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Week One [Weekly Writing Challenges] Read 970 times

Krystal Itzume

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Week One [Weekly Writing Challenges]
« on: August 05, 2014, 05:30:36 am »
Hello Everyone!

I am going to start weekly writing challenges, just because. Also, I have a book called "The Writer's Block" that has ideas for such things--over 700 of them, and I really should use it. So, these will be challenges just to get you writing and your mind thinking. I will put one up every Monday.

~***~

Theme of themes: Conformity, Conforming, the Status Quo.

Words to use: Lyrics, Lack, Naked.

Length: No length

Peregrine

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Re: Week One [Weekly Writing Challenges]
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2014, 07:49:07 am »
They invited her, so she went. They didn't always invite her. Much of the time she found out after the fact that they'd done something. They had always been close, and she'd always been on the outside. They made themselves feel better by using the words, "Well, we didn't think you'd want to" or "We figured you were too busy" when they knew neither was true.

She tried to tell herself, this time would be different. When they talked to her, they'd genuinely want to hear the answer. That when they introduced her to the others at the party they wouldn't be condescending, or belittling, or backhanded in their compliments, reminding her of all she lacked in their eyes.

She wanted it so badly to be different this time.

She turned the radio up in the car as she drove there, singing the lyrics loudly, trying to let the words buoy her up and chase her lingering doubts away. She would have a great time this time. It was going to be perfect.

She'd dressed by their standards mostly. She'd probably hear her dress was 'retro' before the night was over. She didn't do anything crazy with her hair, just a simple up-do. She didn't wear the funky earrings she loved, but the ones they gave her for Christmas last year. She didn't even carry her favorite bag, instead she neatly organizing the few things she let herself take with her in something small, black, and simple. She looked "normal", but felt exposed somehow.

She pulled up, but sat in her car scanning the street. She tried not to be early, that bothered them. She tried not to be too late, or they rolled their eyes. She couldn't be there first, she couldn't arrive last.

A vaguely familiar couple came walking down the street and she hurried and exited her car and crossed the street so she could come in after them.

She was hugged and welcomed warmly enough when she pressed the buzzer a minute after the others. She handed over the bag with what she'd brought. "You didn't have to do that!" Yes she did. "Here, give me your coat and bag," she convinced herself she saw a look of approval and smiled tentatively. "You look... different. Everything okay?"

She nodded. "Great. Can I help with anything?"

"Oh there's loads to do, but don't worry about it, really. Mingle. Meet some people."

It was a test. It was always a test. She nodded and ran one hand down the opposite arm. She stepped into the crowd. She smiled, and said hello to a few people she recognized, but after a few minutes of their looks and feeling like she was shrinking, shriveling, diminishing in the crowd, she finally slipped through them all back into the kitchen.

No one was there. She pursed her lips, then gnawed on her bottom one for a moment. What would they want the most? She pushed her sleeves up and started laying out food, dishes, making things look nice.

She heard one of them come in behind her and come over to grab something, "Oh, you didn't have to do that! Come out and enjoy the party!"

"It's no problem. I'll be out in a minute."

It was thirty, and no one else came in, and no one noticed her absence.

She finally got a few platters to take out to the side board and she set them down before she was waved over for the usual introductions.

Please. Please. Please. she repeated over and over as she pulled a smile up and walked over.

She wasn't fast enough apparently, she saw the half roll of an eye. "Derick, this is Gabby. Gabby this is Derick, he works with computers."

Yes! "Gabby is really into computers." No. A hand to her mouth as if she's telling a secret, "Don't let the pretty outfit fool you, she's our resident little weirdo. Don't get her started on any of the latest big movies, or books, she'll talk your ear off." GAHH! A laugh as if she's only joking.

Gabby swallowed, hoping her face wasn't too red, her smile wavering as she put her hand out. "Nice to meet you." There it was pity in his eyes as he shook her hand, and a questioning look, as if he was trying to strip her naked see if FREAK was stamped all over her skin.

"I'll just let you two talk."

Like that's going to happen now.

He took a drink from his glass, she looked around and then cleared her throat. "So what do you do?"

He swallowed, "I'm a marketing executive over at RDJ. It's a computer company, but I just sell them, not mess with them or anything. You?"

Does it matter?

"I work in textiles," only a minor lie. She worked in a customized costume shop.

He nodded and took another drink.

Say something funny or interesting or engaging.

"Well, I'm going to go get something to eat. It was good to meet you."

To late.

"You too." She watched him walk away and caught the cool blue eyes, hard, the slight shake of a head in disapproval or disappointment, almost saying "Why do I even bother?"

Gabby felt her face flush. It couldn't have possibly been the introduction that sealed the fate of that conversation.

She wouldn't cry now though. Then they'd say she was a drama queen. So she tried to mingle.

She approached a few groups, but more than once, the circle closed her out with subtle shifts in body movement. She tried to join the conversations. She kept her voice quiet- she was always soooo loud. She added a thought or two, but mostly bit her tongue. She always talked too much. If they were near, there was always a comment about it.

She tried not to check her watch to much, but she couldn't help it. She couldn't leave too early, they expected her to stay until the end, to help clean up.

So she does just what they expect, only early. She picks up a few things, puts things away, loads the dishwasher and starts it. It'll be enough, she tells herself.

She slips back into the party. She just has to make it through to the front door.

Act casual.

She is almost to the door when she hears one of them, telling a story they had teased her about just a week ago. Her teeth grind and she moves more quickly. It was the last straw of the last straws.

She got her coat on, her bag and looked at the laughing, mingling party goers from the door one more time before she slips out the door.

She rushes down the steps, but doesn't reach the bottom before the tears come. She reaches into her bag for a tissue, but finds a small pad of paper and a pen first. She sniffs and flips it open.

She scribbles the thoughts she usually would dismiss, then with a deep breath she decides not to come back again and she lets the paper go with the next gust of the wind. It swirls away from her as she heads to her car, not looking back.

It lands on the steps behind her, stuck to the wet cement- "You make me feel small and insignificant. But not any more. You might be my sisters, but you aren't my friends."

Runic Blade

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Re: Week One [Weekly Writing Challenges]
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2014, 07:03:30 pm »
Cool idea, maybe it will force me to write something.  This story I just wrote takes place in the late 1940's.



The night air was cool and clean, so naturally I wanted to find the smokiest club to suffocate myself in.  I drove my 1941 Nash 600 sedan along the city streets, bumping over potholes and letting the breeze bathe my face through the cranked-down windows.  I'd cleaned the whitewall tires earlier in the day and washed & waxed the hunter green steel body.  It made me feel important.  My car was old but the hood shone brilliantly beneath the melancholy streetlights.  A man had to have something to be proud of in his life.  In the darkness, one could almost mistake it for a newer model.

I parked along the street near the Primrose Club.  Despite the innocuous sounding name, it was in fact a place where the harsher elements of society hung out.  In particular, Chicago mob gangsters could be found huddled under the dim lights, trading stories and laughing a little too loud.  Additionally, city politicians mixed in with the criminal element.  However, there was little difference between the two types of Chicagoans in my mind.  They both worked for the same bosses.

I found a place at the bar, ordered a beer, emptied the glass, and then ordered another.  After taking a few sips I absently swished the liquid back and forth in the glass while staring at the suds.  I guess I looked bored.  This prompted a lonely man to sit on the stool next to me and start talking to me about the White Sox.  I don't follow sports, so I politely excused myself and moved an empty, isolated table.  I just wanted to be alone tonight.

I put my hand in my pocket, touching the metal frame of my ex-army Colt 1911.  The thing was heavy – like carrying a brick in my trousers, but I knew why I had brought it.  One didn't enter a place like the Primrose Club defenseless.  I hoped it wouldn't come to shooting, but you never knew what could happen.  In my other pocket was my switchblade knife.

I tried to make out the faces of the figures in the room, scanning each table, but it was mostly a wasted effort.  It was too dark.  Nevertheless I was intent on my purpose and from my table I peered at every shadowy figure, as though I could see into their souls.

A singer, a pretty brunette wearing a long slinky gold dress, parted the stage curtains and lifted a microphone to her lips.  The murmur of the club patrons quieted.  After a short silence the jazz band launched into song.  The singer's voice was smooth and liquid, like honey flowing over Niagara Falls.  It filled the room with a kind of quiet strength.  She sung a familiar song, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.  I knew the lyrics by heart – literally:

They asked me how I knew
my true love was true
I, of course, replied
something here inside
cannot be denied

They said someday you'll find
all who love are blind
when your heart's on fire
you must realize
smoke gets in your eyes

So I chaffed them
and I gaily laughed
to think they could doubt
my love

Yet today,
my love has flown away
I am without
my love

Now, laughing friends deride
tears I cannot hide
so, I smile and say
when a lovely flame dies
smoke gets in your eyes...


I felt a clutching sadness in my heart.  Applause filled the club, but my emotions took me elsewhere.  Every time I heard that song it brought me back to Dinah.  I remembered her face and dress.  The way she touched my arm with her delicate fingers.  The lack of her left me as a dry husk - an empty shell with an emotional hole inside myself.

The hole inside me was too deep to fill with love, but maybe it could be filled another way – with violence.  My blood surged and my muscles tensed under my suit jacket as I thought about the man who'd stolen her from me.

As if my feelings had predicted it to happen, the crime boss Joe Hollywood entered the club.  He was laughing and trading back slaps with his cronies.  This was the same Joe Hollywood who had ruled the northwest side of the city for years.  The same filthy bastard who had broke my father's arm when he'd refused to pay protection money to keep his grocery shop in business.  It was also the same Joe Hollywood who had stolen Dinah's heart from me.

As you might imagine, I had a pretty big beef with old Joe.  Some men would just let it go.  These same men told me not to mess with the street gangs.  They said, just keep your head down and stay out of trouble.  That attitude didn't work for me though.  I just couldn't take it lying down.  I'd stopped being an obedient little sheep long ago.  Here was my chance to get back at Joe Hollywood.

I got up from my table, a little too quickly, knocking over the chair I'd been sitting on.  It fell on the wood floor, rattling so loud that people looked up from their conversations, towards me.  I felt my face heat up and hoped the lights were dark enough that I didn't seem to be blushing.

“Hey, Eddie!” Joe called out.  My name is Ed, not Eddie.

“Joe,” I said.  I walked towards him.

I wanted to wipe the idiotic smirk from his face with my fist.  Instinctually, I had my hand on the gun in my pocket, finger wrapped around the trigger, but I didn't pull it out.

“Your old man finally paid up,” he said.  “so I guess I won't have to break his other arm!”

His cronies laughed as though that were the funniest joke they'd heard all day.  I knew they were deliberately taunting me... setting a trap... there were four of them and one of me.  I had no chance.

I gritted my teeth and nodded curtly.  My heart pounded.  My cheeks burned.  Everyone was looking at me.  It was as though I were standing naked in front of the entire club, with my private emotions exposed for all to see.

“...and Dinah, well lets just say she knows her way around my bedroom,” Joe continued.

At this, my anger boiled over.  I wasn't stupid enough to use the gun, but I yanked out my switchblade knife.  It snapped open and I slashed the arm of one of Joe's bodyguards.  His jacket sleeve came loose, but I didn't cut through to the flesh.  He was actually surprised at my boldness – his mouth hung open in a big “O” shape.

“Come on, Joe, I'm sick of this shit,” I shouted while taking a fighting stance.  I heard heavy footsteps approaching behind me, but I couldn't look away from the target of my rage.

Crack!  Blackness enveloped me as a bouncer hit the back of my skull.  So much for that idea, I thought as my knees collapsed under me.



The sun was just breaking over the horizon when I awoke in a garbage filled alley.  I stunk and so did the bucket of rotten fish I was lying on top of.  My ears rang and there were spots in my vision.  I held my head and grimaced.

My first thought was to check my pockets, but they were empty.  Joe's hooligans had cleaned me out.  Even my car keys were missing.  Those was the least of my concerns though.

Before, my vendetta with Joe Hollywood had been kept silent.  It was normal for mafia men to harass ordinary guys like myself.  But you didn't strike back.  Everyone knew that – don't mess with the Joe's crew – don't fight the system.  The politicians, police, and gangsters were all crooked and working together in Chicago.

But now I had done just that and it would be like a big red target painted on my forehead for every gangster in the city.  This little guy, Ed Petrocelli – me – had dared to stand up to the Mob.  Sure, I'd just got knocked back over.  However, that meant that I was now in a state of war from which only one man could emerge a winner: me or Joe Hollywood.  For some reason they had let me live this time, but next time I probably wouldn't be so lucky.

- to be continued, maybe -


Krystal Itzume

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Re: Week One [Weekly Writing Challenges]
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2014, 03:29:26 am »
That's my intention with it too, Runic. To help with the writing, and keep it constant.

~****~

“I wish her mediocrity, endless hope with no gains. I wish her the suffering of crushed dreams, and the inability to stop hoping. I wish her hope, forever.”


Years had passed since the wish was made, in one day of pain. Years had passed since the victim of the wish was even thought of. 

It all came back as the woman with the blue hair stood opposite of the woman with the dark red hair, both dye jobs, and both the opposite of their natures. It struck the woman of blue as hilarious, but she didn’t laugh.
“Hello,” she greeted pleasantly, “I would like a medium strawberries and cream frappe, please?” It was always a question, for she’d never presume the Starbucks had the ingredients.

“Of course,”
the red head smiled, “Would you like whipped cream on that?”

“Yes, please.”


The total was rung up, the drink paid for, and the blue-haired woman stepped off to the side to await her drink. She looked out at the window and at the storm building outside the quiet café, and she smiled to herself.
‘My, my, whatever would you do if I called you Midnight?’ A glance to the red-head, busy at her work. ‘Do you recognize me?’

The tall, blonde man walked over to her side and also took a look outside.
“All praise the god cat of thunder.”

“All praise the god cat of thunder,”
she repeated with a grin, “But Zeus is better.” Her thoughts were far away from their conversations of Pokemon and the God-Cat of Thunder, far from the similarities of Buddha and Jesus, and even further from the book about the dinosaur with no friends left alive. They were in a memory of a little girl who stood outside and twirled in the rain, the one now making coffee.

A hand moved unconsciously to the ring she wore as a necklace. Once it had been a cross she wore that she never took off, a gift of the red-head, but now it was this ring that gave her power.
“Strawberry and cream frappe!”

She turned around, smile in place, conforming to the social norms when all she really wanted to do was lean across and ask,
“What are your dreams?”

“Do you dream anymore of a musical career?”
“Did you want to end up here, in food service, with normal colored hair?”
“Do you remember when you sold me out so you could be popular and accepted?”
“Are you happy with your lie?”
“What do you lack?”
“Did you know that I am living my dream?”

But she did not.

She took hold of the cup, fingers just missing those of the red-head, and she smiled that smile of poison.
“Thank you!” And she almost slipped, almost laughed and broke the social norm.

“You’re in food service.”
She wanted to say, so desperately she wanted to say, but she didn’t think the woman recognized her. “You’re in food service, and I am not.”

What she said instead was,
“Have a great day!”

“Thanks,” returned the red-head, “You too!” She chirped, and with shared smiles, the blue-haired woman walked off with the blonde man following at her side.

There was a pause, though, as he paused and said,
“Look at this!”

So, she did, and saw the Oreo cupcake that has caught his attention.
“Do you want it?” He had been complaining all day of having no money.

“No,” he said sheepishly, though he did. “But it looks good.”

She agreed, though the red velvet cheesecake looked better.
“Next time,” she said, and lifted her head to look away.

In that moment, she again saw the red-head, and the look on her face was so bare, so naked, that it broke the rules of the game of illusions.
‘Oh, you know.’ And the blue-haired woman’s smile widened. She lifted her cup in a ‘cheers’ motion, before she turned and walked out of the café.

The man soon followed, and was caught off guard when a peal of laughter escaped her.
“What is it?” He asked.

“Nothing,” she answered, and gave him the broadest smile so he knew it was a lie. “I’ll tell you later,” how could she put into words that a wish came true? How could she possibly tell him, when she’d kept this secret from everyone, how terrible a person she truly was at her core?

Karma would eat her alive one day, but for now, it had given her the greatest joy.
“We should come here more often, you know.”

They chatted outside for a while longer, but prated ways. The woman got into her Ford car. She switched it on, and laughed again as the radio played just the most fitting song. The lyrics were fantastic, and she loved the group.

Soon enough, she was belting them out in the privacy of her car, as she turned it on to the road.


“I was there for you in your darkest times
I was there for you in your darkest night
But I wonder where were you when I was at my worst
Down on my knees?
And you said you had my back
So I wonder where were you
When all the roads you took came back to me
So I’m following the map that leads to you!”

Oh, she would follow that map. She would go back there, often, and make it a private hell for the red-head.
‘Food service bitch.’ A mental whip-crack. She sipped the frappe at the stop light and thought of how much sweeter it tasted.

The smile broke, though. The light turned green.


‘I knew what you could have been.’


She turned onto the highway with a drop of sorrow in her heart that would never leave her eyes.
‘If only you had been true to yourself, you would not be there.’

And so she got off the highway at Wal-Mart to buy a new color of hair dye.
‘Because fuck you.’ It’d be green now. Green would match her eyes. One of these days, she’d start up a conversation with the barista as if they’d never known each other. She’d tell her just how successful she was, because she needed the confirmation that the other was not, in fact, happy.

That the other was living only in dreams.

Then again, perhaps it was better if she lived in the dream that the other was just dreaming. The blue-haired woman just couldn't stand it if the other was happy with such...mediocrity.