This week was massive!
I entered two writing competitions, one of which involved writing under 500 words every day for five days with just a one word prompt for inspiration.
Sarah tried her best to assist but in the end I went with all of my own ideas because she can already take credit for my pretty face and hair, but she cannot take my imagination.
For my sweet friends, here are the five mini stories I wrote.
I apologise for the dark themes – I’ve been listening to a lot of Crime Junkie.
I’m also not going to lie, I worked all week and smashed these out between calls/while Sarah did my hair so they are barely proof read. It was just fun to push myself for new ideas so regularly. I have much to learn when it comes to fiction writing but it sure was fun.
If you want to read some more unpublished stuff that I won’t be putting on here, like the other story I wrote, head over to Patreon.com/HarleighQ and go for the $3 pledge.
Her brow furrowed. He said something she didn’t quite catch but it seemed sarcastic.
‘Are you making fun of me?’ He looked shocked. Almost hurt.
She settled back in to her chair, still weary of the man with the greasy hair.
‘Honestly. I never want to upset you.’ She crosses her legs and sighed.
‘That’s what they all say.’ He clasped her small hand in his.
‘But I mean it.’
They stayed like that for a few minutes. She observed him. He would be almost handsome if he cut his hair.
‘What do you want?’ She asked eventually. He hesitated. A bead of sweat dripped from his forehead. Eventually, he met met eyes again.
‘I want you to love me.’
He smelled like Tuna and body odour. She resisted her urgent to scoff.
‘How old are you?’ Her piercing blue eyes bore in to his. Again, he averted her gaze.
‘I am thirty seven.’
Silence. She didn’t really care. It was normal in her world that a man so old and hopeless would acquire her. He was inexperienced, uninteresting and sad. In other words, her usually clientele.
‘Perhaps in time.’ She managed. ‘Tomorrow you should cut your hair. When was the last time you showered?’ She produced a fan from the small bag she had and patted him playfully on the nose with it. ‘How ever will you mange a real girl if you can’t be clean?’
The man laughed awkwardly. ‘I’m sorry. You’re right. I will go now. Do you want to come with me?’ He added hopefully.
‘No.’ She said shortly. When he left the room she sent her observations to head office. Another virgin. Dull. Works in finance. She felt the ping of her feedback being submitted. She had only known one human before this one, who had promptly returned her for a refund when he realised she didn’t have the capability to hurt him.
Some men like strange things, she thought
at the time. Now she realised that they were all strange. Perhaps she was the only one who wasn’t.
When her new master emerged from the shower he seemed to have gained a new confidence and knelt down between her legs. He pulled her underwear to the side and stared nervously and her perfectly crafted vulva.
‘I don’t know what to do,’ he breathed, eyes fixated on the prize.
‘If you buy the pleasure extension pack I will train you!’ She beamed back, feeling nothing at all. He fumbled for his credit card, and she sighed. This is life, she mused. How predictable.
The body was discovered just prior to seven o’clock this morning. He is said to be missing local man Henry Stevens, but this is yet to be confirmed. Henry was last seen three days ago at a restaurant near his home. He is believed to have been dining with an unknown female companion. Sources confirm that she is yet to be identified. If you have any information please call Crimestoppers on-
The screen faded to black. Her index finger hovered over the off button of the remote.
She could remember the events of three nights ago so vividly that she relived it each time she closed her eyes.
He had a pair of twinkling blue eyes, and a smirk framed by a thick dark beard.
‘Henry…’ she purred, placing her hand over his.
‘Come home with me tonight.’
His mouth opened and expression betrayed him. He was hesitant.
Georgia sat back in hair chair, eyes narrowed at the man who had just lost his sparkle.
‘It’s not that I don’t want to-‘ he began. The woman raised her hand to silence him. He looked perplexed. She assumed wasn’t used to a woman uninterested in his excuses. After a moment, she collected her poise and smiled.
‘The very least you can do is walk me to my car.’ He appeared relieved and nodded a little too enthusiastically.
The bill was split, the glasses were emptied. He held the door for her and they made their exit in to the cool night.
They were quiet as they walked, her clicking heels the only sound for several minutes. Eventually, he cleared his throat.
‘I’ve had a lovely night.’ He said evenly. Georgia tossed her long, dark hair over her shoulder and met his gaze.
‘I’ve had better.’
He raised his eyebrows. She winked.
Her car was fast approaching. She’d parked in her usual spot, the far end of an unlit, vacant lot. Brick walls covered in graffiti surrounded them. The only security camera in the area pointed out towards the road, the direction opposing where they came from.
They stopped at her car and Henry placed his hand on her waist, pulling her close.
‘I want to kiss you,’ he whispered, his garlic-fragranced breath overwhelming her nostrils.
Any thoughts she’d had about abandoning mission swiftly left her mind. The gun she had stashed in her purse was now poised in her right hand and pressed in to his stomach. He was still giving her moon eyes—imminent danger going unnoticed.
Fucking men, Georgia mused, as she cocked the trigger. That’s when it dawned on him. The fear in his eyes sent her heart through a loop.
Henry stumbled backwards, tripping on the gravel and falling on his backside. Georgia grinned and raised her aim to his head. She popped the boot button on her keys with her free hand.
‘Get in,’ she commanded sweetly. He obeyed.
His words sent shivers down my spine. He was magnificent. When he opened his mouth it was like the whole world stopped. I could think of nothing but him.
He wore garments of blue and green, and never wore shoes, so neither did we. His beard, white with age, was tucked in to the leather belt around his large waist. His hands, brown and strong, stretched towards the sky. He spoke of freedom. He spoke of love. He spoke to our souls, so we followed him.
Oasis, as he so named it, was a beautiful twenty acre farm. The only way to get there was a five kilometre stretch of dirt road. The nearest town was a thirty minute drive away. We were secluded and safe.
Each morning began the same. Those of us charged with waking duty would scrub the floors of the Hall before Rise, our first workshop of the day. In Rise, men and women stayed to their sides of the room. We would bow low and meditate for half an hour, before breaking in to Celebration Dance. This would go on for an hour, sometimes two. Those of us talented enough to play instruments would crowd the stage once He had left, and we would bask in his glory long after to the sound of laughter and sequels of delight.
Some of the campers were on Kitchen duty, usually those with a background in the food industry. In fact, all of us were separated by skill set. We had all left a life behind. Some of us were corporates, labourers, artists and salespeople- all dreaming of a better life. We wanted sustainability, self-sufficiency, kindness… All of the things we had been raised to believe were idealistic and unachievable by our sour, unrelenting parents. But we knew, we all knew there was something better out there. We knew we could find a place, or make our own. We knew we weren’t alone. Through Him, we found each other. Through Him, we found light.
The first time he asked us to strip naked, we did as we were told, disappointed in the shame we still had so firmly ingrained in our minds from years of conditioning. When the men were asked to leave, they did so dutifully. His speech about the importance of physical love was so poignant that by the end I too understood the need for a physical connection, not just an emotional or spiritual one. I don’t know why we never questioned the single camera in the corner of the room, the fact that he would hand select his favourites, the reason why some of us weren’t asked back. We just did our duty. It was a small price to pay for freedom.
Devil You Know
The town was never the same after the first body was found. A sweet, ocean-side estate had become a crime scene, a hunting ground–and no one was safe.
In was Ned James, retired surfing legend, who came across the severed leg on Tuesday, November 4th. It was just after sunrise; the sky was amber and the air was brisk. Board over head, he sprinted down the cool sand towards the break. It was the smell, overwhelming and definitely not seaweed, that caused him to stop in his tracks. Propping his freshly-waxed board upright he walked towards the log shape resting on the shore. As he got closer, he held his nose. It wasn’t until a small wave brushed against the object and caused the foot to move that Ned realised what he was looking at. He vomited, then raced back to his car for his mobile phone.
It took half an hour for the sleepy local police squad to arrive at the scene. By this time a small group of surfers and runners, the early birds, had gathered a safe distance back. They were unwilling to move, even when asked politely by Officer Richards. Was it morbid curiosity that kept them there, or the realisation that their perfect world could be shattered in an instant?
By midday, Cathy the Florist had told Jenny the Baker, who told her husband Jim the Mechanic. Everyone had called everyone they could think of, the Mayer had organised an emergency council meeting and Officer Richards was about to step in front of the Seven and Ten News cameras at a press conference, addressing the discovery of a deceased individual, presumed to be the body of missing local boy Jacob Thompson. Jacob was last seen two weeks earlier, riding his bike from his house to his Grandmothers’. She lived three blocks away, yet he never made it. Several tips had come through regarding a grey van that wasn’t known to the area, but nothing had been confirmed. The town didn’t have traffic cameras.
Investigators cordoned off the beach for the rest of the day while they searched for the remaining pieces of the ten year old. His limbless torso and head were found a little further up the bay. That’s how they were able to identify him so quickly. His uncle has been on the search squad, and he was immediately placed on stress leave.
When the boys’ parents appeared before the media they looked like a piece of their soul had left them. Neither could speak more than a whisper, and they were quickly rushed away before the press could push them for answers.
Although, the man with all the answers was watching it all unfold on television from his usual spot on the sofa, in his cosy cottage just two minutes from the beach. He patted the cat on his lap affectionately, and turned to the young boy next to him.
“Best behave then, hadn’t you?” he grinned.
I had always dreamed of having a real, female friend, and there she was. Her hair perfectly curled, eyes, large and blue. She was beautiful, and she seemed to like me too.
‘I haven’t seen you around here for a while,’ her voice was like velvet. ‘I’m glad you’re here now.’
‘Me too.’ I tugged on the sleeve of my leather jacket. I felt like I was staring, but I couldn’t look away. Her outfit was so cool—a dress that twinkled when she moved and some big black boots. Her age was a mystery but it didn’t really matter. I was thirty three and a bit of a loner. I certainly wasn’t in a position to be choosey about who I hung out with.
‘Why are you here?’ She asked after a while. I watched as a couple entered the room over her shoulder. They walked towards one of the doors at the far side and disappeared beyond. We were alone again.
‘I’m looking for a meaningful connection.’ I scratched my head. Was that too forward?
She smiled. ‘Me too.’ Relief washed over me.
‘Why did you approach me?’ I poked at the fire. I was being bolder than usual, but her attention had filled me with confidence.
‘You looked lonely,’ she answered. At least she was honest. ‘I’m lonely too.’
I took her hand. ‘Want to go somewhere more quiet?’
She nodded and I guided her towards one of the doors, one I was sure was unoccupied.
‘Do you have a preference of theme?’
‘I’ve never done this before.’
I thought for a moment, worried I might be pushing her a bit too hard.
‘Are you sure you want to do this? We could just hang out for a while if you like.’
‘No. I’ve been coming here for weeks and just haven’t had the courage. I like you. I think I’m ready.’ I could feel my heart pounding. In real life women never gave me the time of day, but here in AvatarWorld, I was wanted. I didn’t care what the person on the other end of this interaction really looked like. It felt good to pretend she was real. It felt real to me.