#AtoZChallenge: Grayscale

He walked along the ashen road. It was always the same road. Lined with tall, drooping trees that had leaves the color of tar and slate-colored trunks. It was a narrow road, winding, and without end. At least, it felt that way sometimes. He had been walking the road every morning and every night, in search of a new life that he might never find.

Glass, steel and cement. Those were the components of her prison. She sat in the same chair and her fingers tapped away on that same silvery keyboard every day, its keys streaked with grease. A wide window yawned in front of her, affording her a panoramic view, but it was little consolation. All she had to look at was more of the same. Glass, steel and cement.

It was a city full of strangers, huddled together yet isolated. They shambled between home and office, from one square building to the next. illuminated by the rays of the pale morning sun but devoid of any warmth. Once, it had been known as a city of dreams, but the only dream anyone had anymore was to not die alone.

He walked into the city, feeling his neck grow stiff as he stared up at the towers looming above him. They dotted the skyline, reaching for the heavens with no sign of gods. Many roads spread out in front of him, winding and crossing over each other. He kept walking, as he had always done.

She tapped keys with mechanical precision, bathed in the glow of the screen in front of her. It was her sole companion on long days, her friend and her family, staring at her in silence as the world danced across its face in a mess of words and images. She looked out the window to ease the strain on her tired eyes. It was the same view of sprawling skyscrapers. But something was different.

He approached an intersection and looked up at the shining tower in front of him. It was identical to the others with its glassy exterior and angular design. But there was something different about it.

Somewhere on the path between heaven and earth, their eyes met. In her eyes he saw the ocean, a roiling sheet of blue and green. In his, she saw the desert, golden brown and stretching into eternity.

His lips curled into a smile. She put her hand on the glass, as if to catch the rays of sunlight filtering through. It felt warm.

A to Z Challenge: Soap



This is the story of Sybil St. Clair, heiress to the vast St. Clair publishing fortune. Her father, Gerard St. Clair, is the owner of several newspapers, magazines, two new channels and a website. Her mother, Virgina St. Clair, passed away when Sybil was a young girl. A despondent Gerard threw himself into his work to cope with his loss, leaving Sybil to be raised by their family butler Clarence and housekeeper Mrs. Finchley.

On the eve of Sybil’s 15th birthday, Gerard met a beautiful young woman named Tabitha. Within months, they were married, and Tabitha, who wasn’t really the maternal type, begrudgingly accepted Sybil as her stepdaughter. Whatever helped her hold onto Gerard’s fortune.

Sybil kept a distance between herself and her stepmother while yearning to be closer to her father. But, she also had to navigate adolescence and school life at the Frampton Academy with her two best friends, Allison Davenport and Deirdre Holliday. Plus, there was her unrequited crush on Kyle Barlow, future inheritor of Barlow Hotel Group. Sybil had fawned over him for almost five years now, but in spite of some nudging from her friends, she never said anything to him. And perhaps she wouldn’t get her chance, thanks to the arrival of the new exchange student from Switzerland, Gretchen Friedman.

Gretchen wasted no time in climbing the teenage social ladder to become the most popular girl in school. And of course, she dug her claws deep into Kyle’s heart, so that Sybil became nothing more than a shadow to him.

Tabitha, meanwhile, was growing increasingly impatient. Along with her brother Talbot, she agonized over the fastest way to take over Gerard’s media empire. A skiing accident? A poisoning at a charity benefit? Perhaps a boring old home invasion? She knew she had to think of something fast. Sybil was becoming a woman, after all. At last, Tabitha formed a plan. A car crash. Simple, but so very effective.

And so it came to pass. Gerard St. Clair was involved in a fatal car crash. Sybil’s entire life was upended. Clarence and Mrs. Finchley did what they could to console her, but it was no use. Tabitha put on the guise of the dutiful widow. Gerard’s funeral was attended by hundreds, from extended to family to friends to old business associates. And there was another unexpected guest. Gerard’s estranged twin brother, Jerome.

It had been twenty years since Gerard and Jerome had last spoken, yet there he was, paying respects to his dead brother. That wasn’t the only reason, of course. He wanted his share of his brother’s inheritance. And more…

Who will win in a clash between Jerome and Tabitha? Will Sybil ever tell Kyle how she feels, or will she lose him to Gretchen forever? Will Deirdre ever solve the mystery of her haunted mansion? Will Clarence be rescued from his alien abductors?

Stay tuned to find out!

WEP Valentine’s Challenge: Forever

Yolanda and Renee of Write, Edit, Publish have put forth their first writing challenge for this year, based around Valentine’s Day. The challenge is to write a fiction or non-fiction piece in 1000 words or less. So without further ado, let’s get right into it.


John couldn’t believe it was Valentine’s Day already. How time flew.

It was one of the most important days of his life. The day when he and Marnie had decided to take the next step in their relationship.

John adjusted his hat and walked along the same street where he had taken so many moonlit strolls over the years, hand in hand with Marnie. He smiled. The city had changed so much over the years, but it was still beautiful at night, pulsing with life and vitality. The both of them had had many wild nights together, painting the town red.

They were inseparable, always with their arms around each other. Her sing song laughter echoed in the evening air, replaced by ecstatic moans as the night went on. His thick, stubby fingers would comb through her dark tresses, caress her pearlescent skin, trace the contours of her sanguine lips. She in turn would let her spidery fingers roam over his rough form, from his scruffy brown hair to the slight bulge of his gut. The passion they shared could scorch the world, but that wasn’t all that they had.

Marnie was one of the few people, perhaps the only one, that truly understood John. The both of them could spend hours engaged in the most idle conversation, or simply watching the world go by in complete silence. They were content to simply exist together, two bodies and minds joined as one.

John’s footsteps grew a little heavier as he walked away from the city, towards the small hill that lay on its outskirts. He paused before the iron gates at the foot of the hill and took out a small package from his coat’s inner pocket. He opened the package carefully, removing the wrappings to reveal a single, blood-red rose. With a sigh, John walked through the gates.

He hadn’t expected his romance with Marnie to end as abruptly as it had. Though perhaps he should have. They had become too reckless, drawn too much attention to themselves. With the number of people that had gone missing in the wake of their nightly escapades, it was only a matter of time before a hunter showed up in town. John and Marnie hadn’t been concerned. They thought they could handle things. But they were wrong. The hunter was cleverer than they had anticipated. He laid the perfect trap, and they fell for it.

John knelt down and placed the rose on top of an unmarked gravestone. Marnie had made the ultimate sacrifice so that John could escape. This was where she rested now, though he wondered if she’d found any peace. He patted the stone and started to walk away. All good things came to an end, he thought.

His jaw clenched.

But this wasn’t supposed to.

John walked out of the cemetery and back to the city, running a finger along the bite marks on his neck, still as fresh as they were 150 years ago. Eternity was too long a time to be spent alone.

Word Count: 509

Story A Day Challenge – Day 20: Saying Goodbye

This prompt was about stepping out of your comfort zone and writing in a completely different genre. Mission accomplished! Never again…

Lydia whistled in appreciation as Callum walked into the room.

“What’s up, good lookin’? You are one sharp soldier.”

Callum grinned, adjusting his uniform. It fit snugly over his lean but taut frame. He was a good-looking young man, the kind that often attracted a wandering eye. But he only had eyes for one.  “Why thank you, ma’am.”

Lydia leaned against the door frame seductively, a sly smile on her face. “You planning to kill the bad guys or make them swoon?”

“Maybe a bit of both.” Callum winked.

“Knock ’em dead, tiger.” Lydia’s cherubic face broke into a grin. She walked over to Callum, who pulled her into a long, loving kiss.

“That’s the idea,” Callum said, pulling back from the kiss, and went to pick up his bag.

“Don’t go,” Lydia whispered.

Callum stopped. “What?”

Lydia cleared her throat loudly, using it as an excuse to quickly wipe the tears that were threatening to spill forth from her dark, almond-shaped eyes.

“I said…I’m proud of you, honey.”

Callum smiled. He embraced Lydia and kissed her again, lingering against her lips for a few moments, then walked out to the car.

Lydia watched him drive off, no longer able to control her tears. She didn’t know if he would come back. She hoped this wasn’t their last goodbye. The ring on her finger sparkled in the dawning sunlight, like her glistening cheeks.

Story A Day Challenge – Day 15: The Date

booklover231: I can’t wait to see you tomorrow.

readinglady36: Me neither! I can’t believe it’s finally happening!

booklover231: I know, right? Haha.

booklover231: But it will be good to see my lady in the flesh at last.

booklover231: That came across creepier than I’d intended.

readinglady36: lol

readinglady36: I hope that’s not a sign of things to come. 😉

booklover231: I promise I’m not super creepy.

readinglady36: Guess we’ll find out tomorrow for sure. 🙂

booklover 231: Guess so. 🙂

readinglady36: Alright, I think I’m gonna go to bed. I’ll be dreaming of you. 😉

booklover231: Haha, same here.

readinglady36: Good night!

booklover231: Good night.

Aaron logged off with a smile. He hadn’t really been a fan of internet dating before. Why sit around chatting on computers when you could just meet people in person and hit it off? That’s how he’d done it since high school and it had worked out just fine. But recently, things hadn’t been going well for him. He had some lingering scars to deal with and bitter memories to wash away. Aaron could no longer bring himself to ask women out. His co-worker Dave had suggested creating an online profile. Despite his initial hesitation, Aaron went through with it and, after a few awkward pickup attempts and a series of rejections, he finally found her.

Jessica was grinning at the screen. She couldn’t believe that she had found someone so perfect for her in the vast sea of perverts and weirdos that seemed to populate the internet. She hadn’t really been lucky in love, and was still reeling from a bad relationship. Internet dating was just the solution she needed. Initial results were predictable, of course. She was careful not to post a picture online, so as to weed out the really shady guys, but it didn’t get rid of them all. When he had messaged her a simple ‘Hello’ instead of the lewd introductions she was used to, it was a pleasant surprised. She decided to take a chance on this stranger, and it had worked out quite well.

Aaron was nervous. He had tried to focus on work the whole day, but he couldn’t. It was the night of his first date and he felt like a high schooler all over again. It was a feeling he hadn’t had in quite some time. Of course, the last time he had, he’d expected the relationship to last forever. He would have to be careful not to burden himself with expectations this time.

Jessica went through her little mental checklist. Everything had to be just right for the evening. She almost wanted to pinch herself. At last, after a long patch of darkness, she’d found a sliver of light. It had been a long courtship, and he loved her for who she was rather than her looks. In fact, they’d both agreed not to exchange pictures. It would be more romantic that way. Keep the mystery alive. She smiled and wondered what he looked like. She’d find out soon enough.

Aaron fidgeted in his seat. As planned, he was waiting at the cafe in a beige shirt with a small orange tulip tucked into the breast pocket. He was early. He hoped she would be on time. He drank another glassful of water, trying to drown out his nerves.

Jessica paid her cab fare and waved off the change, almost running into the cafe. She was wearing a little black dress and her hair was loose, with a blue barrette clipped to one side. That was how he would recognize her. She kept an eye out for the orange tulip. She saw it almost immediately. She stopped cold.

Aaron looked up at every patron that walked in. Soon enough, she walked in. The black dress and the blue barrette. Aaron’s face fell. He was going to need something stronger than water.

Neither of them had ever expected to run into each other again after the divorce.

Story A Day Challenge – Day 9: Star Crossed

Today’s prompt was quite interesting. Listen to a piece of music and use the feelings it evokes to write a story. I was worried it would leave me stymied, but as the piece concluded, I had my tale.

Ophelia’s heart fluttered as she waited for Rodrigo to arrive in the old church. She longed to hear the sound of his voice, to feel the touch of his hands, so rough against her soft skin yet so gentle. She longed for the feel of his skin against hers, their hearts beating in unison, their souls joined as one. He was her world now, as she knew that she was his.

She could feel herself shivering in anticipation of his arrival. It was an important night for the both of them. At last, their secret courtship would come to an end. They would turn their backs on their feuding families and set off to start a new life together. It would be difficult. Their names were known to everyone in the city. They would become pariahs. But it would be worth it in the end. She knew it in her heart. She and Rodrigo were destined to be.

Footsteps echoed along the church floor. Ophelia smiled, smoothing down her snow white wedding dress. It was time. She turned around and froze, the smile fleeing from her face. Her former suitor, Eduardo, stood at the altar, his face grim and a bloodied knife in his hands. Ophelia’s heart threatened to burst out of her chest. She knew what had happened. And she knew what would happen now.

It was over in one swift slashing motion. Eduardo walked out of the church, feeling no satisfaction from what he had done.

Ophelia lay on the floor, her dress stained red. As her world faded into darkness, she knew she would see Rodrigo soon. And they would be together forever.

Voice of Reason

Bill called again this morning. He’s such a sweetheart.

It all started with a wrong number two weeks ago. Now, we talk every day.

I can’t even remember what life was like before him.

I dial Bill’s number with a smile, ignoring the three-month overdue phone bill on my desk.