Lovingly He Held Her Head Underwater


A Guest Blog by Juliet Nubel.kjb.png


For the last few Sunday mornings, when Jenny’s Scribble Challenge email lands in my inbox after a short flight across the Atlantic Ocean, I have opened it and laughed.

What would I possibly have to write about A Mother’s Twisted Love when my own mother unquestionably loves every square inch of my body and soul? An hour later, after getting my shoes out of the cupboard under the stairs I had the creepy idea of a child being tied up and locked away.

Phobias? I don’t have any phobias, I boasted to the cats, the only ones who actually listen to me around here. Bang on cue, a wasp flew into the kitchen through the open door and my declaration flew out the window. I don’t just have a phobia of wasps, I have a debilitating and ferocious fear.

But when I opened the third week’s Scribble email I actually snorted in disbelief. hjvA six word story with a twist? For heaven’s sake Jenny, we’re not miracle workers! But my brain doesn’t know that, so it got down to its current job of scrabbling around in the heaps of words living up there and it finally found something that I was happy with. As happy as an unknown, unconfident, part-time, baby writer can be: “Lovingly he held her head underwater.”

The fact that we were at that precise moment on holiday on the beautiful Italian island of Sicily, that there were two monstrous, sparkling swimming pools on the complex, edged by two sandy beaches, both lapped by the turquoise Mediterranean Sea, may have helped my hand a little.khb.pngSo that done and dusted, wiped around the edges (which doesn’t take long when there are only six words to wipe) I posted it and promptly forgot all about it, as we went off to play.

When we returned to our room much later that evening I found my pet iPad waiting patiently by the bed, proudly showing me a comment from Hugh’s Views and News in response to my entry.

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“I wonder if he was doing it for goodness, rather than for evil?” he asked innocently.


And that, Hugh, is when you had me. How could I possibly not answer your question? A vague idea of why my character was doing this was swirling around when I put together the six words for the challenge. But you deserved a longer and better explanation. So my brain started its digging again. All the way back in the coach from a wonderful historical day trip, it poked around and pulled out words to string together to complete the story.

The result is below. It is for you Hugh, and for anyone else who may be interested in reading the follow-up to my one-liner. It is nothing like my usual chatty blog style but hey, I can wear a new hat if I want to.

And it is for you too, Jenny. You who, for some inexplicable reason, started following my blog one day, a couple of months ago. When I clicked on yours it was admiration at first sight. Thank you for inspiring me with your words and thank you for inciting me to write my own.


Lovingly He Held Her Head Underwater


hand-2262740_960_720His large, work-roughened hands shook hard, however, as he pushed down on her grey-tinged hair until the bubbles from her nose and mouth finally stopped rising. The flash of gold from his wedding band shining up through the ripples, reminded him of what he was actually doing – wilfully drowning his beautiful, beloved wife.

He would have preferred to see her eyes one last time instead of the back of her head, but he knew that if those clear, grey jewels had been looking up at him through the water he would never be able to go through with it. He would pull her out, gasping for breath, cover her with kisses and swear he had made the biggest mistake of his entire life.

Her eyes. They had melted his heart all those years ago and they still did. They seemed to change colour without warning, wavering between gold-flecked green and pale Caribbean blue. Sometimes when the weather was bad they turned to flint, reflecting the clouds racing overhead, the tiny gold specks changing to light silvery sparkles.
For almost a year now they had also betrayed her mood, becoming a dark, secretive hue he had never seen before. A colour he disliked and mistrusted. This sombre shade brought on by another man, surely. Someone she saw regularly who made her return home to him as flustered and perturbed as a teenage girl.

He had followed her one day when his doubts had gotten the better of him, and had watched her walking through a high, wooden door in the centre of town, using a code she must have been given for quick, easy access. The sight of her guilty step made vomit rise in his throat and hot tears run down his weathered cheeks.

And now she wanted to go. She had told him everything. Every last detail, every sordid secret she had held for months was now revealed in a bright, blinding light.

‘I will never accept!’ he had screamed at her, louder than ever before during the thousands of days they had spent together.

‘You must’, was all she replied, her pastel eyes now begging like a hungry pup.

For weeks he had tried to dissuade her. At times he used sweet, gentle cajoling. At others deep, unbridled anger. Neither worked, and slowly he realised that she really meant what she had said. She needed to go, desperate to be set free at last.

bedroom-1082262_960_720.jpgHis decision finally came one night as he lay beside her in bed, his arms wrapped around her frail body like thick chains.

‘I have always respected your wishes’, he announced. ‘You can go now.’

The depth of gratitude in her tired smile broke his heart into a thousand pointed shards, each one piercing his body and soul as he inhaled her scent deeply to memorise it for the rest of his life.

‘Thank you, my love’ she answered, her cancer-ridden voice much quieter now than before. ‘And just promise me that even if I start to struggle, you will keep pushing down as hard as you possibly can.’


Did you know?


pabloThere’s still time to participate in the FINAL Scribble Challenge of the season! Head on over to #SSC 15 to submit your response to the prompt for your chance to win a guest blog here, on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins.


Hey, YOU!

Don’t forget to pop by DanAlatorre.com this Sunday for a whole NEW guest blog from Juliet Nubel.


#SSC 15/ June 18-24th


It’s here!

The Final Scribble Challenge of 2017.


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The last challenge of the season is based on something our family has been experiencing. One of the hellions talks in his sleep. It’s generally limited to sentence or two, most of which is completely unintelligible.

It’s the same for the characters of your prompt. But, one night the child says something the parents understand. Something entirely unexpected. They come to realize their little one isn’t sleep-talking at all, but rather, a being is speaking THROUGH them.

Your submission should contain the line (or two) of dialogue, as well as the parents’ reaction when they realize who or what has been attempting to communicate for so long.


RULES OF THE CHALLENGE:

  1. Participants have until Saturday, June 17th at noon, Eastern standard time to post ONE response to the prompt in the comment section of THIS POST.
  2. ENCOURAGE other scribblers. Try to comment (reply) to at least three other submissions during the week.
  3. As usual, after the Saturday deadline, players have a week to VOTE for their favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

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NOW to announce the winner of the 13th Scribble Challenge, where the main character was buried alive. After a few hours the victim heard what sounded like digging in the dirt. He or she soon realized the sound was coming from BENEATH them. Participants were to write the next line of dialogue, whether it came from the victim or their guest.

The votes were tallied, and the winner of #SSC 13 is Sarah Brentyn!


Sarah’s snappy submission:aaa

Sarah has been invited to write a post here, on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins. We can’t wait to see what she comes out with!


*Remember, the primary focus of the #SSC is to help authors forge connections within the writing community. So, if you respond to this week’s prompt, just remember to comment (reply) to a minimum of THREE other entries before voting opens on Saturday, June 17th.

Get to know each other!

These challenges are coming to an end, so take a look at one another’s sites now.


 

#SSC 12, May 28 – June 3rd


For a limited run of six weeks only, the challenge you love is back.


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It starts with a prompt every Sunday. The responses need only be short and sweet. Or short and scary. Or, short and funny. The point is, the challenge will always require short replies on purpose . . . so YOU have no excuses.

The primary focus of the #SSC is to help authors forge connections in the writing community. So, if you decide to respond to this week’s prompt, just remember to comment (reply) to at least three other entries before voting opens on Saturday, June 3rd.


The prize?


All challenge winners are invited to write a GUEST POST on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins with LINKS to their own work.


This week the Scribble Challenge prompt is a throwback to my FAVORITE #SSC of 2016. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to:

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A six word story might seem impossible. It isn’t! Check out a few of the responses to the challenge last year:

cats-eye-nebula-1098160_960_720Stormy night. Checked in Hotel California.”    –JackieP

Used spellbook. Burns, cover damaged. Cheap.”   –Joy Pixley

He’s innocent. Her evidence says otherwise.”  –EDC Writing

Book falls to bed.
Reader?
Vanished.”   –J. H. Winter, Author

Sadly, the only witness was blind.”   –Allison Maruska

The meatloaf tasted funny. Where’s Grandma?”   -Ahdad

Grandma visited today. As a ghost.”  –Stomperdad

Amongst toys and coffins they lay.”   –Ellenbest24


RULES OF THE CHALLENGE:

  1. Participants have until Saturday, June 3rd at noon, Eastern standard time to post ONE response to the prompt in the comment section of THIS POST.
  2. ENCOURAGE other scribblers. Try to comment (reply) to at least three other submissions during the week.
  3. After the Saturday deadline, players have a week to VOTE for their favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

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*


And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. These are the winning submissions to the prompt, A Mother’s Twisted Love:


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Svclegg and denisejons, I can’t WAIT to present your work on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins!


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#SSC 11/ May 21- 28th


For a limited run of six weeks only, the challenge you love is back.


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It starts with a writing prompt issued every Sunday. The responses need only be short and sweet. Or short and scary. Or, short and funny. The point is, the challenge will always require short replies on purpose . . . so YOU have no excuses. Many of the prompts will limit submissions to a simple paragraph. Some, to ONE SENTENCE.

The challenge is meant for writers at every stage–newbies and old hats alike. Writing can be a solitary endeavor; this challenge is specifically designed to lure writers out of their comfort zone for figurative a drink by the water cooler. Participants are encouraged to COMMENT and VOTE on each other’s submissions.


The prize?


Each week a challenge winner will be invited to write a GUEST POST on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins with LINKS to their own work.


network-2155198_960_720THIS WEEK’S prompt is inspired by last night’s triple birthday celebration with my niece and stepdaughters.

Charlottetown is largely a tourist destination in summer. That means many restaurants in the city are only open from April to October. Last night we went to one of our favorite spots, having recently re-opened after the winter hiatus. My niece ordered a fishbowl, a massive drink with gummy worms swimming along the bottom. Stepdaughter #1 ordered a murky concoction similar to a Mexican Bulldog. Stepdaughter #2 shared a pitcher of Sangria with yours truly. And, in standard form, my husband ordered a beer.

After my niece excused herself to use the washroom we noticed the table was unsteady. She had been leaning on the corner, holding the top in place. Likely, the table had been put together haphazardly after its stint in storage, so I felt around for some screws to tighten underneath.

I didn’t find any screws.

But I did get a giant fistful of spider webs.

And yes, I am an arachnophobe.


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Luckily we had only planned to stay at the restaurant for one drink before moving on. I couldn’t get comfortable after that. Visions of what had become of the building after business had closed for winter ran amok in my mind. Had the interior been completely overrun by spiders? Were they in the floorboards? Were they nesting inside the table legs, waiting to crawl up my pants and into my nose to lay tiny baby spider eggs inside my brain the VERY MOMENT I STOPPED PAYING ATTENTION?

And yes, I am aware these thoughts are slightly outrageous. But, I can’t stop myself from having them. As I said: arachnophobe.


If you’re waiting on bated breath to find out how the story ended, we successfully moved on to another restaurant. As far as I know, none of us have tiny spider babies developing in our brains. It doesn’t really matter though, because as I write this, I’ve convinced myself I can feel them crawling in my hair.


So what does this mean in context to your prompt?


The 11th Sunday Scribble Challenge is all about:

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Your character is trying unsuccessfully to HIDE their PHOBIA.

You have one paragraph to show it.

When the challenge closes on Saturday, May 28th, voters will be asked to select a winner based on the response that resonates best with them.


RULES:

  1. Participants have until Saturday, May 27th at noon, Eastern standard time to post ONE response to the prompt in the comment section of THIS POST.
  2. ENCOURAGE other scribblers. Try to comment (reply) to at least three other submissions during the week.
  3. After the Saturday deadline, players have a week to VOTE for their favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

And, as always:


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The responses to last week’s challenge were amazing! Thanks to everyone who participated. The Sunday Scribbles Challenge’s primary focus is helping authors forge connections in the writing community. So, if you decide to dive in to this week’s challenge, please remember to comment (reply) to at least three other entries before voting opens on Saturday, May 27.


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#SSC 10/May 14-20th


For a limited run of six weeks only, the challenge you love is back!


fhfdhrsfd.pngIt starts with a writing prompt issued every Sunday. The responses need only be short and sweet. Or short and scary. Or, short and funny. The point is, the challenge will always require short replies on purpose . . . so YOU have no excuses. Many of the challenges will limit submissions to a simple paragraph. Some, to ONE SENTENCE.

The challenge is meant for writers at every stage–newbies and old hats alike. Writing can be a solitary endeavor; this challenge is specifically designed to lure writers out of their comfort zone for figurative a drink by the water cooler. Participants are encouraged to COMMENT and VOTE on each other’s submissions.

The prize?


Each week a challenge winner will be invited to write a GUEST POST on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins with LINKS to their own work.


Last year on Mother’s Day, scribblers were challenged to Show a Mother’s Love. This year? We’re going to change things up.

Earlier this week I saw something I can’t get out of my mind. I was in the mall when I heard shouting. A woman was leading a man toward the exit screaming obscenities. At first, I assumed the man to be her husband. In between the open doors she stopped to yell, “You’re fucking useless. You can’t do anything right.” It was raining. The man stopped to place his coffee on the floor so he could zip his coat, and the woman yelled again and kicked it against the wall.

three-monkeys-1212616_960_720I am a person who doesn’t sit back and watch this kind of thing, for better or worse. My husband knows it all too well.

So, I marched to the exit to stare the woman down, who was likely twice my age. “What’s going on here?”

She stared right back, seething. She motioned to the man between the doors. “That’s my son!”

She said it as if it justified her tirade. She said it as if she expected me to sympathize with her. She said it as if I would understand how she could treat this human being how I wouldn’t treat a dog.

I asked him if he was all right. He was close to middle age, but he couldn’t meet my eye. And then, he apologized. To me. For her.

They left.

It was heartbreaking. It was one of those scenes you watch unfold only to replay twenty times over in your mind.  Since it happened, I thought of a million things I SHOULD have said. I couldn’t believe the man apologized to me.

ukycluycIt led me to think about the lasting impact a mother can have on the psyche of her child. It’s a mother’s job to love; to make her child grow up feeling confident, and prepare them for the world. But sometimes, a mother does the opposite. Sometimes, a mother can raise a child totally unequipped for life outside her door, who is eternally dependent, and who apologetically endures scenes like the one I just witnessed in between the double doors of a mall.

All the things I should have said aside, what does this encounter mean in context to your challenge?

Well, this week on the RETURN of the Sunday Scribble Challenge, your mission is to show:quotescover-JPG-47.jpg

Your response to the prompt can be as long or short as you like. Do what you have to do. Take any approach you like. Your response could be written in the form of a diary entry, a poem, a random snippet of conversation,  or a simple sentence. Pull some heartstrings. Raise some hair along the back of your reader’s neck. Voters will be asked to select a winner based on the response that resonates best with them.

Take your time. There are five days to ruminate . . .  IF you need them. If you’re stuck, try checking out some of the entries to last year’s challenge


RULES:

  1. Participants have until Saturday, May 20th at noon, Eastern standard time to post ONE response to the prompt in the comment section of THIS POST.
  2. ENCOURAGE other scribblers. Try to comment (reply) to at least three other submissions during the week.
  3. After the Saturday deadline, players have a week to VOTE for their favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

And, as always:


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Announcing the Return of the SUNDAY SCRIBBLE CHALLENGE!!


It’s been nearly a year since Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins hosted a Sunday Scribble Challenge. That, friends, is far too long. So, for a limited run of six weeks only, the challenge is back.


What is a Sunday Scribble Challenge?

fIt starts with a writing prompt issued every Sunday. The responses need only be short and sweet. Or short and scary. Or, short and funny. The point is, the challenge will always require short replies on purpose . . . so YOU have no excuses. Many of the challenges will limit submissions to a simple paragraph. Some, to ONE SENTENCE. The challenge is meant for writers at every stage–newbies and old hats alike.

It’s something fun to encourage creative juices to flow. But, more than that, it gives participants a chance to reach out to the writing community and interact with peers. Writing can be a solitary endeavor. This challenge is specifically designed to lure writers out of their comfort zone for figurative a drink by the water cooler. Participants are encouraged to COMMENT and VOTE on each other’s submissions.

The prize?


Each week, the challenge winner is invited to write a guest post on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins with links to their own work!


RULES:

  1. The prompt will be posted every Sunday: beginning this week, on Sunday May 14th. 
  2. Participants have until the following Saturday, May 20th at noon, Eastern standard time to post ONE response to the prompt in the comment section of the post.
  3. Encourage other scribblers. Try to comment (reply) to at least three other submissions during the week.
  4. After the Saturday deadline, VOTE for your favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

This is a repeat endeavor for the blog, but even so, there may be some kinks in the matrix. Feel free to offer suggestions for the challenge in the comment section of THIS POST.

And, just like before:


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