A Monday Moment: Foreboding

Monday Moment - Foreboding

Todd grasped his wife’s upper arms. “You must take the magistrate’s fastest horse and warn everyone in and around the village that they need to escape before it’s too late.”

Tears streamed down Rachel’s face. “Would it not be wiser to ride straight to Northbay and ask them to send an army?”

“You know we don’t have time for that. We’ve all heard the tales—once Antios’s men show up outside the village, it’s only a matter of time before Antios himself arrives and destroys the village. Our town only has hours left. If we can warn enough people, maybe someone will survive to tell our story too.”

She nodded and took a deep breath. “I will warn who I can.” Then she pulled her husband into a quick embrace.

“We’ll keep Antios’s men engaged as long as we can to allow those escaping to get away. As soon as you have sounded sufficient alarm, make for the nearest town.”

She pulled back and looked him in the eye. “I won’t leave without you.” Her jaw was set and eyes unwavering.

“Rachel, my love, you know that those of us staying to fight will leave before Antios arrives if we can. We must stay as long as we can, to give the rest of you a chance. But listen to me—if I do not make it, it would be better for Laura and Joshua to lose one parent, and for Shanna to lose one grandparent, than two. They will need you.”

Prompt used: After a powerful enemy destroys 2 major cities, they arrive at your main character’s city

A Monday Moment: Favor

“So, can you do me a favor?”

“A favor?” he scoffed. “You must be joking!”

I stared at him, trying so hard to keep my face as stoic as possible.

“Don’t think of it as a favor for me then. Think of it as a favor for your homeland. For your friends and family there. For you, even.” I could see his jaw jumping as he clenched and unclenched it over and over. He was angry. He had every right to be. Still, he had come to see me.

“If this has anything to do with Linus, you can save your breath. He’s not getting out any time soon. And neither are you.”

“I don’t want him to get out. I don’t care if I’m released either. But he can still do a lot from prison.”

“Not from prison in Pithea,” he countered.

“You don’t think so? Do you know anything about the operation he was running back home? About the operation he was running here?”

For as cold as he had been, his tone turned to ice when he replied, “I think I know enough.”

I lowered my gaze for a moment. I would have apologized for my part in all this, but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t have made a difference.

“I’m only saying that Linus is very connected, very smart, and very determined. I wanted him caught here in Pithea, but the truth is—”

“Wait, what?”

I looked back up at him to see narrowed eyes.

“You wanted him caught? Don’t you work for him? And you got yourself arrested too.”

“I’m well aware of that, thank you. But if you haven’t noticed, they don’t have much in the way of charges against me. My guess is the worst they’ll do is keep me here for a bit, and then send me back. I can’t go back—not after getting Linus thrown in jail.”

“I’m supposed to feel bad that they’ll hate you back home after what you’ve done?”

“They won’t just hate me.” I searched his face for the slightest hint of the compassion or kindness I once knew. “They’ll kill me.”

Prompt used: favor

A Monday Moment: Mistaken Identity

Natos had specifically chosen to spend that day alone, not wanting to get caught up in his brother’s chaos for once. He figured Jaffna would be safe, because he’d heard Acronis discuss heading to Taellyn with some of the others. As soon as he heard the giggle right behind him, he knew he should have gone to Qulu instead. His brother and the others would never bother with that remote location.

Despite hearing her coming, he wasn’t expecting the arms to wrap around his body from behind. He let out a startled yelp and pulled away, turning around quickly.

“Inanna!” he said with a gasp.

“Oh!” Her face turned bright red and she covered her cheeks with her hands. “I thought you were Acronis!”

“I gathered,” he muttered.

“I’m so sorry!”

“Right…well, it’s not a big deal.”

“Maybe not for you,” she said breathlessly. “You’re…Natos, right?”

He refrained from rolling his eyes as he nodded his head. It wasn’t that he minded that this rather attractive young woman preferred his brother to him. But despite how little he cared to hang out with his Acronis and the others, he had been around a lot when Acronis was in Jaffna and spent time with Inanna. Was it that hard to remember his name?

“Is Acronis here too?” she asked, looking around the area.

“I don’t think so. I heard them talking about going to Taellyn today.”

She stuck her bottom lip out. “What’s in Taellyn? Who is in Taellyn?”

Natos only shrugged. He couldn’t tell her what he was thinking. I couldn’t even begin to care. Why on earth do you want anything to do with my brother or those others that he spends all of his time with? What must be wrong with you that this is the kind of attention you want?

The truth was, he had always seen signs that Inanna’s family was not much better than his own. He felt bad for the girl, but on the other hand, at least her life was better than his. At least she wouldn’t be expected to become a mercenary and assassin, living in the shadows for the rest of her life, never having the chance to have real connections with others. He could only hope that she didn’t waste her freedom—that she would outgrow this fascination with his brothers and find some better friends.

Prompt used: What if your character was mistaken for someone else?

A Monday Moment: Engagement

“Aunt Winnie, why are you acting so nervous?”

“Am I?” She absently pulled on the end of her sleeve.

“Winnie,” Nathan said more firmly.

When she finally looked up at him, her face made him concerned.

“Is everything all right?” he asked, suddenly worried about what might have happened.

“Yes, everything’s fine. I just have…news, and I’m not sure how you’ll take it.”

“Just tell me. Is someone hurt? Sick?”

“No, nothing like that. No, Nate, it’s good news. I just don’t know…”

“Just tell me,” he repeated.

“Brian has asked me to marry him. I’ve accepted.”

“What?” Nathan broke into a wide grin. It was completely the opposite of what he’d expected with how she was acting. “Why would you be worried about how I would take that news? That’s wonderful!”

Oh,” she said, smiling with relief. “I’m really glad you think so.”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“Well, it’s just that I know you and Brian have gotten close—”

“He and I are close? You’re my aunt.”

“Of course, I know, but I worried it might be strange for you.”

Nathan put his hand on her shoulder and tried not to chuckle at her ridiculous concern. “You saved my life, at the risk of your own. You have to know I want nothing but happiness for you. Even if it had been strange for me, I would never have stood in your way or made you feel bad for this.

She pulled her nephew into a hug, and he thought back over the time he’d known his aunt. He pulled back so she could see his sincerity when he spoke again.

“When I was in Maebor, my favorite days were those that you or Brian would visit. The only thing that topped those days were the ones when you and he came to visit together. It felt like…” He paused for a breath when he felt the emotion rising to the surface. He forced past a sob and continued, “It felt like I had real parents, for the first time in my life. Now you tell me that my surrogate mother and my surrogate father are going to be married? I don’t think anything has made me happier, except of course meeting Penny and making her my wife.”

A Monday Moment: Batman

My friends and I stopped in the coffee shop to sit and drink and talk. I almost ran into Jessica, who had stopped in the doorway. She ushered us back outside quickly.

“Batman’s in there,” she whispered frantically. Her face was red and there were tears forming in her eyes.

“What?” Grace asked. “Seriously, why’d you make us come back out here?”

“Seriously.” Jessica pointed at the door. “Batman is in there.”

“What does that mean?” I asked. Jessica always was one who would say something cryptic and expect us to follow her thinking.

“It means—” She opened the door so we could see inside. “—freaking Batman is in the coffee shop!”

Seated at a table not far from the door was a man wearing black clothes and a black hat. He was watching us peek in the door at him, and I wondered just how crazy he thought we were.

Jessica shut the door and we backed away as we saw someone else walking toward it.

“So…he’s Batman why?” Grace asked.

“What do you mean, ‘why?’ He had the whole get-up.”

Grace looked at me and I sighed.

“A black hat and sweater aren’t exactly a Batman outfit,” I said. “Maybe he’s just not a colorful person.”

“That wasn’t a sweater! Or a hat. He had the mask and all. You guys didn’t notice? Over in the back corner?”

“Oh…no, I was looking at the guy right up front here.”

I was looking at the guy in the corner,” Grace said. “But isn’t Batman a fictional guy?”

Jessica stared at Grace silently for a few seconds before looking back at me. “Okay, look in there again, but this time look in the back.”

“I don’t want to stand out here looking in there again like some idiot. Let’s just go in.”


The door opened then, and out walked a man in a full Batman outfit—cape, cowl, and all.

He turned our way and walked by us while we stared at him.

“Ladies,” he said in a gravelly voice.

After he left, Grace whispered, “He is Batman.”

Prompt used: You walk into a coffee shop and see Batman sitting in the corner booth.

A Monday Moment: Christmas Eve

Today’s writing was mostly inspired by it simply being Christmas Eve today, and by my own involvement in my church’s Christmas Eve service tonight, which I’m participating in.

The couple in the writing are two people whose relationship develops in the down time between stories (so far), so anytime I write about them as a couple, before they’re married, it’s new and interesting insight into their relationship.

To all who read this today or soon after it’s posted, I hope your Christmas is wonderful!

“Is the church having a service on Christmas Eve again this year?” Penny asked.

Nathan nodded. “But I already told the pastor that I wouldn’t be able to be involved this year. I’ll help him plan it, but won’t be part of it.”

“Why not?”

Nathan held back a chuckle to avoid giving her the wrong impression. “Because our wedding is only a few weeks after Christmas. I figured we’d be too busy to attend this year.”

“You want to skip the service?” Penny asked with surprise.

“I…I guess I thought we’d need to. Or at least that I wouldn’t be able to be part of it, considering the extra time that I would have to take to prepare.” He looked at his fiancée and noticed the disappointed look on her face. He wasn’t expecting this reaction at all. “Did you want to go to the service?”

She nodded.

“We certainly can. I only wanted to avoid any unnecessary stress.”

She opened her mouth to speak, but took another moment to consider what she wanted to say. She stared past him when she said, “The service last year was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. I never knew that side of Christmas, and, as you know, it was a huge part of me learning about your God.”

Nathan smiled. He remembered.

“But not just that—the music, the lights…the compassion.”

He noticed tears in her eyes and felt a tug on his heart.

“It’s hard to explain,” she said, meeting his eyes again. “But I have been looking forward to it this year. I would really like to go.”

“Of course we can.” He took her nearest hand in his. “I should have talked to you about it sooner; I do remember how much you enjoyed it last year.”

Penny squeezed his hand. “And, hey, if you want to be a part of the service, you should. I think we’re going to have plenty of time to get ready for the wedding without you needing to sacrifice a tradition.”

Nathan chuckled. “It’s not exactly a tradition; I’ve only been part of it for a couple of years.”

“All traditions have to start somewhere.”

A Monday Moment: Christmas Spirit

For today’s Monday Moment, I pulled another card from my Story World: Christmas Tales set. I pulled this out last night and thought about what to write, but ended up just too tired to think of anything (I had a very long week).

I usually prefer to post these Monday Moments earlier in the day, but I just came to a point where I knew I wasn’t going to write anything worth reading last night. I hoped to have time to write something today, but the card hadn’t sparked any ideas, so I decided to look elsewhere.

Then I picked the card up again and reminded me that what I write doesn’t have to be taken directly from what’s on the card, but can go anywhere, inspired by the images.

Here is what I came up with:

Christmas was always his favorite time of year. It was also the time of year he was the most unbearable. She had grown accustomed to his jovial nature, his generous attitude, and his childish spirit. She could even pretend to like it. But it all went into overtime during the Christmas season. She was most in danger of revealing herself then.

She knew there were risks, but she had the sleeping powder for a reason. Granted, it wasn’t just to give herself a break, but somehow, every year, there was that one night that she had just had enough. She couldn’t handle it anymore. She couldn’t handle him.

After the first two years, she found that she was looking forward to the night she’d treat herself by putting him to sleep for a while. The type of sleep she knew he wouldn’t shake himself out of no matter what little goblins and demons worked around him. She could have her peace, get her work done without hiding, and even have a visitor over.

Maybe this year, she’d treat herself a second night. Or was that too greedy?

Christmas Eve2

I’m not sure I kept with the spirit of the card…on the other hand, that snowman is creepy.

A Monday Moment: Ghosts

For today’s Monday Moment, I pulled a card from my Story World: Christmas Tales set. I got this a few years ago, but have never done much with it. For one thing, I am definitely the type of person who prefers to keep Christmas-related things for the Christmas season. And I guess I just never think about this during that time. But last night I realized I needed to write something to post for today’s Monday Moment (I prefer to post something I wrote new during the last week, to push myself to do some actual writing practice, even during the revision phase), and I realized this was the perfect time to use this.

“Did you tell her about your dream?” Max asked.

“I told you it wasn’t a dream,” Clark said through gritted teeth.

“What dream is this?” Cathy questioned with a smile.

Clark sighed. “It wasn’t a dream.”

“Well, it certainly wasn’t the ghosts of your dead parents,” Max muttered, going back to his work.

“Ghosts?” Cathy echoed.

“I saw them, Cathy,” Clark insisted. “Standing right here, plain as you and me.”

“Surely you don’t believe in ghosts,” Cathy said with surprise. She had always thought Clark to be much more level-headed than that.

“Why not? I can do many things that would seem supernatural to some people. Sali was able to bring people back from the dead. Who says ghosts are completely impossible?”

“Sali wasn’t exactly…that doesn’t matter right now. What did your parents say?” She might not believe that he actually saw the spirits of his dead parents, but the encounter still meant a lot to him. It was worth hearing what he had to say about it.

“They didn’t say anything. Not with words. But they were together, and they were happy. Somehow I just knew that they were both happy wherever they are now.”

Cathy frowned but tried not to be very noticeable in her reaction. “Why do you think you saw them now?”

“I have no idea. And I knew you wouldn’t believe me, which is why I didn’t plan to tell you!” His last few words were aimed at Max, who chuckled without turning back around.

“This time of year…it’s always hard on people who have lost loved ones,” Cathy pointed out.

“I know. I’m sure it’s hard on you too, though at least you still have some family to spend it with.”

“Hey, I’m standing right here,” Max protested.

“I know.”

“Was Christmas a big event in your family when you were young?” Cathy asked.

“Wasn’t it a big event in everyone’s family when they were kids?”

“Not mine. My parents barely acknowledged the holiday.”

“Really? Why?”

Cathy pulled a chair out at the table and sat down. “They didn’t think the original purpose behind the holiday had survived enough, and decided that it was too frivolous now. When I got older, I tried to convince them that we could simply make sure we focus on the true meaning of the holiday, but they didn’t want to do that.”

“But you are celebrating with them this year, right? I thought you said you were going to be with them for Christmas.”

“Yes, things have changed since my mom died. My brother and his family love celebrating the holiday, and even my dad joins in with them now.”

Clark walked over to sit next to Cathy. “I’m glad you’ve reconnected with them.”

She smiled at him. “Just as I am glad that you have your uncle to spend the holiday with.”

“Oh, not Mr. Scrooge here,” Max said, turning back to face them. “He said he wants nothing to do with Christmas this year.”

“Clark?” Cathy questioned.

He shrugged. “What’s the point?”

Cathy looked at Max who nodded at her.

“Listen, you are going to celebrate the holiday this month, and I’m going to be right here with you.”

“What about your family?” Clark asked, uncertain about how he felt about her declaration.

“I will be with them on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But the day after, I am coming here, and we’re going to have a traditional Christmas Day, just one day late.”

“You don’t have to do that, Cathy,” Max said. “I appreciate it, but you really don’t have to.”

“I don’t have to, but I’m going to. She looked from Clark to Max, and then back again. “After all, you two are my family too.”

Christmas ghosts

Card used

A Monday Moment: Protector

As I attempt to get back into a daily writing habit, I hope to also get back to my Monday feature, which I call Monday Moments. Short explanation: every Monday I will post a piece of writing practice from the past week. For a longer explanation, go here.

For today’s Monday Moment, in honor of NaNoWriMo, here is a short excerpt from my recently finished NaNoNovel “Protector.”

After everyone had left, Lorrin stayed in the room again. She had many notes that she wanted to go over, trying to come up with an idea for how to proceed.

“I think I have it figured out,” she heard from a man who had come back in after the others had left. It was Falin.

“How’s that?” she asked, trying to pull her brain from the thoughts that had been getting her nowhere.

“I know what we can do to solve this.”

“Do tell.” She didn’t believe for a moment that he was going to give her some brilliant plan. And sure enough…

“We should go out into the fields and stare at the grass.”

She didn’t look back up. It was exactly as she had expected.

“No, I’m serious,” he said. “We’ll all go out and lie on our bellies, pick a blade of grass each, and just stare at it for hours. I’m sure we’ll see some sign of trouble.”

She still didn’t answer him, but he was making it difficult for her to concentrate on the notes.

“Look, do you have any better ideas?” he asked. “Maybe cut off some pieces and bring them back here. Oh, I know! We’ll put some in our food and see if it affects us like it does the animals. Maybe we’ll all wake up in the morning with a double next to us.”

“Falin!” she finally stopped him, mentally chastising herself for reacting at all. “None of this is helpful. Do you find it all a joke?”


“Yes? This is all a joke to you—that your village is in danger of being overrun by predators if we do not stay out there killing them first? That the ecosystem is out of control and we have no idea why?”

“No, not that. The joke is that you and your army men will be the ones to figure it out.”

“We’re all you have, so you might as well make the best of it.”

“Oh, sure, I get that. You and your soldiers will get it all solved for us, I’m sure.”

“Seriously, what is your problem? Why can’t you just realize that we’re only here to help? None of us has done anything to bother you, so why do you antagonize us so? Why do you insist on making your snarky comments during every meeting?”

He opened his mouth to speak, but she continued.

“You are making my job more difficult than it already is. If you do not want to help us solve this problem, just leave and we’ll find someone else from your village who can take your place.”

He sat down in the chair opposite the table from her. “You won’t find anyone from the village who knows the area as well as I do.”

“I don’t care. We’ve been here long enough, we’ll make do with someone who knows the area less than you do, but who is more willing to help.”

“I am helping.”

“That’s debatable.” Those words hung in the air for a moment as neither of them said anything else. Lorrin was surprised by the force with which she’d said them. She was normally quite a calm person.

“I don’t mean to make your job harder,” he finally said quietly. “I just…don’t like soldiers.”

“I’ve gathered that. Any particular reason?”

He chuckled. “None you need to hear.”


A Monday Moment: The Kidnapping

When I started doing these Monday Moment posts, I vowed to post something I’d written in the last week, and that if I hadn’t written anything new by Sunday or Monday, well, I’d just have to get to writing.

However, I’ve written a fair bit over the last week…it’s just all too spoiler-filled, or too confusing if you don’t know a lot of backstory. Since I’ve been sick, I had no desire to push myself to write something else. It’s all I can do to keep moving forward on NaNoPrep.

I wrote this about 2 years ago. I did already post it on my blog back then, in a regular daily check-in post, because I liked it. (This was before I started my Monday series.) So I’m sharing it again now as an official Monday Moment. Prompt used is at the bottom.

Why should they get to have such an extravagant life while I have to wait until I’m 21 to see any of their money? I can’t believe they cut me off, just because I lost a little of their money. I mean, what’s $10,000 to people who have millions?

This will show them. I can’t believe how easy this is going to be. I know they’re not happy with me right now, but they still love me. They’ll pay anything we ask to make sure I’m safe.

I didn’t think those guys were really going to hit me. I thought we’d use some kind of make-up or something. Or fake blood like they use in movies. Man, that really hurt. But it’s okay. Once we get the million from my parents, I can get myself fixed up. The pain is so going to be worth it.

Why am I tied up? Why did I agree to this? Who said this was supposed to be uncomfortable? I just wanted to take some pictures and go stay in a motel. That girl they brought in really knows how to convince me to do things. Stupid things. First they beat me up, and then they left me here, tied up. Man, I’m hungry.

I’m starting to think that the guys I hired to fake this with me aren’t faking. Who would have thought that finding some guys in an alley would have led to this? I figured they’d be so happy to make so much money without having to do much, they’d go along with whatever I said. I’m so hungry, I would eat a rat right now. Hey…what’s that moving over in the corner?

I’m pretty sure…I’m going to die here. I haven’t seen anyone since they took the picture they were supposed to use as proof of life. The girl said she’d be back with food and left. I’ve been tied to this chair for two days now. I…I think I’ll just sleep now. Maybe it’ll make the end easier…

…hunh? What’s that bright light? Where am I going? Is this the end? Oh, there’s my mom. She looks mad. Why is she mad at me? I’m the one who was tied to a chair and left to starve to death. Wait, there’s that girl…what’s she doing here? Is she handcuffed? Oh, my wrists are finally free. Now I can get out of this chair and–

Well, moving didn’t really work. I seem to be at the mercy of these people who are lifting me onto a bed. I suppose I’ll have to go to the hospital and be checked out before I can go home. I wonder where my dad is, why he’s not here with Mom. Maybe he was too busy to come. Or he’s even angrier than Mom is. They must know what I did.

Oh, there’s Dad. Wait, why is he in handcuffs? What’s going on?

Prompt used: Staging a fake kidnapping to get money out of your rich parents