#5MinuteFiction: Week 109

It’s 5 Minute Fiction time! You know the rules (and if you don’t, check here — and make it quick because you’ve only got a few minutes!), so here is your prompt:

Your entry must involve a new beginning as well as something ending.

NOTE: the photo is not part of the prompt–it’s decorative/inspirational only!

This week’s judge is Emlyn Chand. In addition to being a writer, she also runs Novel Publicity, a website that helps other writers produce and promote work. The winner of this week’s 5 Minute Fiction receives autographed copies of two of Emlyn’s novels: the young adult paranormal novel, Farsighted, and Emlyn’s first novel for children, Honey the Hero.

A Few Notes:

  • In the interest of time and formatting, it’s best to type straight into the comment box or notepad. It’s also smart to do a quick highlight and copy before you hit “post” just in case the internets decide to eat your entry. If your entry doesn’t appear right away, email me.
  • I reserve the right to remove hate speech or similar but I’m not too picky about the other stuff.
  • This is all for fun and self-promotion. So be sure to put your twitter handle at the end of your post and a link to your blog if you have one.

Go, go, go! You’ve got until 8:45p EST (on the dot. Yes, I’m serious) to submit your entry in the comments section of this post.

I’ll see you back here at 10p EST with the finalists.

{ 27 comments… add one }

  • Nellie July 17, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    The old woman smiled as she made her way in the middle of the forest, sliding her hands over the bark of the trees, reaching up to touch the brilliant green leaves that had just unfurled for the new spring season. The old wooden cane being used was leaned on heavily as she traveled a path that had brambles and weeds growing up.

    It has been a while since she had come this way. She wished she had come sooner but she had been reluctant. Afraid. Traveling this path was a ritual that required a lot of thought.

    She listened to the birds singing and chuckled. They were so hyper and happy that they made sure that all knew about it. She squinted her eyes when she came to the clearing, the sun brighter in the opening than along the path. In the middle was a small patch of wildflowers growing, vibrant blues and purples. Cool greens and firey reds. They were surrounding a small sprig just blooming, coming out of the shelter it had for the winter.

    She leaned over and blew on it, a fragile hand caressing the delicate branch. “As before me, one has given their life. I give my life to you. And so you shall give your life to the one after you.”

    She put the can aside and laid down, the light of the sky fading in her darkening gaze until her breath stopped. The young dryad would wake up soon and lay to rest another sister and mother.


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  • Alissa July 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Beautiful! Your descriptions are so very detailed. I loved the birds! I could hear them! 🙂

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  • Mark Ethridge July 17, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Tommy walked out of the company’s office building. Holding the last paperwork he’d ever get from them in his hands. Laid off. Him. Laid off. Everyone he’d talked with about his pending unemployment had been sad. Depressing. They all said the same thing. “Sorry to hear that. But you’re good. You’ll find something.”

    No one understood that to him, this was freedom. He was at last escaping a dead end in his life. He’d gone as far as he’d ever go in that job. In that career. Without selling his soul. This was what he wanted. What he needed. An end to the old, dead end life he had lived in, been trapped in, for 10 years.

    A chance to start a new life. One that was still undefined. One where he would do something different. Something no one expected him to do. Something he WANTED to do. Yeah. Something he wanted to do. Even if it was selling burgers and McDonalds. Or waiting tables at a Chillies. Or even stocking grocery store shelves between midnight and 8:00 AM.

    Whatever he wound up doing. It would be new. It would be fresh. It would be the first step in a new life. A second chance for him to get things right. To learn to live.

    He wondered what anyone watching him from the building would have thought, as he stood outside his car, laughing, then turned, waved good-bye to the building, got in his car, and drove off.

    The sky looked beautiful to him that day.

    It had been a long time since he’d noticed how blue it was.

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  • Alissa July 17, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I love the hope. Great job!

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  • BronwynK July 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    “Are you ready, pumpkin?”

    Halley looked up from her computer. “I’m not sure, daddy.” Her father sat on the bed next to her desk.

    “I know it’s scary, but you know that it’s part of our culture.” He reached over and placed a hand on her shoulder.

    “I’m not ready for the ceremony, daddy. What if the Fates give me a mate who doesn’t take care of me?”

    “Darling, the Fates will give you a mate who will love you and take care of you. There has not been a mating that as resulted in an unhappy couple.” He turned her chair around to face him. “Halley, we have put this off for five years just for you. It is time.” He stood up and held a hand out toward her.

    Halley stood slowly, brushing her hands over skirt to smooth out the wrinkles. She placed her hand in her father’s, ready to close one chapter in her young life and to begin another.

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  • Meredith July 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Shelby closed the window and walked toward the door but not without looking back. It was the window with the window seat, the one that held her favorite moments in this 10-walled brick place she finally called home. As she exited the flat, she thought about all the hours on that window seat doing a myriad of activities. Some of those activities walked with her now and others stayed with the window for others to get inspiration from, or not.

    With her satchel hung on her left shoulder, Shelby walked out into the dusk of what she would eventually call the beginning of her life. The blue Pacer waiting for her drove quickly through the streets of Brooklyn. She looked at Avalen and wondered if it had any idea how she felt leaving like this.

    After a quiet ride to what seemed the edge of New York, Avelen and Shelby got out of the car and moved to the designated spot. Avelen pulled out its communication device and spoke quickly into it (everything about Avelen seemed brisk), “She made the final cut. We’re here.” It wasn’t long before the trees swayed and the sky was lit up as if from stars. Shelby took it all in, the sounds of the machines, Avelen holding her arm, the creatures forming the ladder a human would need, the fact that this was her last time on Earth. Right here, right now, she was certain she made the right decision.


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  • Rebekah Postupak July 17, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    “I’m looking for the Singer.”

    “Who? Lots of singers ‘round here.” The old man’s voice sounded innocent enough, but his face said “Give me money first.”

    I paid him. “You know which one.”

    He grinned, gold teeth flashing in the light of my lantern. “What you want the Singer for?”

    “That’s my business.” I hoped my face said, “Shut up, old man.” –“Will you help me? I paid you.”

    “You think a couple of coins are enough? The Singer’s a serious matter. Not just anybody can get a song.”

    I felt a faint prickling at the back of my neck, and my cheeks flushed. “Tell me where to find the Singer! I need a song, and I do not need to tell you why!”

    The old man grinned again, wiping his nose with a bare hand and wiping it on his cloak. “Then I guess you don’t need a song so bad.”

    “I do need the song! I need it badly!”

    “Then tell me all about it first, and I’ll let you know if I’m gonna help you or not.”

    “What are you, some kind of idiot gatekeeper? I need the song, I paid you, and that should be enough. If you’re not going to help me, then at least get out of my way, and I’ll ask someone else.”

    “Nobody else around here, miss, in case you didn’t notice. Tell me why you want the Singer for.”

    I growled in frustration. “That is ENOUGH. Goodbye, since you won’t help. I’ll find him myself.”

    The old man smiled again, gently this time. “No, my dear, I don’t think you will.”

    As I plummeted, helpless, to the ground, he stretched taller and darker before my eyes. Raising his arms, he opened his mouth and began to sing.

    Ohhhhhhhhhh, what a song!

    And ohhhhhhhhhhh—what a death.

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  • Rebekah Postupak July 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    305 words

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  • Alissa July 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Wow…I’ve known people like that woman…I was frustrated just reading her! Great job! 🙂 …And I want to know what song she was looking for, or did she get the one she wanted…I’m curious! 🙂

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  • C.A. Shives July 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    He knew her. He followed her.

    Their footsteps echoed in the empty parking garage. Her shoes clicked against the concrete like the rhythmic tapping of a high school band snare drum. Her legs, shapely and slender, moved quickly beneath her beige skirt. The scent of exhaust fumes and motor oil lingered in the stagnate air, reminding him of his father’s old Buick.

    He stayed close. Close enough to ensure she heard him. The love he felt for her–the wrenching of his heart that twisted in his chest every time she was near–forced him to make himself known to her, if only by the sound of his steps.

    She moved faster, almost scurrying. He knew she’d felt his presence.

    When she ran, he lunged. He pulled a hammer from his pocket.

    The smash of the metal against her skull sent her to the floor. He was surprised that she’d yielded so quickly. He had fallen in love with her strength. The power she showed when he watched her argue a case in front of a jury. The straight line of her backbone when her clients were found guilty. He loved her strength. And he was disappointed in her weakness now.

    He stood over her body, watching the blood seep from the wound in her head. Her blue eyes stared unseeingly at the cracked ceiling of the parking garage. He no longer saw the light that had gleamed in them. Her mouth, open and gaping, lacked the lusciousness that once attracted him.

    She hadn’t loved him. And now he realized how easy it would be to destroy everyone who disappointed him. Everyone who failed him. Everyone who ignored him. He could finally have his revenge.

    He’d ended her life as a powerful woman. But his life–his life as an angel of vengeance–had just begun.

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  • H.L. Pauff July 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    “Please don’t go. I’ll pay you double what he’s offering,” Mrs. Everett had pleaded.

    It wasn’t an easy decision. The work was easy and the pay was good. The routes were familiar and Mrs. Everett had become something of a grandmother to me. She always asked how I was doing and who the love interests in my life were. She always hugged me whenever I picked her up or dropped her off and she always brought me baked goods.

    I could have stayed with her until she died. Driving her town car and chauffeuring her around for the last two years was safe and comfortable, but it wasn’t exciting. I did have to thank her for the new gig. She must have always raved about me when she was rubbing elbows with the other rich people. As much as I loved Mrs. Everett, when the Senator came calling for my services I couldn’t turn him down.

    “Driving for a Senator, you’ll hear things and see things that are matters of national security and I’ll expect your complete discretion,” the Senator said on the phone. “I need someone I can trust completely and with my relentless schedule, I’ll need you available twenty-four, seven.”

    The second day on the job, the Senator called me at two in the morning and had me pick him up at the docks. When he opened the back door and hauled the body of a dead woman inside, I suddenly missed Mrs. Everett.


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  • Alissa July 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Haha! Nice.

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  • Rebecca Grace Allen July 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    “It’s called a Koru,” I tell Melanie.

    Her little fingers wrap around the delicately carved bone. “Aunt Cara sent it from New Zeeland?”

    I chuckle at my daughter’s pronunciation, but I don’t correct her. Not today. “Yes, she did. She had this plant sent, too.”

    I show Melanie the fern, and then place it on the mantle where it’s surrounded by other flowers, condolence cards and candles.

    “The Koru is like this plant. A fern frond unfurls as it grows.” I gently caress a stalk of the plant, wishing my best friend never had to send it. Wishing none of this had ever happened. “It stands for peace, harmony and rebirth.”

    “What’s rebirth?” Melanie asks as she squeezes the pendant in her palm, tests the weight of it, and holds it up to the light.

    “It means new beginnings.”

    “Oh.” She pauses, her mind taking it all in. “Beginnings come from endings.”

    I sigh, kneel down and pull her into my arms. “Yes, they do.”

    Melanie looks down at the pendant, rubbing it slowly, and then presses it to my chest, her fingers above it and spanning the legnth of my heart.

    “So this is for Daddy, too?”

    I choke back a sob, not wanting to think about Jeremy, and where he lies now so far underground.

    “Yes, baby. It’s for Daddy, too.”

    223 words

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  • Rebecca Grace Allen July 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Misspelling of length! *facepalm*

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  • Alissa July 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Beautiful mother-daughter relationship. Poignant.

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  • Michael D. Hansen July 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    “They say I won’t recognize myself in three months.”

    “That’s silly,” my mom said. “You will still be you.”

    “But this is me, right?” She nodded, tired but not willing to go to sleep yet. “And next week, I’ll be completely different. Well, a little bit completely different. And a few more weeks, completely a little different again. And by next month, I’ll be completely different from how I’ll be three weeks from now – entirely slightly different.”

    She shook her head and chuckled at me, putting a hand to my forehead to quiet me. “You will always be you. Whether you are the you you are now, or the you will soon be, or the you you have yet to conceive of.” She kissed my cheek and turned to leave the hospital room.

    I watched her go, thinking about the insane conversation we’d just had, wondering if we’d actually said anything. Tomorrow morning, I was getting a lap band. A few days later, the first major surgery. I should explain, for the fictitious audience in my head who just tuned in to my survey. Three weeks ago, I had approached the hospital with an idea – just an idea and little else. I was (and am) morbidly obese. I’d read a study somewhere that live-tissue skin donations were much more effective and the supply was very limited. I had more than enough skin to go around, I explained, but I didn’t have the means to lose the weight on my own. Or I didn’t have the drive. But for some assistance in that department, I marched myself out as a very large skin-farm, waiting to be harvested.

    I’d thought myself dreaming when the hospital called two days later, with a proposition I would never refuse. But now that it was the eve, that soon my skin would not be my own… I lay in the dark, trying to sleep, but still I wondered if, at any point in the layer after layer that they’ll cut, sculpt, suck and shape away…

    Will I ever feel connected to the man reflected in my mirror? Or will I always stare at the mirror and wonder who stares back at me? And will I like the man who sticks?


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  • Alissa July 17, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I loved the ‘little bit completly different’ conversation! It was very well done and so true to how we think about things.

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  • Michael D. Hansen July 18, 2012 at 12:20 am

    I’ll admit, I had that nibbling at my brain when I started writing, and may have done the piece just so I could put it down on paper. Definitely one of my favorite personal #5MinuteFiction moments. Thanks for liking it!

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  • Tauisha Nicole @shells2003 July 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Marcus sat on the floor of his master bedroom in a penthouse suite he purchased as soon as he made his first million. Just as he said he would. Reaching a goal like that and still making money was something worth celebrating.

    At least it was.

    Marcus never owned anything. He was born poor, grew up poorer and had to practically rub one penny between his fingers to get his wealth. Sipping on a glass of champagne while trying to be happy about this new beginning was impossible.

    Because of Stacia.

    In her mind, money didn’t buy you happiness. He begged to differ. There is no happiness in guessing where your next meal is coming from, or when. Candles aren’t lit for mood lighting when the electric bill couldn’t get paid. Having nothing doesn’t buy you happiness. Oh, but money most definitely can.

    He wanted it all. Even told Stacia that. Told her he wanted to get his life together before he committed to anyone. He never wanted to struggle as his parents struggled; on welfare with a job, barely able to keep a roof over your family’s head. No, sir. Marcus wanted to arrive. In style. With a woman on his side.

    He arrived in his name brand suit and loafers…

    Stacia was gone.

    It wasn’t about the money, she claimed. It was about love: one of the things love couldn’t buy. She didn’t feel loved when he left her alone with his black AMEX. No. She felt lonely.

    So, now he’s greviously happy about life. Starting off as an owner of his dream pad and a broken heart. Being left alone was a terrible end and begining.

    Couple more flutes of Cristal, and things might turn around…

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  • KHRoand July 17, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    The large manilla envelope had been sitting on her desk all afternoon, teasing her with its presence. Elena knew what it contained. It had been a long time coming, but she was still torn about how she felt by the outcome. So, everytime she walked past that damned envelope, she left it where it was. Unopened.

    She glanced at it surreptitiously while she cooked and ate dinner. During the commercials in her evening television programming. When she walked past the counter on her way to the bathroom.

    Each time, she resisted the urge to open that damn envelope.

    Finally, at the end of the evening, she poured herself a glass of wine, grabbed the envelope and marched purposefully to the bedroom. Climbing into bed, she took a deep draw of the mellow cabernet before sliding her finger beneath the sticky tab, exposing a small sheaf of papers. With a silent toast to her attorney, she took another sip and slid out the decree that would free her from the prison of her past.

    Decree of Divorce.

    She’d never seen more welcomed words. And while she knew that she shouldn’t be rejoicing over the end of something as permanent as her marriage should have been, she was ready to put this mistake behind her and start anew. She raised her glass.

    “To clean slates. To new beginnings.” With a large gulp, Elana finished off her glass of wine. “To me.”

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  • Alissa July 17, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I loved how she kept walking past it. It built tension very nicely. Great job.

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  • Nicole July 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    And TIME!

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  • Kevin July 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Not eligible–submitted after deadline

    He woke up in the plainest hospital room he had ever been in. It was to be expected after confronting a demon of that level, but the fact that he came back relatively unharmed made him an exception to behold. Around 4:00 pm, his teammates came around and simply stared at him. He hadn’t wanted to be on the frontline; he was drafted in on the insistence to the higher ups that he was an advancement upon the legend of his father. Everyone saw what a mistake that was. They knew the cost was not worth it, even if Zerrat was killed. The reports had read that he had lost an arm to the demon, which should have meant instant death, since its blood was toxic. But upon seeing him, they saw he had an arm attached; a demon’s arm. All who had grown appendages like those only turned into demons themselves. Finally the well-groomed commander spoke, removing his sunglasses and revealing eyes that haven’t seen dreamland. “Want to explain this?” he said, pointing to his new arm. The boy adjusted his pillow, stared at the commander and said, “I should ask you that.”


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  • Alissa July 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Not eligible–submitted after deadline

    169 words

    “I can’t believe it’s time.” Sydney had been planning for this moment for as long as she could remember. Every day for years, this day had been in her mind – not necessarily in her conscious thoughts, but in the back of her mind, driving her.
    Her mother stepped closer and placed her hands on her cheeks, “You’re ready for this.”
    Sydney blushed, “Mom! You’re embarrassing me!” She half-heartedly batted her hands away. Once it happened, she missed her touch, so she grasped both of her mother’s hands in her own. “I’m gonna miss you.”
    Her mother smiled, “I’m not far. I’m sure I’ll see you when you get a free moment in your busy schedule… Hmmm, perhaps not all that often.” She bit her lip. She had told herself not to cry. This was her only baby, and she was an adult now. “You’ll have a great time. Go. Have fun. Don’t forget to study!”
    Sydney turned to go. She looked at her dorm for a moment, and smiled.

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  • Alissa July 17, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    AH! NO! Grrr! One minute late…I knew giving the kids a bath was going to kill me! Oh well, maybe next week…

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  • Rebekah Postupak July 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Sure gets your heart pumping, though, doesn’t it!!!! Hope you can make it next week. Love this entry!

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  • Alissa July 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks! Yeah, I swear it was beating as fast as if I were on a treadmill! Too bad I didn’t get to the computer until 6:39…just not enough time. Next week I’ll be back home, so It’ll be an hour later…no bathtime then!

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