#5MinuteFiction Week 53

What is 5MinuteFiction, you say? It’s an adrenaline-fueled, instant-gratification sort of writing contest. Sound fun? Great! Get in there and get dirty!

The Rules

* You get five minutes to write a piece of prose or poetry in any style or genre

* You must begin your entry with this sentence: On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl.

(Note: The prompt is the word. The picture is for decoration/inspiration.)

* Post your entry as a comment to this post.

I’ll close the contest at 1:45. That gives you 5 minutes to write and ten to accommodate the vagaries of relative time, technology, and the fickle internets. If you are confused or just want to whine, feel free to email me.

At the close of the contest, this week’s guest judge, Terri Giuliano Long, @tglong, will nominate five finalists. I’ll put the nominees in a poll, and at 9:00 EDT tomorrow I’ll close the poll and declare the winner.

For updates, you can subscribe to my RSS Feed, “like” my Facebook Page, or follow me on twitter.

What’s the prize? Well, nothing, obviously. But we’ll all agree to tweet and/or blog about the winner of today’s contest so their fame and fortune will be assured.

A Few Notes:

* In the interest of time and formatting, it’s best to type straight into the comment box or notepad. It’s also smart to do a quick highlight and copy before you hit “post” just in case the internets decide to eat your entry. If your entry doesn’t appear right away, email me sometimes comments go into the suspected spam folder and I have to dig them out.

* I reserve the right to remove hate speech or similar but I’m not too picky about the other stuff.

* This is all for fun and self-promotion. So be sure to put your twitter handle at the end of your post and a link to your blog if you have one.

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20 Responses to #5MinuteFiction Week 53

  1. It’s an honor to be here, Leah. Thank you so much! Looking forward to reading!! All my best, Terri

  2. On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl.

    I waited for a moment, wandering along the sun-hot porch, listening to the faint groan of old wood. I looked again at the door, the flaking blue paint and the shiny brass knob. It would be hot too.

    I didn’t knock.

    I walked around to the back of the house. He window was open. I imagined I could see the cool breeze from under the spreading oak tree drifting into her room. She’d be sitting on the floor. She always did that.

    And from the open window I heard it. Soft singing. A nursery tune, one I remembered well and that smelled like nights holding the tiny baby who cried and cried and tasted like tears.

    I watched as the shadows lengthened around me. As evening fell, I looked one more time with longing at the blue-flecked door. One knock. She would hear, and come down. I would see her.

    I left.
    Leah Petersen recently posted..Your StupidMy Profile

  3. Aden says:

    On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl. I knew before I even reached the door what had happened. It came to me hard and fast, as soon as my foot touched the first step. The vision was vivid, and painful. This time I could feel the evil that seemed to pour off the man, whose face I could never see. I could feel the apprehension, and then fear that moulded around the girl like a layer of clay. This all took place not long ago, the vision was so fresh. I watched as the man grabbed the girl by the arm, hard enough to leave bruises. I stood helpless as he dragged her up the stairs and through the screen door. She was still holding the paintbrush.

    My knees buckled, and I fell to the porch as I watched him drag her up the stairs. She never screamed, she never made a sound. Could she? How could she let this man throw her on the bed, and do the awful things I watched him do to her, and not say a word? I could feel her slipping away, going to another place. She never really felt what he did, not on her body, but it burned into her mind and her soul. When she died, I fell face first onto the porch and my world went black. I woke up surrounded by cops, and some EMTs. My stomach churned, and I was sweating. I didn’t want to tell them, I didn’t want to say that I never saw his face.

    Aden recently posted..Getting by with a little plug from your friendsMy Profile

  4. DL Thurston says:

    On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl. She’d left him again, six months she’d be gone. Certainly people cared about what her mother thought of the arrangement, the horrid chill that blew through the land as she wept bitter tears, never getting over the fact that perhaps her daughter could make her own decisions.

    But now she was back upstairs, and he would have his despair, and oh how it would spread like a blanket over the realms he held onto, the land he’d been allowed to rule, tricked into it by his brother. He was never allowed to have his own things, he could only have the world that was left to him, the wife that he stole for six months at a time.

    But the wife he loved. Was that so strange? To love her?

    He picked up the small can of thinner, and dipped his brush, as he’d done at this time every year since the arrangement first began. He brushed over her name, the paint flowing like tears down the doorway that led to his great beyond. Then he would return to the boatman, cross, and live six months alone.

    Alone save for the damned, but what company were they? But for six months, while he waited, while he was left with little else to do, at least they would truly know what it was to be ruled by Hades.

    DL Thurston recently posted..Report from BalticonMy Profile

  5. On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl. Wyatt had stopped by the old house everyday since Melanie had moved in. She was attempting a rather large project in restoring the old porch on the pre-war mansion. The layers of different coloured paint was like a anthropological timeline of the history of southern Florida, or in laymen’s terms it looked like a half melted Gobstopper.

    Wyatt knew what Melanie had been going through, the divorce in New York, the death of her father and having to return home to care for her sick mom and try to pick up the peices of her life. Wyatt wanted to help. He started by picking up the peices of the broken bowl and cleaning up the juice of the Pomegranite seeds that had been crushed against the pillar, then he went to work, revealing more and more history as the paint thinner peelled back time. Maybe he could turn back time too, back to when things were less complicated and him and Melanie used to walk down the dirt drive to school holding hands.


  6. Reggie Ridgway


    On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl. Not a day goes by that I don’t wake up with that image in my head. She had called me from her cell. We had been talking. Well me mostly listening. I had been caught cheating on my bride to be. I have no defense other than stupidity. My fiancé was telling me she wanted to kill herself. She was threatening to drink a strange concoction of pomegranate wine and Paint thinner. I dropped the phone and burst out of the house. My car burned rubber and the car fishtailed down the street. I hoped I wasn’t too late. I pulled up to her house and all of the lights were out save one. It was the upstairs bedroom light. Her voice had sounded garbled the last time I heard it. I could hear the sirens of the approaching ambulance. i just hoped it wasn’t too late.
    It was.
    reggie ridgway recently posted..Sometimes You Get The Bacon And Sometimes It Gets YouMy Profile

  7. B.C. Young says:

    On the porch, there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl.

    People in town always talked about the home. They’d chatter often about the husband and wife who lived there, but the daughter was the main topic of conversation.

    They knew she lived in the upstairs rooms, and the parents couldn’t let her out. They knew the girl had something wrong with her, but nobody knew exactly what.

    So they’d speculate:

    “She has cancer.”

    “She’s allergic to everything.”

    “If she falls, her bones will break.”

    The list of possible maladies the girl had went on for a while. But there was one thing they all knew for certain about the girl.

    Every day at noon, the girl opened her bedroom window and spit pomegranate seeds to the porch below. Then, an hour later, her mother would use paint thinner to clean the stains they left in the wood.
    B.C. Young recently posted..Awry Miscorrection ExcerptMy Profile

  8. Katie says:

    On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl.
    They didn’t know who she was. She had appeared on the porch from no where as Jean and Kelly ate their fruit. The girl was dirty, as if she had dug herself out of the grave, and her eyes reflected a haunted wisdom beyond her young years.
    Jean was upstairs with her, cleaning her off and trying to find out where she came from. Showing up in the middle of the country with a can of paint thinner, looking as she did, Jean didn’t really trust her. He had a funny feeling about her, and in his 65 years, he had learned to trust his feelings.
    A scream pierced the silence of the country and Jean’s hair stood on end at the horror of it.
    Racing upstairs as fast as his arthritis would allow him, he dreaded what he would see.
    He rounded the corner into the bathroom and saw Kelly, flat on the floor, eyes open and unseeing. The girl… That strange girl was standing over her, clothed in nothing but thin undewear. Burns covered her, and in her hand was another can of paint thinner. “Where did she get that?” he asked himself. He knew she had left the can on the porch.

    “Please, help me.” The girl’s voice was sweet and ethereal. She opened the can and began pouring it’s contents over her shoulders.
    “Please, help me,” she repeated.

    “Just put the can down!” Jane shouted. He looked to Kelly, still lying on the bathroom floor.

    The girl burst into flame, screaming a terrible haunted scream. Jean grabbed Kelly’s arms and pulled her out, away from the fire and the girl being consumed by it.

    Suddenly, the fire and the girl were gone. Jean, looked to Kelly and saw her eyes, still open and unseeing.

    Katie recently posted..Ten Useful Blog Posts For Any WriterMy Profile

  9. Eron Garcia says:

    On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl. While he’d never admit it, Jacob knew that none of them were any good for him.

    He always managed to get pomegranate juice on himself; irreversibly staining his shirt or his pants, but he still dove in for more. Each pip was a new sensation in tart and sweet. They were irresistible.

    The paint thinner helped fuel his passion for painting. He’d painted all of his life. First watercolors, then acrylics. He learned oil painting while in college and never looked back. Live models weren’t his favorite subject, but he had a way of capturing them and the light around them that drew viewers in. He wasn’t fabulously successful, but he always had enough money to get by.

    And the girl… She was like an infusion of pomegranate and paint thinner: irresistible and the fuel for the fire of his life. When they first met three months ago, he thought she’d either be his greatest inspiration or his downfall. At this moment, he suspected she’d be both.

    Still, Jabob grabbed the can, a fresh pomegranate, and headed upstairs.

    Eron Garcia recently posted..Praying for friends and family in Hawaii and Japan tsunami hitsunami japanMy Profile

  10. Katie says:

    Forgot my Twitter handle…. @Kathleen_Doyle
    Katie recently posted..Ten Useful Blog Posts For Any WriterMy Profile

  11. Amber Skye says:

    On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl.

    I’d rather stay down here. I wanted no part of this, but they were watching me. Feeling like I was facing an execution, and maybe I was, I walked slowly inside the house and up the stairs.

    I opened the door. She was lying on the bed, face up, and naked. I sucked in a breath at the sight, and my eyes wandered down her body and back up to her face. Her terrified face. My tentative boner instantly died.

    And she looked young. Well, only a couple of years younger than me. Maybe I was young, too, but you grow up fast on the street.

    I didn’t know what to say to her. I never knew what to say to girls, which was why I was in this mess in the first place. If I’d just been a real man, they wouldn’t have gotten a girl for me. I was man enough to manage their business, to run their finances, but without the street cred or the drug knowledge I was just a pansy.

    I went to the edge of the bed, unsure if I should sit down. “It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you.”

    Her eyes flicked up to mine and then back up to the ceiling.

    “What’s your name?” I asked.

    “Why do you care?” Her voice was shaking.

    “I care. My name’s Ronny.”

    Her lips pressed together. Then she said, “Mine is Laura.”

    “I don’t want to do this either.”

    She looked at me then. “You don’t?”

    “No. I don’t know what to do about it, though. They run this street and I can’t be their enemy.”

    “I know,” she said grimly. “My brother screwed them over. That’s why I’m here – to pay his debts.”

    “Shit, man. That really sucks. What’d he do?”

    “He stole their business. Started dealing in their territory.”

    I smiled slowly. “You know what, Laura? I think maybe we can help each other out.”
    Amber Skye recently posted..FuckMeFriday- FawnMy Profile

  12. On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl. She looked down at the mess she had left, knowing when Dad came to resume staining, she’d be in for a licking. Was it worth it?
    She thought of the tang, the pink splatter staining her blouse, the need to clean it. She was staining too, it seemed. And now her cheeks were stained with embarrassment and remorse.
    Maybe there was time to clean the porch, too.
    Kimberly Gould recently posted..No BackboneMy Profile

  13. redshirt6 says:

    On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl. Jimmy didn’t really know much about the girl except that she was one of the Doctor’s “friends”. The Doctor always gave a little smile whenever he said that word.

    “Yes, she is a very special friend so I will have to cut our daily porch time a little short,” the Doctor said. “That won’t be a problem will it, Jimmy?”

    Every once in a while there was a sound from inside the house. To Jimmy it sounded like it was coming from upstairs. And it was a familiar sound, but he couldn’t quite place it. Muffled. Bumping. A voice sound?

    “No,” he said, “I don’t think so.” Jimmy’s eyes and face scrunched up against the bright afternoon sunlight. “I have other important things to do today.”

    “Oh ho!” said the Doctor, “Is that so?”

    “Uh huh,” Jimmy said as he looked down at the wooden train engine and caboose care he held in his hands.

    “Well then,” the Doctor began with a chuckle, “I shan’t keep you from your important duties! I too have some important things to attend to.”
    By the way the doctor smirked when he said ‘important’ Jimmy knew that it had something to do with the ‘friend’ upstairs.

    “Ok,” Jimmy began, “I’ll see you tomorrow then-“

    The sound again. Bump. Muffled bump. All of a sudden Jimmy knew exactly what it sounded like. But why would that be coming from upstairs at the Doctor’s house. Ah! Jimmy thought, they must be playing a game.

    “Yes,” Jimmy smiled, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” As Jimmy was walking away he thought to himself, that sounded just like my sister when she wrapped herself in a rug that time we were playing hide and seek. She was stuck there for hours before anyone found her! How odd, he thought, that the Doctor should be playing such a game.


  14. Farewell(For Now)

    On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl. Twenty years later and he still thought of her so. The third board from the door creaked. He never could bring himself to fix it. It had creaked, a cry in the night echoed by an owl in the barn, the first time he kissed her.
    Twenty years. Two decades of managing around their inherent differences.
    His paint brushes sat waiting, the jar of thinner clouded like a hot summer sky. He heard the book drop as he dropped down onto the top step and exhaled.
    “Now for the waiting,” he said aloud, the tattered tom cat stalking twisting an ear his way.
    The seasons would turn, the days growing shorter then longer again. He would pass the cold times without her in his bed, without her smile to warm him.
    It’s a hazard. A hazard of loving a daughter of Demeter. They have a weakness for pomegranates, you know.
    Chet picked up the bowl and popped a few seeds in his mouth. They kept her memory fresh.

    Aisling Weaver recently posted..Fawn – FuckMeFridayMy Profile

  15. Islinda Yang says:

    On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl. That much I knew, and nothing else, but my curiosity was already aroused. An old man with tufts of grey hair sticking out of his ears met me at the door, insisting that I wait outside while he went to check on something. This must be the same old man whom I had spoken to on the phone earlier, having tracked down his number after several failed leads. I had asked several questions, tried several angles, and he had remained evasive until I had mentioned the girl’s name: Lenka.

    Then the old man had fallen silent for a good long while. Just as I had been wondering if he had hung up on me, he had said, “You come here, you see.”

    “But I just-”

    “You come see,” he had insisted, and given me the address. Then he had hung up, and it had taken me less than five seconds to decide to “come see” for myself. A scoop is a scoop after all, and the journalist in me wanted to know more.

    The old man came shuffling back to the door and indicated for me to step in. I did so, ignoring the fumes of the paint thinner and following him up the rickety stairs. He led me to a room, pointing inside and saying, “Lenka there, Lenka there.” I nodded, knocking the door before pushing it open. There was nothing in the dim room except a table and an old chair, where a little girl was seated, laying out a deck of tarot cards. She looked up at me, and smiled.

    I smiled back at Death.
    Islinda Yang recently posted..darkonfire- @Kiwiwiwiwiwi Good thing youre getting out of the Korean musical theatre industry before you get jaded!My Profile

  16. Monocle says:

    On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl.

    Ned cut the motor and called out, “Hey there, darlin’! Where’s your folks?” The dark hair disappeared from the window.

    The water was just over feet deep as of yet, not even up to the floorboards, but the Mississippi was taking this faded house, and the rest on this street, this town. I tied onto the porch rail – loosely – as water began seeping up through the planks and lapping at the top step, lifting the seeds and buckets to bob in a once-in-a-lifetime current.

    Ned looked at me.

    “I reckon we better go see if she’s alone.”

    I nodded and stepped up to the door, my waders just starting to slosh.

    No answer at the knock. Don’t answer strangers at the door. I shook my head. That’s a good girl, but sometimes…

    “I’m coming in!” I called, “You’ve got to leave with us – the River’s coming!”

    Still silence. There really wasn’t time. I looked over at Ned, who nodded, and gave the door a good kick. Water and I began to pour into the entryway. I made for the stairs, without taking in the pictures lining the hall.

    I searched upstairs room by room, calling gently, then urgently. Where was she hiding? The house wasn’t that big. I heard Ned restart the motor, and the house moan as water pressed at the sides.

    “Andy! Time to go!”

    “But Ned!

    The house shuddered. Water on my waders. I took the window.

    As the current drew the boat away from the house – or the house away from us? I saw the curtain move. A small hand waving goodbye.


  17. I hope i made it!

    On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl. David sighed, spitting more seeds down on the paint thinner. Everything was about to change, and he wasn’t sure if he liked it. He looked up at his car, where the thinner was doing its job of taking off the ugly orange paint he put there last season. What in the hell was the thinking, anyway?

    Upstairs, he could hear the girl. She was packing. He sighed again. He grabbed another handful of seeds from the pomegranate and sucked on them before spitting them back out. It was a ritual of his whenever something was going in a direction he didn’t like. And this was definitely something he didn’t like.

    He listened again, and could hear the girl coming down the stairs, dragging a large suitcase behind him. He stood up and opened the door. She stood there, looking up at him, her eyes wet with tears. She was beautiful, just as beautiful as the day he first laid eyes on her.

    “I guess this is it,” he said. Behind him, he could hear the crunch of gravel as a taxi cab pulled up and honked its horn.

    “Yup,” she said. Then, real tears rolled down her face, and David could feel them coming down his cheek as well.

    He grabbed the girl and squeezed her tight, and she hugged him back.

    “Oh, daddy!” she said. “I’m going to miss you at college!”

    He sighed again. Everything was going to change.

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  18. Tauisha Nicole @shells2003 says:

    On the porch there were pomegranate seeds and paint thinner, and upstairs there was a girl. The girl he absolutely cared about.

    Carter had no idea why the pomegrante seeds were important, but the paint thinner was because he cared for Leah’s Gran. After that day in the hospital, things between he and Leah were very strained. She hardly wanted to speak to him then. Two days hardly made a difference.

    Gran speficically needed her shed painted. Badly. But, her being who she was, she couldn’t do it herself. Hard to do much of anything after a massive heart attack. Not to mention, she shouldn’t be painting anything, anyway.

    And, Carter is a man. He can handle something as small as painting a shed.

    But, he couldn’t fix what was going on between he and Leah, the girl upstairs. She spent most of her days resting, or hovering around her Gran. Losing her would be the end of her, he knew. And as much as he cared for her, not seeing her was sorta good.

    She reminded him everyday why they could never be, just by looking at her.

    “How’s it going?” he heard a voice call.

    Carter froze. Turned. Leah.

    She was wearing a soft yellow sundress, looking at him with a glass of lemonade in one hand and a sandwich in the other. “Figured you’d be hungry.”

    He nodded.

    Leah walked closer and handed him his lunch. After that, she tried to turn away.

    “Leah, wait.”

    She turned back, weariness and curiosity battled in her expression.

    “At least sit down and talk with me.”

    He followed her to the porch swing. After they sat, she watched him take a bite of his sandwich. “So,” she shuffled her feet a little, “how ya been?”



    Leah looked back down at her twidling fingers. Carter admired how her hair seemed to grow, framing her shoulders beautifully. “Why did you leave?”

    She shook her head. “Okay. If you want to forget the small talk, then forget the stupidity, too. You know why.”

    Carter acknowledged that with a grunt. “You tell me I’m a father in a letter. What was I supposed to do with that?”

    “It’s not like you wanted to be a father anyway,” Leah frowned. “Me leaving was doing you a favor.”

    “You said that, too. Not sure how you think leaving me, leaving us, was the solution.”

    “Of course, it was!” her voice rose slightly. “You don’t want this child, then you don’t want me.”

    “We could have figured something out,” Carter shrugged. “There are options-”

    “If it means this baby isn’t alive and well and in my life, forget it, Carter. I wasn’t planning on being a mother, either, but you know what? I am.”

    Carter huffed. “I never wanted you to leave me. Never meant for us to be apart.”

    “As long as you don’t want this baby, that’s exactly what you’re asking for. We’re a packaged deal.”

    Leah stood and sighed. “Don’t know why we’re talking, anyway. You’ll never learn. And I’m tired of waiting.”

    She walked as fast as her pregancy would allow back into the house, when Carter felt the brunt of his frustration.

    Yes, they needed to talk. That much was obvious.

    This just wasn’t the way things should have gone. Carter was determined to try again.

  19. Time’s up! How’d you like THAT sentence. *evil cackle*

    See you at 3:00 for the announcement of the finalists!
    Leah Petersen recently posted..Your StupidMy Profile

  20. Kaolin Fire says:

    She stared into the sun, squinting to make better sense of the details that popped out of her psyche. The flavor of pomegranate, the crunch like juice-filled popcorn; a thousand nails screaming in her eyes, a thousand slaps across his face. She’d show him that she could put her soul, her /self/, into her art, that she wasn’t just another pretty face that painted pretty faces.

    She spat through the window: blood and juice; chipped tooth, and fruit. Some tequila to flense her soul. Below, the canvas of the porch where he’d once proposed. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and shot back some more drink. Her stomach rumbled wide, like the sun. Spots of turbulence appeared, and she rode them like a storm. She let out her fear, her pain, her anger, his poison, rocking back and forth as she held onto the window sill. This was art. This was life.

    She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, and looked for an easel to set up outside. This was something she could paint in its every glistening detail, and nobody could say it didn’t have emotion.


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