Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Past Due: Chapter One, Five Days

I'm featuring today the first chapter in a piece of fiction. Not just any piece of fiction, but a collaborative one. And not just any collaborative story, but the 9th in a series of Progressive Story Projects I've been gifted with over the years.

The magic of this type of story is that it comes from the imaginations of many. If you haven't read one in the past, I'll list links to them all below, but let me tell you how this works. I start a story, then pass it on to another writer who adds to it, it then goes on to another author and then another. The challenge for each of us is to add to the story without controlling it. In the end, these bloggers, all with their varied imaginations and writing styles, put together one cohesive story. And, as I said, it's a gift as I get to present it. 

Previous Progressive Story Projects:
A Holiday Story
Storm Past 
A Holiday Story, The Sequel
Sincerely Sarah
Take Aim
Skin Deep
Mystery at the Castle
Her Time

Progressive Story Project. one story written by multiple bloggers | Developed by and presented on www.BakingInATornado.com | #fiction #MyGraphics

Today I'm honored to present chapter one of our newest story, Past Due. As always, before each section, over to the far right I've listed the author of that piece of the story and a link to their blog. I highly recommend checking out these blogs and seeing what my very talented friends have to share there. 

Past Due, a Progressive Story Project, one piece of fiction written collaboratively by 10 bloggers. | Graphic designed by and property of, and story presented by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #Fiction

Past Due
Chapter One: Five Days

Karen of Baking In A Tornado
There were still only five. It's not that big a number, no way to lose track, count and count again, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, it wasn't going to change anything. There were only five left.

I looked around, trying to figure out what to do. I only had five days left. I wanted to make the most of it, spend time with my loved ones, do things I didn't typically have the guts to do.

Make cherished memories.

I didn't know what would happen on the 6th day. The note didn't say. It was simple and to the point.

"Emily, you have five days left."

It put me on edge, unsure of what to expect. Was I going to die? Was someone going to kidnap me? Was the world going to end?

Would I ever find out?

Five days wasn't a lot of time for one to live their best life, but damn it, I was determined to live mine.

Dawn of Spatulas on Parade 

Five days, why only five? She had lost the love of her life, or so she thought he was, five years ago and during that time she had battled and won the fight with breast cancer. So why now? Why didn't she die during that time? This made her angry, the longer she dwelled on it, the angrier she got.

Liz reached over and touched her hand. "Em, what's going on with you? You are not yourself today."

Emily looked at her longest and dearest friend, putt on her smile and said "oh nothing, just going over the past." She took a deep breath and said "Hypothetically, if you knew you only had 5 days to live, what would you do?"

Liz jumped out of her chair and said "WHAT?" and quickly sat down realizing she was causing a scene here at the Java Joint. Leaning over she quietly said, "Oh my gosh Emily! When? Why didn't you tell me the cancer was back?"

Emily laughed, "Oh no, no, no, no." Shaking her head, "I'm sorry, I was just thinking. It's not back, I'm fine, I mean, I think, well, yeah . . ." and she started to cry.

Liz, looking relieved but still concerned, looked at her, deep into her eyes and said "Come on Em, this is me. We've known each other for how long? High school, college, marriages, divorces, kids, cancer and the death of parents. Tell me what is going on."

Reaching into her pocket, Emily pulled out the paper. She handed it to Liz who read it and then began to laugh.

"Oh my dear sweet dramatic Em! Don't you know a kid prank when you read one? I mean, really. Who would send you something like this and why? Everyone loves you. You know it's some dumb kid pulling a prank."

Just then Steve walked up, kissed Emily on the forehead and said, "Hey what's this?" as he reached for the paper. She tried to move it but he was already reading it. Shaking his head he said, "You know several people at work got this same stupid piece of paper. I'm guessing prank time at the high school. Remember those days?" as he sat down.

Kimberly of When I Grow Up

"Really?" Emily looked up at her brother, relieved.

"Yeah," he said. "Someone is messing with you."

"Anybody I know?" she asked.

"Well, let's see . . . you know Eddie, he lived down the street when we were kids, And Sue; wasn't she your best friend at one point? I think Josh Miller got one, but you didn't know him. Oh, and the other one who mentioned it was Betty James. She was pretty shaken up, but she's not from around here either. So, to answer your question, you know two of them."

Emily didn't say anything. Steve didn't know. She had actually dated Josh one summer when she was home from college. He lived a couple of towns over and she knew her family wouldn't approve, so she hadn't told any of them, not even Steve, who knew her better than anyone else, even better than her ex. It was just a summer fling; she and Josh broke up before the fall semester began and she hadn't heard from him since.

The name Betty James sounded familiar as well, though she couldn't quite figure out why. Emily noticed that Liz was looking at her quizzically and that she had to snap out of it.

"I guess I've been reading too much SciFi lately. Let's get out of here. Who's up for a trip to the park? There should be some great people watching on a beautiful day like today!"

Emily stretched out on the blanket as she watched all of the other people who were soaking up this beautiful day. She had scolded herself all the way for letting something so stupid get to her so badly. Kids! Pranks! She had to laugh at herself, "Em you are much too gullible," she scolded herself.

She watched a little boy play with his dog, laughing every time the collie chased after the frisbee. Each time he would bring it back to the boy and drop it at his feet. Then there was the cute daddy pushing his little girl on the swing, back and forth, up and down. It was relaxing, almost hypnotic, following the little girl's path with each push.

She loved this little town. She had spent her whole life here and now that she was outside she could see that the note was just silly. I can't believe I wasted a moment being upset about something so dumb. She watched a woman in a beautiful pink dress get out of her car and start walking across the park.

She walked straight up to Emily and stood over her, blocking out the sun. Emily shaded her eyes and looked up at the strange lady who seemed to know exactly who she was. "Emily! I'm so glad I found you. I'm Betty James."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Read on to chapter two, Jester's Canyon ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

And before you go, here's today's recipe:

Strawberry Dalgona Cocktail is a strawberry flavored creamy cocktail topped with a creamy whipped coffee. | Recipe developed by www.BakedInATornado.com | #recipe #cocktail

Strawberry Dalgona Cocktail
Strawberry Dalgona Cocktail is a strawberry flavored creamy cocktail topped with a creamy whipped coffee. | Recipe developed by www.BakedInATornado.com | #recipe #cocktail

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

Strawberry Dalgona Cocktail        

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (makes 2):
1 cup Baileys Strawberries and Cream liqueur
1/2 cup White Chocolate liqueur
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup instant coffee crystals
1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup boiling water

fresh strawberries

*Pour 1/2 cup Strawberries and Cream liqueur, 1/4 cup White Chocolate liqueur, and 1/4 cup milk into each of two glasses. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
*Whip the instant coffee crystals, sugar and boiling water until it's light brown and creamy and stiff peaks hold (similar to how you'd make whipped cream).
*Remove the glasses from the refrigerator, add ice if desired, and top with the whipped coffee.
*Serve with fresh strawberries.


  1. Yay! So excited to see part one! I can't wait to read what happens in the rest.

  2. Ah, the suspense! Hope it all has a good ending, though.

  3. Yay! Can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

  4. Can’t you post a chapter a day??? 🤣 I’m a little impatient
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

    1. I know, right? But I am posting on a much tighter schedule than I have in the past.

  5. Aaargh, another Dalgona Coffee post (although yours is a lot more creative than many). Is this where the Universe is dragging me? Will I have four more days after today to finally make Dalgona Coffee? Will this be the good thing that comes out of this situation? Oh, those wonderful pre-flattening the curve days..Am I making any sense? Do I have any mind left?..What day of the week is it, anyway?...Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. Don't worry, you're doing just as well as the rest of us are.

  6. Yay! I finally got to read it! So. Much. Fun!!!

    1. Yes, so much fun. And thank you too for adding your voice.


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