voxlatina
A quiet muse
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Written by voxlatina in portal Trident Media Group

Nathaniel's Pact

     "Eh, Nathaniel? Have you heard a word I've said to you?"

     Nathaniel looked up from his glass of ale and forced a smile at the man whose name he could not recall. A long evening of ale and merriment had left his mind fuzzy, distant. The only thing that remained there was the thought that he would rather be with the group of young men sitting in the corner, talking animatedly over a leather-bound book. He had been watching them for several months and listening in on their conversations. Listening, and learning.

     He turned his focus to one of them. This, he knew, was the leader of the group, and the most outspoken of them all -- Thomas Weatherell. Thomas was wrapped in a wide, peacock-patterned scarf that covered him from his head nearly down to his feet; this, combined with his pointed features, made him the picture of some bird of the Orient.

     "I tell you, Thomas," one of the other men said, "there's no way to do it!"

     "And I tell you there is!" Thomas laughed and parted the scarf, revealing the book cradled in his arms. "See here, this is the volume I spoke of -- the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum! I paid dear to obtain it, certainly, but you'll be glad for it."

     The sight of the dusty volume stole Nathaniel's breath. His companion leaned in to ask if he was well, but he ignored it, focused only on Thomas.

    "You're certain it's genuine? There are many out there who would say so just to steal your coin, you know."

   "It is. I bought it from someone who is well-regarded in these circles, and one who would know if it were false."

     The other man reached for the book, and Thomas pulled the scarf back over it.

     "No, no, not here. Do you want the whole tavern to see it? We can read it with the lads when we return to the apartment." Thomas smiled knowingly. "Or we can save it for ourselves. Our secret -- our reward."

     "I don't know, Thomas. There is some risk to it...to summoning when you haven't the experience. I do not know how to draw a proper summoning circle, or how to negotiate with the beast once it's summoned..."

    "There are methods of learning those things in the book. Don't be a coward now. Trust the book, it'll tell us what to do. Do you hate the idea of coin that much?"

     "No, but--" The man suddenly looked up, and Nathaniel started as the man met his gaze. Startled, Thomas followed the man's eyes, and his lips narrowed as soon as he caught sight of their eavesdropper. Nathaniel looked away, but it was too late; Thomas was rising from his seat and heading toward him. His companion reached for his sleeve as he passed, but Thomas brushed him off, muttering something that Nathaniel couldn't hear. Then Thomas was upon him.

     "You, what are you playing at?" he asked in a harsh whisper. "How much did you hear?"

     "I...I did not mean to pry." Nathaniel's hands dropped from the table to his lap, in an effort to hide their trembling. "I simply wanted...I see you here often, your party, and I was interested--"

     "In our private conversation? What we have to say is not for you." Thomas' eyes flashed with anger. "If you speak a word of it to anyone--"

     "I will not! I only...I wanted to know what it is you do. That is, how to...do it." Nathaniel squeezed both hands into fists, fighting to find the words to explain himself. "I, too...would like to learn."

     Thomas considered this for a moment, then leaned close to Nathaniel's ear.

     "Summoning is not to be taken lightly. Only a few are capable of it; fewer can handle the creature that they bring into this world. What makes you believe that you could do it? Tell me."

     "I have been studying," Nathaniel whispered. "Day and night, I read all that I can lay my hands on. Mostly manuscripts, and I admit that I have little knowledge of their authors or their renown, but...ah..."

     "That tells me little. Why are you studying?"

     "I..." Why wouldn't his hands stop shaking? "My father..."

     "Are you one of those dullards who plays at being a scholar so that your father will sing your praises and others will admire you?" Thomas gave him a lopsided smile. "We have suffered more than enough of your kind already. If that is so, then our conversation is finished here. I trust you will remember what I told you about--"

     Nathaniel bolted from his seat, and before Thomas could react, he grasped the peacock scarf in both hands and pulled the young man toward him, upending his ale in the process. Now they were inches away from each other, so close that Nathaniel could hear Thomas whimpering slightly. He wasn't used to confrontation, and this realization brought a smile, genuine this time, to Nathaniel's lips.

     "Listen to me, and carefully this time. I told you that I wish to learn the Art, and I stand by it. If I am playing at anything, it is at being the perfect gentleman while I attend my father's stuffy galas and play cards with the lot of his bird-witted friends. What I desire is to learn how to control something greater, to know something greater! If I must give up my status it is no matter; my blood, no matter! I want a taste of that other life that you lot live. You have freedom; you have knowledge; you are kings of your own making!"

     With that, he sat back down, lacking the breath to say anything more.  Thomas, too, was silent, but his gaze remained on Nathaniel. He opened his mouth once, as though to say something, but then stopped himself. After a few minutes of awkward silence, he pulled the scarf from his shoulders and let it fall to the floor, granting a glimpse of his prized volume. Then he placed the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum on the table between them.

     "Well, then," he said with a lopsided smile, "Shall I introduce you to the others?"

     

    

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Written by voxlatina in portal Trident Media Group
Nathaniel's Pact
     "Eh, Nathaniel? Have you heard a word I've said to you?"
     Nathaniel looked up from his glass of ale and forced a smile at the man whose name he could not recall. A long evening of ale and merriment had left his mind fuzzy, distant. The only thing that remained there was the thought that he would rather be with the group of young men sitting in the corner, talking animatedly over a leather-bound book. He had been watching them for several months and listening in on their conversations. Listening, and learning.
     He turned his focus to one of them. This, he knew, was the leader of the group, and the most outspoken of them all -- Thomas Weatherell. Thomas was wrapped in a wide, peacock-patterned scarf that covered him from his head nearly down to his feet; this, combined with his pointed features, made him the picture of some bird of the Orient.
     "I tell you, Thomas," one of the other men said, "there's no way to do it!"
     "And I tell you there is!" Thomas laughed and parted the scarf, revealing the book cradled in his arms. "See here, this is the volume I spoke of -- the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum! I paid dear to obtain it, certainly, but you'll be glad for it."
     The sight of the dusty volume stole Nathaniel's breath. His companion leaned in to ask if he was well, but he ignored it, focused only on Thomas.
    "You're certain it's genuine? There are many out there who would say so just to steal your coin, you know."
   "It is. I bought it from someone who is well-regarded in these circles, and one who would know if it were false."
     The other man reached for the book, and Thomas pulled the scarf back over it.
     "No, no, not here. Do you want the whole tavern to see it? We can read it with the lads when we return to the apartment." Thomas smiled knowingly. "Or we can save it for ourselves. Our secret -- our reward."
     "I don't know, Thomas. There is some risk to it...to summoning when you haven't the experience. I do not know how to draw a proper summoning circle, or how to negotiate with the beast once it's summoned..."
    "There are methods of learning those things in the book. Don't be a coward now. Trust the book, it'll tell us what to do. Do you hate the idea of coin that much?"
     "No, but--" The man suddenly looked up, and Nathaniel started as the man met his gaze. Startled, Thomas followed the man's eyes, and his lips narrowed as soon as he caught sight of their eavesdropper. Nathaniel looked away, but it was too late; Thomas was rising from his seat and heading toward him. His companion reached for his sleeve as he passed, but Thomas brushed him off, muttering something that Nathaniel couldn't hear. Then Thomas was upon him.
     "You, what are you playing at?" he asked in a harsh whisper. "How much did you hear?"
     "I...I did not mean to pry." Nathaniel's hands dropped from the table to his lap, in an effort to hide their trembling. "I simply wanted...I see you here often, your party, and I was interested--"
     "In our private conversation? What we have to say is not for you." Thomas' eyes flashed with anger. "If you speak a word of it to anyone--"
     "I will not! I only...I wanted to know what it is you do. That is, how to...do it." Nathaniel squeezed both hands into fists, fighting to find the words to explain himself. "I, too...would like to learn."
     Thomas considered this for a moment, then leaned close to Nathaniel's ear.
     "Summoning is not to be taken lightly. Only a few are capable of it; fewer can handle the creature that they bring into this world. What makes you believe that you could do it? Tell me."
     "I have been studying," Nathaniel whispered. "Day and night, I read all that I can lay my hands on. Mostly manuscripts, and I admit that I have little knowledge of their authors or their renown, but...ah..."
     "That tells me little. Why are you studying?"
     "I..." Why wouldn't his hands stop shaking? "My father..."
     "Are you one of those dullards who plays at being a scholar so that your father will sing your praises and others will admire you?" Thomas gave him a lopsided smile. "We have suffered more than enough of your kind already. If that is so, then our conversation is finished here. I trust you will remember what I told you about--"
     Nathaniel bolted from his seat, and before Thomas could react, he grasped the peacock scarf in both hands and pulled the young man toward him, upending his ale in the process. Now they were inches away from each other, so close that Nathaniel could hear Thomas whimpering slightly. He wasn't used to confrontation, and this realization brought a smile, genuine this time, to Nathaniel's lips.
     "Listen to me, and carefully this time. I told you that I wish to learn the Art, and I stand by it. If I am playing at anything, it is at being the perfect gentleman while I attend my father's stuffy galas and play cards with the lot of his bird-witted friends. What I desire is to learn how to control something greater, to know something greater! If I must give up my status it is no matter; my blood, no matter! I want a taste of that other life that you lot live. You have freedom; you have knowledge; you are kings of your own making!"
     With that, he sat back down, lacking the breath to say anything more.  Thomas, too, was silent, but his gaze remained on Nathaniel. He opened his mouth once, as though to say something, but then stopped himself. After a few minutes of awkward silence, he pulled the scarf from his shoulders and let it fall to the floor, granting a glimpse of his prized volume. Then he placed the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum on the table between them.
     "Well, then," he said with a lopsided smile, "Shall I introduce you to the others?"




     


    
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Written by voxlatina in portal Haiku

Faucet

Nothing left of him

But his voice, slowly dripping

From the opened tap.

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Written by voxlatina in portal Haiku
Faucet
Nothing left of him
But his voice, slowly dripping
From the opened tap.
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Simon & Schuster is one of the world’s leading publishers and we are always looking for fresh new voices. Write a story, chapter, or essay about whatever you like. The 50 best entries will be announced by Prose and read by our editorial staff for consideration.
Written by voxlatina in portal Simon & Schuster

Malebranche

Isaca Tremaine was sitting at her table, carefully sorting through a deck of tarot cards, when she heard the man's voice.

"Pardon me, but may I come in for a moment?"

She glanced toward the front door of the shop, and her brow wrinkled in annoyance. She had drawn the curtains across the windows and locked the door at least an hour prior; any passerby could see that she was done taking customers for the evening. Besides, she had much to do -- the cards to sort, tea stains to scrub out of the tablecloth, not to mention counting the day's earnings.

"I'm sorry, but the shop is closed," she called out, turning her attention back to her task. "If it's a reading you seek, I would suggest you stop by come morning." She slipped the last two cards into the deck, then pulled a small velvet bag from the hem of her blouse and slid the deck into it. The bag jingled as she did so; it was also where she secreted the coin that her customers eagerly gave her at the end of each reading.

"Just a moment's shelter from the rain is all I ask," came the reply, and Isaca sighed. She had heard the patter of rain on the roof just before closing, and it was now a dull roar in the background; but what kind of fool would be out in that sort of weather at such an hour? Weren't there taverns where those types normally belonged? Still, she couldn't say that she didn't sympathize with him. She knew well how pleasant drink could be, especially when the night was long and the cold deep in your bones, and you had nowhere and nothing else to turn to. 

"Very well, but a moment is all you'll have." She crossed the room in a few quick steps and turned the key in the lock. Almost as soon as she did, the man on the other side tried to throw it wide. She pressed back against it with her full weight, until there was a mere slit for him to speak through. He looked a fright; his dark hair was a mess of tangled curls, and his face looked a shade paler than vellum. His eyes appeared almost sunken into his head, and -- was that a bit of blood on his shirt collar? Isaca's thoughts immediately turned to the rumors that had been traveling the city, and the disappearance of many of her regular customers. Perhaps she was face to face with the culprit, pretending to be some poor man soaked to the skin!

"Thank y--" The man's words were cut short by a fit of coughing, and he doubled over in front of her. She watched in alarm as the fit wracked his body, and instinctively drew away when the blood came. Perhaps he's no kidnapper or murderer, but he's most certainly consumptive. The realization brought her no comfort.

"...I think it might be best if--" The man looked up at her, and her stomach turned at the sight of the thin dribble of blood that ran from his lower lip. "I don't think...shall I call Dr. Bailey for you, sir?" She drew away, running through the map of the city in her head and trying to determine the fastest path to the physician. 

"That will not be necessary," he replied, and before she could react, his hand shot through the gap in the door and grabbed her wrist. His clammy, bony grip reminded her unpleasantly of a corpse.

"You are the only one who can aid me."

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Simon & Schuster is one of the world’s leading publishers and we are always looking for fresh new voices. Write a story, chapter, or essay about whatever you like. The 50 best entries will be announced by Prose and read by our editorial staff for consideration.
Written by voxlatina in portal Simon & Schuster
Malebranche
Isaca Tremaine was sitting at her table, carefully sorting through a deck of tarot cards, when she heard the man's voice.

"Pardon me, but may I come in for a moment?"

She glanced toward the front door of the shop, and her brow wrinkled in annoyance. She had drawn the curtains across the windows and locked the door at least an hour prior; any passerby could see that she was done taking customers for the evening. Besides, she had much to do -- the cards to sort, tea stains to scrub out of the tablecloth, not to mention counting the day's earnings.

"I'm sorry, but the shop is closed," she called out, turning her attention back to her task. "If it's a reading you seek, I would suggest you stop by come morning." She slipped the last two cards into the deck, then pulled a small velvet bag from the hem of her blouse and slid the deck into it. The bag jingled as she did so; it was also where she secreted the coin that her customers eagerly gave her at the end of each reading.

"Just a moment's shelter from the rain is all I ask," came the reply, and Isaca sighed. She had heard the patter of rain on the roof just before closing, and it was now a dull roar in the background; but what kind of fool would be out in that sort of weather at such an hour? Weren't there taverns where those types normally belonged? Still, she couldn't say that she didn't sympathize with him. She knew well how pleasant drink could be, especially when the night was long and the cold deep in your bones, and you had nowhere and nothing else to turn to. 

"Very well, but a moment is all you'll have." She crossed the room in a few quick steps and turned the key in the lock. Almost as soon as she did, the man on the other side tried to throw it wide. She pressed back against it with her full weight, until there was a mere slit for him to speak through. He looked a fright; his dark hair was a mess of tangled curls, and his face looked a shade paler than vellum. His eyes appeared almost sunken into his head, and -- was that a bit of blood on his shirt collar? Isaca's thoughts immediately turned to the rumors that had been traveling the city, and the disappearance of many of her regular customers. Perhaps she was face to face with the culprit, pretending to be some poor man soaked to the skin!

"Thank y--" The man's words were cut short by a fit of coughing, and he doubled over in front of her. She watched in alarm as the fit wracked his body, and instinctively drew away when the blood came. Perhaps he's no kidnapper or murderer, but he's most certainly consumptive. The realization brought her no comfort.

"...I think it might be best if--" The man looked up at her, and her stomach turned at the sight of the thin dribble of blood that ran from his lower lip. "I don't think...shall I call Dr. Bailey for you, sir?" She drew away, running through the map of the city in her head and trying to determine the fastest path to the physician. 

"That will not be necessary," he replied, and before she could react, his hand shot through the gap in the door and grabbed her wrist. His clammy, bony grip reminded her unpleasantly of a corpse.

"You are the only one who can aid me."




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Write a horror story in 100 words or less. Evoke fear in as few words as possible.
Written by voxlatina in portal Horror & Thriller

Plans

I'll begin with flowers, because that's how it always goes. When she accepts my invitation to dinner, we'll go somewhere fancy, and I'll order their most expensive wine. She'll talk about herself all evening, between the courses and the bottle, and I'll listen. Well, only halfway, because I'll be thinking about the fun things that we'll do once we get back to my place.

Fun things. Some of them soft, some of them sharp, all of them stained with the presence of others and primed to hurt. I only hope that she'll enjoy herself as much as I will.

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Write a horror story in 100 words or less. Evoke fear in as few words as possible.
Written by voxlatina in portal Horror & Thriller
Plans
I'll begin with flowers, because that's how it always goes. When she accepts my invitation to dinner, we'll go somewhere fancy, and I'll order their most expensive wine. She'll talk about herself all evening, between the courses and the bottle, and I'll listen. Well, only halfway, because I'll be thinking about the fun things that we'll do once we get back to my place.

Fun things. Some of them soft, some of them sharp, all of them stained with the presence of others and primed to hurt. I only hope that she'll enjoy herself as much as I will.
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If you could send a message to someone who had died, what would you say?
Written by voxlatina in portal Stream of Consciousness

What's it like on the other side, if there is one? Are you happy there?

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If you could send a message to someone who had died, what would you say?
Written by voxlatina in portal Stream of Consciousness
What's it like on the other side, if there is one? Are you happy there?
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The first line of almost any story can be improved by making sure the second line is, "And then the murders began." Give it a try!
Written by voxlatina

Where A Kid Can Be A Kid

Wade clutched the roll of tickets in his fist and fought back a scream. He was too late. Someone else had won the neon hairpiece. 

And then the murders began.

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The first line of almost any story can be improved by making sure the second line is, "And then the murders began." Give it a try!
Written by voxlatina
Where A Kid Can Be A Kid
Wade clutched the roll of tickets in his fist and fought back a scream. He was too late. Someone else had won the neon hairpiece. 
And then the murders began.

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Challenge of the Week #61: Write a piece of flash fiction about rejection. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by voxlatina

Id

Some days I feel as though my body wants to vomit me up. No, perhaps it's more accurate to say that it's already trying. I can feel it pressing in, squeezing, trying to force whatever essence of "me" is left in this wasted shell.

It has devious ways of making its feelings known. It's that light touch on the wheel as I drive to work in the morning, reminding me that with a slight movement of my hand, I could pull into the oncoming lane and be obliterated in a moment. It's the weight of the knife in my hand as I prepare dinner. The shadow that crosses my gaze every time I'm alone with my thoughts. I sometimes wonder if it isn't collaborating with someone to plan my undoing; the smallest hint of movement in a crowd makes me feel as though a stranger is waiting for me to let down my guard.

I try to placate it with kindness. I attend yoga lessons, run, lift weights. I watch my weight and what I eat, carefully measuring each portion. I leave plenty of time each day to reflect and unwind. All of these things quiet its anger for perhaps an hour or so, and then it just screams. Even when I cover my ears, I can still hear it inside my head for days afterward. 

Then the dreams come, as they always do. I wake up in the morning and I'm outside of it, forced out of my own skin. I'm looking down at my body, only it's something else now, a mound of festering skin and muscle slipping free of the bones. I realize that what it really desires is this collapse into nothingness, and I'm the last barrier in its way. 

The last thing I always hear, just before my mind stirs from sleep, is its joyful laughter.

It sounds just like me.

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Challenge of the Week #61: Write a piece of flash fiction about rejection. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by voxlatina
Id
Some days I feel as though my body wants to vomit me up. No, perhaps it's more accurate to say that it's already trying. I can feel it pressing in, squeezing, trying to force whatever essence of "me" is left in this wasted shell.

It has devious ways of making its feelings known. It's that light touch on the wheel as I drive to work in the morning, reminding me that with a slight movement of my hand, I could pull into the oncoming lane and be obliterated in a moment. It's the weight of the knife in my hand as I prepare dinner. The shadow that crosses my gaze every time I'm alone with my thoughts. I sometimes wonder if it isn't collaborating with someone to plan my undoing; the smallest hint of movement in a crowd makes me feel as though a stranger is waiting for me to let down my guard.

I try to placate it with kindness. I attend yoga lessons, run, lift weights. I watch my weight and what I eat, carefully measuring each portion. I leave plenty of time each day to reflect and unwind. All of these things quiet its anger for perhaps an hour or so, and then it just screams. Even when I cover my ears, I can still hear it inside my head for days afterward. 

Then the dreams come, as they always do. I wake up in the morning and I'm outside of it, forced out of my own skin. I'm looking down at my body, only it's something else now, a mound of festering skin and muscle slipping free of the bones. I realize that what it really desires is this collapse into nothingness, and I'm the last barrier in its way. 

The last thing I always hear, just before my mind stirs from sleep, is its joyful laughter.

It sounds just like me.




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"I was young and stupid." Fiction or fact, no one would know. Write in any genre. 5-50 words only!
Written by voxlatina

Down Below

I was ten when I found it, and I wish that I never had. I still remember how I spent the afternoon in the woods, struggling with the old wood cover of that well. How I pried it off at last, and saw her body moldering down there. My mother.

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"I was young and stupid." Fiction or fact, no one would know. Write in any genre. 5-50 words only!
Written by voxlatina
Down Below
I was ten when I found it, and I wish that I never had. I still remember how I spent the afternoon in the woods, struggling with the old wood cover of that well. How I pried it off at last, and saw her body moldering down there. My mother.
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Describe a flower garden, but do not use any color adjectives (i.e., don't use descriptive words like red, yellow, green). Ideas: Tell me how your body senses the garden? How does red feel? What is yellow? Imagine how it would feel to step into a flower garden without eyesight, then explain it to me. Get visceral...describe the scene either directly or indirectly. Be creative. :) Or go totally metaphorical with it. Think outside the box. Oh, and make it a micro-poem, too. Have fun!
Written by voxlatina in portal Poetry & Free Verse

Sight and Scent

The scent is everywhere,

So heavy that I can almost feel it.

This aroma that reminds me of my mother,

That must be lilac -- that was always her favorite.

This one must be a rose of some kind,

Because its musk is like my husband,

Lingering near my shoulder.

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Describe a flower garden, but do not use any color adjectives (i.e., don't use descriptive words like red, yellow, green). Ideas: Tell me how your body senses the garden? How does red feel? What is yellow? Imagine how it would feel to step into a flower garden without eyesight, then explain it to me. Get visceral...describe the scene either directly or indirectly. Be creative. :) Or go totally metaphorical with it. Think outside the box. Oh, and make it a micro-poem, too. Have fun!
Written by voxlatina in portal Poetry & Free Verse
Sight and Scent
The scent is everywhere,
So heavy that I can almost feel it.
This aroma that reminds me of my mother,
That must be lilac -- that was always her favorite.
This one must be a rose of some kind,
Because its musk is like my husband,
Lingering near my shoulder.

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A Tiny Window. Write about it. 15-200 words only. In short, I challenge you to write a vignette about a vignette.
Written by voxlatina

The Window in the Floor

Evie noticed it on her way to the laundry room. In the middle of the peeling linoleum, there was a little window set into the floor. At first, she thought that it was a bit of plastic or a part to one of the children's toys. but when she bent to pick it up, her fingers brushed against glass. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't pry it from the floor.

Whoever had placed it there had done a masterful job. There were no seams, caulk lines, or any signs of nails or screws. This tiny carpenter had even added the creative flourish of little shutters, painted bright red. She peered into the little square, and was surprised to see an entire room on its side--the living room, judging by the miniature sofa and chairs that seemed to have been crafted from toothpicks. 

When she lifted her head, she found her daughter Nina standing in front of her. Nina pointed to the window, her smile bright.

"Nina wanna play! Tell friend come out!"

As if responding to the sound of her daughter's voice, a light flickered to life behind the glass. 

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Juice
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Juice
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A Tiny Window. Write about it. 15-200 words only. In short, I challenge you to write a vignette about a vignette.
Written by voxlatina
The Window in the Floor
Evie noticed it on her way to the laundry room. In the middle of the peeling linoleum, there was a little window set into the floor. At first, she thought that it was a bit of plastic or a part to one of the children's toys. but when she bent to pick it up, her fingers brushed against glass. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't pry it from the floor.

Whoever had placed it there had done a masterful job. There were no seams, caulk lines, or any signs of nails or screws. This tiny carpenter had even added the creative flourish of little shutters, painted bright red. She peered into the little square, and was surprised to see an entire room on its side--the living room, judging by the miniature sofa and chairs that seemed to have been crafted from toothpicks. 

When she lifted her head, she found her daughter Nina standing in front of her. Nina pointed to the window, her smile bright.

"Nina wanna play! Tell friend come out!"

As if responding to the sound of her daughter's voice, a light flickered to life behind the glass. 



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Juice
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