Monday, August 31, 2015


And, so... September. Can you believe it? I certainly can't. You'd think after all my comments this year about time flying by so quickly that it wouldn't surprise me that we're two-thirds of the way through the year now, but it still does. I hope you've had a great one so far! Thanks for joining us for the fun this week. Go check out the prompt and get writing!

If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Start with the given first sentence.
2. Up to 500 words
3. Keep it clean (PG-13)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, 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 Melina Gillies. Read her winning tale from last week here! Check out her website at 
Melina is a writer who believes that flawed characters make the best romantics. To date, she has two published short stories under her belt, and a full length novel somewhere up her sleeve (she just can't remember where she tucked it). When she's not writing, you can find her telling her kids not to jump from high places (yes, all of them), and eating copious amounts of chocolate (often at the same time). She can always be found on Twitter @melinagillies, especially when she's supposed to be somewhere else.

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #3-9 is:

Oh no, please no, thought [Rebecca] as she ran toward [the subway platform].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Incorporate the smell of fried chicken into your story.



  1. The Method of Fried Chicken
    "Oh no, please no, thought Rebecca as she ran toward the subway platform. But why would she run toward the platform? What was her motivation?"

    "She didn't want to miss the subway?"

    "You have to go deeper than that. Acting is about making choices. As all art is about choices. Who are you? What do you want or don't want? Art is personality. All the technique in the world is not going to take the place of personality. What you are missing is not the subway, what you are missing is yourself."

    "But my action is connected to what I want."

    "Your action is a result of what you want. Think of something from your past that you could substitute for the subway, the platform... the whole scene."

    "My mother leaving me at school for the first time when I was little."

    "Go deeper. Something even more personal."

    "I grew up in Alabama and my mother cooked the most amazing fried chicken. It was a family recipe that my grandfather had passed down from several generations. My mother only cooked the chicken once or twice during the year as a special occasion. It was famous in our small town and a local banker even offered 10,000 dollars for the recipe. Anyway, I used to go fishing in the afternoon in the summer and I didn't get home sometimes till late. I was a bit of a tomboy. One day I started home late about 7pm and as I approached my home the most wonderful aroma was in the air. And it wasn't the honeysuckle that climbed to my bedroom window, or the lilacs lining the yard like flower power soldiers, it was my mothers fried chicken. And I knew my brothers would be at the table eating all of it. They were such pigs! So I dropped my rod and started running toward the house following the trail of delicious spices like bread crumbs in the sky."

    "Now, go on stage and perform the scene for the class."

    The lights went dim in the old theater. She walked to the side of the stage. The sound of a subway leaving a station was heard on a loud speaker. She ran onto the stage.

    "Oh no, please no..." She screamed with tears rolling down her cheeks. She held the body of her dying mother in her arms.

    The curtain fell.

    (406 words) Special Challenge Accepted
    By Richard Edenfield / email:

  2. Medusa’s Wish
    447 words
    Special challenge accepted!

    Oh no, please no, thought Medusa as she ran toward Mistermanocles. (She liked to think of it as running; she didn’t like to describe herself as slithering, it sounded so unattractive.) She put her arms around the stone form of her latest tragedy, and sighed an apology into his ear.

    “Apparently true love won’t cure me, either,” Medusa said. Mistermanocles might have been a trifle simple for her taste, but she would have loved him until the end of time if he had put her to rights.

    “I wish Athena would let go of this ridiculous grudge. Sure, I slept with Poseidon, but it’s not like they were exclusive at the time.”

    Her hair snakes hissed with laughter.

    “Shut up, you wriggling wretches!” She tried to slap them but they bit the tips of her fingers. The puncture wounds stung and bled with green fluid.

    Medusa missed being beautiful.

    “I wish I could be attracted to women. I’m dreadfully lonely,” she lamented to her pet spider. (Arachne didn’t feel sorry for Medusa, but she had no way of saying so.) “I’d give anything for some male company that hasn’t turned to stone.”

    On cue, a ruckus crashed through the opening of her dreary cave. Another hero had come to attempt to slay the wicked beast; this one must be from some foreign land. His body was covered with feathers – not feathered clothing, but actual feathers. He must be part bird, born of man and...peacock, perhaps, judging by the blues and greens. He was much prettier than the Minotaur.

    “I am here for you, creature!” the hero cried. He clucked several times and laid an egg (though that had long been the responsibility of female birds, his physiology was unique).

    “Wait! Before you attempt to slay me, hear me. I do not wish to cause further harm. All I want is a companion, then I can move on from this world.” Poseidon had promised Medusa private apartments on Mount Olympus, provided she never looked him in the eye again. “Please, noble hero, find it in your heart to love me.”

    The hero squawked. “I’m not opposed, but let’s have dinner and get to know one another first.”

    “Excellent idea,” Medusa said. She put her hand on the hero’s arm.

    Athena’s angry snarl rippled through the cave. Medusa felt ghostly claws digging into her flesh. The snakes screamed in un-snakelike fashion.

    When the noise subsided, the hero had erupted into flame.

    Medusa sighed.

    “At least I have you,” she said to the cute little spider. (Arachne wished she knew how to escape.)

    Medusa slithered (yes, slithered) down into her pit and tried to ignore the smell of fried chicken.

  3. Smell

    Oh no, please no, thought Rebecca as she ran toward the creek. Grey daylight was breaking over the horizon. The gravel of the trailhead crunched under Rebecca’s cross-trainers, and her chest burned with each breath.

    In the distance she could see the smoke rising, and a faint orange glow hovering in the receding darkness, near her camp. “How could I be so stupid,” Rebecca said to herself.

    Rebecca burst into the clearing. Her worst fears were realized when she saw her tent engulfed in flames. She buckled forward and her knees crashed on the dew covered grass. She knelt there, staring at the fire. Her mind felt suddenly blank, and she couldn’t think or feel anything. This persisted until the darkness was overcome by daylight. Then the faint smell of smoke was replaced by the smell of fried chicken. The scene before her eyes melted away, and a new one appeared.

    “What the. . .” said Rebecca. Where her tent had been burning now stood a charcoal grill. A faint wisp of smoke rose lazily into the air and dissipated as it crossed in front of the cyan sky. She turned and noticed a bucket of chicken on a picnic table. The ever cliché red and white checked table cloth undulated in the weak breeze.

    Rebecca couldn’t believe it. She rubbed the heels of her palm into her eyes. When she opened them again, the momentary blur gave way to the exact same sight. She walked over to the bucket of chicken and peered inside. Rebecca pulled a drumstick out. She raised it toward her face and sniffed.

    The sharp reek burned the back of her throat and the roof of her mouth. She dropped it and began coughing and gagging. Rebecca rubbed the tears from her eyes with her knuckles and took deep breaths to regain her composure. She took in her surroundings. She was no longer in the park. The cyan sky was replaced with a pale yellow ceiling accentuated with off-white crown molding. The room was spacious and looked very familiar. She lowered her gaze. Where the drumstick should have been, there was a used diaper on the cherry floorboards.

    She looked at the diaper until a whimper broke her concentration. She looked up; in the corner of the room stood a crib. She hadn’t noticed it when she first looked around the room. She walked toward it with slow, hesitant steps. As she approached, the room fell silent once again. A memory seemed to be knocking on the invisible pane of her unconsciousness, begging to be let in. Rebecca placed a hand on the oak rail and looked inside. The crib was empty. Without quite knowing why, Rebecca began to cry.

    “Did she remember, Dr. Stien?” the nurse asked.
    “No, but we were close this time. No need to wake her up; let’s try again.”

    “Are you sure, Dr.?”

    “Yes. Bring me Olfact-ainer 26 and 32.”

    “That’s morning dew and brush fire, right?”


    499 words
    special challenge: accepted

    1. Melina, Carlos emailed this to me as he was having trouble posting it himself for some reason. :)

  4. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 231
    Special Challenge Accepted

    Fowl Play





    “Thought you said I could have what I wanted this weekend.”

    “I did, Bessie-Boo. But I didn’t expect that you’d eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The takeaway delivery guy doesn’t have to use his satnav to get here any more. He could find his way blindfolded.”

    “But, Daddy…”

    “LOOK! I’m sick of the smell of fried chicken, OK? ...Why don’t I knock together a nice, healthy salad, mmm? With tuna mayo?”


    “Or a big bowl of macaroni cheese? You used to love that.”

    “Don’t wannit! Don’t wannit!! DON’T… WANNIT!!!”



    “Mummy! Mummy! Mummy! I... wanna... go... H-HOME! WA-AAAH!!

    “What’s going on here, Steve?”

    “She’s fine.”

    “Well, she sure as hell doesn’t sound fine!”

    “She’s just playing you, Melissa.”

    “She’s only seven years old, for God’s sake!”

    “Guess you females learn that skill pretty early, huh?”

    “Don’t start with that crap again! I’m gonna have to review your access.”

    “You can’t do that! I’ve got my rights…”

    “Yeah, yeah… Tell that to my lawyer.”


    “You alright, sweetie? You haven’t said two words since you got in the car. “

    “I know what’ll cheer you up, honey-bun.”


    Elizabeth threw open the car door even before they had come to a halt in the parking lot. She filled her olfactory system with the mouth-watering aromas, as she ran toward the friendly, red signage.

    “Yay! Nando’s!”

    1. The empty quotation marks before “I know what’ll cheer you up, honey-bun.” should be: {sniff!!}

  5. O’Malley’s Exotic Poultry Supply
    485 words, special challenge accepted (embraced!)
    Dave @ParkInkSpot
    Oh no, please no, thought Tessa as she ran toward the smoking warehouse, not the chicks.

    Tess dropped the key while fumbling with the office door. I’ve only been had this job for three weeks, I get to deal with this? O’Malley won’t be back until Thursday. Fire alarm pullbox, hope it…good, alarm works. How far away is the nearest fire station, ten minutes maybe? Damn, I need to see about the chicks. Call 911, phoned in…the chicks!

    Grab an extinguisher, Tess dashed through the offices and into the main warehouse. O’Malley’s weird little chicks are back here, where’s the fire? No sign of any fire yet.

    As usual, she felt the chicks before reaching the cages. A faint, warm tickle glowed at the back of her mind, a feeling of peace and serenity. To Tessa, the chicks always felt pleasant and happy, like Home.

    She’d been “introduced” to her first Weird Chick on her second day working for O’Malley. In between phone calls, it hopped up on her desk. She didn’t start at its sudden appearance, or freak out about how odd it looked—and it felt—friendly? It felt friendly at her, and Tessa felt the smile growing across her face as she reached out to pick it up.

    Weird Chicks aren’t baby chickens. Tessa’s still not sure exactly what they are. Imagine a cue ball, about half size. Call it an inch, maybe inch and a half across and all warm and fleshy, slightly cooler than human skin. No eyes or ears or any features at all, no limbs—a flesh ball. It doesn’t look cute, but it somehow manages to be cute anyway.

    O’Malley keeps silent on the subject of what they are or where they came from. But he has confirmed the chicks are immature. Which implies an older, “chicken/rooster” equivalent?

    They are protein, absolutely, and they do taste exactly like chicken. They don’t even seem reluctant about being dinner. They line up in orderly rows for harvesting, and roll directly into the grinder, or the oven, or into the processing plant.

    The chicks all gathered against the north wall of their cages, decidedly odd chick behavior. Tessa turned to look north, and saw the smoke billowing around the stairway doors.

    “Time to make a run for it, guys,” she said, opening the cages.

    The chicks didn’t run away from the fire. They ran toward it.

    Tessa watched as the chicks rolled as a mass to the stairwell doors, and gathered against them. She felt the wave of emotion that the chicks were feeling now… Expectancy? Readiness?

    Without understanding why, Tessa opened the door. A wave of heat and dense smoke rolled up out of the stairwell.

    A thousand Weird Chicks poured downstairs like lemmings.

    The distinct odor of fried chicken pervaded O’Malley’s for months. The firefighter could not explain where the mass of cooked meat in the stairway came from.

  6. And damn, already found another typo. Let it ride.

  7. Don’t Be A Chicken
    436 words

    Oh no, please no, I thought as I ran toward the Kentucky Fried Chicken. Or I should really say, ran toward the train wreck that was once my diet. It was the smell of fried chicken. I’d whiffed the scent on my way home from the gym. All those hours, sweating in the gym to look good for Marco, and now I was about to stuff my face with a big-fat grease-filled chicken bucket. At least I could say the potatoes were a vegetable. Wait, were there?

    Sweat poured down my face as I neared the KFC. I slowed to a light jog. At least I could justify it by saying I’d ran all the way here. How the scent of KFC could travel three whole miles down 83rd Street and alight on my nose the moment I walked out of the YMCA was beyond me. And I’d made the three miles in record time too: 25 minutes. Heck I’d be ready for a marathon soon—right after I dug into a huge bucket of chicken.

    I opened the door and the wonderful scent of fried food wafted toward me. I inhaled deeply. This had to be heaven. After all the salad and fruit I’d been eating, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into a nice moist chicken leg. I didn’t even care if the scale reflected it in the morning. To heck with Suzie and her weekly weigh-ins.

    Bucket in hand, smile on my face, I turned scanning the restaurant for the perfect place to devour 3,000 heavenly calories of perfect bird. And then—there he sat. By the window with the big swirly K. Marco. I couldn’t care less about being next to him with my pink workout shirt. It wasn’t the sweat dripping off my face and forming puddles on the floor. No—here I stood in KFC holding a chicken bucket for one, and already gnawing on a chicken leg before I’d even found a seat.

    He waved at me frantically, and I did what came naturally, pretended he didn’t exist. Maybe I could fit into the trash barrel. Maybe I’d drop the chicken bucket on the floor and run back into the heat, but then the sweet aroma tickled my nostrils again and I knew I needed another bite.

    Wait a minute, Marco was committing the sin of fast fried food too! I smiled and waved like I was a desperate preteen girl who’d just gotten her braces removed. Oh, those kissable lips. And then, wait, what? He motioned for me to come sit with him. And before I could stop myself, I’d joined him. Giant bucket and all.

    1. Special Challenge Accepted! Forgot to put that.

    2. Haha! I think it was obvious, but thanks for mentioning it :)

  8. Only Rebecca
    500 words
    Special Challenge Accepted

    Oh no, please no, thought Rebecca as she ran toward the subway platform. The doors slid shut, and the train set into motion before she could even mutter a curse.

    She would be late. Again.

    This was it. She would lose her job. And all because the universe had conspired against her. She glanced down at her shoes, scuffed from her run to catch the train. She hadn’t even shaved her legs this morning. Stupid universe. Stupid stubbly legs.

    Rebecca plunked down on the nearest bench. From inside her bag, her phone bleeped. She pulled it out and glanced at the screen.

    8am meeting starting!!! Where r u???

    Rebecca texted back to her cubicle-mate, Sharon.

    Water leak in kitchen. Waited for plumber. Missed train.

    Five seconds, and the phone bleeped again.

    Mitch is LIVID. Said u r fired!!!

    Rebecca sighed. She tossed the phone into her bag and pushed her already-falling-out-of-its-crappy-chignon hair out of her face.

    So she would lose her job. And her kitchen was flooded. And she had hairy man-legs. And for some reason, her jacket smelled faintly of fried chicken. Brilliant.

    “Excuse me, is anyone sitting here?”

    Rebecca jerked to attention. A man stood at the end of the bench, all blond hair and tanned skin and white teeth. Did people really have teeth like that? Eight years of braces and she still bit her tongue because of her irreparable crossbite.

    “Only me.” She grabbed her bag and pulled it onto her lap.

    The man sat - no, insinuated himself beside her. Rebecca checked to make sure her mouth wasn’t hanging open.

    “Having a difficult morning?”

    “Um.” She tucked her unshaven legs beneath the bench.

    “Forgive me for prying, but you appeared... frustrated.”

    Did he have an accent? It wasn’t British. Canadian? New Zealand? Whatever it was, he certainly wasn’t from Pennsylvania. “Well, I probably just lost my job. And my dishwasher is broken. And my car died two days ago.”

    “Hence the need for public transport.”

    “Yes.” She tried to remember the last time she’d heard someone use the word “hence.”

    “Forgive me for being bold, but I might be able to help you.”

    Stranger Danger! Rebecca slid an inch away from him. “Oh, you don’t…”

    The man flashed a disarming grin. “Where do you work?”

    “Tipton Electronics.” What did it matter if he knew? She wouldn’t be working there anymore.

    “Really?” His eyes gleamed. “Who’s your manager? Peterson? Bayard?”

    “Hedlund,” she confessed. How did he know the other department heads?

    “Excuse me.” He retrieved his phone from his pocket and tapped the screen. “Oh,” he said, looking back at her and holding out his free hand. “I should probably introduce myself. Robert Tipton.”

    Three seconds. That was how long it took for the name to lock into place. “Oh, you’re…”

    “Your boss, in a way,” he said. The smile broadened. “That is, if you still want your job.”

    Rebecca laughed. She couldn’t help it. Perhaps… perhaps the universe didn’t have it out for her after all.

  9. Persuasion,
    469 Words
    Special Challenge accepted even though it made me hungry

    Oh no, please no, I think while running toward the marauding lizard.

    Wait. I don't plead.

    Just because God sent down a hundred-foot flame-throwing lizard to smash my adopted city doesn't mean that I'll ask for her help.

    Did I ask for her help when she sent over the swarm of butterflies that drank all my pollen? Nope.

    I pick up a nearby Subaru and fling it at the beast.

    But miss.

    Once again I curse God for giving me one gift, but making my aim so horrible.

    "I heard that," she says.

    I rip an ATM out of the wall at Pete's Poutine. For some reason, the horrible gravy and fries smell like fried chicken. "Yeah, you hear everything. Remember?"

    "Oh yeah, right. My bad. I always forget that I'm omniscient," she says. "Need help yet?"

    I spring off a mail truck and careen into Cretaceous Caren, shoving the cash machine into it's face.

    The lizard teeters backward, and lands on the news truck that was following it.

    I land on my feet next to a row of rental bikes.

    "Does it look like I need you help?"

    A spider lands in front of me. It's huge--at least an inch long.

    I feel my knees buckle. My mouth goes parched. What a monster would send that down at me?

    "How about now?"

    Her taunting shakes me out of my paralysis. I grab a few of the bikes and swing them at the spider. Just like my golf game, I come up short of the target. But, the bikes dig in through the concrete and send a divot of arachnid and sidewalk flying into a bus.

    Naturally, the bus was full of nuns and orphans. Their screams match my mood.

    I hate her so much.

    "I heard that."

    "You're about to hear more." I take a deep breath to unleash real vitriol when babies start falling from the sky.

    I catch as many as I can. With my powers, that's most. It's the sound of the ones I miss smacking into the concrete that bother me.

    "Stop it," I scream.

    "Say you'll come back."

    She does not argue fair. "Why can't you conjure someone else?"

    "I don't want someone else. Think of our children. They miss you."

    Dang it. I forgot about the kids.

    "Fine," I say. "But, I get to watch the game this weekend."

    "You'll have to record it. We have plans with the Olympians." Her voice lingers in my head, letting me know that the discussion is over.

    The D word bounces in my head.

    Laugher deafens me. "You seem to forget that I'm the one who approves divorces. I'd sooner have crows eat your liver every day before letting you walk away."

    What can I say? She says the sweetest things sometimes."