Writing Prompt #241: Fall Fridays, Number 3

Autumn Images

Image Credit: Unsplash

As the wonderful season of autumn / fall approaches us, I wanted to create an original writing prompt series to celebrate!

I invite everyone who sees this to participate, if you choose.

The idea is to look at the prompt, take at least five minutes on three Fridays in September 2019, and come up with a story/poem/scene, or whatever strikes your fancy with those words.

I may extend this further than the end of September, but we shall see. Until then, have fun! You can use the image at the top of this post – Just please make sure to credit it.

Ready?

Here we go!


  • September 13th: Apple Picking
  • September 20th: Fall Leaves
  • September 27th: Pumpkin Patch

The kids squealed as the bus kicked up dust. They were finally here.

“Field trip!”

Samantha turned toward the window, pressing her forehead to the cool glass. As a first- year teacher, she’d been all gung-ho when school started in early September. She’d had so many fun ideas for her second-grade class.

Now, on a hot bus with three second-grade classes, she was regretting so many things. Not becoming a teacher. Not that. She’d wanted to do that since she’d been in first grade. That was a dream come true.

But, if she’d thought a field trip with 47 kids to the local pumpkin patch on a Friday was a a good idea, she was quickly being proven wrong.

The bus had to be changed at the last minute. She’d experienced the wonderful laws of Murphy at least once every day this week.

She wanted the screaming to stop.

“Mrs. Davis! When can we get off the bus?”

Samantha smiled. The small, sweet voices of her kids were always welcome. It helped quiet the other screaming.

“Just a few more minutes, Ashlyn, okay? I need to do a head count and make sure everyone has their buddy. How does that sound?”

Eight-year-old Ashlyn smiled up at the raven-haired teacher. She’d wanted Mrs. Davis as her teacher this year, prayed for it, but had been assigned Mr. Frost instead.

“Could you go back to your seat, please?”

Ashlyn grinned. “Sure, Mrs. Davis. I’ve been looking forward to this field trip for days!”

Samantha smiled, and hoped Ashlyn hadn’t noticed the pained look in the 24-year-old’s eyes. Kids noticed everything. She knew it was a migraine. And the screaming was still there. Sometimes, she felt like a child, wanting to put her hands over her ears and squeezing her eyes shut, to block it all out.

She breathed deeply, three full times like her therapist had been teaching her. A welcome hush fell over the bus. As she stood next to the driver with the clipboard, all eyes focused on her.

“Okay, Treetop Elementary second-graders! Who’s ready to get this field trip started?”

The bus erupted. The kids’ yells and screams drowned out the others. Samantha smiled, grateful for the momentary distraction.

As Samantha ran through the rules, head count, buddies, and questions, she started to relax. Field trips were a lot of work. Almost too much. But, seeing the kids’ excitement bubbling over like a cauldron was completely worth it.

Mr. Frost looked at Samantha, giving her an encouraging nod. She appreciated the handful of colleagues that had already taken her under their wing. She was glad Mr. Frost and Ms. Gaddis were part of the second-grade team.

“Okay, Treetop second-graders! Let’s get off this bus and take over the pumpkin patch!”

As Samantha stepped aside, she was proud of the kids. They were respectful, and were following instructions and directions really well. Mr. Frost and Ms. Gaddis took over. Samantha stayed behind until the last kid was off the bus, checking for any stragglers or issues. Vomit was not fun, but important to look for.

Finding nothing amiss, Samantha let out another breath. Mr. Frost turned and gave her a thumbs-up.

She climbed off the bus, thanking the driver, smiling as the kids were ready to disappear into the sea of orange pumpkins and the rest of the fall colors.

The screaming was still there. But it wasn’t coming from the kids.

She steadied herself, focusing on a place to sit down. As she found a hay bale, the voices inside her head were telling her horrible things. Frightening things.

She looked up, trying desperately to focus on something else. Anything else. She smiled again as she watched the kids enjoy everything the pumpkin patch had to offer. And they’d only been there for five minutes.

She knew she couldn’t sit on the hay bale forever. At that moment, seven-year-old Fred came into Samantha’s view.

“Come on, Mrs. Davis! I picked out a pumpkin already!”

Samantha smiled. Fred took her hand, and pulled her toward his prize pumpkin, chattering about carving it, toasted pumpkin seeds, and picking out his Halloween costume.

She kept glancing at Fred. He was a godsend. All the kids were.

Fred’s small, excited voice drowned out the others. But, Samantha knew, with dread, the others, the scary ones, would return.


This concludes the September writing prompts!

I have decided to continue this series into October! Come back next Friday for another prompt post!

If you do decide to participate, please link back to this post. Thanks!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Writing Prompt #240: Fall Fridays, Number 2

Autumn Images

Image Credit: Unsplash

As the wonderful season of autumn / fall approaches us, I wanted to create an original writing prompt series to celebrate!

I invite everyone who sees this to participate, if you choose.

The idea is to look at the prompt, take at least five minutes on three Fridays in September 2019, and come up with a story/poem/scene, or whatever strikes your fancy with those words.

I may extend this further than the end of September, but we shall see. Until then, have fun! You can use the image at the top of this post – Just please make sure to credit it.

Ready?

Here we go!


  • September 13th: Apple Picking
  • September 20th: Fall Leaves
  • September 27th: Pumpkin Patch

CW: This is a fictional story, but it does contain violence, guns, and characters who are minors.


The remaining fall leaves on the front lawn were scattered by shotgun blasts.

Adam’s eyes went wide as his wife expertly used the 20-gauge. He had reluctantly agreed to buy it as the leaves had started to turn, strictly as a home defense method after they’d moved into their new house over the summer.

He hadn’t seen Catherine so passionate in months, but he knew she was acting mainly in fear. She took all the safety classes, even joined three Facebook groups for shotgun owners and home defense.

He opened his mouth to say something, but Catherine’s eyes met his. His mouth closed as he reached for the baseball bat under the stairs. Catherine was in war mode.

The storm door, now peppered with pellet holes, made Adam wince, but knew Catherine was only using it because the threat was now real. This “gang” had been tormenting them for months, and Catherine finally had had enough on that cold day in late November.

“Get off my property! NOW!”

The gang, originally ready for what had looked like an easy break-in on the day after Thanksgiving, slowly realized the shotgun was aimed at them.

“Guys, we should go.”

“Yeah, yeah, that’s probably a good idea.”

“We picked the wrong house.”

“RUN!”

The gang backed up, almost in unison, and crunched the red and orange maple leaves as their sneakers picked up speed.

The five gang members narrowly escaped another round of pellets as they hit the sidewalk. Aside from the deafening blasts, sirens were coming closer.

As they ran down the block, someone’s shoelace loosened enough, and they tripped.

The first police cars pulled up before the gang could disappear around the next corner.

“Ouch! My arm!”

Officer Jones saw the gang member on the ground, clutching his elbow.

“Are you okay, son?”

“I … think so. Ouch, damn it. My arm – I think it’s broken.”

Officer Jones assessed him quickly, waving over another officer.

“Watch your language, okay, son?”

“He’s not shot, thank goodness. But he does have a broken arm or elbow. Call it in. We need to get the others.”

Officers Graham and Rodriguez hustled down the street. Others joined them via calls on the radio.

About five minutes later, two out of the three were struggling against the officers. The fourth, the self-proclaimed “runner,” had gotten away. Two other officers were headed to find him.

The mix of fall leaves blew against the officers and suspects. None of the suspects had been shot, amazingly, and the deafening blast sounds had ceased.

“Let’s see some ID, please.”

“Back pants pocket, in my wallet, Officer.”

“Here we go. Oh, my God …”

“What is it, Jones?”

“It’s an ID from Heritage Heights. Middle School.”

Two other Heritage Heights Middle School IDs were discovered. The gang members hung their heads, wise to not utter a word. Their faces were ashen as the officers led them back to Adam and Catherine’s house.

Catherine peacefully surrendered the 20-gauge through the intact back screen porch. The entire neighborhood knew the front of the house, the lawn, the sidewalk were all part of the crime scene.

She turned to Adam, and cried into his sweater.

“It’s okay, baby. You stood your ground. It’s all going to be okay.”

The fall leaves were finally still as the chaos of November 26th ended, and the investigation began.


Come back next Friday for another prompt post!

If you do decide to participate, please link back to this post. Thanks!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Writing Prompt #239: Fall Fridays, Number 1

Autumn Images

Image Credit: Unsplash

As the wonderful season of autumn / fall approaches us, I wanted to create an original writing prompt series to celebrate!

I invite everyone who sees this to participate, if you choose.

The idea is to look at the prompt, take at least five minutes on three Fridays in September 2019, and come up with a story/poem/scene, or whatever strikes your fancy with those words.

I may extend this further than the end of September, but we shall see. Until then, have fun! You can use the image at the top of this post – Just please make sure to credit it.

Ready?

Here we go!


  • September 13th: Apple Picking
  • September 20th: Fall Leaves
  • September 27th: Pumpkin Patch

“What makes you think that going apple picking was a good idea?!”

Cheryl winced at Sam’s words. She tried to listen to him, while holding back hot tears.

“I thought this was going to be a weekend away, Cheryl – A weekend just for us. But, having the kids come along with us? That’s not a weekend away in my book!”

Two-year-old Abby stopped examining her apple, and looked up at her mom. Her face said it all.

Cheryl swayed back and forth, trying to see if baby Ezra was still asleep in the carrier on her chest. At ten pounds, her shoulders ached. He was a beautiful baby, her answer to prayer for a boy, but heavy.

Sam continued. “I can’t believe we drove all this way for this. I would rather be anywhere else than here.”

Cheryl sighed. She loved Sam, but he lost his filter when he got frustrated. This, this was borderline anger though. And it wasn’t the first time.

Abby had moved on to another apple, but didn’t speak. Or dance. Or sing. Cheryl let one tear slip, hoping it didn’t smear the makeup she’d worked so hard to apply that morning.

As Sam started to berate her, growing louder among the beautiful apple orchard, Cheryl adjusted Ezra’s weight. He sighed slightly, and Cheryl knew he wanted to nurse.

“Cheryl? Are you listening to me?”

As she got Ezra settled, she looked at her husband. She nodded, and turned her attention back to Ezra.

“There’s a good boy, my sweet boy.”

“You’re not paying attention to a word I’m saying. Fine. I won’t say anything at all.”

Sam crossed his arms. Cheryl patted Ezra’s back, and kept an eye on Abby. She hated the silent treatment. But only a few words came out of her mouth, with the perfect red lipstick.

“I’m sorry, Sam. I’m sorry. I ruined this. All of this.”

Abby finally spoke up, with her sweet voice breaking the painful silence.

“Mommy, can we pick more apples?”

Cheryl felt another tear escape, but smiled at her firstborn.

“Of course, sweetheart. Let’s go this way.”

Abby smiled, and started singing to herself as Cheryl took her sticky hand. Ezra finished nursing, and burped. Cheryl smiled a little as she walked away from Sam, leaving his plaid shirt and quilted vest behind. She wasn’t sure what was in store after this, but she didn’t care one bit. Her children, sweet and innocent, gave her courage.


Come back next Friday for another prompt post!

If you do decide to participate, please link back to this post. Thanks!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Writing Prompt #239: August WIP Writing Challenge BIRTHDAY BASH

August WIP Writing Challenge Birthday Bash

Image Credit: Didi Oviatt

I love Didi’s WIP writing challenges!

Here’s the link to her August challenge:


Hunter was feeling low. He really didn’t like birthdays.

As he wallowed, his phone buzzed.

Happy Birthday!

Hunter managed a small smile. Bethany was so kind. And, unfortunately, Hunter had the hots for her.

As he composed his reply, more texts came in. Hunter’s heart rose out of his stomach, ever so slightly.

People really do care, he thought.

I do have friends.

Then, a puzzling text from Lizzie came in.

Hey baby, wanna meet me at the arcade tonight? It’s half-price!

Hunter shook his head. He loved how Lizzie tried, but sometimes, she tried too hard. And she knew full well how much he hated his birthday. But, she wanted to pull him out of his misery, in whatever way she felt like could work.

Hunter smiled slightly, contemplating his response.

From Lizzie: Baby? Are you okay?

From Belle: Happy Birthday, Hunter! Hope you’re doing something fun tonight!

From Bill: Enjoy your birthday, dude! Can’t wait to celebrate soon!

Irritated, Hunter nearly threw his phone against the wall. That’s how the last two got broken.

He thought better of it. Pacing the room, he only texted Lizzie back.

Sure, sweetie. The arcade sounds like fun. What time?

Lizzie responded within seconds.

6:00. And don’t be late!Β 

Hunter drove the 10 miles to the arcade, lost in the music. He smiled a bit wider, excited to see Lizzie.

At 6:02, he walked into the arcade. Lizzie greeted him with a long kiss, a flick of the tongue, and then she took his hand and rounded the corner.

“SURPRISE!! Happy Birthday, Hunter!”

Hunter’s eyes went wide, and then filled with tears. Everyone was there – Lizzie, Bethany, Will, Belle, Bill, Robert, Adam, and a few others.

“I’m definitely surprised. Thank you.”

A man of few words, Hunter felt his heart lift higher. He hugged Lizzie tightly, whispered his thanks, and was simply overwhelmed.

As Bill raised the toast of soft drinks to another trip around the sun, Hunter’s smile grew wider.

“Well, friends, this is the first birthday where I haven’t felt miserable. Thank you, Lizzie. Thanks, everyone. Now, let’s shut up and play some games!”


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Writing Prompt #238: “Imagination Plantation: European Vacation”

I was nominated for this writing challenge by Kristian, the lovely author of Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table. Thanks, Kristian, for nominating me!

Here’s the link to Kristian’s post, where I was nominated:

The challenge, Imagination Plantation, was originally created by Nova, the amazing author of Nova’s Namaste 365 Online.


4 Simple Rules:

Write me a short paragraph about what’s happening in this image.

Create a pingback to this image.

Tag three bloggers.

Reuse this same imageΒ πŸ™‚Β Let’s see how many stories can come from the same one.


Kristin shivered as the plane landed. As she turned off her iPod and listened to the final announcements of the flight attendants, she felt her right hand being gently squeezed. It was comforting.

“K? Are you okay?”

She smiled, squeezing his hand back.

“Yeah. I think so. My stomach always drops when planes land.”

Brennan smiled, hardly believing they had just landed in Germany. Their first time overseas.

As Brennan stroked her hand, Kristin’s thoughts drifted toward the cities and towns they would be exploring for the next 10 days. She was always nervous during plane trips, but for some reason, she was incredibly nervous about this trip. It was odd – She hadn’t felt this nervous around Brennan since the very beginning of their Camp experience. That was years ago.

She started to relax as their Uber left the Munich airport and headed toward the German countryside. The weather was absolutely beautiful, very unseasonable for the middle of August.

Brennan noticed Kristin had drifted off, her head laying on his shoulder. He smiled as his lips grazed her forehead. He caught a glimpse of a sleepy smile.

He took in the sights. It was about a 30-mile drive from the airport. There were so many trees – Far more than he’d ever seen in Texas. The amount of foliage and nature was rivaling Camp in Maine, and that was hard to top. He was in awe the entire drive. There were rivers, bridges, cathedrals, and stunning architecture. It was almost overwhelming. He was a little sad Kristin was missing this, but he thought it better she sleep. They had the next 10 days to take in everything. Germany was just the beginning.

The Uber driver easily navigated the steep, gravel-lined hill toward their first stop. Brennan’s smile grew wider. He remembered how excited, positively giddy Kristin was when she’d found it on Airbnb. It looked like a castle in the photos. And, in real life, unfolding before Brennan’s eyes, it was true.

“Hey, Kristin … Sweetheart?”

She groaned slightly, yawned, and opened her eyes.

“Yes, Brennan? What is it?”

He kissed her forehead, and then brushed her lips.

“Welcome to your castle, darling. Let’s start our European vacation.”


Nominations


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Writing Prompt #237: “April WIP Writing Challenge: ‘Road Trip'”

Road Trip

Found through Didi Oviatt

Here’s the link to Didi’s challenge post:


As John finishing packing the Bel Air, Evelyn sat back in the passenger seat. She pressed her hands to my stomach, and sighed. She lost herself in her thoughts.

This is a good thing. I think. We both need to get away for a few days. Think about us. Think about the future. Our future child.

I know John’s been stressed about work. So have I. But, everyone needs a vacation now and then, right?

Evelyn’s thoughts were interrupted by the slam of the trunk.

John smiled at his beautiful fiancee as he opened the car door. Although he was an admitted workaholic, and recovering alcoholic, Evelyn’s idea to take a few days off felt good.

“Are you ready to hit the road, my dear?”

He leaned over to kiss Evelyn on the cheek. She smiled, and grabbed his hand. She moved it around her growing belly. The slightest butterfly kick startled them both.

“Oh, Evelyn! Wow. This is so neat. When did this start?”

She smiled.

“Last night. But you were sound asleep. I think this vacation is going to do some good. You haven’t slept well in months.”

John started the engine, and hung his head.

“Running a construction company is challenging. And we have lots of deadlines. But, for the next few days, we don’t have to worry about anything. Come on, darlin’, Let’s get out of the city!”

John carefully navigated the Bel Air out of Chicago. They didn’t really have a destination, just driving along Route 66 to see the sights. They both were long-overdue for some fresh air and R & R.

They played the radio for a while, but eventually encountered mostly static. Evelyn didn’t mind. She could see the stress slowly melting away from John, and that made her happier more than anything.

They both worked hard at John’s company, and they fell hard for each other shortly after Evelyn was hired. Several months ago, through a co-worker, Evelyn figured out she was pregnant.

Thankfully, John was a good man. He not only stuck around, but he’d proposed at the groundbreaking of their biggest project – A new, innovative, revolutionary neighborhood designed for everyone.

Evelyn was lost in thought again when the radio went from static to music again. She smiled, and reached for John’s hand. Her beautiful engagement ring sparkled in the spring sunshine.

“Do you have the map, dear?”

Evelyn leaned forward and pulled out the road map. It was well-worn. John had used it many times on his travels back and forth from Chicago to other architectural sights. His biggest “hero” was Frank Lloyd Wright.

However, taking this trip on Route 66 was different. And in the best way. John smiled, stealing glances at his pregnant bride-to-be. This trip would be legendary. A few days away on the surface, but one of the first trips with Evelyn, out of the city, and not on business.

As the sun started to set, she started to notice the colorful, painted billboards for a diner and a motel next door. Evelyn laughed, putting a hand on her stomach again.

“Our child is signaling they’re hungry, dear. And I am, too.”

John smiled and took her hand.

“We’re in for the adventure of our lives, dear. Let’s eat. And celebrate.”


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

 

 

Writing Prompt #236: The ABC Book Challenge (The Letter Z)

The ABC Book Challenge - L

This is it! The last letter of the alphabet for The ABC Book Challenge!

Memorable Books Starting with the Letter β€œZ”:

47301

Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Wartime Sarajevo

  • I first read this book in high school. It inspired me to write my Extended Essay for the IB Program in Peace and Conflict Studies, to study the effects of the Bosnian and Kosovo conflicts on children.

Books I’d Love to Read Starting with the Letter β€œZ”:

18329840

Zeitoun

  • A true story springing from Hurricane Katrina.

12334

Zelda

  • I’ve been fascinated with F. Scott Fitzgerald since high school. With that fascination comes wanting to learn more about his family.

What books have you read, or want to read, that start with the letter Z? Let me know!


Thank you so much for following along with me on this incredible journey! I started it in July 2018, and here we are, roughly nine months later. I’ve really enjoyed writing and researching new books, and remembering the good ones I have read.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚