Innocent Cutouts

I’m a day late but thought I would try my hand at this. This is a nice little exercise hosted by Kat helps get the wheels turning. There are a lot of sweet stories about cookies (no pun intended) and I wanted a twist. I’ve been really working at adding twists.


The investigators couldn’t find the culprit for the devastating loss of life. The cutout shapes of flour and sugar seemed harmless rolled out on the counter. The kitchen once full of warmth and life was now a cold and quiet scene.
‘Do you suppose she meant to do so much damage?’

Photo by Oleg Magni at Pexels.com
279 Characters
© Jo Creative PTSD Gal

I want to really start committing to submitting my short stories for publishing either online magazine or print. Any advice on where to start? I have searched online and sites are asking for payment just for the list. Advice, sites, places for submission would be GREATLY appreciated.

Soup Pot

I was super inspired by the book that my husband and I have been searching for the past 2 weeks. My grandmother’s ‘reference’ cookbook. I have a great idea but will post about that later. Here is my short story Soup Pot (word count 229).

“2 cups water, check,” Amy called out ingredients as she poured them into her grandmother’s pot. What better way to feel her grandmother around her by cooking her soup recipe in her soup pot? She swore her grandmother’s soup had healing powers.

After hours of gently simmering it was time to serve. She ladled spoonfuls into a soup bowl and sat with a box of crackers. Instead of her first bite taking her back to the days they spent in the kitchen it was just soup. It tasted fine and was very satisfying but not what she had expected. Amy read the recipe again and every ingredient was in that pot. She stared at the soup, stared at the empty kitchen, and stared at the recipe.

All Amy could do was gently blow on her soup and cry. Unknowingly a tear fell into her bowl and with her next bite a warm began in the pit of her stomach and worked its way to her limbs. The kitchen took the nostalgic warm hue and she heard it. Amy heard the voice of her grandmother.
‘A recipe, cricket, are just words on a paper of food thrown in a pot. It’s the love you stir them with that makes the dish so good. Cook with love. That’s the one ingredient you can’t put into words or buy of a shelf.’

Friday’s Corner

It’s Friday! Made it through another week. I’ve had hardly any work to do but since everything is blocked on the internet I’m left sitting playing solitaire on the computer. I had people express their sympathy for how I’m being treated and that it hasn’t gone unnoticed but that’s not going to change the fact that I’m looking for another job. I had two emails from employers, ‘we are going ahead with our process’ or ‘we feel another candidate would be better suited.’ I’m just hoping that my current employer has given a bad reference. Why would they? I’m bringing my doodle book and some other stuff to keep me occupied.

I wrote a little short story. It’s nothing much but it was enough to get me excited about writing again. Happy Friday!

Corner Watcher

For years she played with Gemma. They were inseparable just as a girl and friend should be. Then her Gemma grew apart having less in common. Gemma sits on a chair in the corner of her friend’s room, watching as she made plans and growing up.
She sat in that corner for years watching her friend grow up into a young woman.
She watched triumphs and trophies, first loves and heartbreaks. She watched fights with her parents and life learned lessons. Through the years Gemma noticed an unknown shadow slowly get closer to her friend’s window. At first, Gemma didn’t think anything of it but grew concerned when she could see that the shadow had human characteristics. She wanted to scream at her once forever friend about the danger lurking outside. One night her friend was woken by the sound of broken glass. Gemma could see the figure was now in the room and her friend was making an escape. Gemma glared the man down as he hurriedly left out the window he broke through. The father came in the room with a 911 operator on the floor, ‘Yes, I think we’ll be able to identify the intruder,’ as he picked up Gemma from her corner chair. As usual, Gemma saw everything sitting in the corner. The triumphs, heartbreaks, plans being made and thanks to the little nanny came, she also saw the intruder.

Prompt: August The Doll Maker

Back to my goals of writing and plan on catching up on my classes here soon. This means I have to push myself instead of curling up in my recliner brooding over bullshit that I can’t handle. Yes, this isn’t my best work but it’s something. I took August’s prompt words and created a short story.


August the Doll Maker
lawyer justifies beliefs

‘The headline read: Lawyer Justifies Beliefs.’ It was difficult not to follow the doll maker’s story. Growing up we were told not to go in the north woods where a society of witch crafting people dwelled. It was rumored that the witches that lived in the woods would steal children and keep them stored in their cellars like we would keep pickled vegetable and jam for the winter months. I turned the page to read about the wide-eyed doll that was the key evidence in the crime.

The doll creator, August, being charged with murder was a feeble man that everyone in our town felt sorry for and purchased his creations as often as possible. They weren’t your run of the mill homemade crocheted dolls or something that you see everyone on a Pinterest DIY mom board try to recreate. No. For a man living in the woods created beautiful, delicate, yet resilient dolls that stood the test of time. I actually have one of his sitting on my mantle that was my mother’s. I cringed looking at the doll and back down at the paper.

The doll maker’s picture in the paper made him look more domineering than weak and I found an absence of sorrow for him. ‘The bodies of 3 missing kids and cow were found during the search of the property.’ I felt betrayed more than anything as I’m sure the entire town was feeling, reading the same paper. We trusted this man believing he was trying to launch a business so he and his family wouldn’t go hungry, but that wasn’t the case. He didn’t have a family to feed he had crimes to cover. ‘The surviving victim stated that he was supposed to be part of the next line of products. Lamps were something that his kidnapper would work on almost every night by the light of his own old coal oil lamp. August wanted to bring back the antique light sources.’

The paper continued ‘August struggled with creating a voice box that mooed for his farm animal line of dolls and was some of his most recent unsuccessful creations.’ I remember those mooing dolls. They were hideous cow shaped monstrosities that he was very pushy about selling. The sound after pulling the cord on the animal’s back wasn’t a moo but more of a cow being slaughtered. I nervously laughed that day, struggling with politely refusing the purchase. I crossed the street that day and turned to see a child clinging to his mother as the doll maker realized that he was losing another sale. The image of the survivor that was pictured in the paper was the same child that clung to his mother that day. The child looked as if he aged overnight full of wisdom and advice.  I guess a traumatic experience would do that to any person.

I finished my cereal while reading the article. ‘The doll maker believed that sacrifices had to be made to live in today’s society stated his lawyer. While the lawyer curved this reporter’s questions of black magic and the death of children he did state that his client was mentally unstable to stand trial and his medical team will ensure that his client will get all the medical treatment necessary and are diligent in his care. He is asking for the death penalty to be removed as part sentencing and a life without parole be considered instead. The lawyer also stated that his beliefs are justified as many people pray for survival in this world. He shouldn’t be persecuted for his religion and solely on his crimes that don’t warrant death as he was delusional about how to worship. The doll that was gathered for evidence was created from his previous victims discovered through forensic testing and the police are asking that anyone with a doll created by the defendant to bring it to the police station.’ I clapped my hands together afraid to touch the poor soul sitting on my shelf and instead ran and dialed the local PD to remove the doll.

6 Word Story: 8/12

I use today’s prompt word like it is second nature but haven’t really thought much of the definition. I think I have even used it in a few work emails. I also think that it a word that can be used in both reassuring and threatening ways. I’m running super behind but have a lot planned for today and tomorrow. My son is even joining me in writing one of his own stories.

The more I thought about this prompt the more I realized that it has taken me a long time to even accept who I am as a person. It’s tough living up to everyone expectations and beating myself up about who I am not or what a failure I am. I’m trying to turn that around.


Prompt: Insure

Guarantee your happiness; love yourself unconditionally. 

 

Zero Flashes

I decided that I needed to write something…anything. Today’s word prompt for the 6-Word Story was time and thought why not continue it to something longer. I edited it and rewrote parts trying to keep in mind what I have learned so far in my writing class. I focused on a character’s description trying to use as few detailing words as possible. The end goal was for the main character not to live hour by hour but rather moment by moment. This was achieved by force from an outside source. I think I may have failed at this. It feels generic and boring. I haven’t really written anything in length in a while and lost my train of thought more times than I can count. I know it’s the pain in my jaw but it’s less today and I need to get back into the swing of things… especially ones that I love. The prompt was, ‘All the clocks stopped working’.


sundialSam ran her life by the clock. The little timepiece on her wrist, on her phone, in the car, and even in her bathroom added numerical values to her daily life. Sometimes it was stressful and sometimes it felt like time would drag on. Some days she would have everything completed while others she had nothing but time left over with nothing to fill the tick-tocks between numbers.
5am- Run for half hour
5:30am- Shower
6am-Dress, gather and pack purse and lunch
6:45am-Breakfast
7:30am-Arrive at work
Sam’s mornings were always like this, day in and day out. She was a creature of habit and completely ok with her life, all while checking what time it was.

It was late fall when she woke up to her alarm clock flashing zeros. She panicked a little knowing she woke up late and behind schedule but also concluded that the electricity had gone out. Picking her phone up she realized the time face on her device was flashing zeros. Now confusion was added to her panic. She thought her watch would be able to tell her which number in the day she was really at but the little thin gold hands weren’t making their rounds. As she went from room to room all her clocks stopped and that’s when she thought her brother was playing a prank on her. The previous night she told her brother that she would have to check her calendar to see if she had time to meet him for dinner next week. When she was looking through her phone’s calendar app she told him that she could set a reminder for 7pm next Wednesday. Her brother laughed at her, ‘You have to make time to see your family?’ he said laughing at her. Dismissing the memory of the conversation, she turned the TV on to find the time. Nothing.

It was light out already, not yet bright and Sam thought it was past time for her daily run and shower. She shoved a hastily made sandwich and water into her purse and ran out the door. The clock in her car wasn’t any help either. Some people sped past her and some she had to pass. Once she was at her office she noticed it was absolute chaos and confusion. Some of her coworkers were present and some were not. She sat at her computer discovering all her programs and internet were working correctly but the clock. That damn useless clock displaying zeros. Was her time up? Was the world’s time up?
‘SAM!’ she turned to see her little round boss red, sweaty, and out of breath.
‘Yes, Mr. Timbalt?’
‘Do you know what time it is?’
Knowing this couldn’t be a trick question and that she wasn’t in trouble she answered honestly. ‘No,’ she said in a lost voice.
Mr. Timbalt’s face dropped and he took off in what would be considered fast for him but regular pace for Sam. A newspaper runs on deadlines but there was a story. They are ALL living it right now.

The news channel in the office sputtered to life with both anchors looking disheveled and unprepared. They couldn’t give answers as to why no one could tell time but it happened all over the world and all at once. They explained experts were going to come and help tell what time it is by the sun during the days measuring light to add back a semblance of order to the chaos. These experts were actually hunters, farmers, fishermen, and astronomers to name a few. Sam thought it was unusual to refer to this method as a lost art but in reality, the confusion the entire world was going through proved that it was.

A year later, life was still productive and scheduled but it was relaxed and prioritized with the essentials. The world wasn’t thrown back into the Stone Age and technology still advanced. Time was a gift now appreciated and not live by. Sam still works at the newspaper and still makes deadlines but isn’t a slave to her watch. All around the world, the clocks that remained in place stand like statues with their hands resting at 12 and one seconds over. Some speculated that the time loss was due to a magnetic phenomenon while other’s suggested that it was an act of God. Sam thought it was an answer to bring life back to what’s important no matter what caused the zeros.

Photo: Sundial

6 Word Story: 7/30

Why did I pick this word?! I am having the most difficult time coming up with ANYTHING! I hope others fare a little better than I did. Then again, that’s the whole point, isn’t it? To try and challenge ourselves to better our art form? How about this?

Side note/question: Should I make a prompt list for August?


Prompt: Thud

 

Grotesque Angel: Pt 2

Continued….

Minnie giggled then her face went blank holding a photo.
‘Minnie, what’s wrong?’ I asked with all the concern a friend would have.
‘This guy right here looks like the one in the schoolyard. EXACTLY like what’s in the schoolyard.’ She said.
‘Oh him? He was on the Brittania at 527 West 110th Street and they call him the scholar. I’m pretty sure that it’s a replica of a suitable figure for a school. I don’t think the school could afford the original even if the Brittania was parting with the grotesque.’ I said shoving some southern seasoned green beans in my mouth. Minnie looked through the rest of the picture and we chatted about the news that I missed and I told her more about New York. Then it was back to the office. I decided a walk home would be best as I gorged myself of fried goodness and thought it best to burn off the million calorie dinner. I took the photo out and thought that the gargoyle did look exactly like the one in the picture I held. Shrugging it off, I did my daily routine at home and went to bed.

I was woken up by what I thought was thunder but when looking outside there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I turned on the 24-hour weather station out of curiosity and the doppler didn’t show anything in our area not even a blip of green on the screen. I listened closely but this time it didn’t sound like thunder. It sounded like something heavy was thrown from a high distance. This time I stood on the porch but couldn’t see anything. There wasn’t even a breeze. I waited just a few more minutes for the thuds to gauge distances but nothing happened. I fell back to sleep surprisingly quite quickly. When I woke up the next morning I had faint recollections of a dream. It wasn’t a nightmare but I remember feeling scared then safe. There was a beautiful blonde man but I couldn’t remember the face. I was distracted the rest of the day playing the dream over and over in my head. Like lightning hitting the water, a small movie clip from my dream played in my head. The blonde man was standing in front of me but behind him was a gargoyle with his head bowed then in the next sequence he looked as if he was lurching in my directions and wings spread. I realized I have seen this gargoyle in New York but his head was tucked as if to graciously bowing. Another tiring day behind me as I collapsed in the bed when arriving home. I didn’t even eat dinner or water my plants.

Weeks passed with only a few dreams and the only difference was that my gargoyle would be just a smidge closer. At the end of the month, I noticed more stone creatures showing up all over our small town. First my neighbor Sal, then it was the school but now the library, grocery store, and even the bars were homes to these statues.
I was walking to work when I saw my neighbor sitting on her porch drinking coffee,
‘Morning Sal, so, where did George find that beautiful specimen?’ I nodded down towards the stone figure.
‘You know it’s the damnedest thing. George told me he didn’t buy him,’ she said puzzled but not all that concerned. However, I felt uneasy.
‘Oh, you’re not the least bit curious as to where he came from? Worried some random serial killer could be marking homes with these things?’ I asked.
‘How do you know it’s a boy?’ I just looked at her in response to her odd question.

‘I’m only guessing? Wouldn’t you think the gargoyle would be a male? Men can be scarier and more threatening,’ I said with a smile.
‘I think I can top the scare scale when I haven’t had my coffee,’ I giggled and waved as I headed into work.

TO BE CONTINUED…..

Jo/© thecreativeptsdgal.wordpress.com

And a Reminder about Fenton Friday’s…Fenton needs more story and details. Check out the past two Fridays.

  1. Who is Fenton?
  2. Fenton Friday: Week Two Collaboration Project

 

Pat York, Pat. “Front View of House.” Flickr, Jonesboro, http://www.flickr.com/photos/60464669@N06/5681550750.

The Story that’s Getting Away: Grotesque Angels

This started out to be a short story and it feels like it has a mind of its own. I had characters developing in different ways than imagined and characters I didn’t even know were there. It’s becoming a bigger undertaking than I thought and I’m going to try and limit myself to sharing 500 words at a time.


Gargoyles have been around for an eternity and possess a wealth of history, meaning, and tales. Now visitors viewing these stone creatures post pictures on social media sites and not give them a second thought. I was once one of those people not so long ago on a trip to New York taking pictures of all the old churches, parks, and the gargoyles. We don’t have them in our small town just some old churches and a couple of bars. The trip was a success and I have beautiful pictures to prove it.
I had been home a week when I noticed a gargoyle perched on my neighbor’s porch as I walked by.
‘Hey Sal, when did you get that cute little guy?’ I asked her pointing towards her step.
Sally looked down with a puzzled expression, ‘Hmm…I didn’t get him, maybe George did.’
‘He’s great, have a good day.’ I waved and continued about my daily errands. I did my marketing because being gone on a trip I didn’t have any food and needed to stock up.
‘Oh, son of a…’ I danced around holding my foot.
Sal must have been proud of her new statue and moved him to the end of her pathway because I almost tripped stubbing my toe on the damn thing walking back home. Groceries spilled out all over the sidewalk. I cursed more very graphic language and when the stinging went away I packed up my staples and headed home but with a little hitch in my giddy-up.

About a week later, staring out my office window, I noticed that the schoolyard has adopted three of their very own stone gargoyles. They didn’t look as mean but more fatherly.
‘Oh, hey Minnie,’ I exclaimed as she walked past my office.
‘When did the school get their new sculptured friends?’ I asked as she stepped in and pointed her gaze in the direction of the schoolyard.
‘Oh I don’t know, I never really noticed those before. Maybe they’ve had them and we never paid any attention. Think about it, how often do you survey a school playground when you don’t have kids?’ She raised her eyebrow and pointed at me implying that I should think about that.
‘You know, one of the legends that surround these pieces of art is that they are to protect people from evil. That’s why churches have them, to protect the congregation.’ I said just as a matter of factly as she brought up not having kids. First, you need to have a husband or at least a boyfriend to produce offspring. Truth be told, this small town doesn’t have that many bachelors seeking mates. They are either too immature and or aging to concern themselves with those ideologies. I always wanted a family and she knows that’s a sore spot for me. Sure she set me up on blind dates or a friend of a friend type of date but they weren’t my type. She knew what I was saying without saying it.
‘Lunch?’ Minnie asked but what it really was is a change of subject past the awkward silence.
I packed mine today but it’ll keep in the fridge. Are you thinking Buck’s or the deli?’ I asked taking her proverbial olive branch.
‘You decide, she replied and disappeared.
‘Noon?’ I hollered and off in the distance I think it was a ‘yup,’ for her reply.

We sat at a booth in Buck’s Diner because I wanted some real home cooked food. My father and mother had their first date here. Hell, I think everyone’s parents had their first dates here. The mashed potatoes didn’t come from a box and the rest of the food didn’t taste like it was commercially made. The waitress set down our lunches; Minnie a salad, and the fried chicken and mashed taters for me.
‘How was your trip? Meet anyone interesting?’ Minnie asked as I was shoveling a huge forkful of taters and gravy in my mouth. I held up one finger and handed her an envelope of the pictures that I thought looked the best for print. She daintily took a bite of her salad and delicately took the photos out of their protective sleeve.
‘Not really but I was only there for the art. But one thing I missed was this right here,’ I took a huge bite out of my chicken leg.

TO BE CONTINUED…..

Jo/© thecreativeptsdgal.wordpress.com

 

Pat York, Pat. “Front View of House.” Flickr, Jonesboro, http://www.flickr.com/photos/60464669@N06/5681550750.

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