Flash Fiction Friday - Cappuccino for the Coroner

This week's prompt: She dropped the children off at daycare, picked up a cappuccino at the coffee shop and headed for the morgue. (Prompt is from my new book Wake Up Your Muse.)

Lexie patted herself on the back for thinking of this errand-running business. 
She dropped the children off at daycare, picked up a cappuccino at the coffee shop and headed for the morgue. Strangely enough, it was one of her favorite stops. Old George was always ready with one of his sick autopsy jokes, which cracked her up.
The traffic was light, so she made good time. If the rest of the day was like this, she would be finished by noon.

“Here’s your double-shot cappuccino, George,” she said, pushing through the heavy glass doors of the Coroner’s office.

The venti cup of steaming liquid hit the floor when she saw George slumped over his desk. She scanned the room, her eyes flitting from the ugly red wound on George’s head, to the open file cabinet with it’s contents strewn across the floor and finally to the phone receiver in George’s hand.

She had to call the police, but that meant taking the phone from George’s grip.

Preserve the crime scene, she thought. Running to the lab, she grabbed a pair of latex gloves from a box on the table and pulled them on, then returned to George’s office.

He must have been dead for a while, because she had to pry his stiff fingers from around the receiver. Her hand shook as she dialed the number.

“911, what is your emergency?”

“Put the phone down, now!” demanded a deep and ragged voice behind her.

She lowered the phone slowly and turned around.

He was a big man with a ski mask on his head and a gun in his hand.

“You got a car?” he rasped.

“Yeah” was all she could manage.

Five minutes later they were speeding toward the airport.

This was NOT the next errand on my list, she thought.

(Copyright © 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Be Content – Filled with the Fullness of God

I just read the following excerpt from The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, by Jeff Gerke.  It really gave me something to think about.  Maybe it will speak to you, too as we get ready to move into the new year.

We are like Adam and Eve, complete in the Garden. As Christians we are like springs of living water welling up to eternal life. We have the powerful, loving, guiding Spirit of God. What more do we need? What more does God have to add for us to be content?

Perhaps it’s time to do some meditating of your own. Ask God to change your perspective from one of always looking at what you feel you lack, to gratefully remembering all He’s given. He hasn’t ripped you off.

2011 - The Year of Contentment????

Flash Fiction Friday - Spelling

Today's Prompt: He leaned forward in his chair, raised a crooked finger to my face and said, "_______________________."

My Story: Spelling

The antique bookstore smelled like leather and licorice.  It took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust to the dim light. Behind the desk sat a man who looked like he had been there before any of the books in the store had even been written.

“May I help you?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’m looking for a book of spells,” I said.

“You want a spelling book?” he asked.

I rolled my eyes, “No, I want a book of spells, you know, like witchcraft, black magic - spells.”

He leaned forward in his chair, raised a crooked finger to my face and said, “Young lady, you don’t want to mess with that stuff.”

“Please,” I said, trying to be patient with the old guy. “just tell me if you have any or not.”

“I have one,” he said, pulling an enormous book from under the counter, “But I warn you - be very careful. It was the incantation on page 173 that has kept me a prisoner in this store for over 200 years.”

I didn’t know whether I believed him or not, but I left the store without the book!


(Copyright © 2009 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Flash Fiction Friday - Letters

I missed writing with my Flash Fiction friends today, but decided to write a story from the prompt anyway.  I didn't do it in five minutes, so I guess technically it doesn't fall within the parameters of FFF, but I'm posting it anyway.
Today's Prompt: She stood in the rain at the bus stop holding a suitcase and a newborn.

My Story: Letters
She stood in the rain at the bus stop holding a suitcase and a newborn. The letter from Thomas tucked securely in her pocket for quick reading in case she began to doubt her good fortune.

It had been six months since the heart-wrenching telegram had come:

Dated: Washington DC, 8/17/44
To: Mrs Abigail Wagoner
The Secretary of War desires me to express his deep regret that your husband, Capt. Thomas Wagoner has been reported missing in action since 2nd January in France. If further details or other information are received, you will be promptly notified.

Signed: Adjunct General – not even a name, just Adjunct General.

How ironic that it had come on the very day she had sent Thomas a letter to let him know that he was going to be a father.

She had taken to her bed for weeks after receiving the news, crying out to God, first in disbelief, then in despair and finally in anger. Her parents had tried to comfort her, to encourage her with the scriptures, praying and reassuring her that God would walk through this trial with her, but she had never felt so alone in her life…until the night she had the vision.

A voice had broken through her troubled sleep.

“Get up!”

She opened her eyes to see Thomas lying on the ground, two soldiers leaning over him.

“Get up!” they said again and Thomas began to stir.

She saw one of the soldiers take a letter from his pocket and hand it to Thomas. She recognized it as the letter she had written days ago.

Thomas glanced at the envelope, then seemed to look directly into Abby’s eyes.

“Habakkuk 2:3” he said, and then the vision faded away.

She sat bolt upright in the bed, switched on the lamp and picked up the Bible her mother had left on the night stand.  A shiver ran through her when she read the verse…

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

She remembered the look of sympathy in her parents’ eyes when she had told them about the vision the next morning, but she didn’t let that deter her. Thomas was coming home and she must be ready.

Throughout her pregnancy she held tight to the hope that God had birthed in her that night and during the delivery of little Thomas Allen Wagoner, Jr. she had repeated the scripture over and over again.

Then, just two weeks after the baby was born, the letter came. Her husband had been found and was on his way back to the States.

In just eight hours, Abby would introduce Thomas to his new son and share with him the vision God had sent and the grace and peace He had given to sustain her through it all.

Tears of gratitude and joy mingled with rain drops on Abby’s face as she boarded the bus that night. She found a seat and hugged her baby close to her breast.

“You can always trust God, little one,” she said, snuggling her baby. Then she pulled the letter from her pocket and read Thomas’ words again.

“You won’t believe this Abby, but after I had been shot down, I had a vision. I saw a letter from you saying we were going to have a baby and I knew I had to live.  The soldiers found me the next day.”

(Copyright © 2009 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Not a Creature was Stirring?

The wooden stairs let out a creak. Four pajama-clad children froze in place. It was still dark out, but it was Christmas morning and we wondered if Santa had come yet.

Father had warned us that if children happened upon Santa as he was making his delivery, the jolly old man would pack every last gift back into his sack and take them right back up the chimney.

Never mind the fact that we didn’t have a fireplace with a chimney. We did have a wood burning stove with a chimney and we figured that if Santa was clever enough to get down it with the presents, he could get back up it with them, too.

Bobby gave me a little shove, “Hurry up.”
Photo courtesy dyet, rgbstock.com
Being the oldest child and the only girl, which I thought made me superior in every way, I turned to him and said, “Shhh, I think I hear Santa in the living room.”

We all held our breath. When no further noise was heard, I led the way once again down the stairs.

We reached the landing and peeked around the corner. The room was dark except for the Christmas tree at the far end of the room. Its large multi-colored lights glowed softly behind the angel hair Mother had so carefully swirled around each bulb. Cherished glass ornaments with glitter and intricately cut designs hung sparkling from each branch.

Our eyes were instantly fixed on the pile of gifts at the base of the tree. Santa had come!

I dropped to my hands and knees, all three little brothers following my lead, as we crawled toward the tree, being ever so careful not to wake our parents. Once we reached it, we lay down on tummies, spread out before the gifts like a peacock’s tail.  We dared not touch the gifts, but fantasized about what the colorful paper packages might hold.

Then in the stillness we heard it…

“HO-HO-HO,” roared a voice behind us!

We were goners – knowing that every gift was about to be repossessed by the big man, himself. Terror welled up in four little hearts until we heard our Father’s deep laughter coming from the sofa.

Our parents had been sitting there in the darkness the whole time and had witnessed our excruciating decent down the stairs and crawl across the floor.

The four of us tumbled onto their laps laughing and begging to open our presents.

“In just a minute,” said Father, “I need a glass of water.”

He went to the kitchen, drew a glass of water from the tap and took a long drink. Suddenly he pointed out the window above the sink and called, “Come quick, there goes Santa!”

Four pairs of feet ran across the wooden floor to see, but before we could reach the window, Father shook his head and said, “Aw, you just missed him. He dropped behind the trees was gone in a flash.”

We drew deep breaths. Our Father had actually seen Santa and we had just missed having our gifts repossessed. Had we come down the steps five minutes earlier, we surely would have interrupted his delivery and suffered the dire consequences!

Next year we promised ourselves, would sleep in.

(Copyright © 2009 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Sending off my Query Letter to Writer's Digest Books

After careful consideration, I believe the best fit for my new book, Wake Up Your Muse would be Writer's Digest Books, so I've just prepared my query letter and I'm about to send it off via email to Kelly Nickell, the Executive Editor.

Fingers crossed, prayers said, I'm hoping that it will be accepted for publication. Now, the waiting begins.

(Did I mention my heart is pounding?)

Oh, how I wish I had been there!

Ran across this video of a flash mob invading the food court of a mall. What a powerful event!

(Copyright © 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)