Tag: Previously

PREVIOUSLY: Previously By G. Ackman

Word Count 500
By G. Ackman
I’m not supposed to be writing this. If they catch me, I will be punished, but sometimes a person just has to do what is right, regardless of the cost. You see, I am being held prisoner. They frighten me and I haven’t been able to get away from them yet. But I am keeping my eyes open to any opportunity. It’s hard, though, because they keep my hands restrained, and it makes them hurt so terribly bad. I think they might have killed my husband because I haven’t seen or heard from him in a very long time. That’s probably what they intend to do to me too, but so far, they are keeping me alive. I don’t know what they want. I don’t have much – this house, the car, a few little trinkets that wouldn’t bring much, even though they mean a lot to me. The woman – the scary one – she broke one of my favorite pieces the other day. I think she did it just to spite me and I tried so hard not to cry, but the sound of shattering glass and those tiny little pieces of blue happiness scattered over the floor brought tears to my eyes and I couldn’t stop them from spilling down my cheeks, so she saw. She probably got great satisfaction in knowing she got the best of me.
Why doesn’t anyone recognize that I have not been seen? I know I wasn’t close to my neighbors but surely they would notice that I haven’t been outside walking around the yard, working in the flower bed, coming and going on a regular basis. Maybe they think I moved. No, that doesn’t make sense. The car is still there – well, at least, I assume it is. They haven’t let me outside for so long that I have no idea what it all looks like anymore.
That nice looking young man stops by about once a week. He brings bags of things for them. I guess they are scared to go out in public. That’s good news – the police must know about them. It’s a shame, though, that such a good looking guy is in on such a terrible crime. I tried to get his attention a few times but he ignored me and just talked to the woman. I can’t tell you how much I hate her. All she does is stare out the window and ignore me. I am so bored and lonely and scared. I just want to go back to living my life. It wasn’t very exciting, but it was mine. I enjoyed seeing the world around me, and I guess I kind of took it for granted. I won’t anymore. If I get out of here, I will appreciate every single second from now on.
Oh, here’s that young man again. He’s looking right at me. Maybe now I can get his attention and let him know. Yes, he’s coming over here.
“Hello, grandma. How are you today?”

PREVIOUSLY: Previous Fears By Claire Robertson


Word Count: 457


Previous Fears

By, Claire Robertson


As they walked on, they came to a tunnel carved into the rock that was so narrow that they would have to go single-file.  There was a warning sign outside it.  It read, “Warning!  You’re off the map now!  Watch out for your memories!  None who enter shall leave unchanged!”  “Well,” said Magnus brightly, “I will volunteer to go first!”  There was a slight creak, like opening a door after a long time.  They looked, and the sign had changed.  It now read,  “Are you sure you can face your memories, Magnus Bane?”  Magnus muttered something about signs with personalities and started into the tunnel, Minaya and Saphria on his heels.  Saphria suddenly saw… Jade?  What was she doing here?  Everything was as she had remembered it, from the blond ponytail to the black high-heeled boots.  Jade looked VERY angry.  Minaya was suddenly transported back to the battlefield, listening to the shouts and the clang of blade against blade.  They were fighting Sebastian’s… things.  Endarkened ones.  Demons with the faces of friends.  Angles gone wrong.  Call them what you will.  Someone caught her eye.  Someone in sequined battle armor.  Magnus.  She saw the endarkened one come up behind him.  She shouted, but her cry was lost in the other shouts of battle.  Just like the first time, she saw the blade go in, saw him fall.  She ran to him with tears on her face.  When she reached him, he looked up at her and said, surprisingly cheerfully, “It’s only a memory!”  Then she woke up.  Under her knees she felt not the grass of the battlefield, but the rock of the tunnel.  She realized that this could not be happening.  Not because it was too horrible, but because it had already happened.  She was back where she should be, in the tunnel.  She saw Saphria flinching as is someone was yelling at her, but there was no one there.  Minaya saw that the other girl’s eyes were unfocused.  She grabbed Saphria’s wrist and pulled her away.  The other girl slowly came back to reality, and asked, “Where’s Magnus?”  Minaya shrugged and suggested “Maybe at the other side.”  Then let’s go see and regroup.”  They were out of the tunnel in about five minutes, and found Magnus sitting on a rock looking bored.  “Finally!  I was beginning to think I was going to have to go back in there.  Did you get my message?”  “About how it was all a memory?”  “Yes.”  “Then yes, I did.  And in the future, don’t mess with my memories!”  ‘Ok, ok” Magnus said defensively.  They decided to climb up on the tunnel to find out where they were.  When they got up, all they could do was stare.  “Wow” said Magnus.

PREVIOUSLY: The Storm By Beverly Jones

492 words
Beverly Jones
Lightning exploded behind the clouds massed along the horizon. They were not spears of light so brilliant they left violet afterimages on closed eyelids. Instead, the bolts splayed across the hidden sky, glowing through the clouds, casting a yellow sheen on the countryside.
Amy wiggled, impatiently waving her hand in front of her face, partly to brush away the insects buzzing there and partly to stir the air. The rough concrete of the porch scraped the back of her legs where her shorts didn’t cover. She winced. Her leg still stung where she previously barked her shin on the porch edge as she returned from the road where she looked for sign of Daddy’s car.
She leaned her head against the wrought iron posts holding up the roof. Sweat inched its way down between her shoulder blades, soaking the cotton shirt she wore. She could hear the fan humming in the room behind the open curtains. Amy was debating whether to scratch her back or go inside when she saw the lights of the car as it turned into the driveway. She sat still, waiting for him, knowing he would be aware of her sitting in the dark, watching the approaching storm.
“Hi, Sport. You’re still up. Waiting for me so late? It’s a beautiful sight, isn’t it?’
Daddy eased down beside her with a sigh. They sat quietly together for a few minutes gazing at the dark shapes of the trees and shrubs as they changed under the shifting light.
“Sometimes the trees look like big bears. And sometimes they are castles where the trolls live. And sometimes they are things I don’t know.”
“And sometimes they are only trees lit up by light from the sky. They’re only trees, honey. Maybe we see them from a different angle, but they are still only what they really are.”
Amy nodded. Daddy understood the fears. He didn’t laugh but helped her to see that even fears need not control her.
“Daddy, what makes the lightning tonight so different from lightning other times?”
“This is heat lightning. This is lightning that is taking place a long way off. Somewhere west of us it is really storming, but all we can see is the reflection of the lightning against the clouds. That storm is so far away we can’t even hear the thunder.”
“How far away? Will it reach us before tomorrow? Is it as far away as Indiana?”
He smiled in the dark at the trace of accent left in her voice. How her cousins teased her about it when they returned last year from working the fishing boats in North Carolina.
The smile carried over into his voice as he replied, “Yes, it could be as far away as Indiana. But I doubt it will stop our picnic tomorrow.”
Amy, reassured that the picnic would go on as planned, didn’t object as she followed him into the house to prepare for bed.

PREVIOUSLY: The Derringer By Sally Madison

Words: 484
The Derringer
Sally Madison
They heard the horses coming down the road. To their ears it sounded like hundreds of them. Riley had warned her if the Yankees should become a threat, she should leave the house and hide. The house could be rebuilt, but his life would be nothing if anything happen to his Mavis. Gathering all the control she could muster, she yelled, “Get into the root cellar! Quickly!” Joshua, her goliath slave, froze working in the field when he heard the Yankees coming. “Joshua! Joshua! Everyone! Get to the root cellar!” She had to protect them from those Yankee monsters. Her tight-wound hair fell across her sweaty pale face as she ran, gathering mammy and the children. Finally they were all inside. “Quickly!” She whispered, “Move the potato sacks and pumpkins against the door.”
Shaking with fear, with eyes closed she prayed, “Lord what should I do? If only Riley was here, he would know what to do.” Trembling, with her fists tight, holding her apron, she was distracted. The small black child hiding under her apron, below her extended girth ripe with child, pressed against her leg. “What is that so hard against my leg? The gun, the gun Riley gave me, the gun for protection.” She reached through to her secret pocket. Riley had insisted that she keep the little derringer with her at all times, when he was home the last time. He was upset that he didn’t have a more powerful weapon for her, but he had previously given all his spare firearms to comrades-in-arms. Keep this with you always; you may need it against those Yankee monsters. The stagnant air was made pungent with the smell of dirt, sweat and fear. “What we goanna do, Miss Mavis? Those Yankees goanna kill us all,” whined Joshua. “Hush.” she whispered, “I hear something.” In a moment of clarity, Mavis prayed, “God, help us in this moment of need”. And with that, she directed the children behind the potatoes, women in front of the children, and men up against the door.
The soldiers had fanned out to search the side yards and the back yard. Surveying the property, the captain noticed the foot prints, both large and small, in the dust headed into the trampled grass which led the root cellar door.
Soldiers stood with rifles poised, while others pushed, hard as a battering ram, against the door and the sacks of potatoes and vegetables. Mavis, shaking, with the little derringer aimed at the door, prayed for a miracle. The door bumped opened an inch, then another inch. The force barely moved the pile potatoes, but pumpkins started tumbling, “Oh Lord, they know we are in here.” She took her position in front of the stack of humanity, each person trying to back into the walls and disappear. Another inch… “Oh Riley, if only you were here, what should I do?” BANG… BANG.

PREVIOUSLY: Willow Skye’s Eyes By Sharon Collins

Word Count 499
Willow Skye’s Eyes By Sharon Collins

The Mathair, our river, washes out of Abandoned Mountains full of roaring falls and furious rapids. When she reaches the Midlands, she gentles until she meets the Mid-Highlands, or as foreigners say, the High-Midlands. There the Mathair spreads her arms all the way ‘round us. Our castle sits on the Southside, protectin’ us. The Northside don’t need no protectin’; its rapids and rocks are killers. The Northside is so unwelcomin’, even the whisperin’ willows won’t grow there. It’s all empty cliffs, fierce beaks, ice-blue water, and icier- blue sky. On the sunnier Southside though, the willows grow right down to the water’s edge and dip their tangles in. Whisperin’ their silver-green sighs, they welcome travelers. On each Summer Gift-Giving Festival Day, before we climb to the castle with our gifts, we stop to offer thanks and tie a ribbon to a branch on the grandest of the willows. Dame Willow is so grand, she blocks out the sky-blue. There ain’t no sight prettier than Our Dame with hundreds of thankful ribbons flutterin’ in her hair.

Being grateful and givin’ is important to our folk, and previously, the Gate Keeper kept track that the bein’ and givin’ was done proper like, four times a year on High Festival Days. That year, he was just startin’ to train Willow Skye. Now bein’ in charge is a fine thing as long as you’ve got someone to show you how. But when that skinny Summer Traveller and his rude question broke the Gate Keeper’s eyebrows, there was only me to help and what good is a Bee Keeper’s Boy to a strange-eyed girl like Willow Skye on Summer Gift-Giving Day? So off I snuck to charm some granny outta her bannocks and jam or butter or both!

Willow Skye did her best all that afternoon, collectin’ baskets and tallyin’ ribbon tyin’, while the Gate Keeper stewed over folks with plain bad manners. Sure Willow Skye looked different, but that was no good reason for rudeness. But I suppose, bein’ that we were all used to her looks, they didn’t seem so strange to us. As I already let on, Willow Skye ain’t no one’s kin; she’s taller and fairer by far than folk ‘round here and her hair, well her hair is just plain marvelous-strange. It’s long, really long and a rare kind of red, like barely-brewed strawberry tea. She won’t comb it, so it’s mighty tangly. When the Gate Keeper threatens to cut it, she braids it ‘til he’s unbothered again. Then she pulls the ribbons and lets it loose and lawless. Now, if her strange hair and terrible tallness don’t bother a body, and her frog-belly-white skin don’t give you chills, her odd eyes will certainly cause you to cross your fingers, and toes, for luck. She’s got herself one green eye and one blue! In fact that’s how she got her name when the Gate Keeper found her washed up on the willow bank that Gift-Giving Day eleven summers ago.


Word Count 243

By Michael S. Jones

I am First Man among the People, though I am aware of other First Men and other tribes.
Each tribe calls itself the People or the Humans. Each city is the Navel of the World.

And just because my mind knows the impossibility of competing claims doesn’t mean that they aren’t true.

Previously we smiled, laughed, ate, drank and made love like all Peoples. We grew up and grew old as all do.

We sacrificed what we loved to our Spirits. Sacrifice is nothing if you don’t care. And thus the Spirits took care of us.

And then they turned their backs.

We called after them, but they made no sign of hearing. They departed from all Peoples.
Sun beat our crops to dust while Moon observed coldly.

And in despair we Humans fought to capture People, sacrificing others rather than ourselves.

Sacrifice became dilute, like adding water to porrage. They of course were not us. And if we cared little for them, how could Sun and Wind and Rain care more?

The Spirits abandoned us, and in their fury the People cast down the holy images. They tore the feather crown off my head and plucked the wiskers from my chin.

Lofty pyramids are thrown down. Our great city, our great lives, are ashes.

And now we hoe and carry muddy water from the river. We subside on withered corn.

I am First Man no longer.

Yet, still, we are the People.

PREVIOUSLY: Previously, He Was A Poet By Maggie Robertson

Word Count: 445

Previously, He Was A Poet
Maggie Robertson

Perched on the edge of the cliffs high above the valley floor, he wondered, how had it come to this? Visions of past lives filtered through his memory, and he wasn’t so sure anymore that humanity had come very far at all.
He had flashes of the cruel difficulties of his soul’s early lives. Hard labor with life-threatening hazards in the course of a day’s work, putrid scraps being all that was left to sustain life at the end of long, hard winters, brutality at the hands of others who owned his life.
And then came the easier, more prosperous lives. A shopkeeper, a banker, even nobility, when the tables were turned and he exercised power over others. He’d like to think he was a more benevolent overlord than those he was subjected to during his early lives, but his nightmares told other stories.

He came back as a woman once. That was… different.

But then, aah yes… he was a poet. That was his favorite life of all. There were times when he was revered, and there were times when he was reviled, but he claimed for himself the freedom of self-expression. He did not care if others loved or hated his words; they were his, shared with others strictly by his own terms.
Words are power, he thought. Poetry was like painting music, creating orchestral landscapes and symphonic storms. With poetry he could bring forth the amazing beauty in foreboding places.
The life of a poet wasn’t always easy. There were times of abject poverty and loneliness, but there were also periods of abundance and comfort. There were immeasurable benefits that came with the artistic mastery of language, and he was grateful for them.
But then came the moment that humanity broke and was laid bare for all to see. The unspeakable cruelty humans wrought upon both the living and the non-living world tore his soul to the core. Stunned and immobilized, he wondered if perhaps there was never a time humanity was un-broken.

As his soul went numb, his pen etched painful words into parchment for the last time:

My heart aches
But for what, I do not know
Oft moved to tears
Yet unable to cry
To Cry…
For myself,
But for Humanity, during the darkest days
Tears apart the soul in ways
We cannot comprehend

And now his words were silenced. Whirling around his head in silent storms, he found himself without the means of releasing them. No longer could he paint music, his freedom seemingly extinguished.
It was with these last thoughts that he knew it was time. He leapt off his perch, stretched out his wings, and flew.

PREVIOUSLY: Welcome By Linda Helterline

Word Count 433
By Linda Helterline

“Previously, on last week’s program,” said the TV announcer. I settled in with my popcorn, my glass of soda, and the remote control. I heard several footsteps racing from the other end of the house and soon Roman, my Corgi not-so-gracefully appeared between the TV and my bowl of popcorn with his oversized ears blocking my view. His longing eyes never strayed from the bowl of popcorn, and the butter I had added to the treat merely engaged his nose too. Anyone would swear he hadn’t been fed in weeks, but I knew better.
This was the beginning of my favorite television program, and I was ready for an evening of entertainment. And suddenly my buddy was gone! Knowing how popular the bowl of popcorn was, suspicion came over me like a wave. There he sat staring at the kitchen door from the dining room, and emitting a very low growl. I hit the mute button on the remote and walked toward him, expecting to see a chipmunk sitting inside the garage with his cheeks stuffed with stolen sunflower seeds or a neighbor ready to knock on my back door. But no barking…just his growl. He looked over his shoulder at me and back at the door. If he could have pointed with his stubby little legs, he would have.
However, he should have been pointing behind me! Someone was coming in the front door. I reached in my jeans pocket and felt my pocket knife. Whoever was coming in the front door forgot to knock, so I would be greeting this person with my knife. The “growling machine’s” nose was between my ankles. I’m sure he knew it was easier to keep my balance that way.
Meeting the unknown fellow at the front door, he first looked at the knife, and then to my face, and then at the growling maniac at my feet. I tried to do my best Study Hall voice, even though “nervous” didn’t even start to describe how I was feeling.
“What are you doing in here?” He mumbled an answer I didn’t understand, but the important part was that he was backing up.
“I need a jump for my car,” but there was no car in sight. By this time he had backed himself across the front lawn, to his imaginary car.
“I don’t have any of the right equipment,” I said and was busy closing the door. Roman finally worked out a bark, which was his “SO THERE!”
The next month I bought a Goldendoodle, who seems to help Roman find his voice.


PREVIOUSLY: The Previously Forbidden Staircase By Janie D

The Previously Forbidden Staircase
By Janie D

As soon as I walked through that door I could feel it. I wasn’t sure what it was but it was there. It was a feeling, and I know most would say that I was a little touched in the head. But it was real. There was a vague memory coming to mind. What was it?

Oh, yes. I remember now. You see, I had spent many happy hours in this building. As a young girl, my family didn’t have a lot of money, hardly any, as a matter of fact. We didn’t have money for many of the things other girls in my class had, like new bicycles and fancy clothes. But there was one extravagance that I was allowed that made me feel like I fit in with the other girls in my class. I joined the Girl Scouts! My uniform came from a thrift store but I was so proud to wear it and somehow, I always had the dime to pay my dues.

That was where the girls from all the fourth, fifth and sixth grades from all the elementary schools in the city came together for their Junior Girl Scout meetings. It was a fun time and it was interesting and I got to learn all sorts of things like how to tie a square knot and, and how to knit, although I never did finish the dark blue and white striped vest, first aid and lots of fun stuff, but I forget now much of those things. We got to go on outings like the Ice Capades. That was the only time I had experienced such a spectacular event. I reveled in the experience.

So, at this confusing time in my life, as I walked through that door that day it was a feeling of familiarity. As a Girl Scout, I had never been allowed to venture up the grand staircase. How was I to know that there were rooms where women lived?

I was amazed that I found myself climbing that previously forbidden, but familiar staircase. As I looked around at the wallpaper on the walls, and the old-fashioned furniture, and the delicate tea pots candlesticks, I wondered about all of the women, the school teachers, the nurses, all the other ladies that had lived in the rooms up the staircase.

I have to tell you that this is a wonderful old place. The feeling I experienced when I walked through that door…. It was peace. It was a feeling of happiness, of security. There is nothing scary or foreboding about this old mansion. I’m not sure exactly why I feel this way here. Maybe it has something to do with the building itself. Or maybe it is the happy memories from so long ago, of a time of innocence, of blind happiness.

I know now that the feeling I felt when I walked through that door was a feeling of home.

PREVIOUSLY: Previously Skeptical By B.A. Sarvey

Word Count 500

Previously Skeptical
By B.A. Sarvey

“This area here tells me that you must see to believe,” the palm reader had begun. “You are a skeptic. That’s good. One should go through life with a little doubt.”
When she mentioned landing a job with White’s, Peter fought the urge to pull his hand away, tried not to react, though he felt his privacy violated. “Stay. There’s more I must tell you.” The sympathetic smile, her reassurances, made his skin prickle. Already he was sweating, nearly panting with anxiety. He wanted desperately to know. But she could only guess. Right?
Never believing in fate, Peter balked at her insistence. A cruel trick. Fishing for a response.
That events in his life had been decided previously, and that someone could read his future in the lines cross-hatching his palms, was too much. The future was not written there. The future hadn’t happened yet. It was not predetermined. It was a safe guess that when he walked out to the mailbox, he would reach into the box, get a bunch of junk mail, cross back to the house, and go inside. But nothing is ever guaranteed. Not even walking back into the house. This was bogus. She couldn’t know.
A complete stranger looking at the way his skin creased and seeing things about his life? Ludicrous! Long life, success, happiness. He expected that. But this woman had names. Dates. Specifics. Had someone fed her information? No. Couldn’t have. They’d never been to Maine before. This street carnival was an impromptu diversion. Stopping at Madame Nora’s booth had been a spur-of-the-moment thing. “It’ll be fun,” Janice had said. It wasn’t fun. Peter’s palm burned like she held it over a candle.
“Your heartline. It is broken. See? She has been gone many months. You grieve for her as though she is dead. But she isn’t.”
Peter stiffened. No one knew how he cried for her. Guys didn’t admit to something like that. And she was dead. Gone too long not to be.
The woman studied him with peaceful blue eyes. She still held his hand but no longer traced the lines. Her attention was on his tear-streaked face. He struggled to appear callous.
“You don’t understand why she hasn’t come back. You are convinced she is dead, but a thorn of hope pricks you. Reminds you daily. Hold onto this. She is alive. She left because she needed freedom. Now she’s trying to find her way home. Your thorn of hope guides her. Be patient. She will come—she might even be there when you return.”
Discomfort exploded into anger. How could she tantalize him with meaningless predictions? Rising abruptly, Peter knocked over his chair. “Time to go,” he snapped at Janice, grabbing her hand, yanking her toward his car.
Hours later, he pulled into the driveway, flung open the car door. No-one waited. “What did you expect, fool?” Peter muttered.
The rhododendron rustled. As she emerged, Peter grabbed her up, buried his face in her matted fur, and wept.