Thursday, January 25, 2018

Contribute to MANA's 2018 Blog Continuous Short Story and Help "Humble Design-Fueled by U-Haul"

After enjoying much success over the past five years, MarketingNewAuthors.com (MANA) will continue its annual fundraiser that helps non-profit organizations provide services to those in need. MANA does not ask for monetary contributions, but asks instead for written contributions to MANA’s Blog Continuous Short Story. 

MANA and its parent company, Robbie Dean Press, have supported various charitable projects over the years through posts on "MANA's Blog Continuous Short Story.” Click HERE to read the 2017 Blog Continuous Short Story.

The designated charity for 2018 is "Humble Design-Fueled by U-Haul." U-Haul International and Humble Design have teamed up to create a non-profit organization that helps families transition out of homeless shelters and into homes, according to the non-profit's website. 

Humble Design-Fueled by U-Haul accepts donated household goods to provide furnishings and design services that turns an empty house into a clean, dignified and welcoming home. The non-profit has been featured on NBC Nightly News. Based in Pontiac, Michigan, Humble Design-Fueled by U-Haul has locations in Chicago and Detroit, and plans to open locations in San Diego and Seattle.

According to Humble Design-Fueled by U-Haul, about up to half of all families become homeless again within one year of leaving shelters, but that number sharply declines to 1 percent for families who receive Humble Design—Fueled by U-Haul's services, the organization says on its website. To learn more about Humble Design-Fueled by U-Haul, visit the organization's website at: http://www.humbledesign.org. Click HERE to read an article about the organization.

Now, here is how "MANA's Blog Continuous Short Story" works: 

1. The photo in the upper-left hand side of this blog post serves as a prompt. The first person to post can write five sentences or more based on the photo prompt. 

2. The next writer should add to the story of the first post. After that, every writer should add to the story of the previous writer.

3. For every 10 posts of five sentences or more, MANA will donate $10 (up to $500) to Humble Design-Fueled by U-Haul.

This activity is twofold: It provides money to an organization that helps homeless families transition from a shelter into a furnished home,and will allow an opportunity for you to be a part of a creative experience. 

To post your comments, look for the word, "COMMENTS" below this post and click on it. You will be able to add your comments to the page as many times as you would like. Also, encourage others to post so that you can release your creativity and help families get furniture for their homes in 2018!


41 comments:

  1. What? Isn’t this the place where it all began? I remember as if it happened yesterday. It started out as a fine day. Brie and I were out on the deck drinking our morning coffee and watching the sailboats on the lake. The view of the city’s skyline was breathtaking. We were enjoying ourselves until the phone rang.

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    1. Brie went over and picked up the phone. "Hello?" I heard the person on the other end of the line asking if they could speak to Brie Summers. "Yes, this is she," she responded. Within a few moments I saw that her expression had changed from slight confusion to horror. Absolute horror.

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    2. The time stood still. My heart skipped a beat. This can’t be good. I knew that moment that our lives will be forever changed.

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    3. The taste of the coffee I had just sipped was gone, all I could taste was fear. My throat began to tighten into a ball and my stomach fell like I was on a roller coaster. Little did I know, my life was soon to become an endless roller coaster.

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  2. "He passed last night. You need to come home. His kids beat mom back to the house demanding their fair share of the estate. Sis, they are like starving dogs to a bone. Mom can't handle it by herself;She's a wreck. I'm in Asia. I can't leave till next Friday. Mom needs some back up ASAP," my brother said in a rush.
    "Don't hang up, Junior. What the hell happened? I saw them two days ago. Dad was fine," I begged him not to do what he has always done, run from our parents, our family, emotions...I needed him.

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    1. My dad was my whole world. He taught me everything including how a girl should be loved properly. Mom was his true love and he always treated her like royalty and made sure her life was the best it could be. He would have wanted mom to have the estate to ensure she would have a roof over her head for the rest of time. She deserves that and I cannot promise her that without Junior’s help.

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  3. As much as I knew Daddy's heart was failing...that we were in the last year, the news shocked me. Tears ran down my cheeks, "Junior, Daddy is gone?" I could hear his voice crack when he replied, "Yes, his heart just couldn't go on." Brie stood and wrapped her arms around me from behind. "Junior, I'll get on the next plane but I need you to come home too. I can't do this by myself. Mom will need you. "I will be at the funeral. I can't do the family problems...." he responded, a hint of his ever present anger in his voice. "Dammit Junior, will you never forgive her?" I angrily hung up on him, turned to Brie and sobbed in her arms.

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  4. Like many, our family is a large and complicated. This was my mom's second marriage, but the man we called daddy was the only father we have known. I am one of 5. Our childhood was filled with many highs and lows but we have all seemed to have a sokid foundation with daddy and mom. This man was our rock.

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    1. Without him, I knew our family would crumble to pieces. After hearing about Mom's engagement, I was able to see a slight change in his mood. Whenever I spoke to him I only received a sliver of his attention and interest. He smiled a little less. He stopped singing while he did the dishes. He seemed less interested in...well, everything.

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    2. I was worried about my daddy. He had always been the happiest person and he made everyone around him happy. But now that I see his happiness fading I am beginning to fear for our family’s relationship, especially us siblings. Daddy would always be the link to solving all of our problems and helping us get along. How were we supposed to love each other and be happy for one another without the positive input from our daddy?

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  5. I cried for the next two hours, at least. Brie sat next to me, trying to comfort me and listen to my incoherent sobs. We had just come back from visiting my parents, for my mother's birthday. Mom and Dad were happy, as they always have been together. I've never questioned their love for each other or for us. I have to stay strong for all of the family if we are going to combat the storm of greed heading our way.

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  6. It is so unfortunate that greed will stick up its ugly head during the most trouble situations. So, here we are dealing with this "mess." And I see Mom concerned. I see Dad concerned. And I see Brie showing her concern by bawling. Yes, I am concerned. What can we do?

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  7. I I took a deep breath and let out a deep sigh. I knew this was only the beginning of the torrential downpour that would pour out of me over the next week. I took off towards the computer in search of flights for Brie and I. I also booked us for the hotel and a rental car too. I wasn't about to put even more stress on Mom to come tote us around everywhere. That wouldn't be fair to her at all.

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  8. Sitting in the airport waiting for them to announce our flight, I was so grateful it was Brie by my side. She grew up down the block from Junior and I. Mama always set a plate for her if she was there at dinner time. Daddy would always count heads and say aloud, "baby, somebody snuck us another blessing when we weren't looking!" which always made everyone laugh. We were a large family of full children and stepchildren but we were all black ans somehow related. Brie was the only white child at the table and no relation. Things were never good at Brie's house but she was my best friend and my parents welcomed her fully knowing to send her home was to send her to some unknown chaos. More than once she'd come to our house crying and bruised.

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    1. I was startled away from my thoughts when Brie told me that the flight was boarding. As we boarded the plane, we quickly realized how lucky we were to get on this flight. As we passed by almost every row of the plane, we finally found our seats, 46A and 46B. Brie always preferred the window seat, so I let her put her luggage into the overhead and file into her seat first. Then I lifted my luggage and quickly rearranged the loose bags to squeeze my luggage in next to Brie's. After situating the bags, I slid off my coat and slumped into my seat and returned to my thoughts about Brie and dad.

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    2. As the plane prepared for takeoff, Brie elbowed me out of my thoughts to point out some passengers who were boarding. No way, I thought to myself. This couldn't be happening. Joe Piscari was riding the same plane as us!? Brie and I exchanged looks. Joe was both our favorite singer, currently on tour with his band and his new hit album "How the Seagulls Fly." Brie squealed with delight. "I can't believe he is riding with us!" She whispered excitedly. But all I could think about was why Joe was alone, without his band.

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    3. My eyes were stuck on Joe. Eventually his eyes met mine, the smallest smirk made an appearance on his face. The flight attendant began announcing safety rules, and are never ending staring contest came to a halt. I couldn't hear anything over the noise of my thoughts. Why was this bugging me so much?

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  9. She knew my daddy well and loved him. She knew all of us. The good and the not so great. I didn't have to explain to her why Junior held such a grudge against our mother. She already knew: Mom had failed to tell Junior she was pregnant with him when she married daddy. The webs we weave. Mama thought they could just smooth this over by never mentioning it although daddy knew it was a bad idea to begin with. Little did she know Ancestry.com would come along in the future threatening to reveal her biggest secret. All hell had broken loose when the truth came out. All of us were grown and spread throughout the world living our lives when the gossip started to spread in the family. It didn't help Daddy's heart any when Junior came unglued. Personally, I still don't get it. Daddy raised him as his own;those two were tight as two chestnuts in the shell. But, Junior felt deceived and he hadn't given mama a moment's rest since.

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    1. My eyes shot open the moment I heard the front door slam shut. I didn't need to see who it was; I knew who it was. I came downstairs to Mama cooking breakfast. Junior had quickly went to his room for a change of clothes. Not wasting another moment, he grabbed his backpack and headed towards the back door. "Where were you last night?" Mama questioned.

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    2. I came around the corner just in time to see Junior roll his eyes as he stopped to answer, "What difference does it make?" He said.
      "I want to know why you came home so late," Mama inquired. He looked at his watch and shuffled his feet.
      Then he glanced over to me and said, "I was at Bobby's house playing cards. I had to take my mind off it all, you know?"
      Mama seemed content with that response, and then asked, "Where are you headed to now?"
      Bobby was clearly in a hurry, because he looked at his watch again. "I told Bobby that I would come back over today."
      "To do what?" Mama asked.

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    3. Junior scoffed and ran out of the door. "Come back here this instant!" Mama yelled out the door, raising her spatula threateningly. I couldn't see Juniors reaction but Mama's contempt was all I really had to see to guess what had happened. "Did he do it again?" I asked. Mama nodded and went back to her cooking. "I guess I don't have to make as many pancakes now," Mama muttered.

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  10. "One upon a time there was a--" I was cut of before I could finish my sentence. "Little girl named Little Red Riding Hood. We know this story, everyone does!" She said exasperated. "Okay..." I felt a little dispirited as she guessed what bed time story I planned on sharing. I scratched my brain for another children's story to tell. "Ah! Once upon a time there was a girl named Gol--" She let out another sigh, "Goldilocks. Really Sis? Can you tell something else?" "Yeah! Tell us something we've never heard before, something new." Her friend piped up. "Have you guys heard the story about a princess that has the power to manipulate snow?" The three girls glared my way. "Okay, something new huh?" They all nodded enthusiastically. "Alright," I took a deep breath, the three of them leaned towards me in interest. "No interruptions," I said. "No interruptions," they repeated. "Many years ago, before there were kings and queens, before there were princes and princesses, before there were royalty of any kind..."

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    1. There lived a goblin from a small town called Snowtopolis. He was a kind goblin, not your typical rotten sneaky goblin, who did not have many friends. His name was Jerry. Jerry's parents were killed during a horrible storm. He lived in a tree on the out skirts of the town. Jerry soon became lonely. He always heard of tales that humans killed any creatures in site, but Jerry didn't believe these farfetched stories. He wanted to seek out new friends and explore new things despite these rumors. One day, he developed the courage to head into town. Jerry first came to a brick building that had a sign reading Snowtopolis Elementary. He wasn't sure what this building was but decided to go in and look around. He walked down this long hallway and there was not a person insight. Then he heard a door slam and he turned around to see ............

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    2. A huge towering beast. The dark hallway did well to conceal the details of this beast's figure. "Come into the light," Jerry squeaked, terrified of the tall mysterious creature. It shuffled forward enough for the light from a nearby window to bring out the details of the matted brown fur and the suspicious black eyes of the huge bear. "What are you doing here?" the bear growled menacingly.

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    3. "I am on a hunt for friends," Jerry replied.
      "Well, you are not going to find any around here." the bear snarled.
      "Do you know where I could find some?" the goblin dared to ask.
      "Go to the Snowtopolis City Park on the corner of 1st and Main. There are usually friendly people there." the bear suggested.
      Surprised by his thoughtful answer, Jerry quickly thanked the bear and headed to the park. However, he could not get the bear out of his mind. Why was he so grumpy, then so thoughtful? Perhaps he wanted a friend after all?

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    4. Jerry approached the location that the bear had sent him to. As he got closer, he began to realize that this place was not much of a "park" at all. He examined his surroundings, all he could see were colors of grey and desolate matter. He explored the whole area, and did not find a soul in sight. Jerry began to think maybe the bear had misspoke, but then he came to the conclusion that the bear gave him the wrong directions on purpose.

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  11. One. One decade, five years, seven months, sixteen days, eighteen hours, eleven minutes, and thirteen seconds. Time is turning into something I can no longer understand; each moment blending in with the next. This reality is starting to feel surreal; life is in a continuous loop. Looking back on the memories, the moments in my lifetime, they feel like a distant dream that continue to drift away with each passing day. Was it all real? Am I really alive? Am I really here?

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    1. These were all questions that replay in my head. I can't believe it was yesterday me and John were on a plane headed to California. We had worked so hard over the past 15 years to be able to move to sunny Cali. I remember sitting on the plane thinking, I can't wait to see the ocean and move into our condo. I decided since it was a long flight I would watch a movie. I browsed through the variety of movies and picked "The Breakfast Club" a classic. Just then...........

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    2. Just then a rumble issued throughout the plane. I looked out the small window to see the dark clouds surrounding our plane. The pilot came over the intercom. "Ladies and gentlemen, we are experiencing some slight turbulence. Please remain seated and fasten your seat belts." One guy heading towards the bathroom groaned in complaint. I fastened my seat belt just in time as the plane jolted and the bathroom guy went flying down the aisle.

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    3. He almost regained his balance, but the man in 25C had his foot sticking out into the aisle. It was comical watching the bathroom guy trip over 25C's foot and land on the floor about three rows ahead. I didn't want to laugh, but I really could not help myself. The man got up a little dazed then returned to his seat. Thankfully he was not seriously hurt, well except for maybe his pride.

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    4. There was no time for screams as the plane dived forward. Oxygen masks fell from the compartments in the ceiling and John and I held on for dear life. A faint motorized screeching seemed to be coming from the turbine engine outside the window. The flight attendants yelled something incoherent from the front of the plane. "What did they say?" I say frantically to John. "Brace for impact!"

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    5. "Brace for Impact?" John yelled!
      "Yes!" I screamed.
      "Heads down, stay down!" The flight attendant repeated over the intercom system. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I could not believe that this was happening to us. We had worked so hard to be able to move to California and now this was how my life was going to end. I tucked my head down as far as I could as the flight attendant continued the same instructions over and over.
      The plane hit the ground hard, but the pilot must have found a large field to land the plane. Miraculously, the plane stayed in tack and the passengers only suffered a few scrapes and mild abrasions. "Where are we?" I asked John.

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    6. I could not gain the ability to move my body. I was afraid to see the damage that had been done, and frankly scared for the future. How were John and I going to get out of this wreck? Would another plane come and pick us up from this crash and finally take us to Cali? A million questions were swarming around in my head.

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  12. Why did it have to be this way? At age 16 why should anyone feel worthless? With the potential of success and happiness in the long beautiful life we are given, why would someone ruin your mentality? We all want happiness, but do we all have to go through extreme measure to receive it? That's what ran through the mind of 16 year old jenny as the world around her felt like it was crashing down.

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  13. Sadie, Jenny's lifelong best friend, had just done the unspeakable. The ultimate betrayal that left Jenny reeling and gasping for breath. She couldn't believe what she just saw and as the lingering feelings of sadness faded away a great wave of anger washed over her. She couldn't feel depressed forever and all she had left in her was that burning anger that wanted to come out. So if she couldn't stay sad, she would get even.

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  14. The road to revenge was a dirty and disgusting one but Jenny knew that when one started on this path, it needed to be done until completion. Jenny didn't want to be the nice girl any more. The one that did her homework on time, the one that never broke curfew, and especially the one that always played nice. Tonight was a renewal, a rebirth of some sort. This was the time of change and it was now. The clock in the hallway chimed midnight, the witching hour, and Jenny smiled. Perfect timing.

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  15. Jenny marched into her bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror. What stared back was a pail, long haired blond girl with blue eyes and a taste for vengeance. She wasn't the timid little girl anymore that no one talked to anymore, the kid that everyone teased because she was chunkier than most. Jenny felt confident, with a true sense of purpose. She reached out from underneath her cabinet and pulled out a pair of stylist scissors and bright pink hair dye. It was time for some change, for the better though.

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  16. Sometime later with quite the amount of hair on the floor, dye sprayed all over the sink, and Avril Lavigne's "Bad Reputation" screamed from her speakers, Jenny felt confident with her new look. Her once-waist long hair reached just below her shoulder blades with bright hot pink tips. Jenny looked fierce and was ready for the kill. Her cat Trixie sat near the top of the bathtub and gave her an approving meow at her new look. Jenny looked at Trixie with love in her eyes and took up the small fuzzball into her arms like a baby and gave her a very large kiss that ended with a smack. Trixie replied with a menacing stare that threatened severe repercussions if she wasn't put down this instance. Jenny obliged and turned off the lights when she exited the bathroom and crawled into bed. It was after all a new day tomorrow and the start of a new school year with a hot side of revenge.

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  17. The sudden ding of the school bell startled Jenny as she climbed the top of the stairs leading into the building. When she opened the doors the stares had already started. No one had yet to recognize her which she already had anticipated. With her new hair Jenny had switched out her big clunky glasses for contacts with on fleek eyeliner. Her wardrobe also changed dramatically that made her look like a chic biker babe. Scary, on the edge, and taking no mercy Jenny continuing walking until she reached homeroom, each stare feeding her soul a little more. When she reached the classroom she saw the devil traitor sitting on Travis's lap, preening like a proud peacock. Sadie held a regal atmosphere that went unchecked most of Jenny's life but she chose to ignore the signs. She wore her chestnut colored hair in the same perfectly styled ringlets and clothes that tightly fit as usual with her whole chest displayed for the world to see. Jenny couldn't believe how they were so close at one point. She marched right past the blissful couple and sat right near the corner in the back. Like a spider Jenny needed to spin her web and wait. The poor fly will crawl right into her trap with realizing and Jenny will have that final laugh. Let the games begin...

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  18. Jenny did not care what others thought. She was proud of her new style, she did not want to be like every other girl in her school. Other girls started to notice that it was okay to be different. Sadie who was the leader in school, notice people started to take after Jenny's style. The games were beginning and Jenny was on top. What will Sadie do to keep her status?

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  19. With no looking back, Jenny continued to own her new look and attitude. Bright, red, fierce lipstick had just been placed on Jenny's lips moments before she exited the girls bathroom. Perfect timing to walk straight into Sadie without looking. Jenny was embarrassed inside, but upheld her boss appearance. The two girls held their glare until they were both no longer in sight. Was vengeance going to last all year?

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