• “God can do anything, anytime, anywhere…”The song echoed in the empty room from the tiny radio. Empty except for the mat where I lay in foetal position, clutching my stomach. The pain would not relent.You only […]

    • You’ve outlined a desperate predicament! I’m waiting for God’s hand to appear and solve it somehow!

    • This is heart wrenching. Maybe God sent the Sheriff’s to help. He works in mysterious ways. I Love your story and the fact that it is first person makes it even more emotional. Great job.

    • Stevie, that was very moving. My heart was breaking for this person. In pain, no resources and it sounded life no support system. How awful. I hope for God’s intervention also. Well done.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • C Alexis and Profile picture of MonicaMonica are now friends 1 day, 14 hours ago

  • Agony Aunt Moon McFarlane switched on her computer. Oh no! An update…always at an inconvenient moment…. She watched the bar grow, showing the progress of the update. When she was at about 75 %, her screen went “Bl […]

    • I like how this gives a sense of connection and communication.
      I noticed ‘went’ appeared twice in this sentence.

      When she was at about 75 %, her screen went “Blip!” and went black.

      I wonder if the second ‘went’ could be changed to eg ‘turned’?

    • Great job Susanne. This was a very heartwarming tale. One correction (I think) is on the line -“she fund just the right email for this day.” – I think it might should have been found (?). I’m really liking Moon.

      • Hi Shelley, you are completely right – thanks for spotting the typo. I‘m glad you like Moon! Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • This was gorgeous Susanne, touched my heart:) Love to think of the dear old grannie sending messages to her family around the world:) We all need to continue to be ‘lifelong learners’ nowadays. It never stops:) Well done.

      • Hi Jane, yes, life-long learning is the ticket – but isn’t that cool? That we’re able to do this? I just love learning. Thanks for commenting 🙂

    • So cute and nicely done. I liked the use of a Deat Abby note.

    • Becky replied 1 day ago

      This is great, Susanne! “Brain gym” is a great term. I think Lilli needs to write to Moon for advice.

  • SLAM

    My breath bates. My heart batters to a foreboding beat. His tread tramps along the walkway, trudging up the three steps to the stoop, stomping side-to-side, before swinging the door open with a shriek. I […]

    • The subject made that one a hard one to read but so well done. I feel for that wife. You have captured the life of the terrorized. Good job.

    • Well done, I always love a triumphant woman! (Don’t we all?) Your descriptions are well done and very vivid, as always 😉 I was also picking up on some nice, rhythmic alliterations throughout, particularly the opening sequence.

    • I felt like I was in the room watching and feeling what your MC was feeling. Well done.

    • Difficult to imagine. difficult to read. Well written within the amount of time and space alloted.

  • Bertha flinched with every word.

    “Who will people believe – the respected international  prophet, or a stupid girl – let me rephrase – GROUPIE who follows him around like a puppy? Try! This will barely make a […]

    • Wow! Heck of a story. Nice way to portray and walk through the story as well. Unique! Great job! 😀

      • Thanks. Lots of brutal editing went into it. I kept exceeding the word count. Really appreciate the feedback

    • Great use of prompt, dialogue and word count!

      Thanks, Stevie.

    • What a horrible hypocrite – for once social media has done a good deed. I like the way you developed this and the final sentence was effective.

    • Hi Stevie, this was very well written. I could see it before my eyes all unfolding. It is awful to think the people in power abuse their position to denigrate, use, or rape women. But I find someone who professes to be a prophet of God even more disgusting. Well captured. Glad he got his just desserts.

    • Good use of the words allotted regardless of how many now lay on the editing room floor.
      Sometimes all it takes is one person to speak up and then the momentum builds.

  • Sam hated being the youngest. He was either left out of his sisters’ adventures or blamed when things went wrong. Like today when his sisters chased him out of the house and then locked the door so he couldn’t get […]

  • “Is now an okay time to talk?” The gentle voice filled the tiny compartment.

    “Sure,” Ana said.

    “It sounds like you are driving?”

    “I am, is that okay?” Ana had just come from a doctor appointment and she preferr […]

    • Hi Becky, this is very real and raw. I feel for this lady, trying to be brave and hold it all together. Thinking she can pick a time to let her emotions out. I doubt it will be that easy. I think they have a way of coming out when they are ready, not when they are scheduled. A great way to insert the prompt. It is so sad that one in three ladies goes through this at least once. Well written, thanks for sharing.

    • An emotional piece of writing, done with care.

    • Well done Becky. That’s a very emotional piece. I don’t think holding in that emotion is going to go well. That ending was perfect.

    • HI Becky, thanks for sharing. The way you get inside Ana’s head makes us feel so much for her. This nurse is trying to help but is actually torturing Ana because she simply dumps her good advice on her. Your piece reminds us that compassion (even for the right reason) is not always welcome and that each deals with sad news in their own way. Thanks for sharing.

      • Becky replied 1 day ago

        Thanks, Susanne. My thought is that the nurse wasn’t overstepping and Ana appreciated her kindness, but she just wasn’t ready to deal with it yet. But I agree, it does make the reader think about how extra words/advice isn’t always the best option when trying to comfort someone.

    • A friend of mine recently lost a baby, and you captured the way her feelings oscillated very well. Touching

  • Moon McFarlane’s colleague was beelining through the office. He’s zooming in … Moon was used to being picked on. In school she had been ‘the gifted kid,’ the nerd, always excellent grades. Yet she possessed […]

  • The wedding photograph, splattered with blobs of blood, lay forlorn beside the bodies. While technicians transferred traces to build a case, Marey whisked the photo into an evidence bag before passing a magnifying […]

    • The details of this were just stunning. The alliteration you used made this really fun to read aloud and I loved the ending (not for the poor character, but for the reader!).

    • I didn’t notice the alliteration until I say Alyssa’s comment and I went back to read it again. I love a good alliteration – such fun to read. You captured a lot in so few words. Great ending.

    • ‘she freed facts from the image,’ ‘ love that phrase

    • Great word choices . Nice and dark. And freed the facts from the image is brilliant.

    • This was a great read and I enjoyed how you wove the prompt into it. You’ve also developed a very interesting character in Marey and I’d enjoy reading more about her adventures.

    • Well done. We’re right there with them- questioning, eager to find out more. 😀

    • “she freed facts from the image.” This sentence did it for me. Well done! Wow. I agree with Alyssa: just stunning.

    • I loved the way she was freeing facts from the image and the way she can seethe seeds of what has happened in it. Your imagery was spectacular and you portrayed an intuitive and interesting MC.

  • Mara hiked the last stretch of trail leading to Mariah Truefeather’s birthplace. Why the home of a writer of such renown had been abandoned was the subject of her photo essay. She’d jumped at a chance to tra […]

  • “Remember after school that Wednesday, parents at the bus stop were betting whether we’d have school the next day?”

    “And then we didn’t go back for the whole rest of the year.”

    “Or the year after. At least not […]

    • Poor children – all these wonderful references they don’t know. But then they have all these technologies that they use so effortlessly. I have a feeling I know which of those will get them farther. Great story Becky!

    • ah yes ..you capture that out of synch moment very well.

    • HI Becky, yes the Brady Bunch is quite the thing! That little dialogue of yours aptly descibes our reality in the pandemic…maybe one day we can all laugh about these things!

    • Hi Becky, I find it surreal to realise that we will all be in the history books years from now. This unprecedented event will be the discussion of classroom history lessons. This was a great little slice of life. And a great way to use the prompt, well done.

    • Accurate! Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! Maybe that would ring the children’s bell? No? Maybe not. Well done!

    • Entertaining – the rhythm of the children’s reminiscences interrupted by mom’s dinosaur recollections. Very clever mixture and reflection of the different ways we all reacted. Time moves on!

    • Ah the original days of Zoom! I still detest video conferences like I did even before the pandemic. Loved the way you brought mom in for the twist

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Christian Donovan

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Active 17 hours, 19 minutes ago
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