Monday, March 17, 2014

While wading through the info, don't forget to have fun!

I read a lot of blogs on the craft geared for all types of writers (newbies to seasoned). Most of the time I will peruse blog posts, take notes if needed, but I don't usually post stories to provided prompts on some blogs. Until last month. YA Highway is a fantastic site for writers by a group of talented authors. I visit a lot, learn a ton, but I usually keep to myself. I couldn't resist February's Writing Horror: Scary Writing Prompt Game #15. The picture of a spooky doll was a great visual which helped kick my creative mind in gear. 

Here's the link to last month's post. What a creepy beginning! Mara's grandmother has died. She learns the outcome of her grandma's jewelry and isn't happy. All she gets is an old doll. Mara decides to steal a piece of jewelry and is busted. The question is by whom?

That doll struck a chord in me and I had to make time to write something. In a short amount of time I had written this. Once I started, the words spilled out with ease. And I had fun!

Here's my response to the story prompt:

An invisible fog of a familiar scent surrounded me. Grandma’s favorite perfume. My heartbeat raced like Sonic the Hedgehog.

“Now, Mara, what do I say about sticky fingers?” That scratchy voice made me shudder. Nana loved her Marlboro Lights, even when the cancer stole so much of her—that curly hair, her ability to walk, her gentle voice. Whenever Mom gave me a hard time, I rode my bike to Nana’s townhouse to escape. A slice of her chocolate layer cake and her rubbing my shoulder took the pain away.

And now she was standing behind me. What was she? A ghost? I know she died. I saw her embalmed body. My legs froze to the spot. Only my lips moved. “Um, you said stealing was for cowards. Real people worked hard to get what they wanted.” My voice cracked, but I wasn’t afraid.

“Put it back, dear.” Her dentures did that annoying click-click sound.

I reached inside my pocket and stopped. This wasn’t fair.

“Mara, I know you loved my jewels. Your grandpappy loved to shower me with trinkets. There’s a stipulation in my will your mama didn’t tell you about.” Click-click. “She will hand down all of my jewelry except for the pearls to you on your wedding day.”

Something slithered across the hardwood floor. Slip. Slip. Slip. My throat turned dry.

“Now return the emerald.” Her voice sounded closer.

The stone warmed from the caress of my fingers. Something tugged the bottom of my dress pants. Tug. Pull. Sweat drops the size of M&M’s broke out across my forehead. My lips puckered together. I looked down and choked back my scream. Plastic fingers climbed the stiff cotton material. Six yellowed and cracked doll fingers.

Without hesitation, I returned the ring and leaned against the dresser to catch my breath. Those creepy fingers raced up across the side of the furniture and reattached themselves to that hideous doll now leaning on its side. I swear one dull eye blinked. Then I spotted the material of her ripped dress. It opened on the back like two doors. Batteries?

“It’s time. You’ll be fourteen next week.” Click. Click. “She’s not what she once was. Not yet, but just you wait. With your love and adoration, she will thrive.”

I stood up as the doll swiveled into a sitting position, her back to me. There was a compartment of some kind, but it wasn’t for batteries.

“Go ahead, dear, take out my notes. You belong to her. If you embrace your abilities, the spells will come. She’ll help you learn to use your powers.”

I forgot to breathe as my fingers reached for the rolled up papers tied with a red ribbon. As my fingertip came into contact with the edge of the aged paper, a surge of something strange yet weirdly welcoming shot into my skin. A whimper or a sigh fell from my lips. Up my arm, traveling fast, this thing spread, electrifying me, freeing me, all the way to my split-ends.

And then it stopped. I gulped in air as the room turned cold. The doll now faced me with smiling red lips and glistening blue eyes, tendrils of brown hair curled outwards from its scalp. I clutched the papers, knowing I could deal with Mom now when she drank. She wouldn’t hurt me anymore.

Nana laughed, sounding like herself before the sickness. “Pick her up. Take her to your room. Mara, meet Lilith.”

This month's prompt at YA Highway has already started the wheels in my mind rolling. So if you're wondering what is the point behind this blog post, it's simple. As a writer, it's fine to read the wealth of information that is available online, but when something like a prompt spurs something, go for it.

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