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One Line. Or Two. November 12, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Fiction, Word Play, Writing & Writers.

Charts and optimal dates and preferential temperatures.

One line or two.

As if she could summon whatever it is that makes up the human soul as easily as she could a cab on a busy New York avenue.

Deirdre stared at the steady stream of urine, hands shaking as she readied to take the plunge.


The cascading stream divided, water parting to flow with seamless effort  around the intruding stick.  If only life flowed around all obstacles with such ease.


Deirdre withdrew the saturated stick, her fate held in trembling hands.

One line or two.  One line or two.  C’mon.  C’mon.  C’mon.

One line or . . .          

Cal slammed into the bathroom.   Deirdre flinched and dropped the stick.  She watched it tumble away.

“Well . . . are you pregnant or not?”

“Not,” Deidre murmured, slumping to the floor. She grabbed the white stick.

Cal glared. “Next month, or I’m filing for divorce.”

Deidre stared at her clutched fist until his shadow disappeared. Footsteps clomped. She didn’t exhale until the front door slammed.


Deidre unzipped the packed suitcase stowed under the bed. She removed the signed divorce papers and tossed them onto Cal’s pillow.

I left you a long time ago, Cal.

One more look at the stick. Two lines. She zipped her suitcase, secret inside, and walked out the door without a backwards glance.

He’d learn the truth soon enough.

* * * * *

For the Trifecta Anniversary Challenge, teams of two competed by completing a short story using the italicized prompt as a starting block.  

My contribution follows the italicized prompt.  Janna’s conclusion (green text) ends the story.  

Thanks for a great write, Janna.   Write on!


1. Barbara Backer-Gray - November 12, 2012

Of course! I was still trying to think what it could be about, but one line or two, optimal dates: of course that’s getting pregnant! See, that’s why I’m not a writer. I read stuff and wish I came up with it, but I never do. I dream of being Stephen King. Hmm, maybe that’s good for a blog post…

nrhatch - November 12, 2012

It took me a couple of reads before the light bulb went off. 💡

And there are still so many different directions that Janna can take this story. I’m really excited to see which way she goes.

2. TheKirCorner - November 12, 2012

as a survivor or inferility, this was amazing and brought back so much :”Stuff” for me. Which meant it was very very good.


nrhatch - November 12, 2012

Thanks! No matter the circumstances, I expect that waiting for “one line or two” to appear feels like the longest seconds ever.

3. Draug419 - November 12, 2012

Gah! What a cliffhanger!!! Why can’t the next part come sooner!

nrhatch - November 12, 2012

Thanks, Draug. I feel the same. I’m anxious to see how Janna handles part 2. We’ve tossed around a few ideas . . . but I’m in the dark too. The pen is in HER able hands.

4. I Dream of Being Stephen King | Resident Alien — Being Dutch in America - November 12, 2012

[…] Spirit Lights the Way, a blog I follow, I read a post about a writing prompt for a short story to be written by two writers […]

5. barbara - November 12, 2012

oooooh so many ways to go forward with this one. 🙂

nrhatch - November 12, 2012

This is really a FUN challenge. As they say, “two heads is better than one.”

6. Andra Watkins - November 12, 2012


nrhatch - November 12, 2012

Thanks, Andra. I’ve never “tagged teamed” a fiction piece . . . it’s more suspenseful than sharing the “rest of the story” by myself.

7. KymmInBarcelona - November 12, 2012

Like that you keep the larger themes going – if only life flowed; fate held in trembling hands… nice bridge!

nrhatch - November 12, 2012

Thanks, Kymm! Janna and I are LOVING this challenge.

8. sufilight - November 12, 2012

This is well done! Now I am curious about the next installment of the story.

nrhatch - November 12, 2012

Thanks, Marie. Janna will post her installment (the conclusion) on Wednesday. I’ll include a link to it so everyone can read “the rest of the story.”

9. jannatwrites - November 12, 2012

Great addition to the story, Nancy. It will be a tough act to follow but I hope it won’t disappoint 🙂

Thanks for partnering up with me, this is fun!

nrhatch - November 12, 2012

Thanks, Janna. This has been a blast . . . and I am confident that your eagerly awaited conclusion will be worth the wait. 😀

10. Gina - November 12, 2012

I like a cliffhanger but that doesn’t mean I love them…

Great beginning, Nancy, but now I must know about the lines…

nrhatch - November 12, 2012

Thanks, Gina. Deirdre had to be patient. Now it’s our turn. 😉

11. diannegray - November 13, 2012

This is a great start, Nancy – now I must see how Janna goes … 😀

nrhatch - November 13, 2012

Thanks, Dianne. Janna’s post will be up tomorrow morning . . . I’ll add a link.

12. Lumdog - November 13, 2012

Ok I’m ready to learn the answer. Great cliffhanger! I just wonder how man babies will be conceived this week. 🙂

nrhatch - November 13, 2012

Yes . . . all this intense focus on pregnancy markers. Not to mention, big black limosines and short black dresses. 😉


13. Mel - November 13, 2012

Wow. The build up is well done. Your partner has so many ways to go with this. Nice!

nrhatch - November 13, 2012

Thanks, Mel! This contest has been tons of fun.

14. One Line. Or Two. (Conclusion) « JannaTWrites - November 14, 2012

[…] Monday, Nancy at Spirit Lights The Way, posted the following awesome segment (in blue).  My conclusion follows in […]

15. Against The Wind « Spirit Lights The Way - November 14, 2012

[…] left you hanging with One Line.  Or Two.   To read Janna’s conclusion to that Trifecta Anniversary Challenge cliff-hanger . . . […]

16. Tara R. - November 14, 2012

An abrupt entrance… is he excited for or dreading the results? Nice tension in this piece.

nrhatch - November 14, 2012

Thanks, Tara. Love your conclusion.

17. deanabo - November 14, 2012

Waiting for that moment is exciting and scary. Great job capturing both emotions.

nrhatch - November 14, 2012

Thanks, Deana. Hope you enjoy Janna’s conclusion as much as I did. 😀

18. Rachael - November 14, 2012

Nice work Nancy! I really enjoyed this entry.

nrhatch - November 14, 2012

Thanks, Rachel. Collaborating with Janna on this challenge was great!

19. OldDogNewTits - November 15, 2012

You guys made a great team. I hung on every word ’til the end. Captivating story …

nrhatch - November 15, 2012

Thanks so much . . . Janna made our collaboration effortless. 😀

20. Trifecta - November 16, 2012

Nice job with the first part of the prompt. Thank you so much for helping us celebrate!!

nrhatch - November 16, 2012

Wonderful challenge. Great prompt. Ideal writing partners. What more could we ask for?

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