Finish the Story — The House By the Lake – Part 5

43935A6F-53E7-4937-B17E-5DD4E928CD4DI have been tagged by Kristian of Tales From the Mind of Kristian to take part in the latest Finish the Story challenge from Teresa Grabs.

The rules for this challenge are

  1. Copy the story as you receive it.
  2. Add to the story in some fashion.
  3. Tag another person to contribute to or finish the story.
  4. Please use FTS as a tag so Teresa can find it or link back to part 1.
  5. Have Fun!

Here’s how Teresa kicked things off.

A house sat perched precariously on the edge of Clearwater Lake. It was a house that should not have stood, yet stand it did. It had been there for centuries and locals swore the same couple lived there the whole time. Locals never knew how right they were until the day the rains started.

“It’s just a little rain,” Susan said, watching the couple pile water and canned fruit into their shopping cart.

The couple looked at the checker and smiled politely. “The rain will not stop,” they said, “we’ve seen this before.”

No sooner had the couple left, Susan but dropped her smirk as locals poured into the shop chaotically looking for food. The once spring storm skies have turned …

To be continued

Sadje’s part 2.

….. dark grey and water came down in sheets. People were scurrying away in the downpour with their bags of groceries clutched tightly under their umbrellas. Susan thought that it would be prudent to get some stuff for her family as well, just in case… What am I thinking! She nervously chided herself and yet she bought some bottled water, cans of soup and other supplies and started home. The umbrella she had was too flimsy and inadequate to handle the rain and she was soaked to skin when she reached her place. She met Dan at the door who was getting the kids inside. She sent an inquiring gaze towards him and was answered by a nod. Dan knew something but didn’t want to say it in front of the kids.

After dinner when they had sent the kids to bed, they discussed the elephant in the room.

“Do you think there is something to be worried about, the rain I mean?” Susan asked him.

Dan looked a bit worried but smiled at her question. “You have heard the rumor too?”

“I was there when the Jackson’s were buying water and other foodstuffs in the store today. She said that the rain won’t stop! Do you know what she meant?”

Dan looked uneasy and said…….

Melanie’s part 3.

Dan looked uneasy and said, “Oh I suspect those people are just doomsday advocates. You know, those odd people who go about spreading lies about the coming end of the world!”

Susan frowned, disturbed at Dan’s cavalier attitude. “I don’t know about the doomsday idea,” she began, “sensible people have been telling us about the repercussions of our lifestyles for years and years. What do you think global warming is about, anyway?! All these horrid superstorms, which keep getting more and more severe. I wonder if there isn’t a grain of truth in the Jackson’s statement. Maybe the rain won’t stop this time.”

Dan snorted, but it was a weak uncertain sound. Susan knew he believed the same thing she did. But what to do about it? There wasn’t enough food and water available if the rain kept pouring down, not to mention the flooding that surely would occur and the destruction of life as they knew it.

Susan thought back to old traditions that she had grown up hearing about. Things about appeasing old gods and sacrifice. Maybe it was time for some out of the box thinking. Maybe someone should call Stephen King and ask him what he would do, if he were writing about the end of days brought about by a mega-storm, instead of a mega-virus. Susan shook her head at her whimsical train of thought.

The thing to do right now was to make sure her family was secure. Dan could put together some sandbags and …

There was a tremendous roaring sound and a portion of the side door nearest the small creek, broke apart. Muddy water began to pour into the hall. Susan screamed, out of pure reflex, and Dan and she clung to each other watching the water run. Out of the black night a voice boomed…

Kristian’s part 4.

Making them jump, then stand and stare in astonishment.

“Come on, jump aboard, this is your last chance,” said a man with a long white beard standing on wooden hand made boat.

Susan grabbed her raincoat and her kids and jumped onto the boat and Dan was not far behind. They saw they were not the only people on board, several of their neighbours were there huddled inside the bowels of the boat.

There didn’t appear to be anyone steering or rowing the boat and yet, without rhyme or reason, it appeared to float down the watery avenue that had once been the main street of town.

The boat then sailed out onto the lake towards the island. The lights in the house were lit like a beacon, beckoning them in. The boat pulled up against a wooden jetty and the strange bearded man jumped out and tied the boat securely.

“Come on everyone, we’ll be safe on the island.”

When they arrived at the house, the front door opened and to everyone’s surprise…

Fandago’s part 5.

…there were seven dwarfs standing in a reception line, greeting everyone as they walked into house’s foyer. “Oh my God, they are so cute,” Susan whispered to Dan.

Dan, always the skeptic, said, “I don’t know, Susan. I am not too keen on being ‘saved’ by some random, Gandalf-like Wizard who miraculously shows up at our home, shuffles us onto a crude wooden boat, and then leads us into Snow White’s house to be greeted by the likes of Dopey, Doc, Bashful, Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy, and Sneezy. Are we in the middle of some weird dream or are we dead, having perished when the muddy waters poured into the hall of our home? This whole situation makes no sense.”

Dan walked up to the man with the long white beard and said, “Where are we and what is going on here? We put our lives in your hands and you bring us to this strange house with these little people waiting to greet us. I need a rational explanation for all of this. I demand an explanation.”

The man with the long white beard glared at Dan. “Your cynicism is well placed, my friend,” he said. “We are at a way station, neither here nor there. We will remain here until fate guides us to our next steps.”

“What next steps?” Dan asked.

The man with the long long white beard smiled. “You are about to find out, my friend.” Just at that moment, the front door to the strange house flung open and standing in the doorway was none other than…

I tag Pete, at Stroke Survivor, to exercise his fiction writing chops and to write the next installment.

Blogging Insights — Stats Rule

Blogging insightsIn her latest edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya asks us three questions about blogging statistics and traffic.

1. How often, if at all, do you check your blog statistics?

I admit that I check my stats multiple times a day. It’s just another way to get feedback about how many people are visiting my blog and viewing, liking, and commenting on my posts. This kind of feedback enables me to see what people enjoy and what doesn’t resonate all that much.

2. What methods do you use to increase reader engagement, (provided you care about this)?

Honestly, I don’t have any definitive strategy for increasing reader engagement. I do, though, as I said above, look at my stats and I try to use that data to help me make gain insights about my blog and to take small steps so that others will enjoy reading my posts. That said, based upon my declining views each month since August (see the chart below), I should probably consider coming up with a better strategy.0AE90795-9BE8-46E0-B97C-323B14D42398

3. Do you actively promote your blog on social media?

Not at all. I’m don’t have accounts on Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, or any other social media sites other than Facebook, on which I never post anything and only have an account there because my kids post everything they do day in and day out on Facebook.

FOWC with Fandango — Strange

FOWCWelcome to January 30, 2020 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “strange.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

The issue with pingbacks not showing up seems to have been resolved, but you might check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.

One-Liner Wednesday — Crack in the Wall


“Cracks in the GOP Wall Against Witnesses”

The words above appeared on a chyron (or text bar) at the bottom of a cable news show yesterday evening. I was watching MSNBC at the time and I think everyone agrees that MSNBC is the most left-leaning of the three major cable news networks in the U.S. So seeing those words on the chyron on MSNBC shouldn’t surprise anyone.

And then there was this headline in a Wall Street Journal article that showed up on my iPhone’s newsfeed:82ACE3A3-F417-4284-9602-F57BE56B82CEPer the Journal, “At a meeting of all Republican senators late Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the vote total wasn’t where it needed to be on blocking witnesses or documents, people familiar with the matter said.”

Yeah, well I think it’s a Democratic wet dream; wishful thinking on the part of liberals who are hoping to get witnesses such as John Bolton, Trump’s former National Security Advisor, and Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s acting Chief of Staff, to testify in the Senate impeachment hearings.

Here’s a reality check. The hard facts are that there are presently 53 Republican senators, 45 Democratic senators, and two senators who are “independents.” In order for the Republicans to lose the vote on having witnesses testify during the impeachment trial, it would take four Republican senators to defect and to vote in favor of calling witnesses plus every democratic Democratic senator as well as the two independent senators to vote for witnesses.

As much as I’d love to see that happen, it won’t. There just aren’t four Republican senators who, when push comes to shove, have the backbone to defy Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.

What a sad state of affairs.

Written for today’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt from Linda G. Hill. Sorry about this post running a little longer than one line.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #2 — Revisited


I am still running around like a chicken without a head, as the old saying goes. Between buying a new house, packing up my current house, getting ready to move, and preparing my current house to go on the market, I’ve barely had time to publish posts, much less to read and comment on others’ posts.

Thus, I decided that, until this whole relocation madness is over, I would suspend my provocative question posts. But then my blogging buddy, Pete, over at Stroke Survivor, suggested, “If you run short in future, just repost an early one. There must be several of us who follow your blog now, who didn’t a year ago.”

What a great idea, Pete. So until I am all settled into my new house, the next few weeks, at least, of Fandango’s Provocative Question prompts will be my earliest such posts. This week it’s #2 from November 21, 2018.

Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question. By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

So without further delay, my second provocative question is this:

“What do you think is more useful: intelligence or wisdom, and why do you feel that way?”

If you decide to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

And most important, have fun.