#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!

The Blank Page

The Blank Page
Image provided by ruben alexander
https://www.flickr.com/photos/the-wanderers-eye/

I’ve been doing some type of writing for years. Blogging has been the most consistent though. Despite this being so, the sort of writing I like the best is the kind when I’m penning a story. (The other forms of writing? Well, there’s journalism, letters, and the never-ending lists — and, indeed, fictional stories. I’m sure some would say there’s more, but I think most forms of writing can fall into these categories.) Whatever type of writing is being done, there’s the perpetual blank page to deal with at the start.

Going by what I’ve read and heard, most of us, as writers, dread this page, whether it be on a computer, word processor, typewriter, or the piece of paper. Somehow it terrifies us. Nothing is there for the writer to use as a launching point, which brings up images of disaster.

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Super Short Story

When I was a kid, my parents insisted that I learn how to swim. I loved swimming from the first class and tried to master the different strokes. But there was that day when the teacher wanted me to dive off the low diving board. All of a sudden that water looked  menacing. She wants me to jump head first from here? I’ll drowned! Of course, I didn’t even come close to drowning. According to the teacher, my launch was almost perfect.

Does that blank page feel like you’re looking at that treacherous water from the diving board?

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Some writers will still have that sensational idea stirring in their heads. Yet, once sitting before that blank page, the words have escaped and no matter what is put on that page, it isn’t right, at least not right enough for the writer.

Other writers aren’t so fortunate and find the superb idea has vanished or it suddenly sounds ludicrous. The person often ends up staring at all that whiteness before him/her, hoping and praying the idea will reappear somehow or a better idea will pop into his/her mind.

I’ve had these times myself, although not often. In fact, the times of this horror are rare. For unexplainable reasons, the blank page for me usually means a fresh start. Any mistakes from prior works are erased. My inspiration is renewed. My motivation is energized. I might not even have any ideas to start writing with, yet still feel the empowerment of having a new beginning laying before me.

In this era of technology, I have the luxury of getting online to find my writing ideas. They’re all over the place out here in cyber space. If you’re having difficulty finding a worthy idea, try a search. One of my favorite sites for writing ideas is Creative Writing Prompts that’s part of The Writer’s Digest.

The right words have always been a huge problem for me. It scarcely has stopped me from writing though. Long ago I always had the Thesaurus book sitting with me while I wrote. But then I found Thesaurus.Com. I could start with the most simplest of words and find so many other words that better described what I wanted to convey in my writing piece. The lack of my vocabulary skills was resolved.

This doesn’t mean I don’t agonize during my hours of writing. My trouble appears farther down the page after I’ve writing a couple or a few paragraphs. It’s at this point when doubt sets in and I’m reluctant to go any farther. Do I know what I’m doing here? Should I rework that second paragraph? Maybe I should just toss that paragraph. Is any of this making sense? Yes, misgivings about the entire project come flooding into my mind.

I have found something that works to alleviate this rush of dark apprehension. It doesn’t work every time, but often enough to spur me to try it. I put that page half done to the side and start where I left off on a clean blank page. I can normally continue the story I’m writing.

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Have you found some strategies that get you past your writing difficulties? Could you share them?

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. ~Vladimir Nabakov

 

The Infliction of the Convenience

[This post is a result of a prompt from Today’s Author. I’m using it to further my pursuit in raising my writing skills. See what I worked on last week, Autumn Storm. This time, I’m trying to avoid the pitfalls of my inexperience showing up  in neon lights. This means dodging words and sentence style a seasoned writer isn’t as likely to use. Read more about it at Rayne Hall’s post here.]

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The Infliction of the Convenience
Image provided by splityarn
@ https://www.flickr.com/photos/splityarn/

I’m a writer. I shy away from calling myself an author though. When I speculate on this term, my mind leaps right over to books. I think of ‘author’ as a classification under the category, writer. It’s just like I refer to those who write for newspapers and magazines as journalists. They’re writing, most assuredly, but their specialty is different from that of an author. I hold on to the thought that I do not have a forte in this field, at least not yet. So, I’m a writer. That’s it.

Each day at approximately ten o’clock in the morning, I’m hammering away on the keyboard of my computer. I’m attempting to write my first book. If I can accomplish this, I will call myself an author. Sounds simple enough, right?

Who am I trying to kid here? Writing a book is damn tough.

I glance at my emails earlier each morning, weeding out the ones I know, with certainty, I don’t have an interest in. I put the computer on ‘sleep’ and continue on with my morning routine. You know how it goes: brush the teeth, stand under the water of the shower with soap in your hand, attend to any menagerie of pets you may have, get clothes on that won’t embarrass you at the front door, and pour that second cup of coffee or tea.

I tramp from the kitchen to the first bedroom in the hall where my beloved PC sits. A little voice inside my head decides to assert itself. “Don’t turn on the computer,” she tell me, but I press the button anyway. She’s just trying to protect me. She doesn’t like it when I beat myself up. Nevertheless, I feel that push shooting down from my shoulders into my arms, hands, and then fingers. I must write.

Yes, I get hurt every time I type my life away. My spelling is atrocious. I can’t get through a whole paragraph without consulting a dictionary. My vocabulary is even worse. I’d gauge it to be approximately fifth grade level — maybe. Still, I can’t seem to be able to stop myself from clobbering this piece of black hard plastic in front of me.

I’m obsessed. I’m possessed. I’m all consumed by this labor. By chance, do I crave the emotional and mental abuse this activity batters me with? No, that can’t be true. What I long for when I write is the flow of words making a story come to life. The dream of creating such a work of art follows me wherever I go and whatever I do.

Yet, would I feel this enthrallment if I didn’t have a computer? Would I be sitting at the kitchen table with pen or pencil scrawling words onto the pages of a spiral? Yep, I do believe so, although I’d have to invest in a new dictionary and thesaurus.

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Did I progress in my skills here? Don’t be afraid to tell me the truth.

The writer is committed when he plunges to the very depths of himself with the intent to disclose, not his individuality, but his person in the complex society that conditions and supports him.  – Jean-Paul Sartre

 

#SoCS – Opposite

I’m not sure how it’s happening, but since right before the first of the year, I haven’t received the Friday reminder post from Linda G. Hill. Luckily, I do receive the one for the JusJoJan event.

#SoSC - Opposite
Image provided by
Michael Coghlan @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/

This Saturday Stream of Consciousness prompt is the word, opposite. This one is going to be easier than some in the past because I’ve been writing posts about this very thing.

Can an extrovert and an introvert live together? Talk about opposites; this one must be one of the largest ones there is. Sure, there are others, and they may be more obvious, but the friction between can more easily be a compliment instead of an irritation with those.

If you’ve read any of my more recent posts, you’ll know that I’m an introvert. I love the quiet. I long for solitude. Forget about asking me to any big bashes because you’d be wasting your time. I don’t do well in crowds. I will, however, be at your door pronto for a chat with you sitting your kitchen table drinking coffee. In order for me to focus, I must be alone. I sleep sound only when it’s quiet and, at least, semi-dark.

Hubby is the opposite. He is an extrovert in every sense of the word. He feels that he must have noise of some kind 24/7. He claims that he can’t sleep unless the TV is on. To his credit, he does keep the volume low. Because of this difference (plus a couple of others), I sleep in the adjacent bedroom. No, we aren’t angry with each other. It’s simply that both of us want to sleep but need different environments to do so. Hubby has a terrible time being alone. Even his mother has commented on this. It makes him depressed to the point where he’ll go get help from a doctor.

Yet, despite this huge difference between us, we’ve been happily married for over 24 years now. How can this be? We tread very lightly with each other’s traits. I put up with the noise and he tries his best to keep it as low as possible. He visits his family (his mom on Saturday, his brother’s family Sunday morning) by himself usually, to give me that quiet and solitude even on the days he doesn’t work. I do watch some TV with Hubby and I do go to the big family functions.

Being opposites has been a challenge, but I can’t see myself living without Hubby. He’s my lover, best friend, and companion.

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