Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Storm Past. Chapter Three: Worlds Collide

Today's post is the third chapter of an ongoing fictional story. This piece, in its entirety, was crafted by a large group of writers, each author adding to what the last writers have contributed. The idea is that we all write the story but no one controls it. The challenge is for each writer to put their own stamp on the piece, while maintaining the cohesive integrity of the story.

Progressive Story Project | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
Here's where the story began: 
Chapter one: Darkening Skies
Chapter two: Where There's Smoke

Storm Past, a Progressive Story Project | www.bakinginatornado.com | #story #fiction

As with the other chapters, I've provided the name of the author of each segment and a link right to their blog. They're all talented bloggers. hope you get a chance to visit them all.

 Picking up the story in Maria's flashback into Marlee's past:

Chapter Three: Worlds Collide

Meg of Just A Little Nutty

She was going to leave him. For months she made trips out to their cabin to squirrel away the essentials that she would need to get as far away from him as possible when the right time came. It gave her hope to believe that she could be free from his twisted cruelty and abuse some day.

He said that he was out with some friends but she accidentally found him at the cabin and watched him squeeze the life out of the woman he had been entertaining. Marlee shot her husband with the gun he kept in his glove box, when he attempted to slit her throat. She stood above him and watched the carpet around his body turn an angry shade of crimson. Impulsively she lit their cabin ablaze and ran as fast as she could, away from her life. The fire caught the surrounding forest and she knew the authorities would soon be on scene.

The familiar small cliff that overlooked the sea was ahead of her. Flames tore through the woods behind her and she didn't hesitate. Death had almost taken her once tonight. If she was going to ever live again, she was going to have to save herself.

Her life would begin or end in that moment.

She ran until she began to plummet downward and braced herself to be swallowed by the cold dark ocean below. 
Rena of The Diary of an Alzheimer's Caregiver

She landed so hard on the top of the water and immediately plunged into the darkness below. Down and down she went until she thought she would never stop. Eventually she was able to start kicking toward the top. It seemed to take forever as her lungs began to burn. She propelled herself back to the top and finally broke the surface. She inhaled as hard as she could before another wave crashed down over her face. The water was freezing and the waves were so high she struggled to get her bearings. She could see the glow from the fire and started swimming that way. She would swim to shore and then walk south down the beach and away from her former life

Her teeth were chattering as she finally made it out of the water. She laid there for a few minutes catching her breath. She was already so cold but she knew she had to get up and keep moving if she had any hope of surviving.

She must have walked for miles. She was so cold she didn't think she would make it another step. Just a little more, a little further up the beach and she would be safe. If she could just make it there she might just be home free. She could see the light getting closer and closer. I'm almost there, just a little further, she told herself.

 Lydia of Cluttered Genius

With a shake of her head, she wiped the memories of that night away to focus on the flames across the street.

"Chase! Hurry! Call 911!" she yelled as she ran out to the front yard to join her neighbors in their collective panic. Chase joined her at her shoulder, quickly dialing for help and talking to the emergency worker who answered. Maria did her best to calm Kathy, her neighbor, who was crying and waving her arms frantically.

Not too long after, they could hear the sirens approaching. Maria had one arm around Kathy, trying to calm her shaking; her other hand was holding Chase's. The firemen began setting up and working to stop the flames at Kathy's house while neighbors watched with wide eyes.

"I guess I-I just left the st-stove on," Kathy was crying, "I w-went to take a sh-shower, and the next thing I kn-knew, there was smoke all through my h-house!"

"It could have happened to anyone," Maria tried to reassure her. "The good thing is that you didn't get hurt."

The Fire Chief approached Kathy. "Is that your house, ma'am?" he asked in a slow, Southern drawl.

"Y-yes," she sputtered, working hard to catch her breath.

"We're getting the flames under control, and in the mornin', we'll begin the investigation into the cause of the fire," he told her.

Maria squeezed Kathy's shoulders, "See? It's ok. Chief   ," she paused, not knowing the Chief's name.

"Chief Jeffreys," he answered.

 Steena of The Angrivated Mom 

Jeffreys . . . Jeffreys . . . Jeffrey . . . Jeff.

The memories were now too much for her mind, weaker from last night's nightmare than she had originally allowed herself to believe. "Just a common name" played like a broken record in her head, drowning out the images pushing to get through to the surface. She was struggling to maintain her composure when she noticed someone making their way through the crowd towards them hurriedly. Her mind stood on guard. Waiting. Ready.

"Excuse me, are you Mrs. Donaldson?" said the man coming at them, in a badly wrinkled brown suit, while sticking his hand out to neither of them in particular, waiting for the owner of the name to step forward to claim his impersonal greeting with an informal handshake, especially under such emotional circumstances as a house fire.

Thankfully, this representative from Kathy's homeowner's insurance's impeccable timing saved her from breaking down right there with so many witnesses for her unraveling revelations. He had arrived to talk about accommodations for Kathy's family until the house could be investigated and then repaired. Or rebuilt, her mind suddenly conserved the random thought taking her thoughts away again. The damage, as Maria took it in over her shoulder as she booked it for her own house, looked to be very similar to that of the cabin after it . . . "Stop it, would you," Maria said to herself as she took the opportunity to slip back into the comfort and privacy of her own home, with Chase following behind. "You're only being paranoid," she told herself with a deep calming, cleansing breath like she had learned from her exuberant and full life yoga instructor at the posh country club she was a member of, even if it stretched beyond their budget.

"Maria" Chase called to her as she climbed the stairs towards the master bathroom. "Do you know him? Did he hurt you before? Your face was white as a ghost, like you saw a ghost! You never did tell me the whole story about that night that caused the amnesia when you were younger. Was he involved?" Chase demanded, out of loving concern, as he followed her. 

 Michele of Follow me home 

"I can't do this right now." Maria answered in a shaky, frustrated voice. "You wouldn't understand. Trust me, you don't WANT to understand!" Noticing the fear in Chase's eyes, she relented. "Listen, I just need to get some rest. Could we try and talk about this tomorrow?"

~~ Be sure to come back one week from tomorrow for the conclusion of Storm Past ~~

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Funny Friday: Where's the Beef

Today’s post is July’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.
Funny Friday | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Sanity Waiting to Happen.
Funny Friday, Sanity Waiting to Happen | www.BakingInATornado.com
1. When you asked if I wanted to go to the market, this is NOT what I had in mind.

2. This is not how I remember seatbelts working.

3. I already told you I CANNOT give you milk. 

4. The saying is "this little piggie went to market. PIGGIE. Do I look like a piggie to you? 

5. Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more.
And YES, if you read my blog you know that I used this one last month too.
And now for something yummy (no, not beef):

FAST Flavorful Fish Dinner | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #fish

FAST Flavorful Fish Dinner
Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

Baking In A Tornado | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

FAST Flavorful Fish Dinner
Printable Recipe
NOTE: I'm from the East Coast and love fresh fish. I live in the Midwest and the best option here is flash frozen, which is why I use it in this recipe. If you're lucky enough to have access to fresh fish, adjust your temperature to 350 degrees and watch closely, it'll cook much faster.

Ingredients (per serving):
6 - 8 oz frozen fillet of white flaky fish: cod, tilapia, snapper, etc.
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1/4 tsp dried dill
1 green onion
4 slices red pepper
1/2 TBSP butter
1/4 tsp paprika
3 cherry tomatoes
1 slice lemon
OPT: Serve over rice on a bed of fresh spinach

*Turn oven on to 425 degrees.
*Grease a cooking dish and place frozen fish in the dish.
*Chop the green onion and the red pepper slices.
*Sprinkle fish with salt, lemon pepper and dill. top with the green onion and red pepper.
*Break the butter up and dollop over the fish. Sprinkle with paprika.
*Put fish in the heating oven. While fish is cooking, quarter the cherry tomatoes.
*The amount of time your fish will take to cook will depend on how thick it is. Once the oven is up to temperature, start testing the fish regularly. It's ready when the fish is no longer translucent and it flakes with a fork.
*Top fish with cherry tomato and serve with lemon. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Storm Past. Chapter Two: Where There's Smoke

Today's post is chapter two of an ongoing fictional piece started a week ago. This Progressive Story Project started last December with A Holiday Story and was so successful we've decided to do it once again.

Progressive Story Project | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
  The way it works is that participating writers each add a paragraph to the story. The idea is that everyone can contribute a piece of the story but no one person controls it.

The first chapter was written by six bloggers. You can read it here: 
Chapter One: Darkening Skies

Storm Past, a Progressive Story Project | www.bakinginatornado.com | #story #fiction

Once again, over to the left, I've provided the name of the author of each segment and a link right to their blog. I hope you'll visit them all. They all have different personalities and writing styles, none of them ever disappoint.

Picking up the story where we left off:

Chapter Two: 

Tamara of Confessions of a part-time working mom

The morning after this nightmare Maria sat at the kitchen table sipping her coffee and waiting for her toast to pop up. She didn't feel like reading the newspaper. Instead she got up and opened the kitchen window. The sun was shining and the sky was intensely blue. The thunderstorm had left a couple of branches in her yard, and the morning air smelled fresh and clear as it always does after a good hard rain.

From afar she heard children playing and joyfully shrieking.

The world seemed to be OK.

Why did she have this dream? It felt so real. She hadn't thought about it in years and had actually hoped the incident from back then was erased from her memory for good.

After all, nobody ever suspected she had anything to do with it, she could go on with her life.

"Let's just say it was a coincidence and leave itat that" she thought. "I have a new life, a new husband and a sweet baby boy who mean the world to me."

Pop! The toaster ejected her toast slices.

Maria grabbed them and threw them on a plate.

"Holy, I almost singed my fingers. Why are those bread slices so hot today?"

Then she almost fainted. She immediately sat down. She couldn't believe her eyes.

Storm Past: A Progressive Story Project | www.Bakinginatornado.com | Confessions of a part-time working mom

 Sarah of The Momisodes

Staring at the bread, Maria felt her breath escape her lungs in a rush. "How could this be possible?" she thought.

Standing, she picked up the toaster and saw nothing out of the ordinary, nothing that would cause the "J" to be imprinted on the side of the bread. Thinking she imagined it, she turned and looked at the bread again, seeing the "J" as plain as day.

"Babe? You look as white as a ghost . . . you okay?" Chase asked, concern written on his handsone face.

"Wha . . . what?" Maria replied, looking at him in a daze, confused, trying so hard to prevent the panic attack that was threatening. Swallowing the bile that rose up in her throat she painted on a smile, just for his benefit.

"I'm totally fine. I just felt a little nauseous ther for a second . . ." she said, placing a hand over her stomach just for show.

"You don't think you're . . ." Chase started to ask but was cut off by the sound of their son running into the kitchen flying his airplane and sliding on his footed pajamas.

Swooping down to pick him up, Maria met Chase's eyes over their son's head and shrugged, knowing what his question was. "Who's the most handsome guy around?" she asked her son, tipping him upside down as he trembled with giggles.

"I am, mama! I am!" Ryan said squealing as Maria tickled him on his stomach.

"This is what my life is . . . anything before this is just a ghost of a memory" she thought, willing it to be true.

 Jenniy of Climaxed

Maria tried to go about her day like everything was normal. Ryan had to be dropped off at Lake Charles for soccer camp by 8 a.m. She had to do some grocery shopping, pay a couple of bills, run by the bank to sign some forms, and take lunch to Chase. The two of them usually had a quiet lunch together in his tiny office at the law firm, both hoping one day he would make partner and have a bigger space to share at lunchtime. The lull of a regular routine was soothing to her frayed nerves, but that didn't stop the fear that invaded her dreams and her morning from creeping in on her during down moments, at random red lights, tht line at the bank, waiting in the car lane to pick Ryan up from camp . . . Every time she had a moment to herself, that ominous dread spread outward from the center of her chest, a black weight pushing fear and burning regret through every nerve in her body until even her toes tingled with it.

By the time she got the groceries and Ryan home that afternoon, Chase had already gotten back himself. He was in his usual spot in the living room. She watched him for a moment, standing in the door with a brown grocery sack resting on one hip. He was transfixed by some show or other on television. His hair ruffled, powder blue shirt rumpled, half unbuttoned, and untucked, royal blue tie loosened and draped to the side. His blazer was thrown across the back of the couch and shoes kicked off right in the middle of the floor. Normally she would be pretty pissed at the sight of it, but today all she felt was the heat of love and desire so intense she thought it would surely take her breath away. The weight she had felt screaming through her body threatening to tear at her every chance it got slipped free under the warm radiance of the tangled emotions she felt for Chase and the boy now pulling frantically on her shirt tail asking for a bit of the ice cream she bought him from Publix.

In that moment she knew that no matter what it took, she would do anything to hold onto his life and keep chase from finding out about Jeffrey. Any thing.

"There! That's settled," she sighed a deep sigh of relief reassuring herself. "Would you like an early dinner?" she shouted to Chase over the ranting of Ryan begging for ice cream.

"Whatever." Chase was so easy going. No wonder she loved him so much. Tonight she would show him just how much she loved him. Her thoughts were racing and she was getting more excited as she prepared dinner.

If they had an early dinner, she could have a leisurely bath with candles glowing, sipping her favorite Merlot while she mentally prepared herself for a passionate evening with her lover. 

Chase was such a good dad and she knew that he would be happy to help Ryan get ready for bed and read him a story. All she had to do was to whisper those magic words into his ear during dinner and he would be oh, so ready to do whatever she requested. "Tonight's your night." Those three magic words. She never knew what he would ask but it didn't matter - those words were used by each of them when they wanted to please each other in a special way.

Her nightmare was forgotten, almost. Her thoughts were on the evening ahead and then the doorbell rang. 

She had no idea who it could be and was perturbed to be interrupted. When she opened the door, she almost fainted.

Meg of Just A Little Nutty

Maria stared transfixed at the sight of her neighbor's home on fire.

The woman on her porch was yelling for help but Maria couldn't make out her words. The sight of the smoke that billowed from the home brought her to her knees and the memories she thought she had locked away flooded through her like a tsunami.

And just like that, in her mind, she was back there again:

Marlee's breaths came in jagged desperate rushes as her heart threatened to pound right out of her chest and her lungs were incinerating from within her failing body. The blood that trickled  from the superficial wound in her neck began to slow. There was no path where she was going. Her body propelled blindly in the dark of the night, a the branches ripped against her skin but terrified rage spurred her onward towards the sounds of the sea. 

~~~ Keep reading: Chapter Three: Worlds Collide ~~~

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