Monthly Blurb #5

It took a while, but I managed to squeeze this out. However, I’m now out of prompts! It’s up to you to feed me for the next Blurb! Leave a comment below, thank you!

As always, I welcome any comment and/or constructive criticism. 🙂

You may feel free to share, reblog, or comment, but please do not steal my words or take credit for them. Thank you. © Alison Juste

Prompt: Someone takes a walk and reminisces about something in the past.

He had been walking this particular path for at least five years, so everything looked quite familiar. He knew which bricks were loose or broken, causing unfortunate accidents. Even with his eyes closed he would be able to follow the curve from the riverbank to the park center.

But it wasn’t just the route he knew, it was the surroundings. He could tell by the sound of wavelets lapping against the wall how strong the wind blew or how much it had rained. The trees became confidants, each with its own personality – especially on a windy day.

Today, the waves were quiet and the trees still, as if everything was enjoying the warm afternoon of an early summer day. A laugh suddenly submerged him deep in the past. Confused, he looked around, whirling with more speed than he’d mustered on his walks in the last three years.

“Alyssa?”

Strangely, the path wasn’t very crowded yet. There was a young couple holding hands, a gathered family, a few dog walkers and a group of friends. The laugh startled him again. Among the group of friends was a young woman, doubling over with tears in her eyes.

Of course it couldn’t be Alyssa. He hadn’t seen or heard from her in over a decade, maybe she was still alive. Maybe not. He adjourned his ritual walk and leaned against the handrail. The river comforted him with its usual lapping sound while he focused on that woman’s laugh.

It was nearly identical. He hadn’t realized how much he missed that laugh. Minutes ticked by as he kept listening, drinking in, that laugh. Memories bubbled up slowly. An attempted dine-and-dash. Losing a map in a river. Mix ups with locals in Thailand. Laughing so hard on a street people thought them drunk.

A smile had crept on his face, his eyes brimming with unshed tears. The laughter faded as the group biked away, leaving him alone with his precious memory of a long lost friend.

Word count: 333

I thought I’d try my hand at a male protagonist this time, I’m not that great at writing them. And you know what they say, “practice makes perfect.” So I practiced, a little. I don’t know why it got all sentimental, but it did.

Again, please drop some prompts below and be responsible (in a good way) for the next Blurb!

All work published is the intellectual property of © Alison Juste. Please do not republish anything from this site without express written permission. Sharing links or reblogging is welcome.

Monthly Blurb #4

This blurb topic was ironically self-induced (perhaps, on some level, even incepted) while talking with the German ‘assistant.’ She has to teach a new business class this semester and isn’t quite sure what to do with that, especially without knowing (or testing) the level of her students first.

I feel like the original chat (ultra-short) version is funnier, so I’ll be adding it below. I felt like it’d be cheating to post four lines as a blurb, so I made it long.

Warning: silly, nonsensical-ness ahead.

Any comments and/or constructive criticism are always welcome. 🙂

You may feel free to share, reblog, or comment, but please do not steal my words or take credit for them. Thank you. © Alison Juste

Prompt: “I’m supposed to teach them something about ROBOTS?”

The day was as fine as any other. The soothing wind shot through the streets, blasting passersby in its frigid gust of icy rain. My makeshift umbrella – perfectly fine until I’d walked out the door five minutes ago – flapped uselessly in the relentlessly annoying wind bent on frizzing my hair before class. Class! I’m gonna be late!

I ran, as much as I could in these new heels, through the small, empty backstreets until I made it onto campus. Panting and wheezing, I sucked it in as I walked up the stairs, briefly stopping in the teacher’s lounge to grab markers out of my locker. I glanced over the syllabus again, going through my prepared notes at the same time. About to rush off to class, I caught a pale reflection in the window.

My mouth dropped, horrified at the sight. My hair! Damn wind. Deft hands and the magical properties of water refined my looks in a few seconds before I entered class and started, as if nothing had happened.

“In this class, you’ll learn business and work environment vocabulary, and the proper way to address people from different fields and with varying titles.”

Students were students and nodded along, the diligent ones taking notes while the others chatted or texted their way through. It’s not that I couldn’t see them, but rather that I wanted them to notice my pointed stares. For all I knew, I’d been staring at rocks. They could be surprisingly thick.

After covering the basics of workshops and automated machines in the work environment, we had one last topic to fill the remaining five minutes of class. I kept on reading my carefully prepared documents until–

I’m– teach them– about– robots!?

An old, irrational fear bubbled up. One I had thought to have vanquished years ago. The sudden silence caused a few students to look up in confusion. No, they were more likely to check that class had been dismissed early. I could feel my open mouth getting sore, but was unable to unfreeze it at the moment.

“Madame?”

I looked around the room wide-eyed, stopping on the computer sitting peacefully on my desk.

“They’re taking over the world, we’re doomed!”

I could hear the students’ confused buzzing and barely noticed their heads turning, looking around at each other. My heartbeat picked up.

“They’ll kill us all! RUUUUNNNN!!!”

I grabbed my stuff and did just that.

Word count: 404

Original version

“Now I’m supposed to teach them something about ROBOTS?”
*At the end of class*
“And the last topic today… robots.”
*looks around dramatically, at the computer*
“They’ll kill us allllllll! RUUUNNNN!!!”

Teacher, students, school, class… I guess you shouldn’t be surprised given it’s my day job. Still, a silly ending!

All work published is the intellectual property of © Alison Juste. Please do not republish anything from this site without express written permission. Sharing links or reblogging is welcome.

Monthly Blurb #3

A much overdue Blurb! To be fair, I did attempt NaNo, and work got a little crazy – although the craziness has, frankly, only started and I can’t tell you how much dread grading hundreds of tests fills me with!

Anyway, I will attempt to update more regularly, but here is December’s Blurb to fill this holiday season with some giddiness.

You may feel free to share, reblog, or comment, but please do not steal my words or take credit for them. Thank you. © Alison Juste

Prompt: The beginning of an epistolary romance. Min. 500 words.

She’d only needed one night to be interested in that dark curly hair outsider. They not only resembled each other, but they had similar tastes, as evidenced by his astounded face at one of her songs in karaoke. But the best part was of course leaving the potluck party after dessert with her friend only to see him following and basically inviting himself over. But her friend was a great wing-woman and a gracious host. The walk home in the frigid night amid the narrow walls of icy snow and treacherous sidewalks only fed the tension, what with a reason to be closer to hear each other speak and avoid falling every other step.

If the night had been young at the end of the party, it was about to get younger as time went on. The host friend performed a Chinese tea ceremony – which apparently made us “tea-drunk,” cue giggles – and provided excellent discussion topics. Time ticked on yet they didn’t tire like their host, with their faces first reddened by the cold wind and now warmed by the kotatsu, continuously working those cheek muscles through infinite genuine and teasing smiles.

The host had since changed into pajamas and was dozing off, unable to keep watching Matt Damon’s amazing kick-ass scene in a Swiss U.S. Embassy. The curly haired guy, stranger to the movie, was half watching but still distracted enough to engage in conversation every few minutes. He kept glancing at his phone and left it on the table, so she took a chance.

Swift like a cat, she grabbed it when he wasn’t looking and began to type messages rather than speaking them – perhaps a gesture to prevent their voices from waking up their mutual friend, yet the movie got no quieter. And so the exchange continued uninterrupted, until his phone nearly ran out of batteries and needed charging, then it began again.

“Aren’t you sleepy?” Between giggles, she kept yawning, and she could see him look sleepier and sleepier still but he insisted he was fine. Then suddenly, the first film ended. The host woke up, amazed and bemused at their refusal to sleep, asking if they planned on doing an all-nighter. They both denied the accusations, yet the guy shared a truth.

“No, no I have work at 10.”

Both friend and host gasped and fussed, insisting he get some sleep or go home before heading to work. Unable to grasp social cues, he stayed, his eyes getting redder still. Hours ticked by and the conversations via phone shot in all directions, including whether he should make food for her poor grumbling stomach. Soon, the second movie ended but the host didn’t stir.

By the time he deemed it ‘late’ enough to excuse himself, it was only about 8:30a.m. Seeing a slight opening, she dived in, boldly handing him her phone to add his contact info. She then sent him her information via text, waved him out the door and locked behind him. The host stirred, complaining about not anticipating an all-nighter but dropping huge hints that he’d only stayed so long to spend as much time with her as possible.

Just before she lied down for a much needed nap, she received a text.

“Thanks! I got home ok. Off to work now.”

Word count: 555

As always, any comments, constructive  criticism or reactions much appreciated! Happy Holidays 🙂

All work published is the intellectual property of ©Alison Juste. Please do not republish anything from this site without express written permission. Sharing links or reblogging is welcome.

Monthly Blurb #2

I don’t know if you noticed, but last week’s blurb was less of a blurb and more of a… vignette, perhaps? The word limit is shorter this time though, so… I’ll try to restrain myself a little.

Any comment and/or constructive criticism is always welcome. 🙂

You may feel free to share, reblog, or comment, but please do not steal my words or take credit for them. Thank you. © Alison Juste

Prompt: A brief scene between two people in a post-apocalyptic world. Topic: anything. No min word limit. Max. 900.

“Wait up–!”

Elia shushed him quickly and paused on top of the hill, glancing around and taking in their surrounding. Sydali finally caught up, his breathing slightly strained. “There’s no one he–mmph.” She covered his mouth quickly, frowning at an unfortunately not too distant familiar sound.

“We’ve gotta move.”

Sydali stumbled behind her, resisting the urge to speak again. He hadn’t known Elia for long, but she’d saved his life a few times already in the short three months they’d teamed up. An avalanche, quick sand, a sudden storm, predators… Just thinking about it gave him chills.

He followed her at his quickest pace, which was never fast enough, until they reached their latest lair and burrowed deep. There the darkness blanketed them comfortably and silenced the world around them.

“So much for gathering food huh…” The stone around them finally started glowing, just in time for him to witness her sharp glare. “Uhh–”

“Well if someone hadn’t ran into a den of ferocious lavigers, just maybe we could’ve had a decent catch today.”

Sydali coughed uncomfortably, suddenly fascinated by the soft green glow. He could feel a stare though, but when he dared to look, he only met puzzlement. “How you survived so long with so little skill is a real mystery.”

“Well, uh… I, I had a– comfortable life.”

Elia seemed to agree, but she shoved his share of stomped roots in his hand anyway. “Welcome to the real world, where the rest of us still live with the consequences from the actions of a few arrogant, entitled assholes.” Her smile was genuine, yet frigid at the same time.

Yes, yes I know… Although he hadn’t asked to be born as an entitled asshole’s descendant, he went a step further than any other descendant, so maybe he could just be an arrogant, entitled descendant for short.

A sudden powerful and deep growl tore the comfortable silence apart, the ground shaking beneath the beast’s steps, reminding them that those consequences took many shapes, including the dangerous, mobile ones.

Word count: 344

Well– at least it’s written. I’ll continue saying this was a last minute write, because it really was and it probably shall be until I put the blog on hold during my move. But hey, I have a semi-plot for a semi-world and I feel like I could make it longer if I had more time. So hah, filed under ‘maybe for later.’

Not sure if I should’ve cut out that last tidbit, I’m semi-happy with it, but it’s already past my bed time so… I’ll abandon it here for now.

If you want to write your own answers to these prompts, feel free to post your writing below! 🙂

All work published is the intellectual property of © Alison Juste. Please do not republish anything from this site without express written permission. Sharing links or reblogging is welcome.

Monthly Blurb #1

As promised, my first Weekly Blurb! I was busier than anticipated this past week so it’s kind of a last minute write, with very little editing. (How the hell did it end up this long anyway!?)

Any comment and/or constructive criticism is always welcome. 🙂

You may feel free to share, reblog, or comment, but please do not steal my words or take credit for them. Thank you. © Alison Juste

Prompt: A spy is discovered and must flee the country. 3rd person POV. Min. 300 words, max. 1,000 words.

One quick glance in her room and Maki knew she was Kimie again; the gig was up. With no time to lose, she hurried to the electric heater, untouched among her possessions now strewn across the tatami floor, took out the back and withdrew a small and slim backpack reserved for emergencies.

Time kept on ticking, she had maybe five minutes to make a clean getaway. Rather than taking the normal route out – taking the stairs and down hallways – and risking an unpleasant encounter, she opted for the window. Using the laundry lines as rope, she inched away from the wall and dropped to grab the next line, which predictably broke but lessened her fall nonetheless.

She moved quietly in the twilight, heading for a bustling neon lit street. It didn’t take long before she distinguished sets of footsteps following her. She maintained her current speed and direction, highly aware of people all the while calculating possibilities and going through train times.

They wouldn’t try anything on this street; it was a buffer zone and too populated for their taste. She knew, she’d spent the last two and a half years undercover after all. Still, she had to lose her tail if she was to make it safely onto the train. Dodging drunk businessmen, she rounded the next corner and dashed a few meters, thankful for her tennis shoes rather than the usual heels. The footsteps echoed behind her, soon followed by voices. “Maki-chaaan!”

“Where do you think you’re going Maki-chan?”

“The boss wants to have a looong talk with you.”

She realized as she approached the next intersection she’d been herded into this side street, no doubt to keep onlookers to a minimum. Three guys blocked the exit in front of her, and she knew there were even more behind her. Great… So much for a clean getaway, but if she took too long she’d miss the train. She broke into a run, focused on the slight opening between one guy and the wall.

The guys stepped forward, arms ready to snatch and restrain her, but she threw them in disarray when she feigned jumping over them and instead gave herself enough speed to slide below. A few passersby stared at her and her scraped leg as she got up and ran away full speed before the guys could catch her. Obviously, they took off after her, but she was smaller and using the crowd to her advantage.

Finally, she made it to the train station and was about to rush through the gates when she collided with someone. “I’m so sorry, I–!”

“Maki-chan?”

Oh, crap. “Haruna-san, it’s been a while.”

Haruna got up, patting her clothes clean. “I know, you quit the club so suddenly only after two months! It’s great to see you.”

Maki smiled politely, shooting nervous glances around and straining her ears. “Why don’t you come to the club with me tonight? You might even make a bit of cash.”

“Ah, I’d love to Haruna-san, but I can’t. I’m going home to check on my father, he’s not doing too well these days.”

The sudden hush that swept through the station was hint enough for Kimie that she was surrounded. Ditching the polite custom, she hurriedly said goodbye and pushed past Haruna to get through the gates, ran all the way up the escalator and held her breath as she ran through the loud buzz signaling the doors closing.

Although she was squished between sweaty people and the door, concealing herself was easier in a crowd. Made it… But she wasn’t out yet… No doubt they had called up all their associates and gotten in all their cars to greet her at the airport.

By the time the train reached Tokyo station, she had mere minutes to hop on the Narita Airport bound train. She forwent the usual patience and pushed through the crowd until the doors closed safely behind her. The train departed and she locked herself in the bathroom for her makeover, although her scratched leg would give her away.

Once at the airport, Kimie fell behind a lone man on the phone, pretending to be with him but just lagging behind. She noticed her pursuers rather easily, no matter how much they tried to blend in, they stood out in her eyes. Either they didn’t anticipate her chameleon attributes or they were trying to lull her into a false sense of security and catch her at the last minute.

She followed the man as much as she could, until it became clear that he was heading for the restroom. She let him get ahead a few steps, then said “Ok, I’ll get the tickets then,” before making her way to the airline counter and proceeding to surreptitiously buy a ticket for an international flight, hiding her credit card in her passport.

Getting to and through security was another story, but she had to go undetected until then. Stopping at a ridiculously overpriced shop, she bought a new outfit and a new, larger bag to hold everything. She changed in the bathroom, making sure her wig hadn’t budged, and headed for security.

Everything would work out, they shouldn’t be able to do anything too drastic around such security. But she was wrong. She was standing in line, ticket and passport in hand, her things ready to be scanned when she heard someone yelling her ‘name.’ She didn’t turn around, despite her instincts telling her to. She was Kimie and knew no one here. But when someone forcibly grabbed her shoulder and turned her around, her fighting instincts took over.

Before her ‘boyfriend’ of two years could make a move, he was knocked out and shoved aside. Unfortunately, she realized she was outnumbered both by the Yakuza and the airport security officers, neither of which would just let her walk away.

Word count: 980

I have issues with this, but I won’t get into them because– for one, I just finished writing this, and for another, I don’t want to. Practice is practice, so hah. 😛 An outsider’s perspective, however, is always welcome, just remember I didn’t spend more than a day and a half developing this. (よろしくお願いします!)

All work published is the intellectual property of © Alison Juste. Please do not republish anything from this site without express written permission. Sharing links or reblogging is welcome.

New category: Weekly Blurb!

Once upon a time, a friend and I discussed writing.

Friend: “Alas, I enjoy writing but prefer thinking of things to write!”
Me: “Alas, I relish writing but cannot get myself to write!”
Friend: “… Hold, friend, for I just had a brilliant thought.”
Me: “Pray tell, what is this moment of brilliance!”
Friend: “I shall henceforth send you an idea, and you shall pen it down.”
Me: “A great thought indeed!”

And thus it shall be.*

Hence, the new category was born. I give you, the Weekly Blurb!

Every Monday I’ll post the prompt followed by my tidbit of writing for your enjoyment. Feel free to post your own blurbs if inspiration strikes. 😉

* This conversation might or might not be slightly paraphrased.