Hello there!

Welcome to my blog, brought into existence because I believe in the power of stories. I hope you'll find a few things you like here. Let me know what you think and leave me any verdict, suggestion, challenge or request you want.

Contact: stories@hotmail.be
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stories-Inc/177071399037533

Happy readings!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Mistaken Genius - 150 words Writing Competition (fourth edition, host: Cayman)

Okay, writers of all lands, unite! Here are the submission guidelines for the fourth edition of the in-thread Blogger Coffee Shop writing competition (hosted by last winner, Caymantime), so get out your pens and notebooks and get creative!
You have to construct a story that incorporates all of the 5 words, and is exactly 150 words in length.
You will post your story as a reply to this thread. For the sake of clarity, you will italicize the entire 150 words, so that the stories are easy to spot as one scrolls through the thread, and you will bold the 5 random words in the story.
The winner is determined by how many 'Yes, this answer is helpful' votes she or he gets. Any 'No' answers will not be taken into account.
The competition ends a week from now, Wednesday, January 26th.
The winner of this competition will host next week's competition, and be declared winner on Stories Inc.'s blog, with their winning entry posted, as well as a link to their blog.

Your five randomly chosen words are:


To enter the competition, write a story that is in accord with above rules and post it as a reply here.
And this is my entry:
Mistaken Genius
He thrust his fingers deep into the slick and drew smudgy black outlines on the wall. His nimble fingers sloped the profile along the stone canvas. A little thicker on that spot, a little curvier there, as if he was possessed. Beautiful! It was brilliant, it was bold, it was provocative, it would blow them all away... Who in their right minds could see this and not become a believer in Art and his awakening genius?
He held his breath. Was someone coming to peer on his work? He would NOT exit his domain now, not even if Hell itself came for him.
“What the fuck did you do to my room, you little shit?!”
She pulled him upright by the ear and dragged him out into the hall.
“Don’t EVER pull a stunt like that again, you hear? MUM!!!!! Picasso’s been playing around with the motor oil again!”

Happy reading/writings, lots of inspiration and good luck to all of you,
Stories Inc.

Writing Competition - And the winner is... (drum roll) 3rd edition

Hey guys!
As those of you who entered the in-thread contest probably already know, the third edition was won by the talented, the twisted, the downright mentally ill:
So go give him a great big shout-out on his blog or in the thread.
This was his winning entry:
Stories business had improved since helping Drachma with his "little problem".  She began to grind more meat, noticing an eye she'd missed.  She picked it out and threw it in the fire.  She'd found mixing it with pork best.  Best seller, as well.

Business had been declining since the supermarket moved in a year ago.  Butcher shops just couldn't compete with their pricing, unless butchers could offer something they couldn't.  Stories' "special" blend of ground pork was just the something they couldn't offer. 

When Drachma first proposed Stories help with his "disposal" problem, she didn't know if she could do it.   "How do I do it?" she thought.  "Where do I hide bodies?"  Well, she figured hiding bones was much easier than whole bodies.  And so much more profitable.
Looking at the blend, she had the urge to taste it.  Scooping with her finger, she brought it to her lips...
And this is Cayman’s well-deserved (virtual) competition trophy:
He did a great sketch of my daily life there, even though we’ve never met, amazing, isn’t he? Sausage, anyone? My treat.
For obvious reasons, I decided to award him another award, by popular consensus, I reckon:

Cayman will now host the fourth edition (how time flies) of the in-thread writing competition. I’ll give you the what and where asap.
In the future, there may be more extra awards, based on the general reactions of the public to a particular story.
All best wishes, everyone.
Stories Inc.

P.S.: sorry Cayman, no cash, but would you take a lifetime supply of meat products? I’ve got some fine recipes lying around, Cayman flavour. You do have to come collect them personally do. *grins in anticipation, rubs hands and sharpens knifes* Want me to give you my address? It’s just down the street, just follow the screaming.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Entry to third edition of the in-thread writing competition - Witch pâté

Correction: apparently the contest closes tomorrow. Here’s my 150 words entry to the third in-thread writing competition:

Witch pâté
Mixing eye of nute and wart of toad, she felt the sudden urge to dig her nails into the sticky mass, as if it was his back. Leaving her for that whore, how dare he! Luckily her mother taught her just what to do with men like that, like her mother before her. A sort of... family business, you could say.
A little girl cried out: “Tommy, Tommy, where’d you go?” Annoying little brat. She set to grind some cat bones into the goo. Tommy had looked more like a Garfield any way.
How could he leave her? He knew no one could do it like her. That is to say, her way, made for one hell of a pâté!
She spread the paste out over a cracker for the sad looking caged raven.
“Don’t look at me like that, honey, you had it coming. Eat up, it’s your favourite.”

Writing Competition, 150 words - Third Edition (host: Nina)

Okay… For quick writers, you still have till the 19th to enter this competition I should have already told you about had the universe not hated me (don’t get me started on all the things that went wrong this week). Bottom line: assignments, bad karma (?), and computers kicking up enough a.i. to make my life miserable when deadlines pop up. I swear it does that on purpose. Anyways... Here’s Nina’s in-thread writing challenge:
Write a short story of exactly 150 words containing the randomly chosen obligatory words
Italicize the story, put the 5 words in bold and post it as a reply in the thread. Vote via the “was this answer helpful, yes/no” buttons at the bottom of each reply. Don’t press no or you’ll go to hell. You will.
To enter or find more info, click the thread link. Good luck!
Sorry for rushing through this, but exams are killing me...

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Announcement: I got an award! (Well, a tiny one, but still...)

I got an award, I got an award! Fellow-hubber (as in: active on HubPages.com) Kirutaye in her New Year’s post, The Kirutaye Online Awards’, awarded me ‘One to Watch’. I’m so psyched... *wipes tears away and burst into an emotional speech that has too much stammering to be well-understood and is therefore better left omitted*
I guess I’m going to have to step up to the title now though. Well, after exams, that is.
Thanks to the universe and everybody in it.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

And the winner is...

So… sorry this post had so much delay, but here it is:
The winner of the 2nd edition of the Blogger Coffee Shop In-thread Writing Competition (hosted by last edition’s winner, Hannah) is... *drum roll*:
To go congratulate our talented new winner, go to her blog/her blog or the competition thread in the Blogger Forum.
Here is Nina’s much-sought-after incredibly sophisticated and exclusive award *LOLs over own joke, which is pathetic*, which she can put in her virtual trophy case:

Nina won with the following mind blowing entry:

Forget them" I said. Since I had already won the preliminary round, I knew i had the right stuff to win the art exhibition, despite what they said.  Words of jealousy and hatred, that's all they are.

They think I can't do it.  On the contrary, I am quite skilled.  In fact, since I was a child I could draw, paint and sculpt masterpieces.  I'll show them creativity, I'll show them what avant-garde really means.  I'll make them eat their words!

I've tried my pallet in blue, yellow and green but those just won't do.  Red, blood red, thats the color to show my passion.  Wait until they see the work a true artist creates when they give everything, even their last breath.

With blood as my pallet, my torn fingers as brushes, I will show them I've got what it takes to  create something exceptional; art worth dying for.

Nina , as the new winner, will now host the competition’s third edition. I’ll keep you informed about the challenge as soon as it comes in.
All best wishes,
Stories Inc.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Entry to second edition of the in-thread writing competition

I haven’t yet posted my entry to the second edition of the in-thread writing competition here (which is quite convenient, I seem to have a few time-management problems this exam period, so now I no longer have to worry about today’s post), therefore I will do it now, even though the contest is kind of already over... (See next post for more information and go congratulate Nina)
The challenge was to write a short story of exactly 150 words, containing the randomly chosen words preliminary, yellow, contrary, dying, draw, so here is my submission, which came in second by the way (hooray! :D):
The Babysitter
The atmosphere was tense, the pressure maddening. They eyed each other suspiciously, the predator and the prey. Sweat dripping down their faces...
This time, he’d show her good!
This time, she’d beat him bad!
It would be great, it would be contrary to all expectations and preliminary to all success, winner take all... This was The Long-awaited Battle! They braced themselves for the next move.
“Foot on yellow!” He bellowed smugly. She’d never pull that off...
“Dammit!” It felt like dying, but she made it! A primal savage cry of joy welled up from deep inside her.
Both dug their teeth into their lips, a hardened expression; this was it. It burned. Each muscle hurt, but give up? No, sir, they would NOT!
Their self-elected referee hopped closer on his plaster, calling out: “For God’s sakes, cut it out already, it’s a draw.”
Fool! There were no draws in Twister!
There will soon be a third edition, hosted by this edition’s winner and I’ll keep you updated on that as soon as it’s up.
All best wishes,
Stories Inc.
P.S.: the post with more info on the previous contest should be up today, I try to get it ready in between courses... Yes, it’s a disaster. Please forgive me for not being around as much the coming weeks. I’m also going to try to avoid the forum, because I know what’s good for me. Well, more because if I don’t spring into full action now, it will be utterly hopeless. *sigh L*

Friday, 7 January 2011

Dance, 2

We come across a nice, cosy, informal cafe. It’s nearly empty and there’s a candle on every table. Perfect!
I hold the door open for her. So many beautiful tables shrouded in a romantic glow. She takes a seat at the bar. Damn it!
Now what?
I walk up to her and say:
“It’s always warmer in the back.”
I don’t know if that’s true, but she gets up. I grin at myself as I follow her. I know how much she hates the cold.
We sit down at a small table in a niche. No one will disturb us here. We, of course, order coffee. There’s genuine gratitude in her face as she accepts the steaming hot cup from the waiter, as if it is a benevolent gift rather than something she ordered and paid for. Wouldn’t you just bend over and kiss her?
Her spirits are lifted a little. Now? I’m trying to work up my courage, figuring out how to begin.
“Hm.” She responds absently, enjoying her coffee as if she’s in love with it. I’m feeling a little jealous. Ridiculous! In any case, I know how she’s going to devour it, cup and all, when she’s done toying. Don’t stall!
“You know I care about you.” A lot. She doesn’t look up. Is she listening?
“Don’t you?” No response. “Daphne?”
Suddenly her face clouds over. She starts sobbing.
What am I to do? How can I make it better for her?
Everything she’s been bottling up the whole day starts spilling out all at once, I can’t even make out every word no matter how I strain.
I just want to get up and take her in my arms, hold her, soothe her until she stops crying. Instead I sit here, listening, while she falls apart. I’m such a coward.
“They say they can’t keep living together as if everything’s alright. They don’t trust each other. I can’t even trust them anymore, either one of them.” She’s looking for something, something that’s not within her grasp. I offer her my handkerchief. Thank goodness I haven’t used it. She accepts it graciously, twisting her mouth into the closest she can get to a smile. “I knew it was coming, that it would end up like this, eventually, so why does it still hurt so much?”
How can I answer that? So much desperation. I can see in her face how much it hurts. Her pain squeezes my throat shut.
“Why now?” I enquire in a raspy voice.
“Because my mother’s a liar and my father’s a slut.”
“Who is it?”
“Our next-door neighbour.” She makes a face at me. I try to picture her, have I seen her before? The image of a sturdy woman in her thirties with thick blond curly hair pops up. A family woman.
“You mean Ann?” I can’t believe it. I would never have imagined... With two young children and all.
She nods. “Among many others.”
She has another sip and stares off into space, tears streaming down.
“Can you believe I actually say hello to that... woman every single day? Well, said.”
She takes a big gulp and starts taking more vigorously. She’s clearly furious.
“So did my mother by the way. She was so shocked, I fear for her health.” She bangs the cup on the table. Did it break? It could’ve. “She hardly ate or slept all weekend.”
“How did she find out?”
“He left his cell phone lying around. She was already suspicious, they’re always suspicious of each other. He was texting all day, he couldn’t wait to get us out of the house, he was acting funny, nervous... The messages made it obvious.”
She turns the cup around between her hands.
“The things they said and did to each other, all these years, you wouldn’t believe if I told you. No one would. It was bound to happen.”
She starts crying. “I’m so sorry to bother you with this. I feel like if I don’t tell someone, I’m going to burst.”
“You never bother me.” I say, from the bottom of my heart. “You couldn’t possibly.”
She sniffs. “Thanks.”
I reach out to briefly touch her hand across the table.
“Hey, it’s okay. I understand. I’m here for you.”
She puts up a brave face, she’s thankful. That knowledge sends a warm glow through my stomach.
“You can tell me anything. I’ll always listen.”
“Thank you, you’re such a good friend.”
Ouch! The warm fuzzy feeling retreats immediately and the anxiety returns.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“Yeah, no problem.”
I drink my coffee.
We must have spent at least an hour like that, practically in total silence, staring ahead of us, alongside each other. The cafe is filling up. The bartender turns on the TV, the sports channel. Loud, soon to be drunk people have come to enjoy some game. A couple of them are eying Daphne. I want to get out of here. So does the bartender. He’s eying us too. We haven’t ordered anything since that first cup and we’re still here, taking up space. But if we go now, she’ll go home. The men elbow one another and point in her direction. They’re whispering, louder and louder, pushing each other forward. Alright then.
“Wanna get out of here? Believe me, you wouldn’t want to get caught up in a soccer war.”
She looks around, she hadn’t even noticed. “Yeah, sure.”
We leave the cafe with the overwhelming backing sound of “GOAL!!”
Right in time.
To be continued...

Monday, 3 January 2011

Dance, 1

“Maybe you shouldn’t.”
I say as she kicks the espresso machine.
“Don’t do this to me!” She shouts.
People in the hallway are staring at us. I smile, nod, say hello. So embarrassing...
“You know, Daphne,” I whisper, “assaulting the vending machine isn’t going to help: out of service is out of service.”
She finally gives up. “I know.” She sighs, leaning her forehead against the device. “I’d kill for some coffee right now.”
She suddenly looks so fragile. So tired. I suppose she didn’t get much sleep.
Guess now is not the time to tell her.
“Alright, what’s up?”
She doesn’t respond and starts banging at the machine. I grab her fist.
“Stop that, you’re going to hurt yourself.”
She shrugs.
I glance at the big clock at the wall. Five more minutes.
I won’t let go of her by now unclenched hand.
“Did your parents fight again?”
She jerks free and turns her back to me, crossing her arms. I don’t see it, but I know she’s crying and I know she’s trying to fight it.
I lay a comforting hand on her shoulder.
“It’s definite.” She says in a small voice and swallows heavily. “Nothing can be done, they’ve made that very clear, it’s over. They’re going to get divorced.”
“I’m so sorry, Daph.”
She’s silent. I’m afraid she’s going to collapse. What can I do? I reach my hand out to her, but pull back.
Other students left and right dart past us, standing in the middle of the hallway and disappear into the classroom. We wait till they’re gone. We’re running late. I don’t mind. She needs me.
“Do you want to ditch?” I ask.
She shakes her head, drying her eyes. The clinic light bounces off her long dark tresses. It makes me want to run my fingers through them. It’s difficult to keep my hand under control. I put it in my pocket, just to make sure I don’t do anything rash or stupid. She looks so utterly breakable.
She takes a deep breath and pulls herself together. I grimace at her. We take our seats somewhere in the back row. Everything else is full.
The teacher comes in after us and closes the door. We’ve made it in time after all.
He just babbles on, I’ll read up on the matter later myself, I can’t concentrate.  He tells a joke or two, I hear the people around us laughing, I’m not in the mood.
I scratch her name into the bench when she’s not looking, cover it with my notes. I’ve written ‘Daphne’ all over the room, throughout every class we’ve ever been to, hoping and fearing that she’d ask about it. Then I’d have no other choice but to tell her how I feel and finally get it over with, but she never noticed. Or maybe she did. There are so many Daphne’s.
I have to find a way to tell her. I take my notebook and scribble all over the margins every possible way to tell her.
I love you, Daphne.
I always loved you.
I long for you.
I can’t live without you.
I love you.
I LOVE you.
I love YOU.
I love you,
I love you.
Is she looking? No. She never is. It has to be today, I must confess to her today. But how? What should I say and when? What if she refuses me? I’ll lose her as friend as well. Won’t I? Then what?
I have to know. I must tell her. I look at her. You can just see how tense she is. I should figure out something to make her more at ease first.
Class is finally over, it seemed like ages. Everyone else packs up in a hurry and sprints out. Daphne just watches them go and sighs. The suspense is building up in me, I can feel my heart pounding in my ear. I can’t let her leave now, like this. I must be brave.
Listlessly, she picks up her bag, shoulders drooping, head down. I can’t bear to watch this happening.
I take her arm, gently, I don’t want to be pushy, and guide her through the door, into the cool evening breeze.
“Let’s go get a drink somewhere, calm you down a bit.”
She just nods, but I can see a faint hint of a smile come over her lips. Those full, moon-shimmering, lips.
We walk the street, I try to determine what to say and how, but having her near is just so damn distracting.
Her eyes are fireflies in the night. They dazzle me. I stare at her, I have to say something, she looks at me in wonder, say something!
I hit my foot against a fire plug – how could I have missed that? – and curse. She giggles.
“You’re so clumsy.”
That wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear from her tonight, but I’m glad to see her laugh, so I do too, despite the pain. It may even be worth the slight limp it got me and that I’m desperately trying to hide from her.
We come across a nice, cosy, informal cafe. It’s nearly empty and there’s a candle on every table. Perfect!
I hold the door open for her. So many beautiful tables shrouded in a romantic glow. She takes a seat at the bar. Damn it!
Now what?
To be continued... (next part: Friday)
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