Short Story Sunday 270: Recording

Short Story Sunday: Recording | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

“Are you ready to get started?” Finn asked. He craned his neck to look around the camera and tripod that blocked most of his view. Charlotte stood on the other side with a tissue in hand waiting for yet another sneeze to come out.

“Hold on,” Charlotte answered. She blew her nose.

Finn sighed and adjusted the camera once more. “You wanted to get this whole video shot today, right?”

“I didn’t expect to wake up with a cold.” Charlotte countered. She rolled her eyes at him and breathed heavily through her mouth. Now her nose was all blocked up and the sneeze still wouldn’t come out.

“Why don’t we post-pone the shoot, then? We’ll see how you feel tomorrow or we can wait until next week to get it done.” Finn suggested. He turned the camera off so not to waste any more of the battery. They had done a couple of shots throughout the day but it’s been slow and Finn worried his second battery would die while the other was still charging. Then they really wouldn’t be able to get any shoots done.

“No,” Charlotte said sternly. She tossed her tissue into the trash and fixed her hair. “No, I can do this. We’ve already stopped this shoot once before. I don’t want to put it off any longer.”

“There was a blizzard last week. That couldn’t be helped. Now you’re sick. Do you realize how difficult it’s going to be to auto-tune your clogged voice from your sinuses?” Finn sighed. He walked around the other side of the camera and sat down on the couch. “Your viewers will understand why the video is late.”

Charlotte too let out a heavy sigh and sat down on the couch beside him. “I appreciate you Finn, really. I do. I know you mean well and you want what’s best for me, our viewers, and the channel.”

“Your viewers.”

“Our viewers.” She corrected. “Just because you’re not on camera doesn’t mean you’re not part of this project. This channel wouldn’t have happened without you. You’re my camera man and editor. I don’t know what’d I do without you.”

Finn chuckled. “You did just fine on your own. You started the channel yourself and did everything yourself. You only wanted to upgrade the quality and make things a little easier on yourself, which was why you hired me in the first place. I’m just a helper, that’s all. But I do care about the channel and you.”

Charlotte shook her head. “Finn, stop. I used to do it all myself but I still only have half the knowledge you do when it comes to editing. You cloned me in the last video. That’s crazy how you did that.”

“It’s just a couple of buttons and good timing, that’s all.” Finn shrugged. He turned the other way beginning to feel a little embarrassed.

He had always wanted to be a video editor or a film maker. It was his dream but it was tough for him to get a job in the field without moving out of state. His mother was sick and couldn’t work so he had decided to stay and work a dull job in order to take care of his family.

Charlotte was a video channel he watched often. He loved watching other people work, edit, and create movie magic and he would try to imitate them to hone and improve his own editing skills. Finn went onto social media one day and noticed a post from Charlotte. She was looking for a video editor.

He applied, he interviewed in person with her, and she gave him the job. It started off with him editing just two videos a week for her while she did everything else. But as her channel grew, she needed more and more help. Finn offered to help for more money instead of her hiring another person. Charlotte loved his work and enjoyed the type of editing he did on her videos as well as him putting his own personality into it, that she agreed to let him do more.

Now Finn was her cameraman for every video she shot and also edited every single video they did together. All Charlotte had to do was take care of the analytics, write her own scripts, act, and promote the channel. They were a good team and things were going well.

“Sometimes,” Finn said, “you can be a workaholic. I know the channel is important to you and it’s your love. It’s your work, your life. I also know we’re trying to get a backlog of videos to start posting on the channel daily, but maybe that’s a goal that we need a later deadline for. There’s two more months until the new year, why don’t we surprise your viewers with a daily video starting on the new year?”

Charlotte nodded her head as he spoke to her. She glanced up at the ceiling deep in thought from his last statement. Then she grinned. “That actually sounds like a great idea. That’ll give us more time to get everything together.”

“And we can take a break for the rest of the week while you feel better and get over this cold.” Finn added.

“The rest of the week?” Charlotte pouted.

“Today’s Thursday and we take the weekends off. I think you can manage the rest of today and tomorrow to just chill and relax. Maybe you can brainstorm some new video ideas and get started on a couple new scripts.” Finn suggested. “You know, while you’re resting on the couch.”

Charlotte grinned. “Okay, that sounds like a good idea. I don’t think I’m going to convince you otherwise…” she sneezed. Charlotte pumped her fists in the air. “I finally sneezed!”

“Bless you,” Finn chuckled.

Words: 967

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Writing Is Like… Painting

I’m no artist when it comes to painting or drawing or even coloring sometimes. I tend to stick with doing rainbow patterns when I color unless I’m working on a cartoon character whose colors I know. There’s a lot of work that goes into a painting and the like as is writing. There are a lot of similarities between the two, as far as I can tell.

Writing Is Like Painting | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

The Blank Page Or Canvas

We all get that creative block once in a while. Sometimes we don’t know what to write, don’t know where to go next in our writing, or there are too many things we want to try writing all at once. The problem is, we’re having a lack of vision for a particular project or we have too many visions and don’t know where to start. I feel like painting can be the same way. What do I draw? What colors do I use? What style do I want to choose?

There’s a reason that pencils come with an eraser and keyboards come with a backspace.

It’s Abstract

Bouncing off of that, if you start with a paintbrush and make a mistake, you can either start over, attempt to fix it and turn it into something else, or work with it and make the painting look abstract. No two people view the same painting just as no two people read the same book.

Pictures and writing can be abstract in a way that we all interpret what we see differently from the person before and behind us. Poetry is a good example of this as well. The words flow together like a paintbrush’s stroke on the canvas.

In The End, Something Beautiful Is Created

Whether writing a book or painting a picture, something beautiful is always created in the end. The hard work pays off. This bit of practice will make your next project that much better than the one before it.

What are some ways writing reminds you of painting? Does it remind you of anything else? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 269: Dome

Short Story Sunday: Dome | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

“How do you think they can stand being in there all the time?” Tom asked.

Angela shrugged. “That’s all they know. They don’t know what it’s like to not be inside their dome.”

Tom frowned. He poked the glass and Angela swatted his hands away.

“You’re going to scare the fish if you do that. It hurts their ears.” She said.

“They have ears?” Tom said in wonderment. He turned his attention back to the goldfish with wide eyes.

“Everyone has ears.” Angela replied. “Now, did we come here for a fish or not?”

Tom put his index finger to his chin. He paced in front of the various tanks that were before him. When he made it to the saltwater fish, his mother called him back.

“We don’t have a saltwater tank, we set it up for freshwater. You have to get anyone of these.” She said.

Tom, without responding, walked away from staring at a starfish and moseyed back over to the freshwater tanks. There were guppies, tetras, platies, goldfish, and so much more. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to get.

“Are you stuck?” Angela asked. “Can I make some suggestions?”

Tom nodded and looked up at his mother.

“Our tank already has tetras and platies in it. Should we get a couple more so they fit in? We have red platies and orange platies. But look, here are some yellow platies.” Angela said pointing to one of the Platy tanks.

Tom grinned. “Yes! How many red guys do we have and how many orange guys do we have?”

“I think we have three of each.”

“Then get three yellow guys.”

“Sounds good,” Angela said. She called over a worker at the pet store and they came over. As the worker scooped out three yellow platies, Tom looked at the rest of the fish.

“We only have two neon tetras and two black neon tetras. You know, tetras are schooling fish. Should we get a couple more of those?” Angela suggested.

“Yes!” Tom said giddily.

Angela smiled at the worker. “Two neon tetras and two black neon tetras, please.”

“And this goldfish!” Tom exclaimed.

“What?” Angela asked.

“There’s a goldfish in this tank that I want.”

Angela peered into the fantail goldfish tank. There were only five fish in there and they all looked the same except for one. “Which one did you want?” she asked cautiously.

“The one with only one eye.” Tom stated with a proud smile.

“Are you sure?” Angela asked.

“Yep,”

“Okay, then.” Angela turned to the worker. “Can we also get the goldfish with one eye?”

“That fish probably won’t live very long.” The worker warned.

“That’s okay.” Tom said pressing his face against the goldfish tank. “We’ll give him a good home so he can be happy before he goes!”

The worker chuckled. “It’s only a fish.”

Tom frowned at her. “And you’re only a human, but people care about you.”

Angela pressed her lips together. She tried not to laugh as the worker scooped the one-eyed goldfish out of its tank. She didn’t want to in front of the worker, as her face had turned a nice shade of red, but Angela would remember to give her son a fist-bump when they got in the car.

Words: 546

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Short Story Sunday 268: Tell Me

Short Story Sunday: Tell Me | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

“Tell you a story?” Vinny repeated. He tilted his face to the ceiling and hummed to himself.

“Come on, Grandpa, please?” Lily begged. She sat up in her bed folding her hands together jutting her bottom lip out into a pout.

“Once upon a time,” Vinny began, “there was a little girl named Lily who refused to go to sleep.”

“No, a real story!” Lily protested through her giggles.

“That is a real story. You’re Lily, you’re a little girl, and you won’t go to sleep for me. What’s your mother and father going to think when they come home to see their six-year-old still awake at such an hour?” Vinny replied.

“You know what I mean, Grandpa.”

“Alright, alright, lie down.” Vinny said giving Lily a gentle push. She fell back onto her pillow laughing.

Vinny cleared his throat. “Once upon a time there was a young girl name Lily.”

“Grandpa…”

“Hush, I’m telling a story.” Vinny said then hummed to himself again. “She lived in a large castle where she could roam around and do anything she ever wanted. She could play with her toys all day long–”

“And never have to go to school?!” Lily said excitedly jumping up in her bed again.

“Sure, she never had to go to school,” Vinny agreed pushing her back down. “One day, however, she became bored.”

Lily gasped.

“Lily didn’t have anyone to play with because she never attended school. She had no friends.” Vinny said stumbling through his words. He hoped his granddaughter couldn’t tell that he was making this up by the seat of his pants – especially since he used her idea against her.

“I have friends.” Lily protested.

“Not in this story, you don’t.” Vinny countered. “So, Lily was bored one day, you see. She didn’t want to play with any of her toys and she had already eaten too much ice cream. There was nothing good on TV and she didn’t have anyone around to keep her company.”

“What about Mom and Dad?” Lily asked.

“They’re at work.”

“What about you?”

“I’m at work.”

“You don’t work.”

“This is fiction, Lily, keep up.” Vinny sighed. “Anyway, where was I?”

“Grandpa?” Lily asked.

“What?”

“Am I going to have no friends when I grow up because I’m not going to school?” she wondered aloud.

Vinny took a minute to think about how to answer that one. Lily had come down with a case of pneumonia and was out of her first-grade class for a month. While she still had a bit of a cough, she was well enough to go back to school. She had gotten so comfortable staying home and playing with him and her parents in the beginning that she never wanted to go back to school ever again. Lily didn’t understand why she couldn’t stay home all the time and play with her parents and grandparents.

“Maybe,” Vinny replied. He knew it was a harsh answer for such a young kid, but he didn’t know what else to say to her. At least he didn’t bluntly agree with her.

Lily sighed. “So, I should go back to school?”

“Do you want to make friends? Do you want to be able to play with your friends and invite them over and such?” Vinny asked.”

“Yeah,”

“Then you should go back to school.” Vinny stated matter-of-factly. “I think going back to school sounds like a wonderful idea.”

“Okay, okay,” Lily said. She snuggled up with her stuffed animal rolling over onto her side. She closed her eyes and breathed gently. “I’ll go back to school.”

“Great.” Vinny smiled rubbing her back.

“I can’t wait to see my friends tomorrow.” Lily muttered. She was smiling though her eyes were still closed and it was obvious to Vinny that she was drifting off to sleep.

“Tomorrow?” he repeated.

“Yeah, I can’t wait to go to school tomorrow and see all my friends.”

Vinny stood up and slowly backed out of her bedroom. He opened the door and stepped out into the hall as Lily’s breathing got into a steady rhythm. He didn’t have the heart the tell her tomorrow was Saturday. Her parents could deal with that one in the morning.

Words: 704

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Time To Write: Sentence Starter 47

Last week’s writing prompt was a picture prompt. Check out some stories from fellow writers here:

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This week’s writing prompt is:

Time To Write: Sentence Starter: "Tell me." | Creative Writing | Writing Prompt | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Write a story beginning with the dialogue: “Tell me.”

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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Short Story Sunday 267: Dead End (Part Five)

Short Story Sunday: Dead End | Creative Writing | Mystery Writing | Mystery Month | Mystery | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

“You think Richard doesn’t want a lawyer because then they’ll prove Beth innocent and Richard guilty?” Lilah asked. George nodded as a curt response.

Lilah turned away from George and watched Richard, Beth, and Barney in the interrogation room. Barney was patiently waiting for Beth to calm down enough so they could begin to get to the bottom of the situation. Beth was distraught and nearly hysterical. Richard comforted her by holding her in his arms and rubbing his back, though he wasn’t saying anything. He seemed shocked, numb almost. Lilah wondered if that was because he couldn’t believe what was happening or if he really was guilty of something.

“George,” Lilah said softly.

“Hm?”

“What do you think is going to happen?”

“I don’t know. I hope Barney is smart enough to figure this out himself though. I also hope Richard owns up to what he did.” George stated.

“You don’t really think Richard is a murderer, do you? I mean, he came to us looking for help. He seemed so nice and sweet. He seemed to really love his wife, why would he pin the blame on her?” Lilah questioned and then gasped. “Do you think Beth is in on it at all?”

“I don’t think so. She’s too scared to be involved. Those are real tears in there.” George explained.

Lilah grunted. “Well, how are we supposed to get to the bottom of this?”

“Barney needs to ask the right questions.”

“But we already kind of caught him.”

“Kind of doesn’t mean anything.” George countered.

Lilah rolled her eyes. She knew that well enough but it was still frustrating to her. It had been so long since they had a case and now, they finally had a client who was probably the bad guy. Not to mention they weren’t even investigating… the police were. She was beginning to get antsy on what to do – especially since her and George figured out something before Barney did.

“Beth, are you ready to begin?” Barney asked. “The sooner we figure this out, the sooner everything can get resolved.”

“The sooner she can go home.” George muttered.

“He can’t say that, what if she can’t go home? She might go to jail.” Lilah added.

“I think she needs a few more minutes, Officer Florence.” Richard said. “This isn’t an easy thing to deal with, you know.”

“Yes, I do know.” Barney replied. He narrowed his eyes at the gentleman but it was clear to Lilah he wasn’t sure what to make of Richard just yet.

George pushed a button the control panel. “Officer Florence, may we speak with you for a minute?”

Richard looked up at the ceiling at the voice and Beth stopped sobbing for just a moment. Barney raised an eyebrow at the mirror.

He stood up looking at Richard and Beth. “I’ll be back in five minutes and then I’m going to need statements from both of you.”

Barney entered the room throwing his hands up in the air. “What’s wrong?”

“Richard did it.” George said bluntly.

“Whatever happened to everyone is innocent until proven guilty?” Lilah asked. She couldn’t help but smirk. If she had blurted that out, George would have scolded her with the same phrase.

“We’re about to.” George replied.

Barney held up his hands shaking his head. “What are you talking about?”

“He knew about the body. When I mentioned there was a dead body in the trunk, he mentioned it was a male.” George stated.

“I know, I was there.” Barney replied. “And I taught you that.”

Lilah snorted.

“There’s just something off about him.” George said with a sigh. “I can’t put my finger on it, but I think he’s been playing us this whole time.”

“I agree,” Barney said. He looked at the couple through the mirror. Richard was starting to look annoyed as Beth bawled her eyes out on the table. “He just wants Beth to take the wrap for everything and get out of here so he can go home and live his life with a single shred of remorse.”

“Hey,” Lilah piped up, “who was the dead guy anyway? I don’t think anyone told us.”

“We don’t have an identity yet. We’re waiting for the autopsy. There was no ID on the guy and his face was too mangled to tell. His fingers were–”

“I get it,” Lilah held up a hand to stop him. She scrunched up her face in disgust.

“I think Richard killed the man and now is trying to pin the blame on his wife.” Barney continued. “We jut need to know who he killed, why, and why he’s trying to pin it on his wife.”

“Beth, will you shut up for a minute and let me tell you something? That cop is gonna be back at any minute.”

Barney, George, and Lilah paused their conversation and turned to the window.

“My, how our demeanor has changed.” George said.

“Does he know we can hear him?” Lilah asked in a whisper.

“Apparently not.” Barney responded and turned the volume up.

Beth sniffled and looked at her husband. “There was a man, Richard. He was trying to tell me to do something bad but I didn’t want to do it. I thought he was going to get to you so I ran away. I thought I could lose him but he found me. He called me while I was in the car. So, I tried to abandon the car but the police found me and now here we are.”

“Wow, she speaks fast.” Lilah muttered. Barney and George shushed her.

“Did you kill a man, Beth?” Richard bluntly asked.

Beth froze. “Why? Did someone die? Did I run someone over by accident?”

Richard rolled his eyes. “No. Did you murder someone?”

“No!”

“Keep your voice down.”

“Why would you ask such a thing?” Beth questioned appalled.

“There was a body in the trunk of your car. His name was Connor. Do you have any idea who that may be or why his body was in your car?” Richard said narrowing his eyes.

Lilah whacked George in the arm. “He knows the name!”

Barney snapped his fingers. “Got him.”

“Are you recording this?” George asked.

“Yep. Let’s see what else he has to say.”

“Connor Daniels? My co-worker?” Beth asked. “He’s dead? And he was in the trunk of my car…?”

Richard nodded. “He’s the one.”

“I have to get in there. Keep it rolling.” Barney said pointing to the controls.

George and Lilah remained silent though Lilah had a huge grin on her face. The truth always came out and it was a wonderful feeling to catch someone in a lie. This was all too easy though. Richard was doing all the work for them.

Barney entered the interrogation room again with a pad of paper and a pen. Richard and Beth watched him walk around the other side of the table. Before he could sit, Beth opened her mouth.

“I didn’t kill Connor, I swear. I have no idea how his body got into my trunk.”

“Thanks for giving us his name.” Barney said sitting down. He wrote something down on his pad of paper.

Beth’s jaw dropped. Lilah noticed Richard turning the other way covering a smirk.

“George!” she hit him in the arm again.

“I see him, Lilah. Barney’s got this.” George replied calmly.

“What do you mean…?” Beth asked softly.

“His face was so mangled we couldn’t identify him. We’re waiting on the autopsy report for a DNA test, but you just gave us the answer.” Barney explained clearly.

Beth leaned back in her chair. “But…”

“I thought you said you had no knowledge of the body?” Richard asked. He looked shocked and disappointed at his wife, who stared at him with sorrow in her eyes.

“The big dope. He just told her the answer two seconds ago. Does he really think she didn’t remember?” Lilah chuckled.

“Yes,” George nodded. “He’s making her head spin. Remember, she’s been on her own with nothing to her name for three days. She’s tired and confused. She’s in shock now and yet she trusts her husband. Richard is making it seem like she doesn’t know whether she’s coming or going and she’s going to start questioning herself.”

“How could you kill him?” Richard asked. He looked disgusted.

“I…” Beth shook her head. She looked down at the ground. “I don’t remember…”

“Do you think Richard knew where Beth was all this time? Do you think he screwed with her mind while she was away and pretended, he didn’t know where she was?” Lilah asked.

“Oh, yeah.” George answered. “Remember she said there was a man who wanted her to do something? She tried to run away from the voice? I bet you anything that was Richard.”

Lilah hugged herself. “George, this is weird…”

“I bet he found my business card in her car and panicked thinking she had come to us for help. He probably thought she explained everything to us and assumed we would catch him. So that’s why he came to us. When he said he was disappointed she came to us and not him? He was disappointed because it turned out she didn’t tell us anything and he almost ratted himself out.”

Lilah didn’t reply. She took in everything George had to said but she had no words. She was glad they had caught him and he was sloppy enough to give himself away, but what if he hadn’t?

Barney reached over the table and took Beth’s hand in his own. “There’s no need for you worry. You didn’t do anything.”

Beth stared at him in shock as did Richard.

Barney smiled at her. “We heard your husband tell you everything.”

“You were spying on us?!” Richard stood from the table.

Barney stared evenly at him. “So, why would you kill your wife’s co-worker?”

There was silence. Then Beth slowly rose from the table. “You still think I was having an affair with Connor, don’t you? After I told you I wasn’t, you didn’t believe me and you killed him for it? Then tried to blame me?”

Richard didn’t answer. He breathed heavily and turned the other way.

Barney stood from his chair and knocked on the door. Another officer poked his head in and Barney ordered him to put Richard in a different interrogation room. He did and Richard left willingly leaving Barney and Beth in the room together.

“I can’t believe this…” Beth said. She sat down putting a hand over her heart. “I feel terrible. The one and only innocent in this situation is dead.”

“The one and only innocent?” Barney repeated. He glanced at the mirror and Lilah shrugged even though she knew Barney couldn’t see her.

George chuckled. “I knew it.”

“What?” Lilah asked.

“She’s not all innocent in this. Whenever she mentions the affair, she mentions Connor.” George stated.

“So, she lied?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

Lilah sighed. This whole situation was making her head spin and she had no idea what else George had figured out.

“Please, explain.” Barney prompted.

“Yes, please so.” Lilah added though she looked at George who just pointed to Beth through the mirror.

“Richard was smothering me so I was having an affair. But I didn’t lie to him.” Beth explained. “He never asked if I was having an affair. He always asked if I was having an affair for Connor. I told him no and left it at that. It was never lie and I didn’t think he wouldn’t believe me and kill Connor because of it.”

Barney rubbed the back of his neck. “Yes, I supposed that’s an interesting loop hole… so, you were having an affair with a co-worker? Richard just picked the wrong guy.”

Beth nodded. “Richard picked the wrong guy, yes, but my boyfriend isn’t a co-worker. He’s Connor’s brother. They live together so I assume Richard got them mixed up.”

Lilah threw her hands up in the air. “I give up… this family is messed up.”

George, on the other hand, threw his head back and laughed.

“I don’t see what’s so funny.” Lilah scoffed. “An innocent man was brutally murdered, our client was the killer, we’ve wasted an entire day, and we’re not going to get pad for it.”

George drew in a deep breath. “I know. I don’t mean to laugh. But I honestly didn’t think these people could be any more messed up.”

Lilah snorted. “Well, wait until Connor’s brother hears about all this…”

“I imagine he already knows.” George said.

Barney entered the room again leaving Beth behind. “We’re going to hold her for a little while longer until we get the full story.”

“What do you mean Connor’s brother knows?” Lilah asked.

“What are you guys talking about?” Barney wondered.

“Barney,” George turned to him with a slight smile, “I know we couldn’t get an ID, but what was the coroner’s estimate on the time of death?”

“She said the body had been like that for a few days.” Barney stated.

“And no one reported Connor missing? Not his brother? The man he lives with?”

Barney let out an exasperated sigh. “I’ll go put out a call to bring him in…” he turned and left the room.

George wiped his hands together and smiled at Lilah. “My job here is done.”

“Wow,” Lilah said in disbelief. “Poor Connor really was the one and only innocent in this case. Why would his brother be in on it?”

George shrugged. “Eh, that’s Barney’s problem now.”

Lilah sighed. “What a day… burgers?”

George nodded. “Burgers.”

Words: 2,276

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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5 Quotes From Stephen Chbosky

5 Quotes from Stephen Chbosky | Author | Inspirational Quotes | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

1. “Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”

2. “You can’t just sit there and put everyone’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.”

3. “Something really is wrong with me. And I don’t know what it is.”

4. “It’s nice to have things to look forward to.”

5. “And I wonder if anyone is really happy. I hope they are. I really hope they are.”

What’s your favorite quote from Stephen Chbosky? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 266: Thoughtful (Part Four)

Short Story Sunday: Thoughtful | Short Story | Flash Fiction | Mystery | Mystery Writing | Mystery Month | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Lilah found herself leaning against the one-way mirror staring into the interrogation room. Beth Wiley sat at the metal table, her back facing the mirror. Her shoulders were shaking and her elbows were propped on the table. Lilah knew well enough Beth was bawling her eyes out. Whether she was crying because she was nervous that she had been caught or it was an act, she wasn’t sure.

“Have you talked to her yet?” George asked.

Barney shook his head. “She was hesitant to come with us when we found her wandering the side of the road. She didn’t fight us at all, she was just in a daze. It was almost like she didn’t know why we were picking on her.”

Lilah kept a steady gaze on Beth while she listened in on George’s conversation with his brother.

“She was scrawny too.” Barney continued. “I know she’s been missing for a couple of days and didn’t take anything with her, not even her wallet. I don’t think she’s eaten at all. After we explained to her that we found her car, we brought her back here. We tossed her into the interrogation room and fed her lunch. Her husband is on his way. Once he arrives, we’ll figure out what to do.”

“Did you mention to her about the body?” George asked.

Barney sighed.

Lilah wasn’t facing them but she had a feeling that sigh was a no. She thought that might have been why Beth was crying so much, but maybe it was just because she was scared.

“Did you tell Richard about the body?” George asked.

“No,” Barney replied. “I figured the less he knew before he got here, the better.”

A knock at the door came. Lilah and George looked at each as Barney pushed past his little brother and opened the door. An officer had brought Richard into the room.

Richard looked horrified as he entered. He jumped when the officer closed the door behind him. He wrung his hands together and swallowed without saying a word.

“Thanks for coming here, Richard.” Barney said. He led him over further into the small room and pointed through the mirror.

Richard saw his wife and frowned. “Thank you for finding my wife. Can I go in and see her?”

“Not yet,” Barney shook his head. “We need to talk to her first. Is it okay if we speak to her and ask her some questions or would you like a lawyer present?”

“Should I have a lawyer present?” Richard asked. He turned to George for help, but he just shrugged in response.

“There was a body in the car. Unless you think Beth might have had something to do with it, it might be wise to get a lawyer.” George explained.

Lilah noticed a quick glare from Barney to George. She saw George shift his gaze to his brother but he didn’t fully acknowledge him.

Richard drew in a breath. He turned his head to look at his wife again shaking his head. “No, Beth didn’t do anything. There’s no way she killed a man and tried to hide the body.”

George bowed his head to Barney. “And there you have it.”

“Alright, here I go.” Barney said. He opened the door and then paused to look over his shoulder. “Richard, I’ll ask her a few questions and then I’ll call you in to join us, okay?”

Richard nodded and Barney disappeared. He turned back to George. “I guess you’re off the hook, huh?”

“Excuse me?” George replied. Lilah stiffened pushing herself off the mirror on the wall. She narrowed her eyes at Richard. Whatever he meant was probably harmless, but his tone didn’t sound it.

“The police found my wife. I hired you to do that and you didn’t.” Richard explained.

Lilah looked at George wondering how he’d respond to that, but Barney began talking on the other side of the wall. Immediately, all their attentions were shifted to the mirror.

“How are you doing, Beth?” Barney asked. He handed her a couple of tissues and she took them willingly. Then he sat down and casually leaned back in his chair. “Do you understand what’s going on?”

“No,” Beth said over her sniffles.

“Your husband reported you missing. You were gone for about three days before we found your car abandoned and hidden in the woods and you wandering around the streets not too far from Simmond’s Park.” Barney explained. “Can you tell me where you went for three days or why you left?”

Beth shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t want to say anything. I don’t want to get into any trouble.”

“Why would you get into trouble?”

“I don’t know, I just have a feeling I did something bad. Is my husband okay?”

Barney nodded. “Richard is fine, yes. He’s worried about you.”

Beth sniffled again. She picked up a tissue and blew her nose. “I didn’t know what else to do. I was confused and I couldn’t get away so I thought I’d run away. Maybe then I’d lose him and Richard and I could be safe.”

“Lose who?” Barney inquired leaning closer to her.

“I wish I knew…”

Lilah glanced over at George and she noticed he was staring at Richard. Richard watched Beth carefully, unblinking. She couldn’t read the expression on his face though. He certainly wasn’t worried and it didn’t seem like he was concerned for whatever his wife was going through. What happened to the caring, open, and honest man who they met in their office just a few hours ago?

“Does your husband know about any of this?” Barney asked.

“No,” Beth said. She buried her face in her hands and sobbed more. “I’ve never lied to him before!”

Barney looked up into the mirror and frowned. Lilah knew he was looking at them even though he couldn’t see where they stood. She sighed and looked to George.

“Should you go help him?” she asked.

“He knows what he’s doing.” George replied.

“Beth, maybe your husband should be here when I tell you this news.” Barney said.

Beth looked up hopeful. “My husband is here?”

“Yes,” Barney said. He waved to the mirror.

George took the cue. He opened the door for Richard and pointed to a closed door on the outside. “Just go through there.” He said.

Richard did without a word or even bothering to look at George.

George closed the door. He walked back over to the mirror and folded his arms over his chest as he watched Richard embraced his sobbing wife. “I have some suspicions.” He said.

Lilah turned to him. “What do you mean?”

“This Richard isn’t the man we met a few hours ago.” George stated.

Lilah let out a breath of relief. “Okay, I thought so too. I think there’s something strange about him. But do you think it could be because he’s nervous for his wife?”

“I think he’s nervous, but not because of her.” George countered. “He seems less concerned for his wife and the he rubbed me the wrong way when he said we were off the hook.”

“Well, yeah. That rubbed me the wrong way too. This means we’re not going to get paid.” Lilah said with a huff.

“It means, his job is done.” George said narrowing his eyes at Richard through the mirror. Richard was still holding Beth and rubbing her back. Barney, on the other hand, was leaning back in his chair waiting them out.

“I’m confused.” Lilah sighed. “What did you figure out?”

“Richard was searching for Beth not because she’s his wife but maybe because he was afraid of what she would do and who she would talk to.” George stated.

Lilah opened her mouth and then closed it shaking her head. “I’m not sure I’m following you, George. Stop being so cryptic.”

“I bluntly told him there was a dead body in the trunk of his wife’s car and he didn’t even flinch.” George stated. He turned to look at Lilah. “That was the first he heard of the body. Barney said he didn’t tell him.”

“Maybe he was just in shock?” Lilah suggested.

“But then when I asked him about a lawyer, he refused and said there was no way Beth could kill a man. There’s no way Richard should have known the body was a male.”

“Okay, I see what you mean… but maybe he just said man in a general sense? Besides, I assume you’re suggesting Richard killed the man? If that’s true, then why would he refuse the lawyer?”

“Are we ready to get started?” Barney asked.

Lilah’s attention was brought back to inside the interrogation room. Both Richard and Beth had nodded to him.

“Because,” George said, “Richard is too confident. Everything points to Beth and he believes she’ll take the fall.”

Words: 1,476

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Meet Devon Ellington [Author Interview]

Meet Devon Ellington | Author Interview | RachelPoli.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I publish under multiple names in fiction and non-fiction, and am an internationally-produced playwright and radio writer. I spent the bulk of my career working backstage on Broadway, and a little bit in film and television production.

How long have you been writing for?

I started writing when I was six; I was published in school literary magazines, and, in high school, published in local papers when I handled publicity for the music department.  I started working professionally in theatre when I was 18. In college, my major was film and television production, and I veered away from the writing and more into technical aspects. Working off-Broadway, I started writing monologues for actresses looking for good material; that grew into plays, and then back into short stories and novels. So I’ve been writing for A Very Long Time.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

Writing is how I make sense of the world. How I explore other lives from the inside and the outside.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I do my first 1K of the day on what I call my  “Primary Project” (whatever’s being drafted) early in the day. Feed the cats, do my yoga/meditation practice, write my first 1K of the day.

The rest of the day shapes up depending on if I’m doing only my own work, or a mix of my own work and client work and other freelance writing gigs. It’s shaped by what’s on the tightest deadline and the highest paycheck. I prefer to write in the morning and edit in the afternoons. Since I’m always juggling multiple projects, there are usually a handful of projects in various draft stages, and then some more in editing or galleys.  Scriptwriting usually requires a much tighter turnaround than books, so when those jobs come in, they take priority. Sometimes, I just have to stay up later or get up earlier to get it all done.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

Cried. Tears of joy, but I cried.

What was the publishing process like? How long did it take?

Months, of course. For me, there’s generally been one major edit from the editor’s initial notes and discussion, and then one to two more rounds of edits with the editor, with a tighter turnaround. Then, the copyeditor is brought in, and we have those edits and galleys. When I have unusual people names or place names or phrases in other languages, I submit that with the draft that goes to the editor and the copyeditor, so they can help me stay consistent.

For the series I write, keeping the Series Bibles updated is vital, too. As soon as a book is out of final galleys and headed for release, I update the Series Bible. I use tracking sheets for details that may change within drafts, but once it’s finalized, I update the Series Bible. That way, an inconsistency is a plot or character choice, not a mistake.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Always! The radio plays are getting a lot of traction right now, and I have four stage plays to finish this year: one on the painter Canaletto’s sisters; one on the gun violence epidemic; a collection of monologues called WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST that’s a follow-up to one of my most popular plays, WOMEN WITH AN EDGE; and a play about two famous women authors. Plus, I have to keep up with the series I’m writing — The Gwen Finnegan Mysteries, The Coventina Circle Paranormal Romantic Suspense Series, the lighter Nautical Namaste Mysteries, and a few one-offs. Plus client work. So I’m always, always working on something new. This is my passion, but it is also my business, not my hobby. It’s how I keep a roof over my head.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

Still working on Broadway, as a dresser. Or, if I hadn’t gone down the theatre/writing path at all, probably an archaeologist.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

Don’t let others define you. Define yourself. And realize that your life and your career are always a work in process.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

I don’t have just one of any of them! My favorite, favorite book, the one I’d need on a desert island, is THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE. I never get tired of Shakespeare. I also love POSSESSION, by AS Byatt.  Genre would probably be mystery. I find it often the most satisfying, although, as a writer, I like to mix it with other elements of other genres. Author? I don’t have a single favorite. Again, I always go back to Shakespeare. But it was Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe who were the big inspirations for me to write. And Mildred Wirt Benson, the original writer of the Nancy Drew books as “Carolyn Keene.” She did another series, under her own name, with a heroine named Penny Parker. Penny is such a brat, but she’s hilarious.

I collect juvenile series mysteries from the early twentieth century: Beverly Gray, Vicki Barr, Judy Bolton, all of those. The racism in them is shocking, but it’s also a good snapshot of what was considered “normal” at the time and why we should know better now (but far too often don’t). You get a heroine like Ruth Fielding, a turn-of-the-twentieth-century heroine, who did all these great, adventurous things solving her mysteries, and then went on to a career writing in Hollywood, in a happy marriage. A lot of these heroines showed girls that there was more than one definition of “good” — and that it wasn’t a terrible thing to be smart, and show it.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Put your butt in the chair every day and do the work. Books don’t write themselves. Plan time off as you want/need it. Don’t let the writing slide. And don’t blow first rights posting material from your drafts online or on social media if you want to sell the polished/finished work. There’s a world of difference between throwing out a rough draft and sharing an excerpt of a piece that’s contracted.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Find your tribe. Find other writers you like to hang out with and talk to. Read each other’s work. Support each other. Every time one succeeds, it helps everybody. Jealousy and envy are a waste of energy. Learn the craft — craft is as important as art. Do the work, build the community, and you’ll start to see results.

About Devon Ellington

Devon Ellington | Author Interview | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.comDevon Ellington publishes under half a dozen names in fiction and non-fiction and is an internationally-produced playwright and radio writer. She has eight novels published, several novellas, dozens of short stories, and hundreds of articles. She worked backstage on Broadway and in film and television production for years and teaches both online and in-person. Her main website, www.devonellingtonwork.com, will lead you to the websites for the different series, and her blog on the writing life, Ink in My Coffee, is at https://devonellington.wordpress.com

Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Ello | Triberr

Buy Devon’s Books

The Coventina Circle Paranormal Romantic Suspense Series:
Playing the AnglesThe Spirit RepositoryRelics & Requiem

The Gwen Finnegan Paranormal Archaeological Mysteries:
Tracking Medusa | Myth & Interpretation

The Nautical Namaste Not-Quite-Cozy Mysteries (As Ava Dunne):
Savasana at Sea

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Short Story Sunday 265: Card (Part Three)

Short Story Sunday: Card | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Mystery | Mystery Writing | Mystery Month | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Lilah sat behind George’s desk. She leaned back in the chair, propping her feet on the surface of his desk, and swiveled back and forth. She pouted her lips together deep in thought at the meeting they just had with Richard Wiley. His wife, Beth, had been acting strangely for a few weeks before she disappeared without a trace only taking her keys and car with her. What was really strange was that she had called George the week before but never gave any information on what was bothering her.

“What are you doing? Get your feet off my desk.” George said exasperated. He broke Lilah out of her thoughts as he entered the office once more.

Lilah put her feet back to the floor and sat forward propping her elbows on the desk now. “Did Richard have anything else to say?”

George sat down in the client’s chair, much to Lilah’s surprise. She had expected him to kick her out of his seat.

“Well,” he said, “we’ve officially been hired for a case.”

Lilah didn’t smile. “That’s good, I guess.”

George scratched the top of his head. “I’m glad we have work to do, but I feel so uneasy about this particular case. Things aren’t adding up.”

“They’re not supposed to add up. Not right now, anyway.” Lilah stated. She shivered. She was beginning to sound like George. Maybe she shouldn’t have been sitting in his chair after all.

“I know, but usually cases are odd. This one seems more so. I don’t know, I just have a bad feeling.” George answered.

Lilah sighed. “I know what you mean. This is certainly a strange one with both of them calling us… I wonder what Beth wanted from us.”

“She most likely wanted help about whatever is spooking her. Though it was enough for her to run away.” George said.

“Or maybe she took matters into her own hands.” Lilah suggested.

George looked up at her and she shrugged in response. She could tell by the raised eyebrows that George hadn’t thought of that possibility, but he certainly was now.

“Did Richard call the police?” Lilah asked. When George walked their new client to the front door, they stood in the hallway talking for some time. Lilah realized they had forgotten to ask him one of the most important questions – did he call the police already?

George nodded. “I asked him. He called 24 hours after he had no contact from his wife and still had no idea about her whereabouts. He knew the police would give him the run around so he waited until the time was right to call. Also, he was just holding out hoping that Beth would come home. He said he thought she might have just needed some space and went to the spa or something.”

“There are spas around here?” Lilah asked. She wanted one.

“Not that I know of, no.”

“Oh,”

“So, the police are on the case. They’re looking for Beth Wiley and her bright blue Honda.” George rattled off the license plate number he had written down on the sticky note beside her name.

Lilah perked up. “Barney must know then, right? Can we give him a call?”

George scrunched up his face and shook his head. “I don’t want to call my brother about this. Not now, anyway. We’ve barely begun the investigation.”

“Maybe Barney is the beginning of our investigation though. He might know more about Richard than we do. Richard might have given the police more information than he gave us.” Lilah explained.

“I doubt that. Richard wouldn’t have hired us if he didn’t include all the information. I don’t believe so, at least. Besides, Barney isn’t going to share any information with us about it now. Maybe not ever.” George countered.

Lilah sighed. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

They sat in silence for a moment. Lilah watched George carefully as he picked at a loose thread in the upholstery of the chair. Lilah remained deep in thought about the case. She certainly wanted to know more about Beth and also this Richard guy. Even though he was their client, she wondered if they were able to truth him. She glanced back at George again. She also wanted to know what was going on in his mind.

Then the phone rang.

Lilah leaned forward to look at the caller ID. She stood up from her chair and motioned for George to sit in his own seat. “Speak of the devil.”

George stood taking her offer. He switched seats with Lilah picking up the phone as he sat down. “Barney?”

“Speaker,” Lilah whispered. There was no way she was going to be left out of this conversation.

George, for once, obeyed. He pushed the speaker button on the phone and set it down on the receiver.

“George, how are you?” Barney asked.

“I’m fine, how are you?” George replied. He gave Lilah a strange look. She felt just as weirded out as he did. What were the odds of Barney calling them when they were just talking about him?

“I’m on a case, so I’m as fine as I can be.” Barney replied. “Listen,” he continued before George could respond, “I need to talk to you. Are you free to come down to the station sometime today?”

Lilah raised both her eyebrows. Barney’s tone was different. He had his cop voice on that was for sure. Usually he was a little different with George though.

“I guess so, if you really need me to. What’s going on?” George asked.

“I’m at Simmond’s Park in the woods. We got a call from a concerned parent. There’s a car parked in the woods with branches and tarp covering it. The parent who called it in thought someone was sitting in the car watching the kids on the playground. There’s no one in the car though. The owner definitely wanted to hide it, but we’re not sure if it’s been abandoned or if they’ll be back.” Barney explained.

Lilah pressed her lips together. She suddenly felt warm and had a very good feeling as to what was about to happen next. Why Barney needed to talk to them about it, she wasn’t sure. It didn’t seem like they had found Beth, so how did Barney know they were connected somehow?

“Let me guess… blue Honda?” George asked before he mentioned the license plate.

“So, you do know the car.” Barney replied his tone hinting confirmation.

“I have knowledge of the car’s existence. I don’t know it though. Why did you call me about this?” George asked.

“George, your business card was in the front cup holder.” Barney stated.

Lilah’s eyes grew and she looked at George who stared back at her in confusion.

“We ran the plates,” Barney continued, “and this vehicle is registered to a Bethany Wiley. Whether she was the one who drove the car here and hid it, is a mystery, but there’s no report of it being stolen. Do you know Bethany?”

“Not personally,”

“What does that mean?”

George pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’ve never met the woman, though I spoke to her over the phone once last week. I have no idea how she got my business card.”

“Do you know that her husband, Richard Wiley, had reported her missing?” Barney asked.

“Lilah and I have just had the pleasure of meeting Richard.” George answered.

“Where is he?”

“He just left my office about ten minutes before you called.”

Barney sighed. “I’ll have to call him soon…”

Lilah piped up. “This is more about the car, isn’t it? What else is going on?”

“Am I on speaker?” Barney asked.

“Of course,” Lilah grinned.

Barney grunted before explaining further. “There was a body of an adult male in the trunk.”

Words: 1,304

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | FiverrTwitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com