Rocky’s Tale: Couch Pup to Mountaineer

Dog Superman GIF from Tenor.com

I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ring again this year for the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest. Click here to learn more about this fun contest, and the wonderful folks who put many hours of their time into making it happen! Thank you to the amazing Kaitlyn Sanchez and Ciara O’Neal and ALL of the generous prize donors!

Rocky’s Tale: Couch Pup to Mountaineer

150 words

“Just a week until spring break in the mountains, Rocky!” My person says, scratching my belly.

The mountains? This couch pup better get in shape!
I make a daily schedule:

  1. Cut back on kibble
  2. Hit the treadmill
  3. Drink lots of water (Thank goodness there’s a doggie door!)
  4. Chase tail 3 times
  5. Chase squirrels around backyard
  6. 30 doggie push-ups
  7. Cut back to 5 naps
  8. No looking pitiful to score treats

I stick to my schedule—even #8!
I’m ready. A champion mountain dog. Super Rocky.
We’re finally on the road…
I yodel out the window. “Rodel-ray-re-roo!”

Finally, the car stops at a cabin.

I survey my new domain.
TV, check.
Comfy couch, check.
Treacherous hiking trails… Nope!

My kind of place!
I shamelessly beg for treats until my belly’s full, then snuggle into the couch.
Nap time.
Maybe we’ll have steak for dinner.

Impossible Assignment?

I decided to write two completely different stories for Susanna Leonard Hill’s tenth annual Halloweensie Writing Contest this year. So, here’s the second one. It’s kind of an inside joke for all of us who first looked at the contest rules and thought we couldn’t do it! I hope you enjoy it!

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

The Impossible Assignment

97 words

“What’s wrong?” Henry’s sister Rachel asked.

“This assignment’s impossible. It’s bad enough having school on Halloween.”

She scanned his computer. “It’s definitely possible.”

“I can’t write a story in only 100 words using these three exact words.”

“Sure you can!”

“But how?” he wailed. Henry couldn’t trick-or-treat until he finished.

“Hmmm,” Rachel said. “I’ll be right back.”

At the sound of footsteps, Henry looked up.

“Why are you wearing my creepy skeleton mask?”

“There’s your story!” she said. “Write it down, and keep it short!”

“You’re the best!” Henry said with a grin as he started typing.

Sammy Skeleton’s Sticky Situation

I wrote this little story for Susanna Leonard Hill’s tenth annual Halloweensie Writing Contest. It’s a fun and challenging task to write a Halloween story in only 100 words. To make it even more challenging, some form of these words has to be included in the story: Skeleton, creep and mask. I hope you enjoy it!

Image used with permission by its creator, DazzlinggirlDIYShop

Sammy Skeleton’s Sticky Situation

99 words

Halloween was Sammy Skeleton’s favorite!
But, before he’d gotten far…
Squish.
“What creep threw gum on the sidewalk?”
His metatarsals were icky.
His cuboid bone was sticky.
“I’m a mess!”
Tears filled his Sugar Skull mask.
Before Sammy’s candy bucket was half-full, grass and leaves clung to his foot.
Gretchen Ghoul laughed.
Tommy Troll pointed with his club.
But, Wendy Witch said, “Let me brew some Go-away Goo.”
Clank. Clatter. His foot plunged into her cauldron.
Sizzle. Frizzle. Then…
“The gum’s gone!” Sammy shouted. “Thanks!”
“Let’s finish trick-or-treating,” said Wendy.
“Great,” agreed Sammy. “But, first I’ll get my shoes!”

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Thanks for reading! And if you love the gorgeous mask in the picture as much as I do, purchase link is in the caption. 🙂

The First Step

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So, The Fall Writing Frenzy challenges keep coming! Kaitlyn Sanchez, one of the contest organizers, posted this challenge: take a line from your original story and create a whole new story from that line. As before, we’d love for you to share with our community by posting to your blog and sharing using the #FallWritingFrenzy hashtag!

So, here’s my effort, coming in at just under 200 words. I kept the same character from my original, but aged her up to 18 and created a new story for her. The line from the original is in bold type. I hope you enjoy!

The First Step

I unpacked my shadow box, placing it gently on the desk.
“What’s the deal with the leaf?”
I looked over my shoulder, taking in my roommate’s smirk.
“Just something I’ve had since I was a kid.”
“Whatever,” she said, with a wave. “I’m walking to dinner.”
I blinked back tears. She belonged here on this campus filled with traditions and old money—the Ivy League and all that. From the minute Dad dropped me off, I’d known I would never belong here. An imposter. Had it really only been a few hours ago?
The essay that clinched my scholarship had been about that leaf—a tangible keepsake of Mom’s last wish. In the interviews, the selection committee told me how moved they’d been by my story, and my strength in sharing it with them.
“I do belong here.”
I said the words out loud, to steel my resolve. The committee had picked me. Me.
This would be my first step on a long journey. To become a doctor. To devote myself to researching cancer—and ways to stop it’s growth.
Placing my hand on the box, I said, “This is for you, Mom. I’ve got this.”
And I did.

The Antagonist’s Turn

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

My last post was my entry to the Fall Writing Frenzy contest. The protagonist of my little story was a young girl helping her mother see the leaves change color “one last time” after her mom’s cancer came back.

So, today I saw this Twitter post by Kaitlyn Sanchez, one of the sponsors of the contest:

I need a good writing challenge, so I decided to come up with a story from the antagonist’s POV. In the case of my original Fall Writing Frenzy story, the antagonist isn’t a person. It’s a disease. Cancer. Yikes.

Challenge accepted! Here’s my story, which I also kept to the word limit of the original contest.

The Day I was Beaten

People hate me. Wait, that’s not a strong enough word. People despise me. I get called “the C word”—as if my name is too evil to speak. There are T-shirts and bumper stickers proclaiming “Cancer Sucks”—and worse, believe me. But, I have to keep this clean for kids.

Not that I normally watch out for kids. I mean, I grow uncontrollably fast in their tiny bodies just as easily as I grow in adults—another reason I’m so despised.

One recent autumn day, I felt ‘death ray level’ loathing directed at me by a little girl riding in a convertible with her parents. The family was saying goodbye. Making memories to cherish once my work in her mother’s body was done.

But they don’t know what I know.

Exactly 24 years later, that little girl—all grown up—will receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine for curing cancer. She’ll dedicate that award to her mother, and hold up a small shadow box containing a leaf. Her father will lead a standing ovation at the ceremony, with a lone tear rolling down his cheek.

That’s what I know. That autumn day was the beginning of the end for me.

Witch Missy

Happy Halloween Everyone. I wrote this 100 word story for the 9th annual Halloweensie contest on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website. Click the link to check out contest rules. 🙂 Enjoy!

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“I’m a witch,” Missy chants—red curls poking messily from her black pointed cap. “I need a wand.”
She snaps a twig from a leafless branch. Perfect.
Her costumed group reaches a spooky darkened house.
Missy stops.
A friend tugs her arm. “We only stop for lit porch lights.”
Cobwebs litter the deserted porch. Owls screech.
Missy shivers.
“Come on.”
Missy ignores.
“We’re leaving.” They really do.
Missy stares.
A nearby chorus of “Trick or treat!”
A cauldron! A real witch’s house! It could hold potions.
Missy moves.
Inching closer, squinting.
Then…
“MEOWWW!!!”
Missy screams.
The cat dashes.
Missy laughs.

Just One Child

Happy Halloween Everyone. I wrote this 100 word story for the 9th annual Halloweensie contest on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website. Click the link to check out contest rules. 🙂 Enjoy!

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Creak. Her rocking chair broke the eerie silence.

“Just one child,” she thought.

She adjusted her pointy black hat, and rubbed her gnarled hands together greedily. “Just one.”

Yet, none came.

Her eyes scanned fake cobwebs and tattered scarecrows with disgust.

At long last, she rose to go inside—heart heavy, lonely.

Then, a chorus of voices behind her.

Trick or treat!”

A potion for her soul! She turned. Not just one child. Her great-grandchildren!

“Sorry we’re so late. It’s a long drive, but we wanted to visit on your first “nursing home Halloween”.

A full heart. A smile. Happy.

The Empty Spot

amazing-beautiful-breathtaking-cloudsHappy Fall Y’all! This is my entry for the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy contest.

The Empty Spot

196 words, Image 5, Picture Book category

This used to be our spot. On dark nights when the moon was full, we’d dash past Rachel’s feet and scurry up this tree. Full moons were always the best—especially when drifting clouds made it look like cheese. Sometimes, on nights like this, we would reminisce about the pranks we’d pulled or the ham we’d snitched from Rachel’s sandwich when she left it unattended for a minute. She loved us anyway. Even when she called us “her little stinkers.” Some nights we just sat, and rubbed our necks together.

 

I remember the day Rachel brought us home from the rescue in a cardboard box. She’d only planned for one cat, but ended up bringing us home together. Last week he stopped eating. When Rachel walked in the door with the empty carrier, I’d paced and paced. “I’m so sorry,” she’d said. Where was he? When would he be back?

 

Tonight, I sit alone. One, in a spot made for two. My purr is stuck somewhere in my chest. I wonder if it will ever come again?

 

I stare at the same moon. I sit in the same place. But nothing is the same. Not anymore.

 

Anywhere Doors?

wrought-iron-exterior-doors1

Writing Prompt:

Pick Your Gadget-Your local electronics store has just started selling time machines, anywhere doors, and invisibility helmets. You can only afford one. Which of these do you buy, and why?

This prompt immediately reminded me of the last Harry Potter novel when Harry, Ron and Hermione are discussing the Deathly Hallows, and each one picks the hallow that they perceive to be “the obvious” choice only to realize that they’d each chosen a different one. And they had good reasons for the choice based on their own lifetime experiences, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

I imagine the same will hold true for this writing prompt. Each one of us who respond will be bringing our own unique background and experiences into our choice regarding which gadget we would choose. For me, it took only a moment to weigh each option and decide on the one that I would choose. It would definitely be the “anywhere doors” over the other two choices. My choice has to do as much with why I’d love to have a set of these doors as it does with why I wouldn’t want to own the invisibility helmet or the time machine.

I’m sure that I’ve said, “I’d love to be a fly on the wall” as much as anyone else. It is so tempting to want to observe situations that we can’t due to being a solid hunk of visible flesh. 🙂 However, as much as I’d love to be able to disappear at times, it does have major privacy and ethical issues. Just as I don’t particularly want the NSA listening to my phone calls, I don’t want anyone, friend or foe, to have the ability to spy on me without my knowledge. It’s just creepy. So I have to rule out the helmet and hope that anyone who knows me does the same!

Next, the time machine. This one was tougher, because who hasn’t wanted to time travel? To this day I love a good time travel story. But inevitably, toying around with the complexities of time travel is going to lead to trouble. Your current self will see your past self and think it’s insane. Or you will tinker with one small thing that will have tremendous ramifications for every future generation to come. It makes great novel fodder, but I think I’ll stick to my current time no matter how screwed up the world seems at the moment!

So, that leaves us with those doors. Now that is the gadget that truly tempts me, and seems to have the lowest probability to land me in serious hot water. Let’s say that in order for these doors to work, someone on “the other end” also has to have a set. I have family and friends all over the world. Many of my dear friends that we met while living in Germany are now scattered to the four corners of the world–literally. Also, my cousins live everywhere from New Hampshire to Washington State and many states scattered in between. What keeps us from visiting each other? The $2,000 in airline tickets we’d have to purchase for the family to visit! To be honest, our family would have extended our tour and stayed in Germany longer if maintaining family relationships back in the states had been as easy as walking through some doors. For me, this is the best choice of the three gadgets.

This was a great prompt, but seriously…can someone get onto the invention of these doors ASAP? I’ve posted a prototype of them in the picture I chose to go with this post. I’ll be in line for your first working set!

Pick Your Gadget