May 24 – June 6, 2018 Flash Fiction Contest “But You Promised” (Bonus)

Theme: But you promised…

Write about a character as they realize they have to break a promise they made years ago. What did they promise? Who did they promise it to? Explore their thoughts as this character looks into the eyes of the person they love most and break their heart.

Word Count: 1,200



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49 thoughts on “May 24 – June 6, 2018 Flash Fiction Contest “But You Promised” (Bonus)

  • May 24, 2018 at 9:43 am
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    Empty Promise For Life:
    “Do you really mean it, Rita, you’ll come to India with me, if I want to settle down in my native place later?”
    “I promise, Raj, I’ll go to anywhere just to be with you.”
    That was the last conversation I had with Rita before we decided to marry. We got married in a simple ceremony. Her aged mother was there along with her brother and a host of their relatives. I was the only representative from my family. While lacing my shoe, I felt tired for the first time in my life since I left Calcutta to make something of myself. The year was 1977. It looks ages but the memories are still afresh in my mind….
    I was born on India’s Independence Day exactly ten years after India’s freedom from the British Raj. I don’t know what made my parents christen me ‘Raj’ but I reigned supreme in my family since my early childhood. Being the eldest son, I always had my way. I was a bright student all through. My father, who was a stern task-master (he was a high school teacher by the way) had tears in his eyes when he shared the news of my success at Graduation. My achievements were known to all. I suffered a much needed setback when my friend, Dwipen, went on to beat me to be the First Class First in English Literature from the university. I never let anyone be ahead of me in any examination after that. I applied to the University of Manchester for an Entrance Test before they could consider my application for admission to Ph.D. I left Calcutta on a gloomy day, got through the test and stood first and life was not going to be the same again.
    I remember Roma, my first love. This friend of mine taught me a lot about Life and living. She’d visit me during the weekends. That was when I realized that girls fell for me hook, line and sinker. In my final year, Roma, made me move over to her place. She was an expatriate staying away from the University campus. She proved to be a god-send for me as the money I’d was running out thin at the time. So, Roma and I lived like a married couple. She’d been working in the local hospital. I obtained my Doctorate without much sweat. I had started looking for a job and felt delighted with the offer of Lecturer ship at the University of Auckland. I was delighted to be away from Roma. The woman was getting into my nerves asking me twenty four hours a day to marry her.
    It was in Auckland that I met Rita, a bright New Zealander pursuing her Master’s. One day she invited me to dinner at her place. She lived with her mother; her only brother lived in Christchurch. As she came out, down the steps, the moon was a silver ball overhead. I got behind the wheel, rolled the glass down and looked straight into her eyes. There was something in her eyes, a plea, a concern, a far-away look that reminded me of my home, my mother all on a sudden. Rita was certainly not the ultimate in beauty. At five feet five, she was lean, of average build; her eyes were what drew people to her. Her eyes reminded me of the blue of the ocean. The best thing about her was her personality. Time and again she surprised me with her ability to jell with people.
    Anyway, that night after talking to Rita, I made a call home. Father was hospitalized in a critical condition. I could never have the kind of relationship with my father that the first-born is supposed to have. He passed away within a couple of days and I flew over after almost seven years. The last rites over, Ma called me to her room. Once a vibrant lady, she looked lost.
    “I heard that you’re leaving tomorrow, Raj.” Her voice was cold.
    “I am, Ma. I’m sorry but I’ve no other option. Don’t worry. I’ll send money.”
    There was a disquieting silence before she continued:
    “My days are coming to an end. I’ll be happy to see you married and settled before..”
    “Don’t be dramatic, Ma. You are in good health and will live for another fifty.” I tried to change the tense atmosphere of the room.
    “Suparna is of marriageable age now. Find a suitable groom for her. Let me know a week before her wedding, I won’t like to miss the occasion…”

    As I stretched my legs in the economy class, the whole family was there to see me off. I gave a hundred rupee note to each of my siblings and went away to confirm my arrival. My mother’s tearful farewell was lost on me within no time. Rita was there at Christchurch Airport. She hugged me warmly the moment I came out.
    “Let me drive you home, honey.” She said.
    We had hardly settled down in the living room when there was a long distance call.
    “Bad news, Bro,” it was my brother from India,”Ma’d a massive… (sob)…stroke last night.”And the line went dead.
    Rita stayed with me that night. She was gone when I woke up. She had tidied the room and left a note that she’d be back. That was when we became very close. The day I received the news of my mother’s demise, Rita returned, held me tightly in her arms and took control of my life. It was around this time she made the promise.
    Years have passed since the promise. We moved to a rented house, had our first child and she gave up her job at the local newspaper. We worked as a team and had the best time of our lives. On a day, after my voluntary retirement from the university, I learnt about the deteriorating condition of her mother and kept that a secret. Rita found out soon. To avoid any scenes, I was coming out of the room when everything went blank. When I came round to finding myself in the hospital bed, Rita was sitting on a chair. The worried look in her eyes said it all. I broke into a smile,
    “Do you remember the promise you made long time back?” Shaking her head, she feigned innocence.
    “I want to go back to my native place.” There was finality in my tone.

    “What do you mean, Raj? How can you talk like that? Who is there to look after us? Who cares? This is our place. And the good news is. .. Rena is in the family way. Isn’t that great?”

    “But You Promised. …” Painfully I checked myself in the nick of time, the thought if my mother holding my hand, taking me to school, came back to me after many years.
    I suffered from dementia right after my discharge. These days I am in an Old Age Home. Rita cannot come to me as often as she’d like. She has to take care of Rena’s new-born, you know.
    (Word Count 1190)

    Reply
    • May 29, 2018 at 4:50 pm
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      RNB, I’m either getting more used to your writing style, or you’ve suddenly improved, because I found far fewer second language errors in this story over previous stories. Some things to consider. You don’t tell or show us that Reena is Raj and Rita’s child. Of course, we can assume it, but I finally figured that was the case when Rita is going to reneg on her promise. This I can tell you, Grandchildren will force grandmothers to make decisions not necessarily in the grandfather’s favor, regardless of promises.

      I would like to see you try to develop more of a style that shows more than tells, as I think it will enhance your writing. For example, when Raj’s brother calls to tell you that your mother is dying, that should be more of a dialogue indicating how your brother feels by showing it in his voice. Don’t tell us he’s sobbing, show us.

      Here’s what you wrote:

      We had hardly settled down in the living room when there was a long distance call. The local operator took some time to connect me to the caller from India. It was my younger brother calling. He was sobbing at the other end. In between the sobs, what I could make out was that Ma had suffered a massive stroke the day I left Calcutta. The doctors were doing all the could but there was not much hope. I had the receiver still in my hand as the line went dead.

      Here’s an example of how you can reduce your word count, show more than tell (you’ll still be telling, but differently) and hopefully push your reader’s emotion button.

      We had just settled down when there was a long distance call from India. After a long time to connect, I recognized my younger brother’s agonized voice. “It’s Ma … she’s had a … sob … massive stroke … sob … the day you left. Now, there’s not much hope … ” I couldn’t even fit in a word when he disconnected.

      Give your reader some credit to know that of course, the doctors are doing all they can and that you would, of course, be holding the receiver in your hand. You don’t need to tell us it was your younger brother calling, you recognized his shattered and agonized voice. And, in his agony, he couldn’t talk any longer and disconnected.

      Is where you settled down necessary? Nice to be descriptive, but nobody really cares where you are, just that you received a call, and you are writing with a 1200 word limit. What I don’t understand is why he waited 6 months to call you. So I left you an out by saying ‘Now, there’s not much hope, holding out to the fact she was getting better and you had just been there, but NOW, six months later, it is critical. Whew, a lot for the little word, now, but it works.

      ‘Many moons ago’ is a phrase in the US that is almost always connected to Native American colloquialisms in the US. If it common in India, then fine, but to an American reader they will think it quaint you use that term. If quaint doesn’t fit in your story, then you want to say ‘Many months ago’.

      If any of this is considered stepping too deep into the critique phase of this site, then let me know. And, always feel free to discard anything I say that you don’t find helpful. I, personally, want people to tell me that they don’t like something I’ve done, and I want to know why. If enough voices send messages like that, I find it helpful. It’s certainly not that I don’t like what you’ve done or think you’ve done something wrong, but I think you can do it even better. In the paragraph I hopefully took it from too much tell, to a little more show, I also reduced it from 92 words to 55 words, giving you an extra 37 words to use somewhere important in the story.

      Roy (AKA Charles Lilburn)

      Reply
      • May 29, 2018 at 6:35 pm
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        Thank you, Sir, for all your advice and suggestions. I’ll try to keep them in mind. While teaching my students how to write a story, I keep on reminding them about the importance of ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’ . The problem is there till recently there was none to comment on the stories I authored.
        You will be surprised at how I write them. The moment I get to know about the contest or whatever, I pick up my old-fashioned mobile (it was my daughter’s. I’d to take it from her some 3 years back as she was getting addicted somehow), start typing and try finishing it at a go, without bothering about grammar, punctuation and all. If the story is after my heart, I don’t even give it a second read!
        Thank you, Roy ( I hope I can call you by your first name) for sharing everything with me. You see, I have had no one to teach me about story writing. Whatever I know, thanks to Bhutan, I have picked up over the course of the last 13 years. My students keep on reminding me about my ‘inferiority complex ‘. I don’t tell them but the truth is I come from a reputed family in Kolkata. I am the black sheep, of course, as all are highly qualified and settled in different parts of the world. Comparing my self to the younger lot of First Class First or First Class Second proved to be my nemesis. I have just recently learnt to get out of my shell.
        Thank you once more, Roy, for taking upon yourself the task of tutoring me. It’s nearly 6 in the morning. If I don’t stop now, I’ll be late for school. You haven’t said anything wrong or crossed the limit. Someone I looked upto, used to tell me that ‘if your intentions are good, people will come to appreciate even if takes some time’.
        With love and warm regards.
        P. S: You’ve to forgive me if there are some mistakes. I’m sorry noto to have time to go through my reply a second time.

        Reply
      • May 30, 2018 at 6:34 am
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        Dear Roy,
        I am writing to you for the second time. Having gone the earlier note, I feel that I haven’t expressed my gratitude to you properly. You have taken so much trouble to go through my story, offered some invaluable lessons on story writing and in return, what do you get? A note stating my utter frustration. The reply I sent to you sounds, after the second reading, even coarse to me!
        Forgive me, Roy. Your suggestions are priceless. NO ONE EVER BOTHERED TO SEND SUCH A BEAUTIFUL LETTER TO ME EARLIER. God bless you. If I wrote anything wrong that might have hurt you, do please forgive me. It is a blessing to have someone like you as my mentor. Please forgive me if I sounded a bit high and mighty.
        Love you and keep helping me grow.

        Reply
        • June 5, 2018 at 3:28 pm
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          RNB, sorry for the late reply but I’ve been out of town, and for some reason, not getting emails from this site. It happens from time to time. You are welcome. and no, I am not hurt, just want to help you if I can. I might sound presumptuous of me, but I see room for improvement.

          Stories need to be groomed. Sometimes I can write a story and have few fixes, and other times I can’t seem to get a sentence straight.

          I try to make my stories complete with a beginning, a middle and an end. Here’s my rule of writing. Open with something that makes them want to continue reading. Fill in the middle with the plot extensions and character development and end with something that completes the story and makes your readers angry, sad, hurt, overcome, happy or frustrated, but, never, never, ambiguous about what you were writing about. If I can, I throw in a little twist, but that’s not easy to do in some cases.

          Roy is fine, and I hope to share more with you in the future. I’m simply amazed you want to write in English, and for the most part, do it well. I can feel your passion, now you just need to direct it, and squeeze the most out of your stories. If I ever cross a line, just let me know.

          Reply
          • June 6, 2018 at 9:46 am
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            Dear Roy,
            I had your email in my inbox at the crack of dawn. I read and reread your letter. I wanted to reply but something held me back. I wanted to give my best to and for you.
            You are an amazing letter writer, Roy. I am sure you have heard it from not a few. Your goodness shows through your letter. I completely misunderstood you. While going through your email about your granddaughter ‘s graduation and all, I took you as a boisterous man. I did something quite uncharacteristic as a result. While responding to your comments on my story, I wrote whatever came to my mind to you. I even seemed to have forgotten the fact that you are a pro and senior, trying to get the best out of me and others like me.
            Roy, I would tell you something today. Despite having relatives the world over, I have enjoyed being looked upon as ‘the frog of the well’. You are being a positive influence on me. For the first time in my life, I want to go out to the vast and beautiful world. To meet people like you, to give you a warm hug and thank you for your time, love, and for being the wonderful human being you are.
            Thank God for bringing you into my life, Roy. Stay happy and healthy always. The world is a better place for people like you.
            With love and warm regards.

    • June 3, 2018 at 3:54 pm
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      Hi RNB,

      I really enjoyed your story! Your descriptions were well written and I could picture the scenes you described in my mind. You made me care for for your characters and allowed me to relate to what they were going through.

      I thought that your use of dialogue was well done. It ran smoothly and the words you chose matched how your characters were feeling.

      Thanks so much for sharing!

      Jen

      Reply
      • June 3, 2018 at 4:59 pm
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        Thank you, Jen. Always supportive, encouraging and positive. Qualities that should take you far in life.
        You are ‘the New Star in the Horizon’. People seem to relish and savour anything and everything that you write. Please keep writing and sharing oftener. I will read yours at the earliest. Take care and stay blessed for ever, my friend.

        Reply
      • June 3, 2018 at 5:53 pm
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        Another touching tale – three in a row! You have justified my calling you ‘the New Star in the Horizon’. I like the way you have gone about it – the short but apt descriptions, the crisp dialogue, the way you paced your story. If I say I am learning a lot from you all, that will be the understatement of the year, my friend.
        You have written to the prompt to a T. Even then I would like to share my personal opinions. Though there’s not much about Caroline, I like her briefly-sketched character more. I am sorry to say, dear friend, that Piggy, inspite of all my sympathy, failed to touch a cord. Just a doubt, Jen. I have heard it told that women, almost in ten out of ten, lose their hair, their hair start falling off, during and after every session of chemotherapy. If that is true then Trent caressing Peggy’s hair towards the end is a blot of sort.
        You are a very competent writer, Jen, and people love your stories. I was critiquing your story from the critic’s point of view.I love your writing style and your gentle nature as well.
        All the best for The New Girl. God bless.

        Reply
        • June 4, 2018 at 11:54 am
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          Thank you for your kind words and critique RNB! I’m disappointed that Peggy didn’t appeal to you, I must admit that I had hoped that readers of the story would care about her. I plan on writing a more extended story about Trent and Peggy so hopefully I will be able to better capture her positive qualities. Yes unfortunately one of the side effects of chemo is hair loss. Luckily it tends to grow back in after the cancer patient hasn’t had chemo for a while or has given up on treatment.

          Thanks for reading my story. 🙂

          Jen

          Reply
          • June 4, 2018 at 12:09 pm
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            Thanks, Jen. It ‘d be wrong to say that Piggy didn’t appeal to me but I found Caroline more appealing. I won’t be surprised if the readers go gaga over your portrayal.
            All the very best wishes. ..

    • June 6, 2018 at 8:51 am
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      Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww
      What a sweet and sad story, I can not imagine the longing he felt to go home. There is always something special about the place you are born, like a tie to the land.
      And I can imagine that with two people born in different lands this scenario plays out more than not.

      You made me love the main character with your words, and wove a tight story.
      Great job!!!

      Reply
      • June 6, 2018 at 9:11 am
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        Thank you, Carrie. Means a lot to me. I am dying to read your story.
        Thanks for being a friend. Love you and all the best wishes.

        Reply
    • June 6, 2018 at 1:53 pm
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      Empty Promises
      The characters and their whirlwind life are captured vividly by your story. I agreed with Roy/ Charles about the wording polishing: I did find that at times it threw me out of the story. But I really liked the ending and the voice of your narrator.

      Reply
  • May 24, 2018 at 11:56 am
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    Four-timer
    by Robt. Emmett ©2018
    [1200 words]

    I was at Silk’s Billiard Parlor. Johnny and Bob charged up the stairs sounding like a herd of elephants. At the top of the stairs, Bob leaned on the newel post and tried to speak, but couldn’t.

    “Bob,” I said, “you winded?”

    He gave me both fingers and croaked, “And the horse you rode in on!”

    “Bill, if you’re still interested in this Fitz chick, buy us a Coke,” Johnny whizzed, “and I’ll tell ya what I learned.” It had to be something important, cuz he’s hittin’ me up for drinks. I bought three Cokes. Bob and I sat on the windowsill overlooking Superior Street. Johnny was too wound up to sit.

    Johnny wiped the bottle top with his plaid shirtsleeve and chugged a couple times. “This Jerry character is a junior at Morgan Park High. On Saturday nights, he and his two buddies hang out at Richies Drive-inn. You know, it’s the place on the west side of Morgan Park.” I nodded. “He’s going steady with a chick named Terri, she’s a sophomore at Denfeld. I’ll get her last name from a guy I know. Then on Monday nights, he and his buds hang out at the A & W in Cloquet. Guess what?” I shrugged. “He’s got a steady there, Mary Sue Hendrickson. According to a carhop, I know there.” He winked. “They park in a dark corner and neck after they have their burgers and strawberry malts.” He chugged his Coke again.

    “Wow, a three-timer,” I said. Three-timer shot over Bob’s head. “He’s going steady with Fitz, Terri somebody, and this Mary Sue,” I said. FLASH, the light over Bob’s head lit.

    Johnny held up four fingers. “Four. A chick in Proctor, Carla Demming, is going steady with him also. He sees her on Friday evenings. They are regulars at the High School hop, dancing up a storm” Johnny points the top of his bottle at his ear. “So I hear.”

    “Busy lad,” I said. “How’d you find all this out in such a short time?”

    “The hard part was finding out what kinda wheels he rolls. Then it was a piece of cake.”

    Bob tilted his head, “Piece of cake, how?”

    “He drives a Twilight Blue and Caspian Cream 1955 Olds Holiday 98 ragtop. How many of those have you seen prowling the Duluth streets?”

    I shook my head, “None.”

    “Exatimundo! I have relatives all over the Northland. With the car’s description, I asked and family answered.” He chugged the last of his Coke and cut loose a tonsil-wrecking belch.

    “So, what’s our plan?” Bob asked. Then he tilted his Coke to drink. Nothing, but he kept tilting until the bottle was vertical. “Who drank my soda?”
    I looked at him and asked, “Plan, plan for what?”

    “You’re going to whoop his ass, right, Billy?”

    “Ah, no,” I said.

    Johnny slammed his empty bottle on the windowsill. “Hell we ain’t! Damn after I’ve done all this investigatin’, some bad shit better go down. I mean it, Bill. This BMOC at Morgan Park needs to come down a peg or three. ”

    Bob’s eyes crossed. “BMOC?”

    “Big Man On Campus,” Johnny said.

    Bob nodded and looked down his bottle, hoping there was some left.

    Johnny got in my face. “If you ain’t gonna kick his ass I will. Damn straight I will.”

    “Not your fight, Johnny.” I drained my drink. I grabbed the empty bottles and walked them to the rear of the pool hall. I needed time to think. Johnny, as usual, wanted a fistfight. Bob, not the fighting type, would play cheerleader. I wasn’t afraid to fight. I just didn’t relish it as much as Johnny did. Also, there were Jerry’s two buddies to think about. I knew Johnny and I could do a two on three. We’d win, but at what cost? I needed a way to keep the casualty list as small as possible. I dropped the bottles in the wooden case. As I walked back to the window, I thought about Jerry and his four girlfriends and about what I’d just said to Johnny. BAM, it hit me.

    Bob elbowed Johnny. “Look, Bill’s got a plan. I can tell by his silly-assed grin.”
    ~*~

    Johnny stepped outta the phone booth outside of the Curling Club, a thumbs up. Bob, at the phone booth in front of Walgreens, four blocks away called to say that Jerry and his distinctive Oldsmobile had stopped at the light. His buddies were riding shotgun. I drove my car to the far end of parking lot to leave him the parking place next to the lighted entrance of the Curling Club.

    Jerry took his time grooming his ducktail to perfection. He checked the pack of smokes rolled in the left sleeve of his grungy white T-shirt. Finished, he started toward the entrance and his Wednesday skate date with Fitz.

    She stepped into the light of the entrance. He stopped. She should have been upstairs skating. The cuffs of her jeans rolled to the prescribed height of three inches and the sleeves of her bright white blouse exactly one inch. She’d read the memo. He started to say something to her but stopped when Terri, Mary Sue, and Carla joined Fitz. They’d read the memo. He looked at eight clenched fists and stopped. His two buddies started to step forward.

    Johnny said. “Not your fight.” They turn and saw Bob, Johnny, and a couple of his cousins. At least, he said they were his cousins. Personally, I think they’re two gorillas on a day pass from the Duluth Zoo. “Just relax and watch.”
    ~*~

    It wasn’t pretty. Johnny winced a coupla times when the girls pulled Jerry’s hair or scratched at his face. Bob crossed his legs and moaned in sympathy when Mary Sue planted a shoe that lifted him a foot off the ground. That ended the scuffle. We’d drawn a small crowd. Thanks to two of Johnny’s cousins, there was someone from every school in Duluth and they knew what the deal was. My goal was to ruin his reputation. I had.

    He was in no condition to drive. As I leaned him against the car door, I suggested he stay away from Fitz. He readily agreed.

    Johnny pushed one of the buddies behind the wheel of the baby blue Olds. “You drive.” He stepped back. “If I see anyone of you three guys east of Mesabi Avenue, I’ll rip off your head and piss down your neck! You got that?” They believed him and slowly drove off.

    Fitz and I walked around the parking lot and picking up Jerry’s Lucky Strikes. We didn’t want the little tikes to get any bad habits.

    The six of us headed toward the Curling Club to skate to celebrate the fall of Morgan Park’s BMOC. Johnny asked Terri to be his skate-date. Carla called it an evening and grabbed the bus to Proctor. Mary Sue sweet-talked Bob into paying her way. The grin on his face said he didn’t mind at all.

    I stopped and she looked up at me. “What Bill?”

    “Fitz, I’ve had enough fun for one evening.”

    “But you promised.”

    “Sorry, not tonight.”
    – ℜ –

    Reply
    • May 24, 2018 at 6:46 pm
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      FOUR TIMER has left me in giggles., Mr. Robt. I ‘ve always been the serious type. You people keep on teaching me about the funny side of life. I’m familiar with the word , two-timing. Is four-timing your own invention or quite common in your part of the world?
      I feel envious of you, Mr. Robt. The way you lay out your setting, every minute detail of it. I felt I was present there at all the places personally. The character of Bill the Boss, is terrific. But that’s why he is the leader, I reckon. I felt sorry for Jerry though. Poor guy, he just wanted to have some fun. His greatest blunder was four-timing Fitz. Of all the characters, I found Johnny’s most convincing.
      Your language is superb as I’s your sense of humour. Over all, it’s a must-read story to start your weekend with. Enjoyed every bit of it.

      Reply
      • May 25, 2018 at 1:41 am
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        Glad you enjoyed the story. Except for one small part, the story is true. Only one name has been changed.
        You’ve always been the serious type. My advice – loosen-up and live, you only go around once.
        Four-timer is just my expansion of two-timer. The settings for all my stories is easy to set-up, it was my high school years. I write it as I lived it. This story took place in the summer of 1968 and the incident of Jerry meeting the girls actually took place in the early summer of 1956. Johnny was and is larger than life. He was a hockey player in high school. He was good and would have been great, but he liked to fight.
        Robt.

        Reply
        • May 25, 2018 at 9:05 am
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          Thank you, Mr. Robt. It’s all the more creditable if the story is based on a true incident. Your narration of it is what gives it a new dimension. Keep writing.

          Reply
    • June 3, 2018 at 4:00 pm
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      Hi RobT,

      Awesome story, lots of laughs! Fabulous dialogue! Poor Jerry, guess he got what was coming to him. I guess he’ll be more careful with his dating trends in the future. Don’t mess with the ladies!!

      What fun! Thanks for such a great read. 🙂

      Jen

      Reply
    • June 6, 2018 at 1:59 pm
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      Four Timer
      A great paced and witty story, well done! I thought your dialogue was great– it made your characters feel really vivid. The structure of the story worked really well, hooking us at the beginning with secrets about to be revealed and paying them off at the end.

      Reply
  • May 29, 2018 at 10:49 am
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    Carrie, please withdraw my story “Four-timer” by Robt. Emmett ©2018 from the contest.
    Thank you, Robt.

    Reply
  • May 29, 2018 at 5:20 pm
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    I liked your story and was pretty sure it was based on a true incident. Interesting story. You’ve picked up in your writing, Robt., a lot more show than tell these days, in my humble opinion, and I like your dialogue and the descriptive ins and outs of the dialoguees (is there is such a word) in your writing these days.. I won’t go any further, because for your own reasons, you’ve asked Carrie to remove it.

    Reply
  • June 1, 2018 at 10:43 am
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    Hey everyone, I will have the new story prompt up in a few hours.
    The theme will be “Quarantine”.
    Use it however you like, but someone, or something, must have been, is, or will be in quarantine.
    1200 words.

    Reply
  • June 3, 2018 at 3:48 pm
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    I would hazard a guess that each segment [save the finial one] has happened many, many times. You told it well and paced the story nicely.
    Robt.

    Reply
  • June 4, 2018 at 11:58 am
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    Where are all the stories this week, talented peeps? I’d love to read some! 😉

    Reply
    • June 4, 2018 at 1:40 pm
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      Won’t be able to make this one, but hope to find a way to be in Quarantine

      Reply
  • June 5, 2018 at 3:54 pm
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    Even though I saw the end coming immediately after she got cancer, you fixed everything with a very well told story. I think you needed to somehow disguise the promise a little, and it might not have been as notable. The problem is the prompt doesn’t give us that option. We know going in that somewhere along the line a promise is going to be broken, and the promise was, “Don’t ever kill me, Trent.” The ending I think, too, could be a little bit less ‘trite’ if that’s the right word. I think the line, “I’m so sorry, Peggy, but I have to break my promise. Because I love you.” needs reworked. Her line is freakin’ awesome. “I love you, too. Just don’t feed me to the pigs.”

    So, here’s a feeble attempt to help.

    She woke up and saw the needle, then looked up at me. Understanding and relief filled her eyes.

    “I love you so much Peggy,” I leaned over and kissed her.

    “I love you too, just don’t feed me to the pigs.” She smiled as a single tear slid down her cheek.Her eyes slowly closed as I pushed the broken promise into her bloodstream.

    As always, feel free to laugh heartily and my attempts to rewrite a very good story and use these words of wisdom as you see fit.
    Roy (Charles still on this site.) I’ve since changed things for all the new stories.

    Reply
    • June 6, 2018 at 11:31 am
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      Hi Roy,

      Thank you for reading my story and for your suggestions on the ending – I liked it! I really appreciate the feed back.

      Jen

      Reply
  • June 5, 2018 at 4:08 pm
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    TRITONIA
    by Amy Meyer (1,000 words)

    Narissa stretched her arms above her head and a stream of water rose out of the sea. She interlocked her hands then flung them apart and the water rippled and expanded above her. It rose in a great plume of water, then began to thin out into the shape of an Ash tree. She stood ankle deep in the incoming tide and looked up, squinting against the sun as it was refracted through the tree’s branches. She flicked her hand at the tree and the translucent leaves began to rustle softly in the breeze.
    “Hey, sis” called Pyros, running across the beach towards her. She turned around, her hand on her forehead shielding her face from the sun.
    “You shouldn’t be here,” she said.
    “Oh, come on, its my birthday today!”
    “Happy birthday,” she said, rolling her eyes.
    “You remember what that means?”
    “No,” she said and turned back towards the sea.
    “Very funny,” he said, punching her on the arm. “You promised to let me ride Tritonia.”
    “That was before. I’m not sure it’s such a good idea”
    “Oh, what? Thats so unfair. You totally promised me I could ride her. Oh my god, I can’t believe this.”
    “It wouldn’t be safe. I said I’d protect you,”
    “You’re such a pain. I told my friends I was going to ride her. I’ve been looking forward to this for ages.”
    “She is a horse. Not a toy.”
    “This is so not happening,” he kicked up the shallow water in an arching spray. “This is because of the fire isn’t it?”
    “That was mother’s favourite tree. And you’re not of Water.”
    “But I’m Poseidon’s son. Of course I’m Of Water.”
    She turned her head to watched the lapping waves that were now up to her ankles.
    “At least let me see her.”
    Narissa sighed. She wrinkled her nose.
    “Oh come on. I’m your brother! Ceto said that you wouldn’t let me ride Tritonia because you think I’m not good enough, but I am, I totally am.”
    “This Ceto isn’t part of the family. He doesn’t know.”
    “At least let me see her. Please, please, please.”
    Narissa looked him in the eye. He tried to match her eye contact, but squirmed away after a few seconds.
    “I will summon Tritonia. But you must promise not touch her. It would be painful for you both.”
    “Oh my god, thanks, thanks, thanks. I’m so exited, what does she look like? Is she massive?”
    “Patience.”
    Narissa crouched down to the lapping sea. She cupped her hands around the water and stood up, letting a trickle of water fall. The stream increased to a waterfall. And then it started to take shape. The water between her hands and the sea bulged and expanded. The sea around her feet frothed violently. Narissa raised her hands above her head and the water bulged again. She twisted her hands around each other and the swelling, churning water settled into the form of a magnificent horse.
    Her body was translucent water. As she turned she shimmered in the sun. Tritonia bent her majestic head and snuffled a sugar lump from Narissa’s outstretched hand.
    Pyros stepped closer until he was within arms reach of the horse.
    “Take a step back,” Narissa said, not turning around.
    He obeyed. “Wow! She is amazing. Holy shit. Oh my god, people at school are, like, not going to believe this at all. Can I pet her? Please, please?”
    “Your touch would be dangerous for her.”
    “Why? I don’t get it. I’m your brother. You get to feed her sugar lumps. And Sissy totally gets to pet her too, and she’s younger than me and everything. Why can’t I? I’m Poseidon’s son, just as good as the rest of you. Just because I can’t summon water. You’re so, like, discriminating against me.”
    Narissa had been so focused on the horse she hadn’t realised that Pyros was right next to her. He reached out to touch Tritonia. Narissa pushed his arm down hard and Pyros overbalanced and fell into the water.
    “You’re not Poseidon’s son,” she yelled.
    “What?”
    “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for you to find out like this. You promised not to touch her.”
    He flailed in the shallow water and pushed himself back onto his feet. He sniffed, and turned his head away so she couldn’t see the water in his eyes.
    “I’m sorry, brother. I still see you as that. But you are not of Water. You are not Poseidon’s son.”
    “I don’t believe you! I am! I’ll prove it!”
    He jumped up onto the horses back and rode across the beach, away from Narissa. Narissa ran after him.
    He cantered away from the water towards the dunes. A cloud of steam followed the horse and rider. They circled back to the river running towards the sea, Narissa trailing behind them. Tritonia kicked up great arcs of water as they galloped along the shallow river. But the steam rising from the horse was increasing with every moment, until Pyro’s whole body was obscured. Tritonia whinnied in pain and halted where the river met the sea.
    Narissa caught up with Tritonia’s reigns almost in reach of her outstretched arms. She dove for the reigns and the horse reared up. Pyros tried to keep hold but fell backwards off the horse.
    Tritonia cantered back towards the sea. Narissa knelt down beside her brother who was lying prone on the wet sand.
    “Can you hear me? Pyros, please.” He didn’t move. She gingerly shook his shoulder. She put her ear to his chest. He wasn’t breathing.
    “No,” she cried.
    Pyros’ body felt hot to the touch and the water on the sand around him turned the air around his body hazy as it steamed. The light grew brighter until Narissa could only see rough outlines through her squinted eyes. She couldn’t see the beach anymore, only a blinding whiteness. A man stepped out of the whiteness. She recognised his crinkled eyes from a picture in her mother’s house: Helios, the God of the Sun.
    “Don’t take him,” she cried, shielding his body with hers.
    “My son is coming home,” he picked up Pyros’ limp body and turned and carried it back into the burning sky.

    Reply
    • June 5, 2018 at 6:49 pm
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      Lovely story, Amy. You made me feel like searching it on Google to find out if your story is an allusion to something in Greek Literature..I like the vivid description of the setting. The characters of Narrisa and Pyros are nicely delineated. Going through your story was like watching a movie.
      I am sure you have a reason for the way you make Pyros speak but that adds more charm to the story.Having grabbed the reader’s attention with the hook of the first few lines of Tritonia, you have also been able to hold it down to the last line of this fast-paced beauty. The suspence is unbelievable and I wanted to get to the end of the story with the premonition of some impending mishap gnawing at my whole being.
      I don’t know if you are a regular contributor to F2C, Amy. But this is the first story of yours that I have read. And what a story it is! In case, you are a new-comer, let me be the first one to welcome you to the site. Welcome my dear friend and stay blessed for enriching our lives with your contribution.

      Reply
    • June 6, 2018 at 8:58 am
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      Oh
      Mah
      Gawd

      I friggin love this story!!!!! Absolutely brilliant use of the theme and so well written!

      Great job!

      Reply
    • June 6, 2018 at 11:38 am
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      Hi Amy! Awesome story – it really flowed (pardon the pun). I couldn’t read it fast enough and the ending was unexpected and fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing!!

      Reply
  • June 5, 2018 at 4:23 pm
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    Ok people – we need 2 more stories for me to create the voting page tomorrow – share the page and get your friends to submit a story!!

    (I have a story I’ll be posting tomorrow morning)

    Reply
  • June 5, 2018 at 4:24 pm
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    Otherwise I might extend this prompt another 2 weeks, instead of posting another bonus story…. Thoughts?

    Reply
  • June 5, 2018 at 6:25 pm
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    i enjoyed your story was not sure where you were going to go with it for me it was a very heart felt story and it watered up my eyes as got into the last part i love your writing keep up the good work xox

    Reply
  • June 6, 2018 at 8:53 am
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    Another great story Jen, it flowed well and you covered a lot of years in a few short words.
    And one of the few promises I would hope my spouse would break if I ever found myself in that position as well!

    Reply
  • June 6, 2018 at 9:56 am
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    Rally by Carrie Zylka

    Once upon a time there was a Princess.

    She was a frail child, and a quiet teenager, and her beauty was known far and wide. Her mother passed away when she was young and father indulged her whims, one of which was the art of swordsmanship.

    But it was just an indulgence in the King’s mind, a passing fancy; his daughter was too weak and frail to ever actually fight anyone.

    These thoughts streamed through his mind as he watched the captain of his guard spar with her. The King could tell the seasoned soldier held back but he was admittedly impressed with his daughter’s skill, despite being a girl. The West Nation had recently declared war on his Kingdom. Should they be invaded, she would at least be able to somewhat protect herself.

    He chuckled to himself as he remembered the day she’d asked him to teach her how to fight. After much cajoling and bribing from her, he’d finally agreed. Her final words that day still rang clear.

    Blond pigtails bouncing, thin pale face set determinedly. The ten year old had looked him square in the eye: “Promise me da, promise me right now that if I’m needed to fight you’ll let me. If I’m needed you won’t stand in my way.”

    He was proud of her in that moment and of course answered: “Absolutely daughter, this I promise.” He then grabbed her face and pulled it close. “But you too must promise you will never ride into battle without me. You must never put yourself in danger.”

    Her eyes narrowed and they flashed like an adult. “Of course da, of course I promise.”

    ___________________________________________

    It was a mere six weeks later when the King’s land was besieged by the invaders. Ruthless and horrible, delighting in misery and pain, they swarmed his land like a league of locusts. Devouring everything in their path.

    The King stood upon the highest rampart overlooking the battle below. They’d been fighting for nearly two weeks non-stop without sleep or reprieve and his troops were exhausted. His heart ached as he saw soldier after soldier fall. He’d tried to rally them but it was to no avail.

    Everyone was very, very tired and the sorrow was palpable.

    The invaders seemed to swell like the tide, covering the land without hesitation and he could see his people falter.

    He turned to his second in command to give the order to flee, to abandon the castle, when a great shout rose from below.

    He turned back and his heart leapt into his throat. “No…” he whispered and his hands grasped the wall. “No!”

    He watched as a figure riding a great black warhorse rode forth. Her armor shimmered in the sunlight and her gold inlaid sword danced as she held it above her head. Her hair was free and trailed behind her as she thundered forward, trailed by two young boys holding flags with her personal emblem on it.

    “Riders to me!” She screamed in a voice he never thought would come from his frail, sickly daughter. “For the King!!” She drove her horse mercilessly into the horde, hacking and slashing with her sword, parrying axes and hands.

    He watched as if a cloud had lifted from his exhausted troops. The enemy noticed her and there was a great thunderous roar. His people saw the hoard moving towards her and rallied to protect this Princess who would come to fight with them, to defend them.

    He watched as villagers picked up pitchforks, children began throwing rocks, soldiers came together to form a great wall of steel and armor between her and them. He watched as a butcher, still with apron on ran out from the courtyard, massive butcher knife swinging.

    He looked and saw someone had loosed his hunting hounds and they eagerly entered the fray, nipping at legs and throats.

    “Oh no…” He whimpered as he realized despite the great resurgence in those fighting, she would probably be overwhelmed. In anger he grabbed his second in command and shouted into his face. “But she promised!!! She cannot do this! She gave me her word!” He shoved the man back. “Get me my armor and my sword!!”

    He ran down the stairs towards the main courtyard. His servants running to keep up with him as he put on his armor, never slowing his pace.

    Word had raced ahead and the captain of the guard was waiting for him at the drawbridge with his own blond warhorse that stomped and snorted, eager to put its training to good use.

    “Protect the Princess!!” The King roared as he, his now mounted captain and several others charged across the drawbridge and leapt into battle. He hacked and swung his sword until he’d cleared a path.

    The Princess looked up and smiled a blood spattered grin. “I know I promised da! You can scold me after the enemy is defeated!!”

    And sided by side, the King, the Princess, the soldier and the commoner, waged war against the invaders to defend their home.

    The End
    (Word Count 843)

    Reply
    • June 6, 2018 at 11:40 am
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      Loved your story, Carrie!! Enjoyed the relationship between father and daughter and how everything came together at the end, despite the broken promise.

      Jen 🙂

      Reply
    • June 6, 2018 at 11:58 am
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      A neat one, Carrie. The character of the frail Process is impressive and her heroics in the battlefield win our hearts. The last sentence: And side by side …… is really interesting. You don’t directly tell us about the outcome of the war and leave it like that, but with all of them including the commoners fighting, we are optimistic that the war is neither going to be a total rout or disaster for the King nor is the life of the Princess in grave danger. Everything is not over yet. There is still hope. Fortune favours the brave and the credit of reenergiging the battalions goes to the Princess alone. Such a valiant, gallant warrior, at such a tender age! Your characterization of the Princess is commendable.
      Please don’t mind my telling you that I didn’t see the reasoning behind not naming any of your characters. The appeal of the story would have been more if you had named your characters. Instead of the little Princess – Beatrix or Diana helps us to relate to the character more. Don’t you agree?
      Keep up the good work and good luck.

      Reply
    • June 6, 2018 at 2:21 pm
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      What an action packed story! I like how you have the battle between father and daughter, and the bigger battle to save their home. I liked both characters, especially how you showed the father’s changing view of his daughter. I thought the start could be tweaked by reshuffling the way you presented the backstory. I felt like you were jumping between time periods a bit. Overall a really fun story!

      Reply
  • June 6, 2018 at 11:34 am
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    Alrighty people!

    The voting page is up:

    Don’t forget to qualify you must vote, you can only vote once, and you may not vote for yourself.

    Good luck!

    *Robt Emmett asked his story be withdrawn.

    Reply
  • June 6, 2018 at 2:11 pm
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    The New Girl
    A great story, I like your prose style. You move us skilfully through different stages of the character’s lives, zooming in on some and skimming over overs. Its really hard to pull off well, and you did a great job. There were a few things that pulled me out of the story a little. Firstly, I thought that the main character at the beginning was kind of obnoxious, so I wasn’t really rooting for him. But that is totally an authorial choice: I always want to like the main characters I read, but not everyone does. But I wasn’t sure whether that was what you were going for? I liked the way the story loops around to his promise, I thought that structure worked. But I thought it was really odd that he wouldn’t have discussed her euthanasia with her before he went ahead. Anyway, an enjoyable story overall.

    Reply
    • June 7, 2018 at 9:23 am
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      Hi Amy, thank you so much for your comments! Yes, Trent was a bit of an ass in the beginning. A high school jock who thought he was more important than anyone else. Until he met someone that he loved more than himself. I guess he saw letting Peggy go at the end and helping her with it as his only way of stopping her suffering. Luckily she woke up and sort of gave non-verbal consent at the end. Glad you enjoyed it and good luck with your wonderful story! 🙂

      Jen

      Reply

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