Trifecta: Craft (The Guest Part X)

Click here to read the previous installment of  The Guest.

This week we continue with part X and 333 more words inspired by Trifecta’s prompt:

 CRAFT (noun)

1 : skill in planning, making, or executing : dexterity

2 a : an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill
b plural : articles made by craftspeople

3 : skill in deceiving to gain an end

Remember:

Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.

You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.

Let’s see what Matt and his crazy girlfriend are up to-

With the house clean, the decorations up, and the food and booze out, we were ready to host a killer party.  And aside from the fact that I hadn’t seen Cubbie and we’d hours before burned an alien pod in our chimenea, I thought everything was going superbly. 

“You’re acting awfully weird even for you,” Matt said as we prepared ourselves to receive the first guests.

“No way!  I’m just excited about this party!” I reassured.

 All the while my eyes kept darting back to the cupboard where the baby pods were hidden.  How long until I needed to move them from that cup?  Why the hell couldn’t I just have tossed them in the trash?  Why did I feel the need to constantly make sure they were safe?  I was going to have to use some serious craft and diversion tactics to keep Matt from discovering us, I mean them.   

At eight on the dot, the doorbell rang. But It was just our next door neighbor Mike.  He hadn’t been invited to the party; zombies and cocktails weren’t really his scene.

“Oh, I guess you guys are entertaining tonight,” he said peeking in the house.  “I won’t keep you long.  It’s Cubbie I’m here about.”

My heart sank.  Shit, that thing must have dragged him outside.  I glanced up at Matt preparing to console him. 

“Did y’all know he’s outside?  He was over in my garage eating Peachy’s food.  I tried to grab him to bring back over, but he hissed and scurried out.  A few minutes later I heard him and Peachy fighting.  Just thought you’d want to know.  He’s normally so friendly; I’m not sure what’s gotten into him,” Mike explained.

My sigh of relief must have been audible.  Cubbie was alive!  I had one less thing to worry about tonight; now we just had to get him back in the house.

I didn’t even have time to step outside before Cubbie came darting in.  And he looked a mess.  

Chimenea-20080706

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to:  The Faint – Symptom Finger

Eating:  Veggie burger and brussel sprouts

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  I didn’t eat a single piece of Halloween candy.  Someone send me your candy corn leftovers.

100 Word Song: Penitentiary (The Guest Part VII)

This week Tara over at Thin Spiral Notebook chose the song for Lance’s 100 Word Song weekly prompt.  She picked Citizen Cope’s “Penitentiary”.  And for my 100 words we’re jumping right back into my spooky October story “The Guest”.  Monday’s  installment was a big turning point in the story.  If you missed it, catch up here.

Today’s 100:
Matt took in the scene on the floor; eyes flashing with confusion coupled with fear.  He turned from me and walked out the back door.  From inside, I watched him pace the length of the yard muttering to himself.  It was clear that I’d have to be the strong one here.  It was only fair; I’d gotten us into this mess.

Returning he said, “Well we’re not staying here trapped with this thing, prisoners in our home.   Maybe we can burn the house down?  Be done with it?  Shit, this thing is probably fireproof.  For all we know it’s invincible!”

scared_eyes_by_nehalyehya-d3j4a89

This week I’ve also linked up for Velvet Verbosity’s 100 word challenge based on the word “Invincible”.  Yay for hooking up with yet another hop!

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to:  Cults – High Road

Eating:  Salad and lima beans

Drinking:  H20

Reading:  “Believe Me*:  Why Your Vision, Brand, and Leadership Need a Bigger Story” by Michael Margolis

Random fact:  Dying in a fire is on my top five list of the worst ways to die.  Yes, I’ve thought about it entirely too much ie. enough to have made a mental list.

Trifecta: Phantom (The Guest Part VI)

Previous installment of The Guest (on 100 Word Song):

Matt awoke with a jolt, flinging off the covers. 

“Jesus!  What the hell?” I exclaimed. 

“I just had the worst dream about that damn thing downstairs.  Seriously, like zombie, drugged-out, wake up in a cold sweat bad,” he said.

Sure enough, when I felt the blankets, they were soaked through. 

“Sheesh, guess it was pretty bad babe,” I soothed. “Come on, up and at em!  Let’s get our day started by booting out our house guest.  After all, I did promise you and my curiosity isn’t worth you having night terrors!”

“Thank God.  It’s about time,” he said already up. 

This week’s installment is for Trifecta’s weekly prompt:

We’re still not totally spooked out by you guys yet and we’re a little way from Halloween proper so get your ghoul glad rags on again this week. If there’s anyone who puts the ghoul in ghoulish, it’s you lot. Have fun and, as always, make sure you use the THIRD definition. This week we are back to entries of 33-333 words.

PHANTOM (noun)

1 a : something apparent to sense but with no substantial existence : APPARITION

b : something elusive or visionary

c : an object of continual dread or abhorrence

2 : something existing in appearance only

3 : a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal

And now, Part VI of “The Guest”

As soon as I was downstairs, I knew something was very wrong.  My bare feet tapped down onto the foyer floor and felt something cold and wet.   The deep sea diver was stranded helplessly against the front door.  “Oh shit,” I said as an icy chill crept up my spine. 

Matt was right on my heels.  “Shit is right.  What the hell happened?”

We made our way into the living room careful to avoid the broken glass and rock fragments.  “I think our guest had a growth spurt last night by the looks of it,” I said bending to pick up the fake castle. 

“Jesus, I told you we should have tossed that thing the moment it appeared.  Now look at the mess…..” Matt said heading to the laundry to fetch the mop.

I’d only heard half of what he said, because something was very off.  And it was more than our tank being destroyed.  The air felt thin and my chest heavy.  Each breath I took seemed to catch in my throat.  The morning sun was casting odd shadows on the floor and I could swear someone was in the room with us.

Matt put his arm around my shoulders.  “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to yell.  I know you loved that tank.  Let’s get this cleaned up.  Hey, are you shivering?  What’s wrong?”

Straightening up, I rallied my strength.  I’d have to be the picture of courage, a phantom of bravery to get through what I had to tell him.  “Listen baby,” I started slowly “I don’t want you to panic okay?  Everything is going to be fine.”

He followed my gaze down to the floor.  There, amongst the glass and rock, was our guest, well, at least part of it.  The once solid and pulsing pod had burst.  It now looked like a hollowed out pumpkin; a sanguine fluid oozed out of the large rip in the center.  Whatever was inside was there no longer. 

328 words.

water2

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to:  Pearl Jam – State of Love and Trust

Random fact:  I love goat cheese.

Trifecta: The Guest Part IV

Want to get caught up on “The Guest” before you delve into the latest edition?

Part I

Part II

Part III

This week Trifecta let us choose any word from the 99th page of the Oxford English Dictionary.

**I originally wrote 333 words this week, not realizing that Trifecta asked for 99!   I’d even  managed to use three of the words!  Fail!  That’s what I get for skimming the instructions!  So I cut the first 99 off (for contest consideration), while maintaining the original submission for story continuity reasons.  So for voting purposes, stop at the  line.

And now this week’s Trifecta inspired, continuation of “The Guest”:

“What the heck are those?”  Matt questioned.

“Just quit looking at it.  It hasn’t changed in a week or so.  I think it’s full grown.”

“Yeah, so it’s just some sort of weird algae-looking, pulsing, knobby alien being; nothing to worry about, because it hasn’t grown,” he said rolling his eyes at me.  “Well it may not be any bigger today, but did you not notice the little rod like things fanning out all around it?  They look like something I saw under the microscope in bio-lab back in the day.  Baccili!  Seriously, how do I even remember that?”

—————————————————————-

I got up and shuffled over to the tank.  “Move, let me look,” I said.  Truth be told, I was actually starting to get a bit bored of our little guest.

“Wow, what are those?” I said my interest again piqued.  “They look like little baby versions of our friend.”

“Fan-freaking-tastic.  So “she” is having babies now?  Let’s flush it.  Seriously, it’s freaky.” he said shutting off the tank lamp. 

“Fine, we’ll clean the tank tomorrow.  Happy?” I said.  “But you’re getting her out.  I’m not going to be a murderer.”

“I’ll happily do it.  Last night I dreamt this thing got out and ate Cubbie.  It creeps me out.”

“It’s a shame we couldn’t figure out what she is. What if she’s some exotic tag-along from an island?  Like, maybe when the breeders captured their original fish, she came over too?  Maybe she’s been dormant for all of these years and our tank somehow awoke her from hibernation.  She could be some rare creature from the Babuyan Islands!”  I exclaimed.

“I don’t care if it’s from the Galapogos Islands and vital to evolution and carrying the answer to the universe its weird mouth.  Because I know it has a mouth and probably teeth too.  I just want it gone.  Tomorrow.  Deal?” he said sticking his hand out.

“Deal,” I said shaking it begrudgingly. 

visayas-dive-safari-19

The story continues Wednesday for the 100 Word Song Challenge.

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to: Nine Inch Nails – Closer

Eating:   Lima beans

Drinking:  H20

Random thought:  I wonder what I would really do if I had a tank with an odd creature growing in it.

100 Word Song: Poor Places (The Guest-Part III)

This week for 100 Word Song, we were given Wilco’s “Poor Places”.  It was a bit of a challenge to figure out how to work the lyrics or meaning into my “The Guest” story, but I’m dead set and determined to continue this tale throughout the month of October.  I came close to veering off course and creating a quick 100 words about something else, but that would be cheating (on myself?) and I really don’t have that many words left with which to work via the blog prompts I’m currently using (100 Word and Trifecta).  So I really should use every last word I’m allotted on this tale.

Last time:  The Guest Part II

Just as I’m hanging up the phone, it rings.  “What did you forget Mom?” I ask.  But it is my father’s voice that responds.

 

“What is this I hear about an alien snail?” he says.  “I’m not sure I like this thing being in your house.  Why hasn’t Matt tossed it yet?”

 

“Dad, calm down.  First, I never referred to it as an alien snail.  That’s absurd.  And if anyone is going to toss it, it’s going to be me.  Matt doesn’t know the first thing about fish tanks.”

 

“Well, just get rid of it before it sprouts fangs, okay?”

 

iphone_dock_hand

 

 

Stay positive & love your life!

 

-Melissa

 

Today:

Listening to: Eagles Of Death Metal – Flames Go Higher

Eating:  Mushroom ravioli

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  I’m not quite sure what my Dad would make of this tank guest.  His curiosity would likely get the best of him just like our fearless protagonist.

 

 

Trifecta: The Guest (Part II)

Last week during the 100 Word Song Challenge, I started a month long story called “The Guest”.  Check out of the first 100 words here.

This week, the story continues with the weekly Trifecta Challenge.  Our prompt this week:

Make sure you’re using the THIRD definition of the word, as always. Good luck and bottoms up!

ZOMBIE (noun)

1 usually zombi a : the supernatural power that according to voodoo belief may enter into and reanimate a dead body b : a will-less and speechless human in the West Indies capable only of automatic movement who is held to have died and been supernaturally reanimated
b : a person markedly strange in appearance or behavior
2
a : a person held to resemble the so-called walking dead;especially : automaton
3
: a mixed drink made of several kinds of rum, liqueur, and fruit juice

Remember:

Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.

You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.

The word itself needs to be included in your response.

You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.

And now, the continuation of “The Guest”:

Is it a snail?  It still resembled plant life, but it really didn’t look like anything I’d ever seen. 

I peered into the water looking for animal-like qualities.  Is there a mouth?  I didn’t see one.  Eyes?  The little knobby bumps seemed to be oscillating, but I wasn’t sure. 

“Matt, come in here and check this thing out,” I hollered upstairs.

“What the hell do you think it is?” I asked as we both stared through the water.

“I have no clue.  But if we don’t clean it out of there soon, the fish are going to run out of room,” he said.

He was right.  Our fish had relegated themselves to the far corners.  They hadn’t even surfaced when I’d sprinkled their morning flakes. 

“They’re terrified.  That’s proof enough that this thing is no good.  Just look at it,” he said, his face contorting with disgust. 

“Well it’s clearly alive; I’d feel bad just killing it.  Besides, my curiosity has gotten the best of me.  I want to see what, exactly, this thing is.” I said, my eyes wide with amusement.

“Okay crazy,” he laughed.  “But just remember what they say about curiosity.  And don’t come crying to me when your precious fish bite the dust.”

“Fine.  It’s just some sort of snail thing.  What’s the worst that can happen? Now, let’s talk about our Halloween party.  We need to get planning.”

“What’s to plan?  We need booze and food,” he said smiling.  He knew my propensity for planning every minor detail.

“Hardy har-har,” I said,  punching his arm.  “Seriously, I want this to be the best party ever.  I was thinking maybe a “Walking Dead” theme. You know, we could make some body part decorations, a grave yard out front, and there’s even a drink called a zombie!”

“Sounds fun, as long as I don’t have to dress up,” he replied.

I had given up long ago on getting him to don a costume.  It was never going to happen. 

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Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to: Real Estate – It’s Real

Eating & Drinking:  Not much.  Busy day.

Random fact:  Must like this character, my Matt really does hate dressing up for Halloween.

Trifecta: Dead End

Halloween decorations started going up at my house
yesterday.  I love this time of year.   The leaves are
are changing and the air is starting to get a little cool bite to
it.   Chilly fall nights are great for a fire with friends or
perfect for snuggling up and watching a scary movie.  So it is
only fitting that my flash fiction start to reflect some of the
sinister feel of  Halloween! October
28th
Driving slowly by the
house for the fourth time that week, she drank in each detail.
Driveway:  gentle slope, not too long, ends in a side-facing
garage. Street ends in a dead end. Tall bushes obscure the front
entrance. Trees block much of the street view. She moved her neck
side to side yielding a rewarding couple of cracks. “Stupid bitch
and her fancy-ass house,” she
muttered. Reaching the dead end, she managed to turn the small car
around with ease. “Practice makes perfect,” she said smiling toward
the house.  “It won’t be long now, bitch.” A tiny voice in her
mind piped up, You know, it takes two to tango.  She
didn’t force him to cheat.  She didn’t coerce…
“Shut
up! Shut up! Look, everything was fine before her.  We were
fine.  He was all I had.  She has everything.
 Everything!” she screamed, tightly gripping the steering
wheel. October
29th
Another pass through the
neighborhood revealed billowy ghosts being strung from trees and
fake tomb stones lining driveways. Stupid bitch had cobwebs and
spiders decorating her mailbox. October
30th
She looked in the mirror
admiring her long black cloak and mask.  She was completely
disguised.  The flowing sleeves totally obscured the glint of
the knife she palmed. October
31st
She waited in the
shadows as the last of the stream of trick-or-treaters made their
way down the driveway.  She calmly walked toward the
house.  She could see stupid bitch at the door dressed as a
sexy witch. Last chance to turn back.  Are you sure
you want to do this?
“Yes!” she screamed. Stupid bitch
turned around and looked at her. “Umm sorry, I mean
trick-or-treat.  I get excited,”  she said from behind
the mask. “You seem a little too big for trick-or-treat,” stupid
bitch challenged. “Well you seem a little too calm for someone who is about to die,” she said quickly shoving her back into the house and
turning off the porch light. stock-footage-a-person-masked-and-cloaked-in-black-flashing-a-knife 328 words of twisted,
Halloween craziness written for the Trifecta
prompt:

This week’s prompt word is inspired by a
less-than-inspiring few weeks in the life of at least one (no more
than three) Trifecta editor(s). If this type of language is not
your thing, don’t worry. There aren’t too many more swear words
with third definitions in our dictionary, so we can guarantee
Trifecta won’t always be not safe for work. If it is your thing,
well, give us your best. ASS 1. (noun): any of several hardy
gregarious African or Asian perissodactyl mammals (genus Equus)
smaller than the horse and having long ears; especially : an
African mammal (E. asinus) that is the ancestor of the donkey 2.
(noun): a. often vulgar : buttocks —often used in emphatic
reference to a specific person b. often vulgar : anus 3.
(adverb/adjective) often vulgar—often used as a postpositive
intensive especially with words of derogatory
implication

Stay positive
& love your life!
-Melissa
Today: Listening
to: 
Eagles
Of Death Metal – Poor Doggie
Eating: 
Salad Drinking: 
H2O Random fact: 
My parent’s neighborhood attracts so many trick-or-treaters, that
cars line the entire block.  They can easily spend several
hundred dollars on candy.

Trifecta: All Clear

Perched high in the tower, he watched as two figures stumbled clumsily into view.  The sun was just rising and through the hazy air, their features were difficult to make out.  He sat patiently and waited for them to come into focus. 

This morning, like the previous 782, would prove uneventful.  All threats had long been eliminated and he wondered why they even maintained this post.  Tradition?  No, they kept no traditions.  That was something that had been characteristically native.

The two figures now fully visible, he noted M-16s loosely slung across small frames; a gas mask flopped sloppily on each head.  Amused, he watched as they enacted a battle on the debris left among the dunes.  It was as he thought, merely some podlings playing. 

The masks would’ve given it away if the outdated weaponry hadn’t.  There were no beings left on this planet that would benefit from those respirators.  And even if there were, the equipment would be useless.  Sure, it would filter out the impurities; but oxygen levels in the air were so low that even filtered, it was insufficient to support life in the native with its flawed bodily make-up.

It was genius really.  They’d locked onto this planet mere centuries ago and had slowly introduced technology to break down the atmosphere at a progressive rate.  Trains had chugged along spewing black smoke; factories had churned out machinery as cities plotted along under a smoggy blanket.  And cars!  Those had been a real deal sealer!  Boy were those contraptions adored!  

They’d thought the plan was at risk when a native came up with a version that didn’t need the fuel they’d continued to pump from the ground.  But alas, the natives had some primitive attachment to their metal chariots.  A few had tried to warn that they were headed for destruction, but it was pointless.  Fate had been sealed; their days numbered.  One more planet collected.

“Tower Delta report!” the receiver chirped. 

“All clear.  Always all clear,” he replied.

1342537_10416445 chernobyl_020

Word count:  333

Written for the Trifecta weekly writing challenge prompt:

MASK (noun)

1
a (1) : a cover or partial cover for the face used for disguise(2) : a person wearing a mask : masker
b (1) : a figure of a head worn on the stage in antiquity to identify the character and project the voice (2) : a grotesque false face worn at carnivals or in rituals
c : an often grotesque carved head or face used as an ornament (as on a keystone)
d : a sculptured face or a copy of a face made by means of a mold
2
a : something that serves to conceal or disguise : pretense,cloak
b : something that conceals from view
c : a translucent or opaque screen to cover part of the sensitive surface in taking or printing a photograph
d : a pattern of opaque material used to shield selected areas of a surface (as of a semiconductor) in deposition or etching (as in producing an integrated circuit)
3
a : a protective covering for the face
b : gas mask
c : a device covering the mouth and nose to facilitate inhalation
d : a comparable device to prevent exhalation of infective material
e : a cosmetic preparation for the skin of the face that produces a tightening effect as it dries

Remember:

Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.

You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.

The word itself needs to be included in your response.

 

Enjoy!

 

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

 

Today:

Listening to:  Rebelution – Green To Black

Eating:  Salad

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  It’s always hard to imagine the language that would’ve “stuck” in a post-apocalyptic or dystopian tale.  Would the new inhabitants think or speak at all like their predecessors….us?  I’d like to think that at least some thread would remain by which to tell we were once here.

100 Word Song: Graceless

Taking a drag of his last cigarette, the bells of Sacred Heart rang out around him. Thirty stories up, the air was cool and windy over the city.

Thirty, interesting number.

How was it possible for one person to have had and lost so much? Thirty years on the job and released just prior to retirement. Released, ha! Just call it what it really is, a death sentence. He had nothing now; surely nothing left to give her.

He snuffed out the butt, feigned the sign of the cross, and sighed, “There must be a science to walking through windows.”

 

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This 100 Word Song post was written the for the prompt “Graceless” by The National.  I had to counteract the beauty of my Trifecta post this week with something much darker.   There the prompt was the word “grace” and I incorporated a busker who I consider to be the “Heart of the City”.  For this post, heart is also present through the mention of Sacred Heart (Bascilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a Catholic church located downtown).   I suppose without shadow, we can’t appreciate the sun.  Odd that I write this looking at the Atlanta skyline which is surprisingly sunny this afternoon.

 

 

But, as always people- Stay positive & love your life!

 

-Melissa

 

Today:

Listening to:  Okkervil River – Down Down The Deep River

Eating:  Mac and cheese, lima beans

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  I recaulked my shower last week and now I’m having to do it again.  Damn learning curve.

 

Trifecta: Heart of the City

Each day she’s there.  I’ve never stopped to ask her story.  I’ve never bothered to learn her name.

Up the escalator I move.  Her voice lifts me from the depths of the city’s underground.  Her song carries me into the sunshine.  Her melody warms my heart and I feel the strains of the workday melt away.  She sings with such spirit; the joy in her voice gallops up and down Peachtree Street like a wild mustang released.

Her clothes are plain; generally a set of colorful scrubs.  Her hair is tightly tucked beneath a bandana.  Her grace comes from within; each delightful note presented to the world on operatic sound waves.

A tattered hat lies on the ground.  We toss in some change; she offers a shy grin and a head nod never breaking from her song.

She’s as much a part of the landscape as the oak to her left and it’s as if she belongs to the city itself.  Did the asphalt jungle give birth to her?  No, she is older than the city and its soaring structures.  Before the lights flashed and the air was filled with a cacophonous back beat, her foot tapped out its own meter.    Before traffic jammed and green ways turned gray, she gently hummed her tune.

In her lives a soul that has seen days before many would walk by too tethered to their phones to notice that life is going on around them.  She calls to them to share a moment, one tiny second.  And when she catches a fleeting glance of acknowledgement, her eyes sparkle with victory.   Connection nourishes her; it fortifies her mission.

I’ve never stopped to talk to her, and yet we’ve had many conversations.  I’ve never asked her name, and still, she’s shown me her essence.  I’ve never learned her story, but each day she’s there.  Maybe she’s always been.  And may she always be.

BuskerHat

 

This 319 word story was written for this week’s Trifecta Challenge:

GRACE (noun)

1
a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b : a virtue coming from God
c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace
2
a : approval, favor
b archaic : mercy, pardon
c : a special favor : privilege
d : disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
e : a temporary exemption : reprieve
3
a : a charming or attractive trait or characteristic
b : a pleasing appearance or effect : charm
c : ease and suppleness of movement or bearing

Remember:

Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.

You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.

The word itself needs to be included in your response.

You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.

 

It was inspired by one of Atlanta’s most well-known buskers, Opera Lady.

From CBS local:

Opera Lady

Often seen: Downtown on Peachtree Street
Peachtree Center
231 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA
(404) 654-1296
peachtreecenter.com

One of the main reasons shows like “America’s Got Talent” succeed is because of the surprising sounds and beauty that come from the most unlikely places. Opera Lady, as she is known locally, is the furthest away from the extravagance associated with the belly-bellowing craft, but has a voice that could easily be heard in the Atlanta Opera. Often seen in downtown Atlanta in front of the entrance to Peachtree Center food court, she regularly sings for the downtown workers during lunchtime and has a basket for donations.

 

Enjoy!

 

Stay positive & love your life!

 

-Melissa

 

Today:

Listening to:  311 – Do You Right

Eating:  Black beans, grilled veggies, and rice.

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  I enjoy Opera Lady far more than I enjoy going to the opera.