The Back Door – #FSS 27

I swaddled my scarf perfectly snugged around my neck and walked out the door without looking back. When I got in my car and started it, one of my favorite songs was playing on the radio. It was REO Speedwagon’s Keep On Loving You. I immediately began belting out the lyrics with the song, even though it was nearly over with less than a minute left in the tune. As I was singing along, I backed out of the drive to start my day.

I would always run my morning routine through my head to make sure I had not left anything at home that I needed while, but there was always something I was absent-minded about on my way out of the house. Sometimes the thoughts were hypnotic while listening to the music and the vibrations of the road on the car tires, which made it to where I lose track of reality and wonder how I got to work. I didn’t remember driving at times. It’s kind of scary, but it just goes to explain how deep in thought I can actually get while driving, singing, and thinking all at the same time. I was good at forgetting things, and I had really made a boo-boo this time.

I did not remember making the mistake that I did until later when I returned back to the house from work. I realized when I got home that I had accidentally left the back door unlocked. It was standing wide open, and I was immediately startled. I knew I had not left it standing ajar, but I did remember not locking it up before leaving. My first thought was to call out to my dogs. They came running inside as soon as they heard my voice, and I was thankful for the fenced backyard. I would lose it if anything ever happened to them due to my forgetfulness.

I leaned down and gave them both head rubs, and I said to them, “Thank goodness that you guys are okay!”

I received puppy slobber as a consolation prize. It’s the best slobber though. Their tails were wagging until they were scared by a noise in the house. They found a place to hide and left me standing alone in the center of the living room. My bedroom was above it in the upstairs loft. I think I stopped breathing for a moment when I heard the footsteps for myself. I froze. My first thought was to head to the cellar, but that would be stupid. Then I would be trapped down there with my babies. I looked towards the back door, which was still open.

I’ll just make a mad dash for the backyard, I thought. My thought was interrupted by the foot sounds on the stairs heading towards me.

“C’mon boys…,” I whisper to my dogs. “Let’s go, hurry.”

As I got to the door with the dogs, I heard a familiar voice. “Momma, are you home now?”

A sigh of relief expelled from my mouth, and I was nearly in tears. My daughter had come to visit. I always asked her if she was born in a barn because she was always leaving the doors open when she was little.

“Thank goodness…I thought I was going to have to bring out the bat and beat someone. You scared me half to death.” I expressed in that motherly, scolding tone.

She smiled, and said, “Sorry! I love you!”

“I love you more!” I closed the door as we giggled from the scare.

Smokey and the Beep – #FSS 26

This week’s Story Starter teaser from Fandango is:

At first, I thought it was only the dog making noise, but it was… more than just the fact he was making noise. It was the noise he was making. It was alarming, and his innocent whine turned into a cry full of fear. It was like his spirit was screaming rather than being the bubbly dog that just liked sniffing other dogs behinds and barking at the invisible air. He was terrified, which made me terrified to investigate around the corner that he was cowering from. I had just gotten off work, and we were alone.

“Smokey hound…what’s got you so frightened?” I whispered to him as he stood there shaking his short legs and old body. He was an older gentleman of a dog, and stress made him pant loudly. “C’mon. Let’s go this way.”

I walked to the couch and patted for him to come, and he darted his nose back to the wall the met the corner. My Google Home was playing a light rock genre of music and was turned down pretty low, but he still heard something on the other side of that wall.

“Welp…I guess I have to investigate.” He whined to me and put his ears down as I got back up from the couch.

I looked around for a weapon, and all I could find was a knitting hook — an integral part of this investigation, of course. “This should work…hopefully,” I mumbled to myself. I wanted to defer walking into the dark kitchen, but it was clear that I had been watching too many crime dramas on the television because I crept up to the wall while holding my hook to my side. I peeked around the first bend of the wall and looked into the dark kitchen. After that coast was clear, I twisted my neck and tried to see on the other side of the wall. Like a typical girl, I threw my body around and thrust the needle out like it was a gun, and I came away from the wall in a defensive stance. Nothing was there.

“Beep!” The fire alarm in the kitchen chirped from a low battery.

I looked at him in that look that moms give their children who are about to be scolded, and said, “Really, the beep? That’s the danger in the house that has you looking like you have just seen a ghost?”

I wanted to curse I was so mad. I climbed on the chair and took the battery out of the alarm and set it on the countertop of the island in my kitchen, and I darted him a look again. Smokey put his ears down and pouted. He knew he was busted! I shook my head all the way back over to put away my hook before sitting down on my cream-colored couch. I grabbed my blanket from the back, and I took the remote into my hand.

“Remind me next time to listen for the beep. C’mon fat boy…let’s watch The First 48.” I said while I patted on the couch. This time he came.

The Phone Call – #FSS 24

This week’s Story Starter from Fandango is:

She overheard the couple whispering in the adjoining room and realized…

that she had to be careful what she said when her phone call finally came through. The walls were seemed to be paper-thin, and the subject of her phone call was not something that she wanted anyone to hear. Felicia Deon was in a peculiar situation, and it was not something that the CIA had spent a lot of time training them about. She supposed when her handler called that she could talk in code, but that would be even more strange and suspect if someone was listening.

She stood at the window overlooking the busy city. Her suite had a great view. The downfall was that there was the adjoining couple to nose into her business. She leaned up against the framing of the window and took a look at the time on her emerald-framed watch. It was nearly ten o’clock. My call should be ringing in anytime now, she thought as she stared at the tall buildings that obfuscated the view to the water in the bay. Her blonde curls were resting on the window, and she could feel the coolness of the night pushing back from the window. It felt nice. Down below her window, she could see the bright decorations that lit up the sidewalks and streets. She could see beautiful crimson ribbons reflecting the holiday lights because they were covered in glitter. It was a beautiful, starry, winter’s eve in New York City.

When her mind stopped wandering and contemplating the situation, the phone in her hand began to vibrate and ring at the same time. It was his ringtone. George Thorogood’s Bad to the Bone. It was a fitting ringtone because Sean was a complex and complicated man that most that encountered him thought to be bad news. He was never known to be a kind man, but he handled Felicia differently than the other agents.

“Hello…” Felicia spoke softly into the phone. “I have to speak quietly…these walls in the hotel are thin.”

There was a brief silence before she heard Sean’s voice come back to her.

“Felicia, I believe you have been followed. You need to get out of that room.” His voice sounded dire, and he rarely allowed anything to frazzle him.

“Who followed me? You said that I was safe and that I would be able to hide out here for a while.”

“Communications…they’ve been compromised from what I’ve gathered from HQ. I have a getaway down in the parking garage for you. There’s a key in the bathroom, behind the light fixture. Langley needs us to go dark for a few days while they figure out the leak.”

She trailed over to find the key in the small bathroom. The key was where he said it would be.

“Where do I go once I get in the car?” Felicia was anxious. She was running out of safe houses to hide in, and with Langley wanting them to go silent…there were going to be limited options for her to get safe.

“There are directions in the car. Go now!” Sean hung up the phone.

She gathered all of her things and started throwing them into her suitcase in no particular organization. She was moving as fast as she could. She had packed more than she could carry, so she left anything non-essential laying on the queen-sized bed.

With the key in hand, she rushed away from the room down the hall of the hotel. Her shoes were a bit slippery on the hallway carpet, causing her to lose a bit of traction in her haste. She passed the mature couple that she had heard in the next room with her slip. Felicia nodded and kept pushing forward, removing her shoes and snatching them up in her hand. She was definitely lacking grace in her steps as she reached the elevators on her floor, and they were dinging to open. She diverted away from them and exited through the stair door. She did not want to chance her aggressors being in the elevator as she stood there like bait on a hook. The stairs were the safer option.

Flight after flight, she made her way down to the basement floor without running into anyone. When she came out the door, she pressed the unlock button on the fob to figure out which car was going to aid in her escape. A black SUV chirped its horn at her, and she could see the brake light on the passenger side light up. As she got to the vehicle, she heard the basement door to the parking garage slam shut and voices echoed through the hollow of the garage.

She began mumbling her thoughts aloud, and said: “I won’t be one of those girls that fumble their keys trying to get in this damn vehicle!

She threw her bag in the back seat of the SUV, hopped up into the front driver’s seat, and stuck the key in the ignition. She didn’t start it yet. She locked her door and slumped down. She could see the men in the rear-view mirror canvassing the lot. The masked men were methodical in their sweep to find her… There was no possible way for her to get away…for now.

The directions were where Sean said they would be. She put the address into the GPS quietly. One sudden move could get her caught or worse, so she stayed as quiet and uniform as possible inside of the truck. She couldn’t let them catch her.

She closed her eyes for just a moment to say a little prayer in her head. When she opened them up again, everything felt more cohesive inside of her body. She was a bit frantic and breathing like she had just got done running a marathon around Central Park. It was hard to bring herself back from a panic, but this time she succeeded. Her mind had a reconciliation with the rest of her body, and she was able to focus on her situation. Her sleekit, agency-trained ways were lacking when she did not have her wits about her.

“Okay, Felicia…you must get out of this garage in one piece. Just start the thing and let’s go.” She was talking to herself to motivate herself.

She looked out each of the windows and did not see any of the perps around. With no one in sight, she carefully turned the key, and the engine purred. She slid the truck into reverse and backed out as fast as she could…not very graceful, she thought.

As the CIA agent put the black truck into drive, one of the masked men stood in front of the vehicle. She slammed the shifter down into “Drive” and nailed the gas pedal as hard as she could. The man escaped being hit, and she drove as quickly as she could out of the garage as the man she nearly hit fired off shot after shot. It broke the back glass of the escape vehicle. She was dodging bullets. Literally.

It wouldn’t be the first time or the last. All she needed to do right now was survive, and she did just that as she turned left out of the parking structure and got away from the guns and men. Her freedom was in sight as she sped away from the hotel.

“Here we go again…”, she sighed the words out of her tight lips as she tossed her burner phone out of the window. “Bye New York!”

The Photograph – #FSS 23

This week’s Story Starter teaser from Fandango is:

He realized that she had made a fool of him when he opened the drawer and found…

a picture of his beautiful wife with a man he had never seen before. He had no idea what prompted him to look in her things, but he was glad that he did, in a way. Bryce had been suspecting an affair, but now he had proof enough to take action. He couldn’t bring himself to accept the truth, until now. However, it was a little too convenient he had found the photo. He felt that it was almost as if she left the picture there on purpose for him to discover. The picture gave him a shock, and his brow filled with sweat almost immediately. His face had a puzzled expression, and he felt tears and perspiration upon his eyes. It felt like his soul was set on fire, and the air in the room became heavy and filled with an awful amount of anger.

“That’s it…I’m done!” He yelled it out into an empty house as he grabbed his Anorak and walked out the door into the snow.

He was groaning all the way to his pickup, and his heart was destroyed. He caught his hand on the door handle when he slammed the door shut, causing a bruise to swell on the crease on the pad of his thumb and pointer finger. He was cursing at the truck, his hand, and the door that bit him. He had some choice words for his wife too!

He wanted her to know that he wasn’t some nebbish man that would put up with this kind of behavior after 20 years of marriage. He wondered who the guy was, and he thought about who he should be mad at.

I don’t even know if he knows she’s married, he thought. He figured out really quickly who to place blame on, and it wasn’t the blonde hair, blue-eyed, physically fit guy in the photograph with Shelley. It was her.

“Let’s go, Bubba!” He said to his truck as he backed out of the driveway of their two-story home. “It’s time to go find some freedom!”

He left and never looked back. The last thing Shelley received from Bryce was a big and thick envelope containing divorce papers.

The Woman in the Window – #FSS 22

I am a little late this week doing Fandango’s Story Starter, but I have always said that it’s better late than never. A small update that I got my new desk put up, and I have everything arranged for the most part. It was a nice early Christmas gift from my sister. I feel much more comfortable in my room now.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

This week’s Story Starter is:

When I looked inside, I saw no sign of life whatsoever, except for…

a small mouse who was gathering some leftover crumbs from the abandoned kitchen table in the old broken-down house. I decided to explore a little further past the window that I was gawking in, and I made my way over to the raggedy door.

When I jiggled the handle and tried to turn it, the door creaked open like they do in the scary movies. It was dark in the house as I walked in, even though it was light outside. The windows were covered with abandoned dirt and muck with curtains that looked like they were from the 1920s. They were thick fabric and did not allow for much light to enter any of the rooms downstairs.

To the left was the entrance to the kitchen where the mouse was snacking on old grub, and to the right was a room that looked like it used to entertain many guests. It was weathered, but it still had beauty to it. In front of me was a little entrance with a door, probably to the bathroom. It was set below the upstairs walkway, and the stairs going up were uninviting. It looked like the wood had not aged well after the abandonment. I decided to go to the room that looked the most inviting, and I checked out the room to my right. As I entered the room, it got bigger and had an echo that replayed my footsteps. The ceiling was covered in different angels and cherubs, and in the center of the room was a piano.

As I walked past the piano, the keys began playing all by themselves. It startled me so badly that I had goosebumps all over my body. I was alone. I backed up out of the room back into the entryway and head out the door. I did not stop until I got to my car, and I never looked back. I could still hear the music playing as I sat down in my car and started up the ignition. As I backed out of the drive, there stood a woman in the window upstairs. She was waving “Goodbye.”

I never came back…

The Intruders – FSS #21

This week’s Story Starter teaser is:

Shaking, I grabbed her hand and said…

“It’s going to be okay, sweet girl.”

She wanted to believe me, but my shaking hands made her nervous and unsure. We were trapped in the house, and the intruders were outside. They were jiggling the handles trying to get in the doors, front and back. It was only a matter of time before they forced their way in. The windows were close enough to the ground that they could break one and come in. The phone lines were dead, and we had no way to call for help.

“I’m so scared, Momma. What do they want?”

I wished that I knew when she asked me, but I had no idea who they were or what they wanted. We had only lived in the new house about two months, and there had never been any signs of trouble.

“Maybe it’s a misunderstanding…the previous tenants may be to blame…I don’t know, baby.” I had no idea whose fault it was that we were hiding under a kitchen table waiting for intruders to snatch us from our new home.

As I finished my statement, two men came plowing evasively in the front door with guns in hand, and the back door exploded with a noisy boom. It was loud, and it made our ears ring. As we sat there beneath the kitchen table, we held our ears from the annoying sound. Screams left both of our lips, and my first priority was to save my daughter from these armed men. Two more had come through the back door.

“Who are you, and what do you want?” I questioned the man who seemed to be leading the pack.

His voice rang out through his mask, and he said, “Ma’am, I am going to need you and your daughter to come with us.” He sounded kind and helpful.

“I don’t understand…what’s going on?”

“We will explain everything once we get you out of the house. We need to go, NOW!” He flashed a badge as he finished speaking. “We’re CIA, and you both are in danger. Please, move fast!”

I was flustered by the invasion, but I gathered my daughter and my shoes. I collected all I could for the two of us, and we went with the men to the black SUVs out the front door.

I looked at my daughter as we sat in the back seat of the Escalade, and said, “It’s going to be okay.” This time I meant it.

She nodded her head to agree with me, and she batted her pretty blue eyes into my own. It was soothing to see her eyes filled without tears. We would be okay, and this memory would not leave us anytime soon.

The Music Box

This week’s Story Starter from Fandango is:

There was something about a music box that always made me…

want to have one. I never received one of them in my younger years, but my sister had a white music box that popped up a ballerina in a pretty pink leotard and tutu. I don’t remember where she got it from, but I just knew that I never possessed one. The main thing I remember is that I would wind it up on the bottom with the lid closed, and when it was wound all the way, I would lift the lid slowly, peeking in to watch how it worked. The ballerina would emerge into a spin when I got the lid lifted completely, and I would try to see how far I could close the lid before the music and the dancer would stop.

I am not sure if she still has that little music box, but I think that every little girl should have one. I didn’t realize that until right now, and it makes me want to get one for my girls on Christmas this year, as well as one for my granddaughter. Music boxes are timeless, so it would be a great gift for all of them.

xoxo, E.M.

Moving On – FSS #18

This week’s Story Starter teaser from Fandango is:

When I first moved here a few months back, I couldn’t believe that…

I found a place that I loved so much. I remember being doubtful due to the horrific smell I encountered before getting to Hanford in the Bakersfield area. It smelled like something I had never smelled before, and later I realized that smell was the dairy farms. It was terrible, and I remember thinking, “Where are you dumping me at?” My ex drove me and my things here, and that putrid weird smell was overwhelming when I first arrived. However, as time went on, California was great in my eyes, and I felt like I was starting my life anew. Everything was different from previous places that I called home.

It was different than Illinois, where it was basically flat and full of corn and wheat. It was different than Arkansas in the way that it was missing all the trees, but I could see the mountains in the distance. That is still one of the most beautiful things in my eyes, to see the snow-capped mountains off in the distance when the sky is clear.

The thought of living anywhere else never crosses my mind. I love it here. California is my home, and I always say that I was born to live here.

The Surprise in the Darkness

This week’s Story Starter teaser is:

I heard a voice calling out my name from inside the house, and when I opened the door…

my hand navigated the darkness to find the light switch on the wall. I recognized the voice beckoning my attention, but I was oblivious to why my daughter was sitting in the house at night in the dark. The usual when I got home from work was loud televisions with every light in the house on, so my nerves were on high alert. I did not know what I would meet when the lights shined into the room. Would it be good, or would there be something sinister lying in wait for me to walk in the door?

As I flipped on the light, the loudness of cheers and singing delightfully surprised me.

“SURPRISE!!!”

I saw many faces I knew and had not seen in ages it seemed. Tears of happiness filled my eyes with the sound of joy and celebration in the room which now was filled with light. I was fond of many of the people that made it to my home on this special day.

My daughter had invited everyone over to celebrate my 45th birthday, and I could not have been happier than I was at that very moment.


This was written for Fandango’s Story Starter #17 and Pensitivity101’s Three Things Challenge #763, and I used the word challenge (hand) from the Daily Spur.

xoxo, E.M.

2010 – Story Starter #16

Fandango has a weekly Story Starter to get us writing some new goodies on our blogs, and it’s a great way to get a story started and be inspired to write.

This week’s Story Starter teaser is:

It was in the spring of 2010 when I first realized that I could…

free myself from the grips of a man who will never like me, let alone love me. I had thought in the beginning that he was the perfect one for me, but I could not have been more wrong. He was toxic, and I knew I needed to get away from his narcissisms. A chance came about where he went to jail for not paying his child support, and I made the attempt to keep him away. One of my friends drove all the way from Michigan to come and help me out. He had left me financially broken, which was not something that was new. I never had my own money, only his. That’s another way of many that he controlled me, with money. The other ways were with cars and forcing me to take drugs.

I had many different vehicles that he sold or trashed that belonged to me only for short moments. When he bought a vehicle for himself, it would be a manual transmission, since he knew I could not drive a stick. It required too much coordination, and I was not a fan of shifting gears. I was more of a put it into gear and go kind of girl. This disadvantage of mine, he used to his advantage to keep me home like a hermit. My only refuge away from the loneliness was my online gaming and social media. That wasn’t so bad, I guess. I got to interact with people who I found to be decent people, but I just had a small group of friends that could never save me from my solitude. It was what it was, but I knew I needed to get away or push him out.

As if the control with money and cars wasn’t enough, he then started bringing home drugs and telling me I was so fat that I needed to do them. When you are under control of another person, the manipulation of your mental health is easy, so I complied due to my self-hate that I already had about myself. He used my own issues with myself against me, and I did what he said. He brought home meth, and I either snorted it or smoked it. It would keep me up for days though, which was almost a good side effect to the drugs. I’m not proud of the fact that I did not have the willpower to not do them, but they saved me from a lot of sexual abuse while sleeping. If I wasn’t asleep, he couldn’t get at me like he normally did. I embraced that fact about the meth. It saved me a little bit from more abuse.

When he got put in jail, everything was a little less heavy, and I went to visit him to tell him that he was not allowed to come home. At this time, we were not legally married, and I owned the house and land that we lived on. My mom gave it to me in an attempt to keep me from ever being homeless. My friend, who we will just call T.G., helped me with a few bills and finding my love of coffee. He showed me another world. Sadly, it was short-lived because I was scared of my ex, and I didn’t want T.G. to get hurt or for me to get hurt either. I sent him away and took the loser back when he got out of jail. I was too scared. I failed at this attempt to leave him or push him out.

There would be three other attempts, with third time being a charm, to get away from him. That is how I ended up in California. He moved onto the next victim. I still feel like I failed at escaping him sometimes because he got rid of me, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I found myself here.

If you have ever been in this situation or are in a situation like this, get out! There are many resources to help you, and I never knew about them. There are shelters that hide you from your abuser, and there are people that will help you get free. Don’t let them abuse you like I did. You may fail the first attempt at freedom, but keep trying until you succeed.

xoxo, E.M.