The Definition of Love

This one is written for the weekly picture prompt on The Writer’s Mess, shown below. Follow our narrator as she get’s a completely unexpected reaction from her new boyfriend, prompting her to re-evaluate some things.

When Kevin called her into the house, she flashbacked to Gary, telling her that she was wasting her time, that this was stupid, childish, and that she needed to be over it now.

She had braced herself for the worst, but when she stepped inside, Kevin greeted her with a warm smile and a hot cup of coffee.

He placed the ceramic mug gently into her hands, still covered by her blue knit mittens, careful to make sure she had a good hold on it before letting go.

She was bewildered as he explained, “you’ve been out there for over an hour. I didn’t want you to get too cold, and what better way to warm up than a hot cup of Jo. Do you need help there?”

The warmth of the coffee was seeping through her mittens and warming her fingers, but his words warmed her heart. 

This was it; this was love.  It was a hot cup of coffee and someone who cared if you were cold.  It was offering to help, even though you yourself hated the snow.  This was it; this was the man she was going to marry.



This one is for the Six-Sentence story prompt of VAULT by girl on the edge. I decided that since we are hitting that time of year I wanted to do something light, happy, and Christmas-y. Instead I wrote this incredibly depressing little story about a woman with Alzheimer’s, and while Christmas does get a cameo appearance, I pretty much missed the mark here.

My mind was like a vault with a faulty lock, keeping every memory of every moment safe from view, but opening at random, regardless of the combination that was entered.

One day it would be fine, I would know every face, every story, everything I should, and the next there would be a man standing before me that I knew as my boy David, but instead he called me Grandma.

On the bad days my thoughts were like marbles and I was trying to gather them in a bucket with a hole, each one more likely to roll away then to be spoken aloud. I would cry in frustration, as a child would, not understanding what was going on around me, and sometimes not even that I should.

The good days were sometimes worse, because I was clear, coherent, and a hundred percent aware of the fact that this wouldn’t last, that I was in this place because I was slipping away by degrees, while my family tried to hold on.

Today I sat looking out the window as the world was blanketed in snow, a cold beauty, peaceful in the stillness of night, and I smiled, because I knew that soon it would be Christmas again.

If you are thoroughly depressed, please stop here.




If you want an even darker interpretation of this, then I am going to tell you it’s entirely possible that it’s not going to be Christmas soon. It could have been last week, or months ago depending on where she is living. Yup, cause that story had to be even sadder… Merry Christmas

Escape from Reality?

This one is the story of Grace Harrow, who lives in isolation following a pandemic which keeps her from leaving her home. Follow Grace as she struggles with the question of is this happening, or is it all in her head, and the choices she makes along the way.

There comes this moment in isolation that you start to wonder if this is happening. Has the world really gone crazy, or have you. For me, it was five weeks into the two week lock down that I started to wonder.

For the first three weeks I lived on what I had in the house, but when we got word that it was going to be extended again I put in a huge grocery order on-line. Mostly perishables, and I took the boxes and boxes of jars I had collect for the sole purpose of canning and got to work.

I think that was my first hint it might not have been real. When the groceries were delivered by a woman, no mask, that had no problems accepting cash from my bare hands. She didn’t carry sanitizer, and seemed to think that I was crazy for my goggles.

Week 5 I got my second delivery, this time contact-less, and I looked out at all the people on the street, laughing playing, and I wondered. What was going on? Was this happening or in my head? I didn’t know who I could call , what would I even say, I think I am going crazy, is there a pandemic or is it in my head?

I tried to keep in normal, kept my gaming schedule, continued my virtual meet ups, and a part of me wondered if I was insane. There was a history of schizophrenia on my mother’s side and I was starting to suspect that this was how is started.

The problem I faced was simple and yet incredibly complex. If I was having a break with reality, then my senses were lying to me, and I couldn’t trust anything I heard or saw, in which case I had no way of verifying that this wasn’t real, and I was essentially trapped like this.

If I were sane, that this is happening, and I have not way of verifying that, because things would seem just as real as if I were insane, because of the reasons I already stated. There was quite literally no way to be sure what was going on.

If I had close friends or family, they would have come to visit me if this were not real, because there was no lock-down, and they would have already helped me seek assistance for my delusions. As it was, my parents were long dead, my foster family cut ties at 18, and I had moved hours away from my home for a job, that went remote working a year into my contract, and I didn’t have the funds to go back.

So I was here, alone, and maybe insane, so I did what anyone would do. I started keeping a journal. For three long years, I kept the journal, documenting this, my questioning of my sanity, the noises I heard in the night, all of it.

Then I spent a year alternating between rewriting it the third person giving the main character a different name, editing it, and journaling my continued experience, now directly in the third person. When I was done, I sent it to an agent, two years after that it was published. Six months later the second “installment” was edited and sent off. It took another two years to publish, and it was only after I sent out the third installment that I finally got the courage to look up my first book, and read the reviews.

I knew it was somewhat popular, based on the royalties, but I was overwhelmed by the amount of feedback on my favorite bookkeeping sites. I read about 20 before I read the one that made my call for an emergency appointment .

“Author Grace Harrow spins a story about a woman questioning her own mind. Though the story is compelling and well written I find it a bit hard to swallow that someone could live three years thinking there was a pandemic going on in todays world. It is however an interesting take on modern society, showing how the increase in reliance on convenience and technology has led to a world where someone could live for years without any in person interaction, and the impact that kind of isolation has on the human brain.

The one flaw I find with this, and maybe it will be answered by the sequel that has been announced, is that we never find out if the main character Kathy is actually mentally ill ,or this is an “alternative present” where the world is plunged into a pandemic like the Spanish flu of the 1920’s. With one sequel in print, and another teased, it’s likely that we won’t find out for some time to come.”

It seems I finally had my answer, nine years and three books of isolation, a world famous author, and I was in fact, just crazy.

This is actually a short story of a book I tried to write for Nanowrimo a few years back. By a few years back I mean like in 2015, before I had any idea that we would actually have a pandemic. In the book it did end up being real, but based on modern events I decided to take the alternate route in the short story.

Be Very, Very Quiet

This one was written for the six sentence story prompt of range, and the idyllic picture that was posted by Sarah for our weekly picture prompt on The Writer’s Mess. I am back from my hiatus for Nanowrimo, and will be posting regularly. Follow a hunter, as they make this season, their season. Note I was personally aiming at Christmas this week, I completely missed. If you are squeamish, read the tags. Bonus points if you get the title reference.

He sat perfectly still in the blind, having waited far too long for this opportunity to let it escape him now. 

He could see his target, just out of range, and he took long slow breaths to keep his heart rate down as his excitement grew, knowing that this year he would finally get one.

They had been hunting for years, and he had never hit anything, it was always Rick that brought in a kill, sometimes two if it was a good season.

This was it, it would be his year, and he fought down his own impatience, as a shot too early would cause his quarry to flee, leaving him the laughingstock of the lodge.

She was heading his way, and he waited until she was well within range, making sure that when he pulled the trigger she would go down cleanly, all he had to do was squeeze.

It was over in an instant, with the twitch of a finger, the body dropping like a marionette with it’s strings cut, laying there with her ski’s askew, blood splattered on the snow, and he felt giddy with adrenaline, as he had done it; he had finally made his first kill.