Tuesday, June 20, 2023

WEP Close Encounters

This post is part of the June WEP: Close Encounters of the Third Kind. To find out more, go HERE. 

Word Count: 975 NCCO

Side Note: Not sure it is important, but this story is set in the same world as my series that starts with Liftoff

 At five minutes to close, Nora startled as the shop bell jangled. She stared at what appeared to be an empty door frame with the door held halfway open by either someone invisible or someone shorter than the life-size superhero display between her and the door.

Thanks to recent events, the idea of invisibility was no longer off the table. Not since the alien war had torched a mini mall up north in Washington state. 

Nora reached for the emergency button and the taser under the countertop as the door swung shut, clacking against the jangling bell again. She leaned slightly to the right of the display and let out a sigh of relief at her friend Kit, who drove her new, high-tech, electric wheelchair down the center aisle. 

She paused when she saw Nora. “Hey Nora, is it okay to give you company?”

“Heck yeah,” she waved her friend closer. 

“You look like you weren’t sure there for a moment.”

Nora shrugged. “Well, it’s kind of embarrassing but I didn’t see you with that huge display in the center aisle blocking my view of the door and I thought, well, I thought you were an invisible alien.”

Kit snorted, and then let out a bray of laughter. Nora couldn’t help but join in, laughing with her friend. Kit’s laugh was like that.

Kit drove her electric chair to the side of the counter. “So, is your boss still being crazy?"

Nora shook her head. “Yeah. He wants me to stay past close to watch for whoever’s been causing our cameras to fritz.”

“What the… you know, is he thinking?”

“You can swear around me, you know.”

“You took an oath. I respect that.”

“It was stupid.”

“Yeah, I miss you telling off the meatheads at school with all the color of a woman who knows her mind, too.”

“I know my mind.”

Kit raised her eyebrows at her. “And that’s why you’re supposed to watch for potential burglars by yourself after close?”

“They’ve never burgled. They just light up the security cameras with some kind of flash.”


Nora shrugged. “I get paid twice my normal hourly for it.”

“Well, I’m not letting you stay here alone.”

Nora wasn’t sure either of them were prepared to deter an actual burglar, but having Kit here made her feel more comfortable. 

Nora locked the front door while Kit texted her mom. Nora had already prepared for closing, so she set the alarm system and they made themselves cozy with snacks in the security room behind the main counter. They had video views of all the outside walls set on one large screen. On the other large screen, they started the movie and wore the boss’s favorite headsets. Nora kept her volume low, just in case.

They were in the second half of the movie, when something on the other screen caught Nora’s attention. “What is that?”

Kit leaned in, paused the movie, and together, they watched as a figure dressed in loose sweats and a hoodie slinked along the back wall of the video store. 

Nora remembered locking the back door. Even so, she tensed, one hand on the emergency button in the back room and turned to stare at the door, thinking she heard something pushing against it.

Kit poked her in the arm and whispered. “Nora.”

In the screen, the hooded figure had turned its face to the camera, and its face glowed so bright it was hard to make out distinct features. The glow grew brighter until Nora closed her eyes to a partial squint. 

A massive flash forced her to close her eyes completely. Next to her, Kit gasped. Behind them, the door banged open. Whatever it was had effectively taken their sight, and it was inside. The footsteps coming their way were faint, but steady. 

Nora meant to push the security button, but Kit’s hand clamped down on her wrist. 


“I’ve got this.” Kit let go of Nora’s wrist and she could hear her friend’s chair whirring, then a whooshing sound.

Something thudded on the floor. 

Nora’s vision was slowly coming back, and she could see Kit staring down at the hooded figure, her hand on a dart-gun. Her eyes were glowing. 

Nora backed into the wall. “What the actual hell, Kit?”

“I’m not an alien, but I am one of their children.”

“No. That’s just, no. I’ve known you forever. Since baby days.”

“Yeah. We’ve been here a long time. The war found us.”

Goosebumps ran down Nora’s arms and she shoved her hands in her pockets. “Now what?”

Kit twirled her chair so she could stare down at the intruder. “We tie him up and call the police, and my mom.”

“Your mom?”

“I’m in so much trouble. And your boss will need to know about this, too. We need to get our stories straight.”

Nora bit her lip, listening to her friend plot ways to keep them from trouble. She wasn’t sure how to handle this reality. Kit made all the phone calls while Nora slid to a seat on the floor, clammy and cold. 

The bell jangled again and again, letting more and more people into the shop. Her boss, Kit’s mom, and Nora’s dad. The noise fell into a rhythm. It made her think, briefly, of that movie where the aliens communicated in music, and this made her start to laugh. It was a hysterical laugh, but that was all she had left. 

Kit patted Nora’s shoulder and Nora stared up at her friend, perched in her chair, her eyes no longer glowing. 

“Still friends?”

Nora nodded. “Yeah. But I pick the movie next time.”

“Whatcha thinking?”

Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Kit snorted, and then they both started laughing. It was going to be okay, even if Nora’s best friend was half-alien. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Before I begin my regular post, I have to say that I have been deeply touched and highly encouraged by everyone in this group, by all who stop and give comments and by the posts you all share. 

When I received news that Ken Rahmoeller (Chemist Ken, My Hogwarts Sabbatical) passed away, I cried. I had never met him in person. I never spoke to him other than through the comment sections on our blogs so I don't even know what his voice sounded like, but yet, I will miss him. He touched my life with his words, his fun, funny, and genuine posts over the course of a decade. He always encouraged me. I am praying for his family to be surrounded by a comforting support network, and loving family and friends. If you want to know more, you can read his obit here

Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting the Insecure Writer's Support Group over a decade ago and all the volunteers who keep it running.

And thank you for everyone helping this month:  Patrcia Josephine, Diedre Knight, Olga Godim, J. Lenni Dorner, and Cathrina Constantine!

Please note, I have posted about this at two other places, but this blog is my official, connected link to IWSG. Those other posts are, in a way, an invite for more people to check out our awesome group. 

June 7 optional question - If you ever did stop writing, what would you replace it with?

Answer: That's not happening. I have only "stopped" writing for short amounts of time.

If I had to give it up because of some major health concerns, I would attempt to overcome those health concerns with new ways of writing and sharing stories. 

I come from a storytelling family. Most of my family members don't write, but they do spin yarns, based mostly on facts and life events. My grandparents were all uneducated - farmers, loggers, sawmill workers, and a Calvary Sergeant turned farrier, who also worked in a sawmill and had a large vegetable garden. None of my grandparents graduated from high school. Their spelling could be creative. Some were from Canada and didn't realize American and Canadian spelling and grammar are not the same. 

Despite their lack of formal education, my grandparents all loved swapping stories and reading. They were some of the best storytellers I've ever heard, with the way they could evoke emotion and setting with the tone of their spoken words. Their home libraries were either well-kept or scattered, but even those with organized shelves had books in nearly every room. They all also loved music. They couldn't read music, but they continued to play music, picking out the notes on their instruments. 

If I couldn't write stories, I would tell them or sing them, or do both. I can't imagine living a life without stories and music. They are not only necessary for joy, but they are necessary for living and making sense of life. 

What would you do if you stopped writing? Would you?


I'm writing Kindle Vellas, working on how The Rayatana and Anomalies fit together, journaling, and writing poetry. 

If you are interested in reading any of my work, check out the tabs above or go to one of the links below:

Liftoff, The Rayatana Book 1 is currently only 99 cents for eBook.

Champion in the Darkness is available for Kindle Unlimited for the summer.

A Pocket-Sized Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts has a new cover and is currently only 99 cents. 

Dark Blade: Forged is a complete Kindle Vella series and is my second highest earning book of all time. Eventually, it will find its way to paperback and eBook, but for now you can find it all on Vella. 

So many other authors have awesome books coming out. If I get the links, I could post about some of them. Let me know if you have a new book coming out soon.