“Waiting for True Love” — Flash Fiction, week 5

Allen ran his hand through his short black hair. “They’re not even real.” He turned her back around. “They make a living lying to people, telling them what they want to hear.”

Valentine’s Day is around the corner — what better way to celebrate than with a story about true love? Or is it?

This piece is my week five #52weeks52stories story that is also part of the Voices of the Darkly 800-word flash fiction writing challenge using the prompt “Love after…”.

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Waiting for True Love (rated G, for those who need a rating)

“You can’t be serious.” Allen tried to stop her from packing the final suitcase. “How can one fortune teller make you give up the last four years?”

“I told you what she said,” Rachael snapped. “‘True love will walk up to you at your favorite place during the next full moon.’” She continued packing. “That’s tonight.”

“This is crazy, Rach.” He pulled the top layer of clothes out of the suitcase. “We’re engaged. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?” He grabbed her hands and forced her to face him. “This is already true love.”

Rachael pushed him away. “It can’t be,” she whispered, “not when someone else is out there for me.”

Allen ran his hand through his short black hair. “They’re not even real.” He turned her back around. “They make a living lying to people, telling them what they want to hear.”

“She didn’t know anything about my love life,” Rachael retorted.

“Of course not.” Allen lifted her left hand. “You didn’t wear your engagement ring, so how would she know?”

Rachael jerked her hand back and returned to packing. “You don’t get it Al.” She stuffed the last of her belongings into the suitcase and zipped it. “This isn’t true love. It can’t be.”

A few tears escaped as she walked out the door, leaving behind the tall man with the gorgeous goatee that she’d begged him to grow out.

After lugging everything from her car to her friend’s living room, she walked the short distance to the park. “True love,” she whispered to the full moon, “here I come.”

Her favorite bench sat empty under the pecan tree, so she sat down to wait.

And wait.

She looked down to check her watch before remembering that she left it behind. She didn’t want to bring any reminders of Allen with her, including the silver and gold beauty with an inscription of love.

“Love,” she whispered. “What if-”

A blue blur jumped out from behind a tree, sat down beside her, and took off its hoodie. The short blond hair was quickly hidden by a red hoodie, which seemed to appear out of thin air.

“Who-” Rachael started.

“So sorry. I’m Becca.” She looked over her shoulder, then back at Rachael. “We’re playing Moonlight Madness, but I don’t want anyone to find me.”

“Shouldn’t you hide then?”

Becca laughed. “I am.” She pushed her glasses back up her nose. “The winner is the one who’s best at hiding in plain sight.”

“Right.” Rachael looked around again, wondering if her true love would stop to talk to her with a teenager sitting next to her. “Maybe you should hide somewhere else, then.”

“Please let me sit here with you. I promise I won’t bother you.”

“I don’t…” She saw him walking her way. Tall. Short hair. Face shadowed like the dark side of the moon. “Sure kid,” she whispered, standing. “Stay as long as you want.”

Rachael moved closer to the figure. “True love,” she whispered, heart pounding.

The goatee made her stop in her tracks. “Allen?”

“Rach.”

“This isn’t funny, Allen.” She turned away, but he pulled her back.

“Rach,” he coaxed. “You can’t-”

“Can’t what Allen? Can’t be happy? Can’t have true love because you won’t let me go? Can’t-”

“No,” he said. “You can’t possibly throw away what we have. I love you, Rach.” He moved closer. “I love you. Why would you leave me over what a fortune teller said?”

Her heart pounded, and she pushed him back. “Just go, Allen.”

“You know where to find me when you’ve come to your senses.”

She watched him walk away and wondered if she was doing the right thing. Could the fortune teller be wrong?

“Who’s that?” Becca stood next to her crunching on a chip she pulled from her hoodie.

“No one.”

“Oh.” She grabbed another chip. “You went to a fortune teller?”

“Yeah.” Rachael sat back down on the bench. “I had a gift card for my birthday.”

“Cool!” Becca sat next to her. “My mom always said it’s hard to find love after visiting a fortune teller.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know, but my parents split up after-”

“Found you, Becca!” A red-haired kid wearing a ninja costume jumped out from behind them.

Becca screamed. “Tom! What’s wrong with you?” She tackled him, chips spilling everywhere. “Did I win?” she asked when she had him pinned.

“Almost. We still can’t find Timmy.” He escaped her hold and ran off.

She picked up her empty chip bag and ran after him.

“True love,” Rachael whispered. “Full moon. Favorite place.” She looked around.

And waited.

When she couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer, she started walking back to her friend’s apartment. “I’ll just come back tomorrow,” she said to the moon. “You’re still full tomorrow.”

***

Feel free

Please feel free to leave comments below with your feedback regarding this story! I’d love to hear what you think.

If you’d like to read more, check out the other stories I’ve posted here:

B-I-N-G-O… in the classroom?

I don’t know about you, but one problem for writers is a blank page.

What do I write about?

This question pops up all too often, and it can keep students from achieving their personal writing goals. Students have loved writing bingo in the past, so I created a Google Form for them to submit their own ideas for bingo cards.

I was not disappointed. To be completely honest, I was awestruck by the amount of ideas they generated!

The ideas!

After gathering all their ideas, I created lists of them in Google Docs. The lists make it easier to input the ideas onto the bingo card at Print Bingo.

Each set I input creates 10 cards — all different. My amazing 7th grade students gave me enough ideas for five sets, which equal 50 different cards!

Here are a couple from each set for you to see what their creative minds came up with!

Expectations…

Bingo is by no means a requirement. Students can complete a bingo at any time in their writer’s notebook for a reward, or they can simply use he cards for inspiration. (I have a collection of pens and pencils for them to choose from for rewards.)

The question is, can I expect them to write if I don’t? Can I expect them to complete a bingo if I don’t even try?

My answer is — that depends on the example I, as a teacher, want to set.

I choose to set a positive and encouraging example to the young writers I encounter every school day.

Without further ado, here is my Bingo, and I hope it encourages my students to publish theirs on our class blog when they’re done, too!

BINGO!

My Bingo card is from set 3:

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“Write how you feel about winter” — I chose to use a list for this one.

Write a brainstorm in different colored pens” — I doubled up with this one by combining it with “create a character map about a frog.”

“Write about your favorite teacher” — I love poetry, so I chose that format to write about my most memorable teacher.

“Create a character map about a superhero you make up” — This was difficult for me, so I asked Twitter and Facebook for help!

“Write a poem about writing a poem” — Again, poetry is my favorite!

Reflection:

Reflecting on our process is an important part of our class. To emphasize that, I’ll reflect on this process.

I loved that students were excited to share all their writing ideas with me and each other. I can’t wait for them to start sharing their creativity with the world more by using their blog.

I loved creating a new superhero even though it was super difficult — thank you to those who gave me ideas! (Please note, the “stick man” idea is from Corbett Harrison who has a ton of amazing ideas for the classroom!)

In the future, I plan to incorporate a few of these ideas into stories. I also plan to try out some more bingo ideas (maybe even another bingo card)!

Comments

Please feel free to share with me your thoughts or questions in the section below. Also, if you use any of the ideas from the above Bingo cards, let us know!

“Poisonous Behavior” — Flash Fiction, week 3

Brenna stepped into the elevator, balancing both coffees in one hand and her office bag in the other in an attempt to locate her keys. She found them as the ding announced the third floor and lifted her elbow in a wave to Naomi as she stepped out. 

I’ve decided not to post all of my stories this year for #52Weeks52Stories, but I will post some of them.

This one (for week 3) is another flash fiction piece written for the Voices of the Darkly group I’m in on Facebook. They conduct a flash fiction challenge every other week with a predetermined topic.

This week: poison.

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Image is a painting by Sharon Freeman.

Poisonous Behavior (PG for those who need a rating)

Brenna stepped into the elevator, balancing both coffees in one hand and her office bag in the other in an attempt to locate her keys. She found them as the ding announced the third floor and lifted her elbow in a wave to Naomi as she stepped out.

“Brought your coffee,” she said, rearranging the items in her hand to carefully set one of the cups down.

“Thanks.” Naomi’s burgundy lipstick clung to the lid.

 “No problem.” Brenna set her coffee down, too. “Naomi? Can I ask you a question?”

 “Sure.”

 “How often do they update that list downstairs? I’m only asking because Jeff’s head of security position is posted. He’s been here for ages, right?”

 “Oh.” Naomi dropped her pen and reached under her desk to retrieve it. “Um, he uh- he… resigned a couple days ago.” She pulled her wavy brown hair from her eyes and clicked her pen.

 “Resigned? I thought he was on vacation. He did get a speeding ticket last week, but other than that he was fine. Did he say why?”

 “He- he didn’t say.”

 “Why would he just leave?”

 “He-” Her phone rang. “Datura Employment Agency. This is Naomi. How may I help you?” She covered the receiver. “Sorry,” she whispered.

Brenna picked up her things and walked down the hall to her office. She jumped when the knob moved before she touched it.

“Late again, Brenna Clary?”

“Mr. Calla?” Brenna looked up into his light brown eyes, which were not as welcoming as they had been a month ago. “I stopped by to talk to Naomi for a minute.”

“Chit-chatting on the job again?” He pointed to his watch. “We had a meeting ten minutes ago.”

“What? We did? I didn’t know.”

“Not checking your emails again?” He stepped into the hallway. “Bring the files and meet me in my office.”

“Which files?”

“All of them.”

“All of them?” she whispered as she watched his perfectly pressed pinstripe suit stride down the hall.

Brenna entered his office trying not to drop the stack of folders up to her ears. “The only ones that haven’t been uploaded yet are from yesterday, but I’m adding them today.” She looked around, and set the stack on one of the empty chairs in front of his desk. “Why did you need the files?”

He motioned toward the other empty seat. “It has come to my attention that your performance at this company has been sub-par.”

“What?” She moved to the edge of her seat. “I don’t-”

“You, Ms. Clary,” he said, pointing to a file on his desk, “have been on my list for three weeks.” He opened the folder. “Loss of keys. Tardiness. Chit-chatting instead of working. Running a stop sign. Dumping grease in the garden outside. Hanging cl-”

“Wait. What? You can’t possibly-”

“Sit.”

She did. “But I don’t understand.”

“Since you were fleeing from a bad relationship, we let your poisonous behavior slide. But this town does not tolerate these actions, and as the representatives who manage employment in this community, it is our job to make sure everyone abides by our expectations.”

“I still don’t understand. How does this-”

He stood up. “Here is your letter of resignation.” He held up a pen. “Sign it so we can dismiss you.”

“Sign?”

“They’re clearing out your office as we speak.” He laid the pen on the letter and pushed it toward her. “Sign.”

Brenna skimmed the letter where she admits to all the work infractions she’s committed. She took a deep breath, and signed the letter.

“Thank you for making this easier on everyone. Please leave through the back exit.”

Brenna rushed down the stairs, tears smearing her mascara even though she tried to keep them in. Two men stepped out from the other side of the delivery truck when the back door closed.

“Brenna Clary?” The younger of the two men motioned to her. “We’re here to pick you up.”

“Pick me up?” Brenna stepped back and grabbed the door handle. “My car’s out front.” Locked.

“Don’t worry about your car,” the older one said. His scar near his eyebrow seemed to speak as his mouth moved. “Mr. Calla has given us our orders.”

She moved away from the door and away from the men, but they were quicker.

“Wait! There’s been a misunderstanding!” she screamed as they dragged her through the small door at the back of the truck.

“Save your breath.” The younger one clamped her wrists into cold metal restraints. “Lucky for you, tomorrow is delivery day.”

“What?”

But he closed the door, surrounding her with darkness.

“Don’t tell me that you resigned, too, Brenna?” a hoarse voice whispered beside her.

“Jeff? Is there anyone else in here?”

“Yeah, but he won’t make the delivery.”

“Delivery?”

Silence. “Jeff?”

**************

Thank you!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below!

“On Her Birthday: A Meeting with Death” — Flash Fiction, week 1

The man laughed. “Oh, Sonny, everyone worries about me, but it’s useless. I’m going to do my own thing no matter what anyone thinks or says about it.”

Not too long ago, I joined a writing group on Facebook (Voices of the Darkly), and they hold a regular flash fiction competition within the group. The theme of the first contest this year is “meeting with death.”

Flash fiction, for those who are new to the genre, is a fictional piece written in under 1,000 words. (Click here for more information about it.) This particular contest required a story between 500 and 800 words.

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Not only do I want to participate in the Facebook competition, but I also decided to attempt #52weeks52stories this year (hosted by Hollie Hausenfluck on Twitter), a year-long writing challenge.

Without further ado, here is my flash fiction piece that will fulfill both goals in one fell swoop!

On Her Birthday (PG – for those who need a rating)

“I already told y-” Eric held the phone back.

“What?” Gram’s voice echoed.

He smiled and sighed. “My car broke down, Gram. I don’t have time to-”

“Your car?” She yelled again.

“It’s…” he paused, checking his watch. “Gram, I’m almost at the bus stop.”

“Eric? Are you there? I can’t hear anything out of this da-”

“I love you, Gram. My bus’ll be here soon.”

“Oh! I hear you again! What bus?”

“See you soon.” He hung up and considered going back, but the next bus wouldn’t run for another two hours.

“Forget something?”

Eric turned. “Pardon?”

“I didn’t mean to listen in.” He moved his cane closer. “But I’ve been waiting here for over an hour. Can you believe that no one else has shown up?”

“What? Over an hour?” Eric sat down, shivering a little. “Someone should’ve told you what time to be here so you wouldn’t have to wait in the cold.” He could feel his blood boil as he placed Gram in this man’s position. Who told him to be here so early?

“I need the fresh air. I have a mighty difficult journey ahead of me, so I wanted to clear my head first.” He pulled a lifesaver from his exposed shirt pocket. “Want one?”

“Thanks.” Eric placed the proffered mint into his coat pocket. “Isn’t anyone worried about you being out here?”

The man laughed. “Oh, Sonny, everyone worries about me, but it’s useless. I’m going to do my own thing no matter what anyone thinks or says about it.”

Eric sat back. “You sound just like Gram.” He pointed down the empty road. “I’m on my way to see her for her birthday.” He checked his watch and tapped it. “Honestly, I don’t visit often, but they-” He took a deep breath. “They said she only has a couple months left.”

He followed Eric’s gaze. When he turned back, the smile from moments before was missing. “A couple months?”

“Yeah.”

“And it’s her birthday today?”

Eric smiled. “She loves birthdays. She-” He laughed. “She used to say, ‘Eric, the best thing about growing old is birthdays. You never know what weird stuff people will give you when they think you already have everything else.’” He laughed again. “So I try to get her something weird every year.”

“Weird? Hm. What’re you bringing her this year?”

“Well…” Eric tapped his watch again. “I had my eye on a couple oddities at the bazaar, but I ran out of time this morning.”

“Ran out of time?” He pointed toward the oncoming headlights. “Because of the bus?”

“Yeah. And my car. The gears wouldn’t shift yesterday. I thought they’d have it back this morning, but they said they’re working on unfreezing the something-or-other.”

“Ah, car trouble ruins the day. Too bad they don’t have a loaner.”

“Of course!” Eric jumped up. “Jerry knows Gram… Maybe he’ll lend me one for the day.” Eric turned to go, then turned back. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

He stood up. “You don’t need to worry about me, either.”

“Have a safe trip.” Eric held out his hand, but dropped it when the man turned and boarded the bus.

***

“Gram?” Eric knocked once and entered her room, the colorful glass gift in his hand. “Happy birthday, Gram.”

“Eric? Oh Eric!” She swooped in for a hug. “We’ve been so worried!”

“What are y-”

“The news…” The nurse, Nancy, pointed to the television. “We thought you were on that bus. We’ve tried calling and calling.” She prodded her finger into his shoulder. “You should know better than to do that to this dear woman.”

“But I… What? The bus?” He read the news ticker – no survivors – and fell back onto the couch. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I didn’t know.”

“We called you every two minutes,” Nancy accused.

Eric finally saw Gram’s red eyes. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, which had died, and the mint. “The man-”

“Since you’re alive, we’ll watch something more upbeat.” Nancy changed the channel. “We need cake.” She turned to leave. “You,” she said, pointing at Eric, “don’t do that to us ever again.”

“Yes ma’am.” He placed the mint back in his pocket, making a silent promise to the man. “Gram, let’s open presents.”

He loved her laughter and her enjoyment of all the strange gifts she received. He could still feel her last bear hug as he walked out the front door.

“Forget something?”

Eric spun around. “Pardon?”

“Don’t worry, Sonny.” The man pulled another lifesaver out of his pocket. “I wasn’t here for her.” He walked to the car stopped at the stop sign and got in on the passenger side.

Eric watched it drive away. Then, he turned around and walked back inside.

***

Comments

Feel free to tell me what you think in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Why I Write…

People write for all sorts of reasons every single day: send a text or email, leave or make a note, finish something for work or school, jot down a recipe, send a letter, balance a checkbook, make a grocery list, etc.

I, too, write America. As a writer and teacher of writing, I’m also excited about the National Day of Writing, which was created by the National Council of Teachers of English and adopted by the Senate every year on October 20th since 2009.

While following #TeachWrite on Twitter for their first Monday of the month chat this week, I saw Margaret Simon’s challenge to share #WhyIWrite.

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1. I write because I enjoy it.

I have so many reasons to write, but this is my number one reason: I enjoy writing. Yes, I’m a writing teacher. Yes, I’m in the middle of writing my first book (revising, actually). Yes, I sometimes have to write.

However, I wouldn’t be where I am now if I didn’t truly enjoy writing.

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I keep a writer’s notebook, and I fill it with my ideas. I love to write in it, and I love the feeling of needing a new one when I’ve filled the current one up!

I enjoy the feel of a colorful pen in my hand, and the gentle sound it makes when it touches the page.

2. I write because I have ideas.

“Where did that idea come from?”

“What are your sources of inspiration?”

There are countless others that writers are asked, but those are probably the top two. The great thing about writing is that ideas can come from anywhere. You can look at a blank page sometimes and start writing.

Some places I search for ideas:

  • past brainstorms
  • songs
  • poems
  • gifs
  • photos
  • life events
  • writing prompts
  • first line prompts
  • quotes

The photo below is from a prompt that said to use a song as inspiration. #FlashFicHive is a month-long flash fiction writing workshop hosted by Anjela Curtis on Twitter. I’ve used her prompts to inspire several pieces of flash fiction, and she has an event all this month!

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3. I write because I read.

It’s true. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand (ask any writer).

Writing about the books you read often help inspire others to read those books, too. I don’t write book reviews often, but I should! I outline them first in my notebook, which helps me show my process when I’m helping my students.

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For the final copy of this outlined review, click the following link: Book Review: Chasing Eveline. Maybe my writing will inspire you to read Leslie’s novel and write a review, too!

4. I write to help and inspire my students.

Speaking of helping my students, I also write with them. We recently worked on a personal narrative, so I wrote one in order to show them how to incorporate the skills we talked about.

As you can see, I purposefully added a lot of “to be” verbs (which is a lot harder than you think) as part of our lesson on incorporating better verbs. Unfortunately, not all of the changes were to stronger verbs, but we’re taking it one step at a time.

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Before we wrote our personal narratives, we created a “Treasure Map” of ideas. This map inspired students to try another narrative in their own writer’s notebook using a different “X” event.

Students are more likely to try something new when they have a model to use. They’re especially eager to try it when they see the teacher trying it, too!

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5. I write because I can.

What better reason to end this blog post? I write because I can. I am capable of writing, and sometimes it’s pretty good.

I can write stories for fun, narratives with my students, or poems because they help me cope with whatever it is I’m feeling.

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We gain freedom when we write, so why wouldn’t we want that?

Why do you write? What is your favorite form of writing? Share with me in the comments!

Resources

National Day of Writing — NCTE link

Join the #WhyIWrite Blog Hop — Margaret’s link