SPC: Ursula’s Alien Abduction

by Sara on February 2, 2014


Imagine you are in Switzerland. You take a walk in a beautiful flower-filled meadow below the craggy peaks of the Alps.

While walking through the meadow, you come across a herd of cows in a fenced pasture. Curious about the bells they wear, you climb the fence to take a close-up of the cowbell. One cow approaches and to your surprise speaks to you…in your language.

When you get your voice back, you say, “Cows can’t talk.” The cow begs to differ with you.

She tells you her name is Ursula and she was abducted by aliens. They gave her the ability to speak to humans. She said she told them she didn’t actually live with humans, but with cows.

The aliens told her they tried to get a human, but failed. They were teeny-tiny beings. Also, unbeknownst to them, they also smelled like dog poop.

Their message was very important for humans, but they couldn’t stay any longer. So, Ursula was their only hope. They said after she delivered the message, she’d go back to normal.

Immediately after this abduction, Ursula’s herd was taken up to a summer mountain pasture where they were left to graze. Few humans visited and those who did, didn’t get close enough, since Brutus, the bull, was also in the pasture.

Ursula tried to talk to the lead cows, Abigail and Heidi, about her dilemma. That’s when she discovered she could no longer speak cow either.

Ursula was in trouble. You’re the first human who’s come close enough to hear her.

Your Story Photo Challenge question:

What is the important message Ursula needs to deliver?

Story Photo Writing Challenge (choose one):

  1. Write out a dialogue between you and Ursula about the alien’s message to humans.
  2. Write a description of the aliens.


WoE Prompt: Mariella’s Drawing

by Sara on January 29, 2014

http://sarahealy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/WoE-Week-4_700.jpgImage Courtesy of Unsplash (click to enlarge picture)

Dan dropped his cigarette, crushing it under his shoe. He stared at the small gray house across the street. With a heavy sigh, he walked to the door and knocked.

Mariella’s caretaker was watching for him, as usual. The door swung open and Angela stood in the doorway, smelling of strong perfume and smoke. “It’s been awhile, Dan. Do you have time for a cup of coffee and a smoke before you go up?”

The urge for another cigarette washed over him, but as he looked at Angela’s filmy blouse, bright red lipstick and seductive smile, he knew she was a complication he didn’t need.

Instead, he shook his head. “No, I want to get this over with.” Even he heard the weariness in his voice.

He felt tired and achy; probably coming down with the flu, but he couldn’t miss the anniversary.

Disappointed, Angela shrugged. “It’s your choice. You know the way.”

He climbed the old staircase. He knew every rip in the tattered plaid runner and every creak of the steps.

The bedroom door was open. Mariella was in a railed hospital bed, propped up by pillows and focused on the drawing pad in her lap; her pencil moving quickly over the paper drawing the place where she was attacked.

Dan knew the place very well. He’d seen her running there many times. But more importantly, he was the one who saved her that day.

He was already giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when a nearby forest ranger rushed up the hill, after hearing Mariella’s screams for help.

Severely beaten in the head, she wasn’t expected to live, but did. She was partially paralyzed, blind and speech impaired. Dan visited her often. He was the one who realized she wanted to draw and gave her a pad and pencil.

Everyone was shocked when she drew the mountain path where she almost died with amazing accuracy. She captured the gray gravel path, the tall leafless trees and even the foggy autumn chill.

After that day, she kept drawing. Dan was sure she’d draw her attacker, but she never did. She drew the same picture of the path. It was the only thing she seemed to remember about the attack.

In the beginning, the police studied the drawings hoping for a clue, but eventually gave up. Dan didn’t forget. He visited every anniversary of the attack, wondering if she would remember this time.

Today, as he listened to her pencil scratching the paper, he was unable to resist. He stepped closer to the bed and peeked at her drawing.

Much later, a sobbing Angela told police she’d heard Mariella crying and rushed upstairs. She said she found Dan dead on the floor by the bed. It looked like a heart attack.

The drawing lay face-up near his body. She said she looked at it in disbelief. It wasn’t the same drawing as usual. This time, Mariella had drawn Dan standing at the curve of the gravel path, holding a bloody hammer.

*     *     *     *     *

This story is for a Write on Edge Writing Prompt: Week Four. I used the picture for my prompt.


SPC: Pictures Tell a Story

by Sara on January 27, 2014

Lately, I’ve been wondering if maybe retirement was in order for the Story Photo Challenge series. After all, they started in 2009 with a post called, A Picture for Your Thoughts

To help me decide what action to take regarding the series, I began reviewing some older posts. They reminded me why I started the series in the first place — to challenge readers to look at a picture in a different way and maybe even tell a story about what they see.

Today, I decided to take you for a brief walk down memory lane by picking out one of these older posts. The selected post is Story Photo: The Real Story, which used this picture.


I picked this post because, for some reason, I didn’t reply to the comments. As I reviewed them, I regretted this and decided the share a few which made me laugh out loud.  I hope you enjoy them and the clever authors who definitely looked at this photo in “a different way”:~) Links provided if given by the author of the comment.

jean sampson December 5, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Well, there was once a Black Widow spider living quietly in this mailbox, minding her own business, eating her mates and having her babies. This all happened when the house was empty for awhile and no mail arrived to disturb her and her little ones.

One day, after the house sold, the new owner, a muscular, Charles Atlas-type, was checking out all of the features of his new property. Across one massive shoulder, he carried a heavy sledge hammer, having just finished pounding in a few fence posts around the property, so that his horses would be safe.

Since he was standing at the entrance to the driveway where his mailbox sat securely mounted on a short brick column, he decided to take a peek inside. As he opened the door to the black metal mailbox, he saw at least a kazillion little Black Widow spider babies and the huge, majorly pissed off Momma! Well, that big man, being terrified of little spiders, reared back, lifted that sledge hammer off his strong shoulder and beat not only the Hell out of the mailbox, but also pulverized the brick column and took out several small trees in the process.

Now you might think that that was the end of the spider family, but Momma and her babies saw that sledge hammer coming and ran faster that he could slam that huge thing down onto that mailbox. Never did spiders run so fast. They ran and they ran until they reached the barn where, right near the barn’s old wooden door, were the new owner’s boot. They all hopped in, felt safe and secure in their dark and snugly new home!

Kelvin Kao December 6, 2012 at 7:06 am

Well, obviously the Big Bad Wolf failed at his first attempt, went on a workout regiment, came back with a vengeance to huff and puff harder than ever before, and finally blew down the brick house (the mailbox used to be on the curb ten feet in front of it).

chen mingi December 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Ahh, someone bought their sweetie a mailbox kit with “some assembly required.”

Can you see why these comments made me laugh? Sometimes it’s good to return to the past; it reminds you of how you got to the present.

I thank everyone who’s ever commented on a story photo challenge post. I imagine sometimes you’ve looked at a picture and wondered what on earth you’re looking at, but you’ve always given it a go. Thanks:~)


SPC: the woman in the tree

by Sara on January 22, 2014


Who is this woman with her face of blue?
Was she a princess, pauper or a shrew?
How did she end up in the branches of a tree?
Why are her eyes closed so she is unable to see?

Who placed the purple scarf with sliver stitch?
Was she a loved one, lost friend or a witch?
How did she end up without a body to hold?
Why is her face covered in a dusting of gold?

This, my friend, is your story to tell.
I trust you to write it very well.

Story Photo Challenge

Here are your choices for this photo challenge:

  1. Answer one or more of the questions posed above.
  2. Write a brief story/poem about this woman in the comment box (try to keep it to 150 words).
  3. If you have more to say, feel free to copy this picture and write about it at your blog. You can use any style of writing.  If you choose this challenge, drop me a comment with a link to your post.  There is no time limit on this choice…take the picture and write when you want.


WoE Writing Challenge: The Bucking Bull

by Sara on January 15, 2014

The screen door slapped Katie’s butt as she carried groceries into the kitchen. She sighed. Her daddy sat in the same chair she’d left him in two hours ago. Dark shadows haunted his eyes. He’d been like this since the funeral.

“Daddy, help me put things away.” Fear made her voice sharp, but he didn’t notice.

After finishing, she sat down beside him and picked up one of his calloused hands. She held it tightly, needing the contact, but he jerked it away.

Tears burned her eyes. She refused them. Instead, she pleaded, “Let’s have dinner at the fire pit tonight. We’ll have hot dogs and tell stories, like we used to.”

He pushed himself away and gruffly said. “Child, I’m going to sleep.”

As he climbed the creaky wooden stairs, Katie’s tears fell sloppily down her cheeks.

Later, her mama’s brother, Gene joined her at the fire pit. He was helping with the farm. They roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.

As stars popped out in the indigo sky, Uncle Gene told Katie funny stories about her mama when she was growing up. Their laughter echoed in the dark.

The porch light came on and the screen door banged open. Katie watched her daddy walk slowly to the fire pit. He sat by her. She smelled Ivory soap and felt a twinge of hope. He had bathed.

Gene stirred the fire and said, “Good to see you, John.”

“I heard the two of you talking about Louise. You forgot to tell her the bucking bull story.”

Raising his eyebrows, Gene chuckled, “That’s your story to tell, not mine.”

Katie encouraged him. “Yeah, tell me the story, Daddy.”

Her daddy began to talk. “It was my fault. We went to her boss’s Western party. Tom had one of those mechanical bull machines there. The guys bet on which of the ladies could stay on the longest.

“I guess I needed to impress Tom because I bet a hundred dollars on your mama, money we sorely needed for the farm. I figured if she rode horses, she’d stay on that bull machine.

“To be fair, your mama warned me. She called me a fool and said mechanical bulls were more like Tilt-A-Whirls, than horses. She reminded me why she didn’t like Tilt-A-Whirls.

“Well, Tom’s girlfriend, Caroline had the longest time of six seconds. Then, it was your mama’s turn. Without hesitating, she climbed on that bull. It started bucking and spinning. Your mama’s face turned green.” He looked at Katie and smiled.

Frustrated, Katie yelled, “What happened?”

“She got violently sick. Everyone was ducking and running, but she hung on and rode that bull for seven seconds. She wasn’t about to lose that money. Your mama was one stubborn lady.”

Katie watched as the memory made her daddy burst into thigh-slapping laughter. As she joined him, relief filled her heart.

Sometimes the past is the place you go for comfort.

*     *     *     *     *

WoENewButton-e1363040457539This story is for a Write on Edge Writing Prompt: Week Two. We had a choice between a picture and the following quote:

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there. ~ L. P. Hartley: The Go-Between (1953)

My story is loosely based on the quote. I want to thank everyone at Write on Edge. I haven’t been able to write fiction lately and I’ve missed it. I feel a bit rusty. This challenge called to me and even though I took some liberties with the prompt, it felt so good to put down some words and tell a story again:~)



Life’s Gift to Me

by Sara on January 8, 2014

JC and I got married during Thanksgiving with both of us recovering from some really mean flu bug. Being sick made planning a wedding challenging. Still, things had to be done and neither of us had much energy to get them done.

While feeling lousy waiting at a UPS store one day, I hosted my own pity party. It didn’t seem fair to feel so rotten at a time when I wanted to be happy and excited. To divert myself, I looked around the store.

That’s when I saw it. It was just a poster hanging on the wall. You know the kind. You’ve seen lots of them before. They always have some motivational quote. Usually I don’t read them, but I needed stay awake and forced myself to read the words in that poster.

When I got to the end, I didn’t feel so bad any more. As a matter of fact, I smiled. The words in the poster said exactly what I needed that day. They were better than a hug. Sometimes life just gives you an unexpected gift or kick in the butt, depending on how you want to look at it.

This poster became my holiday gift to myself. It’s going to hang next to my desk. When I’m feeling ornery and mentally cussing out my life, I want to read the words of the poster and be reminded just how precious life’s moments really are. Here’s the poster and I added the words in case you can’t read them in the poster:


“Life. Find a passion and pursue it. Fall in love. Dream big. Drink wine, eat great food and spend quality time with good friends. Laugh every day. Believe in magic. Tell stories. Reminisce about the good old days but look with optimism to the future. Travel often. Learn more. Be creative. Spend time with people you admire. Seize opportunities when they reveal themselves. Love with all your heart. Never give up. Do what you love. Be true to who you are. Make time to enjoy the simple things in life. Spend time with family. Forgive even when it’s hard. Smile often. Be grateful. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Follow your dreams. Try new things. Work hard. Don’t count the minutes count the laughs. Embrace change. Trust in yourself. Be thankful. Be nice to everyone. Be happy. Live for today. And above all, make every moment count.”

By the way, the poster was designed by Louise Carey. I recommend visiting her site.










Gratitude in Four Words

by Sara on December 20, 2013

Florida_SnowFlorida’s own special snow

Flowers blooming in winter

A warm cat’s purr

Deep orange sunset skies

Sudden bursts of laughter

Golden sunlight through trees

The wood smoke smell

Colored leaves drifting down

Honking geese in formation

The words: Thank You

The words: You’re welcome

Snuggling in the cold

Smelling fresh warm cookies

A wintery electric kiss

Walking on dried leaves

Bright blue wintery skies

Twinkling stars at night

A child’s holiday smile

Hot cocoa with marshmallows

Exhaling cold smoke puffs

Leafless branches touching sky

Meals shared with friends

My own personal chef

Hugs for returning children

Singing holiday carols off-key

Neighborhood spirit shining bright

Helping others in need

Letting go of regrets

Anticipation of new possibilities

Last, but not least…

Best friends getting married


It was a small affair, but perfect for us.

JC is wearing the rose and I’m holding his hand.

We’re surrounded by our children and friends:~)


SPC: Who lives here?

by Sara on December 10, 2013


Imagine you’re out for a walk and hear something. You stop and look around, but you don’t see anything or anyone.  You start to walk on. Then, you hear the sound again. This time you realize it’s coming from a culvert nearby.

You walk over to the culvert and cautiously get down on your knees to look inside. There is again — the noise you heard. You’re a curious person and decide to investigate further. It’s really dark in the culvert, which is kind of creepy.  Slowly, your eyes adjust and a shape emerges. It surprises you.

Story Photo Challenge:  What’s in the culvert?

Your challenge is to describe what you see. It’s your choice how many questions you want to answer. If you’re really busy, move on to the Quickie Questions and answer one.

  1. Is it something familiar or alien?
  2. What sound does it make?
  3. What’s it look like?
  4. Where did it come from?
  5. Do you make friends with it or leave it alone?

Quickie Questions

  1. If you have culverts in your area, have you ever looked inside them?
  2. A culvert is a structure that allows water to flow under a road, railroad, trail, or similar. What’s a structure called that carries water above land?  Here’s a hint.



Story Photo Challenge: Two for One

by Sara on December 4, 2013

what-can-you-see_480(click to enlarge)

Is it just me or does the holiday season seem to be coming too fast this year? Along with the joy and blessings of the holidays comes the stress and anxiety of getting ready for them:~)

This is the reason I’m combining a short breathing meditation, along with a story photo picture. You get two for one:~)

The Breathing Mediation

Get comfortable in your chair. Uncross you legs if they’re crossed.

Take a deep breath.

And another.

Come on, really breath in and then let the air out slowly.

If you do this three times, I bet you’ll feel your shoulders drop.

Did you feel it?

Okay, let your head drop down and slowly roll your head around.

Stretch those neck muscles.

Take one last deep breath. Hold it for a second.

Let it out releasing all your worries and hassles.

Story Photo Challenge

Now that you’re relaxed, scroll back to the picture.

Feel free to click on to enlarge it.

Just let your eyes rest on the picture.

Are you starting to see “things?”

I hope so because this is your challenge.

What do you see in this picture?

If nothing jumps out at you, don’t despair…just move on to the Quickie Question.

Quickie Question

When you’re feeling stressed during the holidays, what helps you calm down?




Visiting the Sick

by Sara on November 18, 2013


Guess what? I’m better! Thank you to everyone who visited and sent positive good well wishes.

They seem to have worked. I am no longer attempting to cough up a lung or buy stock in Kleenex.

While I was sick, I did try to write. I ended up staring blurry eyed at my blinking cursor.

One day I looked up and saw I had this visitor. He stopped by my office window and peeked in at me.

Now, I couldn’t resist and managed to snap a quick picture of him. I thought he’d make a great story photo challenge.

Story Photo Challenge – (Pick one or answer both)

  1. So, what’s Mr. Cardinal trying to tell me?
  2. What’s the name of this cutie guy?

Write the Talk

Feel up to a bigger challenge? Write a brief dialogue between the cardinal and me.

Quickie Challenge

I’m sure I’ve done this one before, but I’m old enough to repeat myself:~)

What’s your favorite bird and why?