Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prompt: Playing with Fire

I've never used writing prompts before (a prompt is a creative tool to help get your juices flowing). 
Holy crap are they fun!

Here's the one I chose: 


Rules: You come across a pack of matches that sets off a series of uncanny events. Start your story with “My mother always told me not to play with fire.” End it with “And that’s how I ended up in the middle of nowhere—naked.”


My mother always told me not to play with fire. “You’ll get burned,” she always said. But the thing about metaphorical fires is that sometimes the flame isn’t always easy to spot. Flames can be so tricky.

I’m on a bench with my back to the 100 foot Ferris Wheel that is turning round and round dozens of people wanting to glimpse with their girlfriends, boyfriends, fianc├ęs, lovers—what-have-you—the immaculate view of the beach and the setting sun, painting the sky a heartsick blush.

I shouldn’t be here. The place where I’m reminded of her the most. Except I couldn’t find myself wanting to be anywhere else. I toss the silver coin in the air, catching and then slapping it over the top of my hand, taking me back to that moment I want to forget.

“Heads, I win. Tails you lose,” Lea says.

“Why do you get to pick?” The grin on my face widens.

The background of the dawning sky illuminates her perfect figure. Her hair whisks wildly from the ocean breeze. “Because you don’t even want to play. So what does it matter that I get to pick, huh?” She pokes me in the chest, a teasing smile stretching her lips into a beguiling cupids bow.

My eyes are drawn to those lips, imagining what they’d feel like pressed up against mine.

“Fine. Heads you win. Tails I…wait a second.”

But the coin is already in the air. She catches it, holding it tightly within a small-balled fist, and hides it behind her back. “Nuh-uh. Admit it, you want me to win.”

I move to reach behind her, the muscles in my stomach clenching when her hand moves further away, forcing me to close the distance between us. “Heads you win. Tails I win,” I say, gazing down at those large chocolate-brown eyes. “Now show me.”

Her brow quirks again, and I don’t miss her gaze lingering on my lips. I lean in, the tightness in my stomach now in my chest.

She pulls back, opening her palm between us. “Heads,” she whispers. “I win.”

The flare of disappointment hits me. Until her words sink in. “No. No. No. You weren’t supposed to win.” My arms rise up, waving her advance, her eyes full of victory—full of mischief.

“Take em’ off buddy. That was deal.”

I turn around, disbelief and exhilaration filling me. “No way. I’m not doing it!”


I swivel to face her. “Am not.”

Hands on her hips, she says, “Prove it.”



“You first.” I throw the challenge back at her.

Her shoulders stiffen and I think that maybe our little game is over. I’ve disappointed her.

Her delicate hands rise to the collar of her cardigan, and slowly she reveals the curve of one slim shoulder.

The flame reignites.

She quirks a brow as if to say, “Your turn.”

I unbutton my shirt, forcing myself to go slow, enjoying the sight of her catching her breath, and her cheeks flushing.

We play this game until we’re both left in nothing but our underwear.

“Okay,” she says arms tightly covering her bare chest. “I close my eyes and you close yours. And then, we’ll take the last bit off at the same time.”

I nod willing to agree to anything just to get to the part where I most want to be.

My eyes close, my fingers going beneath my waistband, yanking my boxers down and kicking them in her direction. I laugh.

She doesn’t laugh back.

“Hey, I hope your silence means you’re naked.” Nothing answers me. Frowning, I open my eyes, seeing nothing but the expanse of the ocean and the long stretch of beach beneath my feet.
My clothes are gone. And so are my keys and wallet. “You’ve got to be shitting me.”

The only sense of dignity the minx left me was the coin. Heads. I lose.

And that’s how I ended up in the middle of nowhere—naked.

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