#amwriting – It was Him? [part 2]

This is my fourth post of the month. Each month, this post will be allotted to the Twitter hashtag, #amwriting. In this post, I’m continuing my story, ‘It was Him?’. Hope you enjoy it. 🙂

Did you miss part 1 on this story?

[part 1]

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It was Him? [part 2]
Image provided by Josu Mendicute
https://www.flickr.com/photos/supermendikute/
Officer Tanner was a big burly man with clear blue eyes and coppery wavy hair. Sitting at a desk with its side next to the window, he gave the impression of being gargantuan. The steno chair seemed tiny in comparison to his large frame in dark blue. The pen in his paw-like hand looked like it could belong to a child.

Caitlin nervously walked up to his desk. “Officer Tanner?”

He averted his eyes from his work and gave her a grin. “Can I help you?” Before she could answer, he gestured for her to sit in the straight chair next to his desk.

“Sir, something kind of frightening happened to me this morning.” She squirmed in her seat folding and unfolding her hands several times.

He pulled a piece of paper from the side drawer. “Okay, your name, address, and telephone number. I’ll also need some identification.”

She gave him her stats and then, retold the story she had told the first cop. He let her say all of it before he prompted her for more information.

“You didn’t see anyone next to your car earlier or as you were walking out to it?”

“I looked outside when I got up this morning. All I saw was snow and my car along with a few other cars parked against the curb. No one was out there.”

“And when you walked out the door…?

“I wasn’t looking really. I was watching where I was stepping. The stairs were covered with snow and I didn’t know if ice was underneath; there was.” Her eyes rolled upward as if she was in disbelief. “But once I got past the stairs, I didn’t see anyone. I wasn’t very observant, though.” Her cheeks turned a soft pink as she continued to twiddle her fingers in her lap.

“Do you know if anyone is angry with you?”

She furrowed her eyebrows. “I don’t think so. At least, not angry like this. What did this person mean be ‘You’re next?’”

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out here. Did you take someone’s parking spot?” She shook her head so he went on. “Did you get something someone else wanted–for instance, at work?”

She shook her head again but stopped. “This is probably nothing but I did get moved to another line in the factory. The woman who worked across the belt from me at that first line gave me a dirty look. The thing is, I thought the look was directed the supervisor who was standing behind me.”

“I’ll check it out but your assumption was probably what it was. Is there anyone in your apartment building I should check on?”

“No, I think I get along with everyone in the building.”

Tanner indicated that he didn’t have any more questions for her and assured her he’d be driving by her apartment on a regular basis for a while.

Driving into work, she reviewed the questions Tanner had asked. Did she know someone who was enough off his or her rocker to threaten her like this? Did she do something unintentionally to set off a lunatic?

She was caught up in her own world of problems as she walked down the narrow hall to the women’s locker room at the leather factory. So much so, she almost ran into her boss head-on.

“Why are you late, Caitlin?” Her supervisor, Mr. Adams crinkled his eyebrows and gave her a black look.

“Oops! Sorry, Mr. Adams. I’m late because I was at the police station. Some idiot left a threatening message on my windshield this morning.” She looked straight into his eyes, sizing up the possibility of the culprit being him.

“And why didn’t you call?”

She diverted her eyes to her purse to find her locker key. “I should have called. I’m sorry. Are you firing me?”

“No, but you have to be more responsible. You aren’t a kid, you know.” He walked up the hall not giving her a chance to respond.

Once at her locker, she resumed her deliberations concerning Tanner’s questions. The threat didn’t come from her boss; that she was certain of. Did she know her neighbors in her building all that well?

This continues on next month…

Inspired Prompt:

S/he walked out to find a message scraped into the frost on the windshield. —Today’s Author

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Don’t be afraid to give me feedback on this story.

“All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction.” —Steve Almond, WD

Short note: With another month just around the corner, I’ll be changing my header image and my colors again. Yes, I know it’s crazy but I’m bored out of my skull with what I have now.

Also, if you’d like to read my posts just once per month, sign up for my newsletter.

 

#amwriting – It was Him?

My favorite social media site is Twitter. I have yet to heard of any “backstabbing” there, let alone witness anything like that at this site. I can’t make the same claim to other social media sites. I’ve seen the tag, #amwriting, several times, yet, for reasons I can’t begin to fathom, I’ve never posted using it before. Ludicrous, isn’t it?

Today is my first post using the hashtag, #amwriting.

#amwriting - It was Him?
Image provided by Eric
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ejpphoto/

When Caitlin watched the news the night before, the weatherperson had predicted snow, wet heavy snow. She went to bed grumbling about the cold and wet the morning would probably bring.

Just as the weatherperson had said, large sloppy snowflakes were falling from the dove-colored sky when she woke up. She peered down from her apartment window at her car sitting innocently against the curb. Most of it was just snow that would easily brush off, but it didn’t escape her attention that ice crystals were forming on the front and back windows. There was something else she noticed in the dim dawn light. Something that looked like a piece of paper was stuck to the window.

After a couple of pieces of toast and a mug of coffee, she got dressed and was ready to face the cold dreary world that sat out there past her apartment building. Gingerly, she maneuvered the icy steps to the street’s sidewalk. The wind gusted, almost pulling her knit hat off. As she approached her car, she realized that what she had thought was a piece of paper was, in reality, just a place on the windshield where the ice was thicker.

She retrieved the scraper from the backseat of her car and placed the hard plastic edge on the front window. It was then that she noticed there was scratched lettering in the place where the ice was so thick. You’re next!

What was that suppose to mean? Obviously, it meant trouble, but she couldn’t fathom who would do this. Her life was so drab. There wasn’t any reason for anyone at all to want to hurt her. Or maybe that was the exact reason why.

As soon as she got her windows scraped, she slid into the driver’s seat and started the engine. While she waited for the car to warm up, she pulled her cell phone from her purse and pushed in the numbers for her sister.

Mona’s voice was sleepy. “Hello.” She lived a few states west of Caitlin making the hour much earlier. Caitlin was positive she’d understand.

The car was taking forever to warm up. She could see her breath as she spoke. “Mona, there was a message on my car this morning. Kind of threatening.”

“Cat, do you know what time it is? Is there someone standing over you with a knife or a gun pointed at you?”

“Mona, I’m not kidding around. The message said, ‘You’re next!’”

“Cat, go to the police precinct nearest you and report it. Do not call me back. Cat, I’ll call you tonight.” And with that, Mona hung up on her.

Caitlin sat there watching the snow slide off the front hood. She should have taken a picture of the message. She looked behind her and pulled out onto the street.

The police station was a mere five blocks from her building. When she pulled into the small parking lot, she was sure she’d have to circle a few times before finding a place to park. However, as she rounded one aisle and was headed down the closer aisle, a car pulled out. The car behind her tried to squeeze past her to grab the slot but his vehicle was too wide. “Serves you right,” she said looking in her rearview mirror. She turned in and shut off the motor.

Surprisingly, no one was waiting to talk to the officer at the front desk. “Hi, cold morning, isn’t it?”

The officer peered up from looking at his papers. “They said it was coming. How can I help you.”

“I got a threatening message.”

“Let me see it.”

Crimson crept up her neck and covered her cheeks. “It was written in ice on my car. I forgot to take a picture of it. But it was there. Honest!”

“Okay. What did it say?”

“You’re next!”

The officer picked up the receiver of his desk phone and punched in four numbers. When he laid the receiver down, he said, “Officer Tanner will interview you.” He gestured to the swing gate on his right. “Just go through there and take a seat.

This continues on next month…

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Inspired Prompt:

S/he walked out to find a message scraped into the frost on the windshield. —Today’s Author

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“That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.” ― Tim O’Brien

Happy Holidays!

Thoughts at Night

Thoughts at Night
Image provided by Len Matthews
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mythoto/

As much as I love my husband, there are nights when his rocking, rolling, and snoring are just too much for me to put up with. I end up in the back bedroom on a bed that doesn’t have quite as good a mattress. Still, it’s quiet and cozy. Talking to other married women, I’ve found out this is a common occurrence. Phew! No need for guilt.

In the dark stillness of that room, I lay with my eyes closed trying to rid myself of events and ideas that run ramped in my mind. What’s so bewildering is, as much as I want to just nod off into blessed sleep, it’s these thoughts in the blackness that I find more intriguing than the ones I have during the course of a day. The wear and tear of daily life is usually about bills that need to be paid, what to cook for dinner, is there anything at all that’s worth watching on the boob tube, doing the laundry and other household chores, etc. Yes, there are blocks of time for my writing too, as poor and unsatisfactory as it is. Yet, the real action of creativity doesn’t start until the lights are turned off at the end of the evening.  Exasperation doesn’t even come close to describing the torment this can give a person.

The fractured concepts of stories that sporadically interrupt my days come together, forming summaries I’m sure would make writing projects I could delve in and enjoy.  Yet,  the second I turn on the lamp to retrieve pencil and paper, those completions quickly disintegrate almost into nothing at all. I’m sure someone out here in cyberspace is going to suggest I get a recorder of some sort to help alleviate this dilemma. First and foremost, I and recorders do not get along well. What I say and what I mean, quite often, are two different things when I speak. Somehow the brain to fingers connection when I write or type wipes this obstacle out for me. Then there’s this problem of buying one, which I’m not likely to do because of the aforementioned issue. Anyway, where would I get the money to pay for it? This household is living from paycheck to paycheck right now. Any pennies saved is going into savings so the eleven-year old vehicle (there’s only the one) and  the ancient furnace can be replaced. A recorder isn’t a necessity, by any means.

I try to use this time in the darkness to escape from some of the harshness of life, hopefully entering into alternate realities within my mind. In other words, daydreams at night. Being more of a realist, this can prove to be difficult most of the time. Instead of mentally placing myself on a beautiful beach, I’ll find myself rehashing how I’m going to face someone I’ve argued with. Still, there are those rare nights when I can get into the imagined and find myself in a foreign country being marveled by the locals.

How can I even attempt to write fiction when it’s quite clear my mind gravitates to the here and now of reality? My characters may be fictitious and my situations for them may be rare in the realms of real life, but all of what I write could happen in this world where all of us live. Fantasy and science fiction are genres I just can’t seem to get a handle on. Could this be why I rarely have nightmares and, instead, struggle with what I call bad dreams, in which I can usually wake up with a solution of some sort?

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Those last moments of wakefulness at night are fascinating to me. I wish I could get myself that enthralled with other parts of my life.

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath

 

She Endured

She Endured
Image provided by Jeff Bryant
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeff-m-bryant/

This is one of my own creations for this week’s exercise. I’m trying to show emotions without it standing out. Also, I’m trying to show inner strength and composure.

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She could hear him in the bedroom opening and closing drawers. It was a familiar sound. One the woman heard every day. Yet today, it grated on her nerves.

She glanced at the clock on the stove. Just one hour more and then she’s free for a while.

The sounds had changed. It wasn’t the annoying banging of wood against wood anymore. Chances were he was getting dressed and trying to watch TV at the same time. If you asked him why he had such a hard time doing both of these things at the same time, he’s probably tell you it’s because he hurts. She had no doubt about the pain. She knew it was real. She just couldn’t comprehend why he insisted on try to do both every day when he knew he should concentrate on how he got dressed so it wouldn’t hurt at much.

She continued to sip her coffee and gazed out the window at creation doing its thing in the early days of winter. There were still a few brilliant colored leaves hanging onto the branches of otherwise bare trees. A hawk flew overhead in the stillness of the gray sky.

Unexpectedly, a doe ambled through the woods just beyond the property line. The young female wasn’t in a hurry, knowing she was safe in the forest behind the seasoned neighborhood. Something alerted her. Her ears stood straight up and stiff, and her neck long and so ever slightly forward. Her head turned and she seemed to be looking right inside the window. Abruptly, she leaped away to the depths of the timberland.

He bellowed up the hall. “Want me to get pizza before coming home?”

The woman placed her mug on the kitchen table and gazed into the glaring light of the light fixture above her.

“Did you hear me?” he blared.

In a raised voice, she said, “Yeah, pizza sounds great.”

All of a sudden, there he was, standing in the double wide doorway to the living room and the hall. He looked good for a man in his late forties. His hair was gray through the temples and in front of his ears, giving him a distinguished appearance. He strutted over to the table, gave her a brief kiss and headed out the back door.

The woman pinched her lips shut, laid her chin in her hand prompted by her elbow, and gaped at nothing beyond the window pane. Defeat washed over her and she let three tears fall down her cheek before she pulled herself up, put the dishes in the dishwasher, and strode down the hall to prepare for another day.

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How did I do? Be brutal if you must.

When it goes wrong, you feel like cutting your throat, but you go on. You don’t let anything get you down so much that it beats you or stops you.George Cukor

 

How Much of Me Do I Show?

Image provided by eltpics @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/eltpics/
Image provided by
eltpics @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/eltpics/

As a writer, I’m going to show parts of me in whatever I write. It can’t be helped because it’s a personal pilgrimage. I will show fragments of myself within my work no matter whether I try to hide them or not. I can’t be devoid with my writing. Believe me, I’ve tried and it just ends up as a gooey mess when I try to mask myself.

Still, I do have the ability to decide how and how much of myself is projected into the finished product of my craft. When working with non-fiction, this task is simple. The subject is there as reality and my only concern is to decide if I show both sides of the issue or just one. If I show both sides, I will have to step back for either one side or the other to give it equal billing in what I write. Sure, in some cases this can be difficult but never impossible.

When writing fiction, there isn’t any clear case of any two sides, especially if the story is going to be multidimensional. The entire basis of the writing is intertwined with the author’s emotions and experiences. There isn’t a clear-cut way to step back to get a different perception unless there’s purpose in changing the story. If this is the case, then the entanglement with the writer’s passion begins again. What I write is going to show who I am whether I want it that way or not.

The protagonist is most likely going to have the qualities I admire. The antagonist is going to have the qualities I loathe.

If you’re writing true to yourself and close to the bone—if you’re writing honestly—all of these things are going to creep into your fiction. Holly Lisle

So how much of me am I going to let the readers know?

It’s odd that I’m considered an introvert overall. I mean, most of my life is an open book. Sure, I like isolation and I have a couple of secrets about myself, but off the top of my head, I have a hard time remembering what those secrets are and there are times when I want to gab with almost anyone.

Hmmm… a secret about me…

When I get angry, I have a tendency to “cuss like a sailor”. I think I’d tone that down a bit in anything I write. After all, I have a whole fat dictionary of words to pick from so I’m sure I can find something that will express anger without all the swearing.

When I was in the seventh grade, I had this wonderful English teacher, Mr. Emery. Someplace close to the end of the school year, he had us write some cuss words on paper. Then he gave each one of us a dictionary, and told us to find words that would better express those emotions. All of us were surprised at how many words we could find. His point was to show that the “easy” words rarely are the best to really express oneself.

The hippy era was known for the loose morality of that time. Fornication was everywhere. Even though I grew up during this period, I’m very private when it comes to sex. I don’t think I’ll be expressing my ideas about this subject in any detail when I write. It’s just not me. I’ll hint at it instead. You won’t read anything erotic from me.

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There may be other emotions I’d rather hide, but I’ll push my way through on those in hopes of writing a tale worth reading.