October 23, 2018 – Prompt – The Condemned Cell stank of cats.

My first moment of awareness came abruptly. I saw flickering shadows as my eyes adjusted to the faint light. What looked like columns covered the far wall. Then my nose honed in on a sharp, prickly odor. At first I thought it might be my own body odor or the smell of my damp, sweaty clothes. But as I concentrated on the smell I suddenly recognized it. I had smelled that distinct odor before. My Aunt Dori’s house was permeated with that same odor. She was a “cat lady”. Echoing sounds just beyond the wall suddenly interrupted my memories of visits to her house.

Where was I? A closer scrutiny of the wall revealed a door with a small slot and a large lock. What I thought were columns were actually bars. I must be in prison. Who knew a condemned cell stank of cats? Or stank of the fear of the condemned? Why was I here? What did I do? What was making the echoing sounds outside of the wall?

The echoing sounds were replaced with the sound of metal on metal; a key turning in the lock The door creaked as it was pushed in. The guards were coming for me and I can’t remember why.

JoAnne Mowczko

October 16, 2018 – Prompt – Courage

It takes courage to raise nine children as a single mother. My grandmother not only did that but brought them to America. Before World War I and II broke out, she and her family lived in Austria. When she heard about the German takeovers and her family encouraged her to immigrate to Poland. Packing up the youngest five children, she found passage across the Atlantic on a steam ship in steerage. Steerage was the bottom of the ship where cargo was stored.

She and the five children made it to New York and from there joined her relatives to live in a small apartment. She worked as a seamstress and a cook to save enough money to return to Poland and bring back her older four children. The recession and during the wars were tough on her family. My mother, number seven and her brother, number eight, had to be fostered to live with another couple. The older children had to get jobs to support the whole family when my grandmother couldn’t work.

Today, I’ve always thought about visiting Europe to see the land where my grandmother came from. I finally was able to do that this summer. The amazing part visiting the cities which had been rebuilt after the war to the same grandeur they once had. I could never imagine what she had gone through to bring her children to the United States. Some asked, ‘Where was her husband, my grandfather?’ We don’t know. The last thing my cousin found out was Max spent some time in South Africa and Canada during this era.

Nancy Nation

October 9, 2018 – Prompt – “I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.” Wm. Shakespeare

This was a take home prompt and limited to 1000 words.

One More Glass of Scotch

The first time I entered this place was in a dream. My life at the time was very ordinary, boring actually. I came home from my office job each night more and more worn down with the utter uselessness of what I was doing.

It was a Wednesday night the mid-week day when we can look forward to the weekend. I hadn’t been enjoying my weekends either. Golf had become more work than fun, none of the football teams I watched were doing well, and my girlfriend had moved out saying, “You know you are not fun anymore, Josh. What happened?”

I drank a quart of Famous Grouse scotch and staggered to my bedroom. I was out before I hit the bed. I know you don’t know when your dreams begin but this one seemed to start as I closed my eyes. I was standing in front of an ornately decorated door, I reached out and grasped the doorknob that was a golden color and shaped like a rose. I stepped into a light-filled room the walls weren’t painted but changed colors every few minutes. The hues were so rich they seemed to seep into my brain through my eyeballs. They filled me with all-encompassing peace. It was so tranquil I wanted to stay forever, but before I could take more than one step. I woke up. I didn’t want to my desire was to return and escape not just my boring life, but the throbbing headache I had.

I couldn’t because my alarm went off and I had to get up and go to work. Thursday was as dissatisfying a day as Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday had been. My headache never left even after Advil every four hours. I thought perhaps what I would need was the “hair of the dog” so I stopped at my usual liquor store for some Famous Grouse. I picked up a bottle then reconsidered and bought a case. Maybe it was the scotch that got me to that awesome room.

When I got home I went right to my bar grabbed a glass and some cold water, Scotch is better with a little water I have been told, grabbed a bottle from the case and headed for my bedroom. I wasn’t going to waste time on other activity or even the time it would take me to walk from my recliner to my bed. It was straight to bed, and after four full glasses, I had emptied the bottle. I was asleep almost before I sat my empty glass on my bedside table. Hallelujah, there was the ornate door. I quickly opened it and walked in. The beautiful colors were there,, and tonight there was a soothing melody playing. It reminded me of a burbling spring and the sound seemed to flow into my subconscious mind and calmed me. I took two steps and woke up.
Friday was much the same as Thursday. Except I skipped the Advil because it didn’t help my headache, and gave me indigestion.

I didn’t have to stop at the liquor store tonight. I drove straight home taking risks at yellow lights and even going through a red light which was accompanied by the honking of horns and the one-fingered wave. They sounded angry to me. I didn’t bother with ice or a glass. I had put my scotch in the freezer before I went to work. I grabbed the frost covered bottle and went right to my bedroom. I unscrewed the cap and drank from the bottle. I emptied it in thirty minutes. It was there again the ornate door, and I burst through it and took three steps then I halted to take a deep breath because the fragrance in the room was so heavenly I thought I would swoon but as I began to take another breath, I woke up.

I was filled with rage. It was Saturday. I didn’t have anything to do. I wanted to stay in my dream and “I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it,” I thought. I hustled to my kitchen and pulled another bottle of Famous Grouse from the freezer. This time I decided to drink slower but had to stop myself from guzzling. In less than an hour, I was again asleep and standing in front of the doorway. When I took four steps, a light breeze caressed my cheek the sensation went right to my brain. As before I then woke up. I had been asleep for less than two hours. I tried to get up but the effects of the scotch were still apparent, and when I tried to stand up I fell down. I must have hit my head on something as hours later I roused with a lump on my temple and lying on the floor. My vision was so blurry it took me a while to focus on my watch and see what time it was. I had spent the whole day on the floor, and it was now evening.

I repeated the ritual of the last two days but added another bottle of scotch. Perhaps I thought two bottles would keep me asleep longer. When I entered the room taking just five steps, there was a table laden with all my favorite sweets I picked up a chocolate truffle and let it melt in my mouth but before I could swallow I woke up. I wept. I didn’t want to leave the room everything in it was magnificent.

I drank again even more and soon entered that wonderous place. This time there was a door across the room, and as I strode six steps it opened, and a tall, thin man in a black hooded cape beckoned to me.

“Come in,” he said, ”you can waste your time here.”

Christine Howard

September 25, 2018 – Prompt – This is the Fifth Door He Has Knocked on

This Is The Fifth Door He Has Knocked on

Funny how things work out. He didn’t even remember how he got there, but he knew he was in the right place. The Halloween party started at six pm, and it was only ten pm. Well, he was just a little late.
First door – no one answered
Second door – lady gave him some candy
Third door – a dog barked and growled, no answer
Fourth door – he could hear a TV, but no one answered
Fifth door – The door opened, and Batman said “where have you been?
The party started four hours ago.”
“Well, you know how it is after several drinks. I have been wandering around lost in the neighborhood, and at least I got a lot of candy.”
“Come in here Dad; you know that you’re not allowed to wander around at night by yourself. We’ve been worried about you.”
“Good grief, don’t get so excited, they told me at the rest home, it was time to turn out the lights and go to bed. I knew that I could do what I wanted to and I decided to sneak out and enjoy Halloween. No one ever missed me. Besides, I have my pajamas on! Do you want some candy?”
Jean Dunstan


This is the fifth door he knocked on
And there was no answer
He panicked because behind him
Was a big fighter
He ran some more
to another door
And pounded like a cop
And finally someone opened up.

A sigh of relief passed his lips
And long arms embraced his hips
“Come in my dear
You are finally here
It’s almost time to eat
Juicy, tender meat.”

The water was boiling
The butcher was toiling
Sharpening the knifes and cleaver
Approaching him like a beaver
The little boy, who found no joy
Running into a stranger’s abode
Not knowing any code.

Now children listen to reason
Do not follow strangers this season
Cannibalism is for real
And children they do steal.

Ellynore Seybold

October 2, 2018 -Prompt -“I couldn’t believe it they had done in again.”

Sales Guy – James Encounter
Sales Guy had come upon hard times. It seemed like months since he had made his last king-sized sale – over one hundred thou. Sales Guy was known for his ability to sell anybody anything, the kind of guy who could sell, as the saying goes, refrigerators to Eskimos..

And so he found himself at the residence of an old friend, one whom he hadn’t seen in a year or two. Even though he would be trying to sell a unique photo of his beloved BD5J jet aircraft, he had reconciled himself to this financial low point, selling off the last of his prized possessions.

He reviewed the names on the mailboxes, and fond the name of his old friend, the owner of the building he had once lived in.. He rang the bell. James buzzed him through.
Sales Guy knocked, lightly. The door opened half way.

Immediately recognizing his visitor, the Owner rolled his eyes, and blurted, ““Not you again, Sales; you half-witted, simple-minded, lame-brained nitwit. What piece of rat-infested dog-shit are you going to try to sell me today? Last year’s piece of unconscionable junk lasted all of a month and evaporated. Now, do I really need another fucking truckload of camel dung to send to my mother for Christmas? Go away dipshit.” And he tried to close the door but was halted by Sales Guy’s boot stopping it in place.
Sales Guy appeared to take this in stride. He swallowed hard, drew a deep breath. He then drew his right arm, fist closed, behind the right side of his head, as far as it would go, and he then threw it forward with all his worldly might, opening his hand just before it made contact. His flat hand smashed against the door with an ear-shattering explosion which had most of the residents curiously poking their heads out of their doorways within seconds. So loud was the thunderclap that it could be heard two stories down. Silence returned after the reverberation of the blast settled down. By the time the curious onlookers had focused on Sales Guy at the Owner’s door, he was smiling affably and saying, “Why James, a pleasure chatting with you.”

Without waiting for a response, Sales Guy sauntered down the hallway and waited for his old friend to join him beside the swimming pool. He knew he had James exactly where he wanted him. He felt so good about his encounter that he couldn’t help whispering to himself, “This is so nice; I could willingly waste a good deal of my time just sitting here waiting to close this one.”

Lloyd Rain