Weekend Homework – Pay it Forward

Would you like your writing to reach a wider audience? Then here’s an opportunity.

This Writer's NotepadI’ve been meaning to do this for a while, just for fun and to spread a little literary love. There are now over 2,000 subscribers to this blog. That might not sound all that many, but I know a fair number of you are writers of one kind or another. I’d like to give you a chance to share a small excerpt of your writing with the readers of this blog.

I’m inviting you to submit via the Comments, a piece of your choosing, to a maximum of 250 words. It can be anything you like – a couple of paragraphs from a story, some flash fiction, an opening, an ending, a character description, a piece of the action, a setting, a moment… anything at all. This needs no introduction or explanation, just the words and a title if you have one. If you have a blog or website where readers can enjoy more of your writing, you’re welcome to include a link.

I won’t reply against each Comment, to avoid breaking into the flow, but in a few days, perhaps a week or so (assuming anyone has taken up my offer) I’ll draw a line and offer a little feedback. I’m afraid as the owner of this blog, I’ll also have right of veto on anything which I decide is inappropriate or which I feel uncomfortable associating with my blog. But I’m pretty broad-minded, so don’t worry too much about that.

So for starters, I’ll offer you a piece of my own. No explanation, no qualification, except to say that it isn’t from SINGLED OUT.


The body lay on a trolley. Above it, a flickering neon strip cast a cold light. A white sheet enveloped him, concealing all but his shaven bullet-head and lacerated shoulders. Blood had congealed in a dozen small gashes around his neck. His eyes were closed; lips cracked and swollen. A purple bruise bloomed against his left cheekbone.

She hardly knew him, yet he had the power to arouse a stomach-lurching response in her, even as he lay drained of life. His parting gift, proof beyond doubt that he was gone for good. His life prematurely terminated; hers, forever altered.

The detective had found his way to their apartment block, so the police knew who he was. But someone had to confirm the identity of the body. He’d asked if she was a friend and she’d had to stifle a snigger. The irony of it. No, not even a friend, she’d said. But she was willing to help based on her… acquaintance with the victim; since there was no one else.

Motionless, she stood inches from cold flesh and crusted blood.   She felt giddy with… what was it? Fear? Euphoria? A wave of nausea threatened. Swallowing hard to stop the upward rush of acid, she took a breath and found within it an unwavering voice – enough for the necessary words.

‘Yes, that’s him,’ she said. The detective had what he needed, nothing more. She turned towards the door.

My God, she thought, I did it. I did it.

~ ~ ~

Now it’s over to you…


Author: Jools

Abundant, Bold, Confident, Determined, Empathetic, Forthright, Grumpy, Healthier, Individual, Just me, Kind, Loving, Mellifluous, Natural, Optimistic, imPatient, Quirky, Real-world, Single-minded, unTreatable, Unwound, Verbal, Wilful, eXtraordinary, Young and old, Zero-tolerance.

13 thoughts on “Weekend Homework – Pay it Forward”

  1. BEAR

    Just after Anna began sleeping in her new big girl’s bed without side rails, she dreamed that the wild animals in the zoo had escaped from their cages and were prowling the streets of the city at night. Everyone had their windows shut tight so no animals could get in, except the window in her room had been left open by mistake. She was very frightened.

    And then, sure enough, a huge brown bear climbed in over the sill. His mouth was open, he had two long pointed white teeth, saliva dripped from his gums; she knew he wanted to eat her. (Somehow she also knew it was a he.) Heart pounding, she slipped out of bed. The bear saw her. She circled the bed. The bear came after her, round and round, closer and closer….

    Oh thank goodness she woke up at the last minute and her mother was there. Her mother stroked her hair and kissed her and told her it had been just a bad dream, but that if a bear ever did get into her room, she shouldn’t be afraid. All she had to do was feed him honey and he wouldn’t hurt her. Then Anna really did wake up, and found herself all alone in her new bed. Her mother wasn’t there. The advice about feeding bears honey had been part of the dream, too.

    After giving it a lot of thought over the next few days, Anna decided her mother’s advice in the scary dream had not been useful. How would she find honey in her room if a bear came into it? And how would she feed the honey to such a huge bear?


    [Back to you, Julie….]

  2. (This is a great idea! I’ve just discovered your blog, Julie. What a great resource!)

    The room itself was entirely black from ceiling to floor. The tiles here seemed dimensional, shimmers of stars and lights flickering just beyond the surface. It would be easy to get lost in the moving luminosities within the walls, watching their eccentricities for hours. In the centre of the room, there stood a single black column, its uppermost surface bare. Tyr’s violet eyes widened.

    “Chair, the Loom…?” Tyr whispered, his voice fading into absolute silence.
    The Chair slid his hand over the surface where the Loom once rested and exhaled. His face was troubled, and those boundless eyes reflected his worry as much as they reflected the mosaic of lights around him.

    “I do not know when it was taken,” the Chair turned his face in Tyr’s direction, “but, without the most important piece of our infrastructure, the Bastion will begin to fail.” As he spoke these words, the luminescence that lingered in the walls flashed, leaving them in absolute darkness for a fraction of a second. “Even now, the threads of our network falter, and we risk losing everything we’ve attained. The Loom is the life-force of Alendor. It is what breathes the light of knowledge into the City, and those who live here. Without it, we are nothing. In the wrong hands, it could change our fate. The consequences would be dire. I’ve not seen a threat like this in my lifetime. I fear we are dealing with something that we cannot even begin to understand, something older than the Bastion and myself.”

    (from http://csvardent.wordpress.com/)

  3. The Dream
    Julia, turned in her sleep. The dream was so real she could smell the sea and hear the waves on the shore. She stood on a sand dune, below her a man thrust a woman. The woman wasn’t responding. The blue tone and bruised neck told, the woman was dead.
    Waking in tears she dressed quickly and getting a few things she needed she left her house. Breakfast would have to wait.
    An hour later she was in the dunes. Sun rise came with rose tinted clouds, but Julia had no heart to look. She was listening. Such dreams were always true and in the dream the woman had a camera, the type that professionals used. Probably to photograph the sun rise.
    A scream cut off suddenly came from nearby. Julia hurried forward, there they were. Fear gripped her as she slithered down the sandy slope. If she fell he would kill her too. He was too intent on what he was doing to notice the pepper spray till it was thrust into his face . He yelled and tried to scramble away. The luggage straps were soon around his hands and feet. Only then was Julia aware of a spirit screaming. With a gasp of surprise, she hurried to the body and started heart massage. The blueness left the face and the woman started breathing with a loud wheeze. Julia started to shake as she pressed the keys to call for help. She needed breakfast and soon…

  4. From my WIP, tentatively titled ‘Debt.’

    Tuesday, October 16th, 1928

    June flinched at the sound of a fist colliding with the side of Donny’s face. The blow knocked him sideways and he fell to the ground, the shadow of the high school’s flagpole casting over him like the menacing silhouette of a gravestone. Phil lunged at the attacker, enraged to see his best friend reduced to a pile of flesh on the ground. The on-looking crowd gasped as Phil swung at Tony’s head. Tony easily ducked the attack and landed a solid punch in Phil’s stomach. June winced, as if her brother’s pain were her own. Phil stumbled back a few steps, the wind knocked out of him and unable to go on.

    Tony stood, short yet strong, panting from the effort of the fight and looking down at the figure on the ground. The fist that delivered the finishing blows clenched and unclenched a few times to loosen the smarting muscles and almost unconsciously it pushed Tony’s black hair out of his face.

    “Don’t you ever say anything about my father again, you damn copper!” he shouted at Donny, who was now clutching his swelling eye. He shot a death glare at Phil, who was still struggling to breathe.

  5. (Julie, thanks for this opportunity! I will keep it brief…)

    From my novel, “In the Light of the Eclipse”

    Heather’s lottery is a sin and we should all be ashamed.
    To be cleansed, there is only one way out.
    We must DESTROY the one who takes our lives with the hand of evil.
    We must DESTROY the goddess of condemnation.
    We must DESTROY Heather.

    (to read the first full chapter, click here: http://publications.divinetrinityfilms.com/IntheLightoftheEclipse/Eclipse_Sample_Chapter1.html)

  6. I await wedding ring delivery, which feels precarious. I await the beginning of a month long online course on iPads in the classroom. I await the end of the school year. Seven more days, I believe. I await possible changes in my job position. I await bearing a NEW name and NEW identity, starting 6.28.14, for the rest of my life!

  7. From Second Chance:
    The air in the club was hazy, the tell-tale aroma of narcosmoke permeating everything. Flashing lights created a stuttering montage, each shot highlighting mating rituals unchanged in generations. The dance floor was a mix of the beautiful and the banal. Throbbing beats intermixed with pheromones to produce an aphrodisiac of industrial strength. The rhythmic pounding produced rhythmic thoughts and the dancers responded viscerally. Gasps erupted as imagery exploded onto the their datalenses. Stephanie watched the manufactured euphoria take effect and was surprised to realise that she had lost interest in the whole charade. It wasn’t a physical thing, despite her aches and pains, but the realisation that what had once been attractive had lost its shine. She could see the manipulation and wasn’t prepared to accept it. She had moved on.
    A tingling at the back of her neck let her know that the psychoactive was kicking in. That warm feeling of being held in an embrace made its syrup-like progress down her spine. Now this was a manufactured euphoria of which she was very happy to succumb. She sunk further into her seat and let the sensation envelop her like a cocoon. On the dance floor a beautiful young woman caught her eye. Surrounded by men, the woman seemed lost in music, yet she toyed with her admirers, both desiring and rejecting their attention. Her actions triggered memories that made Stephanie smile.

  8. Hope’s Nose (from my work on the Riverias Travel Writing Atelier, 1st May 2014)

    EVEN the most glamorous seaside towns reveal their mysteries in the winter months. Torquay is no exception. A first glance says sleepy hollow town spread lazily over seven Devon hills. But the Riviera railway station is a great open portal at one end of the town and the marina is a gateway to the continent at the other. A town hidden in plain sight. Thanks to the Great Western Railway you can slip from the office in London at five o’clock and be stepping through that portal in time for supper at the Grand Hotel. When the moon is low over Hope’s Nose, and as silvery white as the palladium in Devon’s limestone rocks, that is the time to start an adventure on the English Riviera.

    Palladium was discovered at the end of 1802, in 1806 the poet, Elizabeth Barrett was born, and at the same time Napoleon Bonaparte was beginning […]

  9. The Jay Leno Special

    POSTED ON JUNE 5, 2013
    The Jay Leno Special

    I absolutely had to write about this experience today. Once or twice a month I drop off pop and beer cans at the Fast Cash Redemption center in Lockport NY. Today was that day and I also stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for a good cup of fresh coffee and watch a little CNN as well. While waiting for my turn at the counter I was looking around to see what was new when I spied a poster ad that said, and I love this to death,”enjoy a glazed donut breakfast sandwich with bacon and fried eggs”. I had to call this the Jay Leno Special because he makes remarks about how fat our asses are getting as Americans on his late night show. When I read the caption and saw the glazed donut and the breakfast items I could not help but start laughing out loud. The young man getting me my coffee knew what I was laughing about instantly. He said something like, ‘I know everybody gasps when they see the sign and usually laugh too”. I guess I really just could not believe we have stooped so low with our choices these days. I also cannot help but wonder if my sorry ass would try that breakfast special if I was not diabetic. I’m probably goofy enough to give it a whirl. I love all those items, but really they cannot be a good concomitant mix, so I would say they were incompossible. No I did not make that word up either. I found it some time ago in one of my favorite books Endangered Words which is a collection of rare gems for lovers of lexicology. Words are comfort food for my brain. Glazed donuts with bacon and fried eggs are no longer comfort food for my fat ass as I have seen the error of my ways. But I did get a kick out of seeing the poster and enjoyed laughing about it. Simple things amuse simple minds. Maybe some day we might all enjoy a mushroom flavored ice cream cone too. What the hell why not?

  10. Days of Future’s Past

    So this poem has terrible grammar. I think. Well, bear me this one time. I wasn’t grammatically sane when I wrote this.

    In the days of future’s past I’d like to see memories last.
    All the joy and sorrow in life I’ve passed.
    I want to reach a time when I could look back and smile
    at decisions made with regrets being few.
    Not zero, of course there’ll be a few,
    and from those few I have I’ll learn something new.

    In the days of future’s past I’d like to see myself in love.
    With what is, what could have been, what could never be.
    I’d like to think of myself full of imagination and curiosity
    –and of course the important things; honesty, integrity, sincerity.

    Link to my blog: https://midnightmalarkey.wordpress.com/

  11. The Truth About Jacob

    It is Samhain and as scheduled the couple enters the Ministry of Life and moves to the station where I intercept Sharon and separate her from her current partner: David Issak. Sharon’s facial markings differ from my own. Like me, she has the symbol of Carezan on her right cheek: a sun-and-flower-like medley with alternating pink-and-white rays and petals, the middle of which is the head of a baby as it crowns during birth. Unlike me, the markings along her right jaw indicate that she is a reproducer; she fulfills a magnificent life purpose that I will never get to perform. I take Sharon to the chamber, where we will spend several hours enacting the next phase of her life purpose.

    As I understand it, it begins with sharp spasms that transform into a twisting, churning, dulling, ache radiating from deep within the cavity. Next, it moves out to the back and legs and a prolonged discomfort overtakes the body. I see her squirm as if she is trying to crawl out of her physical and mental shells to survive the pain. She looks as though she wants to scream until her insides come out of her, but she finds no release.

    As she becomes soaked in bodily fluids, the horror and the truth dawns on her face: the pain and the discomfort have barely begun. The pain increases as she strains, but instinct tells her that she must press forward and that she has to make it worse to make the pain end.


  12. To all of you who added contributions above over the last few days, thank you! I enjoyed every one of these excerpts, and was delighted by the variety – and I’m sure others will have enjoyed them too. I do hope you get some click-throughs on your links and get the chance to introduce a few more readers to your work.

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