An Announcement from the Scribblers!

It seems that life has gotten away from us this month!
We apologize to our readers, but due to unforeseen circumstances, we will be taking September off from posting.
We will reconvene in October with brand new stories and a spooky prompt for the end of the month.

In the meantime,
Julianne and Stacy both have stories that were just published in an anthology.
Stories from the Stacks: A Library Anthology was released September 3rd. You can find it in print and Kindle edition via Amazon.
It is a wonderful collection of short stories from the Wicked Wordsmiths of the West, and each story relates to a library.

Check it out, and we will see you in October!
~The Scribblers

Stories from the Stacks

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Pity – Julianne

A gnashing pair of jaws bursted forth from the water to devour the large chunk of raw chicken I’d tossed in. I watched as this wild, powerful creature mangled the meat in its mouth and then swam greedily closer. When I was little, Momma had told me the gators were around in the dinosaur days. This had led me to believe that gators never die, and in my young mind, that made them the perfect pets. I spent my childhood on the bayou behind our house narrating the soap opera lives of Rory and Sophia. They weren’t fearsome beasts. They were friends.

I’d grown older, wiser even, but standing on the dock with a glass of Pinot Noir, now warm from the humid air, brought me back to simpler days and simpler thoughts. We may have been poor, but we always had the bayou, and I thought I’d always have Momma. It had been Momma and me against the world from the time I was born until the day she met George. A faithless mechanic with a penchant for price gouging, George was a slob with wandering eyes. I’d never understood Momma’s attraction to him, other than she no longer had to feel alone. To me, that wasn’t worth the heavy handed blows he’d deal her whenever the mood struck. I’d been only fifteen when they married, but the wedge he drove between us lasted the rest of Momma’s life.


Today, we held the funeral. Momma looked so beautiful laying on that lamb white cloth. George shed his obligatory tears and shook all the necessary hands. I’d left home only eight years ago, but now most of the faces were unfamiliar to me. Instead, I dwelled on the thought of how flowers must have become customary for funerals to help cover the sickening stench of death. These thoughts helped distract me from the burning stares I felt tracing my body from the black pumps on my feet to the thick brown curls that shrouded my face. I met George’s eyes only once with a cautioning glance.

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Run, Rabbit, Run – Julianne

Harold chanced a glimpse behind him. Bad move. His eyes filled with terror, surely taking in the sight of me – sweat dripping from my brow, feet pounding the pavement with the force of an Olympic sprinter, and a deadly stare that must be reminiscent of the way a cheetah locks on to a gazelle. He bolted. Funny how quickly even the feeblest of creatures will move when they know it is Death chasing after them.

It wasn’t his fault, his life having to end this way. Harold Smith was just a means to an end. A means to avoiding my end. He might not have realized it, but Harold’s life was precious to me. Death chases everyone. You’ve just got to be quicker than Death. Harold was fast, but not faster than me. I’d had a lot more practice outrunning Death.

The watch face that was fused to my wrist and central nervous system illuminated as I ran. Fifteen minutes. I was cutting it close this time. Tick tick tick – I could hear it counting down in my head.

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July Prompt Post

As you might’ve seen around the site, the last week of each month is reserved for all three of the Scribblers to post individual stories based on a common prompt. You can expect to read Stacy’s story on Wednesday, Julie’s on Thursday, and Alexis’s on Friday. The Scribblers have selected the following prompt for July’s short story roundup:

Base a story off of a single line or verse from any song.

Be sure to check back all this week as the Scribblers respond to the prompt. We look forward to hearing your feedback!

~ The Scribblers

Grandma’s Gloves–Alexis

I was walking down the narrow path overgrown with weeds, wrestling with a basket of food. This long, meandering trip is the only solace I get from the usual storm of stress. It’s difficult taking care of your family when they can no longer care for themselves; it’s difficult watching family age and die off when there is so little to begin with.

I see the willow tree in the distance, the same tree I used to sit beneath as a child wondering why it was constantly weeping though it had no reason to. It didn’t live in the unforgiving world that man does. But, there it sits, weeping and whimpering and longing just like man. Doesn’t it know that it’s etched into an immortal plant safe from us? I wish that I could stop there today, curled into its knotted shoulder so we could cry together… But, what adult has time for that? What adult has time to feel?

There was a slight turn in the road toward a rather large river. If you followed the river, it emptied into a large lake with water calm as silk, calm enough to learn to skip smooth stones that blanketed the banks. There wasn’t much time to skip stones, to gaze pensively into the liquid mirror. I sadly climbed the bowed bridge and ran my hand along the splintered banister.

Almost there, I thought as I decended the other side. She’s so far out of my way… But, this is what you do for family.

The path snakes right, then left, and right again through a valley of sunflowers and into the dense woods that form an arch around any wanderer, protecting them and their secrets. No matter how hot and bright the sun rages, nothing can penetrate these woods.

And it hits me, as it always does at this point in my trek, how fragile and sickly she’s gotten the past few months. She’s not herself, just a shell, an encasement, that’s housing a virus that won’t leave. Death happens to us all. It’s quick and merciful. I don’t understand how she can go on fighting. Why would she want to? No pain, no struggling, and she could reclaim herself from the void clutching her from inside. If I were her… I’m not sure I would…

And me “helping” her by stringing her along, tethering her to a painful world. For what reason?

The bark of a wolf jolted me out of my thoughts.

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Blood & Ink – Julianne

“I want to be an author,” Ariana declared.

The village square went silent. She was met with bewildered stares, most adults fearing what kind of child would willingly choose such a profession. Some of the adults whispered behind open palms to one another, but in such silence Ariana could hear them swearing she must be mad.

The Presentation was a yearly event, one in which all of-age children would profess their desired occupation. Community members of that occupation would then volunteer to take on the child as an apprentice, training them better for their desired trade. Ariana was only 13, but she’d known she wanted to be an author from the moment she was old enough to talk. Growing up in the orphanage, the other children had needed a distraction from the harsh realities of their world. Ariana had a vast arsenal of stories locked away in her mind, and she longed to put them to paper. The den mother of the orphanage had taught her to read and write, both of which she excelled at, but Ariana had been warned never to use to use the ink to write her stories.

“I will take the girl,” a low, gravelly voice called from the back of the audience. The village of Canal had only one author, so Ariana had anticipated Jackaby Bardolf being her only option for an apprenticeship. Nothing, however, had prepared her for actually meeting him. She had read his works, of course, wanting to familiarize herself with his style of prose, and found herself rather disappointed. She had hoped her only choice of Master for the Presentation would at least be one she’d enjoy, but his stories were dark, dismal, and often uncomfortable for Ariana to read.

As the man approached the stage, Ariana sharply inhaled and set her mind to accepting him as Master, no matter what her prejudices against his writing style were. He was a professional author, and if she truly wanted to be one as well, she would have to learn from him. The sea of villagers parted as he passed, none wanting to get too close to the man, some out of reverence and some out of fear.

Jackaby Bardolf looked as menacing as his stories. A towering man dressed in a suit the color of rainclouds, he stood beside Ariana on the stage. The announcement came from the plump Mister Hargreve, Master of Proceedings for the Presentation. “Ariana Wylde, I present you to your Master for the profession of Author, Mister Jackaby Bardolf.”
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The Summer Job – Stacy

Kate unlocked the door to the library basement, and the chill of stale air conditioning escaped into the hot summer sun. She climbed down the stairs one by one, passing librarians on their way out after the long work day.

Night shift, she sighed to herself.

Even Ms. Caparelli was leaving for the evening, her portly frame passing through the exit by the basement stairs. Ms. Caparelli had been working at the library longer than anyone else there, and Kate often mused about her. How many things had changed over her years in the building? And what on earth had driven her to stay so long? Kate liked to imagine what her personal life must be like, although she often found it difficult to muster a realistic image. The woman seemed such a staple of the library that she may very well have just ceased to exist when the building’s doors closed for the night.

Kate settled into her desk chair, the hurried sounds of last minute shuffled paper and shuffled feet turning to silence – silence and the tick, tick, tick of the clock on the wall. The second hand occasionally moved lazily, failing to make that satisfying tick during intervals of silence as it rounded out the minutes. Kate was attuned to these sorts of things.

She checked her e-mails and fidgeted in her chair. A co-worker had explained the night shift duties to her when she first began the post. You’re there in case anyone calls – in case anyone needs anything. But mostly you’re just a body at the desk.

The words echoed in her head. A body.

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