So I thought I’d test and see if y’all really liked the sentence prompt or not, with a sentence like that. How’d it go for you? Y’all wrote some amazing things again this week so I guess my attempt to stump you backfired.

Poor Terri Giuliano Long, @tglong had a heck of a time choosing only five but she managed in the end. (And check the comments on this post, I’ll include her remarks on the ones she picked and why.)

But first things first. Finalists! Congrats to:

Aden, @adenpenn

B.C. Young, @byoung210

Leah Petersen, @LeahPetersen

Kimberly Gould, @Kimmydonn

Monocle, @_Monocle_

Give these excellent entries (well, four excellent entries and a pretender) a read and then vote in the poll below. Send everyone you know. Then come back tomorrow morning at 9am Eastern to see who wins!

Aden, @adenpenn

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.

B.C. Young, @byoung210

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.

Leah Petersen, @LeahPetersen

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.

Kimberly Gould, @Kimmydonn

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.

Monocle, @_Monocle_

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.

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