Friday, October 31, 2014

TBTTAUA writing contest!

In honor of the paperback edition of THE BEAUTIFUL THING THAT AWAITS US ALL by Fabulous Laird Barron, let's have a writing contest!

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:


3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word: so backboard is ok, but black is not.

4. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over)  erase your entry and post again. It helps to work out your entry first and then post.

5. International entries are allowed.

6. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

Contest opens: Saturday 11/1/14 at noon

Contest closes: Sunday 11/2/14 at noon

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

Ready? SET?



Ooops. Too late! Contest closed at noon today.


Ray said...

If you're careful, and you're quiet, and you don't mind the smell, you can live in the back of a hoarder's house for months. The thing is, sharing a shower gets dicey. You await the click of the television, the creaking bed, and then heavy snoring that tells you to get in there take a beautiful midnight shower.

Too bad the humidity collapsed a paper stack.

"Who's there?", she called. "I'm dialing 911!"

We both know she didn't want them in her house. By the time she cleared the paper avalanche, I was gone.

Belynda said...

The field glistens under ice. It’s beautiful, slicked back like hair fresh from the shower. The still air seems appalled into silence by acres of proud red wheat, backs broken by the storm. This was my long awaited boom year, a season of fair weather and fulfilled promises. "When the crop comes in, we'll have the money."

I too am silent as my father carries on with the now useless harvester, his hands turned brutal with cold and engine oil. My mother, pale as paper, gazes upon it all. Her eyes apologize for all the things she cannot change.

french sojourn said...

“Love’s a beautiful thing.”

“That sounds so trite.”

“How did you meet her?”

“I was shy, didn’t really know a lot about dating back then. She was like a flower awaiting bloom by the light of a fountain, and when she smiled at me. Well, I wrote my name and number on a piece of newspaper, smiled, prayed, and passed it to her.”

“You’re such a romantic.”

“Unfortunately, it didn’t end well; I just wish I had taken my father’s advice.”

“What was that?”

“I asked him what I should wear for that first date.”


“He suggested a condom.”

Craig said...

He picked up the evening paper and leaned back in the deck chair. The chum was all out and he hoped she would agree that blood in the water is lovely at moonrise. He doesn’t know if he is waiting for her or if she is awaiting him. He doesn’t know if she is expecting these weekly visits or responds to them.

The water rises with the Queen of the Sharks. She is a beautiful thing of strange and terrible power. He slips the body overboard. Blood in the water is lovely at moonrise.

Ted Bergeron said...

“It’s a thing.”



Bellacicco rolled onto his back. “Isn’t,” he said, unburdening his bowel of the evening’s gas buildup. The angry sound of paper ripping reverberated off the cheap print on the wall.

“Beautiful,” she said, recoiling into the bathroom.

She pulled a rhinestone stud from deep inside her ear. Fluids from her auditory canal dripped on the tile floor. “Look who’s talking,” he said, snorting.

“No such thing as weird fiction.”

“It’s a subgenre. Ever heard of Laird Barron?”


“You will,” he said, shifting to unload yet again smiling to himself, awaiting the inevitable outcry.

Colin Smith said...

"You make the place sound idyllic, Michael," she said.

"It is, honey, it is.

"And we'll go when I get out?"

"We'll go as soon as you’re ready." I stroked the paper-thin skin of her hand with my thumb, feeling it move over the bones.

"I'll be back," I said, forcing a smile and grazing her fragile cheek with my lips.

"It'll be so beautiful," she said, watching me from the bed, her eyes glassy from the meds.

The doctor showed me the results this morning. Two days max.

I swallowed hard.

"It’s the beautiful thing that awaits us all."

Matthew Masucci said...

John sunk the spade back into the ground. “How deep?”

Sam shrugged.

“Deep enough,” John said.

“Things are never deep enough.”

Sam was never here like others.

“The glassblower God forms dust into balls of glowing lanterns. Our time is as thin as paper. When all is ash, we become dust that becomes the glass that lights the skies. Dad will be a lantern for future skies.”

John pulled out the bag of ash and poured. He placed a sapling on top. “Hold this.”

Sam steadied while John filled the hole.


They looked skyward, lantern swollen red, awaiting rebirth.

Trong Nguyen said...

The first thing I remember was how beautiful her porcelain face reflected the sapphire sky. The second was how her hands shook as she dabbed the tears under her eyes.

From my vantage point at the back of the shuttle, I realized we shared a common bond—we were both paper cranes caught in the wind. She was a MINXY, a machine long abandoned by her master. I was a PROXY, an aristocrat awaiting a peace that would never come.

Disregarding my odyssey from the Crown, I crossed the aisle and bent the knee.


I’ll make my own.

Andrew Lipkin said...

Dear Stupid Assholes,

I hope this letter finds you well. I apologize for the sub-beautiful handwriting-I’m somewhat cramped back here. Maybe a little sweaty. Definitely cranky.

But I ramble.

Some advice: don’t send a kid to their room if all their cool stuff is there, and don’t lock a PI in the trunk of her own car. Just something to think about.

Anyway, I await our arrival at a nice, remote location. Hopefully it’s a garage so I can wallpaper it with your goddamn, motherfucking brains.



ps: car crushers are unsporting and cliche

Megan V said...

Mother always said that a girl should carry two things: a paperback and a shotgun. The book, she said, would teach a girl all she needed to know about men. And, being paperback, it could go anywhere—anywhere a girl might go to discover what awaits her. As for the shotgun, which is neither portable nor instructive, well, mother said that even the boldest man would think twice about chasing a girl who’s pointing a shotgun at his nuts. Of course, mother‘s been in jail these last nine years…something about shooting a man over a much worn book.

Michael Field said...

“Back it up!”

“I am! Stop yelling at me!”

Hank peeked around the corner of the couch, “Sorry. This whole thing is FUBAR.”

Gloria sighed. “Look. I’m really happy you finally watched Saving Private Ryan yesterday, but you need to stop saying everything is FUBAR.”

“But, it’s such a beautiful acronym.”

Hank took another step. The couch wobbled. Gloria lost her grip. The couch dipped. The cushions slid off. Candy, coins, papers and crumbs spilled into the stairwell, before she regained control.

“You didn’t clean it?”



“I’ll await your punishment when we get to the sixth floor.”


Shaunna said...

Jim stamped his feet. "D'you git the fire lit?" he snarled.
"Not yet."
"Wull hurry up. I'm awaitin'."
"I need some tinder." A rolled-up newspaper thumped hard against Earl's back. "Ten," he counted softly, striking a match and setting the paper ablaze.

When the flames reared up, Jim moved closer, his hands snatching at the heat. "Tha' fire," he said, "is a beautiful thing."
Earl stepped into the shadows. "Needs more fuel."
"We don't have nothin' else." Jim looked around. "Earl?"
And then a foot thumped hard against Jim's back and the fire rushed up to meet him.

cam.robbins said...

“Trusting someone is a beautiful thing,” she says, dipping her dry toast into my weak diner coffee. I know she’s awaiting my response.

My hands are stuffed in my pocket, fingering the paper I wrote on last night. A list of pros and cons. 

I look into her eyes and peel back my mask, for once, open and true.

JennyC said...

Since I knew the sleek, beautiful and brand-new phone couldn’t be my brother’s, I felt no guilt whatsoever when I turned the thing on.
“Sasha?” Raj looked down at me.
The hair on my arms stood on end. A song played as the screen burst to life.
One new message.
Raj held out his hand. “Give it back.”
Heart pounding, I scrambled to my feet. Our eyes met. Raj’s shoulders slumped. Resignation flooded across his face.
I opened the text and read the long-awaited message.
“Raj.” Anguish sliced through me, sharp as a paper cut. “What have you done?”

Gabby Gilliam said...

The beautiful thing about gin is its ability to wash away painful memories.

Unfortunately, the creased paper in his wallet has a knack for resurrecting them.

The bartender slides his card to him, and he stuffs it into his jacket pocket. He never carries it in his wallet anymore, especially on the nights he's drinking to forget.

In the warm darkness of his back pocket, her faded smile awaits.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

The auburn liquid swirling on the rocks awaiting my palette was the most beautiful thing my eyes laid sight on since waking. I nearly tasted banana and felt the burn.

A hatted man raised the glass, sipped.

“May I help you?” A goateed barman asked.

“I’ll have one of those?”

“One of what?”

“What he’s drinking.”

“What who’s drinking?”

“That man.”

"What man?"

The man’s glass was emptied. I turned to see his silhouette pocket a paper and exit the tavern. I would’ve asked which whiskey he’d ordered.

When I swivelled back around, Goatee and the highball were gone.

Luan said...


She was a beautiful thing. All laces, ties and a bow in her fine, brown hair. She rested, her small back nestled into her mother’s breasts. Then they waited, silently still, for the timed exposure to capture on paper the fragile look of eyes the starkest blue.

Later, coppers spent on the post-mortem promise, her parents shoved the shades of black photo in the drawer meant for keys and inkwells. Their daughter’s stare snatched away all words, their own eyes dark pits as they awaited their own eventual and more timely deaths.

Kitty said...

Arnold Briar knelt down in the confessional.

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It's been years since my last confession. Father...?"


"Do people go to hell?"

"Why do you ask?"

"I've sinned a lot, Father."

"Tell me your sins."

"I've committed adultery. I've never paid child support. I've plagiarized newspaper columns for my own. I lied about my background. I..."

Footsteps approached the confessional.

"Don't worry. To reach the beautiful thing that awaits you, just keep up the good work."

The priest's door opened and Arnold caught a whiff of sulfur.

"Sorry to keep you waiting," he said.

Lisa Armosino-Morris said...

“It’s so beautiful,” Mother says. “Just look at it.”

I look. “Sure. Let’s just do this thing, okay? We have to get back.”

She wraps it in paper and clutches it to her breast. “You’re such a good boy, Nicholas.” She smiles at me, lunacy etched in her face like hieroglyphics.

“Yes, Mother. Please, put it in the hole, it’s time.” When she does, a tiny, pale hand escapes the paper. I look away.

I fill in the dirt and Mother reaches for my hand. “We can make another.”

“Stop,” I say, but at home my mother’s bed awaits.

Emily Littlejohn said...

Gina looked back over her shoulder one last time, then dove from the window. As she fell, she released the shredded paper, filling the air with scraps of beautiful pink confetti. She knew a black void awaited her, but the crazy thing was, she realized, somewhere between the thirtieth and twentieth floors, death would better than admitting she’d lost the one and only job she ever cared about.

Janet Ursel said...

"The first one comes today."

The beautiful thing of paper trembled on my palm.

"Unfold it."

"How can I? I will kill it."

His hand lay warm on my back. I knew the brokenness of his smile.

"Carefully. I can refold it."

I found an edge and folded it out. Another. Another. I spread the crane's wings, fearful of tearing, pretending not to see the words, not till I could see them all, the pen strokes marred by folds.

Spend your years with me
Twenty thousand morning cranes
Await your answer

Something inside me unfolded, fearful of tearing.

Lobo said...

The sirens are close now.

Sixty stories up and I can still see the shattered glass from the shootout, twinkling on the asphalt under streetlights. A beautiful disaster, just like the woman in front of me.

“I can’t go back.” Her voices is as thin as tissue paper. Her black dress flutters in the breeze. “I know what’s waiting.”

“You don’t—”

“It’s what awaits us all.”

Listen to me, Valerie. It’s not my cover. I really do love you.”

She smiles like she wants to believe it more than anything. For a second, she does.

Then she jumps.

Rena McClure Taylor said...

“What you need is a beautiful gown to wear to the ball,” the old woman said, adjusting her tall, pointed hat and stepping back, awaiting an answer.

“That’s the thing.” The girl frowned, wiped coal dust from her cheek. “Who’s gonna get me one? You?”

“Well, seeing is believing.” The old woman twirled her star-tipped wand.

The girl blinked, gasped, smoothed her once-tattered, paper-thin dress. “This’ll do, Witchy Woo. Now, how about a carriage to take me to the ball?”

“Sure. Hum. I’ll need a . . . cabbage—oh, and a big, fat rat.”

Matthew Wuertz said...

"I'm so hungry," the thing whispered from the attic.

"I couldn't find anyone else. The police are still looking for the last guy."

"You have such beautiful skin. Give me a taste."

Alex drew his hand back from the ceiling panel. "I need more time."

"Consumption awaits you regardless. That was the deal."

Alex opened a musty book, its yellowed paper flaking away along the edges. "Not anymore." He read a passage, carefully pronouncing each syllable.

Suddenly, a shadow coiled around Alex's neck. "That won't work,” it said, laughing. “I'm the author. Now, let’s eat."

Pharosian said...

Gordon paced a stretch of mountain trail, berating himself. "What kind of idiot uses such stilted language? 'I await your response.' Hah!"

He kicked a small rock and watched it disappear into the gorge. They'd met here. It was easier to talk to a woman while watching a beautiful sunset. He'd thought they could make another kind of start here, too.

But she wasn't coming. Should he go back and pick up the pieces or throw himself over the cliff?

Something made him turn. "I found the paper you left me," she said. "The answer is yes."

feyngirl said...

It was dark, of course; monsters like the dark. An eldritch screech from behind us tore through my paper-thin nerve.

“Quick, Jenkins,” I cried. “Use the literary flare!”

I turned my back to avoid the light's blinding centre. My shadow stretched before me, and on either side was purple. Purple everywhere, like the blooming of some ungodly heather. And there it was, right in front of us. The most beautiful thing I had ever seen: The End.

“Glory awaits!” I shouted in triumph, rushing forward.

The flare clattered to the ground.


You should never underestimate the dreaded Midbook.

Steve Forti said...

“What a beautiful baby!”

I freeze. A tipsy woman with a sandpaper voice ogles my sleeping infant.

“Such a precious thing. So peaceful. Hi, I’m Dotty.”

Before I can react, her rapid fire continues.

“I just moved in next door and I’m so happy Carol invited me and…”

I look around, trapped. Voices of other partygoers spill from the next room.

“Silly me. I should get you a drink. Do you want a drink?”

She scurries off and I slip out the back door, baby in arms. Soon enough Carol will find the ransom note awaiting her in the crib.

Christina Seine said...

It was in the newspapers. FAMILY WITH 9 BOYS AWAITS BABY GIRL. Everybody sympathized.

Well, mostly everyone. “Get a hobby!” was common. And, “Buddy, don’t you know how to prevent that?”

To be fair, there’d been two sets of twins. And once, triplets.

Like that was his fault.

But this time, the ultrasound picked up only two legs. They’d bought every pink frilly thing in the store.

His wife screamed.


And out Baby came. He went to cut the cord. “Wait … what’s…?”

Definitely not a girl. He sighed. “Beautiful.”

Those sweet little dresses. They’d have to go back.

Anonymous said...

Andy’s face was turned towards the steamy window of the restaurant where distorted shapes strolled by.

She’d always said, “If you hafta’ wait, it’s because I’m making myself beautiful.”

Finally, her hand on his back, their thing, announced her arrival. He wrinkled his nose.

“What?” she said.

“You smell different.”

“I do?”

“That’s Polo Black.”


Voice gritty, he said, “There’s someone else, isn’t there.”

His eyes wandered during her silence. A reeking box was thrust into his hands, gift paper crackling.

“Happy Birthday.”

For the first time ever, his blindness embarrassed him.

“I’m sorry,” fell on her empty chair.

Anonymous said...

“She’ll make an excellent wife.”
He can only see her back, bent beneath the folds of a rose silk kimono. Stepping closer, he watches her hands fly with clever speed. Tiny, fancifully beautiful things emerge from the flurried movement.
How charming. How quaint.
A stack of exquisitely textured paper sheets rest at her elbow, awaiting transformation…life… from her skilled fingers.
“She is very talented. And her dowry is…shall we say…extravagant.”
He bends closer, looks into the flat flesh devoid of eyes, mouth. One hole; a nostril.
“Yes, an excellent wife. She will never argue. And such skillful hands…Imagine…”

Amy Schaefer said...

I folded a tiny dragon, running my fingernails along the edges to make them sharp.

Karol scratched his acne. “Why d’you always make paper animals? They fall apart.”

I shrugged. “Beautiful things are fragile.”

He gagged.

“Ignore him, George,” I said, stroking the dragon’s head.

Mrs Horowitz plucked it from my fingers. “I await your attempt to make art, Danica.” She tore George in half.

I requisitioned sheet metal. Even though I folded it the same way, Mrs Horowitz liked this dragon much better.

At least, until its wing opened her jugular.

Back at juvie, I folded a tiny dragon.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

The dishwasher churns. The TV blares. Wendy’s husband laughs. Outside, the neighbor’s dog barks. And barks.

Wendy checks on their little girl. In Melinda’s room, everything is wrong.

The window is wide open, the screen ravaged. Crumpled paper dolls skitter across the floor like dead leaves. An unfamiliar masculine scent, the black bite of licorice, hangs in the air.

Wendy rushes to the bed, flings back the covers. On the pink princess sheets, hanks of Melinda’s dark hair curl like commas, pausing the beautiful moment between before and after, as if awaiting Wendy’s lungs to fill so she can scream.

saustin said...

Another beautiful thing ripe for the taking. She signals her interest.

Parting her red lipsticked lips to reveal a flash of white, the corners of her mouth turn up in a coy smile. She leans back and awaits his arrival.

He folds his paper and gets up from his seat. His body strong and lean, but she holds the power.

She pats the seat next to her. “Sit.”

He taps the book in front of her with two fingers. “Ah, Laird Barron. One of my favorite authors.”

“Mine too.” She opens her purse; the knife catches the light.

David Claude McCoy said...

I knew it wasn’t something I should do, but I silently named her Molly when I first saw her at the shelter over a week ago. I’ve been back to visit her every day since then.

Molly is a beautiful three year old beagle with a gentle disposition, but I found out it wasn’t her first time here. The staff said her owners were notified, and they were still awaiting an answer from them. I signed the paperwork.

Today, I stand in front of her empty kennel, and I wonder about those previous owners. Then the attendant returned, “Molly’s ready.”

Eric Souza said...

It was hard to imagine that 75 years back, this dying thing had been considered the most beautiful actress in Hollywood.

Her splotched skin ran so thin on her cheeks it looked like wet tissue paper. The few strands of remaining hair fell from her bumpy scalp as though forgotten. Blank, yellowed eyes closed. Cracked lips, faded and scaly, slightly open. Flecks of dried spittle clung to her jawline.

Sarah watched as every few seconds the old woman’s chest rose slightly with a wheeze, awaiting the time it wouldn’t rise again.

Rivka said...

The long awaited envelope sat on the top of the mail stack. He ripped the thing open with the back of his thumb, pulled out the thick pile of papers, and read the beautiful words:
“Honey, guess what?” He yelled. “The kid won’t be born a bastard, after all!”
“Oh good,” he heard. “I meant to tell you about that paternity test.”

Kristine Poptanich said...

Others saw beauty in the turning leaves, but it didn't feel beautiful to those forced to participate in the macabre show. They wasted, ruthlessly and selfishly drained of life, so that mother could survive.

The wind whispered: "sacrifice is a beautiful thing," coaxing more paper-thin waifs to embrace the black fall.

Then there was one.

Clinging, twisting, she fights what awaits, inevitable as it may be, embracing the mantle of life even when only suffering remains.

Then there were none. Life replaced by a blanket of death - a fitting tribute to winter.

Rea Tarvydas said...

Here’s the thing. I moved house. That is, I lifted up my bungalow and moved it back out to Saskatchewan. I’d always wanted to live by the Qu’Appelle River and thought my old house, papered with memories, would survive the long trip down the TransCanada Highway. An urbanite wanted my narrow city lot but not my beautiful bungalow.

WIDELOAD flashed the pilot pick-up truck that inched ahead of the flatbed truck that carried my bungalow, warning drivers that awaited. WIDELOAD, WIDELOAD, WIDELOAD. That would be me. Too wide for small places like city lots, office jobs, and marriage.

Brig said...

Backwards she was still the same.
Still beautiful.
Still mamma.
The doctors got it wrong. You can have someone else's face, it was on a movie.
His Mamma's car wouldn't catch fire.
His mamma doesn't play with matches.
His mamma knows the rules. Knows everything.

She turned round. His dad said they're awaiting results.
He was waiting too. Mamma'd been gone forever.
He closed his eyes. That's when mamma came.
'It's me baby' said his mamma somewhere.
He opened his eyes. Her face looked like papier-mâché.
But in her eyes he saw. His mamma. Inside her.
He smiled. She cried.

Marcia Smart said...

Tucker Pope ordered an expensive whiskey, downed it, awaited another.

“Celebratin’?” The bartender asked.

“Sorta.‘While back I won the lottery.”

“That’s a beautiful thing!”

“Ha! Wife’s spendin’ is outta control, relatives clamorin’ for loans, had threats on my kids’ lives. Drive with my Colt in the pick-up now. It’s a livin’ hell.”

Tucker stood, emptied his bulging wallet of paper dollars onto the bar.

“Keep the change.” He nodded back to the dumbstruck bartender.

Tucker climbed into his truck in the parking lot, produced the Colt from under the seat.

Nobody heard the gunshot that ended his high-priced miserable life.

SiSi said...

“I was once a beautiful young woman just like you, if you can believe that. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Back in 1954 I won the Miss Halpen County beauty pageant. My picture was in the newspaper. It’s in the scrapbook mama made, right over there.

“But things change, don’t they? Now I’m a crippled old lady in a nursing home, awaiting death. Well, it comes for all of us. You’re new here, aren’t you?”

“Yes ma’am.”

The needle trembled as I reached for her arm and the delicate blue veins racing toward her heart.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I want him back.
The paper with my signature on it proves his beautiful presence in my life is over.
I was closer to him than anyone or anything else. When consumed by grief, engulfed in fear or mired in loneliness, I held him and cried. He was my companion.
I await the day we will be together again. Though my ticket to hell has been punched because I ordered his death, I hope that when I die he’ll be waiting, with a wagging tail and cold nose, for the sound of my footsteps on the other side of heaven.

JDG said...

"Check it. Five bucks for a cat."


"This reporter on channel two, what's-his-name, Trevino? Always does pets of the week. Let's get one."

"You want to get a cat?"

Gus shrugs. "I don't know. Something to play with. They have such beautiful eyes. Look at him, arching his back, awaiting a pat. Or demanding a pat, bossy britches. Look at that."

Dr. Riley follows her patient's gaze. An empty cereal box rests sideways on the nightstand. The doctor scribbles a note on her last piece of paper: Frosted Flakes. On the next line she writes, Delusions continue.

Ginger Mollymarilyn said...

Beautifully, she traipsed across the floor to the other side of the room, lace petticoats puffing up her red satin skirt, peeking out their whiteness at the hem. She had returned, back from her two-hour reprieve awaiting his demise, to see him, his body lifeless, his neck twisted, hanging off the arm of the chair. Hopefully, no one had heard his guttural moans through the paper-thin walls. Staring down at him, hesitatingly, he looked a thing of ghastliness. Even dead, he looked evil. She had done the right thing in poisoning him.

Karen McCoy said...

The heating duct sighed, its rusted fan clogged with paper. “You really need to stop chirping like that.”

“My battery needs changing,” the smoke detector retorted back.

“Boo hoo. Try awaiting a new fan for months on end. You don’t even need a battery to work properly.”

“So? I’ll chirp until I get one, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“Really.” The heating duct whirred and clanged.

“What are you doing?” The smoke detector asked. “What’s that smell?”

“The start of a beautiful fire.” And with that, the heating duct exploded.

Alexandra (Ola) J. said...

She’s got paperclips in her earlobes, and she makes it look normal.

“I am perpetually awaiting a rebirth of wonder,” she says by way of greeting.

The too-cheery Hello! dies on my lips. I venture a guess instead. “…That’s from a poem, right?” She smiles back at me in response.

She is seventeen. I am fifteen. I am old enough, I tell myself; she is older still.

“It’s beautiful,” I add hopefully.

“It’s kind of cliché,” she responds, oozing practiced nonchalance.

My heart sinks with the realization: I’m just her plaything.

My eyes catch her own: I don’t really care.

LynnRodz said...

"Back when I was young I saw a paper on a door that read: Beautiful Things Await You - Enter. So, I did.

"'Shh...' he said. I think he'd been waiting for me. He took my small hand in his, then lead me down the darken staircase. If I'd known the horror that awaited me."

"Geez, Mary, get over it!" Mike ordered another beer. "It happened a long time ago."

"No, let her go on." Her friends urged.

"I lost my childhood, my innocence, that day. My own brother." Mary shook her head. "How was I to know Santa wasn't real?"

TheOneWriting said...

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the day his book comes out in paperback. You see, his first book was the most beautiful thing I’d ever read. Nothing since has touched me like it did. And I just thought that maybe the new one would too.

I hoped.

I was wrong.

I’m sure it was a good book. Everything seemed fine. Characters, plot, everything. Everything was fine. But it wasn’t beautiful to me.

So I guess that means I’m the problem.

Which makes it easier. I can officially tell you it wasn’t your fault.

I did love you.


Kat Waclawik said...

“Shit.” The mask muffles Leon’s voice.

I say nothing. On the video feed, cops surround the bank. I think of my girls, awaiting my return from work, playing with cut up magazines they call paper dolls because I can’t afford better.

I thought I could disable the silent alarms. It was the heart of my plan. In, out, no one hurt. Beautiful.


Leon hates cops. His gun rises to the backs of my shivering coworkers.

The girls asked me to stay home today, play paper dolls. Wish I had.

Everyone loves a hero, right? I lunge for Leon’s gun.

Parker Meador said...

An old man sat on a tree stump to await his friends. He reached into the pocket of his tattered coat and took something out of a paper sack. It wasn't long before the trees came alive. "Stop dancing around and come get a treat. The pecans in my pocket are not any sweeter than all that you have passed by." Some days he didn't have enough to go around. That was the thing that brought him back. They just wanted to be with him. The old man didn't have that anywhere else in his life. It was beautiful.

Suzanne said...

It had been a beautiful kite. Shaped like a bird, it had soared up to heaven on paper wings. But, like Icarus, it was doomed to return to the awaiting earth.

The boy tugged the broken thing down from a tree and laid it on the grass. He knelt over it, smoothing its crumpled face to see if it would fly one more time.

It was no use. The words he had written—"Please come back"—were unreadable now.

He ran home, the kite a broken sail over his shoulder, to find out if his message had been received.

Michael Seese said...

I breathed a sigh of relief.


Nearly a year of sweat and tears were poured into this masterpiece. "Masterpiece." Those are some great expectations, pun intended. I prayed it would be good.

Like all writers, I live in a place called "wracked with doubt." What if it’s terrible? What if everyone hates it?

Now came the hard part. Letting go, and awaiting certainly from a fickle future.

I looked at my husband, asleep in the chair, a tattered paperback covering his eyes, then down at the beautiful little thing in my arms.

No, no doubt. She is a masterpiece.

AnnieColleen said...

Blue-bear is wrong. Eliana pushes him back.

Blue-bear, Yellow-bear. More things. Bi-plane. Daisy-girl.

Her parade.

"Hey, beautiful."

Those words bounce, hey-byoo-ti-ful. Her head bounces, left-up, right-up.

"Hey-chuck." Down-up.

"Can I have the paper?"

It's her parade road. But, hey-chuck was nice. She nods, down-up.

He pulls the paper. Slow. Slow.

Yellow-bear is wrong. Eliana pushes him back.

The paper says arr. Like the letter, arrrrr. Then: seven-dot-dot-oh-eight.

"What's that?"

"You know. What're we waitin' for?"

I'm a-waitin', I'm a-waitin'.

Those words bounce. Others won't. She can't make them answer.

Hey-chuck hugs her, tight. Tight. She hugs back.

"Mama's comin' home."

Dena Pawling said...

Today is our paper anniversary. I procrastinate until the last minute, as usual, but she is always forgiving. I'm a lucky man. A book? No, not really appropriate. Origami? Not right for her. Ah! Beautiful roses for my beautiful wife. Nothing but the best.

I drive the short distance, through the gate, park the car, and walk. Then kneeling on the yellowing grass, I brush back the autumn leaves and gently place the paper roses on the stone.

“Happy anniversary, my love. I didn't forget. Aren't you proud of me?” I smile through tears as I await her reply.

KariV said...

The library was off-limits to children.

“With good reason!” Grandfather would huff. He often boasted about the rich treasures locked up behind the mahogany doors.

Once Jen had asked if she could take a peek. Grandfather’s face had turned red with apoplexy, and she had never asked again.

Then the day came when Grandfather was gone. Jen didn’t know where; she didn’t care. Darting into the library, she picked up a book and caressed the gilt cover.

What beautiful things could possibly await between the paper pages?

Gently, gingerly, she bent back the binding, and became lost in another world. said...

He'd often wonder why recycled toilet paper had spots.....especially here, just sitting back and blankly staring at the stall door of the restroom at Charles de Gaulle Airport. He longed to be home, back to civilization, back to his beautiful three-ply softness…This perforated, scratchy thing which now awaited to be used, was worthy of being put on a Black & Decker sander to strip some floors. 'A culture is judged solely by the bathroom tissue it uses’ he thought, grimacing as he knew what was next…Positively Third World

JoeBlo said...

It all started with something beautiful.

No one else knew what awaited behind those rich blue doors.

Some people will only be able to read about it in paper books.

But today, I can live out the dreams of those in the future.

Once you read about it, you will be taken aback.

The people who love the TV show Dr. Who will never know how I feel.

In fact, no one will ever know.

For I have seen it in person.

What is this amazing little blue box?

"Something Old,

Something New,

Something Borrowed,

Something Blue."


Lilly Faye said...

Brace Yourself

Feels like I've been awaitin' round forever for this thing to come out in paper, but all my hard work has finally paid off. My first novel is on store shelves. Even the cover is as beautiful from the back as it is from the front. My work is done.

"No," said The Shark. "It has just begun."

Tribaliz said...

Back home, death is not a beautiful thing. In repose, no one swings by to prettify your face.

Here I lie; in my paper mâché suit made from ten thousand tallyhos. No need for a coffin, the worms would rather feast on dirt than on someone like me.

I cross over before the crows arrive. Yet here they are, lifting me up, carrying me back; their black wings flapping in time with the fluttering of my white paper feathers.

Death waits for no man they say. Neither do I await death.

NotaWarriorPrincess said...

On all those walks, on all those days, she held my soft fat hand, guiding her little Mouse back from the drop near the edge of the water.

She was everything in my life, then less than everything, then almost gone, for a while, as I let go.

Days now I hold her bony, paper-soft hand, guiding her toward what awaits. If only it were not quite so beautiful, this exchange of care. The stakes are not high: they are her life, my life, cupped in our hands, little Mouse.

She welcomed me in. I will see her out.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

“Spooo-kee,” Leeann grinned, entwining her arm through mine. This was her first long-planned, long-awaited journey. We merged with the crowd.

Atop the tall dais of dried driftwood and other old bits of combustible rubbish presided the Guy, his eyes empty in the paper mâché mask. The fire brigade started the bonfire and beautiful flames raced their way to the effigy, crackling and popping.

Leeann cried out. She touched her fingers to her forehead. Blood.

“Oh no, chuck,” I said. I pulled out a clean tissue from my back pocket.

“Something hit me,” she said.

“Let’s get you to first aid.”

Just Jan said...

The paper roses are from a time when I couldn't afford to buy her real flowers. As I fold her hands over them, they begin to crumble.

Already I miss her beautiful smile. I lie down beside her, careful not to throw my back out, and am heartened when I feel her lifeless body next to mine. Knowing better things await, I shove the pistol into my mouth and squeeze the trigger.

CED said...

“Have you not awaited my return?” she asked.

She stood beautiful and terrible in the cold moonlight.

“I— I didn't think you'd ever come back,” he replied.

“I am your wife.”

“You were my wife. We didn't even make it to our paper anniversary.”

She glided across the room, eyes growing angry.

“You broke your vows.”

His heart raged against his ribcage. “I didn't! 'Til death do us part.”

“Thing is,” she said, “you are not dead.”

Lenny Liang said...

Looking back, I took her for granted.

I once awaited her with excitement. Her feel against my fingertips brought to me a world beyond my imagination. She stirred my heart, my mind, my every sense.

Then my eyes wandered. To the new, the sexy, the quickly accessible. And my beloved felt she had to change. So she surrendered her body and joined the world of downloadable love.

She was more than a paper thing. She was beautiful. She was tangible. She was real to me.

And now, she's not the same. Easily obtained. Easily deleted. Another piece of disposable kindling.

RM Moji said...

Her name was Beautiful. She was anything but. The scar ran from her left cheekbone to her right ear. She held the gun to the old woman’s temple.

“Sign it,” Beautiful whispered. The old woman didn’t move. “Thing is grandmother, either way I’ll have your money. But only one way you’re keeping your head.” She pointed to the paper. “Sign it.” The old woman signed.

Beautiful walked out of the great mansion for the last time and into her long awaited freedom.

The old woman picked up the phone. “Kill her,” she said. “And bring me back my gun.”

Jennifer Moorhead said...

“You got the backbone of a soft shell crab” my husband liked to say. Correct. “You ain’t gonna win no beauty contests neither.” Again correct.
On paper, I was strong and outspoken and awaiting the moment I would turn into a swan. In reality, I was freezing my ass off in a deer stand, shrinking from my husband’s glare.
“Kill it!”
The buck waited.
“Idiot. He’ll get away.”
The butt of the rifle dug into my bruised shoulder.
“Gimme the gun.”
My trembling finger found the trigger.
“Hey dumbass, you’re pointin that thing in the wrong di—”

Tanisha Payne said...

I bit back my tongue as I impatiently awaited the ending. Not long now.

“You may now kiss your beautiful bride.”

Hallelujah. God forgive me but the only thing beautiful at this point was that the pastor had stopped speaking. Unable to wait any longer, I leaned into my new husband and whispered against his lips.

Chuckling, he devoured my mouth. His hands grabbed my butt, stealthily releasing the too small, paper thin thong –my Maid of Honor bought– that’d been making out with my butt crack. I sighed in relief.

Now that was love. For better or for worse.

Deborah Herd said...

She was so pure, so beautiful, her heart so believing. Grief hadn’t touched it, blotted its stain.
She was just seven. How could Olivia explain the future that awaited her? How could she tell her baby that mummy was leaving, that nothing would ever be the same again?
“Are you feeling better, mummy?”
Olivia smiled and nodded, but didn’t lift her head from the pillow. A drip was attached to her hand, the paper-thin skin around the needle was blue.
“Don’t worry, mummy will be back home tomorrow.”
Michael walked into the room accompanied by a doctor. Neither was smiling.

BrandyM. said...

Her chubby little fingers were secured tightly around my neck as she rode piggyback down Main St.
It is my job to protect her. But I can't protect her from the tortuous taunts, words harsh as sandpaper, and relentless teasing she encounters daily at school.
"Josie, look," I said, facing the storefront window.
"I don't see anything daddy."
"You don't see it? I've never seen something so amazing."
"I still don't see it."
"Look closer."
"I only see my reflection."
"And isn't it beautiful?"
A faint smile appeared on her sweet face.
"A wonderful life awaits you Josie Jane."

Anonymous said...

I locked the children in the closet. All twenty of my beautiful kindergartners, happily awaiting my return with paper and crayons. We’d drilled for this thing a dozen times, and they were confused as to why I was breaking the rules. But they trusted me.

“Hush. You stay very quiet in here. I’ll be right back.” Did they hear the fire coming for them? Did they know I was lying?

Moments later, he burst through my classroom door. “Where is your class?”

“They’re in the gym.”

My last sight was his rifle in my face, but the children were safe.

Anonymous said...

The beautiful blur that been my life for two weeks was narrowing back into dull focus. A final year of college awaited me back home.

I pulled out my guidebook and tore out a blank page. “Got a pen?”

He fumbled through the front pocket of his backpack, found a pencil and handed it to me. On the frayed piece of paper I scribbled my address and phone number, though I knew neither of us could afford an international call.

The train lurched. He grabbed my hand that held the paper and pencil and kissed it. I began to cry.

Mark G said...

With paparazzi and admirers, I awaited in front of the hotel to catch a glimpse of the beautiful woman. The woman who abruptly ended our relationship to head to New York and become a star. Ten years, the sting yet burned.

Mallissa descended the stairs.

I shoved my way through the mob and handed her a note telling of my undying love. She read then looked at me as if I was a ... thing. Turning her back, the note fell from her fingers. Huddled against the cold I watched the wind tumble the piece of paper into the gutter.