First Tries and Second Chances

NeeksWriteWeek1

Maybe you know Neeks? Well, if you don’t, this is a great introduction!

Over at her neekswrite blog, sweet Neeks has started a brand new contest of sorts, called “The Short and the Long of it.” Each week, Neeks will give her readers 3 words to use as prompt for a story or poem. It doesn’t matter how long or short the story/poem, though there are a few standing caveats regarding subject matter and word usage (specifically, no XXX, no swearing, no harming of children). For Week 1, we’ve been given these three words:
Plaid Moisture Defenseless

Now, my own judgment on what counts for XXX and harm is somewhat lapsing, these days, so I’m posting here instead of over at Neeks’s blog. Plus, my entry goes over 500 words, though only a bit. I’m also horribly mired in one particular story right now, so my mind couldn’t jump from these characters as readily as I might have liked. I did tweak them, though, but I think any readers of the sci-fi story will get ’em right away. Anyhow, here goes….

She pinned the clothes to the line, the sum total of her life: two denim coveralls, six colored shirts, three plaid miniskirts, and a pair of baggy trousers. Candy-cane-striped socks and boyshort underwear. And one lone dress, slender and colored crème, little more than a slip, really. But, it always made her feel a real woman. A fact everyone else on the planet conveniently seemed to forget.

Except for him.

Sure, twenty-seven wasn’t what she’d been looking for. But, she’d come to know him for who he was. More than just a hunter, grifter, or rogue. She knew him as a man. She’d heard it in his voice, felt it in his touch, tasted it on his lips. Against them, she’d been defenseless.

Sure, nineteen was young. But, he saw her for who she was. More than just a hacker, mechanic, or getaway driver. He saw her as a woman. He’d told her so in his whispers to God when they were alone beneath the stars, in the pattering of her heart when he’d squeezed her hand as they’d run, and in the tart need of his kiss before he’d made his farewell, followed by a hushed promise to return. Left with only that, she’d felt naked.

That had been a week ago.

Of course, she’d worried he’d been waylaid by roving scavengers or bandits. But, worrying didn’t make the time pass any faster. And, of course, she’d wondered if he’d been diverted by other, more…familial distractions. But, wondering didn’t make it true.

So, she waited. And tinkered. And washed. And put her clothes on the line, watching the dewy wetness in the creases dry beneath the desert sun…until she heard the rustle of tyres in the dirt.

The cloud of his stop was still hanging in the air as he jumped from the driver’s seat, with the spryness of a boy closer to her age than his. He scooped her up with a whoop and spun her about, hushing his own voice against her lips.

She laughed when they parted. “I can’t believe they let you go,” she said, smoothing her fingers over the scar at his temple, where once there had been the insignia of the hunters’ guild.

He grinned up at her, still caught in his arms. “Nobody’s gonna tell us what to do. Not anymore, and never again.”

She just laughed again, flicking away the moisture on her lashes with three quick blinks.

Her tear bounced to his cheek, making his grin soften. He squeezed his arms tighter around her, murmuring, “You ready to marry me, darlin’?”

She bobbed her head, a fresh slew of tears brimming on her lashes. “Just let me get my dress,” she said, and grabbed his face to kiss him again.

She spent her wedding day in that crème slip of a dress, but not her wedding night. That, she spent in his arms and a wind of rough motel sheet that kept them together for what felt like it could be forever.

“I love you,” she whispered during one relaxing lull.

His face, half-lit by the streaming moonlight from the window, smiled down at her. “I never want to be with anyone else,” he said, and bowed his head to hers.

She closed her eyes and waited for the press of his kiss, when something wet touched her lips. Again, wet.

She licked them. Salt.

She opened her eyes but couldn’t scream, despite the dripping blade sticking out her new husband’s neck.

Behind his head, she saw the black mask of a hunter, who muttered, “You won’t.” His eyes flashed to hers, as he added, “Daddy says it’s time to come home.”

This one took me to a place I hadn’t expected. So, I think I’ll borrow from Neeks’s own name, here, and end with… EEK!

Why not try your hand at Neeks’s new contest? It’s great fun!

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12 thoughts on “First Tries and Second Chances

  1. Oh my gosh Mayumi, this was wonderful. Loved the scrabble pieces, how cool. My you DO know how to weave a story (and at short notice too), puts me to shame! This was fine too, for all three caveats. 🙂 Thank you so much for entering, all I can say is WOW this contest is going to be hard to judge. I’m going to have to have some help…
    Thank you for the introduction too, bless you!

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    • Aw, thanks, Neeks! And, you’re very welcome! Your prompt distracted me from work today, which was very much appreciated. 😉

      I can’t guarantee I’ll always be able to participate, but this one was a lot of fun. 🙂

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  2. I did NOT expect that ending at all. Holy cats, Mayumi, that was a fun, twisty read. I really liked how you gave us a flash of your character through the clothes hanging on a line. And I especially loved how you brought the cream-colored dress in for a second mention.

    This would be a fun piece for you to develop. Hint, hint. 😉

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    • Thanks, Kate! This one took me by surprise, too, if you can believe it. Sometimes, you just don’t see your own ending coming. 🙂

      Hmm. Maybe it’s worth a second look-through for a larger story….

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  3. Wow, that was awesome, Mayumi! What a heartbreaking ending, though. (Sniffles) These prompts are 1) simply beyond my abilities and 2) would take too much of my limited writing time away from my WIPs. But I do love reading what you and others come up with!

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    • I very much doubt anything is beyond you, JM…though I completely understand the value of organizing our time and efforts to their best use. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Whoa, not what I expected at the end, but fantastic! But oh, so sad.
    Like you, I’m so immersed in my own set of characters that having to leap to another bunch for prompts like this would leave me frustrated. Sure, I could use my characters for it, but it’ll have to wait until I can dig myself out of the ideas I’m still trying to develop. But we shall see! Great job again with your piece!

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    • Thanks, Kourtney. I don’t normally go to those dark places, but, sometimes, we just have to let the pen take us where it wants to go, not where we try to force it to go. 🙂

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