Tag Archives: relationships

Challenge: Legal Theft: Because I Could Drown (631 words)


You and I, we enjoy one another’s company, I don’t think there’s any denying that on either side, but when it comes to the big things in life, while I hope that we can have a rational discussion, I fear that there won’t be understanding without an alteration of the heart, and I know the ground I stand on, and I won’t move.  

I don’t adhere to any particular branch of Christianity because for me Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with God, but I have chosen to believe the Christian history of God.  I believe that the Bible is God-inspired.

Is it the only God-inspired text?  Maybe not.  Maybe other sacred texts are God-inspired too because a lot of them hold similar root messages.  I don’t believe that prophets are infallible.  Peter climbed out of the boat, and he walked on water, but then he doubted and he sank.  Paul started as a hunter of the Christians and became one of the greatest teachers of Christianity.  David killed his friend to steal his wife.  The differences in the texts might be moments where the prophet doubted and he felt the winds and he felt the waves or even where he sank.  I don’t know.

What I know is that God is real.  He’s a friend of mine, and He watches out for me daily.  I see him in the eyes of my friends and in the way that their hearts bend towards the less fortunate and towards one another.  I feel him in the little moments of a car crash barely avoided, a kind word from a customer, something that goes right when I didn’t think that it could, that time that I got a 90 on the Latin test that I didn’t study for until breakfast that morning and the words of which I didn’t know when I left for class.

Somehow or another, you’ve turned your face from God, but I don’t think He’s turned from you, and maybe I’m here to throw you a life preserver, but I don’t know that I can be certain of you in a lifelong partnership.  If I pull you back on the boat, will you be able to find the life preserver if I need ever it?  Will you remind me where it is when I forget?  I want you on the boat–I want that badly–but I want a seasoned sailor–one who knows the Captain and knows the ship–to help me when I’m flailing in the water–and maybe that’s horribly selfish, it’s definitely a thought driven by fear, but it’s how I feel.

I hope you can understand that I can’t give up my First Husband for my second.  I need the second to be able to accept and love my First Husband or the partnership becomes unequal and the marriage fails to be what I want it to be, not that either is head but that each is the helpmeet of the other, the one that makes the other work best in the role that each is given by their gifts.  Because I won’t give up the One Man that I’m sure that I can depend upon for anything, despite anything, the One Man without flaw who I could find in the whole of the universe.

And I’m sorry if that hurts.  Hurting you is not what I want.  But I can’t trust my body to one with whom I cannot trust my soul.

And I hope that we can be friends still because I truly do enjoy your company, and I don’t want to lose you from this, but I had to let you know how I felt.  I had to let you know my fears.  No relationship can exist without openness.

Gwen’s a thief!  She stole this first line to write “As Loud As We Laugh,” which you can find on her blog, Apprentice, Never Master.

This is a subject I’ve been thinking and worrying about a lot lately.  And while we’re talking about fears, I’m not sure how I feel now about putting this out on the Internet and attaching my name to it, but when I wrote it, I was pretty certain that it needed to be available for the wider consumption of the Internet in some form at some time.  Then I remembered that I’d been asked if I was participating in this week’s legal theft.   I used this line for legal theft because the timing was opportune and, yes, I was interested to see what would become of it if I sent it out of context into the world.  I hope you all will take my words and fears as an opinion of an individual and not a wider population, and I hope you won’t judge me and especially not others harshly for what I’ve said.  But I hope this is what some of you need or want to hear; for whatever reason, I hope it comforts or uplifts you.  I hope you can see the hope and strength I have in my first marriage.

Challenge: Legal Theft: Gifts and the Rack (696 words)


“No!”  She screamed, and the wine glass on the table shattered.  The visitor’s lapels, lilac tie, and white shirtfront dripped red cabernet.  The glass had shattered so that the half of it farthest from the visitor and from Aileen Varton remained in tact, but on his plate were several chips of glass and crystalline shards like sleet among the mashed potatoes and peas.  Aileen slowly lowered her arms from over her head and glanced at the visitor, fearful of his reaction.  She hadn’t meant to scream.  She hadn’t meant to shatter the glass.  She hadn’t meant to get upset.  She hadn’t meant to upset—  With a shout, her mother fled from the kitchen.  Her father turned to Aileen in a purple-faced fury.

Her mother returned and dashed past Aileen to kneel by the visitor.  Mumbling hurried apologies, she dabbed his front herself.  He allowed her to, ignoring her, his gaze carefully fixed on Aileen.

“This,” her father spat, “is exactly why you must go with him, Aileen.”

“You can’t just ship me off, can you?  Don’t you care at all?  I’m trying.  I’m really trying.”

“If you cannot control this—this—”

“Psychokinesis, I think.”  The visitor mildly provided the label.  “When she’s learned to control it.  But it might be more, and it might be less.  That particular manifestation seemed to influence the very molecules of the air.  Rather peculiar but not unheard of.”

All three Vartons stared at him.  The visitor smiled.  Aileen’s mother stepped back away from him.  There were still spots on his clothes.  “Aileen,” he said gently, turning to her, “I see many with abilities like yours, power beyond that of ordinary men.  I can teach you to control it, harness it.”

“Can you make it stop?”

“It is a talent you will possess as long as you live.”

“Then you can’t help me,” Aileen grumbled.  She flattened a few peas with the prongs of her fork.  “I don’t want to be special.  I just want to be—”  Her words died as she looked up at her parents, and saw only wariness and trepidation there.  She sighed and looked away from them both.

“I don’t believe that your ability is anything to fear,” the visitor claimed, and Aileen narrowed her eyes, looking for the lie in his bearded face.

She couldn’t find it.  She bit her lip.

“Come with me, Aileen,” he said.

“I—I’ll still have it if I do.  I—I might still hurt people, new people, people who don’t know.”

“You may hurt your family if you stay.  And we can keep you safe.  We have learned from those who came to me before you.  We have made my home as safe for everyone as it can be.”

“Who else lives with you?”

“There are others with powers like yours.”

“I won’t be alone,” Aileen breathed, letting her eyes mist over with the daydream of herself laughing with a group of girls her own age.

“No.  You won’t be.”

“Are there other girls?  Girls my own age?”

The man, smiling, nodded.  “Violet,” he provided, “and Sylvia.”

Aileen looked at her parents.  Her mother nodded, her eyes still deep and dark with fear.  A smile strained at the corners of Aileen’s mouth.  She looked back at the visitor and nodded too.

He turned away to hide a smile.  Aileen felt a flutter in her stomach.  Her smile wavered.

He composed his face before turning back towards her.  “Pack your things, Aileen.  We will leave within an hour.”

“An hour?  Isn’t that—”

“We must catch the next train.  You will need very little.  All will be provided for you.”

Aileen bit her lip and nodded.  There was no one but her parents to bid goodbye, but there was much she wanted to bring, things that she could share with new friends, with Violet and Sylvia.

“Only what you can I can carry, Aileen.  Go on.  Time is short.”

Aileen nodded.

As she fled the room she heard her father say, “Thank you, Rack.”

Aileen frowned, and she ran up the stairs to pack a bag or maybe two.  Mr. Rack had offered to help her with the luggage.

Today’s first line comes to you from Bek of BuildingADoor.  I stole it.  Check out “A Moment of Anger,” the piece that she wrote using the line.

Challenge: Legal Theft: Knifed (284 words)


People talk about palpable tension, tension that you can cut with a knife.  I always thought that that was fiction and poetic language for romance novels, rom-coms, fanfics, and Tumblr.  I never would have believed it was real.  But here it is, heavy on my shoulders and on my eyelids.  Is this why people lower their lashes before whispering “I love you”s?

God, I’d like to roll my eyes, but he’s not a bad guy; I don’t want to hurt him, and rolling my eyes right as he’s mustering the courage to get out the words would hurt him.  Maybe I should have followed the others inside, but how would I have done that without making it obvious, and I’d only have been delaying the inevitable, wouldn’t I?  Maybe it’s best that he get this out now.  But he hardly knows me.  I hardly know him.

Those words cut through the tension just like a knife, and that knife plunges into me, spilling an answer, but then that knife is in my gut and twisting, chiding.

I long for the simpler days of high school romances, when we’d known each other for nine years or more.  We knew a lot about each other before we’d even met in a town like mine, and when you’d been friends first, it was easy to just enjoy the date without worrying about the introductions.

I remember those dates.  They were nothing more than two friends of the opposite gender going to see a film.  The expectations were there, but were superseded by the need that we felt to uphold the friendship.  And that’s what I want now, and that can’t happen without a friendship first to protect.

Kate is a thief!  She stole my first line and used it to write “From the Diary of a Doomed Man” for her blog, More Than 1/2 Mad.

Challenge: Legal Theft: Rejection (571 words)


“Supper’s ready, Father.”

Justus smiled as his Seren ghosted up behind him on her bare feet.

“Book off the table,” she said.

He turned to see her using both hands to hold ceramic dishes of soup and obligingly stood to remove the book himself.  He replaced it on one of the shelves beside their mantelpiece.  Smiling her thanks, Seren placed a bowl before his vacated seat and another before her own, but she swept off to retrieve too the fresh loaf of cattail and acorn bread that had been filling the small cottage that they shared with a warm aroma all afternoon.  The honey jar followed the bread to the table.

The soup was boiled fish with herbs and cress leaves and cattail roots gathered from the hammock.  Seren has also managed to find some young asparagus stalks.  The freshly baked bread was a luxury.

As Seren cut the loaf into thick slices, Justus asked, “What is it that you want, my Seren?”

She feigned surprise.

“This is quite a meal,” Justus explained.  “You want something.”

Seren bit her lip, sat, and looked down at her knotted hands.  “I heard you talking to George Tvorec yesterday.”

Justus frowned.  “I hoped that you had not.  That boy is no good for you.”

“Why not?  He’s the only one who’s asked.  And his family—”

“Has been Anvatrin for two generations now.  Is that what you want for your children?  A life where they’re forced to live on the margins of our society?  There was a time when Anvatrin children were killed when they were discovered and the parents thought of none the worse for it.”

“They say that Razadd slept with an Anvatrin woman.”

“And look what became of it,” Justus snarled.  “A broken line with no power among them and a broken race of freed slaves that still live in squalor and poverty and hiding.”

“Father,” Seren sighed.  She had of course heard this complaint before.  The truth of it gnawed at him, and it gnawed at him that no one else seemed to remember the greatness of their race.  Seren’s tone said that she tired of his anger.

“You know my mind, Seren,” he agreed, “and know that I won’t let him have you.  And that’s that.  You’ll wait for a more suitable man, a Vatrin man.”

“What if no other comes?  Father, George is a good man.  I’ve seen him on the hammock and—”

“And maybe you should not anymore.”

“You can’t keep me in here, and you can’t keep him from going out either.”

“Can’t I?” Justus asked, and there was a knife’s edge to his voice from which Seren flinched.

“Father, I don’t want to stay indoors all day.  You know I cannot.  And if I don’t leave the house then who will do the chores so that you can continue your studies?”

He inclined his head, picked up the spoon.  “I could start collecting the firewood and the food that you do.”

“You won’t,” Seren was sure.  “I’m not sure for all your knowledge you’d know horsetail from asparagus.”

She was right about that, but Justus didn’t confirm it.

“If that boy pursues you despite my edict, he will regret it.  He knows the rules.”  He added, pinning her with sharp eyes, “So do you.”

Seren frowned.  She looked down into the soup and spooned some into her mouth to wisely silence any more protests.

Bek of BuildingADoor is a thief.  Go over to her blog to see what she did with this first line in “Daddy Daughter Deals.”

Challenge: Legal Theft: Why You Didn’t Call Back (237 words)


People vibrate at different frequencies, I’ve decided, but the frequencies shift.  Within a certain range, those frequencies can be beautiful together, notes of a chord, completing and complementing one another.

The night we met, a chance encounter, the kind with which romance novels and romantic comedy films begin, we were on the same frequency, whether by the phases of the moon, the alignment of the planets, the pollen in the air, or mere happenstance.  We leaned together, a clandestine meeting, one that shouldn’t have happened where it did.  We exchanged phone numbers in hurried whispers, looking over our shoulders, beaming, embarrassed, giggling, and thanking our good fortune, praying no one would notice, no one would interrupt.  We parted ways reluctantly.  We wouldn’t have done if the situation hadn’t been against us, if I wouldn’t have gotten in trouble for remaining together with you in the corner, our backs to the world, and our faces to one another.

A few text messages later, we met at an outdoor café, recognized one another easily, blessed the good day, sipped iced tea.

And realized that we had everything and nothing to talk about.

Nothing was wrong with the day.  Nothing was wrong with the conversation.

But the frequencies of our spirits had shifted.  Now we couldn’t hear one another, were outside one another’s ranges, and the only warmth was the sunshine on one of the first true days of spring.

Gwen yesterday stole the first line of this story to write one of her own.  Check it out on her blog, Apprentice, Never Master!  Links to all of the Legal Theft pieces from our group can also be found on Gwen’s blog.