Writing Prompt: Denial #amwriting

via Daily Prompt: Denial

[Not feeling too creative this morning, so this is one of my weakest blurbs, but I did it! As usual, I just sit and write for 30 min. straight, no edits/read-backs.]

Sweat drips into my eyes, stinging and blinding me momentarily.

“Again,” the gruff voice demands.

I groan and raise the bar with twenty-five pounds on each end up and above my chest, breathing out and then in as I lower it. My heart thunders in my ears, my muscles tighten and burn.

My spotter leans over the bar, forest green irises catching my silver ones. “You think you’re done?”

His smirk makes me want to whack him upside the head with a dumbbell. Instead, I grimace and shake my head.

His smile broadens. “Good, two more.”

I very slowly pump out two more before letting the bar fall heavily into its cradle and drop my arms to either side of me with a loud huff. I do not think I will ever be able to raise them again.

I close my eyes and release five long breaths, attempting to calm the nausea roiling around in my stomach, before opening my eyes and carefully sitting up.

Brad, my trainer, comes to stand beside me, hands on his hips, a pleased expression on his chiseled face. “Great job tonight, Anna. See you next week?”

Grabbing my towel off the bag nearby, I wipe the sweat off my face. I shoot him a strong eye roll and mutter, “I don’t know. Kind of like the ability to move and this session might leave me paralyzed.”

His laugh is infectious and I can’t stop myself from smiling.

“Hey, people want trainers because they know they can’t push themselves to get where they want to get. I’m here for you,” he winks and takes off toward the front of the gym, waving and greeting people he knows as he goes.

I try not to stare too hard at his ass but fail miserably.

“So, did you ask him?!” Kat’s perky voice startles me out of my stare-fest.

“Ask him what?” I mutter. Brushing past her to go grab paper towels to clean off my machine.

She follows on my heels, a literal bounce in her step. I mentally bah-humbug how the gym seems to make her even more energetic, which we really don’t need in this world, and only seems to drag me down.

I swipe a few sheets, squirt some cleaner and head back, still refusing to answer her.

As I am wiping the bench press down, she leans over the bar, trying to bore a hole into my head.

I snap upward, “What?” I demand.

She simply grins, used to my grumpiness after a workout. “Did you ask him out yet? Geez, Anna, you’re not getting any younger,” she teases.

At twenty-eight I have my whole life ahead of me, but I don’t say that. Instead, I sigh and roll my eyes again. Crumpling up the tissues I toss them into my bag and heft it up off the ground. It feels like it weighs a ton, my muscles are that sore.

“No, and I am not going to. I have zero interest in Brad,” I grind out.

She’s been harping on this for weeks now and it is beginning to gnaw on my patience. So he has a nice ass, doesn’t mean I want to date the guy.

She falls into step beside me as we head toward the front of the gym. “Stop denying it! I see the way you both look at each other. He’s totally into you too,” she confides.

I trust nothing that comes out of this woman’s mouth when it comes to guys. In fact, if I got a dollar for every bad date she has set me up on, I’d be semi-rich.

“Tell ya what,” I start as I lean against the front counter, twisting to face her. “Get me a shake, and I’ll think about it.” I shoot her a wicked grin.

She laughs and shakes her head, knowing fully well I will not think about it and will keep to my promise of never asking the guy out. Still, she leans against the counter, being sure to flash her most precious asset as Joe heads over to us and then orders us both a berry-belly-buster shake.

After a few seductive slurps for Joe’s benefit, she gives me a side-glance that is all amusement before giving me her fake pout. “You really do live in denial, my friend. My mission is to snap you out of it!”

A mission she will fail at and somehow we are both perfectly content with the game we play.

Writing Prompt: Champion #amwriting

via Daily Prompt: Champion

(Below is my thirty minutes of writing for the day. Fictional. I simply sit and write for 30 minutes. No edits, no read-backs, so please ignore the ‘suck’).

Dark clouds threaten to unleash Poseidon himself as I rush across the field, cloak clenched tightly in my right hand, basket full of fruit in my left. Slippers seep into the already softened soil from the previous night’s downpour, and if I don’t hurry, I’ll get caught in today’s.

I pick up the pace as a thunderclap echoes across the miles from behind, sending a shiver up my spine.

It is unwise to be caught outdoors when the gods fight, and lately they’ve been having an all-out war, with humanity in the center. Crops are failing, animals are dying and humans are struggling to keep themselves hidden in their rickety domiciles.

Mine is just up the hill, another quarter of a mile to go.

I feel the first drop of moisture as I reach the crescent of the hill, my relief quick in my lungs as I exhale. The small shack that is my home is nestled at the bottom of a cliff, protecting it from harsh winds off the coast, and wild animals from the forest a few miles west.

I immediately pick up the pace at the sight of my home, shoes kicking up mud in the process, basket bumping against my thighs.

Yet as I get closer, the dim light in the only window of the building pauses me. As I live alone, the sight worries me.

I glance every which way before deeming no one is watching and wonder if perhaps I simply left a candle lit in my rush to gather fruit between tempests of rain.

Licking my suddenly parched lips, I grip the basket more firmly, ready to use it as a weapon if the need arises and approach the window tentatively.

Peering inside to the three-room home, I do not see anything or anyone, out of place. Chewing on my lip I gently push in my door and croak out, “Hello?” My voice catching on the dryness of the air.

Silence greets me and with it, a lessening of tension in my shoulders.

I move quietly toward the tiny kitchen, dropping the basket on the counter. As I am removing the berries I spent all morning picking, I keep my ears tuned into the sounds of my home, now very familiar with each one.

By the time the basket is empty, I’ve convinced myself I neglected to blow out the candle, and ignore the niggling feeling that it is at the same height as when I left.

I carefully prune and wash the berries, placing a handful in a plate and moving toward the small table in the corner to enjoy my lunch and dinner.

The loud boom in the sky, followed by a light so bright it illuminates my entire home, startles me. Within moments, the rain is pitter-pattering on the roof, and just as quickly, it becomes torrential. The sound lulls me into a state of exhaustion as the hike to where the berries reside is over five miles each way. That, and last night’s battle kept me awake for most of the night, letting me doze off for only a mere hour or so.

A rumble shakes the small home, causing glassware to tinkle, and forcing me to grip my table. An explosion is fast on the heels, rocking the foundation and sending the other chair toppling over. Another bright light flashes in through the window, blinding me for a whole minute before it is gone.

“Quick,” a voice whispers harshly from my right, startling a yelp past my lips. “You must leave your home.”

I jolt upright so quickly, causing the chair to fall back and land with a barely audible thunk.

“Who… what …are you?” I stutter. The creature before me is clearly not human.

“We do not have time. The cliff above is crumbling and soon your home will be buried beneath it,” the non-human pleads. Pitch black eyes are wide with what appears to be fear, but the clawed hands keep me frozen in place, a blueberry still clenched in my hand.

“Hurry,” it says with more urgency, taking a step toward me as if to pull me from my home itself.

I curl back, fear lodging a scream in my throat. I eye the only weapon I have near me, the plate on which my fruit rested. I wonder if it will render this being motionless.

It must read my decision because in seconds it is beside me, claw hands resting gently on my shoulders. “I will not harm you. I am here to save you. Please,” it begs now.

Another explosion knocks me into this being, my face planting into the scales that is its chest, and I curl back in horror. A scent of day old fish assaults me and I find my face scrunching up in displeasure.

“I am not leaving my home with… with… whatever you are, until you tell me what is going on!” I demand, shocked my voice is steady when all I feel is panic and fear.

The beast visibly sighs and that is when I notice the gills in its neck, expanding and then closing. A shudder grips me and I take another involuntary step back.

“I am here on the behest of the god Poseidon. I am to save you, but I will fail if we do not leave NOW!” The being yells.

My heart dives into my stomach. The last thing any human ever wants is to catch the eye of a god. While some might think it a glorious thing, it only ends in misery and often death.

“I think I would rather die with my home,” I mutter.

The beast’s eyes flash red and its skin goes luminescent before returning to a very pale white. “I do not have time for insolence,” it says before his claws are gripping my waist and flinging me over its scaly shoulders as if I weigh nothing and dragging me out the door, just seconds before a boulder the size of a moon lands atop my home, completely decimating it before my eyes.

The being is carrying me away too quickly and soon the only home I have ever known is both literally and figuratively gone. Moisture pools in my eyes, but I refuse to cry. Instead I allow anger to control my next actions. I begin to beat on the beasts back, my hands hitting solid scale and probably hurting me more than it.

“Put me down you disgusting piece of filth!” I scream, which gets devoured by the battle raging above us in the skies.

Reds and oranges flicker in the sky between the pitch black clouds, giving the world below small glimpses of frightening power. Lightning strikes in our path, but my kidnapper easily evades it and picks up his pace to a mind-numbing speed. My body convulses with the erratic pitching, ribs knocking harshly against the scaly flesh beneath me.

“We are almost there,” the being yells over the violence and my body recoils at the thought of where there is.

Before I can royally freak out, I am tossed unceremoniously onto my feet, stumbling at the sudden motion and almost losing my berries in the process. My hands grip my ribs and I groan before I even realize the other odd thing. The complete and utter silence.

I finally take in my surroundings. We are down on the shore, hundreds of miles from my home. No wonder I feel like upchucking a week’s worth of food, which in all honesty isn’t that much.

Still.

There are more like the thing that brought me here. They all stand at attention along the shore, three long rows of perhaps fifty in each. I stare wide-eyed, never having seen such creatures.

Then my vision lands on the mammoth half-man and half-serpent leaning over a table in the distance. His entire scale-frame is tense as he barks out orders. It is my staring that eventually turns him to face me, as if sensing my gaze.

A smile crosses his horribly handsome face. A face that is both rugged and beautiful, should not be on that body. Queasiness quickly overtakes the anger, and I find myself taking small steps backward as the god Poseidon slithers toward me.

Long black hair reaches to his waist and irises made of ocean blue capture my retreating figure.

“Well done, Mekhail. You managed to save my champion,” he practically purrs. Another oddity considering the image before me.

I shiver at his voice, those thick lashes of his brushing his cheeks as he blinks, taking me all in. “She is quite the vision, is she not?” He seems to ask of no one.

I take another step back, which only makes his smile broaden.

“Cham… cham…pion?” I manage to stammer.

“Why yes. You will help me defeat Zeus,” he says with a nonchalance as if discussing the weather.

Incredulousness pauses me in my retreat. I am a mere human, who at most has wielded a rock to break up the rare meats I can catch. Is this god insane? Oh right. They all are.

I must have a look of utter disbelief because it seems to amuse him.

His laughter dances along my flesh, like a keyed-in song to my body, and I gag in repulsion but nothing comes up.

“Just … send me home please,” I beg futilely.

“You have no home, Ariella. We are your home now,” he adds with an imperious wave of his colossal arm.

The words repeat over and over in my dulled mind and when the darkness comes, I accept it with open arms.

(Okay, I wrote more like 40 minutes, but still…. :D)

Prompt: Passport – 30 Min. of Writing

via Daily Prompt: Passport

The hustle and bustle of the blinding white room assault his already raw senses. Eyes squinting to keep out the light that seems to be coming from every which way, he shuffles forward behind a seemingly endless line.

“Passport,” a gruff voice intones from somewhere to his left.

Risking a wider glance, the man twists himself slightly toward it. “Excuse me?”

“Your passport, sir.” The disembodied person says a little softer, the edge gone.

“I …” The man pats his body, searching for anything that might be on him and comes up empty.

“No,” the entity slowly steps forward and it appears human except for the extremely large pearly white wings at his back, currently pressed into his frame.

The wings look like they are made of thick, ten inch feathers, that cascade down the length of the tall figure, the very tips brushing the floor. The curved cartilage of the top wingspan appears strong and unbreakable, and the man can’t help but stare in awe, reining in his desire to reach out and touch them.

“Am I … is this a dream?” He asks so softly he doubts the figure can hear him.

The entity before him takes a step forward and the aura around him engulfs the man, relaxing him immediately.

“No. You have died, sir. This is the receiving line for entrance into the best after party this side of the universe,” the angel jokes.

The man looks on stunned, his mind immediately reeling from the revelation and then quickly shifts to the other horrific truth. His family. His family has lost him and he has lost them. An ache begins in his chest and spreads outward, overwhelming him.

The second they enter his thoughts, he is whipped away and appears randomly in a room he recognizes well. It’s his bedroom at home and he is lying in the center of it. His face looks so serene as if he is only asleep, but the people around him are reacting quite differently.

His eldest daughter is bent over the side of the bed, tears streaming down her face as she repeats over and over, “I love you, Daddy. I love you so much. You have suffered enough, go in peace. I love you, I love you. I already miss you so much.”

His middle child, the one most like him, sits stoically at the edge of the bed beside her, holding his hand, whispering the same words.

His baby, the youngest of his three is lying alongside the man, hugging his body and crying so hard he gently rocks the bed.

The ache in his chest grows, and he turns to look for his wife, who is at the foot the bed, sobbing and speaking in their native tongue. Her loving words and pain seeming to travel through the veil and striking his heart full force, so harshly he actually gasps out loud.

A loud whoosh and he is back, standing before the angel, the male features softer. “There will be time for that, but now we must get you processed. I need your passport.”

The lump in his throat makes it difficult for him to speak, but the angel notes the confusion on his face and adds, “I must see your soul.”

“How .. how do I show you my soul?” The man’s raw emotion in every word.

“Just, open up. Let me in,” the angel prods.

The man’s eyes widen slightly as he feels the slight pressure all around him. At first he tenses up, but the words ring through him and he begins to let go. Let go of the shell that encases his soul.

A blinding light encompasses both of them, forcing the man to slowly close his eyes, a warmth beginning in his toes and working its way upward slowly until he feels like a star on fire.

“You lived a good life, Manuel. You honored your wife. You loved without question. You worked hard but took pleasure in the small things that mattered. You gave selflessly and reared three beautiful children with hearts that match your own. Your small sins have been greatly outweighed by your overabundance of virtues and you should be happy and proud of the life you lived, Manuel. Your children and wife will have a long road ahead of them, but you have given them the greatest gift they will ever need to battle their grief. Love. Unconditional and powerful. You can rest in peace that they will be okay, and one day … before you even realize it… you will see them again. You were and are loved.”

The angel steps forward and places a large hand upon Manuel’s forehead. Closing his eyes, the angel opens his magnificent wings and wraps them gently around the man known as Manuel.

The peace fills Manuel immediately, followed by that loving warmth. The angel whispers gently, “you can now rest in eternal peace, Manuel.”

(The above is dedicated to my father, who passed away June 9th, 2016 at 3:53 PM. I love you so much, and miss you every single day of my life. It hurts so much sometimes that you are not here by our sides. I do not think this ache will ever ebb away).

Today’s Prompt: Simple

via Daily Prompt: Simple

SIMPLE
Life is anything but
We strive and die
To breathe another day
To change another lie
Save another life
We break and holler
At injustice and reality
We are but a drop in an ocean
Small and in a tidal wave
Of heartbreak and misery
Of false hopes and dreams
Standing alone on a cliff
Awaiting the right gust
Slipping away from life
Which is anything but 

Each day I set aside 30 minutes to just ‘write’. Do not edit, do not go back and reread, and just post the raw form of what I write in said minutes. This poem didn’t take the full thirty minutes, but it’s my submission for today (and the prompt attached).

Ten

via Daily Prompt: Ten

The comforting sounds of city noise surround me. The blaring horns, the squeal of rusted bus breaks coming to a stop, and the loud chatter of passersby.

A smile touches my lips as I stuff my frigid fingers deeper into my coat pocket, dipping my head slightly so the wind doesn’t slap me in the face. I hurry down the sidewalk with the motion of people traffic, knowing when to twist and turn to avoid being bumped by the non-city person.

Finally, I reach my destination; a small mom-and-pop café on the corner of 5th and 23rd.

A bell jingles as I enter the warmth and the scent of confectionary sugar and mocha assaults my senses and I love it. I inhale deeply and step behind the last person in line, tugging my hands out of my coat and pulling my knit cap off.

I stuff everything into my purse while simultaneously pulling my wallet free. The line moves slowly, but I am in no rush; plus I know the wait is well worth it.

Finally, when it’s my turn to order, a pretty young woman turns to me, eyes bright with the start of a new day and unburdened by the typical customer.

“What can I get ya hun?” She asks with a hint of a southern accent.

I always get the same thing when I come here, as it’s out of my way and often just to treat myself. I return her smile and am already pulling out a twenty dollar bill when I order, “A small caramel macchiato with whip cream and a chocolate deep fried croissant.” I slide the twenty across the counter as she taps away at her screen.

“Great choice. They should be out in about ten minutes. If you take a seat, I’ll have someone bring it to you, okay?” She hands me back my change and I nod.

“Thanks,” I give her another smile and move to sit against the wall near the back of the shop, so I can look over the room and outside.

A light drizzle is now coming down, creating an array of reflection pools of quickly passing cars and flashing neon signs from across the street. A few come in off the street, shaking their coats or umbrellas before stepping into line to order and then quickly leave.

A woman no more than thirty comes in with a stroller, a doll-like toddler sitting upright, legs swinging and singing a nonverbal tune. Big blue eyes take in the café and a giggle slips past her lips, hands clapping together. Mom presses a kiss to her daughter’s forehead just before she steps up to the counter to order a milk, hot chocolate, and a muffin.

They move to take a seat near the windows, stroller facing the café and I. The young girl lets out an endearing, “Oooo” as mom places a chunk of chocolate muffin on her small tray. She immediately begins to tear it apart with tiny little fingers, stuffing crumbs in her mouth when she remembers its food.

It’s been about ten minutes, and as I glance up and away from the mother and daughter, I note a young man, no older than twenty, coming toward me with a small brown bag in one hand and a bright yellow cup in another and I feel my mouth water with anticipation.

As he nears my table, chaos erupts.

One moment the entire café is a serene, cozy and inviting and in the next second, it’s a scene out of a war zone. Screams deafen me instantly before I realize they’re coming from my own lungs.

Something is pinning me, keeping me from moving, but I am too numb to make out what the hulking metal above me is.

I hear muffled yelling, someone crying and in the far distance the sound of sirens. My mind is too dazed to compute what is going on, and as my vision blurs the man that comes to stand over me blurs with it.

“Are…okay… feel… legs?” He is clearly trying to ask me something, but I cannot make the out the disjointed question.

“Croissant,” slips past my lips and a flash of memory comes to the forefront. A young man, brown hair and startling autumn irises. The man above me is not this boy. I look around, trying to see around this man, but the hunk of metal and his shoulders are blocking my view.

I try to shift my weight and a cry of pain tears past my throat as a searing spasm burns from my toes up along my spine to my brain, and I know I’m going to be sick. I turn my head away from the man quickly enough to dry heave to my left.

The blaze of pain has revived my synapses and my eyes widen with a clarity I never thought I possessed.

That’s when my brain can properly process that a car is resting on top of me, trapping my legs between its bumper and the remnants of the front of the café all around me, keeping me pinned.

“Just hold on,” the male voice is back, clearer this time. “The paramedics are almost here.” He takes my free hand and gives it a squeeze.

I turn away from the black sedan and catch his gaze. He’s older, perhaps in his fifties. Graying eyebrows are pinched in concern and I read what he’s not saying; I am not going to make it.

The news settles over me with a calm I never expected to have on my last day of life. Is this what shock feels like? Complete numbness of all extremities and emotional thought. I feel my grip on his fingers weakening as he grips them tighter.

“Hold on,” this perfect stranger practically begs. I see the moisture pooling in his eyes, and I find it curious that a complete stranger would cry for me.

I find the strength to squeeze his hand, comforting him, before my entire body goes lax.

Images flash before me so quickly, I cannot make sense of any of it until the last one snaps into the panel and it’s of me glancing down at myself through a murky lake. I watch as the older man lowers his head and quietly cries, gently shutting my eyelids.

There’s a blinding flash of light before I am whipped away from the imagery of my last moments.