Category Archives: Writing

The Apology (New Life Series)

I wrote this back in April during the time in which SaidBree ran this challenge, but I was unable to get it finished or edited in time. I wrote ‘The Apology’ to be the second part of the New Life Series. (You can find the first part here.) I am not sure how well it will read without the first part.

The Apology
(New Life series)
By
Leann Holland

“Mrs. Campbell, thank you so much for seeing me.” Veronica Snarski said sitting down in the armchair across from Amelia Campbell in her room at The Pines assisted living village.

“Of course, dear.” Amelia pushed herself into a more upright position in her green lift chair that doubled as her bed. “It’s good to see you. Klayton says that you saved my life.”

“I have thought a lot about that day over the last eleven months,” Veronica smiled leaning toward her, “You remind me of my grandmother.”

“Thank you, dear. Your grandmother must have been someone special.” Amelia said sitting up a little straighter.

“I came for two reasons. One is to ask your forgiveness.” Veronica tried to lift her eyes to Amelia but never quite reached them. “I am sorry.”

Amelia shuffled to the edge of her bed, and reached out to pat Veronica’s hand. “It’s okay, dear, you were selling me what I wanted, a pain-free ending. I just should have asked more questions and read the fine print. Oh my goodness, four hundred dollars an hour, I would never have been activated.”

Tears raced down Veronica’s cheek, “Thank you, thank you. I never wanted that job but when my grandmother signed the same contract as you. I didn’t have the money to see her. They offered me a job and one of the perks was the ability to access her for free.”

“Oh, dear, you can’t see her now.” Amelia said, sat back into her bed slouching once again.

“No, I can’t.” Veronica swiped at the tears. “And . . . and Klayton is helping me create a portal to access her engrams. We were able to secure them with the closing of New Life Enterprises.”

“So, you’ll be able to visit her when he gets it ready.” She grinned wide. The grin changed, she continued, “Maybe I could be the second one to use his program when it’s ready.”

“Please think about that carefully.” Veronica looked down at her hands crossed in her lap again. “With bodily death, my grandmother, a lady of faith, had expected that her engrams would be removed from the New Life World. Of course, we expected that she would live more than a year as her life expectancy was still ten to twenty years. She was just tired of the pain associated with the car accident that left her in a wheelchair.” Veronica took a deep breath, letting it out in a sigh. “When they started charging me the four hundred dollars, which I didn’t have they offered me a job so I could visit her for free as an employee. After my deep grief subsided, I realized there was a difference in my grandmother. It was weird but it was there. When we talked about the past, it was great all of her memories were intact. However, anything new had . . . a stilted feeling like. . .” Veronica drifted off.

“Oh my!” Amelia said. “That is definitely something I will need to think about.” She picked at her fingernails. “You said there was a second thing you wanted to talk about with me.”

Clearing her throat, Veronica began, “Hmm, where to begin. Okay, are you sleeping okay?”

“Yes, I am sleeping better than I have in years. Well, except. . .” Amelia paused.

When she didn’t continue, Veronica leaned in and prodded, “Except?”

“You are going to think I am a crazy old lady. So, please don’t laugh at me. I keep waking up at the same time every night for just a few minutes just after midnight hearing the sound of Taps. But I fall back to sleep within minutes.”

At Veronica’s deep intake of breath, Amelia’s eyes grew wide. “What? What’s wrong with me?”

“I keep waking up at that same time, feeling like I am forgetting something.” Veronica tried to stem the stream of tears. “I need to talk to Klayton.”

“Dear, please just tell me what you are thinking.”

“I really don’t want to worry you.”

“My dear, if it’s about me, I need to know. What do you think it means?”

“I was never really involved in the memory scanning or any other process that took place after I got the papers signed. But I overheard two memory techs joking in the lunchroom once about programming the New Life’s implant to play Taps at the hour of death every day until day of death.”

“Oh, dear. Oh, dear,” Amelia began to cry. “No! No, they said they fixed everything. It just means that I will wake every night until I died a natural death.”

“I am sure, but let me talk to Klayton just in case.” Veronica reached over and patted her hand this time. She didn’t have the heart to tell her that the Implants were only designed to last one year. Did it really mean anything? They said they fixed everything. But . . .

An hour later, Veronica and Klayton were sitting at an Alive coffee shop. After they had purchased their drinks and sat down, Veronica cradled her cup and explained to Klayton her worries about the New Life Implants.

“Are you hearing Taps as well?” Klayton asked her.

Searching her memory, Veronica asked, “I don’t think so. But what would it matter? I don’t have an implant.”

“Are you sure? They are very small and easily inserted without someone’s knowledge.”

“No, no! They wouldn’t do something like that.” Veronica wasn’t sure if she was trying to convince him or herself. Her hands shaking, she place her coffee on the table.

“When did you start waking up?” He asked.

“Right after their lawyer asked to see me when I was arrested.” Veronica clasped her hands over her mouth. “Those dirty bastards!”

“I am fairly certain that my grandma is okay, but we will have both of you scanned.” Klayton sat back, texting.

Within the hour, they were back in Amelia’s room with an Implant specialist.

“I am so sorry, Klayton. I don’t know how we missed it in your grandmother. I really don’t think we did, but I have disabled them in both ladies, having them self-destruct.”

©2018

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Mist and Light – Flash Fiction

Found time to write this week!!! I have sat down and started a flash fiction challenge in the past only to be disappointed in myself. Not this week, I checked out terribleminds flash fiction  challenge this past week.

Challenge Details:
1 Story under 1500 words
Use one of the randomly generated titles listed on the site: I chose “Mist & Light”
Due: Friday, June 8, 2018 noon EST

My Entry:

Mist and Light
By
Leann Holland

“Grandpa, Grandpa, tell me again of your days on Cieslik?” Marymay bugged. “It’s just the grandest story of anyone in our village.”

“Not now, Marymay.” He sunk down into his comfortable arm chair. While it was true that he was the only one from their small village that travelled to the Land of Milk and Honey, the planet Cieslik, he hadn’t returned the hero.

“Daddy says you haven’t told me everything.” Marymay tugged on his hand. “And I want to hear everything.”

Marwood laughed at her eight year old impatience. “What does he say that I have left out of the story?”

“All the good stuff,” Marymay said, crawling up into his lap. She snatched his mug off the side table.

“Oh, be . . .” Marwood began.

“That’s bad!” she wiped off her tongue on the back of her hand and when that wasn’t enough she scrubbed it on his rough plaid shirt.

“Marymay! What on Verhelle are you doing?”

She smiled up at him, “You taste better than that horrible stuff in the mug!” It wiped the smile from her face again. “How can you drink that?”

“I acquired the taste on Cieslik. Everyone there drinks it all day long.” A longing for times past hit him squarely in his heart. Would he never forget? Thirty five years plus, he was still unable to move past his greatest success and failure. Some days he struggled to decide what was a success or the failure.

She picked the mug back up, eying the contents with a look that made Marwood laugh out loud. He remembered the first time it was offered to him in the lunchroom at the Cieslik’s summer camp for disadvantaged youths. He signed up to work with a humanitarian group to work with the kids in the poorest city on Cieslik, Mahe. He taught himself to drink it, to fit in. Now, he drank it on days when the memories called the most.

“Marymay, you didn’t like it. So, don’t force yourself to change to fit other’s ways.”

“But Grandpa, when we get to Cieslik, I want to fit in.”

“I am sorry, child, I am never allowed back there.” Marwood saw confusion enter into her warm brown eyes.

“But I thought Daddy said. . .” Marymay clamped her tiny pink lips shut.

Marwood hated her silence, rolling his eyes. “What is the best part I keep leaving out of the story, Marymay?”

“Your first love!” Marymay clapped gently, “It’s my favorite part.”

“A romantic at heart are you girl?”

Marymay rolled her eyes, “How old are you grandpa? Nobody says things like that anymore.” She thought for a minute. “At least not here on Verhelle, maybe on Cieslik, but tell me the story, please.”

“So, you want to hear the story of grandma and me?”

She playfully swatted at his hand. “No, silly. You and grandma hated each other.”

“Who told you that?”

“It’s okay, Grandpa. Daddy explained everything.”

“Not always,” He interrupted. By everything that’s holy, Marwood hoped not. His son, Marson, knew how much Liese thought he was a failure. No matter how many times he explained to her. There was no way off Verhelle for him. She thought he wasn’t trying hard enough. Unfortunately, he hadn’t realized her motives in time to stop his disastrous marriage. Looking into Marymay’s eyes, he wasn’t sorry. She had Liese’s eyes, but held a compassion that Liese’s never did. His son had chosen more wisely than himself, although, in honesty, Marwood left his heart on Cieslik.

Marwood felt a gentle pat, pat, and pat on his whiskered cheek.

“Grandpa, where did you go?” She giggled, “One minute you were looking at me, then you were gone.”

“I seem to be getting lost in the past, Marymay.”

“Is it a good place to go?”

“Sometimes,” Marwood said smiling faintly.

“Please wait until I’m not here.”

Marwood smiled, holding a laugh in. “Yes, ma’am.”

Turning around in his lap, Marymay curled into his side, “Now, tell me your love story on Cieslik.”

“Where do you want me to begin?”

“Where did you meet her?”

“Half way through my career in the exclusive Upper Secondary School of Mahe, Miriam was a transfer student from the city of Delamare. Her dad was high up in the administration.”

Marymay whistled. Delamare was the wealthiest city on Cieslik. “But you were the fake adopted son of Wentz and Lenora Muir, by this time, yes?”

“I am not proud of that you know?” Marwood scowled. “I didn’t expect deception in the people of Cieslik. They were golden people who had all the opportunities. They didn’t need to lie or cheat to get ahead. Little did I understand. Then I didn’t know how to get out, which I wanted but I didn’t want to leave school. I had friends, success, and a future. For a few minutes anyway.”

“Grandpa, get back to the love story, please.” Marymay asked.

Taking her face into his hands, “Marymay, it’s never okay to lie and cheat.”

“But daddy said I had to today.” She frowned.

“What?”

“Never mind, I need you to tell me the rest of the story. No lectures! Please grandpa?”

Marwood didn’t like to see her face worried like that, so he continued, “Miriam was smart, funny and beautiful. I had never met another girl who glowed like her. I thought she had everything.” He chuckled quietly, “She had her own struggles. Because her dad was high up in the government, she didn’t know who liked her for her or wanted something from her father. Her mother was extremely involved in her two brothers’ lives.”

“That doesn’t sound so bad.” Marymay chimed in.

“Human nature says all problems are big ones.” At Marymay’s eye rolling, Marwood continued, “The school had a Verhelle Language Study program. Rausch, my best friend, and I headed the study group.”
Marwood enjoyed a few private memories. “Miriam was a quick study of Verhelle Language. Soon she and I were talking circles around the others.”

“How did your talking lead to you spending time in jail?”

“Remember how I told them I was a lot younger than I was. My relationship with Miriam wasn’t appropriate for her age.”

“But you loved each other. How is that wrong?”

A knock on the front door interrupted their conversation. Marymay raced to answer the door. “Yes?”

“I. . . I . . . I . . . am looking for Marwood,” The lady looked down at the crumpled paper in her hand. “Trombley. Do you know him? Or where can I find him?

“I know you. You have talked with my daddy.” Marymay said, stepping out of the Marwood’s way.

“Miriam?” Marwood stood, slightly stumbling to the door. “After all this time, is that really you, Miriam?”

Somehow they met in the middle of the room. Marwood stared into those blue eyes from so long ago. “It really is you, Miriam.” He just stood. Did his mind just go? He was seeing Miriam. “Why are you here?” Marwood cried.

“To take you home with me,” Miriam said, cradling his bearded face between her hands. “They issued you a full pardon.”
Tears filled his eyes. Marwood knew that he couldn’t leave his son and grandchildren.

“Marwood, it’s okay.” She pulled him into a full hug.

He saw Rausch standing behind with a tear filled smile. Marwood’s tears fell harder. When he finally stopped crying, the three friends that hadn’t seen each other thirty five years sat in the comfortable chairs.

“How long have you two been married now?” Marwood asked.

Rausch cleared his throat. “That’s right we haven’t communicated since we made that stupid mistake.”

Marwood looked between the two. It had crushed him when they married but he knew that Rausch would be able to take care of her. He had given them his blessing and it had been the last time he talked to them. The next month he met Liese.

“Oh, Rausch, don’t be so dramatic.” Miriam smiled sadly. “We did share a love, but it was a love of you. But we don’t regret it. We have two wonderful sons that you’ll get to meet when we get back to Mahe.”

“And my wife, Sarah. She has heard so much about you. She helped Miriam and me get you a pardon.”

Tears threatened again. “I am an old man. My family is here now.” Marwood waved his arms. “I would love to come for a visit though.”

“My dear sweet Marwood,” Miriam said, “We were able to secure spots for you, your son and his wife with their children.” Miriam winked at Marymay. “In fact, Marson and his family have been very helpful.”

Marwood looked around the room then at all the faces in the room. When had Marson and Annemay arrived? “Okay, when do we leave?”

 

New Life Enterprises – Flash Fiction Story

I found a few minutes in between one family member being released from rehab, another admitted into the hospital for three days, and a third going in for some testing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t unable to comply with all the rules. I didn’t want to cut the story back to fulfill the requirement. However, I did want to give credit to the inspiration. Thank you, terribleminds , for the this week’s prompt.

New Life Enterprises

by

Leann Holland

Amelia Campbell walked through the sliding glass doors of the New Life Enterprises, panting and clutching her two wheeled walker. Her family refused to bring her here. “It’s a scam” reverberated in her mind. Her sister Eileen and her two sons, Baker and Travis out right laughed in her face.

Cynthia, her assisted living roommate’s granddaughter, knew how to call for the new kind of taxi service from her phone. Every year life got more complicated. Things she used do are now an exercise in frustration. These young people didn’t realize this was their future as well. Amelia had sent a thousand silent apologies to her parents and grandparents for all the comments she had made through the years.

Spying a chair, Amelia hobbled over to it. With a deep sigh, she sank into it.
A lady appeared on the screen behind the counter, her face not quite real. “How may we help you today, ma’am?”

“I would like to talk to you about your services and what options you offer.” Amelia responded. The sign above the screen barely catching her eye, you were recorded everywhere these days, even in your own home.

“Are you alone?”

“I’m afraid my family doesn’t approve.” Amelia wiped away a tear from the corner of her eye.

“Do they know you are here?”

“I don’t think so,” she proceeded to explain how she arrived at the offices. “I lied on the sign out sheet at The Pines, my assisted living village.” Amelia smiled, she had thought of everything.

“Are you comfortable?”

“Mostly,” she said. Her hands shook.

“Are you ready to commit today?”

“I think so. I am so tired of being in pain and nobody able to do anything.”
A door on the wall to the right of the screen swung open. “Step into this room there are more comfortable chairs available and someone will be in shortly to assist you.”

Fifteen minutes later, Amelia was reclining in a very comfortable chair. This time the sign claiming they were recording you was unnecessary as an unwieldy camera was mounted to the ceiling above the chair opposite Amelia. The door behind the camera opened and a smart dressed woman walked into the room.

“Hi, I’m Veronica Snarski and your consultor today.” She tapped the papers in the folder she was holding on the small table between the two chairs. “Where would you like to start?”

“Is this legal?”

“As long as you are here of your own free will, it is legal. No one can be pressured into it.”

Amelia flinched. There were rumors of unexplained deaths at the Pines to make room for new or wealthy individuals. But she said, “The protesters outside scared me as I had to push past them.”

“What did they say to scare you?”

“That New Life kills people.”

“Do you believe that the government would allow us to kill people?”

“Then why do they say those awful things?” Amelia asked wiping at the corner of her eye again.

“Do you understand the services we provide?” Veronica asked silently handing Amelia the contract.

“I think so, Virtual Reality Living.” Amelia quoted the tagline from their commercial barely glancing at the contract in her hand. Her name was already typed in, when had she given them her name?

Anyways, her first date with her sweet late husband was at a Virtual Reality Arcade almost forty years ago. Throughout the years, they watched and played in the virtual reality playgrounds. The big breakthrough, twenty years ago, was the brain mapping you could do it all without moving. All you had to do was think it. Even the Pines had fifth generation Stripes brand Virtual Reality Communicator in every room. Her grandson, Travis’s son, Klayton created his own virtual reality business by creating a program and artwork for a story world he and his friends wanted.

 

Amelia reminded Veronica of her own grandmother. She wanted to scream, “read the fine print,” but in accordance with her work contract she explained, “Most of the protestors don’t like any virtual reality. They want us to go for a walk in the real parks and trample all those endangered species plants instead of enjoying it from the comforts of our homes.” She adjusted the papers again, disguising her computer input motions on the table top computer screen. “Any other questions you have for me?”

“Your commercial states that you will accept my government benefits like the Pines?”

“Yes, we will.” Veronica nodded. Her inner voice continued to scream. Six months left on her employment contract before she could leave. Of course, she would have to have another job, which were hard to come by. New Life may try and stop her from leaving she had the best conversion rate of walk-ins to clients.

“Well if the government pays for it, it must be good. Let’s get the paperwork signed.” Amelia said.

As Veronica showed her where to sign, Amelia shared, “My oldest grandson, Travis’s son, Klayton created his own virtual reality business by creating a program and artwork for a story world he and his friends wanted.”

Veronica’s head came up, crap! This could be good or bad, now, how to cover her ass and maybe protect Amelia. “That’s nice.” Veronica tapped the table top to turn off the phone jammer, while stealthy swiping Amelia’s phone. “Are you finished reading and signing the contract?”

“Yes dear.” Amelia patted Veronica’s hand. “You are such a nice girl dear.”
The door behind Veronica opened. “Here is Pender. He will guide you during the medical transition. I will follow behind and gather your belongs for your family.”

An hour later, the glass doors to New Life Enterprises glide open. Amelia’s family entered. A door to the left of the counter swung open. The screen announced, “Please enter,” with an arrow pointing to the door.

Once the family entered, the door swung closed. It was a cold, white sterile room with only a screen, camera, and a table. A small shoot opened and a bag slid on to the table.

Veronica’s avatar appeared on the screen. “These are Amelia’s belongings.” Veronica followed the corporate script. “This is her wish. Please honor it.” In the upper right hand of the screen, the recording of Amelia’s intake played on a hushed volume. “She left a special request for Klayton in her notes.” Veronica’s voice broke. Damn it. She really hoped no one in the office caught it.

A metal door to the outside swung open. “In her notes, you will also find the instructions on how to access her New Life Virtual Profile. She will be available in two days. It has been a pleasure to serve Amelia.” The screen went dead.

Veronica prayed. Their lives, hers and Amelia’s, were in the hands of her grandson, Klayton, an untested virtual designer.

 

Stumbling outside, Baker reached into the bag searching for her phone. Handing it to Klayton, the family climbed into Baker’s van.

Klayton hunched over the phone as he accessed the note: “Hopefully, you understand the risk I am taking. The advanced brain mapping developed by New Life is extremely thorough. There will be no residual brain activity except autonomic functions like breathing, pulse, etc . . . If you do not transfer her in time, you will be able to “visit” her for the next year. The government gives families a transitional year after which her remains will be sent to you. And, it will cost four hundred dollars an hour to access her stored engrams. See the enclosed files.

Please save her #0418-0503-6185-3333. And if you can find it in your heart, forgive me and save me as well. Veronica Snarski #8001-3875-6747-5555.“

 

Twenty two hours later, the employee door of the patient room of New Life Enterprises slammed opened. Veronica jumped to her feet when she recognized Klayton with the local police detectives. She cried, “You can’t be in here, patient privacy issues.”

“We have an attempted murder arrest warrant for one Veronica Snarski. Are you her?” The lead detective asked.

“Yes,” she squealed. She didn’t want to go to jail but hopefully, she’d be free of New Life. She was sick of selling death. Of course, this job had never been her choice. She prayed that she was given a chance to explain.
“Ms. Amelia Campbell has been located and transported to the local hospital for assessment. You better hope she’s okay.” The detective announced as he snapped the handcuffs on her wrist.

Klayton winked at her. Hope rose in her chest.

Thank you for reading.

Leann

Awakening Part 2

Week Four of Said Bree FFC2018 Flash Fiction challenge:

The prompt:
Pick a number. Then, pick another number. Write a story involving both:
(I chose #14 & 18)
14. An inheritancewriting challenge badgea_participant
18. An argument
under 1000 words, and posted before midnight January 22, 2018. – The rules.

This week’s story is a continuation of the story from last week. I wasn’t planning it but a story presented itself after I read the prompt. Here is the link to last week’s story –Awakening. I am really enjoying this writing universe. You may see more, or I may try to develop another avenue of publication for this developing series. Hope you enjoy the story below:

Awakening Part 2
By
Leann Holland

Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, Naomi surveyed her makeup one last time. It was the first time she’d left the house alone since Ward and Madeline disappeared on their college reunion trip to Los Angeles last month.

She and Mick had been keeping the girls closer. They maintained weekly phone calls with Faye, the other survivor of their trip. In yesterday’s update, there still wasn’t any news regarding Ward or Madeline.

Not sure she would be leaving Mick and the girls if it wasn’t for her best friend, Ellen’s step mom’s funeral showing tonight. Ellen’s mom watched the girls for them while they were in LA. Ellen was quite close with both sets of her parents. She’d asked Naomi to be there for support as her boyfriend was out of state for a business trip.

An hour later, she and Ellen sat outside Lloyd’s Memorial funeral home. Naomi reached over patting Ellen’s hand.

Flashes of the memories of her walking into her mother’s funeral caused a falter in her steps.
Ellen reached a hand towards Naomi’s elbow. Naomi waved her off mumbling that she’s okay. Then she experienced a flash with her mom’s face all red and angry. Naomi stopped.

Ellen stopped, “Everything okay?”

Walking again, Naomi said, “What happened to Ward and Madeline has triggered strange dreams and memories. I’ll be fine.”

The next half an hour passed in a blur of names and faces. They were approaching the casket. The smiles of greeting and pleasantries disappeared. Friend supporting friend, knees forced to hold. Tears not reigned in. The flower arrangements, large and small, smelled overwhelming.

Naomi stumbled into the nearby sofa, one of many lining the outer walls. Her mother’s angry face blurred her vision. Somehow, Naomi knew her mother wasn’t dead, just very angry at her for leaving Whastle and her families inherited wealth.

“Naomi, are you okay?” Ellen asked, kneeling down beside her.

“Sorry, I am supposed to be here for you.” Under her breath, she murmured, “Whastle?”

“Maybe this was too much after the trauma of your friends disappearing.”

Naomi nodded. “I just keep seeing my mother and I fighting.” Color leaving her face, Naomi added, “Someone mentioned coffee earlier, could we go find some to warm me up?”

“Sure.” Ellen said.

Naomi avoided the casket. Luckily, Ellen seemed fine with it. They kept the conversation light and mainly about Naomi’s girls. But that didn’t stop Helga, Naomi’s mom, from plaguing her thoughts.

Turning the car off in her carport, Ellen turned to Naomi asking, “Are you feeling any better and are you going to tell Mick? He will worry about you.”

“Okay, struggling with distractions. You’re right, he will worry. I don’t think that’s a good idea, right now.” She drifted off, Helga’s face appeared.

“Would you like to stay in the guest room tonight and work out what is bothering you? You could always tell him that you’re staying to help me, because that would be true.”

Naomi debated for a few seconds. It felt like minutes with Ellen’s eyes watching her every move. Mick and the girls alone all night? Working out the message from mom? Very tempting!

“Let me check with Mick?” Naomi said.

Awhile later, the girls sat at opposite ends of the sofa. Feet curled under them, decked out in jamies, and a glass of wine in their hands. “Haven’t done anything like this since college,” Ellen said, before sipping her imported Pinot Noir.

“Hasn’t been time, Mick and I getting married right out of college, had Gillian just shy of a year, then had Darcy a year after that.”

“Even without a husband and kids; the job, dating, friends, and family equals one tired girl.” Ellen sympathized.

An hour later, Naomi paced in the guest room. It was weird being alone. No responsibilities. Alone with her thoughts.

Fighting with herself, she wanted this resolved, but fearing what she might find. Helga, which is how she thought of her mother, never acted warm or loving. Naomi laid down closing her eyes.

“Naomi, why?” Helga said. Disappointment etched into her facial expression. “Why, would you leave Whastle? You belong in the legislative branch!”

“Helga, you have Sabrine and Rowena, my older sisters. They have followed your ways. I want to go to Earth and serve our people there.”

“Military Intelligence?” Helga sneered, “You’re better than that!”

“It’s what I am doing, Mother. I will leave with the Whastlean Earth Alliance in the morning.”

“”If you do, I will cut you out of the inheritance.”

“Please do as I have no desire to play politics, when I can do something meaningful.”

The dream, no, the memory surfaced. She bolted upwards. Her memory implant dissolved on its own. Ward and Madeline’s implants must have dissolved as well.

Crap! Damn the memory implant. She had never been interested in kids or family. So, it had been assumed that she didn’t need the more dangerous implant to suppress the natural desire for family and kids.

What was she going to do with the girls? When would Mick’s implant dissolve? Maybe Mick’s family could take them? But there would be hell to pay if Helga ever found out. They might never be able to see them again. Couldn’t they just raise them here, could they? Maybe if they had a different assignment.

Their different physiology hadn’t raised red flags yet, just a matter of time. Thankfully, America was in “Everybody do your own thing” era. Were there Whastlean surgeons able to perform the complex surgery required to alter the girls after puberty? Did she want the girls altered? What about what the girls wanted?

Too many questions to decide here and now, she needed to see the WAE (Whastlean Earth Alliance) administration. They would have kept track of her and Mick. They would have insight and research that she would be able to access.

Naomi quickly, quietly dressed and slipped out into the night, leaving everything except her purse behind.

©2018 Leann Holland

Awakening – FFC2018 Week 3

Week three of Said Bree Flash Fiction Challenge 2018:

Prompt:                                                                                                    writing challenge badgea_participant

“Your MC is on vacation with a group of friends in a strange place. The next morning, one of them has disappeared….”, under 1000 words, and posted before midnight January 15, 2018. – The rules.

Well, unfortunately, the main character, in the story below, hijacked the story. Not sure if it qualifies as fulfilling the prompt anymore. Let me know what you think in the comments. Did I fail the prompt? Or is it more in the spirit of the prompt?

Either way, some times you just have to let your character have his way. Right? He does have the better POV.

 

 Awakening
By
Leann Holland

From the parking lot across the road, Alan watched them pull up to the valet parking of the hotel through binoculars. The lack of recognition on their faces said it all. The memory implants were still solidly in place.

Crap! That was going to make this so much harder.

Five years looked good on them especially Faye, his former girlfriend. Research had it that Ward and Madeline were no longer together as a couple. Mick and Naomi were married with three and four year old daughters left behind with Naomi’s best friend’s mother. The five of them walked in together mostly laughing and joking.

Doing a quick visual sweep around his car, Alan activated his personal cloaking tech and climbed out the window of his car. Car doors opening and closing on their own drew unwanted attention.

Alan followed the group to their rooms on the first floor close to a back entrance. After their doors closed, he planted a small camera. Alan hoped that his cloak would work on the five of them, but there was no available research to confirm that memory implants impaired the Whastlean’s vision, as they have greater visual spectrum than Earthlings.

After moving his car closer to the back entrance with his cloak turned on, Alan approached Ward’s room. His hand held one of the small nodule injectors. Timing, it all came down to timing. He knocked.

“What the hell?” Ward muttered before falling into the door. Alan carried him to the second double bed. Coming to, Ward opened his eyes muttering, “What the hell, man?”

“It’ll become clearer in a few minutes.” Alan hoped Ward would be forgiving, but stayed close to the door just in case.

Ward rubbed his face sitting up slowly. “This is a lot to take in,” he said, as memories rushed in and others faded.

“The experts said it would. I wouldn’t know it didn’t work on me in the first place.”

“So that’s why you and Faye broke up?”

“Yeah, I couldn’t remember the events as the same as her since the memory implant didn’t work. So they pulled me out.” Alan explained.

“What did you end up doing?”

“Officially a training instructor at a local fitness center, unofficially, I worked with the new and upcoming teams.”

“Do they all have recall dates like this?”

“It varies depending on assignments and failure rates.” After a minute of silence, Alan continued. “I am worried about Naomi and Mick. They went and started a family.” Alan threw his hands up in the air.

“Well, at the time, it seemed like a good thing. Now, I see your dilemma.” Ward agreed, adding, “Are we bringing the girls with us at this time?”

“Originally, I was supposed to activate you all, but recent intelligence indicates I can only active one. I choose you.”

“We can’t accomplish the mission on our own.” Ward said standing.

“Not a problem to worry about tonight, but I suspect we will be using agents from other classes.”

Alan stood as well, “Are you ready to leave?”

Ward nodded.

“Leave everything. We’ll use the cloak to walk out without being seen.”

“Are we using that regularly?” Ward asked.

“The scientists have been able to tune the personal cloak into the human visual spectrum now.” Holding up his hands, black rubber gloves covered them. They slipped out the door, making their way down the hall, when Madeline opened the door.

“Hi, Ward. Alan, is that you?” she asked.

Alan put his hand holding another injection on her shoulder and down she went. Ward caught her and carried her. She blinked out of existence on the security cam.

“To the car, let’s hurry!” Alan whispered, “We can’t cloak voices yet.”
A few minutes later, Madeline came to in the car “Wow! I feel like I have been sleep walking for the last five years.”

With their cloaks activated, the three watched on planted cameras as Faye discover Madeline and Ward missing. The police were unable to do anything. Madeline and Ward were adults, no indications of foul play and a malfunctioning security camera.

Naomi, Mick, and Faye, not getting anywhere with the officials and nowhere to turn no matter how loud they protested, walked back in the glass doors of the airport. Naomi clung to Mick’s arm. Worry etched into their sleepless eyes.

“My flight leaves first from gate 14D,” Faye said, “You guys call me when you land in Philadelphia, please.”

Naomi nodded, “Please keep in contact. I sure hope they call us when they get back home as well.” Nervously, she chewed on her fingernails. They hugged and went their separate ways.

“Should we grab Faye today?” Alan asked. “Yeah, I know what intelligence reported, but no one seems to be paying any attention to them.”

“But if another one comes up missing on the same trip, from the same group?” Madeline questioned. She was the planner/organizer of the group.

“Alan, I know you miss Faye, but I think we have to listen to Madeline and intelligence.” Ward placed his hand on Alan’s shoulder.

Alan flinched.

Ward threw his hands up in the air. “Hey, man, it’s me, your friend. I know it’s been a long five years, but surely, you made other friends?”

“No, not really. Coworkers, acquaintances, not friends. There wasn’t time.”

“I’m sorry, Alan.” They echoed.

After verifying the planes left the ground, the three ambled to the car. In silence, the three drove to the nearest safe house.

©2018 Leann Holland

Edited 1/22/18 only to add link to the continued story.

Awakening Part 2

Denial

via Daily Prompt: Deny

Denial
A basic human response
to things we cannot handle
or at least don’t want to.
Modern day phrases like
“What happens in Vegas,
Stays in Vegas,” epitomize
our denial. However, recent
events cast long shadows
on the validity of that saying.
The friends and family of the
six hundred plus victims
certainly wish they aren’t
having to deal with
the aftermath of tragedy.
When my grandmother was diagnosed
with lung cancer, second generation,
she was in denial.
She couldn’t take the next step.
Denial is a powerful emotion.
It doesn’t like to be challenged.
I am in denial.
Our nation is in denial.
We are fighting for our very souls.
What is our next step?
Praying for clarity!
Is clarity the opposite of denial?
I think so.
Will clarity bring unity?
Struggling to find hope in
a system of encouraged denial.
What denial has taken root
in your heart?
©2017 Kim Hewison

Praying for all the victims and their friends and family, even the ones that don’t have physical injuries, of the Las Vegas Shooting. 

13 Week Streak Summer Flash Fiction – Week 8 Take Two

Week eight of Thain in Vain and Drafty Devil bringing us the 13-Week Streak Summer Flash Fiction challenge. 500 words, one story using the prompt, enjoy! Oops, this is the second short story using this prompt.

Prompt: Prompt – Week 8
Will you tell this story from the perspective of the bombshell, the couple or a short-order cook flipping burgers?
A couple is seated in a booth at a diner when a red-headed bombshell walks in and sits down at their table.

Take Two

by

Kim Izzy

Lola felt the eyes follow her. Yes, she was overdressed for a simple diner in the middle of the day. The black velvet tea length fifties vintage cocktail dress was . . . well, definitely, out of place.

She swung her auburn locks off her bare shoulders, emphasizing her ample cleavage.

What was he doing here? She’d sworn if she ever saw Richmond again, she was going to kill him.

She teetered on three inch heels. She hated heels but she liked being five foot four. Although, she needed more practice in them.

Just a few more steps, she slid into the booth with the Carmisino’s

“Lola, thank you for joining us,” Mr. Carmisino said, looking over his shoulder at Richmond, “We can’t offer you a room or help.”

Lola felt tears prick at the back of her eyes. She wanted to be surprised, but Richmond threatened her with this, all their friends and family refusing to help her. She couldn’t blame them. Her previous lifestyle combined with his lies made helping sound risky.

Mrs. Carmisino patted her hand pressing something into Lola’s palm. “We are so sorry, dear.” She shook her head barely enough for Lola to register.

“Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Carmisino.” Lola stood to leave keeping her hand clamped shut. Turning, her right heel slid out from underneath her.

Richmond was at her side as she straightened back up, his hand under her elbow. She yanked her arm away.

“Lola, let me help you.”

Turning to face him, “You don’t want to help but you want to control and own me. Well, you can’t. I won’t let you.” Resuming her teetering steps, she held her head high. Once the door closed behind her, under the bright blue sky, Lola let the tears stream down her face. What was she going to do now?

Which way to turn? She was officially homeless. Where could she go? Back to the nursing home and Shirley, she needed to return the dress and shoes. Shirley was wrong dressing for success didn’t ensure success.

Slowly opening her fingers, she read the note. Her fingers clenched. Lola unclenched her fingers releasing the paper into her other palm. A different kind of tear streamed now, tears of hope.

 

Thank you for reading!

Kim Izzy

 

13 Week Streak Summer Flash Fiction – Week 8 – Doubt

2017 13 week Streak Summer Flash Fiction Thain in Vain

Week eight (hint – 1st story) of Thain in Vain and Drafty Devil bringing us the 13-Week Streak Summer Flash Fiction challenge. 500 words, one story using the prompt, enjoy!

 

Doubt
By
Kim Izzy

Vicki Howay walked into the Flag Diner off the interstate. She knew she was over dressed, but Ila was pushing her. She spotted only one couple that met the description. It was easy as there was only one couple in the diner. How had Ila known?

Doubt Kim Izzy n kimberhew wordpress signed v2
Doubt by Kim Izzy

Vicky could feel the eyes of the other patrons on her. While continuing her progress towards the couple, she focused on the hundred or so folk art style American flags of all sizes, shapes, and colors that decorated the walls of the diner.

“Mr. Justin Webber?” she said, stopping at the end of yellow formica table.

“Do I know you?”

“No, but your dead wife sent me,” Vicky winced. She hated this aspect of this gift/curse. Half the people didn’t believe in her ability. A quarter thought she was a liar. The last quarter, well, would fall for anything. What category would Justin Webber fall?

“My dead wife?” he asked a frown tugged at the corners of his lips. “As you can see,” he pointed to the lady sitting across from him, “My wife is very much alive.”

Vicky was quiet for a moment with a look of concentration on her face. “Ila?”

“No,” Justin’s eyes narrowed, “What are you up to?”

Vicky eyed the blond sitting across from him. She didn’t look like a killer. When Ila poured her heart out, Vicky had no doubts, but looking at the couple changed her feelings. She didn’t want to help a vengeful spirit. She also didn’t want to let a murderer go free.

“Clara, scoot over,” Vicky demanded sliding in even though Clara didn’t budge, “How did you and Justin meet?”

“You’re the physic, shouldn’t you know?” Clara replied icily.

This is why she got out of the business, Vicky fumed.

“Well . . . ,” Vicky took a deep breath, “According to Ila, you and her were high school pals who’d lost touch, found each other on social media. You gave her poisoned coffee over the last several months of her life, then started making moves on Justin here.”

Clara’s face was blotchy and Justin’s jaw fell open.

“I was trying to avoid accusing you out right but I have other things to do. I am feeling rather annoyed at the moment. Not sure why I got involved.” Vicky stood up to leave. Mumbling, hopefully quietly enough for no one but Ila to hear, “I told you I suck at this. Now, leave me alone.”

As Vicky reached for the door, she felt a hand on her arm.

“Not so fast, you . . . you . . .”

“”Lady” is the word you are searching for,” Vicky said smiling sweetly.

Clara’s hand flew back. Vicky didn’t have time to prepare as Clara’s fist connected with her left cheek. Vicky’s head snapped back, falling on her bottom.

“That’s for casting doubt.” Tears streamed down Clara’s face.

Justin pulled Clara into his arms whispering, “I know you’re innocent. Ila got it wrong.”

 

Crazy Eyes & Swirlish Ebook Released

I have struggled for so long to find time for my writing and illustrating, a few minutes here a few minutes there. My sister is helping more with my parents during her summer break. So, I took a used a day . . . cough. . . or more to submit my Illustrated Children’s Picture book to Amazon. I have another day or so of work to get the paperwork version available (but that will have to wait for another day, or month, or whatever.)

cover-image
You can find Crazy Eyes and Swirlish at Amazon

Back cover Blurb-

“Trouble finding friends?
Crazy Eyes, an owl, is hungry and lonely in the forest. He’s different from other owls because he cannot see.
Swirlish, an outcast owl, hears Crazy Eyes singing. Can the two become friends?”

 

While it is late in the day, I accomplished my goal today. To release Crazy Eyes & Swirlish on International Owl day, August 4th. I love owls, and amazed by them. Hope you enjoy!

Happy Owl Day!

Kim Izzy

13 Week Streak Summer Flash Fiction – Week 7

2017 13 week Streak Summer Flash Fiction Thain in VainWeek seven of Thain in Vain and Drafty Devil bringing us the 13-Week Streak Summer Flash Fiction challenge. 500 words, one story using the prompt, enjoy!

Prompt:  A boy puts a quarter in a gumball machine and a human tooth comes out.

The Gumball Caper

by

Kim Izzy

 

Gumball Caper blog signed cover
The Gumball Caper by Kim Izzy

 

Timmy stood there staring at his hand. Tears streamed down his face. He snuck away from Mommy while she was in aisle six so that he could sneak back without her knowing. He’d gotten two cavities, whatever those were, last week at the dentist and now mommy wouldn’t let him have candy or gum.

Raiding the change in the sofa, he’d found a quarter. Daddy always let them have any change found. Usually they didn’t care because Mommy gave them quarters.

He’d better get back before Mommy realized he was gone. Turning he saw mommy rushing towards him. Oh, no!

Tears rushed down his face now.

“Timmy, what’s wrong? What happened?” Mommy yelled across the store.

Timmy couldn’t speak. His face felt hot, everyone was staring at him.

“Did someone hurt you?” Mommy asked dragging Dylan by the hand, pushing Ida Marie in a cart.

A crowd gathered. He was scared. When mommy reached him, Timmy opened his hand.
The yellowish/white tooth received a round of “uh, gross” from the crowd.

Mom’s eyes narrowed, “Timothy, where did you get that?”

He pointed to the gumball machine two steps away.

She reached down into Little Ida Marie’s diaper bag, pulling out two wet wipes. She took the tooth out of his hand with one.

Thrusting the other into his hands, Mom ordered, “Here wipe very, very good.”

She watched him carefully. It scared him. When he finished, the wipe was reddish brown.

“When we get home, you and I will have a long talk.” She turned to the crowd. “He’s okay. I will go talk to the manager regarding this matter.” Her comments didn’t stop the crowd from following them to the store’s office.

Mommy pushed him with her body towards the door. Why were they going there? He hadn’t done anything wrong, like last year when he was seven and had taken . . . no, Mommy said, stolen a candy bar. She made him pay the manager. The manager scared him. He fought her for months to get out of grocery shopping.

The manager eyed him but asked, “Mrs. McCole, what can I help you with today?”

“This is what you can help me with!” Mom shoved the tooth at the manager, her voice high pitched.

The manager finally seemed to notice the crowd.

Cough, “I see,” coughed again, “I see you found the fake tooth we use to . . .” he coughed again, “to scare the kids into eating less sugar.”

Mom’s eyes narrowed. “So, it’s not real?”

“Of course not,” The manager said.

One of the regular cashiers walked up to the manager, “Oh, great. Someone found my missing tooth.” She reached out and took it from mom’s hand popping it into her mouth.