Finish The Story — Starting Over Part 2

98A13B2E-4FD2-44A4-B2F7-DDDD53EA1EABTeresa, The Haunted Wordsmith, started another Finish The Story challenge, this one titled “Starting Over.” She invited me to craft part 2. But first, here’s Teresa’s part 1.

Ask anyone living today what they would do if they had a time machine, and they would respond with, “stop him from destroying what we had.”

Their response was reasonable, of course, as it had only been fifty years since the fall of the United States and ten years since the world crossed the point of no return. We were doomed, and we knew it. Maybe that’s why we didn’t question when they came. No one questioned when they said we could go back and change things. No one asked what they stood to gain from offering the human race a chance to change the present, by changing the past. Maybe we should have.

It was a hot December morning when …


And now for my part 2

It was a hot December morning when Tim was being interviewed. Tim wasn’t sure what to make of the experience. He was just a New America vlogger who had been very vocal about how, if he could, he’d love to go back to 2018 and change the course of human history. But here he was, sitting face to face — if you could call what the creature had a “face” — opposite an alien life form being interrogated.

“How would you proceed?” the alien asked Tim.

Tim didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t sure if these aliens could be trusted. What was in it for them? He knew he had to choose his words carefully. His life possibly depended upon it.

“The first thing I’d do,” Tim said, “would be….”


Okay, how about if we pass this off to The Dark Netizen. This should be right up his alley.

Finish the Story — The Penny

EC3A7CD3-B00F-41AE-A46D-68451DF5487FI seem to be being tagged a lot for Teresa’s Finish the Story prompts, which is fine because I enjoy them. This time it was Cheryl, aka, The Bag Lady, who tagged me.

So let’s start with what Teresa, The Haunted Wordsmith, wrote:

Sounds of children’s laughter and joy floated down the stairs. Liam breathed deeply and smiled. Never more content in his life. All thanks to the penny in his hand. 

“Don’t forget your change, sir,” she had said. Her smile ignited the flame he thought long dead. A brush of her hand against his, and he was hers. 

The ladies in his life, in beautiful red holiday dresses, walked down the steps of the opera house still reveling in The Nutcracker.

“Did you like it, Daddy?” Alice grinned. 

“Very much so.” He kissed Alice on the forehead, and held his wife’s hand.

The ringing of the Christmas bell called to the penny, and with a smile and tip of his hat, Liam dropped the penny into the kettle so that it may bring someone else as much love and joy as it had him.

“Thank you, sir and Merry Christmas.”

And here’s where Cheryl took over:

That evening as the Salvation Army Santa Claus emptied his kettle into the bank deposit box, he noticed one of the coins sparkled. He thought it was his tired eyes, playing a trick on him, but there it was, almost begging him to retrieve it. He hesitated only a second or two and then took the penny.

Retiring for the night where he now called home — a shelter for the homeless — he wearily sat down on the blanketed cot and eyed the coin once again. He hoped he wouldn’t be harshly judged by the Almighty for keeping this penny, for indeed it had called to him. Turning it over to read the mint mark and the year, he saw something scratched into the copper.

And now for my contribution:

Edgar donned his reading glasses hoping to better see the unusual etchings on the penny. He looked carefully, seeing that the engravings of the words “In God We Trust,” “Liberty,” and the date, “1955,” on the Lincoln side of the copper coin appeared to be blurry.9C458F82-4070-431F-AD7F-1DC201FDEB47Edgar became very excited, thinking that this penny might be worth way more than one cent. 

The next morning, Edgar went to a friend of his who was a coin collector. When the numismatist looked at the penny, he let out an audible gasp. “Oh my God, this is a 1955 doubled die obverse penny. Edgar, do you know what this means?”


How about if I hand this over to Sadje at Keep It Alive to take on Part 4. Remember, Sadje, to tag your post “FTS Penny” so that Teresa can find it.

Finish the Story — Gusty Gulch

0EB9A284-5864-4A80-B1D1-9545AA8D8CFFTeresa came up with another Finish the Story prompt. She handed it over to Jay-Lyn, who then tossed it to Rory, who then threw it at me. So here goes, starting at the beginning.

Here’s how Teresa – The Haunted Wordsmith got things started:

Gusty Gulch was named, well, because it was in a gulch and it was always windy. You can’t go up there and expect to have a good hair day – ever. Every day would start out the same, with a light southern breeze, then pick up by lunch, and by dinner the winds would howl through what few trees there were. Most of the town’s trees blew away during the storm of ’18.

Lizzy sat at the window and watched as the evening wind brought life into her quiet street. First there were a few birds that decided it would be best to cling to the ground rather than try to fly in that mess. Then came the tumbleweeds that blew in off the plateau. She chuckled remembering the time they decided to have a tumbleweed convention at her school – the school was closed for three days while the Gusty Gulch Fire Department cleaned it up.

Suddenly, she squinted her eyes and pressed her nose against the window. It can’t be, she thought. “Nah. Is it?”

“Is it what, dear?” her mother asked from the kitchen where she was busy drying the supper dishes.

Lizzy gasped and covered her mouth as another one appeared…then another. “Mom! Come look at this quick! You’ll never believe what just blew in!”

Her mother set the pot down and walked toward Lizzy wiping her hands with the drying towel. “What is it — OH GOOD LORD! Marv! MARV! Come look at this!”

Second: Jay-Lyn – The Wonderful and Wack World of One Single Mum;

Lizzy could hardly contain her excitement. Never had anyone survived the climb up and through the gulch. But coming along the street becoming larger and larger as he drew near, was a boy? But no boy could have survived the climb, the winds, the nothingness. Her eyes grew larger and suddenly unable to contain herself any longer, threw open the door and ran into the street.

Planting herself firmly in the middle of the stranger’s path, Lizzy set hands to hips and waited. As he sauntered along she took in his appearance. Tallish, slim build, brown hair that in places was a lighter shade. Closer he came, until he stood in front of her staring at her with luminescent green eyes. Her breath caught in her throat and Lizzy felt her face flush red.

“Hello,” she stammered. “I am Lizzy. How did you get here?”

“The ship dropped me at the precise location where the winds are a force lessened as it spreads itself out. How did you get here?”

Lizzy stared at him head cocked to the side as she contemplated the absurdity of his speech.

“I was born here. Where were you born?”

“You were born here? On this planet I mean?” incredulous the boy stared at her. “No one has ever been able to gain a foothold in the atmosphere but now that the sentient being is falling to sleep the winds have begun to lessen.”

Lizzy’s mouth dropped open. What was he talking about?

Third: Rory from a Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip

Lizzy was trying to fathom what this boy with those fantastically dazzling eyes, and handsomely good looks was … no stop that Lizbeth right this minute! More importantly who was he? “The sentient being is falling asleep?” Was all she found herself saying.

The boy looked at her and smiled, “Yes of course, who else? So going back to what you said, you are of this planet, as in really?”

“This planet, as in Gusty? Yes, l told you, l was born here, that’s my house back there behind me, where l live with my parents and my Brother.

“Parents … Brother … mmm, so you still use those terms then to describe your clans folk?”

“Clans folk? Look, seriously now – how did you get here, who is the sentient being, how do they lessen the wind and what do you mean ship?”

“So many questions,” the boy still looking at Lizzy said, shaking his head.”So your speech, the way you deliver your voice to me, is this the only way you can communicate?”

“The only way? Well we have phones you know, and people speak to each other, so yes?” Lizzy answered, now totally baffled.

“Right, that is interesting. When Kleidox 17^Urk asked me to visit here, I didn’t get the impression you couldn’t communicate properly. I was of the belief that you were more advanced. I don’t like communicating this way, and my Translilcator struggles with this, which is quite extraordinarick.”

“Extraordinarick? Don’t you mean extraordinary?” LIzzy asked, still none the wiser!

“I don’t know, but okay l will take your words for it.” Green eyes answered. “Is this it, all there is to your planet, l mean it’s all a bit well, ugly and isolated isn’t it?”

“What? Look l really have to insist, and find myself now speaking on behalf of Gutsy Gulch but who are YOU, and what do you want? Really?” Lizzy demanded now stretching up to her full height of five feet and seven inches, and in so doing noted that this newcomer, had to be close to six and half feet! Her neck was starting to feel the strain of looking up at him!

“Okay, my name is Klattunichiox 23^^ and my serial number is ^**G54^^t8, but as you are a bit less than l thought you can just call me Klatt! From my understanding of your primitive communication you are Lippy, or Likky or Lixxy or something. How l got here was simple, Ship Kjhg94 third Sector Transporter dropped me off on the 5th wind and l glided with the aid of my portal mirror down to this ugly place. I am here on a gathering mission for resources for my own Sphere Jugglodonix 657 of the Outer Saturnus Orbs. However, judging by your ever widening eyes, l am here on a visit to see if this planet has got anything valuable to take back home with me where upon l can approach Kleidox 17^Urk with a view to partial inhabitation for other Jugglods whilst taking a much needed break from their daily taskings. What species are you by the way?” Klatt asked.

OH no, Lizzy thought to herself, this Klatt fellow is another tourist! “I am a Zyphodian, and before you say anything more Klatt we were here first and we don’t need any Jugglods or whatever your species is coming in and moving on our turf for “holidays,” Lizzy shouted now feeling quite serious.

“I have got orders to terminate any resistence you know?” Klatt said with a smile on his face and his left hand slowly reaching for his ….

To be continued by Britchy of Bitchin in the Kitchen… but Britchy can’t sooooooooooooo my next choice is going to be mmm, pondercating here … someone with a warped sense of humour and the observational talent of the wild and wacky! Okay got it – although he may not agree lmao!!

And Rory’s second choice was none other than Fandango, and that is me. So having received the consolation prize, here goes part 4.

Lizzy’s eyes suddenly turned red and before Klatt could remove his weapon from its holster, Lizzy shot a laser beam from her eyes that burned Klatt’s hand right off.

“What the fl^rk!” Klatt exclaimed.

“You think we Zyphodians are weak and helpless, don’t you, Klatt?” Lizzy said. “Well, we are not a species to be trifled with and I suggest that, if you know what’s good for, you best march right back to the gulch and transport yourself back to Jughead, or whatever stupid planet you came from.”

But before Lizzy could get out her next word, the sky turned pitch black.


Okay, enough from me. I’m going to hand this over to The Dark Netizen to see where he’ll take it.

FTS — After the Long, Hard Winter – Part 4

293BC900-0478-4317-B12B-299180BE9F52 This is another Finish The Story prompt from Teresa (aka, The Haunted Wordsmith). Teresa started the story. Then she passed it to Michael, who tagged Di, who tagged me. So let’s start at the beginning.

Teresa wrote:

Winter had been hard. Harder than anyone in Goosedown had expected. It was six weeks into spring and Emily never felt better. She was finally able to get out into her garden. The spring flowers had fully said hello and color was everywhere, but the one thing she was most happy about was the Goosedown Spring Festival that was taking place today.

With one last check in the mirror, she adjusted her bright pink hat and set out for the park. While walking there she met up with …

Michael wrote:

Mary from the Dairy trudging along carrying two pails of fresh milk. The milk was for Miss Turnout’s café and scone emporium.

It was clear Mary was not happy, as everyone in Goosedown knew of the animosity between the two women. Mary had been in love with the handsome Sir Michael, and it was Miss Turnout who spread vile and vicious rumours about Mary such that Sir Michael turned his back on Mary and went off and married the less than gorgeous Phillipa the Needle maiden.

Mary had long held the grudge against Mis Turnout and every now and then she would clear her throat and deposit the said clearance into one of the buckets. Emily, being the sweet and innocent young lady she was and at that moment filled with the expectation of the coming spring, smiled serenely at Mary as she went by.

“There’d be nothing to smile about young Emily,” said the sour Mary as she passed and deposited another into the left bucket, “the rotten old cow destroyed my life, I’m gonna make her rue the day she spread rumors about me, no matter how true they might be. Sorry I should not have said that.”

Emily had no answer to Mary’s statement and was not a girl given easily to gossip so she …

Di wrote:

nodded and continued to smile sweetly as she watched Mary trudge away.

With every step, Mary moaned and bitched about Miss Turnout under her breath. Her deposits in the milk seemed to do little to improve her mood and now she had a nagging toothache.

Maybe a filling had fallen out and was ratting around in the bottom of the bucket. Better still, maybe the old trout would swallow it and choke. That made her laugh, which in turn made her cough and there followed another satisfying splash in the bucket.

More bitching and moaning in rhythm to her footfalls, gradually fading into the distance and out of Emily’s earshot.

Emily was enjoying her walk to the park, taking in the riot of color on the way, the lovely sunshine, and the anticipation of the Spring Festival, especially as it meant passing through …

And I wrote:

62A502F2-092A-40E1-8EE2-011ED2B6A49A… the field red with poppies. Every time Emily walked through the beautiful poppy field, she would feel a strange sense of euphoria. Everything she was feeling became more intense, the colors of spring brighter, and her mood even happier. She put Mary and her feud with Miss Turnout out of her mind and concentrated on what she would do when she got to the festival grounds.

But Emily was feeling herself growing very, very tired. She was struggling to keep walking through the lovely field of red flowers, which seemed to be glowing and vibrating. Suddenly Emily had to stop. She yawned, stretched out her arms, and slowly fell to her knees. “Why am I so tired?” she wondered. “I have to lie down,” she said aloud.

It was already dark when Emily finally woke up. Had she missed the Spring Festival that she was so looking forward to? She wondered what had happened to her. But then she saw …


Okay. Now it’s my turn to tag someone and the blogger I’ve picked is storyteller extraordinaire, Iain, at Iain Kelly Writing.

Here are the rules:

  1. Copy the story as it appears when you receive it (and the rules please).
  2. Add to the story in whichever style and length you choose.
  3. Tag only 1 person to continue the story.
  4. Have fun!

#FTS — I Don’t Believe In That, Part 2

Teresa (aka, The Haunted Wordsmith) has the “Finish the Story” prompt where she gets a fictional story started and then tags another blogger to write the next installment.

The other day she asked other bloggers to indicate whether they would be interested in participating in her FTS prompts and I, of course, responded affirmatively. Naturally, Teresa tagged me for her latest FTS prompt. Be careful what you ask for, right?

Anyway, let’s start out with what Teresa wrote and then I’ll pick it up where she left off.

9C2B0A9C-CBF8-47BE-B63C-45188307F378It was opening night of the Grim Reaper Haunted House in town and it seemed like everyone in town was waiting in line. Brandon, Alex, and Josh showed up right after school so they could be first in line, but they ended up in the parking lot.

“This’ll be great!” Alex bounced with excitement. “I hear they brought in actors from Hollywood.”

“Liar!” Josh gave Alex a friendly shove into the cheerleading squad in front of them and laughed. “It’s all about where they chose to put it that’s important.”

Brandon sighed and shook his head. “You don’t really believe that nonsense, do you?”

Alex and Josh shot him the ‘shut up’ look they had perfected over the years. Brandon was the realist…the matter-of-fact…the one boring, stick-in-the-mud friend that everyone seemed to have. But, his logical thinking and rationing had kept them from getting themselves killed on many occasions, so they kept him around. Not to mention he was the one who always had the money to do cool stuff.

“Yes, someone was killed –“

“Gah! Someone? Someone? Get it right Brandon! Five people were killed…no, not just killed…slaughtered in this house.”

“Josh is right, man. Five people were mutilated by their own hired hand. Sometimes I wonder about you.”

Brandon sighed and shook his head harder. The line moved fairly quickly, which surprised everyone until they got closer to the ticket booth. People were only spending a few seconds in the house before running back out the front door screaming.

Alex looked at Josh and grinned. “SWEET!”

Brandon paid for the trio and marched stoically in front of them toward the entrance. “I don’t believe in any of that crap. They are just stories created to prey on the weak minded.”

The Grim Reaper Haunted House company set up a series of jump scares and costumed volunteers to line the enclosed black-light path from the ticket booth to the front door of the Flatly House where the murders took place so many years ago.

The screaming, laughter, and pushing and pulling from Alex and Josh quickly got on Brandon’s nerves.

“Knock it off,” he said, reaching for the door. “I told you already how fake all this stuff is, so stop being babies!”

The old iron knob was icy cold under his palm and he could see his breath as he turned the knob. As he opened the door ….

Okay, now here’s where I take over.

As he opened the door, a large, black spider dropped from the ceiling of the foyer, causing all three boys to jump back.  Brandon swatted at the papier-mâché spider. “What a piece of phony crap,” Brandon said.

“You almost shit your pants,” Alex laughed, lightly punching Brandon on his arm.

“Yeah, you jumped higher than either of us,” Josh teased.

“Whatever,” Brandon sighed. “Let’s get this nonsense over with,” he said as he stepped forward into the corridor. As the other two followed Brandon, they could hear him muttering words like “bogus” and “lame” and “sham.”

“Get in the Halloween spirit,” Alex said.

“Yeah, go with the flow, Brandon,” Josh added. “Stop being such a Debbie Downer.”

“This is such a total waste of ….”

Brandon was cut off in mid sentence when someone — or something — stepped out in front of him.


Okay, now it’s time for someone to take it and run with it. I’m going to tag my blogging buddy, Jim Adams, who’s focus lately has been posting about songs and the artists who write and sing them. Let’s see if I can distract him long enough to get him to write the next part of the story. And no, Jim, your response can’t be the Bobby Pickett song, “Monster Mash.”