Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)
TITLE: A Day With Herself
By Sara Harricharan
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Jessica slapped the alarm clock off the nightstand, grimacing at the crash. “That's minus five points, self.” She muttered. It took a few seconds longer to rouse herself enough to sit up in the pitch black of pre-dawn. Her fingers fumbled for the night light, a soft, pale-gold glow, on the way to the bathroom.
<i>Life's just a game...</i>
The line trailed through the cob-webs of her brain, not yet awake. Mechanically she washed and dried her face, brushed her teeth and took a shower. The disjointed routine forced her wide awake when she pulled out mismatched socks. “Nice going, self.” She congratulated. “Minus two points.”
<i>Nothing stays the same...</i>
Jessica took the narrow, sagging, stairs two at a time. Home used to mean luxury furniture and people to do things far too trivial otherwise. This house, her new house, was much too small for anything. She snorted. Dan's idea of home was something 'cozy'. She reached into the upper pantry shelf for the usual box of cereal. Her fingers met empty air. “Congratulations again, self.” She muttered. “You're going to have a creative breakfast.”
<i>Life's different flowers...</i>
A quick omelette of red peppers and red onions mixed together in the perfect power breakfast. “Mmm....I think that's worth...um...thirty points?” A giggle slipped out and Jessica took a moment to fish out a decent china plate with matching cutlery. “Let's see...that makes it twenty three points total, right? Not bad for the early bit, eh?”
<i>Come in many different colors...</i>
The doorbell rang as she grabbed her purse, ready to step out the door. She stared into an armful of deep, scarlet roses, with a delivery cap sticking out over the top.
“Mrs. Jessica Carter?” The fellow offered a clipboard and pen. “Please sign.”
She took the pen and painstakingly scrawled her name across the empty space indicated.
She stood in the doorway, holding the bouquet. “With love, Dan.” She set the vase on the entry desk. “Add fifty points. A total of seventy-three...before noon.”
<i>Raining at the trainstop...</i>
“Let's see, where to...oh bother that!” Jessica scowled at the faint drizzle beginning. “Just what I need...rain.” She paused in mid-sigh. “Oops...minus three points...leaving a total of seventy. At this rate self, you'll be double-checking all day...”
<i>Raining at the bus stop...</i>
The train doors opened and she stepped out onto the platform. The bus stop was down the block, just another short walk...in the rain. She hummed softly to herself, waltzing through the bustling crowd, her thoughts elsewhere.
At the bus stop she fumbled for a scrap of paper and pencil to match. Words trickled out from her head and onto the whiteness, allowing a bit of fog to clear away. Her thoughts were on roses, a husband overseas and the fact that a new bestseller was due from her heart. “Note to self...minus ten points...I really should write this in my planner. Lunch with agent on...you're slipping self...minus five points....on...Friday!” A delighted giggle escaped. “Aha! A total of sixty-five. Mmmm...got to reach a hundred, you know.”
The screech of tires and breaking glass, shattered the private moment. A nearby glass windows exploded, sending sharp shards everywhere.
“Get down! Get down!” Someone tackled her from behind.
Jessica gritted her teeth against the hard landing as Reese landed solidly on top of her. “Code ten, code ten!” He barked, shifting. “Mrs. Carter, you okay?”
She didn't dare bob her head as he surged to his feet and pulled her up after him. She found herself tucked into a car and down the road before her wits caught up. “Reese?” Her voice was whisper-soft.
He sighed. “Mrs. Carter...we've done our best, truly, but if you keep wandering off.” He hesitated. “I won't be the one to tell your husband. You know he worries and his enemies...”
“I”m sorry, Reese. It won't happen again.” Jessica parrotted.
His sigh filled the car. “What was it this time?”
She shrugged. “A mixed up day with myself.” The smile resurfaced. “Thirty-five points self. Congratulations, you've reached a hundred.”
“Again?” Reese closed his eyes.
Jessica laughed. “Yes...again. I've got this silly little tune in my head...something about rain and flowers.” The dreamy look returned, her mask of protection as her world rebuilt.
<i>I wish it would stop. </i>
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