Playing With Fire(Works)

I fasten the last button on my favorite dress.  I adore the scarlet velvet trim around the square neckline, sleeves and skirt hem.  The tie around my waist knotted into a bow makes me feel like a princess.  I’ve managed to not stain the cream-colored fabric- probably because I save the dress for special days.

Today begins a new year; a new phase in my life; new responsibilities.  I smooth the skirt and survey my appearance in the mirror.  Mama won’t let me wear makeup yet, but I could use some lipstick to add a year or two of confidence.  I settle for gloss instead.

I tiptoe down the stairs and halt at the front door.  Mama’s in the next room.  “I’m going for a walk.  Be back soon!”

I hear Mama’s voice, but click the door behind me, pretending that I don’t.

In ten minutes, I find myself on Derek’s porch, waiting after my third sharp knock on the door. Sasha, his third wife, answers.

“May I speak to Derek, please?”

She eyes me suspiciously before closing the door.  A minute later, Derek steps onto the porch, latching the door behind him.  He folds his arms across his chest.

“I’m sorry for how I’ve acted.  I want to start over since I know Mama’s secret.”

He raises an eyebrow.  “She told you?”

“Why wouldn’t she?”

Derek laughs.  It’s not a pleasant sound.  “You’re just like your mother.”

I don’t know the meaning behind his insult.  “Well, uh… I should go.”

I stifle my urge to run as I reach the dirt path that leads home.  My mind retreats into the conversation.  I don’t know Mama’s secret yet, but I will get Derek to trust me.

“What are you trying to do?”

The clipped words forced through clenched teeth pelt me like hail on a tin roof.  The angry fireworks flicker in his eyes and radiate through my skin where his fingers grasp my arm.

I’ve never feared him.  Until now.


This is part nine of Ellie’s story and it takes place on New Year’s Day (the last part left off right before Thanksgiving).  I appreciate 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!

Read Part One;           Read Part Two;           Read Part Three;           Read Part Four;          

Read Part Five;          Read Part Six,             Read Part Seven,           Read Part Eight.

This is also my entry into the Trifecta weekly writing challenge.  This week, the challenge is to write a 33 to 333 word response (mine comes in at 331 words) using the definition of the word given below:

Fireworks (noun, plural):  a: display of temper or intense conflict; b : a spectacular display <the fireworks of autumn leaves>

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.


48 thoughts on “Playing With Fire(Works)

  1. judithhb July 2, 2012 / 1:18 PM

    I’m loving following Ellie’s story. Eagerly awaiting the next episode.

    • jannatwrites July 2, 2012 / 8:25 PM

      Thanks, Judith! I’m glad you’re still following the story.

  2. Tessa July 2, 2012 / 1:31 PM

    Another fine piece of writing. Just love this story!

    • jannatwrites July 2, 2012 / 8:25 PM

      Thanks for reading, Tessa. It’s so hard for me to stop writing at 333 words 🙂

      • Tessa July 3, 2012 / 9:46 AM

        I know what you mean about the word limit. It really puts a limit on your creativity. We always want more! 🙂

        • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 7:25 PM

          On the flip side, it’s good practice for me to be brief 🙂

  3. suzicate July 2, 2012 / 3:39 PM

    I must say it’s WAY TOO LONG BETWEEN EPISODES!!!!!
    The suspense is killing me!

    • jannatwrites July 2, 2012 / 8:26 PM

      Thanks for the compliment, Suzicate. Your comment made me smile 🙂

  4. pattisj July 2, 2012 / 9:39 PM

    Oops, I must have missed some…probably buried in the 76 emails I’m behind on! Good writing, Janna!

    • jannatwrites July 2, 2012 / 10:08 PM

      Thanks for reading, Patti. You can always catch up when you have a spare minute (ha, ha) 🙂

  5. vivinfrance July 3, 2012 / 12:00 AM

    I wish I had time to read the rest – you have really intrigued me. I’ll be back later.

    • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 5:15 AM

      Thanks for reading. Vivinfrance. I hope you do have a chance to read the rest because it’ll make more sense 🙂

  6. mairzeebp July 3, 2012 / 4:18 AM

    LOVED it!

    • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 5:18 AM

      I’m glad you liked it, Mairzeebp 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  7. myothervoices July 3, 2012 / 4:31 AM

    Hi, this is the first one I’ve read – could you point me in the direction of where all the others are? I found this a bit creepy. I think I need a context.

    • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 5:21 AM

      Hi, Myothervoices. Thanks for reading this part of the story. I have links to the rest of the installments in the section just below the story. After reading your comment, I restructured that area so the links were easier to see. The subject of the story is a bit creepy, but at least it will make a little more sense with the background 🙂

      • myothervoices July 3, 2012 / 6:48 PM

        Thanks. Looking forward to reading the rest later.

        • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 7:29 PM

          Great! I hope you find it creepy enough, but not too creepy 🙂

  8. braintomahawk July 3, 2012 / 9:28 AM

    Well done as usual. Sometimes knowing is worse than not. You have really kept us all on edge with each installment, and in some way we like it 🙂
    Thank you again for continuing this!

    • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 7:24 PM

      I appreciate your comment, Braintomahawk. Thanks so much for continuing to follow this story!

  9. Annabelle July 3, 2012 / 9:30 AM

    Ellie’s a brave one. I’m looking forward to finding out more!

    • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 7:25 PM

      Thanks, Annabelle – glad you stopped by 🙂

  10. Debbie July 3, 2012 / 10:42 AM

    I’m liking this Derek less and less. Ellie best be careful — fireworks can be dangerous!

    • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 7:27 PM

      Yeah, Derek is a slimeball. I’d like to give him some redeeming qualities, but there’s not space to do so in 333 words 🙂 Thanks for reading, Debbie!

    • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 7:27 PM

      Thanks, so much, ODNT. I appreciate you stopping by!

  11. Trifecta (@trifectawriting) July 3, 2012 / 5:19 PM

    I love the imagery of the words like hail on a tin roof. Lovely. Thanks for playing with us again this week. Come back Friday for the new challenge.

    • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 7:28 PM

      I love the challenging prompts. I’ll certainly check things out Friday.

  12. brenda w July 3, 2012 / 5:56 PM

    Frightening…your imagining of character leads to that intense place at the end. Love it.

    • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 7:28 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Brenda. Thanks for reading!

  13. jesterqueen (@jesterqueen) July 4, 2012 / 7:06 AM

    I’m still not sure how you’re going to get her out of this without getting her killed. And now, I want her to get her mother out, too, and I REALLY can’t see how that is going to happen. This is a good thing. It means I’m waiting for the next installment, completely hooked.

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2012 / 7:29 AM

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the story, Jester Queen! I’ve got lots of ideas for the novel version of this story, but we’ll have to see how the prompts cooperate for this Trifecta story 🙂

  14. Ruby Manchanda July 4, 2012 / 10:16 AM

    I wonder if this little girl can help herself and her mother all alone. I am definitely waiting to know the secret and how she braves all odds.

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2012 / 6:35 PM

      Thanks for following the story, Ruby. Hope to reveal a bit more next week!

  15. karen July 4, 2012 / 10:26 AM

    I can see I have some catch-up reading to do … this is intriguing! I’ll have to find some time for the rest of it …

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2012 / 6:36 PM

      I imagine the story is far enough along, it might be a bit confusing if you haven’t read the previous parts. Thanks for reading, Karen.

  16. Gina July 4, 2012 / 7:25 PM

    I’m nervous for them and Ellie shouldering this AND the secret. Come on! What is it?

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2012 / 7:58 PM

      I hate keeping secrets, but I can’t reveal this one yet. Sorry, Gina 🙂

  17. habibadanyal July 5, 2012 / 1:09 AM

    Ellie is manipulative, isn’t she! Nice again Janna.

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2012 / 6:15 PM

      Thanks, Habibadanyal. She’s trying her hand at manipulation, but she’s still not as good as those around her. She needs practice, I guess 🙂

      • habibadanyal July 5, 2012 / 11:13 PM

        She will have improved by the next Trifecta challenge 😀

        • jannatwrites July 6, 2012 / 5:46 AM

          I sure hope so, Habibadanyal 🙂

  18. rosemary mint July 6, 2012 / 6:28 AM

    I LOVE the way you played with your title!

    “I settle for gloss instead.” … Always a wise choice.

    “Sasha, his third wife, answers.” … You rule. I love reading about polygamy. (I’m probably way offbase about your topic though. I haven’t read the other parts of the story. Sounds interesting!)

    • jannatwrites July 6, 2012 / 8:06 AM

      Thanks for reading, Rosemary. You are actually right on. The story started out on her 14th birthday, when Ellie found out she would become the fifth wife to a man she despises on her fifteenth birthday. She wants to get out of he marriage and the cult, but she’s sorting through family secrets and obligations to find her opening. Glad you enjoy the topic. I know that some find it a little too creepy 🙂

      • rosemary mint July 6, 2012 / 8:25 AM

        Oh good. I was hoping I wasn’t being creepy in reading it that way. 🙂

        I love most creepy topics.

        I have an odd fascination with polygamy. My husband is always (jokingly) asking if I want us to take a second wife. I say, well it’s tempting. I’d love someone to help with chores and children. 🙂

        • jannatwrites July 6, 2012 / 10:46 PM

          You’re funny, Rosemary! Your hubby is nicer than mine when it comes to the idea of a second wife. Mine says, “no way, I couldn’t handle another one of you.” 🙂

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