In Actuality…


Yvonne and Cole

(Today’s snippet from Murder: Run Time Error is inspired by the One-Minute Writer and the Daily Prompt.)

“Care to explain to me why we’re going twenty blocks for dinner,” Cole asked as they waited for the light to change. “The hotel has-.”

Yvonne took to a sprinter’s start once the white figurine across the way appeared. “I know what the hotel has and it isn’t what I want. You owe me your trust with regards to food. This film festival-.”

He stopped in front of a mom-and-pop Italian restaurant and pretended to read the menu. “What’s wrong with the film festival? There’s a little bit of everything and-.”

Yvonne dragged him by the arm. “And it’s how you define a vacation! Honestly, when you said let’s get out of town, I was hoping it would be for something fun and adventurous! Skiing, rafting, sky diving or zip lining!”

He smiled as they came to a halt at yet another light. “I prefer not to watch my life flash before my eyes, thank you. Von, tell me you haven’t found some ultra-healthy, extremely obscure place where I’m supposed to guess the green food.”

She made a face. “I can think of faster ways to kill you. Shut up and no more complaints until after the full course – deal?”

“Only if it also applies from reel to reel,” he countered.

Always and Never


Jacob and Deborah

(Today’s snippet from Crossing Seasons is inspired by the One-Minute Writer and the Daily Prompt.)

Jacob pulled down the fine china. “That isn’t your mother’s recipe is it,” he asked.

“No, it’s my grandmother’s,” Deborah said, adding a bit more salt. “Can’t have a holiday without it.”

“This may be our first Thanksgiving and all, but we may want to consider our own traditions.”

She kissed him on the cheek. “We can begin with the plates. Don’t those belong in a museum?”

He laughed. “These have been in my family as long as that recipe has been in yours.”

“Are you sure you want to start that discussion?” Deborah pointed to the camera atop the bookcase. “Want to set the timer on that? I say our tradition starts now.”

Jacob raised an eyebrow. “A photo?”

“Yes, for every meaningful meal we share during our marriage.”




(Today’s snippet from Pied Piper of the Pier is inspired by the One-Minute Writer and the Daily Prompt.)

“I’m not one telling you how to spend your evenings, my boy,” Ivan began, “but I must protest your continuous, contagious obsession that-.”

“They’re missing,” Paul said. “Doesn’t that worry you?”

The older man swirled the contents in his wine glass before answering. “That’s what runaways do – they run. You can’t save them all and it kills me watching you push yourself to a limit without end. You are not their parent, their guardian, their keeper.”

Paul sighed, shoulders falling forward as he folded himself into the empty armchair across from his friend. “You sound like Leigh Myriam.”

Ivan laughed. “Only because she sounds like me. I just wish you’d listen to one of us if not both of us.”

Two Sides, One Coin

(Today’s snippet from Swim, Swan, Swim is inspired by the One-Minute Writer and the Daily Prompt.)

Kai Addison stared at the latest postcard from her brother, conflicting emotions a perfect fit to the playful fighting between two of her children outside.

She chose to teach her children at home, all of the topics that were deemed ‘unnecessary’ in school – music, art, physical education (dodge ball included!), and penmanship. She missed her own school days when there was time for the non-tested topics and plenty of time for play. Now…

And where was Tennyson? This time in Rome, fixing his Italian as broken as the Coliseum; helping students strengthen their English better than the Leaning Tower. It wouldn’t be long before he probably wandered on to some place new.

Kai Addison taught to offer her children the stars. Their uncle seemed fit to travel just as far.

Their love of language, of words, kept them together. For that, she knew she hadn’t lost her brother. Yet.

Complicated Competitions

Amelia and Alven

(Today’s snippet from Call Me, AL is inspired by the One-Minute Writer and the Daily Prompt.)

“We don’t have to make this a competition, you know,” Thomas said, swiping the bill before Amelia could. “Takes all the fun from a day out.”

“Only because you’re such a sore loser,” she said.

“I’d look in a mirror while saying that if I were you.”

Amelia’s fingers curled around the napkin. “And you call yourself a gentleman!”

“Tired’s more like it. Going out to brunch shouldn’t be seen as World War Three against independence or liberation or-.”

She snapped the napkin his direction only for him to lean casually to his left. “Anyone ever call you a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical idiot?”

“Don’t believe I’ve ever been mistaken for Mr. Franklin Hart, no. Sexist? For beating you to the bill four out of six times? Hardily. Egotistical? Because I won’t tell you where I work or what I make? I know I make a difference in what I do. Lying? When have I ever lied to you? Hypo-?”

Amelia did her best imitation of Thomas. “We don’t have to make this a competition, you know.’ Four out of six times with the bill.”

“I would have gone six for six if you didn’t throw your shoe at me the first time or ‘dropped’ my glasses to the floor the second time. Idiot? Yes. I’m a fool madly in love with you.”

Amelia leaned back in the booth. “What was that?”

Thomas shrugged. “I plead the fifth item as being truthful. Why do you think I’ve been leaving flowers for you in your in box all this time like some bumbling sixth-grader?”

She pondered her response. “My grandparents had a garden full of those flowers. How did you know those were my favorite?”

“I won’t reveal my sources. But, I will give you a lift home – with your permission of course.”

Longing for Peace

Danny Roberts

Danny Roberts

(Today’s snippet from Quietus: Quintets Demise is inspired by the Daily Prompt and the One-Minute Writer)


Danny was sick and tired of being in the middle. Not that he had any choice in one decision. The other choice removed from him before he found a voice. It wasn’t fair, but he hadn’t the might, to start let alone continue not one but two fights.

One relished chaos, the other fought for peace. And here he was, in the middle, of the two surviving members of his family he saw the least.

He regretted not being able to go to war, but Royce insisted words served better than bullets. He regretted not being able to save any money, but Gail insisted on going from a seat at the bars to a place behind bars.

Was it wrong to want to lose a sibling, while fearing the other one dead? Why, in heaven’s name, couldn’t either use their heads?

Then again, they were, and so was he. So Dale Evan Roberts continued his way to university.

Mending Tears

Today’s snippet is from somewhere in the Atkinson’s Chronicles, or not – who knows… And, again, inspired by the One-Minute Writer one-word Wednesday prompt and Daily Prompt. Translation, no idea where this will lead.

“Don’t argue with me,” Desmon said, tugging the material his way.

“Who said I was arguing with you?” Jalem searched for the one word to tie it all together. Once that was located, she would feel fine. “Just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean that I am arguing with you.”

She dropped the needle on the floor, its weight taking the stitches with it, dividing the fabric once more. Muttering a curse, she tried to save the few starter strands that remained. The last thing she had time for was to start over.

“See what happens when you lose your focus? Everything falls apart.” He tried to keep a stern face, but failed.

Jalem glared at him. “I wasn’t the one who wrecked the tapestry in the first place. The least you can do is help.”

Desmon took the needle out of her hand. “At least we’re not testing for Healer right now. The sutures would be-.”

The face he made had her laughing so hard, it was all she could do to steady her hands.

“Hey!” He doubled over, hands clenching the pieces together, as he tried to hold back a laugh. “Let’s get this done before the dance begins. Agreed.”

“Agreed,” she said and then added, “What were we arguing about again?”


Taking Care



Today’s snippet’s inspired was inspired by the Daily Prompt, “When you’re unwell, do you allow others to take care of you, or do you prefer to soldier on alone? What does it take for you to ask for help?”

From the SoCNoC Project, “Sights on the Storm”

Taking Care

Vincent crossed his arms and waited for a response to his presence in the doorway. In the beginning, Dora responded with ‘bully bears,’ ‘outta here octopi’ and any other stuffed animal she could lob into the air, none of them making it past the foot of the bed.

Now she resembled her Aunt Heloise, sobered by pain, drunk on cough syrup. He didn’t have to mention the observation as he saw the increased ugliness from the young woman who professed profanities, called out curses and gestured germ-laced words he knew she learned too young.

“Dorinda Casey Russell, it isn’t too late for me to wash your hands with soap.”

Instead of a weak smile or short chuckle, the young woman stretched to her full length in bed, all the while holding up a middle finger to her father. Yes, this was his child he no longer saw eye-to-eye with whenever she stood straight.

“I’m fine,” she said. Vincent didn’t have to hear her to know it was a lie.

“Chicken soup with rice-.”

“Sendak? Seriously?” The sarcasm soared the more she was sore – that was a constant, be it cold or flu, migraines or measles.

The svelte man bit the inside of his cheek, curious if he had made it this hard on his parents when he was her age.  Then again, he was busy balancing classes, changing diapers and collecting records for the corner store he hoped to start. “You’d rather I throw ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul,’ your way,” he asked. “Or should I just find your gadget so you can plug in and tune out rather than sleep?”

“I’m going to work.” She turned on her side, eyes narrow to supposedly intimidate him, when they both knew it was to hide the pain.

“Told your boss ‘no’ and she agreed.” Vincent hated to see her suffer. If it was either of her brothers or Adele, Dorinda was right there to doctor them. Reverse the roles, however…  He didn’t think he taught her that – to be so stubborn. Then again, he could be wrong; he had that feeling too often lately.

He grabbed the cell phone from the nightstand before returning to the hallway. “You’re going to sleep.” His shoulders relaxed as her eyes closed and her breathing slowed.

They might get through this one yet.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Pill or Proper Meal

Big Ol' Country Breakfast from Ellie's

Big Ol’ Country Breakfast from Ellie’s

Today’s short snippet is inspired by today’s Daily PromptIf you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

“Why do you always pop a few extra pills whenever Aunt Heloise cooks, Grandpa,” Dorinda asked as she grabbed her jacket and wallet.

The elder Russell looked her in the eye, his brown eyes are sharp as ever. “It’s because she thinks she cooks I pop ’em,” he said. With a wink, he added, “A shot or two doesn’t hurt, either, but don’t tell your nana that.”

Dorinda shook her head. True, the smell of burnt toast and sound of sizzling eggs-turned-over-done was better than the smell of blood and the sound of breaking glass, to name the ‘calmer alternatives’ they’d seen. She and Adele always imagined Heloise as the skinnier, funnier Julia Child when they were little. It wasn’t until home ec that they really discovered the depths of Vincent’s passion for the culinary arts.

“You could always tell her you don’t need her to fix you guys anything. Just because she sobers up from the night before-.”

“You’ve lived in this house for how long? Go, grab your father and make a clean escape. Get a hearty country breakfast with an extra order of bacon and sausage for me, huh?”

The young woman laughed, aware that she’d probably have to swim double the laps or attend thrice the number of workouts just to burn off the calories; while her father wouldn’t even gain a pound.

Some things just weren’t fair.

(SoCNoC total today: 450)

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Endless Horizon

The Holiday

The Holiday

Inspired in part by today’s Daily PromptWhat’s your dream tourist destination — either a place you’ve been and loved, or a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you?

“Seriously, Dad, what are you going to do, swim the entire time?”

Vincent smiled as he watched Dorinda continue talking, imagining the ‘argument’ he had seen from her several times before, the average length being a minute for every year of her age. Yes, she protested the beach, but it always ended the same way, with him coaxing her to come into the hotel room long after the sun had set.

The beauty of the waves required no words, even as they played their ‘listen to the seashell’ games. He loved how her eyes twinkled, tiny fingers telling him what he was supposed to hear. From airplanes and boa constrictors to violins and xylophones, Dora’s imagination was endless. She could create as many stories as there were shells or sands on the shore, skipping barefoot along the way, dashing waves yet daring to wade.

He had his fears of Dora being swept away by the waves – a more concrete fear that replaced ones of a certain thief in the night trying to claim a child that was never theirs.  However, Vincent knew she’d keep far from the water, even now.

Those were the times he remembered as he saw her back reflected in the window. Every vacation began with a protest, accompanied by a waiting game that he always won, and ending with an itinerary she planned; the proposed ‘sand bucket list’ getting longer and more daring each time.

“I know, I know,” Dorinda muttered, grabbing the tattered travel bible from the bookcase, “the awesomeness of God’s creation, limitless as the horizon where water and sky meet, where the Son never sets.”

Vincent bit the inside of his cheek, lest he were caught laughing at her. The voice may have changed along with the height of the child, but the imagined tone remained the same. It was one of the small blessings he enjoyed, these long weekend escapes to the beach with her, just the two of them. He could never, would never grow tired of them.

(Today’s SoCNoC count: 733)