#WIPpet Wednesday – Make them see he’s not!

Hello there! I’m sorry I didn’t get around to many WIPpeteers this week, except that I’m kind of not because I was on holidays. 😛 It was just a quick trip away, Saturday – Tuesday, but it was lovely just hanging around, reading and writing and not worrying about housework or work or anything like that.

First order of business this week is the 250 Followers giveaway I hosted last week. I gave each comment on last week’s WIPpet post a number and then used a random number generator to determine the winner. And the winner is Celine JeanJean! Congrats! If you can either let me know you email address in a comment here or email it to fuzzyagent999[@]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au, I will get your $25 Amazon voucher to you as soon as I get paid next week.

On the writing front, I am on track with my goal to write a short piece of fiction for every day of December. You can scroll back through the past week and a half’s worth of posts to read all of those. There are a few I am particularly proud of, such as this one, which I am going to expand into a longer short story. You’ve got no idea how many Decembers have gone past and I have really wanted to write a Christmas story and been stuck for inspiration. Now I have no only the inspiration, but some ground work as well. (Incidentally, I have my partner, Edy, to thank for interpreting the prompt that way. I had simply been thinking of a young woman moving house. So yay Edy!)

For WIPpet Wednesday this week, I have a follow-up scene to last week’s. Josephine has convinced a couple of police officers of what she saw in Jean Trivette’s house, and so they’re trying to persuade his wife to testify against him. She says she wants to see Josephine and talk to her before she makes any decisions. This is their conversation. My WIPpet math is very simply 10 paragraphs for the 10th of December. Oh, and this is straight from the NaNo manuscript, so very likely riddled with errors.

When Josephine had first arrived at the police headquarters, she had been immediately taken behind the desk by the desk sergeant, and then passed on to another sergeant who led her through to the break room. Yvonne Trivette was there, a cup of coffee in her hand, and Josephine could not help but wince at the older woman’s black eye.

The sergeant closed the door behind them, but Josephine could still see his outline through the frosted glass.

Yvonne Trivette stood up and held a hand out to Jospehine. “Hello. I’m Yvonne.”

Josephine shook her hand. “Hello. I’m sorry about yesterday. I hope he didn’t hurt your further because of what I saw.”

“No, he left it at that yesterday.” Yvonne sat back down and beckoned for Josephine to sit on the cushion next to her. “The police said he hurt you, too.”

“Well, it wasn’t anything like he did to you.” Josephine rolled up her sleeve. “He just held on to me a little too tightly is all. But the marks are there.”

Yvonne Trivette looked away, biting her lip. “I’ve been telling myself that as long as he only does it to me, it’s all right,” she said. “Just as long as he doesn’t hurt our children. But when they said he had hurt you, that’s when I knew I had to talk to someone about it. I just… well, I wanted to check he really had hurt you before I did anything.”

“He is clearly hurting you, isn’t that bad enough? And he’s getting away with it! Everyone out there loves him! Even my friends wouldn’t believe me when I told them what I had seen!”

“He is rather the city’s darling boy,” Yvonne said ruefully.

“Then make them see that he’s not!”

Join us for WIPpet Wednesday by posting an excerpt from your current WIP that somehow relates to the date. Then link up with us here! We don’t bite. In fact, we’re really quite friendly and you should totally come along for the ride! I’m now heading to the shower and bed, since I have to return to work tomorrow. This week I should do a little better at visiting your posts. See you then!

~ Emily

December 10 – Struck By Lightning

Author note: I wasn’t so keen on the prompt today, but I got there. I’m sorry I keep seeming to injure or kill people the last few days. Maybe I’ll perk up tomorrow. Also, disclaimer: no research was done on lightning strikes in the writing of this story.

Prompt: The main character is a materialistic 25-year-old man. The story begins in a penthouse. A sudden storm blows up. The theme of the story is risk-taking.

The storm came up suddenly. One second there had been blue sky and the next second the rain was bucket in down and the wind was howling. Christian had been pacing his apartment all day, waiting g for his brand new shipment of antique furniture to arrive. He had measured up his living room and decided on the best arrangement. All that was left was to actually put it there.

Not long after the storm blew up, he received a call from the courier to say they were on their way but they were going to be taking It slowly what with the rain that had just started. Christian sighed as he once again passed the window and looked out, attempting to see the courier van down below.

“Don’t you think you should call them and tell them to come back when the weather’s better?” asked his fiancee, Brooke,  who was sitting with her legs over one arm of the sofa.

“They’ll be practically here soon,” Christian snapped in reply. “Wherever they are, it’ll be easier for them to just keep coming at this point.”

“Won’t all your stuff get wet as they bring It up?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, it will all be covered in plastic. That sort of furniture would never be exposed to the elements like that during transportation.” His phone rang and he quickly answered it, putting the phone to his ear. “Yes?” He listened for a moment and then nodded. “Yes, I’ll be right down.” He disconnected the call. “They’re here. Finally.”

“Please tell me you’re meeting them in the foyer. You’re not going out in this weather, are you?”

“They’re not sure which apartment building it is,” Christian replied, slipping on his coat. “I said l’d go down and wave.”

“Well, if you catch your death, don’t blame me.”

A few minutes later, Christian was down in front of his apartment building, shielding his face from the rain as he looked for the white moving van. He could feel the wind trying to buffet him down the street, and took hold of a lamp post to keep his footing.

Too late, he realised what a bad idea that was in weather like this. Time seemed to slow down as Christian saw the lightning strike the top of the lamp, and soon after felt the jolt as the current moved through the metal and down his spine.

The next thing he knew, he woke up in a hospital room. Everything hurt, but he managed to turn his head enough to see Brooke sitting in the plastic chair near the window.

“Hey, you’re awake!” she exclaimed. “I’ll call for a doctor.” She kissed him on the forehead.

Christian grunted in reply. Something was praying on his mind, but he couldn’t put his finger on what it was. He lay there quietly while the doctor checked him over and gave him some painkillers . It was only after the doctor had gone and It was just him and Brooke again the he was finally able to figure out what was bothering him.

“Brooke,” he said. “Did my furniture arrive?”

December 9 – Mountaintop Tragedy

Author’s note: this turned out rather darker than expected. I didn’t manage to include all then aspects not the prompt, but I think I was close enough.

Prompt: the main character is a 39 year old woman. The story begins on a mountaintop. The witness to a crime disappears. The theme of the story is: a journey.

It had been a hard slog to the top, but Rhiannon had to admit it was worth the effort. As she took in the view, she felt her muscles tingling as they began to relax. She still wasn’t entirely sure why her boss, Mrs Carlingford, had invited her to come mountain climbing with her, though she suspected it might have something to do with questions she had been asking about where some of the company’s funds were disappearing to. She liked to think she had integrity, but she was starting to think that an all expenses paid trip like this in exchange for her silence was a pretty sweet deal.

“Thanks for inviting me, Mrs Carlingford,” she said. She took a deep breath, and then continued, “I think I know what this has all been about and I just wanted to say…”

Mrs Carlingford reached out and grabbed her arm roughly, pulling her forward and making her slip on the snow. Her heart jolted; it was a long way down from here and she didn’t really want to find 8th how long it would take her to fall.

“You know, you really should have just kept quiet about the money,” Mrs Carlingford hissed, bearing down on her with teeth bared.

“I… what? Mrs Carlingford, please!”

“If the auditors come after me because of anything you’ve said, it could ruin me!”

“I know, and honestly, I can keep quiet about it, I swear! I hadn’t even said that much, the auditors would have nothing to go on as it stands right now, I promise!”

“Your face is far too honest,” Mrs Carlingford sneered. “Once they started asking questions, you’d be telling them everything.”

“No, I…”

“We’re the only two up here, you know. It’s going to be a terribly tragic story I have to tell when I get back down. You weren’t as experienced as you’d thought, and then climb proved too much. Towards the top you lost your footing and tumbled over the edge…

“I’m sorry, Rhiannon, truly I am. But a woman has to do what a woman has to do…”

“No, please…”

It only took a small flick of Mrs Carlingford’s wrist to throw Rhiannon off balance and for her to tumble over the rock face. Mrs Carlingford watched, satisfied, as Rhiannon’s body disappeared out of view. It w as a shame it had to come to this, she thought, but she really hadn’t been able to see any other option…

December 8 – There’s Always Overboard

Author’s note: In case you missed it, I explained on my previous post tonight why there is a glaring lack of Mirth and Music Monday tonight. Sorry again about that.

Prompt: The main character is a helpful 27-year-old man. The setting is a cruise liner. Someone is being cheated. The theme is: pride.

“Sir, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave the casino.”

Tim hated having to do this. He’d known when he landed this job that it would be a requirement, and he had hoped that the thrill of getting to work on board such a luxurious liner would outweigh the sucky parts.

“Just what are you accusing me of, boy?” asked the fat man Tim was trying very hard to civilly evict from the games room.

“My name is Timothy, sir, and it’s very obvious to everyone that you are cheating. If you don’t leave your own accord I will have to call security.”

“Well, of all the nerve! Don’t you know who I am?”

“No, sir, I don’t. I’m sorry, but it’s impossible to learn the name of every passenger even the important ones.”

Tim was aware he was starting to tread on dangerous ground now and mentally reminded himself to toe the line from now on.

“I can’t believe I’m hearing this!” The fat man puffed out his chest and stood indignantly. He moved close enough to Tim that Tim could smell the garlic that was still on his breath from dinner. He jabbed Tim in the chest, a gesture Tim tried to accept with good grace. “I’ll be speaking to your superiors, boy.” With that he stormed out of the casino.

He had no doubt the man would go to his superiors. Cheaters often did. However, the rest of the gentlemen at the table could attest to the fact that the man hadn’t been playing by the rules, so he would have that in his favour at least.

And If worst came to worst, jumping overboard was always an option…

December 7 – Does he know about the baby?

Author’s note: Another opening line prompt. I’m on holidays at the moment and only have Internet on my tablet, and for the life of me cannot figure out now to embed videos properly from the YouTube app in order to post a Mirth and Music Monday post. However, you get two stories so I hope that suffices.

~*~

“Does he know about the baby?”

“Of course he doesn’t! And if I stick around much longer, there’s going to be no way to avoid him finding out.” Sarah continued moving clothes in a bag while her mother looked on.

“Do you think perhaps it would be less damaging to your relationship with Adam for you to tell him, rather than just packing up and leaving.

Sarah stood up. “Yeah, I’m sure that would work out.  ‘Hey, Adam, you know how we’ve always been best friends? Well, now, thanks to one stupid, drunken mistake on both our parts, wehe going to have to live together, put up with all the things we don’t like about each other, oh yeah… and be parents!'”

“You wouldn’t have to live together. You could still live here, but Adam would still get to be a part of his baby’s life.”

“And what if he doesn’t want to be?” Sarah asked. “I can’t deal with that, Mum.”

Her mother moved into the room and put her hands on Sarah’s bag me Sarah couldn’t put anything else in. “Sarah, tell him,”she said. “You’ve been friends with Adam for, what, twenty years? You owe your friendship to to tell him.”

Sarah sighed. “Why do you always have to be right?”

“Because I’m your mother .”

”Fine, I’ll go see him in the morning.”

~*~

”Hey, where have you been keeping yourself?” Adam asked as Sarah walked through the back door of the coffee shop he and his father co-owned.

”Have you got a minute? I’ve got to tell you something.”

“Sure, what is it?”

“You should probably sit down.”

Raising an eyebrow, Adam walked through to the dining area and sat in the nearest chair. Sarah paced in front of him.

“Remember how swore that we were never going to talk about that night ever again?”

“Yeah… so, why are you bringing it up?”

“We’re going to have to talk about it again.”

“Why?” Adam’s eyes narrowed.

Sarah wrung her hands, mentally telling herself to just say the words and get it over and done with. “I’m pregnant,” she finally blurted out. When a shocked expression crossed over Adam’s face, she sought to fill the void and so kept rambling. “Mum said I should tell you, and so I am. I was actually just going to leave because I wasn’t sure how you’d take it, but she persuaded me not to. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier, I was just really scared of how you’d react.”

“Hey, hey!”Adam reached out and grabbed Sarah’s wrist to make her stop pacing. “This is huge,” he said, “and ltn not going to pretend I’m not completely freaking out right now. But you’re my test mate, Sarah, and if you’re keeping that baby then I sure as hell want to help.”

“Really?”

Adam stood and pulled Sarah into a hug. “Really.”

December 6 (sort of) – A First Christmas

Author’s note: Another “opening line as prompt” story, using the prompt I received yesterday. I have played catch-up with the writing of these little pieces, but I will catch up on posting a bit more slowly, so that your feeds aren’t full of A keyboard and an Open Mind. 🙂

She knelt on the carpet of her new house, carefully unwrapping ornaments. There had never been so much as a Christmas tree in the orphanage at this time of year, but Katie had always watched with fascination as decorations had appeared all over the city. Snow would catch on the tree in the middle of the main square and the baubles would frost over, making it seem like something out of one of the fairy stories the older kids would tell after lights out.

Now Katie had received a Christmas present far greater than anything she could have come up with if she had been given the chance to sit on Father Christmas’ knee. A lovely couple named William and Barbara had decided to adopt her. She had packed up her things, such as they were,  put on her coat, and then rode in William’s car back to their house. Her house, now.

It was only a week until Christmas, but knowing they would have a little girl living with them soon, Barbara had refrained from putting up the tree until they could do it together. Finally the last of the baubles were hung and there was only one thing left.

Barbara put her arms around Katie’s middle and hoisted her up so she could reach the top of the tree.
Katie placed the angel on the top branch, and then Barbara set her down again and they surveyed their work.

“Very well done, Katie,” Barbara said. “It looks as though you’ve been doing this for years.” She smiled and took Katie’s hand, giving it a squeeze.

“I’ve always wanted to,” said Katie, beaming.

“And so you shall,” Barbara replied, “every year from now on.”

December 5(?) – Up to “I do”

Author’s Note: l gave myself this prompt on Friday the 5th, started writing it then, finished writing it on the 6th and am posting on the 7th. I am on holidays at the Moment, that’s my excuse! we’ll see if I play catch-up once I’m home or just let it go.

Prompt: The main character is a 55-year-old woman. It begins in a registry office. Someone gets snowed in at Christmas. The theme is: a chase.

As David stood in front of the celebrant in the registry office, he thought back on how he had ended up here. He’d been married twice before; surely he knew better than to try again?

It had been Catherine daughter’s twenty first birthday party. David had been dropping off his own daughter, but Catherine insisted he come in for a quick drink himself before he left. Catherine was loud and exuberant and had probably already had a couple of drinks of her own by then. It was cold outside and David had to admit the drink warmer him up. Before he knew it, his cup had been refilled more than  once and there was no way he was going to be driving home any time soon.

Nothing happened between them that night, but their daughters fou four them asleep on the cough the next morning, Catherine curled up with her hand on David’s chest, him with his arm around her shoulders.

“Oh, my god, Dad!” Amanda’s voice woke David up immediately. Realising where he was, he sat bolt upright and whipped his arm from around Catherine.

“Amanda…” he said, scrambling for something to say that would wipe the horrified expression off his daughter’s face.

Catherine sat up. “Good morning, Brianna, Amanda. How did the party go?”

Looking back, David wondered if it was Catherine complete nonchalance in the face of that moment that made him first fall in love with her. She seemed far too outgoing and confident to be interested in a guy like him, though, and It took him a couple of months to get up the courage to ask her out for a drink. It was only with Amanda’s encouragement – and once she got over the initial weirdness of her dad fancying her friend’s mum, she did encourage him – that he persuaded himself to ask at all.

Catherine had been enthusiastic from the start – “Any man who remains a perfect gentleman when I drunkenly fall asleep on his shoulder is certainly worth a shot!” – but as time went on and words like ‘marriage’ started crossing David’s mind, he wasn’t sure exactly how Catherine would take it. He managed to contact Brianna through via Amanda’s Facebook, and ask what she thought. Brianna warned him that after her divorce from Brianna dad, there was a good chance that Catherine would be wary of making anything so official, but she said that David should go for it anyway.

What Brianna had said was right, and David had to propose twice before Catherine had accepted him. They didn’t see each other for a while after the first time, and David thought that perhaps that was it for their relationship. Slowly, though, they gravitated back towards each other, and soon David thought It was worth taking another chance.

And now, here they were, about to embark on the next chapter of their lives together. The celebrant looked at David, waiting for his line.

He looked at Catherine. “I do.”

December 4: A barista’s wishful thinking

Author’s note: The prompt today was the opening line of the piece. I’ve never worked in hospitality, but I have worked in retail, so I know how soul-crushing it can be.

It was the worst cappuccino she’d ever tasted, and being her, she told him so.

Sam tried not to roll his eyes as he listened to her tirade: that there was too much froth, and what coffee there was tasted more like coffee-flavoured milk. When she finished her rant, Sam leaned forward over the counter and rested his chin on his hands.

“I may well lose my job for this,” he said, “but I’m okay with doing it so that my successors don’t have to put up with your bullshit.” The woman’s mouth fell open upon hearing his language. He didn’t care, and ploughed on. “You come in here literally every morning, and every morning you complain about the coffee. It wastes our time, and surely it wastes your time, too. You do know that there’s another coffee shop right across the road, yeah?”

“Well! Of all the impudent…!”

“My manager may well tell me that I’m losing him business by saying this, but you’re the one person I honestly don’t mind sending over there.”

“Well!” said the woman again. “I’ve never been spoken to like that in my life!”

“Maybe it’s about time,” Sam replied, taking the cappuccino she was so unhappy with and taking a swig from it.

The woman picked up her purse in a huff and stormed out of the café. In her wake, the other customers began applauding. Sam cracked a grin and continued drinking the coffee that was now his.

“Excuse me, are you even listening to a word I’m saying?”

Sam blinked, the daydream faded and he realised she was still standing in front of him. He shook his head slightly to clear his thoughts and took the offending cappuccino back from her, quietly seething.

“I’m sorry ma’am,” he said, trying to talk properly and not hiss through his teeth. “I’ll make you a fresh one right away.”

December 3: Prison kleptomania

Author’s note: this is a drabble, a story of exactly 100 words. It probably would work better with a few more, but if I was only going to write a little bit today, I wanted to make it meaningful somehow. Also, as you will, the stalking mentioned in the prompt didn’t make it into the story. But that’s why it’s just a prompt.

Prompt: Your main character is a materialistic 19-year-old girl. The story begins in a prison. Someone has a stalker. The theme of the story is greed.

She has things stashed in the gap between the wall and her desk. Just little things that she’s able to slip from the other inmates’ pockets in the mess hall or the laundry. There’s a little felt doll a woman’s young daughter made for her, and a lucky penny that belonged to someone else. She’s surprised that one ever got in in the first place, and she considered trying to choke on it once, but in the end, the collection is more important. She knows she ought to stop but she has to have these things. The compulsion never stops.

December 2: A ghostly gambling ring

Author’s note: No, I am just as unsure as you about what three ghosts would actually do with the money they seem to be hoarding in this story. I didn’t think that far. I also apologise for the fact that the ending is a bit weak, but it’s getting late, and I wanted to get this one finished.

Prompt: Main character is a generous, forty-five-year-old man. The setting is a newspaper office. Someone loses a fortune at cards. The theme is the supernatural.

ghost“Hey, Jim, can I borrow ten bucks?”

Jim looked up from his typewriter, and tilted his head at Robbie, who was leaning on his desk. “Again? This is the third time this week, Robbie.”

“I know, mate, I know. I will pay it back, I guarantee you.”

“What are you using it for? I’m happy to help you out, but I hate to think my money is being wasted, Robbie…”

“Nothing untoward, I swear,” Robbie said quickly, his eyes darting around the room but not meeting Jim’s until they lit up with an idea. “Hey, why don’t you come and see for yourself? Tonight?”

“I have a deadline I have to meet,” said Jim, motioning back to his typewriter.

“It doesn’t start until nine. Will that give you enough time?”

“I guess so…”

“Great. I can meet you there.” Robbie waited until Jim had pulled out the ten dollar bill out of his wallet and handed it to him, then he put on his hat and coat and left the office, whistling an out-of-tune melody.

Jim spent another hour working on his piece, and then bought a bite to eat from a street vendor near the office. He didn’t really know whether to meet Robbie at whatever place he was going to tonight or not. He eventually decided to check it out; he’d been lending Robbie far too much this week and he was starting to about where it was going.

He got in a taxi and gave the address Robbie had given him earlier. When he got out a little while later, he was at the dingy end of a long street. He watched a men filed into the building, one after the other, staring blindly at whatever was beyond. Robbie appeared soon after, and though Jim waved, Robbie didn’t see him.

“Robbie?”

Robbie also wandered into the building, his expression becoming vacant as he caught sight of the light coming from inside.

Confused, Jim decided to follow. Inside was a large round table, around which the men were sitting. They all held cards in their hands and there was a pile of cash at one end of the table.

So Robbie was gambling away the money Jim had loaned him. He knew it!

The light Jim had seen from outside came from a candle in the middle of the table. It was giving off a heady scent which made Jim’s eyes water and numbed his senses. He wondered if that was what was blinding all the other men as well.

And then he watched longer, and saw what at first seemed to be mist pass under a doorway on the other side of the room. The mist began to rise, though, and slowly take shape. As Jim watched, three humanoid figures, but transparent, and fuzzy around the edges, took their place at the top of the table, where the pile of money was sitting.

One man at the table laid down a card, and the rest followed suit. Whatever they were playing, it didn’t seem to be any card game Jim was familiar with. They moved as though they were in a trance, each taking his turn. Sometimes cards were picked up, sometimes put down, but there didn’t seem to be any method in their movements.

After an hour or so of this, the ghosts disappeared and the spell seemed to break. The men all threw down their cards.

“Well, that’s me cleared!” said one man.

“Gah, bad night again!” said another.

They all bemoaned their bad luck as they stood up to leave. None of them seemed to notice that no one was leaving with any winnings.

Jim snuck out the door in front of them. He waited until Robbie came out and then grabbed his colleague by the arm.

“Robbie, what’s going on?”

“What? Oh, Jim… just a spot of fun between friends, that’s all…”

“Robbie, you were drugged… or something… didn’t you see them?”

“Who?”

“The ghosts. None of you were playing cards. It was… it was spooky, dammit.”

Robbie laughed and clapped Jim on the shoulder. “My friend, I think you’ve been worrying too much about that next deadline. Come on. Let’s get something to eat, yeah?”

Already, Jim was beginning to doubt what he saw. He nodded, and let Robbie guide him towards the main road. Tomorrow. He’d come back to tomorrow, and tomorrow he’d bring a camera.