Ellie In The Middle

Mama doesn’t look at me as she returns to the stove.  She curses the gravy stuck to the bottom of the pan, but I know her anger belongs elsewhere.

“Mama, what’s going on?”  My voice comes out timid.  Like a young child.

Mama sighs.  “It’s not your concern, Ellie.  It’s complicated.”

Her response rouses my anger.  “If I’m being forced to marry a man I despise because of your secret, it is my business.”  I’ve never talked to Mama this way.  She flinches as if I slapped her face.

She turns away, but I see her shoulders shake.  I hear her quiet sobs and immediately feel awful for lashing out at her.  “I’m sorry, Mama.”

“What am I doing to you?”  Mama turns to me, her cheeks wet with guilt.

Guilt.  It seems to be the glue that bonds us together in this moment.

“What do you mean?”  I hope this prompts her to share the burden of her secret.

She opens her mouth, then clamps it shut and shakes her head.  “I can’t tell you, Ellie.  The less you know, the better off you are.”

“I want to help you.”  My voice cracks.  Helplessness devours me.  “If I marry him, will that even the score?”

“I can’t go through with it, Ellie.  You deserve more.”

“What happens if I don’t marry him?”

Mama’s answer of silence reveals more than her words.

I know what I have to do and my stomach lurches at the prospect.  I know I have to do something I never imagined doing.  I close my eyes and think a paradoxical prayer:  I ask forgiveness for the lies I’m bound to tell and strength to carry out my deception.

My family depends on it.


This is part eight of Ellie’s story and it continues right where part seven left off.  Thanks again to everyone who has been following this story- thank you!  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; Part Six, Part Seven.

The folks at Trifecta are offering a triple-challenge this week.  This is my entry for the second challenge:

Write a 33-333 word response using the third definition of the “score” as shown below:

score (noun):  (a) an account or reckoning originally kept by making marks on a tally; (b) amount due : indebtedness.

If you’re interested in trying your hand at the challenges, check out Trifecta’s site by clicking on the tricycle picture above.  Happy writing 🙂


37 thoughts on “Ellie In The Middle

  1. Imelda June 25, 2012 / 8:41 AM

    Yey! Go girl! And Mama is having a change of heart too. One battle done. I look forward to the next installment. 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 25, 2012 / 6:57 PM

      I’m glad you like this turn, Imelda. Ellie gets a little breathing room this week 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 25, 2012 / 6:58 PM

      Thanks so much for continuing to follow this story, Newwhitebear 🙂

  2. suzicate June 25, 2012 / 9:44 AM

    More intrigue with every installment!

    • jannatwrites June 25, 2012 / 6:58 PM

      Thanks for reading Suzicate. I hope the next part continues to hold your interest!

  3. Debbie June 25, 2012 / 10:10 AM

    Well written! I’m sooo glad Ellie has found solace in her mama — the poor girl needed an ally! Now it looks as if Mama needs one, too.

    • jannatwrites June 25, 2012 / 7:00 PM

      Thanks, Debbie! They each have their own issues, and maybe they can overcome them together. (Can’t say for sure :))

  4. braintomahawk June 25, 2012 / 1:52 PM

    You have brought Mama’s inner conflicts to the forefront, adding to the depth of this story. Wonderfully done, thanks for sharing, and keeping this going. When all is said and done, I will definitely be re-reading it.

    • jannatwrites June 25, 2012 / 7:05 PM

      I wanted to show that Mama wasn’t heartless, just desperate (and a tad selfish) – she’s flawed just like a ‘normal’ person. I’m glad you liked this layer, Braintomahawk. Thanks for your comments – they are encouraging to me as I try to expand this story into a novel. (Still on chapter one – ha!)

  5. Annabelle June 25, 2012 / 2:48 PM

    I love that Ellie seems like she’s stepping up to adulthood and taking responsibility for doing something about all this — I’m looking forward to seeing what it is.

    • jannatwrites June 25, 2012 / 7:06 PM

      I’m glad you liked this part, Annabelle! We’ll see if her plan is well-thought-out or impulsive 🙂

  6. philosophermouseofthehedge June 25, 2012 / 5:03 PM

    Yes, the plot definitely thickens…..(and we can’t wait! More!) (So you must be doing something right!

    • jannatwrites June 25, 2012 / 7:06 PM

      Your comment made me smile, Phil! I’m glad that it’s holding your interest.

  7. Marie June 25, 2012 / 6:40 PM

    I loved this! You had me hanging to your every word… Score!

    • jannatwrites June 25, 2012 / 7:07 PM

      Thanks, Marie! I appreciate you stopping by to read it.

  8. Hannah Gosselin June 26, 2012 / 8:43 AM

    You really do great to tell through the body language throughout!

  9. Sandra June 27, 2012 / 8:30 AM

    There’s so much going on now. I like the emotional struggle between mother and daughter here. I can relate even though I don’t know their secrets. It keeps getting better, Janna!

    • jannatwrites June 27, 2012 / 7:58 PM

      I’m glad you found something relatable in this part of the story, Sandra. I appreciate you following this story!

    • jannatwrites June 27, 2012 / 8:02 PM

      Yay! I’m glad you’re still interested in the plotline, TikkTok 🙂

  10. jesterqueen (@jesterqueen) June 27, 2012 / 2:37 PM

    My heart sinks at what she thinks she has to do and what her mother is liable to do to save her. I hope her mother is going to take her girls and run. But I don’t know if that’s how things will play out at all.

    • jannatwrites June 27, 2012 / 8:08 PM

      Well, Jester Queen, we’re in the same boat: I don’t know how things will play out, either 🙂 I probably shouldn’t admit that, but I’ll figure it out with the next prompt!

  11. Andrea June 27, 2012 / 3:05 PM

    Wow! Your tying all the 333 word prompts into one story? I liked this, but it seems I’ve got some catching up to do!

    • jannatwrites June 27, 2012 / 8:11 PM

      Andrea, it started out as a single response – a diary entry of a girl who just celebrated her 14th birthday and was told that she would be married in one year. Readers curious to know more planted a seed, and the story has developed (for eight weeks, now.) Thanks for jumping in and checking the story out!

  12. Carrie June 27, 2012 / 9:16 PM

    Oh, bad things for Ellie…if she goes through with it or if she doesn’t… Bad things indeed

    • jannatwrites June 27, 2012 / 9:32 PM

      She will have some tough choices, but I think she’ll come through it 🙂 Thanks for reading, Carrie!

  13. Renada Styles June 28, 2012 / 6:19 AM

    you always seem to punch the center of emotion. you know how to present it with a great writing hand. well done.

    • jannatwrites July 1, 2012 / 5:27 PM

      What a nice compliment, Renada. Thank you 🙂

  14. rosemary mint June 28, 2012 / 10:26 PM

    “I ask forgiveness for the lies I’m bound to tell and strength to carry out my deception.” … Wow. Great line. Excellent storytelling.

    • jannatwrites July 1, 2012 / 5:27 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Rosemary. Thanks for stopping by to read it 🙂

  15. judithhb July 7, 2012 / 11:12 PM

    Hi Janna. I don’t know how I missed this I am totally caught up with Ellie and her troubles. Would that her Mama was a caring, kindly soul who would scoop up her daughter and just leave. But I guess that is not in the plot and we shall have to see what happens next. Thank you for this series. 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 7, 2012 / 11:52 PM

      It’s kind of hard for mom to sneak away unnoticed with six children (Ellie is the oldest). They will get to a place of hope, I’m sure! Thanks for reading, Judith. I appreciate your comments.

  16. cuhome July 17, 2012 / 7:52 AM

    Loving Ellie’s stories, and especially the artful way you choose to tell them!

    • jannatwrites July 17, 2012 / 7:35 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Janet. I should have the conclusion to Ellie’s story posted within the next week.

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