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May 2017 Writers' Challenge

  • 30 May 2017 1:20 PM
    Reply # 4860031 on 4789090
    Louis Edwards

    Louis, I really enjoyed your story, the emotion it evoked was nice and the ending a nice surprise. What a nice premise for this story. Good job.  K

  • 30 May 2017 1:09 PM
    Reply # 4860019 on 4789090
    Kaylene Wilson


    By Kaylene Wilson


    Dave was careful to pull the car between two tall hedges. A scratch on his new convertible and there’d be hell to pay. He pulled down to a spot that overlooked the river and parked. “Like it?”

    “It’s nice, you sure no one can see us?”

    “Look around, see anyone?” He asked spreading his arms. She fell into them. He whispered into her hair, “What were you thinking?”

    As her head shot up, she saw his eyebrows wriggle and pushed away from him, waving a finger in his face, “None of that. We’re waiting until after the wedding, remember?”

    “But babe, it’s a month away. How about we practice a little?”


    “But honeyyyyyyyy,” he whined.

    She uncrossed her arms as she began to weaken, then leaned in and kissed him. “We could practice the preliminary stuff, but nothing below the waist. Got that?”

    “Yes ma’am,” he answered eager to begin, then pulled her close and peppered kisses against her neck. “This okay?” he whispered into her ear.

    Eyes closed she moaned with pleasure and answered, “mmmmmn, oh yes.”

    An owl hooted in the distance as she dreamily opened her eyes and pushed away to look at him. “You sure no one’s out here?”

    “Yes,” he answered, anxious to resume.

    “Hey, what’s that?” she asked pointing to a building over the river.

    Annoyed, Dave opened his eyes to follow where she was pointing. “I don’t know. Never seen lights or anyone around. Probably a boat storage shed or caretaker’s shack.”

    “Hmmm,” She whispered. “Wait a minute, have you been out here before to bring other girls?”

    “N.noo,” he answered a little too nervous. “Why would I bring anyone else out here but you?” Although in his mind he remembered his Alaina. Sweet, sweet Alaina, but that was before his world crumbled.

    His face went slack and she knew he was holding something back. Maybe an ache that hadn’t healed. She wouldn’t press it right now. Maybe he’d tell her when he was ready.

    A shiver ran down her spine. “This place is starting to creep me out.”

    Leaning in he pulls her close and whispers, “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you from the boogeyman.”

    “It’s not funny Dave,” she said as she pushed him away and gave his arm a swat.

    Suddenly Dave ducked down in his seat and yelled, “Duck!”

    When she didn’t move he reached over and pulled her down with him.

    “What’s going on?” Ginny demanded. “Is this a trick or something” Then she saw why.

    A car headlights headed down the lane. “Damn, I hope they don’t see us in here. We’d never be able to explain it?” The car passed and pulled into a spot at the base of the pier leading to the shack. When it had passed they peeked over the dash to watch a tall muscular man step out of an old 1950’s Mercury. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a cigarette, lit it, took a long draw, then threw the match into the water. He leaned on the car and looked around for what seemed to them like hours. They weren’t sure what he was looking for, but they didn’t want it to be them, so they slipped back down in their seats and waited.

    Leaning close she whispered, “I thought you told me no one came out here!”

    “Shhhhh, we don’t want him to hear us, do we?”


    After a couple minutes they raise up and watched the man open the trunk. The light inside went on as he leaned deep into it. Fascinated and a little scared they watched him back out with a large bundle. As he turned they saw what it was, they sat speechless, shocked by they saw. The body of a woman lay still and lifeless across the man’s large muscular arms. He shifted her in his arms; she never moved. He carried her as if she weighed nothing. He walked down the pier toward the shack, stopping now and then to look over his shoulder. When he reached the door he swung her over his shoulder and rummaged his pockets. Pulling out keys, he opened the door. Before he stepped inside he turned to look around again. Dave and Ginny assumed he wanted to make sure no one saw him carry a dead woman into the shack. Then he walked inside and closed the door.

    Her voice shaky along with the rest of her, she asked “You think she was dead?”

    “I’m not sure. But we can’t leave right now, he might see our headlights and who know what he’ll do then.”

    “You mean he might hurt us?”

    He raised his shoulders, “I don’t know.”

    Suddenly she had to go to the bathroom. She told him and he suggested using the bushes. She protested and wasn’t about to go, all sorts of things lived out there. She’d hold it till they could get to a filling station.

    Their eyes went back to the shack in silence. Both of them were shaking and when a light went on inside, they both jumped. They listened to hear if anything large hit the water, like a body.

    “We have to do something.” Ginny whispered, “Call the police or something.”

    “I’m not sure the police would listen or believe two teenagers. Do you?”

    “I’m scared Dave.”

    “Me too. You watch the shack and I’ll ease the car out. If you see or hear anything, let me know.” he told her.

    “I will, but hurry Dave, I don’t like this place anymore.”

    Thankful they had a half moon’s light to maneuver without turning lights on. At the opening he asked, “See anything?”

    “No, nothing. Gun it Dave!”



    Inside a man watches the car pull out and head quick up the path. Before their tires hit the pavement he reaches for woman’s hand as they step out and bow with a flourish, then break into laughter. “Think they’ll be back?” she asked.

    “Probably not.”


  • 19 May 2017 8:36 AM
    Reply # 4841877 on 4789090
    Sherri Hollister

    Louis, it seems we have switched places. You have gone for a more romantic story. Very well done.

  • 19 May 2017 8:34 AM
    Reply # 4841875 on 4789090
    Sherri Hollister

    Ted, what a twist of fate. I like it. 

    It is so interesting to see the different stories inspired by this one picture. How different each of ours are and what a display of talent. 

    Writing shorts are often considered to be more difficult than writing a longer piece. I find that it really makes me think about what I want to say. I believe these prompts help strengthen my other writing. I hope you are all enjoying this challenge as much as I have. Louis does an amazing job picking out a prompt to make us think.  

  • 18 May 2017 8:59 PM
    Reply # 4841064 on 4834545
    Louis Edwards
    Good story interesting twist, although I've never read one in that person before. Thanks for pulling me in.
  • 18 May 2017 8:54 PM
    Reply # 4841062 on 4789090
    Louis Edwards
    Word Count 999

    The Guest House

    By Louis Edwards

    Erin got out of the limousine that picked her up at the airport. She stood at the foot of the pier and studied the invitation she received three days ago. The gold embossed Old English lettering reminded her of elegance, something she knew little about growing up in a small town in Eastern North Carolina. The courier who left her the message gave her special instructions telling her everything was paid for, and she needed to be at her destination on the evening of April 24.

    She took a moment to admire the weathered wooden structure perched atop stone pylons sitting in the lake. The place reminded her of an old fishing lodge, yet the pristine water and its wooded sounding with sparse lights off in the distance gave it a scene of nostalgia. Jutting out over the porch was an upper room with two windows that overlooked the wooden walkway that led to the building. Below the windows engraved in the same writing as the invitation were the words, The Guest House.

    She continued up the pier not knowing what to expect. Before she made the trip, she did some research on the place but could find nothing but reviews about it. All of them gave glowing comments about the site and wished they could stay, but the invitations were good for only one day. Many said they tried to find the place but were unable to.

    As she reached the door, she took a deep breath and wondered if she should continue on with the charade or go back home. She glanced over her shoulder to see if her ride was still waiting, but only thing at the end of the pier was empty blacktop. Well, I guess this is it.

    She knocked on the door and waited a moment. When it opened, there standing in the golden light was an elderly man dressed in a white tuxedo accented with a red bowtie and red kerchief tucked in his breast pocket.

    “You must be Erin?” His voice was soft and inviting.

    Erin’s brow furrowed. “How do you know my name?”

    The Maître d', an elderly gentleman smiled and with a sparkle in his eyes replied, “We know all of our guests here.”

     He led her to a stately dining room. A candle lit chandelier hung from the center of the ceiling. Golden candelabras accented the center of each table. Fine pearl colored china painted with gold floral artwork finished the setting. In the background soft soothing music filled the room.

    Although the place was exquisite, Erin felt out of place and started to leave. Before she could, the Maître d' extended his hand toward a table set for two. “Please Mrs. Devaro’, have a seat, your guest will be here shortly.” Not wanting to cause a scene, she took a spot next to the window.

    She watched the late evening sky transmission into a soft veil of blackness with star studded light. Off in a distance darting across the horizon in a trail of light, she spotted two shooting stars, and remembered what her dad told her as a little girl. “When you see a shooting star it means someone went to heaven.”

    The Maître d' returned to the table and standing to his right was a young man dressed in a three-piece suit. “Mrs. Devaro’, your dinner guest has arrived.” The elderly gentleman left the man standing by the table.

    Erin eyed the stranger for a moment. “Who are you?”

    His eyes smiled as a grin crossed his face. “My name is Joshua.”

    Erin’s mind raced trying to recall anyone she knew by that name. “I don’t know you.”

    “I’ll leave if you’d like.”

    It had been awhile since Erin had a man sit at a table with her. She vowed when her husband died she’d never look for another man.  She looked into his eyes for any hint of mischief and only saw compassion. Against her better judgment she invited the man to join her.

    “Please, have a seat.”

    “Thank you.” Joshua sat across from her.

    The Maître d' returned with a glass of wine and sat it in front of Erin. “I’ll return with your meal shortly.”

    “But I haven’t ordered yet.”

    “That’s not a problem ma’am; we know what our guests like.”

    Erin shot a glance at the elderly gentleman as he left, and then turned her attention back to Joshua.

    “Do you come here often?”

    “You could say that.”

    “Is this place usually empty?”

    “No, most of the time there are other guests, but tonight is especially for you.”

    Erin wondered what was so special about tonight. It wasn’t her birthday. She hadn’t won any prizes. Then it dawned on her. Twenty-five years ago today was her and her husband’s anniversary. The memory of that day brought back a flood of emotions. In less than three days, her life went from bliss to tragedy when her husband died in an automobile accident.

    She started to excuse herself but Joshua stopped her and placed his hand on hers. “Please don’t leave.” She started to pull her hand back, but the warmth and compassion she felt from Joshua eased her anxiety and made her stay.

    The Maître d' returned with her meal and her eyes grew wide. She couldn’t believe the man knew what she liked, if only her husband could be here to enjoy this moment with her. Joshua and Erin talked for a while, and when she finished eating Joshua spoke up, “Come, I want to show you something.”

    Erin stood, apprehension replaced with comfort, and she followed Joshua. They left the guest house and Erin notice the limousine had returned. Joshua opened the door for her and she climbed inside. As her eyes adjusted to the dark she saw the love of her life sitting next to her. She turned to say thank you to her dinner guest and saw nothing but an empty lake.

  • 18 May 2017 8:38 AM
    Reply # 4839717 on 4789090

    Sandra Wynne,

    As someone with Trauma Induced Amnesia (TIA), your story touched a nerve. Enjoyed the story.


  • 18 May 2017 8:29 AM
    Reply # 4839710 on 4789090

    Katirie Leach,

    The sensory details set the mood well. The repetition of "he" could have been avoided by using figures of speech. For example, "he heard the outboard motor" could be written "the outboard motor roared to life." Enjoyed the sentimental trip to a simpler past.


  • 18 May 2017 8:22 AM
    Reply # 4839709 on 4789090

    Ted Harrison,

    The folksy dialogue set the tone for the story. Enjoyed reading it.


  • 17 May 2017 8:53 PM
    Reply # 4838929 on 4789090
    Ted Harrison



    Ted Harrison

    “I have offered your father a good price,” the pipe smoker said.

    “No doubt, but he’s not interested in selling. You know that.” His younger companion relaxed without looking at the building perched at the end of the pier. The dark water of the sound lapped against the bulkhead where the men talked.

    “But look at it, Bucky! Two years since your father’s stroke the place is falling apart.” He pointed with his pipe.

    “I don’t have to look at it Tom. I know what it looks like. I go there every day because Dad wants me to.” He rattled a chain stretching between two pilings. A metal sign fastened to the chain held a crudely painted sign, ‘Shadows is closed due to illness’. Despite his protest the young man turned to see the warped siding on the place. He rubbed the faded words on the sign.

    Tom puffed on his pipe still staring at the structure. “Shadows”, he said. “A marvel of marketing, if you ask me. ‘Course your father’s ability to serve a great table was already known up and down this coast. Sound side and beach.”

    The September sun had started its slide when men first met that day. They had chatted about this and that; nothing and less than nothing, avoiding the real reason Tom wanted to meet: to make another offer to buy the shuttered restaurant.

    Shadows had operated for over fifteen years; a ramshackle appearing place sitting like one bygone majestic throne at the end of the pier. For fifteen years it had been a throne for Donald Trent, a king of a chef who served locals and tourists alike the finest in seafood and steaks.

    Donald spit at the word ‘chef’ when positioned next words about his abilities. “I’m a seafood cook, who learned how to cook beef. Call other people that word. Not me.”

    Two years earlier on the last day in May as he prepared to welcome the tourist season, Donald didn’t feel well. The stroke knocked him flat, left him with some loss of motion on his left side. The attack did nothing to destroy his spirit. Speech unhampered Donald said he would re-open, but no one was going to cook at Shadows until he returned. And no one had.

    Tom Roper loved calling himself an entrepreneur; admired by some, disdained by others, he also considered himself a world class negotiator. He didn’t own a restaurant, but had decided he should. “Tell you what Bucky. I’ll write a new figure on the back of my business card. Tell Donald that this price includes carrying on the name: ‘Donald Trent’s Shadows’. He can oversee the kitchen.” By now Tom had left his quiet place on a bench. Turning Bucky back to look out at the building, his pipe held like a harpoon he traced the stars in the sky until he gestured directly at the closed restaurant. “Donald Trent’s Shadows,” he could have been saying a prayer.

    “Tom, you have always been a man to see great things I’ll grant you that. I’m not sure you see people the same way.”

    As if to parry the remark, Tom leaned toward him. “Bucky Trent didn’t I show the school board the finest principal this high school has ever known.” His arm wrapped around Bucky’s shoulders.

    Bucky blushed at the remark. “I may be on the way to being a good principal…”

    “On the way! Pshaw! You were a great principal two months after you began here.”

    “You can flatter me every which way you wish, Tom. That’s not going to change my dad’s mind.”

    “Look out there, Bucky. Not even a hundred feet away is the finest restaurant this area has even seen. Lord knows and we’ve seen many.” He kept is arm around Bucky’s shoulder. “Not like this, Donald Trent’s Shadows!” He clapped Bucky on the arm and began to refill his pipe, while Bucky looked at the night lights that glowed in the windows of Shadows.

    The two men went their separate ways that evening. Tom went to his five-bedroom mansion overlooking the sea. Bucky spent some time with his dad showing him the business card. Donald Trent laughed for a moment or two before the effort turned into a choking spell. His twinkling eyes showed he was enjoying the time. Minutes later Bucky was home with his wife and two boys.

    Fire officials couldn’t blame faulty wiring or anything else for the chaos that turned Shadows into ashes and memories. There was an electrical storm that night. Unusual for that

    time of year someone said. The storm never figured to cause the fire.

    Bucky was late for school that next day. He drove Donald to survey the burned out place. The old man looked at the remains that still smoked that morning. He wiped at his eyes and blew his nose, refusing Bucky’s efforts to help. “Well, I kept enough insurance that we can rebuild,” he said. “Not as much as Tom Roper offered, that’s for sure. Ya know I never liked that name ‘Shadows’, but I like it better than ashes.” Donald Trent let a tear slide down his wrinkled cheek and leaned on his son’s arm. “Yep, a lot better.”


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