The Dare

I’m early this week! Yippee! Thank you as always to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers!

Since “paranormal” seems to be winning in my NaNoWriMo poll (see here), I thought I’d better start practicing.

 

FF - Unwelcome news 181010

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

The Dare

Me afraid? Just because it’s Halloween, pitch-black, and the wind slides leaves like skeletal feet on concrete, and I’m alone in the haunted castle? Noooooo. Continue reading

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I Do-plicity?

It has been a tremendously long time since I’ve taken part in the FFfAW challenge. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate!

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Michelle DeAngelis.

 

I Do-plicity?

Do I have a sign on my head that says: world’s biggest fool? Continue reading

Under the Moon’s Shadow

Thanks as always to Rochelle for Friday Fictioneers!

PHOTO PROMPT © Gah Learner

 

Under the Moon’s Shadow (99 words)

Although fear shook her body uncontrollably, Marie kept her eyes on the tower, awaiting the flash of light signaling commencement. She was so afraid of letting the others down that she was almost paralyzed. Continue reading

You Made Your Bed

I had the beginning of this story in my head. The funny thing is that you sometimes don’t know where the beginning will take you, and this one surprised me a little.

Written for the August 30 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge.

You Made Your Bed (99 words)

First a bottleneck on the road and now a bottleneck at the charity event. I see who is causing it and suddenly wish I had a bottleneck in my hand, preferably high-proof. Continue reading

Life in the Rearview Mirror

Thank you to Rochelle for Friday Fictioneers!

PHOTO PROMPT © Nathan Sowers grandson of our own Dawn M. Miller

 

 

Life in the Rearview Mirror

I see our cabin in my rearview mirror, where it can’t possibly be. Continue reading

Fairy Hour

I am on vacation (and definitely not at my computer much, so if I haven’t responded to you, that’s why…but I will soon! 🙂 ) but couldn’t miss out on Friday Fictioneers! Thank you, Rochelle! Oops, to late to add a link.

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

 

Fairy Hour

“It’s fairy grass,” Ellie said. “Fairies visit every night for treats.” Continue reading

Going to Seed

Thank you to Rochelle for providing this prompt for Friday Fictioneers!

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

 

Going to Seed

We sit under the maple in Adirondack chairs, sipping fruity rum drinks, your own invention, while a soft breeze stirs the humid air like a spoon in a cauldron. Continue reading

The Next Time

You weren’t expected. Obviously.

His door is open. She’s giggling. You hear his soft laugh join hers. She’s leaning over his desk, supposedly pointing at data, but her blouse gapes open to show what little cleavage she has. He looks. Of course, he looks. She catches him and purses her lips, the smile still there. Her fingers reach toward his face and as they are about to caress his beard, you step in the room.

“The car’s broke down,” you say, jangling your keys.

She leans back, no apology in her eyes. The next time you’ll be on the interstate.

 

end 6/16/2016

©S. Darlington

Rehab

I just, oh, I just need a friend
I’m not gonna spend ten weeks
Have everyone think I’m on the mend

Rehab by Amy Winehouse

from the flashfiction novel, Comes As You Are

Rehab

You can’t bring much to rehab. You’re lost without your guitar.

One of the nurses takes pity on you and says her boyfriend could bring his and sit with you while you play—if that’s all right. What choice do you have? You want to play so badly you’re dissolving. She tells you you can’t be alone with the guitar because they’d had a previous patient who used the strings to kill himself.

Mark, the nurse’s boyfriend, brings in an acoustic guitar and you play. He’s tries to read, but after two minutes of hearing you limbering up and then playing the familiar arpeggios from “Stairway to Heaven,” he sets the book aside and watches. You look up. He’s frowning as if he is trying to remember something.

“You’re really good,” he says.

All good guitarists play Stairway to Heaven like this; it’s almost cliché.

“It’s a nice guitar.”

“I want to join a band, but Cheryl wants to get married and says musicians end up spending all of their money on drugs and overdose.” He realizes what he’s said. His mouth falls open. “I didn’t mean you. Crap, foot in mouth, right?”

You smile. “Not all musicians use. Look at Eddie Rodgers.”

“But who’s to say, right? It’s not like you know him personally, right?”

“We went to school together.”

“You’re fucking me. You know Eddie Rodgers?”

You nod. Mark stares at you, his expression changes.

“You’re Whitewash,” he says.

You look at your fingers on the neck of the guitar. “Used to be.”

“I can’t believe I’ve been sitting here all this time and just realized. Fucking Lucy Sanders. Sorry.”

You shrug. You offer him his guitar, but he puts his palms up. “Please, could you play that riff from ‘Losing All I Got?’”

You could play that in your sleep. There were times when you practiced it so much you dreamed it.

Your fingers dance over the strings. The way they used to. Before.

Mark presses his fist against his lips and shakes his head. “Amazing. Whitewash is shit without you.”

You quell the urge to ask for gossip or news. Nick’s absence, his silence is all the news you need.

end

©S. Darlington

I Won’t Back Down

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that back in April I began a flash fiction rock music novel, Come As You Are, for Camp Nanowrimo. I’ve been editing some of the originally written pieces from that and sharing them here, which is why this is much longer than my usual offering for daily prompt, but it fits as my heroine, Lucy, decides to change her natural look. (I Won’t Back Down started the day at 1100 words, but is now a lean 740 (maybe too lean?).) If you take on the effort of reading this, know that I appreciate it and hope you enjoy.


I Won’t Back Down

The event strikes you as chaotic yet organized. Around 50 bands perform, to be weeded out like a musical king-of-the-hill. You lose a round, you go home. The prize money is good, but the fact that the two top bands will open for Nick and Whitewash is the real prize.

You walk around, observing the other bands. They cover the gamut of age and race. Most are guys. Some girls. You see immediately the difference between those girls and your natural look.

“Can anything be done with me?” you ask your sister, Alissa.

She frowns. “Are you getting stage fright?”

Deke turns around. “You getting cold feet?”

“No. The girls in the bands all look sexy.” You look from your Chuck Taylors to your ripped jeans to your flannel shirt. “I look like I’m homeless.”

Deke laughs, puts his arm around your shoulders, and glances at Alissa. “Our girl is growing up.”

You shrug him off. “Seriously. What if my look matters?”

Ramon nods. “If Alissa could make her sexy, it could be a win for us.”

Alissa bites her lip. “We’ve got forty minutes, right?”

We all nod.

“Let’s do this.”

Alissa tosses you a bag. “Put this on.”

Inside are a denim miniskirt and a neon orange and shocking pink cropped top, all tight—maybe not tight, but compared to the clothes you normally wear, they feel like a corset. When you emerge, Alissa hands you ankle boots. She pulls the elastic band from your hair and dyes some auburn strands blonde with temporary dye. Your eyes she outlines in teal and then brushes dark blue shadow on your lids.

“Let’s go.”

Ramon whistles softly.

“You’re a girl, Lucy.”

You punch his arm. “But I can’t breathe. Who wears clothes this tight?”

Their eyes wander over you.

“Quit looking at me like I’m a steak.”

That’s when you see him. Eddie Rodgers. His hair is long. His eyes linger over you. Your breath catches. Alissa notices and glances at Eddie, then smiles and waves. You think she’s a much better person than you. She knows how to behave socially. You act like a deer in the headlights—always.

Alissa drags you toward him. “Eddie, hey! Why are you here?”

“I’m in a band,” he says, his gaze on you.

“How have you been?” you ask.

“Good. Music’s going good.”

“Great.”

“Yeah.”

You feel awkward, unsettled.

“I’d better get back.”

“Good luck, Lucy.” His voice sounds gravelly.

You quell this urge to hug him as you turn away toward your bandmates. Deke looks over your shoulder.

“What’s he doing here?” Deke asks.

“His band’s here.”

“Crap. I heard them at Shiners. Rodgers has a set of pipes.”

“But we’ve got a sexed up Lucy who plays a damn righteous lead guitar,” Ramon says.

You’ve never suffered from stage fright. You think it’s because you mostly close your eyes and dissolve into the music. You are performing two songs. One original, which you wrote, and one cover, Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.”

As Deke and you harmonize on the chorus, your gaze finds Eddie. He stands to the side, his arms folded over his chest, his expression unreadable. The song is about him, but you think he couldn’t know that. As your pick slides over the strings, the song ends and you immediately pluck the familiar notes to “Come As You Are.” You sing with Deke providing harmony. Your version is slower than the original, your voice sweet like an ephemeral dream. The audience reacts, less contained than usual. Deke joins in, your voices meld, harmonize. The audience roars.

Your eyes widen as you look at Deke. When you finish, the audience explodes.

Offstage, you hug each other. Now you must bide your time listening to the other bands and hoping. Eddie leans against the wall, hands buried in his jeans pockets. Deke and Ramon slap him on the back as they pass.

“You sounded fantastic, Lucy.”

“Thanks,” you say, shyly.

“You look great. Different.”

You grin suddenly and he smiles. Something in you surges and you kiss his lips before scurrying away. You don’t look back. You couldn’t.

You’re in the audience when Eddie’s band plays. Like you, they perform an original and a cover, Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” Eddie nails it. When he sings, “hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out,” you feel like you are melting. He sounds like a rock star—and a winner.

end


originally written 4/2016; edited 6/15/2016

(c) Sascha Darlington