Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred Eight

Jakob went first, allowing their father to walk with Wil. Dr. White, with a, “Please call me with any questions,” offering of business card, and final wistful look, departed. The three remaining members of the Winters family walked down the hallway in silence.

Each time a doctor or nurse and patient came hurrying past, Wil was surprised. She saw her father, heard his solid steps. She saw her brother, heard his solid steps. Yet, she also saw herself, from a panoramic view apart from feeling. How curious, that dark-haired, serious-faced girl! Her eyes saw somewhere beyond the flurry of a busy hospital while her boot-clad feet carried her on and on.

Wil thought of her mother. Although they’d seen her body and said their goodbyes, Wil realized she still expected to find her mother alive. This was the hospital they’d visited countless times; surely they were all walking to whatever room Cynthia had been checked into. Surely they would knock, enter, and find her mother and her kind, apologetic smile. Cynthia always apologized for the trouble she’d caused, as if she and they didn’t know about her incurable and fatal condition.

Jakob reached the door to the lobby. Ah, Wil’s feelings told her, We’re leaving the hospital and heading to the apartment. She’d see Cynthia there, at home. Her mother would be resting on the couch; again, with that recognizable smile.

“How was school today, Wil?” She’d say, and sit up. “Tell me all about it.”

A tear slipped down Wil’s cheek. She heard her mother laugh, cough, recover.

“Oh, Wil. Only you could have a day like that…”

The echoes of her mother’s voice and expressions lingered in Wil’s mind as she, too, exited the hallway and entered the small waiting area beyond. She saw Jakob had stopped; to her side, her father stopped as well. All stared as a woman rose from one of the pastel couches and strode toward them.

She was not someone Wil had seen before, yet her appearance seemed familiar. Long, dark, thick hair framed a pale almond shape. As she walked toward them; locks swishing, scarf waving, arms swinging with confidence; Wil noticed the woman’s blue, stormy eyes. They locked onto Wil’s and held her gaze.

“Hello, Wilhelmina.” The woman stopped before Wil, smiling a smile very different from Cynthia’s. “I’m Guinevere Greene. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”

 

THE END

 

Continued from One Hundred Seven.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Halloween Poetry Contest: Hosted by Writer’s Treasure Chest

Aurora Jean Alexander of Writer’s Treasure Chest is hosting her 5th Annual Halloween Poetry Contest.

According to her:

Every author and poet are invited to participate and deliver a “Halloween-Poem” to my email address: aurorajean.alexander@aol.com, together with their picture and a link to their website and/or blog.

There are a few rules to follow:

  • Your poem needs a Halloween theme.
  • Your poem needs a minimum of 99 words.
  • Your poem has to be delivered to my email address between October 10 and Halloween, October 31, 2019, at 9 pm Pacific Time.
  • Your poem has to be delivered together with your picture and a link to your blog/page.
  • Please avoid violence, bad language, and sexual content within the poems. It would be disqualified.

Every poem that meets the rules and is delivered within the deadline will be published here on “Writer’s Treasure Chest” together with the provided picture and link.

The contest starts October 10, 2019 06.00 am and ends October 31, 2019 09.00 pm Pacific Time!!

—–

Brew something special and submit it within the 3 weeks she’s allowed!

Contest for Children’s Stories: Susanna Leonard Hill’s 9th Annual Halloweensie Writing Competition

Do you feel like writing a Halloween story for children? Do you feel like winning a fabulous prize for doing so?

Sounds like you need to check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s 9th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest!

Visit her site for full details. The basics, according to her, are:

The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words potion, cobweb, and trick.  Your story can be scary, funny, sweet, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂  (And yes, I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  We got over 235 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. potions, cobwebbed, trickery, whathaveyou 🙂  NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined 🙂 )

Post: your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Monday October 28th and Thursday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my special October 28th post.  There will be no Tuesday Debut, Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy.  If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of my October 28th post once it’s up (please include your byline if your posting handle is something like MamaWritesByNightlight so I can identify you.)  If you have difficulty posting in the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it for you.  Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the top – NO ATTACHMENTS!  And please do not submit entries before the start of the contest!

The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the following days, my devoted assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 5th (if the judging takes longer than we expect if could be later…but we will do our best!)  The winner will be announced on Tuesday November 5th (good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 🙂 ) If we get more than 25 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st – 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turnout we’ve had the past couple years, I may post as many as 10-12 finalists and I’ll probably end up giving everyone a prize 🙂  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!

Judging criteria will be as follows:

  • 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
  • 2.  Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
  • 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 🙂  Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
  • 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 🙂  Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.

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Definitely go to her site to read over the prizes. They are always amazing!

Carrot Ranch’s Rodeo Competition, #2

It’s another week, and that means another contest over at Carrot Ranch!!

Here are the rules, according to Charli:

At Carrot Ranch, our weekly literary art and wordplay are expressed in 99 words. Several regular Ranchers often include the prompts or constraints of other writing challenges, and that is known as a “mashup.” This contest has several mashups based on multiple prompts derived from three Pro-Bull names, and the amalgam of two genres. Read the criteria carefully because this contest requires you to combine multiple writing elements and prompts.

Rosin up your writing gear!

CRITERIA:

  1. Write a story using all three bull names as names, places, or things: BodaciousNose Bender, and Heartbreak Kid.
  2. Combine two genres: game show and pirate. (Use the provided links for genre tropes and plots.)
  3. It can be fiction or fictionized BOTS (based on a true story), but if true, wow, what a life you lead!
  4. It can include any tone or mood.
  5. Use original details to express your tale.
  6. Make the judges laugh, gasp in surprise, or remember your story long after reading it.

CONTEST RULES:

  1. Every entry must be 99 words, no more, no less. You can have a title outside that limit. Check your word count using the wordcounter.net. Entries that aren’t 99 words will be disqualified.
  2. Enter this contest only once. If you enter more than once, only your first entry will count.
  3. Do your best to submit an error-free entry. Apply English grammar and spelling according to your country of origin style. As long as the judges can understand the language, it is the originality of the story that matters most.
  4. If you do not receive an acknowledgment by email WITHIN 3 DAYS, contact Charli at wordsforpeople@gmail.com.
  5. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on October 16, 2019.
  6. You may submit a “challenge” if you don’t want to enter the contest or if you wrote more than one entry.
  7. Refrain from posting your contest entry until after November 28.
  8. Use the form below the rules to enter.

2019 JUDGING

Charli Mills, Lead Buckaroo at Carrot Ranch, will collect stories, omitting names to select the top ten blind. Please refrain from posting your contest entry on your blog. A live panel of judges from the Keweenaw will select three winners from the top ten stories. The blind judging will be a literary event held at the Roberts Street Writery at Carrot Ranch World Headquarters in Hancock, Michigan. After selections are made, a single Winners Announcement with the top ten in each category will be posted on November 28. All ten stories in each contest will receive a full literary critique, and the top winner in each contest will receive $25 (PayPal, check, Amazon gift card, or donation).

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest #47!

Are you confused about how to terribly poem? I’ve got you covered with a basic overview, here. Mostly, I seek the complete destruction of a poem’s construction over the revulsion of the subject.

Here are the specifics:

  1. At the excellent suggestion of Deb Whittam, our Topic is fractured nursery rhymes. Since I’ve done this category before, the rule is that you must take an existing nursery rhyme as your base.
    Mess up Mary’s lamb. Make Jack and Jill lose their heads; literally. Turn Little Jack Horner’s plum into a shark.
  2. The Length is determined by the rhyme you choose. No, you needn’t do every stanza of “Old Mother Hubbard.” It’s up to you.
  3. In terms of Rhyming, that is also dependent on the one you choose. All the ones I’ve read rhyme, so you can count on doing the same.
  4. Please, young writers, Make it terrible! Mother Goose will spontaneously molt at the very mention of your name and children everywhere will be permanently scarred for six months.
  5. The target audience is children, so a G-Rating is necessary.

You have till 9:00 a.m. MST next Friday (October 18) to submit a poem.

Use the form below if you want to be anonymous for a week.

If not, and for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments. Please also comment if you post to your site, since WordPress’ pingbacks are not reliable.

Have fun!

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Photo credit: Charles 🇵🇭

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Boil, boil, toil and terrible! This week’s poems were enough to take the eyes off a newt or the wool from a bat. Yet only one poet raised a horrible enough incantation to incite the Wal-mart imps, and that was:

Crackles & Cackles

by Peregrine Arc

Tooth, fang, eye of toad.
Hurry, hurry, PETA’s on the phone!
Come, come, more evil things we need
To finish this spell, to hasten its speed.
What do we choose? Bloody armor, a bloody mary, or even unwashed unmentionables?
A rope, fresh from a hanging, the ectoplasm of a ghost or a wing of a bat?
Oh Heavens and Hades, we need something more evil than that!

Nay, bring me that tome from the vault, yes, the one right over there, in-between the mummy’s teeth and the vampire’s sash. But not to be confused with the earrings of Sinbad.

TERRIBLE POETRY 101, the spine reads in blood.
I cackle, I chortle; oh this is such fun!
Yes, that’ll do the trick. This spell is now done.

Congratulations, P’Arc! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

The head witch required multiple readings through all entries this week. After brewing a potion to revive her sensibilities, she selected P’Arc’s contribution as first by merit of its terrible meter overall. Where is the subject going? Does it have one? What in the name of spell-dom will this brew?

Well done, young apprentice.

Now; if ye need yet another chant after hers, here are the rest:

A Nasty Spell

by Trent McDonald

Boil, boil
A bit of basil
Add more olive oil
Some witch hazel
Tooth of hen
Toe of frog
Mud from the fen
And earwax from a dog
Some eye of Newt

No, not Gingrich!
Disgusting, you wit
Such a nasty witch!

We say the spell

And, ehhh,
That eye, Hell!
It’s watching you!

Remind me to never
Create a hex
With you ever
You don’t follow the text

—–

Untitled piece

by Bruce Goodman

O fortl tew hir jatl ebuvi the hurozum,
dicurelomg and chiiromg the isivelid
sphiri thi hed jatl bigam lu nuvi om;
gsolliromg soki the nurmomg tler – fass
uf sofi and tpsimduar and juy.
Bal, uh, whel e rivusaloum!

—–

Spell of Invisibility

by Joem18b

to become unseen first remove your clotheen
this spell does not work on your tutu or muumuu

if you’re a kid don’t you dare become bare
spells come from hell so you have messed up
get back dressed up

now that you grownups are naked it’s time to get bak-ed
find some prime chronic and smoke it like tonic

repeat that last step, beth, but this time with meth
now crunched, dude, you got to get krunked

repeat that last step, bloke, but this time with coke
now blowed, vato, you got to get throwed

and now you’re ready to go, baby
and i don’t mean maybe

walk out on the street
go on
no one can see you
but take it slow, bro

note: avoid invisibility cloaks. your feet hang out.

—–

Spell

by Deb Whittam

A pinch of aniseed
A clove of garlic
The urine from a deer
Newly departed

A touch of sauerkraut
A roasted black bean
A lock of Hugh Jackman’s hair
Newly cleaned

A touch of hops
A bit of fennel
A bit of dust from the
Nearest dog kennel

A pluck of onion
A scattering of rye
A brand new ipad
Thrown from the sky

Stir it up
Mix it twice
Then drink it up
Vomiting it really nice

Now thrown down the mag
Throw it down hard
I wish all that gossip was true
And Matt Damon was in my front yard

—–

Liar liar pants onfire

by Ruth Scribbles

Hocus locust

Holy smack

Sun of night

Moon of day

Shed your light

On this my prey

Curse the liar

Within my Lair

Burn the tongue

Of the young

Evil one

Begone!

—–

Orisha

by Aderonke

Moody voodoo
Angry Juju
Turn this happiness
Into blue
From the east
To the west
And the deep blue sea
Make these tears run
For all to see

—–

An Evil Brew

by LWBUT

Orcs from Moria,
Goblins from The High Pass.

Wraiths of the Nether-world
Nazgul, Servants of Sauron.

Footpads, ne’er-do-wells,
Conmen, liars and theives.

Schutzstaffel SS,
Brownshirts and Gestapo.

Blood-sucking vampires,
Zombies and the soulless dead.

Combine all together,
give them a common cause,

And one Lord to rule them,
who leaves his Dark Tower…

… Washington sure has changed lately.

—–

Gremlins: A Teenage Mythology

by Lifelessons

A sneeze is how a poltergeist gets outside of you.
At night a different stinky elf sleeps inside each shoe.

Every creaking rafter supports its resident ghost,
and it’s little gremlins who make you burn the toast.

Each night those tricky fairies put snarls in your hair,
while pixies in your sock drawer unsort every pair.

Midnight curtain billows are caused by banshee whistles.
Vampires use your toothbrush and put cooties in its bristles.

Truths all come in singles. It’s lies that come in pairs.
That’s a zombie, not a teenager, sneaking up the stairs.

—–

Many thanks for entering. Return on the morn, as the dial points to 10, for next week’s inspiration.

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Peregrine Arc: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

A Tribute to Stephen Black of Fractured Faith Blog

Tonight I visit Stephen Black’s blog, Fractured Faith. As I wrote in my review of his bookThe Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square, I’ve known Mr. Black for a long time. We’re like those college students whose friends were friends, and found ourselves drawn to the same awkward punch bowl at those friends’ parties.

Stephen’s blog deals mostly with life issues and his observations and encouragements in dealing with them. He also promotes his book, has hosted some writing prompts, written rap-reminiscent poetry, and occasionally talks about marathons and running.

In tribute to an old friend, I give you my attempt to mimic a typical Stephen Black blog post:

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Has Life Ever Surprised You?

This morning en route to another working day, I was surprised to see into the back garden of a house I passed. I could see into their garden because the fence and tool shed were smashed in, done for. Debris from fence and shed, scattered tools, and the churned earth bore testament to what caused the damage, but whatever vehicle had done it was long gone.

I imagined the owners of the house coming out to the same scene as me. What if they only discovered their back part in pieces that morning? Would they feel the shock and surprise I did? How would they react to this unwelcome discovery?

Sometimes in my life I’ve felt like those owners, an unwitting party to unexpected disaster. I’ve written about some. My father’s death, for example. Failing to make the time I wished for on a run. Rejection e-mails or no response to my book queries.

At those times I did not react as would be best. I stood in shock at the damage. I turned to bad habits. I turned away from my wonderful, supportive family and toward shallow friends and the world’s attention. I gave up, and even granted power to the demons of OCD to tell me how wrong I was to try. I stood in the car tyre ruts in my back garden and despaired of any positive outcome.

But the old me is someone I don’t have to be anymore. I am not he. I can look over the scattered debris of my life and choose to act, instead. I don’t need to cry over broken wood and tools when I know I can pick up the pieces and move on.

Maybe cleanup will take time. I might need assistance from loved ones. I may need to seek professional help to repair the damage, to build a new fence and shed. It might take time or a few pints of honeycomb ice cream, but I won’t be alone to solve it.

We are masters of our lives, even when we do not feel like it. We may not be able to control whether something drives through our lives and leaves us in shock, but we can control our reactions. We can control what we do next. I know we can.

Have you ever had an unexpected event take you by surprise?

What did you do to recover and rebuild your life?

——

If you enjoyed my wee tribute, head over to Stephen’s blog and drop him a ‘Follow.’ The poor guy’s only got about 11,000 followers.

 

Photo Credit: Image by Thomas Schink from Pixabay
©2019 Chelsea Owens

What’s Your Favorite Holiday? Why?

Since I was a younger, smaller, Chelsea, I’ve loved autumn and winter. Perhaps this is why my favorite holidays have always been the autumn and winter varieties: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

In truth, my affinity for the first and last were likely tied to what I received at each.

Still, that love has persisted into adulthood. When the air outside turns cold enough to nip, a piece inside me stirs awake. I’m a reverse-hibernation animal, stretching and standing -even jumping!- when the first snowflakes fall. I associate the drop in temperature with coloring leaves, jack o’lanterns, and the excitement of trick-or-treating.

Once October passes, my memories turn to the distinct taste of a turkey meal and a thousand side dishes. I remember pies as well: pumpkin, pecan, apple, cherry, banana cream. I love them all! As we gather up the Halloween decorations and prepare to host family, I also look forward to all the loved ones I will talk to and spend time with.

Then, of course, comes Christmas. I hate the commercialism of Christmas, beginning with the first trees the stores put up in July and ending with the children’s over-hypered aftermath late Christmas morning. The spirit and feeling of the holiday, however, are what I love the most. Every year, I try to do something to bring happiness in service -the true meaning of Christmas.

Besides its spirit, I also love seeing everyone think of everyone else. My neighbors give each other presents. Most businesses decorate their fronts. We have tradition, and love, and even more time with family.

Today, Mother Nature finally accepted that it’s October. Wind and chill forewarned of her incoming wrath, followed by a severe temperature drop and even a little snow. I stood in the flurry, barefoot and smiling, as the tiny white particles swirled around me in our porch lights.

Autumn is here. Winter is coming. I’m so excited for what they will bring!

Are you? Is your favorite holiday one of mine, or do you prefer another? What do you love best about your favorite holiday?

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—————-

Here’s what I wrote this last while:
Wednesday, October 2: Wrote “Have We a Core Personality?

Thursday, October 3: Nothing.

Friday, October 4: Distracted everyone with some funny onesies for babies.

Also, announced the winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to The Abject Muse! Again!

Saturday, October 5: Introduced the 46th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a spell, a witch’s brew, an incantation, etc. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, October 6: Shared Carrot Ranch‘s Rodeo contest. Charli will be posting a new contest each week, so enter one of them!

Monday, October 7: An inspirational quote by C.S. Lewis.

Tuesday, October 8: “Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred Seven.” Next week will be the final, final, final, final post for Wil.

Wednesday, October 9: Today.

I also posted all last week at my motherhood site. I wrote “How Do You Dinner?,” “No Kids Allowed: The Death of the Family,” and “The Toilet Seat, a poem.”

 

Photo Credit: Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred Seven

Wil sat. In the absence of father, brother, counselor she stared at the empty space before her. Empty wall. Empty room. Empty.

The clock hand scraped around its face. Footsteps beyond the door and wall stampeded down the corridors. The heating system bellowed. A rushing roar of thought rose in Wil’s mind and her heart drummed faster and louder and faster and louder. She raised her hands to her head to stop them -to stop all the noise trying to fill the awful emptiness.

*Clonk* *clonk* “Mina?” Rob’s voice came through the door. “Wilhelmina? You okay?”

Wil uncurled from her fetal position atop the chair. She tried to speak. Tried again. “Ye- Yes.” She thought he might not have heard, so tried a louder assent. “Yes; I’m fine.”

She heard nothing, blessed nothing, then her father cleared his throat. “Okay. Let us -” He coughed. “I’m here if –we’re here if you need us.”

The emptiness following his assurance did not fill again. Wil stared at the floor, thinking on his words. We’re here, she thought. We’re still here if you need us. A small flutter of feeling stirred deep inside, near her heart. Wil found herself able to move; rising, walking, drawing near to the bed on which her mother’s body lay.

Wil stopped and studied the form there, analyzing the beautiful, peaceful, strange woman atop the clinical bed. She looked so like Cynthia, her mother; yet, so different. The differences were not in the skin marks and swells of equipment attached and removed; but, as Wil first felt upon entering the room, in the missing aura of warmth Wil had always felt around her mother.

She took the hand nearest her. It felt limp and colder than hers. She stared at the face that once exuded happiness, patience, and near-unconditional love. Wil frowned, trying to match this shell with the mother she’d known for all her life. Looking heavenward instead, Wil whispered, “Goodbye, Mom.”

Replacing the hand and glancing at the body for the last time, Wil nodded. She turned. In sure, soft footsteps, she crossed the floor, clinked the curtain aside, and clicked open the door.

As she entered the hall, she also entered the warm embrace of both father and brother. They pulled apart and looked at each other’s faces. Each felt relief in the comfort and resolve he saw in his neighbor.

“Right,” Rob managed. “Let’s go home.”

 

Continued from One Hundred Six.
Keep reading to One Hundred Eight.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens