Dead lines


Today’s Daily Prompt – Write about anything you’d like. Somewhere in your post, include the sentence, “I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock.”


(image courtesy of Google)

The computer screen projected phosphorescent beams of light coating the room in an eerie glow.  It had a macabre essence to it but nothing helped to pique my keen sense of the unusual.  The walls in the tiny room inched closer to me with every passing second and the absence of any natural light in the small window signaled that the clock read 9:00 pm.  I could have sworn it was still morning.

The cursor continued to flash on the screen and only served to remind me that time was ticking.  Each flash represented another second gone by with no words to add to the 100,000 needed to finish the project.  Being a ghost writer was one thing, being a dead writer was the threat that gnawed on my consciousness.  The shackles around my ankles didn’t allow for the normal freedom of movement I needed to change my perspective and allow the creativity to flow.  It was a race against time and I was losing the race.

The only way I could keep track of my time spent in this tomb was to count the number of fast food bags that had been delivered to keep me nourished.  The remnants of congealed grease and faux-beef were piled in the corner and the stench was nauseating.  I had been here for six days.  Watching the cursor was hypnotic and the repetition lulled me into sleep.

I awoke in a panic and the clock on the wall slowly swam into focus.  It was 3:00 am.  I had a mere five hours to creatively articulate his vision and another 40,000 words to write to meet his deadline.  The computer woke much faster than I did and I feverishly began to type the words that had followed me from my dream into reality.  The word count rose at a rapid pace.  There was no time for editing, no time to read anything back to see how the story flowed.  I was writing for my life at this point, I don’t think a misplaced comma truly mattered in the grand scheme of my situation.  My bladder argued vehemently and I ignored it.  That was the least of my worries.

Light slowly filtered through the small window and I checked the word count – 85,400.  I was close.  I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock.  I had failed.  Somewhere at the beginning of this torture, I knew it wouldn’t end well.  Many times during my captivity I had wished for a self-destruct button on the computer, or that one little pill that would end it on my terms, but dreams and reality rarely ever meet.

The door opened and light stabbed the floor in jagged patterns.  The man responsible for my disgusting diet over the last week hovered over the computer screen to assess my progress.  I knew what was coming as he stepped back shaking his head.  I had been preparing myself for death for the last seven days.  I never even heard the shot.

Read these other entries:

  1. Daily Prompt: The Clock… digital awakenings | Fasting, Food and other musings by determined34
  2. The Clock Test | The Chatter Blog
  3. Tick Tock. | Hope* the happy hugger
  4. The Counting… | Yeahthtsme
  5. Ulysse « Spunky Wayfarer
  6. Daily Prompt: The Clock « Completely Disappear
  7. The Unbearable Burden of Beauty | Rolbos ©
  8. Time To Rewrite (Short story) | The Jittery Goat
  9. Daily Prompt: The Clock « Mama Bear Musings
  10. Daily Prompt: The Clock « JUkk
  11. The Clock | MC’s Whispers
  12. Daily Prompt: The Clock (Fiction Story) « DiaryCube
  13. Too Late | Chasing The Bubble
  14. Dead lines | polysyllabic profundities
  15. Slam – A Daily Prompt Post | Edward Hotspur
  16. Daily Prompt: The Clock « Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  17. Daily Prompt: The Clock « In Love With The Lord Poetry and Prose
  18. Daily Prompt: The Clock Was Ticking | My Blog
  19. Daily Prompt: The Clock 16th February 2013 « ittikorn1994
  20. DPChallenge: The Clock | stuffy tales
  21. I Will Be Gone…. « So You Think You Can Think
  22. The clock always ticks | The Nameless One
  23. Daily Prompt: The Clock | Daddy’s Naughty Little Girl
  24. Daily Prompt: The Clock « It is me, Claude. . .
  25. Daily Post Challenge, I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock. | notyethere
  26. Hope | Prayers and Promises
  27. Time up. | Multifarious meanderings
  28. daily prompt: the clock | dandelion punch
  29. Daily Prompt: The Clock | The Daily Post – waldina
  30. Daily Prompt: The Clock | Fish Of Gold
  31. My struggle with Time | بيسان
  32. Never Been Kissed « I’m Afraid Of The Dark
  33. Daily Prompt: The Clock | retiredruth – Life in the 50’s and beyond
  34. Daily Prompt – Random Post « My thoughts, My life

Trifecta challenge – Twisted Serendipity


He had been standing in this exact place at least a thousand times.  He could find the precise location by the position of the trees and rocks and he loved these hills for their privacy.  He was always alone in this place.  Wildlife took shelter when they saw him and birds would stop in mid-song when they sensed his presence.  There was something unnatural about him.  The animals felt it, and he knew it too.  But he couldn’t stop himself.  He knew eventually his tenacity would pay off.

She arrived in the late afternoon on a Tuesday.  She didn’t look lost or scared and her camera hung loosely around her neck.  She didn’t notice that not one creature was making a sound as she concentrated on her footing, careful not to fall in such a remote place.  Had she been more aware of her surroundings, the silence would have been deafening.

She stood admiring the sun beginning its decent into the hills and took one step, two steps, inching closer to get that perfect picture.  The mouth of the hole he spent hours carving opened and swallowed her into the earth.  It was his moment of serendipity.  His fortune, her accident.


He was pleased with himself.  He would come and visit her tomorrow and he left the way he had come.  The shrill song of the birds awoke her from unconsciousness and she let out a scream that nobody would hear.


This was written for the Trifecta challenge, which was this (and I think I have read too many Dean Koontz stories):

This week they are looking for stories or poems from 33 – 333 in length that feature the word: mouth. Not just any definition of the word will do though. Only the third definition shown below is accepted.


1a : the natural opening through which food passes into the body of an animal and which in vertebrates is typically bounded externally by the lips and internally by the pharynx and encloses the tongue, gums, and teeth
b : grimace <made a mouth>
c : an individual requiring food <had too many mouths to feed>
2a : voice, speech
b : mouthpiece
3: something that resembles a mouth especially in affording entrance or exit: as

  a : the place where a stream enters a larger body of water

  b : the surface opening of an underground cavity

  c : the opening of a container

  d : an opening in the side of an organ flue pipe

Weekly writing challenge – A picture is worth 1000 words


It seemed perfectly innocent.  They were freshly bathed, well dressed, almost too well dressed for a Tuesday morning had I thought about it, and they both presented themselves with an intelligence far beyond their years.  Their mother seemed embarrassed when they both ran to me, each clutching one of my hands in their tiny grips.  Neither of them seemed afraid, nor did they show much emotion at all, and for a moment we just stood, unmoving, holding hands as if this were a natural occurrence.

Perplexed and without knowing how to react, I looked to their mother for some guidance.  Although trying to maintain her poise, she seemed distant and somewhat aloof.  When she finally regained her composure, she smoothed her dress, approached the three of us and complimented me on my suit.  The children remained reticent as the idle banter of adults hovered like cartoon balloons above their heads, but their grips never wavered.

She asked if I would like a coffee, so we walked a few blocks, sharing idle conversation, the children never losing their hold on my hands.  There were no introductions made, so my comments were relegated to generalities.  She was referred to as ‘little girl’ and he was called ‘strapping lad’.  They seemed content with these monikers and never once did they volunteer their birth names.

When the little girl finally spoke, her voice was so hushed it was almost impossible to hear over the din of the crowd.  “My dad died.  You look like him.”   My heart seemed to quiver in my chest and I felt it break into a thousand shards.  I wanted to let go of the boy’s hand and hug her.  I wanted to tell her everything would be okay, but his grip remained firm so all I could do was squeeze her hand and give her a wink.

I had been so distracted by the children that I hadn’t noticed the row of houses instead of the coffee shops I had anticipated.  The children had stopped in front of a brick facade and, with their stoned expressions, they turned to face their mother.  The camera recorded that moment before I had a chance to react.

With their grips remaining firm, the children guided me up the stairs towards the house.  The mother had managed to beat me to the door and fumbled to get the key into the lock.  The hinges on the door vehemently disagreed with being opened and argued every inch of the way.  Once inside the house, the children released their grip on my hands and stood together, an immovable fortress blocking the way back to the door.

As my eyes adjusted to the lack of daylight, the row of pictures in the foyer began to materialize.  Each photo, almost an exact replica of what I suspected the picture would look like that was just taken outside.  Although the little girl and the strapping lad were in different colored apparel, the photo would have been an exact replica.  My heart rate increased.  When the strapping lad finally spoke, my blood turned to ice.  “Welcome home, daddy.”

As the words ‘I’m not your daddy’ tumbled from my lips, I felt a dull crack at the base of my skull.  It would be the last thing I ever felt.