Hello, and Happy Monday!
I find myself in an awkward spot, this week; I have only two stories to share due to a last minute change in the lineup. Don’t worry, though; I’ll have three stories, next week, if I have to write all of them.
I’d like to take just a moment (you know…since I have the extra space) and thank you for visiting and reading these stories, every week. If you’re a writer, you understand how important it is to have someone see your work. It’s scary, too. I mean, we want you to see it, but we’re afraid of what you’ll think (sounds a bit like exhibitionism ☺). Still, knowing you are visiting and reading is often enough to give us the drive to keep doing what we love to do.
I hope this site continues to reach writers, all over the world, and I hope to see stories from everywhere it reaches. Please, continue to share/post/retweet when you see new stories on the site, and remind others with a voice where they can send a story and it may be heard.
Thanks, for all of the support!
In Another Time
By Jenness Jordan (with credit to RJ)
It’s all really cloudy as to where the story really begins, but perhaps it starts with “Once upon a time.” In a life before this present one, there rode a caravan carrying a most precious cargo. One could hear the thunder pounding across the earth as a cloud of the desert dust hung, moving along with the home bound prince. He was traveling back to his home country from a kingdom in the west; having fulfilled his princely duties.
His adventure was ending, which hung heavy on his spirit. Leaving him unsure of the direction that fate would inspire him to next. He always felt the need to be doing something exciting and out of the norm. The prince was being pressured to marry for the kingdom. One of nobility married for the good of the kingdom, not for love. This is the way it has always been, and it was not ever challenged. Deep inside the prince knew this, but he wanted it to change. He wanted to be the one to change this old tradition, but didn’t know how, nor did he dare defy his parents.
For there was a love out there waiting, burning deep inside and he felt her presence even before their vision brushed up a passing glance. Up to this point, time has been patient and life was laid out before him. A big decision was to be made and he was feeling out of place with this. With the sun quickly setting, the caravan had to set camp for the night. Giant tents cast up while fires were built. The chime of bells sounded on the wind, surrounding the belly dancers as their voices sang out enchanting hymns.
The crowds gathered around the Prince’s tent for a great feast. All appeared good and food was plentiful. Men shouted and boasted about their battles and strengths with a boyish clash of swords. Again, all was good or so it seemed as the Prince wandered off to the edge of the fire’s light. Near the edge of the fire’s light, he stared up into the starry night, and allowed himself to get lost in the moment. He was feeling something, but didn’t know what. The only thing that he was sure of at that moment, was that his destiny could not be found back in the kingdom.
He recalled a recent argument that wore heavy on his soul. It was over an urgent message from a princess who was imprisoned in a castle to the east, made entirely of sadness and longing behind ten feet of guarded walls. Such a journey would be many, many miles, and many, many days travel. It was said that such a journey across the plains and through the badlands would be perilous.
On a clear night, rain washes down from lonely eyes as colors fade into the moving shadows. With fists clenching and spirits rising, an idea strikes like lightning from the heavens above and a direction is set. The Prince mounts his steed and proceeds east without delay. The clamor of the camp recedes from his hearing as he rides into the night. Up in the sky, the sun rises as clouds burst apart and come alive like waves crashing into the rocks, splashing and pouring down to the earth.
Rays of light spray out from the grey mass. Passing through memories into the shadows, touching her dress and setting it aglow. He feels her arms wrap around him as he once again recalls the intercepted letter, the desperate plea. He reads it from memory as he continues his journey east.
“I don’t know if this will reach anyone in time, however, this is my last chance. Within these castle walls, darkness awaits. It lurks around every corner waiting to devour my soul. My hopes are bleak beyond these ice cold ramparts. Please free me from the oppression of a loveless, cold life. I’m begging you. I’m imprisoned for a truth that I will never reveal. I feel the end is near. If you don’t come soon, I shall lay down and die. Please, help me, I beg of you.”
Rays of light continue to pierce the gloom. The long ride causes the prince to hallucinate as he sees himself locked in a room with no walls, no windows, and bearing the weight of an enormous chain with words out of focus inscribed on the links. Voices and sounds unknown to him swirl around him as he feels his body move away from his steed, and yet, as he floats above his steed he is still mounted and moving faster and faster. Sharp steel like hands reach out in the dark, grabbing at his legs and trying to pull him down. Down into an abyss that has opened up below him. The prince looks to see where these hands are coming from, as he feels himself being pulled down further into the abyss. The hands were attached to imp like demons. Their mission was to prevent him from reaching the princess in the east. They were sent from their master below who knew all too well that if the prince reached the princess, then all hope of controlling the world, living and dead, would be lost.
For more information about Jenness Jordan, check out her site: jennessjordan. You can also reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Moment of Panic
By Jennifer Kent
While we are enjoying our wine the waiter returns with a family style salad dressed in homemade Italian dressing. A minute later another waiter stops at our table to give us, quite possibly, the most amazing homemade Italian bread I have ever had. It’s still warm so the butter melts as soon as the knife touches the bread. While we savor the salad and bread, probably eating more than we should have, I remark, “So, Landon, other than the fact that you collect comic books and love my favorite coffee house, I don’t know much about you.”
As he topped off our wine glasses he smiles and says, “Ask me anything. I’m an open book. And didn’t we decide it’s our favorite?”
Picking up my glass I study him over the rim and say, “I guess we did. So what do you do for work?”
“I’m an architect.”
“Really? That is so cool.” I say as I take a sip of my wine. “The comic books make a lot of sense now.”
“Oh yeah, how’s that?” He asks looking adorably skeptical.
“I have this theory that people who are artistic in some way always fall in love with another form of art. Me, for instance, I love literature and I love to write. But, I also love movies.”
The waiter arrives again and serves our dinner. The Marsala in front of me and the Clams in front of Landon. “I never thought of it that way. Seems sort of romantic.” He says with a wink.
Smiling at his reaction I ask, “What do you design?”
“I’m not really into those cookie cutter plazas but I do like to design buildings. Classic lines but with beautiful, custom woodwork and carved stone on the inside.”
“Sounds amazing. I’d love to see some of your drawings sometime.” I say before taking a bite of my Marsala, and sigh in nirvana, “This is unbelievable.”
Laughing he says, “Sure, anytime.” Twirling the pasta with Clam sauce around his fork he lifts it and adds, “If you think that’s good, you have to try this.”
I hesitate because it makes me uncomfortable to be fed, another side effect of the abuse I was subjected to by James, then I take a deep breath, lean forward and open my mouth for a bite. Sitting back I momentarily close my eyes in bliss, “Oh my God. That may be even more delicious.” I say after I swallow my food. I fork up a bite of food for him and add, “Here try mine.”
Making a face he says, “I don’t know. If you just said mine was better I think I’m done sharing and will just keep the rest of this for myself.”
Trying to keep up the playful mood we have going on I say, “Oh really, fine.” And I turn the fork back towards me like I am going to eat it myself. He starts to laugh and grabs my wrist just before I reach my lips. This is when I just happen to see over his shoulder and see James. Dropping the fork, food splattering everywhere, I get up so fast that my chair tips backwards. Suddenly I can’t breathe and Landon is at my side speaking softly in my ear.
Bending over he rights my chair and urges me to sit down. Our waiter is back asking what he can do and through the white noise in my head I hear Landon say, “I think she’s having a panic attack. Can you get some water?” Then to me he says, “Bend over, put your head between you knees.”
I cannot be having a panic attack. I haven’t had one of these in months. I have had them under control. But I think Landon’s right. My chest feels tight, I’m burning hot, and I can’t seem to catch my breath. When the waiter rushes back, he hands the glass of water to Landon and he has me sit up and take a few slow sips. Feeling the attack start to subside I chance a peek over in the direction to where I saw James and realize it wasn’t him after all. But, boy did that guy look like him.
As all my faculties start to come back I realize I have to explain my behavior. What the heck am I going to say to Landon. As it turns out he has paid the bill, and is helping me to my feet. “Come on sweetie, I’ll take you home.”
I am completely mortified and have no idea what to say so I silently walk with him outside. I don’t even look up because I can’t bear the idea of everyone staring at me.
On the drive back to my house we sit in complete silence. I can tell he wants to ask me what happened but doesn’t want to upset me. As we pull up in front of the house my embarrassment overwhelms me and I open my door before the car has fully stopped. Running up the walkway and the steps I ignore my Grandmother and rush right into the house. I can hear Landon run up after me but don’t even turn back. I just slam the door behind me.
If you'd like to send Jennifer a message, please email me at Tony@tonywassom.com and I'll pass your message on to her.