#LyricalFictionFriday: Final Memory

They say dandelions are weeds. So I guess I’m doing the environment a service by plucking one from the ground. But then I pucker my lips and blow the seeds into the wind.

A sudden gust shifts, pushes the fuzzy whites, imitating snow, into my face, dries the tears on my checks stiff.

I hate winter.

I hate what it makes me do. How the cold temperatures drive me to crave intimacy, warmth in my bed.

God knows I never meant to hurt him. I never meant to take it that far. The man’s name escapes me now—maybe he never gave it. But I remember his strong arms around me, squeezing my lungs, his heavy breathing into my neck, making me hot. How he pounded me like tenderizing meat, forced me open…

How his whole body covered me.

Not like Stephen, who shrinks further away each day. Fifty pounds lost, now the size of a pre-pubescent teen—I’ve started buying his clothes in the boys section. And this morning he couldn’t lift his legs.

“It’s only going to get worse. I don’t expect you to stay,” he’d said when he was first diagnosed. But that night, when he came home early from therapy with Jackie, our live-in nurse, I felt his heart break in his chest—along with every other bone that has split, every muscle that has succumbed to spasms, weakened and grown faint.

When he saw how that man hurt me, how I liked it, pleaded for more…

He’s not a man anymore. The doctor’s say, by spring he will be no more.

And there are not enough dandelions in my backyard for me to wish that my betrayal was not his final memory.

—Nortina



Written for #MarquessaChallenge, a Fiction Friday challenge that uses song lyrics as prompts. Today’s prompt is: God knows I never meant to hurt you…I never meant take it that far…

Bar-A-Thon: Caught in the Wind (Conclusion)

Continued from Sunset Motel

I still want a baby.

As we lie in bed, day three of our weekend romp, I think to ask for his sperm, for both our sakes, but my voice is caught in the wind blowing through the open window.

He rolls to his side. “I think I love you.”

We both know it’s a lie, but it feels right for the moment.

I lean in, kiss him, and he inserts himself inside me one last time.

word count: 77

—Nortina


The challenge is to blog every other day June 17 through June 30, using the theme or prompts as inspiration.

The theme is seven, so I’m posting a series of seven stories at seventy-seven words each. Each day also has a prompt based on a famous book title, and while I’ve unfortunately never read any of the books listed, I think I can work with the funny play on words.

Today’s prompt is: The Call of the Wind

I hope you enjoyed this series of short-shorts! I truly had fun writing and sharing them with you. While this ending doesn’t feel final, when it comes to fiction, is there ever truly and “ending” anyway? I just might bring these characters back one day, maybe even for the next Bar-A-Thon challenge. 😉

If you’re just coming in at the end, read all seven shorts from the beginning here.

Bar-A-Thon: Sunset Motel (Part 6)

Continued from Marriage Counseling

It was never my house; I suppose I don’t miss it. But to be locked out with only the clothes on my back, the change in my purse, seems cruel.

Group therapy at one; I tell them my husband and I have separated. They promise me reconciliation, but across the refreshments table, I meet his gaze.

Sunset Motel, where lovers rendezvous in secret, is a block away from the church basement.

I’m already naked when he arrives.

 

word count: 77
Up Next: Part 7 (Conclusion) – Caught in the Wind

—Nortina


The challenge is to blog every other day June 17 through June 30, using the theme or prompts as inspiration.

The theme is seven, so I’m posting a series of seven stories at seventy-seven words each. Each day also has a prompt based on a famous book title, and while I’ve unfortunately never read any of the books listed, I think I can work with the funny play on words.

Today’s prompt is: Suns and Lovers

I hope you enjoyed this quick short-short, and be sure to come back on Friday for the final chapter!

Bar-A-Thon: Marriage Counseling (Part 5)

Continued from Testing the Waters

“Before . . . this— Would you call your marriage a happy one?”

“Yes–”

“No–”

We speak in unison.

Overcrowded bookshelves line the walls on either side of me. The mahogany of Dr. Liam’s s desk, the wood floor, make the office appear dim. Mood lighting to fix our broken vows.

Behind me, my husband paces back and forth. He wants to file for divorce. He doesn’t have the right.

“We live like brother and sister, but I have needs.”

word count: 77
Up Next: Part 6 – Sunset Motel

—Nortina


The challenge is to blog every other day June 17 through June 30, using the theme or prompts as inspiration.

The theme is seven, so I’m posting a series of seven stories at seventy-seven words each. Each day also has a prompt based on a famous book title, and while I’ve unfortunately never read any of the books listed, I think I can work with the funny play on words.

Today’s prompt is: Lord of the Files

I hope you enjoyed this quick short-short, and be sure to come back on Wednesday for the continuation!

Bar-A-Thon: Testing the Waters (Part 4)

Continued from Empty Mansion

I’m over eager. I want too much. My body is not yet emptied of him inside me before I’m crouched over the toilet, balancing the rod underneath my stream.

I wait one agonizing minute for the absence of parallel lines to tell me not so.

I don’t notice my husband watching at the door, home from business.

Too late I drop the test between my legs, and with a splash, my fruitless efforts splatter my naked bottom.

word count: 77
Up Next: Part 5 — Marriage Counseling 

—Nortina


The challenge is to blog every other day June 17 through June 30, using the theme or prompts as inspiration.

The theme is seven, so I’m posting a series of seven stories at seventy-seven words each. Each day also has a prompt based on a famous book title, and while I’ve unfortunately never read any of the books listed, I think I can work with the funny play on words.

Today’s prompt is: War and Pieces

I hope you enjoyed this quick short-short, and be sure to come back on Monday for the continuation!

After You Caught Them in Bed Together

fe1f64b599ed42caf657a7b99a0ee401Sun sets on furrowed
brow; scent of lilacs on his
breath when he kisses

you — Goodnight.

—Nortina

Breastfeeding Mannequins

The mannequins at Macy’s are often naked. I’ve complained to a manager twice. Display clothes that actually fit or buy bigger mannequins. No woman is that size anyway.

Harold’s mother gives me money for formula. She doesn’t agree with our plan to wean Ryan after six months, but he’s already teething, and he bites.

The formula’s on sale, so I have extra money to stop by Macy’s and try on jeans I know won’t button. The baby weight hugs my hips; I’ve gained more since giving birth.

While checking the price tag on a pair of Kim Rogers, I notice Ryan leaning over his stroller. He’s sucking on the nipple of a bare-breasted mannequin half my dress size.

He’s just like his father, I can hear my mother-in-law saying, but I’m sure you know that already.

—Nortina


moral_mondays_logoJoin Moral Mondays, a new weekly challenge to write a 100-word fable or story based on the moral/lesson provided in the prompt. This week’s moral: look, don’t touch

Stay-At-Home Mom

His phone went straight to voicemail—again. She cooled herself. An angry message would only prolong his absence.

“Honey, you promised you’d be home by seven.” The digital clock over the stove displayed 9:32.

“I know your job’s important.” She wouldn’t think about the temp. The one with the blond pixie cut. The one who wore the baby doll dress with the plunging neckline to the office picnic.

“I made your favorite—It’s getting cold.” The contempt rose in her voice. She had to hang up.

She wished she’d finished school before the baby. Tonight, her only company was wasted lasagna.

word count: 100

—Nortina


moral_mondays_logoJoin Moral Mondays, a new weekly challenge to write a 100-word fable or story based on the moral/lesson provided in the prompt. Today’s moral: treat others the way you want to be treated.

Warning Signs of a Deadbeat

The last time everything fit in three duffles, Mack was moving in. We’d only been dating a few weeks. A little fast for my taste—I didn’t even know his middle name—but he’d just been evicted, and he needed a place to stay.

“That’s code for ‘my last girlfriend dumped me,’ ” my friend Roxy warned. “Those types of guys either live with their moms or their girlfriends.” She went on to lament that Plenty of Fish was the wrong website to find love. The men there were always begging for money.

But he was so incredibly attractive, and I didn’t mind spending $100 a week on groceries in the beginning, or that he was still between jobs after living with me for six months. I’d convinced myself that in this economy, it was tough to find employment that didn’t pay a measly $7 an hour for workers to break their backs over ungrateful customers.

When you’re terrified of being alone, you tend to ignore the warning signs of a deadbeat.

That was until I found Roxy’s thong in his laundry, and I tossed all he ever brought into our relationship in three duffle bags over the balcony and into the street.

word count: 191

—Nortina


ffpp1-28Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner is a weekly challenge for writers to create a story in under 200 words using the provided photo prompt and introductory sentence as their ‘muse.’ Click the froggy icon to read other stories inspired by the photo and add your own.

Before the Wedding

It seemed a good idea at the time, but she never expected Nick to go through with it, more less find something incriminating.

She followed him into the basement, dimmed the lights and hovered behind him as he plucked each photograph from the tub and clipped it to the line above their heads.

“By the way, she’s very professional. They didn’t have sex.”

But something did happen, she thought, feeling the sudden urge to slap Nick for subjecting her to such a cruel test.

She followed the story as the images slowly sharpened into focus. They meet at a bar. Talk. Laugh. She buys him a drink. Her hand on his shoulder for several pictures didn’t quite bother her, but then they leave…together. His hand on the small of her back, under her lace midriff top, fingers curling around the middle belt loop of her skin-tight jeans. And in the car, him alone in the backseat, biting his bottom lip, arms folded behind his head.

“I thought you said they didn’t—”

“Well, they didn’t go all the way , but c’mon, sis, I had to give you something.”

Still, she couldn’t bring herself to remove the engagement ring.

word count: 189

—Nortina


lightbulbFlash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner is a weekly challenge for writers to create a story in under 200 words using the provided photo prompt and introductory sentence as their ‘muse.’ Click the froggy icon to read other stories inspired by the photo and add your own.