Fiction Friday: [The Last First Date]

Mired in the most awkward silence of my life, I regret not concocting some sort of contingency plan. I wanted to. I really did, but my friend, Michelle, talked me out of it by telling me how ridiculous I was being. It’ll be interesting to see if we’re still friends by the end of the night.

After clearing his throat, in the phlegmiest, most disgusting way, my date starts to tell me a story about the time he got struck by lightning. How had he not led with that? In just a few sentences, the question’s answered. For the love of God…how does he make getting struck by lightning sound boring? I feel bad for a second, wondering if the jolt of electricity was what zapped his personality.

Tuning him out, I think about how I should have trusted my instincts and stuck to my ‘no blind dates’ rule. Then, I start to wonder how often LoveMatch gets sued for their misleading commercials. The ones that supposedly feature actual members of their site. This date is the polar opposite of the happy, beautiful people they feature. The ones that lean in toward one another while laughing at each other’s jokes. That stare at each other with googly eyes. Blech. There will most definitely not be a moment where I use any excuse to reach over and touch him.

The only thing getting me through is constantly reminding myself that, this isn’t just my first blind date, it’ll also be my last.

Ugh, I suppose I should try and pay attention…

“…so they said I was lucky to be alive and I told them to go get struck by lightning and then tell me how lucky they feel.”

No one’s more surprised than I am when I laugh. And, despite the fact that I know he hadn’t meant to be funny, he laughs, too. Then, after taking a considerable gulp of wine, he looks directly at me for the first time all night.

Wait, what’s happening?

 Staring into his eyes, I have to admit that they’re beautiful. The nervousness they reflect is actually endearing. I catch a hint of a sparkle as his smile grows. Maybe the commercials were more accurate than I gave them credit for. Maybe it’s just been my bad attitude ruining the date.

Looks like Michelle and I can still be friends.

Then, he clears his throat again.

Nope, friendship’s over.

Fiction Friday: [The Reckoning]

Head full of fog I try to open my eyes, but it’s harder than it should be. Slowly and with full effort I finally succeed. My vision is as cloudy as my thoughts, but I am acutely aware that I am not at home.

As my eyes come into focus panic riddles my body so swiftly that I grow dizzy.

I was right, this is not my home.

In front of me is a door, but hope fades before it has a chance to flare. No knob, no handle. Not even hinges to try to unscrew. Above, below and side to side, nothing but concrete.

I’m in a concrete box.

I try to stand up. My legs are tingly and weak.

What the hell?

I gingerly shake them before attempting to rise again. Wobbly, but successful I stand and get my bearings.

Turning to face the back of the room I see a security camera in the corner, red light glowing. I stare at it wondering who is on the other side. I want to ask as much, but for the first time I realize how dry my throat is.

I swallow hard as my eyes drift over to the back wall. The fear induced gasp causes spittle to catch in my throat. A coughing fit doubles me over, hands on knees until it finally dislodges from my throat and splats onto the concrete floor.

I take a deep breath to gather my courage before looking up at the wall again.

You know what you did. Repent or die.

The words are painted across the wall. Fresh enough for beads of dark crimson to run from each letter toward the floor. My sense of smell kicks in and I choke on the metallic, coppery scent in the air.

It’s written in blood.

My brain pounds against my skull, palms grow sweaty as my body temperature skyrockets.

Backing away from the wall, the creak of the door opening stops me in my tracks. Panic sends my heart racing and I breathe so quickly I think I’m going to faint.

“Don’t turn around.”

The voice is disguised, robotic, but it is terror inducing nonetheless. I do as I’m told—solely because I am paralyzed with fear.

“You have forty-eight hours to figure out which of your sins has sent you here to your reckoning. If you succeed and repent you will be set free. If not…you will die.”

My brain goes into overdrive searching for the right words, for sins I’ve committed, a primer on how to speak, but then he is behind me and all thoughts fade away. Except one.

I don’t want to die.

Tears flow freely as I hold my breath in anticipation. That’s when I feel the pin prick of a needle sink into my neck.


An unbearable screeching pushes on my brain. My eyes shoot open and I sit up--heart racing. I look around to discover that I'm in my room. Relief sweeps over me knowing that my nightmare was just that. A nightmare.

Reaching over I hit snooze before closing my eyes and laying back down. I must have drifted off again because the alarm wakes me. I stretch my arms wide and let out a little morning roar before shutting if off and taking a moment to savor the quiet.

I open my eyes ready to start the day, but instead prickly bumps rapidly spread all over my body and my breathing grows shallow. In my periphery I can see the exaggerated rise and fall of my chest. I lay frozen staring at the red letters that stain my ceiling:

See you in 48 hours.


Fiction Friday: [Upgrade]

[This week's Fiction Friday is my submission for Scene Stealers #18. Scene Stealers is a fun writing prompt from Write to Done where they provide the first two sentences and limit your word count to 350. Enjoy!]

It was the first day of January. He decided he wanted a new ear.

No, Dax didn’t want a new ear—he deserved it. Not only that, Dr. Hexton promised him an upgrade months ago.

The last thing he deserved was to be treated as second rate while the 5th Gens were treated like gods.

He pushed the button for sub-level 12. The doors opened and he headed straight toward Hexton. The doctor didn’t notice him approaching and Dax paused a moment to marvel as the doctor worked on a tiny green chip.

“You’ve been avoiding my calls,” he finally said.

Hexton’s eyes flicked up briefly at Dax before returning his attention to the chip.

“Not avoiding, just busy.” Hexton said.

“I was supposed to have an upgrade months ago. The way I see it my time has come. New year, new ear, I’d say.”

The doctor finally lowered the chip and took a calming breath before looking up at him. Dax could hear Hexton’s heartbeat quicken.

“Look, Dax, after our last meeting orders came down…”

“If they were about reneging on promises, I don’t want to hear it.”

Hexton removed his glasses as he walked over to him and Dax could see his steely veneer softening.

“You had to know this day was coming,” he said quietly so no one else could hear. “And you know that I hate what I’m about to tell you as much as you do.”

Dax said nothing, but gave Hexton a doubtful look.

“You’re not only Gen 1, you were the first. The improvements since then have increased Auditron recording based arrests by two hundred percent. Eighty-nine percent since the introduction of the Gen 5’s. Their range is incredible and it would be impossible to upgrade you to their level without risk.” His look had grown sympathetic and Dax not only knew what he was about to say, but that he meant it. “I’m sorry.”

Dax stood in silence absorbing what he had already known. His time had come.

“Oh well,” he said glumly. “New year, new career, I guess.”


Fiction Friday: [The Night]


Remy opened her eyes and was as surprised as she was relieved that no one was standing over her.

The excitement of moving into her own place had waned over the past couple of weeks. Her nightly routine grew to consist of jumping at every little sound and feeling as though she were being watched.

Her mom insisted that she just wasn’t used to being alone. There was truth to that considering she grew up with three sisters and had roommates all through college.

Her best friend went further comparing her to an amputee—her family and roommates were her phantom limbs.

As she lay in bed Remy desperately wanted to believe they were right. That she was being paranoid and just needed to adjust to the newness of it all.

Keep your eyes closed and breathe, she told herself. Just breathe.

As her eyelids kissed, she committed herself to focusing on her breathing. Deep inhales and exhales softened her muscles and slowed her heartbeat. Her mind quieted and grew less muddled.

It was working.

Her body was enveloped in a lightness that made her feel as if she were floating. Her fearful thoughts became too weak to push through her drowsiness. She was on a cloud drifting blissfully toward sleep.


A faint scraping sound overhead instinctively threw her into panic mode and her eyes flew open before she could stop herself.

Goosebumps riddled her body as the hairs stood on end. Her breathing grew shallow and her heart pounded so violently against her rib cage that the pulse radiated all the way down to her toes. The pulsing rushed blood to her ears drowning her in white noise.

Frozen in terror, she couldn’t tear her eyes away.

Shafts of light rained down from two small holes in the ceiling.

From the attic.

She felt a tear escape her eye and roll down her cheek toward the pillow as the first hole disappeared.

It wasn’t until the second hole darkened that she finally screamed.


Fiction Friday: [Directions]

She looked up from the map in time to see a garland of plastic flags in blues, yellows and reds flapping in the wind. They were hung between structures of metal and wood rising from the barren landscape.

“Gas station!” She pointed just in case he missed the only man-made structure they’d seen in miles.

“We don’t need a gas station. I know where we’re going.” He said with a confidence that only served to annoy her.

“Considering the fact that we were supposed to be there twenty minutes ago, I beg to differ. And, by the way, speeding isn’t going to get us there any faster if we’re heading in the wrong direction.”

He reached over placing a comforting hand on her knee.

“It’s fine. I have this under control. You just sit back and relax.”

He truly had no idea what he had gotten himself into. She’d told him he didn’t have to attend the event, but he insisted. Poor guy actually wanted to meet her mother.

It’s not like I didn’t warn him, she thought. Repeatedly.

Her mother had a way of picking her boyfriends’ apart without having to say a disparaging word. It both fascinated and angered her. The last boyfriend she’d met, a struggling artist, caused her mother’s face to tighten to levels she had never seen before. She couldn’t deny that she took a little pleasure in it.

“You don’t like him, huh?” she had asked.

“Only you can choose the direction your life takes, dear.”

It was the same tight lipped response her mother had given for every boyfriend she found the courage to introduce her to.

Words always dripped so condescendingly from her mother’s lips—yet she craved her opinion. She hated that part of herself. The part that needed warmth from a mother who was cold as ice.

The blare of a siren and red lights strobing the interior of the car drew her out of her thoughts. She sighed as he slowed the vehicle and pulled off to the side of the road.

At least I can ask if we’re heading in the right direction, she thought.