Best Laid Plans: Day 26 – A Story A Day

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Today, I decided to use a prompt from Writers Digest for the Story A Day challenge. Here it is:

Your are going on a blind date for Valentine’s Day. In case the date is a dud, you have your best friend on standby. Your friend is to call you at 9:30 on the dot. If the date is going well, you answer and use the phrase “I already took care of that.” If it’s not, you answer and claim your friend has an emergency. The date is going well and your friend calls at 9:30 as planned—only problem is, the friend calls with a real emergency. What is it and what do you do?


“Keep it together. You’ve got this.”

The words had little effect on the nerves dancing in my belly, but a quick glance at my reflection and I had it under control. I’d spent the afternoon in the best salon in town, where I had been primped and polished to within an inch of my life. The results were astonishing. I looked like I used to look; before life had dragged me through the shit heap and I’d left my confidence behind with my ex.

This was my first date in twelve months, and considering it was a blind date, my anxiety levels were through the roof. I knew only that his name was Darren, and he would be carrying a yellow rose – his idea, not mine.

Of course I had an escape route planned. If the date went south, all I had to do was declare an emergency when my friend called at 9pm, and hightail it out of there. The nerves fluttered again when I thought about Chris; a good friend, but somewhat of a flake. No, that wasn’t fair. He’d been my rock during the past year, but he’d never been on time for anything in his life; starting, as his mother enjoys pointing out, with his entry into the world.

Brushing thoughts of Chris aside, I left the restroom and searched the elegant restaurant. In truth I’d been killing time because, unlike my friend, I’m habitually early.

I spotted the tall, smartly dressed stranger immediately, and nerves shot up into my throat when I saw the rose. This was it. It was show time.

“April. How lovely to see you again,” he said, and his face lit with genuine pleasure.

I’m not going to lie, for a split second words failed me. My mind threw an absolute blank. That was until he smiled and I sucked in a breath. I’d recognise that smile anywhere.

“Darren Johnson.” The words sounded like an accusation.

In response he hit me with a grin. I remembered that too. My blind date wasn’t a stranger at all. He was the boy I lost my heart to when I was twelve; the boy who had moved to another country just before graduation and killed my dreams. Well, okay, that was a little dramatic, but I liked him a lot. And I mean wedding bells, four children and a mortgage kind of feeling.

“I had a huge crush on you in high school,” he was saying, and my eyes grew wide.

Oblivious to my thoughts, he touched a hand to my elbow and guided me towards our table. All the while he complimented me on my dress, and I smiled and nodded like a crazy person.

Thankfully, I got my act together and we fell into easy conversation over our meal. I felt so relaxed I actually jumped in surprise when my phone rang. For a moment I considered ignoring it, but then I remembered I’d been expecting the call and snatched it up with an apologetic smile.

“How’s it going, babe?” Chris said in my ear.

I blinked, unsure of how to respond. After a few seconds of silence, I gave him the code we’d agreed on. In fairness I was completely distracted by the knowing twinkle in Darren’s eyes. “I already took care of that.”

“Really?”

This time I frowned. Chris had gone off script. He was supposed to hang up, be pleased, something. “Okay, great,” I said, smiling lamely. “I’ll talk to you soon.”

“You sound weird.”

I put my hand over the phone, feeling anger and embarrassment vying for first place. “Will you excuse me for a minute?” When I got a nod from Darren, his eyes creased in amusement, I stood up and walked back toward the restroom. “Chris, what’s going on?”

“That’s what I want to know. You sound like you’re having fun.” I didn’t miss the petulance in his tone.

“Isn’t that the point? You’re supposed to be happy.” I glanced over my shoulder, and when I caught sight of Darren I forgot I was angry with Chris. “You’ll never guess who my date is.” At his silence I pressed on. “Darren Johnson.” The silence went on so long I thought I’d been disconnected. “Chris?”

“There’s been an emergency and I need you,” he blurted.

“That’s very funny. Stop raining on my parade and let me get back to my date.”

“April. I don’t want you to…I mean…I need you to come home.”

Completely losing my patience, and aware I had an audience, I dashed around the corner away from prying eyes. “Chris, what the hell has gotten into you?”

This time the silence grated along my nerves, and I was about to disconnect when he spoke. “April, I…I love you.”

“I love you too, you goof.”

“No. I mean, I love you.”

The phone dropped to the floor with a resounding thwack.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Witch in Training: Day 25 – A Story A Day

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Today, I decided to use a prompt from Writers Digest for the Story A Day challenge. Here it is:

You wake up one morning and find that you aren’t in your bed; you aren’t even in your room. You’re in the middle of a giant maze. A sign is hanging from the ivy: “You have one hour. Don’t touch the walls.” Finish the scene.

It probably reads better if you’re familiar with my character, Maddison Wood. She’s a freelance hunter, and now a Watcher. She’s also a witch (sort of). I hope you enjoy.


It took her a second, okay more like thirsty seconds, to realise she was no longer in her bed. There was a reason Maddison didn’t open her eyes during that time. She assumed she was back in the attic; cold and alone on the hard, wooden floor. When she realised her mistake, she didn’t berate herself for the poor reaction time – Riley’s special brew could be blamed for that. She knew better than to accept a drinking challenge from a wolf. Riley’s metabolism burned off the nasty quicker than he could drink it.

So when she at last opened her eyes and realised she was in trouble, she settled on being pissed. It took her less than 30 seconds to understand she’d been hijacked; dumped into someone’s idea of a sick game. And then she was really pissed.

Maddison’s gaze roamed the maze. Its thick walls, designed to intimidate and subdue, were covered in something akin to ivy. And that’s when she saw them, neatly formed letters in the stone.

You have an hour.
Don’t touch the walls.

She growled, a sound Riley would appreciate, and slammed her palm against the stone in simple defiance.

The maze dropped away and Maddison found herself staring into the cold, laughing eyes of Orion Reece.

“This is a new form of torture, even for you,” she said, and watched the gold ring around his iris flare.

His voice was barely controlled when he spoke. “You get one pass, and you just used it. Do not touch the walls again.”

Maddison blinked, startled when she found herself back in the maze. “What’s this about, you son of a bitch?” She shouted it at the wall, wishing she could pound out her frustration with her fist.

In response she heard the unmistakable sound of ticking. It echoed around her, filling her mind until she wanted to howl. But she would never give Orion the satisfaction, so she began to walk; following the path he had forced her to take. She didn’t hurry, though the tick, tick, ticking of the clock taunted her.

Four wrong turns later and the sound changed; its beat grew faster, more urgent. Her time was running out, and she knew better than to disappoint a god. But she didn’t run. Instead she stopped walking, gathered her thoughts and considered her options.

All her attempts at magic had failed, which didn’t surprise her. Orion didn’t play fair. Yet she knew there was a way to beat the maze because, despite the fact he was a total ass, Orion wanted her to win.

On that thought, her gaze shifted to the creeping plant. When she took a step closer, she felt the unmistakable hum of power and knew it was the key.

Think, Maddy. Think.

She began to chant, forming a connection on pure impulse. Her powers at controlling nature were sporadic at best, but they were growing stronger.

“Shit.”

Maddison looked down at the pile of ash on the ground. She’d killed the damn thing. In disgust, she kicked at the closest patch, then almost laughed when the scattered remains reformed in a straight line.

Not a brick road, but it’ll do.

She did run then; eyes on the ground and attention on the trail she’d created by accident. Her feet pounded the earth, the ticking coming loud and fast, drowning out the pulse in her ears.

The moment she reached the elegant archway leading out of the maze, Orion stepped into her path. “Next time,” he said, in a bored tone. “Don’t kill the messenger.”

Maddison almost laughed at the poorly disguised joke. She didn’t. That would be encouraging him, and she’d had enough of his games. “What was this about?”

“You need to channel your earth power and learn to use it.” He paused. “Wisely.” She was about to respond when he ploughed on. “And you need to contain your anger. You behaved carelessly.”

She didn’t tell him about the special brew, though he could use a little happy juice himself. “That doesn’t really answer the question.”

Orion narrowed his eyes, but the chill had left them. “Consider yourself in training. This was your first test, and you almost failed it.”

With that, he clicked his finger and Maddison was back in her room at Merc Hall. She groaned, thumping her head against the soft pillow. She was being plagued by a god, and she had absolutely no idea why.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Awakening #BlogBattle Writing Challenge

Organised by Rachael Ritchey - http://www.rachaelritchey.com
Organised by Rachael Ritchey – http://www.rachaelritchey.com

#BlogBattle is a weekly writing challenge organised by Rachael Ritchey. You can find more information about it here. It’s a fun battle, and a supportive group – a great place to hang out! The theme this week is ‘ORCHID’

I feel the need to add a note to this story, mainly because I have no idea where I’m going with it! But that’s the fun in Rachael’s challenges – the freedom of going with the flow. You’ll be glad to know it doesn’t end on a cliff hanger, as such, but it will probably continue. So, although it feels strangely like a game of Balderdash, I hope you enjoy!


Charles stumbled along the overgrown path, his eyes burning with unshed tears. The final part of his journey was always the hardest, and this time was no different. He kept his head down and his weight forward, using the momentum to keep his legs moving. They were numb, all but useless, and still he pushed on.

His head came up the moment the trees began to thin. He was close now. He could see the well; a glint from stones he had placed there himself.

At the thought of what lay ahead, Charles felt his hand spasm. He almost crushed the token in his sweaty palm; the most precious of gifts. He didn’t look down, his fear was too great. The responsibility of his task weighed heavily in his heart. It was his turn now. His turn to honour his family in a tradition which spanned thousands of years. Too many to count.

For centuries his people had remained dormant, their power hidden beneath the earth; waiting for their next rebirth. Charles had no idea how long they were required, but a war was coming, so they could sleep no longer. He was their protector, like his father before him, and soon he would be reunited with his ancestors.

Eventually he would pass the mantle to his own children, and in doing so he would sleep. It was not their destiny to remain among the living. They had not roamed freely in this realm since the dawning of time. They existed in another place, and revealed themselves only when there was no other choice.

Charles fell to his knees beside the well, his fisted hand hovering above the opening. For one brief moment his hand remained locked in place, and then, slowly, it opened. He watched in awe as the seed pod slid from his palm, the unearthly glow illuminating the land even as it travelled down the well.

The earth began to shake, the vibration rattling Charles’ bones. But he wasn’t afraid. He was ready for it. Acting quickly now, he withdrew a dagger and scored a line across his palm. His hand curled around the wound and squeezed tight, the small droplets of blood falling into the light and sealing the ritual.

He fell backwards, scrambling to safety when the ground began to break apart. Charles thought he could hear the rumbling from every corner of the earth; he could certainly map out the connections in his mind. The underground system was vast, a system which began with a million seeds.

Charles tried to imagine that first gift, the power it contained. The plant was not meant to survive in this realm and yet, because it did, his people were granted the blessing of travelling through the ages.

It was impossible, though he knew there were thousands of species which descended from the Loamirar. Even bereft of power, the seeds produced spectacular results. One day he would glimpse the beauty of the Loamirar, and he would rejoice in the sight. Until then he would look upon the orchid, and remember where he came from.

Not that he needed a reminder. His people were emerging, and the beauty of it made his eyes overflow. They were tears of joy, of gratitude. He was witnessing an awakening.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Mel’s Midweek Writing Menagerie #15

Mel's Midweek Writing Menagerie

Welcome to my weekly writing prompt series. The rules of the challenge are simple. I’ve provided two options below, and there’s a handy link-up button at the end of the post, so you can upload your contribution and share it with others. If you prefer to use the pingback method, I’ll check out each link I receive. Here is the hashtag, should you wish to use it – #MelsWritingMenagerie.

Before I get to the prompts, I’d like to share with you an entry from last week by Louise Findlay. To read the full, original post, click on the title.

The Epic Struggle to Grow a Plant (RED Fanfiction) by Louise Findlay.

“Frank, what is so urgent and why do you have a bonsai plant?” I asked.

I was his next door neighbour but we saw each other about once a week. I did happen to take up quite a few contracts that my sister passed my way though so I wasn’t home a lot. How Frank managed the whole domestic living thing I don’t know. I couldn’t survive in my house with nothing to do all day. Luckily I still retained a membership to the Contract Killers Society. Contract Killers Weekly was such a great magazine. I could brush up on my technique and it relieved boredom.

“I need some gardening tips” he said.

“Gardening tips? Since when were you a gardener? How am I supposed to know anything about plants?” I said in disbelief.


All entries are shared over at Featured Fiction.

So, on to the next set of prompts. Grab the badge and write a post based on either of the following options:

Options 1: Sentence Starter –

Dawn approaches, but the night still reigns. (Prompt provided by Louise.)

The sentence can be used anywhere in the story. The maximum word count is 1,000 words. The genre can be any of your choosing; either factual or fiction based. You may use art to interpret the sentence, or poetry if you wish.

Option 2: Fanfiction –

Write a death scene involving your favourite characters from television, film or literature.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Dear Jinny (Day 16) A Story A Day

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It’s another break from Missing today. Time got away from me, so I decided on a piece of flash fiction following the prompt for today, which is as follows.

StoryADay September 2015 – Prompt: The Widower (They had been married sixty years. She always did the cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, and cleaning around the house. He has just returned home after the funeral and finds himself alone to figure it all out for himself.)


Dear Jinny

The house is as empty as my heart without you. It’s cold right now, but I don’t have the energy to work the thermostat. I’m keeping the place tidy, or that is, our home is pretty much as you left it. Not a thing out of place; nothing touched by my hand or yours.

The fridge is full of offerings from our well-meaning neighbours. I do regret that it’s going to waste, mainly because I know how you feel about that sort of thing. But worry not, my dear, sweet Jinny. It won’t be long now. I haven’t spent more than three days without you in over sixty years. This two weeks has been the longest stretch. Though, truth be told, I’ve had my memories to keep me company. I see you every time I close my eyes, and that’s pretty much all I’ve been doing for the last day or so.

The ache that began in my soul is bone deep now. But this pain I’m feeling, it’s nothing compared to the thought of living without you.

Forgive me, sweetheart. I know you’re probably angry with me right now. I can hear you, the echo of your gentle warnings; to get up from this chair; to eat; to drink; to function. Deep down you know I can’t.

It’s a good thing I’m still in my Sunday best, the suit you like to call my dating threads. I wore it when I said goodbye, and I’ll be wearing it when you come for me, my love.

Hurry. It’s cold here without you.

B.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Closing the Distance #BlogBattle Writing Challenge

Organised by Rachael Ritchey - http://www.rachaelritchey.com
Organised by Rachael Ritchey – http://www.rachaelritchey.com

#BlogBattle is a weekly writing challenge organised by Rachael Ritchey. You can find more information about it here. It’s a fun battle, and a supportive group – a great place to hang out! The theme this week is ‘DISTANCE’

Just a quick note before I begin. For those who’ve been following along with my story a day, I’m taking a break from Missing, but the story will return tomorrow.

Barry looked down into Phoebe’s face and felt a wave of longing. It was sweet agony to see her again, even if it was merely a dream. He knew it to be a dream because the lucidity of it was unmistakable. He also knew because had had been sharing secret conversations with her for months.

For a man with an eidetic memory, he needed an outlet and, for Barry, that outlet was to dream. He didn’t understand it, and he no longer questioned it. His mind replayed and stored an endless stream of information so, when he slept, he was able to process and analyse his reaction to the day’s events. It was a coping strategy, the reason he could start afresh in the morning without being weighed down by the past.

Phoebe started appearing in his dreams the day she left. Now their conversations were a habit, a part of his conscience with which he could interact.

With a jolt of recognition, Barry felt the change to his psyche which signalled the onset of a different dream. He waited for Phoebe’s face to disappear, for the scene to change. Something he could never control. But the scene didn’t change, not completely.

He stared into Phoebe’s eyes and saw the shadow of pain and fear at the same moment his hands settled around her throat. Her face wavered when his mind balked at the concept of hurting her. Except he wasn’t the one hurting her. He was someone else now, and if his history was any indication, this was a premonition.

“No!” Barry threw himself from the dream, unable to watch as the thick, meaty hands of her attacker began to squeeze. In the vision, he had been the attacker, and the idea of it sent him into a blind panic.

He barely gave himself a minute to control the frantic beating of his heart before he was reaching for the phone and dialling. The long distance ring tone grated along frayed nerves.

Pick up. Pick up.

She normally answered on the fourth of fifth ring. He counted them in his head; his anxiety growing with each separate sound; seven, eight, nine.

“Barry?”

Everything stilled inside him when he heard her voice. It took a moment to find his. “Yeah, it’s me.” He could understand her confusion, now that he was thinking clearly. In his panic he hadn’t considered the time, in fact, he hadn’t thought about the distance at all.

“What is it? Has something happened?”

“No, nothing happened. Can’t I get the urge to ring you without there being a national emergency?”

“Not when you sound like a cat on a hot tin roof.” There was a beat or two of silence. “And your urges don’t usually strike at three in the morning.”

“Who’s to say which urges strike at this hour?”

She laughed, a husky sound that belonged in the bedroom. “I walked right into that one. I’ve missed you, Irish.”

I missed you too.

“Yeah, it’s been a while.”

“Almost twelve months.”

“Um hm.”

The chuckle made him smile. “Come on, you know you want to say it.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“And I have the patience of a saint. Just do it…ball park figure.”

He snorted at that, relaxing into the game. “Forty-three weeks, fifteen hours, nine minutes and…twenty-two seconds.”

Phoebe chuckled. “Ah, but I’m in a different time zone-”

“Do you really want me to talk about time and relativity?”

“Honey, I could listen to that voice all day long, but I’m between jobs so you’re going to have to cut to the chase.” It disarmed him.

“I had a dream.”

“You’ll have to be more specific.” She lowered her voice. “Was I in this dream?”

Her face flashed into his mind, her bulging, startled eyes. “You could say that.”

“Then tell me.”

He did, though his throat wanted to swallow the words. When he was through, he had to ride the long and agonising silence that followed.

“I’m fine, Barry. I get why you called, but I’m okay.” More silence, silence he knew he was supposed to fill. “Listen to me. I’ll be home in two weeks and you can see for yourself.”

“You don’t understand, Phoebe. I have the image in my head, and it felt like me. For a second it felt like me.” He blew out a breath. “I know they weren’t my hands, but-”

“You think it’s a future event, and that someone wants to hurt me.” Her voice held no judgement.

“I don’t know. I joined the scene a little late and I jumped straight back out again.”

“Okay, how about this. I promise I’ll be careful and stay away from men with suspicious looking hands.”

“It’s not funny.”

“No, it’s not, and I’m sorry it freaked you out. I know you, Irish and once you’ve analysed things you’ll figure it out.”

Barry nodded, though she couldn’t see him. “You’re right. I just needed to hear your voice, that’s all.”

“Then I’ll call when I get home and we’ll figure it out together. Get some sleep. I’m fine, I promise.”

He relaxed. “I’ll talk to you soon, Red.”

That made her laugh, as he’d known it would. He could hear the indecision in her voice. She wouldn’t go until he told her it was okay.

“You bet.”

Barry stared at the ceiling when she disconnected, concentrating on the constellation above his head. It was another coping strategy, a distraction. He wasn’t ready to go back into the dream. Not yet.

Only three-hundred and thirty six hours to go. Give or take.

He smiled as he threw back the covers and jumped out of bed. It was time to find another distraction, because he certainly didn’t want to sleep.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Mel’s Midweek Writing Menagerie #14

Mel's Midweek Writing MenagerieWelcome to my weekly writing prompt series. The rules of the challenge are simple. I’ve provided two options below, and there’s a handy link-up button at the end of the post, so you can upload your contribution and share it with others. If you prefer to use the pingback method, I’ll check out each link I receive. Here is the hashtag, should you wish to use it – #MelsWritingMenagerie.

Before I get to the prompts, I’d like to share with you an entry from last week by R. Todd. To read the full, original post, click on the title.

Voices by R. Todd

He paced the antechamber; tormented by the echoes of all who had come before him. Echoes of voices that warned him to get out, and get out now. His brow furrowed as he paced, rubbing his hands together, knowing that he should listen to the voices, but knowing full well, if it weren’t him that stopped this evil, then who would. No, resolution was not his strong point, but her had to make the stand. For them.

The sad part is, a lot of people would have thought of his gift as something special. After all, it’s not everyone that can hear the dead, what mysteries they held, what secrets they could reveal. Yes, many would think that he was lucky. Many would be wrong.


All entries are shared over at Featured Fiction.

So, on to the next set of prompts. Grab the badge and write a post based on either of the following options:

Option 1: Sentence Starter –

“Put your hands right there, and don’t move them until I tell you to.”

The sentence (dialogue) can be used anywhere in the story. The maximum word count is 1,000 words. The genre can be any of your choosing; either factual or fiction based. You may use art to interpret the sentence, or poetry if you wish.

Option 2: Fanfiction

If you could turn your favourite film into a television series, write the pilot episode or a story based on the pilot.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Missing – Part 10 (Day 11) A Story A Day

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Missing is part of an ongoing story, which I aim to turn into a novella – a prequel to Brothers in Arms (Book 3 of the Morgan and Fairchild Series). I’m taking part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge and, where possible, I try to incorporate the daily prompts. As Missing is a continued tale, it’s not strictly a story a day. It’s more a story within a story. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words.

Prompt: Sept 11th – Friday Favourites (A person just starting out in their field takes a prestigious, entry-level position in a big city, but the result is not as perfect or exciting as they imagined.) I haven’t used the prompt today (I failed to weave it in).

Recap: Justin Chambers, part of the team at Morgan & Fairchild, is approached by a friend who needs a favour. Justin accepts the missing person case, and agrees to look into it in his own time. Elsewhere in the story, Holly awakes in an unfamiliar room with no memory of how she got there. She soon discovers she is being held in an abandoned airfield, and her life is in danger.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Holly felt her freedom seeping away like sand in an hourglass. The relentless clock in her mind warred with the frantic drumming of her heart. She tried to remain calm, to stay focused, but with each passing minute she felt the impending danger like a touch across her sweat-dampened skin.

‘You have to be as quiet as a mouse, and as cunning as a tiger.’ Her brother’s twelve year old voice echoed in her head as she dodged from behind the crate.

Her smile was bitter sweet. Holly missed her brother every minute of every day, but she felt oddly close to him as she navigated the large hanger, trying not to draw attention to herself.

The memories were unavoidable, they always hit her hard when she thought of him, remembered finding him in the filthy hovel which had been his final resting place. Lucas had been four years her senior; he had protected her, made her existence bearable. She had lost him because, like their mother, he had been unable to break free of his addiction. That addiction had killed him, and stolen what was left of her childhood.

Shaking the thoughts away, Holly saw an opportunity and took it. At that moment nobody was guarding the door, so she slipped out and plastered herself to the side of the hanger; heart pounding.

She didn’t have a plan, though she had played out the fantasy of finding keys in one of those vehicles. It was a game she used to play with Lucas. There were times growing up when they had been so hungry they could barely function, so they had escaped inside her brother’s imagination. He had told her stories, described the food they would eat so eloquently she could almost taste it on her tongue.

Holly clung to those stories now as she crept along the side of the hanger and searched her surroundings. She saw nothing but wasteland, a wide open space which gave her little to no cover.

In her mind she saw herself running, running fast and sure across the ground until she came to a road. The fantasy vanished the moment a guard stepped around the corner and spotted her. Instinctively, she turned to run. But he was fast and he caught her with ease, squeezing her arms and dragging her back toward the door.

She wanted to scream, to fight, and to cling to what little hope she had left. Instead she allowed him to drag her back inside the hateful building.

Holly barely managed to hold back a gasp when she spotted her personal guard stomping toward them. His eyes were cold and dark, and they burned with anger. She had hurt him, humiliated him by catching him unaware. He was about to make her pay.

She stood her ground, gritting her teeth as he raised a large hand in the air; his intention clear.

The slap, when it came, sent a shock of pain across her face. It burned so hot her eyes began to water. It was less of a shock the second time, but it didn’t hurt any less.

Holly relaxed her jaw and dropped her eyes. She had to fight the compulsion to spit in his face, not because she feared what he might do to her, but she wasn’t quite ready to show her true strength. They would never break her, she would continue to fight until she had no fight left. If they believed her escape had been a fluke, that she had now learned her lesson, she would allow them to believe it. Even as she plotted and waited for another opening.

So she presented herself as a weak creature, no longer a threat. She didn’t say a word, and didn’t protest or even look up when they led her back to her box.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Missing – Part 9 (Day 10) A Story A Day

2015stadabadgesept440x220TwitterInlineI’m taking part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge. The main reason being to explore my characters from the Morgan and Fairchild Series. I will endeavour to incorporate the daily prompts, though, as it’s a continued tale, it’s not strictly a story a day. It’s more a story within a story. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words.

Prompt: Sept 10th – The Tunnel (Your main character is preparing to enter a tunnel).

Recap: Justin Chambers, part of the team at Morgan & Fairchild, is approached by a friend who needs a favour. Justin accepts the missing person case, and agrees to look into it in his own time. Elsewhere in the story, Holly awakes in an unfamiliar room with no memory of how she got there. She soon discovers she is being held in an abandoned airfield, and her life is in danger.

Justin felt a buzz of excitement as he prepared to enter the tunnel. He knew what he would find; lights, cameras, chaos. Gray’s Films were shooting a scene from their latest project within the London Underground, and Justin had volunteered to form part of the security team.

He felt a familiar rush of air, the clickety-clack of an approaching train, and was met by a hushed silence. Not what he had expected.

Justin took up his position and scanned the crew. He recognised everyone on the platform; it was part of the job. He watched silently, patiently and listed to the chatter in his earpiece.

“I’m sorry to hear about your friend.”

He tensed at the sound of Kelvin Fairchild’s voice. The tone was smooth and even; expertly controlled, and Justin knew he should be worried. Not because Kelvin was his boss, but because he sounded hurt. It was Justin’s first day back after an enforced leave of absence, and he hadn’t seen Kelvin in almost a week.

“Thanks, Kel.”

He waited out the silence, wondering just how mad Kelvin was. The man had more control than JJ, which was saying something, and he made Justin sweat for several long minutes.

“Are you ready to share the load now?” Kelvin asked.

By load Justin knew he was referring to the enquiries Justin had made about the missing children. “I’ve had help…sort of.”

“Why didn’t you come to us with this, Justin? And I don’t mean giving the others bits and pieces of the puzzle. I mean, if you thought this was a genuine case, why didn’t you bring it to the table?”

Justin shrugged. “I wasn’t completely convinced, not at first.”

“But you are now?”

“I am now.”

The confirmation hung in the air, as thick and heavy as the production lights. This time, Kelvin didn’t keep him waiting.

“I’ve put it on the agenda for the team briefing, and I intend to assign Tommy to work with you.” Tommy was the perfect member of the team when it came to investigation and surveillance work. “But know this, Justin,” Kelvin said, and his voice had taken on a hard edge. “First and foremost we’re a family, and we look out for one another. Don’t forget it again.”

Justin nodded once, and Kelvin walked away without saying another word. He knew Kelvin wouldn’t hold a grudge, and the matter would be forgotten by the time they spoke again. But Justin felt a wave of guilt all the same.

Kelvin was right, they were family, and the guy knew first-hand what it was like to lose a member of his family. His cousin, Andrew Butcher, had dropped off the grid four years ago. The pair were raised as brothers and the loss had hit Kelvin hard. JJ and Ellen grieved with him, being Andrew’s closest friends.

Two months ago Andrew had re-emerged. He was trying to make amends, but Justin knew he had a long way to go before Kelvin forgave him.

He shook his head and pushed aside his wandering thoughts. With the whole team backing him he couldn’t fail and, with that thought, he concentrated on the job at hand.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Missing – Part 8 (Day 9) A Story A Day

2015stadabadgesept440x220TwitterInlineI’m taking part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge. The main reason being to explore my characters from the Morgan and Fairchild Series. I will endeavour to incorporate the daily prompts, though, as it’s a continued tale, it’s not strictly a story a day. It’s more a story within a story. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words.

Prompt: Sept 9th – Write a story based on Gabriel Fauré’s “Pavane.”

Recap: Justin Chambers, part of the team at Morgan & Fairchild, is approached by a friend who needs a favour. Justin accepts the missing person case, and agrees to look into it in his own time.

Justin listened to the steady rhythm of Paul’s heart monitor. There were other sounds, accompaniments which belonged to the precise and orchestrated movements of the nursing staff. Beneath that he detected the hushed tones of relatives walking to and from the ward, and the hiss and buzz of machines working their magic.

The atmosphere was subdued, a quiet, painful melody that gave Justin an appreciation of the intricate dance of those around him.

He rubbed his hands over his face, trying to rid himself of the melancholy. His mind often drifted to the architecture of life; those inner workings he enjoyed to study and dissect. It was a coping strategy, and the hospital was a complicated system he couldn’t help but admire.

“Hi.”

Justin jumped to his feet, jolted by the welcome sound of Paul’s voice. “Hey, buddy. You gave us quite a fright.”

“I’m sorry.” Paul swallowed, and his eyes flickered shut. “Olly’s dead.”

“What?”

Paul’s eyes opened. They held such raw emotion Justin wanted to look away.

“I visited the shelter, just to check in… you know. I was worried about him.” He stared past Justin, and his expression became haunted. “He was hit by a car. The police…they found a card in his pocket and they…” Paul’s words trailed off.

Justin could fill in the blanks. “I’m so sorry.” He didn’t know what else to say; words seemed inadequate.

“Thanks.” He met Justin’s eyes. “I appreciate all you tried to do. It means a lot that you wanted to help.”

Justin wanted to remind him that he still had a job to do, that there were others still at risk. But it wasn’t the time. “Anything you need, Paul. I mean it.” He placed a hand on his friend’s arm. “When you get out of here, I want you to stay with me for a while.”

Paul nodded, a small smile tugging at his lips. “You always look out for me.”

“We look out for each other.” It was the absolute truth. Their lives had taken many different turns, but they had sworn to protect one another as children. Justin learned about friendship and honour long before he joined the army.

“You never give up on me.” Paul’s voice was sleepy, the words slurred.

“I’ll never give up on you.”

Or those kids.  

Justin’s instincts told him that, whatever had happened to Paul’s friend, there was a real threat out there. Someone was targeting vulnerable teenagers. It was a conviction JJ would appreciate – a man who lived by his gut.

When he detected the change in Paul’s breathing, the slow and easy rhythm of sleep, he pulled the chair closer and sat down to wait. This time his mind was quiet and, after a few minutes, he felt his own eyes begin to close. It had been a long night.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel