Writing Prompt Wednesday – “Dealing”

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The Library by george-wilson

Erin lightly tapped the spines of several books as she skimmed the shelf, humming under her breath. She hadn’t expected much from the town’s public library, but there were surprisingly more books on music than she thought. Suppose lots of bored people who’ve retired are teaching it, maybe? Erin wondered, but goodness knows. The university she was attending had a decent music program, but that didn’t mean the rest of the town would accommodate it.

Still, she was thankful. Especially since her professor decided that the paper they needed to write had to have three physical sources, along with two other ones. God forbid she just hop on Google for an afternoon–not even–and drum up sources easy-peasy.

Lazily thumbing another book, Erin pulled down one titled How to Teach Piano Successfully and hoped it would prove useful enough for her to use. She already had a small stack in her arms to work with, so the chances of at least three of them being handy was decent, right?

Erin meandered a bit before finding a vacant table and setting down her haul. As she was about to take a seat, a rapid tap-tapping on her shoulder made her jump and whip around.

“Ah, I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you!” A woman, timidly twisting the strap of her purse, bit her lip and bowed her head slightly in apology. “Um, but, you wouldn’t happen to have seen a young boy wandering around, have you? It’s my son, he’s wandered off I’m sure, I’m sure he’s okay, but it’s been a little bit and…”

“Oh, I haven’t, I’m so sorry,” Erin said, sympathetically placing a hand on the woman’s shoulder. “But I can help you look quick?”

“Oh please, if you could. I already asked the staff and they’re helping, and I’ve looked in the children’s section downstairs so I’m hoping he’s just up here somewhere…”

After assuring the distraught mother that she’d take a look around, Erin set off back into the thicket of bookshelves. It was about an hour after school had let out, so there were a few kids in the library, but most of them seemed like teens, maybe middle school age. She wandered for a bit, wondering if any of the boys were the woman’s missing son–

“Wait,” Erin muttered, and stopped a moment. “She didn’t tell me what he looked like.”

Sighing at her own stupidity for not asking, Erin turned back to find the mother. She spied the woman sitting at a table, a book in front of her and an employee next to her. They spoke quietly, the employee pulling away the hand they had on the woman’s shoulder and patting her briefly before walking away. Erin glanced after the employee before walking up the woman herself.

“I’m sorry, I completely forgot to ask what your son looked like!”

The woman stared at Erin a moment before seeming startled at the question. “Well, his name’s Drew–Andrew–and he’s…” She trailed off, glancing down slightly. Her face had the look of someone trying to recall a distant memory.

After a moment of silence, Erin cleared her throat. “Ma’am? Your son, what does he look like?”

“My son, he… he has dark hair, green eyes like mine, and…” Another bout of silence as the woman began fiddling with the book in front of her, using it like a security blanket. She was acting like Erin was interrogating her.

Erin very much wanted to help–a missing kid was scary, she had an idea what this woman must be going through–but her almost dodge-like way of speaking was starting to get irritating and suspicious. Was this lady just messing with her?

Unable to fully keep the tone out of her voice, Erin started in again. “Look, lady–”

Suddenly, and for the second time that day, there was a tap to Erin’s arm, cutting her off. As she turned to see who it was, a messy-haired young boy stepped up between Erin and the woman. He looked down at the book in her hands as he spoke. “Miss Hanson, I haven’t seen your son yet, but I talked to one of the librarians and they said they saw him running around up here. I’ll send him your way as soon as I find him.”

The woman tearfully faced the boy and smiled. “You’re so kind for helping, thank you. I’m glad he’s still here and okay!”

“Mm-hm.” The boy nodded, rubbing his nose where his glasses rested on them. “This girl here was helping me–we’re gonna split up and find him, okay? Sit tight.” Like the employee earlier, the boy patted the woman’s arm before motioning for Erin to go.

“Thank you both!” the woman said, sniffling a tad as they both left her.

As Erin dumbly followed behind the kid, he waved briefly at the librarian sitting at the nearby desk. The librarian–the same employee from earlier–gave him a thumbs up and a look, and Erin was just more confused. She turned to ask the kid what the heck was going on, but he’d already taken off.

She stood there for a moment, not really sure what to do. She didn’t want to bother the mother–she seemed to have her own problems, aside from a missing child–and the kid was gone. She had her own work to do, but… the boy had said that her son had been spotted, and volunteered her to find him and send him back to his mom. Letting out a baffled sigh, Erin went off in search of… a kid, again. At least this time she knew he had dark hair and his name was Andrew.

Finally, finally she came across the young boy with messy hair and glasses from before sitting on one of the big, comfy chairs, lazily flipping the pages of a book. Erin quirked her mouth. So much for looking for that lady’s kid. She huffed. I mean, he has dark hair, but she didn’t recognize him…

“Uh, hey-y,” Erin drawled, waving slightly as the boy looked up to her. “Say, you didn’t happen to find that woman’s son, did you…?”

The boy blinked, pursed his lips, and then glanced to the side–likely at the clock on the wall. It was about a quarter to five. Sighing, he grabbed what looked like a library card out of his pocket and put it between the pages of the book he held.

As he stood and moved to walk past her, Erin, shocked, turned to look after him and called, “Uh, excuse me?” She didn’t even know what to say–this kid was kinda rude. Whether he was the missing boy or not, he could at least answer! And if he was the one that lady had been looking for, he could be a little more concerned! What the heck?

Sighing, the boy turned to face her, his nose wrinkled and face scrunched as if to say, “You’re being a nuisance.”

“Then come with,” was all he said, and he kept walking. Not really sure about the whole interaction, Erin decided to follow.

As they approached the commons of the second floor, Erin spied the woman still sitting where they’d left her. She was still toying with the book in front of her, not seeming to be reading it but really just using it as a way to waste time.

As the boy reached her, he placed his hand on one of hers and said, “Here I am, mom. Sorry for worrying you.”

The woman looked the boy–Andrew?–directly in the eyes, and her own eyes lit up while a smile split her face nearly in two. “Drew! Thank goodness you’re okay! You had me worried sick, why didn’t you say you were going to go off and look?” As she gushed her relief at her returned son, the woman stood and tightly embraced Drew. He looked embarrassed, but returned the gesture.

“Sorry mom. Just wanted to find a book to read. I’ll say something next time.”

Erin was baffled.

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Writing Prompt Wednesday – “Content”

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Lips by Lucie-Lilly

A thumb, gentle in touch but positioned with vile intent

Glides across bite-plumped, trembling lips

And the grip upon a fragile jaw tightens

Mouth agape, split open in a show of averse vulnerability

Spilling the contents of a mind and heart unable to censor

You will choke on the truth

Writing Prompt Wednesday – “Shining”

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Fire by thomasdelonge

As the beast crosses the dried field

Fragile grass flutters on a soft breeze

Before curling, blackening, only to lighten again

Ash rising and painting the air in a dark stain

A cloying tinge that would choke most,

The beast included, if it had need to breathe

A wave ripples out at each step

A force, dealing destruction

Its shape a dark mark, stark against a wall of fire

Its absence of light intensifying the shining surroundings

Until it, too, coils and fades into the shade of the sky


Inspired by Marourin‘s recent artwork!

Writing Prompt Wednesday – “Graceful”

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Stardust by MD-Arts

Grant the honor of a delicate hand, carefully poised

Radiant smile as blinding as ever, even directed at me

As my worthiness plagues my thoughts you pause, wide-eyed

Chancing a glance to the room at large before returning to me

Extended offer never rescinded, if anything more insistent

“Forget,” you say, simple, as if it were so easy to not compare

Undo a lifetime of fretting over the differences between us

Letting go, however, is significantly easier within your space

Writing Prompt Wednesday – “Fulfilled”

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The Empty Bed by serrah

A loud knock on the door had Richard jumping, which in his condition was not at all optimal. So instead of telling whoever it was on the other side that had the nerve to spook him to get in there and show themselves he groaned loudly.

They either heard him and took that as their cue or decided the knock was enough warning. Andrew stuck his head around the door frame, shit-eating grin on his face. “Long time no see!”

“Jesus, Andrew, have some mercy on the injured.” Richard’s griping was half-hearted, tone mostly colored by his sudden discomfort.

He was actually relieved to see Andrew. After the fiasco that was their last job landing him with a bullet to the side, Andrew had been tasked with handling all the formalities and after effects alone. It had been a success, thankfully, but even in their underground work there was still the bureaucratic bullshit to get through and finish things up. Richard had been kept in the dark despite his constant questions to his colleagues, but he hoped the rest of the job tied up nicely. He and Andrew were supposed to handle the hand-off of their ill-gotten gains together, and he’d be lying if he said he hadn’t been nervous to not be there to make sure it went well.

Andrew’s being here was obviously a good sign.

Taking a seat on the edge of the bed, opposite of Richard’s injured side, Andrew sighed. His grin was more thin now, and Richard could clearly see the lines of stress and tiredness pulling at his eyes. “Finally finished up all the paperwork and boring stuff,” Andrew said lightly. He pressed the back of his hand to his forehead in a very ‘woe is me’ gesture. “It was agony without you there.”

“Agony because you had to do it by yourself, maybe,” Richard laughed lightly, unable to keep his eyes from rolling. God he’d missed Andrew. It had been over a week and he suddenly realized he hadn’t gone that long without seeing his partner in… he didn’t even know how long. “How did it go? The few people that actually felt like stopping in wouldn’t tell me anything.”

“Went off without a hitch, of course.” Andrew winked. “Missed you, though–Fabián is damn good, but it’s just not the same as having you there.”

Richard desperately hoped the warmth of his face and neck wasn’t visible.

Andrew turned a bit, settling his thigh and knee up on the bed so he could face Richard more. He gave him a once-over. The grin slipped into a tight-lipped hum of thought. “How are you doing? They wouldn’t tell me anything, either.”

His hand lightly touched his hip, feeling the bump of bandages under his covers and thin shirt. Richard shrugged. “I’m not dead,” he offered, and when all that got him was a stern ‘don’t be an ass’ look he amended, “I bled more than anything. It mostly went through muscle and fat,” he said, lightly jiggling his uninjured left hip for emphasis. “Skimmed a bone or something though, and of course the fact that I have a hole in my side…”

“Have you ever been shot before?”

“No, and I don’t intend to have this become a thing either. If I can help it.” Richard had been damn lucky the bullet didn’t go even a bit further to the left, or down, or–well, he was just lucky. Getting the bullet dug out was awful, but his stay was almost over now, thank god. He sighed. “It’s been boring as hell here, though. They took my phone.”

“Oh,” Andrew said softly, reaching into his jacket pocket. Held aloft as if a prize was Richard’s phone and a charger. “Your sister has called a lot, by the way.”

The prospect of having a cure for his boredom far outweighed the sinking feeling at the mention of his sister–god knows what she wanted, probably money. As his mouth began to open in an enthused “thank you” he reached forward for his phone, only for Andrew to pull back. Richard frowned. “What are you doing?”

Another cheeky grin sprouted, and Andrew waggled the phone in his hand tauntingly. Bastard. He damn well knew Richard couldn’t lean forward and take it from him. Not without it hurting like a bitch. “What, don’t I get anything for being kind enough to bring this to you?”

“It’s probably because you’ve had it this whole time that I didn’t get it sooner.”

Andrew hummed again, and tapped the lip of the phone case to his chin in mock-thought. “Gigi may have asked where it was so they could bring it on their visit, and I said I had it covered…”

“If I could kick you I would,” Richard grumbled, waving a hand at him dismissively. As it was he definitely could not do any kicking, or much moving at all for that matter. He raised his knee the slightest bit and shoved it as hard as he dared into Andrew’s back from under the blanket, instead.

Andrew didn’t miss a beat. “Swap that ‘C K’ for two ‘S’s’ and we’ll be in business.”

“What?” he asked, before his brain actually put two and two together. Their eyes met, and while Andrew looked the most serious he’d ever seen him Richard felt his own eyes narrow and then widen in realization. “What?” he asked again. He’d heard him the first time, but the clarification couldn’t hurt.

This time the phone tapped lightly at Andrew’s bottom lip, drawing Richard’s eyes there briefly before they shot back up again. “K-I-S-S,” he spelled out slowly, and Richard wasn’t sure if he was being patronizing or afraid to say the actual word. “That’s not asking too much. Is it?”

He was genuinely asking, giving Richard an out if he wanted.

Normally he would spend a fair amount of time looking at this whole scene from way too many angles. Lots of second guessing and wondering at the different paths this conversation could take depending on what he said or did next. And god did Richard want to just sit and think for a moment.

But, instead, Richard swallowed before reaching forward again, leaning as far as he could without straining anything. Maybe he couldn’t reach his phone, but Andrew’s lapel?

As he grabbed the material and pulled, still stretched forward, Andrew moved closer and met him halfway. Before they reached each other Andrew suddenly closed his eyes and surged forward, lips only barely connecting. He was more at the corner of Richard’s mouth than anything. Richard puffed a short burst of air out of his nose, a laugh, before he shifted, turning it into more of a proper kiss.

It was chaste, soft aside from the slightly chapped lines of Andrew’s lips that seemed dry no matter how much lip balm he used (and Richard knew, he used a fair amount). Maybe he was being weird about it, but he couldn’t bring himself to close his eyes. Plus, this way he could take in all the small details now that he was up close, like the tiny sunspots on Andrew’s nose or how tightly clenched his eyes were, the lashes tangling together.

Before he could stop himself Richard huffed out another small laugh, not really believing this was happening. Andrew blinked his eyes open and drew back just enough to separate their mouths. He quirked a brow at Richard’s reaction.

“Bold of you to have that as your request,” Richard said, their lips still close enough they brushed together. It tickled, and Andrew pursed his lips to get rid of the sensation. “What if I didn’t feel the same way?”

“I was worried I might have misread the situation,” he chuckled, lightly placing Richard’s phone in his lap as he bumped their noses together. Richard wrinkled his in response. “But you also weren’t super subtle.”

“Says the one more friendly than I am.”

Another hum, definitely amused from the sounds of it. Richard closed his eyes and pressed his forehead to Andrew’s with a happy little sigh and smile. He felt fit to burst, near giddy, and was almost tempted to think he’d be willing to take that bullet again if it resulted in this same outcome. Almost.

Writing Prompt Wednesday – “Revenge”

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Gun by rahulbarfa

Andrew huffed loudly as he dragged Richard back around a corner, then grabbed his tablet from the other’s lap where he’d quickly dropped it before and set it aside. Shots echoed loudly down the hall behind them, and the wall splintered at their impact. “Gimme your gun,” he said urgently, and tried to pry Richard’s fingers out of their death grip on the pistol. He eyed the wound in Richard’s abdomen, biting his lip and narrowing his eyes. “And keep pressure on that, that’s more important.”

Richard wheezed, finally letting go of the gun as Andrew quickly peeked around the corner. When more shots quickly followed he ducked back, stuck his hand out and fired wildly, a few muffled curses coming from their pursuers. Stupid, but hopefully it would give them a moment.

A groan from Richard had him looking down again–good, at least he’d listened. Andrew gently set the tablet and gun back in Richard’s lap before he stood again, grip shifting to under the man’s arms to keep going. “While I’m more concerned for your health at this point, you still have that fuckin’ USB, right?”

Richard’s not-covering-a-bullet-hole hand had gone to keep the tablet securely against his thighs, but he wiggled it the slightest bit and Andrew could see the silver flash of their target between his fingers. “What d’you take me for?” he grit out, and just because he could, he raised his middle finger the slightest bit too.

Andrew laughed breathlessly, glancing over his shoulder to see they were about at the door they’d come in through. “Good to know you’re not so bad off you can’t suppress your inner asshole.”

“I’ve been told I’m a de-light,” he countered, head tilted back to give Andrew a raised eyebrow. The last word was forced out roughly as Andrew shifted him a bit too quickly to reach for the door handle and he grunted in pain.

Yeah, Andrew supposed he had said that at some point.

Just as he was about to duck into the room their pursuers rounded the corner, and as if he wasn’t bleeding out all over the floor Richard snatched the gun up and fired at them. Andrew rushed, muttering a few ‘sorry-sorry’s he he jostled Richard in his haste. He quickly shut and locked the door and made his way to the window. Thank god they were on the first floor. “What did I say about pressure on that?” he scolded, and helped Richard climb out the window.

“Not allowed to seek vengeance for my innards spilling out?” He propped himself against the wall outside as Andrew followed him out.

“Actually that’s what I was going to do as soon as I got you to the van,” he said brightly, shifting around. “Hop on,” he gestured vaguely at his back.

“R-really? Piggyback, are we five?” But Richard still moved to grab around his shoulders, items clutched tightly in his hands as they plopped against Andrew’s chest. He hissed as Andrew jumped him up a little to adjust his position before damn near sprinting across the yard to their getaway van in the street. He scoffed then. “You were going to run back in after them,” he stuttered with each step, the jerking motion an absolute killer on his gut.

“Of course, they hurt you,” Andrew said sincerely. And as tempted as he was to go back in guns blazing he also knew it wouldn’t do them any good. Getting Richard out and to safety was the new priority.

But damn if he didn’t want to, a quiet rage bubbling in his chest.

Writing Prompt Wednesday – “Degraded”

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On My Knees by jostef

Down, to knees, neck and arms limply dangle

Empty eyes meet the ground in submission

Granting access, showcasing a quiet vulnerability

Ready for the next best thing to take its place

After, what comes after that? Dare it wonder?

Death is likely, or perhaps a more placid destruction

Ever eager to please, to follow instruction

Does the outcome matter so long as the purpose is fulfilled?