Life in progress


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#JusJoJan prompt the 17th – “Check!”

(FICTION) (This is Part 4. Part 1 of this story can be found here, Part 2 can be found here, and Part 3 can be found here.)

The witch came out of the house carrying a legal pad and a pencil and stood in front of the family of snowmen.

“You want a story?” she asked the littlest one with the pink scarf. “I’ll give you a story.”

She glanced at the legal pad.

“There was a family of noisy neighbors who moved into a quiet neighborhood and made a lot of noise all summer. Check!” She put a checkmark on her legal pad.

“The family built a fire pit in the fall and sat around it being noisy every night in the fall. Check!” Again, she checked off the item on her pad.

“The family knocked on the door of a nice old lady one December evening with—”

“Sho it waszh premeditated,” the tallest snowman said out of the corner of his button mouth.

“Premeditated? Premeditated did you say?” asked the witch.

“Shhhh!” said the lady snowman standing closest to the small ones.

“Yesh,” said the tallest. “I shaid the drink you gave ush waszh made to turn ush into schowmen before we even knocked on the door!”

“Hmph,” said the witch and plucked out the rest of his buttons, leaving him mute but now staring wildly. She was going to leave it at that, but on second thought, she pulled out his carrot nose, took a bite out of it, and stuck it back in.

She stomped back over to the little one in the pink scarf. “How did you like that story?”

“I’d like it better if it had a happy ending,” the littlest snowman said.

“It does have a happy ending,” exclaimed the witch in triumph. She turned on her heel, pad and pencil in hand, to go back inside when the littlest snowman began to sing.

It just so happened to be a song the witch’s own mother sang to her when she was a child, and the little snowman sang it like an angel.

The witch stopped in her tracks. She turned slowly, and a single teardrop fell from her eye.

“You!” she said to the little snowman in pink. “I will set you free!”

“But, what about my family?” the little one asked. “How will I live and go to school and do all the things a girl is supposed to do without them?”

“Hmm…” the witch said. “Let me think about it.” And she went back inside.

(To be continued.)


Here are the JusJoJan Rules:

1. Just Jot It January starts January 1st, but it’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list), counts as a “jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. I’ll post prompts at 2am my time (GMT -5). The prompt will be the word in quotation marks in the title of my 2am post. You don’t have to follow the prompt every day, but that will be where you leave your link for others to see. You’ll get a prompt for every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday and on Saturday, when your prompt will be the Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS, which will appear at about 9:30am Friday. Each prompt post will include the rules.

3. Please ping back or link to the daily prompt. To ping back, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! Note: A) The newest pingbacks will be at the top of the comments section. B) Ping backs only work if you’re blogging on WordPress. Everyone else must paste a link manually.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. If your post is NSFW, do not ping back. Please leave your link in the comments with a warning.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!


35 Comments

#JusJoJan prompt the 15th – “Button”

(FICTION) (This is Part 3. Part 1 of this story can be found here, and Part 2 can be found here.)

“Mom?” little Susie Smith said out of the corner of her stick mouth.

“Yes, dear?”

“What’s going to happen when we melt?”

It was an excellent question, Mrs. Smith thought. But she had no idea what the answer might be. All she knew was that her bottom ball was getting tired, and she wanted to lay down and go to sleep for a while. She had a headache because she’d missed her morning coffee.

“I suppose we’ll have to wait until the lady comes out and ask her,” Mrs. Smith told her daughter. Fortunately, the didn’t have to wait long.

When they heard the lock in the front door turn, Mr. Smith Sr. said, using the middle button of his button mouth, “Let me do the talking.”

Mrs. Smith had her misgivings—her father-in-law could be abrasive when he was angry, but in the absence of any comment by her husband, she said nothing. It wasn’t until the lady of the house came out in a woolen coat, furry hat, and ankle boots that Mrs. Smith thought to wonder whether her husband had a mouth at all. She couldn’t turn around far enough to look.

“What have we here?” the lady cackled, facing them with her hands on her hips.

“What you have,” Mr. Smith Sr. said, “is a sextuplet of disgruntled snowmen. And I demand you change us back so we can go home.”

The lady dropped her hands from her hips and stepped back. Her mouth formed a perfect “o” before she exclaimed, “You can talk?”

“Yes!” Mr. Smith Sr. yelled. “And we demand—”

The lady reached out and removed the middle button from Mr. Smith Sr.’s mouth, leaving him to angrily, but now quietly, lisp something out of his right two buttons. Mrs. Smith thought she heard a swear word and hoped the children hadn’t been able to hear.

“That’s better,” the lady said with a nod of satisfaction. “Anyone else have anything to say?”

“Could you read us a story?” little Susie Smith asked.

The lady snorted and without another word, went back into the house.

(To be continued.)


Here are the JusJoJan Rules:

1. Just Jot It January starts January 1st, but it’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list), counts as a “jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. I’ll post prompts at 2am my time (GMT -5). The prompt will be the word in quotation marks in the title of my 2am post. You don’t have to follow the prompt every day, but that will be where you leave your link for others to see. You’ll get a prompt for every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday and on Saturday, when your prompt will be the Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS, which will appear at about 9:30am Friday. Each prompt post will include the rules.

3. Please ping back or link to the daily prompt. To ping back, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! Note: A) The newest pingbacks will be at the top of the comments section. B) Ping backs only work if you’re blogging on WordPress. Everyone else must paste a link manually.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. If your post is NSFW, do not ping back. Please leave your link in the comments with a warning.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!


35 Comments

#JusJoJan prompt the 14th – “Neighbor”

(FICTION) (This is Part 2. Part 1 of this story can be found here.)

When the Smith family—Mr. & Mrs. Smith Sr., Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and little Bobby and Susie Smith—moved into their dream home in the prettiest part of town, they began renovations immediately. Bobby and Susie wanted a pool, so Mr. Smith Sr. splurged and paid for it. They all wanted a fire pit for the fall so they could sit around it on weekends and sing Kumbaya.

During the course of their upgrades, the Smiths met and made friends with the neighbors, all but the lady who lived alone next door. They were told to stay away from the woman because, it was rumored, she was a witch. But the Smiths, being a practical family, put it down to superstition and resolved to knock at her door at Christmas with an upbeat, friendly song.

They were quite delighted when, right in the middle of Jingle Bells, the lady opened her creaky front door and handed them all a steaming cup of hot chocolate. She bid them cheers but when they all took a sip, she shut the door, leaving them standing outside with her fine china cups.

“That was odd,” Mr. Smith commented.

“Indeed it was,” Mr. Smith Sr. replied.

“Do you think we should build her a snowman?” asked little Bobby Smith.

“I think that’s a wonderful idea,” exclaimed Mrs. Smith, always the enthusiastic one.

So the six assorted Smiths drank their hot chocolate, placed the cups gently on a table beside the door, and made their way to their neighbor’s side yard. And there they stayed.

(To be continued.)


Here are the JusJoJan Rules:

1. Just Jot It January starts January 1st, but it’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list), counts as a “jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. I’ll post prompts at 2am my time (GMT -5). The prompt will be the word in quotation marks in the title of my 2am post. You don’t have to follow the prompt every day, but that will be where you leave your link for others to see. You’ll get a prompt for every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday and on Saturday, when your prompt will be the Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS, which will appear at about 9:30am Friday. Each prompt post will include the rules.

3. Please ping back or link to the daily prompt. To ping back, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! Note: A) The newest pingbacks will be at the top of the comments section. B) Ping backs only work if you’re blogging on WordPress. Everyone else must paste a link manually.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. If your post is NSFW, do not ping back. Please leave your link in the comments with a warning.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!


38 Comments

#JusJoJan prompt the 12th – “Sing”

(FICTION)

Once upon a time, in a large house in the prettiest part of town, there lived a witch. She kept mostly to herself, especially at Christmas time. For at Christmas one year, while caroling with friends, she’d slipped on a patch of ice and come crashing down, hurting her back. The experience left her rather bitter.

Suffice to say she was a grumpy witch at Christmas. The witch’s neighbours knew to leave her alone.

Then one year, in the spring, a new family moved in next door. They installed a pool and had loud parties in their back yard every weekend throughout the summer, and they built a fire pit to sit around in the fall, singing Kumbaya every night.

They drove the witch crazy. She couldn’t sleep for the noise, she couldn’t cast spells, and even her black cat threatened to leave home.

So when she heard her neighbours practicing Christmas carols in October, the witch concocted a potion, just in case they showed up at her door.

And she waited.

November passed, and the first week of December, then the second week. And on the third week, she heard a knock at her door.

And then the singing.

Jingle Bells. It couldn’t have been worse.

The witch opened the door, potion in hand, and offered a cup each to the family. They thanked her and she closed the door.

And the singing was no more.

When the witch woke up in the morning, she had a family of silently caroling snowmen on her front lawn. And all was quiet next door.

(To be continued.)


Here are the JusJoJan Rules:

1. Just Jot It January starts January 1st, but it’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list), counts as a “jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. I’ll post prompts at 2am my time (GMT -5). The prompt will be the word in quotation marks in the title of my 2am post. You don’t have to follow the prompt every day, but that will be where you leave your link for others to see. You’ll get a prompt for every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday and on Saturday, when your prompt will be the Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS, which will appear at about 9:30am Friday. Each prompt post will include the rules.

3. Please ping back or link to the daily prompt. To ping back, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! Note: A) The newest pingbacks will be at the top of the comments section. B) Ping backs only work if you’re blogging on WordPress. Everyone else must paste a link manually.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. If your post is NSFW, do not ping back. Please leave your link in the comments with a warning.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!


36 Comments

#JusJoJan prompt the 11th – “Letter”

(FICTION)

She sits at her kitchen table, the clock tick-tick-ticking on the wall, and she stares at the blank sheet of paper before her. Her ballpoint pen poised but unaware of which words she needs to write—why can’t it decide for her, she wonders.

A letter. She knows this much. So begin with …

Dear Ava,

But what can come next?

She stares at the clock. 11:49. Ava will be home for lunch soon. And if the letter isn’t written? She can’t even contemplate that.

She gets up and pours herself the last cup of coffee from the pot and sits again. Picks up the pen. Tick-tick-tick.

She gazes out the window. There’s a cat in the back yard and it’s not her cat. It’s stalking something—probably a mouse. What would Ava say?

Probably, Oh look. A kitty. Let’s keep it!

No, Ava, she said in her imaginary conversation. We cannot keep that cat. And we cannot buy that car or that fancy house.

Dear Ava,

I gambled away all our money. I’m leaving you. It’s for the best.

I love you, though.

Always.

Ava.

The clock strikes 12:00. She prepares her lunch.

(Okay, yeah, that was weird. But what is true for me is that whether I write paranormal, comedy, horror, or anything else, it will almost always have something unexpected in it. Because that’s where my brain goes when I let it loose.)


Here are the JusJoJan Rules:

1. Just Jot It January starts January 1st, but it’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list), counts as a “jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. I’ll post prompts at 2am my time (GMT -5). The prompt will be the word in quotation marks in the title of my 2am post. You don’t have to follow the prompt every day, but that will be where you leave your link for others to see. You’ll get a prompt for every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday and on Saturday, when your prompt will be the Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS, which will appear at about 9:30am Friday. Each prompt post will include the rules.

3. Please ping back or link to the daily prompt. To ping back, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! Note: A) The newest pingbacks will be at the top of the comments section. B) Ping backs only work if you’re blogging on WordPress. Everyone else must paste a link manually.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. If your post is NSFW, do not ping back. Please leave your link in the comments with a warning.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!


34 Comments

#JusJoJan prompt the 10th – “Cheese”

(FICTION) (Thanks to Jill at http://jilywily.wordpress.com/  and Cheryl at https://rugby843.blog/ for the prompts)

Order. Order. The meeting will please come to order.

*ahem*

We won’t bother with the minutes of the last meeting; the matter of Skippy’s garbage being pilfered by his ex-wife is trivial compared to what we have going on today.

Voice from the back of the room: Well if Skippy would just pay his child support!

Voice from the right of the room: Damn Skippy! Let’s listen to Exalted Leader!

*ahem*

As I was saying. It has come to the attention of the board members that the Tall Ones can no longer be trusted. So we believe it is time. Puddles, bring out the rocket.

Puddles: Yesth, exthalted leader.

*ahem*

The board has decided we will, forthwith, enter the rocket and go to the moon.

Voice from the back: I’m not getting on that thing with Skippy!

Skippy: I’m going! You can have my garbage! Woohoo! Sucker!

*ahem*

As I was saying …

Voice from the front: Why the moon?

Puddles: Becauth itsth made of cheethe, of courth.

Voice from front: Beg pardon?

*ahem”

Puddles is a brilliant scientist, but he lost his front teeth in an unfortunate accident with a fishing pole and a peanut.

Puddles: Don’t asthk.

*ahem*

As Puddles was saying, the moon is made of cheese, and … Wait! Stop! Order! Order! I am your Exalted Leader! We must board the rocket in an orderly fashion! I call the Royal Order of Rats to order!!!

(Jill’s prompt was “What if the moon was made of cheese? ” and Cheryl’s was “Damn Skippy.”)


Here are the JusJoJan Rules:

1. Just Jot It January starts January 1st, but it’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list), counts as a “jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. I’ll post prompts at 2am my time (GMT -5). The prompt will be the word in quotation marks in the title of my 2am post. You don’t have to follow the prompt every day, but that will be where you leave your link for others to see. You’ll get a prompt for every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday and on Saturday, when your prompt will be the Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS, which will appear at about 9:30am Friday. Each prompt post will include the rules.

3. Please ping back or link to the daily prompt. To ping back, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! Note: A) The newest pingbacks will be at the top of the comments section. B) Ping backs only work if you’re blogging on WordPress. Everyone else must paste a link manually.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. If your post is NSFW, do not ping back. Please leave your link in the comments with a warning.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!


33 Comments

#JusJoJan prompt the 8th – “Twisted”

(FICTION) (Thanks to Di at http://pensitivity101.wordpress.com/ for the idea for the story.)

PART 4 – (FIND PART 1 HERE, PART 2 HERE, AND PART 3 HERE, IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THEM YET.)

Petra gasped. “You can’t fire me!” she said to the old broomstick of a butler. “Who will serve the guests?

“What guests?” Geeves asked with a smirk.

She listened. The house was silent. It felt empty, for that matter. Just to be sure, she stepped over to the door and opened it. They’d all left.

“Well, then, who’s going to help you clean up?” But that was a stupid question. She’d been one of a dozen servants working tonight. As though to punctuate the point, three of them pushed past her with loaded trays for the dishwasher.

Geeves continued to smirk.

“Where am I going to live?” Petra asked, for she had a room in the upstairs back of the house with everything she owned in it.

“We’ll have your room cleared out in the morning.” He reached into his breast pocket and pulled out an envelope. “Here’s your severance pay. I suggest you find a hotel to stay in tonight. Goodnight, Petra.”

With that he turned up his nose and left the kitchen.

Defeated, Petra hung up her apron, changed her shoes for boots, and stepped out into the snowy back yard with no idea what she was going to do or where she’d go.

“Fired you, eh?” The deep voice of the guy from the cellar came from the corner of the house.

“You! This is all your fault!” she said, stalking toward the shadowy stranger.

“It didn’t matter. Watch.”

Sure enough, a few minutes later the servants began leaving the same way Petra had. They all had envelopes in their hands.

“What … What happened?”

“They do this every five years on January first. When did they hire you?”

Petra thought about it for only a second. “January second, five years ago.” She turned to the stranger. “But how did you work here for twenty years then?”

“I was the head butler. Before Geeves. Little does he know, his time is up tomorrow, after he cleans out all the rooms.”

Petra giggled. “Serves him right.”

“Would you like a ride into town to get a room?” the man asked. Petra looked at him sharply. “A room for you. I have my own place. And I’ve got a snow mobile. All these poor suckers have to walk.”

It was true—no one had cars.

“Thank you,” Petra said. “I’ll take you up on that offer.”

When they got to town, the stranger let Petra off and reached into the bag strapped on the back of the snow mobile. He pulled out a bottle of “Mother’s” wine and handed it to her.

“What’s this for?”

“It’s a key,” the stranger said. “There’s a secret door in the back of the cellar, and the indent on the bottom of the bottle”—he turned it over to show her—“fits into a device on the wall outside. Every year at New Year’s Eve I go in and stock up on wine. You’re the first to notice.”

Petra blinked at the stranger, who was starting to grow on her more by the minute. “Why are you giving this to me?”

“Because I hope you’ll be back next year for a drink with me, to celebrate the New Year.”

“Thank you,” Petra said. “I just might.” She got off the snow mobile and he drove away into the night.

“But … what’s your name?” she called out to him, but he didn’t hear her. Petra turned around and trudged through the deepening snow, happy to have shelter in her sights.

The next day, Petra called a taxi and made her way back to the mansion to collect her things.

Geeves was there, his nose turned toward the heavens as he handed her a suitcase which, she assumed, had all her clothes in it, as well as a box with her pictures and all her other worldly belongings.

She was about to leave when a thought came to her. She turned back and asked Geeves, “Who was the butler that worked here before you did?”

“Henry,” he said simply. “He died the night before I was hired. Twenty years ago almost to the day.”

A shiver ran through Petra’s body. She thought about the bottle of wine that she’d left back at the hotel. But no, that couldn’t be. He couldn’t have been a ghost.

“Weird,” she mumbled as she walked away. She turned the corner to go back to the taxi that she’d asked to wait for her, but instead she found a fire truck with half a dozen firemen standing around it.

As she approached, she heard one of them say, “Butler got out, but they don’t know if he’ll make it.”

The fireman beside him shrugged. “They’ll rebuild, then we’ll be back again in five years.”

She started to ask what the man was on about, but instead she followed their gaze back to the house.

It was smouldering, collapsed, burnt to a crisp. In the flowerbed sat a bottle of  “Mother’s” wine.

THE END

(Di’s prompt was “Petra as a name, wine cellar as a setting, and ‘getting caught’ as your what if. “)

(This story came off the top of my head. I had no idea how it was going to end. Don’t judge my storytelling skills by it. Haha!)


Here are the JusJoJan Rules:

1. Just Jot It January starts January 1st, but it’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list), counts as a “jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. I’ll post prompts at 2am my time (GMT -5). The prompt will be the word in quotation marks in the title of my 2am post. You don’t have to follow the prompt every day, but that will be where you leave your link for others to see. You’ll get a prompt for every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday and on Saturday, when your prompt will be the Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS, which will appear at about 9:30am Friday. Each prompt post will include the rules.

3. Please ping back or link to the daily prompt. To ping back, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! Note: A) The newest pingbacks will be at the top of the comments section. B) Ping backs only work if you’re blogging on WordPress. Everyone else must paste a link manually.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. If your post is NSFW, do not ping back. Please leave your link in the comments with a warning.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!


28 Comments

#JusJoJan prompt the 7th – “Caught”

(FICTION) (Thanks to Di at http://pensitivity101.wordpress.com/ for the idea for the story.)

PART 3 (FIND PART 1 HERE AND PART 2 HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THEM YET.)

Icy fingers of fear skittered up Petra’s spine as she turned toward the sound in the dark corner of the wine cellar. The gurgle was followed by a quiet laugh. Definitely not a mouse.

“This wine is crappy,” came a deep voice from the direction of the far corner.

Petra turned slowly to find a bearded man in a dirty gray-green raincoat and pants to match. He was drinking “Mother’s” wine. “Don’t hurt me,” Petra squeaked.

“I’m not going to hurt you. Just came in here to get outta the cold.”

“Well, I’m sorry, but you have to get out of here,” Petra said, sounding braver than she felt. She started edging back in the direction of the stairs.

“Nonsense,” the man said. “Why don’t you come and join me. You look like you could use a drink.” He held the bottle at arm’s length.

“No,” Petra said. “Get out of here or I’ll … “I’ll …”

“Tell ‘Mother’?”

Petra’s eyes narrowed. “How do you know ‘Mother’?”

“Pfft. I worked here years ago.” He hoisted the bottle again. “Worst twenty years of my life, my employment in this house was.”

“Why do you come back, then?”

The man laughed. “To piss off ‘Mother.’”

“That’s it,” Petra said, balling her fists and turning once again for the stairs. “I’m going to call the police.”

“Good luck with that!” The man called out from behind her. The last thing she heard before she closed the cellar door was gurgling from the back corner of the wine cellar.

She ran into Geeves on the way through the kitchen to find the man of the house.

“Where’s the bottle of wine for ‘Mother’?” he asked.

“It’s all gone! And there’s a man—”

Geeves headed for the stairs before she finished her sentence. She followed him and waited at the top of the staircase, listening for the inevitable scuffle.

And she waited. And waited. A couple of minutes later, Geeves appeared at the bottom of the stairs.

As he climbed them, he said, “There’s no one here. And all the wine is gone.” Geeves looked her right in the eye. “But I did find an empty bottle. And you. are. fired,” he said, poking Petra in the collarbone with every syllable of her dismissal.

(To be continued on Friday.)

(Di’s prompt was “Petra as a name, wine cellar as a setting, and ‘getting caught’ as your what if. “)


Here are the JusJoJan Rules:

1. Just Jot It January starts January 1st, but it’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list), counts as a “jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. I’ll post prompts at 2am my time (GMT -5). The prompt will be the word in quotation marks in the title of my 2am post. You don’t have to follow the prompt every day, but that will be where you leave your link for others to see. You’ll get a prompt for every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday and on Saturday, when your prompt will be the Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS, which will appear at about 9:30am Friday. Each prompt post will include the rules.

3. Please ping back or link to the daily prompt. To ping back, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! Note: A) The newest pingbacks will be at the top of the comments section. B) Ping backs only work if you’re blogging on WordPress. Everyone else must paste a link manually.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. If your post is NSFW, do not ping back. Please leave your link in the comments with a warning.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!


40 Comments

#JusJoJan prompt the 5th – “Gurgle”

(FICTION) (Thanks to Di at http://pensitivity101.wordpress.com/ for the idea for the story.)

PART 2 (FIND PART 1 HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET.)

When Petra had first heard about “Mother,” she imagined a big, furry Newfoundland dog, such was the atmosphere of this strange house she’d been hired to work in. But no—“Mother” was indeed a woman, the mother of the lady of the house. Not knowing her employer’s maiden name, she couldn’t call “Mother” anything else. And “Mother” didn’t seem to mind.

Petra walked down the hall and knocked on “Mother’s” bedroom door. She hated when it was closed—she never knew what she’d find “Mother” doing when she walked in. One time she’d been staring into a crystal ball she’d set in the middle of her massive bed, mumbling at it in what sounded like backwards English. Another time, Petra had opened the door to catch “Mother” scrambling to hide someone under the bed, even though she’d called out to Petra to come in.

“Mother” had hiked up the straps of her bra (she wasn’t wearing a blouse) and asked Petra, “What do you want?” as she gathered up a deck of cards from the bed. Petra suspected “Mother” had been playing strip poker with whomever she had hidden.

“You called me, ‘Mother,’” Petra had said.

Which was what she said when she walked in tonight. “Mother” was in bed, her bedcovers clutched in both hands all the way up under her chin, her teeth in a small pink pot on the antique nightstand.

“I need a bottle of wine,” “Mother” croaked. “My wine. Not that cheap crap my good-for-nothing son-in-law buys.”

“Yes, ‘Mother,’” Petra said as she turned to go.

“And don’t bother with a glass. I’ll drink it straight out of the bottle.” Without her teeth in, the word “straight” came out “schtraight.”

“Yes, ‘Mother,” Petra repeated. She left the door open a little as she retreated, wondering as she descended the stairs why they didn’t just give “Mother” a cell phone so they didn’t have to keep going up to see what she wanted.

Downstairs, the party was still humming away. Petra avoided the guests by ducking between them with her eyes down. She ran into Geeves again on her way through the kitchen to the wine cellar.

“How did you find ‘Mother’?” he asked.

“Toothless and wineless,” Petra answered.

Geeves sniffed at her and off he went again.

Petra hated the wine cellar. Lit with only one bare lightbulb, the corners smelled of black, oily dust, and it was quiet enough to hear the mice scurrying around.

She hurried down the wooden stairs and turned down the corridor whose walls were lined with bottles in ceiling-high racks, to the back corner where they kept “Mother’s” wine. Only the rack was empty.

A gurgling sound came from the far corner of the cellar.

(To be continued on Thursday.)

(Di’s prompt was “Petra as a name, wine cellar as a setting, and ‘getting caught’ as your what if. “)


Here are the JusJoJan Rules:

1. Just Jot It January starts January 1st, but it’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list), counts as a “jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. I’ll post prompts at 2am my time (GMT -5). The prompt will be the word in quotation marks in the title of my 2am post. You don’t have to follow the prompt every day, but that will be where you leave your link for others to see. You’ll get a prompt for every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday and on Saturday, when your prompt will be the Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS, which will appear at about 9:30am Friday. Each prompt post will include the rules.

3. Please ping back or link to the daily prompt. To ping back, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! Note: A) The newest pingbacks will be at the top of the comments section. B) Ping backs only work if you’re blogging on WordPress. Everyone else must paste a link manually.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. If your post is NSFW, do not ping back. Please leave your link in the comments with a warning.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!


43 Comments

#JusJoJan prompt the 3rd – “Servant”

(FICTION) (Thanks to Di at http://pensitivity101.wordpress.com/ for the idea for the story.)

Petra was practically dead on her feet. But working the New Year’s Eve party for the Jones’s did that to her every year.

Midnight had come and gone and the be-tied and be-gowned guests were showing no signs of wanting to go home. The men with their “haw-haw-haw” laughs and the women who gossiped about one another the moment they were out of earshot made Petra’s eyes roll so many times, she’d been able to count her own eyelashes.

So she was less than amused when she went into the kitchen with her umpteenth tray of dirty champagne glasses and Geeves, the elderly butler that looked like a fireplace poker in a waiter’s tux, turned to her and said, “‘Mother’ wants you upstairs.”

“Why me?” Petra asked, but Geeves just turned up his nose and walked out of the kitchen with a sniff in Petra’s direction and not much more. She was almost positive “Mother” hadn’t asked for her personally, but what was Petra to do? She needed the job.

So usually twinkletoed Petra weaved her way through the stuffiness of the living room full of guests and trudged up the massive, winding flights of stairs to “Mother”‘s room, passing portraits of “Mother” on her way.

(To be continued on Tuesday.)

(Di’s prompt was “Petra as a name, wine cellar as a setting, and ‘getting caught’ as your what if. “)


Here are the JusJoJan Rules:

1. Just Jot It January starts January 1st, but it’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list), counts as a “jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. I’ll post prompts at 2am my time (GMT -5). The prompt will be the word in quotation marks in the title of my 2am post. You don’t have to follow the prompt every day, but that will be where you leave your link for others to see. You’ll get a prompt for every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday and on Saturday, when your prompt will be the Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS, which will appear at about 9:30am Friday. Each prompt post will include the rules.

3. Please ping back or link to the daily prompt. To ping back, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! Note: A) The newest pingbacks will be at the top of the comments section. B) Ping backs only work if you’re blogging on WordPress. Everyone else must paste a link manually.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. If your post is NSFW, do not ping back. Please leave your link in the comments with a warning.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!