Rough Draft

Flash Fiction – Imaginary Friends

“Who the hell are you?” I asked, warily. “What are you?” Standing before me was a girl with bright pink hair, eighties clothes and rebellious makeup.

“I’m your imaginary friend.”

Another one? “I don’t have an imaginary friend.”

“Of course you don’t, you’re not a child anymore, but you did. Me. Now I’m real.”

“You’re crazy.”

“Yes, that’s how you made me.”

“I’m telling you, I don’t have an imaginary friend.”

“Don’t you remember me?”

“There is nothing to remember. I never had any made up friends. Also, is there some kind of convention because you’re the third person to claim to be my imaginary friend this week?”

“What?” She yelled. “Are you telling me you had more than one pretend friend?”

“Not once did I have an imaginary friend. I guess you all have the wrong Conner.”

Exasperated the pink haired girl disappeared, as the others had. I felt a little guilty about that one. She had been my favorite and I hated to see the hurt look on her face.

I rubbed the stupid lamp and my tricky genie appeared at my side.

“You really weren’t very popular as a kid were you?”

“Shut up jerkface. This isn’t what I meant when I asked to be visited by long-lost friends.”

“I told you to be careful what you wish for.”

“I thought I was being cautious, I didn’t think you could screw this one up. What happens when I reject them?”

“I don’t know and I don’t care,” he said with a shrug. “So what is your last wish?”

“I wish for you to be my imaginary friend from childhood.” The genie gave me a venomous look and vanished. I turned at a sound and standing in front of me was a girl with bright pink hair…

The prompt was: You’re imaginary friend from childhood is real and has come over to chill. What is your friend like? What do you do with your (now real) imaginary friend? (My goal was to stay under 300 words, which I did, yay!)

I never had an imaginary friend but if I had, I would have made him/her cool and rebellious and completely unreliable. When I was young I had trouble with consistency so I probably would have had more than one and changed my mind about my favorite often.

That’s what I do with music and movies, which is what I was into, instead of making up people to talk to. I did, however, make up people for stories, so maybe it’s somewhat accurate to say I had a lot of imaginary friends.

This prompt was more geared toward younger writers but I decided to use it anyway.

Flash Fiction – The Treasure

That bitch stole my Twinkie! It had to be Serena. His stepsister was the only one who knew it existed. Of course she waited until he went on the road to sell his tools. He’d thought his protections were foolproof.

From the moment Tim walked into his vault he knew something was wrong. It had only taken a moment for his eyes to find the empty pedestal in the center of the room. How had she gotten through all his security measures?

Before confronting the woman, he decided to carefully examine the entire crime scene. His metal men were completely wound and in their proper place. The crank-gun in the corner hadn’t fired. He took two steps to his right and turned to face the security panel. He turned the first gear handle three times clockwise, the second — once counter-clockwise. He toggled the correct switches and gave the first gear one more twist. There was no way Serena could know the correct combination, was there? He stepped off the disguised pressure plate and crossed to the glass covered pedestal. All this he did slowly to avoid setting off his traps.

There were fingerprints on the glass, but he had no way to know if they were his or someone else’s. Not for the first time, Tim wished more old world technology had survived the big war. He’d read battered, aged books that spoke of what life was like in that time. If he could ‘dust’ the prints, he would have proof.

He shook his head, making his dull brown hair fall into his eyes. Proof didn’t matter. His stepsister had magic, he would never be able to take the Twinkie back if she did have it. But why did she take it? Was it to hurt him? Or was it for her own gain? Probably that. Serena knew the snack cake was his most prized possession. It was more important to him than any of the other odds and ends he’d collected over the years.

Maybe he shouldn’t have made it the centerpiece of his vault. He’d foolishly believed that she didn’t know how valuable it was. Would she sell it? Perhaps. Everything she did these days was to gain a profit.

A horrifying thought introduced itself as brushed his hair off his forehead. What if she destroyed it? Suppressing the urge to run he turned away from the crime scene and slowly exited the vault. He closed the door and turned the handle all the way to the left. His patience was tested as he waited for the clicks that would signal the locking mechanism had engaged.

When he judged it safe to move from the door, he ran to the stairwell and rushed down to the level below. Serena’s door was open, a clear sign of danger so he stopped at the entry and knocked politely.

“Who is it?” Her smooth voice sounded, irritating him further.

“Since you and I are the only ones that come up to the top levels, you already know who it is.” He relaxed his jaw when he realized he said it through gritted teeth.

A sultry laugh answered him before she spoke. “Come in dear stepbrother.”

Trusting her obvious good mood meant she didn’t plan to kill him, Tim entered her rooms. She sat on her throne, toying with her long blonde hair. As always when he saw it, he sneered at the seat. Pretentious bitch. He had almost formed the accusation when she reached to the little table next to her and picked up his Twinkie. He almost rushed her for it, but hesitated when he saw the satisfaction in her eyes. Instead he kicked out with his steel toed boots and was almost knocked out of the room when his foot connected with an invisible wall of magic. His stepsister may be an evil sorceress, but she was good at it.

So it was a challenge. He exited the chamber and went back up to his floor. In his workshop he gathered the tools he thought he would need and went back to confront Serena again.

He started with his ax. He knew steel had an effect on the magic wall because it had shimmered when he kicked it. When that tool didn’t work, he switched to his sledgehammer, to no avail. Next came a hammer and chisel. He had a little more success with that, but only enough to make a tiny hole. At that point he shot at the hole with his black-powder revolver, only to cover his goggles and pepper his hair with the thin black dust.

Pondering the progress, or lack thereof, he’d made by that point, he decided to stick with the hammer and chisel. If he could make a big enough hole in the sorceress’ wall, he’d be able to shoot her. Hopefully that would make her magic disperse.

He was so determined, and lost in his work that when he could finally fit his gun through the opening, he never saw Serena leave the throne. Damn. She couldn’t have left her suite, as he was standing at the only entrance and exit. He glanced at the wall next to the doorway. Maybe he could get in that way. Using the sledge-hammer he broke up a large stone. He put the hammer through it and again met the resistance of his stepsister’s magic.

Clearly his efforts were useless. Tim went back upstairs and entered his workshop. He gazed around in frustration. I’m a tool salesman for crying out loud. If anyone could find a way into her rooms it was him. This challenge would not defeat him. He stood for several moments before it came to him. The zeppelin. He was looking in the wrong place. The tool he needed was on the ship.

Excitedly he went to the ladder in the corner and climbed up to the roof. Boarding the floating ship he went straight to the armory. He found what he wanted quickly, packaged carefully in a crate. One should do it. He picked up the bomb and went to load it into his new sling gun.

There was a small jab of concern as he lifted off. Neither the weapon nor its delivery system had been tested. Well today would change that. When he had flown into position he went back to the gun. As he aimed he felt a momentary regret for the impending destruction of his vault. His collection dated back to when he was a small child. Twenty years of memories and adventures were in that room.

None of it mattered when compared to his goal. There was little disquiet about destroying his prize. He brushed the thought aside, the Twinkie had survived the apocalypse, after all. He fired. The bomb was more powerful than he intended it. The explosion blew the top three floors off the tower.

He landed his air ship and made his way quickly through the rubble looking for his stepsister. He found her quickly. She was as messy as he could have hoped. He felt no guilt. She had gone too far this time. She still held his property in her hand, it was only a little smushed.

He pried it out of her cold dead hands. He turned the cake over in his hands, inspecting it, as he walked back to his new home, the zeppelin. Her magic hadn’t saved her, but it had protected his treasure. The plastic wasn’t even torn. Relief washed over him. Thank goodness she hadn’t sold it before he could reclaim it.

He reached the ship, closed the door and went to the navigation seat. Looking out at the ruins of his tower, he mentally made plans to rebuild.

Tim ate the Twinkie. Funny, it wasn’t as good as he thought it would be. It was a good thing Serena never discovered the Ho-Hos in the vault hidden in the cellar.

This is the result of an exercise we did in my writing group a few weeks ago. We each came up with a protagonist, an antagonist, conflict, setting and genre. These were written on index cards, shuffled and passed around. I got:

  • Protagonist: Tim – the traveling tool salesman
  • Antagonist: An evil stepsister sorceress who is evil for her own gain
  • Setting: Post apocalyptic earth
  • Genre: Contemporary steampunk new adult epic thriller (what you’re thinking right now, I thought it too)
  • Conflict: The last Twinkie on earth has been stolen

We decided to write either flash fiction or a short story. This is over 1300 words. I’ll be honest, I almost didn’t do it. Also I wrote some weird stuff on my cards that others in my group got stuck with. Like: Julian who works in the monkey house at the zoo. As soon as I read the genre I got, I stopped feeling bad about what I handed out. I’ve never written steampunk, haven’t even read it. New adult is um…not for me, and I had no idea how to make anything epic dealing with a Twinkie. I did it anyway.

Feel free to critique if you like but I doubt it’s going to change at this point. I’m just happy to have finished. This was never going to see the light of day but that would defeat what I’ve been trying to accomplish by posting rough drafts. Hope you enjoyed it. If you’re in a writing group, I strongly suggest you do an exercise like this, possibly omitting genre.

I know there isn’t much in the way of steampunk but hey, at least Tim has goggles!

Flash Fiction – Blood Is Thicker

Camille stood in the rain and waited for her ex-boyfriend to come home. Why had she dumped him? That’s the question she’d been asking herself since it started raining. Sure he was a jerk and treated her horribly, but if they had stayed together, she wouldn’t be in this position now.

If she hadn’t left him she wouldn’t be standing there now, her dark wet hair hanging in her face, in front of his apartment. The info she had gotten had said he would be home by eight and now, an hour later it was getting dark. Did he suspect she was waiting for him?

Finally a car pulled into his parking spot, her car. She gave the signal and her four brothers, who had been hiding in the bushes under the only overhang, approached Toby as he got out. Irritation flared briefly, all the men got to stay dry for this, until now. Oh well, she thought—that’s the price she’d had to pay to be lookout.

Toby glanced around nervously before handing Camille’s keys to her oldest brother, Jacob. “I don’t want any trouble.”

Jacob turned to her but she shook her head slightly. “Looks like it’s not your lucky day,” he said as he tossed the keys to Camille.

“Wait,” she blurted. The expression on her ex’s face turned sly, as it always did when she gave in. Camille sighed and walked to the driver’s side door. Toby opened his arms, for a hug, she guessed. She pushed him out of her way and got in the car. Inside she found a girl a year younger than her sitting in the passenger seat.

“Will they hurt him badly?” the girl asked.

“Yes. Thanks for helping me get my car back sis.”

“Next time you get a boyfriend, either don’t let them use your car, or get it back before dumping them okay?”

“And rob the boys of their fun? We’ll see. Besides, he should have remembered we have brothers before he slept with both of us. How about next time you don’t have sex with anyone while I’m dating them?”


Camille nodded and started the car, backing carefully out of the space. She peeked in the rear view mirror once. Satisfied with the resulting view, she drove away.

This piece is a result of a prompt: Blood is thicker than water. I do not advocate violence, nor am I in support of anyone – male or female – stupidly standing in the rain waiting on people who aren’t worth it.

New Project!

Not surprisingly, I am working on something new. I’ve mentioned before that I have many stories in progress and I will flit from one to another as my mood strikes me. This is not to say I’m undisciplined. I have my main project and then when I’m either not able (stubborn muse), or unwilling (stubborn me) to work on it, I pick up another to make sure that I’m always writing — something.

I’ve been stuck for a while on my middle grade project and was finally coming to the conclusion that I need to let it sit and percolate for a while when a new idea popped up. I don’t really know what inspired it, or exactly where I’m taking it but I’m excited. This new story has a firm hold on me and I’m okay with that. It is fantasy. I don’t know if it will be a short story or a novel. Sound like I don’t know much about it? What I do know is the words are coming easily and it’s evolving in a way that I like.

This is the first scene, rough draft of course.

The old, young man pulled his baseball cap low over his eyes as he stood in the middle of the crowd. He watched the man on the outdoor stage perform illusions, one after the other. Glancing around at the people nearby he noticed, as always, no one stood closer than a few feet from him. He fancied they could feel the power emanating from him and naturally shied away, although, in truth, he pushed them away for their own safety. The thought made him feel in control, something he desperately needed when he was outside.

The magician must have done something amazing because everyone started applauding, drawing his attention back to the show. It was pathetic. If these people saw real magic they would either not recognize it or scream and run for cover. He realized he wore a sneer but he didn’t try to hide it. No one would look directly at him anyway. He liked it that way, most of the time. Loneliness was his constant companion. That negative emotion welled up, threatening his discipline. He was trying to stamp it out when something bumped into him, hard, knocking him off his feet.

Before he could figure out what had happened he realized he could see his hat laying on the ground in front of him. He groaned and closed his eyes. Now he would have to take control of the entire crowd to make them forget seeing him. He slowly drew in a little energy from the grass beneath him. He saw no reason to exhaust himself when he would have to face whatever attacked him.

When he felt he had enough, he opened his eyes, pushed himself up onto his knees and peered around. No one was looking at him. Huh? He knew he had been laying on the ground for long enough to be noticed. The lady closest to him started clapping, he abruptly realized he couldn’t hear it. Shit. A familiar magical shield surrounded him. He grabbed the hat, got to his feet quickly and braced himself as he covered his head again.

“You might as well look at me, Liam.” a voice behind him said.

Liam slowly turned to face his assailant. He stared at the man who was both older and younger than him. Fear wormed its way into his soul. One of the few beings in the world as powerful as he was faced him. “Hello Gareth.”

“Hello? That’s all you have to say to me after all this time? After all the effort I’ve had to put into hunting you down and waiting until you braved going outside? No, hello will not do. You’ll have to give me more.”

“Piss off. Let’s not drag this out. Just kill me and get it over with.” Anger replaced anxiety. Why had he ever stepped out in the open?

“No, Liam, I am not going to kill you. Not even when you beg me too. Come along now.”

Gareth walked away and Liam fell in line behind him as the compulsion took hold. A small part of him was relieved he wasn’t going to die this night but caution overwhelmed that quickly. “What do you want then?”

“I want nothing more from you. I have a job to do and once I finish, I’ll walk away.”

The bastard had been chasing him for three hundred years for a job, and why did that hurt his feelings? “Wait, where are we going?”

“I’m taking you to Suzanne.”

For the first time in his long life, Liam fainted.

Flash Fiction – The Riverbank

“Get him to the water and everything will be okay.” Fourteen year-old Jen told her sister.

“What if he hurts me?” Cassie replied, twisting the blonde curl that had slipped her ponytail.

“Look at him, he’s couldn’t hurt you now if he wanted to.” She waved a hand at the man lying unconscious on the ground.

“You do it.”

“I can’t,” Jen said and sighed. “My ankle is twisted.”

“That’s his fault and this bruise.” Cassie added harshly, pointing to the evidence on her face.

“I know, but that doesn’t matter now. Just grab his collar and drag him.” Jen was losing patience.

“What if I find a way to bring the water to him?”

“It won’t be enough. You can’t get out of this. Don’t be such a child.”

“Shut it Jen, I am a child,” Cassie’s mouth twisted in anger.

“Not today.” She’d only said it to steal the other girl’s fear and was glad it worked.

Cassie nodded, losing her momentary look of ire. “He doesn’t deserve it so easy.”

“Who are we to decide what another person deserves?” If that didn’t get the younger girl moving, nothing would, Jen thought.

When Cassie spoke, it was with calm. “We are the only ones who have the right to decide he deserves it.” She moved to the man. With strength that belied her age she did as her sister ordered and grabbed his collar, dragging him to the riverbank. She looked back once at Jen, who nodded at her, before pulling her mother’s abusive boyfriend fully into the river.

Jen, feeling her first moment of doubt, started crying. “I really hope he doesn’t wake up.”

“Don’t worry, he can’t hurt us now.” Cassie assured Jen as she held him under the water. “He’ll never wake up again.”

“What do you think Mom will say?”

“She’ll be mad when she finds out we put a dent in her best frying pan.”

I didn’t really feel like writing today, which was my cue to sit myself at the computer and do it anyway! I always write on Wednesdays so I couldn’t let a mood mess with my schedule, but I could let it set the tone. I meant for this to be under 300 words but I’m satisfied it’s under 500. Maybe when I revise I can whittle it down. I didn’t work on my middle grade story but perhaps I will this evening. Did the rest of you write today?

New Untitled Project

I saw a prompt today that said to pick up the closest book to you, turn to page 49 and use the first sentence as a prompt. The sentence was: He refused to answer any more of my questions. Thanks Joe! This started out to be a flash fiction piece, but I had too many ideas so it’s slowly becoming a short story. I don’t really know what genre this will end up in because some of the thoughts I have for it could go a few different directions. Either way, I haven’t written a true short story in ages so I’m happy. Hopefully this will go as well as I think it will. What I’m posting is the beginning. As always, I must warn you that it’s a rough draft, and my first drafts tend to lack in description. Feel free to give me any suggestions.

“He came home smelling like her, so I told him I knew he was cheating. That really did happen.”

“I believe you Angelica,” Tony assured her, as he sat at the side of her hospital bed.

“He told me to calm down, so I told him I would hunt her down and beat her up. I wish that were true.”

“So you didn’t say that?” The woman shook her head. He couldn’t help but notice that her long hair was so filthy he wasn’t quite sure if it was blonde or brown. “What happened next?”

“He refused to answer any more of my questions, so I punched him in the face, but that only happened in my imagination.”

The man raised an eyebrow and made a notation on the yellow legal pad on his lap.

“Before he closed down, everything he said was a lie, so I left him. In my daydreams.”

“So you didn’t threaten to leave?”

“No, of course not. When he went to bed, I killed him. Too bad that didn’t really happen, but I did kill her.” Her eyes unfocused and she stared off into the corner.

Tony’s gaze was drawn to her wrists. They were wrapped in bandages. The report said she tried to kill herself, almost succeeding. What the hell was going on here, he wondered. This was the third time he’d questioned her. Each story she told was different, yet somehow similar.

The first time he spoke with her, she claimed her boyfriend had accused her of cheating. In the second, she said her best friend tried to kill her, thinking that Angelica tried to steal her boyfriend. Every time, she said, or implied that half of what she said was not true. He waved a hand in front of her and got not response so he left her room and headed to the elevator.

He had no idea what the truth was but in each of her interviews, she claimed someone was dead. So far they hadn’t found any bodies, but he had a hunch they would before it was all over. He sighed. This would be a long drawn out investigation. He supposed this was the first dose of the punishment the chief had promised him. Well, at least he still had a job after the fiasco of the last case.