More Stories
Correct
(image)UWA

“Didn't I tell you not to stand at the back of the room, staring at the ceiling? I find that extremely annoying, not to mention distracting. You cannot just stand there in silence. You haven’t said a word since the course started. Your attitude is totally unacceptable,” said the teacher, furious.
Without any sudden movements, the student pointed at the ceiling and everyone looked up.
A gigantic spider had built a massive spider web where huge flies were stuck and desperately fought for their lives.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, sir, but that’s quite the life lesson, wouldn't you say?”
100 Word Stories
Dry
(image)UWA Tricia Farella

No land in sight, no end in sight, no peace.
The ship sailed through the rough storm, and most disappeared quickly. The dread and the roar fought furiously as wind and rain slapped against the sides of this frail vessel, a growing fever of force subduing even the strongest will.
And the thunderous darkness fed on the fears inside, witness to an ominous dance of threats and horror.
And all she wanted was a warm, dry place where she could be in peace, an inner peace of rainless boredom, that carefree nothingness that without warning lets the warm sun through.
Lightning or Not
(image)Milk Wood

“To control the uncontrollable...” Diane sighed.
Annie shook her head. “What is that suppose to mean?!”
“That thing’s stumbling out.”
“What thing?” Annie turned around and tentacles were sliding out of the show's chest.
“What is that?”
“You don’t want to know.”
“Looks like an octopus.”
Suddenly, the wannabe octopus slammed the lid open and turned into a giant green lightning.
“Nice effect. Is it for the show?”
That was the last thing Diane said.
“Octopus… At least now you’re fed. I told you a million times it was not the time yet. We’ll get them all, but not yet.”
100 Word Stories
(Prompt: Pick Two - Lightning, Italics, Spain, Tofu, Fragment, Ochre, Stumble, Pad)
Blindfold
(image)Tim's Dreams

“Wear a blindfold and follow the hordes. Blindness is liberating. Not even the venerable elders will lead us through. Don’t fight it. That growing lightness cradles a fading uncertainty, a state of alluring oblivion, of complete exemption, it will free us.”

“Turn it off. That’s depressing.”
The silence invaded the darkest corners of the room as the two friends sat side by side in front of the TV.
“Did you notice she was pregnant?”
“I don’t want to think about it.”
“Did you notice…”
“No.”
“You’re wearing your blindfold already… You’re doing what they want.”
“Just shut the hell up.”
100 Word Stories
Fun
(image)Magical Farm

Her last wish was to have the room filled with balloons.
While she was sleeping, they brought them in.
The look on her face when she woke up was extraordinary.
She smiled, her eyes sparkling with excitement, mesmerized by the soft swaying of a multitude of colors.
Suddenly, she reached for the cord of one of the balloons and frowned.
“What is it, sweetheart?”
“Mommy, we must free them now. They won’t be happy locked in here.”
So, they opened the window and, one by one, the balloons were set free, as was her young tired heart later that night.
Dark
(image)Milk Wood

The old man reached out his hand. No one paid attention to him. They wanted nothing to do with an odd-smelling bum.
The old man put his hand down and waited for someone else to walk by. Then he reached out his hand once more. Everyone avoided him.
Finally, a young man walked closer and stood right in front of him.
The old man reached out his hand and the man shook it. Then, he pulled the old man closer and gave him a hug.
The old man smiled.
“I had a scream stuck in my throat. You changed that.”
100 Word Stories
Idiot
(image)Highlands

Millie sat at The Tea Room, a beautiful picturesque café while a friendly waiter served a tea, his belly struggling inside a tight vest.
She watched the couple in the corner whispering, the elderly woman reading a book, the teenager checking his phone.
When the flash mob invaded the café singing The Sound of Music, the couple smiled and the elderly woman clapped enthusiastically.
Millie covered her ears in horror and waved to the waiter for the check.
The Tea Room had just become a nightmare and the resident idiot was still checking his phone, oblivious of everything around him.
100 Word Stories
Halloween Special
(image)Milk Wood
“There’s a creepy clown behind you. No one will survive. The clown is lifting his arm. Food, food. He’s hungry for you. Forget the time. The time. The time. Time…”
They looked over their shoulders and couldn't see any clown but this was to be a “horrifying experience” said the brochure, so they thought it was all part of the show.
Suddenly, the room went dark. A dreadful slashing sound... Peter laughed nervously.
When the lights were back on, he was the only one alive.
The Ouija board slowly wrote “Congratulations. Your ticket had a special prize. Come back soon!”
Tumble
(image)Purple

Time tumbled the walls of the old theater. Abandoned for years, it became refuge for all sorts of animals, including good old Ronald. Ronald found a secret room underneath the stage and decided to hide there. This time he didn't run too far. The only problem was the kid. He always kept half the money Ronald gave him to get food, and he was a dangerous blabber. When the kid’s mom showed up and dragged Ronald by the ear to the local police station, the kid waved the little flag Ronald had placed on the wall of his secret room.
100 Word Stories
Flap
(image)Octoberville

The tent flap suddenly flew open and any vague hope of privacy vanished in a split second.
“What are you doing?” Mrs. Hamilton’s raspy voice echoed through the valley.
“Nothing.” Romeo tried to conceal the true reason of his embarrassment by pulling the sleeping bag over his lap.
The camp monitor was relentless and drilled him with questions.
When she left, her doubts not totally set aside, Romeo smiled.
“That was a close call.” 
The short alien nodded and grinned.
“Good thing we don’t have these small houses back home, we just become invisible.”
“What?! Why didn't you say so?”
Lick
(image)Venexia
Late, as always.
Her pathetic little assistant, buzzing with enthusiasm for his new job and who had the annoying habit of licking his fingers to turn every page of every report, had proven to be quite the slacker.
When she entered her office, nothing was done. Unacceptable. The problem was that the eccentric middle-aged man now owned half the company. She’d have to get rid of him, but how?
Pushing him down the stairs? Too obvious. Hiring someone to get rid of him? Too expensive.
Then, mysteriously, he became quite ill.
They say reading reports is hazardous to your health.
100 Word Stories
Bus
(image)Dark Moon

Right by the bus stop, Roger noticed a strange flower. It seemed to have grown exponentially overnight.
He walked closer and noticed the flower was panting. Suddenly, it spat out some bones.
Roger jumped back, alarmed, hiding behind the glass of the bus stop. Those looked like fingers, he thought.
“Where’s the damn bus?”
The following morning, the reports on TV were slightly intriguing. A whole bus and a young man waiting at the bus stop had mysteriously vanished.

“I think we have finally developed it right. We are ready to take over that miserable planet. Start the count down.”
100 Word Stories
2016 in a Nutshell
(image)Home


Being willing to experiment is, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of being a writer. I have tried my hand at several different genres and, as a result, I found myself dabbling with erotica. We'll see what happens.

Finally, I was rather surprised, not to say shocked, when I realized the total number of words written in 2016 (most of them unpublished) was a whooping 457857.

More in 2017.



"Study the past, if you would divine the future."
Confucius

Scream
(image)Milk Wood

The old man reached out his hand. No one paid attention to him. They wanted nothing to do with an odd-smelling bum.
The old man put his hand down and waited for someone else to walk by. Then he reached out his hand once more. Everyone avoided him.
Finally, a young man walked closer and stood right in front of him.
The old man reached out his hand and the man shook it. Then, he pulled the old man closer and gave him a hug.
The old man smiled.
“I had a scream stuck in my throat. You changed that.”
100 Word Stories
Zoo
(image)Octoberville
“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen! Step right up! Tramps, haters, free thinkers. Everyone is welcome to the Twiddle Zoo, the place to channel your deepest frustrations and experience the catharsis of those gruesome fears, burning you up inside. Step right up! Twiddle your thumbs and wiggle your toes. Sing a song of despair and join the fun. We have scary rides and dark labyrinths. We have sickening beings that will eat you alive. We have hunger and famine and many more exciting events for you. Step right up to the Zoo of Life where no one does anything but be horrified.”
100 Word Stories
(Prompt: Pick Two -Tramp, Hate, Free, Burn, Channel, Catharsis, Zoo, Twiddle)
Murder
(image)Borgatti

“The unicorn police captain was shocked to find that two of his fox deputies were being held hostage. Who has them? Did they ask for a ransom? The werewolf SWAT team was ready. The fairies answered the phones. The goblins were in the way. So, when…”
“Stop right there, Mom. What kind of a story is that?”
“Well, you asked me tell you a story of unicorns and fairies…”
“Yes, but… the fairies answering the phone? Really… Mom? Rewrite it. It’s crap.”
And that’s how the fairies ended up in the SWAT team, preventing the murder of two fox deputies.
Camp NaNoWriMo April 2017


Here we go again. A few days till the beginning of Camp NaNoWriMo.
The story I plan to write this year is an erotic thriller. I have been preparing it for four months. For the first time since I started doing NaNoWriMo/Camp NaNoWriMo, I've plotted every chapter carefully, leaving little room to chance. I hope that by doing this, I'll be able to stick to revising/editing more easily after I'm done with the writing stage.
My goal for April is to write the first 10k words. This means 334 words a day. It should be easy to do.
The story is untitled for now, although I have a few options to choose from. However, none has proven to be "the one" yet.
The characters are lined up and ready to be totally mischievous, and the story is lined up with enough twists and turns to keep everyone on their toes.
So, drum roll! Let the writing begin!


Suggestion
(image)Octoberville

“Try looking under the bed, he says … Why didn't he come upstairs himself and look under the bed? Why did I have to be the one looking under the bed? On my knees, getting my best clothes dirty… Yeah, like the dude is going to hide under the bed. What if I find him? What then? I’ll just say, hello, you. All good?”
Silence.
“Oh, damn. What’s this?”
More silence.
“Hey, Patrick. He’s not under the bed. But I found that hand we lost track of. The one we chopped off of the… what’s his name? The other millionaire.”
Normal
(image)Asalia House
A normal day always started with a nice cup of coffee. This wasn't a normal day.
When she picked up the cup, the stain of lipstick on the brim glared back at her, a mocking slap on the face.
The stupid ass had forgotten to clean the cup right.
She walked to the bedroom and looked around carefully. Everything was in its rightful place. Except…
An earring had rolled under the bed. Silver. A loop, how fitting.
She picked up the phone.
“Go for it.”
Two days later, he was found by the river, wearing a shiny silver loop earring.
A Shark Doesn't Always Look Like a Shark
(image)Finlandia

I worried and worried about someone, and then...
Three words were enough.
I had a decision to make.
Should I look at those three words and take them as a heartfelt remark or should I choose not to be completely moronic and read them for their true meaning? A veiled insult buried under a layer of pseudo-venting self-pity aimed at asserting a pathetic sense of ownership, a desperate attempt to announce to the world how fleeting and unimportant something was when, in fact, it is life-changing.
The cursor blinked on my screen while I read those three words over and over again.
I was then faced with another decision. Should I leave a comment, perhaps buried under a layer of pseudo-jocular animosity or should I just close the website and ignore it?
I made my decision.
I will not worry again, but I shall not forget.
I have three words of my own.
Enough is enough.
Oh, and here are another three words.
Forget about it.
Yep. And to wrap it all up, three more.
Moving on indeed.
Key
(image)Milk Wood

The key to a delightfully horrid celebration is to get that special treat from the freezer and display it in the lounge at work.
At some point, his colleagues asked why the room was so cold.
All he did was point. And there it was.
“Is that… a real arm?” someone asked, disgusted.
He nodded enthusiastically, adding that he had chopped it off himself. And how he managed to work that middle finger into a perfect position!
But there was no time to brag.
“Happy New Year and all that,” he managed to yell as he escaped through the back-door.
Moment
(image)Home

The lights by the pink boxes took her back.
It was a rainy day.
She complained that she needed sun, that she absolutely abhorred winter.
He smiled. It wasn't even winter yet but he knew her well.
He grabbed one of the boxes and said there was something special in it. She played along.
Inside the box, a string of white lights was neatly stored away.
When he plugged them, they flickered happily.
Here’s the sun for you, he said.
The lights stayed on since that day. And the sun was his smile offering her a string of white lights.
100 Word Stories
On Eggshells
(image)SIC

New job, new goals, more money. That was great, right? Wrong.
Arthur’s supervisor, a wannabe vampire of sorts, decided to bite all the men in the company.
Arthur wasn't fond of bites, especially of co-workers, even if they were female. So, he maneuvered cautiously through the intricate maze of corridors.
The day the supervisor caught him by the wrist, he smashed her face in with the lunch tray.
He told the police he feared for his life. They believe him.
And Arthur joined another company. This time, the goal was to find a quiet work environment… with no biting.
100 Word Stories
(Prompt: PICK TWO: Join, Aspirin, Gravy, Mercantile, Polar, Clay, Eggshell, Juniper)
A Merry Band of Losers
(image)Octoberville

When I first visited Second Life (SL), I quickly realized that profiles were a great source of information.

I must admit I had (and have) little interest regarding the real life of a complete stranger. However, I was/am quite curious about favorite places/events in SL. I have found some of the most fascinating sims and communities simply by reading profiles.

Having said this...

Profiles are also a never-ending spring of completely barbaric nonsense. I’ll refrain from addressing the idiocy, the ignorance and the blatant childishness featured in so many (too many) of them. But one statement keeps coming up and this one in particular has always baffled me. I recently came across it once more and that triggered this rant.


*steps on the soapbox*


Only losers spend time in SL instead of being out there in the world, they say.

Virtual Reality (VR), as happens in Real Life (RL), does have its idiots and losers, granted. Yet, to say that everyone in SL is a worthless escapist, who clings on to make-believe roles of power (everyone owns something, a store, a club, a sim) and friendships or relationships is, in my opinion, going too far.

Why is it so outlandish to meet someone in a virtual world and become RL friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands or wives? Why is it more acceptable to meet someone at a bar or a birthday party in RL?

Why is building togetherness, creating common grounds, attending events and sharing life in SL being a loser? Why does this make a resident more of a loser than doing the same in RL?

Let’s take it one step at a time.


RL becomes suspended, postponed, when we immerse ourselves in a virtual world.

SL becomes so addictive that we isolated ourselves, damage our social life, and waste an infinite number of hours in completely useless interactions, they say.

That happens for some, yes, not for all. Not even in my wildest dreams, when I joined SL, did I think I’d become a moderator, a host, a store owner, an event organizer, a blogger, a bloggers’ coordinator, a neighbor, a friend, a partner, and a traveler. I've created and I've watched others being creative, admiring their exceptional imagination. All this enriched my RL.


SL is a waste of time, they say.

I suppose it could be, yes. But SL made me go back to writing (I have written three books so far, I update my blog regularly and am preparing the plot of my fourth book; I am hopeful SL will also help me to find the motivation to revise my books… I hate revising) and it allowed me to learn skills I always thought I was hopeless with (such as working with an image editing software, a skill I now use in RL often).


SL is a world of fantasy where nothing is real, they say.

True. Many create alternative life stories and reinvent themselves. However, there are also SL friends meeting face-to-face and cherishing their friendships even more, people crossing borders, continents, to build a life together, to get married, to have children, and there are people making a very real living for their very real families.


SL is an excuse to hide from RL, they say.

It might be for some, it might even be for you.

It’s not for me. SL is as much a part of my RL as going to a friend’s place for a cup of coffee, to a theater play, to the cinema, or for a walk by the sea.

And, let’s face it, those of us who are hiding are doing a pretty good job of creating environments and events for others to enjoy as part of their real lives.


What a conundrum… To be or not to be… a loser.

I can only say this much before I wrap up. How you decide to enjoy your SL is exclusively your business. However, don’t think that because you consider yourself a loser for being in SL, and not out there living the real life, the rest of us feel the same.

Be creative. Be participant. Learn. Teach. Share.

Virtual reality is taking its first steps into the future and we are part of that, yes, this merry band of losers is creating the stepping stones that will lead up to the future of virtual worlds.

*steps down from the soapbox*


Late
(image)Sopor aEternum

They were late.
“What now?” Ron sat on a rock.
Peter kicked the grass. He was furious.
“We keep looking.”
“Where? In there?” Ron stood up.
Peter walked up to the small cabin and kicked the door open.
“They didn't take the jewel box with them. It’d be too dangerous. Look, a trap door.”
It was barely covered by some debris.
“Let’s get it and take off.”
A bright pair of green eyes stared back at them.
“Damn… Didn't they say it was a box?”
The jewel was the 10 year old heir of the biggest fortune in the country.
100 Word Stories
Party
(image)Magical Farm

The party was scheduled for ten.
Lucia stressed over everything, the lights, the music, the food, the lights.
“What’s wrong with the lights?”
“Honey, they are crooked.”
“The lights are fine.”
She shrugged and walked away to stress over the food again.
Eleven and no one had arrived.
“Where is everyone?”
Midnight and nothing.
The next morning, Lucia received an email signed by everyone, claiming they had orchestrated that revenge for some obscure reason she couldn't understand.
She didn't care. She was still fixated on the crooked lights.
“The lights were fine!” yelled Peter from the kitchen, reading her mind.
100 Word Stories
Christmas Special
(image)Amar

Sit down and close your eyes. Listen to the sounds of the season. They’ll ask questions, many questions. The glitter on your nose? DIY presents. The wound on your thumb? Damn sharp box cutter. The red on your hands? Painting stuff red. There should be some green somewhere. The purple bite on your lower lip? An over-excited kisser who spotted mistletoe and plunged into your arms. The ripped Rudolph-sweater? An over-zealous security guard at the entrance of the building. Nothing much. You’re not even angry that he destroyed your favorite Christmas sweater. But, remember, whatever they say, deny it all.
100 Word Stories
Turning a Box into a Home

Introduction



Second Life® (SL) became a part of my days at a time of unwelcome changes, both personal and professional. The changes stirring my Real Life (RL), and the resulting financial uncertainty, prompted me not to spend RL money in SL. So, I created a Free account and paid for everything inworld with money generated by my inworld store (yes, I co-owned a clothing store for a while).

Eight years after setting foot in this mysteriously captivating virtual world (about a year ago), my SL life crumbled to pieces. I won’t mention the reasons why because there was another person involved. I pondered leaving. I was homeless (how dramatic) and had close to no money in SL. My writing made me stay.

While I was distracted with my pain, unexpectedly and in an instant, my SL life (and my RL as well) took a turn. Someone listened and cared. That changed everything and I decided it was time to enjoy SL again. In the meantime, my financial RL had stabilized and I upgraded to a Premium account. I got a house (one of the perks), and I had someone special to share it with.

The funny thing is that I never really thought much about the Linden Homes. Everyone kept saying how ugly they were and how they allowed for only a very small amount of prims. It didn't matter. I had years of training in managing the biggest amount of objects for the least amount of prims, and a lot of determination. I rolled-up my sleeves and got to work.

When one thinks of a Linden Home, the wow-factor is non-existent, true. I had even heard someone refer to living in a Linden Home as living in the projects.

Well, this very expression prompted me to show you that I have a pretty nice life in SL’s projects!


My house is a two-floor box with a small veranda. Next to the entrance door, there’s a covered area that includes a little pond. This is my immense kingdom, 512 square meters and 175 prims, recently upgraded from the initial 117.


Outside



The exterior of the house is quite interesting but unusable. The door doesn't stay open and the windows cannot be opened either. Perhaps if the building had a sliding window we could control, overlooking the pond, more residents would lounge in those areas of their residences. I decided to leave it as is.


Lower Floor



The interior lower floor started off as a very traditional and predictable living-room. I quickly realized I’d have a problem though. Mesh furniture is tiny and Linden Homes are still built in the old mind frame of hugeness. Adding to that, the relentless prim count was tyrannical. 


So, the living-room disappeared and an interior garden took its place (notice the ugly Linden fireplace; more remarks about it below).

Note: The extra wall at the back is no mod... So, I couldn't play with the prims. But it does work well there. It makes the huge area look smaller. This means I don't need a lot of prims to decorate it further.


The corner underneath the stairs would be a great writing room. I tried several options but it just didn't make any sense to have the writing room there now that the lower floor had become a semi-exterior area.

I’m not a Buddhist but Buddha has had a place in my life ever since I was a child (long story, not the right time to tell it). So, the Buddha took residence there.

Note: I played with tones, matching the different elements, and added light here and there to the objects to give everything a feeling of warmth.


Upper Floor


This corner became the bedroom from the get-go. Not much has been changed and I think not much will change. Its stability is kind of symbolic, actually. And I’ll leave it at that!

Note: The pink pile of boxes in the corner doubles as a Q&A chatterbox. Prims saved.


Challenge number one. I have always had a fireplace in my SL home(s). The Linden Home proved to be a challenge though. It comes with a terribly ugly round shiny fireplace located in a corner of the lower floor. I can’t move it or delete it. I considered somehow covering it which would cost me a few prims if I wanted to do it nicely. So, I gave up on that idea and just embraced it.

Challenge number two. Where could I have a nice fireplace? Next to the door to the veranda? Across the small corridor? No, nope, nope... So, it ended up here, in this otherwise lost corner. I think it works.

Note: A house without animals is not a home for me, so I spared a number of prims to have a fox, a raccoon, a Siamese cat and a black cat. I also paid close attention to details. A book here, a slice of pie on a plate, an open notebook. Well-spent prims. They make everything look "lived in".


The upper floor was an open area. I decided to add a wall and that created an extra room. A see-through mesh wall with an entrance made the room feel cozy. Plenty of books, and words, and colors did the rest.

Note: I fiddled with the transparency %, darkening it a bit.


Veranda


Finally, the veranda. I used a pergola to cover the whole veranda, the same see-through mesh wall (also present in the lower floor as a divider to the interior garden), a C-shaped prim to darken the sides, and I had a pleasant environment where I could place a tempting hot-water tub. 

Note: The C-shaped prim was hollowed, cut-pathed, and set to 40% transparency over black. The butterflies add movement and color.


Conclusion


Linden Homes are a bit of a challenge. Their build is somewhat crooked. The windows are not aligned. It’s not easy to add walls or hide parts of the house we’d like to eliminate. However, if we think out of the box (pun intended), they do work.

The boxy house feels welcoming and warm and is now a home I share with someone very special.

Note: I still have 40+ prims available for seasonal decorations! 

Pretty awesome for the ugly, sleazy projects, wouldn't you say?


Express
(image)Asalia House
Would you like to offer a special someone a trip to an unknown destiny? We have what you’re looking for. Rates for all budgets. We have a promo with our Express Rate. The ride might not be first class, the company somewhat off but… it’s all part of the adventure, right? We’ll take your special someone to vaguely puzzling yet strangely calming accommodations where he’ll be able to enjoy the serene tranquility of our lodgings, alongside a large crowd of other peaceful campers. Oh, and we’ll even provide a sturdy shovel for the… gardening hours, a highlight of our program.
100 Word Stories
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