Bookshelves, Books, & Weekly Writing Prompts

Canvas CoverBookshelves & Books

How long has it been since you organized your bookshelves?

This past weekend I spent a fair amount of time moving about a quarter of our books from the three bookcases in our home office to the living room floor and dining room table, and then back again after we replaced the cheap pressboard shelving with much nicer plywood shelving that my husband built custom for the room. I meant to go through and sort/reorganize/cull that section of books as I put them back, but it was nearly 8pm on Sunday before we got the shelves in, and I needed to get the books put back so we weren’t tripping over them all week. So I just tossed them up there, willy-nilly, and now I actually think they’re more randomly shelved than they were before.

Ironically, they still look “neater”, because there’s room, so they aren’t crammed together, and the shelve sizes fit the books better. But I definitely need to go through and reorganize/cull, and then I can go through the bookcases in our bedroom and basement and reorganize those as well. But it’s going to have to wait until the snow flies and things quiet down. A good January/February project, maybe?

I did forget to put my vintage/antique books back (they’re still on my dining room table), so I’ll have to do at least some shelf reorganization to fit those in where I want them. I’ll do that next weekend though. It’s kind of surprising how much work it is moving books around. Thank goodness I don’t care for hardbacks! We have some, but most of those live in one of the bedroom bookcases.

When was the last time you really took a look at the titles on your shelves? My husband and I were looking the new shelves over and talking about certain titles that caught our eye, and it made me wonder how many people really “look” at their bookshelves, and think about what they have, and what they’ve read in the past to shape their way of thinking.

Maybe we should all reorganize and take stock of our shelves more often…

 


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: A person is going through his/her books and comes across one they can’t remember reading, much less buying. Opening the cover to get a refresher scan of the first page, they find a photograph that is definitely not of them or any family members. What do they do?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: A person is going through his/her books and comes across one they can’t remember reading, much less buying. Opening the cover to get a refresher scan of the first page, they find a photograph that is definitely not of them or any family members. What do they do? 

Weekly Prompt Prose: Phone Bump

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Someone is reading a book on their phone while walking on a city street. They bump into someone who is less than sympathetic…at least at first. How does the meeting end?


Phone Bump
by Jamie DeBree

Abby glanced up briefly, her true attention still on the small screen in her hand. She didn’t normally read while she walked, but her lunch hour was so short, and the heroine was just about to meet the guy she’d been texting with on and off for weeks, and Abby was sure they were going to hit it off right away – well, after she forgave him for that whole misunderstanding several chapters ago – and declare their love and it was going to be so…sigh.

Looking up again as she reached the curb right before her block, she forced herself to make sure the light was green and the walk sign was on before she stepped out into traffic, forgoing the story long enough to cross. Safely on the other side, she eagerly looked back down at the screen. She might be able to finish the chapter before she got to her front door.

Someone – her text buddy, she assumed – tapped Maeve on the shoulder and she turned around, her smile falling as she realized just who she’d been communicating with…

And Abby gasped as her left shoulder slammed into a solid wall she was sure hadn’t been there just a second ago. Jarred, she looked up, her mind still half in the book as she clutched the phone hard to keep it from slipping out of her grasp.

“And that’s why you shouldn’t text and walk,” the tall blond suit said, his voice much deeper than she would have expected. “Are you okay?”

She nodded. “I wasn’t texting. I was reading.” She realized how stupid the words sounded the moment they came out, and felt her cheeks warming. “I’m sorry. I don’t normally, but I was just at the spot where…” she stopped again. He didn’t care what she was reading or why, just that she’d plowed right into him on the sidewalk. “Well, I’m sorry. I should have been paying attention. I…are you okay?”

He certainly looked okay to her. Annoyed, of course, but the frown lines looked good accenting his square, Calvin Klein-model jaw. The green eyes glaring at her reminded her a little of fresh leaves unfurling in spring. The tailored charcoal suit set his broad shoulders and strong lines well, and the cream button-down underneath made an unassuming backdrop for the surprisingly artistic abstract black and gray tie that pulled it all together.

“If I looked you up and down like that, I could get arrested for harassment.” He checked his watch, thick and silver. “And I’m late for an appointment in one of these buildings. Do you know which one the Hansen building is?”

Abby tried to ignore her flaming cheeks and nodded again, pointing around one of those big shoulders. “Right behind you – that’s my building, actually. Who are you meeting with?” She put her phone in her purse, stifling a sigh. Finding out if Maeve and Toby would get past their differences and fall into each others arms would have to wait until after work. Dammit. She started walking towards the building and charcoal suit fell in beside her.

“Anderson-Pearson. The law firm,” the man said, reaching out to pull the door open for her. “Which company do you work for?”

“Thank you.” She crossed the threshold and moved toward the elevators. “I’m at Eldrige DocuServ. We do legal document service as well as courier services for most of the firms in the building.” There was an elevator waiting, and she got in. Charcoal Suit followed. She pushed the buttons for three and seven, and watched the doors close.

“I’m Abby Eldrige, by the way.” She held out her hand, and smiled pleasantly. The man took it, and squeezed – a good, firm handshake. Always a good sign.

“Toby McIntyre,” he said. “Nice to meet you, Abby. You own the company then?”

She shrugged as the elevator doors opened on third. Her stop. “I might someday. For now, I’m just working my way up like everyone else.” Stepping out, she put a hand against the door. “Good luck with your meeting, and I’m sorry I bumped into you.”

He raised an eyebrow and gave her a smirk. “I’m not. Have a good afternoon. Maybe I’ll see you around.”
Abby nodded and stepped back, letting the doors close between them.

Toby was also the name of Maeve’s currently estranged love in her book. What an interesting coincidence.

 

Two hours later, she was sitting at the front desk wondering if she could sneak in a few more paragraphs of her book while things were quiet, and of course just when she reached for her phone, the door opened. She looked up and smiled, her cheeks warming again.

“Well hi there. What can I do for you?”

He handed her a thick envelope with a sticky note on top. “Pearson asked me to drop this off on my way out. He said to charge it his account.”

Abby took the envelope and nodded. “We’ll get that delivered for him before five. Anything else?”

He shrugged. Smiled. “Maybe later. You have a good afternoon.” He turned and left, and Abby sighed. Why couldn’t she find someone that good looking and potentially smart for herself?”

Looking down at the envelope, she read the sticky note and grinned.

Text me when you find out how the book ends. His number was scrawled below.

Well then. Maybe she would.


Check back next Sunday for more free flash fiction! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

Weekly Prompt Poems: Tea?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about having a cup of tea with someone you…don’t exactly like.

Apologies for the late post this week! I think you’ll enjoy these two poems just as much on a Sunday, though. 😉 


A Cup of Tea
by Carol R. Ward

Have a cup of tea, my dear –
it is the finest blend,
all the way from India –
you’ll like it in the end.

Have a cup of tea, my dear –
pray, how are things with you?
You’ve been so cold and distant,
not the man that I once knew.

Have a cup of tea, my dear –
to celebrate our life,
at least the way it was for me
when first I was your wife.

Have a cup of tea, my dear
Is that sweat upon your brow?
The poison you’ve imbibed today,
perhaps you feel it now.

Have a cup of tea, my dear –
feel the poison flow.
I saw you with that girl, my dear –
how could you stoop so low?

Have a cup of tea, my dear –
I see you wonder why
I wait ‘till now for my revenge,
why I feel that you must die.

Have a cup of tea, my dear –
you see she came to me –
she was with child; t’was living proof
of your infidelity.

Finish up your tea, my dear –
there’s no one left to tell.
She’s gone and so are you my dear –
you’re headed straight to hell.

###

Waiting for Karma
by Jamie DeBree

One lump or two?
I ask, somehow
managing to keep
my teeth ungritted.

None, you say,
blithely unaware of
the tension you
cause my soul.

Your smile over
the chipped china
makes me shiver
in abject revulsion.

Your humor, laughing
at some mundane
comment I made
almost undoes me.

Yet I sit,
serving second best
tea and tiny
sandwiches, making nice.

Waiting, praying for
the day when
karma catches up.
Repays the debt.


Check back next Saturday for more poetry! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

Weekly Prompt Poems: I Am Canadian

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about the weather…include at least three different types of weather patterns. 


I Am Canadian
by Carol R. Ward

I awake to the fog
coating the world
like a blanket of white
that’s just been unfurled.
The tops of the hills
rise above the white mist
like islands alone
that the sun has just kissed.

Then out comes the sun,
burns the fog all away
and keeps getting stronger
for another hot day.
The temperature’s rising,
where will it stop?
The humidity’s climbing,
it’s over the top.

Then all of a sudden
along comes the wind –
it blows the clouds over
and shuts the sun in.
The temperature plummets,
the day grows quite dark –
we cancel our plans
to eat in the park.

Please tell me these flakes
of white that I see
are seeds from the birch tree –
what else could they be?
A warning of frost
is in place for tonight
and I wonder if tomorrow
will be green or be white.


Check back next Saturday for more poetry! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

Weekly Prompt Stories: A Scrap, a Shirt, & a Shirtless Man

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Let’s solve a mystery. While walking down the street, your character finds: a scrap of fabric stuck in a rose bush, a torn shirt in the gutter ten yards away, and a shirtless man lying on a lawn several houses down the block. What happened?


They Never Listen
by Carol R. Ward

Lanie shut the front door behind her with her foot, juggling the two bags groceries in her arms and dropping her keys on the small table near the door.

“Hey, a little help here would be nice,” she called. “Gordon?”

With a sigh she continued on to the kitchen where she just made it to the counter before the heavy bags slipped from her grasp. Grumbling under her breath she put the groceries away. She folded the reusable grocery bags neatly and placed them in a drawer for next time.

“Gordon?” she called again once she was done. “What did you do, fall asleep?”

Padding out of the kitchen she checked the couch in the living room first, then went down the hall to the bed room. There was no sign of him. They were supposed to be going out to dinner. Where could he have gotten to?

As she was leaving the bedroom she glanced towards the en suite bathroom – well that didn’t look right. Going over for a closer look she gasped aloud. It looked like a war zone. The tub was partially filled with water, a few small islands of bubbles floating on the surface. Water was everywhere – the walls, the sides of the tub, the floor…

Several towels were crumpled on the floor. A couple looked like they’d just been pulled from the towel rack, but the one she picked up had blood on it.

“Oh, Gordon, you didn’t! I told you not to.”

Leaving the towels behind, Lanie followed the faint trail of water out of the bathroom and towards the back door. As she expected, the door was slightly ajar. There was no sign of Gordon in the back yard and she rounded the house towards the street. Her eye was caught by a scrap of white, fluttering in the neighbor’s rose hedge.

Plucking it free she realized it was from the shirt Gordon had been wearing earlier. “Damn it Gordon, you never listen, do you?”

Lanie glanced up and down the street. There, about ten yards further up, it looked like the rest of his shirt lying in the gutter. She went over and picked it up – it was torn up pretty badly and there was blood on it.

“If this is how bad his shirt is, I hate to see what Gordon looks like.” She felt a flash of sympathy, after all he’d probably thought he was doing her a favour.

She continued up the street, a little worried about what she might find. There didn’t seem to be any blood on the sidewalk and she took that as a good sign. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as she thought. There, several houses up, was that a body laying face down on the lawn?

Lanie hurried over. “Gordon?”

With a grown he rolled over onto his back. She winced at the bloody furrows on his chest and arms.

“Are you all right?”

“No,” he said.

She looked around. “Where’s Princess?”

Gordon slowly pointed upwards.

Lanie looked up into the tree above them. There, looking down at them, tail swishing angrily, was a small white cat, wet fur making her seem even smaller.

“There’s mommy’s little angel,” Lanie cooed. “Come to momma.”

The cat moved closer until she was able to reach up and pluck her from the tree. Lanie cradled her in her arms and turned back to Gordon.

“Don’t think this gets you out of taking me out to dinner,” she told him.

“But I’m injured!” he protested, making an attempt to sit up.

“It’s your own fault,” she sniffed. “I told you not to try and bathe Princess. You never listen.”

###

Headlights
by Jamie DeBree

Karen took a deep breath as she stepped out of her apartment expecting a whiff of fresh morning air. Instead she got a big, choking taste of her new city-life: cigarette smoke, skunk, sewer gas and open dumpsters. Chasing it quickly with a sip of hot coffee, she noticed a bit of white fabric stuck fluttering in her new neighbor’s rose bush. It shined in the sun, and she frowned, reaching down to feel it.

As she suspected, the satin was smooth and cool, and certainly not something one would expect to find torn as it was. Had a bride run this way last night, tearing her beautiful gown? A prom queen or debutante, perhaps? White satin wasn’t really an everyday kind of thing, and she carefully detached the piece from it’s prison, wondering if she’d ever find out what happened.

A few houses down, she caught another glimpse of white fluttering in the breeze, only this time it was fluttering in the gutter. Frowning, she looked down, and saw that it was more of the same white satin, but not a dress or skirt. It was a button-down shirt, almost certainly custom-made and not cheaply at that. The bead work on the front suggested a female wearer, but that wasn’t terribly surprising. Karen couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen a man wearing satin, aside from the ubiquitous suit-pocket handkerchief.

The shirt seemed special and she picked it up carefully, checking for any mysterious stains before committing more than two fingers to the task. When she finally stood and held the shirt up in front of her, she could see where a piece had torn from the bottom right side – and the swatch she’d freed from the rose bush matched perfectly.

She would bet money that somewhere nearby there was a very unhappy woman trying to remember what happened to her very expensive custom shirt, and she tucked it over her arm. She’d post it online after work and see if anyone recognized it. It was a long shot, but maybe the owner would see it and want it back.

Her heels clicked heavily on the sidewalk as she continued toward work, and considered what could possibly have happened to get the shirt off the woman with only a small tear. Thank goodness there was no blood, but was the woman possibly in trouble? Maybe she should alert the police. There was no evidence of anything aside from a woman losing her shirt though. And that wasn’t necessarily a crime – although with a shirt like this, it kind of was.

Coming up on the left just before her bus stop, she spied a man laying face down on his lawn, wearing only a pair of jeans with rhinestones on the pockets and a large snake tattoo that covered the majority of his back. He was just starting to stir as she drew near, and pushed off the ground with a groan.

“That was some night,” he mumbled, shaking his head as if to clear the cobwebs. Karen kept walking, figuring it was smarter not to engage, but when he saw her, he called out.

“Hey! Just because you tore that off me last night doesn’t mean you can just take it! I paid good money for that shirt!”

Karen stopped and turned to look at him. “This is your shirt?”

He nodded, pushing to his feet and stumbling toward her. “You should know. That was some party last night, wasn’t it? I was so wasted. Thanks for letting me snooze on your lawn. I hope I didn’t get too crazy after…you know.” He reached out and took the shirt from her – she was too shocked to resist. Pulling it on over those broad shoulders, he quickly buttoned it across his chest, and Karen wondered why she’d barely noticed his nipples when he was bare-chested, but now that they showed through the light fabric, they seemed…more ‘out there’, so to speak.

He grinned, noting the direction of her stare. “All the ladies seem to like that. Headlights out – gets ’em every time. I’d let you have another lick, but I’ve got to get to work. Sorry darlin’. Call me for your next party?”

Karen couldn’t think of a single thing to say, so she just stood there as the strange man leaned in, kissed her on the cheek, grinned and walked away.

Her parents might have been right, she thought as she forced her legs to move toward the bus stop again. The big city just might be too much for her to handle.

Later that day, she reached into her purse for something and her fingers brushed the bit of satin she’d found stuck to the bush that morning. She remembered the man and his ‘headlights’.

###



Check back next Sunday for more free flash fiction! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

News, Multi-Media Books, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Snow White

It was a busy week for our writing prompts last week! Two poems, and two flash fiction stories were posted this past weekend. If you missed them, check them out at the links below!

Prompted Poetry: Dream Desk & Waning of the Green
Prompted Prose: The Fortune & All in the Cards

Want to join the fun next week? Scroll down, grab a prompt and write a story or poem to submit!

Topic of the Week: Multi-Media Ebooks

Recently I had the opportunity to beta “read” a different kind of book by author J.A. Konrath. It was a mystery of sorts, wherein the author imparted puzzles from the antagonist and beseeched his readers to help him solve the mystery by solving the puzzles, entering the answers into a web site, and recieving more pieces to the main puzzle with each one they reported correctly.

Yes, he did say we could talk about it, or I wouldn’t…uh…be talking about it.

The puzzles could be solved however the reader required, so I used google, and pen/paper, and my husband. Aside from the puzzles which required a lot of time away from the book, I enjoyed the back and forth. The bigger puzzles I had to wait until I had time to find several answers at once, so I couldn’t just solve the puzzle and move on during a break at work or whatever, I had to wait until I had time, which was kind of annoying. Luckily there were only a couple of those though.

I used to really like Choose Your Own Adventure stories too, which are not the same at all, but still employ the concept of making the reader stop and take action in some way before they can continue the story. It’s kind of an abrupt way to read, with the starting/stopping, but both formats work when done well (I think this is the first time the puzzle/riddle concept has been done in book form, but I could be wrong), and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of Konrath’s mystery series when I can.

What do you think of that kind of book? Definitely something more interactive than your normal reading experience. Is it something that catches your interest, or would you choose to stick with the more immersive “normal” reading experience?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Let’s solve a mystery. While walking down the street, your character finds: a scrap of fabric stuck in a rose bush, a torn shirt in the gutter ten yards away, and a shirtless man lying on a lawn several houses down the block. What happened?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a rhyming riddle that when solved, tells the reader where to find a secret hiding spot. 

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prose prompt and/or a poem using the theme of the poetry prompt, and email it/them to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. Poems will be posted on Saturdays, Prose on Sundays. Happy writing!

Weekly Prompt Stories: The Fortune & All in the Cards

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: A character went to get his/her fortune read six years ago. Today, that fortune is coming true in the most unexpected way. Tell us about it…


The Fortune
by Jamie DeBree

In six years exactly, love will find you.

Mandy looked out at the sunrise reflected in the still lake as she sipped her coffee, remembering the words of the woman who’d read their fortunes so long ago. She and Jeremy had laughed it off at the time, making note of the date so they could be together and make the fortune come true.

That was before the accident. Before he’d died and left her all alone. It had been two of the hardest years of her life since, and she’d come out here and rented a cabin far away from civilization in the hopes of finding herself again.

She’d made a certain peace with his death, as people do when they loose the person they love most in the world. The hole in her heart was still there, and would always be there, but this morning, as a gentle breeze rustled through the aspens and small animals skittered through the underbrush, she could almost stomach the thought of letting someone else in. Not someone to fill the hole, but someone to talk to, to laugh with, to keep her company on lonely nights.

A gentle smile played across her lips as she took another sip off her cooling cup. Love was going to have to work awfully hard to find her up here.

Sliding off the boulder she’d been using as a seat, she drained the last of her mug and headed back to the cabin. Some breakfast, maybe, and then a hike to the berry patch she’d spotted yesterday on the other side of the lake. A bear and her cubs had been feeding then, so she’d left quietly, but perhaps if she beat them today, she could help herself to some fruit for dinner. If not, maybe some good pictures of that furry little family instead.

She’d just finished a bowl of oatmeal when she heard a noise on the front porch. Moving carefully to avoid making noise, she went to the door and peeked out the side window, expecting to see something fuzzy, four-footed and hopefully not too big.

Instead, she saw a six-foot-not-so-hairy biped complete with hiking pack and fishing cap who looked oddly familiar, despite the tribalish tattoo on the side of his lower left leg.

Who knew Ray Ellis had a tattoo? Or anything other than expensive tailored suits in his closet?

More importantly, what the hell was he doing here? He knocked on the door, the sound making her jump and the fortune teller’s words flitted through her mind.

“No, no, no,” she mumbled as she straightened and reached for the door. “So not him. Anyone on earth but him.”

Pulling the door open, she didn’t bother smiling. He knew she wasn’t fond of him, and the way he treated her at work, she figured he felt the same.

“Oh good – you are here. Allison said you would be. Can I come in?”

It was the same serious expression he always wore, the same intense stare. But there was something odd about his voice – softer than she remembered. If she didn’t know better, she’d describe it as vulnerable, but Ray didn’t do vulnerable. Ever.

“Uh, sure, I guess.” Mandy moved aside, making a mental note to have a very serious talk with her best friend about sharing sensitive information. “Why are you here?”

He put his pack on the floor, and stood again, looking more uncomfortable than she’d ever seen him look.

“I wanted to talk to you – away from work. I know you don’t like me, and I promise I’ll leave as soon as I’m done, but I need you to know something.”

She took a deep breath, let it out slow. “Okay. Let’s sit down. I’ll listen.” She gestured to the worn green paisley couch and waited for him to take a seat before situating herself in the matching armchair. Neither were comfortable, but hopefully this wouldn’t take long.

“I know I keep you at arm’s length at work, but it’s only because I have to. I…have always been attracted to you, Mandy. The way you deal with people and keep your department running without alienating your co-workers is pretty amazing, and your creative problem-solving skills are the reason our company is where it is today.”

She gave him a sideways look. “So are you attracted to me, or to my work ethic?”

He gave a nervous chuckle. “I…uh…think you’re beautiful too. I just thought it would be better to lead with the intelligent stuff.”

Mandy smiled, surprising herself. “Definitely a good plan.” She wasn’t sure what else to say, but she had noticed how good-looking Ray was. He filled out a suit very nicely, though she had to say, this casual look was definitely working for him too.

She tried to remember why she didn’t like him, other than his standoffish, professional-to-the-point-of-boring persona. It’s not like she even worked very closely with him. He always seemed so dismissive though. Like he was “above” interacting with her.

“You know it’s juvenile to treat someone badly because you like them, right? Not to mention un-PC.” As soon as she said it, she knew it wasn’t really fair. He hadn’t done anything to her, really, aside from not exactly being friendly. This was quite possibly the strangest conversation she’d ever had. “I guess not being friendly isn’t the same as treating someone badly though.”

“I knew you were married, and I didn’t want to be…more attracted to you, I guess. I was protecting myself, at the expense of your feelings, and I want to apologize for that.” He looked down at the floor, over at the window, down at his hands. Everywhere but at her, and she felt herself softening. So many things made sense now – so many little actions, little withdrawals, unexpected bits of help that she wouldn’t expect to come from him, but did over the years.

She thought about what this meant. About him trekking all the way up to this cabin in the middle of nowhere, just to explain himself. About how long it had been since her husband’s death, and how he might have wanted to say something sooner, but didn’t.

There was no way he could have known about the fortune teller – she hadn’t told a soul, not even Allison. Hell, she didn’t even really believe in fortune tellers. Surely this was just a coincidence. Right?

“…coffee sometime. Mandy?”

She looked up, realizing he’d been talking while she was thinking. “I’m sorry, what was that?”

“I asked if you might want to get a cup of coffee sometime. With me, I mean. No pressure.”

She nodded, slowly. “Yeah. I think that would be a good idea.” He nodded, apparently not really sure what to do next. She looked at the door, and looked back at him. “We can do that later. But I was just getting ready to go pick berries when you got here. Want to hike over to the meadow with me? We’ll have to watch for bears…”

He grinned. “I’d love to. Lead the way.”

###

All in the Cards
by Carol R. Ward

Now that it’s too late I can remember the day clearly, almost six years ago. Bruno and I had just started dating. He was always trying to come up with something different for our dates and he thought it would be fun to go to the county fair.

From what I can recall of the fair itself it was fun. We went on a few rides and ate cotton candy and greasy fair food while wandering through the crowd. Bruno was amazing at the games and won me a giant pink elephant that sits on the chair in my bedroom.

The fortune teller’s covered booth was sitting between a chip truck and a vendor peddling handmade jewelry. I had actually stopped to have a look at the jewelry. Bruno got bored pretty quickly and moved on, but then called me away.

“Hey Jeanie, look! A fortune teller.”

“Which one do you think I should get?” I asked, holding up two necklaces for his inspection.

“Get ‘em both,” he said impatiently. “We really gotta get our fortunes told.”

“C’mon Bruno, I don’t believe in that stuff.”

“Me either. Who cares, it’ll be fun. Now hurry up.”

I made my purchase and joined Bruno where he was going over the fortune teller’s list of services.

“Look, she’s having a two for one special. Two readings for the price of one.”

“Bruno, I don’t think–”

But he was already turning to the woman standing at the entrance to the booth. “If we get the special, can we split the readings – I can take the palm reading and my girl can have the Tarot reading?”

I clearly remember the flash of pleasure I had at being called his girl. More the fool me.

“Of course,” the woman said smoothly. “Right this way.” She held the flap to the inner part of the booth open and we went in.

To be honest, it felt kind of creepy to me in there. It was dark inside and she had some kind of incense burning. Bruno was so busy looking at all the crap she had hanging up that he missed the start she gave when she took his hand. She almost seemed to go into a trance, she was so still, and for a long time she never spoke a word.

“Well?” Bruno asked impatiently.

She gave herself a little shake. “Forgive me,” she said. “I see that you are a man of strength – strong passions and desires.”

“You got that right,” he chuckled, nudging my knee with his.

She babbled some more generic stuff about life and work and money, and then hesitated before adding, “I must warn you I see darkness in your future, you will be faced with a choice. The darkness calls…” She shivered and let go of his hand again.

Bruno looked startled for a second and then laughed. “That was great. You really had me going for a minute there. Now do her.”

She handed me a deck of brightly coloured cards.”Think of a question you wish answered while you shuffle.”

“I don’t know what to ask.”

“That’s easy enough babe, ask about our future together.”

I smiled at him as I shuffled. When I was done I handed them over and the fortune teller cut them and then laid them out in a pattern. If I hadn’t been paying such close attention I might have missed the quick inhalation she made when she looked at the spread.

“I see that you have not been together long,” she began. “But your relationship is already … intense.”

“Hear that, Jeanie? We’re intense.” Bruno nudged me again.

Again she made several generic predictions before saying, “The many swords in your reading suggest conflict.”

“Is that in the past or in the future?” I asked.

Before she could answer, Bruno jumped it. “Cut to the chase, will we make it as a couple?”

She looked down at the cards, a troubled look on her face, then up again. “I see that you will be together until the end.”

“That’s what I wanted to hear,” Bruno said with a smirk.

After paying her, he lead the way out of the booth. I rose too, but as Bruno cleared the canvas the fortune teller grabbed my arm. “There is a great darkness in that one,” she hissed. “He is not what he seems.”

“What are you talking about?” I tried to pull away but she held me fast.

“He has a dark soul.”

“You’re crazy. Let go of me.” I pulled free and hurried after Bruno.

“If you stay with him you will die,” she called after me. “It is all in cards, they do not lie.”

By the time Bruno and I left the fair I’d forgotten about the fortune teller. And for the next five years Bruno and I were happy together. It wasn’t all hearts and flowers, Bruno did have a bit of a dark side but he never took it out on me.

I read the news reports of the missing girls, of course, but I had no reason to connect them to Bruno. At least not until his birthday when I decided to surprise him at the old warehouse he called home. In all the time we’d been together I’d only been there a handful of times. He was more comfortable at my place.

But I wanted to make his birthday special. His favorite take-out, a Black Forest cake, champagne, and me. It was going to be such a great surprise.

Only I was the one who was surprised when I got there and he wasn’t home. He wasn’t, but there was a girl chained to a metal frame in the center of the space below his loft. She was barely alive, cuts and bruises all over her. I had just about gotten her loose when Bruno arrived.

To give him credit, he was pretty upset at seeing me. But that didn’t stop him from tying me up and leaving me in a corner while he finished off the girl. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize he was behind the girls being mutilated and killed across the city. Dark soul indeed.

I hear him coming. This is it. Guess the psychic was right.

###


Check back next Sunday for more free flash fiction! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

Weekly Prompt Poems: Dream Desk & Waning of the Green

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about something (anything) that is quickly going bad.


Dream Desk by Carol R. Ward

For oh, so long, I’ve had a dream
Since I first began to write –
it’s of the perfect writing desk –
I dreamed of it last night.

It’s not too big and not too small
but just the perfect size,
with pigeon holes for all my pens
and a roll top on the rise.

It’s made of aged, not antique wood
that’s polished to a sheen
I can see it sitting over there
at least within my dream.

And so I did a search online
to see what I could find –
lo and behold I saw it there
page listing ninety-nine.

I sent an email to the one
who had my desk for sale –
yes it was still available –
I thought my heart would fail.

But as my hopes were quickly raised
just as quickly were they dashed,
another party saw my desk
and visited with cash.

So just like that the bubble burst
upon my dream so fair
I vow to keep on searching
I’ll find that desk somewhere.

*******************************************

Waning of the Green by Jamie DeBree

Firm and oblong
I gently squeeze
looking for signs of give.

Every week it’s
a new challenge
‘twixt this ripening fiend and myself.

Will I catch
it in time,
before green turns to black?

Or will it
go mockingly mushy
while I wait for perfection.

###


Check back next Saturday for more poetry! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

News, Darkness, & Weekly Writing Prompts

BSB News

Listen to the Leaves CoverLast week’s freebie (and our last one for awhile) was a nice fall-themed collection of stories by several different authors called Listen to the Leaves. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s a great way to usher in the new school year and fall!

Did you catch the prompt poems and prose this week? Two poems and one story with a carnival theme – if you haven’t read them, here are links (they’re short):

Prompted Poetry: Carnival and Swingin’
Prompted Prose: Monkey Shines

Want to join the fun next week? Scroll down, grab a prompt and write a story or poem to submit!

 

Topic of the Week: When Darkness Falls

Today, at least partial darkness falls for quite a few of us as the moon passes between us and the sun out there in space. Where I am, we won’t see a 100% eclipse, but it will be around 93%, which is good enough for a darn good show (and a lot of darkness too). 11:39am is the magic time here, and while I’ll be working, I dare say my co-worker and I will slip out for a few minutes around that time to see the show. Not like this happens every few years…

I’m a night person, so it seems to me that the most interesting things always happen in the dark. Fiction seems to support this, in my opinion. Nighttime makes everything either just a little spookier or a little more romantic, depending on who you’re with and where you are. Exciting things happen in caves, in bedrooms, in basements, in darkrooms.

I was trying to think of what my favorite night scene would be from a book, but there are so many! I’m not really sure how to choose. Sherlock and Watson going out onto the moors in The Hound of the Baskervilles definitely ranks near the top for me….

Do you have a favorite fictional “in the dark” scene?


Wanna write? Pick a prompt!

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: A family has passed down a box or talisman for generations that only opens when it is under the apex of a total solar eclipse. Now it’s finally going to be opened for the first time in a century. What is the item, and what does it do when the moon blocks the sun?

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about how ancient civilizations might have viewed/perceived an eclipse.

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prose prompt and/or a poem using the theme of the poetry prompt, and email it/them to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. Poems will be posted on Saturdays, Prose on Sundays. Happy writing!

 

 

Weekly Poetry Prompt: Favorite or Least Favorite Carnival Rides

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about your favorite or least favorite carnival ride.


Carnival by Carol R. Ward

The carnival, the carnival! Let’s go to the carnival!
There’s games and food and rides –
Test your skill or loop the loop
It’s so hard to decide.

The carousel spins round and round
as your steed glides up and down,
perhaps you’ll choose a horse to ride
or a swan that wears a crown.

A haunted house might be there too
to give a scary thrill
with ghosts and goblins jumping out
with wails and screams so shrill.

You can test your hand at driving
and crashing into things
at the bumper car enclosure
with the cars inside a ring.

The mighty Ferris wheel spins round
and takes you way up high
the view will take your breath away –
you can almost touch the sky.

Whirling, spinning, tilting round
the Tilt-A-Whirl goes wild
from side to side and up and down
the dream of every child.

The carnival, the carnival, let’s go to the carnival,
whether you’re big or small –
so many rides to choose from
and lord, I hate them all!

###

Swingin’ by Jamie DeBree

File in, load ‘em up!
Across a wide bench.
No oars in this long boat
just a cold steel machine.

Everyone in?
Arms up, bars down.
Hope you got the back seat
it’s the best one around.

Backwards and forwards
higher each time.
No touching that bar
But try not to scream.

Stomach flips at the apex
and you’re an inch off your seat.
Don’t worry, don’t look down
you’ll soon be on your back.

If Vikings had ships like
the ones at the fair
they’d be frustrated
at going nowhere.

Up and back
the big swing sways
a tire bumps the bottom
a rubber brake.

Just enough adrenaline
to wake you up
leave you refreshed and
perfect.

###


Check back next Saturday for more poetry! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…