• The flapping of the crows’ wings snapped Graham back to consciousness. They surrounded him, a swirling funnel of birds, their thousand calls heralding death.
    With an anxious tremor, he raised his left hand, w […]

    • Hello
      Morbidly mesmerizing is how I describe your tale. I think you have found a genre to further explore. Well done!

      • Thank you so much, C. I admit that this prompt conjured up only morbid stories for me. It’s awesome to see other writers have found some light. Take care.

  • CHAPTER 28“Perhaps they took another route, sir?” said Jasper.“That’s always possible. We have no choice but to wait, I suppose.”As the time slipped by, the two men, now standing on the pavement outside the hospi […]

    • Mystery mystery mystery…. Very good and so many red herrings. We can see Murray very clearly and you capture the period and class system superbly. I was a bit surprised that Christopher didn’t demand more information and accepted that he waits at the hotel..I’m trying to guess how Murray knows so much but I can’t work it out. Also would Christopher not interrogate Callie outside the car away from earshot?
      you leave the reader gripped by the story. So maybe Callie has to say something to prevent this happening .Well done.

      • Thanks, Graham! So glad you can’t work it out! 😀

        It needs work, racing the deadline at 5 am can, despite the adrenaline rush, sometimes have its drawbacks. There are way too many ‘turnings’, ‘knees’ and misplaced sentences. Not to mention a sprinkling of incorrect tenses. I can guarantee I’ll be editing it tonight!

        Word count and a desire to get to the not-so-quite-cliffhangerish cliffhanger meant I couldn’t flesh out the conversation in Murray’s office as much as I wanted. I actually had another cliffhanger but had to settle for this one as the one I wanted put me nearly 200 words over. I did want to emphasise the railroading and the sense that there was something happening that Christopher wasn’t privy to without repeating phrases like ‘go home’ or “I couldn’t say’. But it’s currently clumsy.

        Thank goodness I can tweak this first draft into better shape now that it’s up. All the tweaks make the next edit that much easier. (Which reminds me I have to edit the chapter before with the nursing bits to add in, and a rather large clue.)

        The only time Christopher is alone with Callie is in the train carriage, so there might be more conversation next week. I’m so glad you liked it. Especially glad that you find it gripping!

        • Phew, all the changes are sorted. I feel better about this as a first draft now. I even added the nursing bits and the clue in the previous scene.

    • What a mean trick the old man played on Christopher, or was it a test of sorts? More mystery. I felt Christopher’s frustration and wanted to choke Mr. Murray and Jeffries. Even Jasper seemed to know something and wouldn’t tell. The politeness and secrecy in in this scene is so very frustrating. This was a great scene full of tension. Can’t wait for the next scene.

    • I couldn’t wait for this week to see what had happened to the old man.
      Surprise – surprise.
      Lord Sly is a very wily old man but I think he has to be with a family like that.
      I’m also pleased he has such loyal friends and servants to look after him.
      I’m warming to him. 🙂
      Excellent scene.

      • Aw, thanks, Estelle! So glad you enjoyed it. I’m behind in my reading of the teams work so will be catching up tonight!

  • Charlie and Elena stood by the reflecting pond, watching the glint of sunlight on coins at the bottom, each someone’s wish, dream, or desperate plea. They had no coins, but Elena still had the yellow roses from t […]

    • Such a sad, poignant tale, Georgiana, so beautifully told. I never got a feel for the child, but Charlie and Elena were alive in my mind, until Charlie died, and then Elena amplified for me, though she shrank inside her own self. It was brave of her to let her dad list the bike, the kindness of the Artist and Elena’s inner question about whether she wanted to be ‘back to life’ – it was a pivotal moment, and she had her art that would let her grow. Splendid storytelling. I had tears in my eyes!

    • Beautiful. Tight, flawless prose and full of significant deatails – the song in the pick-up’s radio, the squeaking leather, Cody’s curiosity. The message of creativity serving as lifeline. I loved this one Georgiana.

    • Hi, Georgiana Great story. We all hold onto things from loved ones that we should probably let go of. the story takes the reader through her grief and lets the reader see progress and growth from her. I agree that these caring characters deserve to be continued? will she fall in love with the buyer, or become a famous artist, or keep the bike and learn to ride? Lots of potential. Good read, Sharon

  • Lens fiddled with the cord of his fine silk bag as meister Ardrin droned on about the sensitivity needed to perform the ritual of self-cleaning. Lens knew the rule. Self-cleaning needed to be learned and practiced […]

    • Hi,
      The topic of the story you wrote is extremely controversial it is almost frustrating. The MC you created and the pace of the story was done very well. The way the story was told just might let you get away from the controversy by hiding it as fantasy, which I like a lot. The subplot storyline of how only the uninspired have access to this devine resource is also a controversial topic which needs to see more light. As you can tell I enjoyed your story a lot, so well done!

    • Hey Megan, this is a new concept to me but I really got into your story! I thought you paced it really well and let the details unfold very naturally. I must be honest though that I didn’t expect your MC to want to coast through and felt disappointed with that (lol). But I think that was actually a great touch because I could feel the beginnings of a complex character and a reluctant hero. I think that ending actually had more place to go and then if it had gone as expected.

      • Hey Justine, thanks for reading. It’s completely made up, on the spur of the moment. I know what you mean about the ending, but I couldn’t play it straight. Thanks for the comments.


    Over to the right, in the distance, leaves swirled up in another gust of wind, catching her eye. As she looked back to the mirror-like grey granite, a watery sun peered through the cloud behind her, enough to […]

    • Hi Martin
      Bothe the genre definition and the warning are so to the point.
      I enjoyed this wishing I could write such a piece.
      Thank you for writing this.

    • Hi, Martin Such a lovely piece. So thoughtful and kind. We need more of these stories in our lives. I perhaps read more into the story, but I gathered that the little girls mother had passed away and he was able to understand her loss because he had suffered also. It was beautifully written, and it is one that will stick with me. My story is about kindness also. I guess we were thinking alike this month. Thanks for an uplifting story.

  • Notes:

    Please give me your honest assessment of how well this works.

    Recap (or click here to read the previous scene):

    Agent Nic Brennan and his team chase time travelers. Following up on the news that a […]

    • Brilliant writing! There’s practically nothing I can nitpick.
      LOVED the Gun-And-badge scene. The time-travel setting puts a fresh spin on it.
      “No.” Yes. “Of course not.” – Loved this too. So effective as a technique. I might have to borrow it.
      “curiosity expressed through vandalism.” – What a great line!
      “Only you would discover something this valuable, and immediately break it open.” – Ek het mos gesê! Nic is one of a kind. Taking apart something so valuable. I’m sure when he was a toddler his folks thought he was going to be an electromechanical engineer.
      The notion of being unfeeling that has stalked him since childhood. It has benefited his work but strained his relationships, his marriage most of all. – This is really really important, and if you want this story to be a blockbuster, you must make sure that his insecurity about this supposed weakness shows up early in the story and is prominent throughout. This is going to be his inner journey, and it is even more important than his outer quest.
      What a pleasure it was reading this scene!

      • Now you’ve left me blushing. Don’t stop, nê. You’re welcome to use the No. Yes. Of course not technique; after all, I stole two ideas from you here. First, cracking open the device to document it still makes sense to me, but I can see how that will seem to many people. So I went with it, allowing Kai to validate a reader’s comment. Also, I often struggle to express Nic’s emotional response to big events. In part, that’s because he must drive the story forward and can’t just mope around scene after scene (Right now, Kai is driving, but we’ll rectify that soon). Mostly, I struggle with his emotional depth because I struggle with it. Embracing it as part of the character definitely fits with his journey with Lynda, and it adds another layer. The second draft should definitely sprinkle it into Act One. Thank you so much, and take care.

        • Hi Cobus! Sometimes the rock you’ve got to drill through for the depth is just harder. That’s Nic for you, and that is what is going to endear him to your readers. I can imagine his “mirror moment” to be exactly this choice between succumbing to his emotions or being the stoic yet again. And if he chooses, then, to go with what he is more comfortable with and further suppress his feelings, the “dark night” will break open that rock. I wonder what will happen when he starts “thinking” with his heart. (No, wait, he’s doing that already. He’s just not following through on it yet.) I suppose it will open up completely new timelines?

    • I’ve decided I’m going to add The Frozen River to my goodreads reading list at the end of the year, since it always feels so well-written and complete. Like Hanri mentioned, there are mulitple great lines with a good punch and I can’t wait to see what happens with Nic! I’m delighted, because I thought he’d flash to the future then flash back. Now, I’m seeing we are going to be dealing with this for a while and there’s still a lot to learn.

      • Thank you so much, Hanna. I’m still rewiring my plot for this timeline (had a major change of heart), but we’re definitely staying in Nic’s future for a while. Take care.

    • Great scene Cobus. Having Kai from the original timeline taking charge here gives the reader some grounding… and knowing there is still a team investigating eight years in their future feels just right. Very confident writing and so we believe it.

      “It’s just… Damn, you’re good at compartmentalizing things. How are you not freaking out?”
      Exactly what I was thinking Kai. I do wonder why he didn’t tell her about the watch, but i’m sure we’ll learn.

  • “Did you know the margaritas here are free?” Suzie squealed with delight as she flopped down on the sunbed next to her friend and travelling companion. A woman she’d known since junior school.

    “Oh, sweetie […]

  • Olivia Harris was… beautiful. Magdalene often had to remind herself to stop staring, but the woman was a hope she couldn’t look away from. Olivia was in her mid-sixties – if she were a couple of years older than […]

    • Hi Chantel,
      You did a fantastic job to introduce Olivia. I love the way you describe the space between the characters, their relations, and feelings towards each other. You have an eye for detail and a talent to elevate it.
      The list of characters has grow significantly. Do you perhaps have a character chart? I think it would help a lot if it were at the top of every scene.
      Once again, great scene!

    • her eyes the warmest browns of chocolate and firewood. What a line! Wowza what an ending. What a swirling scene. I agree with John about a character chart (I need one too for my story). So much atmosphere and wonderful rolling inner monologue.

    • Great scene. Olivia is such a strong character, and it brings hope to story that she is affected – and yet not confused or lost – surviving/thriving with the help of her husband (I assume) and son.

      I liked this: “… not giving her husband a chance to speak while the untamed corners of his emotion had him in its throes.” and the difference in the behaviour of Fliss’ parents is well described.

      I had to check my notes to remember who Ralph is – but enjoyed getting inside his head. It appears he’s not as far gone as everyone thinks. This scene has lots of insights into their affliction. Great work. Look forward to reading more.

  • “The fourth course?” Rachel asked, careful to keep her face blank. She knew though. What the man Peter, the client she’d been instructed to be especially good to, meant. She should have known from the begin […]

    • You definitely get a sense that Rachel is deeply troubled and running away from her past. I wonder what happened between Rachel and her mother. There is still love for her.

      I liked some of your detailed descriptions of her experiences. I felt sorry for Rachel.

      Occasionally,I had to reread some sentences because some of the location shifts felt abrupt to me.

      Also, I recall a teacher telling me not to start sentences with “but” so you might want to just connect the two sentences with a comma before the “but.”

      Keep it up! 😀

      • Hi David
        thanks for the read and the comments. This was definitely rushed, but I’m glad you felt for Rachel. I know English teachers don’t approve of starting a sentence with but, which the see as a word to join clauses in a sentence. But I like the emphasis the word gets when it begins a line. And I don’t think people necessarily think grammatically.

    • Hi Nina. You’ve got some beautiful imagery in this story and, although there wasn’t a lot going on, I found myself totally immersed. There are a few typos, so maybe you should take another read through it, as I’m sure you’ll pick them up if you do. I was also a little confused with all the time-hopping. Wasn’t sure where I (or Rebecca) was; but I do love the way you move your reader through Rebecca’s life. Well done and thank you for sharing.

  • Brianna didn’t say anything but followed Liam and her suitcase to the Buick. He was parked illegally, but he didn’t care. Curtis was in the back seat panting and Brianna sobbed. “What is wrong with you? Why would […]

    • Oh, I’m so glad Brianna and Curtis got away, but where is Liam going and does he still have her cell phone and wallet? Great job with this. I felt like I was watching a movie. People gathering to take video with their cell phones, very realistic. So, unfortunately, was the security guard’s initial reaction.

      At the very beginning I’m not sure if it’s necessary to write out “he didn’t care” about being parked illegally. It feels like a little hop into Liam’s POV when everything else is Brianna’s. Might be obvious that he didn’t care because he did it and because he’s not in a good mental state.

      I’m worried for James and wish I could just keep reading!

    • This was an intense action scene! Well written! Glad Brianna escaped, and I wonder what happens next! It was interesting to see the people of Galveston take Liam’s side, but I imagine these people see Liam as a familiar face and Brianna as the stranger… I was frustrated on her behalf! I wonder about James, and wonder if Brianna should dwell on him a bit more too, or maybe show her freaked out about the current predicament. I’m impressed that she doesn’t panic and acts with a clear head.
      Quick POV suggestion: since the first scene is from Brianna’s POV, I suggest changing this from Liam’s POV to how Brianna perceives it: “but he didn’t care.

    • Wow! This seems like the action has really been ramped up! People not wanting to get involved….I guess I can see that happening, but what a terrible place for Brianna to find herself. Perhaps UTMB could be spelled out to give the real name to non-BOI folks. (smile) I enjoyed seeing Texas City mentioned….Lived there for a short while as an infant.
      Liam is really wacky and getting worse!

  • “Of course, Alistair. One of the cousins who doesn’t want to sell. Does he have any legal interest in the property? Entitled to anything if it sells?” Joe asked.

    “Nope. Colin and Sarah Rose bought Margare […]

    • Aw cute ending. This trip seems to be just what Leslie andJoe needed. Nice job adding to the mystery. Drugs and pirates and who knows what…

    • Hi Georgiana,
      This actually applies to the story as a whole, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned how much I love the dialogue in your scenes. It has this light, natural flow to it, even as the characters discuss things like drug dealers and pirate booty. I also thought the ending was sweet, but I couldn’t help but notice that it’s the first time we’ve seen Leslie address the reader directly. Take care.

      • Thanks for your comments, Cobus. I usually feel like i’m taking dictation for the voices in my head…;). Interesting observation about the last line as in my mind Leslie is always speaking to the reader. I’ll pay attention!.

    • Hi, Georgiana Nice scene. I agree with Cobus about the dialogue. It is right on the money. I like how honest they ae with each other and how no topic is off limits. When they think back about how they don’t have as much energy as the kids, it is right on. When they get to the cliffs or shoreline, make sure you give a lots of description because i can’t picture the cave?? in my mind. Maybe you described it, but I have forgotten. thanks for a great scene

    • I love these people! The way they lace their adventure with the everyday ordinary. Where they’re talking about taking the boat out to go spy for pirates or drug lords, then this couple comes back in with their conversation whether they should buy the farm. Entertaining.
      You know, someone once advised me that an MC should never be older than 34, because “then your book won’t sell.” What hogwash. These 60-somethings MCs have a much, much more interesting take on life, adventure and everything else (read: sex).
      I also kinda liked that your narrating character addressed the reader directly (a bit of a Jane Eyre “Reader, I married him” moment there) – I think it would make the “voice” of this novel very interesting if you could amp up that part and do it more often.

  • Mrak hated not being able to delegate the recaptue of the Nix to one of his minions. But success was too important to allow anyone else to mess it up. He couldn’t risk tarnishing his reputation with Duncan. He k […]

    • There was a hot second in there where I thought the vamp was going to save the day! But the long painful recovery might require Shandy and Warren to work more directly together than was planned. I thought the plan to capture the child was clever. I think you could start this scene at the school yard and maybe he could have his thoughts on everything while he is watching/waiting for the child to get out of school from his vantage point. You do it a little, but i like having him in a place waiting to take action as he’s thinking to start the scene. Lots of obstacles in place to get the kid back! Clever.

    • This scene written very well, very easy to understand. I liked how Mrak checked off his plan, as they were completed. It made it easier for the me to follow. I’m upset that  kidnapping the nix was so easy. Warren and Shandy got took, smh. Warren fought a little bit but got his head twisted.

  • Susanna thought she’d heard it all. Most Hairdressers had. It was one of the perks of the job, overhearing people’s secrets. She was used to the unusual, and she didn’t think she could be surprised by anyth […]

    • Christy! Thanks for sharing your May submission! Unsure if I have read anything by you before, however I have seen this movie a billion times with my wife and know most of the lines. Great take on the prompt! Unsure where it is going or if you want to turn it into additional stories, but well done! Feel free to critique mine! – Matt

    • Hi Matt! thanks for reading. I really struggled with this one for some reason. I appreciate you stopping by to read my story.

  • “Hey, Aunt Dianne. I have another question for you.” Gumshoe Maisie had been envisioning the list on her notepad, and decided it was worth a shot, “Could you also ask Frank if he knew someone named Colle […]

    • Hi Becky, I really like how you’re showing us what’s inside Maisie’s head. Especially the counting right before calling someone shows that this is quite an obstacle for her. I was somehow reminded of the TV-series “Monk” 😊 . The scenes themselves are great and seem rather polished. When you talk about how lonely Maisie is it might be a good idea to foreshadow her future relationship with Kenji. You could have Maisie admit that she would like his company, but for a rather innocent activity, like watching a football game on TV. Which Kenji of course would have to turn down because he’s speed-dating. Just in case you wanted to foreshadow their relationship. Great hook at the end!

    • So now we learn more about Colleen, and have another lead to follow with Bob Williams. You do such a good job putting the reader inside Maisie’s head, to hear her thoughts and how she processes things. It’s sad that she relegates herself to mediocrity, I wonder if this is a subplot used to show character growth along the way.
      Can you remind me what year this is? I ask, because it seems like Maisie ought to be able to do a lot of this research herself on the internet without needing a research librarian, unless we’re still in the 1990s or early 2000s in which case it makes more sense.
      Anyway, I’m loving the way the story is developing. As I mentioned, you have an enviable way of showing Maisie’s emotional state and thought processes, I was sad for her to be lonely and worried that she might go back to her ‘cul de sac’ relationship (a great analogy). I’m trying to forget that I read Susanne’s comments, so I won’t be surprised as the story unfolds 🙂
      Great work, Becky! I’m enjoying this journey of yours, and look forward to reading more next week.

    • I’m getting worried about Maisie’s mental health…I thought we were dealing with grief, but her self esteem is really low!
      my high school boy friend’s name was Bob Williams! He’s alive and well and living in California! Hope that helps Maisie? 🙂
      Seriously, it’s a very common name…surprising that she got the response she did!
      looking forward to the next scenes Becky!

  • NOTE:  **This should come before Scene Nineteen. Hopefully, it will help address the issue of why Reynolds makes the decision to contact Christine for her help. Chad Reynolds had hit a solid brick wall in the […]

    • Hi Patti, I’ve enjoyed last week’s scene so much that I just had to come back and I was not disappointed. I like the exchange between Christine and Sheila, it was full of warmth and understanding. To contrast it with the reality of Sasha was great because you’re upping the tension again and now I can’t wait to find out what happens next week!

      • Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Susanne! I really like Sheila’s and Christine’s relationship – it’s easy to write, maybe because it feels natural to me.

    • Hi Patty
      I’m grateful for this more hopeful scene. I’m glad Christine caught Sheila before she did something stupid with her marriage, and I’m glad for Christine’s win. Interesting seeds you’re planting with Sasha here. I’m excited to see what you decide about her. One note, it could be very easy to make Daria look too perfect. I understand Sheila thinking of her this way, but it may be wise to balance it out by showing us some of Daria’s human flaws, otherwise she will cease to be relatable. As always, looking forward to the next one. Well done xxx

      • That’s a great point about Daria, and I will definitely incorporate some of her flaws into future scenes. Thanks Chantel!

      • Yeah, a little smoking in the girls’ room to offset Sheila’s naturally rosy picture of her daughter.

    • Yes. Just what was needed. All moving along well.especially Sasha starting to turn – almost like a family was perfect. I wondered though if you might wait for Christine to suggest a counselor. Her whole insight into couples reacting and communicating was so good, it felt heavy-handed of Christine to add one more layer of telling Sheila what to do. The Reynolds finding the DOJ manual on psychics was brilliant.

      • The problem with Christine suggesting a counselor is logistics — she lives in Savannah, GA and the Bloomfields are in Secaucus, NJ — so she wouldn’t know anyone there.

        I’m so glad the book on psychics worked. I couldn’t believe it when I found it online…it felt like the perfect answer. Sometimes things just work out. 🙂

        Thank you for all your help, Nina. I appreciate you!

        • What I meant was for you to wait for Christine to bring up going to a counselor not that she recommend one.

        • Ah, so there IS such a book. Excellent. I love research. I just refreshed my mind on the topic of dowsing today.

          I think Christine is spot on in recommending counseling. She’s been to this movie before, seen the result of letting the cracks in a traumatised relationship grow into unbridgeable chasms. Sheila’s in bits and pieces on the other end of the line. This is above Christine’s pay grade so recommending counseling is totally appropriate, IMO. Maybe you just need to position it as you’ve done so ably with Reynolds and Christine’s conversation.

    • All perfectly balanced Patti. You are such a great writer. People cope with tragedy in different ways and you really got that across to the reader. My only hesitation was… I was thinking that Christine seems to have a lack of urgency and maybe counselling is a step too far…away from her main role… not sure. Paul does seem removed when his daughter could still be alive. Has he got something to hide?It reminds me of the Madeline McCann abduction in Portugal. Complete torment for the parents. I like the way you use the police and the partnership is a full of highs and lows. All terrrific.

    • Oh my, Patty, you’ve done such a perfect job of answering those Reynolds-FBI-psychics questions. It’s like you went back and did a thorough clean up.

      The result? I find myself trusting you as a writer, a concept I’ve only understood intellectually until now.

      I must ask: Is there such a book? It’s entirely believable to me that there would be. When my colleagues and I asked for training about PTSD in VietNam veterens our agency splashed out. And bought each regional office a $4.95 paperback on the subject. (Fortunately, it was excellent.) There were always all sorts of Federally produced texts around, some of them quite amazing and others which served well as doorstops.

      All in all, I’m really impressed with this week’s offering.

  • “There’s something we have to talk about,” Annie told Jack, pulling him away from everyone clustered around Lucy’s phone, all talking at once to Jenny, zooming from Idaho.
    “Stay and talk to your sister,” […]

    • Hi Nina, finally Annie gets to say that she’S pregnant! We’ve all been waiting for this one. I was surprised that Annie told the whole family all at once, I thought she might want to tell Jack in private. This whole scene is wonderful, it has a few sentences in it that are like gems. This here is one of them: “That smile that told her everything was going to be all right. That he’d be there when she was ready.” Don’t we all want someone like Jack with that kind of smile? He’s almost too good to be true! Here’s the second one: “There was how things should be and how things could be but then there was how things would be.” I bet that’s what will haunt Annie throughout the novel. Great scene!

      • Nina replied 4 days ago

        Well, Jack and Annie were in the living room – maybe I need to make that clearer?- which is next to the dining room where everyone was and she just blurted it out loud enough everyone heard. Maybe to get it all over with and finally make it said and shared and real. And yes that line – should, could, would – may be the backbone of the book.

    • Foreboding. That’s what I feel as I read this week’s scene/s. You’ve done such an excellent job of creating this cloud of uncertainty over everyone in this story, where possibly nothing is as it seems. And mysterious Max…..what’s his story……can’t wait to find out more there.

      It feels as though Annie may have a touch of agoraphobia (I think I have that myself as I just don’t breathe well in crowds of people and avoid them like the plague) or maybe she’s just an extra sensitive person. Either way, her proclivity to run from a room seems to be a defining characteristic. It might be interesting sometime to reflect back on her life in DC and lift the veil – show that it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows as well. Just a thought.

      She seems pretty locked in on having the baby now, having announced it to the “world” instead of just Jack. Lots of room there for future drama!

      • Nina replied 4 days ago

        Yup she is definitely locked in. Though I’m not sure how conscious she was of the loudness of her voice. But she got it done. And yes, she’s a bit agoraphobic. She’s a wildlife photographer, preferring the wilds to more ‘civilized’ society.
        seems like you missed last week’s scene which was a lit about Max and Lucy.

        • Oh Nina, my apologies! I have no idea how I missed your scene last week. You are right, it answered so many questions about Max and made me so happy. 🙂 Lucy needed someone to sort of anchor her, and I think Max is the perfect one to do that.

    • Hi Nina
      Of all you’ve given us this week, my favourite thing is that transition scene with Dorothea, and specifically her thinking how she once wanted Annie’s kind of freedom. She is such a compelling character for me. As always, the damp, taught atmosphere wafts through wonderfully throughout. I’m glad Annie finally announced her baby, even just for Jack’s sake. Well done on another beautiful piece xxx

      • Nina replied 4 days ago

        Yes finally telling Jack, though it’s more time passing for us here than for them there. Still. Oh, Dorothea, me too, but I don’t know how she’ll get where she’s going…

    • “There was how things should be and how things could be but then there was how things would be.” – that is a quote and a half!! Loved it. As always your writing was beautiful down to the tulip glasses and the ruts and tufts of turf.
      Love the dynamic between Jack and Annie (I don’t want any sudden twist that he turns out to be a ratbag – it is a lovely relationship) and thought it was beautifully poignant that she ran to Maggie’s bench. Lots to explore still and the characters are brilliant. Really enjoyed.

    • Another poignant piece of writing. All your characters are clearly defined . There is a real sadness about Annie and she appears a lost soul to me. I’m not sure if that’s how you picture her. Jack came out of the good box and seems the perfect husband…. Maybe I need some lessons. Always good to get the sisters viewpoints and they bring real spice to your writing. A big thing to tell the family at the same time as your husband…but she did try. So is Jack truly sensitive to her needs as she has huge self doubt. Altogether I get the feeling of entrapment and it is very moving and emotional story. Thank you.

      • Nina replied 2 days ago

        Well, they were in another room from the family but Annie blurted it out loud enough for all. I don’t see her as a lost soul, though she’s definitely struggling. And yes, there’s a sense of entrapment. Jack needs some filling out, but he loves Annie and is a true empath.

    • Hi Nina!
      A really believable scene – it struck me how much of the modern woman’s conundrum is wound up in this scene where the undercurrents are about going “back home” “to your roots” “where you are needed”, and how all of those expectations rob Annie of the hard-won freedom that generations of women before her had trailblazed for her. No wonder she’s conflicted.

    • For the first time my Darling Jack disappointed me a bit, by getting swept up with the family when Annie made it clear she wanted to tell him something.”Annie felt the whole family falling on top of her, like the world imploding, leaving her dizzy and struggling for breath in the dust of the rubble. It was all too much. She wasn’t ready. Not for any of it.” Perfect description of that feeling!

      “Annie sat there until she was so cold, she wasn’t feeling the cold, until the sky had lost its last hint of light and the moon was starting to show itself over the mountain. She kissed the tips of her fingers and pressed them to the cold stone.”

      “Jack nodded at Lucy as he huddled Annie through to the living room. There was that heaviness in the air of everyone knowing something was happening and, on top of what they all did know, no one knowing for sure what was going on.”
      This made me think that maybe Janey told them before Annie had a chance to.

      And of course, Darling Jack said just the right thing. sighhhhhh…. ““Come on,” Jack said, grinning at her, so she couldn’t help but feel everything would be all right. “Let’s eat.”

      Thanks for another great installment. I’m a little confused with Dorothea and Arvilla this week, but that’s okay. Just means I need to keep reading!

      • Sorry, Georgiana, but your friend Jack needed to be dense on this one. And the weird sisters… well I’m hoping this week’s scene will work to show a bit more of them…I’m glad you picked out the bits you did. Always feels like a risk writing like that.

  • “How is Pari?” Tahir tried smiling as he asked. But Lisa’s nonchalant shrug made him lose it.

    “She’s good. Rishi is taking good care of us,” Lisa replied, her tone straight like an arrow.

    Tahir was not pleased […]

    • You do a good job of presenting the tension between the characters. It’s complicated given the number of people in the scene, but it’s never unclear what they feel or what the impact is.

      My only comment is that some of the descriptions seem stilted. Here are some examples followed with my suggestion:

      Please don’t bring this up before him – Please don’t bring this up in front of him

      Somewhere which could provide the right atmosphere – A place that could provide the right atmosphere

      stroked the cutlery – rubbed the knife/fork

    • Great tension in the scene – lots of undercurrents and well handled.
      One typo – Rene’s name half way through should be Lisa I expect.
      Plenty to keep the reader hooked in this scene. Curious for what is next?!

      • Hi Rachel,
        Thank you for your wonderful comments and the read! I am glad that you found the tension and undercurrents funny. Hope to hear from you again. Be safe.

  • Aiden was small for his age, which I’d been told was six. He carried a backpack almost as big as he was. It was unusual, but not unheard of, to get a new kid this late in the evening. My other three were already i […]

    • Patti, a seemingly straightforward story but so loaded with emotion, Nita wasn’t the only teary one at the end! Your style of keeping the storytelling simple added to the poignancy of Aiden’s situation, and his innocence really came through at the end.

    • You did it again. I was fine til I reached the end. Then I welled up, but then I’m a sentimental guy.I’ve heard this story before, even seen it as a “guardian ad litem”. I was carried along by your dialogue and the way it pulled me in. It’s too common an event in the world. Well put. Thanks

    • Hi, Patti WOW powerful story. I know it was fiction, but I also know there are people out there doing this very thing – helping kids in emotional crisis. It is good to know that these caring people are there for the kids that need it. You peppered the story will little bits that show that both woman have done this for many years. They have perfected the dialogue and compliment each other when dealing with a new child in the system. Very well written. Thank you for sharing such a heart warming tale.

    • Wow. This is sensational. Even though the foster mom is the narrator, I could see the situation from Aiden’s eyes and feel what he was feeling. You seem to understand children a lot. The fruit part is, in it’s simplicity, one of the most beautifully moving pieces of writing I’ve come across in this challenge. So so well done, Patty, congratulations.

    • HI Patti,
      The story is told so simply and gently. It’s the foster mother’s voice that is so experienced and observant and yet, not jaded. The “fruit” was an excellent metaphor for all of the experiences that Aiden has missed out on so far. And just 6 years old. Very touching.
      I liked the routines that are explained so clearly, it gives some quiet moments to the story as well–such as when they are shopping or eating frozen yogurth.
      Beautiful story!

    • I agree, a lovely, gentle story! Well done!.

    • What a beautiful story! You’ve written it so well that I could feel the gentleness and this obviously instilled a growing confidence on the part of Aiden. Well done, Patty and thank you for sharing.

    • The heartbreaking truth for so many children, and beautiful portrayal of the angels who save them. Great job Patty!

    • A beautifully written story. So tender and powerful. The MC was so intuitive that even though it was her voice it felt like I could feel the other’s feelings as well, Aiden the focus of course. Very well done.

  • .I was pre-hungover when a frantic Chinyere phoned. Apparently, two hundred forty-seven thousand, six hundred and forty-three applications were received since the ad went live at midnight. She was my ‘inside man’ […]

    • Hi Seyi! Thanks for sharing your irreverent and mouthy, incorrigible main character – I like how he goes from one difficult seemingly impossible situation to another and somehow keeps going. The whole recycling of the left-over beer is hilarious (and rather nauseating) but still.. gotta laugh. I can see your stories made into a movie.

      • Hey Pam, and how goes it? Funny, I’ve had your story open on my desktop since last night and intend to get to it this morning. Yeah, my protagonist is not easy to like, but I hope he gets a laugh or two. My fictitious setting is over the top in many ways, movie would have to be a farce of some sort 😀 Stay well and all the best, Seyi

    • Hi Seyi, hope you’re well,

      I so enjoy your ministry stories that highlight the corruption in government and religion, while introducing us to the seedier characters that navigate between them. Here I thought, as did Abu, that he had set himself up for great things to come, only to have the tables turned by those he used to get there. This was clever and engaging and oh so entertaining! Well done.

      • Hey Peggy and how goes it? Thanks for reading and commenting. I was also glad to get back to the den of tricksters that is the Ministry of Power. One of these days, I’ll find an uplifting tale to tell from this setting, but I think it will be a while before I can work that up 😀 All the best, and regards. Seyi

    • Ah, the deals we make to try to get ahead, and the ways they can backfire.

      Great fun story. Corruption and deal making, and here I thought the USA had a monopoly on it. LOL

      Thanks for the fun read, Seyi. I can relate to the pre-hangover.

      • Hey Jeff, and thanks for reading. Glad you enjoyed this piece. Corruption is out there buddy, the only way I can cope with it is to poke fun. All the best and the comments are much appreciated. Regards, Seyi

    • “No shaking, God is in control,” is one of my favorite lines in this irreverent tale about political corruption and deceit. Your ribald whit is in fine form this month. As usual you have crafted a fine story filled with double entendres that causes me smile throughout. My only criticism is that the transitions are a little choppy. That being said, your transitions heighten the action so it’s no big deal.

      • Hey again Charles, and howzit? I’ll take a look at the way I sectioned the story again, and thanks for pointing this out. Enough wor count to make it smooth, I think. All the best and regards, Seyi

    • Hello Seyi! Thank you for another visit whit the Minister of Power. I laughed and laughed throughout this story with the dark humor and biting satire–thank you for sharing!

      • Hey Lauren and thanks, glad you liked this piece. It was meant to elicit laughter so I am glad that worked. All the best and cheers, Seyi

    • Hi: A bit intense for me. Too much double talk and back stabbing. But also funny and well written. My favorite part was: the meniscus covered by a layer of cigarette butts. I could visualize that. Write a happy story next time. lol. Just kidding. evon

      • Hey Evon, and yeah I hear you. It’s a bit over the top but intentionally so. Thanks for toughing through it and I’m glad you found it funny. I was just saying to Peggy that I must find an uplifting story from this same scenario (I’ve written a few short stories with the same setting, and band of characters.) That would be a real challenge. Thanks for the comments and cheers, Seyi

    • Hi Seyi,
      I cheered when I saw it was a Ministry of Power story. It was great fun, a hugely enjoyable story. The mental picture I have of Abu in the bar will stay with me for quite a while. Thank you for a great story.

      • Hi again Maria and thanks 😀 Yeah, those characters are becoming like furniture in my mind. Abu is crazy over-the-top and I hope you can shed his more extreme actions from your memory soon 🤣 Thanks for commenting and best regards, Seyi

    • Hi Seyi. I started smiling at your warning ‘High ‘eeew’ coefficient’ and just knew I was in for a treat. I had to work hard for it though, as there was so much ‘between the lines’ type talk, that I kept having to read things twice, and I’m still wondering what I’ve missed here: ‘ I barely managed to convince her she’d misheard my advice.’ I’m glad Abu got his comeuppance but I’m sure he’ll find a way to win through to the next round. Thanks for the laughs.

      • Hey June and howzit? Thanks for reading and for commenting, I had worried initially that I had too much going on with this piece. With that line, Abu thought he’d convinced Chinyere that his advice was good but clearly this did not work, and she’d been harboring a grudge for a while. No real winners with this cast of characters. I’ll have to try and figure out a way of showing this if/when I revisit the Ministry. All the best and regards, Seyi

    • Hi Seyi, you do manage to draw us into your writing. I could almost smell that putrid beer, sieved through a dirty sock – EWWWWWW. There was a lot going on in this story and I did struggle here and there. But it was fabulous as always. And I’m glad that Abu did not win out with all his wheeling and dealing:) Well done.

      • Hey Jane and howzit? Glad you got into the story and yeah, I did insert a serious eew moment there. Thankfully the only person(s) who would do that live in my imagination (I hope 😀) All the best and regards, Seyi

    • Hi Seyi,
      That made for a fascinating read! However, I was a little confused at certain points as to what exactly was the narrator vying for. I love the rich cultural undertones that you’ve introduced through your story. I recall reading another story about this ministry. Is this a sequel to the same. Couple of questions.
      “Your effluent speech returned when you met Chinyer….” Here, did you mean ‘affluent’? Or, you put ‘effluent’ on purpose?
      Also, what does ‘kai’ and ‘ìdùpẹ́’ mean? Sorry I know I am asking a lot of questions. But that’s because I want to cherish the story better. I love the dialogue exchange and the witty repartees. The pastor is a lech. Brilliant writing! Thank you for sharing!

      • Hi Amrita and thanks for reading and for pointing out the bits that could cause confusion. This piece is based on the same fictional Ministry of Power I’ve used as a setting in the past. Most of the characters are new though the narrator has popped up before (in ‘https://deadlinesforwriters.com/they-never-said-anything-by-seyi/’) ‘Effluent’is an intentionally misspoken word by the narrator since it implies that Patrick’s speech is ‘shit.’ I used this exchange to emphasize the point that Patrick makes, about Abu having a ‘sharp mouth’ and causing his (Patrick’s) stutter when they were in school. ‘Kai’ is a catchall slang word that could mean ‘stop’ but is also used as an expression of surprise or shock. In this context, ‘ìdùpẹ́ means the altar call that happens in some churches (see the comment ‘I know what you asked Chinyere during last week’s altar call.’) Hope these clarifications help, and thanks again for the queries. Best regards, Seyi

    • Hello Hello Seyi, Wheeling and dealing, wallowing in corruption, and drowning the feeling. Love the way your characters dance with the devils without realizing they are in the mix. ABU is lucky to have you pointing him up, and down. I could smell the humor in effluent. Thanks for the tale.

      • Hey again Ray and yeah, my cast of characters this month didn’t have many redeeming factors. Thanks for reading and for your comments. Regards, Seyi

    • An Interesting read. The things we do to get to where we want are sometimes appalling. Corruption is never easy as everyone involved usually watches their back. Thanks for sharing Seyi, i really loved this.

      • Hey Gokatwemang and how goes it? Yeah, thankfully this particular bunch only lives in my imagination. I’d hate to meet any of them for real. Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading. All the best. Regards Seyi

    • This was a fun read, I like the voice and pace of the story. I wonder if some of these other side plots have already been written? The kidnapping story sounds intriguing, for example. Well done!

  • Everybody wants to be chosen, don’t they? I do. I hate not being chosen.

    Mom and Dad say that they chose us to be their children which is nice but like a lot of things that they say, I’m not too sure how true it […]

    • “You just have to suck it up and love what’s in your lap.” That made me laugh out loud.

      Lex has a very logical mind. I think she should be a scientist or engineer when she grows up.

      Using a child’s voice enables you to explore subjects like racial and ethnic divisions in a way an adult voice would not. Lex can take us deeper than an adult could. So she’s proving to be a wise choice.

    • Once again you have made such fluid connections between the personal and political. And once again this is my childhood I remember. Lovely writing.

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