Monday, February 24, 2014


Have fun today with the prompt! I'm glad you came by to check it out. I hope it inspires greatness in each of you. Go write, then share your brilliance with the rest of us! :)

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 Caitlin Siem also known as @CaitlinStatus. Check out her blog here. Read her winning tale from last week here!

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #34 is:

The gust stole my breath as it pressed the damp shirt against my chest.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Your narrator must be unreliable.



  1. "Once in a Lifetime" [470 words]
    By @DoctorMikeReddy

    The gust stole my breath as it pressed the damp shirt against my chest. "Oh, I'm wet." I thought; the realisation switched on a chill involuntary shudder. "Why was I wet?" Not sweat, or rain. No drips from my floppy hair as my head tilted to and fro to observe my body lying in… in what? A bus shelter? "Where the Hell…?"

    The Talking Heads song played in my head: "You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?" At least it wasn't a shotgun shack. My free hand reached to my chin to wipe away a grin, and felt days of stubble.

    "…this is not my beautiful house."

    Finally, it sank in. My shirt was mostly red, not the white of sleeves and collar. Rolling onto my back to free a cramped arm did not hurt. I let go the knife. The blood wasn't mine. Patted stomach and sides revealed no cuts, lacerations or abrasions, no puncture wounds, and that my hands had done this before. It seemed almost routine.

    "You may ask yourself, my god, what have I done?"

    Sitting up in the cool breeze hurt my head. Hangover? Migraine? Blunt force trauma? Symptoms list themselves for me: concussion, compression. The list was followed by potential treatments. This seemed natural, which was itself surprising. Was I a doctor? It was hard to be sure. Certain areas of memory apparently offline.

    I stand, slow and aching, and kick the knife unconsciously. Its spinning slowed and showed a blade burdened with blood. Dry now and already blackening. That knife was in my hand once, my brain informed me, but it wasn't mine. I bent to pick it up and saw the shoes. Feet in back of the shelter, leading to legs, torso, head and hands. A corpse stabbed many many times. My apparently medical mind counted off the blows, postulating which wound was fatal. The incisions match the size and shape of steel below my outstretched hand. I shuddered again, but not from the cold.

    "…this is not my beautiful wife…"

    Another locked up portion of my mind opened. The knife is cleaned with my bloodied shirt and both are discarded. The body's blood free coat is efficiently stripped of identifying objects, which are dropped as I walk away, being sufficiently innocuous to cover my nakedness. I zombied my way to a public toilet, and my hands are cleaned with tissue and bowl water in a private cubicle. The primitive lizard brain thinking for me was smart enough for that.

    "…Letting the day go by, let the water hold me down…"

    After ten minutes of strolling from the park I don't even remember where I've been. Only that Talking Heads song kept whistling over and over between my ears.

    "…same as it ever was. Same as it ever was…"

  2. The gust stole my breath as it pressed the damp shirt against my chest. I’d made the judgment call to forego a jacket, tired of being buried under layer upon layer of heavy fabric, but the ten percent chance of light sprinkles had turned into a blizzard of sleet and snow and freezing rain, and even three hours after I’d gotten to work, I was still a bedraggled mess. I didn’t want to go to the meeting on the other side of campus, not in the hawk wind that had stolen out of the north and pushed the inelegantly-named Wintry Mix off to the hinterlands, and not to make the report I had to make to the people to which I had to make it.

    Eh. What the hell. They’d fire me if I didn’t show up for sure. Maybe they’d take pity on me when I came in looking like a lost puppy.

    Probably not.

    By the time I’d made it to Old Main Hall, my dress shirt had frozen into a grotesque parody of stiff and starched, and I was sure it would take an hour under a hot shower to even have feeling in my ankles again. The hallway was empty at this time of day, and my footfalls echoes off the marble and oak that had defined what serious academics was a hundred years ago. They’d hear me coming long before I got to the conference room, and I wrapped my arms tightly across my chest, trying – and failing - to find a warmth I knew I wouldn’t find in front of them.

    They didn’t go silent when they saw me – from the looks of things, they hadn’t spoken all morning – but just glared at me with the disapproving glances of grandparents you hated to visit. They weren’t all men, although a less feminine collection of women would be harder to find, so tightly they cleaved to the old ways, ways which had become stale long before the cornerstone was laid for this building.

    The lone concession to anything approaching modernity was the overhead projector in the center of the room, its octagon of light splayed unevenly against the pull-down screen in the corner. Some people were beaming presentations wirelessly to wearable eyeglass computers, here electricity was considered an untested and unreliable form of power, used reluctantly only after the city changed regulations preventing us from using gas lighting in every room.

    I placed my first slide on the projector, the words I’d worked so painstakingly to print as neatly as possible announcing the bad news to a room of statues. The future had come, the words said, written in light but indelible none the less, and we were all out of a job. No one spoke, and the sound of breathing was barely audible in this mausoleum of higher education. Outside, the wind freshened, and the light from the projector flickered, and went out.

    489 words

  3. The Day of the Last Beer

    The gust stole his breath as it pressed the damp shirt against his chest. Like, literally stole his breath, man. When it gets down to -20C, that gust is a full blown blizzard out here in the wastelands of Alberta. Maybe I should back things up a bit, so you can understand how awesome this guy was.

    It was freshman year at college in Middle-of-Nowhere, Alberta. We were bored out of our minds. It snowed for two weeks straight, cancelling classes left, right and center. My roommate and I, we lived those two weeks on four cases of Molson beer and Kraft. We couldn’t get to the store with all the roads snowed in. So this one day, on the day of the last beer, I got this bright idea.

    “Hey, Mike!”
    “You ever been polar dipping?”
    “Naw, man.”
    “I’ll bet you the last beer you don’t have the guts.”

    He looked out the window, contemplating the blazing sun and the swirling winds, then shook hands. So we saddled up with some towels, our winter gear, the last beer, and trudged out to the lake about a kilometer away from the school. It was just our luck it wasn’t totally frozen over. We pitched up camp by the shore as Cal stripped down to his trunks and t-shirt. The beer was placed on a pedestal of towels.

    You should have seen that guy, he was blue! But he slapped himself with his arms and crept out on the ice to the open waters anyway. He stood there, just staring at the dark water, and I thought he was turning chicken. Then that son of a gun turned around, saluted, and jumped in backwards!

    That’s when amazing things started happening. He bumped into a seal. And he was just a-wrestling with that lump of grey, hooting and hollering the whole time for help. What was I to do? I didn’t have much but the beer, and we were both so wasted that wasn’t going to help anything.

    I grabbed the beer by the neck and started inching my way out. Then a moose came up! It stared at me, I stared at it, then finally it turned its head toward the splashing. I took the opportunity and lunged at the beast. I managed to hold onto the beer as I clambered up its back. It snorted and pawed and tried to throw me off, but I held on as it carried me over to the water. Cal grabbed the beer out of my hands, smacked the seal, and crawled up behind me on the moose. Now, the moose didn’t like that at all, seeing as Cal was so cold. Cal tore off his shirt and started whipping the moose toward the dorm! All the while he was drinking the last of the beer from the broken bottle.

    What? That’s not right? Was that your roommate? No? Aw heck, I don’t even remember anymore. I’m going to get myself another beer.
    Word Count: 500
    Special Challenge accepted!

  4. The gust stole my breath as it pressed the damp shirt against my chest. It was so very cold, but I had to get out of the house—away from what I had done. My sin weighed heavier on my soul than the drenched shirt did on my torso and I just couldn’t take it any longer.
    Why, Marian? I thought. Images of blood-stained sheets and a mangled female body ran through my head. A knife. My half-naked husband screaming something and then falling silent. Everything happened so quickly that I couldn’t make sense of it all. I couldn’t even remember what happened exactly. All I knew was that I fell into a fit of rage and killed someone.
    “Marian!” my friend, Lance called, coming up from behind. “Good gracious; it’s 15 degrees outside! You’re soaking wet!”
    I turned to him, tears streaming down the side of my face. “Oh Lance!” I sobbed, throwing myself into his arms. “What is it?” Lance asked.
    “Oh God! I have to tell someone!”
    “Marian!” he snapped. He took a few deep breaths, motioning for me to do the same, and then added in a soothing tone, “I’m here.”
    I sniffed and then shook my head. “I’ve killed them.”
    “You’ve killed who, Marian?”
    “Robert and his mistress. I found them in bed together and I don’t know, I just snapped! There was so much blood. Oh God, I’m going straight to hell, aren’t I?”
    It felt good to tell someone, but that didn’t stop me from sobbing uncontrollably in his arms. Lance was always a good listener. It was God’s good fortune that he was there.
    “Ok, Marian; why don’t you show me?” he gently guided me back into my shabby apartment complex. I obliged him, but really I didn’t want to go back in there. Then again, I was really cold.
    It seemed like all of my neighbors were out of their apartments—watching me. They were all so very nosey. I usually kept to myself.
    We entered one of the elevators and Lance pressed 3. “Why are you all wet?”
    Why was I all wet? “Does it matter?” my voice rose. “Robert’s dead! I took his life. That little whore he was sleeping with..well that’s whatever, but Robert. Lance, I loved him so much.”
    He nodded as the elevator “dinged”. “I know you did, Marian. I know.”
    It was a short walk to my apartment. I hesitated to enter, but Lance insisted that I face what I had done so that I could repent.
    The first thing I saw was all the blood. So much blood. Robert was lying on the bed and his mistress was on the floor.
    “See!” I pointed. “There is no forgiveness for me, Lance.”
    He examined their body’s and nodded his head. “Well you certainly did a number on them, that’s for sure. He pinched Robert’s nose. “But I’m sure that I can find someone to patch them up. After all, they’re just stuffed animals.”

    498 words
    special challenge accepted

  5. Untitled - 500 words

    The gust stole my breath as it pressed the damp shirt against my chest. When would I remember that the blistering heat dissipated faster than Mr. Jacobs running for his life from the angry butcher’s wife once the sun went down? Oh well. I was getting used to walking home cold and exhausted after coach ran us ragged for losing another game. We just couldn’t do anything right, especially compared to my brother’s star team from three years ago. We couldn’t get a consistent, well, anything. Passes, lay-ups, free throws, even dribbling the ball came as naturally as flying to an elephant. Trudging in the front door and tossing my pungent gym clothes on the entry floor, I knelt down and started untying my laces.

    “How was practice?” mom called from the kitchen.

    “Just peachy, like normal,” I retorted, sulking off to my room. Even in my own house I couldn’t escape the embarrassment of being third rate. My brother’s trophies lined the hallways, and what did I have? Zilch. I couldn’t even scrape up a C on my report card. Everyone thought that I was a dead end going nowhere in life. And why shouldn’t they? I flopped down on my bed and pulled off the damp shirt, still clinging to my chest. I should just quit.

    I’m not sure how much time passed before the sounds of loud argument filtered down the hallway. Mom and dad must have started fighting again. Figures. They were probably trying to decide what to do with me. Dad probably wanted me to join the army, and mom wanted me to stay in town. I didn’t care anymore.

    I heard a knock on my door above the noise down the hall. I ignored it, but Tony didn’t care. He opened the door and came in anyways.

    “What do you want?” I snarked at him.

    “Just to talk.”

    “Why would you want to do that Mr. Perfect?” was my sarcastic reply.

    “Because you know how to handle this stuff,” came his quiet reply.

    I sat up and stared at him. Me? Know how to handle something Mr. faultless all star, didn’t know how to handle? Not likely.

    “How do you put up with people yelling at you all the time?” he asked me pointedly.

    “Why would you care? No one ever yells at you.”

    His reply stumped me… “Can’t you hear the fight? Dad wants me to try to go pro, and mom wants me to become a doctor or a lawyer, or some other high paying occupation. I just want to get out there and be normal. How do you do it?”

    Normal? Me? I racked my brain trying to find something worth telling the brother who always inspired, if not irritated me, by his easy success. Finally I said the only thing I could think of.

    “I just keep trying to do what you do.”

    He pondered my words before replying, “Then maybe it’s time I learned to be more like you.”

  6. The gust stole my breath as it pressed the damp shirt against my chest. Long, blond tendrils, whipped away from face and shoulders, flowed behind me, almost dragging me backwards. Unpracticed legs desperately squeezed around the shoulders of the dragon mount. The land below shrunk, growing ever more distant as I cowered atop the huge creature, my fingers clutching to his scales like mollusks to a ship’s hull. Even my face, which must have been desperately pale, was pressed against its smoldering hide. This was no place for a mermaid.

    I have no idea how I let them talk me into this. The merry laugh of the fairy elf cut through the constant rush of air past my ears. “Dragon got your gills?” My blithe companion teased, her iridescent wings easily keeping her alongside. To the dragon, it must seem a leisurely pace. Scowling back at her I bit my lip, but had been shaken from the fear just enough to take a deep breath through my nose. Now to sit up. Convincing my limbs to obey was going to be more difficult than expected. ‘Just dive in and do it.’ I told myself. But that was a poor choice of words and my eyes slammed closed faster than a clam’s shell.

    If I were to fall, there was a dragon, fairy and winged dragon queen all ready to catch me mid air. Death by falling was not my fate. But somehow my ragged breath convinced the rest of my being otherwise. “I can’t do this,” erupted the confession to my dearest of friends. “You already are, just open your eyes!” her majesty insisted, not putting up with a moment of unnecessary selfish cowardice. She would help me beat this. I felt absolutely ridiculous. This was so simple for them, so natural, why couldn’t I just enjoy it with them?

    After longing for the same abilities, hanging on every word they spoke of flight, we had finally found a solution. I could bravely face the pressures of bleak ocean depths, race whales and dolphins, outwit sharks, play amongst pounding waves and crawl from the surf to take human form and traverse forest and mountains. What danger was there here? In the wide open spaces with, not water, but air flowing over and around me and a dragon firm and true holding me up.
    WC 393

    Yes, this is very late, but a few magical friends finagled me into posting anyway.