Saving Time: Part 10 The Final Hour

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Reread Part 9!

Saving Time - A Flash Fiction - READ FREE

The overwhelming stench of onions and maple syrup wafted through the air, assaulting my nose and waking me from a cold sleep. From the ringing in my ears, I wasn’t sure if I had been drugged or knocked unconscious. Either way, I was in Saving Time’s basement with that spineless Blue Tie and Jack Acetone.

My eyes were squinting tight in an effort to focus. Jack Acetone paced the dingy room. He was scrolling through a partially broken phone, my phone, with a furrowed brow.

Namer and Darlene’s ATM flanked either side of me. A ribbon of paper slowly printed out of the ATM’s receipt slot. Large block letters of blue ink: “Who did you call?”

“Don’t waste your time, sweetheart,” Acetone said. “She called Conscience Cleaners.” He let the phone drop to the floor and slowly crushed what was left of it underneath his shiny leather loafer. “Really?” he asked me with a chuckle. “What’s a bunch of janitors going to do? Mop me to death?” He broke out into an echoing and sinister laugh. The Darlene ATM rattled with amusement. “People are so unreliable. Unlike machines.” He had crossed the small room to place a hand on the ATM, patting it gently.

“Why are you turning these people into machines? They have families, kids!”

His smile darkened into a sneer. “Because, my dear, people, for the most part,” he said glancing at me bitterly, “don’t want to think. They want to do as they are told. I just help them get rid of that annoying ‘free thinking’ crap.”

The door opened slowly behind me letting in a beam of florescent light. “Hey, Dad? What’s the WiFi password? I tried typing ‘boobies’ upside down, like usual, but that didn’t work.”

“Not now,” Jack Acetone growled.

“Well, well, well. So we meet again,” Jack Jr. leaned casually on the door frame and shot me a wink.

“Go!”

“Fine,” Jack Jr. sighed. “Call me, babe!” and the door slammed.

Jack Acetone mumbled under his breath and shouted to no one in particular, “Melt down the last bin of gold parts and let’s get the hell out of here!”

“Gold?” I asked. “This is about money?”

“Of course it’s about money. Everything is always about money,” Jack snapped back at me through gritted teeth. “I already own this crummy town. Pretty soon I’ll be so rich, I’ll own this entire greasy state.”

“There’s a problem with the, uh, gold parts, Mr. Acetone, sir,” Blue Tie said quivering.

“What now?” Jack yelled.

“The, uh, parts were sorted,” Blue Ties eyes darted to me, “by design instead of by color.”

As Jack Acetone spun on Blue Tie, the door opened again. “Never mind, Dad. I figured it out,” Jack Jr said without looking up from his phone. “Oh and the janitor is here.”

A tall and heavily muscled man in a navy blue jumpsuit strode across the floor with casual steps.

“Who the hell are you?” Mr. Acetone growled.

The man sauntered passed Mr. Acetone and stood in front of me with an outstretched hand. In a thick Italian accent he asked, “Are you alright, signora?” He didn’t wait for an answer, but swept me up in his arm. He guided me toward the door pausing momentarily face to face with Mr. Acetone. “It would appear that you have made a mess of things,” he purred with his rich accent.

I retreated a few steps closer to the exit.

“Get outta my face, mop jockey,” Acetone’s face reddened with anger.

The man held out his hands in a gesture of innocence. “Don’t worry, Mr. Acetone. We’ll get this mess cleaned up.” He smiled at Mr. Acetone and winked in my direction.

A dozen men and women, all in matching navy blue jumpsuits, flooded into the room and seized Jack Acetone, his son, and Blue Tie. A few even took the opportunity to land a cheap shot or two to a solar plexus or kidney.

A middle-aged woman entered the now crowded basement room. She was clad in the same uniform, except hers had a strange insignia with an Italian flag on her chest and back. “The family is angry, Mr. Acetone. I doubt this slight will be forgiven.”

Mr. Acetone remained silent, despite the angry glare aimed at the woman.

“Thank you, miss,” she said to me. “I believe you have our number if you need anything.”

I nodded and backed slowly up the stairs. No one attempted to stop me, so I turned and fled Saving Time.

On the sidewalk outside, a man stood between the two entrances with a look of confusion. He held a package under his arm.

“Excuse me, ma’am?” he said. “My boss asked me to deliver this part for a, uh,” he looked at the label on the package, “Separator? Do you work here?”

“Hell no,” I said. “I quit.”

 

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Father’s Day Writing Prompts: June 2017

Father’s Day Writing Prompts

This week’s writing prompts are in honor of our fathers, Kip and Sherrill, as well as every father out there. Although I doubt either will use these prompts to create stories, we are always confident that Kip and Sherrill are in our corner, offering support, advice, and encouragement. Thank you both, so very much, for everything. We love you!

You may have noticed a lack of content lately. Our apologies. I hope you’re all still with us. I had a few weeks of overtime, which just so happens to falls exactly on the hours that I get the most writing done. During the overtime, we decided to improve our landscaping a bit around the house. Les discussed our progress in one of her Tipsy Scribbles post.

Once we finally got to take a deep breath, we ran away. Seriously. We hid in the mountains for a week without the computer. On more than one occasion, we discussed never returning. The fur babies wouldn’t have appreciated that. Plus there’s that whole employment issue.

Anyway, I have begun to outline the next story for Detective Peirson. That will be a novel rather than shared through the site like Red Herring. Flash Fictions will continue on an every other week schedule, with the next part of Saving Time coming this Friday.

Hope all is well! Please share your stories and artwork with us!

Father's Day Writing Prompts-Jun17-He is a High Mage, a mighty warrior, and King of the combined nations. Now he is also a father.
He is a High Mage, a mighty warrior, and King of the combined nations. Now he is also a father.
Father's Day Writing Prompts-Jun17-This isn't Star Wars! My dad can't be the bad guy, she argued.
“This isn’t Star Wars! My dad can’t be the bad guy,” she argued.
Father's Day Writing Prompts-Jun17-Tools and equipment lined the workshop. Everything you could ever need, except the only thing that matters.
Tools and equipment lined the workshop. Everything you could ever need, except the only thing that matters.

 

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Sword of Unquenchable Thirst

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Fantasy Writing Prompts: June 2017

Fantasy Writing Prompts

That troublesome real world has kept me away from fantasy for too long. So it’s only fitting that the first writing prompt post in weeks be fantasy themed. We have mysterious creatures to encounter and a locked treasure room to offer you this week. Share your stories and artwork with us on Facebook or Twitter!

I’ve had little opportunity to write lately. Copious amounts of overtime may be good for the bank account, but not so much for the writing schedule. We have, however, began an undertaking of landscaping our yard. Which I think is coming along nicely. Les has been sharing our progress on her Tipsy Scribbles posts. Subscribe to our site to stay up to date on everything!

As for the writing progress, Saving Time will be coming to a close soon. Flash Fictions will be every other week now instead of weekly. This will allow me more time to work on the bigger projects. Among those, I have a completed first draft for a Brix and Gregor adventure that is awaiting a rewrite and some brainstorming notes have been started for a new case for Red Herring’s Detective Peirson.

Fantasy Writing Prompts-Jun2017-The creatures were both elegant and fierce, but this one was just a cub.
The creatures were both elegant and fierce, but this one was just a cub.
Fantasy Writing Prompts-Jun2017-After an era of stalking the world above, it was ready to return to the surface.
After an era of stalking the world above, it was ready to return to the surface.
Fantasy Writing Prompts-Jun2017-With a thunderous echo, the lock fell into place. He was confident the treasure room would never be breached.
With a thunderous echo, the lock fell into place. He was confident the treasure room would never be breached.

 

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Writing Prompts for Settings

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Tipsy Scribbles: Landscape Project Update

Landscape Project Update!

 

Last week I shared the beginnings of the landscaping project we had started around our house. Last weekend we bought three Baby Gem boxwoods, two sets of Tiny Rocket lilies, a pack of twelve Celosia flowers, and one baby Japanese maple! The garden is a first for us, but the maple is our first tree we have planted together as a couple. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but planting a tree, even a small tree can be a symbol. A symbol of a growing and lasting relationship, creating a permanent home, and setting down firm roots. This is our home, and our little tree. From the day we stepped foot in this house we knew it would become our home.

But all sentiments aside, I really hope it doesn’t die.

Our garden is not complete but this is an update of our progress so far!

100_3545

Japanese Maple
Japanese Maple
Celosia Flowers
Celosia Flowers
Tiny Rocket Dwarf Asiatic Lily
Tiny Rocket Dwarf Asiatic Lily
Baby Gem Boxwood
Baby Gem Boxwood

 

And no garden would be complete without a personal touch. The frog mosaic is a gift from my best friend Sara and her grandmother Mimi. Mimi is one talented lady I have always looked up to. If I become a fraction as awesome as she is in my future, I will be happy.

Frog Mosaic Stepping Stone
Frog Mosaic Stepping Stone

 

And my other dash of whimsy from my in-laws as a Mother’s Day present. I’m in the process of adding a bit more paint to the design before I seal it and place it in the garden. This was significantly nicer than the presents I received from my own children: cat vomit, dog slobber, bodily waste, and lots and lots of hair. But it’s the thought that counts.

Butterfly Garden Stone
Butterfly Garden Stone

 

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.” — Martin Luther

 

More from Holloway’s Hideaway!

Saving Time: Part 9 – A Flash Fiction

Tipsy Scribbles : Landscaping Project

Writing Prompts: Mother’s Day

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Saving Time: Part 9

Start from the Beginning!

Reread Part 8!

Saving Time - A Flash Fiction - READ FREE

Saving Time: Part 9

After an hour of several increasingly frustrating attempts, I finally managed to get the ATM to display something other than Facebook. A string of numbers filled the screen in a blue and yellow recreation of the Matrix.

The machine sighed a puff of tobacco scented smoke in resignation as I sighed in relief.

This is ridiculous. There’s no way that it is actually Darlene. This is some kind of weird prank.

Somewhere within the ATM, a small motor began to hum. Half a dozen empty candy wrappers slid out of the receipt return and littered the floor at my feet.

The endless numbers cascading passed the screen stopped. A text box appeared, “Access Denied. Contact Your Supervisor For Assistance.”

“Dammit, Darlene,” I breathed. “Fine.”

Back to Boss Lady’s sad excuse for an office.

As I drew near, I could hear voices. No, a voice. I slowed my pace so I could listen better. A man was yelling.

Oh crap. It’s Mr. Acetone.

“I don’t care how  smart you think she is,” he said, his voice carrying through the shadows. “Make. It. Happen,” he said each word slowly with an implied threat. Which he followed up with a direct threat, “Or it’s your ass.”

I took a step back, thinking I could return to the front and pretend I was never there. Then the door to Boss Lady’s office opened. The large ominous form of Jack Acetone filled the door. His eyes were on me.

“I always have to do things myself,” he mumbled, just barely loud enough for me to hear. “What are you waiting for?” He asked louder, with his focus on the shadows beyond me. “Grab her! Take her downstairs.”

Downstairs? Wait, who’s grabbing me? I turned around to see Namer and another haphazardly assembled machine shambling towards me. I barely had time to process what my eyes were telling me when the machine tripped over a dangling cord and crashed into Namer, knocking them both to the concrete floor. The impact echoed through the hallway. Parts and broken pieces of machinery clattered behind me as I turned to run.

I knew Mr. Acetone was close behind me and I might not reach the exit. But I might have time for a phone call.

I pulled out my cell phone and frantically scrolled through the call log. Desperately, I hoped I would recognize the number when I saw it. You should have saved the number. Stupid.

There! I pressed the call button.

My feet suddenly lifted from the floor mid step. My eyes blurred from the sudden stop of momentum. I realized that someone strong had grabbed the back collar of my shirt. It took another minute to realize the phone wasn’t in my hand anymore.

“That’s quite enough, young lady,” Jack Acetone said. “I should’ve known you’d be trouble. It’s always the cute ones. But I think we can fix that.”

Keep Reading!

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Tipsy Scribbles: Landscaping Project

Landscaping Project

 

It is spring at the Hideaway and this crazy woman has gotten the bright idea to enter into the world of gardening. Do I know how to garden? Absolutely not. Not in the slightest. I literally have no clue what I’m doing. BUT I have drawn this cute little garden map to make it look like I know what I’m doing. That’s the key to life: look like you know what you’re doing. “What’s the worst that could happen” you ask? Everything dies. The chances of that happening are probably higher than I’m willing to admit to myself, so let’s not dwell on the negative!

Landscape simple sketch - Tipsy Scribbles

Now, the picture above is a sketch including all future projects we would like to tackle, but right now let’s focus on the current project in the picture below. This is the front corner of our house that is really in need of some curb appeal (we don’t have a curb, but it sounds better than “ditch appeal”). My dad, who used to run his own landscaping and stump grinding company, helped us design the bed’s outer edge. The gentle curves, rather than sharp corners, makes for easier mowing.

Landscape Plans Sketch bottom right

We would like to add a small wooden deck, some flowers, a few bushes, and THIS BAD BOY! Check that out. That is a Japanese Maple. It’s a beautiful plant that is somehow a tiny tree and a giant bonsai at the same time. It’s also expensive so this will be our yard’s crown jewel.

This classic Japanese maple variety bears deeply cut, feathery red-purple leaves that turn bright crimson in fall. We also love its graceful, weeping habit.
Click for source

Here is a sneak peek of our house before the plant murder and total gutting process. Although most of these plants were healthy, they were not what I wanted for our house. Keep in check next week for our Hideaway’s transformation part 1!

Front flower bed before
Front flower bed before

 

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” –Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Tipsy Scribbles: Prayer

Writing Prompts: Settings

Saving Time: Part 8 – A Flash Fiction

 

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Tipsy Scribbles: Prayer Updated

Prayer

I forgot Tipsy Scribbles last week. I then forgot to apologize for forgetting Tipsy Scribbles so I then said “whatever, I’ll do one next week.” It’s next week so here it is! This is my latest chalk painting I did for me, this isn’t a commission. It was originally practice for drawing people, which is not my strong suit. But I know my weaknesses and I am willing to work on improving them. That’s a step in the right direction.

On another note, I would like to say I have a new found respect for artist who are able to recreate realistic skin tones. Skin is not just peach or white or tan. It’s every color.

Prayer chalk pastel 7x9inches - Tipsy Scribbles - A picture says a thousand words when wine loosens the tongue.
Prayer

“Prayer is more than meditation. In meditation the source of strength is one’s self. When one prays he goes to a source of strength greater than his own.” — Chiang Kai-shek

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Keeper of the Guardians – A Flash Fiction

Writing Prompts: Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day Writing Prompts: May 2017

Mother’s Day Writing Prompts

We would like to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to our mothers, Deana and Lisa; our sisters, Krystal and Megan; and to every mother reading this. We love you more than words can properly express.

As per usual, these aren’t necessarily your mushy story starters. That just isn’t really our style. These are the prompts to get your story started, so make it as good or mushy as you want. And don’t forget to share it with us! We enjoy reading stories others create from our writing prompts. Your story may even be featured on the site, just like Askien’s Keeper of the Guardians.

I’m a little nervous to say that this will be the last post to reference the incomplete first draft for the Brix and Gregor novel. I started the final chapter this morning. It will certainly need extensive work, but the story, at least, is nearly all on paper. Once it is complete, I’m going to let it sit for a couple of weeks before starting the second draft. During that time, I will begin to work on Detective Peirson’s next case!

Mother's Day Writing Prompts-May2017-Nothing could diminish a mother's love, even death.
Nothing could diminish a mother’s love, even death.
Mother's Day Writing Prompts-May2017-Although it was just a word, she had poisoned every letter with her treachery. She was no mother.
Although it was just a word, she had poisoned every letter with her treachery. She was no mother.
Mother's Day Writing Prompts-May2017-After agonizing years of waiting, her lost child had found their way home.
After agonizing years of waiting, her lost child had found their way home.

 

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Saving Time: Part 8

Start from the beginning!

Read Saving Time Part 7!

 

Saving Time - A Flash Fiction - READ FREE

Saving Time: Part 8

 

“Oh good, you came back!” Blue Tie sighed dramatically as I walked into the building. “Come with me, Bobby.”

“I’m not even clocked in yet,” I said over the rim of my coffee cup, but he continued to nudge me through the building.

Blue Tie led me to Boss Lady’s office and gestured for me to enter. He slammed the door behind me and trotted away.

The office was more like a broom closet: small, cramped, and dusty. Boss Lady stood behind her small desk and gestured to a dirty upturned bucket, “Please, sit.” Her voice was calm and she seemed bored. Her frantic movements and unkempt appearance gave off the impression of a caged animal eager to escape. “How do you like it here so far, Barbara?”

“Its a little…,” I searched my vocabulary for a word other than weird or odd, so I settled for, “Different?”

“How so?”

“Well, em, a guy tried to rob the bank and Mr. Acetone just paid him. From his own pocket.” I looked up at Boss Lady, expecting her to be shocked, however she remained silent and thumped a dead fly off her desk. I continued, “Then there was that whole thing with Sharron and her kid–”

Boss Lady waved her hands in a violent blur, “She is none of your concern. Her service is no longer required here.”

“She’s fired?” I couldn’t believe a company would be so heartless regarding their employees, especially a mother.

“She refused relocation. But never mind that. We would like for you to assist in the installation of a new ATM machine in the bank lobby.”

“The M stands for machine,” I said.

“What?”

“Never mind,” I sighed. “Computers and I don’t really get along. Plus, I have so much paperwork to sort and Darlene just sits there–”

“Darlene is doing her job,” Boss Lady interrupted me again.

The door to her office flew open and I looked up to see Mr. Acetone’s features soften as he smiled down at me. “The tech is here. Let’s get started.”

I followed Mr. Acetone to the lobby where a man was struggling to straighten a bulky machine with a large screen and dozens of buttons. The machine seemed to have once been white but now was a faint yellow with black grime embedded in all its crevices.

“I got her running,” he said to Mr. Acetone, and there was something oddly familiar about the man.

I immediately imagined what the man would look like with a ski mask obscuring his face and it hit me: He was the robber from last week! I squinted my eyes at the man, judging him, hoping he would notice I recognized him. I stepped up to the machine, “So where did you steal this from?”

The robber/tech man made a mock gasp and caressed the hideous machine. “I will have you know this is a genuine Enelrad brand ATM.”

Mr. Acetone made a loud throat clearing grunt and the robber/tech stepped back not saying another word. “Thank you for all your hard work,” and shooed him away. “Now, Bobby, I need you to figure out how to work this thing before a customer comes in.”

“Does Darlene need to learn this too?”

“Don’t you worry about her,” Mr. Acetone looked me in the eyes with an icy stare and kicked the machine. The screen blipped on and turned a soft blue. In the middle of he screen was a white, lower case “f” symbol.

I looked back at Darlene’s desk. It was surprisingly clean. The clutter of food containers and candy wrappers were all gone. Even her chair was missing. I could still smell the faintest hint of cigarette smoke. I turned back to the ATM and saw a thin puff of white smoke rising from out of the credit card slot.

Keep Reading!

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Mystery Writing Prompts: May 2017

Mystery Writing Prompts

Happy Birthday, Mom!

This week’s writing prompts are from a favorite genre of my mom’s: Mystery. You will likely notice some Lovecraftian themes in these since I am reading the Gods of HP Lovecraft. I’m only on the third short story, but it is well done if any of you are interested in the works of Lovecraft. Anyhoo, the Brix and Gregor draft is coming right along. I’ll get it finished one of these days.

I hope you all enjoyed the guest writer’s Keeper of the Guardians this week. If anyone would like to be featured in a future post, let us know!

Mystery Writing Prompts-May2017-A single named breathed from the lips of every person.
A single named breathed from the lips of every person.
Mystery Writing Prompts-May2017-The door at the end of the hallway must never be opened.
“The door at the end of the hallway must never be opened.”
Mystery Writing Prompts-May2017-The frantic scribbles upon the scattered papers told the investigator a terrifying story.
The frantic scribbles upon the scattered papers told the investigator a terrifying story.
Mystery Writing Prompts-May2017-The shadow crept closer to the bedside lamp.
The shadow crept closer to the bedside lamp.

 

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