Monday, November 4, 2013


Welcome back for week 18 of Finish That Thought! Hopefully you're 7K into NaNo (if you're participating) by now... If you are participating in NaNo, feel free to use this prompt in your WIP, or take a break and jot off a quick flash piece to rest your brain from the story...whatever will help most. Feel free to post a snippet of your story here (begin at given first line and no more than 500 words). For the rest of you, you've got a flash story to write! I dare you.... ;)

If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Jackie Castle also known as @Jackie_Castle. Check out her blog here. Read her winning tale from last week here!

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #18 is:

I cared what [she] thought, so when [she] dared me, I knew I was in trouble.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include an imaginary friend.
Use the word: discombobulated



  1. I cared what Rachel thought, so when she dared me, I knew I was in trouble. “Just one step. One little step. You take thousands of steps every day.” She giggled. “Sometimes, you even dance in the shower, and you take all sorts of cute steps then.”

    My face had been beaten red by the fierce northerly winds, but a bucket of red paint wouldn’t have covered my blush. “You, you’ve seen that? I thought I was alone!”

    “Oh, you know you have no secrets, not from me.” Rachel sat down on a nearby rock and crossed her arms, hands balled into fists. I’d seen that gesture a thousand times. It meant that she was going to win the argument, no matter how long I fought. She caught the look in my eyes and smiled her gentlest grin. “See, wisdom comes to us all before the end.

    “Just one step.”

    I sighed. She wasn’t to be denied. Still, the view over the edge discombobulated me. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think as I gazed into the maw of the great valley, the bottom hidden in low-lying clouds and fog. The wind gusted, pushing me back, and in the stumble, I was able to regain myself. Rachel was completely unaffected by the wind – it didn’t even seem to muss her hair – but she was done with my dawdling.

    “One. Step. Now.”

    Nodding, I stepped back to the edge. I didn’t see terror below anymore. I saw the possibilities that lay in the unknown of the future. I took the step.

    Behind me, the wind whipped over the empty ledge, carrying my screams to no one.

    277 words
    Special Challenge accepted

    1. I LOVED this! Psychological stuff amuses me.

    2. OH, I was so hoping he'd at least have a bungee cord. But alas, it's not to be. First time I read this my heart was pounding. Great tension. I felt right in the story, unfortunately, all the way to the end. Yikes! Great work.

  2. Imaginary

    I cared what Robert thought, so when he dared me, I knew I was in trouble.

    “I don’t know about this…” I murmured. “What if orderly comes in and sees us? You’re not even supposed to have girls in your room.”

    Robert grinned and leaned his head against mine, sending sparks of energy shooting throughout my body. “Kiss me, Rook.”

    There was nothing more in the world I wanted more than to kiss the man I had loved ever since I was a little girl. I loved him even when they sent him to the hospital—even when everyone said he was crazy. The thought that he wanted to kiss me was too good to be true and everything inside of me screamed for me to take that chance.

    A knock came to the door to ruin the moment. Robert and I exchanged panicked expressions as Dr. Fox came into the room.

    “Hello, Mr. Brown.” He said warmly. Out of all the psychologists Robert had seen, Dr. Fox was my favorite because he treated Robert with respect. “How are you feeling today?”

    Robert shrugged. “A little discombobulated from yesterday’s session, but ok.” He stuttered. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

    Dr. Fox took a seat at Robert’s desk and sighed. “I called your parents and told them about the progress you have been making.” His face fell, slightly. “I spoke with them about having you come home.”

    Dr. Fox didn’t have to finish. “They don’t believe it’s a good idea.” Robert stated. He laughed under his breath. “I’m too much of an embarrassment to them and their suburban friends.”

    It was clear by the look on Dr. Fox’s face that he had similar feelings as Robert. “I’m sorry. This….this is no place for a young man.” He hesitated before continuing. “You know, Robert; the only reason you are here is because you are holding on to your delusion. I have respected your decision to forgo medication, but now you have a very big decision to make. This person you are seeing means a lot to you, but she isn’t real. So you can stay in this hospital with her the rest of your days, or you can put her behind you and have a real life.”

    Robert shook his head. “Thank you for caring.” He said.

    Dr. Fox nodded and got up. “I’ll leave you to your thoughts.” He said, exiting the room.

    Robert immediately turned to me. “Don’t worry about what he just said. I’m all right.”

    Tears sprang to my eyes and I knew what I had to do. “Robert…”

    “No, Rook.”

    “Because of you, I grew up and was able to feel things.” I said, forcing a smile. “You gave me life, Robert. Now let me give you yours.” And with that, I kissed him knowing that it would cause me to fade from his world.

    I have no regrets for I experienced true beauty and found love—something imaginary where I come from.

    498 words
    Special Challenge Accepted

    1. Wow, okay I got chills at the end.
      Love that you kept me guessing who was the imaginary one up until the end. At first I thought it was Robert.
      Loved this. Great job.

    497 words; special challenge accepted

    Boys Will Be Boys

    Ebeld cared what Ynone thought, so when she dared him, he knew he was in trouble.

    “Just finger,” she articulated. “That all.”

    Ebeld crept to the opening, toward the clear delineation between bright sunlight and shadowed cave. The sun was almost directly to the south, causing the lighting distinction to trace the mouth of the cave almost exactly. As he inched closer he became more nervous, biting the inside of his bulbous bottom lip and cracking his thumbs in his swollen fists.

    “I's worried,” he stammered.

    “No need worry. Do it.”

    “Will hurt? Mom said don't. Her said it turn us stony.”

    “Don't think it hurt... Maybe.” Turning to him, Ynone challenged, “But you are baby boy? Or you man ogre?”


    Ebeld hesitated no longer, pointed with his left index finger and slowly pushed it through the invisible veil and into the warm light of the sun. For a second he felt nothing, then that gentle lap of the sun's rays as they waved over his callused white skin. It felt refreshing, like dipping in a geothermal spring when the cave was especially cold and lonely, but slower.

    And then the feeling seeped away. Ebeld realized he could no longer feel his finger at all and he snatched it back. The difference was subtle; the coloration had not changed and the texture was similar. It was clear, though; his finger had turned to stone. It was immobile and weighed his hand down slightly.

    “Hurt?” queried Ynone.

    “No, just gone.” He knocked it against the stone wall. It made a clunking sound, exactly what you'd expect tapping a rock against a rock.

    Ynone cheered. “Now do yours hand!”

    “No! Wants keep hand.”

    “Do it,” she cooed softly. Ebeld was moved slightly. Ynone was a calm and gentle sight to his eyes. Sometimes she made him feel nervous inside, discombobulated. Most of the time he felt a closer sense of fullness. Or completeness. Something that made him feel replete, done, entire.

    And she was very pleasing to the eyes, at least Ebeld thought so, especially now as the sun was dipping beneath the horizon and the red sky seeped slightly into the cave.

    “Bad thinking.” he repeated.

    “Ebeld. What your saying? Who there?” His mother's overbearing voice echoed across the hollow as she came from further back in the cave.

    “Not. Nothing.” He quickly hid his hand behind his back. She wouldn't understand.

    Begdla narrowed her heavily browed eyes. She may be an ogre, but she could tell Ebeld wasn't telling her everything. But boys will be boys.

    “Not safely being near sun. Come over for your eating now.”

    “Mhgg.” Ebeld replied. His mother gave another look around the room, expecting maybe someone else, then turned and left.

    Ynone touched his arm, “After eating, daring you. We go Pisa, push over human's tower.”

    Ebled sighed and smiled; that was a dare he'd take.

    1. You put me right in your world. Loved the dialect and that he was an ogre. Really liked this character, hope you can use him again.
      Well done.

  4. The Spelling Bee
    By Melissa Gijsbers
    Twitter: @MissieK
    Words: 480

    I cared what she thought, so when she dared me, I knew I was in trouble. For some reason, I accepted the dare, and here I was, standing on the stage in the school auditorium trying to spell the word “discombobulated”.

    Under normal circumstances, spelling was a breeze. I was the kid who always got 10 out of 10 on spelling tests, and would always look for harder words to spell. But today was different. It all came down to one thing, or rather, one person. Bonnie.

    Bonnie had entered my life when I was a kid, and always got me into trouble. For some reason, it was her opinion I valued above all else, and would do whatever I could to impress her. Over the years, her challenges had become more and more elaborate and dangerous. I still wasn’t completely sure how the spelling bee came into her plans, but here I was.

    I had been amazed when she had suggested it, laughing at her when we spotted the flyer that had been shoved in the letterbox among all the catalogues promoting Christmas sales, but Bonnie was determined, she wasn’t going to give up easily. At 36, I thought I was too old for such nonsense; however the organisers had an Over 18 section. Something about encouraging adult literacy and some study that said adults forget how to spell.

    Bonnie had been relentless about it. Every spare moment she would go on about the spelling bee, incorrectly spelling words in my head so I would correct them. Whenever I put the flyer away, it would somehow reappear on my fridge, notice board, table, even in my handbag. Bonnie would deny she had put them there, but I’m still not convinced.
    The final straw was when she dared me. There was something in her tone that meant I couldn’t refuse. It may have been the hint that she had already signed me up that did it. As soon as I pressed ‘submit’ on the entry form, I knew I was in trouble.

    It didn’t take long for me to realise that many of the words I used to spell, I didn’t know any more… at least not without writing them down. Thankfully, Bonnie helped me practice, continuing her game of deliberately misspelling words.

    Now, here I was, standing on the stage, trying to spell “discombobulated”. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember how it was spelled. This time, Bonnie seemed to have abandoned me. The children sitting down the front were giggling, not helping my concentration.

    “Bonnie, help me,” I said through gritted teeth, hoping no one heard me. It was in that moment that I realised that imaginary friends really couldn’t be relied on to help you win a dare… I knew then that I wasn’t going to let her down, rather, it was the other way around.

    1. I've accepted the special challenge btw ;)

    2. As one whose spelling is horrid, I can see where entering a spelling bee would be dangerous. Enjoyed the story and I always have to look up discombobulated, too, but I love how it sounds. lol. Fun read.

  5. Truth or Dare
    275 words
    Special challenge

    I cared what he thought, so when he dared me, I knew I was in trouble.

    “C’mon, Lacey, it’s just a dare. You going to do it or not?” Tricia goaded while folding her arms over her chest.

    I slowed my swing to a halt and glanced shyly at Isaac, the most popular boy in school. He gave me a smug little smirk as the rest of the class tittered behind him.

    “All I have to do is tell my crush that I like him?” my voice squeaked. Immediately I flushed and looked down at my sneakers.

    “In front of everyone,” Isaac amended, grinning at Tricia. My palms started sweating so I tightened my grip on the chains. I knew they wanted me to admit to having a crush on Isaac so they could tease me for the rest of the year. Every girl in class had a crush on him. And why not? He was as handsome as 11-year-old boys come with his athletic build, shaggy blonde hair, blue eyes, and dimples.

    “Everyone?” I asked breathlessly. “And then I can sit at your table at lunch?”

    “And then you can sit at our table at lunch,” Tricia mimicked in a high-pitched voice. Again, everyone snickered. All of this attention was making me discombobulated. Regaining my equilibrium on the wooden seat, I timidly brought my gaze to Isaac’s mocking eyes.

    “I’ll do it.”

    The shock that plastered itself on his face was worth the embarrassment I was about to endure. Taking a deep breath, I turned to the empty swing beside me as my face prickled with heat.

    “Josh, I have a crush on you.”

    1. Didn't see that coming. lol. I was confused at first, thinking she had the crush on Isaac, but I believe that's what you intended. I liked the surprise ending, but did have to reread a couple of times to understand what was going on. Perhaps showing the empty swing next to her in the beginning might have cleared that up. Loved the twist at the end.

  6. Enchanted

    I cared what Prince Alrick thought, so when Mia dared me, I knew I was in trouble.

    “It’s the tinest potion,” she said, flashing me that you’re-not-saying-no-to-me look. “Tastes like chocolate. And think how happy he’ll be!”

    So I did it, of course (may curses erupt on my head): I dumped the crystal vial into his morning coffee and called it a mocha latte. I’m not sure even Mia imagined so many would be affected. Still, there unfortunate Prince Alrick went, beads of lovesick sweat matting his perfect black hair, chasing after some nobody’s shoe like it was a woodland princess.

    The Grapevine chortled for days—apparently he’d actually proposed to the shoe, whose poor owner and her sisters had enthusiastically chopped off bits of their feet to improve their own chances. It took a good two weeks of costly negotiations between the Duke and the girl’s furious stepmother to iron everything out.

    Mia wasn’t finished.

    “Put this blade of grass under his pillow,” she said with a grin as wide as the moat surrounding St. Leonard’s Home for the Incorrigible and Irredeemable. “Such a sweet little piece of nature.”

    I grit my teeth and slipped it beneath his pillow (which smelled of musk and the mountains) that very day. In the morning the dauntless prince launched a kingdom-wide search for a maiden able to spin straw into gold. By the time they dragged a hapless village girl into the castle—the only one within a six hour ride able to perform the lost art at all—everyone was so bleary-eyed and discombobulated, they’d have sworn before the Emperor himself the straw’d been transformed into war-worthy, purest gold. It took three solid days of sleep for servants and nobles alike to shake that one off, after which they hastily stuck the spindle in a closet at the top of an abandoned turret and fervently promised each other never to mention it again.

    Which would have been fine, until—

    “Sew a heart into the corner of his sock,” said Mia. “He won’t see it, but won’t it make you all bubbly knowing he’s got your heart on his foot all day?”

    I took my smallest silver needle and obeyed, even as my own heart crumbled.

    This time the curse fell on me.

    Dully I followed my feet, which led me up dark stairs to the forgotten closet. Against my will I reached out and let the spindle bite into my finger, weeping even as I fell on the cold stone floor into sleep.

    Prince Alrick would be hers, as she’d always planned.

    He would find her refreshing, original, clever. He would love her passionately, forever.

    While I, her oldest friend, her tormented slave, would vanish, with not so much as a piece of straw to show I’d lived, even for a moment, anywhere but Mia’s mind.

    But perhaps a day will come, years from now, when the prince will finger a tiny embroidered heart… and, for a fleeting moment, wonder.

    499 words
    Challenge accepted

    1. Noooo, oh, poor girl. What a great twisting of fairy tales, along with a great ending. Enjoyed this story and loved how you even twisted up the challenge in the end. Well done!

  7. Wow, so many great stories, I'm completely discombobulated at the moment will will need a few minutes to go discuss this with Stanley. He is always a little put out that nobody listens to his suggestions, or pays much attention to him at all, for that matter. =)
    You'll hear my choices shortly. Great work all of you.