Welcome to The Author Within

You’ve stumbled upon the creative writings of Jennifer Suchey. This blog is composed of several short stories I wrote as a newly blossoming writer. Most were written for the FaithWriters Weekly Challenge at faithwriters.com as a way to be challenged to write my best, and to learn and grow from other writers.

Short stories have taken a sideline lately to articles I now write on other sites, including BlissfulMiss.com where women can discover their bliss, live well, and be fabulous. I mostly write on natural health, beauty, self-improvement, relationships and the home.

While you’re here sip on some coffee and enjoy a story or two. Thanks for stopping by.

Published in: on August 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

What to Do wIth Your Amazing Stories

Renee loved to write, but didn’t know what to do with her stories and words of wisdom until a couple of mysterious beings provided some much needed direction.

Hovering discreetly, the two figures draped their legs over the banister rail. Below them they observed the antics of two women around a kitchen island.

*   *   *

“Are you kidding me? Give me that.” Renee grabbed the can of whipped cream and crafted an impressive mound atop her fudge sundae.

Sophie gaped at the concoction. “How do you stay so thin?”

“Well,” Renee’s words were muffled by the massive bite she had just shoved in her mouth, “I burn a lot of energy trying to figure out how to get you to write.”

Renee rolled her eyes. “I’m telling you, you’re the only one who actually wants to read my writing. I don’t even know why I let you read that story.”

“Umm . . . maybe because it was amazing? And maybe because you know you need someone to kick you in the booTAY?”

Renee licked her spoon and eyed her friend. “BooTAY?”

“Yes, booTAY. It’s that skinny thing you need to sit on while you think up more amazing stories.”

“Mm hmm . . . and just what do you suggest I do with these amazing stories?”

Renee shrugged. “Enter a writing contest?”

*   *   *

Zeke bumped the figure beside him, nearly toppling him over the rail. “This is your cue.”

“Cue for what?” Gus regained his balance and rubbed his arm.

“Don’t be a doofus. You know the reason the Father sent us here was to point Renee to FaithWriters.”

“Yeah? Well? So, why do I have to do it?”

“Because your the angel in training, not me. I direct. You do . . . so go . . . do.”

“Alright fine. I’ll just go tell her to check out faithwriters.com. How hard could it be?”

Zeke concealed a smirk as his feathered friend hopped off the rail, swooped into the kitchen and nestled himself on the counter between the two women. He looked Sophie in the eye and clearly enunciated the words, “Faith Writers.”

Renee scraped the fudge off the sides of her goblet. “Maybe there’s a website where you can post your Christian writing and get your writing critiqued.”

Gus twisted his head toward Renee. “Yeah. Hellooo. I just said it. Faith Writers. Go to faithwriters.com.

Sophie put the lid on the ice cream. “That would be great. I think I’d feel safer in a Christian environment. I wonder if there’s a site that offers Christian writing courses . . . maybe even opportunities for paid writing assignments.

Gus peered at Zeke. “What up? Clearly they’re not paying attention.”

Zeke smiled. “Yes, but it’s very entertaining from up here.” He moved his gaze to the laptop in front of Gus.

Gus eyed the open device. “What? You want me to . . .? Ohhh!

He flashed a gander at Sophie and then Renee, still gabbing with spoons in hand.

Tipping forward, he studied the keys on the computer. With his two index fingers he managed to locate the “F” key, and then the “A”. One by one he found all the letters that make up faithwriters.com.

He grinned at his accomplishment and eyed his mentor above. Zeke just shook his head in bewilderment. “How does he not know how to type?

Looking back at the keyboard, Gus hit the enter key and then jumped off the counter with triumphal expectancy.

His radiant smile vanished, however, as the women began to clean up their mess.

“I’ll put the whipped cream away,” Renee smirked before squirting a glob in her mouth.

“You’re hopeless.” Sophie wiped the counter near the laptop and paused.

“Hey, let’s do a Google search.”

“Okay.”

Sophie took a look at the screen and squinted. “What’s this?”

Tah dah!” Gus raised his hands in jubilation.

First place entry in FaithWriters.com Blog Contest.

Published in: on July 25, 2012 at 11:48 am  Comments (1)  

Baby Blues

FaithWriters.com Weekly Challenge
TOPIC: In The Kitchen

The little girl lay sunken in the overstuffed sofa mesmerized by the cartoon characters. Her left thumb lingered secure in her mouth, while her right arm cradled her favorite dolly.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” The thundering voice of Riley’s father drowned out the noise of the cartoon. Riley’s eyes darted toward the crack in the master bedroom door.

“Because I knew you’d react this way!” Her mom’s sharp voice was almost as unnerving.

Riley’s eyes followed Daddy’s movement toward Mommy.

“React what way? You mean like this?” The back of his hand swiped hard across his wife’s face, sending her reeling back into the dresser and tumbling to the floor.

Riley scrambled off the couch and ran into the kitchen with dolly clutched tightly. She shoved open the pantry door, tugged it shut behind her and huddled in the corner.

“Shhhh. It’s okay Bella. We’re safe in here.”

*   *   *

Monica bent over the bathroom sink and rinsed her face. Bloody water swirled around the drain. Peering into the mirror she examined the wound on her cheek and wondered if she would need stitches. Always the left hand, she thought. Ironic that his wedding ring, of all things, would send her to the ER.

She needed ice.

Taking a step for the bathroom door, she paused and winced. Her hand moved to her back, where it had thrust into the dresser.

Dave was gone now. He would undoubtedly return in a few hours with a dozen pink roses. He would be charming. He would apologize.

And she would forgive him.

Monica hobbled through the bedroom, the living room and into the kitchen. She opened the freezer and began to reach for ice.

“What did you do, Bella!”

Monica paused and looked around. “Riley?”

Then she heard a thump, like something hitting the wall nearby. Then she heard it again.

“I don’t know why you make me do this!” The screaming continued, as did the thumping.

Reaching for the pantry door, Monica turned the handle slowly and nudged the door open.

There on the floor sat her little girl . . . hitting her dolly’s head against the wall.

“Shut up, Bella. Stop crying!”

“Riley! What are you doing?” Monica crouched down next to her daughter and took hold of the doll.

Riley looked up at her mother with her big blue eyes. But these were not the eyes of Monica’s sweet baby girl. The innocent, carefree expression that Monica loved in her four-year-old child was replaced with something . . . something different.

Monica clasped her hand over her mouth.

She recognized the look in her daughter’s eyes. She had seen it in the eyes of Riley’s father . . . just before she crashed into the dresser.

“Bella made me mad again.” Riley crossed her arms and glared at the doll in her mother’s hand.

Monica eyed the doll and looked back at Riley. “Umm . . . again?”

“Yeah. She makes me mad sometimes.”

And then, in an instant, Riley’s expression changed. With eyes still locked on the doll, her baby blues softened, her furrowed brow diminished. Anger turned to sadness, and even remorse. She reached for Bella.

Her voice was now soft and tender. “Can I have her back?”

Monica, bewildered by the whole event, placed the doll in Riley’s hands.

“Bella, don’t cry. I’m sorry.” The little girl drew the doll close and hugged her. Riley’s upper body twisted back and forth, as if to console the doll. “I love you, Bella.”

Wide-eyed, Monica stared at the scene before her. And then her crouched body crumbled to the floor where she sat, propped up by one arm. Tears began to trail down her cheek.

“What’s the matter, Mommy?”

Monica stroked her daughter’s head.

“Mommy . . . what’s the matter? I told Bella I’m sorry, so it’s okay. You don’t need to cry.”

Monica sniffled and wiped her face. “No, honey. It’s not okay . . . come here.” She cradled her baby girl in her arms and clung firmly. “We have to go. We need to pack up some things and go.”

“Go where, Mommy?”

“We’re gonna go stay with Nana for a while. Does that sound like fun?”

Riley tilted her head up. “What about Daddy? Is he coming, too?”

Monica locked eyes with her daughter’s baby blues. She stroked her chin.

“No, honey. Daddy isn’t coming.”

Published in: on July 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Nothing More Important

The beachside cafe bustled with activity. Patrons sat beneath red umbrellas engaged in conversation while enjoying California cuisine.

The ocean breeze blew strands of hair across Vanessa’s face. “I can’t believe Courtney Wilhelm is meeting us here. It’s been, what . . . twelve years since we graduated USC?”

Megan sipped iced tea and nodded. “The internet is a wondrous thing, right? I was shocked when I saw the friend request.”

“Vanessa Blackwell! Megan Roland!” The vivacious voice carried.

The two women locked eyes and grinned as they stood to face Courtney Wilhelm.

After hugs were exchanged the three friends sat and chatted for the next hour. Courtney’s life sounded amazing. Her career as a high-powered attorney intrigued Vanessa.

As the conversation continued, however, Courtney’s countenance began to change. Her face was now flushed and her eyes moist. Summing up her marital troubles she announced, “He got full custody of the kids.”

The words pierced Vanessa’s chest like a spear.

“Oh, Courtney.” Vanessa placed her hand over her friend’s. This was deep. This was real life pain her friend was experiencing and Vanessa had no idea what to say.

Megan turned her chair toward Courtney. “Courtney, do you go to church?”

Courtney dabbed her eyes with a cloth napkin. “I don’t have time for church.”

Vanessa then watched and listened with great intent as Megan shared the love of Jesus with Courtney, the gift of salvation and how when we rest in God, He carries us through trying times.

“You don’t have to go through this life alone, Courtney.” As Megan spoke she pulled a small book from her purse and set it in front of Courtney.

“This is the Gospel of John. Take it with you and read it when you get a chance. There’s nothing more important than your salvation, Courtney, so please promise me you’ll at least read it.”

Courtney took the pocket testament and flipped through it.

“Pay attention to the verses in bold,” Megan pointed to one. “They’re key to understanding new life in Christ. There’s also a section detailing the plan of salvation. You’ll find a clear explanation with some of the verses I shared with you today.”

“Alright.” Courtney looked at the time on her phone. “For you, Megan, I’ll read it.” She pushed her chair back and stood. “I’m late for a meeting.”

The three friends hugged and Courtney hurried off to her car.

Lingering in front of the cafe, Vanessa eyed Megan.

“How did you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Share Jesus with her so easily. I could never do that.”

“Yes you could. Go to The Pocket Testament League . . . ptl.org. You can order pocket testaments like the one I gave Courtney and get free evangelism training. It’s easier than you might think to share your faith.”

“Pocket Testament League?”

“Yeah, it’s a great site with wonderful resources, including free daily devotionals and evangelism tools. It’s where I learned everything I shared with Courtney today.”

“Really? ptl.org. Maybe I can be an evangelist.”

 

Third place entry in FaithWriters.com Blog Contest.

Published in: on July 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm  Comments (1)  

Shy Boy

Two cowboys rested on tree stumps amid the green plains of Nevada. It had been a good day of rounding up yearlings, but this cattle drive was not so much about driving cattle as it was about a horse named Shy Boy.

Monty adjusted his hat. “We gotta keep our eyes open for those wild horses, cause I do wanna turn him loose, Caleb.”

Caleb sat with one hand perched on each leg. “You do?” The accomplished young horseman had grown an attachment to the horse.

“Yeah, I do. You don’t, huh?”

Caleb looked down. “Uh . . . you know, I’d rather not. I’m really not looking forward to that at all.”

Monty was thoughtful. “But . . . I don’t think he’ll go away. I think he’ll come back.”

Shy Boy, a bay mustang, had been born wild and free in these very plains. It had only been eleven months since Monty’s bold attempt to gentle the stallion in the wild. Without the use of an enclosed structure, Monty Roberts, “the man who listens to horses”, used his trademark method, Join-Up, to form a connection with the wild horse. The remarkable moment came when the mustang approached the horseman, dropped his head and allowed Monty to touch his face. Monty was then able to saddle, bridle and get a rider on the stallion in the middle of the vast Nevada plains.

“A good trainer can get the horse to do what he wants it to do,” Monty is fond of saying. “A great trainer can make the horse want to do it.”

With a keen desire to understand the psychology of a horse, gentling one in the wild was only the first part of Monty’s experiment. The now famous mustang was then cared for and trained as a western cutting and reigning horse. On today’s cattle drive he was put to the test with Caleb as his rider. Shy Boy performed admirably.

Yet, the hardest part was still to come.

Caleb looked at Monty. “I think if we turn him loose, he’s gonna go with them.”

“Well, that’s what a bunch of experts say. But, the way I figure it . . .  he’s had eleven months of good care. He’s had a warm place every night and a bucket of water . . . some feed.” Monty shrugged. “I think he’s coming back.”

*  *  *

The wild herd was spotted approaching from the north. As the sun drew near the horizon the horses appeared on the ridge overlooking the camp.

Monty stroked Shy Boy’s neck and looked him in the eye. “Okay, Shy Boy. What do you think? Wild or come home?” With a gentle nudge he pulled the stallion’s head to the left. “Can you see those horses?”

As the halter fell from his neck Shy Boy pulled away and flew toward the herd, ascending the hill with black tail high in the air. An uneasy feeling settled on Monty as he observed the horse entering the herd. Shy Boy was approached by a chestnut. The two nudged noses while others surrounded him. Monty marveled at the way Shy Boy was accepted without fuss.

“I mighta made a mistake.” His heart sank as he watched the herd trot off together . . . out of sight.

Monty took a long walk to the top of the hill. He searched but saw no horses. At sunset he rode his horse out and scanned the area some more. He could not find Shy Boy.

It was a sleepless night for the middle-aged cowboy, who kept watch like a parent waiting up for a child.

Daybreak arrived. Monty, Caleb and Caleb’s young sister, Tara, stared up at the hills. Caleb was solemn.

Monty turned away. “You guys get your horses. Let’s go.”

“Look, it’s him!” Tara pointed.

There on the hill above . . . stood Shy Boy.

Monty’s chest pounded with a flurry of excitement. Everyone stared in disbelief as the mustang meandered a little closer, stopped and glanced back at the herd above. Looking back to the people he began to move again. He was headed straight for them. His walk turned into a jog. His jog became a gallop. Entering sage brush the stallion began to jump and zigzag his way toward them with urgency.

Out in the open now his legs extended into a full gallop. He let out a loud neigh and then few yards from Monty he halted. Standing steadfast he allowed Monty to approach and place a rope around his neck.

Shy Boy had come back from the wild.

 ___________________
This is a true story.
To view actual footage of this story go to this link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BB4XCdQCts
This is “Shy Boy” Monty Roberts Part One. There are four parts to this story on You Tube.
Published in: on February 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Best Friends Forever

FaithWriters.com Weekly Challenge
TOPIC: Agreement/Disagreement

The small house nestled into a Pasadena neighborhood where two middle school girls sipped lemonade and swayed idly on the porch swing.Through the open kitchen window, Kita’s mom could hear giggles emerge between hushed tones. She smiled as she filled five small bowls with miso soup.

“Lunch is ready.” She spoke loud enough for everyone to hear while setting the bowls on the table with the rice and vegetables.

“Come on.” Kita jumped up and grabbed Helen’s hand. The girls came to the table along with Mr. Nakumura and Kita’s older brother, Makoto.

“Here you go, Helen.” Makoto pulled her chair out.

“Thank you.” She smiled.

“Let us give thanks.” Mr. Nakumura bowed his head.

After the blessing Helen picked up her spoon. “I love your soup, Mrs. Nakumura.”

“I am glad you like it. How was church today?”

“Good. Pastor Bentley preached on loving each other. How about your church?”

“We learned about Jesus’ birth. Does your family celebrate Christmas?”

“Oh, we love Christmas. We have a lot of Swedish traditions. I’m in charge of making the rice porridge this year.”

Conversation was interrupted by the black rotary telephone in the living room. Mr. Nakumura stood and picked up the receiver. A look of concern swept over his eyes as he hung up the phone, walked over to the mantle and turned on the wooden radio.

In that moment, everything changed.

. . . the island of Oahu. Japanese forces have attacked the U.S. Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor with a sudden and massive air raid. Peace talks appear to have been a subterfuge . . .

The stunning news reports kept coming. No one uttered a word. Kita’s stomach turned in knots.

The telephone rang again. Makoto answered and turned to Helen.

“It’s your mom. She wants you to come home.”

Helen looked at Kita with solemn eyes. “I guess I have to go.” She leaned forward to give her friend a hug. “I’ll call you later.”

“I’ll walk you home.” Kita stood from her chair.

“No,” Mr. Nakumura spoke up. “You can talk to Helen later.”

*   *   *

Kita stood by Helen’s locker in the covered walkway. Finally she spotted her.

“There you are. Why weren’t you on the bus?” Kita stepped back from the locker to allow Helen access. “I could have used a friend. Everyone was glaring at me.”

“My mom drove me.” Helen threw a book in her locker and grabbed another. “I gotta get to class.”

“Wait. Why didn’t you call me yesterday?.”

The bell rang.

Helen stepped away from Kita. “I – I had homework.” She turned and headed for class.

Bewildered, Kita watched her friend walk away. Looking down, she realized she had the wrong textbook for English. She hurried to her own locker where a message greeted her, written in red paint. Snap the Jap!

Kita drew in a sharp breath and covered her mouth with her hand.

“That’s right, Jap.” A boy’s voice came from behind, followed by a shove. “How dare you show your face here.”

Suddenly Kita felt something wet on her neck and realized it was spit. The second bell rang and the boy ran off.

Kita’s fell against the lockers and breathed shallow breaths. With tears welling she dropped her books and ran out of the school. Three miles later she staggered into her house and fell into the arms of her mother.

“Why is this happening?” She spoke between sobs.

Mrs. Nakumura stroked her daughter’s hair. “There is no sense to it, honey. We should not have let you go to school. Things are going to be different now.”

*   *   *

Kita sat on the steps of Helen’s house. She stood when Helen approached with school books in hand.

“Helen, are you still my friend?”

Helen stopped. “I don’t know what to say.” She looked down and brushed her hair behind her ear.

“How about, ‘I’m sorry everyone hates you, Kita. But I still love you and will always be your friend.’”

“Um . . . I don’t know if we can be friends anymore.”

“What?”

“My parents say your family could be spies.”

“Are you serious? We have treated you like family. Yesterday you ate at our table.”

“I know, but . . . “

“Do you really think we agree with what Japan did yesterday? This our country. We love America.”

Helen sighed and finally looked Kita in the eye. “I know. It’s silly. You guys are wonderful.”

Kita smiled and looked at her friend with longing.

Helen set her books on the steps and the two friends hugged.

“I’m sorry, Kita.” She held out her pinky. “Best friends forever?”

Kita slid her pinky around Helen’s and smiled. “Best friends forever.”

Published in: on January 28, 2012 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  

A Scurrying Flurrying Race Against Time

FaithWriters.com Weekly Challenge
TOPIC: Commitment
EDITOR’S CHOICE 10th of 74
2nd in Advanced Division

“Grab my hand!”

The roar of the helicopter threatened to drown the voice of the man dangling beneath it. His body looped around the landing skid with one arm extended toward a woman trapped on the roof of a burning building.

“Do it now! It’s gonna blow!”

The woman squinted from the smoke, looked into the eyes of the man and lunged toward him. The helicopter pulled away just as the top floor of the building exploded.

At least that’s how it appeared after special effects were added.

“Cut! That’s a wrap,” the director announced.

Still clinging to the helicopter, which was suspended within a large sound stage beside a green screen, Drew Ferring released his grip on the woman actor. She dropped to a soft air bag below followed by Drew. As he slid off the air bag he eyed his assistant. “Adam, what time is it?”

“5:30.” The young man looked at his iPad. “You have just enough time to make it to the meeting with Spielberg.”

“Adam, I told you to reschedule that.”

Drew grabbed a towel and began wiping makeup off his face as he walked off the set.

“Drew, come on.” Adam jogged to catch up. “You don’t reschedule Steven Spielberg. If you land his next movie – ”

“I can land his next movie tomorrow. Today I have an appointment.”

Opening his trailer door he stepped inside and glanced back at Adam. “Reschedule it.”

Drew flung the door closed, pulled off his clothes and threw on the button-down shirt and jeans he had arrived at the studio in. He slipped on his wedding ring and snatched up his keys and phone, which began to ring. Noting the caller, he answered while exiting the trailer.

“Hey Tom.” He took quick strides toward his car.

“Hey man. What are you doing?”

“I got a thing.” Drew lifted his key fob and unlocked his car.

“Well, cancel your thing. I got prime tickets to the Lakers and an invite from Kobe to a party after.”

“Oh . . . man.” Drew opened the door of his BMW and slid behind the wheel. “Dude, I can’t.”

“Okay, you did not just say that. Maybe I should clarify. When I say prime tickets, I mean we’ll need a towel to wipe the sweat as it drips off the players and onto us. We’re talkin’ –”

“Tom! I’m sorry, man. I can’t go, but thanks for the invite.”

Pulling onto Melrose, Drew checked the time again. It was going to be close. His GPS displayed a travel time of an hour and twenty to his Malibu home.

A conversation with his agent helped pass the time on the 10 Freeway. Fifteen miles onto Pacific Coast Highway his wife called.

“Hey, Babe. I’m on PCH . . . ten minutes away.”

“Okay, everything is ready. See you soon.”

Drew smiled. “Love you.”

It was 6:58 as Drew turned onto his street and pulled past the gate to his estate. He jumped out of the car and sprinted up the steps as the front door opened. His wife greeted him with a top hat on her head and tuxedo coat extended with both hands.

Drew grinned and gave her a quick kiss. “You’re so sexy in that top hat, but I think I’ll take that.”

He snatched it from her head and placed it on his own, then slipped his arms into the jacket. “Thanks, Babe. I believe I have a crumpet waiting for me.”

“Mmm, yes. Butterscotch. You better get going. It’s seven o’clock exactly. You mustn’t keep her highness waiting.”

Drew grabbed the handrail, took the stairs two at a time and knocked on a bedroom door. It opened, revealing a pink bedroom fit for a princess. There before him stood . . . his little princess; five years old, adorned in a lavender dress and sparkling tiara.

“Hello, Princess Brittany. Well don’t you look lovely?”

“Why, thank you, Lord Ferring. I was a little worried you wouldn’t make it.” Brittany moved to a little round table set with pink tea cups. Her teddy bear sat in one chair and her dolly in another.

“Sir Boo and Lady Molly have already arrived.” Brittany pulled a tiny chair out for her father.

“Thank you. I have so been looking forward to this tea party.”

Drew sat in the teeny chair while Princess Brittany poured invisible tea into his little pink cup. He took a sip.

“Mmmm . . . delicious.”

“Glad you like it, Lord Ferring. Crumpet?”

“Oh yes. Butterscotch . . . my favorite.”

Published in: on January 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mac, Doc and Zola

FaithWriters.com Weekly Challenge
TOPIC: Hacker or Virus

One day my computer got sick. I sat on the couch and held him on my lap. “Mac,” I said. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Error,” was the only intelligible word he could articulate. Everything else was gibberish.

“Poor little feller.”

He wasn’t functioning well at all. His programs and data were a complete mess. If I could even find the file I was looking for, it was unreadable.

“Oh my. This simply won’t do. How are we going to get all our work done, Mac? I need you performing at full capacity.” Closing him up I stroked his lid. “You just get some rest now.”

I wrapped the little guy in a warm blanket and carried him to the car. The purr of the engine lulled him as we bumbled down Main Street to our destination. Upon arrival I cradled Mac in my arms, pulled opened the glass door and walked in.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with him,” I told the young girl sitting behind the counter. “He’s talking nonsensical blather and he feels rather warm.”

“We’ll take care of him.” As she reached out and pulled my treasure out of his blanket, an uneasy sensation roused within me. All I saw were tattoos, multiple piercings and purple hair.

“Are you Doc?” I had to know.

A small pink bubble emerged from her mouth, expanded to the size of a blimp and popped.

“I’m Doc’s assistant, Zola,” she spoke between chews. “He’s in the middle of a procedure right now. You can leave if you’d like and we’ll give you a call when we have a diagnosis.”

My pulse quickened. “Oh . . . no. I’ll stay, thank you.”

“All right. You can sit if you’d like.”

I really wanted to hold Mac, but resisted the urge. Instead I sat in a folding chair and stared at him lying on a cold table behind purple hair, unable to stop the nervous twitch in my leg.

Finally a man came out. Well, a kid, really. He had long unkempt locks and facial hair, not long enough to be called a beard. He wore a black, wrinkled t-shirt embellished with some cartoon character.

I attempted to squelch my misgivings by reminding myself that some of the best computer minds can be . . .  unconventional.

Zola introduced me while handing Mac to Doc.

“Come on back and we’ll take a look.”

I followed Doc into a room strewn with an assortment of computers and computer parts; a veritable computer junkyard. I tried to keep my emotions intact as visions of little Mac being tossed among the scraps slammed into my head.

Doc sat down at a cluttered table with just enough space to set my little guy, flipped open Mac’s lid and woke him up.

I stood behind Doc and unconsciously began to reach toward Mac . .  .  as if to comfort him, or maybe protect him from the likes of this “kid”. I put my arm down, bit my lip and watched as Doc looked him over, clicking on this and that.

“Well, it looks like he’s got a virus,” Doc leaned back in his chair and twisted his head toward me.

“How bad is it?”

“Well the question is, do you have back up?”

“Back up? Oh, yes. Mac backs up every day to some device my friend set up for me. It’s at home.”

“Great. If you can bring that in, I’ll have him back to his old self in no time.”

*  *  *

The next day I sat on my couch with Mac on my lap. I was tickled pink as I clicked on programs and files and found everything just as it was before he was infected.

“I was so worried, Mac. You were very sick and I had to relinquish you to some quite unsavory-looking characters. But that Doc, he fixed you right up. He sure is a nice young man. And Zola . . . she took good care of you, too.”

And then an idea struck me. “Hey, let’s make a thank you e-card for Doc and Zola. We’re good at that.”

And so Mac and I got to work creating a heartfelt symbol of our appreciation. We sent it off together and spent the rest of the afternoon surfing the internet, playing games and watching a movie.

I smiled as I laid him down for the night and switched off the light. “What would I do without you, Mac?”

Published in: on January 12, 2012 at 12:43 am  Comments (2)  

Cyber Torment

faithwriters Bi-Weekly Challenge
TOPIC: Social Media
EDITOR’S CHOICE 7th of 52
2nd in Advanced Division

 

Brooke lay in the fetal position buried into her unkempt purple bedspread, her face immersed in tears. One hand gripped a wad of half-used tissue, while the other clutched her cell phone. With blood shot eyes she stared at the most recent text.

your a fat pig you dont deserve to live

Beside the bed a dark figure loomed, peering at her with cold eyes and luring her with a curious voice.

Do it.

Brooke stared at the gun on her nightstand.

Pick up the gun, Brooke. It’s the only way.

The text was just one of several bullying messages sent to her phone in the past five days from multiple classmates. However her phone wasn’t the only method used to spew venom. Facebook and Twitter were filled with equally piercing insults.

The devil knelt beside the bed and tilted his head toward the girl. He continued to speak in a soft, matter-of-fact tone.

It’s never going to end, Brooke. They will never stop.

A sophomore at Cedarville High, Brooke had been the brunt of fat jokes since the fifth grade. The insults had done their job, slowly whittling away at her sense of worth. Clearly she was inferior.

The relentless comments, jabs and nasty looks were enough to bury her in depression. However when the recent photo of her in a bikini was unleashed into cyberspace, it was like a hungry monster had been let out of its cage and its only goal was to devour her.

The devil began to stroke her hair.

The photo will never go away, Brooke. It’s all over school . . . all over the world, for that matter. They’ll never stop laughing at you. You can’t live with that.

She began to sob. The pain deep within her poured out in rhythmic moans. As one trailed off, she gasped for air and released another until exhaustion temporarily silenced her.

Pick up the gun, Brooke.

Brooke sat upright and let her feet fall over the side of the bed. She stared at the gun to her left and thought about the embarrassing photo. She only wore that bikini once in her own backyard to sunbathe. She was alone, or so she thought. The idea of someone watching her and taking pictures of her gave her nausea. 

Releasing her grip on the phone, her hand moved toward the gun. She slipped her fingers around the cool metal, drew it close and studied it. Her eyes glazed over while mad thoughts ran wild in her head.

He moved in closer. She could almost feel the heat of his breath on her ear and smell the sulfur oozing from his infernal pores.

Do it, Brooke.

Another wave of sobs poured over her, forcing her body to convulse. She slid to the floor propping her arms on her knees with the gun clutched in her right hand. Her head fell back against the bed as a new series of moans immerged.

Tears and mucous streamed down her face mixing with the sweat of her neck. Perspiration seeped through her hair and clothes.

The devil lingered to her left, crouching beside her.

They’re right, you know. You are repulsive. This world was not made for people like you. Nobody loves you, Brooke. No one cares.

Brooke lifted her head and examined the gun.

The devil’s neck stretched and twisted like a snake around the front of her face, his eyes piercing into hers.

Put it to your head, Brooke. Do it.

She swallowed hard and pursed her lips. Her chest moved rapidly with loud, uneven breaths. She squeezed her eyes tightly causing a new pool of tears to gush from her lids. The gun shook in her quivering hands. Lifting it slowly, she aimed it at her right temple. The barrel, cold and rigid, nudged into her sweaty skin.

The devil reached his right arm around Brooke’s shoulders, as if embracing her. With the same hand he stretched his fingers toward the gun, cradling his hand over hers.

Do it.

Published in: on December 30, 2011 at 5:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Midnight Shinanigans

FaithWriters.com Weekly Challenge
TOPIC: Download/Upload
2nd place Intermediate Level

Zelinda squished into the zebra-print rug, her long auburn hair fanned like a peacock, while her squinty eyes fixated on the slow twirl of the ceiling fan. If you looked close enough, you could almost see a fine mist of smoke oozing from her ears.

Popping upright, her eyes darted toward the blue beta circling the fish bowl. “I’m gonna do it, Earl. Polly won’t know what hit her.”

She posed before the full-length mirror and took a cock-eyed gander at her ensemble. An untied green robe layered Tinkerbell PJ’s, while her feet snuggled inside hot pink, fuzzy slippers. “It’ll do, Earl. It’s after midnight. Who’s gonna see me anyway?”

Switching off the lava lamp, she grabbed a flash drive and hopped into her orange, classic-sixties Porsche. The cool breeze drew strands of hair out the open window as she sped through her modest neighborhood and drifted across town. Pulling into a posh community, she parked in front of the large white home of Pollyanna Peterson and scanned for nosy neighbors. Then, like a giddy teenager, she flittered across the damp grass.

Squatting in the grand entrance, Zelinda tilted the small bunny statue and snagged the exposed key. Nudging the door open, she paused. No alarm. Pollyanna never bothered to set it.

“Now where, my friend, is your laptop? Wesley won’t let you take it on romantic getaways.” Zelinda stood in the foyer, hands on hips. “You use it in the kitchen when we make Christmas cookies.”

Wandering into the moonlit kitchen, Zelinda eyed a bowl of apples and nabbed one. Chomping into it, she poked around the kitchen, but found no computer.

“Her bedroom,” she mumbled with a full mouth. “She works in her bedroom a lot.”

Zelinda ambled up the curved staircase, stepped into the master suite and squealed at the sight of the monstrous poster bed. With a running leap, she flopped onto the soft lilac scented comforter, propped up on her elbows and crunched into her sweet apple.

A framed photo of her and Pollyanna at last year’s fair caught her eye, compelling a wicked grin.

“Ah yes, the pie contest.” Zelinda reminisced how she had replaced Pollyanna’s homemade whipped cream with shaving cream and watched Pollyanna slather it all over her chocolate pie.

“The look on those judges’ faces when they took a mouthful!” Zelinda snorted. “Such despicable behavior, indeed. Pollyanna’s own fault, though. She’s the one who started all the pranks. Now where is that computer?”

Glancing left, there it was. It sat unsuspecting atop an antique desk. Bounding off the bed, Zelinda opened the pink laptop, rubbed her hands together and did a quick search.

“Got it!”

Doreen’s Award-Winning Chili, the recipe Pollyanna had been bragging about. She got it from her cousin and proclaimed unequivocal victory at the upcoming chili cook-off.

Zelinda popped her zip drive in and copied the file. “Muahahahahaaaaa!” Zelinda’s evil laugh sent a spider on the windowsill scurrying away.

Before closing the lid, she scanned the list of ingredients and made a few changes. “Take that, Polly!” She hit save, closed the laptop, scampered home and downloaded the file to her own computer.

“I did it, Earl!”

***

A very smug Zelinda stood in the crowd observing the tasting of her chili.

“Oh!” A judge grimaced.

The smirk dripped off Zelinda’s face.

The man spewed the red concoction to the ground, as did the other judges. “Which contestant is trying to kill us?”

Zelinda shrank down into the crowd and slithered out the back.

“Hey, Zelinda!”

Zelinda winced. “Heyyyy … Pollyanna.“

Pollyanna was beaming. “You didn’t even bother to taste it? This turned out even better than I had hoped.”

Zelinda tilted her head. “Wait … what–”

“Did you really think I would tell you about my “award-winning recipe” and not expect you to steal it? The thing is, I didn’t think you’d actually submit it. I figured you’d taste it and realize how horrid it was. I mean, really. I wrote a ton of piri piri into that recipe. Do you even know what piri piri is?”

Zelinda bit her lip.

Pollyanna snickered. “It’s a spicy chili pepper sauce.”

***

Zelinda squished into the zebra-print rug, her long auburn hair fanned like a peacock, while her squinty eyes fixated on the slow twirl of the ceiling fan. If you looked close enough, you could almost see a fine mist of smoke oozing from her ears.

“Earl, I got it. I know just how to get that Pollyanna Peterson!”

Published in: on December 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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