There Was Room: A Short Story

The door whispered on its hinges as her fingers gently pushed it open, her stomach leaping as the light from the window washed over the scene inside the room. 

Tiptoeing as not to disturb the scene, Nyla eased forward. She pressed her eyes closed pushing away the tears that had misted over her vision. Cale, her young landlord, lay across her bed, his eyes racing back and forward behind closed lids, his lips framed with touches of a sandy blond beard, just slightly open.

He was sound asleep with Nyla’s baby boy snuggled against his chest, nestled within Cale’s large hands.

Nyla hadn’t been gone away that long, maybe an hour or two. She had to make the rush to the market before the sun dipped below the horizon. They were fresh out of flour and salt, and Nyla needed that in order to get supper ready.

That was part of her living agreement, she could stay on at Cale’s farm, as long as she kept the house clean, took care of the lighter chores in the morning, and kept hot meals on the table for when he came in from the fields.

It was a more than a generous arrangement for Nyla and baby Asher. No one else was willing to give a home to a woman and her fatherless child in exchange for a few small chores and meals. It was nothing short of a blessing for them even though she could tell it was very hard on Cale.

She had only been in the small town for a few short hours when the local gossip let it slip that Cale was a young widower who had lost his wife and son during childbirth in the winter of the previous year. The way that Cale had looked at her and Asher with such pained eyes made it clear he was making a big sacrifice by not only opening up his home to a stranger but opening up old wounds that had hardly had a chance to heal.

Asher was only three weeks old when they came to live on with Cale. Nyla’s Ma and Pa had put them both out without even looking back, told Nyla she and shamed the family for the last time and had done a fine job of it by her 20th year.

They let her stay at home until she was fit enough to move out, and become nothing more than a bad memory for them to think about every now and again. All of it had made Nyla so miserably sad that she couldn’t help but name her babe Asher; happy and blessed. She was determined that no matter what, she and her boy were going to be happy and blessed.

Looking at him now, chubby six-month-old cheeks flushed with the warmth of sleep, and mouth parted open like Cale’s, made Nyla happy in a way she wasn’t quite sure she had the right to be.

Cale was not hers after all. He had made it clear his heart was not interested in opening, and for the first few months Nyla could do nothing short of agree. Yes, she had determined to be happy with Asher, but that happiness did not involve a man.

Now, she just didn’t know what to think.

That wasn’t completely true. She was thinking, and at that moment the one thing that occupied her mind was the curiosity of how soft Cale’s lips might be, and how they would taste should she still a kiss from them.

Throwing precaution to the wind, reasoning that he would never know even though she was certain she would blush beet red every time she looked at him afterward, Nyla leaned forward and gently kissed his lips.

She would have ended the kiss just as quickly as she had started it had Cale’s hand not gently cupped the back of her head and deepened it sweetly. He calmly let her go, sliding his hand down the inner part of her arm, his emerald green eyes gazing curiously and contentedly up at her.

Nyla touched her lips with her finger’s as Cale laced his fingers with those of her other hand. His smile taking hold of her like nothing else had before. His reception had startled her more than her boldness but the welcome assurance of his warmth only served to drive home a point she hadn’t even realized she was aiming for. There was room in her and Asher’s world, room for another to join them in their joy.

THE END.

Love is obviously back in the air here. But it took five minutes past the 20-minute mark to make its statement. As always, I had a great time writing this. It gave me warm fuzzies! I did edit and add to the last chapter, as the previous ending was kind of abrupt. These are my results for MONDAY’S MUSE WRITING PROMPT APRIL 16, 2018.

*Originally posted July 2nd, 2015.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

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Me Too: A Short Story

 She couldn’t stop laughing, not after the words that had just arbitrarily slipped from her mouth, and especially not with him laughing as well. 

It was an unfortunate nervous tick of hers–incessant laughter. She’d had it since she was a child. When she was nervous, she laughed. Scared. She laughed. Angry. She laughed. She even laughed when she as sad. Her round of giggles at her grandmother’s funeral had her ushered out of the wake and into the parking lot.

Sure, she laughed like most people, when most people laughed, but when she was undeniably embarrassed, she laughed non-stop with horrifying honks and snorts. She didn’t know if he was laughing with her, for nervous sake, or if her mortifying animal sounds were causing him to laugh at her.

But what if he was laughing out of pity, laughing because of what she’d said? The thought made her choke and pressed tears from her eyes. They tumbled down her cheeks into the chlorinated water between them. She pressed her eyes closed, too afraid to look at him anymore, even as red embarrassment crept up her neck and face.

She heard his laughter die, felt it really, and with the loss of its timber, she felt her stomach fall even more. As best she could, she suppressed the giggling that tickled her throat and covered her face with her hands. More tears pressed against the backs of her lids and for mercy’s sake, she prayed her palms would keep them hidden.

Her breath caught when she felt his fingers gently pulling against hers. She nearly fainted when she felt his lips claim hers with a sweetness that rivaled honey.

The tingle of his breath swirling in her ear caused her laughter to cease altogether and a smile to shape her lips.

“Me too,” he’d whispered. “I love you too.”

THE END

*I so enjoyed seeing this tale unfold. Romance, who doesn’t love the sweetness of love? These are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt April 2nd, 2018.

 

 

More Than Hours: A Short Story

He stumbled through the darkness, the light at his back forcing everything into angrier shadows that toyed with his perception. His fingers curved and clawed at nothing as if to anchor himself to where he was.

Where was he? He felt as if he’d been in a terrible accident like his body had been jettisoned, head-first through plate glass, accept there was no road nearby, no sound of distress from on-lookers who’d had the misfortune of watching him play with death.

No. He was alone, disoriented and meandering through dark woods with the brightest of light ebbing down into a dim glow around him. He stopped and gulped at air, wishing it was water. How he thirsted. His heart thrumming an erratic tattoo in his chest, he lifted his eyes upward and glanced through the canopy of the trees.

Dark foliage and branches like skeletal fingers wove above him, yielding very little ground to the setting sun above. It was dusk here. Here, not where he’d been only moments ago.

He’d stepped through time. How much time…he didn’t know. He felt his chest tense as his lungs fought to take in air. His fingers clumsily met with the cold metal of a ticking clock dangling from around his neck.

The Ministry of Time, but not the sanctioned ministry, he was of Ionic, a covenant far more complex than any the ministry had known of.

With careful fingers, he pried open the clocks face saw the numbers and the arms and knew their pointing and telling was more than that of hours. The year was 1936.

“1936,” the words were dry on his tongue. Still, a tinge of hope rolled through him like a wave against the shoreline. He wasn’t very close to his true timeline. But he was indeed closer.

You will never see that time again, Cassius. You’ve been blocked. In 77 A.D you are a dead man. Outside of time, you are worth more alive than dead.

The words of his Lanista echoed in his ears. No, in there were no Lanista’s in Ionic, still, the man had purchased him, purchased him from the grip of death and sentanced him to a fate fare worse.

Cassius would never see his life or loved ones again, but he would live through time, redeeming time for others. His current mission was in 1936.

Growling and shaking off the fuzz of confusion, he straightened himself as if in the Colosseum and focused his mind on the task at hand. He was still a gladiator, no matter the millennia. And like a gladiator, he would win his life back no matter where he stood in time.

THE END…FOR NOW

*More tidbits and side stories from Ministry of Time or, as you’ve just read, not the Ministry, but a branch called ‘Ionic.’ I’m sure more will come. I think I will gather up each of the other short tales that have come from this thread and create a page for them on my author site. In the meantime, you can sample the first few chapters of my debut novel, Nexus Gate 4037: The Animal, which introduces the Ministry of Time and thusly Ionic. NG 4037 will be out soon! These are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt March 26th, 2018.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’ Muse Writing Prompt: March 19th, 2018

OPENING LINE (S): “He silently watched the car shrink away, eaten up by the distance. Strange. Although his lips were unmoving, he had so much he wanted to say.”

RULES: 

  • Using the above line and the picture provided, (Or a line of your own choosing) create a story (or even a poem) within up to 20 minutes.
  • Once you have finished your super awesome masterpiece, add a link in the comments section of THIS POST to your story for others to read, as well as a link on your page back to this original post for others to follow along and write with as well. In your “tags” section, add the tag “MondayMuse.”
  • To get the Above Image follow this LINK

If you do not have a blog of your own, leave me a comment and send me an email to icameforthesoup@gmail.com and I will post your lovely words here on my blog.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS SITE WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: March 12th, 2018

OPENING LINE (S): “I really can’t tell you what fragrance she wore, but I remember it was beautiful, and it was sweet, like jazz, on a Sunday morning.”

RULES: 

  • Using the above line and the picture provided, (Or a line of your own choosing) create a story (or even a poem) within up to 20 minutes.
  • Once you have finished your super awesome masterpiece, add a link in the comments section of THIS POST to your story for others to read, as well as a link on your page back to this original post for others to follow along and write with as well. In your “tags” section, add the tag “MondayMuse.”
  • To get the Above Image follow this LINK

If you do not have a blog of your own, leave me a comment and send me an email to icameforthesoup@gmail.com and I will post your lovely words here on my blog.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS SITE WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Illusions: Flash Fiction by Candice Coates

They were still following behind. Good. Just a few more miles and all of this would be over soon.

She gripped the steering wheel with her lambskin gloves and resisted the urge to gun the gas. Patience, she told her self. She could hold out a little while longer. It also wouldn’t make sense to lose control of the car just because…

She blew out another strained breath and peered out her side mirror.  Guilt niggled at her insides. It had been doing so since that entire time and nothing she did could drawn out it sound, not even the radio.

She’d long since turned that off. It wasn’t helping. If anything it was making her anxiety worse and the edge to be on the other side of this stretch of road sharper than an executioner’s blade.

She eased on the gas as the destination grew larger and the car behind her pulled closer to her bumper.

Almost with a battle cry, she thrust her hand beneath her car seat and pulled it out again, thrusting it out the window.

“Here!” She didn’t mean to shout. Neither did she mean to splash milk that smelt like it had spent far too much time in the blazing heat of the car at her brother-in-law.

“Daddy!” Her nephew, Felix, giggled at his father making his aunt’s mouth fall open. It was as if the child was the real-life Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde the way he switched from wailing fog horn to angelic being descended from the heavens.

Illusions, they were all illusions.

At least she had played the part of the dotting aunt for a spell, another illusion. The smile on her sister’s face mirrored by that of her brother-in-law were true, however. And that is what made the illusions all worth it.

THE END

*A strange twist to my tale. The story of the flustered aunt won over that of the potential assassin. Such is life. These are my results for MONDAY’S MUSE WRITING PROMPT MARCH 5th, 2018.

Certainly Absolutely: Flash Fiction

This wasn’t like the last time he’d kissed her. This time, something about the play of his lips against hers had changed. The gentle ebb and flow between give and take made her toes curl in her ballet flats.

She placed her hands on his shoulders to keep herself balanced, lest she melt like a puddle of wax at his feet. The heady scent of his cologne and his masculinity mixed and mingled only to intoxicate her senses further.

Oh, but how this moment awakened her and frightened her with the same power.

The last time, the first time he’d kissed her, it was little more than a peck on the lips, accidental really. This time he’d slowly snaked his hands around her waist, gazed into her eyes with a mixture of confidence and uncertainty before pulling her into his embrace with his wordless question heard only by her lips.

Certainly. Absolutely. The words whispered without sound. She would love him…because she already did.

THE END

*Every now and again, touches of romance are required to sprinkle the pages of my creative journal. These are my results of MONDAY’S MUSE WRITING PROMPT FEBRUARY 26th, 2018.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER! 

The Fog: Flash Fiction by Candice Coates

I’m not lost, I just don’t know where I am. I’m not lost, I just don’t know where I am…yet.” He whispered his mantra several more times over, hoping that if he said it enough that the words would become true. Still, the panic that tightened around his throat like a noose would not give.

This happened to him occasionally, the mental fog that dropped him into thick darkness only to clear when he was somewhere completely unknown to him. It was his fault, he knew that. He’d gone to a place he’d been warned not to go.

To him, however, the warning seemed more like a dare and just couldn’t resist the urge to rebel. “Put to death the flesh…” The fraction of a scripture he’d heard his father pray echoed in his heart, rippling against the pools of panic that sought to drown him.

Fidel had allowed his flesh to rule him that night, the night he’d first stepped into the fog.

The Stone Room. So many different hidden meanings the name of the establishment held. It had left his brain addled and his body a vessel seemingly no longer his own. A year and a half ago, the place had shown up in his stomping ground.

A friend of a friend, some shifty guy who was always on the verge of panic, was the one to see it first. He’d gone snow white and nearly stumbled into the path of a car in his attempt to go the other direction. Everyone laughed at him, thought he’d had one too many to drink when he begged them all to stay away from the place.

Fidel couldn’t resist. He wasn’t one for highs beyond those that were aged in barrels and gave a bit of a burn on the way down, but he wouldn’t be spooked by some greasy-haired punk who was scared of his own shadow.

So like a fool, he let his flesh take the lead and he stepped into The Stone Room. He’d been getting lost ever since; snatches of time that seemed like only seconds turned out to be days or even weeks. His first fog, he was missing for two complete months. The only thing was, on his side of time, he’d been wandering for just shy of three hours, lost.

“You should have listened to me,” the voice was disgruntled, bitter, but Fidel recognized it. The shifty, greasy, guy.

I should have, but I didn’t. He wanted to say those words, but his flesh…it always seemed to get the best of him especially when he was angry. “You weren’t saying nothing.” He narrowed his eyes, his jaw ticking. “What are you doing here?”

Shifty frowned. “The same as you, lost in this fog.”

“You’d both better figure out what you have to do to get out of it. The more time you waste, the more debt you pay.” I pretty girl, no more than twenty-two yelled from across the vacant street.

Fidel considered her, cleared his throat. The invisible noose on his neck was chafing. He’d never seen a soul when he was in the fog, but now he’d met two.

THE END…FOR NOW

*Time restrictions…I tell you. I feel like there is a story here. I don’t know how long or short, but I feel like there is something. I want to know more about The Stone Room, Fidel, Shifty, and Pretty Girl. Where are they? What is this debt they pay? What is this fog of time? I hope you enjoyed my results for Monday’s Muse February 19th, 2018!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Debut Novel Coming Winter 2018

Hello Friends and fellow Creatives!

It brings me great joy to finally be able to share with you the teaser chapters for my debut novel, coming out Winter 2018, Nexus Gate 4037: The Animal!

NG is the very first book in the Ministry of Time Series!

Being that this is my very first go at indie-publication, I have found wisdom in taking my time with the process. My desire is to bring you a rich story that keeps you on the edge of your seat while igniting the depths of your imagination.

This book is my first ‘hello’ in the publishing world and I want to be heard with clarity.

Please enjoy the preview of the novel by reading the teaser chapters, and if you haven’t already, follow my author page, www.candicecoates.wordpress.com.

Nexus GateThe rules of Time Surveillance have been broken.
The past has stepped into the future. 

The threads of time are now tangled and retribution will be dealt…

Will the past devour the future or will they unite in order to survive the threat of the present?

BOOK FLAP AND TEASER CHAPTERS FOUND HERE!!!

 

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

So You’ve Finished NaNoWriMo…Now What?: Words of Advice & Flash Fiction #Writing #WritingAdvice #MondayMotivation

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Slow Cooked

*Original story posted for Week 54 of Battle of the Blogs in 2016.

Her fingertips feathered the keys of her keyboard, driven by the ache to write something, anything. Words, for that still, silent moment, apart for the whistling of the wind outside her window, seemed to elude her.

She drummed her too-long fingernails against her writing desk and let out a frustrated sigh. She knew what she wanted to say, knew how to fix the mistake that was before her, she just had to muster her patience and allow the words to flow forth in their own time.

Writing from scratch and revisions never came in a microwavable package. The finished product always promised to be good, better than good, but it required the stamina of a crock pot, slow-cooked until the words fell from the pages into the reader’s imagination like succulent meat dripping from their bones.

As if savoring the aroma that wafted from her imagination, she closed her eyes and smiled as the scene played out upon her eyelids. Yes, she had it now. Her fingers, set at the ready, danced across the keyboard with the familiar music that delighted and sped up the beating of her heart into a glorious tattoo.

Like feathers upon the wind, the story floated around her, until the scene was finished, the revisions were done, and the belly of her muse was full as if from a savory meal cooked to perfection.

THE END…BUT NOW WHAT?

Many of you fantastic creatives set out over the month of November to create a literary tome of excellence. You set up your outlines, isolated plot points, and then when the first of the month hit, so too did your fingers hit the keys on your keyboards.

The adventure was fruitful, some days were more exhilarating than others, but still, you managed to reach novel status or at least get pretty close to it.

But now what? Now that NaNoWriMo has come and gone, what are you to do now?

  1. Keep Writing: Just like with the character in the short story above, you have to keep writing your story. If you didn’t reach 50k words in the allotted time that is okay. Every story, every piece of art grows at its own pace. Honor that, but do keep writing.
  2. Acknowledge your first draft for what it is: Novel status achieved or not, there is still worthy work ahead of you. Microwaves are good in the kitchen on an emergency basis, but microwave works of fiction aren’t good anywhere. What I mean is that you still need to ‘work’ your story into perfection even after you write the final words ‘THE END’. That moment is actually the beginning of really turning your WIP into a masterpiece
  3. Give yourself a deadline to finish the first draft: My first go at NaNoWriMo took me a little less than 30 days to hit novel status and 96 days to complete the story as a whole. For me (with many of the stories I’ve written…and like you, need to polish for publication) 90 days is the sweet-spot. There is less pressure to continue with manic writing, but enough of a push to keep you focused.
  4. Give yourself breathing room and time to mentally regroup: I recommend writing until your story is actually finished BUT sometimes, some narratives are so complex that your mind and muse simply need a break. Take a few weeks off if you need to. Either remove yourself from the story completely for a spell, or give yourself distance but allow your mind to gently work through the conflicts that are still ahead.
  5. BONUS ENJOY THE ROAD AHEAD: After completing 30 days of writing, you’ve earned it! Give yourself a pat on the back for coming this far. It was no small thing, but you did it!

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ~ Helen Keller

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!