fiction, late night fiction, writing

Lucky Horseshoes

PART TWO.

“It’s time for bed you two.” Aurora shouted from the kitchen.

“Five more minutes.” Davey said, making a face as he pulled the covers up over his head. 

“Please mom,” Ethan pleaded, “Grandpa’s telling us a story.” 

Aurora was smiling at the doorway now, drying her hands and nodding permission.

“OK, but lights out after that.” 


That summer the old man never left my side. I don’t know if Murphy was his first name or his last name, or if it was his real name at all, but he said it’s what his friend’s called him, so I called him that too. 

We spent a week cleaning out the old shed in back, so I could have my own gym. Mom was happy that I finally moved my dad’s heavy punching bag out of the den. It had been sitting there collecting dust ever since he died, and it was always in her way when she tried to sew. 

My dad loved Rocky, I think that’s why he bought the bag. We saw that movie five times, and that’s about how many times he used it before he got sick. After what happened with Billy, I knew that I had to learn how to fight. He hit me so hard that I couldn’t even remember it! 

Murphy was there every day, watching me practice punches and giving me pointers. I figured he was pitching horseshoes when it happened, and he must have seen the whole thing, so one day I finally asked him about it. He just smiled and said it didn’t matter, that sometimes things aren’t what they seem. He was always talking in riddles like that, and it just burned me up. 

“I’m sick and tired of being small and afraid,” I yelled, hitting the bag hard, and as many times as I could. “If Billy tells the other kids, I’ll be the laughing stock too.”

“Stop worrying about things that haven’t happened,” he laughed. “Life’s too short. Besides, everything will work out in the end.”

Another stupid riddle, I thought to myself. I was too tired to argue, so I sat down on the floor to catch my breath. Murphy was sitting in front of the window, in my dad’s old recliner, and a gust of wind came up and sent his old fishing hat sailing across the shed. We both started laughing hysterically, and the smell of orange and vanilla filled the room. 

Murphy looked at me with a huge grin, and his eyes started to sparkle. 

“Let’s go play some horseshoes squirt.”

To Be Continued

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fiction, late night fiction, writing

Lucky Horseshoes

A SHORT STORY, PART ONE.

The old man started coming around the day that Billy Clyde knocked me out. It was the end of third grade, right before summer break. School let out early and it was too muggy to take the bus. Burt, the driver, always sweat real bad and on days like this, the stink was unbearable.

I was halfway up Third Street, in front of Cassiel Park, when I saw Billy catching up. I made a beeline for the gate, hoping I could lose him in there. There was a small hole in the fence, behind the horseshoe pits, and nobody else knew about it. Even if they did, most kids were too big to fit.

I thought that if Billy followed me there, I could sneak through the hole and get away. My plan didn’t work though, because he disappeared after I got past the magnolia tree. I didn’t see him again until I was at the east exit, and he was standing there, just waiting for me. I put my head down and raced toward him as fast as I could, but Billy was like a giant – and everything went black. 

Billy was gone when I woke up. My ears were ringing and my hair was full of dirt. I didn’t know how long I’d been out, but the sun was hot and it felt good on my skin. I laid there and let it soak into my face, and that’s when I first saw the old man.

His voice was loud, and it echoed in my head, “Let me help you son… sonson.” The smell of orange and vanilla filled the air, and all I could see when I looked up was his old red fishing hat, blocking out the sun. His wrinkled face was hidden behind a puffy white beard, and his blue eyes sparkled as he leaned down and put out his hand to help me up. 

Continued


I realize that I’ve left everyone hanging, with no ending to my previous short story—Franky with a “y”—but that’s probably a good thing. Final chapters take time!

Anyway, I wanted to get this second story going because, when I wrote it for class, I couldn’t figure out how to end it (seems to be a common theme). Well, I was finally able to come up with it!

So, Lucky Horseshoes, which was actually my very first attempt at writing a short story, EVER, has been pulled from the dusty old—soon to be burned folder—and is being given a new life.

I hope you enjoy it!

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late night fiction, writing

Late Night Fiction #7

Franky with a “Y”

For anyone just joining, this is an ongoing short story that I’m having some fun with.

Previous scenes can be found HERE, if you’d like to read them. This scene won’t make much sense if you don’t, but you could certainly give it a whirl.

I hope you enjoy!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

SCENE SIX

Noah’s ears buzzed as an unfamiliar flying insect used his nose as a landing pad. His feet shifted beneath him as he waved his hands frantically to shoo it away, and Noah began to lose his balance. Crouched under a huge pine, not far from the cabin, he panicked. After several close encounters he had learned to remain silent and unseen. If he made any noise, his location would be compromised. 

He grabbed hold of a large limb above his head, to keep himself steady, and it snapped. Noah tumbled backward, his arms still hugging the branch, and the two rolled down the slope in unison. When he came to a stop, Noah picked himself up and allowed his eyes to scan the area quickly— locating the cabin and zeroing in. Franky was standing at the balcony’s edge, looking out in his direction, and he was afraid that she had heard him. She had instructed him to stay out of sight, and he had broken the rule.

He maneuvered himself behind the trees, through an area he was now well acquainted with, and made his way to a small base camp he had set up. Two large boulders rested on each other to form a chair, and a flat piece of bedrock served as a table. Noah sat to catch his breath, leaning his head back to rest. He could feel his heart thumping as he stared up at his mock roof— Franky’s long jacket—quivering in the breeze. She had given it to him for protection, when he left her at the cabin steps, and it was now strung between two branches, above the sitting area, blocking out the sun’s harsh rays.

One of the ties suddenly broke loose as a large gust sailed through, exposing a large bulge inside of the fabric. Noah rose to investigate. He reached into the pocket and pulled out a small bound journal. Running his fingers across the worn cover, he admired the texture of the leather, and then he fanned through the book. The pages were filled with notes written by Franky, and—after doing a quick repair of the roof—Noah sat down to read. 

SCENE SEVEN

The sun was beginning to sink and the air was piercing cold. Franky and Asher had been hiking all day, making their way to where she had told Noah to wait. Asher begged her to stop and rest, but she refused. She was sure they were almost there. The twilight sky was quickly turning to dusk, and it would soon be too dark to continue.  

An icy flurry rushed through, nearly tossing them off of the trail, and the trees began howling in the wind. Noah stopped dead in his tracks, as he recognized this familiar sound. It was the same ominous roar he had heard nights before—up near the waterfall—before Franky had arrived. He could hear it more clearly now though, and it wasn’t a roar at all; it was someone sobbing. The cries were coming from just above, echoing down—and reverberating deep into the canyon below them. 


To Be Continued


I know it’s not late (not here anyway), but I had a few minutes to finish another segment. We’re almost there! It’s possible we’ll reach the end in just a few more scenes (I hope). I also wanted to pop in and share that life is really, really good and I’m LOVING my new classes. There’s been some other things going on too, so it’s been hard to sit down and post—but it looks like I’ll have some time in the next few days.

We heard that Los Angeles officials are wanting us to spend another few months “staying at home,” but the natives are extremely restless, and I don’t see that happening at all. We shall see. Is anyone else out there experiencing that kind of friction? Just curious. I hope you’re all safe and healthy.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope you’re enjoying the story so far! Sorry to leave things hanging in the middle of scene seven… but I’ll finish it up very soon.

Peace & Love!!

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late night fiction, writing

Late Night Fiction #6

Franky with a “Y”

For anyone just joining, this is an ongoing short story (that is slowly becoming long-er). It was written in my Creative Writing class a year ago, and I’m sharing (and editing) it now… just for fun.

Scenes One through Four can be found HERE, in case you’d like to read them. This scene won’t make a lot of sense if you don’t, but you could give it a whirl. We haven’t reached the end yet, but I can tell you for certain that we are now officially one scene closer!


SCENE FIVE

The smell of coffee roused Asher out of bed. He rustled around his office, and then hurried downstairs. Franky had made herself at home in the kitchen, and by the looks of things, she had been up for hours. She appeared showered and ready to go.

Asher grabbed a cup and waved it in the air, signaling her to follow him upstairs. Floor to ceiling windows, that were previously hidden behind massive blackout drapes, ran across the entire east wall. Wood french doors were open wide, exposing a wraparound balcony. Asher rarely went out there by himself. It was the kind of place that warranted a companion, he thought, and he felt giddy with glee to have Franky there this morning.

The air was crisp and breezy, and the Aspen trees—with their new spring growth—enveloped the surrounding area. Yellowish green leaves, like the wings of butterflies, danced and fluttered amid handsome white trunks. At the edge of the property, a dirt road separated the well-kept land from the virgin forest that was carpeted with evergreens. Layer upon layer climbed the mountain to its peak, where the trees shrunk to the size of dots, and lined the waterfall’s crest.

Franky propped her feet up on Asher’s chair, and he examined her tiny feet as he sipped his coffee. Chips of black paint, probably from months ago, were still sticking to the tips of her toes. She stared out in silence as she thought about Noah. There were so many times, after the accident, that she was certain she had seen his soul. His face would light up as the two made eye contact, or his lips would form a smile as he tried to communicate with sounds. 

It was so hard not knowing what was going on inside of his mind. She had obsessed over it for months. She wanted to bring Noah back, she knew she had discovered a way, and she refused to think about the risks and consequences that were involved. What frustrated her more than anything, however, was that the operation was a success. The chip she had implanted was able to retrieve and collect data, process it, and then store the information for future use. 

The heartbreak came when she realized that, although the artificial brain was even more intelligent than her own, Noah barely knew her. He showed no emotion whatsoever. Before she could work things out, all hell broke loose. Somehow the government had found out about Noah, and they wanted him bad.

“I need to go find Noah,” She said, imagining him out there in that forest all alone.  

“I’ll come with you.” Asher’s voice cracked—like a boy on his way to manhood. His mind had been wandering, and he was caught off guard by her words. He wasn’t physically prepared for a rescue mission of any sort, but there was no way that he’d let her leave alone. He was much too fond of her now, and he had to keep her near.


To Be Continued


I thought I would use one of my own images tonight. An old railroad track that appears to go nowhere… kind of like a story with no end. Ha-Ha! Honestly, most of this scene is totally new, written yesterday and tonight. I’ve scrapped the ending that I had, and I came up with a pretty good new one, so all I’ve got to do now… is write it.

I hope everyone is doing well! I’m keeping up with school and feeling really good about things.

Stay Positive, Safe, and Healthy!
—Janet

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late night fiction, writing

Late Night Fiction #5

The beginning of this short story, which spans across several posts, has now been pieced together on one page. Scenes One, Two and Three can be read HERE.

I’ll be adding the new scenes as well—once I’ve worked out any kinks—so by the time you read this the page may include this portion too. I realized why I like posting it in small increments like this. Well, for one because now I’m making major edits to the original, but the other reason—the bigger reason—is that each of these posts are the extent of my attention span when I’m reading.

That explains why it takes me so long to finish a book! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this one…


SCENE FOUR

Time stood still for Asher that evening. He didn’t notice the fiery red sky as the sun made its final descent into the horizon. He wasn’t even aware that it had vanished, and they were now sitting in darkness. His eyes remained fixed on Franky, his ears hanging on her every word. 

She told him about her younger brother Noah, and how the two of them had been inseparable until she went off to the University. They came from a family that was full of love, and her countenance beamed with joy when she told him stories about their childhood together. Their parents were killed in a tragic automobile accident not long after she left, and Noah had been with them. He survived the crash, but suffered tremendous brain damage. 

Franky was a brilliant student with a scholarship in computer science. Machine learning and artificial intelligence were her areas of expertise. Professor Hinkle, who was the head of the department, had taken her under his wing when he noticed her potential. She had experienced many successes with her experiments, and he assured her that her work far exceeded anything he had ever seen from a student.

They spent months discussing the possibilities of AI brain implants. The professor was much too cautious and conservative in his thinking though, and the two disagreed about many things. They just could not not see eye to eye, so Franky distanced herself from him. She built a makeshift lab in an abandoned wing of the university, and night after night she would work in secret. Finally, after weeks of very little sleep, she had made a significant discovery. She believed she had found the answer, something miraculous, and it wouldn’t just help Noah—it would bring hope, and new life to people everywhere.

“I made a horrible mistake.” Franky confessed. “I wasn’t thinking straight. I was tortured by grief. Noah was with me, but the brother that I knew and loved was gone. It was like watching him die, over and over again.” 

Her eyes welled with tears and one managed to escape. He watched it glisten as it slid down her cheek. She leaned back in the chair and stared upward. Asher followed her lead. The firmament resembled a black canvas, dotted with a billion radiant stars, and careful strokes of the artist’s brush had painted a delicate milky haze over them. Franky felt herself being swallowed up by a black hole, the infinite void that surrounded her in the moment.

Sitting there in the silence together, under the stars, Asher felt connected to her. They were kindred spirits, he thought. Each of them were so driven, but their hearts were filled with discontent. He tried to grasp his emotions as he stared into the black. He had never been romantically inclined, but he was drawn to her in the most indescribable way. Prepared to speak his mind, Asher looked over at Franky, only to find her sleeping. It was time to put her to bed.


To Be Continued

Good night everyone!


Photo by Bartosz Kwitkowski on Unsplash

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