Sunday, August 14, 2011

Alisha's story

*Finally had a minute to write again and thought I'd put together another page of my story. If you want to read from the beginning it's not hard. This is my on-going blog fiction story.

Alisha stretched from beneath the cheap hotel comforter. She kept her eyes closed, pretending she was in the penthouse of a luxury hotel but the scratchy sheets and a constant buzzing noise interrupted her. She felt around, eyes stilled closed, for her cell phone she always kept on the night table when she traveled. Nothing. She peeked one eye opened and remembered she wasn't allowed to use her cell phone. It was turned off, in her purse. She closed her eye again.

Her mind wandered. What day was it again? Friday. She told her boss she was going to the beach for a long weekend starting today.

The beach. She tried to imagine the cool salty spray coming off the water, the gritty sand beneath her toes and the warm sun on her face. Still the buzzing noise continued to interrupt her.

"Urgh," she groaned and flung back the covers, reaching for the alarm clock. But it wasn't set. She sat on the side of the bed listening. Something was in her room buzzing. It almost sounded like her cell phone. Sweat popped out on her forehead. She turned it off, right? She couldn't answer it. But she had to find it.

Alisha grabbed her purse from the floor and dumped the contents on the bed. Lipstick. Her wallet. Business cards. Three pens. And a completely still cellphone. She pushed a button on the front waiting for it to light up. Nothing. She sank back onto the bed until a moment later the buzzing started again. Then she remembered the pre-paid cell the agent had given her the night before. She dug through her suitcase to find the envelope she'd buried inside it when she found her hotel room the night before. It buzzed once more and fell silent.

10 missed calls.

She almost dropped the phone when it buzzed in her hand. Taking a deep breath she answered.

"What kind of game are you playing?" a male voice hissed on the other end of the line.

"Wh-what?" she stammered.

"Do you think we're stupid?" he hissed again.

"Who is this?"

"It's the agent you gave dummy information to last night," his voice lowered. "What happened to the information you promised me? You said you had proof of the fraud. What you gave me looks like a guest list to your boss's Christmas party."

Alisha fell back onto the bed. Her mouth went dry.

"Hello??" he almost yelled.

"I'm...I'm here," she whispered. "I don't know what you're talking about. I had copies of the transactions he said he made for clients, dummy accounting sheets and fake portfolio numbers. You should have all of it the box."

"I don't know what you think you gave me, but we have to fix this. Now. My boss is asking for the information this afternoon and if I don't have something to give him, your hotel room and prepaid visa are gone. I won't be able to help you."

She clenched the cheap floral comforter in her fist. Dear God, help me, she thought.

"And Alisha," he continued, "if they switched the papers, then they know. And if they know..."

"I get it okay," her voice cracked as she spoke.

"We have to make the raid now before they destroy all the evidence. If they know, it may already be too late. But without the paperwork, we don't have ground for a search warrant," he explained, his voice softening.

Alisha clenched her teeth. It's all about the case. It had nothing to do with her safety. With the loss of her career or family. She was just another informant. He may have looked like her little brother, but he didn't act or think like him at all. She blinked away all the other thoughts and focused on his words again.

"We can't meet back at the park from last night or too close to your hotel, it's too dangerous. But I have to talk to you face to face. We have to figure this out. There's an antique bookstore with a coffee shop about 30 miles away. Can you meet me there?"

"Yeah," she replied, her voice hoarse. "I'll be there."

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Keep Your Head Down

The setting sun turned the blue-grey sky a brilliant pinky orange.

Keep your head down.

She didn't like the sound of it. Did he mean it figuratively or was it a sleep-on-the-floor kind of suggestion?

She drove toward the interstate without bothering to open the package he'd given to her. She wanted to throw up. She wanted to get on the interstate and drive until she found a town where no one knew her. But she'd taken the first step. She went to them.

"Come on, Alisha," she muttered and gripped the steering wheel tighter with both hands. "You're not the one who did anything wrong. In fact, in this whole mess, you are the only one who did anything right."

Her pep talk did little good.

The lights of a truck stop 10 miles out of town glowed in the simmering darkness. She pulled off the highway and into a spot where she hoped to see arriving traffic without being too noticed. The envelope shook as she removed a map, the promised visa card and her hotel information. Another 90 miles until she could rest for the night. The place looked generic. Just a little hotel, right off the interstate. One of a dozen or more lining the highway promising a soft bed, cable television and internet connection. She smirks as she thought of the Fed's reaction if she fired up her internet and checked her email. He'd have a heart attack. She half-way wondered who was watching her more, the Feds or her boss.

A quick glance at her gas gauge and she knew she needed fuel for the car and for her body. She pulled a baseball cap tight low over her eyes, tucked the visa card in her pocket and tried not to think about what it meant.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Novel Unfolds: Alisha

*Here's a third installment of an online novel I started last year. Look at my first two posts for the beginning of the story. Promise I will try to keep updated better!

Alisha glanced around her, the sudden quiet of the neighborhood growing as children disappeared inside to eat dinner. Had they realized yet that she took the paperwork with her when she left? Were they looking for her car? Would they think to track her here, to her hometown?

She gulped air to keep the panic attack at bay when she spotted the man walking towards her. He looked like her little brother with sandy hair falling over his eyes, a toothpick hanging from his mouth and jeans covering his lanky frame. He took the swing next to her, stretching his legs in front of him and criss-crossing his tennis-shoe clad feet.

"Did you bring it?" he asked without looking at her.

"In my car."

He picked his teeth for a minute and studied the street in front of them. "Did anyone follow you?"

She shook her head.

"You're doing the right thing, you know," he said, his voice anything but reassuring.

Her chin quivered and she nodded.

"Just keep your head down for a few days. You took some vacation time, right? Your bags are in your car?"

Another nod.

"I have the location of a hotel for you. A room paid for with cash for 10 days and a visa gift card with money for food. And there's a disposable cell phone too. But don't use it. I'll call you in a few days to let you know how things are going." He stood and walked from the swing set, never looking back.

She walked to her car and thought about the irony of the contents of the gift box she would give him. A gift to him. A gift to the federal agency who paid his salary. They would catch another fraud. But what kind of gift was it to the man who'd given her a job, the man who showed her the ropes of the investment industry, the man she'd discovered was stealing from almost every client. Butterflies bumped against her rib cage as she handed the brightly colored package to the agent beside her. Hugged him as though he really was her little brother as he handed her the paperwork she needed to hide for a few days. It was all part of the pre-arranged plan.

She drove away. No looking back. No time for regrets.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lucky and his neighbor Penelope

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Lucky. Every day when he friends wanted him to ride bikes with them he would race outside only to find his bike had a flat tire. By the time he aired it up, his friends had ridden off without him. Lucky didn't feel so lucky.

When it rained, Lucky couldn't find his rainboots. In fact, the only shoes he could find were last summer's flip flops. But his mom was in a hurry and couldn't wait for him to look anymore so Lucky had to wear the flip flops anyway. He came home with soaking wet feet and a nasty cold. Lucky didn't feel so lucky.

On Saturday when his mom would take him to the skating rink to skate with his friends, Lucky fell the first time he took off across the smooth, shining wooden rink. He spent the rest of the day with an ice pack on the black and blue knot on his knee. Lucky didn't feel so lucky.

Lucky's neighbor Penelope was very lucky. When her friends wanted to ride bikes, she led the line of shiney bikes cruising through the neighborhood. Penelope never had a flat tire.

When it rained, Penelope always arrived at school wearing her rubber boots with pink and green flowers dancing on the side. The rain never touched her feet and she rarely spent a day in bed with a cold.

At the skating rink, Penelope flittered around the room like a ballerina, graceful and smooth. Her knees never bore the marks of bruises.

Lucky wondered how Penelope could be so lucky.

Then he started to watch her. Every evening when she finished riding her bike she checked both tires and added a little air if they were low before she went inside. She even put her bike in the exact same spot in the garage every night. Lucky looked over to his bike laying on it's side in the grass still wet from last night's rain. He was pretty sure both tires were flat. He shrugged his shoulders, wandered over to his bike, picked it up and filled the tires. Maybe tomorrow he would be ready to ride with his friends.

Later that week when Lucky followed his mom to Penelope's house to take a plate of cookies to the family. He tiptoed down the hallway and stole a glane into Penelope's room. He guessed she hid her toys in her toybox because nothing littered the floor. Against the wall sat a small shelf with four pairs of shoes lined perfectly in a row: a pair of school tennis shoes, the flowered rainboots, a pair of pink flip flops and black patent leather church shoes. When Lucky got home he looked into his own room. Toys covered every inch. He could barely make out the tip of one tennis shoe under a pile of dinosaurs and train cars. His toy box was empty. He shrugged his shoulders, toss some toys into the toy box and found his rain boots under the bed. Maybe he wouldn't have wet feet and a cold the next time it rained.

On Saturday he watched Penelope examine her skates before she ventured onto the skating rink floor. She took a couple of slow rounds balancing on the side and wall before skating freely across the floor. After falling a couple of times, Lucky checked his skates took and realized one had a loose wheel. He exchanged them for another pair and tried to get his balance before skating again. Amazed, he made quick, steady rounds and went home with no bumps or bruises.

Lucky realized being lucky had little to do with luck after all.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Page 2

Okay, Carolyn this is for you!! ;) For everyone else, don't let this post confuse you. Just scroll down to the last post, read the beginning of the story and then pick it up here.

Her steps slowed as the neighborhood park came into view. The swings swayed and creaked in the gentle late afternoon breeze. She wondered if those swings had changed from the last time she sat there fifteen years ago. Her shoulders sagged further. She fingered the rusted chains and closed her eyes. She could hear the laughter of a young girl, filled with hope and inspiration and confidence. She remembered the way goosebumps ran up her arms when Andy laced his fingers through hers and they swung side by side neither of them saying a word because they both knew what had to be said.

"I'll call you as soon as we get the phone hooked up in my dorm," she'd promised, finally breaking the silence.

"You'll have to call my mom and get my new number," he'd reminded her.

Silence covered the early August evening. Their futures bright and promising stretched in front of them in different directions.

"So Thanksgiving, huh?" he'd mumbled.

"Yeah, Thanksgiving," she whispered swallowing the tears that threatened. "And then we'll have two weeks at Christmas."

"Two whole weeks," he'd squeezed her fingers.

The breeze turned into a sharp, blowing wind pulling Alisha back to that moment. She sank into the same swing she'd left fifteen years before and wondered what had happened to Andy. Last she heard he'd stayed in Ohio to finish medical school. Surely by now he had a family and a life. Funny how time changes everything.

She leaned her head back and felt the thrill of the rise and fall of the swing. If only she could bring her work to the playground and teach a few manners like her gradeschool teachers had. But manners would do those people no good. Her heart beat faster as she thought about the papers stashed under the passenger seat of her car. She wanted to shred them, burn them, destroy them, but she knew that would only make matters worse. Where was the girl who knew what she wanted and feared nothing and no one who walked into her path? That girl would know what to do.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

First Words

For some time I've considered starting a separate blog for my writing, so here it is. Often I have scenes run through my mind but it's not enough for an entire story. Maybe it's just a glimpse into the world of someone I've passed on the street. Maybe it's a character sketch. It could turn into the beginning or middle or end of my next book. The possibilities are endless.

At this time, I have little time to devote to writing, much less pursuing publishing options. So this blog is just for fun. It's a chance for me to write and to share it with you...whoever you are. Feel free to tell me where you think this should go. What's going on with the characters? Who are they? What do they feel? Where are they going? Maybe you are right and you can help write their story.

The more you comment and participate the more I will be encouraged to continue writing. So here's a little story for tonight...

Her shoulders sagged as the lawn in front of her blurred to a haze of green. She leaned her head on the wooden railing leading up 13 steps to the porch. She knew those steps. She'd counted them running, jumping and hopping. She'd taken them two at time at 7:25 on Monday mornings. She'd hidden under them listening to her sister call for her in a game of hide and seek. She knew those stairs.

She jumped at the creak of the screen door behind her.

"Miss? Can I help you?" a solid female voice asked her.

She swiped at her eyes and stood from her seat on the third step from the bottom. "No," she mumbled. "I...I was just going."

Her gaze stopped on the spot where the sandbox once sat filled with buckets and trucks and shovels. She told her feet to move but they refused.

"Are you okay? Do I need to call someone?" the voice softened.

"No, thank you," she pulled her gaze from the grassy corner to look into the dark eyes of a stranger. "I'm sorry to have come here. It's just that..." what would she say that didn't make her sound crazy. That her life had ground to a halt just two days ago and she desperately needed to find the girl who received her first kiss standing on the second step from the top? the girl who carved her initials into the wet, mushy concrete where she now stood? the girl who believed she could do anything and take anything?

"It's just what?" the voice brought her back to her feet, back to here.

"This house, it's my house. Well, it was my house. I grew up here and I just needed to see it, touch it for a minute. I'm sorry to have disturbed you." She now forced her feet to step, step, step to the sidewalk and then on toward the neighborhood park as she heard the voice mumbling behind her.

Buttercups danced on either side of her, their sunny, happy faces dancing in the early March sun. She pulled her sweater closer around her although she felt no breeze except the chill of the past haunting her.