Thursday, October 20, 2011

#RomanticFridayWriters: Whispers

Romantic Friday Wrtiers is hosted by Francine Howarth and L'Aussie. This is a writing challenge that will fine tune your abilities. Every Friday there is an opportunity to participate in the challenge with a romantic flash fiction piece between 300 and 400 words. Not to worry though, you can skip a Friday if  you need to and you can post early or any time over the weekend. Please hop on by, Romantic Friday Writers to read the other creative post and or to join. It's worth it.

This challenge is called: Whispers:

Small towns. Elizabeth watched several women line up for an available cashier. None came to her register. They leaned close, covered their mouths and whispered while looking at her. Whispers. They followed her, ever since she left Fred. Fred, his money, his name. Fred and his wandering eye and clenched fist that she could still feel a year later.

Small towns.

Elizabeth turned to stare the opposite way. She'd put in a transfer request to a store in Denver. That would be far enough. It was time to check in with her manager.

"Spp…" someone whispered behind her.

Elisabeth rubbed the moisture from her hands and turned, expecting one of the women. Instead the strong scent of motor oil reeked from the young man's jacket. The name over the pocket was Tim.

"Are you open?" He referred to her checkout line.


"How come no one is in line? The rest have three or more ladies waiting."

"They aren't ladies."

"I beg your pardon?"

He looked as confused as Elizabeth was irritated. She smiled.

"That's better," he said.

He had steak, potatoes and broccoli. No surprise there. She checked his finger for a wedding ring. There wasn't one. Fred didn't wear his either. For five years he left it on top of his chest of drawers.

"Aren't you---"

"Elizabeth." She didn't provide her last name. Fred's last name until she could legally change it. The divorce was final two months ago.

"Elizabeth," he lowered his voice to a whisper. "I sure would like to grab a cup of Joe with you."

"Coffee," she said. Numb, could she ever feel for another man? "I'm off at five."

"Great, I'll pick you up here?"

"No!" Too quickly she rejected that idea. "I'll meet you at Starbucks. Seven okay?"

Elizabeth pushed open the door to Starbucks dressed in blue jeans and a red sweater that hugged her waist. Tim stood. His dark hair hung low over his ears and his brown eyes crinkled slightly when he smiled.

"For you," he said and thrust a spiky cactus at her. "If I ever get out of hand you can poke me with it."

Elizabeth smiled and took the potted plant. She came close enough to smell the Ivory soap he had bathed with.

"You are so different," she said.

"Glad you like it," his whispered breath tingled her ear.


Word count: 397 includes the title.

Critique only misspelled words or punctuation. Thanks.

Need a little help? I'm offering affordable writing classes. N. R. Williams, The Writing Craft.



Anna said...

Oh Nancy, dear Nancy,

This is so sweet! I love it!
Great for the theme 'whispers'.

You have first 'whispers', meaning 'the other women who gossip about her and refuse to stand in her check-out line' and then the sweet whispers of this man Tim, who wants to treat your heroine well.

I love the cactus! This is a text that really speaks to the senses: the different smells, gasoline vs. nice-smelling bath-soap.

I can't see anything wrong with this text. (Don't ask me to correct spelling. Not my best subject.)

This is simply a wonderful story. It's perfect!

Best wishes,

Anna's RFWers' Challenge No. 24 - 'Whispers'

N. R. Williams said...

I'm blushing Anna, thanks so much. Your praise means a lot.

Anonymous said...

You've told the story in an amazingly wonderful way...with a simplicity of the words that still have a hidden power between the lines. I found it extremely refreshing. Well done

Ruth Madison said...

I love that she says they aren't ladies! And she doesn't offer him an explanation.

Perfect use of the theme!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi praise eclipse, thank you.

I'm thrilled you enjoyed the story Ruth.


L'Aussie said...

Hi Nancy. What a winner you have here! I was right into it from start to finish. The cactus was a brilliant (or spiky) touch. I went the gamut of emotions during the telling - anger at first that this lady was being trampled on, then I was all 'go girl' when she was speaking to the mechanic, then so happy at the hope Tim may offer for a future relationship. He sounds like a keeper. All in 400 words!!

Love that you're back every week and thanks for the plug at the beginning as always.


N. R. Williams said...

Thanks Denise, I'm so glad you enjoyed my little story. You're welcome for the plug. I mean every word.

Andy said...

Hello Nancy.
Whispers all around...fits the theme perfectly.
I liked how the story unfolded too.

Only one teeny, tiny correction - the 5th paragraph "Elisabeth".

Nice imagery.

The Sweet Voice Of Love

Kerrin said...

Very nice Nancy. Love the snippets of her haunting past, poor Elizabeth! Hate starers and whisperers.

N. R. Williams said...

Thanks Andy, noted.

Hi Kerrin, I hate the feel that people don't approve of you either.

Thank you both for coming by.

Adura Ojo said...

I enjoyed your storytelling, Nancy. You're a beautiful storyteller. Everything in your story is creatively placed there for a reason. I love that.

N. R. Williams said...

Thanks Adura, that means a lot to me.

Donna Hole said...

An evocative, sensual read. This woman has a complex story arc, and I was pulled right in. An excellent beginning for a relationship. I liked her internal conflicts; could she love another man, could she start over somewhere else, can she endure the whispers.

Small town talk can be devastating. I liked how you brought the negative whispers around to a positive experience with Tim. And smelling the Ivory he bathed with was great imagery.

Well done.


Kiru Taye said...

N.R., I love the simplicity of words yet I can picture a lot of details. E.g. An empty checkout counter while the other is packed full.

Loads of whispers here. Well written.

N. R. Williams said...

Your praise is so appreciated. I am beginning to think I should add romance to my story lineup...but I don't like doing bedroom scenes. LOL

So pleased that you enjoyed my story.

Thank you both for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Nancy,

I loved your Whispers! And it is so fitting as this actually happens in small towns.

But your story-telling is superb and kept me right in to it till the end, thanks!

N. R. Williams said...

Thanks Nas, I'm glad I was able to hold your attention and satisfy the reader in you.

L'Aussie said...

Nancy, back for a second read. It's lost nothing in the re-read.


N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Denise.

Not So Simply Single said...

Always a pleasure to read your stuff realistic!


N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Lisa.

Anna said...

Hello again Nancy,
Thank you for your encouraging words on my post! The wee winged people keep tugging at me with their tiny hands: 'Please, write a little more about us!' So there will be more stories. But not next week for 'Haunting'. They have requested that I use other characters for that.

Best wishes,

I mentioned RFWers here:
Anna's SC wk 77 'I planted a little story seed'
For the benefit of other readers, here is my post for 'Whispers':
Anna's RFWers' Challenge No. 24 - 'Whispers'

N. R. Williams said...

You're welcome Anna.