Not even at the mid-point of January and I've already entered a contest. Whether I get a prize or not, I wrote a story based on a picture. I've used writing prompts, but pictures as inspiration has been tough for me. Check out the 235 entries at http://clarityofnight.blogspot.com/ Be sure to read entry #136 and look for some of my writing buddies, such as Timothy P. Remp, Thom Gabrukiewicz, Mike Solender, Mira, Christian Bell, Paul Brazill, Eric Beetner, Jodi MacArthur, John Wiswell, Angel Zapata, and probably a few others that I haven't found yet, but enjoy their words. Leave comments for any that you read! (Writers are comment whores.)
Okay, now for my double-duty 3WW and #fridayflash contribution:
"Forty-two Trenton Street."
The rearview mirror revealed his raised eyebrows under the ball cap's brim. Teri ignored his look, reached for the door handle. Static shocked her fingertips. Stale sweat and old fried onions assaulted her nose. The meter's click jolted her. She shut her door. It had been a long time since she'd ridden in a cab. In any vehicle.
"Trenton Street, isn't that where—"
Teri interrupted the driver. "Don't know. I've been away."
Teri looked out the side window. She had escaped. Ess—caped. She savored the hiss between her teeth, the sibilant sounds fleeing her mouth just as she'd fled the compound.
"Miss, I drive by there every day—"
"I'm sure you do. Driving is your job, right? Just take me home, please."
Home. She hadn't used that word out loud or in her head for… two years? Three? Time was different at the commune. She'd called from the bus station, but her mother hadn't answered. Teri hoped her mother would be there when she arrived. The meter clicked again. Such a tiny sound, but she jumped again.
"How long have you been away?"
"Sir, it's been a rough… day." She'd almost said "life". The meter clicked. She started. Her stomach gurgled.
Brother Paul said his previous life as a dog trainer prepared him for his true calling. He used the clicker with zeal. Please Brother Paul, he'd click. Sometimes, her reward was food. Other times, her reward was to further please Brother Paul. The meter clicked. She shuddered. Despite herself, she drooled.
The cab passed the Circle K, turned the corner. Teri sat straighter, pressed her nose against the glass. Her eyes filled. How long ago had mom done that?
She shifted to see out the windshield. "When I was little and slept away, my mom would tie a yellow ribbon around the tree in our front yard. Corny, but we only had each other." The driver frowned. Teri explained, "You know, like the song—"
"Miss? Do you have anywhere else to go?"
Color caught her attention. "Yellow ribbons," Teri whispered around the lump.
The driver slowed the vehicle. Teri sagged against the back seat. She clamped her eyelids shut, against the tears, against the invasive black letters on the tattered yellow tape. They swathed the tree, the front door, the yard perimeter.
The driver's tone held pity. "Miss, do you have anywhere else to go?"