Tag Archives: 2000s

opening sentences

Opening sentences:

 The sound of breaking glass was even more startling than usual.
 At first, it looked like a cat.
 She opened the door, expecting an American bathroom.
 Something just didn’t look right.
 “I’ll be right there!”
 It looked like an ordinary boat.
 It was hard to see.
 He felt dizzy.
 The snapping was driving him mad.
 She tried to think she was open-minded, but then she met __________.
 It looked like an ordinary school.
 She knew what was missing right away.
 “Just pretend it’s chicken,” she reminded herself.

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WIP story starter

“Just pretend it’s chicken,” I reminded myself. I tried to smile as I took delicate bites, knowing that my hosts were watching me. After I swallowed a few morsels, they began eating as well.

“So how long are you planning to stay?” This was from the woman.

“Just until I find what I need.”

“And that would be … ?”

“A father for my baby.”

The silence was deafening. Actually, it did sound like the man choked on something. I couldn’t help it. It wasn’t my idea to return to this planet and mate, especially with a male. I was quite happy with A’Tira, thank you very much!

Unfortunately, having a womb carried with it certain requirements. I only, by law, had to give birth once though. I wasn’t also required to raise the child myself if I didn’t want to. I hadn’t even thought about that part yet. I just wanted to find, um, a donor, and get it over with.

“Have anyone in mind, dear?”

“Well, no. I don’t know where to start.” I ate another bite of the … chicken.

poss part of nano 2005 or story starter

Mary Grace Falk was an adorable baby, and her parents envisioned their firstborn daughter to be cute, subdued, and holy in her future First Communion, Confirmation, graduation, and wedding photos. Instead of saying “It’s a girl!” the nurse should have said “It’s a new person who’s a total alien to you!”

Alas, Mary Grace stayed an alien. She did see herself as holy, and set out to sanctify the world one annoyed person at a time. As an adult, she became a nun and teacher. The boys adored her because unlike their other teachers, Sr. Immaculata understood that boys were just different. The girls loathed her, though, and called her Sr. Mary Evil behind her back. While she saw boys as a condemned building to be tolerated, she saw girls as a fixer-upper. The girls were perfectly happy reading fiction, wearing pants on the weekend, and putting barrettes and other adornments in their hair, and weren’t the least bit interested in being fixed. In fact, it had become a tradition for girls in her class to get their ears pierced the last day of school, just to annoy her.

The other sisters in her convent were no more enamored of her. Although she was physically small and skinny, she quickly filled any room she entered. She objected to the television on, unless it was “Touched By An Angel” or “Mother Angelica.” Even the nightly news was too worldly as well as unnecessarily frivolous. She didn’t approve of the lavish meals in the convent, either. Spaghetti for supper should be simply that: pasta and sauce. What kind of poverty included salad and garlic bread?

Nevertheless, the sisters in her convent must’ve learned something from her fine example of piety. When Sr. Boniface – as the lowest in the pecking order – went to see why Sr. Immaculata wasn’t at morning prayer and found her dead on the floor of her bedroom, the good sisters decided that holiness came first. They completed their prayer routine before calling a worldly ambulance.

Paragraph story or story starter

It wasn’t until after my sword gleamed anew that I realized maybe an election would’ve been simpler. No matter – being queen and sole monarch beat washing laundry in a river by a long shot! I sheathed the sword and strode to the balcony. The smoldering ruins – and memories of my uncle – would soon blow away.

Fishy Poem

My REALLY, REALLY bad poem – was an instant poem I wrote to teach my third graders about rhyming poetry:

I have a fish.
His name is Fred.
He’s on a dish.
I think he’s dead.

NaNoWriMo 2006 — Chapter Three

Chapter Three

The first shift took their positions in pairs. Arthur Bradford was paired with Zeke Jefferson.

“What sort of work did you do in Torthúil?” Arthur asked the younger man.

“I was a weaver. Baskets and stuff.” Zeke grabbed a hunk of grass, bending it back and forth to test it. “If the grass is like this stuff where we end up, I should be able to work with it. And you? What did you do?”

“I was a teacher. Before that I was in building construction.”

Zeke looked at the older man more closely. “Um, can I ask you something personal?”

“OK.”

“Well, I’m not good at ages. Were you born … here?”

Arthur heard the same question each year from his students. “Yes. My parents were born on the space station. They were kids when they landed here. I’m way too young to have been born there.”

Zeke was fascinated, and alert. He also wanted to avoid any questions about his relationship with Amy — since her husband was supposed to be here, not her lover. “Your grandparents … were they …?”

“No, they weren’t in the mutiny party. They were simply trapped along with everyone else. That’s all my parents would tell me. They wouldn’t tell me why the mutiny party refused to return to Earth when they were supposed to, or why they didn’t just stay in space. I did hear once, though, that the space station people were primarily scientists and so they didn’t have the experience to overthrow Wilson’s group.” Arthur sighed. He did wonder sometimes what it would be like to grow up on Earth. His grandparents didn’t talk about it much when he was a child, and they died when he was very young.

Suddenly Debit and Credit were standing, their fur equally erect. All of the guards noticed right away, and held their weapons pointing outward, although they couldn’t see anything. It was the time between the moons, and so the only light aside from the stars came from their fires. Unfortunately, all the fires did was make them easy to spot. They made it harder to see at a distance.

Arthur looked at the dogs and faced the direction they faced – which happened to be toward the mountains. He moved sideways away from the fire, as Zeke watched to protect him. Eventually he was in an position to see pairs of glowing eyes. He counted three pairs. These could be native animals, or descendants of some experimental hybrid, or … no real way to know. He returned to his position with Zeke.

“There’s some sort of animals out there. Three, I’m guessing, but of course there’d be a lot more somewhere.”

Zeke shivered. “What do you suggest we do?”

“Well, if we just sit here, it may make us look like supper. I think if there are guards circling our perimeter, we’ll be safer. We can take turns. One of each pair can go to the next fire pot. Like this. I’ll go over to that spot. When I get there, one of them will move on. When someone gets here, eventually, you move on to the next spot. Got it?”
“I think so. But won’t that make me alone for a long time?”

“Hmm. Well maybe if those guys on the other side see what’s happening, they’ll catch on. Then you won’t be alone for long.”

The movement of the patrolling colonists kept the animals away for the night. In the morning everyone ate, and the camp was packed. Harris Cambridge led his group onward, toward the mountains, but mindful of the fact that there were animals of some sort ahead.

“We should be heading away from the animals! We don’t know what they are, or how dangerous they are.” Fr. Casey was much more used to being a leader than a follower.

Harris sighed. “Right. In our case, that’d be like walking around the long way to avoid a grocery store. If there are animals ahead that think we’re edible, then they’re edible to us as well! Our food won’t last forever.” He tried not to look at the priest. How did he manage to end up with one whose idea of roughing it was to open his ice box himself? But colonists weren’t screened as rigorously as they were in the beginning. Really, as long as you weren’t a direct descendant of Thadden Wilson or his mutinous group, you were accepted for the trip. Too bad.

The group of two hundred trudged along a second day – their first full day – without incident. It was a remarkably boring day, without change of scenery or activity. On the plus side, the weather was nice, and it was easy enough to avoid being with people you found distasteful.

The following morning, Sr. Matthias was the first to notice it. “What’s that? Ahead of us?” she asked of no one in particular. Sleepy eyes turned toward the mountains where she was pointing.

“Trees, silly.” January looked at the nun, who was perhaps her age. She just didn’t understand the whole nun thing. This one couldn’t be all that bright if she didn’t know trees when she saw them! Maybe that explained … well….

“I know they’re trees! But why are there so many of them? And why are they so close together?” More people started to look. That really was an awful lot of trees, not just the occasional tree here or there.

Arthur Bradford broke the silence. “I’ll bet I know where those mystery animals live.”

NaNoWriMo 2006 — Chapter One

Chapter One

Daria looked at her sister’s family, clustered in the living room. “We can only take three of the kids with us.” She turned to her husband for support.

“Three. I’m sorry. That’s all we can afford, what with the cost of the passage on top of raising them afterwards. But we will take three.” With that, Ricardo Blake excused himself and went into the kitchen to put the tea on.

The children looked back and forth between their mother and their aunt. Finally their eyes settled on their mother. The final decision would be hers. The small woman cleared her throat, not returning her children’s gazes. “I can’t do this.”

Just then, Ricardo returned with the copper tea tray. However, on the tray were eight cups up-side down but no tea. He motioned to one of the children to approach. The 12-year-old boy brushed the curls out of his eyes slightly and approached his uncle. “Pick a cup, Raúl.” The boy turned over a cup. A black wooden knight fell out. Ricardo nodded at his nephew, who stepped aside slightly. Raúl then motioned to his siblings.

Luz was next. She carefully turned over the sturdy mug as if it were the finest china. Pawn. She went and sat back down by her mother. Each child took a turn, by age. Esperanza, white knight. Carlos, pawn. Manolo, pawn. Diego, pawn. Marta, pawn. Julio, knight. It was decided.

Raúl’s mother stifled a cry. “I’ll bring them tomorrow with their things. If that’s ok. That’ll give you time to get the paperwork done.” She got up to leave, but turned around after a few steps. Daria went over to her sister and they held each other. Then the children and their mother wordlessly left.

Ricardo went back into the kitchen and got the actual tea things this time. As he poured the hot tea, he mused aloud. “I’m not so sure about this. What if they don’t let us take the kids with us? And even if they do, really, what are we doing?”

“We’re giving them a better life. And helping the ones left behind as well. Really. Besides, we are a family already.”

“But are you sure Father Orlando will do this?”

“It’s all arranged. Tomorrow we take Raúl, Esperanza, and Julio to the church and have them baptized. We’ll be listed as their parents, and the baptismal document will be enough. They don’t check that closely any more. As long as the tickets are paid for, they don’t care!” Daria sighed and took another drink of her tea.

Ricardo got up and sat next to his wife. He put his arm around her and held her close. “You’ll see. Everything will be okay. We’ll have a family, and a new life. For all of us. Really. We’ll be fine.”

***

“For our Sisters who are about to embark on a journey, that they travel in safety, we pray to the Lord.”

“Lord, hear our prayer,” responded the congregation. While some actually looked like nuns, with veils and various styles of habits, others looked like perfectly ordinary women. Each of these had quite a firm opinion about this trip, as well as the three who were chosen to undertake it.

Sr. Damian glanced around the Motherhouse chapel.  It was hard to believe that soon she’d be traveling with only two other sisters, and never see the rest of her religious family again.  Not that she was close to all of them; there were certainly members of her community who drove her up the
wall.
In fact, there was a time when she thought that Sr. Gregory was so pompous that … no, she shouldn’t think those things in chapel. Plus, she’d have to put the past behind her; Sr. Gregory was one of the chosen. The third was Sr. Matthias. She was pretty young, and it was a surprise that she’d be going along. She certainly hadn’t been in the community very long – only a decade or so. But that’s who the Superior General picked, and that was that. Sr. Damian put her Office book away and followed the trail of sisters to the refectory.

***

Mitch rolled over and looked at his wife. He was really surprised, actually, that she’d agreed to embark on this journey. They hadn’t been that close lately, but he knew the trip would be just the ticket to get their marriage back on track. It was already beginning to work, and they hadn’t even left yet. But now she was taking more interest in her appearance and had even started wearing perfume again. Not that he actually cared for that scent, but it was nice to know she was making an effort!

***

“No, you’re not taking the dogs! I have the list right here of what we’re allowed to take, and it doesn’t mention dogs.” Louise looked at her 16-year-old son, knowing what was coming.

“Well, it doesn’t say we can’t take them either, does it? And dogs might come in handy! Keep us safe, and all that.”

“And warm,” added his sister. “If it turns out to be colder than we think, the dogs can at least sleep with us!”

“Fine. You go down to the office tomorrow and get permission. I have too much to do before we leave.”

“But what if we just happen to have them with us? Once they see the dogs, they’ll see the wisdom of having them with us, and they won’t refuse us.” Mike looked back at Michelle. They were good at this, from years of practice.

“Plus, if they decide to turn the dogs away, they’ll have to take them themselves. It’ll be too late for us to make arrangements for them!” Michelle noticed an older man enter the room. “Grandpa, tell mom we need to take the dogs with us!”

“Actually, I was thinking of that myself, honey. We don’t know what we’ll find once we get there, or even along the way. The earlier colonists didn’t exactly send back postcards. And if they didn’t bring any dogs at all, then our two dogs will mean … well … that we’ll have dogs there.” Arthur Bradford had grown rather fond of Debit and Credit himself in the past two years.

***

“How will we feed them? Once we get across the Bay of Sorrows, provided we all survive that nightmare, we’re facing the unknown the rest of the trip. But I’m willing to bet we’re not going to run across any stores.”

Arthur had thought some of this out already. “We’re going where some colonizing parties have gone before us, but not so many that they would’ve already killed off all the wildlife. These were bred to be hunting dogs, in spite of what your husband named them!”

“Well, you guys have to work out the dogs thing yourself. I have too much to do getting the rest of us ready!”

***

January Peterson looked again at the list in her hand. She already had the paperwork saying she’d passed the physical and gotten all her shots. Her outstanding debts were paid off, and being single meant she didn’t need a consent affidavit from a spouse. The packing was going to be the hard part – deciding what to take along and leave behind. She only had one crate she could fill, aside from what she could carry herself. Tomorrow she’d see if she could find out if anyone else single was going; perhaps they could travel together and only bring one set of cooking utensils to share, freeing up space for both of them.

***

Fr. Casey looked around. Packing would be the easy part. He just hoped the nuns in the travel party knew how to make communion hosts! Surely he had instructions for that somewhere. Too bad these weren’t diocesan nuns. He had no say in who was chosen. There was nothing he could do about that now. As long as they understood the need to take care of the priest – cooking, cleaning, etc., then he’d be free to do his important work. There was some Protestant pastor coming along as well. Jim something. Kiesling. Well, as long as he stuck to his own people and didn’t get any ideas about collaboration, there wouldn’t be any problems.

***

Harris Cambridge looked at his list. He divided them into Families, Singles, and Others. The nuns and priests were Others. Tomorrow when they all met, he’d have to get the names of the three Blake kids. Including himself, there were 200 people in this travel party, as there had been in the earlier ones. He just hoped he had the skills and good luck to lead them all. Once they found the previous colonists, they’d have to decide if they wanted to join them or start their own town. Of course, that would depend in part on how many survived the trip.