Dinner Plans: Short Story by Candice Coates

Dinner Plans

She sat perched on the edge of the table, the tight fold of her interwoven fingers expressed the nervousness that had been concealed in the even tone of her voice and the placid look on her face. Turning fully towards her, he paid closer attention to what she was saying. 

For a brief second he hoped he’d heard her incorrectly, but gazing into her eyes he knew he hadn’t been mistaken. “Hannah, you didn’t.” He, unlike Hannah, didn’t try to hide his nerves, they flashed in the pale grey of his eyes and radiated clear to the tip of the butcher knife in his hand.

“Dad, the knife. The knife!” Hannah hoped off the table and pried it from his hands placing the parsley coated blade on the chopping block. Tanner wondered by her sudden stillness if she felt as if she were on the chopping block. He was certain she did. He had asked her to be at her best tonight, nagged really, and had been doing so for weeks.

It had been eight years since Claire, Hannah’s adoptive mother, died. He and  Claire had only been married for a little over three years. They’d dated for two. When he’d first met Claire he hadn’t thought he was ready to be a father, but Hannah warmed to him so quickly and got into his pores like the best of anointing oils. He loved the girl on sight as if she were his own flesh and blood.

Now she was barely twenty and he felt as if she were his whole life, his precious little girl…his precious little girl who’d gone against his wishes and had been secretly meeting with her birth mother.

He rubbed his suddenly damp forehead with the back of his hand. His gut felt as if it were filled with gravel. He was already extremely nervous about introducing Hannah to the new woman in his life. He needed Hannah to like her. He’d already purchased an engagement ring even in the face of awkwardness.

Hannah had made it clear she had no desire for a new mother and had not been a fan of his dating someone. He suddenly wondered if her going against his wishes and finding her birth mother was a simple act of rebellion. He also wondered if his hopefully soon-to-be financee was having similar problems of her own.

She had mentioned that she had been estranged from her daughter for years but they were making headway into a healthy relationship. She too had wondered how her daughter would react to him.

“I can’t believe you did this, Hannah.” Tanner whispered.

“Dad, why is it such a horrible thing that I want to know my own mother?”

“Your birth mother.” He corrected, suddenly feeling as if he needed to defend Claire’s right-hood to the title ‘Mom’. Hannah rolled her eyes. He touched her shoulder. “Honey, I am not trying to make this a difficult thing for you, I am just worried is all. She may not be good for you.”

“Us, you mean. You’re afraid that she will wreck your plans for a new family, aren’t you?”

He couldn’t resist frowning. “And I suppose that is why you not only contacted her, but then invited her to dinner tonight when you know how important today is for me, for us.” He wiped his brow again. He was already nervous, now he was just petrified.

What if the strange woman showed up at the door, right when his new love did? “Lord help me. Hannah, I love her. And I want you to at least give her a chance. I just want things to go smoothly tonight and if she shows up-”

Hannah took a bite of parsley. “It doesn’t matter anyway Dad. I invited her and she said she couldn’t make it, said she had a date or something.”

“Well, that is a relief that that person won’t be coming,” Why had he suddenly turned so territorial, defensive? He’d seen this behavior in characters in movies, but never thought it would happen to him; jealous of his daughter’s birth mother.

Hannah scowled. “Her name is–”

Ding dong! The front door rang, bringing the conversation to a halt. Again, Hannah rolled her eyes. It was going to be a long night.

“Going to get it, Dad? Wouldn’t want to keep your beloved waiting.” Hannah’s tone was laced with sarcasm and void of the former nervousness that had ruled her demeanor just moments ago.

He gave her a warning gaze before pulling the door open. Right then Hannah continued her previous statement, her tone shifting to shock that laced over Tanner’s joy right as his beloved passed the threshold and entered the apartment. “Her name is…Beatrix?”

Hannah’s face bloomed with a smile as she rushed forward and took hold of her birth-mother’s hands, jerking Beatrix’s delighted gaze away from Michael’s. “I thought you said you couldn’t make it tonight! I thought…you said you had,” Hannah’s gaze shifted between the ashen expression on Beatrix’s face to the even more stricken look on her Dad’s. “…a date…”

THE END…AT LEAST FOR US

I hope you enjoyed what came of this story and the twist at the end. I wish I could have sharpened it up a bit more, but alas we do have a time restraint. I do however wish Dad, Hannah and Beatrix the best of joy and a happy future 🙂 These are my results from MONDAY’S MUSE WRITING PROMPT APRIL 30, 2018.

*Revised post from October 22, 2015.

~Dream. Image. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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Turning Point: Flash Fiction Results For Monday’s Muse Nov 30th 2015

Turning Point

Heat spread across my cheeks as Mama turned and gave me that look, the one that said, ‘Don’t make me turn this car around, mister.’ I choked on the angry retort that tickled my tongue and drew my clenched fist beneath my thighs in an attempt not to hit my sister, Harriet, across the back of her head.

Harriet snickered. 

She always seemed to find humor in making every waking day of my life miserable. Sure we had our laughs every now and again, but mostly it was war; war waged on me by the villainous troll that my parents had spent the last six years trying to convince me was actually my sister and not some rotten changeling that had crept in from the forest.

Changlings did that, came in and made people believe they were someone they were not. I read about it once in a comic, so it’s true alright. Harriet didn’t fool me. But Mama and Daddy, they were goners.

They would learn the truth one day. I would show them. But for now, it was obvious that they were too hypnotized by bouncy curls and rosy cheeks to see anything other than the enemy they tucked in at night.

So it was settled. I was going to make my escape and then show them all the truth later. My bags were already packed to go. I am going to become a changling.

Becoming a changling usually required that a kid be kidnapped and swapped out by the changling gang. I read that too somewhere.

Living in the forest wouldn’t be so bad. I loved climbing trees and creek fishing, and I could definitely do without having to stare at Mrs. Beezly another day. Life at nine was hard enough as it was let alone having to look at her all afternoon.

The only problem that I did have was not being rotten enough for them to change me out. I always managed to get the threatening look from Mama but I had never had the guts to cross…that line…never had the moxy…never…

WHACK! Cathunk!

“HENRY!” Mama screamed at me as the car yanked over to the side of the road spitting gravel, my guilty hand still raised in the air. Harriet was wailing like a stuck pig. She was going to have a nice knot where her forehead kissed that side window.

The shocked look in her eyes made my stomach burn as Mama actually whipped the car around and directed it toward home. Home and my future as a changling.

Far as I could see it, I’d earned my place today. I even managed to snicker. It was a real turning point.

THE END

These are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt May 23rd, 2018, originally posted on December 3rd, 2015.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: April 23rd 2018

OPENING LINE (S): “Heat spread across my cheeks as Mama turned and gave me that look, the one that said, Don’t make me turn this car around, missy/mister.’ I choked on the angry retort that tickled my tongue and drew my clenched fist beneath my thighs in an attempt not to hit my sister Harriet across the back of her head. Harriet snickered. 

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.)

*Originally posted on November 30th, 2015

~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!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: February 5th 2018

OPENING LINE (S): “His feet had gone numb from the hours of walking, but at least the sun was shining through the fog, giving light to a treeline that promised life was ahead.”

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 “Monday’s Muse.”
  • 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: July 17th 2017 #Monday’sMuse #CreativeWriting #Fiction

OPENING LINE (S): “He stared down at his phone, relishing the reminder he had saved as his home-screen. Without it he would fall to shreds, he would never be able to stomach what he had to do.”

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 “Monday’s Muse.”
  • 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)

My results will be posted the week’s end.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: June 26th 2017 #AmWriting #CreativeWritingPrompt #Monday’sMuse

OPENING LINE (S): “He glanced back again, surely more times than was necessary. They had lost his trail and were no longer following him, at least he prayed they weren’t.”

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 “Monday’s Muse.”
  • 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)

My results will be posted by Friday.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Miss Madelyn Haze: Flash Fiction #Monday’sMuse #AmWriting #Suspense

She scribbled down the memory so quickly that her fingers began to cramp. It didn’t matter that the thought stretched across days of her day planner. It was the closest thing she could find.

Her recollection of years passed had become congealed and foggy the day of her accident. Flashes of herself, her true self, would come and go like strokes of lightning–there one minute and gone the next.

But this memory, these moments were clear, concise, solid. She could even remember the words of the conversation, no, argument, she was having with … a man? The timber of his voice modulated in and out of focus, the pitch twisting as if someone was messing with the sound system of her mind.

Still, she wrote down the memory and the conversation, word for word, until the cramps in her fingers spread into her forearm.

June, July, August, all of the days nearly eaten away by this specific moment. Besides the date and year on the calendar she was remembering, April, 2014, most of what she jotted down was useless. She might as well have been writing down a recipe for chicken soup it was so mundane.

She would have cried for the time she’d spent in that moment of recollection, chocked it up as a simple exercise, another stone of hope to throw at the glass tower of amnesia, had it not been for the last thing the person she argued with said.

They had called her Madelyn, Miss. Madelyn Haze.

She let out a shout of triumph and even did the cliche fist pump in the air. Her fingers squeezing so tightly against her pen she nearly snapped it in two.

This was a victory, but it only caused a greater level of fear, one that overshadowed the doubts and worry of not knowing who she was.

The person in the memory had not only called her by a name that was different than the one she’d been convinced was her own, but they had also called her ‘Miss,’ which meant she was not married, which left no explanation for the man in the other room who’d sworn that he’d been her husband for the last seven years.

THE BEGINNING…MAYBE

*Oh, I love when a writing prompt goes down a road like this. For me, this is like a delightful bread crumb, a trail that could lead to a great full-length novel. Only time and the completion of other projects will tell. These are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt June 12th, 2017.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: June 12th 2017 #Monday’sMuse #AmWriting #CreativeWriting

OPENING LINE (S): “She scribbled down the memory so quickly that her fingers began to cramp. It didn’t matter that the thought stretched across days of her day planner. It was the closest thing she could find.”

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 “Monday’s Muse.”
  • 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)

My results will be posted by Friday.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: May 29th 2017 #Monday’sMuse #AmWriting #CreativeWriting

OPENING LINE (S): “He kissed her. Her mouth tasted like licorice, the cherry kind. It was far more tolerable than the black. The kiss was beyond tolerable.”

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 “Monday’s Muse.”
  • 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)

My results will be posted by Friday.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!