The Rules by Joanna Rubery

Prompt: Masterminds | Word Count: 1000 exactly (in Word) | Genre: Crime/Domestic Noir

The sea was uneasy. I watched the sunset spill across the water and fragment into frothy shards.

Don reached over for his glass, brushed away a mosquito.

“Let’s stay here,” I whispered. “Please,” but my words melted in the heat. I slid down into the rattan chair.

A waiter appeared, barefoot. A westerner. He glanced at Don, twice over.

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A Questionable Affair by Beth Stillman Blaha

Prompt: Mastermind| Word count: 1000 words | Genre: Contemporary

“I so needed a night away from work tonight,” Nina slid onto the bar stool next to Lynette. “Thanks for asking me to meet you out. Sam didn’t give you a hard time about having to be home with the kids?”

Lynette twisted the stem of her martini glass between her fingers. “I didn’t give him a choice,” she said, not looking at Nina.

“Can I have a dirty martini? Shaken?” Nina asked the bartender. She can even drink better than I can, Lynette thought, her green appletini nearly glowing in the light.

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The Club by Ashleigh Seton-Rogers

Prompt: The Club | Word count: 750 words | Genre:  Comedy

Astrid strolled slowly into the school.  It was dark out and the place was deserted.  She wasn’t sure what to expect.  And if it hadn’t been for the light up ahead, coming from one of the classrooms, she would have fled.

A Facebook message had started all this.  It had said something to the effect that she would ‘benefit greatly from this gathering’.  She had tried to look up the person “Glynis” who had sent the message, but their profile had been set to private and except for a pic of a cat as the profile pic, there hadn’t been much go on.  Nearing the door, she heard chatter and the scraping of chairs.

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The Club by Sarah Muzaffar

Prompt: The Club | Word count: 768 words | Genre:  Women Fiction

”Irena, would you like to share something with us” I asked the girl who looked ten years older than her age. She hesitated, but with a little encouragement from others, she was ready to open up today. She shifted a little in her chair to finally speak after a week long of silent attendance.”

“It was a long time ago” she began as a dozen curious eyes closed in on her. She looked at her audience, empathetic faces listening intently to her.”

“It started soon after my high school boyfriend broke up with me, after 10 years of togetherness. We were meant to be, or so I thought, a happily-ever-after kinda crap. I could not bear the separation and the pain came with it. The day he got married to my best friend, just a month after our breakup, pushed me over the fence. People suck! You never know who and what lies behind a face.”

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The Club by Joanna Rubery

Prompt: The Club  | Word count: 750 (exactly) | Genre: Sci-fi/horror

Rob saw it first.

We were limbering up, and then – I remember – he went very still.

“Mik-eyyyyyy!” came a two-handed holler from across the fields. I always forgave Rob his little brother. We even let Stevie in The Club – after all, there were some games you couldn’t play with two. (“I swear on my life,” Stevie had repeated, as a bead of scarlet trickled down his palm.)

“Earth to Mik-eyyy!” yelled Stevie.

“Get on with it,” I muttered, the bat rough in my hand. I felt the prick of a splinter.

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Table by Brittany Meyer

Prompt: Coming Undone | Word Count: 1200 | Genre: Fiction

Warning: Drugs

He was alone, but he was not lonely. The darkness surrounded him, stretching infinitely in all directions. He floated, arms extended, feet turned out, long hair fanned behind him, undulating softly as he breathed.

A thought floated across his idle mind, an image of a table, round and worn smooth by years of hands passing over it, and he could see it. He wanted to be standing next to it, and he was, in the space between blinks. Voices garbled in the back of his mind, tickling him with memory. He focused, his brow knitting together, and pulled them into focus. Yes. There it was. The table was… from a childhood Christmas. It was covered in garland and homecooked mashed potatoes that he had spent all day peeling with his father, and though his hands were raw from the hot water and cut from the peeler, he didn’t care.

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Perfect Fit by Joanna Rubery

Prompt: Coming Undone  | Word count: 1200 (exactly) | Genre: Contemporary fiction

No. Surely not. The dress was a –

Fran twisted sharply in the changing room and peered over her shoulder. It couldn’t be – could it?

She turned back again, and dared to look at her reflection. The dress shimmered in the pearly light, a shifting, iridescent blue, as if whispering silken secrets. Fran lifted one hand and traced her fingers – haltingly – down her figure. She couldn’t quite believe it, but the dress was a perfect fit.

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A New Born Baby by Mia Botha

Prompt: Coming undone | Word count: 1200 words | Genre: Drama, with a dash of crazy

I take off my coat, the room is stifling. “May I?” I ask again, holding my coat up to the hook behind the door.

She is absolutely absorbed, but spares me a glance. “Of course, sorry. It’s better for the baby if it is warm.”

They’re both bundled up in the bed. I move the flower arrangements on the dresser to make some space. My small arrangement looks cheap in all its airport-gift store glory. I smack a helium balloon declaring ‘It’s a girl’ out of the way and shuffle past the bed to the nearest chair. Sweat beads on my brow.

“You look well.” I mumble.

“Thank you, I think motherhood is going to agree with me.” She adjusts the blankets and makes coochy-coo noises at the baby. “How was your flight?”

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Time To Go Home by Joanna Rubery

Prompt: Going Home | Word Count: 500 | Genre: Mainstream fiction

“Higher!” she squeals, ” High-errrr!” and I push the swing harder so it arcs up into the spilled blue of the sky, even though I know what’s going to happen next. And on cue Izzy swings back down and kicks her legs and shouts, “Tooooo hiiiigh!” and I catch her as she jumps, like I always do. She lets me hold her tight and breathe her in: her dimpled skin, her hot little hands, her smell of sugared strawberries, until she struggles and wriggles and tears away to run free, blonde curls bobbing, across the grass.

We are back at the park again. There are others here today, of course – it’s a perfect summer’s day, unclouded, not too hot. I sit on the warm slats of my usual bench and watch Izzy scrambling up the slide, past the older boys kicking a football, indifferent, and wonder how many years I have left before they see her, they really see her, and I lose my little girl. But right here in this park, under the buttery sun, there’s nobody with eyes for her but me.

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