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I know I’m a writer.   I know because everything I see is a work in progress.  My muse is relentless in driving me to write.  That hot guy who helped me load my groceries into the car?  Wrote a story about him…it was steamy.  In those few moments, he was a god in bed…  Poor man, I almost feel sorry for him, he will never know.

An innocent phrase overheard, a picture on a billboard, or just a random thought, any of those can become a story.   I’m absolutely sure I’m not alone in this.  All writer’s experience this to varying degrees.  I, have an extremely vivid imagination, embarrassingly so sometimes.

People who know me don’t even bother to ask anymore when I start to scribble on a napkin at a restaurant. They have even gotten past rolling their eyes at each other knowingly.  Personally, I think they don’t want to piss me off or they may wind up in one of my books!  Only I know if they already have or not…

So you can imagine my surprise when I sat down at my laptop, gathered my notes, and began to write… and after the first few paragraphs, I realized the story was about me!  Oh dear lord, how could I expose myself like this??  The graphic details of an epic, deviant, bondage, love scene!!!  Well wait a minute…who will know what part is real and what part is imagination?  Better yet… who will know it’s me… no one.  Even now, dear reader, you might be asking, I wonder which book she’s talking about?   Maybe there isn’t one… not to confuse you, but this whole paragraph may well be just my muse trying to embarrass me.

I daydream of dystopian worlds, magical places, werewolves and elves; it’s a very mad chaotic place between my ears where my muse dwells.  Thankfully, she always hands me a fairly happy ending to the stories.  I will let her have her way with me for now.  When the stories turn dark, in a bad way, or deals with dying, I will worry.

So to that end, this has given me an idea (what a surprise!)…a story where the writer has no control over what is written, doesn’t remember writing it, and discovers only after its published in their name that it is about a very secret part of their life.

“What book?”  She asked.

“Why the one just published last week, silly!” her friend answered.

“It’s you that’s silly!  I haven’t published anything in months!”

“Well…Here it is.”

She picked up the book, scanning the picture, title, and author.  The picture was a depiction of a woman trying to kill another woman with a knife.  The title of the book was, To Kill Her Softly, the author’s name was hers.

“Well, I should take this home and read it then.  I have an idea what it’s about though.  Are there any reviews on it?”

“Oh yes!  It’s one of your best!  Who else would have thought to write a story about an author so distraught with her muse, that in an effort to silence her, she kills herself?”

That’s it, I’m killing the bitch!  She storms out the door.


 
 
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It was one of those really hot days, when the air was so thick it was hard to breathe.  I lay in bed with a fan aimed at my face.  Every window and door was open, and I could see all the way to the front door.  There leaned with his back against the door jam, was Marco smoking a cigarette.  I hated it when he smoked; it made his mouth taste bad.  Sweat rolled down his tanned cheek from his hairline, dripping on the shirtless bronze chest of this Greek god of a figure.  When his hand came up to take the cigarette from his mouth, the muscles rippled in his bigger-than-my-head tattooed bicep.  His jeans hung slightly slanted at his hips; maybe it was the way he stood.  The jeans were so tight that you would be able to bounce a nickel off his ass, and he didn't have to be hard for you to know what else he was packin'.  No shoes, and I watched as his toes rolled a bottle cap on the concrete of the stairs, aimlessly.  He stared out into the bright sun, squinting a little, smoking.

Our life wasn't bad together, we didn't have a lot, but we had each other.  Marco did odd jobs, worked on people's cars, whatever he could find.  I did nails and hair for the neighborhood, I charged way less than the salons, it was enough to cover some supplies and still make a little money.   

 We would try to stay cool until the sun goes down.  Then after washing the soot of the city off of us, we would meet our friends in the street.  In the dark by the streetlight, we'd gather.  The boys would tell stories, real or imagined, as they kept an arm possessively around their girl.  Somehow, there was always money for beer, and the boys would get louder and more aggressive as the night wore on.  The fight was usually over something very stupid, and thankfully, it wasn't every time that someone was hurt.

It was when the night ended that I sometimes became afraid.  When Marco had too much to drink, he was mean.  He would imagine that I smiled at one of his friends, or whispered to them.  Those nights he would run his fingers into my hair and ball his fist.  He would lead me home by my hair, yanking his hand and swearing.  I had to be very careful to keep my eyes down when we were around the other boys.

On other nights, he couldn't keep his hands off me.  He would stop to kiss me several times on the way home and shove his big hands up my sides under my shirt.  I was embarrassed and saw people looking.  He told me that they were just jealous; I don't know maybe they were.  He was so drunk one night, and in a good mood, that he had sex with me on the stairs to our building.  He said nobody saw us.  He was quick that night so maybe he was right.

I have to be extra careful today and make sure he doesn't drink too much.  I need him to be in a good mood.  Not for the reason you think.  I have news for him.  He's going to be a father.


 
 
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Hadley's – it had changed hands so many times over the years, never changing its name...  In my Mother's day, it started out as a drug store.  As I was growing up, they added a soda fountain and it became an after school hangout.  After I moved away, one of my friends told me it was now a coffee shop.  When I came back to visit her we always made a stop at Hadley's after shopping.

I never knew how much I depended on knowing Hadley's was there.  So much of my life had happened at Hadley's.  My friends and I had discovered boys at Hadley's.  The very cute boy who worked there was our first love.  Every day after school, we would go there and giggle, hoping he would say something to one of us.  Boys our own age became much nicer and they came there to giggle at us, hoping we would notice them.  Many first dates began and ended at Hadley's, right through high school. 

The decor hadn't changed much over the years, until it became a coffee shop.  Espresso and cappuccino machines replaced the soda fountains.  The furnishings were now trendy, sleek, instead of plastic, and practical.  The light a little softer; the drinks a little more expensive. 

My friend emailed me to say Hadley's had burnt down and it was as if I had lost a dear friend.  I guess I had, actually.  That weekend I traveled back to have a last look, to say goodbye.

I arrived late Friday after work.  I drove past the site where Hadley's had stood and I slowed down checking out the damage.  Selfishly I had a thought to stop and see if I could find a treasure to keep as a souvenir, a memory.  I quickly pulled over.  I got out of the car, my heels clicking loudly as I walked closer to the building.  I paused in front of where the front door used to be.  In the dim light, everything was charred, black...  One and a half walls still jutted from the ashes to the left.  I squinted into the darkness trying to imagine what used to be there.

I gingerly stepped into rubble, wishing I had worn other shoes.  The crunching of burnt, crispy unrecognizable items under my feet was the only sound.  I stopped, getting my bearings.  Over there we sat laughing about Karen's new baby just last month.  Voices came into my head, memories of times past, the giggling of us girls over the antics of the boys trying to get our attention.  I chuckled aloud and covered my mouth.

A voice rang out almost startling me, “Hello?” the voice called.  “Hello” I answered.  “I'm just having a last look around.”  No further conversation.  “I ...I used come here a lot and ...well...I came to say goodbye.”  I offered.  Nothing.  Thinking maybe it had been my imagination I shrugged it off.

I heard a crunching noise behind me, spinning around I saw a man standing there smiling.  “Oh!  I was starting to think I was hearing things!” 

He smiled wider and held out his hand, “No it was me.”

 I shook his hand and smiled.  “I used to come here a lot and I was looking for a keepsake.”

He laughed loudly, “You ruined my opening line!  I was gonna ask you if you came here often!”

We both laughed.  “My name is Everett, can I ask yours?” he asked with his winning smile.

.  “My name is Lucy.”  I smiled back.

We started walking back to the street.  It was getting darker.  Since Hadley's was at the end of the main street through town, it was also quite deserted and I was feeling slightly uncomfortable. 

“It was nice meeting you Everett.”  I waved and started for me car.

“Wait!  Do you have time for a cup of coffee at the diner?”  He called to me.

I wasn't exactly in a hurry.  “Okay.”  It seemed safe to me.

We drove to the diner, with me leading the way.  Several cars dotted the lot and they were turning on the outside lights.  Meet & Eat, not very fancy but the food was pretty good.  I stopped and got out of the car.  I waited for Everett to reach the door, and then we entered together.  It was noisy inside, the clinking of plates and silverware, a mixture of voices, and a jukebox in the corner droning on about heartache, I didn't recognize the song.

We find a booth and sit opposite each other.  The server comes by and asks for our order.  Everett looks across at me, “Are you hungry, cuz I am, I'm thinking more than coffee, my treat?

“Um no...  Thanks, coffees fine” I was due at my friends later and I would take her out for pizza.

“Suit yourself,” he said smiling, and then ordered a “special”.

We talked easily with each other as if we were long time friends.  He asked me about my memories of Hadley’s and then offered a few of his own.  It was amazing to me that I never saw him there.  The way he talked, he was there almost as much as I was.  We appeared to be close to the same age why had I never seem him at school?

“Everett, how is it I don't know you?  You would think I would have seen you at school if not at Hadley's.”  I asked him.

He looked me in the eye then looked out into the diner.  “I'm a little older than you.  We had different friends...and it was just a different time.”  He looked at his plate.  His head came up and he shot me his smile.  “Anyway, here we are!”

“Yes... we are.”  I smiled back, it really didn't matter, but it rather seemed odd.  “Well I have friends waiting for me so I should get going.  Thanks for the coffee, Everett.”

“It’s been a pleasure Lucy.”  He watched me stand, again with his warming smile.

“See ya around maybe...”  I waved and turned toward the door.  Behind me, he sat shaking his head.

I arrived at my friend’s house about fifteen minutes later.  She lived just outside of town; the drive was beautiful because you had to cross a creek that had a covered bridge.  Such a peaceful place, I missed it sometimes.  College and the big city had lured me away.

“Lucy!”  As I drove up, I could see Carrie waving her arms in the driveway.  I jumped out of the car, “Carrie!”  We hugged and went arm in arm into the house.

“What took you so long?”  Carrie asked as she took my bags from me.

I don't know why but I lied, “Oh traffic was horrible!  And I got started late.”

Carrie seemed satisfied with that answer and busied herself taking my things up stairs to the landing.  “Hey!  Have you eaten yet?'

“I was gonna see if you wanted to go out for pizza.”  I offered.

“Wow, it’s been a long day; I'll order some though, how's that?”  Carrie answered as she sat on the last stair.

“Sounds good.”  So that's how the evening went.  We ordered pizza, sat around in our pj's and talked until the wee hours.  Carrie was one of my oldest friends.  She knew me so well she could finish my sentences sometimes.  I stayed with her when I came into town to see my Mom.

My Mother still resided in this sleepy little town.  Every two weeks I came back to visit.  She was not entirely well.  She had an apartment at an assisted living village where all her friends also resided.  She laughingly called it party city.  “Where else can you raise all kinds of hell and they still do your laundry and feed you!” she always said.  She had heard about Hadley’s burning down and she seemed quite sad about it.  It seemed such a big part of so many lives here.

It was late and there is an open pizza box with a few crusts in it.  Carrie is thoughtfully drinking her soda.  She had just finished a story about a guy she liked in 8th grade; they shared a soda at Hadley's.

“Carrie...did you ever know anyone named Everett?” 

Carrie slowly let the glass lower to the floor where she sat.  “Everett?....Everett.  Really?  No.”

“What?  It’s a perfectly nice name...I just asked.”  I sounded a little defensive.

“Lucy, who is he... did he have anything to do with you being late?”  Carrie, the detective, asked.

“No  ... I was just curious.”

“Spill it Lucy, I'm tired....”  Carrie coaxed.

I told her then of my encounter with the man with the beautiful smile.  As I retold it, it even surprised me how I reacted.  It wasn't like me to have a conversation with a total stranger, to say nothing of spending the next hour and a half drinking coffee and swapping stories.  I had no explanation.  Carrie was appalled; she told me how lucky I was not to be raped and dead at this moment.  I guess she was kind of right.  It was just weird.  Glad to be alive and full of pizza I suggested we turn.  No arguments from Carrie.

The next morning I rose early so I could have breakfast with Mom.  Carrie was still asleep so I dressed quietly and left the house.  I would see her later as I would be staying one more night and go home the following day.

As I drove to my Mom's place I had to pass the remains of Hadley's, I slowed as I passed.  Was I just being curious again, or was I hoping to see Everett going through the rubble?

Soon I pulled into the parking lot of the complex where my Mother lived.  The place was amazing!  The main building was something out of Las Vegas in decor.  The apartments that were attached reflected the occupant as they did their own decorating.  She knew I would be there but she didn't know I was coming for breakfast.  She always looked surprised to see me, “Sweetie!  I'm so glad to see you!” she would yell as soon as she saw me.  Then there were always lots of hugs and kisses.  She always made sure everyone within hearing distance knew I was her daughter.  “This is my baby.  …  Yes, she’s very successful.  ….No, she's not married yet”

I would always laugh and spirit her away so I could have her to myself.  She was tired this morning; she asked if we could have breakfast in the dining area.  I, of course, agreed.  After paying for my own meal, we chose a table and sat near a window.

We chatted for a few moments over coffee before they brought some eggs and toast.  She told me she won bingo that week and got some “Wild Bucks” to spend at the store within the complex.  She went on to say how she and the “girls” were signed up for the field trip to a Casino nearby.  She was so happy amongst her peers.  The staff was wonderful and kept them full of life.  I know she missed Dad but she didn't have time to become depressed about it.  I was comfortable knowing she was well taken care of.  She might as well have been living in a resort.

We strolled outside after breakfast and walked into the garden.  The fragrance of the flowers was cloying in the cool humid morning.  We sat on a padded bench and enjoyed the songs of some nearby birds.  “You know your Father and I used to enjoy sitting in the garden.”  Her voice broke the near silence.

I was hoping she wasn't going to be sad.  “I'm sure you did!  Who in their right mind wouldn't enjoy such a lovely morning!”  I spoke with cheer.

She smiled and looked over the garden.  “Yes” was all she said.

“I'm sure you heard about Hadley's burning down, right?”  I tried to change the subject.

She turned toward me, “Yes, it's what has me thinking about your Dad.”

Great!  “How is that, Mom?  I was curious.

“Before it was a coffee shop, before it got the soda fountains, it was just a drug store.  But you knew that...” she started.

I nodded.

“Well, I was just a young girl but my mom sent me on errands and sometimes I had to go to the drugstore to get things for her. “  She paused as if she were going back to those days in her mind.  “I remember seeing your father there many times, probably running errands as well.  I saw him in school but it was different when you would see a classmate out of school,” she laughed, “especially a boy!”

She shifted her position and went on, “He always wanted to walk with me, but I had eyes for someone else so I shooed him away.”

I laughed, “Really Mom?  Wow I almost didn't happen!”  I teased her.

She laughed with me, “I was afraid the Pharmacist's assistant would think your Dad was my boyfriend!”

“So how did Dad finally win you?”  I encouraged her story; she seemed to find humor in it.

Her face changed and became rather sad, “There's no doubt I would have married your Dad in the long run... but...  I had the biggest crush on that assistant.  Everett died from a snake bite while hunting.”

Hearing Everett's name startled me, “What was his name?”  She repeated it.  Discreetly I asked her what he looked like and it fit the description of the man I had seen in the rubble.  She erased all doubt it was the man I had seen when she mentioned his beautiful smile.


 
 
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(Mild Adult Content)


 I strolled up to the inviting house at the edge of town, stopping at the gate to sensually stick my fingers into the mouth of the Jack-O-Lantern.  I leave claw marks as I draw my hand away and laugh.  My fingers go to my mouth to suck the pumpkin from under my nails as I walk to the door.  The cool night breeze whips my hair around my face, making it hard to see.  I am surprised when I hear a voice.  

“Come in please, we are expecting you” the voice calls to me through the door.

I turn the knob and enter.  There is a cloying smell of spices inside, the only lighting is hundreds of candles, everywhere I look.  I hear distant moaning, not of pain or sorrow, but pleasure.  Taking a few steps into the room, I notice a sign on a table.  Enter at Your Own Risk   My hand goes to my throat, sliding past my right breast as it drops back down to my side, I notice my nipple is hard.  Knowing what awaits me, my breath quickens, and a warm feeling spreads to my entire body.

Lingering in the outer room before proceeding ahead, I remove the light jacket I am wearing, laying it on a chair near me.  A mirror on the other side of the room catches my reflection.  Slowly I move closer to the mirror.  Looking into my own eyes, I drink in the vision of my face.  My hand involuntarily slides along my cheek, again stopping at my throat.  I then slowly unbutton my shirt, opening it to the sides and running my hands over my breasts, watching as my nipples come alive.  My hands travel down my abdomen and my fingers reach the waistband of my pants.  Diving under the waistband, my fingers spread out and slide to my hips pushing down on the material.  My pants drop to the floor and I step out of them.  Fingers wander over my lower abdomen and slide up and down my inner thigh.  A small moan escapes my lips; I'm so ready to do this!

With a sigh, I turn from the mirror and gather my clothes.  I stuff them in the bag I brought with me and lay it next to my jacket.  Facing the door before me, I can almost smell the sweat of bodies beyond.  It excites me and I can hear myself breathing.  I need this so bad!

I reach forward gingerly for the doorknob, then draw back.  Visions flash in my brain of the last time I attempted this, sights of sweating bodies all writhing in one room, keeping pace with the rhythmic music, groaning, grunting, and sometimes even screaming!  My breath catches in my throat, choking me, yet urging me on.  I could feel droplets of sweat roll between my breasts.  I was getting soaking wet just standing there!

Again, I reached for the doorknob.  Pushing it open, the room was suddenly awash with light.  People grabbed at me to enter, “Come join us!” they pleaded.  Smiling and looking over my body, they sought to find the areas that needed manipulation.  The scent of male and female sweat assaulted my olfactory senses.  I found myself looking over their bodies as well, finding pleasing sights on some and not so much on others.  There was a cacophony of sounds in the room until one dominant person demanded attention; then all fell quiet.

The dominant speaker paced as he spoke, telling us the rules for the evening.  They were simple; we should guard against being harmed at all cost.  Endurance was expected but there was no shame in sitting out for a while to catch your breath.  It would be strenuous, but the rewards would be immeasurable.  As always there would be a slow start, very vigorous activity, then a cool down in which we could use the hot tub if we so desired.  

“Lets get started, shall we?” the dominant figure turned and started the music.  "You know the routine, for those that don't, watch your neighbor beside you.  We will do two sets of ten leg stretches to start, ready now, one...two...”  


 
 
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Mmmm, the last bite of Beef Lo Mein slid gracefully down my throat.  I relished the flavors still fresh on my tongue.  Looking down, I saw the remnants of what was a huge plate of noodles beef, and sauce, only moments before.  I leaned back and sighed.  This was my once a week treat to myself, I loved the food here.  

While I let my dinner settle, I looked out the window beside me.  Nice neighborhood, I lived within walking distance.  It was always a nice, quiet place to live for an inner city area.  
My attention returned to the table I sat at.  The waitress had cleared my plate away and left my bill in a dish with a fortune cookie.  I usually passed on the cookie but I couldn’t resist looking at the fortune.  I broke the cookie in half and the rectangle paper inside escaped the opening I made.  It fell to the table.  Picking it up I could see this one was different.  It was hand written.
What in the world?  I had to read it several times before my eyes could be pulled away long enough to quickly scan the restaurant.  It said, in very masculine handwriting; Date me?  555-5555. I guess it really wasn’t a secret I was going through a ‘dry spell’.  This was kind of a cruel joke though.  How in the heck did they pull it off?
The following week I returned to the Ming-Ming’s, like clockwork.  Sitting in my favorite booth, I looked over the menu.  It never changed and by now I have had most of the things on the menu I would consider eating.  I decided on the Sesame Chicken.  As I waited, I dug through my purse for lip-gloss.  I ran across the rectangle piece of paper from the fortune cookie.  I scoffed and crumpling it up.  I tossed it on the table.
My meal came and I again enjoyed every morsel.  While waiting for my bill I noticed a man sitting in the opposite corner of the restaurant.  He was intent on something in front of him on the table.  I tried to see what he was doing but from this far away, it was impossible.
The waitress came with my bill and the inevitable fortune cookie.  I couldn’t help myself I had to see if this would be a normal fortune inside.  Cracking the cookie in half, I scrambled for the paper inside.  It was hand written again, I love you, please call me 555-5555.  Well this was just silly!  I tossed the paper on the table.  I quickly paid my bill and left.
I stayed away from Ming-Ming’s for several weeks.  I met a girlfriend at Tony’s Pizza Emporium, sure, the pizza is good, but I missed the Asian fare.  My friend, Donna, was telling me about events in the neighborhood that were coming up.  “Chinese New Year!  I don’t know what animal it is this year but they ALWAYS have a great street party!  We so have to go, Karen.”
I hold up my hand and shake my head while I tell her about the fortune cookies at Ming-Ming's.  “So, no thank you, I won’t be going to that.”
Donna laughs at me and wants to know more about the handwritten fortunes.  I tell her that’s all there is to it.  I even tell her I think the odd guy in the corner has something to do with it, “Maybe he’s writing them.”
“So he’s your secret admirer?”  She teased.
“I don’t know!”  I punched her in the shoulder lightly.  “I sure hope not, I mean, I don’t even know what he looks like!”  We have a good laugh then talked about her new job.  Soon it was time to go and we parted ways.
Donna called me a week later, insisting we meet some friends at the Chinese New Year street party.  Since it was within walking distance I could hardly refuse, and I hoped it would fun.
Donna arrived at my apartment and we walked the few blocks to the festival.  Then we began looking for our other friends.
We could hear the firecrackers before we got there, but nothing could prepare you for the pageantry of the fest.  The colors were brilliant and flowing, the movements mesmerizing.  The welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth was a breathtaking sight.  The Lion Dance started, he not only ushered in the New Year, but evicted evil spirits from the premises.  The music was intoxicating, making you want to dance.  
Donna ran over to some friends that had just arrived.  My attention was drawn back to the Lion Dance as the Lion chased the Evil Spirits.  One particularly Evil Spirit was headed right for me!  As he passed by me, he swooped down and lifted me up.  He lifted me to his lips and kissed me.  He quickly placed me back on the ground.
“Why didn’t you call me?”  He asked.
The Lion was hot on his tail and before I could answer, he was chased away.  I couldn’t believe my ears!  Was this the author of the fortune in the cookies?
My friends were all laughing after seeing what happened to me.  I told Donna what the Evil Spirit said.  She thought he might be the author of the notes as well.  We planned to go to Ming-Ming’s the following day.
After work, Donna stopped at my apartment and we walked to the restaurant.  We ordered and then looked around the restaurant at the other people there.  There was just a couple one table over from us, and two young girls in a booth on the other side of the room.  The man in the far corner seemed very intent on whatever it was he was hunched over.
“Donna, I’m going over there to see what he’s doing.”  I said rising from the table.  Donna said nothing.
As I got closer, I could see he was an older gentleman.  He was indeed writing on small rectangles of paper.  I knew this couldn’t be the man who kissed me, but I was sure he would know the man who did.
I sat down on the other side of the booth and the old man’s head came up in surprise.  He looked at me questioningly.  “Do you speak English?” asked.  He stared blankly at me.  I looked down at the fortunes spread on the table.  “What’s this?”
Again, he just looked at me.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement and I looked to the side of the old man.  A man had stepped from hallway and stood next to the old man.  Our eyes meet briefly and I looked away, but not before I noticed his attractive face.  
“It was me…I’m sorry.  I wrote the notes to you…,” the man said.
I look up at him again.  “Really?”
He sits in the booth next to the old man.  “My name is Bolin, I see you come here all the time.  I cook for you every time.  I take extra care when I prepare your food.”  He pauses and looks down.  “I’m shy and I’m only bold when I am an Evil Spirit.”
I reached across the table and touched his hand.  “You kissed me?”  Bolin nodded his head.
Donna had approached the booth we were in and said, “I think you owe this man a date!”
Bolin looked up smiling and I nodded my head.


(Please see the post before this to see how your story can be next!)