prompt: brie, bookshop, bland

Janet’s fingers brushed along the spine of the book, before she flipped it open to the first photo of brie. 

“Not that one.” It was like a buzzed whisper, not quite a hiss, from the other side of the bookstore. Janet ignored it and turned to the first recipe.

“Bland.” She heard the buzz again and this time couldn’t help but turn to look over her shoulder. No one was down the aisle of books, and on the other side it was just the shopkeeper seemingly consumed with his computer. 

Janet put the book in her basket. 

“I can’t allow it.” The buzz had turned into a distinct voice, and when she looked back at the shopkeeper he was no longer looking at the computer. Instead, he was holding out a different book towards Janet, another one about brie. 

“Now this one, is anything but bland.”

Janet looked down at the book in her basket. “Then why do you sell this one at all?”

The shopkeeper laughed, gesturing around the store. “A whole shop devoted to cookbooks. Had to find something to fill the shelves.”

Janet chuckled and reached for the book, flipping through the pages. “There’s no pictures,” she observed.

“Well–” the shopkeeper raised an eyebrow. “Are you going to marvel at it, or cook with it?” 

“Both?”

The shopkeeper beamed. “Then I’ll just ring up both of them, how does that sound?”

“Sounds like you’re good at your job. No wonder you’ve managed to keep this shop open.”

“Gift wrapping?” he offered. “50% off for such a kind customer.”

Janet shook her head with amusement. “Don’t push it.”

prompt: doughnut, lost, bathing suit

Anna was half under the bed, her arm reaching blindly for a bathing suit. The slipper she’d been missing for months, found. Bathing suit? Not so much. “It’s supposed to be here!”

“Under your bed?” Daniel asked, between bites of a doughnut.

“Well, no.” Anna pushed out from under the bed and blew her bangs in frustration. “It was supposed to be in my drawer, but it wasn’t. I thought maybe the storage bin with summer stuff, but that was a no-go either, and then I checked the garage, then the guest room closet, then the–”

Daniel’s eyebrows lifted as Anna spoke. When he finally swallowed the doughnut, he looked like he’d wished he hadn’t asked the question. Anna agreed, it was a stupid question. 

“Okay, okay, I get it.” With the doughnut finally finished, Daniel could lift his hands as if they were a shield between himself and Anna’s increasing anger and frustration. 

Anna rolled her eyes. “I can’t find it.”

“Well, on the upside, there’s more doughnuts?”

Anna growled and pushed herself to her feet. “I can’t swim in a doughnut, Daniel.”

He couldn’t quite hide the smirk that followed whatever mental image Anna’s words had invoked, and Anna couldn’t quite help herself either. She threw her newly found slipper right towards Daniel’s face. 

“Go bring me a doughnut.” 

prompt: friendship, train, strawberry

The familiar comfort of Strawberry Fields and the countryside rushing past, those were the things Carl tried to focus on. The rock of the train along the tracks would act as a soothing rhythm, if he’d let it. 

Living is easy with eyes closed

Carl closed his own, as if the song was an instruction, and he thought about all his own misunderstandings, the ones that had led him to this train, to the familiar trip home with a familiar song in his ear, but nothing more than that–No one waited at the other end, sitting in the station full of anticipation. No one; an old familiar song provided more friendship and solace than anyone living or dead. 

Nothing is real, And nothing to get hung about.

Carl opened his eyes, across the train car his gaze locked with a stranger, an elderly man, old enough to be his father, even though his father had passed away far younger than Carl was now. In that moment, a connection, a spark of humanity, nothing more than an acknowledgment of each other’s existence. But it was something real, and Carl found himself hung up on it long after the train pulled into the station.

Living is easy with eyes closed, but tonight, Carl decided, he’d go into town for dinner.

prompt: asphalt, thunderstorm, chocolate

Rain hit the asphalt in an unrelenting staccato rhythm that meant many things, but mostly it meant Francine would be late. Again. Marc let the curtain fall over the window as he retreated back into the living room in defeat. 

It’d been so long since he’d last seen her chocolate eyes. 

From his well worn spot on the couch, he leaned his head back and closed his eyes, allowing himself a brief moment to remember the way her eyes would lighten to amber under the afternoon sun. Recalling the memory was simple enough, but the onslaught of emotions that accompanied it had never been easy for Marc to bear. 

Instead, he opened his eyes again, fixed them on the television, and waited. 

prompt: heaven, broom, car

Katie pulled her thumb out from between her teeth, because this was important. “I promise you, Jessie. Promise, promise.”

Suspicious blue eyes narrowed. “You’re wrong. I saw it, brooms can definitely fly.”

“You saw a movie–”

“And went on the ride!”

“That was all fake. Like when that car flew in that other movie.” Katie continued explaining, but Jessie still sat on the broom, looking over the edge of the couch that they really shouldn’t be standing on. She was still about to jump. 

“That’s different,” Jessie countered. “Cars have roads, what do brooms have?”

“Floors!”

“Well then if I crash into the floor, it won’t be that big of a deal.”

“For the broom and the floor, but for Jessie–?”

But Jessie didn’t hear or didn’t care, instead she jumped. Then, there was a short scream, followed by a crash. 

“Told you so.” 

Jessie groaned, pulling the broom out from under her with one hand and rubbing her head with the other. “I think I saw heaven.”

prompt: envy, doll, gondola

  • envy doll gondola

The curve of her cheek reminded Sarah of a doll, plump and perfect. Even from high above, as she leaned against the stonewall of the bridge, Sarah could clearly see the dusting of freckles and the press of a dimple when the doll laughed. Her laugh chimed like bells along the canal; the surly gondola driver had even cracked a smile. All eyes were on her, and Sarah wanted to be her, even though she knew nothing about her, not even her name.

There was a young man in front of the doll-like beauty, and even Sarah knew his interest far outweighed the woman’s. He didn’t seem to mind. With each long pull of the gondola paddle, the world revolved around the woman, and her plump and perfect cheeks. 

Sarah pushed away from the stonewall of the bridge, just enough to brace her palms on the top of it and hoist herself over its edge. Into the air, it was like time suspended for a moment as Sarah hovered over the gondola. Then there was a thunk as her body hit wood and a series of splashes. The doll wasn’t perfect anymore. 

Warmth in the Storm

Over the ocean, in the far off distance, lightning lit up a gray cloud. Anthony shifted on the blanket next to Dean, not quite ready to go inside from their impromptu picnic just yet. The wind picked up and made him curl further into the warmth of Dean’s arm, where it was wrapped around Anthony’s waist.

The crashing of the ocean broke against the sand in front of them, the sunset they’d come out to watch had long since fallen over the horizon, just leaving the faint dusk light and the dancing of lightning. Anthony knew they’d need to go inside soon, that the wind would bring the cloud to shore and with it the oncoming storm.

Dean’s lips brushed across Anthony’s hair, another bolt making him gasp against the dark strands. “We should go inside soon,” Dean whispered between breaking waves.

“We should.” Anthony’s hand hit the box of chocolate at his side and Anthony reached for a piece, holding it up for Dean. Warmth from Dean’s lips wrapped around his fingers, cutting off the chill of the wind.

Dean swiped his tongue against Anthony’s fingertip before pulling back. “Maybe five more minutes,” he said, before another bolt of lightning cut across the sky, this time followed by thunder. “Or maybe three.”

Unconcerned, Anthony hummed, content to sit on this blanket in the sand, under the warmth of Dean’s arms, long after the storm rolled in.

Come Whatever

They’d said goodbye a hundred times already, but Greg knew he’d say it as many times as Jack wanted.

Greg walked the path along the side of the football field, behind the bleachers and down the row of trees that separated the school grounds from the lake. There was only one tree with a trunk thick enough to lean against, and that was where he was heading.

It seemed as if no one else was around, the rest of their graduating class out on the front lawn, where the rows of fold-out chairs and the stage were set up for graduation. But he knew he wouldn’t be alone back here. Not today, when the clock was ticking and they were both due on planes in opposite direction in a day’s time. And this was the last time they’d be on their high school campus together.

Continue reading “Come Whatever”

Yellow-Bellied Love

The pencil snapped in her hand and he was grateful because it gave him something to look at instead of the cruelty in her eyes. “You’re nothing,” she spat. “A coward. A yellow-bellied fool.”
 
He winced at the words, a scathing reply on his own tongue that he swallowed down. But then resentment followed, why could she spout vile but he had to take the high road? “Call me a coward, but at least I’m not the one sabotaging this relationship because you’re scared of a little criticism.”
 
“You’re criticism is garbage, Jeremy.” She crossed her arms, turned to the window and threw the pencil pieces at the glass. She liked to make loud noises when she was angry. “Why should I value your opinion?”
 
It was like a slap in his face. “Because, you love me?”
 
Her laugh was tight and short. “Yea, cause that has anything to do with this. You call me a coward for wanting to do more, see more. You call it running away.”
 
“It is running away!” His voice boomed across their living room. “You’d be leaving me.”
 
God, he hated when she rolled her eyes, and there she was, rolling. “I’ll be gone for six months. It’s not the end of the world.”
 
A hot flush crawled through his body because he hated that he cared more than her, that he so obviously was the more invested one. “Fine,” he said. “Go.”
 
“I don’t need your permission,” she reminded, spite in her words despite getting everything she wanted.
 
He saw red, but it blurred from the tears in his eyes. “You did. But you don’t anymore.” And then he walked to the door.
 

 

Three words: Pencil, Yellow, Garbage
Mood: Angry

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