Sheila couldn't really say. It was more a gradual shift, than a precise moment. Subtle changes in his behavior. A little less attentive. A little less willing to please. Finally, outright defiance of her wishes. Still, she'd never dreamed it would come to this. One moment he was dicing vegetables. The next, he was pursuing her with the knife. She struggles, but soon abandons hope. As she succumbs to the psycho robot, she wistfully remembers simpler days and the harmless blue screen of death.
Three Word Wednesday. is a meme that challenges writers to create something using three selected words. This week's words are gradual, precise and abandon. Click on the link to view other entries or submit your own.
Not this Sunday at any rate, but hopefully by Monday evening, I'll post the next installment of Convictions.
Life has been hectic here. The aftermath of flooding was an influx of insects, particularly ants. Had to leave the house yesterday while they were being fumigated. The good news is that we saw "How To Train Your Dragon" while we were out. And that there is no sign of the nasty little critters today. Good thing, because the temperature just reached 100F and there's plenty of humidity to enhance that sweltering feeling. Sufficient misery without adding the ants. My granddaughter added to the day by falling and cutting her thumb. It bled. Profusely. Finally got it stopped. The excitement never ends!
My blog is up at the new domain, but I'm still repairing some links and dealing with some other idiosyncrasies.
So there's my excuses. Hope you'll return tomorrow.
A bit of microfiction for this week's 3WW. A bit of a cheat as well. Used pacified instead of pacify. Hope it doesn't get me evicted!
Awaken with dread. A dream. It's substance quickly slips my grasp. Relax. Visualize. Fears pacified.
Maniacal laughter fills my room.
Three Word Wednesday. is a meme that challenges writers to create something using three selected words. This week's words are dread, grasp and pacify. Click on the link to view other entries or submit your own.
Questions sprang to Beth's lips, but Margaret continued without a pause.
“It's obvious her supervision was poor. It's time for dinner and nothing is prepared. Are you concerned? No. You stand there dressed like a hussy with no thoughts of your responsibilities. Things are going to change. Immediately. Dinner will be served after the service or there will be consequences. A suitable dinner. None of your peanut butter sandwiches.”
She turned and left the kitchen. Seconds later, the sounds of the evening service began.
Grandma's Goulash just acquired it's own domain name. It will be keeping the Blogger format, but will no longer be located at a blogspot.com url. There really shouldn't be any difference for readers. Once implemented, you will be forwarded to the new url if you come to this one.
Of course, nothing is ever simple. At the moment, Calico and I are struggling to implement this with my test blog and the results are less than successful. Yeah, it's just not working. I'm sure we'll figure things out eventually. I won't try to transfer this blog until the test blog relocates successfully. Hopefully it will be smooth, but if I'm not available for a bit, please don't panic. My posts here will be infrequent while we're working on it. Apologies in advance to my Convictions readers. I'll do my best to make it up to you when I return.
The moment is at hand. Although she is not the first to travel here, it doesn't lessen the fear. She takes a step, gathers her courage and looks down. She cannot ignore the message, screaming in glaring red numbers from her scale. Oh to live in a weightless world.
Three Word Wednesday. is a meme that challenges writers to create something using three selected words. This week's words are ignore, fear and weightless. Click on the link to view other entries or submit your own.
Cal smiled at Beth's chagrined face, then adeptly used his chopsticks to eat the shrimp fried rice.
“It takes a bit of practice. Next time I'll order Mu Shu pork.”
“Mu Shu's served with Chinese pancakes. A lot easier than rice when you're learning to use chopsticks.”
“That's a good idea.”
"It's my mother's. I wanted to learn when I was young, but got quickly frustrated. And hungry. So she started serving pancakes for breakfast. Each day she'd cut them into smaller pieces and hand me a pair of chopsticks. It made learning easy and fun."
Beth barely remembered her mother's face, but the memories of Amanda Hollister's indifference were still vivid.
“She must have been a wonderful mother.”
“Still is. Better than I deserve. I disappointed her, but she's never stopped supporting me. In prison, she was my only visitor. She even convinced Gloria to let me see the children again.”
“How old are they?”
“Jed is eleven and Tracy is nine. Gloria obtained a divorce and full custody of the children after I was convicted. Tracy was only two years old. She wouldn't let me see them after I was released.”
“That doesn't seem fair, Cal.”
“I can't blame her. I began selling drugs for extra cash. My career had good prospects. But I was just starting and money was tight. Gloria learned about it and begged me to stop. I swore that I would. She believed me and I betrayed that trust. So why would she believe me after my release? She was trying to protect our children.”
“But you see them now?”
“Yes. Gloria always let the kids visit their grandmother. Eventually, she let me visit them there for a couple hours a week. My mother promised that we would not leave the house and that she would not leave me alone with the children. I was happy to see them on any terms. And my mother's presence really helped. They knew her. Tracy had no memory of me and Jed's were faint. It took time to rebuild. It was almost three years before Gloria let me have time alone with them. Now they stay with me on alternate weekends and we took a vacation together last summer.”
“It sounds as if you've regained her trust. Have you considered a reconciliation?”
“No, she's got a new life now and I'm not a part of it. I'm just grateful for the relationship with my children.”
He paused a moment.
“I can't believe we're talking about this, Beth. It's certainly not first date material. Next you'll be telling me about your old boyfriends. You were too young to be married, right?”
“Right. Although I was engaged for a while. Don't worry about old boyfriend tales, the list was pretty short.”
The conversation lightened and they enjoyed the rest of their meal, lingering over another cup of tea and fortune cookies.
“Your wealth will be vaster than the stars.”, Cal read. “What does yours say. Beth?”
“Fortunes are like birthday wishes, Cal. They don't come true if you reveal them.”
“In that case, I've just ruined my chance to be rich. Care to go for a walk with a pauper?”
They left the restaurant laughing. The sun was bright, but the air was crisp. She mentally thanked Cassandra for loaning a black fringed shawl. They continued to chat and stopped occasionally to admire merchandise in the small storefronts. Her enjoyment was tempered by aching feet. The slingbacks were gorgeous, but not intended for long walks. She said nothing, hating to end the moment. Soon the ache turned to pain and Cal became aware of her plight.
“Beth, I'm so sorry. I should have realized. Let's head back to the car.”
They started back. She struggled not to wince at each step.
He turned and lifted her into his arms.
“No, Cal. I can walk.”
“No sense in blistering your feet, Beth. Just relax.”
Relax? How? She felt the strength of his arms and the warmth of his body. The clean scent of soap mingled with that subtle male muskiness. She sensed more than saw the scrutiny of his dark eyes. Imagined the feel of those sensuous lips. Emotions restrained during years of incarceration began to break free. The intensity sent shivers up her spine.
She didn't trust her voice. Then realized there was no need to speak. He knew.
He stopped and bent his head. His lips brushed lightly across hers. Then returned. Firmer. Testing. Tasting. The world receded.
A car horn returned them to the present. Cal resumed walking. Beth searched for words but found none. In a few minutes they reached his car. Cal started to drive. Finally he broke the silence.
“I'm sorry for my impetuousness, Beth. This is our first date, but I've been wanting to do that for two months. I promise to behave. I'm not ready for this date to end.”
“Neither am I. Although you're going to get tired of carrying me.”
They laughed and the tension eased.
“Take those shoes off, Beth. I've got an idea.”
She sighed in relief and wiggled her toes.
“I fear that a career as a fashion model is out of the question.”
He gave her a look that said otherwise. Tension returned. Beth grew quiet and gazed out her window. Soon Cal turned into a shopping plaza and parked the car.
“I'll be back in a few minutes.”
She was content to stay. Cal had been gone for a couple minutes before she realized that one of the slingbacks was missing.
“Try these. I hope you like them.”
Cal returned the missing slingback and handed her a shoebox. Inside were a pair of black leather loafers.
“Try them on. I want to be sure that they don't hurt your feet.”
The look of pure bliss on her face assured him that they didn't.
“They're wonderful, Cal. So soft. But I really shouldn't accept them.”
“Only candy or flowers? I know it's not proper and it certainly isn't romantic, but you need a comfortable pair of shoes. If you must, consider it a business investment. I can't have the newest sample distributor hobbling around on blistered feet.”
“Or the meat manager suffering from a broken back? Don't say otherwise, Cal. I'm not that light. Thank you for the shoes and for your thoughtfulness.”
“You're welcome, Beth. Feel up to doing something else now?”
“What do you have in mind?”
She caught that look on his face again and regretted her choice of words.
“There's a planetarium nearby. They have a 2pm show. We'd have time to see the afternoon show and return you to Redemption House before supper.”
“I've never been to a planetarium, Cal. But I'm sure I'd love it.“
The show was wonderful. Beth relaxed. When Cal slipped his arm around her, she rested her head against him. Time passed quickly as they enjoyed the night-like surroundings and the beauty of the star show.
They kept the conversation light on the ride back. Far too soon, Cal pulled the car to a stop in front of Redemption House.
“I've had a wonderful day, Cal. Thank you so much.”
“It was wonderful for me too, Beth. Our schedules won't make it easy, but we must work at finding more time together.”
Cal turned towards her and placed a gentle hand against her cheek. Then he leaned forward and Beth met him halfway. Their kiss was tender, but lingering. Finally they separated.
“I'll see you in the morning, working girl.”
He watched until the door hid her from his view. As she rode up the elevator, Beth drew the Chinese fortune from her pocket.
Your heart is a place to draw true happiness.
Good friends, a new job and now Cal. Her heart had felt empty for so long. The drawing was not complete, but it it had begun to fill her heart with warmth and color.
Cassandra and Judith had insisted on preparing supper, but wouldn't reveal their menu. She hoped it was a success. Cassandra's confidence could use the boost. Judith had quiet self-assurance, but Cassandra couldn't see her own skills. Suddenly Beth couldn't wait to see them and hurried towards the kitchen.
Judith sat at the worktable, but there were no signs of dinner.
Beth hurried towards the kitchen. Time was tight, even for pasta. But as she approached, the tantalizing scent of beef, garlic and spices floated out to her. Cassandra was tossing a salad, while Judith mashed potatoes. They looked up as Beth entered.
“That smells wonderful. I'm so proud of you.”
“My timing is still off. The potatoes are ready, but the meatloaf is still cooking.”
“We can keep them warm, Judith. You've both done a terrific job with dinner.”
“So tell us how it went.”
“Thanks to you, I have the job, Cassandra”
“You messin' with me?”
“I'd never joke about a job. It's part-time and temporary. But it's a start.
“Will parole accept that?”
“Yes. I spoke with Officer Watkins. With my history, she considers any job an achievement and said it would fulfill the employment requirement. I don't have to continue cooking here, but I'm hoping Pastor Bob will let me.
“I hope so too. Hold on, I've got to get the brownies out of the oven.”
“You made brownies?”
“Judith helped me.”
“Not that much”, Judith interjected.
“You're baking, Cassandra. I knew you could do this.”
The sounds of the evening service began in the dining room and the trio stopped chatting as they hurried to finish the meal.
After dinner, Beth approached Pastor Bob. There was no sense in avoiding it. Better to deal with reality then worry about the unknown.
“Congratulations, Beth. I should have known you'd find a job. I am continually amazed by your resourcefulness.”
Was she dreaming? His words seemed spontaneous and sincere.
Thanks, Pastor Bob. The job is only part-time, but I'm delighted to have it."
“You should be. You've certainly beaten the odds. Is this acceptable to parole?
“I've spoken with my parole officer and she agreed to it.”
What was she missing? It shouldn't be this easy.
“Would you consider keeping your position here on a part-time basis? We would certainly miss your wonderful meals.”
“I was hoping you'd let me do that. I could be here for breakfast and dinner. Judith would be responsible for lunch and some of the shopping. Since I'll be at Pinnacle, I'll be able to shop there after work."
“That sounds fine. You'd still be doing a lot of work, so I'd continue to waive your housing fee. You could keep your current rooms too. Does that sound fair?”
Fair? It was far better than Beth had hoped.
“Yes it does. I'm committed to making this work, Pastor Bob.”
“I appreciate that Bethany.”
Beth hurried back to the kitchen with her news.
“And he agreed to everything?”
“Without a single argument.”
“That worries me, Beth.”
“I know what you mean, Cassandra. But it's hard to argue, when I'm getting what I want.”
“I hope you do, Beth. But be careful. Pastor Bob will find a way to make you pay for this. I hope it's not too costly.”
“Relax, Cassandra. It's going to be okay. Besides, I need your help with something else.”
“I need clothes for work. Nice, but not expensive.”
“Judith just got some great stuff at an outlet store. And there's a consignment shop in the downtown shopping district. The prices are a bit more than a thrift store's, but the clothes are high quality."
Cassandra took a woeful glance at her own girth.
“Not that any of it would fit me. Wealthy ladies seem to be a lot smaller. Of course, if I stopped buying junk food, I'd be thinner and have more money.”
Beth had to laugh and Cassandra joined her. They agreed to meet the following morning.
She enjoyed the outing, although her cash shortage severely curtailed purchases. She bought a tailored white shirt at the outlet store. There were black slacks as well, but they exceeded her budget.
"I can buy them for you, Beth."
“You've done enough for me, Cassandra. You don't make that much money. Let's check out that thrift store.”
There were lots of black slacks, but only two pair that fit. Price governed her selection. Beth left with two dollars remaining in her wallet. She'd have to wash her outfit every evening until she had got her first paycheck.
When they returned to Redemption House, Beth modeled her new clothes for Cassandra and Judith. Finally, she told them about her upcoming date with Cal.
“Did you get anything to wear on your date?”
Beth's face fell.
“No, I didn't even think of that, Judith. Not that I could afford it. So I'll be wearing black slacks and my new white shirt. Not quite what I'd chose for a date, but it beats my t-shirt and jeans.”
“I'll be back in a minute.”
Judith returned with a gorgeous rose-colored top.
“Try this, we're about the same size.”
A black embroidered filigree followed the wide scooped neckline that ended near her shoulders and flowed into loosely draped sleeves. A diagonal ruching outlined her bust and waist. The angular bottom touched her waist on the left, then narrowed to a point over her right hip.
“Now that's what you wear to a date, girl. But it needs something more.”
Cassandra was back quickly carrying a bag and a small jewelry box.
The box held a slender gold necklace with a delicate teardrop pendant of rose quartz surrounded by a multitude of sparkling diamond chips.
“Oh Cassandra, how beautiful.”
“It's yours now.”
“No. I'd love to borrow it, but I couldn't take it.”
“Please keep it. It was a gift, but it doesn't fit around my thick neck. I do want these back."
She reached in the bag and pulled out black slingback heels.
“My feet are the only slender part of me. I'm hoping these will fit.”
They were perfect. Tears welled in Beth's eyes as she hugged her friends.
“It's been a long time since I've felt this pretty. You know what I mean?”
They knew. There were no dry eyes as they returned her hug.
I promised two installments this weekend. Here's the first. I'm working on the second one, which will be published on Sunday. Hope to see you then.
Mellow wine, sharp cheese, sweet fruit, fresh honey.
Lovers savor the day, the food, each other.
Intensified hum. Pure black, vibrant yellow. No escape.
Honey theft revenged.
Three Word Wednesday. is a meme that challenges writers to create something using three selected words. This week's words are escape, hum and vibrant. Click on the link to view other entries or submit your own.
The sun was warm that June day. Surely there was no need to wear a hooded jacket to ward off the cold. It's purpose was concealment and who could have guessed what was hidden beneath?
He walked silently through the peaceful woods. He seemed oblivious to the twittering birds or the paddling of the beaver's tail. Emerging at the back of the house, he crept quietly towards it. No need to pick the lock. The door had been conveniently left open.
The house kept his secret. No sound shattered the neighborhood's tranquility as he quickly finished his work. His crime was perfect. No one would ever know.
The detective thought otherwise, as he quickly followed a trail of blood to the assassin. The criminal was a wally. Only an amateur would neglect to wipe the cleaver before placing it back inside his jacket.
Nessa at the Chrysalis Stage is hosting a new meme called Tales on Tuesday. This week's theme is Leave It To Beaver. Hope you'll head on over and check out the other submissions. Or enter your own.
Entertained relatives from Florida earlier in the week. Thought I'd polish my next installment after they left.
Mother Nature had a different idea. High wind and torrential rain caused some flooding in our home, covering the back half of the house with a half inch of water. Sure, it could have been worse. But it certainly has been a mess to clean up.
To top it all off, my characters started doing things I hadn't planned on. But as they did, pieces of the story fell into place. Pieces that I hadn't counted on. And they belong in the next two installments.
The bottom line - the current installment isn't ready.
The good news? I'll be publishing an installment next Friday and another one on Saturday. Hope you'll be back to check them out.