• Dr. Juniper
    “If it’s not too personal, can I ask if you ever told your parents of Caspian’s visit?” I inquired.

    “Not straight away,” he faltered. “I started seeing a psychologist, Dr. Juniper Simms. She helped me […]

  • “What the hell was that?” I asked as I pulled my seatbelt in the Uber headed toward Bernadine’s parents’ home.

    Bernadine put a finger to her lips and moved her eyes in the direction of the driver. “You never kno […]

    • How sweet for Tom to hide new gloves in B’s coat. Or did he? All this talk of bugs has me suspicious of everything and everyone! Of course Mather had to let everyone know the Mayor called him. Your characters are so distinctive. It’s fun to read about them living up (or down) to expectations.

  • ‘6’
    by N. Sutherland
    Let’s Go
    Titanius has a scruffy backpack, but his officer’s jacket is the shiny one, massive epaulettes; the fringing shimmers…

    … like an epileptic fit.

    They stare at each other. There […]

  • Rachel 

    12 August 2011

    The bus heaves a hissing sigh before pulling away from the curb. The seat I had fallen into earlier, exhausted from experiencing virtual non-stop nervous excitement and from travelling […]

  • CHAPTER 45

    Like anyone who has had a rough time and is in pain, the future at three in the morning always looks bleak. The monsters under the bed come out to play. They like the dark. They like misery even […]

  • Friday noon. At the front door, our bags were standing at attention.

    “You ready, Emma-Leigh?” I called up the staircase. “Let’s go! I want to get there before sundown.”

    I took the two bags and put them in the bo […]

    • Hi Hanri
      This is a pivotal scene. I love the idea of her trip around the house gathering bits and pieces that won’t be missed (perhaps a metaphor for all the parts of herself she hid in her marriage). I wonder if the intensity of this scene could be built up more. Here she is FINALLY making a choice for herself so everything in this scene needs to amplify that. The walk around the house could include memories that tip her further into her decision. I found myself reading quickly over the paragraphs describing the timing of the leaving, the reason they didn’t go last year and waiting for E-L by the car. Is she going to deliver E-L back to the house at the end of the week as E-L doesn’t have anything at the new house? Michael’s arrival is a great way to build even more tension but he fell a bit flat. He’s a man who likes to get his way so I was surprised at the reaction. And was E-L listening to this conversation? Would she get in the car in the face of hearing. Alma announce this? Can’t wait for next week!!

  • Fran threw her suitcase on the bed – then frowned at herself. It was a bad habit and created way too much wear and tear on eiderdowns and duvet covers. She should know, she had to research fabrics that would w […]

  • The shadows grow across the plank floor. Tension tightens as time tip-toes forward. A primordial plaint splinters the silence. Two sets of eyes train upon the prone woman, writhing in sweat, amid the sheets. […]

    • That’s so sad. I can feel that tension you set up in the first paragraph – writhing in sweat. The last line captures that life and death struggle. Nice job.

    • Such a lot here without explicitly telling us. “He sobs, reading the message in her green gaze”. Almost poetic and very moving.

    • Pain, loss, and grief presented so poignantly, with an appropriate name for the baby. Makes me think of a situation that has just happened, a pregnant woman on a ventilator for co-vid, whose baby was delivered early to save its life. Devastation for the husband, but a child saved from a double tragedy. You have captured the scene.

  • “Oh, I’m able.” Ava Lee pulled the thrift store opera gloves up past her elbows, tucking in her fingers, and held her arms out to admire the look of the shiny black satin against her milky-white skin. […]

  • The office was a small nook in the rear of the spacious store. She saw the swordfish was still mounted on the wall over the door to the loading dock. And why wouldn’t it be? Things don’t change.

    Way back, bef […]

    • Nina, what a great scene from start to finish. The vulnerability of Clarissa both in real time and in returning to her grandmother’s house. This part of the scene reinforced my sense of Clarissa’s history and fragility. There was only one point where I was pulled out of the scene and that was here:
      She headed for the one place that called to her, the one place that had been home. THIS MARKS THE SPOT.
      “Hi.” She felt like something that the cat dragged in ….
      As a reader I needed something to get me to the front door, as it were.

      I also really enjoyed the conversation with Michael on the dock. The juxtaposition of his lack of responsibility alongside the wonderful experience he gave his daughter places Clarissa in a bind. He has finally cared for his daughter the way she wants but in a way she doesn’t want. Very good. Both are as stuck as each other.

    • Nina replied 12 hours ago

      Thanks for your lovely comments. I’m not quite sure how to respond to your needing more to get her to the door since this is week 42 in a series of scenes so there’s a whole history there that motivates her going there. Michael gets no points for this escapade, I’m afraid. Thanks for the read. Not easy to catch a story as it winds up or down.

  • “Maisie! Peter Duffing’s kid! Good to hear from you again,” the voice blared out from the phone’s earpiece.

    “Uh, thanks. Glad to get ahold of you again.” Maisie strived to avoid cowering further into herself—a m […]

  • “Do you know what time it is?”

    Anne was not delighted to be called at 10 p.m. but Lilli had anticipated as much.

    “Sorry, sis, it’s an emergency. We no longer have a Dad.”

    “What??? When did this happen?”

    “ […]

    • Tough questions for Lilli to think about! No wonder she is having nightmares. And this seems to be the root of the problem, their inheritance: “Yes, but I don’t mean the money. ” I wonder what the significance of Danielle’s character is–I’m sure she’s been mentioned once or twice in a similar way of being unavailable/busy, but I don’t remember her well. Lilli seems a bit dramatic with the way she explains this situation to herself “we no longer have a dad”. I hope she is able to unpack and understand those feelings.

  • Dear Abby,
    Love reading your column every day. How come
     you’re able to give such good advice?
    Full Of Admiration, 35

    Dear Full Of Admiration,

    Thanks so much! Glad you like my advice.

    I try to stick to is […]

    • Hi Susanne, it does sound like Moon has a bit of a tormented soul. So brilliant and smart at an early age, but it seems it comes with its own drawbacks. She is quite endearing though with her emotional response to her readers:) Well done.

    • That last sentence is so powerful in showing us that Moon has endured hardships. Well done!

    • I don’t remember the source, so let’s give it to that prolific writer – anonymous.
      young person – How do you make such good decisions?
      old person – Experience.
      young person – How do you get experience?
      old person – Bad decisions.

      Great use of the prompt. Will go back and read about Moon.

    • This one made me see Moon a little differently – including a more hardship than we might imagine from someone so young. Well done.

    • Been there, done that, says Moon! No wonder she is able to give good advice, she has lived it! To be able to distill one’s own experiences to help others is an amazing skill! You have done an excellent job of letting us into Moon’s real life. Enjoying the progress of this story!

  • The earth pulls me down; I am unable to stand. Gravity sinks me deeper into the mattress. The phone rings. I let it ring into voicemail.

    I invite the darkness.

    My phone rings again, and in the confusing fog of […]

    • HI Becky, I like it that your MC has a weakness but also a plan. She knows how to ask for help. Your last sentence sounds like an announcement. Will you continue this one? I’d be interested 😉

    • Hi Becky, depression is such an awful disease. I hate to think how many are under its dark web at the moment. You have captured the MC’s mood really well. I do like the fact that she has enough self knowledge to know she will need prodding to get out of bed and moving. It is also nice she has a great friend to push her. Well done.

    • Well written… we feel it! I too love that she knows herself well-enough to have a plan and a friend good enough to work with her on it.

    • Mild depression happens, but clinical level depression is serious stuff.
      I’ve heard and read many times to not start with waking up. This is a good exception. Leaves the backstory a mystery.

    • You make me feel the depression and how it weights her down. I’m glad she has plan to get her going. It’s sounds like a rough road. Well done.

    • Hi Becky
      Your Mc is stronger than they realise by the way they came up with a means to fight the darkness within. This is a very difficult topic but you covered it well. I enjoyed your imagery and they way you conveyed the depths of the depression.

  • The delegation was out in the hallway.

    “Let’s make them wait a little, hey? Let ‘em stew,” Nicholson said to his fellow officers. The four of them sat along one side of the boardroom table in an untidy row, wi […]

  • She finally found the opportunity two days later.

    Alone in the house at last, she was terrified that someone should suddenly appear and catch her, even though she had checked and double-checked that everyone had […]

  • Able to See a Future

    “Caspian told me he needed me to live for the both of us. To make a difference to all the people out there feeling lost, hurt and alone. He said he would always be with me, helping me to do t […]

    • Oh my, Jane, this Azlan is too good to be true….Wonderful. I think to be truly seen by someone is perhaps the greatest thing.

      • Hi Susanne, he certainly does, wish I had met him 20 odd years ago, LOL:)

        • Wait, is Azlan then based on a real person?

          • Hi Wesley, no I guess that comment was a bit cryptic. Just means I would have fallen for him hook, line, and sinker if I had met someone like him all those years ago:) I am using experiences in life though to help a bit with the writing. A friend lost a son to suicide a couple of years ago and the comment she has said to us a lot is “you are enough”. She said she wished she had told her son that more often. And told us to make sure our kids (adult kids now) know that they are enough. It sits in my mind all the time and I try to remember it with my 23-year-old son, who drives me bonkers:)

    • He’s lived through the despair his brother felt, but his brother saved him after he couldn’t save himself. This goes beyond anything that could’ve been found at her speed dating adventure! Great writing.

      • Hi Becky, I like to believe that ourdeparted loved ones can reach out to us. I have never witnessed it but it is a nice thought. Thank you for reading and your lovely feedback.

    • This just gets better and more interesting with each segment. The characters are developing nicely! 😀

    • That’s such a wonder gift – I see you. I love where you’ve gone with the story. It’s really got some depth. Well done.

      • Hi Shelley, I always think to be truly seen is the greatest gift of all:) Thank you for your lovely comments.

    • Hi Jane
      I am loving the twists and turns of this piece but more so the emotions these pieces evoke. You have developed a knack for these pieces and writing that flows so beautifully

      • Hi Wesley, I appreciate your feedback as I never know where this story is going from one day to the next. Thank you.

  • Minsang sat cross legged on the bed, dressed in yoga pants and a black t-shirt. Her hair was damp from the shower, her skin soft and sweet smelling with lotion.

    Surrounding her were the contents of the duffel bag […]

    • Oh no! Is it Shiva?
      I’ve lost grasp of Minsang’s past and family tree (which I don’t think was happen if I was reading your book in one sitting as I no doubt would do). So I was really in her head and puzzling it put with her, and just as surprised and scared when the door burst open. I was glad to be reading about Minsang again. The repetition of the old woman’s words is effective. How interesting that Minsang ends up with the clothes and jewelry and isn’t repulsed by them given how they were used. But maybe she hasn’t fully grasped that yet.

      • Oops, I just posted a reply to your comment, but it didn’t reply directly to you – see above. Thanks for reading and for your comments, Kathy. I appreciate it.

    • I know what you mean about keeping track of who’s who and the details of the characters when you’re not reading the story straight through. You really have to pay attention too, as the clues and the facts have been doled out slowly throughout the scenes – I can tell you that Wu Te is Minsang’s biological father, and while the old woman isn’t Wu Te’s biological mother, she is his mother-in-law, and she has some crazy notion that that makes her Minsang’s grandmother.
      Minsang has no idea that she was adopted, so I wanted to spend some time in her head as she figured things out. She still doesn’t know who her father is, the old woman was going to tell her, but she died before she could reveal that little fact.
      Unfortunately, Minsang is going to be a bit busy to give it much thought, however…
      As for Minsang and the dresses – she’s been a bit of an odd character throughout – she really seemed to enjoyed playing dress up, and admired the clothes the old woman chose for her (in my revision, I’m going to have the old woman give her preferential treatment, to make this more reasonable), and she never really felt overly threatened during her captivity, especially since Shiva (Man Ho) always played by the rules of the New Moon Ceremony. I suspect Shiva’s about to start playing by his own rules, though, so we’ll have to wait to see what happens next…

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Ben Hunt

Profile picture of Ben Hunt

@benhunt

Active 1 day, 1 hour ago
Short Story : 11
Poetry : 6
WTC : 0
52 Scenes : 42
Dialogue : 0
Flash Fiction : 0