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  • I’VE HEARD IT’S CALLED…by Sharon Hancock

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    Warm furry bodies, eyes closed tight

    Everything I need and more to make it through the night

    Morning breaks and my brothers are nowhere in sight

    I search for my mo […]

  • EJ Murray's profile was updated 2 months, 1 week ago

  • Three Questions by hanzo047

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    Teacher-Nurse Kagi’s eyes float down to the smudge of red lipstick on the strap around Ana’s left wrist. She swiftly wipes it away with her pointer finger. Looking at the color wit […]

    • Interesting installment of the story! It keeps you guessing, and wondering what will happen next. I did enjoy the series of questions, and the nice interpretation of the prompt. Looking forward to learning more about what’s going on here.

    • Thrilling read. Thanks for sharing.

  • Keeping up with the Jonzis by Prakhar G

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    The high noon sun beat down on the street like an oven as Zubin Jonzi stood at the open French windows and leaned against the frame. His muscular body was rigid under a […]

    • Hi Prakhar,
      Thank you for sharing your story.
      I think the flow of it was evenly paced and it held my interest. I felt like the first section was written in a different voice compared to the other sections, but I could be reading it wrong.
      It was clever how you went from Zubin’s experience with the neighbors to Maria’s experience. But one thing that was disjointed was that you would say “Kissed her husband” rather then using Zubin’s name.
      I hope that you find success with the rest of your 12 stories!
      Karisa

    • I really liked your character development. These are the type of characters I would like to read more about. What happens next and what exactly is the alien agenda?

  • Pointy Hats and Graffity covered cloaks by Christopher Joyce

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    The early morning sky was filled with dark, swirling, brooding angry clouds. These furtive adolescent cumuli accurately spat a light scattering of […]

    • Hello. Fun story! I loved the imagery you had of Stonehenge, and the power moving through the wizards. I also loved the twist at the end of what the sacrifice of their power will be.
      One note that I have of the piece is that you use the passive voice a lot.

      “The twenty-one Elders were seated in a formation of 5 rows…” could be “the twenty-one elders sat…”

      “The ground was shaking…” could be “The ground shook…”

      “Each trilithon was humming” could be “Each trilithon hummed…”

      Those changes could make it even more compelling and engaging. Anywhere you see “was” or a form of could probably be changed in some way to make the subject more action oriented.

      Once again, great work and descriptions though. I really enjoyed reading.

      • Thankyou for the great comment, yes I have big trouble with the “passive Voice” as I write technical documents I am kind of stuck in this mode. Thanks again for the comment.

  • Mae Ling by Sharon Hancock

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    Busy noisy classrooms are always something I strived for. If it was quiet and dull, I always felt that something was amiss.

    My schoolyear started out different one year as a […]

    • Hi Sharon
      This is such a sweet story that just made me so happy to read. I was captivated throughout, and I love the personalities you gave to some of the kids. Very well done on this one. Thank you for sharing

    • Lovely story about a Teacher and her student’s shared journey. This was a feel good story. I have no critique – just a thumbs up! 👍

    • Hey Sharon!
      Nicely done here. A very well written feel-good story. I felt happier just reading it. 🙂
      Thanks for sharing.

  • The Girl with the Green Hair by Gold

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    My mother turns her face away on the pillow and blinks as a shaft of sunlight hits her eyes. She is already in the hospice by the time I ask about the girl with the green […]

    • And now Rob’s death is less of a mystery!

      Very nicely done.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • What a lovely tapestry of hidden family secrets, framed in a dialogue with a failing, elderly mother. How secrets are made and kept and disclosed! It is all believable, even if the facts on their own and without context would seem fantastic, in the traditional sense of the term. The very stuff of fantasy.

      I love the imagery in this sentence: 

      “At 96 there is hardly anything left of my mother; her athletic swimmer’s body hangs off her bones like a rumpled summer dress.”

      I can’t wait to read more of this story. Well done – yes more please.

    • finally it was all oer Well told tale
      

    • Brilliantly evocative, loved the slow unraveling of family history and truth. Wonderful read.

    • Wow, that was a lot of drama in such a short story. I really enjoyed the mother’s character. She was pragmatic and didn’t waste time beating around the bush. I liked her observations about sex-it shows the reader why she wanted to continue her relationship with Steve. Its’ too bad that she didn’t stay with Steve. The loss of her son is told well too–it feels realistic that the family refers to his death as an “accident”. The mother being able to forgive the father for his emotional shortcomings is a fantastic nuance to the character. You did a great job with your characters-they felt quite real. Great read!!

    • A very well-told story! I liked how you unraveled the mystery through the conversation, peeling off one layer at a time.

      I couldn’t figure out one thing though – did ‘Father’ know of Becky’s identity or not? Also, in this part, when you write “I associate everything that fell apart and I lost, with this girl.” perhaps it would sound better as “I associate everything that fell apart for me, and everything I lost, with this girl” ?

      I loved the wisdom in your statement “Reality is like a jigsaw puzzle. I’ve asked for the missing piece and instead of completing the picture, all the pieces are scattered on the floor. “

      Very well-done!

    • Whoa! Brilliant. Even though I knew what was coming I was still deeply moved. So well written! Well done. There was one spelling mistake – cupboards the open as I think you mean ‘that open’. Thanks for sharing your story, Gold!

    • Intriguing and original. I adore this and the pace is supersonic. A sheer pleasure to read. Thank you for never disappointing. Your plot, twist, characters and emotion all lead here with fantastic writing!L

  • I was only trying to help by Jeff L Mauser

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    “WOW, thanks, Earl. How did you know I needed that report?”

    Earl is surprised at the ding and message on his computer. He hadn’t realized the sound was on. Plus, […]

    • Hi Jeff – this is a lovely feelgood story that would translate into a film in a heartbeat! And it’s not often I have to go and look up a word I haven’t seen before (anthropophobia) so that was a bonus. I think you built the two very different personas very convincingly. Maybe watch out for keeping the tense the same throughout though – it slips from the present in a couple of places which slightly skews your rhythm (but is easily fixed) and I think you may have missed out a word here, He throws his back to ensure he swallows. also easily fixed with the edit button! But these are tiny things, I enjoyed the way the story unfolded, its pace and your attention to terrific descriptions of the hangover and the details slipped in to round out your characters – everything. Great read!

    • Hi Jeff,
      Agree with everything Susan said. The interaction between Earl and Lillian is a unique “meet-cute”, especially as the both have a disability. I’m rooting for them to get together for a real friendship or even more.

      My suggestion is about Earl’s reluctance to use a computer. In 2020 I don’t know any office jobs where you aren’t stuck in front of a monitor 8 hours a day. I get his opposition to TV and plays well into his character. I would replace it with books or puzzles or some other solo activity that fills his hours since he lives alone and doesn’t got out.

      Good work. Keep going.

    • Heart warming story! It’s good to read something topical, and I am sure we can all identify with some of the feelings these people have. I like the positive resolution, sounds like it could work for them, although it felt like quite an abrupt shift for this man who has resisted human contact for so long. I wonder if the translation would have worked better if there was more of the dialogue (or computer chat) between them? He might gradually reveal his back story in the chat, for example.

    • Hi Jeff -I also loved the awkwardness of the 2 characters and hope that they ‘ find’ each other in real life and not just in an online space! I agree with Susan re the tense changes and there were a few other little edits (eg trophy’s – trophies/interacting- interaction as minimal as possible..) but easily put right. All together a charming story! Well done.

  • Gold and Profile picture of NetaQNetaQ are now friends 3 months ago

  • Age Chasing Youth by Sharon Hancock

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    The boys returned their clothes were full of mud

    Cousins both they shared the same school grade

    A face was lite, they told about the flood

    More tools were had, a bucket […]

    • This is so quaint! I love the imagery and the journey you take the reader on, while also having the depth to depict the slowing that age entails. Well done.

      • Thank you for commenting. i tried to make the journey, but it wasn’t meant to be. There is always next year. I appreciate you insight.

    • This was not only beautiful but encouraging. As we grow older our laments can grow even stronger. Your poem resonates with kindness, reflection, and hope. I love the last line, “They came to lend a hand, they are the best.” Our legacy as parents or grandparents is to leave a lasting impression and for our children to be ‘kind.’ Your poem aptly portrays all that we feel at a certain age. Thanks for sharing!!

      • I am glad you saw what I was going for. I am a retired teacher so it is second nature for me to see the good in kids. Thanks again, Sharon

    • I pictured your scene as the rhythm carried me alone without a hitch. Loved the ending.

      • Thanks, Cathy. It started out very choppy, but I am glad you could fund the rhythm. I also liked the ending. These two little boys truly are “kind souls”. Thanks again, Sharon

    • The love your grandchildren have for you shines through your sonnet. Lovely images of the day out. Thank you for sharing.

    • Great poem Sharon. The words flow easily, unlike the attempt of following the children and the rhyme and rhythm carry the reader along.

      You painted a beautiful story in my mind and I loved the ending, especially in this day and age when many youngsters have no time for their grandparents.

      Well done and thanks for sharing this sweet tale.

      • Thank you, Debbie These two boys are so alike and both are smart and kind. You can’t ask for much more in today’s society. I appreciate your input.

    • Hi Sharon,
      Thank you for taking me on this sweet play time.

    • This was so sweet. I’m glad they came back for you it shows their love for you. I really liked the difference you showed between their youth and your age. We all get there eventually. It’s hard watching the young ones have the fun we used to and you showed it well.

    • Oh my I love this. Everything about it. I can see the boys so excited in their pursuit. And brave you, wanting to be there with them and feeling the limitations that come with … well let’s say the passage of time. I hear you. I’m there. It’s unbelievable to me sometimes that my mind and my body belong together. You did a lovely job portraying the joy of the boys and their love for you as well. Very nicely done!

      • Thank you so much for the wonderful comment. Some comments just send so much encouragement and yours did just that. Struggling with a broken arm trying to face typing 1800 words…. feeling defeated. But your response helps to get me motivated to continue. Thanks again, Sharon

        • Sharon, I have not yet attempted a short story. Of course, I decided to give it a go this month, Lol, and I looked at the prompt and almost fainted with the 1800 word count. I hope you see this. I started a story, but it just fell flat for me. I know the deadline is coming up, but I might try. I am sorry your arm is broken. That makes it a tough challenge for sure. I hope you press through and get it written. I will look for your story when they post.

  • Kit, we need to get out of here before The Company figures out that I’ve broken out of their Evaluation Protocol! Kit?!Silence. Oh no, I guess this means I really am awake now. Wish me luck, Kit. The hospital bed […]

    • Very sinister, moving along nicely even in this shorter prompt. Waiting for next month with anticipation. Great job.

      • Hi Catherine! Thank you for reading! Glad the sinister feeling came across 🙂

    • Nice response to the prompt. Fun imagery to give personality to Teacher-Nurse Kagi.

    • I was thankful for the 300 words limit when I wrote my story, but now I wish there were more. I still can’t get used to this cliff I am hanging on in the past few months. Well done!

      • Haha, thank you Zoltan! I wanted to get into the escape more but yes, 300 words is very tough to make that a proper event. Thanks for reading!

  • Red, by E.J. Murray
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    “Will you shut up and put the damn stuff on already?” Tel ran a hand through his hair and glared at his drummer, blue eyes narrowed.

    Jason’s brown eyes glared right back. “I didn’t sign up f […]

    • Great story EJ. It flows well and you put in enough mystery to keep me wanting to know what is going on to carry on reading.

      Be careful of echoes – repeating words close together – your first 2 sentences – glared and eyes. Maybe in the first one you could refer to the look as blue laser vision or something like that.

      I loved the twist of it being their other ‘sexy’ band member. Great work.

      Well done and thanks for sharing.

    • Seyi replied 3 months ago

      Hey EJ, this is great writing. I was pretty puzzled halfway through, until the moment of Tel’s puzzled look and mental note ‘Something about those eyes’. I like how you handled the word prompt. The dialogue is great and the mental pictures that your words paint are pretty indelible. Well done and best regards, Seyi

  •                              A Delicious Mistake by Sharon Hancock

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    She sat with her feet up on a chair trying to get some relief.  Her clothes fit too close and she didn’t know how she was going to get thro […]

    • How cute! Funny how he didn’t listen and got it wrong. The intention was there. Thanks for sharing

    • Ha! That was cute. I enjoyed it.

    • Hi Sharon
      This was such a sweet story, and i thoroughly enjoyed engaging with something so happy and lighthearted. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Hi Sharon – hope you are well. This was lovely – so natural between the couple . Sounds like it will be roller coaster pregnancy!! Nice take on the prompt! Well done!

      • Thanks, Deryn. I broke my arm and am typing with one hand, but other than that I am well. Thanks for reading my short story. Not sure how I will manage 1800 words next month.

        • You need an amenuensis ! Or record your story as voice mails and send to someone to type it up!

    • Cute story, Sharon! I like the little hints throughout that there was a miscommunication. good dialogue between the couple.

  • Trophies by Gold
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    Heatwave was Maureen; Harlequin, Monica; Pirate, Louise; Flamenco, the girl from Skegness, only he couldn’t remember her name. Sarah wore Wine. Five in all. He liked Wine best. Classy. Every t […]

    • Oooooh, creepy. I love it. Thanks, Gold!

    • Is quirky, ominous a thing? Love how he states been a serial killer as the bar for been too creepy. Lots of luscious detail with this off kilter MC. I enjoyed this.

    • Hi Gold – loved, loved this. Creepy and descriptive – the reverence he gives to the individual tubes…excellent. Some re formatting and separation of paragraphs would be good, tho.

    • Gold, your psychological training shines through. Holy hell this guy is a creep. I’m left wondering what else he did to his exes. Love how his inner monologue and commentary keep us well inside the mind of a protagonist who is sure to prove himself an unreliable narrator. Well done.

    • I’ll be honest, Gold, I have my suspicions as to what is in that beef stew he’s cooking?
      What a creepy character.
      And I wonder what is passing through Jessica’s mind as she steps into his apartment?
      Great story….need more!

    • Hey Gold, and a very cool premise, having your main character assign relationships to lipstick type. It took me a moment to see the semi-colons between the names and the lipstick types but I figured it out at the second pass. Well done with giving the reader just enough snippets of your narrator’s character to get the full picture (and be thoroughly disturbed by said picture.) Nice last line as well, rounds of a great piece of writing. Regards, Seyi

    • Oh my goodness. So short and yet so creepy. Not sure I want to know more about him, and yet of course I do! Great character, Thank you Gold.

    • I loved the way you described the little ‘trophies’ in such sensual terms (the smell, feel of it.) Nice sense of character here too, half pity half revulsion. The idea suited a short piece like this.

    • Wow, he’s making my skin crawl. And I’m not sure he isn’t at least a possible future serial killer. Your showing off of his collection and how he knows each girl by her color was excellent. I do wonder though how he knew Jessica’s color if it wasn’t already in his collection. It leaves me wanting to know more about his history. You wrote a very, creepy and well defined character. Thank you for sharing.

    • What a thrillingly creepy story. I thoroughly enjoyed this read. You’ve created a solid, interesting character, inviting the reader to want to discover more. Excellent work. Thank you for sharing.

  • Rouge by Prakhar G
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    They say all it takes is one bad day.
    I disagree.
    I think it takes less.
    It could be as simple as a scarf. Or a red lipstick.
    I find it, rummaging in his dressing-table’s drawers while he s […]

  • Kimchi, Soju and Lipstick by Christopher Joyce

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    I was living in Seoul it was 2010. I had finished dinner and now it was time to visit a bar.

    I exited my apartment and joined the main street. Then I saw her. A […]

    • Hi, Christopher. The story seems extremely rushed. You lost me when the lady in leather trousers flew at you like a Ninja. I tried to buy into the fantasy realm but it just didn’t do it for me. It was, to be frank, too bizarre and hacked that the whole piece didn’t congeal into a cohesive narrative, I’m sorry to say.

      Korea has such a very rich history and it is full of legends, and its stories are yet to be told in the English language, although, happily, I’m glad to see more and more Korean writers are seeing their works being translated into English. There are, as anywhere else, some great legends told to me by Koreans of superstitions even though many Koreans disbelief ghost stories, unlike the Chinese.

      I think you could rework your story if you were keen to do so but I’d drop the flying stuff that Chinese cinema loves to do (most of it is as laughable as the Bollywood and the Kollywood humbug). You could, for example, upon leaving the apartment, find yourself being accompanied without invitation by this lady but the first question she prod you with is one that unravels as aspect of your past, for example.

      All the best, Christopher.

      • Thanks for the comment and the time you took to write it. However, I didn’t suggest she actually flew at me she just traversed the pavement in the blink of an eye it was metaphorical and whimsical. And it is based on a true story.

    • This was an interesting read. I like the setting and the fact that you gave an older woman the capabilities to fight like a ninja. You don’t see that kinda thing in stories. I do agree with m.x.s. bhatia in the fact that I believe the story got away from you. A little fine-tuning and I think you could have quite the tiny tale here. There are some simple writing rules that apply at all times. I listed some of them below. I enjoyed reading your work and look forward to seeing more in the prompts to come.

      Omit the word very. Very is a word that never belongs in writer except if you are writing dialogue, and one of the speakers is a teenager. Remove the adverb incessantly. Adverbs can be replaced with showing. Also, This sentence is too long. Try and use strong nouns to show before telling;
      (She was very petite, wearing black leather trousers baggy on her withered thighs, a bright and youthful blouse covering her tiny 40kg frame and atop this, a face dominated by a huge rouged mouth smiling at me incessantly.)

      This sentence is riddled with adverbs. Try to not use adverbs if you can;
      (I was drawn to her gaze and instinctively smiled back, suddenly she leaped across the pavement reminiscent of a supernatural flying ninja, literally landing on me, her grip on my arm was strong.)

      You don’t need these tags and could have saved the five words for showing. Eight words to a writer with a word count are gold. Readers are pretty bright. Don’t underestimate your writing. Your reader can bounce back and forth understanding who is saying what once you laid the plan out.
      (Taken aback, I stuttered / rouge hole spoke again,)

    • Hi there,

      The enormity of your story was well over the scant word count. Three-hundred words weren’t enough to build up this character and give her the fantastic skills she could possibly have.

      However, after saying that — it does seem that you didn’t make good use of the word count. Instead, you gave us a shadow of a story, filled with long descriptions, and lots of adverbs. I must agree with both Maria and m.x.s. bhatia that the story took off on its own. So, the writing seemed a bit uneven, (despite a wonderful story underneath.)

      My only advice is to KEEP WRITING – as you find your voice, it will be easier to craft a short story in just a few words,

      ~MP~

    • Hi Christopher
      It’s very hard to accommodate a substantial story with so many possibilities in so few words. It didn’t seem to me that the story got away with you, though. It was a simple description of a young man being accosted by an old whore and his reactions. Part of the sense of rushing I think may have been due to your use of commas to join ideas instead of separating them into sentences. If I’m honest, I was slightly disappointed in the ending – “The rouged hole released me and we said goodbye. Sometimes I wonder if I could have helped.” I see you say this is a true story but as an ending to a short story I think it lacks impact, tails off. Having said that, the image of the rouged hole was powerful and a novel and interesting approach to the prompt. I look forward to reading your next submission.
      Barbara

  • Anticipation by Jeff L. Mauser
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    Gazing in the mirror, she pats foundation under her eye. The dark blue bruise is diminishing. She reapplies her red lipstick twice. It seems her hand is shaking from anticipation. […]

    • I loved the imagery. A woman has to stand up for herself.Well done

      • Thanks, I really enjoy writing and describing things. Getting ‘just the right’ word to convey what I want the reader to see. Some stories work better than others. LOL

        Thanks for the read

    • Wow Jeff! You had me at her embedding the bat in the TV (itself btw, not it’s self) – so he was in the house all the time? Hell hath no fury like a woman beaten by her scuzzy partner. Excellent take on the subject matter and prompt! Well done!

      • Thanks, I’m glad you liked it. I know I would be upset if someone did something like that to my TV. But then my wife knows I spoil her and she me. LOL

        I think if MORE WOMEN took revenge on there spouses for abuse it might actually decrease. OR not. It is a difficult subject.

    • Hi Jeff
      There have been quite a few ‘lover’s revenge’ stories this month, but this one is by far my favourite. I love the idea of your MC blowing up everything that was ‘in his name’. Maybe that would have had more impact if she’d left him alive, maybe finding away to cancel his insurance, leaving him with nothing. That’s just a ‘what if’ opinion though. I was thoroughly gripped by this piece and I enjoyed it immensely. Well done.

      • WOW, thanks. That means a lot. Yes leaving him a live could have been more devastating for him in a lot of ways. However, it would have meant her NEVER Truly being FREE of him. At least that was my thought. And it would have taken A LOT more WORDS!!!! LOL

    • If revenge be sweet… lovely take on the prompt. Personally, I would have like d to see his expression when he realises that she’s not willing t be a victim anymore. And that she very much exists!

      • Thanks for the read. Knowing guys like ‘him’ they don’t realize until they are gone. It just doesn’t ‘compute’ to them. Besides that would have taken a lot more words. LOL

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Renee Shurilla

Profile picture of Renee Shurilla

@bunniebunn

active 2 months, 1 week ago
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