Friday, August 5, 2011

Third (write anything challenge, August 5)

Hi all, this is my two cents for a writing prompt site. Hope you enjoy.

Julie walked into a room full of people. Everything went uncomfortably silent and all eyes narrowed in on her. She crossed the room, taking a seat at the hair and make-up station in the far corner. Sure, don’t talk about this week’s casualty in front of her, she thought. Georgia gave Victoria a smirk and a wink, implying the Julie-bashing would continue at a later time. Hair stylists and make-up artists scurried around the stations. She could hear the crowd through the walls; she could envision the leggy blond hostess in the wings, preparing to commence the show. The dreaded elimination show. Three girls remained. Georgia: a quirky dancer and crowd favorite since the start of the season. The tough childhood neighborhood, the abandonment from her father, the face of overwhelmed graciousness... how could the audience NOT vote for her? Then there was Victoria. Not Vickie. She was not a Vickie. She started dancing at three, no, in diapers… or was it while she was in the womb? Ballet, jazz, tap, ballroom, she’s been trained in them all. What is she now? Contemporary, naturally. She danced a hip-hop routine this week that Julie hoped would finally show a sign of weakness. Of course not. She aced it. The judges loved her. The crowd loved her. Julie was certain the voters at home loved her too. She never performed hip-hop before. Her skills were superhuman.

Victoria asked Georgia in a mutter which of two dance outfits would be a better choice for the finale show. Georgia gave her a ‘not in front of Julie’ face. At least Georgia was still humble. Julie felt her skills were par to Georgia but Julie had not once received the same level of praise from the judges. The head judge declared Georgia his favorite. Julie was never a favorite. She had outlasted seven other girls since the show began, hundreds in the pre-show cuts and tens of thousands in the initial auditions. She should be happy to have come as far as she had. Millions of Americans have helped her get this far. The week before the finals. And here she sat in the company of the two that would best her tonight. Victoria, incredible. Georgia, unstoppable. Julie, vulnerable.

Applause raised then diminished as the blond spoke her first greeting to the audience. In moments, the three girls would be called to the stage. Julie felt like she were preparing for her own execution.

Georgia hugged Julie, “you look beautiful.”

“Thanks,” Julie feigned a smile.

Victoria offered a consoling rub of Julie’s shoulder, “I hope we can still be friends after tonight.”

“Of course, Victoria. Always!” I hope you fall off a bridge, Victoria.

A rap on the door preceded a disembodied male voice. “Ladies, you’re up.”

“Good luck,” Georgia said.

“Break a leg,” Victoria added.

Julie walked in silence. A theater of thousands, several cameras, and the blond host came into view. She squinted as beaming lights of the stage met her eyes. Lights that would highlight every tear that would soon roll down her cheeks.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Second Chance 4 (three word Wednesday - affinity, fidget, mention)

The final installment of the "Second Chance" story. Hope you enjoy and thanks for reading.

Four young teenagers stood in blackness, their faces illuminated by a lone candle fixed in a bronze candlestick atop a centrally located altar.

“Where are we?” The blond girl asked. The thin brunette grinned evilly. The regular boy shrugged. The last boy stared at the three with icy eyes, emotionless. His aura seethed of ominous power.

The plain boy looked from Ellison to the powerful boy, “Well?”

“Interesting predicament, three have died. Three different outcomes,” the boy Death spoke in such a monotone that Russell doubted he truly found the topic interesting.

The brunette folded her arms. Russell again shrugged at Ellison.

Death positioned himself opposite the others. “To hell with you,” he waved his arm.

The brunette descended through the floor slowly, as if succumbing to quicksand. She did not protest or fight, Russell and Ellison watched her departure in amazement.

Ellison finally spoke, “that’s it for Campbell? Why did she just accept her fate?”

Death spoke, “I am returning her from whence she came. Some people are placed on earth to do great things. Others rise only to carry out evil.”

“That explains Hitler and Bin Laden,” Russell thought aloud.

“And Charlie Sheen,” Ellison added.

The emotionless Death continued, “Campbell was sent from hell to carry out a task, and her task was thwarted.”

“Thwarted,” the blonde Ellison squealed, “but, but I’ve been shot!”

Russell lowered his head. All about you, Ellison.

“Campbell was stopped before she got to her intended target,” Death turned his head, “you did well, Russell.”

“My death means nothing?”

Death’s failure to mention, or even acknowledge Ellison irritated her further. He glanced from the candle, back to Russell, “Dr. Peyton Rousseau was the intended target.”

“Doctor… Peyton?” Death spoke of the Hannah Montana clone? She becomes a doctor?

Ellison argued, “Rousseau isn’t her last name, that’s…”

Death interrupted, “Doctors Javier and Peyton Rousseau move to Ghana after medical school. They play a big part in abolishing AIDS in Western Africa.”

“Wow, that’s great,” Russell smiled.

“She marries Javier!?” Ellison scoffed.

“So does that mean I have succeeded what was asked?” Russell looked to the stoic boy with a hopeful expression. He thought he saw Death curling his lip, the faintest indication of a smirk.

“Yes, Russell, you stopped the shooting.”

Ellison’s jaw dropped, “Stop the… helllooo. I’m dead! Doesn’t anyone care I’m dead?”

Death waved his arm again. A glowing circle appeared, levitating over Russell’s head. A feeling of bliss pulsed through Russell’s body.

“The halo will grant you the power to see the light. Go towards the light.”

“What about me?”

Russell stared at his new halo until a bright light appeared over his shoulder.

Ellison fidgeted, wearing a worried expression. “So, one went to hell. One went to heaven. Where’s that leave me,” she cried.

“You’re what we call an Almost.”

“An Almost?”

Russell observed her reaction as the conversation played out similar to the one he shared with Death just days ago. Ellison slumped, facing the candle with an empty stare.

Russell leaned towards her and whispered. She straightened her posture. “Is there anything I can do?”

“I’ll pretend I did not see that,” Death said, “Russell, you are dismissed.”

Russell left Ellison in Death’s hands. The affinity to the soothing glow intensified, overtaking his entire being. He entered the kingdom of Heaven, and the dim room disappeared forever behind him.


Ellison snapped her head back and snorted. She must have dozed off. She examined her surroundings. A stranger sat in the seat to her right. To her left, an aisle separated herself from more strangers. The “room” was a giant sphere with many rows of occupied seats. She wiped her chin, checking for drool.

“What the…”

Her hands were aged, larger, well manicured. A black business suit covered her curvier, heavier, older body.

“I’m, like, old!”

Laughter came from all directions, then ceased with an intercom announcement, “Ladies and gentlemen we have reached our cruising altitude of thirty five thousand feet. Please remain seated while our staff provides a complimentary beverage.”

“We’re on a plane? Wow, never been on one before,” she said, facing the old gentleman alongside her. “Where are we going?”

If an expression could have called her crazy without saying a word, the gentleman wore it.

A long legged stewardess in a short skirt travelled the aisle, stopping at Ellison’s chair. “May I get you a drink,” she asked with an icy stare and monotone voice.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Second Chance 3 (three word Wednesday x 2 - figure, juicy, stress, blink, kind, occasion)

Hello, been awhile, my apologies. The tale is a continuation of Second Chance and its sequel, the story of Russell's brush with Death. Enjoy, and thanks for reading.

“Why are you following me?”

The blond girl spun; her aggressive tone called unwanted attention from several students in the school hall. Russell lowered his head. As if being the “new kid” wasn’t already a lightning rod for stray eyes. He had scanned as many kids as possible without slowing his gait, sizing each up for hints of a concealed firearm or an unstable demeanor.

“I don’t know what you mean Ellison. I’m going this way too. You just happen to be going the same way in front of me,” he lied. She wouldn’t believe the truth. If he confessed she was not long to this world, she’d interpret him as a threat and he’d spend the morning in the principal’s office. He didn’t have that kind of time to kill. He knew Principal Louis Kerry from church, and though he was very personable to adults, had a reputation as a hard-ass to students. Russell reminded himself, he’d be welcomed as the latter.

The blonde blinked at him, at a loss of words but frustrated regardless. He allowed her to continue down the hall before pursuing at a safe distance. Russell contemplated his next move, giving a judgmental glare to a prudish teacher whose face reminded him of the surface of a walnut, a stern-faced janitor shorter than the mop he toted, and a gender confused creature from the cafeteria staff.

Could it be an adult? What if it were? He hadn’t the strength to outmuscle an adult should the occasion arise. Most of the male students stood taller or broader than he, now that he looked around. Why did Death put me in this predicament? Why could I just have died like everyone else? He frowned, realizing his last thought was more of an assumption than anything else.

Ellison trotted rudely through a conversation, nudged a student with her shoulder, and vanished into a classroom. Today isn’t the best day to be on your high horse, princess. Russell wondered how fast he’d be called out in her homeroom. He had no identification. No teachers were advised of the arrival of a new student to his knowledge. He squeezed between a stocky boy in baggy shorts and a dumpy girl with a logo tee shirt reading ‘JUICY’ to take a seat at the rear corner of the class. Position myself to watch everyone.

Ellison carried on in hushed chatter with a Hannah Montana look-alike and a brunette with an anorexic figure; their pointing and giggling clearly in ridicule of anyone showing imperfection.

God, I used to hate girls like that…

“Forget them, way out of your league,” the boy in front of him observed Russell’s interest in Ellison and crew. It was the boy with glasses from the bus.

“Huh? Oh,” Russell chuckled, “not like that junior, way too young for me.”

The boy raised an eyebrow before continuing, “I’m Javier.”

Javier? Does anyone these days give their kids normal names?

“Russell Ward,” the handshake was both unanticipated and weak on Javier’s part.

“Why are you so concerned about them?”

Noticing a teacher had entered, Russell leaned forward and lowered his tone, “Javier, you don’t know anyone that’s been under a bit of stress lately? Not-right-in-the-head, like, gonna-go-postal any minute sort of person, do you?”

Javier’s blank stare was enhanced through the contortion of his glasses.

Russell frowned, “OK then. You aren’t by any chance hiding a loaded gun, are you?”

“What’s wrong with you,” Javier asked. He turned to face the teacher before Russell could reply.

“I’m Mr. Donahue for those that don’t know me,” the thin teacher announced over diminished mutterings. ”I’m your homeroom teacher. I need everyone to take a seat for attendance.”

Students reluctantly lowered themselves into chairs, Ellison and her clique last to disperse. Russell watched with disdain. Little miss perfects think they’re above the law.

“Ellison, Campbell, Peyton when I say ‘take I seat,’ that includes you,” the teacher stepped around his desk.

What is with these names? Isn’t Peyton a boy name and Campbell a soup?

“One sec,” Ellison replied.

Wow. Bold. Russell remained vigilant, scanning the room. All students were seated, all eyes on the three young ladies.

The teacher crossed the room.

Russell sat sideways in the desk, leaning forward. He pulled up his pant leg and collected the switchblade.

Campbell, the underweight brunette, revealed a pistol from within her cardigan, “Don’t tell us what to do, Mr. Donahue.”

Peyton screamed.

Students scurried to the door. Ellison attempted to rationalize through the noise, “Campbell put it away, you don’t need to…”

“Shut up, Ell, or you’ll get some of this too,” the brunette scowled at her.

Mr. Donahue lunged to seize the weapon.

Russell sprung from the seat, knife in hand.