Tag Archives: war

The Rain Keeps Falling – short story 715 words

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I am part of some really grate writing groups on LinkedIn, one of them dose a monthly short story contest, the group is lively with lots of active members.  I haven’t  joined in on one of these monthly contest yet, (mind you its just for fun, and practice our righting, and righting outside our comfort zones.) but I figured it was worth a shot. All the competitions have a different set of parameters, but all are 600-715 words. This one was suspense, it had to start with someone on their day off, and end with them getting news that will change their life.

I have never written suspense before, and none of my other short stories are under 1,000 words, I thinks that’s why this one interested me. So here it is, my entry I didn’t get to enter.

The Rain Keeps Falling

715 words

She leaned against the island in the middle of the kitchen, a fresh cup of coffee in hand, staring out the big bay window, past the dirty glass and out into the gray damp morning. “Of course, it had to rain today. All I wanted to do was pull the weeds, my poor flowers look like they are lost in a jungle.”

Taking a sip from her cup, she nearly drops it as the freshly brewed coffee sears the tip of her tongue. Setting the cup down she slowly scans her home, the thick dust with little paw prints scattered through it, a sink full of coffee cups and spoons, a dead bouquet in a dry vase. “I really have let this place go haven’t I Storm? What am I to do when it’s just you and me?” She says scratching the little gray tiger striped cat under her uplifted chin.

Her cell phone breaks the silence ringing with Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 9. She let it play on for a moment before answering. “Good morning, Stacy Smitten speaking.”

“Good Morning Miss. Smitten. Mr. Cotter wanted more copies printed up for your presentation. You know the one he reassigned to Mike Garfield. Any way I need your password so I can get to the files. It’s right on your desktop right?” Stacy’s young and anxious intern Mandy asked in a slightly wavering voice, always the kiss up hiding behind a blocky pair of red plastic glasses, but full of potential, and Stacy’s favorite.

“You always sound like you think you’re in trouble Mandy, try calming down now and then would you. Yes on the desk top you cannot miss it, and the password, it’s ‘come home soon’, every other letter in caps starting with the first letter. I feel like I haven’t been home in ages, is there anything else?” She said sounding only a little aggravated, after all she had given the girl this information several times before she left the office for her week off.

“Right Miss. Smitten, sorry, I know I um… sorry. If I can ask ma’am… has there been any word yet?” The girl asked, more timidly than usual.

“No, nothing yet, but I know he is out there, he has to be. Thank you for asking Mandy, good bye.” she hung up her cell phone without waiting for the girl to respond. “She meant well at least.”

She took a long deep swallow of her coffee, taking in the quiet morning again. “Nothing like that first cup of coffee in the morning.”

She looked out the cloudy window once again hoping to see the rain clouds broken and the sun shining bright, but beyond the dust-covered glass all she found was a wall of water. “Now what am I to do? Cleaning really doesn’t interest me, there’s no point when no one will be coming over. I’m talking to myself again. Let’s just say I was talking to you stormy, that sounds better.” She says giving the cat a little scratch between the ears.

“Maybe a little T.V. will help fill the quiet. Some day Max will fill that quiet with the pitter-patter of my grandchildren’s feet. He will make such a wonderful father and husband one day.” She said to the loudly purring bundle of fur as she pet her, flipping through the channels with her free hand. Disappointed she shut the T.V. off, and drank some more of her coffee.

A nock on the door made her jump, “Now who is could that possibly be?” She walked to the door slowly and peered out the tiny window, only the top of a soaked army green hat, and a wet pink cheek visible through the small glass pain.

Her heart jumping she says “Max.”

Taking a deep breath, she wipes a single tear from her cheek, and opens the door slowly.

Standing in the pouring rain she sees three somber faced youths, fully dressed in all there army finery, the one in front holding a folded American flag. Her heart drops like a stone to the bottom of her stomach, slowly she sinks to the floor, as she whispers “No”. Her tears flow and everything fades away, but the rain keeps falling as she sits alone.

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Art of the day 2/12/12 : Art and Fire

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Man has had a long and deep seeded fascination with fire. Fire changed the course of human history. The ability to control fire was a dramatic change in the habits of early humans.

Making fire to generate heat and light made it possible for people to cook food, increasing the variety and availability of nutrients. Fire has also been used for centuries as a method of torture and execution, as evidenced by death by burning as well as torture devices such as the iron boot, which could be filled with water, oil, or even lead and then heated over an open fire to the agony of the wearer. There are numerous modern applications of fire. In its broadest sense, fire is used by nearly every human being on earth in a controlled setting every day. Users of internal combustion vehicles employ fire every time they drive. Thermal power stations provide electricity for a large percentage of humanity. Gas burning stoves use fire to cook our food, camp fires to keep use worm, lighters, matches, fire works, weapons. Fire is a part of our every day lives, in both a creative and destructive manner.

The use of fire in warfare has a long history. Fire was the basis of all early thermal weapons. Homer detailed the use of fire by Greek commandos who hid in a wooden horse to burn Troy during the Trojan war. Later the Byzantine fleet used Greek fire to attack ships and men. In the First World War, the first modern flamethrowers were used by infantry, and were successfully mounted on armoured vehicles in the Second World War. In the latter war, incendiary bombs were used by Axis and Allies alike, notably on Tokyo, Rotterdam, London, Hamburg and, notoriously, at Dresden, in the latter two cases firestorms were deliberately caused in which a ring of fire surrounding each city.

There are people so obsessed with fire they will set places aflame just to watch them burn, arsonist. Now I have always loved fire, but not so much I would burn down my own home. But one of my favorite parts of camping is siting under the stars around a camp fire, watching both the sky and the wood in front of be burn. Siting there watching the flames dance and jump, twist, rise and fall, its a beautiful thing to know something so magical can be so helpful yet destructive. Its all in the person who is using it. In my novel in progress I have mutants who all have different powers, my main character’s main power is control and creation of fire, her other miner power is energy signature recognition.

Fire can be a very beautiful thing capturing the imagination of man, and that is why today I have chosen fire for my art of the day. Feel free to add anything I may have missed. Most of my information for this post came from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire

Now for art and fire. I worn you I found 20 peaces of art I really liked and felt where write for this post.

Rewrite of prologue for Helix

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As a new writer I value the input of other writers new and experienced, readers as well. This is the rewrite for my prologue, I am very proud of it. Thank you for taking the time to read my work!

“Mr. President, can I have a moment of your time?” Mrs. Pickett knows he wont listen, but she has to try one last time.

“Yes, of course. Give me five minutes gentlemen,” the president says to those near him. “I will meat you in my office.”

The President is very busy these days. Planing a war, making sure as many people as passable are safe deep under the earth’s surface, all while keeping the peace would take a lot out of any man. He would have little time for his family if they where still home, he barley eats any more, five minutes is a lot to ask of him.

Grace, this isn’t the best time, the Secretary of Defense is waiting in my office. You are supposed to be in the Washington colony bye now.”

“I know, that’s why we are here, this office has bin empty for months. I had to come and say good bye, I had to…..”

Tears are starting to well in her eyes, her words stop short. He takes a handkerchief from his breast pocket dabbing at the tears gently.

“I know, I’m going to miss you too. I can’t go with you, no matter how many times you ask. My place is here. Our country needs me. I love you grace, but I can’t go.”

Fighting back tears of his own, trying to be strong for her sake, he holds her close and kisses her tenderly. They melt into each other, unwilling to let go, wanting this moment to last for ever.

“If you stay you could die, I don’t wont to live in a world without you. If we don’t win the war, I’ll never see you again. I’ll stay here with you. I’ll die, I don’t care as long as we are together!” She realizes she has raised her voice to much. Regaining her composure, she takes a deep breath.

“Don’t worry about me, Grace, I’ll be fine. We will win the war, and then we can be together again. Just give us some time.”

He lies to her knowing The united stats is out matched. He will go down fighting. “If that’s true, why can’t I stay with you?” She knows her makeup is running, she can’t hold the tears back any longer.

“Grace look at me.” He grabs her chin, gently turning her head to face him. “You know I love you, that is why you can’t stay. Put my mind at ease Grace and get into the Washington colony before the doors close. With you there safe I can concentrate on my job, and when it is all over you can come back to me.”

“I will go my love, just know I leave my hart with you.”

They kiss, a long and passionate kiss, reluctant to let go of one another. He gives her his monogrammed handkerchief to whip the tears from her eyes.

“Hold onto it Grace, you can give it back when I see you again.”

Kissing him one more time, she straitens her jacket, smooths her hair,  goes to the door. She stops for just a moment with her hand on the nob, but she knows she has to go. If she hesitates any longer, she will stay. She needs to make it to the colony in time.   He stands in the hallway watching her leave, his hart pulling at him to fallow her. He knows he will never see her again, or his wife and kids, but it is his duty to stay and fight, to die like a true soldier.

*        *       *       *       *       *      *

Jim, I miss the kids.” she is crying, it seems like she is always crying.

“I know Nora, I do to. But they’re safe with your sister in the colony, we are lucky they got in.”

Jim holds her as they watch the news. They always watch the news about the war. Some call it World War III.

“Things are worse Jim, I’m afraid we wont see them again.”

“Maybe not, but it is better for them with Grace. With her we know they will live and have families of there own. If they had stayed with us,  they wouldn’t be safe.”

“I know, I herd what the President said. What if he is wrong, what happens then?”

she starts to sob quietly, without control. She wants  her babies home, her life back the way it was before the war, her family hole.

“Then they come home and we can be a family again. You should be happier Nora, they are safe, if the President is right our children live.”

“And if we die Jim, how is that fare? We won’t be there for them, watch them grow.”

“Its not fair, Nora. There wasn’t room for us, we are lucky they let your sister take the kids.”

Nora stands and walks to the window, rubbing her locket between her fingers. She opens it to look at the photo of her children. Closing her eyes she can see her daughter dancing and singing into a brush in her room upstairs, her son playing baseball with his father in the back yard.

On the TV a man says, “The President gave no comment today when asked about a possible nuclear retaliation after….”

Jim shuts the TV off. The ground and walls start to quiver, then shake violently.

“Jim, you have to come see this. There’s bin an explosion.”

Jim never made it to his wife’s side. He didn’t see the smoke rise high into the air in the shape of a massive mushroom. Never saw the gray smoke and fire glowing red, orange, and yellow. He didn’t see buildings falling as the shock wave hit them, ruble flying as fires ignited. Jim can hear screams all around him, he can hear Nora only feet away, loudest of all are his own screams before everything gets quiet, dark, and goes blank.

Jim and Nora are the lucky one’s, it was over quickly for them. People further away survive long enough to know what’s happened. Further still, they live to feel their insides die. To get violently sick, maybe grow tumors, their skin pealing off burned and charred. But still they die.   The unlucky live for some time, their bodies change horribly before dying. A few do live, the ones in extremely remote arias. What is to become of them is hard to tell. Radiation seeps deep into the ground, nuclear winter consumes the planet, the earths future bleak and uncertain.