Friday, June 15, 2018

Murder, She Investigated

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words were: record, company, drug addict, reveal, country, mayor. 

They were submitted by: https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/



So my Murder, She Wrote obsession had a little influence on this one, but hopefully no one out there actually has the gall to hate Jessica Fletcher. Old me goals.

________________________

Warren Atkinson, the mayor of Franklin, TN, was found unresponsive yesterday in the storage room of a local Nashville record label known for discovering new and upcoming country artists. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Nashville General. The police have yet to release a cause of death, but an anonymous informant revealed foul play is suspected.

Mayor Atkinson was a beloved member of his community according to local officials. The entire town is shocked by his passing and the questions surrounding his death. No one including his assistant or anyone in his family has any clue as to why he would have been in Nashville much less at NuTone Records.

We will update this story as it develops.

That's quite odd, Dani thought. She knew Warren. In fact, the two of them had spent some time together together Thursday evening, and he hadn't mentioned a thing about going into Nashville even while they lay tangled and sweaty in her sheets trying to figure out if they might have time for each other over that weekend.

Both of them were recently divorced and had met at a fundraising banquet for his campaign a few months ago. She was at that banquet to be seen only. She honestly didn't give two shits who was mayor of Franklin. But she had recently moved to Tennessee from Georgia and taken the steps to transfer her private investigator license and wanted as much visibility as possible to drum up some business. She'd been rather successful in her home town, but after her husband screwed her sister behind her back, living there and running into them by chance just didn't seem worth it-- moderately successful business or not. So here she was at 44 years old starting over.

The night they met hadn't promised anything more than hours of torture in a dress she hated, shoes that hurt, and a smile that was as fake as every orgasm she had with her ex. But then Warren stopped by her table and charmed the pants off her. Literally. They talked at the banquet until his campaign manager dug her claws into his arm and drug him away. Good thing Dani had already slid him a business card. He'd called her as soon as he'd gotten away while she was still in the tub soaking away the aches of being in stilettos all night and hadn't hesitated for even half a second when she asked if he'd like to join her. She met him at the door in a short silk robe that left very little to the imagination. They never made it to the bathtub. She smiled at the memory. He'd been amazing in bed in a way she never would have anticipated given his good ol' boy image in town.

Obviously that had all been a facade. Nobody that squeaky clean ended up dead in a seedy record company office without any of the people closest to him having a clue why he'd been there in the first place.

She felt a little sadness over his passing and would surely miss him, but they'd only been able to see each other a handful of times over the last several months due to his campaigning and otherwise busy schedule. They hadn't gotten particularly close so much as had a great deal of fun together in the privacy of her home in the late night hours. She would miss that, sure. But they hadn't even gone to dinner together in all these months. It wasn't that kind of relationship. She doubted if anyone investigating would even show up to ask her any questions. As far as she knew, no one had any idea the two of them spent time together.

But this did present a unique opportunity...

Perhaps if she could solve the thing before the police, she could make a name for herself and put struggling to make ends meet behind her. She put the paper aside and started making a list of who to talk to in both Franklin and Nashville. Maybe one of them would reveal some connection between the two and Warren that no one else was yet aware of.

She started out in the best spot for all the town gossip--the beauty shop downtown, of course. The owner, Gladys, had been a fixture in the town for decades apparently. From Dani's viewpoint, people only went to stay in the loop on town happenings since Gladys hadn't updated her style since sometime in the 70s. Feathered hair, the shag, the wedge, perms.... The woman been honing her craft for quite some time, but it left at least half the women in Franklin looking like time travelers from the disco era. So, it was with some sacrifice that Dani stepped in and asked Gladys to give her the works.

3 hours, a perm, and some red dye later she could have been a Barbara Streisand impersonator or maybe the red head on Dazed and Confused. All she needed were some bell bottoms and a neckerchief.

But she DID have some answers to go with her hideous hairdo. Answers she had to track down and verify for herself of course, it gave her a place to start which was better than nothing.

The ladies had all seemed to think drugs might play a part. No, they weren't calling Warren a drug addict, but he gave little signs of using. Too many car accidents, changes in moods, showing up late to meetings, falling asleep during them... None of this was obvious to someone like Dani who had never known what Warren was like before the divorce hit him hard. And maybe it was just hindsight from women who had only put things together later. It was easy to see the way the pieces fit when you already knew how the puzzle ended. Things you wrote off before as being the result of too little sleep or depression took on new meaning when the man in question was found beaten to death, according to the grapevine, in a back office in a place where he had no known business.

Now she had a place to start though--sifting through Warren's contacts and relationships through this new lens. She could figure the odd man out, the people who didn't fit so neatly into his otherwise clean, political, small town life. Either they'd lead her to an answer, or she'd be back to the drawing board, but she was not giving up. Warren's life deserved real closure instead of the whispered trash talk she head today, and she damn sure deserved the chance to make her business work in this town.

____________________________________

Here are the links to the rest of the submissions! Enjoy!

Baking In A Tornado https://www.bakinginatornado.com

On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

The Bergham Chronicles https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

My Brand of Crazy https://sarahsbrandcrazy.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 8, 2018

A Bit Too Literal

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 10 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

It's raining...but is it raining men or cats and dogs?

It was submitted by: https://sarahsbrandcrazy.blogspot.com/

so...I had no idea what to do with this prompt. But I refused to let a nonsense prompt beat me, so here we are. I suppose this answers it better than anything else I could do. 

________________________________

Maggie grew up not quite believing the big family secret people tended to always come back to after too much drink had flowed on holidays and family reunions, the same story that was never really uttered out loud for everyone to hear but whispered in small huddled groups with eyes wide and tinged with fear.

Her grandmother was a witch, like a 100% born with magic in her DNA and could lift a car with a few words and her force of will kind of witch not a Wiccan with an alter kind of witch. Big difference. And apparently after finding him with another woman, she'd dropped a car on Maggie's grandfather with so much force it took a crane to pry it out of the asphalt before the body, or what was left of it, could be recovered and the car hauled away....which is why none of the men married to the women in that family have the courage to cheat. Or so the story goes.

Maggie had never met the woman to know firsthand what she was like. According to the rest of the story, grandma disappeared the same night, another layer to the mystery. There were 7 kids total--all girls--and none of them were old enough at the time to really remember her with clarity, but in the familial huddles after the sun was down and the wine bottles emptied, resurfacing memories about wands and dancing brooms and conversations with snakes would breathe a life of their own.

Maggie enjoyed them for what they were, odd family lore. They were the kind of tall tales that had their own energy, spun webs of mystery that made her smile and wonder and anticipate every family gathering.

Well. Until her daughter was born.

It wasn't obvious at first. Weird little things like teddy bears dancing in the air while Willow giggled that Maggie blamed on lack of sleep or bursts of energy burning out light bulbs when she threw tantrums happened enough to make Maggie wonder. That nagging little feeling wiggled its way around her brain while she constantly dismissed it. Nothing was going on, not really, she would think. All those years of stories about Grandma Nettie were corrupting her ability to be unbiased is what she would assure herself late at night after another owl sat outside the window answering her daughter's babbling.

But then... well... Willow as a toddler happened. And like all toddlers she took things a bit too literally. Phrases and idioms and old sayings seemed to just twist the real world to meet the meaning of words that Willow knew. There were a couple of hurricanes that hit near the area back then. During the first, Maggie looked out the windows with concern at the gray clouds even though it wasn't a huge, damage producing storm...yet. The rain was heavy and steady, and she muttered, "it's raining cats and dogs out there." Willow giggled to herself and walked over to the sliding glass door meowing and barking on the way. Next thing Maggie knew fluffy orange kittens and wiggly spotted puppies were softly landing in puddles in the back yard. 10 of them total--7 cats and 3 dogs--appeared before she screamed Willow's name and snapped the child's focus.

She checked all around once the storm was over and all the critters were safely indoors (no injuries thankfully), but there didn't seem to be not a one anywhere else. And she couldn't have been losing her mind. Those animals were there--tangible, purring and barking and hungry. Willow had already made it clear that there would be hell to pay if she couldn't keep her "babies." The whole thing was a disaster, so there she was, a young widow with a toddler, raising too many animals and half wondering if she needed to go live in a remote cabin in the woods and keep this child from tossing cars on people.

It wasn't long after the cats and dogs arrived that the two of them were in the car headed home from the grocery store when the radio began playing It's Raining Men. The day had been sunny with blue skies all around and barely a wisp of a cloud in the sky, but as Willow listened and started in on the eerie giggling the air around them crackled with lightening and everything turned dark.

Thunder cracked so loudly Maggie screamed, and lightening struck just a few feet ahead of the car. A thud hit the roof then the truck...Maggie saw a beige blur bounce off the hood. She hit the brakes hard and fast right in the middle of the street.

Ken dolls, naked ones, were falling all around them. And her child was giggling hysterically.

Maggie floored it and punched the radio off. She couldn't afford to be seen in a raining cloud of naked dolls. Who could? Luckily, they were only a few blocks from home, and as soon as they got within sight of the house Willow forgot all about her men in favor of screaming "Puppy!" at the top of her lungs. All 10 animals were named Puppy.

Maggie pulled in the driveway with her heart thudding loudly in her chest. This...this changed everything. Was this life now? Would she constantly be on edge about whether she had some kind of serious disorder or if her child was some kind of mutant? How would her little girl ever have a normal life?

Maggie started to sob as she stopped the car in the driveway. She turned the engine off, still crying, and put her head in her hands.

"What's wrong, Mommy?" Willow whispered from the back.

"Mommy's just a little sad. I'll be okay in a minute."

Willow was quiet for a minute or two then started giggling again. When Maggie looked up, the entire car was covered in butterflies and more were fluttering in the air all around them.

She smiled at Willow in the rearview mirror, her sweet, thoughtful little girl. The stories about her grandmother always came in hushed tones with horrified expressions...but maybe this didn't have to be a sad story with a warning lesson. Maybe this story could be warm and beautiful with butterflies and puppies and kittens instead of a dark, swirling nightmare of dead grandpas under cars and missing grandmothers with too much power and an evil streak...

With shakey hands, she reached for her phone to call her mother. There had to be more to the stories she heard, and she was determined to get it and make the best of all of this.

______________________________

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado https://www.bakinginatornado.com/2018/06/practice-makes-improved-secret-subject.html

The Lieber Family Blog https://www.thelieberfamily.com/2018/06/the-letter.html

The Bergham Chronicles https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2018/06/birthday-adventure-vacation-ss.html

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Never Ever Give Up Hope https://batteredhope.blogspot.com

My Brand of Crazy https://sarahsbrandcrazy.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 11, 2018

Free To Sign

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: showers, rock, notary, mailbox, highlighter, pinwheel


*not autobiographical*
_________________________________
The papers had to be signed in front of a notary...which was fine of course. Even the thought that she would finally be free made her feel lighter, capable of a smile for a change. As soon as it was done and filed, she could start over, rebuild, figure out who she was and wanted to be.

Just one more step and a little more waiting...

For the last 13 years being married to Brian she'd felt like a pinwheel. She was at the mercy of his temper, blown by the winds of his moods, beaten down by his storms, unable to stop the showers of his rage or his punishments and their effects on her. For so many years she was treated like a pet not his wife at the best of times and a punching bag at the worst. Every small problem in their life would send Brian spiraling into hurricane season ultimately ending in a category 5 storm she would never outrun. There was no way *not* to rock the boat no matter how many times over the years she told herself if she just kept quiet, kept out of his way, kept the house spotless and made all his favorite meals everything would be fine.

It hadn't started that way. He was perfect when they were just dating. They were still babies really...fresh out of college with their whole lives ahead of them. She worked to put him through grad school for the first few years, then came marriage and what was supposed to be her turn at getting her master's, but Brian had other plans. He'd darkened by then. One by one her friends slipped out of the picture. She couldn't go out. She could barely answer their calls without weathering a Brianado. He interfered with her relationships with family, refused to let her work anymore even on her degree, and never let her out of the house after dark without him. GPS on her car tracking her movements, security cameras in the house... Once upon a time she had a full life, her independence, friends, a loving family then one dat she realized she had no one but Brian. And according to him, no one else would want her anyway.

She took the blame as belonging solely to her because what else could explain the change? For so long she thought it must be her own doing for not being enough or being too much...

Until she didn't.

Maybe it was a slow evolution happening in her subconscious that she wasn't quite aware of in her waking world, but it felt like it sprung on her overnight--she was absolutely NOT going to do this anymore.

He'd stopped allowing her to say "no" to sex a long time ago...but when he started getting violent with it ramming inside her in the middle of choking her out, something inside her woke from a dead sleep like Godzilla rising from the depths. The first time it happened she was so numb it hardly registered, but the second time? She was filled with a blinding rage burning so hot it terrified her. She clawed his face screaming at him to get the fuck off her. He was so used to her complacency that the shock was enough to get him to step away. Before she even realized what was happening, she felt her knee connect with his still exposed crotch, and when he doubled over in pain, she dropped to one knee and shot her fist into a sort of uppercut right into his nose.

That's it? she remembered thinking. All this time and that's all it takes to knock this motherfucker out? She didn't dwell on it for long though before she was up and out the door. She ran screaming to a neighbor's house, clothes torn, lip split, and eye already bruising from the beating she had been taking when he... when he... she couldn't bear to even form the words in her mind.

It was over now though. Done. She was done. The police were called. She DID press charges. She DID stick with it even through the nice guy routine, even when some of her friends and family believed his bullshit and took his side. She kept going even through the weakest moments, even when she no longer recognized herself in the mirror, even when she felt her most lost. She found that little bit of herself that refused to be beaten down hidden in the deepest pit and unleashed it. This beast, this new version of her, would be her new beginning.

She didn't expect the divorce papers in the mailbox that day. She really hadn't expected him to give in without a fight, but he'd already moved on, found himself a new sweetheart, Tracy, who promised to love him the "right" way so his monster never showed its face. Maybe this new girl would learn Brian was the monster. There was no soothing it into peace like it was just a part of him that needed pacifying. Brian and his monster were one and the same even if he wore a nice guy costume when it suited him. And maybe Tracy would learn that before it cost her life.

Either way, the papers would be signed and initialed on every line marked with neon highlight in front of a notary as soon as she found one--an end and a beginning.

___________________________


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado https://www.bakinginatornado.com/2018/05/pomp-and-circumstance-use-your-words.html

On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2018/05/hold-onions.html

The Bergham Chronicles https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2018/05/brunch-at-cafe-uyw-may.html

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2018/05/use-your-words-international-festival.html

My Brand of Crazy https://sarahsbrandcrazy.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 4, 2018

Road Trippin'


Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 10 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Road trip: You’re given a rental car and a credit card that is good for accommodation, food, gas and entrance fees for 10 days. The offer includes as few or as many passengers as you may fit into your vehicle. Where are you going and with whom?

It was submitted by: https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Even just a couple years ago, I might have been the perfect person to answer this prompt but as it stands...well...it's just no longer in the cards. But here we are anyway. I gave it my best shot. 

___________________________________

Road trips are not exactly possible for me anymore. I have me/cfs, and that means my ability to do things I once enjoyed is limited. And it also means my energy levels are pretty fucked. A 45 minute trip to the grocery store wipes me out (not including the drive time). Traveling isn't really in my goals anymore...at least not a 10 day trip. I do have a small trip tentatively planned to visit someone I write later this year, but honestly I can count the times I have been even an hour from home in the last 2 years of being sick on one hand.

That's not to say I couldn't dream up some amazing places to go if I wanted, but part of me being able to deal with this illness is being realistic. I think some people get by living in their heads and pretending things are different, and I get that. But for me that kind of daydreaming is just a reminder of the things I'll never get to do. I don't want to pretend I'm ok and live in a fantasyland in my head, and I don't really want to try and push through for the sake of doing something I really want to do, that I've talked myself into despite knowing I shouldn't, because the blowback of being bedridden for days and not being able to speak right or focus or take care of my responsibilities as a parent, pet parent, and homeschooler just isn't worth it. I have to accept life for what it is now, and the more I do that rather than pretend things are different, the better I deal with it all both physically and mentally.

I'm not selfish though.

My son's father and his new family have been on several trips to Disney World, and the boy always has fun, but more than anything he really wants to see the Harry Potter part of the Universal Orlando theme park. We read those books together a couple years ago, bonded over them, and really fell in love with the wizarding world. We cried and learned lessons about life and love and figuring out who we are. It was an amazing journey we shared, and if I had not gotten sick not long after we read them I would have taken him by now as much for myself as him.

Universal Orlando is roughly a 6 hour drive for us. I can't drive it safely, but he and I wouldn't have to go it alone and could take as many rest stops as I needed. And when, inevitably, my energy gave out, I could spend my time in the hotel away from all the chores and responsibilities that usually keep me up and moving long after my energy levels crash. It certainly wouldn't take 10 days to drive to and see the park, but we have animals to care for anyway--special needs cats and dogs that no one can medicate but me. Believe me when I say I've tried to hand off that chore when I'm feeling my worst. It always ends up being on my shoulders though.

So there I would be along for the ride and missing some of the best parts of the park hiding away from the lights and sounds that always end in pain and resting up for the drive home. Bet your ass I'd also be feasting on candy from Honeydukes though, and elated over the few trinkets from other parts of the Hogsmeade shops I'd manage to snag.

I may not have the life I once did, and I may have to forfeit many of the big dreams and goals, but I'm okay with a life lived in small moments. I kind of have to be.

Also, if it weren't for the kid being a Potterhead, I'd opt to stay home, sell the trip, and take a mental journey with some shroom chocolate.

___________________________________

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado https://www.bakinginatornado.com/2018/05/movin-on-secret-subject-swap.html

Friday, April 13, 2018

Empathy Costs Nothing

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: trash, construction, Elvis, without, retrieve

They were submitted by: http://Bakinginatornado.com

You might be entitled to your opinion, but maybe consider if that opinion makes you sound like an asshole before you spew it.
________________________________________


I read a few articles recently about the documentary on Elvis that Priscilla Presley was recently involved in and stories a few months ago about suicide notes he left behind. It's a new revelation in his story that puts to rest all the conspiracy theories and mystery. After years in the spotlight, Elvis, like many others before him, felt the need or desire to take his own life.

Now, if you're one of those people who thinks it's weak or selfish or who questions how someone who seemingly has it all could still get to the point of suicide, my suggestion to you now is to close this out and move on. Your opinion won't be welcome here and is, factually, trash. My best advice is for you to retrieve your head from your ass and find some semblance of empathy within yourself and stop with the blame/selfish commentary because every time you do it, someone you know who has had suicidal thoughts realizes they can never come to you about their feelings without being judged. You're helping no one, and it is you who is weak and selfish.

But, what I really want to say is that suicidal thoughts aren't necessarily abnormal. Shit happens, and sometimes it gets the best of you. You have a bad month or a bad year and the depression sneaks up on you like a monster coming out of the shadows. It's not out of the ordinary when everything is piling on for that thought to lurk in the back of your head. It's there and gone like a morbid peek-a-boo session with your darkest self.

Sometimes you can't pull yourself back out of the muck on your own. And that's ok. I've been there. You get stuck on a loop of awfulness, and no matter how much you try to wiggle free you are just caught in it like a fly in the spider's web calling it to dinner. There's nothing wrong or weak or broken about asking for help even if you just need a quiet body to lean on who won't judge how long you've gone without a shower or how long it has been since you washed the dishes. Spider battles are not solo ventures. They're meant to be fought holding someone's hand with every available resource you can grab onto to help. Yes, even medicine. And no, not always more sunshine or grabbing onto your bootstraps and sucking it up--anyone who says that has never fought a spider like this before.

There's no perfect construction for how a person must be. Sometimes regardless of our station in life, our fame, glory, how much money we have or don't have, no matter how much we have or haven't gone through, as evidenced by Elvis and Robin Williams and all the others, those thoughts creep in. Sometimes they stick. Sometimes they can't be patched. Sometimes the patch fails and the roof caves in, and you can't find your way out of it. And maybe you don't want to.

Even then...especially then... judgment has no place in stopping it from happening again to someone else. Nor does it help those people you may know who lost a loved one that way and can't bear to hear those opinions and fucked up jokes and condemnations.

Love. Kindness. Empathy. Know them and use them. Or simply shut up.

____________________________________


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado https://www.bakinginatornado.com/2018/04/shades-of-parkland-use-your-words.html

On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2018/04/half-baked.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2018/04/broken-hearted-mama-uyw.html

Friday, April 6, 2018

Me, Myself, and I

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 9 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Who is the one person you admire more than any other? Why?

It was submitted by: http://www.southernbellecharm.com 

Maybe it's ego. Maybe it's just appreciation. 

_______________________________

Myself.

And I absolutely realize it sounds pretentious at best and narcissistic as hell at worst, but it's deeper than that, bigger than that, so let me explain.

I feel like a lot of folks might choose a parent, a spouse, a friend, or a celebrity, but anyone who knows me well also knows that I learned a lot about who I didn't want to be from my parents. And to be honest while I love my friends and do admire the occasional activist celebrity, I also realize celebrities are not super human and no better at this struggle than I am by way of having had more opportunity, and my friends I think of as my equals--flawed but trying our best all the same to be the best we can with the time we have. These might be easy choices for any number of people, but it just doesn't cover it for me. I have strong, talented, woke as fuck friends. I write some people who have made complete turnarounds with their lives, and while I admire those qualities, I also appreciate that we are all works in progress.

Given the prompt it would also be fairly easy to come up with a cutesy answer about my child, and while I do love him to pieces and admire the person he is becoming, I also know his reason for becoming that person is my influence. I'm his teacher, mom, ethical guide, moral philosopher, and often a substitute for a dad. When he chooses kindness over hate, when he discusses current events with me or points out how someone else is ignorant in their thinking about others, when he gets lost in books about other worlds and gets excited about writing papers on his favorite characters or shows, he's reflecting back to me the things I have taught him are valuable and the work I taught him would make the world a little better.

I've done a lot of searching, changing, and work to get to this point in life where I can pass down these important lessons, and it's really that line of thinking that made me choose myself. Sometimes in life being humble or modest isn't the best choice, and I think with the way American culture has headed over the last few years, 2016 to now especially, it's prudent to be as open and honest as possible. We sure as fuck aren't getting that kind of honesty elsewhere.

I didn't have someone to teach me those lessons at his age--how to love, how to embrace difference, what differences really mean. And while my family might not have been actively hateful, they weren't exactly the best examples either. I had to relearn everything, start as fresh as possible, and be real with myself about what biases I picked up on the way. And I've done that through some of the worst obstacles a person can face. It would have been easy to let the world turn me into a cold, hate-filled monster. Surely that's what it taught me humans are more than capable of... But I didn't let my experiences hold me back. I've swallowed a lot of self-pity and picked my ass up off the ground over and over to keep pushing through, keep striving to be better, to reach out to people who have no one, and continually evaluate my self, my behaviors, and my intentions.

I'm proud of myself for not letting where I came from dictate who I would be. I'm proud that I didn't let the things I went through harden me, that I choose empathy over apathy every single day rather than give in or give up. I'm proud I never let fear dictate how I would live my life and see others. I admire myself for being able to hand those lessons down to my own child both by words and actions. And I admire that I do so knowing I am in no way perfect and will always have room to grow, learn, improve, and better the world one action at a time.

So yeah on the outset maybe it sounds a like ego to say the person I admire most in the world is myself, but I also know how far I've come, and I think it's perfectly ok to be proud of that fight.

_______________________________

Here are all the submissions! Enjoy.

Baking In A Tornado http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

Never Ever Give Up Hope https://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Climaxed https://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

My Brand of Crazy https://sarahsbrandcrazy.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 16, 2018

Prey

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

inevitably ~ first ~ differently ~ fiesta ~ routes ~ hosted

It was submitted by: http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/ 

___________________________________________

The house was pretty quiet when she heard the scratch at the back door. She closed her book about one of America's first female serial killers reluctantly, sat it on the arm of her chair, and chuckled to herself. Voorhees, her big ginger kitty, couldn't be kept inside no matter how hard she tried and had learned to scratch the door like the dogs when ready to come back in for a soft spot to nap and a bite to eat. The lines between species had inevitably blurred in this house, and she couldn't help being amused by it.

She made the short journey across the kitchen to the back porch, flicked on the light, and opened the door for His Dark Majesty. He trotted, sass fully on display. She waited for his usual chirp--a rolling half purr, half meow--that meant, "Hi, Mom. Pamper me." It was one of her favorite sounds and even in front of company she found herself chirping back in full conversation embracing the crazy cat label happily. People were okay and all that, but animals seemed to love differently, wholly and without the baggage humans brought to the table, so even though she loved her friends, she'd take a night in with her furry nuggets over a fiesta full of people any day of the week.

Voorhees was quiet though. Instead she felt him flop onto the floor. He had a tendency to plop down in front of the food bowl and eat laying down. (What a life). So she snuck a quick look behind her to make sure the bowl was Vorhees full. Super full. A half empty bowl would never do for her fat boy...not without him howling for more as soon as she sat down at least. But when she looked.... was that something moving? In his mouth?

She took a step backwards, flipped the light on, and felt her jaw unhinged in shock, tiny noises of protest wheezing out.

She looked harder but refused to step closer. Voorhees held it tightly in his mouth for the moment, but no way was she getting any closer. She'd read sci fi novels for fuck's sake. She'd seen the movies. The woman always warned them to leave the thing alone, and she was always right. Before you knew it everyone in the story had hosted some parasite or alien or been eaten alive. She wasn't going down like that. Nope. Not a chance.

It was a pink, fleshy color kind of like an earthworm. She couldn't see much of it except the writhing mass of tentacles trying to pull itself to freedom, gripping the cat's whiskers but failing to get purchase enough to pry open his jaws. While she watched, Voorhees bit down harder, and a split second after she heard the squish of meat, a piercing screech rolled through her brain so loudly she fell to her knees. She didn't hear it so much as felt it, and as soon as she regained composure she saw the cat had been completely unaffected.

Weird.

She stayed on the floor watching the thing a little longer when the cat dropped it out of his mouth and squished it to the ground with his claws. Because of course. Cats. Fucking cats playing with their food...even if it looks like an alien earthworm octopus. Maybe especially an alien earthworm octopus.

She tried to fake some calm in her voice, "Voorheeees, baby.... please don't let your little friend go."

And because he's a cat, Voorhees stared her dead in the eyes and let the little fucker go.

It screamed again causing her to kind of double over and grasp her temples, but she kept her eyes on it as it defied gravity and climbed the kitchen cabinets like a spider up to small shelf where she kept some kitschy kitty cat figures she'd had since she was a kid. It seemed to stare dead at her as it pushed them off one by one so they shattered on the ground .

"Hey knock it the fuck off!"

It reared back on a few of the tentacles and roared inside her head, so she slid over to the cat, grabbed him in a bear hug and ran for the living room through the only exit from the kitchen and one of its only escape routes from the house.

She'd grabbed a chair from the dining room and placed it under the doorknob leading to the kitchen and pulled her chair to sit in front of the door and keep watch. That was hours ago now...


The sun was coming up, the first rays of light peeking through the windows behind her. Her eyes felt heavier than the gun in her hand, but she couldn't sleep. Voorhees was prowling and meowing in front of the door begging for his prey like he knew somehow it was still there, too. It hadn't made a sound, but she felt it. Waiting.

_____________________________________________________________

Check out the other submissions this week!

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2018/03/rebuild-and-recharge-use-your-words.html

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

Cognitive Script https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2018/03/reunited.html