Writing Prompt #243: Fall Fridays, Number 4

Autumn Images

Image Credit: Unsplash

As the wonderful season of autumn / fall has started, I wanted to create an original writing prompt series to celebrate!

I invite everyone who sees this to participate, if you choose.

The idea is to look at the prompt, take at least five minutes on the Fridays during October 2019, and come up with a story/poem/scene, or whatever strikes your fancy with those words.

This has been extended from September! You can use the image at the top of this post – Just please make sure to credit it.

Ready?

Here we go!


  • October 4th: Corn Maze
  • October 11th: Hay Ride
  • October 18th: Football
  • October 25th: Halloween

Elisa felt so lost. There were signs everywhere, and she couldn’t tell which ones were real.

Jonathan was going in a different direction.

“Elisa! Over here!”

“Where are you? I can’t see you!”

She felt the panic rising.

The sun was setting. The farm was closing in 20 minutes.

“Elisa?”

“Jonathan!”

Even Jonathan was getting worried. This was a good corn maze – Tough to navigate, but still entertaining.

However, hearing his fiancee panic was not fun.

A low growl made the hairs stand up on the back of his neck.

“ELISA!! RUN!!”

“What?”

“Run, Elisa. Now!”

“Why?”

“JUST DO IT!”

Her Nikes flew.

The fastest she ran, the darkness caught up with her.

“Jonathan!”

“Elisa!”

“HELP!”

The darkness overtook her. The last thing Jonathan heard were her screams.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #242: “September WIP Challenge ANNIVERSARY”

September WIP Challenge Anniversary

Image found through Didi Oviatt

Didi has a lot to celebrate every September!

As for me, I celebrate my dating anniversary with Al every year on September 4th.

Here’s the link to Didi’s September WIP Challenge:


Will wanted make their 10th dating anniversary special. Their first date that September Saturday, 10 years before, changed both their lives forever.

Bethany had diagnosed anxiety, but her anxiety preparing for their 10th dating anniversary was especially high. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it. She wanted to impress Will, knock him out of the park, in some way.

Separately, they had shopped for new outfits. But, they were going to a familiar place. Back to where it all began.

In the driveway that wound around the side of their beautiful house, Will polished his red sports car to perfection. It made Bethany get those butterflies again. She thought about how her brother-in-law’s former girlfriend had pointed out the car was Will’s, all those years ago.

Red was a theme for them, quite by accident. Will’s sports car was red. The top that Bethany wore on their first date was red. It was far too small now, but Bethany never wanted to part with it. She wanted so badly to wear it for the momentous occasion, but she certainly wasn’t 120 pounds anymore.

And red was part of their colors for their beautiful fall wedding. Their 10th dating anniversary in September would be followed by their fifth wedding anniversary in November. They were finally taking a proper week off from work. It was going to be their first significant getaway since their first wedding anniversary. Sad, but true.

Bethany steadied herself as she emerged from the shower, still in the hazy fog of wonderful memories. The red dress she’d found through her favorite consignment group on Facebook had been hidden away for months. She couldn’t wait to surprise Will.

She heard the sports car start up, knowing Will would be inside in just a few minutes.

The door slammed shut, causing the dogs to bark. Will was so good with them. They were quiet again in a minute or two. Bethany didn’t have to say a word.

As Bethany toweled off her hair, she heard Will climb the stairs. She caught her breath.

He let out his customary wolf whistle as he saw the dress hanging on her closet door.

“Wow, Bethany.”

She smiled, opening the bathroom door a crack. Steam, perfume, and deodorant wafted through the air.

“You smell amazing, sweetheart.”

“Thank you, baby.”

“Wanna give me a sneak peek?”

She smiled, unable to resist.

Fooling around was going to make them late for dinner, but neither of them really cared. Bethany loved how Will took his time with her, and enjoyed every inch of her.

When they finished, Bethany flicked her towel at him as he headed toward the shower. She put on the dress, and realized her anxiety was gone.

The sports car shone in the September sunshine as Will drove toward the beach. Bethany felt the butterflies give way to nostalgia and excitement. They were going back to the restaurant where it all began.

Dinner felt like old times, but it was full of reminiscing and making new memories. The food was just as good as it had been 10 years ago.

The symphony was warming up for their concert series as Bethany and Will strolled the boardwalk. The only difference was the musical act, and maybe 10 years of age.

Bethany and Will laughed as they stopped around the same place where Will had kissed her for the first time. Memories flooded both them.

This time, Bethany spoke up first.

“I have something to tell you.”

“What’s that?”

“I’m pregnant.”

Bethany smiled and her eyes filled with tears as she watched Will’s face.

“Really?”

“Yes, really. I took a test this morning. I didn’t think it was true, but it is.”

Will wanted to pick her up and spin her around, but he just kissed her.

The stars and fireworks Bethany had felt 10 years earlier, on that boardwalk on a September Saturday, were still there. And now, they were starting another chapter.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #241: Fall Fridays, Number 3

Autumn Images

Image Credit: Unsplash

As the wonderful season of autumn / fall approaches us, I wanted to create an original writing prompt series to celebrate!

I invite everyone who sees this to participate, if you choose.

The idea is to look at the prompt, take at least five minutes on three Fridays in September 2019, and come up with a story/poem/scene, or whatever strikes your fancy with those words.

I may extend this further than the end of September, but we shall see. Until then, have fun! You can use the image at the top of this post – Just please make sure to credit it.

Ready?

Here we go!


  • September 13th: Apple Picking
  • September 20th: Fall Leaves
  • September 27th: Pumpkin Patch

The kids squealed as the bus kicked up dust. They were finally here.

“Field trip!”

Samantha turned toward the window, pressing her forehead to the cool glass. As a first- year teacher, she’d been all gung-ho when school started in early September. She’d had so many fun ideas for her second-grade class.

Now, on a hot bus with three second-grade classes, she was regretting so many things. Not becoming a teacher. Not that. She’d wanted to do that since she’d been in first grade. That was a dream come true.

But, if she’d thought a field trip with 47 kids to the local pumpkin patch on a Friday was a a good idea, she was quickly being proven wrong.

The bus had to be changed at the last minute. She’d experienced the wonderful laws of Murphy at least once every day this week.

She wanted the screaming to stop.

“Mrs. Davis! When can we get off the bus?”

Samantha smiled. The small, sweet voices of her kids were always welcome. It helped quiet the other screaming.

“Just a few more minutes, Ashlyn, okay? I need to do a head count and make sure everyone has their buddy. How does that sound?”

Eight-year-old Ashlyn smiled up at the raven-haired teacher. She’d wanted Mrs. Davis as her teacher this year, prayed for it, but had been assigned Mr. Frost instead.

“Could you go back to your seat, please?”

Ashlyn grinned. “Sure, Mrs. Davis. I’ve been looking forward to this field trip for days!”

Samantha smiled, and hoped Ashlyn hadn’t noticed the pained look in the 24-year-old’s eyes. Kids noticed everything. She knew it was a migraine. And the screaming was still there. Sometimes, she felt like a child, wanting to put her hands over her ears and squeezing her eyes shut, to block it all out.

She breathed deeply, three full times like her therapist had been teaching her. A welcome hush fell over the bus. As she stood next to the driver with the clipboard, all eyes focused on her.

“Okay, Treetop Elementary second-graders! Who’s ready to get this field trip started?”

The bus erupted. The kids’ yells and screams drowned out the others. Samantha smiled, grateful for the momentary distraction.

As Samantha ran through the rules, head count, buddies, and questions, she started to relax. Field trips were a lot of work. Almost too much. But, seeing the kids’ excitement bubbling over like a cauldron was completely worth it.

Mr. Frost looked at Samantha, giving her an encouraging nod. She appreciated the handful of colleagues that had already taken her under their wing. She was glad Mr. Frost and Ms. Gaddis were part of the second-grade team.

“Okay, Treetop second-graders! Let’s get off this bus and take over the pumpkin patch!”

As Samantha stepped aside, she was proud of the kids. They were respectful, and were following instructions and directions really well. Mr. Frost and Ms. Gaddis took over. Samantha stayed behind until the last kid was off the bus, checking for any stragglers or issues. Vomit was not fun, but important to look for.

Finding nothing amiss, Samantha let out another breath. Mr. Frost turned and gave her a thumbs-up.

She climbed off the bus, thanking the driver, smiling as the kids were ready to disappear into the sea of orange pumpkins and the rest of the fall colors.

The screaming was still there. But it wasn’t coming from the kids.

She steadied herself, focusing on a place to sit down. As she found a hay bale, the voices inside her head were telling her horrible things. Frightening things.

She looked up, trying desperately to focus on something else. Anything else. She smiled again as she watched the kids enjoy everything the pumpkin patch had to offer. And they’d only been there for five minutes.

She knew she couldn’t sit on the hay bale forever. At that moment, seven-year-old Fred came into Samantha’s view.

“Come on, Mrs. Davis! I picked out a pumpkin already!”

Samantha smiled. Fred took her hand, and pulled her toward his prize pumpkin, chattering about carving it, toasted pumpkin seeds, and picking out his Halloween costume.

She kept glancing at Fred. He was a godsend. All the kids were.

Fred’s small, excited voice drowned out the others. But, Samantha knew, with dread, the others, the scary ones, would return.


This concludes the September writing prompts!

I have decided to continue this series into October! Come back next Friday for another prompt post!

If you do decide to participate, please link back to this post. Thanks!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Hot Topic #27: Purdue Pharma

Purdue Pharma

OxyContin bottles, the biggest drug made and marketed by Purdue Pharma. Image Credit: CNN

Purdue Pharma announced it was filing for bankruptcy on Sunday, September 15, 2019.

They have been in the news for so long.

What does this mean?

Hopefully this post will show you the history of this company, their impact on the opioid crisis, and what may happen next.


Purdue Pharma History

It was founded in 1892 by medical doctors John Purdue Gray and George Frederick Bingham.

In 1952, two other doctors, Raymond and Mortimer Sackler, bought the company. Older brother Arthur Sackler had a one-third stake in the company, which was sold to his brothers after his death. At that time, the company sold staples such as earwax remover and laxatives.

Purdue Pharma L.P. was incorporated in 1991, focused on pain management medication.

Manufacturing is located at three sites: Wilson, North Carolina; Totowa, New Jersey; and Coventry, Rhode Island.

Sister companies, also controlled by descendants of the Sackler brothers are Napp Pharmaceuticals in the U.K. and Mundipharma. These companies sell opioids globally.

In addition to OxyContin, Purdue makes pain medicines such as hydromorphone, oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine, and hydrocodone. Contin, a controlled drug-release system was developed in 1972. Its extended-release formulation of morphine, MS Contin, began in 1984.

OxyContin is Purdue’s extended-release formulation of oxycodone. It was released in 1996.

Arthur Sackler pioneered an aggressive marketing strategy decades earlier. Purdue pressed and convinced doctors to prescribe OxyContin, with incentives such as free trips to pain management seminars and paid speaking engagements. The drug was marketed as “smooth and sustained pain control all day and all night” when taken on a 12-hour schedule. In addition, it was touted to have “lower abuse potential than immediate-release oxycodone because of its time-release properties, even though there was no scientific evidence backing that conclusion.”

In 2000, just four years after OxyContin was released, widespread reports of abuse of the drug came to light.

At the same time, OxyContin was a “blockbuster drug” for Purdue. Between 1995 and 2001, OxyContin netted $2.8 billion for Purdue.


The Opioid Crisis

The numbers are staggering. According to an AP article published in January 2019, the opioid crisis killed 72,000 Americans in 2017.

An article from Quartz, published in mid-August 2019, was the summary of a meeting between an ER doctor and a former Purdue Pharma sales representative, and others.

“The company has not only faced public pushback for its role in the opioid crisis, but in 2007 Purdue was found guilty of downplaying the risks and overstating the effectiveness of opioids. The company also used legal marketing practices to boost sales, despite knowing the risks of addiction and dependence. These tactics are now at the center of a host of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors; those suits are currently making their way through the courts in Ohio.”

Some of the statements that Carol, the former sales rep, and Dr. Chris Johnson, made, were staggering.

“I remember hearing rumors early on that the bonuses for the Purdue sales reps were just incredible. Some of them were making $50 or $60,000 a quarter in incentive bonuses.”—Carol Panara, former Purdue sales rep

“Here’s the problem with a capitalist society: They have an incentive in you consuming more health care. You being healthy on your own isn’t good for business.”—Dr. Chris Johnson

Johnson: “With the passage the Affordable Care Act, something came into existence called the Open Payments Act. You can look up and see what doctors have taken gifts from pharmaceutical companies. And it turns out if you want to see where the most opioids deaths are, follow pharmaceutical gifts to doctors. Open Payments shows that half the doctors in this country take gifts from pharmaceutical companies. They’ve all taken the oath. Doctors are terrible at assessing how their influenced.  In my view, rather than relying on raising a hand and taking an oath, disrupt the incentives. Disrupt that reciprocity mechanism to get independent, and I would hope, more scientific thinking.”

In my area of southeastern Virginia, a recent discussion with the Opioid Working Group found that an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people have withdrawn from the Hampton Roads workforce due to opioids.

In short, Purdue knew years ago its drug was dangerous and addictive, but they aggressively marketed it anyway.


What’s Next?

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The intent for this filing was to stop the onslaught of lawsuits that the company has been facing. These lawsuit range from state to local governments, among others.

However, some state attorneys general have made it clear they will be pursuing additional damages from both the company and the Sackler family.

It has been reported that the company assets are not sufficient for the states. As early as last week, the New York attorney general’s office announced it had uncovered $1 billion dollars in wire transfers by the Sackler family.


To me, they’re running scared. This bankruptcy filing is their last resort, desperate to settle out of court.

In March 2019, Purdue and the Sackler family agreed to settle a case with the state of Oklahoma for $270 million dollars.

Twelve years ago, in 2007, a landmark settlement of $634.5 million dollars was reached, based on federal allegations the company had misbranded OxyContin. The company, along with three executives, plead guilty to criminal charges.

Image result for purdue pharma quotes

Image Credit: AZ Quotes

I look forward to future media coverage. It’s high time that a company like this is finally held accountable for its actions.


Resources


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #240: Fall Fridays, Number 2

Autumn Images

Image Credit: Unsplash

As the wonderful season of autumn / fall approaches us, I wanted to create an original writing prompt series to celebrate!

I invite everyone who sees this to participate, if you choose.

The idea is to look at the prompt, take at least five minutes on three Fridays in September 2019, and come up with a story/poem/scene, or whatever strikes your fancy with those words.

I may extend this further than the end of September, but we shall see. Until then, have fun! You can use the image at the top of this post – Just please make sure to credit it.

Ready?

Here we go!


  • September 13th: Apple Picking
  • September 20th: Fall Leaves
  • September 27th: Pumpkin Patch

CW: This is a fictional story, but it does contain violence, guns, and characters who are minors.


The remaining fall leaves on the front lawn were scattered by shotgun blasts.

Adam’s eyes went wide as his wife expertly used the 20-gauge. He had reluctantly agreed to buy it as the leaves had started to turn, strictly as a home defense method after they’d moved into their new house over the summer.

He hadn’t seen Catherine so passionate in months, but he knew she was acting mainly in fear. She took all the safety classes, even joined three Facebook groups for shotgun owners and home defense.

He opened his mouth to say something, but Catherine’s eyes met his. His mouth closed as he reached for the baseball bat under the stairs. Catherine was in war mode.

The storm door, now peppered with pellet holes, made Adam wince, but knew Catherine was only using it because the threat was now real. This “gang” had been tormenting them for months, and Catherine finally had had enough on that cold day in late November.

“Get off my property! NOW!”

The gang, originally ready for what had looked like an easy break-in on the day after Thanksgiving, slowly realized the shotgun was aimed at them.

“Guys, we should go.”

“Yeah, yeah, that’s probably a good idea.”

“We picked the wrong house.”

“RUN!”

The gang backed up, almost in unison, and crunched the red and orange maple leaves as their sneakers picked up speed.

The five gang members narrowly escaped another round of pellets as they hit the sidewalk. Aside from the deafening blasts, sirens were coming closer.

As they ran down the block, someone’s shoelace loosened enough, and they tripped.

The first police cars pulled up before the gang could disappear around the next corner.

“Ouch! My arm!”

Officer Jones saw the gang member on the ground, clutching his elbow.

“Are you okay, son?”

“I … think so. Ouch, damn it. My arm – I think it’s broken.”

Officer Jones assessed him quickly, waving over another officer.

“Watch your language, okay, son?”

“He’s not shot, thank goodness. But he does have a broken arm or elbow. Call it in. We need to get the others.”

Officers Graham and Rodriguez hustled down the street. Others joined them via calls on the radio.

About five minutes later, two out of the three were struggling against the officers. The fourth, the self-proclaimed “runner,” had gotten away. Two other officers were headed to find him.

The mix of fall leaves blew against the officers and suspects. None of the suspects had been shot, amazingly, and the deafening blast sounds had ceased.

“Let’s see some ID, please.”

“Back pants pocket, in my wallet, Officer.”

“Here we go. Oh, my God …”

“What is it, Jones?”

“It’s an ID from Heritage Heights. Middle School.”

Two other Heritage Heights Middle School IDs were discovered. The gang members hung their heads, wise to not utter a word. Their faces were ashen as the officers led them back to Adam and Catherine’s house.

Catherine peacefully surrendered the 20-gauge through the intact back screen porch. The entire neighborhood knew the front of the house, the lawn, the sidewalk were all part of the crime scene.

She turned to Adam, and cried into his sweater.

“It’s okay, baby. You stood your ground. It’s all going to be okay.”

The fall leaves were finally still as the chaos of November 26th ended, and the investigation began.


Come back next Friday for another prompt post!

If you do decide to participate, please link back to this post. Thanks!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #239: Fall Fridays, Number 1

Autumn Images

Image Credit: Unsplash

As the wonderful season of autumn / fall approaches us, I wanted to create an original writing prompt series to celebrate!

I invite everyone who sees this to participate, if you choose.

The idea is to look at the prompt, take at least five minutes on three Fridays in September 2019, and come up with a story/poem/scene, or whatever strikes your fancy with those words.

I may extend this further than the end of September, but we shall see. Until then, have fun! You can use the image at the top of this post – Just please make sure to credit it.

Ready?

Here we go!


  • September 13th: Apple Picking
  • September 20th: Fall Leaves
  • September 27th: Pumpkin Patch

“What makes you think that going apple picking was a good idea?!”

Cheryl winced at Sam’s words. She tried to listen to him, while holding back hot tears.

“I thought this was going to be a weekend away, Cheryl – A weekend just for us. But, having the kids come along with us? That’s not a weekend away in my book!”

Two-year-old Abby stopped examining her apple, and looked up at her mom. Her face said it all.

Cheryl swayed back and forth, trying to see if baby Ezra was still asleep in the carrier on her chest. At ten pounds, her shoulders ached. He was a beautiful baby, her answer to prayer for a boy, but heavy.

Sam continued. “I can’t believe we drove all this way for this. I would rather be anywhere else than here.”

Cheryl sighed. She loved Sam, but he lost his filter when he got frustrated. This, this was borderline anger though. And it wasn’t the first time.

Abby had moved on to another apple, but didn’t speak. Or dance. Or sing. Cheryl let one tear slip, hoping it didn’t smear the makeup she’d worked so hard to apply that morning.

As Sam started to berate her, growing louder among the beautiful apple orchard, Cheryl adjusted Ezra’s weight. He sighed slightly, and Cheryl knew he wanted to nurse.

“Cheryl? Are you listening to me?”

As she got Ezra settled, she looked at her husband. She nodded, and turned her attention back to Ezra.

“There’s a good boy, my sweet boy.”

“You’re not paying attention to a word I’m saying. Fine. I won’t say anything at all.”

Sam crossed his arms. Cheryl patted Ezra’s back, and kept an eye on Abby. She hated the silent treatment. But only a few words came out of her mouth, with the perfect red lipstick.

“I’m sorry, Sam. I’m sorry. I ruined this. All of this.”

Abby finally spoke up, with her sweet voice breaking the painful silence.

“Mommy, can we pick more apples?”

Cheryl felt another tear escape, but smiled at her firstborn.

“Of course, sweetheart. Let’s go this way.”

Abby smiled, and started singing to herself as Cheryl took her sticky hand. Ezra finished nursing, and burped. Cheryl smiled a little as she walked away from Sam, leaving his plaid shirt and quilted vest behind. She wasn’t sure what was in store after this, but she didn’t care one bit. Her children, sweet and innocent, gave her courage.


Come back next Friday for another prompt post!

If you do decide to participate, please link back to this post. Thanks!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #239: August WIP Writing Challenge BIRTHDAY BASH

August WIP Writing Challenge Birthday Bash

Image Credit: Didi Oviatt

I love Didi’s WIP writing challenges!

Here’s the link to her August challenge:


Hunter was feeling low. He really didn’t like birthdays.

As he wallowed, his phone buzzed.

Happy Birthday!

Hunter managed a small smile. Bethany was so kind. And, unfortunately, Hunter had the hots for her.

As he composed his reply, more texts came in. Hunter’s heart rose out of his stomach, ever so slightly.

People really do care, he thought.

I do have friends.

Then, a puzzling text from Lizzie came in.

Hey baby, wanna meet me at the arcade tonight? It’s half-price!

Hunter shook his head. He loved how Lizzie tried, but sometimes, she tried too hard. And she knew full well how much he hated his birthday. But, she wanted to pull him out of his misery, in whatever way she felt like could work.

Hunter smiled slightly, contemplating his response.

From Lizzie: Baby? Are you okay?

From Belle: Happy Birthday, Hunter! Hope you’re doing something fun tonight!

From Bill: Enjoy your birthday, dude! Can’t wait to celebrate soon!

Irritated, Hunter nearly threw his phone against the wall. That’s how the last two got broken.

He thought better of it. Pacing the room, he only texted Lizzie back.

Sure, sweetie. The arcade sounds like fun. What time?

Lizzie responded within seconds.

6:00. And don’t be late! 

Hunter drove the 10 miles to the arcade, lost in the music. He smiled a bit wider, excited to see Lizzie.

At 6:02, he walked into the arcade. Lizzie greeted him with a long kiss, a flick of the tongue, and then she took his hand and rounded the corner.

“SURPRISE!! Happy Birthday, Hunter!”

Hunter’s eyes went wide, and then filled with tears. Everyone was there – Lizzie, Bethany, Will, Belle, Bill, Robert, Adam, and a few others.

“I’m definitely surprised. Thank you.”

A man of few words, Hunter felt his heart lift higher. He hugged Lizzie tightly, whispered his thanks, and was simply overwhelmed.

As Bill raised the toast of soft drinks to another trip around the sun, Hunter’s smile grew wider.

“Well, friends, this is the first birthday where I haven’t felt miserable. Thank you, Lizzie. Thanks, everyone. Now, let’s shut up and play some games!”


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #238: “Imagination Plantation: European Vacation”

I was nominated for this writing challenge by Kristian, the lovely author of Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table. Thanks, Kristian, for nominating me!

Here’s the link to Kristian’s post, where I was nominated:

The challenge, Imagination Plantation, was originally created by Nova, the amazing author of Nova’s Namaste 365 Online.


4 Simple Rules:

Write me a short paragraph about what’s happening in this image.

Create a pingback to this image.

Tag three bloggers.

Reuse this same image 🙂 Let’s see how many stories can come from the same one.


Kristin shivered as the plane landed. As she turned off her iPod and listened to the final announcements of the flight attendants, she felt her right hand being gently squeezed. It was comforting.

“K? Are you okay?”

She smiled, squeezing his hand back.

“Yeah. I think so. My stomach always drops when planes land.”

Brennan smiled, hardly believing they had just landed in Germany. Their first time overseas.

As Brennan stroked her hand, Kristin’s thoughts drifted toward the cities and towns they would be exploring for the next 10 days. She was always nervous during plane trips, but for some reason, she was incredibly nervous about this trip. It was odd – She hadn’t felt this nervous around Brennan since the very beginning of their Camp experience. That was years ago.

She started to relax as their Uber left the Munich airport and headed toward the German countryside. The weather was absolutely beautiful, very unseasonable for the middle of August.

Brennan noticed Kristin had drifted off, her head laying on his shoulder. He smiled as his lips grazed her forehead. He caught a glimpse of a sleepy smile.

He took in the sights. It was about a 30-mile drive from the airport. There were so many trees – Far more than he’d ever seen in Texas. The amount of foliage and nature was rivaling Camp in Maine, and that was hard to top. He was in awe the entire drive. There were rivers, bridges, cathedrals, and stunning architecture. It was almost overwhelming. He was a little sad Kristin was missing this, but he thought it better she sleep. They had the next 10 days to take in everything. Germany was just the beginning.

The Uber driver easily navigated the steep, gravel-lined hill toward their first stop. Brennan’s smile grew wider. He remembered how excited, positively giddy Kristin was when she’d found it on Airbnb. It looked like a castle in the photos. And, in real life, unfolding before Brennan’s eyes, it was true.

“Hey, Kristin … Sweetheart?”

She groaned slightly, yawned, and opened her eyes.

“Yes, Brennan? What is it?”

He kissed her forehead, and then brushed her lips.

“Welcome to your castle, darling. Let’s start our European vacation.”


Nominations


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #237: “April WIP Writing Challenge: ‘Road Trip'”

Road Trip

Found through Didi Oviatt

Here’s the link to Didi’s challenge post:


As John finishing packing the Bel Air, Evelyn sat back in the passenger seat. She pressed her hands to my stomach, and sighed. She lost herself in her thoughts.

This is a good thing. I think. We both need to get away for a few days. Think about us. Think about the future. Our future child.

I know John’s been stressed about work. So have I. But, everyone needs a vacation now and then, right?

Evelyn’s thoughts were interrupted by the slam of the trunk.

John smiled at his beautiful fiancee as he opened the car door. Although he was an admitted workaholic, and recovering alcoholic, Evelyn’s idea to take a few days off felt good.

“Are you ready to hit the road, my dear?”

He leaned over to kiss Evelyn on the cheek. She smiled, and grabbed his hand. She moved it around her growing belly. The slightest butterfly kick startled them both.

“Oh, Evelyn! Wow. This is so neat. When did this start?”

She smiled.

“Last night. But you were sound asleep. I think this vacation is going to do some good. You haven’t slept well in months.”

John started the engine, and hung his head.

“Running a construction company is challenging. And we have lots of deadlines. But, for the next few days, we don’t have to worry about anything. Come on, darlin’, Let’s get out of the city!”

John carefully navigated the Bel Air out of Chicago. They didn’t really have a destination, just driving along Route 66 to see the sights. They both were long-overdue for some fresh air and R & R.

They played the radio for a while, but eventually encountered mostly static. Evelyn didn’t mind. She could see the stress slowly melting away from John, and that made her happier more than anything.

They both worked hard at John’s company, and they fell hard for each other shortly after Evelyn was hired. Several months ago, through a co-worker, Evelyn figured out she was pregnant.

Thankfully, John was a good man. He not only stuck around, but he’d proposed at the groundbreaking of their biggest project – A new, innovative, revolutionary neighborhood designed for everyone.

Evelyn was lost in thought again when the radio went from static to music again. She smiled, and reached for John’s hand. Her beautiful engagement ring sparkled in the spring sunshine.

“Do you have the map, dear?”

Evelyn leaned forward and pulled out the road map. It was well-worn. John had used it many times on his travels back and forth from Chicago to other architectural sights. His biggest “hero” was Frank Lloyd Wright.

However, taking this trip on Route 66 was different. And in the best way. John smiled, stealing glances at his pregnant bride-to-be. This trip would be legendary. A few days away on the surface, but one of the first trips with Evelyn, out of the city, and not on business.

As the sun started to set, she started to notice the colorful, painted billboards for a diner and a motel next door. Evelyn laughed, putting a hand on her stomach again.

“Our child is signaling they’re hungry, dear. And I am, too.”

John smiled and took her hand.

“We’re in for the adventure of our lives, dear. Let’s eat. And celebrate.”


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

 

 

Writing Prompt #236: The ABC Book Challenge (The Letter Z)

The ABC Book Challenge - L

This is it! The last letter of the alphabet for The ABC Book Challenge!

Memorable Books Starting with the Letter “Z”:

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Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Wartime Sarajevo

  • I first read this book in high school. It inspired me to write my Extended Essay for the IB Program in Peace and Conflict Studies, to study the effects of the Bosnian and Kosovo conflicts on children.

Books I’d Love to Read Starting with the Letter “Z”:

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Zeitoun

  • A true story springing from Hurricane Katrina.

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Zelda

  • I’ve been fascinated with F. Scott Fitzgerald since high school. With that fascination comes wanting to learn more about his family.

What books have you read, or want to read, that start with the letter Z? Let me know!


Thank you so much for following along with me on this incredible journey! I started it in July 2018, and here we are, roughly nine months later. I’ve really enjoyed writing and researching new books, and remembering the good ones I have read.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂