Are you ready for week 6? This will get us down to the 1/2 way point – Wow!
So, if you’re still in the game, enter your lines below. Don’t forget, entries must be in by Monday 10pm EST.
The thick cloud of confusion occupying my thoughts lifted and was instantly replaced by paralyzing fear. My body stiffened as my mind raced uncontrollably with realization; this harsh, sterile environment was unfamiliar. I tried desperately to speak, to scream out, to connect to something concrete. The barren, cold walls began closing in around me, suffocating my senses. I couldn’t say a word, couldn’t move, could barely even breathe. Behind a thick, wooden door I heard voices muffled by the barrage of questions ravaging my mind.
My first memory of James is what keeps me here, smoothing hair out of a boy’s blood-spattered face. The sirens screaming in the distance are too late.
They’re always too late.
Forehead pressed to his, I choke on the burnt stench of gun powder and try to hum the lullaby James used to sing to me.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…
James is why I never left.
When the phone call came from a man identifying himself as an attorney in Ohio, Rowena’s first thought was, who’s in jail this time? She’d had her fill of phone calls from attorneys. The past six months had been a non-stop parade of rescheduled court dates and press conferences, each one splattered across the front page of every rag mag in the country. She didn’t need any bad press about her family compounding the media circus.
As far as the public was concerned, her relationship with Hollywood’s eternally separated leading man, Brett Fontaine, had come to a screeching halt the day she filed suit against him. But once they learned the reason behind the lawsuit, they were more interested in the particulars of the emails he’d leaked than in Rowena’s sense of justice, or her broken heart.
Lady Phoebe Howard had been in and out of trouble all her life; but kidnapping was new ground, even for her. She grunted as her knees hit cold wet earth. Cursing the ancient tree roots that conspired against her escape, she scrambled to her feet. The unfamiliar terrain of the Scottish Highlands played tricks on her senses, as the threat of being caught again by the brutes who kidnapped her terrified her.
Fear drove her to plow into the herd of cows she found lazily munching grass, but half way through the maze of beef she was grateful for the instinctive decision. She spotted the hulking shape of a man highlighted in the moonlight, and he seemed to be looking for someone.
Miss Marcia Elizabeth Drummond snatched the ivory invitation from the salver and perused the elegant handwriting. Dashing away a tear that clung stubbornly to her lashes, she wished six years of accumulated shame could be brushed away as easily. Her hand trembled as she crossed the room and flung the horrid thing into the fireplace.
Then, with her arms wrapped tight about her, she encouraged the grasping flames while reflecting on how the Avery’s annual masquerade never failed to transform her into a watering pot. Burn before Mother sees you, please.
As she stared into the unobliging fire, the memories she cherished renewed their endless struggle with those she was unable to forget.
There are two rooms my mom and I don’t rent folks at our motel: No. 3 has all kinds of problems with the plumbing and the wiring never works right, but the main problem is No. 13… it eats people. No blood, guts, or gore… if they go in they just won’t come out and that means we’d have to hide another car.
It’s not a secret that’s easy to live with, turns my stomach most every day, but the night that policeman showed up I nearly lost my dinner all over my shoes.
He handed me a photo of a man in a prison uniform and somewhere under the beard and long hair I recognized him, even though it had been a couple of years since I’d seen my father.
I listened as he told me he’d tracked my father halfway across Arizona and into Utah like it would make some difference to me, “He’s supposed to be dead.”
“He was alive the last time I saw him, son,” he reached for his wallet saying he’d need a room while he searched; I picked up the key to room 13 and wondered what the hell I was doing.
The night after the biggest promotion of my life, I woke up with a monster hangover and my bra on backwards. I tried to recall how I’d reached the back seat of my Honda Accord, but everything from the previous night blurred into memories my mind refused to hold.
I leaned forward and found my dirt-covered cellphone on the floor. Oh God, I’d likely done fifty freaky things my friends would joke about for the next six months. With trembling hands and pain rocketing through my skull, I tried to search for my purse. After a few seconds of searching, I flopped back and rested against the window.
“On behalf of Historic Philadelphia Alive, I’d like to welcome you to the City of Brotherly Love.”
I smile at the small group waiting for me inside the Independence Visitor Center as I take their tickets, relieved that my last tour of the long Fourth of July day consists of only four elderly couples, three generic tourists, two Jersey Shore cast wannabes, and a mom pushing a little boy in a stroller.
This will be the easiest 75 minutes of my life.
“I’m Lauren Franklin, no relation to Ben,” I lie.
I usually always deny that Benjamin Franklin is my great-to-the-eighth-power uncle, but there’s been two exceptions. The first time I name dropped, I was a stupid freshman at the University of Massachusetts, desperate to get the cute grad student teaching the World of Thomas Jefferson to notice me.
Lucy shoved the door to the laundry room open with her fanny, struggling to keep hold of the basket, detergent, and the baggie of quarters clenched in her teeth.
“Hello there, need some help?” A cute bearded stranger jumped off the vinyl couch and hurried to the door, scooping up a sock and two black lacy thongs that fell out of her basket.
“Wow, not awkward at all,” she nodded in thanks and tried to nonchalantly jam them into the mound of clothes as he propped himself up onto a washer.
“I’m apartment 26 B, Andy.”
“What happened to Susan, is she okay,” Lucy asked as she shoved fistfuls of laundry into the machine under his watchful eye.
I never saw the truck coming. It’s the story of my life, I get blindsided by something that’s obvious to everyone else. My memory is a bit hazy, not that I want a vivid recollection of being flattened by a garbage truck. Seriously, a garbage truck, I didn’t even get dignity in death.
I do remember standing in a long line, the kind of line that makes the DVM look like a model of efficiency. I tried to engage some of the people around me in conversation and failed miserably if the monosyllabic responses are any indication, so I spent quite a while contemplating my shoes.
They say you can’t go home again, but then they’ve never been down to their last hundred bucks when home called demanding their return. Which was how Evie Bell found herself driving back into town in her ancient Civic with one suitcase full of clothes and a big box of adult toys her best friend had given her as a going away present.
“I don’t have any shops in Tennessee,” Benny Silver, owner of Goody’s Goodies, the fastest-growing chain of sex-toy shops in the country, had said when he’d loaded the carton into her hatchback. “I know you told me the people in Fairview were prudes and all, but maybe they’ve changed. And you’re a great saleswoman and manager; don’t bury yourself in some dusty, small-town bookstore forever just because you feel like you owe your aunt.”
Evie had agreed to get Benny off her back, but she suspected the box would be stashed in her aunt Patricia’s garage the minute she arrived in Fairview, never to see the light of day.
You would think that waking up in a coffin, buried six feet under would be the lowest moment of my day—but you would be wrong. Oh sure, it wasn’t exactly a highlight either but you see, I wasn’t dead and in my dirt smudged notebook of The Rules, that meant I had a chance. It wasn’t every day a girl found herself buried with the skeleton of a long dead drug dealer, but I suppose if I had to admit anything, I did have it coming. I’d forgotten that first and foremost important rule: stay away from the Johnson garage.
The saddest thing of all this was that no one would be looking for me. I was a nobody, unimportant, my name not even my own.
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