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Sept. 1000 Writers' Challenge

  • 01 Sep 2017 9:48 AM
    Message # 5059309

     Are they looking for you? You really didn't mean it to happen that way. Maybe, this is your first job and you were hoping for that big break. Everyone looks suspicious.

    How far will your mind take you? 

    Happy writing!

    Note: To enter the Writers' Challenge,Click on this link: The Writers Challenge which will take to the "Writers Challenge" forum. Once on the forum, select the appropriate month challenge. Once there, click the"Reply" button and enter your work. If you have any problems you may contact us at:  

    Last modified: 01 Sep 2017 9:49 AM | Anonymous
  • 15 Sep 2017 3:22 PM
    Reply # 5262757 on 5059309
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)

    Casey stumbled from the locker room. I can’t believe Jody talked me into this.

    “Come on, you’re late,” the security guard took her elbow and half-dragged half-led her down the hallway.   

    She staggered onto the escalator. Her head wobbled and stomach flipped as the stairs shifted under feet too big to fit comfortably on the treads. Unbalanced, Casey shifted her weight, careful not to catch her tail feathers in metal treads.

    “Watch your step,” the security guard warned.

    She lifted one huge claw and put it down but the second talon got caught in the escalator’s landing.

    “Whoa.” The old guard nearly ripped it off her wing in his effort to keep her upright. “Can you see a thing in this buzzard suit?”

    “I’m an eagle,” Casey growled stomping her big yellow foot. The costume was ridiculous and looked more like a big, blue buzzard. Her feet slapped the tiled floor as she wiggled the back end for momentum. The suit weighed about a hundred pounds and smelled like moth balls, sweat and old farts. The harness holding her head on was trying to choke her. At five-eight, one hundred twenty pounds, she was no match for the burden of Bossy the Eagle.

    “Okay little lady, let’s get you out on the field.”

    “Do we have too?”

    He chuckled.

    “Twenty bucks if you lead me back to the locker room.”

    “You don’t want to disappoint the kids.”

    Turning around would require the assistance of tow truck or she’d make a waddle for the exit. Casey shifted her feet and glimpsed the ball field. “Oh well, I guess I’m doing this.”   

    “You’ll be great. Remember, this is for the kids.”

    She heaved a sigh and trudged out to the track.

    “It’s Bossy Eagle!” Someone shouted. Casey thought it might be her cousin, Jody. She’d kill her later.

    “Bos-sy! Bos-sy!”

    Time to earn my pay. Putting a little dance in her step, Casey sauntered out onto the field and greeted the athletes with a wave and a little jig.

    A little boy ran towards her, nearly tackling her in his excitement. He wrapped his arms around her. “I love you Bossy!”

    Blinking back tears, Casey returned his hug. “You want to do the welcome dance with me?”

    He waved several other children over to join them. Casey led them through the choregraphed steps. The dance was a simple combination of the Chicken Dance and the Cupid Shuffle. Coaches, teachers and parents joined them, laughing and dancing with their athletes as the opening ceremony for the local Special Olympics kicked off the new year.

    Breathless and happy, Casey hugged each child and posed for pictures barely registering the funky smell permeating the interior of her bird.

    “Okay, Bossy has to go. Say good bye.” Jody grabbed her wing and said, “You ready to shake a tail feather?”

    Laughing, Casey bent over and shook her tail feathers, then standing, waved and allowed her cousin to lead her off the football field.

    “Would you like me to lead Ms. Bossy back to the locker room?” The old security guard asked.

    “Nah,” Jody said, “I’ll take her, she’s going to need help getting out of the buzzard suit.”

    “I’m an eagle.”

    The trip back to the locker room didn’t seem nearly as long as before. Jody made quick work of unstrapping her head and setting it aside. “Oh, my goodness, it’s a hundred degrees cooler just taking the head off.”

    Jody handed her a little towel. “You did a good job, Case, thanks.”

    Unfastening the suspenders, the body of the bird crumbled to the floor. “I had fun.”

    “Does that mean you’ll do it again?”

    Casey glared at her cousin. “I’m not sure if I’d go that far.”

    “It pays a hundred dollars for each appearance and you can even make extra money as Bossy at special events.”

    With her student loans and her lack of time, like most college students Casey was always broke. It was hard to juggle work and school, this might be the gig she needed to survive. “I’ll think about it.”

    Jody took the costume and hung it up. “Get a shower, you smell like feet.”

    “Ha, ha.” Casey grabbed her clothes and toiletries and disappeared into the showers. “If I take the job, that suit has got to be aired out. It stinks.”

    Jody laughed. “How about I take you out to dinner to celebrate.”

    Casey came out dressed as a real girl. “How are we going to get the suit to my car without any of the kids seeing it?”

    Jody held up her hand. “Give me a minute.” She rushed out of the locker room.

    Casey heard the clatter of wheels on the tiles and poked her head out the door to see Jody pushing a big laundry hamper. “This will keep anyone from seeing the suit.”

    Together they piled the suit into the hamper and made their noisy way out to the parking lot. As she was stuffing the suit into the trunk of her tiny car, Casey asked, “Okay, where to?”

    Jody grinned. “Coach Waylon said he’d meet us at the Mexican restaurant on Main street.”

    Casey blushed. Waylon was the reason she’d ended up in the bird suit. Few women could say no to his big brown eyes. “So, he likes a chick with bird legs?”

    “Tail feathers turn me on.”

    At the sound of a deep, familiar baritone, Casey snapped her head around and met the dark brown eyes of her dream man, Coach Waylon Daniels. She shook her head. “I knew there had to be something wrong with you.”

    He grinned and held out his hand for her to shake. “Thanks for helping us out. The kids loved you.”

    “I enjoyed it.” Casey was surprised it was true.

    “She’s thinking of taking the job,” Jody added.

    Waylon smiled. “You’ll make a great mascot.”

    Casey sighed and knew there’d be feathers in her future.


  • 26 Sep 2017 5:30 PM
    Reply # 5281065 on 5059309
    A Second Chance

    A Second Chance

    His friends made fun of him; a Police Captain working at the mall. He had a family to feed and many relatives as well.  When they laughed at him, he just stood up tall and proud and ignored their taunts.

    It had been a long day at the Valley Mall. It was Christmas time and children were running around, some getting lost or jumping in the fountains, or screaming at the top of their lungs to see Santa... The parents scowled at him as if it was his fault for their precious offspring's behavior.

    Almost quitting time, he thought. Time to head back to the Mall office to clock out. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and he wanted to spend every minute that he could with his family.

                 "Jim, can I see you a moment?" his boss asked.  Jim walked over to him.  "Can you work the graveyard shift?  "Bob called in sick."

    Jim sighed deeply but said okay. He knew that Bob's wife was having a bad pregnancy and he was worried sick that something would happen to her. She was due any day.

    As the Mall emptied and the lights went out Jim left the office for his hourly round of store watching. He passed many fine stores that he wished he could shop at, for his wife and family. 

    This was going to be a lean Christmas because the doctor's bills for his youngest were reaching $200,000 and the insurance would not pay the whole amount for the surgery that is son need to stay alive.

    Jim didn't care if he had to work three or four jobs; he was going to make sure that his family was intact and healthy.

    His son, Danny was born with a weak heart and they were still waiting for a donor. Jim prayed every night to be strong for his family, but he cried sometimes when he was alone like now. He hated that another child had to die for his son to live.

    As he started on his second circuit of the Mall, he saw a white light and then heard a voice coming from Santa's Village. He walked over and saw a young boy with the brightest eyes he had ever seen, almost inhuman sitting in Santa's chair.

    "Son, what are you doing here, and where are your parents?" "I don't know," he said. "I was in the car with my parents and we were singing Christmas Carols and now I am here." "What is your name?" "Aiden," the boy replied.

    Jim's phone began to ring.  "Hello," he said. His wife was shouting for him to come to the hospital right now. They had found a donor for their son. Jim's heart began to race as he ran for the Mall office. Just then he remembered the boy in Santa's Village, but when he went back he was gone. Jim searched for him, but could not find him anywhere. He was beginning to wonder if the boy was real or if he just imagined him.

    When he got to the hospital there was a family in the waiting room crying. The mother was holding a picture of her son. Jim glanced over and was shocked to see that it was the boy, Aiden from the Mall.

    He and his wife went in to see Danny before the surgery. He looked pale, but always with a sweet smile on his face and the deepest brown eyes in the universe, at least that is what Jim thought.

    "Did Aiden find you?" Danny asked. Before Jim could ask Danny what he meant, the doctor said, "It's time sport to get you a new racing engine." They kissed and hugged Danny and off he went.

    Jim and his wife went back out to the waiting room and the Aiden's family was still there. They had been told that their son's heart was going to a very sick little boy.

    Aiden's mother looked at Jim and his wife. With tears in her eyes, she walked over to them and asked if she could speak to them.  Of course, they said yes.

    Jim said, "Is that a picture of your son Aiden? The woman looked at him in shock. "How did you know?"

    “I am a police captain and a security guard at the Valley Mall. Aiden was sitting on a chair in Santa's Village.  I asked him what he was doing there and he told me a fantastic story.”

    Aiden's mother told Jim and his wife that Aiden had always been a special little boy wise beyond his years. They had adopted him as a baby and from the first, he seemed to know things. He said that he would have a brother, but we were not able to have children and were getting too old to adopt. "He is, was our only child."

    Jim told them about Danny asking if he had talked to Aiden.  "He had a secret friend named Danny, but we thought that was just his imagination."Aiden's mom said.

    They sat there and talked about both of their exceptional sons for hours.

    The doctor came into the waiting room and told him that Danny was looking fine and they could see him in a couple of hours.

    Jim asked Aiden's parents to stay with them.  They agreed.  When Danny was able to see his parents, Jim asked if they would like to see him also.

     They walked into Danny's room. Both parents stood on each side of Danny's bed. He opened his eyes and smiled with a look beyond his years. He had one deep brown eye and one bright blue one.

    Miracles do happen at Christmas!

  • 27 Sep 2017 6:35 AM
    Reply # 5282034 on 5059309
    E. Lettick

    Well-written, heartwarming Christmas story. You developed the character of the security guard in just a few pages. I liked it.

  • 27 Sep 2017 7:07 AM
    Reply # 5282120 on 5059309
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)

    A Second Chance is a beautiful story of hope! Thank you for sharing! 

  • 01 Oct 2017 3:23 PM
    Reply # 5289857 on 5059309

    I wrote the story but forgot to put my name on it.  Thank you for all the compliments.  You guys are the best!

  • 17 Oct 2017 8:24 AM
    Reply # 5318285 on 5059309

    Wow! What a wonderful story. It's a story of hope and answered prayer. 

  • 03 Dec 2017 10:30 PM
    Reply # 5611625 on 5059309
    Dana L. Silkiss

    Midnite asked him, “What is this place, where are we? What are we doing here and why?”

    “Can’t talk now,” he whispered. “But I’ll get around to you later. He held out his hand and said, “Name’s Roger, and you?” Midnite told him his name and thanked him for his kindness. “C’mon, follow me,” he said.

    Roger ambled along, muttering to himself. He was looking furtively around as a weasel does when on the lookout for predators. Periodically, he’d stop in his tracks and slowly turn his head to the right and left, then resume his steps. He repeated these antics four times before he led Midnite into the slovenly, dark, dank barracks, where Midnite counted fourteen cots and various cooking utensils, pots, pans and many, many mice running through the unwashed dishes.

    “Well,” Roger said, “This is home. Good luck and don’t look the keepers in the eyes and always say yes sir, no sir and never speak first. You follow those rules, you’ll be okay! We’ll talk when the guards over there aren’t watchin’ us, cause you guys are new and they’re expecting trouble. So be cool and keep a low profile.”

    Midnite tried to gather his brain into a cohesive state of being. His nightmare had no way out; his mind couldn’t fathom this unreality that was real and now. His surroundings, his bruises and pain attested to that. He looked outside the doorway to see if he could find any clues as to the whereabouts of Walter and Duane, but it was to no avail. He turned around and looked for a place to take a piss, within the barracks, but that search came up empty as well. The doorway blackened and Midnite had an eerie feeling as he slowly turned to see the Sarge grinning stupidly at him.

    “Betcha never saw this one comin’, did ya, nigger- lover?” the Sarge drawled. “We don’t cottin’ to hippies or niggas and we especially don’t cottin’ to no nigga lovin’ hippies, if you get my drift. Get your slop in an hour, then be prepared to start workin’. We ain’t wastin’ no time here, boy!” He drunkenly bellowed. Midnite lowered his head and stood there, not looking the Sarge in the eyes. Without a word, the drunken man turned and left.

    A few minutes later Roger returned. “Your nigger friend ain’t doing too well,” he said. “And your other friend is throwing up and shivering in a corner, balled up like a baby.” 

    He didn’t report this in an unfriendly way, but in an understanding, sympathetic tone. “If ya gotta take a shit or a piss, there’s a latrine behind the barracks, but don’t take too long in there or they’ll come and drag your ass out, bare naked.”

     “How long have you been here?” Midnite asked. “What is this place? How is this legal? Doesn’t anyone know about this place? Who’s responsible for this?” Midnite blurted out. Roger quickly took his arm and moved Midnite away from the doorway.

     “Keep your voice down and don’t ever ask anyone those questions, or you’ll be dead, sure as shit!” He leaned over and whispered in Midnite’s ear. “I’ve been here four years, give or take, I’ve sorta lost track of time. Far as I can tell the cops are pals with the Georgia and Florida government people, so we’re free labor, slaves of the state. Either you stay here or you’re killed, there ain’t no middle ground. There can’t be no witnesses on the outside.”

     “What do we do while we’re here?” Midnite asked.

     “Mainly, we build roads, sometimes houses for the higher ups, sometimes landscaping for ‘em, you know, shit like that. They tell people we’re on a work release program.”

    Midnite was perplexed. “If they get into civilization like that, doesn’t anyone escape or tell the neighbors or other cops?”

    Roger smiled sadly and said that the only person he knew who had tried had been captured and ended up in the looney bin, because no one believed him. “I mean who would believe a “convict’s” word over a governor or mayor, or even some asshole cop? You get the picture? ‘Sides we save them hundreds of thousands of dollars. Think of it, no pay for labor. It’s a sweet deal for them. Come on, we gotta get outside an’ get some grub. It’s gross, but it’s all you’ll get, so get used to it. It’s the means to surviving, staying strong and doing what you have to do!” Roger forcefully said.

     “Gotcha,” Midnite said. “But I gotta take a piss before we get that mess. Wait for me I’ll be right back”

    When Midnite got out of the latrine, Roger was nowhere around. He saw other men ambling over to the mess area. No one looked happy. When he drew nearer, everyone looked at him, some with apprehension, some with fear and still others with hatred. Midnite did as Roger had told him to do. He kept his eyes averted because he didn’t need or want any confrontations. He didn’t yet know the hierarchy within the inmate society, nor what their functions were. He also reasoned that many of these men were not criminals, just ordinary people caught up in unjust and unordinary circumstances. He did raise his eyes to search for his friends but they were, as yet, unseen. He hoped they fared well.

    Midnite was given a metal plate on which were thrown some potatoes, a meat-like concoction, consisting of things he was afraid to even think about, and a slice of stale bread. Five minutes later, he noticed everyone going over to a giant sink and throwing their utensils and plates into it, then lining up, double row, as if waiting for the next, expected part of their tribulations. Midnite did the same. The prisoners filed outside to an area that resembled a designated school bus pick-up section of the parking lot. Midnite soon saw why they were there. Three guards split the group into three separate lines and herded them onto three buses. Midnite noticed that the majority of individuals within the groups knew what to do and basically complied without resistance of any kind. Midnite visually searched the groups and finally found who he was looking for. Duane was at the end of the second line and Walter was mid-section in the first line. “Hmm, they split us up,” he thought. “Each of us is in a separate line and nowhere near each other.” He noticed Walter looked terrified and Duane was looking frantically about. He found Midnite and they locked eyes. Duane gave him an expression like “what the hell is going on?” Midnite shrugged and smiled at him, trying to tell him to play it cool. He didn’t know anything either, but he was starting to put the pieces together.

    Suddenly, he was grabbed by the arm and one of the guards said “Stop fuckin’ dreamin’ and get on the bus, asshole.”

    Midnite complied and walked up the three steps onto the bus. He warily looked at his surroundings and watched the movements of the guards, as well as those of his fellow inmates. He noticed the guards were all armed, not only with side arms, which he saw were 38 specials, a favorite NYC firearm, but also with sawed-off 12 gauge shotguns. These boys were not fooling around and not taking any chances. After everyone had taken their assigned seats, the guards went up and down the aisles, placing everyone’s left foot into an anchored chain, which was bolted into the floorboards of the bus. Once this was completed, the buses started rolling. Midnite figured the time to be around 8 am.  No one spoke as they travelled over dusty roads overgrown with plant life. Midnite mentally took note of the distance, various landmarks and (especially any) crossroads they passed. There were no street signs. About forty-five minutes into the journey, he noticed the other two buses veering off in another direction from the one his bus was taking. He estimated about an hour and a half had gone by, when the bus slowed down and finally stopped alongside a ditch on the side of the road.

    One of the guards, a quiet no-nonsense individual with a resigned look about him, shouted, “All right, as soon as your leg irons are removed, file off the bus and await your orders.” The inmates did as they were told and waited alongside the bus. The three guards in the bus then exited the vehicle. Midnite looked up and to the west as he heard the roar of an approaching vehicle. It was another, slightly smaller bus. Upon inspection, Midnite saw that it was full of guards. “Huh –Oh”, he thought, “this can’t be good.” Six guards came off the bus and lined up in front of the inmates. The bus that they came on then drove away. These guards were raucous and unnerving. They were spitting and swearing and looked to be having a cheerful time. For three minutes. Then they turned towards the inmates and went through a total personality transformation.

     “Ok, you scum,” the apparent leader of this group screamed out, “who is new here? Who has arrived this week?” Midnite and two others raised their hands. The guards took off their sunglasses and assessed them with eyes that reminded Midnite of the eyes of vipers just before they strike.

     “I’m gonna say this once and only once,” the guard closest to Midnite whispered with a straight face. “You have any ideas of escaping, you have any ideas of not working, you have any ideas at all, we’ll find out, and when we do, you will pay. Oh yeah, you’ll surely pay, sure as shit. Slack off and don’t work, first time, a day and a night in the sweatbox. Second time, we hang you upside down, no water no food. There ain’t a third time, believe you me. Go on the lam, we’ll catch yuh. We’ll bring you back, you’ll wish we hadn’t.”

    Midnite got it. That and much more. He knew he had to try to escape. He had to be free, play his guitar, it was calling his name. His friends had no idea what had happened, not to mention his family. Oh man his family! What could they be thinking? He also came to the conclusion that he wouldn’t survive in this perverse and fascist environment. It was just a matter of time before something happened and it wouldn’t be good.

    Weeks went by, the routines were the same; monotony and ignorance were the rule of each day.  The guards were brutal, uncaring, sadistic and psychotic. Midnite did his best to stay as far away from them as he could, whenever possible. No one talked to each other, unless it was in hurried monosyllables, to cite a warning, to pass a note or to give a message to another inmate. 

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