Sunday, December 3, 2023

Last WEP Challenge, It's A Wonderful Life

 This is the last WEP challenge. Write, Edit, Publish was founded by Denise Covey, and we who have stepped up to the challenge are thankful. It has been a ride, Denise.

In addition to Denise, I want to thank the ladies who have been instrumental in the function of this quarterly writing challenge. Here’s to Renee, Nila, Olga, Jemi, and Sonia. Your hard work is greatly appreciated.

Today, our challenge is to take a favorite Holiday movie and write using the movie as inspiration. My favorite Christmas movie is It’s A Wonderful Life. When it was released, it bombed at the box office. But it has been played repeatedly on TV since its inception. And I have watched it and loved it since I was a child. The message in this movie is simple: Your Life Matters. I hope you enjoy my story.

 To read what others have written go here.

 


It’s a Wonderful Life

 

Noel left her room to join her family. They didn’t do the black Friday thing. Instead, they put up the Christmas tree. A Mannheim Steam Roller CD played instrumental music. Her father had already put the tree together. Its lights were already strung, so all you had to do was press the on-off switch to light it up.

“Ta da!” Her father yelled.

Her mother clapped, and her younger brother and sister jumped up and down. Noel rolled her eyes. She’d been born on Christmas day, thus her name. A constant reminder that she was supposed to be a jolly kid. Well, she wasn’t.

Today, she joined in, taking an ornament from her mother; she hung it and went back for another. She hid her misery from her parents, smiling when they looked her way.

This had been an awful year. She was teased at school about her name. Bullied to the point of hiding in the bathroom, and when that didn’t work, she ducked around the corner. Two girls had beaten her in the hall before class one day. One, kicking her in the stomach repeatedly. A handful of kids captured the attack on their cell phone cameras. Several teachers saved her, and she was taken to the hospital. Her parents were notified. She hated that they found out, and later she saw the attack posted on Social Media before it was taken down.

When she returned to school the next day, many other students followed her around, laughing while replaying her attack on their cell phones. The only good thing was that the two girls who beat her were suspended for a week. But when they returned, they continued with their malignant yells.  

She’d always loved church, learning about Jesus, and talking to Him. But she didn’t talk to Him anymore. No one in church humiliated her, but sitting in her class and learning about the wondrous acts that Jesus did only reminded her that nothing stupendous ever happened to her. She lived in a vacuum. Devoid of happiness.

Her parents had changed everything about Christmas just for her. They celebrated on Christmas Eve, opening gifts, eating dinner, and attending church services. Christmas day was for her birthday. The only thing she shared was Santa’s visit. This year she’d turn fifteen. But, if she wasn’t here anymore, then her family could have Christmas day back.

Dinner tonight was left over Thanksgiving. Noel liked it well enough, but her appetite was in the toilet, literally. She'd go throw up when done. After that, she had an appointment with her razor. So far, her parents hadn’t discovered her destructive habits, and she intended to keep it that way.

“You’re losing weight, Noel. Are you feeling okay?” Her mother asked.

“Yeah, I’m okay,” she said.

“You really haven’t been yourself. Are those girls leaving you alone?”

“They’re keeping their distance.”

“Why are you so down?” Her mother continued to question.

“It’s…just…hard, sometimes.” Noel stood and headed down the hall to her room. She heard her mother’s next question. “I don’t know what to do?”

“She’ll outgrow out of it,” her father said.

A bathroom was attached to Noel’s room, making hiding all her bad habits easy. She vomited supper and then sat on her bed. She removed the drawer to her nightstand and turned it over, revealing her razor and pill bottle. She’d been squirreling away sleeping pills from her mother’s prescription bottle. One or two at a time, so it wouldn’t be noticed. She had twelve. Would it be enough?

She changed into the prettiest nightgown she had, took the pills with the bottle of water she’d brought back earlier, and went to bed. A genuine smile spread over her lips.

Sleep came…

*

She floated above her body. Why am I doing…oh yeah, I killed myself.

She could see her parents watching a movie together in the living room. Her brother and sister were in their bedrooms asleep. A pull and then a massive being joined her. His wings unfurled. He smiled and took her hand. She could hear what he said telepathically. Shooting stars zoomed past them.

“Those are prayers going to heaven,” he said.

“Am I going to heaven?”

“Yes.”

They arrived in a beautiful garden, the colors vibrant. Colors she’d never seen before. Then she saw Him, Jesus. And when He reached her, He hugged her.

“I love you,” Noel said.

He smiled, and though He didn’t speak, she felt His all-forgiving love. A love so vast, so complete she couldn’t describe it.

Then, the angel pulled out a book and began to open the pages.

She saw herself, every memory from when she was aware of things around two years. The time her mother fell in the kitchen when she was pregnant with her eight-year old brother, Joshua. She called 911, and help arrived.

“She would have died without for your help,” Jesus said.

Then she saw when Joshua hit his head in the pool and went under. He was two at the time, and she pulled him out.

“Another life saved,” Jesus said.

Then, when she was in fourth grade and, her friend, Sarah, struggled to read. She sat with her for hours, teaching her phonics.

“Sarah is a fine reader now,” Jesus said.

More moments followed, how she had been a positive force in the lives of many.

“It’s not your time. You must go back. I have a message for your two tormentors,” Jesus said. “And one for you. You must forgive them and tell them that I love them.”

*

She woke in the hospital, her parents hovering over her. She missed all of December and returned to school in mid-January. When Noel saw her two persecutors, she smiled and approached them.

“You should have stayed dead,” one of them said.

“I forgive you both, and Jesus loves you with a love so utterly complete it cannot be measured.”

Both girls stood with their mouths open as Noel turned and left them in the hall.

Word Count 1,008

Thank you for reading. Let me know what you think in the comments. N. R. Williams

 

Monday, June 19, 2023

WEP Close Encounters

Greetings all WEP’ers and visitors. If you don’t know what WEP is, Write, Edit, Publish. It’s a bloghop that takes different writing challenges so you and I can flex our writing muscles. But, if you don’t want to write a story, that’s okay too. Post pictures or tell us about something related to the prompt going on in your life. Are you a poet? Hit us up with something wonderful. To read what others have written go here.

For June 2023, our prompt is the movie, Close Encounters. The good news is, you don’t have to be an abductee or an alien to participate. Our lovely host are Nila, and Jemi.

 


Here’s my story.

These characters are from my on going sweet romance, 5 Friends & Lovers, available on Amazon, Kindle Vella. This particular episode will be interwoven into some future spot.

Characters:

Scott: A comedian

David: A suspense author

Doug: A high school gym teacher/coach

To keep down the characters, their ladies are elsewhere.

 

Tagline: Alien Discussion

Close Encounter or Not

David, Scott, and Doug sat around the living room while their ladies were in the kitchen making lunch.

“Did you hear the *Elvis Theater is running classic Sci/Fi movies?” Doug asked.

“Which ones?” Scott asked, leaning forward to lift his cup of coffee.

“The remake of, The Day The Earth Stood Still, War of the Worlds, and classics, ET, and Close Encounters.  They’re showing them mid-week on Wednesday, one at a time,” Doug said.

“I love Close Encounters,” David said.

“Me too,” Scott said. “Richard Dreyfus went insane and made a mess of his home. My mother found that disturbing, but I laughed. Then there’s ET, staring a turtle without his shell flying away in a Christmas ornament.”

Doug and David both laughed.  

“I thought we could take our babes. Wanna do that together?” Doug asked.

“Wednesday night?” Scott repeated.

“Yeah,” Doug said.

“They aren’t playing all of them the same Wednesday?” David asked.

“Nope,” Doug said. “One at a time.”

“I’m in now to convince our ladies,” David said.

“Do either of you believe in aliens and UFOs,” Scott asked.

“I think it’s a possibility,” Doug said.

“UFOs are now UAPs,” David said.

“What does that mean?” Doug asked.

“Unidentified aerial phenomenon,” David said.

“I find it difficult to believe a bunch of gray aliens are running around abducting people. If they came after me, I’d ask, why don’t you wear sandals to go along with your nudity,” Scott said.

David and Doug laughed again.

“Actually,” David said. “Some believe they are wearing a body suit.”

“That makes sense,” Doug said.

“Where’s the zipper,” Scott quipped, and the other two smirked.

“So, what planet do they come from?” Doug asked.

“The powers that be are debating that, naming several locations. I can’t remember exactly what they said,” David answered.

“You seem to know a lot about it,” Doug said.

“I know a little. I watch the various shows, mostly to get story ideas.”

“You write suspense, don’t you? How do aliens and detectives merge?” Scott sipped his coffee.

“Yeah, how does that work?” Doug sat back and crossed one leg over the other at the ankle.

“I really just get ideas about locations and people, too,” David said.

“Like what?” Doug asked.

“Well,” David said. “One show I watched featured a man who has been abducted since childhood. As a young man, he took his girlfriend on a camping trip. The aliens showed up, froze her, and then they inspected her and told him she wasn’t good enough. Afterward, his girlfriend, a Christian, left him. Later, he became Born-Again, and the aliens haven’t been back.

“An entire group of people who believe the aliens are really demons and quote Bible verses to support that idea.”

“Demons?!” Scott and Doug said together.

David held up both hands. “I’m just reporting what I saw on a show. I have no opinion, one way or the other.

“Another show I watched,” David continued. “Claims that Bigfoot is brought here by aliens because there are UAPs whenever there are Bigfoot sightings.”

“You watch some pretty weird shows,” Doug said.

“That I do.”

“So, which movie is showing first?” Scott asked.

“This Wednesday, it’s Close Encounters,” Doug said.

To that, Scott started whistling the Close Encounter alien tune.

Word Count 552

*The Elvis theater is a discount theater in Colorado. All the shows David has watched, I have watched and is true. And, I watch that stuff for the same reason.

I hope you enjoyed the story. All critique is okay by me. Comments are encouraged.

Announcement: My books are on sale for 99cents. See links on the side. And, the last book in the series, book 4, The Curse of Renwyk is now available. Below is the Amazon link. It’s not on my website yet.


                                                Amazon.com

                                                            Amazon/uk

                                                            Amazon/au $1.09

Thank you,

Nancy

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

WEP Gone With The Wind

The first WEP challenge of the year is in honor of the book/movie of the same name: Gone With the Wind. In case you don’t know, this story  follows a headstrong southern lady, Scarlet, and how she survived the American Civil War. The challenge was to adapt a theme from Gone With the Wind and adapt it to fit. Luckily, I already had this available.

 Anyone who has read my first epic fantasy, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, available everywhere. (See sidebar links) May remember King Julian. He is pivotal in how my world developed. Well, at long last, I’m telling his story. You can find it on Kindle Vella, links below.

Since, in my view, everything is essential, I didn’t reduce the word count to 1,000. It sits at 1,277, including the title. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Tagline: Family Issues


 Link

King Julian of Gil-Lael

Marriage ContractKing Julian sat his white charger on top of the bluff that overlooked the valley and château de Panettiere, his brother-in-law’s estate. The reports of the conflict between Duke Victor Panettiere and Lord Ménard Balzac were greatly understated. Instead of fields of wheat, ready to harvest, the valley held tents, campfires, and men in arms as far as he could see.

    “Did you expect this, Papa?” Crown Prince Marcel asked.
    “No,” Julian answered his seventeen-year-old son. He leaned forward a little to see his youngest son next to Marcel.
    Turning back, he noted several men below hurry to mount their horses and gallop toward the pavilions of the three noblemen who wanted revenge, or so the report stated.     Their flags announced them, and their men spread out on the field. Preparations for war were everywhere he looked.  
    The village of surfs directly below the bluff was burned, and the men and women were nowhere to be seen. He hoped they had fled and were safe, but when men grew angry, there was no telling what horrors might occur.
    “What are your orders?” Friend-Brother Joël Chapelle asked.
    “We make camp here. Select five men to accompany me to Balzac’s tent, along with you and Marcel.”
    “What about me?” Prince Loïc asked.
    “You will remain here.” Julian glanced at his fourteen-year-old son. He regretted bringing him. Marcel had to come since he was training to be king one day and must learn what it meant.
    He heard the men give the orders behind him. The noise of horses, hammering, and the flapping of canvas in the wind all reached him. He didn’t turn his gaze from the scene below. Anger settled between his shoulders, making his muscles tense. His brother-in-law had always been impulsive, and it would seem his oldest son was the same. Julian would need to tread carefully, or he’d find himself in the center of a civil war. The entire thing was unacceptable.
    Joël returned, and Julian pulled his stallion away from the men, beckoning his best friend to come with him. Once far enough from the others, Julian turned his horse alongside Joël’s so they might look at one another.
    “The report said there was a disagreement,” Julian said. “This is more like war.”
    “Indeed it is,” Joël said.
    “I only brought five hundred men, I’ll need more if conflict ensues.”
    “Who should I send?”
    “No one just yet. I want to speak to those three men who dare to call to arms against my brother-in-law.”
    “Isn’t this a dispute over a marriage agreement?”
    Julian frowned. “Oui, no marriage contract should result in such conflict.”
    “It seems extreme that such a call to arms would issue over a woman.” Joël rubbed the tip of his nose.
    “We shouldn’t judge without hearing the facts,” Julian said. “Do you have the five men?”
    “I do.”
    “Then let us progress.”
    A road connected the top of the bluff to the valley. Julian’s banner carrier took the lead, holding up the flag of the kings of Gil-Lael. A great oak, with three falcons in flight above it and three stars above those on a blue flag. They broke into a gallop once they reached the valley. The horse’s hooves pounded the dry earth. The wind snapped the banner. Two guards in the front behind the banner carrier and two in the rear. Men lined the drive and bowed to Julian as he passed. Marcel rode behind him, and Joël behind the young prince.
    Smoke from the fires assaulted Julian, and the body odor from a thousand men was sour on his tongue. As he looked at the men, he saw many with injuries, bandaged arms, legs, and torsos. There had already been minor conflicts. He must end it.
They reached Lord Balzac’s large pavilion by midday. His farriers rushed forward to take the reins of their horses. Julian dismounted, his son and friend-brother joined him, and         Balzac stepped forward to bow. Beside him came the two other noblemen, Lord Dufresne and Toutain.
    “Welcome, Majesté,” all three said in unison.
    “You must be tired after such a long journey,” Balzac said. “I have wine, cheese, and bread. So come inside and eat with us.”
    “Thank you, My Lord, for a welcome respite.” Julian set his hand on his son’s shoulder and followed the three noblemen into the tent.
    A large table with three chairs held the food and wine.
    “Please sit, Majesté,” Balzac said with a wave of his arm. He signaled a servant who soon returned with three more chairs. Julian’s guards stood at attention close by.
    After downing a goblet of wine to quench his thirst, Julian took a square of cheese and bit into it. The three nobles before him looked haggard as if they’d been without sleep for a long time. All three needed a bath. Dried mud and horse hair were caked to their clothes and hands. A scented oil lamp hung from one of the poles but could do little against the smell of manure and perspiration.
    Julian cleared his throat. “The report mentioned this as a dispute over the marriage contract between Master Cyril, Panettiere’s oldest son, and your daughter, Balzac. Is the contract not suitable? Did your daughter displease Cyril, or was it the other way around?”
    Balzac looked at his friends, and for a moment, no one spoke. Then he turned toward Julian, took a long swallow from his goblet, and began. “My sweet Auriane has been betrothed to Cyril since the age of ten. But she met a young man while visiting her cousin and fell in love. So she sought to leave the contract to marry him instead of Cyril.”
    “Was that acceptable with you?” Julian broke the bread apart and took a bite.
    “I wanted her to fulfill the marriage agreement with Panettiere since it would have elevated her to a duchess and given me a much-needed tax break. But she begged me, and…well, my love for her persuaded me that she should have what she wanted.”
    “A tax break?”
    “Oui, instead of the thirty percent I pay now, it would have been fifteen.”
    Julian frowned. He’d given Panettiere a position to collect the taxes due him from this part of Gil-Lael. Ten percent for himself and five percent for his brother-in-law. It would seem Panettiere was overreaching at thirty percent. His anger began a low burn, but he didn’t indicate this to the three nobles.
    “What did Panettiere receive with this agreement?”
    ”Our family goes back many generations here in the southern part of Gil-Lael. I offered an old estate that we no longer use.”
    “So, your daughter fell in love and wished to marry another. You annulled the agreement?”
    “Oui.”
    “I take it Panettiere was displeased. Is there anything else?”
    Tears formed in Balzac’s eyes. He looked at his friends as they studied the floor. Julian could feel the change in the atmosphere. There was a tremendous sorrow that fell over the three noblemen before him.
    Looking back at Julian, Balzac said, “Panettiere didn’t mind, but his son was angry. He stormed out of the meeting and…and.” Balzac’s shoulders began to shake. He grabbed a cloth and pressed it to his eyes. A low howl left his lips, and he began to cry. It was Lord Toutain who continued.
    Cyril, along with his two brothers and his friends rode out, hunted down Auriane, beat and murdered the young man she wished to marry before her eyes, and then took turns raping her. The Good Sisters took care of her, but heartsick, she took her own life a few days later.”
 
Word count: 1277
 
Holy smokes! I hope that left you curious for more. Currently, Kindle Vella is only offered in the USA. I encourage all of you to write to Vella, and if you aren’t eligible, contact Amazon and express a desire to write to Vella. I am making enough money to cover the cost of advertising.
 
The first 3 episodes are free. You just read episode 1. If you’re new to Vella, Amazon will give you 200 tokens so you can pay to read more. If you have an e-reader, the story will automatically download if registered with Amazon. If you read on your computer and don’t have an e-reader, it won’t.
 
I also have a sweet romance available. 5 Friends & Lovers. 

                                                                            Link

Thank you to the lovely ladies at WEP for their work in monitoring these stories. To read what others have shared, go here.

I'm cool with feedback and comments. Give it to me. 
Nancy