Weekly Writing Challenge #36 – The Experiment

Prompt – Just push the button.

Prompt suggested by mlwattsupp

Slowly I opened my eyes. I felt so tired. Had I been drugged? I’m lying on a bed, somewhat comfortable, but a tad short for my tall frame. I look around and everything is white. The bed, the table with one chair, the floors and the walls, all blindingly white.

What is going on? I sit up and see that the room I’m in is about fifteen feet by fifteen feet. There is a small kitchen area with cabinets. All white of course. There are two doors on opposite sides of the room. White, with white doorknobs. I look down at the floor and there are two white slippers. I’m wearing white pants and a white shirt.

The whole damn room is white! Except, there in the corner, a big red shiny button. I approach it with trepidation. There are no notes or signs indicating what the button is for. I wonder if I should push the button, but decide that until I know more, I’ll keep my hands off of it.

A disembodied computer voice says, “Welcome Harry Gruen, to my little experiment.”

“Who’s that? Is that you John? What the hell is this?”, thinking that only John Ang could come up with a diabolical experiment like this.

“This is the white room.”

Shaking my head in disbelief, “Well, duh! Why am I here and how do I get out?”

“Harry, you may leave at any time. All you have to do is push the button, but before you do, I must explain the consequences of pushing the button.” the voice intoned.

Smacking my lips while thinking furiously, I knew there was only thing to do. I reached over and pushed the button. A loud alarm immediately shrieked and the lights turned red. Slamming my hands over my ears in agony, I fell to my knees. The alarm stopped abruptly and the lights went back to normal.

“Dammit, Harry! I didn’t even get the chance to explain the consequences. You’ve screwed this whole experiment up!”

I laughed, “John Ang, find yourself another gullible fool to experiment on. I’m out of here.”

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc

All stories of Harry Gruen is now linked on the Storylines page if you wish to read them all.

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Weekly Writing Challenge #35 – The Beach

Prompt – Craft a short story about the final day of summer.

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Sigh, yet another poorly written book, full of misspellings, grammar errors and jarring viewpoint shifts. Why is it so hard to find a good written book lately? I looked over at my wife on the other end of the couch. She was knitting a scarf, or was it a hat? Meanwhile, she glanced up at the tv occasionally watching yet another one of her daytime soaps. I couldn’t stand those things, that’s why I kept my hearing aids off whenever she turned on the tv.

I glanced out the window and it looked to be a beautiful day. We shouldn’t be sitting here in our retirement age sitting on the couch, reading bad books and watching tv all day long. In that instant, I made a decision.

Turning up my hearing aids, I turned and said to my wife, “Honey, it’s a beautiful day. Why don’t we go take a walk on the beach?”

She arched her eyebrow and looked sidelong at me, “The beach? I’m watching my soaps. Besides, are your knees up for the walk?”

Sighing, “Never mind about my knees, it’s the last day of summer and we haven’t walked the beach once this year. You stream the soaps, so you can pause it and watch after.”

Pursing her lips in thought, she looked at my face for a long moment. “Perhaps we could go for a short walk, it has been a long time.”

We got our shoes on and light weight jackets and drove to the beach. I was right, it was beautiful there with the softly roaring of the waves, the fresh air and feel of sand on our bare feet. We had taken off our shoes after crossing the soft sand to the packed sand near the water’s edge. Slowly we walked along, side by side. We didn’t hold hands as we did many years ago. She was looking at the surf and a guy on a kite surfer in the distance.

Suddenly I stopped. With creaking knees, I stooped down and picked up a perfect starfish. It had to be at least six inches across. My wife had stopped a couple of paces after I did, perhaps sensing I wasn’t next to her any more. I held out my hand and she grasped it to help me back standing. Handing her the starfish, I watched her eyes light up. A smile appeared that bespoke of pure joy. I couldn’t help but grin.

As she examined the starfish, I twisted my head to work out a kink in my neck. I spied a young man sitting on the beach about twenty yards from us. He was writing and occasionally glancing at us. Curious as to what he was writing, I slipped my hand in my wife’s hand and gave her a gentle tug toward the man. As he was sitting on the soft sand, it was slow going. Halfway to him, he stopped writing and looked up at us. I waved my other hand in greeting and kept trudging toward him.

“Hello young man. I’m sorry to bother you, but I felt an overwhelming desire to know what you are writing.”

The young man looked down at his notebook and back up at me. Wordlessly, he handed the notebook to me. He said, “It’s a character sketch. I come down here to the beach and pick out a person or a couple and describe them and imagine what their life is like.”

“Hmmph, I’ve never heard of such a thing. Are you an author?”, I inquired.

He shook his head, “No, I’m an aspiring writer but hope to be published one day.”

I looked down at what he had written. Surprisingly, it had no misspellings. The grammar was almost perfect. He had described my wife and I to the tee. I handed back his notebook to him and looked off into the distance for a minute thinking.

“Young man, you are not an aspiring writer at all.” I declared. With that, his face fell in disappointment. My wife grinned and gave me a small punch in my arm.

I chuckled and said, “You are a writer, a darn good one. Right now you are an aspiring author, but I think one day you will be a great author. Thank you for letting me read a small part of your writings.”

His eyes widened and his mouth opened as in shock. Maybe no one had ever told him that he was talented. I saluted him with two fingers and turned to walk back near the shore. My wife slipped her hand in mine as we walked. We both had smiles on our faces, mine from reading well written words and hers from having a perfect starfish.

“I don’t know why we don’t come to the beach more often. Why is it that we only seem to come on the last day of summer?”, I mused.

My wife laughed, “Because dear, you’ll be on your back for the next week with aching knees or have you forgotten the last five summers?”

I stopped and drew her hands towards my face and gave her a kiss on her knuckles. “I do remember, dear. I’m not going senile yet. I only wish I could come more often just to see you smile.”

She grinned even more broadly, “I do love you Henry, and I know you love me, even if you never say it. Let’s go home, it’s time to get you off your legs and eat supper.”

As we started to exit the beach, I turned and looked back. I wondered if this was the last time I would ever get to go to the beach. At my age, I was slowing down more and more. I treasured this last day of summer at the beach. Peering down at my wife, I knew I had to say something.

“Grace, I love you.”

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc

Weekly Writing Challenge #33 – The Trip

Prompt – Write a story in which something transforms into something else.

The bus gently rolled to a stop near the main plaza of Palenque. A small town deep in the heart of Mexico. It had been a two day journey from El Paso, Texas and we were worn out completely. My fellow companions and I looked forward to exploring the nearby Mayan ruins. The humid air and hot temperatures had our shirts sticking to us drenched in sweat. Before venturing into the jungles, we were going to stay overnight at the Casa de la Cruz hotel. A good shower and a cool beer sounded inviting.

As we were gathering our luggage, I spied out of the corner of my eye a goat. In disbelief, I saw the goat had a bright red bandana and an incredibly small flashy sombrero. As I turned my head to look, the goat paused and looked at me with it’s slitted eyes, then turned and went around the corner of the building.

“Did anyone else see that?”, I asked.

My companions looked at me quizzically. Perhaps they thought the heat was getting to me. they looked around and one of them said, “See what?”

I opened my mouth to reply and realized that maybe I had hallucinated the goat. Prudently, I shook my head and said, “Never mind, the heat must be getting to me.”

As we checked into the hotel, I hung back and when my companions had departed for their rooms, I leaned toward the clerk and in a low voice asked if he had ever seen a goat with a bandana and a small sombrero around town.

He laughed nervously and shook his head. Before I could ask him again, he made the sign of the cross and then abruptly turned and went through the door behind the counter. I knew things would be different in a foreign country, but I had not expected this. Grasping my key tightly, I made my way to my room and quickly got undressed and jumped into the shower. As the water cascaded down upon me, I felt relieved. Any thoughts of strange goats and even stranger behaviors’ of hotel clerks melted away.

Toweling myself dry, I wrapped the towel around me and opened the door to my room. Quickly donning fresh clothes from my packed luggage, I strode back to the bathroom to give myself a quick look in the mirror. There, in the shower, the goat was back. I stumbled to a halt, my breath caught and I felt my heart skip a beat. For a long minute, the goat stared at me and I stared back. Finally, I blinked my eyes, and the goat vanished. I leaned against the counter with my head in my hands.

Had I lost my mind?

What I needed right then was a good stiff drink. I poked my head into my room looking for the goat. Not seeing it, I quickly left my room and headed downstairs to the hotel cantina. I sidled up to the bar glancing every which way but not seeing the goat. I sidled up to the bar and ordered a beer and a shot of tequila. Quickly I downed the shot and glanced into the mirror behind the bar.

The goat was right behind me. I quickly turned around and astonishingly the goat had disappeared yet again. With a grimace, I turned and ordered a double shot of tequila. I knew i needed to get massively drunk at this point. This time, I closed my eyes and threw the shot of tequila down my throat. Opening them cautiously, I didn’t see the goat in the mirror. I slowly looked to the left and then I looked to the right.

A man dressed in a Mexican suit wearing a red bandana and a ridiculously small flashy sombrero stood next to me. Hesitantly, I poked him in the shoulder with my finger. I expected my finger to go right through him, but instead it pressed against his shoulder.

“Senor, I’ve been watching you.”

I fell back onto the bar stool aghast. This was no hallucination. Somehow the imaginary goat had transformed into a man with a swarthy complexion and a pencil thin mustache.

“What… what…what do you mean by that?”, I sputtered. “Are you the goat?”

He smiled slyly, “What do you think?”

“I think I’ve lost my mind.”

A voice from behind me said, “Who you talking to?”

I turned and saw it was John, one of my traveling companions. He was sipping his beer looking at me with narrowed eyes. I looked back over my shoulder and the swarthy man was gone once again.

“Um, quite frankly, I don’t have the damnedest idea. Have you seen a goat or a man with a red bandana and a really small sombrero around?”

John eyebrows went up at that remark. Then he started laughing softly. “I think I know what’s going on. Didn’t I see Carol give you a cookie on the bus right before we hit town?”

I searched my memory and thought hard about it. “I think so, it’s kind of fuzzy at the moment.”

He threw his head back in gales of laughter. Catching his breath eventually, John put his hand around my shoulder and leaned toward me. “I think it was one of Carol’s special cookies. My friend she laced a few of them with LSD and then forgot which ones were which. Seems like you got lucky or unlucky depending on how you see it.”

“Oh thank God! I thought I was going crazy there for a while!”

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc

Weekly Writing Challenge #32 – Galaxy Robot

Prompt – You call in and get tech support. Write about your conversation.

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“Hello this is Darryl, customer support specialist, IT division, how may I help you?”

“Uh yeah, I got a problem with your robot. It’s gone berserk.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that you have a problem sir. Are you calling from your cell phone, sir?”

“Yes, and you guys have really screwed up. I think the robot wants to kill me.”

“Again, I’m very sorry for the inconvenience.”

“INCONVENIENCE! Did you not hear me tell you that it wants to KILL ME!”

“Yes sir, I heard that you have a problem with the unit we sold you. By our records, it shows that you bought the G1000 model with the maid function enabled. We have never had a problem with that mod before.”

“Well, the damn thing is pacing outside of my bathroom. I’m trapped here.”

“Yes sir, I can see where that would be a problem. Let me just run a quick remote diagnostic so we can find out what the exact problem is with your G1000. Hmmm, sir, I have to ask. Did you by chance open the G1000’s maintenance panel?”

“Wait, what? Umm, I…I…I… no, I did not open the panel.”

“Sir, I don’t know if you were aware, but there is a safety signal that gets sent out when the panel is opened and I see by the records that 2 hours and 13 minutes ago the signal was sent. So I apologize, but I must ask again, did you open the maintenance panel?”

“Umm, well… maybe.”

“I understand sir. It’s only natural to be curious. However it looks like one of the modules was activated. Here at Galaxy Robotics we understand if the panel is opened, but by activating a module without a certified technician present means that your warrantee has been voided.”

“Hey, I don’t care about no warrantee! I just want this damn thing fixed or I’m going to sue you guys into oblivion.”

“I understand sir, completely. May I ask which module you were attempting to activate? It’s for our records and also for us to troubleshoot the problem.”

“Well, I’m kind of embarrassed about this, but I wanted the Girlfriend experience.”

“You do know that there is an upcharge for the Girlfriend experience, sir?”

“Yes, yes, I know, but the charge is outrageously expensive. I couldn’t afford it.”

“Unfortunately you did not activate the basic Girlfriend experience, but an advance module Girlfriend experience. The one you activated is the G1000-666 Jealous BDSM Girlfriend experience. This means you are going to have to rough up the robot pretty severely to make it behave.”

“WHAT? Are you kidding me?”

“Sir, the G1000 is configurable in over 2000 modules. It’s very easy to activate an adverse module by accident. This is why your contract states very clearly that under no circumstances is the maintenance panel and modules to be altered in any way, shape or form. Adverse consequences like legal action and other consequences may be applied.”

“Oh.”

“Sir, are you prepared to go out and hit the robot, tie it down and have your way with it?”

“Uhh, I don’t think I can do that. Are you nuts?”

“Sir, I’m have to inform you that the G1000-666 module will think you are cheating on it unless you regularly rough it up, so to say.”

“Wow, I just wanted a normal girlfriend experience, I was so lonely. I can’t do what you are asking me to do.”

“In that case, sir, I’m forced to escalate this call. Please hold.”

“Wait! Damn hold music.”

Nervously I waited. The stomps of the robot pacing outside my door ratcheted up my anxiety. Suddenly I heard a crackle and a loud thump. The pacing had stopped. I held my breath involuntarily.

Tap, tap, tap. “Sir, it’s safe to come out now. We are with Galaxy Robotics and have disabled the malfunctioning unit.”

I opened the door and saw two men dressed in white bio-hazard suits. One of them pointed what looked like a strange gun at me. I raised my hands hesitantly.

“What is that? Why are you pointing it at me?” I demanded.

“Sir, no need to be alarmed, this is a taser gun that my colleague is holding and….”

ZZZAAAPPP!

“Dammit Jim, why don’t you ever let me finish explaining before you zap these guys.”

“Stu, you know as well as I do, it is better to get it over with quicker rather than drag it out. Go ahead and do the injection.”

Stu leaned over and pulled the my shoe off and injected me between my toes.

“Sorry sir, this is a paralytic shot. Shortly you will be completely paralyzed. Galaxy Robotics is very adverse to bad publicity and as you were told by tech support, there will be consequences to voiding the warrantee.”

Jim rolled his eyes, “Really, why do you always have to do the speech? It’s not like they can respond to it.”

“Jim, it’s protocol”

“Okay, okay. Let’s finish up this job. I need a cold beer. Finish your speech while I go get things ready.”

Stu turned back to me, “Sir, unfortunately you are going to also be experiencing a natural gas leak in your house. Within the next thirty minutes, there will be an explosion. I’m sorry to say you won’t survive it. The injection I gave you will let you experience this event with little to no pain.”

Stu turned away and then paused, “Have a happy day and thanks for being a Galaxy Robotics Customer.”

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc

Weekly Writing Challenge #31 – The Moon

Prompt – Write a scene that includes the number 100.

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Slowly I woke up. It was dark except for the glow of my smart phone. I realized that my phone had been buzzing constantly. Normally I kept my phone on silent while I slept. I leapt out of bed and rushed to where my phone had been left on the charger overnight. I had gotten text messages and they kept on coming.

The phone said it was 3 am. Who would be texting me over and over at this time of night? It could be my pal George. Maybe he was drunk yet again. I wouldn’t put it past him to pull a prank like this. I imagine he was texting and giggling the whole time. Time to put a stop to this nonsense. I needed my sleep as I had to go to work in a few hours.

I picked up the phone and unlocked it and saw that I had 100 text messages. Holy cow! George must be on an epic drinking spree. I opened up my phone to check out the messages. The first one said simply, “Do not look at the moon.” That’s pretty random, even for George. The second one had the same message and so did the third. I kept on scrolling and every single one said the exact same thing.

“Do not look at the moon.”

Probably because it was 3 am, it took me a while to realize that each message came from a different number. In fact, George had not texted me at all. I walked out to the living room and glanced toward the front windows. There was a glow, a red glow coming through. I started toward the windows to check it out, but paused after a few steps. Looking down at my phone at all the messages started to creep me out.

Fully awake now, I opened up a browser to see if there was any news about the moon. I kept getting a 404 screen. Web page not found. Peering at the upper right corner of my phone, I saw that I had wi-fi connectivity. Maybe someone hacked my wi-fi? I turned off the wi-fi and checked that I had five bars. Excellent cell tower connection, but I still kept getting the 404 error.

What the heck is going on?

I grabbed my remote and turned on the TV. As I had cut the cord to cable years ago, I switched the input to TV antenna. Nothing but a blank screen with the words, “No input detected.” I checked that my HD antenna had power and the connection to the TV was secure. Still nothing.

I let out a little scream of surprise as my phone started buzzing in my hand. Text message after text message appeared. This time they all said, “It’s a beautiful night, you should go look at the moon.”

Maybe I’m dreaming? A nightmare of some sorts.

I pinched myself and it definitely hurt. I had read that you couldn’t feel the actual pain if you dreamed that you were pinching yourself. I don’t know if that was true or not, but I couldn’t do a search on the internet to find out.

Should I heed the original messages? Or should I go outside and look at the moon?

I did something I swore I would never do. I called George at 3 am. His phone went directly to voice mail. Not surprising as he was prone to letting his battery run all the way down until his phone shut off.

If this was a prank, it was epic. Frozen with indecision, I couldn’t decide what to do. I found my fingers dialing 911. If this was a prank, it seemed ominous and dangerous. The phone rang and rang. I glanced toward the front windows again. It seemed that it was getting brighter than it had been.

I pride myself on being a strong man. Not one to let fear rule my life. For the first time since I was a kid, I felt like running back to bed and crawling under the covers. Hiding and shaking in fright.

I gave a quick shake of my head to dismiss my fears. I’m being silly I thought. Time to put this mystery to rest. I strode toward the door constantly reassuring myself that I am not afraid. I’m determined to see what the fuss is about.

I grasped the door knob and found myself frozen in fright once again. Am I doing the right thing? Maybe I should run back to bed and hide there until morning. No, I couldn’t face myself if I let fear rule my life. I closed my eyes tightly and turned the door knob. Then pulled the door open and took two steps outside. I felt a sense of my former pride and ego coming back. Slowly I opened my right eye slightly to look at the moon. It was blurry, but I could see that it was huge. Definitely a harvest moon.

Clenching my eyes shut, I felt the overpowering fear rush over me. I took a step back. Then I remember what my father had always told me when I was young. “You have to face your fears. Fear is not real.”

Nodding my head as if in agreement with my father, I knew that I had to open my eyes and look at the moon. I took a deep breath, held it for a few seconds and then let it out.

My eyes opened wide and I looked at the moon.

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc

The Recon Job

Harry walked into the crime boss’s office and plopped a canvas bag on his desk.

“What’s this?”

“That is a bank bag,” said Harry.

“I can see that, but you were supposed to do a recon job for me, not bring me a bank bag. What happened?”

“Well, I didn’t get the recon job done.”

“Why not?” exclaimed the crime boss.

“May I sit?”

The crime boss nodded and Harry sat down on a chair facing the desk.

Harry sighed, “I went to do the recon job as you asked. I had left early so I would have plenty of time. But as I was heading there, I came upon a Mexican restaurant serving Jalisco style food. I really like Jalisco so I stopped for lunch and had a wonderful meal.”

“What’s that got to do with the job?”

Harry pulled out a cigar, “May I? It’s Cuban.”

The boss shook his head, “I don’t like the smell of cigars.”

Harry put the cigar back into his front pocket, “After I left the restaurant, still having plenty of time to get to the recon site, I felt a rumble in my stomach which quickly moved down to my bowels. Thinking it was gas, I lifted my right cheek. Unfortunately, it wasn’t gas. I sharted myself.”

The boss looked confused, “Sharted? What the hell is that?”

Harry hung his head and said, “Well, a shart is when you go to pass gas and more than a fart comes out.”

The boss laughed and indicated for Harry to continue.

“I quickly pulled to the side of the road. It was a back road, so no one else was around. As my stomach was still rumbling, I leapt out of the car and ran twenty feet into a field by the road. I barely got my pants off before my bowels erupted.”

The boss steepled his hands below his chin.

Harry continued, “Then I went to the trunk of my car and pulled out a towel and a shovel. I always believe in being prepared, but I hadn’t thought of bringing a spare pair of pants. I used the towel to clean myself off.”

“That is an image I’d rather not picture. What’s with the shovel?”

“Well, there was no way I was going to put my pants and the towel back into the car. I didn’t want to litter either, so the shovel was to dig a hole to bury them and the mess I made in the field. There I am, digging away in the field by the road, naked from the waist down when I heard a thunk.”

“A thunk?” the boss leaned forward glancing at the bank bag.

“A thunk, then as I continued to dig, more thunks until I unearthed a old wooden box. I lifted the box and it crumbled in my hands. But there was that bank bag inside.”

“This bank bag?”

“Yes. I peeked inside and saw it was filled with money. I took three of the hundred dollar bills to buy a new towel and new pants. Also to get my car thoroughly clean inside and out. Since I was supposed to be doing a job for you, I figure that the money is yours. I don’t know why someone buried it. Maybe they were dumb and forgot about it.”

“I’m disappointed you didn’t do the recon job, but I do believe you have redeemed yourself by bringing me this bag. Consider your debt to me paid in full.”

“Thank you so very much!”

The boss opened the bag and dumped the money on his desk, Bundles of hundreds and fifties spread all over his desk. The boss grinned widely. Then he picked up one bundle with a curious look.

“This is different, I wonder why…”

BANG! The dye pack hidden in the bundle exploded with purple dye. The dye went everywhere. All over the money, on the boss and also the wall behind him. The boss froze in shock.

Harry quietly said under his breath, “I guess the bank robbers weren’t as dumb as I thought,” as he slunk out of the room.

All stories of Harry Gruen are now linked on the Storylines page if you wish to read them all.

Expecting A Show

Wrote this one early in my blogging days. Seems appropriate for today.

Writing with Cancer

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“Hey Joe!”

I looked over the hedge dividing my house from my neighbor. Sam was waving.

“Oh, hi Sam.”

“Ready for the big show tonight? We’ve all been looking forward to it.”

I grimaced a bit and then said, “Well, it’s not going to be that great of a show tonight. What with Mary Sue’s operation and little Jimmy breaking his arm, the budget is kind of tight.”

Sam frowned, “But there is going to be a show, right?”

With a bit of exasperation in my voice, I said, “Yes, there is, but it won’t last more than a minute or two.”

Sam smiled, “Well, even a minute or two will be great. Got to keep the tradition going. See you tonight!”

My mood darkened as I walked into the house. I can’t believe my neighbors sometimes. We had only been here a little…

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Weekly Writing Challenge #26 – The Flight

Prompt – Set your story in an airport, as someone rushes for a flight.

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Sigh, the flight is delayed once again. Despondently, I walk back over to my seat near the boarding gate. The gate attendant said it would be at least an hour before she could call for boarding. The groans of the passengers waiting were audible. Soon, the noise grew as everyone snatched up their cell phones to call their loved ones or boss. A few stayed and yelled at the gate attendant until security stepped near.

Eventually, the passengers settled down. Most sat with their head bowed. One would think they were praying for the Airline Gods to speed up the boarding call. Alas, they were all engaged in their smartphones and tablets. Oblivious to everything around them.

When I had retired a few years back, I had given up wearing a watch or having a smartphone. I had a basic flip-phone that I could make calls if I needed to. I considered calling my son across the country to let her know I would be delayed, but as tuned into technology as he is, he probably knew before we did that the flight would be delayed.

Instead, I occupied my time by people watching. A young couple, dressed affluently, sat close to each other, shoulders touching, with their heads leaning towards each other. A young mother, clearly exasperated with two young fidgeting children, while their dad paced back and forth talking on his cellphone.

Not to mention all the people who looked like they were talking to themselves until you noticed a little device in their ear. They always confused me when it looked like they were staring at you and talking. Most times, I initially thought they were talking to me. Sometimes I yearn for the days before the internet.

Suddenly, I sense a disturbance. Looking down the concourse, there is a man and a woman running through the airport. I don’t see security rushing after them, so I assume they think they are late for the flight. I imagine they will feel relief that the flight is delayed. I take a second look and I’m surprised that the man is wearing a blue uniform. Could it be our pilot?

The woman running next to him looks familiar, like I should know her. As they get closer, I see it is my wayward daughter. My mouth opens in shock. The pair slow as they get closer and then the man in the uniform turns to my daughter and gives her a big hug and a kiss. He turns to the gate attendant gives a wave.

By this time, everyone’s eyes are on the pair. The gate attendant announces we can now board the flight. I smile and think about letting my daughter know I’m here. I shake my head and decide not to. I don’t want to embarrass her. Even though I know she is the reason, why our flight is delayed. The beaming smile on her face warms my heart. I thought she would never find someone to love.

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc

Weekly Writing Challenge #25 – The Haunting

Prompt – Write about a place where two rivers meet

There is a place, a special place where two rivers meet. This point is not like other meeting points of rivers. The rivers are two distinct types. One is crystal clear, the other is brown from all the sediment. Where they meet the mixing is a slow process.

This isn’t what makes this place special. An ancient spirit haunts the land between the two rivers. Legend has it that there is only one night in the year when the spirit comes out to haunt whoever dares to camp at the meeting point. It is never the same day each year.

I’ve scoured the internet and books on this meeting place. Tremendous amount of rumors abound, but no one ever agrees on how the haunting takes place. The only common thread is that it happens during October. I think it is about time to debunk this fable. Planning took most of the summer, but I’m ready to camp out until I’m haunted or the end of October comes.

I’ve set up webcams around the campsite. Paid for an entire month of Livestream. I’ve plenty of provisions and a comfortable tent and hammock. The webcams will shift to night vision every evening. Now comes the hard part; waiting.

To keep myself occupied, I keep a running commentary going. Interacting with whoever is watching the Livestream. Once word gets out, my audience grows like wildfire. I’m enjoying the brief notoriety till it gets tedious. My audience soon becomes bored with every day being the same.

Plenty of false alarms every night as small wildlife comes to the river to drink. I am tiring of staying up all day and night. October 31st can’t come soon enough. I’ve stopped shaving and bathing. Instead of talking to my audience, I’ve started talking to myself. I’m slowly going crazy out here.

Finally, Halloween is here. I’ve only one more night in this hellhole. I’m pretty sure I’ve completely debunked this myth. The sun sets, leaving me in darkness. The dim glow of the campfire keeps me company. My plan is to stay awake until midnight. I stare at the embers, completely mesmerized. It’s almost hypnotic.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spot a dim floating light. Quickly my head turns, but the light disappears. Maybe it was a firefly? I struggle to see, as my eyesight is not completely adapted to the dark after staring at embers. Then I hear a branch breaking. The ghost is here!

My heart pounding, I hold my breath. A raccoon trundles toward my campfire. I let out my breath with a sigh of relief. Silly me, I’ve been in the woods for far too long. My imagination has run wild. There is no ghost, no hauntings. It is all a tall tale to scare people. I look at my watch and see it is after midnight. Shaking my head, I turn off the webcams and shut down the livestream.

Icy hands encircle my neck from behind. I knew instantly I had been horribly mistaken.

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc

Weekly Writing Challenge #23 – The Window

Prompt – Outside the window, you see something you can’t believe.

Finally a chance to sit back and relax with a hot cup of coffee. It had been a hectic day at work full of stress. Somehow I muddled through all the requests, demands and outright weirdness that encompasses my work day.

Sitting back on my favorite recliner I faced the fake fireplace with my flat screen TV over it. I picked up the remote and turned on the flames that soothed the savage beast inside me. Out of the corner of my eye, I see movement outside my window. I turn to look and see nothing amiss. Perhaps, as my wife would put it, I saw the ghost of someone I know. You can only see them out of the corner of your eye supposedly. I usually just smile and nod whenever she talks about ghosts. I don’t believe for one second there are ghosts.

Sipping my coffee, I flick my shoes off and lean back in the recliner putting the foot rest up. Again, I see something out of the corner of my eye. Maybe I should go get my eyes checked? I’ll have to put that down on my mental checklist. I turn slowly toward the window and I have to blink my eyes twice. I can’t believe what I see. A man dressed as a Samurai is standing on the street looking right at me. It’s too early for Halloween.

I put the foot rest down and lean forward in my chair getting ready to stand and the Samurai disappears. Confused I pause where I’m at. Could this be an optical illusion? Or am I going crazy? I slowly lean back keeping my eyes on the window. The Samurai doesn’t reappear and I sigh. Maybe I’m having a brain aneurism and it’s causing me to hallucinate. I start to call for my wife, but take another look at the window.

There! Not a Samurai, but a monkey dressed as an Indian riding what looks like an armadillo. Now I know I’m going crazy as it becomes a veritable parade of the weird and crazy. Pink spotted Giraffes with the face of my mother-in-law. A dancing coffee cup being chased by tiny army men. Not to mention the up side down naked lady riding a lawn mower.

Instead of being alarmed, I start to enjoy kooky parade. For some reason it calms me the more outlandish it gets. I look around the neighborhood, but no one else is around or looking through their windows. Then the parade ends with a black mist that seems to be growing and coming straight toward my window.

I cry out in horror! I try to get up out of my chair, but I’m frozen in place. My legs are kicking and my arms are flailing about to no end. The black mist reaches the window and then oozes through a tiny crack in the corner. I knew I should have fixed that. The black mist grows and seems to be getting solid. I’m frozen in fright.

As the apparition closes on me and everything goes dark, I scream!

My wife turns on the light and grabs my shoulder shaking me. I’m in my bed sitting up.

“Honey”, my wife gently says, “are you having another nightmare?”

Whew, what a relief! It was just a nightmare. Granted the strangest one I have ever had. I close my eyes in relief and start to lay back down in my bed.

A bright light flashes in my eyes. I hear voices indistinctly. The light goes away and I am back in darkness but I can hear the voices becoming clearer.

A man’s voice says, “I’m sorry, but your husband has no brain activity at all. The machines are the only thing keeping him alive. When you are ready, nod and we will shut everything down.”

I scream “NOOOOOOO!”

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc