An Understanding

“W-what are you doing here?”  The stutter betrays my fear.

“I could ask you the same.”

His cat-that-ate-the-canary smile bugs me.  “Where’s Jeremy?”  This time my voice carries defiance.

“He had other plans.”  He flings something at me.

I snatch it before it hits my face.  Jeremy’s shirt.  My fingers sense the crusty dryness of something that was once wet.  I hold the shirt up in the moonlight.  Blood? 

“Let’s take a walk.”  He grabs my elbow and squeezes me next to him.  The angry heat from his body radiates down my side.  He heads down the skinny alley that separates the barn and stables from the farm equipment and grain storage sheds.  He ducks inside one of the storage sheds and by my elbow, I follow.

“I want to go home!”  My demand comes out as a plea instead, which annoys me.

He traps me between stacked bales of hay and his sweaty body.  For several minutes, his hands and tongue grope my body in a way that leaves me feeling dirty, like his soul.  He doesn’t go all the way, but he goes far enough to make it clear that he could.

“The punishment for adultery is death.  This is your only warning.  If you tell anyone about our understanding tonight, your family suffers.”

I never hated anyone with this much intensity.

“I’m sure your mother must be worried.”  He clasps my hand in his and I fight the urge to vomit.

The five minutes it takes to reach home feels like a portal to Hell.  He smiles before knocking on my front door.  Less than a minute later, Mama appears, robe wrapped around her.

“Ellie?  Derek?  What’s going on?”

“Ma’am, I caught your daughter in the cornfields with Jeremy.”

Mama frowns.  “You told me you were sick.”

I lean over and spill the contents of breakfast, lunch and dinner on the front porch.  I push past Mama and run up the stairs.

I didn’t lie.


I have a feeling that those of you rooting for Ellie are not going to be happy with this part of the story.  Sorry – it had to get worse before it gets better 🙂  I can’t say when it will get better, but I can assure you she won’t have a life of misery!  This is the sixth part of Ellie’s story.  If you didn’t catch the previous parts, check out the links below.  Each one is less than 333 words, so it won’t take long to catch up!

Part One; Part Two; Part Three; Part Four; Part Five.

This is my entry in Trifecta’s weekly writing prompt challenge.  Our challenge is to write an entry between 33 and 333 words using the third definition of the following word:

ALLEY (noun):  a narrow street; especially : a thoroughfare through the middle of a block giving access to the rear of lots or buildings.

If you want to try your hand at the challenge, you can find the complete guidelines on the Trifecta site by clicking the tricycle picture.

65 thoughts on “An Understanding

  1. Lilian June 11, 2012 / 12:21 PM

    Poor Ellie! Hope things get better for her soon!

    • jannatwrites June 11, 2012 / 7:55 PM

      Things are bound to look up for her soon. Thanks for stopping by, Lillian!

    • jannatwrites June 11, 2012 / 7:59 PM

      Thanks for stopping by to read, Newwhitebear 🙂

  2. suzicate June 11, 2012 / 2:58 PM

    You are good, girl! You should take this series and turn it into a YA novel!

    • jannatwrites June 11, 2012 / 8:01 PM

      Thanks for your compliment, Suzicate. Funny, I’ve been thinking about turning this into a novel, but I was afraid it would be considered YA. I never thought of writing YA, but maybe I could give it a try…

  3. The Gal Herself June 11, 2012 / 3:30 PM

    “Dirty, like his soul.” How awful that he ruined romance for her like this!

    • jannatwrites June 11, 2012 / 8:02 PM

      He is a jerk, but she’s young – her future experiences may soften his mistakes. Thanks for reading, Gal 🙂

  4. gene3067 June 11, 2012 / 4:37 PM

    Wonderful writing! I understand the dance of the ugly before it gets better. You are making these characters so real and honest, it’s great.

    Come on Ellie. Grind him into powder!

    • jannatwrites June 11, 2012 / 8:04 PM

      Thanks for reading the story, Gene3067. I’m glad it feels realistic.

      I had to laugh at “grind him into powder” – I like that 🙂

  5. judithhb June 11, 2012 / 5:16 PM

    Thank you – I am catching up on my blog reading and so have read these in sequence. Great story telling. Poor Ellie and ghastly Derek. Can’t wait for the next episode.

    • jannatwrites June 11, 2012 / 8:06 PM

      Thanks, Judith. I’m glad you were able to catch up on the story. I wish I knew what happened next, but that will depend on next week’s prompt 🙂

  6. pattyabr June 11, 2012 / 6:03 PM

    Hi Janna,
    Your writing as always is spectacular, but I have trouble reading the subject so when you have posted on this continuing story I haven’t commented. sorry 😦 Still hard to read.

    • jannatwrites June 11, 2012 / 8:09 PM

      I understand, Patty. It’s not a cheery subject at all. The theme I want to emerge from this is that we aren’t helpless or alone, even when it feels like it. She will find a new life, but the journey in between is where this story lies.

      I’ll have ‘life’ post on Wednesday – hope you’ll be by for that one 🙂

      By the way, I haven’t been able to comment on your last 2 Seattle posts…did you intentionally remove commenting, or am I missing it on your new theme?

  7. habibadanyal June 12, 2012 / 4:28 AM

    Janna! I came back to see how you would have used this one,and boy! Are they in league with you? the trifecta people? LOL. It seems they are giving us words according to your story. Great work mate! 😀

    • jannatwrites June 12, 2012 / 10:56 PM

      Ha! I wish I had advance notice of the prompts! I have been lucky so far, but that doesn’t mean it will hold 🙂 Thanks for reading, Habibadanyal.

  8. brenda w June 12, 2012 / 5:48 AM

    Excellent write! I must read the rest…it’s off to work I go, but I’ll be back. I am intrigued.

    • jannatwrites June 12, 2012 / 10:57 PM

      Thanks for taking time to read this portion. The previous ones might fill in some things for you, though. I appreciate you stopping by, Brenda!

  9. Tori Nelson June 12, 2012 / 5:57 AM

    Awesome… although I sat nervous for Ellie the whole time! I guess that’s the proof that your writing is working!

    • jannatwrites June 12, 2012 / 10:58 PM

      I hope the nerves didn’t prompt any excessive chocolate eating, Tori! Thanks for the compliment, and for stopping by to read the story.

    • jannatwrites June 12, 2012 / 11:00 PM

      Thanks, Phil! I’m glad my writing made you sick…or something like that 🙂

  10. Gina June 12, 2012 / 8:07 AM

    “feels like a portal to Hell.” Felt like it to me, too, which means you did good! I am rooting for Ellie so I will be patient with her story.

    • jannatwrites June 12, 2012 / 8:29 PM

      Thanks for willing to be patient with Ellie’s torture…I mean, story 🙂 I appreciate you stopping by, Gina!

  11. Annabelle June 12, 2012 / 8:32 AM

    Oh, no. Poor Ellie, things keep getting worse for her. I wonder what happened to Jeremy…

    • jannatwrites June 12, 2012 / 8:30 PM

      It’s getting to the point, things have to start looking up for her. I can’t say anything about Jeremy. That might come out later. Thanks for reading, Annabelle!

  12. Debbie June 12, 2012 / 8:32 AM

    Excellent, Janna! You’ve admirably captured Ellie’s sense of disgust and Derek’s all-round creepiness. You’ve got us just where you want us — rooting for your heroine and hoping your villain gets what’s coming to him! Well written!

    • jannatwrites June 12, 2012 / 8:32 PM

      Thanks for following this story, Debbie. I think that eventually, all will be right. If I had more writing space, I’d give Derek a redeeming quality or two, but with 333 words, he will just have to stay evil 🙂

  13. cuhome June 12, 2012 / 3:00 PM

    Yikes! Once again, you’ve pulled me into the suspense of the story–keep writing, please, please don’t keep us hanging!! Love it!

    • jannatwrites June 12, 2012 / 8:33 PM

      Thanks, Janet. I’m glad you’re enjoying the story. Thanks for continuing to read it 🙂

  14. Diane Turner June 12, 2012 / 7:42 PM

    Simply wonderful this ongoing saga. Can’t wait to hear what happens to poor Ellie next, especially since the protag in my WIP is also named Ellie.

    • jannatwrites June 12, 2012 / 8:39 PM

      Thank you for continuing to follow this story, Diane. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. It’s funny that our protagonists have the same name 🙂

  15. Tessa June 12, 2012 / 8:15 PM

    I know I read this story earlier and even marked it “liked” it, but I don’t see a comment here. I really liked this story and I see there is actually a “saga” going on from what I read. I am going to have to read some more. Thank you, very interesting read!

    • jannatwrites June 12, 2012 / 8:48 PM

      Uh-oh. I wonder if your comment got stuck in the spam folder? If it did, I’m so sorry because I must have missed it and deleted it. 😳

      Thank you for reading it, and taking the time to leave 2 comments, Tessa. I’m glad you enjoyed the story!

      • Tessa June 12, 2012 / 8:59 PM

        You are welcome. I am finding comments from others in spam. I check the spam although just starting out I haven’t gotten any real spam yet so it is easy enough to check. I can imagine eventually the spam can become overwhelming. 🙂

        • jannatwrites June 12, 2012 / 9:28 PM

          I thought I was checking the spam well enough, but apparently, I need to slow down 🙂 Lesson learned!

  16. Sandra June 12, 2012 / 8:59 PM

    What I love about your writing is that every single ending to this story-in-installments is spectacular. They leave us with so much to chew on. No, she didn’t lie. And gosh, I hope Jeremy is okay…

    • jannatwrites June 12, 2012 / 9:39 PM

      Thanks for reading, Sandra. I’m glad you like the endings. Maybe more will come out on Jeremy later 🙂

  17. kgwaite June 13, 2012 / 1:33 AM

    Oh, no. Loved the last line. Love this story.

    • jannatwrites June 13, 2012 / 9:10 PM

      Thanks for continuing to follow the story. I’m glad you liked this part, Kelly.

  18. Tara R. June 13, 2012 / 12:47 PM

    How terrible for Ellie. You captured a true sense of helplessness Elie must feel. I hope she will get her revenge on his assault.

    • jannatwrites June 13, 2012 / 10:47 PM

      Thanks for stopping by to read the story, Tara.

  19. jenhasapen June 13, 2012 / 6:28 PM

    Ouch. You take no prisoners. I like it! I usually find myself rooting for the writing to get ugly. I wasn’t exactly sure where the story was heading, but I knew it was gonna be twisted. Great job!

    • jannatwrites June 13, 2012 / 10:54 PM

      Thanks, Jen – I’m glad you enjoyed this part of the story. “Twisted” kind of goes along with my brain 🙂

  20. Imelda June 14, 2012 / 8:01 AM

    oh…. Poor Ellie. When will she get a respite from everybody?
    Where’s Jeremy? Please please, don’t let anything bad happen to Ellie and Jeremy.

    My dramatics aside, this is a very nicely written segment, as always. This story has taken its hold on me. 🙂


    • jannatwrites June 14, 2012 / 7:43 PM

      I had a feeling you wouldn’t be pleased with the turn of events, Imelda 🙂 Thanks for continuing to read the story…maybe next week’s prompt will give Ellie a break 🙂

  21. Ruby Manchanda June 14, 2012 / 10:53 AM

    I could feel her fear. You always write in a wonderful tones.

    • jannatwrites June 14, 2012 / 7:44 PM

      Thanks for stopping by to read this segment, Ruby 🙂

  22. Carrie June 14, 2012 / 7:00 PM

    Yikes. A brutal situation. Nice scene, you built up the tension well.

    • jannatwrites June 14, 2012 / 7:48 PM

      Thanks, Carrie. I appreciate you taking time to read the story 🙂

  23. Christine June 14, 2012 / 8:31 PM

    I need to go back and read all the Ellie stories – I think I missed something in there! This is well written with just enough of a cliffhanger to make us hunger for more. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

    • jannatwrites June 14, 2012 / 8:42 PM

      Thanks for reading, Christine. I’m glad you are interested in reading more!

  24. Trifecta June 15, 2012 / 3:29 AM

    Thanks for linking up with Trifecta this week. This was hard to read–in a good way. Scenes like this are hard to capture without it feeling overly dramatic or gratuitous. I like the way you handled it. Hope to see you and Ellie back soon.

    • jannatwrites June 15, 2012 / 6:07 PM

      Thanks for the prompts each week. I’m glad this scene didn’t come off too ‘much’.

  25. jesterqueen (@jesterqueen) June 15, 2012 / 9:02 AM

    Whew. I knew worse was coming for her. I agree with the editors that it was hard to read in a good way. I actually do hope her salvation (word choice deliberate) comes from her own actions, not from something external like a rescue squad.

    • jannatwrites June 15, 2012 / 6:35 PM

      I don’t want to give anything way, but I can tell you that I like strong women…not the ones who need a man to rescue them 🙂 Thanks for reading, Jester Queen.

  26. Rachael June 15, 2012 / 2:32 PM

    Poor Ellie! I hope there are only a few more heart-breaking installments before she finally is safe!

    • jannatwrites June 15, 2012 / 6:41 PM

      She is going through a rough patch at the moment. I’ll see what the next prompt brings 🙂 Thanks for reading, Rachael!

  27. pattisj June 20, 2012 / 9:48 AM

    You can do so much with few words, Janna. Raw emotion, to be sure.

    • jannatwrites June 20, 2012 / 7:40 PM

      This one was the most emotional one so far. Thanks for reading, Patti 🙂

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