Writing Prompt “Eclipse”
- A secret
Word Count: 1,200
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76 thoughts on “Writing Prompt “Eclipse””
PLEASE NOTE – THE WORD COUNT IS 1200. The excerpt said 1500 which was a misprint.
The word count is 1200.
Whooppi, however I wasn’t notified.
Phil posted his story and again I received no notice.
I am wondering why?
I posted one to the Sin theme, it’s short – but hey – that’s why it’s called Flash Fiction!!
I did love the Delores Claiborne book. Love me some Stephen King lol
With all the media coverage about the eclipses these days, there are way too many possibilities. As long as I don’t copy Mr. King I think I’ll be a-ok!!
The secret can be implied, told or shared. As long as there’s some kind of secret in the story.
A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.
A bar was walked into by the passive voice.
An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.
Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”
A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.
Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.
A question mark walks into a bar?
A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly.
Papyrus and Comic Sans walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Get out — we don’t serve your type.”
A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.
A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.
Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.
A synonym strolls into a tavern.
At the end of the day, a cliché walks into a bar — fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a tack.
A run-on sentence walks into a bar it starts flirting. With a cute little sentence fragment.
Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor.
A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.
An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles heel.
The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.
A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned a man with a glass eye named Ralph.
The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.
A dyslexic walks into a bra.
A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.
An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television getting drunk and smoking cigars.
A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.
A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.
A hyphenated word and a non-hyphenated word walk into a bar and the bartender nearly chokes on the irony.
*(I can’t take credit for these, but the malapropism is my favorite. Enjoy!)
By Robt. Emmett
Half a Bear Claw and a cup of coffee later, I felt semi-human. I noticed DJ’s squad car parking alongside my convertible. He and his new driver entered the Doughnut Hole. He slumped into the seat opposite me. His shoes needed shining. His trousers and shirt looked slept in. His clip-on hung limply from his gold detective tie clip. His driver stopped at the service counter. I got an eyeful. Her French twisted auburn hair was tight and crisp as were her panty-lineless trousers. The summer uniform shirt looked tailor-made and well filled.
After taking a sip, I said, “I like the looks of your new driver.”
“Just out of the academy.”
“Your wife know yet?”
“Enjoy it while it lasts.” Another sip. “You look like you’ve been up all night.”
“I have.” The waitress brought his coffee. He pointed at my Bear Claw, “One of those.”
DJ’s driver stepped outside, leaned against his Crown Vic, and sipped her coffee. “She’d keep me up all night too.”
He rolled his eyes. “You read the morning Tribune yet?”
“The important parts, like Blondie, Beetle Bailey, and I was about to start on Peanuts.”
“I mean the front page.”
“Never read’m, too depressing.” The waitress brought his Bear Claw and freshened my cup.
“Double murder in Superior last night.”
“Who got who?”
“Whom. Snoopy got the Red Barron.”
“Put the damn funnies away. Some serious shit went down and I need answers!”
“Un-huh.” Garfield’s a stitch. “Like what?”
“Al Nephew.” He ripped a small chunk off his Bear Claw and washed it down with a loud slurp of coffee.
“No loss there.”
“And Bjornguist, Dolph Bjornguist, Senator Youngstrom’s aide.”
“Dennis the Menaces sure loves to irritate the crap outta Mr. Wilson.”
“And a woman in Hinckley.”
“Must be the weather.”
“You know anything ‘bout them?”
“Damn it, all these murders!”
I closed and folded the funnies. “Why do you think I would?”
“Cuz you and that half-breed friend of yours seem to know more than …”
“He’s three-quarters Native American Indian. Aborigine, some say.”
“Whatever!” He looked out the window and drank some coffee. “What do you know?”
By the time he looked back at me, I’d put on my Sergeant Schultz face. “’I know nothing.’”
“You expect me to believe you.”
“DJ, I don’t give a shit what you believe.” I popped a piece of Bear Claw into my mouth.
“Okay, okay, off the record, if that’s how you want it.”
“I remember a lot more off the record.”
“I thought you would.” He signaled the waitress with his coffee mug.
She filled our cups. “More Bear Claws, gentlemen?” We both shook our heads. She left.
“So, you think Al killed Bjornguist.”
“Yeah, it was Al’s gun. At least that’s what the Douglas County Medical Examiner thinks.”
“Good for the M.E.” I sipped my coffee and stared at DJ.
“And by the looks of things, Bjornguist shot Al.”
“Oh goody, two for the price of one.”
“How and what were they involved in?”
“This is just supposition, but …”
“Supposition, rather a large word for you, isn’t it?”
“Oh guardian of the law, dost thou forget, I’m a world-class novelist.” He stared at me and slowly chewed the last of his Bear Claw. “What?” I asked.
“Alright, you know things about Al and Dolph’s death.”
“I hear things.”
“I have no proof you understand, only the word on the street. That work for you?” He nodded. “Remember the land I was looking at on Beaver Lake?” He nodded again. “One of the twins, Beverly, wanted to sell it. She wanted money to finance her hubby Dolph’s run for the Minnesota Senate. Brianna, her older twin sister, stopped her.”
“To continue, Dolph knew the soon to be Governor Youngstrom met Marlene, his second wife, in Chicago. He suspected something and asked Al to help him find out.”
“So, Al was looking to buy future, if he got elected, senator Dolph. How?”
“After graduation, Doris, a non-girlfriend girlfriend of mine, moved to Chicago and become a high-class hooker. She went on to be a very rich madam. Then she started making porn films, top quality ones. Doris made Marlene into a porn star.”
“Where’d she learn how?”
“In high school, she’d made lotta films for the school.”
DJ chuckled, “High school audio-visual, who’da thought.”
“Dolph wanted the original films. Doris wouldn’t sell.”
“How’d you figure the film featured Marlene Youngstrom?”
“Marlene Swanson was her name back in the day. I knew her in high school.”
“You knew it was her?”
“At the Policemen’s Benefit Stag Party in the Pump Room, I read the credits on the skin flicks. Marlene Swanson’s name was on one.”
“You read the credits?”
“Yes, I’m not only a writer, but while the rest of you were playing with yourselves, I read the credits. Also, the night of the 20th Class Reunion, I left early. I didn’t know Doris followed me. Al followed her. Very recently, I learned Dolph brought up the rear. They musta caught her outside at her car. They would blackmail Youngstrom if they got their hands on the originals of Marlene movies.”
“Why couldn’t they have used a copy of her movies?”
“The film Dolph saw featuring Marlene, the wife of the maybe next governor, was one of Doris’s originals. They’re the only ones with the actor’s names in the credits. That’s what you were showing in the Pump Room.”
“So they were going to force Doris to turn over the original films.”
“Bingo, you got it. Then Al or Dolph’s threats got too physical. One of them seemingly strangled Doris with her own scarf. You said the autopsy showed she had a weak heart and it quit.”
“Yeah. So blackmail was the reason for her death?”
“That would be my guess and I think Al was the strangler. Dolph was a witness. From Al’s point of view, a witness is not a good thing. Therefore, Al shot Dolph, but before he died, Dolph shot Al.”
“You know anything about Hinckley.”
“Many years ago an MP arrested a guy for selling dope on an Army base. In the stockade, he got himself terminally shanked.”
“Do we know the name of the MP who arrested said drug dealer?”
“Yes, we do!”
“Is it the same person who put a coupla …?”
“… Nine millimeters …”
“… Into her?”
“Yeah, she was the druggy’s avenging sister.”
He rubbed a day’s worth of whiskers. “Was she the one shot-gunning at you?”
“Didn’t have time to ask her.”
DJ’s fist slammed the table. “Damn, you’ve put me in one helluva spot you know that?”
“We still friends?”
A car door closing caught DJ’s attention. Looking out the window, “Someone just got into your car. Know who?”
“Yep, ten o’clock, I love her punctuality.”
“Her who?” DJ asked as I stood.
“The love of my life.”
“I repeat, who?”
“As I’ve solved all the outstanding local murders, you can pick up the tab for the coffee and Bear Claws.”
“Damn it, Billy, who?”
I paused. “And leave a big tip, I always do.”
– ℜ –
The word ECLIPSE has meaning beyond a lunar or solar one.
1. (A) short period when all or part of the sun or moon becomes dark because of the positions of the sun, moon, and earth in relation to each other.
2. (A) time when someone or something seems less successful or important because another person or thing has become more successful or important.
Forget the words after the ‘ors.’
In the story, DJ, the police detective [one who should solve murders] is eclipsed by a novelist who did.
I apologize for not making my point clearer.
Thanks all for your comments.
The dialogue is excellent. Absolutely excellent. Beyond that, as the plot unfolds, it’s clear that the characters know more than I do. If this played out into a longer story, that would balance itself out. But at the end of this story I still know very little.
For some reason, I was unable to digest all the characters and facts despite reading it three times.
My biggest problem is with the very first paragraph. You wrote, ‘He and his new driver entered the Doughnut Hole. He slumped into the seat opposite me.’ ‘His driver stopped at the service counter.’
(I’m thinking, ‘his driver + service counter = drive thru’ therefore, they’re still both outside and DJ slid into the passenger seat of the convertible—in the parking lot.) But they’re not, all three characters are already in the donut shop. With numerous references to cars and drivers, it ‘suggests’ that the venue is outdoors.
Where’s the eclipse?
Thanks all for your comments.
I’ve been studying your story trying to figure out why I can’t figure it out.
The dialogue is excellent really, and the story is almost entirely dialogue. There’s nothing wrong with the writing, the writing is great. It’s the plot. The problem with this story is the plot. It’s more complicated than it has to be and I think it has errors.
After an hour, at least, I was able to determine the following:
You never really describe the character ‘Al.’ He’s just… ‘Al.’
Your Senator (Youngstrom) is running for Governor, his aide (Dolph) is running for Senate.
There are two twins who don’t sell their land, so Dolph doesn’t get the money to run a campaign, but he’s still running for Senator, so the twins are superfluous, (granted, other than as a link) but…
If he (Dolph) is running for Senator, and Youngstrom is running for Governor, they wouldn’t be competing for the same seat anyway. So he’s trying to get dirt on his current boss that he isn’t planning on running against? It’s so complicated that these discrepancies in the story get lost in all the confusion.
Too many complications. Maybe it would benefit the story to drop the second crime altogether (the Hinckley murder) and make the first one bigger and clearer, and use the extra words to develop the characters a little more?
I actually did mean an eclipse as in the moon/sun event.
But to clarify I should have put “An Eclipse” in the prompt.
Clever use of the prompt that I hadn’t anticipated!
I’m six years younger than my brother. He’s the smart one.
For as long as I can remember, it’s him that was always in the spotlight, with me standing in his shadow. And this has always struck me as strange; normally, it’s the new kid that gets all the attention, and the ones that are already here get jealous of all the “coochy-coochy-coo-ing” the little squib gets from parents and relatives. Maybe I received that attention in the early days of my life – I can’t remember, naturally. But then later, it was all him. All the time. Everywhere.
At Christmas parties for instance, when uncles and aunts and cousins came round to ours. I’d offer up my drawings for the expected admiration, and I’d get patient, condescending mutterings. Then my mother would start bragging about Billy’s exam results, and there’d be wide-eyed ooh-ing and aah-ing from all and sundry.
He was so bright, in fact – I can’t take it away from him – that he skipped a year in Primary school, and then again in Secondary. I went to the same schools as him but started just after he left both. I remember my first day at Primary, excited and eager to impress. The first thing my very first teacher said to me, when she was making introductions of each pupil to the rest of the class, was this:
“So your Billy’s brother, then?”
I couldn’t escape his fame. They all loved him there: from every single teacher, for his precocious intelligence, right down to the caretaker, for his cheekiness. I was always compared to him. There were even some girls who’d been class-mates of his before he went into overdrive and leapt up the levels. They’d accost me in the playground, ruffle my hair and ask after Billy. I think they were fishing for me to mention them to him. I didn’t, of course.
At home, both my parents were in thrall to him. They’d never had the qualities that he did and treated him like he was a rare egg almost too precious to handle. He took advantage of it – milking their esteem for every present and favour he could manage, as I would have done in the same situation, if I’m honest. Meanwhile, I got second dibs on everything.
All of this hardened me, and by the time I was 14, I was getting into trouble with the police – committing minor acts of vandalism to begin with, then moving up to shoplifting, burglary, drug-pushing, assault. I spent some time in juvenile detention where I learned to commit those crimes better. And when I came out of correctional institutions, in my late teens, I was beyond saving.
I can say this because after a while, I stopped caring if people liked me or not, respected me or not. Because even if they did (and it was rare), they didn’t like or respect me as much as Billy, and that stuck in my craw like a chicken bone.
We’d never been close, I think because of the gulf in the way we were treated, and by the time I reached my twenties, I’d all but lost touch with him, and my parents.
But I’ve learned from the odd meeting with cousins that he’s doing very well for himself now as a lawyer, and is married to a very classy woman from the better part of town. They have two kids, who I’ve never met but have seen; I’ve driven past their house more than once, just to see how the other half lives. From what I can tell, they seem very, very happy.
For my part, I’ve shifted from low-paid job to low-paid job, and from one small criminal scheme to the next, never able (nor willing, it must be said) to save enough to settle down. I’ve had brief flings with women of varying levels of repute, but nothing serious or long-lasting. In short, my life is a bit of a mess, and certainly nothing to compare with Billy’s perfect little world.
So anyway, the other day I was coming out of Clarke’s snooker hall in the centre of town – I was feeling pretty up because I’d won twenty quid off Pete Wood; he can’t play snooker to save his life. I’d just got into the car and was about to drive to Stan’s to score some weed when I saw him – Billy. He didn’t see me.
He was getting out of his BMW, parked in an alleyway next to a very dodgy hotel that I’ve used myself before, so I know why people go there. He skipped round to the other side of the car and opened the door for … let’s just say a woman who wasn’t his wife. He hurried her into the hotel.
I laughed out loud. My fine, upstanding brother, Billy. In a hotel of that calibre, with a woman who looked like she might be quite expensive. But why here? After thinking about it, I assumed it was because if it was anywhere classier, he might bump into someone he knew. It made sense.
I had an idea. I went to the boot of the car, popped it and opened up a box I’d put there: ten stolen cameras, good quality, primed and ready to go. I took one and sat back in the car.
I didn’t have to wait long; about half an hour later (less stamina than me, I noted), they emerged and I started snapping photos: of them coming out; of him with his arm around her; of him opening the door for her; of his smile as he skipped to the driver’s side again and got in; of their long kiss before he drove away.
I’ve thought about what to do with the photos. Blackmail crossed my mind – God knows I need the cash – but that might get me into trouble. No, what I’ve decided to do is simply print out the photos and send them to his house, addressed to his wife. It’ll be perfectly anonymous, there won’t be any demands for money, they won’t have a clue who’s sent them.
But the conversations and arguments they’re bound to have – oh my! Imagining them has brightened my days, I can tell you – her accusing, him making convoluted excuses. And hopefully my parents will get wind of it, and in their eyes perfect Billy won’t be so perfect any more. Maybe the facts will get to his firm, too – or maybe I’ll simply send them copies as well. Ah, the possibilities, the possibilities.
And if I monitor the situation and discover all of that has happened – that Billy’s pedestal has started to wobble – then perhaps I’ll re-appear at home one day. Perhaps it’ll be time to step out of Billy’s shadow.
Nice bit of fiction though. (I feel like your writing is worth emulating, but I’d have to go back to college first. So…it’s a tough call. I’ll have to think about it.)
(But the pacing is just so fairly in need of a sense of the kind of approach, to a standard of cadence which, when taken as a whole, can’t be dictated by a predetermined definition or function.) That sentence was your punishment for writing so well, Philip. I hope it hurt your cerebellum to read it.
Your story rolls smooth, Phil.
It had been months since my husband had died, but I just couldn’t face the Lunar Eclipse celebration tonight. Jaera had loved our community and relished each and every festival that brought us all together. It was still too hard to be surrounded by their happiness tonight. I decided to walk in the woods and watch the moon slowly turn from silver to rust with my memories to keep me company.
I picked my way down the woodland path breathing in the crisp night air. It was closer to the Solstice than the Harvest, so there was a layer of frost sparkling in the moonlight. As the sounds of the village faded away, the peace of the forest folded around me. In the trees I could still feel Jaera’s presence and I relaxed a little.
As the shadow began to cross the moon, I arrived at a small clearing. Jaera used to bring me here sometimes for a quiet picnic by the stream. Tonight it was still and beautiful. Here I could remember him without all the others trying to “make me feel better.” I sat down on a rock to watch the eclipse and remember the good times with my husband.
I thought I heard a noise above the low bubbling of the water. When I looked over, I saw a man at the other side of the clearing. He was looking at me like a deer that’s startled at twilight. Just then he hunched over, seemingly in pain, and a low groan escaped his lips. I moved to go to him, but he raised his hand for me to stay away. There was a kind of blurriness around him making it hard to see his features.
The darkness increased and I looked up at the moon. It was almost fully covered by now. When I looked back toward the man, he wasn’t there. In his place was a magnificent silver fox. The beast looked at me, imploring with a small whine.
“Your secret is safe with me,” I whispered. With one last look, it bounded into the woods.
Once the moon had returned enough to see by, I turned back to the village, leaving a bit of cheese on the rock I had been sitting on. My heart felt a bit lighter for all the magic it had seen tonight and I even danced a round or two with the others before retiring to my cottage.
When I awoke the next morning, a bit of the wonder of the night before still clung to me. I got up to make some tea, finally feeling like I could move forward today instead treading water like I had been for months. I stepped out back to grab some wood from the pile and thought I saw a movement in the woods. I grabbed the logs and when I turned back to the door, I saw a brace of coneys hanging there.
I took the rabbits down and raised my hand in thanks towards the woods. With a smile I went back into the house ready to resume my life.
As for shaking her out of her mourning, I was hoping to convey not that her mourning was over, but that the magic she saw could shake her into beginning to move on rather than hovering in place without being to let go yet. Another thing maybe I could rework at a later date. But thank you for your ideas.
I wouldn’t discourage you from reworking the last two lines though.
Philip, the secret she’s keeping is the strange nature of the silver fox, dude. I sense that there’s more symbolism in this story than I actually fathom, but that’s not the fault of the story or a problem for the author.
I was waking up when I realized the reason was a strange sound coming from my bedroom window. I raised my head to listen and heard what sounded like handfuls of gravel from the driveway being thrown against it.
I got out of bed and peeked out the window. It was just light enough to see. There was Whisper, face up against the glass, one hand over his eyes shading them, trying to see in but couldn’t. I banged against the window with my hand and he jumped back. “Geezo Peets,” he whispered, “what’d you do that for?” His voice was muffled slightly, but loud enough.
Whisper couldn’t talk very loud. Most people know why, but if you’’re wondering, it was because he got hurt in a scooter and a clothesline at neck level accident when he was about eight and couldn’t talk above a gravelly whisper after that. We started calling him Whisper and it stuck.
“I was just letting ya know I heard ya, so stop throwing rocks. Go around to the front door, I gotta get dressed.” A few minutes later I opened the door and snuck outside, closing the screen door carefully. It had a habit of getting stuck and if you tried to force it, it made a loud screeching noise that could wake the dead. I didn’t need that to happen. The noise part I mean. Or the dead waking up part, either, I guess.
“What in thunder has you so all fired up you come around at the crack of dawn?”
“Well, I wanted to let you know a couple of things. First, I got my Uncle Joey’s welding helmet so we can take turns using it on Friday.”
That lit up my day, because Friday there was going to be a total eclipse of the sun. I was all excited because if you had a welder’s helmet, you could look directly at the sun without going blind, instead of through some dumb box thing that made little eclipses from pinholes that you could see in the bottom of the box.
They explained all that at school. Our teacher, Mr. Lester, showed us how to make the boxes and used a bright light to show us how it would work and how we could make one ourselves. He also told us if we stared at the sun we could go blind. He said it would burn a hole into our retinas.
Whisper, Blinky, Willow and I hung out together whenever we could. Willow acted more like a boy than a girl, and was definitely one of us guys. We found that out the day she pounded Buster Brockman to a pulp for grabbing her butt and pinching it. She told him to stop, but he kept it up. So she took matters in her own hands. Mr. Davis, the school principal said Buster got what he deserved. Nobody messed with Willow after that, nobody.
Anyway, we were gonna get together and watch the eclipse using those dumb boxes, because none of us wanted to go blind, and now Whisper had the magic viewer that was going to save the day.
“Don’t tell nobody,” said Whisper, ” ‘cause if you do, everybody’ll come and hang around and want a turn and we won’t get to see the eclipse ourselves. It’s only gonna last a minute and we ain’t got time to share. This’ll be our secret. Besides, there’s only gonna be the three of us. Willow ain’t coming. That’s the other thing I got to tell ya.”
“What! Why ain’t Willow coming.” I yelled.
“Shhh, keep your voice down. You wanna wake up the whole neighborhood?”
“Well, why ain’t she coming?” Although my voice was still louder than I wanted it to be. If Willow wasn’t there, it just wouldn’t be the same.
“She told me last night that her older sister June couldn’t go, and her mom said if June couldn’t go, Willow can’t go.”
“Because of the bad spirits that show up during the eclipse. That’s what Willow told me.”
Here’s another thing that you need to know about Willow. Willow was one fourth American Indian. Her grandmother was full blooded Blackfoot Indian who lived with the family. Willow would tell us stories about her grandmother, who still firmly believed in the Indian ways.
I tried to talk to Willow about it later that day, but she told me her grandmother meant everything to her and if Grandma said Willow couldn’t see the eclipse, that was it. “Bad spirits come out during eclipses.”
“That’s just some dumb Indian thing and it’s stupid.” You would have thought I slapped her face. I wished right away I’d never said it, but it was too late. The look I got was one I never wanted to see from Willow again.
Willow just turned around and walked away. She turned back to glare at me as she walked away. “Don’t you ever say anything like that again, Jake Wheeler, or next time I’ll bust your head.”
“I’m sorry, Willow. Honest I am,” I hollered after her, but my voice was lost in the wind. I might as well have been Whisper for all the good the yelling did.
Friday came and me, Blinky and Whisper was up on the hilltop by Dawson Creek waiting for the total eclipse. We’d been passing the helmet around lookin’ at the sun and the partial eclipse, laughing and speculating on what was going to happen when everything went ‘Total’. That’s when I heard the voice right behind me.
“You know it’s going to be black as night, dontcha?”
Willow! I spun around and there she was. I was so glad to see her I almost grabbed her and hugged her. Probably could have, and I caught myself in time, though, I wished I hadn’t. “What are you doing here? I thought you couldn’t come.?”
“You know my sister is going to have a baby. Grandmother believes the bad spirits during the eclipse will cause her to lose the baby if she’s outside during the eclipse.”
I just stared at her deadpan. I’d already messed up once; it wasn’t going to happen again. “I know,” she said, “It’s just some Indian thing.” Had I just been forgiven? It sure sounded like it. “Anyway,” Willow continued, “I convinced her that since I wasn’t going to have a baby, I shouldn’t be punished by missing the eclipse. She finally agreed, so here I am.”
Then, right at that moment, the total eclipse happened. I’d never seen nothing like it before. The birds quit singing and it was almost dark as night. Willow slipped her hand in mine and stood there beside me. Blinky and Whisper had stopped looking through the helmet, but Willow and I didn’t need any welder’s helmet to look in each other’s eyes.
I gave Willow’s hand a squeeze and held it. I wanted the eclipse to last forever, bad spirits or not. I knew it wouldn’t, but, I sure hope I don’t have wait for the next total eclipse to hold her hand again.
You don’t have to worry. I am so enamored of my group of kids, (wait till you learn more about Blinky) that I plan on using them for different prompts if I get the right ones, and they just may well end up in an expanded version, or incorporated in other short stories I have done with an anthology of their very own. I’m not quite sure what is going to happen to the puppy love of Willow and Jake, but it will be around for awhile.
I don’t know how you write, but my characters write themselves and sometimes they surprise even me. Sounds stupid, I know, but it’s true. And they won’t end up with a gruesome ending. I love them too much. Especially my pal Whisper. It’s been a rough road for the little guy, but he’s not giving up on his goal of becoming a radio announcer on the golf channel. (Just kidding.)
Thanks for your comments, Wendy. Loved ’em.
Great story. Great writing. Nice touches throughout and very convincing dialogue.
You omitted a word in the very last sentence. ‘…hope I don’t have (to) wait for the next…’
Further up in the story, you end two consecutive sentences with the words, ‘walked away.’
Other than that, it’s all good.
And thanks for pointing out my mistakes in my last story. I didn’t get a chance to thank you on the last thread but I made the corrections.
I’m disappointed that I couldn’t put a story together for this prompt. I tried. I got into town Monday morning, had to work. Started the story Monday night, was busy all day Tuesday, then when I got home Tuesday night, I still had no ending, and spent most of the evening (what was left of it) polishing what I’d already written, (which, as satisfied as I was when I wrote it, was merely horrible by the following day.) Had to work this morning too, so, no time.
But I’ll come up with something for elements.
Hey Ladies and Gentlemen, Carrie and I appreciate all of your participation, and you all working hard to get a story in by the deadline. Having said that, we have decided to extend the deadline for “Eclipse” one more week to allow for more participation. So now the deadline will be Wednesday April 25th. We will also extend the “Elements” contest another week, so no one is hurrying finish two stories in one week.
Thank you all who have gotten your story in on time, and if you’d like to re-work the ones you have already posted, and re-post, please feel free to do that. Let Carrie or I know and we’ll delete the old post for you.
Carrie & Alice
By Janet Surrusco
“My name is Ernest Bless. I am 45 years old. My hair is a light brown. I have a round face, light-colored skin, but not pale, and am clean-shaven. I wear a simple gold band on my left hand, even though I am not married. I’m of average height and weight. You might see me standing by a bus stop, you may even sit next to me on the bus, but you would never remember me and that’s just how I like it. You see, I’m a thief. Well, not just any thief, an unknown thief. No one is looking for me or even suspects me of any wrongdoing. I am not known in any circles, although I know all of the thieves in all the circles of any city I have visited.
But enough about me, let me fill you in on my upcoming opportunity. A family has moved into one of the larger homes near the city. They were being chauffeured in a deep purple Rolls Royce Phantom. The mother wore some beautiful jewels around her neck, the father was impeccably dressed and looked like walking money, but the daughter was something else altogether. She appeared to be in her early 20’s, give or take a few years. It was difficult to really say because of her most unique face covering. It was made completely of diamonds and was attached to a tiara made of red rubies. There must have been over 100 gems of all shapes and sizes cascading over her face like a waterfall. I thought she must be horribly disfigured even though what parts of her body I did see were quite beautiful.”
“My name is Annabelle Green. I am 5’2” and have dark blond hair and we have moved, again. I will be twenty soon and we have moved twelve times. This time it’s to a pretty city that sits on rolling green hills with lots of cyprus trees, Cyprus Hills. It’s a nice clean looking town, although I won’t get to see much of it. Just like I haven’t seen much of any of the other cities we have lived in. You see, I was born with a deformity of my eyes. It didn’t become a huge problem until I was thirteen, when puberty hit, and boy did it hit me hard. Now, I must keep my eyes covered, or close them completely, in order to neutralize my deformity.
I’ve been to doctors all over the world with some frightening consequences but no one can cure me. Unfortunately, several specialists didn’t survive the exam but those who remained told me it wasn’t my fault. Eventually, they found the safest thing for me, or for those around me, was to view the world through some sort of dispersionary object, so I have the diamond veil and glasses. I think Mom and Dad feel somewhat guilty that I was born with this problem. Crystal prisms would have worked just fine for a veil. I didn’t really need diamonds, but Daddy insisted and Mom agreed. I have to admit that the veil is quite pretty even though it’s a little heavy. The glasses, though, are another story. They are really ugly and make me look like I have eight eyes, like a fly. I wouldn’t be caught dead in public with them on. But in my room, with no one watching, the glasses are alright. I keep my veil in a special box then lock it in a safe that Dad had installed. It’s only for outdoor wearing, which isn’t very often. Just before we moved, someone broke into our house in the middle of the night. I don’t know how he got past all the security and the dogs, but he did. He got all the way to my room and startled me. I woke up without putting my glasses on and caught him. Well, to be honest, that’s why we moved. I didn’t feel too sorry for him, after all, he was trying to rob us. And I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. I do enough of that on my own.
My life is not so bad, just different than most. I read a lot and listen to music, mostly oldies. I’m really into vinyl records. I also talk to people all around the world on the internet but I haven’t ever let them see me, until now, Tommy Wilson. He goes to Yale. We sit up nights talking to each other. I know I love him, and I know I can’t. He wanted to Skype with me, so I put on a beautiful gown with a wig that covered my eyes, like Sia. I thought it was clever but Tommy wasn’t as impressed. So Tommy started wearing sunglasses that have mirrored lenses to cover his eyes. We got in a big fight because I told him it was silly for him to wear the glasses, he didn’t have an eye problem. He said if I’m going to keep my eyes from him, then he will do the same. “It’s the eyes where love is found. Even if you are blind, I want to love all of you.” I turned off my computer, I didn’t want him to see me cry. That was two days ago. I haven’t been back on my computer except to let Tommy know where we were moving. Dad always tells me to keep my spirits up. He says that with stem cell research, there is great hope that they can find a full cure for me. I hope so, because right now my life feels like the Bonnie Tyler song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and I’m bright eyes.
See, I told you I do a good job of throwing my own pity party. Wait! What was that? I thought I heard something. Oh, it’s the door alarm. Mom and Dad must be home.”
Ernie arrives at the Green house. “I have to laugh at the security they had installed at the house; dogs and alarms. The alarms were easy because I had taken a job with the installer and even showed Mr. Green how to punch in his personal number to shut off the alarms. The dogs were no trouble because, well, dogs like me, particularly when I give them a piece of steak with a tranquilizer in it. I saw the Rolls leaving a few minutes ago and all the lights are out in the house except for one room. My guess is that’s the daughter’s room. And where the daughter lies, so does the tiarra with cascading diamonds.“
Annabelle isn’t aware that Tommy is, at this moment, driving towards Cyprus Hills with a very big question for her.
“I can’t believe she won’t let me see her after all this time. I don’t care about her stupid deformity. I could love her if she had three eyes. I mean how bad can it be. I want to ask her to marry me but I must look her in the eyes to do so. I have to make her understand that I love her no matter what she looks like. Is this the Cyprus Hills turn off? Oh, yeah, I see the sign up ahead. There is the house, thank you Google. Doesn’t look like anyone’s home. All the lights are out. All but the upstairs light. Maybe that’s her bedroom. Wait, the front door is partially open. Something isn’t right here.”
Ernie has found Annabelle in her room. ”No, I won’t give you the diamonds and I suggest you get out of here before you get hurt.”
”No, little girl, you do as I say or I will put some bad hurt on you. I’m surprised you can even see me with those glasses on.”
”You don’t like my glasses, well I’ll take them off. This is your last chance mister, you better get running.”
“You think you can scare me with your deformed face? I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime. Whatever you have behind those glasses isn’t going to bother me.“
Tommy is downstairs and hears the arguing but can’t quite figure out where it’s coming from. “Annabelle! Annabelle! Where are you?:
“Don’t say a word”, cautions Ernie as he turns towards Annabelle. He then shrieks “Ahhhh…..”, and he’s gone.
Tommy bursts into the room just as Ernie disappears. Annabelle turns and forgetting looks directly into his eyes. Her eyes are a deep red. It’s like looking into a raging bonfire, but it’s within her. There’s a flash and Annabelle is gone.
“Annabelle?” Tommy reaches out to her but there is nothing there. “What just happened”, he thinks to himself as he removes his mirrored glasses. He forgot he had put them on before entering Annabelle’s room. He doesn’t know why and this will haunt him for some time. He notices the burn mark on the floor where Ernie was standing and another where Annabelle had been. He sees the odd glasses on the desk where Annabelle had placed them. He picks them up then puts them down again. He turns. Tears are running down his cheeks as he leaves the house.
This is kind of like ‘When Romeo Met Medusa.’ I enjoyed the story and while I don’t disagree with Roy or Wendy, in the need for brevity (and I didn’t do a word count or anything) I think your writing is already very good. It’s simple, but it’s straightforward and, I feel, very effective. (You may have already revised and re-posted it too.) The detail on the thief, though wonderfully disarming, could certainly be trimmed without hurting the story. I think Roy’s got a good point there.
I liked the purple Rolls-Royce though, and think it went well with the diamond veil. It indicated not that the family was just wealthy, but that they were ostentatiously ridiculously wealthy. In fact, I was really taken with the premise, I thought it was very creative. And your writing is quite clean as is, but it could be better. (People tell me that a lot too!) For instance: ‘Her eyes are a deep red. It’s like looking into a raging bonfire, but it’s within her.’
‘Her eyes are a deep red.’… is a perfectly useless sentence. It falls sadly short of redundant. Your next sentence is splendid, though. So splice ‘em together and what you’ve got says it all. ‘Her eyes are like looking into a raging bonfire, but it’s within her.’
Or, ‘Her eyes are like two raging bonfires that consume whatever they behold.’
This is the reveal actually, so I think you want to go all out. (Or ‘all in,’ as the kids say.)
There is only one thief. First you introduce him, then you re-introduce him. So, I wasn’t confused, but when someone is, there’s usually a good reason for it. (Or not. Usually is, though.) When you change characters, it would help to indicate a break with a few asterisks or something between the paragraphs. Or, if you refer to him by name at the beginning, use his name when you re-introduce him. These are all pretty small things that can be easily fixed.
Like I said, I enjoyed it. You’ve got a great story here with a really clever plot and reveal, that just needs a tiny bit more polish. I would go crazy naming this story. (I’m sorry, RE-naming.) ‘The Girl With The Diamond Veil.’ ‘Anna Bella Visina.’ ‘Love At First…’ ‘Conditional Love.’ ‘Heartburn.’ ‘To Die For.’ ‘What Is It With Virgins, Anyway?’ (Have to be careful that the name doesn’t give away the plot, though.) Fun story, Janet.
Rats. I hate unrequited love stories. Being a romantic, the Romeo and Juliet thing has always bothered me. Killing off lovers just because. Hey, though, you know what. Your story, your characters and your privilege.
However, you confused me with the two different thieves. I had to backtrack and revisit the story. At that point, with the first thief, I think a little more explanation might help the average reader, especially ones like me who need more direction. Perhaps make the first one a ‘rapist’, or a lavicious servant, or something, because I thought I was rereading the same story when Ernie finally showed up.
I think it needs some cleaning up in a few spots. A little less telling and a little more showing. You try showing it with first person dialogue, but I think you should keep it in third person, and allow the dialogue to move it along when needed.
Before I go, one more thing, and this is hopefully helpful. I think you should rewrite this story to fit the 1200 word limit as an exercise in learning brevity. I can think of quite a few spots in your story where less is more. You could have fewer words and still make your point, maybe, even better. For example, Tommy goes to Yale. I don’t think that is necessary to the story.
I think you could shorten it easily, but I also know how difficult it is to give up words you’ve written that make sense to you and seem so integral to your story. I hate giving up my brilliant phrasing, also. Be vicious, there’s always a shorter way to say it, sometimes with even more impact.
Two more points now that I think about it. While Tommy needs the sunglasses so she knows who he is – I guess that’s your reasoning – the only reason he has them is they are your vehicle to reflecting her ‘charms’ back to her. It’s nighttime. Sunglasses…night…get my point? Maybe a daylight visit, instead of night? (You tell us it’s night, as lights being on are part of the storyline). And, Oh yeah, she thinks her parents are just coming home, when only moments before, Ernie saw them leave in their Rolls.
I am assuming the Rolls and the jewelry indicates they are extremely wealthy, although I don’t think it’s necessary to the story, to have them in a purple Rolls. Just say they are rich, immensely rich, and let it go at that. All in all, Janet, you could easily make this story much, much shorter. We really don’t care about Ernie being clean shaven, etc., etc. Just describe him as someone who is never noticed by people and you can clean up the first paragraph nicely. Then work from there.
I hope this helps.
Hemingway says fewer words are better than many. Give your readers some credit. If you’ve written it correctly, they will form their own thoughts and fill in the blanks you have left for them. It will also make the story more comfortable to them.
Man, I loved this prompt and was hoping to get my stuttered, half finished story done today but just won’t be able to get it done by the deadline.
We’ve got a huge upgrade that will be done by Friday – I can’t even explain how I will be happy to get back to normal. I have so many words spinning in my head and no time to get them down on paper!!!
Sorry for the delay everyone!!
You have 24 hours to read the stories and cast your vote!
Anyone may vote, but in order for your story to qualify you must vote, you can vote only once and cannot vote for yourself.
Here is the link to the voting page: http://fictionwritersgroup.com/voting-eclipse/
Ahhhhh you didn’t include the word count and I didn’t even catch that it was over 1200 words!
That’s ok, it’s a bonus story and only a couple of stories so it’s all good!!
You’re doing great Janet and I’m loving your stories. Some do, some don’t. But it’s helpful for us admins 😉
Just waiting on Robt. to vote!
Here is the link to the voting page: http://fictionwritersgroup.com/voting-eclipse/
We can wait. It’s a bonus contest so we can wait for your votes 😊
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