Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Week Eight

And so we say goodbye to festive cheer for another year. Alas, this year it disappeared rather quickly in our house when I broke the news to our kids that, due to the worsening economic crisis, I was only able to give them Hide and Seek for Christmas. But the good cheer seems to have disappeared equally as quickly for many of our writers who brought us a wonderfully dark week, containing no less than four murders in only eleven tales. Happy New Year indeed...

We welcomed more new faces this week as our little community continues to grow. We also had our first guest post on Friday which, judging by the comments, resonated with many of you. Remember, that slot is always open for anyone who wants to share, so just let us know if you'd like to take part.

This week's Trifeca winner is Kelly from Writing in the Margins. It's Kelly's second time as outright winner.  This week she brings us a truly creepy story of memory, yellow balloons and chocolate.
Yellow Balloon

Each time the memory tried to surface, Henry forced his brain to skirt it. He wrapped it up tightly, sealed it in plastic and shoved it to the back of his mind.

But his stupid, stubborn brain would circle the memory, seize it, shake it; deliver small unexpected packets of it the way the internet chops information into bits before sending it.

Snippets came to him; sharp pinpricks that sent him reeling.

There was the monogrammed handkerchief. Cotton. Pink. Flowers embroidered upon the edges.

There was the seven-digit sequence.

There was the feel of peach skin; the scent of strawberries; his certainty of his hatred for chocolate.

Henry toyed with a pen. Through the window, he saw a girl and her mother in the park. The girl had a yellow balloon tied to her wrist.

One yellow balloon.

One yellow balloon was all it took.

The bits and pieces arranged themselves into a discernable whole. The complete memory burst forth.

The handkerchief was his mother’s.

The digits her telephone number.

The peach skin…

He screamed.

His wife startled and dropped her mug. “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing. Sorry.” But he knew: That woman standing before him was not his wife. And he wasn’t Henry.

“Get me a towel.”

He stood and made his way to the kitchen.

He picked up the telephone and began to dial.

But he realized that he could no longer recall the sequence.

And the memory of the pink handkerchief faded and drifted.

“Henry, the towel?”

‘Coming.” He selected a pink towel. Just before heading back to the living room, he took a chocolate bar from the freezer. “Here you are, darling.”

“Thank you, Henry. I see you found the chocolate. I thought you’d sworn it off?”

“I couldn’t resist.” Through the window, Henry saw a little girl playing in the park, a yellow balloon tied to her wrist. “She’s beautiful.”

His wife stood. “I think so, too.”

“I’ve always wanted a daughter.”

“Take her some chocolate, Henry.”  
Our two runners up this week are Barbara at The Purple Moose Gazette for her splendid story of a young mother running bootleg 'likker' to feed hungry mouths back home and Amanda at Last Mom On Earth for her haunting, mysterious tale of death and snakes.

This week's word:

CUTTING  adj \ˈkə-tiŋ\

1: given to or designed for cutting; especially : sharp, edged

2: marked by sharp piercing cold <cutting winds>

Please note: we are asking for the adjective form of the word 'cutting'.  As discussed in our instructions, responses that do not use the word correctly will be disqualified.

We wish you well.


  1. I love the winning piece. It's kind of bizarre and creepy. Good job this week, everybody!

  2. Well done, Kelly! :) Congrats. To you too, Barbara and Amanda.

  3. Thank you, Trifecta! And congrats to Barbara and Amanda for their pieces as well.

  4. thank you! Loved all the pieces this week - congrats to Kelly and Amanda.

  5. This. Is a lot of fun. I can't wait for more ... Congrats all ... I'm happy having prompts to force me to put fingertips to keys for something other than a rant.