous star no longer shone like she had before the lamps went out, the curtains closed, yet still she dazzled me.

“Let me tell you how I remember it,” she said, creaking back and forth, back and forth in her wooden chair. She closed her eyes, conjured memories to life.

“Across the stage, we danced, our ambitions in hot pursuit of each other’s dreams. We never rested. Peace was a foreign land.

“Unafraid, unconfined, I was your muse; you were my director. You caressed my thoughts; I charged fire into your ideas. We released each other’s spirit and we soared.”

She sighed and tapped the scrapbook on her lap. “Such a beautiful love. It’s all here.”

Her mouth tightened, and she narrowed her eyes.

“Until that night, before the show .. the first time I saw you with someone else.”

“I told myself, ‘The show must go on.’ And it did, didn’t it, Robert? We would give them what they came for. The set, the choreography .. ah, such brilliance.

“I felt my heart beating, my pulse thrumming. I was distracted, and, in the midst of a wild spin, furious with sweat, I fell.”

Wincing slightly, she pointed and flexed her left foot.

“Whose fault? How to explain the changes that have happened since? Is age the culprit? Rejection? Betrayal? Shall I accuse the powders of mad medicine men that transformed the magic dust of genius into salt to wither my soul?

“I can’t dance anymore, but I can sing. Hear me in the trees where robins chirp and chorusing with cardinals in the shrubs. The pines do not shush me.”

She paused. “You’ll be glad when they bury me, won't you?”

I protested, “No, I came to ….”

She held up her hand. She ran her fingers lightly over the old scrapbook she had once lovingly created, a record of our lives, our past.

“From back in the day,” I said softly.

“Robert, I don't know what you need from me. “And,” she glared at me, “frankly, I don't care.”

“Karen, I …..”

“Get out,” she yelled.

I rose and bent to kiss her head, my last goodbye, but she waved me off.

Quieter, she said, “Just go. Please. And take this .. this fantasy.” She threw the scrapbook to the floor.

I picked it up, gathering a few loose pictures and clippings, including a headline of our success, a picture of the cast before the show folded, and a copy of the playbill:

Hell’s Fury

starring Karen Wheatforce

directed by Robert Olander

My eyes were damp as I walked away one more time.

I had never said “I’m sorry.”

She never said, “I forgive you.”

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CotW #65: Write a story about infidelity. The most eloquent, elegant, entertaining entry, ascertained by Prose, earns $100 and stays atop the Spotlight shelf for six straight days. Feel free to invite friends, distant family, even strange acquaintances to play this challenge with you anonymously. Please use #ProseChallenge #itslit for sharing online.
Written by joyceanne
Scrapbook
Karen slipped into the canvas of my life, a pallid wash of work, marriage, births, deaths. Old wounds were not so much forgotten as denied. No matter how I tried, I couldn't get free of her, put away the past.

She showed no surprise when I arrived with the scrapbook. Cradled in her rocker, my once luminous star no longer shone like she had before the lamps went out, the curtains closed, yet still she dazzled me.

“Let me tell you how I remember it,” she said, creaking back and forth, back and forth in her wooden chair. She closed her eyes, conjured memories to life.

“Across the stage, we danced, our ambitions in hot pursuit of each other’s dreams. We never rested. Peace was a foreign land.

“Unafraid, unconfined, I was your muse; you were my director. You caressed my thoughts; I charged fire into your ideas. We released each other’s spirit and we soared.”

She sighed and tapped the scrapbook on her lap. “Such a beautiful love. It’s all here.”

Her mouth tightened, and she narrowed her eyes.

“Until that night, before the show .. the first time I saw you with someone else.”

“I told myself, ‘The show must go on.’ And it did, didn’t it, Robert? We would give them what they came for. The set, the choreography .. ah, such brilliance.

“I felt my heart beating, my pulse thrumming. I was distracted, and, in the midst of a wild spin, furious with sweat, I fell.”

Wincing slightly, she pointed and flexed her left foot.

“Whose fault? How to explain the changes that have happened since? Is age the culprit? Rejection? Betrayal? Shall I accuse the powders of mad medicine men that transformed the magic dust of genius into salt to wither my soul?

“I can’t dance anymore, but I can sing. Hear me in the trees where robins chirp and chorusing with cardinals in the shrubs. The pines do not shush me.”

She paused. “You’ll be glad when they bury me, won't you?”

I protested, “No, I came to ….”

She held up her hand. She ran her fingers lightly over the old scrapbook she had once lovingly created, a record of our lives, our past.

“From back in the day,” I said softly.

“Robert, I don't know what you need from me. “And,” she glared at me, “frankly, I don't care.”

“Karen, I …..”

“Get out,” she yelled.

I rose and bent to kiss her head, my last goodbye, but she waved me off.

Quieter, she said, “Just go. Please. And take this .. this fantasy.” She threw the scrapbook to the floor.

I picked it up, gathering a few loose pictures and clippings, including a headline of our success, a picture of the cast before the show folded, and a copy of the playbill:
Hell’s Fury
starring Karen Wheatforce
directed by Robert Olander

My eyes were damp as I walked away one more time.

I had never said “I’m sorry.”

She never said, “I forgive you.”
#fiction  #romance  #prosechallenge  #infidelity  #Itslit 
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