Lost and Found (Fiction)

06-30 Ocean Sunset

“When did you know you were lost?” he asked.

Rochelle gazed into the golden-hued waves, tinted by the sun which had just dipped below the horizon. “I simply woke up one day and didn’t know who I was anymore.”

The man who’d introduced himself as ‘Jason’ gave her a sideways glance.

Silence disrupted her trance. “Oh, you meant here, in Ensenada, didn’t you?” She let out a nervous giggle, hopeful the approaching evening disguised her blush. “Turns out I need to brush up on my Spanish. I went izquierda when I should have gone derecha, I guess.”

He laughed. “I’ve lived here for two years and I still get lost.”

“Where did you live before that?”

“Cornville, Arizona.”

“It’s not too far from Sedona, if I remember correctly.” She exhaled a wistful sigh that would’ve betrayed her angst, had he known her better. “I’m glad we met and you knew how to get to this beach. The sunset was beautiful.”

“Estero Beach can be touristy, but it’s a nice place.”

Her gaze drifted to the rhythmic surf. The scents of fish tacos and her new friend’s after shave hung in the periphery of her consciousness; the pull not strong enough to break the oceanic trance. Each wave tumbled onto the sand and slipped back out to the Pacific, only to stretch farther onto shore the next time. She felt as if she could rediscover her soul if she searched the foam soaking into the sand carefully enough.

“Have you found yourself?”

“Excuse me?”

“You said you didn’t know who you were. If you can’t find yourself in a Mexican sunset, I don’t know where else to look.”

Rochelle pulled her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. “I’m figuring out how to close the gap between the person I left behind and who I want to be.” She glanced at the man beside her, surprised his gaze rested on her rather than the surf. The attention made her a little uneasy. “So what brought you to Ensenada?”

“I wanted to lose myself.”

She furrowed her brow while contemplating the irony of their situations. “Why?”

He traced a finger in the sand, making an incoherent doodle. “I kind of messed up my life and needed a new start.”

“Ah, there’s the story. ”

“Not really.”

“Had to be love or money.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

“Every conflict known to man can be tied to those two things.”

“What about Hitler’s occupation of Nazi Germany? That wasn’t a conflict driven by love.”

“Actually, it was,” she said, pointing her index finger toward the darkening sky. “It was his love of the master race that drove him to commit atrocities against the rest of society.”

“Conflict didn’t bring me here.”

Rochelle rolled her eyes. “People don’t usually run to another country if life is perfect.”

“So what’s your story?

“My story?”

He laughed. “Repeating the question to stall for an answer is the oldest trick in the book.”

“I suppose you could say it was love gone wrong.”

“I enjoy a good jilted lover story.”

She shook her head. “If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you.” She smiled to take the edge off her words.

“So you came here alone?”

She nodded. “I needed to get away on my schedule.”

He inched toward her, closing the appropriate gap between them.

She edged away, plagued by another flicker of uncertainty. “I’d better get back to my hotel.”

“Which hotel?

“I appreciate your kindness, but I have to go.” Rochelle reached for her sandals.

Jason held her wrist. “It can be a dangerous place at night.”

His ominous tone prickled the hairs on the back of her neck. She broke his grip. “I can handle myself.” She scrambled to her feet and jogged toward the main road, urged on by the sound of his footfalls closing in behind her.

He hooked his elbow around her neck. “I robbed an armored truck and killed the driver,” he said in her ear. “America’s Most Wanted couldn’t even find me.”

She clawed his arm, panicked memories triggering her fight response. She shoved him off balance and fell on top of him, knocking the air from his lungs. She straddled his body, his arms pinned beneath her.

His eyes bulged when her fingers encircled his neck.

“I killed a man with my bare hands.” She leaned forward, her thumbs collapsing his airway. “I can hide another body.”

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

This is my response to the Speakeasy weekly prompt, which is to write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is just shy of the limit) and (1) use “When did you know you were lost?” he asked. as the first sentence AND (2) make some reference to the photo prompt given on the Speakeasy site (I didn’t post it here.)

The last couple weeks, I did love stories, but this week, I decided to bring twisted back.  Ah, feels like I’m home, haha 🙂

The challenge is open to anyone, so if you’re inspired, adventurous, or just curious, click the badge below to check it out!

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80 thoughts on “Lost and Found (Fiction)

  1. suzicate June 30, 2014 / 9:19 AM

    Whoa, you took off with this one…totally did not expect that ending!

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2014 / 11:04 PM

      Haha, glad it wasn’t obvious, Suzicate! I appreciate you taking time to read the story 🙂

  2. Sean June 30, 2014 / 10:09 AM

    This was a nice twist. I’m thinking under the tree to feed the roots. There was foreshadow of change to come with this story but the twist that put Rochelle on top was a nice spin. Thanks for creating this for us to read. Wow, after re-reading that last sentence, I butchered the english language but it’s all good. Take care

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2014 / 11:05 PM

      Thanks for reading, Sean! I love making up these twisted little stories… especially since I wrote so ‘nice’ the last week or two 🙂

  3. TimW June 30, 2014 / 10:17 AM

    I liked this.

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2014 / 11:06 PM

      Even though there were no zombies in it? Wow, thanks, Tim!

  4. Debbie June 30, 2014 / 11:08 AM

    They say, Water seeks its own level. Well, you’ve certainly created two strangers who seem destined to meet here, Janna. Love the surprise ending — both were trying to escape their pasts but slipped right into their old ways. Well done!

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2014 / 11:07 PM

      Exactly! It was almost as if fate brought them together (for some cruel entertainment, I guess 🙂 ) I’m glad you liked the twist in the ending. I’d hoped it wouldn’t be expected.

  5. Deborah June 30, 2014 / 5:40 PM

    No matter how many possibilities show up in one of your pieces, you always find one more twist that goes beyond that list. WOW! 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2014 / 11:08 PM

      Oh, thanks, Deborah! Your comment made me smile. I’m glad the twist wasn’t an obvious one 🙂

      • Deborah July 1, 2014 / 4:38 AM

        Not obvious at all. You still got me! haha

  6. Eric Alagan June 30, 2014 / 5:42 PM

    You pulled it off again – what a table turner. She must be a pretty amazon.

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2014 / 11:09 PM

      Thanks for reading, Eric! She may have been petite, but had the brains to play to her strengths 🙂

  7. nrhatch June 30, 2014 / 6:38 PM

    You lulled us with the lapping of the waves . . .

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2014 / 11:09 PM

      And then it turned to murder… ah, I have a way of destroying peace 🙂 Thanks for reading, Nancy!

  8. Sandra June 30, 2014 / 7:14 PM

    What a great twist at the end! I like the flirting between the two and how they tried to taunt each other with words. And then with their psyches!

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2014 / 11:11 PM

      They were a pretty even match, Sandra. They both wanted to find out about the other without revealing too much of themselves, which makes for a nice conversational dance 🙂

  9. pattisj June 30, 2014 / 9:23 PM

    I guess she CAN handle herself! LOL

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2014 / 11:11 PM

      Hehe, that she can! One of these days, she’s not going to be able to hide the body, though 🙂

  10. Kreative Kürze|Creative Brevity June 30, 2014 / 9:51 PM

    Wow! That’s all I can say. Really drew me and kept me hooked till the end. The tension, characters, really well done Janna. Really piqued my interest and kept me reading. Your stuff always leaves people wanting more.

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2014 / 11:15 PM

      Thanks, CB – your comment has me beaming 🙂 I’m glad the story held your interest. My sketchy internet connection had me late in posting this… the delay had me second-guessing whether it worked or not.

  11. thewizardsword July 1, 2014 / 5:15 AM

    Oh, hell yes! I love it! Your writing gave me chills again, Janna. It’s so good when the tables are turned. 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 4:34 PM

      Your comment made me smile, Susan. Glad you liked how it turned out:-D

  12. Tina The Mess July 1, 2014 / 12:45 PM

    A perfect piece of work!
    I’m amazed with the story, and the ending is just….unpredictably awesome! 😀
    Tina.

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 4:39 PM

      Thanks so much for reading and for your enthusiastic response, Tina!

  13. diannegray July 1, 2014 / 12:55 PM

    Woah! This is fantastic! She’s my superhero! 😀

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 4:40 PM

      Haha, I wouldn’t mess with her, Dianne 🙂

  14. tnkerr July 1, 2014 / 12:57 PM

    I think that the Mexican sunset distracted me. I didn’t see that coming either. Great job Janna. Truly inspired!

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 4:41 PM

      Thanks, Tnkerr! I’m glad the ending caught you by surprise.

  15. jetgirlcos July 1, 2014 / 5:26 PM

    I love the ending! I want to know more about her!

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 4:43 PM

      Thanks, jetgircos. I think she might enjoy killing a little too much:-)

  16. Silverleaf July 1, 2014 / 7:25 PM

    Ah, you do twisted so well, which isn’t to say you didn’t do love well, but this was great. I knew a surprise was coming, just didn’t know what it would be. Wouldn’t want to meet either of them in a dark alley!

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 4:45 PM

      Thanks, Silverleaf! I think I would avoid them as well 😛

  17. thepaperbutterfly July 1, 2014 / 8:40 PM

    After reading the ending I think my face was a combo of O.O and O.o The beginning was so serene, but as their conversation progressed it sounded increasingly antagonistic. Him gripping her wrist gave me a bad feeling. Huge red flag. I kind of expected him to be a criminal after reading that, but I didn’t expect the protagonist to be a murderer XD

    What was interesting was their antagonistic view points on life, she wanted to find herself and he wanted to lose himself. So if I was really paying attention maybe I wouldn’t have been so surprised by the ending. But in retrospect it was a cool parallel to their antagonistic exchange.

    My favorite line was this one, “Rochelle gazed into the golden-hued waves, tinted by the sun which had just dipped below the horizon.” I’m a sucker for landscape descriptions 😀

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 4:47 PM

      I appreciate you reading and sharing your in-depth comment, Paperbutterfly! I’m glad you picked up on the opposite, yet strikingly similar reasons for being there. I hoped someone would:-P

  18. Jennifer G. Knoblock July 2, 2014 / 1:53 AM

    I really admire how you build the tension…serene setting, but we know something lurks beneath the surface…

  19. Moniqua July 2, 2014 / 6:32 AM

    Omg! I was not expecting that at all. Such a twist. Brilliant.

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 4:49 PM

      Thanks so much Moniqua! I enjoy it when an ending does come as a surprise for readers!

  20. S. J. Paige July 2, 2014 / 7:38 AM

    “I can hide another body.”

    Perfect last words. I clapped and cheered out-loud.

  21. Suzanne July 2, 2014 / 8:55 AM

    Love when you do twisted, Janna, because you do it so well! Love the way you build tension, subtlety at first and then more obvious as the story progresses. Fantastic!

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 4:51 PM

      I appreciate your comment, Suzanne. Glad you liked it 😀

  22. Brian Benoit July 2, 2014 / 5:56 PM

    Definitely twisted that ending! I love that he wasn’t the only one hiding something, beneath all their coy niceties. A good read, if ever I’ve read one!

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 4:53 PM

      Thanks so much, Brian. They both had deadly secrets indeed…

  23. geemolina July 3, 2014 / 1:54 AM

    Amazing! This is really a great piece! 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 4:54 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading it, Geemolina!

  24. Blake July 3, 2014 / 6:51 AM

    Now this is precisely the ending I always long for in any story/movie that has people simpering romantically at each other on a sun-kissed beach! Thanks for providing it 😉

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 4:56 PM

      Can’t have everyone living happily ever after, now can we, Blake? 😛

  25. Bastet July 3, 2014 / 9:44 AM

    Amazing and what an ending … Another great story Janna .. complimenti!

  26. inNateJames July 3, 2014 / 11:44 AM

    You certainly amped it up at the end. Love the bait and switch of a Lifetime movie turning into a survival story. Great stuff!

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 4:58 PM

      Haha, great way to put it, inNateJames :-D. I appreciate you reading it!

  27. EagleAye July 3, 2014 / 3:10 PM

    WOW! I was not ready for that. You set it up beautifully with the artful prose and the gentle environment. It looked like two lost people ready to find themselves with each other, a burgeoning young love. And then the finish, and the reversal again, you really nailed it! It takes talent to give a changeup like this real impact, and you’ve certainly got talent. A most excellent story!

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 5:00 PM

      I appreciate your comment, EagleAye! I’m pleased that the turn of events was unexpected and well-accepted 🙂

  28. Meg July 3, 2014 / 4:46 PM

    Yowza, Janna! This is fantastically told. That last line was a killer, in more ways the one. The dialogue is well written and convincing and full of half-truths.

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 5:00 PM

      Hehe…killer 🙂 I’m glad you liked the twisted story, Meg!

  29. Splendid Empress July 3, 2014 / 7:01 PM

    Wow – that ending snuck up on me! Probably because you built such a beautiful world before we got to it.

  30. imab00kworm July 4, 2014 / 7:55 AM

    There’s that twist 😉
    I liked the beginning, I’m still getting my head around the ending o.o

  31. GennaClaire July 4, 2014 / 3:48 PM

    Janna, this was just flawless, start to finish. Such a great read.

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2014 / 5:04 PM

      :-PThanks, Genna… I truly enjoyed your story this week as well

  32. Imelda July 4, 2014 / 8:03 PM

    Good build up and suspense here, Janna. I almost jumped to the end of the story, but I managed to be a good girl and enjoyed the ride. 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2014 / 1:04 AM

      Thanks, Imelda! I’m glad you hung on until the end 🙂

  33. agjorgenson July 5, 2014 / 8:48 PM

    Yikes! Remind me not to read your fiction just before I go to bed. My goodness that was a spin.

    • jannatwrites July 8, 2014 / 12:26 AM

      Haha, glad you held on for the wild ride. I hope it didn’t give you nightmares, Allen 🙂

  34. Emilio Pasquale July 6, 2014 / 8:58 AM

    What a twist. No idea where this was going. You are Hitchcock reincarnate- except female, thinner, and definitely more attractive. And that is not me flirting, as old Alfred was a rather bland looking, overweight male. With little hair!

    • jannatwrites July 8, 2014 / 12:31 AM

      Um, I’m glad I won out over the overweight nearly-bald bland guy… I think! Thanks for taking time to read the story and to leave a comment that made me laugh 😀

  35. DragonSpark July 8, 2014 / 1:04 PM

    Two psychopaths is better than one. Now I understand the sequel better. Yea you had to continue this. Sequels are awesome, right? 😉

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2014 / 11:37 PM

      I love sequels too (except when the sequel is a disappointment and makes me wish the original was left to stand on its own 🙂 )

  36. Sarah Ann August 14, 2014 / 11:42 AM

    Oh yes. I love the way you twisted this ending – and it had been going so well before that. Wonderful story telling.

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2014 / 10:40 PM

      Yes, this one did end up quite twisted 🙂 I guess ‘normal’ has a limited shelf life for me!

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