Perspectives: #WOW555 Writing Challenge Story Time!

WOW555 Writing Challenge Story TimeWhat a great first week with #WOW555! Thank you all so much for submitting your stories. Even though they are posted below without names or links, the mystery will be solved on Monday. That’s when the story with the most votes will be featured. The titles of the other stories will be listed along with their author and any links that might have been provided.

Now it’s time for weekend story time! Be sure to send friends and acquaintances to the page to vote for their favorite story (remember, the idea here is to focus on the writing, so don’t cheat and point out which story is yours).

The prompt for this week was Give us a scene as told from an unexpected perspective.

Readers, enjoy the treats below and then vote for your favorite story in the poll at the bottom of the page:

If You Come to a Fork, Take It

Being a fork may not seem all that exciting if you are used to getting around on your own two (or four (or even eight)) legs, but having tines is pretty much where it’s at in the world of flatware. Sure, the sharp edge of a knife sounds cool and nobody messes with the serrated crew, but they hardly ever get out of the drawer and sawing flesh – even tender, bloody flesh, is a lot of work. Besides, nobody in polite company ever licks a knife. (Don’t worry, this isn’t that sort of story.)

On the evening of October 15, 2014, in the quaint eatery run by Paula Joschynski, the fork in our story had the good fortune of being present for the engagement of Rich and Jen. After enjoying delicious scampi, Jen exchanged her empty plate for a slice of Red Velvet cake and her crusty fork for a clean dessert model.

The conversation grew quieter, Rich’s gaze more intimate, and the smile on Jen’s face larger. Our hero, guided by Jen’s diminutive hand, slipped gracefully through layers of scrumptious confection, carried the delicacy to her delicate lips, and lingered on her tongue as she savored the mouthful.

He was withdrawn in time to hear her say, “What is this?” He watched from the table as she took a gold and diamond ring from her mouth. He heard Rich say, “Will you marry me?” And the entire restaurant heard her say, “Yes.”

He didn’t mind the scalding hot bath later as dried crumbs of cake were scrubbed away. It was moments like that, resting comfortably on fine linen, that he lived for. Well, not lived for exactly. But you could say he was made for them. Or something like that.

 

Her Escape

A small child, smaller than most, she wasn’t usually out alone, without her parents or her usual escort to keep her safe. Shivering in the rain, she was helpless and, if I could, I would have wrapped her in my embrace. Unfortunately, all I could do was watch as she huddled into herself, unable to move away from her spot in the bush, under the window she’d used as an exit.

Even over the pouring rain, the screams from inside the house were deafening. If she could hear them, or they frightened her, she didn’t show it. She seemed to wait a beat, before making a run for it, straight towards me and covering the thirty or so feet quicker than I thought she could. In the dim light and rain of the early evening, I cast a large enough shadow that she wouldn’t be seen, if she stayed near. Tiny hands gripped me, as if I was the only thing keeping her rooted, safe. Again, I wanted to reach out, cursing the immobility that kept me from helping the child.

For a while she stood there, hiding behind me while watching the house. What was going on? Her small fingers, despite their dainty size, actually dug into my bark. I internally winced as she continued to squeeze, her grip tightening with every sound coming from the house. It wasn’t a grip of fear, however, but rather anger. Her face contorted in hate, an expression that was largely out of place on her. She seemed to only barely contain her rage, showing more self-control than a child that young normally possessed. Watching her shifting expression, I nearly forgot her painful grip, until she finally loosened it, pulling her hand back to reveal a very clear, very permanent, indentation.

“Jenna…” Behind her, a few feet away, a woman I’d never seen before stood by one of my brothers, using him as a partial shield while also watching the young girl, Jenna.

Jenna’s shoulders were shaking and I realized now that she finally cried, her sobs mingled with sharp intakes of breath, showing just how long she’d held it in, and how much effort it had taken her. “S-Save…th-them…p-please.”

Her words left her in a garbled mess, practically choking her. The woman emerged from the shadows, cautious but with authority. Her eyes held sympathy for the girl collapsed between us. “You know I can’t, Jenna. But I can save you.”

“I don’t…want you to.” To hear those words from such a tiny voice frightened me. Save her. I implored the woman, and for a moment I thought she heard me, her eyes dashing to the imprint of Jenna’s hand on me.

Without a word, the woman approached Jenna, crouching beside her and placing a hand on the young girl’s head. Jenna went slack, and I panicked, thinking the woman had harmed her. She scooped the small child into her arms, and I noted the rise and fall of her chest – she was only sleeping. Confused, I watched as she walked away, deeper into the shadows, hidden by my family.

 

I’m Not the One

October 25, 2012. 3:45 P.M.

I’ll start off by saying that my man Robbie has never lied a day in his life. I mean, some lies are essential, but homeboy is loyal. If he with you, he with you. I owe you, Robbie. I’m recording this for you, so if you’re hearing this now, obviously you’re getting a treat before I make this world-class exposé.

My boy tipped me off on something the other day. I was taking a Stats quiz in Blaise Hall when I got the text. To be honest, I didn’t really study well for it, since I was up dealing with my girlfriend’s drama – some bullshit going on in her circle of friends. I try to be there for her, but I don’t really ever know what to say to her. Women are just a walking sea of emotions and, at any moment for no reason whatsoever, the levees can break and you’re swallowed up.

Maybe I’m a bit bitter. Anyway, I didn’t know any of the answers I had left blank, so I signed my name, dropped off my quiz, and bounced. I’ll get it next time.

So, I’m outside and I check my phone.

–How much you trust ur girl?

The fuck? Robbie always playing games, so I text him back:

–Bout as much as I trust you getting ur face smashed in on Call of Duty, SON!

I was starving, so I took off for my dorm room. It was midday, classes were letting out and others were rushing to their classes, so it was crowded. Fighting through the crowd, I didn’t get Robbie’s next texts until 10 minutes later.

–You better check that trust, son, somebody is givin it to ur girl in yo room. I’m outside ur room now!

–Yoooo! The nigga just left. He light-skinned, think I saw him on your hall once before

–Hid in that little corner on the side of the hall. Yo, she said she’s meeting him for lunch at Moshi Moshi. 4 o’clock. Yooo, what you gon do?

When I got to my room, she Caroline wasn’t there. But I knew where she’d be at 4.

And here I am. Let me just go on record with this: I really tried for this one, and this is how I get repaid. Whoever said that about nice guys finishin last was 100% correct. “Nice guy” don’t get you nothing but played. Now, there wasn’t anywhere to hide on ground level, but I needed to get some private eye-type pics of these two. I’m not just gonna catch her, I’m gonna put her on blast. Everybody gonna know what type of girl she is. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – this is going viral. I’m not the one to mess with. And ––

Hold up, I see them now. Yep, it’s Stephen, that nosey, grimey. . .nevermind. I’m gonna watch my language. . . .

Let me get the zoom on. Yep, a couple shots of them hand and hand. Climbing up in this tree was great, I’ve got perfect perspective for these pics. Oh, she’s gonna––

Oh snap! This branch is bout to ––

 

The Frame

I watch her every day. It’s always the same thing. Early to rise in the morning, grab a bowl of cereal, the occasional coffee if she’s not out of creamer, and then rush out the door with the teenagers; it’s only two now since the boy has graduated. He never comes out of his room except to eat, drink, and scare her. He likes to sneak around in dark corners just to watch her shriek. He thinks it’s funny. Her, not so much, but she enjoys the interaction so she plays along. Most days he catches her off guard rather than scare her…most days. Today was not one of those days and he laughed when she spilled her coffee.

In the afternoon when she comes home I watch her some more. She sits on the couch alone and rubs her head. She always seems to have a headache, especially on hard days…and Mondays. I can tell today is not a good day. It takes her hours to unwind this time. She used to replace me daily always taking note of my beauty, but now I’m worn with nicks and scratches that she doesn’t bother to cover up. It’s time to get up and make dinner. She never feels like cooking anymore. Except for Sundays; those are special days she says. She yells upstairs to the teenagers that today is sandwich day. All three rush down with frowns on their faces but say nothing. They don’t want to upset her. They know it’s been one of THOSE days.

Now grown, and not needing her as much, the teenagers avoid her and stay in their rooms and I watch her at night sitting alone…again…as she sifts through old photos. I watch her read her books, drink her wine, pass the time on her telephone, and then sometimes she watches me, too. She stares at me for hours, occasionally wipes the dust that has collected around me, and we watch each other before she decides it’s time to go to bed.

It’s quiet at night when she sleeps and I wait for her to return in the morning. As usual the day starts out the same, but not today. One of the teenagers, the youngest of the three, stops to watch me for a second, briefly hesitates, and then pulls out another one to replace what’s within me. This one is full of smiles. It’s from their first day of school last year; all three of them. So far, this one is my favorite and hers, too; I can tell by the smile on her face when she walks by and sees me. “It’s time to go,” she tells the girl. She gives me one more glance before locking the door behind her and I can still hear her voice on the other side. “Thank you for updating my picture frame this morning. It’s beautiful!” In that brief moment I can see my reflection through the sunlit window by the door and, yes, I am beautiful.

 

The Answer

I am both the owned, as well as the owner.

I am being offered to my owners’ friends and siblings; tribute, to the testament of the mind, the symbiosis between their shared thoughts. The one that owns me not only shares me, but challenges them with my presence.

It is the typical gathering. All are in the same place, an unusual sight as their work shifts vary from day to day. When all of them convene at once, it is a sight to behold. They are not supposed to organize in this way, but their love for each other transcends petty regulations. Their duties are monotonous, and if it means one or more of them bring I, or others of my ilk along with them, then we are all the happier.

Standing next to the cash registers, there is silence among the group. A couple are smiling at my presentation, while the rest are scowling, deep in thought in my nature. They have been silent for almost a minute. My presence was made known twice in a row, and I have been received by the others, as if cloned.

I’m not surprised they are silent. I am not easily digested, nor am I a simple morsel to be consumed. As per the instructions and will of the comrades, they are allowed to chew all day if they must. They write down the recipe, they’ll try to decide different ways around me. The way I am presented, I am straight forward, but there are numerous ways around me.

They ask for more. That’s absurd, but not alarming, either. Aren’t I enough as I am? They don’t seem to think so; they say they need more. Need? I roll my imaginative eyes, just as my owner does. With that little display, he offers them slightly more, which they take appreciatively.

A copy of myself is repeated once more by one of the siblings: “It passes us by, just as we take note of it. It’s always in the middle times four, sometimes five, and it’s often akin to a camel.” Someone else whispers the extra, a happy car insurance commercial. Suddenly, a face is lit up. I see it and I know they know. That person knows what I am truly, what I mean.

“WEDNESDAY!”

I am pointed out, and the others see me as well. Their batches of enlightenment encase their minds. I spread through their brains and they are awash with completion. I now see myself completely within them. At the same time that I am disappointed that they found me in my wholeness, I am pleased that I will spread like a benevolent germ. Who knows how far I will go in this world? Who knows indeed; us riddles have existed for centuries. My ancestors have been retold for countless generations. I want to believe I will go on and never die. There is a classical crowd of riddles, all with the same answer: time. Time will tell.

Now, dear readers, it’s up to you. Which story should be featured?

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Wendy Strain

My entire life is full of writing and creativity. Whether copywriting for exciting new projects, crafting web content for creative companies, ghostwriting, editing, coaching, or exploring my own imagination as a fiction writer, I am constantly engaged in stretching boundaries and exploring possibilities.

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