A fellow Google plus user is issuing several “Done to Death” writing prompts throughout the month of December.  Every other day, he will be posting a writing prompt for a theme that has been done to death.  The first of these prompts was issued a few days ago, so I am a little late, but better late than never.  In response to the “Kissing in the Rain” done to death prompt,  here is my story:

     Miranda looks up at the clock for what must be the tenth time in as many minutes.  Time seems to have slowed down and she is finding it difficult to concentrate on anything the teacher is saying.  While she is physically sitting in the middle of her social studies class, her mind is a million miles away.

     Mentally cataloging every item of clothing she owns, Miranda mixes and matches outfits.  She has to find the perfect one for her date with Brian tonight.  It is their first date and she wants to make a lasting impression.  Her thoughts are interrupted by the bell.  Grabbing her things, she flies from the room, heading straight for her locker.

     “So, are you ready for the big date?” Stacy asks, falling into step beside her best friend on the way to catch the bus.

     “I’ve never been so nervous in my life,” Miranda confesses.  “My stomach is in knots right now.  Will you come to my house and help me pick out something to wear.”

     “Where else did you think I’d be this afternoon?”  Stacy nudges Miranda with her shoulder.  They get on the bus and slide into their usual seats.

     “I have nothing to wear,” Miranda flops down onto her bed which is covered in discarded clothing after rummaging in her closet for the last two hours.

     Stacy is still searching through Miranda’s closet.  “Why are you stressing so much?  He clearly already likes you or he wouldn’t have asked you out.  Here,” she hands Miranda a casual jersey knit dress.

     “That’s so plain.”

     “Yeah, but it’s also comfortable so you won’t be stressing over a wardrobe malfunction.  And we can dress it up with accessories.”

     Resigned to the belief that she has nothing better to wear, Miranda changes into the dress that Stacy has chosen for her.  Stacy moves on to selecting accessories, looking through Miranda’s shoes and belts before digging through her stash of jewelry.  Once the girls are satisfied with Stacy’s selections, they get to work styling Miranda’s hair.

     “So where is he taking you?”

     “We’re meeting at the theater.  I’m not sure…”

     “Whoa, you’re meeting him there?  He’s not picking you up?” Stacy interrupts.

     “Yeah, is that a bad thing?  I knew it.  I’m not going.  It’s probably just some Carrie type setup anyway.”  Miranda gets up and starts taking off her jewelry.

     Stacy grabs her by the arms and looks Miranda in the eye.  “Slow down there.  I’m sure there is a good reason he can’t pick you up.  Let’s not get too hasty.”  Miranda takes a deep, calming breath and sits back down on her bed so that Stacy can finish doing her makeup.  “What time are you supposed to meet him?”

     “He told me to meet him at 7:30.”

     “Good.  That means that you have another hour to get ready before you have to head out.  You’re gonna look so good that even if he thought about playing some kind of prank on you, he’ll change his mind when he sees you.”

     Finally, the time has come for Miranda to head out.  She is walking to the theater and wants to make sure that she has enough time to get there without working up a sweat from having to rush.  A block from the theater, it begins to drizzle.  Oh great, Miranda thinks picking up speed.  She doesn’t have an umbrella and the rain will wreck havoc on her hair if she doesn’t hurry up and get inside the theater.

     Out of nowhere, she is caught in a sudden downpour.  There’s no way I can let Brian see me like this.  Miranda slips under the awning of a nearby shop that is closed.  Across the street, she can see several of her classmates, but there is no sign of Brian anywhere.  Slipping out from under the awning, Miranda turns back, hoping to get home before anyone sees her looking like a wet mop.  She’ll just call Brian later and tell him she wasn’t feeling well or something.

     Up ahead, she sees Brian heading in her direction, but he doesn’t seem to be alone.  Miranda doesn’t recognize the girl that is chatting away with him, under her bubble umbrella, completely dry and looking gorgeous.  The knot that has been in the pit of Miranda’s stomach all day tightens and she thinks she might vomit.  Turning down the nearby alley, she leans against the brick building, breathing heavily, trying to make her world stop spinning.  She can hear their voices getting louder as they get closer.

     Moving further along the alley, Miranda slips into the shadow, hoping to remain hidden. To her dismay, Brian and the mysterious female turn into the alley instead of walking past.  The girl is giggling and the sound is like nails racking across a chalkboard, in Miranda’s ears.  She wants no part of whatever is about to go down, but she is stuck where she is if she doesn’t want to bring any attention to herself.

     Brian leans down towards the girl and Miranda squeezes her eyes shut, not wanting to see her date locking lips with another girl.  When she opens her eyes again, she sees the girl  has dropped her umbrella and is all over Brian, kissing on his neck, probably giving him a hickey, Miranda thinks in disgust.    She tries to move deeper into the alley, but bumps into a trash can, sending the lid clattering to the ground.  Looking behind her, she sees the lid spiraling in place.

     Worrying that the sound has drawn the attention of her unwanted guests, Miranda tries to slip out the other end of the alley without making any more noise.  She isn’t fast enough and feels a hand clamp around her wrist.

     “Miranda?”  She doesn’t want to look at him, but something about Brian’s voice seems off.

     “Just let me go, Brian.”  She tries to pull her wrist free, but it is no use.

     “Miranda,” Brian says again, but this time, her name comes out in a choked gasp.

     “Oh my god, Brian,” Miranda manages to free her wrist from Brian’s loosened grip.  Instead of the cocky, self assured smirk she was expecting, Miranda finds Brian’s wide, frightened gaze staring back at her.  His left hand is pressed against the right side of his neck.  Along with the rain dripping from his fingers, is something red.  Pulling Brian’s hand away from his neck, Miranda sees two small puncture wounds that are dribbling blood.

     She looks down the alley, but there is no sign of the strange girl that was there just moments ago.  Miranda slowly begins to realize that what she mistook for a kiss in the rain was something far worse.

Image courtesy of talliesin  morguefile

     I reached a point a little over a week ago, where I just couldn’t write anymore.  It wasn’t writer’s block or anything like that.  I still had plenty to write about.  But between work, NaNoWriMo and normal life stuff, I was wiped out.  When I’d sit down at my computer to write, I’d just sort of zone out; eye glazing over, mind shutting down, words dripping out so slowly that it would take hours just to get around a hundred words.  Even my body was screaming at me to slow down and take a beat.  So that’s exactly what I did.

     For one week, I didn’t write (not even for the blog), I didn’t read, I didn’t even keep up with social media. What I did do was rest my brain as much as work allowed.  Fortunately for me, this break came at the most opportune time.  With Thanksgiving thrown into the mix, I was afforded a rare, but much needed, 5-day weekend.  Five whole days of no work, where I was free to do fun things like spend time with my family, go to the movies, or go shopping.

     And then something happened.  Not only was I ready to get back to writing, I was finally ready to focus on that edit that I had been putting off for months.  I didn’t just want to edit it, I needed to.  I had abandoned my characters long enough and was actually starting to miss them.  A “visit” with them was definitely in order.  But I didn’t immediately get started.  I allowed my mind and body the time needed to finish relaxing and restoring.  The headaches that were coming virtually everyday were gone, the lower back and hip pain that had me walking around like an old woman were also gone.

     Finally, on Sunday night, I booted up the Mac, opened Scrivener and got to work.  By the time I was heading out to work on Monday morning, I had actually managed to get through four whole chapters.  My goal is to get this edit done so that the novel is ready for either another beta read or posting to authonomy.com.  Once I get this novel sorted out, I can get back to focusing on the rest of the series that had to be put on hold so that it didn’t get disjointed after all of the changes happening in book one.

     Sometimes, taking a break to get your mind right is more productive than soldering on to put words on a page.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles  FreeDigitalPhotos.net