This week’s writing prompts for the Mutant 750 Challenge are the image below and the word strain.
verb – 1. force (a part of one’s body or oneself) to make a strenuous or unusually great effort.
2. pour (a mainly liquid substance) through a porous or perforated device or material in order to separate out any solid matter.
“This is the library?” Jennie stared out the passenger side window of their Porsche.
“Oh, it’s more than just a library,” Marcus explained patiently. “This is also the fresh market, greenhouse, and community center.”
“Community center?” Jennie sniffed. “How do you figure? The place is deserted!”
“It’s lunchtime,” Marcus countered. “Everybody is home, eating. They’ll be back.”
With that, Marcus hopped out of the car and jogged around the front and opened Jennie’s door. “C’mon, babes! I’ll show you around.”
Jennie hesitated. “I don’t know, Marcus…somethin’s creepin’ me out.”
“Creeping. You. Out?” Clearing his throat, Marcus strained to control his anger. “How so, babes?”
Jennie shrugged. “Just a weird vibe.” She rubbed the goosebumps covering her arms. “Really weird.”
“But this is my home town. I grew up here.”
“I know, but…”
Marcus knelt down and cupped Jennie’s face in gently his hands. Looking deep into her eyes and summoning every iota of sincerity in his being, he commenced to melt her heart: “Jennie, I love you. You know that. I would never let anything —”
“Okay, okay…” Jennie blushed and slid out of the car. “You win.”
Marcus grinned inwardly. Sweet!
The couple walked arm-in-arm toward the ‘community center’. Jennie tried to shake the weird vibe, but it wouldn’t let her go. Maybe it had something to do with Mercury being in retrograde, she reasoned.
“Babes, I gotta find a restroom. You’ll be okay for a minute?”
“Uh, sure.” She felt her stomach twist with anxiety, but decided to put her big girl panties on. “I’ll be fine.”
Jennie grabbed one of the books off the shelf and began to flip through it. She blinked, and blinked again.
The pages were blank, except for the name “Jennie” scrawled in purple crayon on every page, front and back. She slammed the book closed and quickly flipped it around to look at its spine. The title had been either rubbed or worn off.
She put it back on the shelf and picked up another. Like the first one, this book was missing its title. The only difference was the name “Jennie” was scrawled in green crayon on every page.
The same thing with the rest of the books: no title and blank pages aside from “Jennie” scrawled in various colors of crayon.
Jennie’s body shook with fear. Even her scream trembled. “Marcus!”
Where the hell was he?
Marcus strolled toward her, seemingly out of nowhere. “Something wrong, babe?” There was a gleam in his eye she’d never seen before. His smile she could only describe as violent.
“Wha— what’s going on? What’s all th— this ab-b-b bout?”
“About?” Marcus snorted. “It’s all about you, babe. It’s all about you.”