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.


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.”


“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….”


“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.

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

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

Weekly Writing Challenge #29 – The Harvest

Prompt – Write a story about something weird that happened on a full moon.

Full Moon (201507310004HQ) by NASA HQ PHOTO is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

I remember it vividly. The first full moon of the fall. Or as the early settlers in West Texas used to call it, the Comanche Moon. That signaled a time for the Comanche warriors to raid white settlements killing, raping and capturing anyone they came across.

Nowadays, it is a peaceful moon. For the farmers, it is called a Harvest Moon as you can keep working the fields well into the night just by the glow of the moon. I was baling alfalfa for the unheard of ninth time this season. The barn was bursting with alfalfa bales to feed the horses around town. The weather had been perfect all summer long, raining at the right moments between cuttings.

I bale at night, so the humidity packs the alfalfa bales tighter as the baler behind my tractor gathered up the alfalfa. Ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk went the baler. A comforting rhythm during these long hours in the field. With the moon so bright, I turned off the lights of the tractor. Times like these are rare and to be treasured. A familiar swoosh went by my head as our barn owl hunted rabbits being flushed out by my tractor.

As I reached the end of the field and turned around to follow the next line of alfalfa, a strange thing happened. The barn owl, which I had only glimpsed before, landed on the front end of the tractor. It’s wingspan was at least six feet. But once perched on the tractor, the wings folded up so neatly, you would swear they were only a foot in length.

I couldn’t help but smile. No one would believe me, but that was okay, I knew in my heart I was witnessing something special. Half-way back toward the barn and the owl gracefully spread it’s wings and with a couple of flaps took off into the night. I settled back into the rhythm of driving the tractor on my lonely vigil up and down the field.

After making my regular turn by the barn, I headed off toward the far end of the field. Half-way there, I saw something weird. Maybe the moonlight was playing tricks on my eyes? Seemed there were men on horses at the far end. It could be the fenceposts causing this illusion, but the horses were very near each other. I must be getting tired and seeing things. Perhaps I should turn my lights back on.

I decided not too, as the sight of the horses mesmerized me. Nearing the end of the field, I saw that the men on the horses looked to be wearing Indian clothes. I pulled the throttle back on the tractor and shifted into neutral. I kept shaking my head and blinking my eyes furiously, but the weird sight didn’t go away. Am I losing my mind?

I reached down and cut the engine of the tractor. Silence fell. I could then hear the nickering and pawing of the ground by the horses. This was no illusion! This was real! The Indians as one lifted rifles and pointed them directly at me. I knew then the dreaded Comanche had come to kill me.

Resigned to my fate, I closed my eyes awaiting the blasting of bullets to tear into my body. Then my cell phone started ringing. I looked down and grabbed it from my front pocket and saw my wife was calling me. As I lifted it to my ear to answer, the Indians vanished.

“You okay? Why did you stop the tractor?”

“Um, I thought I saw something weird.”

“Like what? I’ve been watching you with the binoculars and I didn’t see anything.”

“It’s nothing, I must be tired. I only have about an hour of baling to do. I’ll be fine.”

To this day, I don’t know if the Indians were real or a figment of my imagination. Not wanting to find out for sure, I never ever baled alfalfa during a Harvest Moon for the rest of my life.

Weekly Writing Challenge #28 – Oy Vey

Prompt – Write about someone getting their driver’s license for the first time.

Photo by Ingo Joseph on Pexels.com

In the mid 90’s, while stationed on the USS Kauffman FFG-59 in Norfolk, Virginia, I held the role of Leading Petty Officer. In civilian parlance, this meant I am the team leader for 10-15 men. It’s a bit different in the Navy, as we not only work together, but while at sea, we eat, sleep and do everything together.

One Friday, in port, one of my younger guys came up and asked me if I could drive him to the car dealership so he could buy a car. I didn’t have anything planned, so I agreed and off we went.

I walked around with him and the salesman until he picked out the car he wanted. The salesman asked for his driver’s license to make a copy of it and then we could do a test drive. The young guy hemmed and hawed and looked at the ground.

“You didn’t leave your license on the ship?” I asked.

“Um, I’ve never had a license.”

Oy vey! I forgot this kid was from New York City. He was used to getting around on public transportation. I apologized to the salesman and took him to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a learner’s permit.

Over the next month, I let him drive my car all over Norfolk, teaching him how to drive. I grilled him every night for the driver’s test. Finally the day came. He took the test and got his driver’s license. We went back to the car dealership and found the same salesman as before.

I stood there proudly as he handed his license to the salesman. Luckily, they still had his preferred car on the lot and we did a test drive. A couple hours later after helping him navigate the purchase of his new car, he proudly drove off by himself.

Going above and beyond for not only this guy, but all the guys in my team is what made me the success I was in the Navy. As a side benefit, when my own children got to the age of being able to drive, teaching them was a breeze as I had already been through the stress once.

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 #24

Prompt – Start a story with a quote from a song.

Dust in the wind is a fact of life in southeast New Mexico on the high plains of the Llano Estacado. That’s Spanish for Staked Plains. The early conquistadores saw the many yucca plants with a single stalk sticking up four or five feet and said it looked like a bunch of stakes.

During the windy period of March and April, the wind blows from sunrise to sunset. A stiff breeze is about thirty miles per hour. 50, 60 and sometimes 70 mile per hour wind is common. Being a dry arid country, this naturally picks up a lot of dust. Since the wind blows predominantly from the west, the saying was that during this time, Arizona blows and Texas sucks.

In the 1970’s and early part of 1980’s it wasn’t uncommon to have a sandstorm. The wind would strip off a layer of dirt and sand and it would form a wall of sand. If you were on the highway, the prudent thing would be to stop on the side of the road when you saw one coming. If for some reason you wanted to drive through the sandstorm, this was a recipe for disaster. The sand would be so heavy that visibility drops to zero. It’s like turning out the lights. The increased velocity of the sand due to your car driving through the storm is enough to strip paint from your car down to bare metal.

I used to ride a motorcycle quite a bit. One time I looked up and saw a wall of sand 100 feet tall moving toward me. I quickly slowed and steered my motorcycle into the bar ditch beside the road. Putting the bulk of the motorcycle between me and the approaching storm, I curled up like a turtle and covered the best I could. A long ten minutes later, the sandstorm passed and I shook off the accumulated sand from me and my motorcycle. With a prayer on my lips, I kickstarted the engine a few times until I heard the distinctive sound of my motorcycle roaring. With a gritty smile, I was back on the road heading to town.

Farmers around that area started changing how they managed their crops and by planting winter crops, cut down on the sandstorms tremendously. Now it is exceedingly rare to have a sandstorm. The weather in that part of the country is very interesting. It is considered the start of tornado alley. When I was in Junior High School, one day we were outside practicing for a track & field event. A cry went out and we looked to the north to see five tornado funnels across the horizon. The coach watched for a few minutes and saw they were moving away from us. He then yelled for us to get back to practicing.

Living in Florida, I don’t miss the constant dust in the wind. Mrs. D is happy she doesn’t have to dust every single day.

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

Author’s note: When I first picked this prompt, I thought it would be easy. Then I realized there are thousands of songs and thousands of lyrics to choose from. My first couple of tries, I wound up telling the story of the song. That didn’t appeal to me. Then I went looking for esoteric lyrics and started a couple of stories that just petered out rather quickly. Finally, I went back to the Rock Classics I grew up with. As soon as I saw this song, I knew what to write.

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

Weekly Writing Challenge #22 – Snow

Prompt – It’s June 13th, the snow won’t stop falling.

Photo by Jakub Sisulak on Pexels.com

It had been the coldest winter in memory. The snow started falling on New Year’s Eve. It didn’t stop for ten days. At first, the snow was wonderful. Walking on the fresh snow hearing it crunch with each footstep brought back childhood memories. The freshness in the air wiped out the smell of cow manure when I went to milk our cow in the early morning. Huddled next to her I kept warm as I methodically milked the udders. Invariably the barn cats would line up for me to shoot a stream of milk into each of their mouths.

Carrying the full bucket of milk and a basket of eggs from the chicken coop, I tramped back to the house, my footsteps from earlier already starting to fil in. After my morning chores, I sat by the fire and watched the weather report. The meteorologist had predicted a mild winter. Little did we know he was tragically wrong. From January through April, we had 18 major snowfalls lasting at least a week each.

Rumors abounded among the farming folk as to why it snowed so much. Some thought there must of been a further tilting of the earth from true North. Others thought that the Chinese were experimenting with weather controls. The most wacky rumor was that the Russians had used atomic bombs in the Artic.

In mid February, we lost electricity. The snow by then was 10 feet deep. I had stamped out a path to the barn that now looked like a canyon. In the first week of March, I spent two days carving out a tunnel to my reserve woodpile. By the end of March we were down to a few chickens. Each one had been a meal that we made last three days.

Finally in May, the snow stopped, but the weather remained cold. Very little of the snow melted. I strapped on my snowshoes and trekked to my neighbor three miles away to inquire if he had heard any news. His brother had made a perilous journey to town, a distance of twenty miles. Returning he had reported that the entire town had frozen over. Only the farm folk had survived.

Disheartened I went home wondering if this was going to be the end of the world. Where was our government? Why hadn’t they come with National Guard troops to bail us out? Was it this bad or worse everywhere else? Not knowing, I had no choice but to try to survive until the snow melted.

Then in the last week of May, it started snowing again. My reserves of wood were almost gone. The last chicken had gone into the pot yesterday. I had tried hunting, but all the wildlife had fled weeks ago. Soon I would have to make the hard decision to sacrifice our cow. She had been with us for years and I knew her meat would be tough, but it would be enough to keep us from starving. The pantry was bare.

It’s June 13th, the snow is still falling. I’ve scavenged everything that can burn. Chairs, tables, bed frame and closet shelves all eventually made its way into the fireplace to keep us warm. There is nothing left. We have meat from the cow, but without a source of fuel for the fire we will freeze to death. I’m too weak to go out to the barn to scavenge wood. The back half of the house collapsed two days ago from the amount of snow on the roof. I can hear the creaking of the roof above our heads.

My teeth chattering from the cold, I looked to my wife. Underneath all the clothes she wore, I knew she was as gaunt as me. We huddled together and whispered ‘I love you’ as the fire sputtered for one last time plunging us into darkness.

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