As a writer, Leena finds inspiration in her surroundings.
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The Prompt: Put yourself into the story. Write about how what happens in real life, inspires what you write. The following story is a compilation of events, although with a bit of a writers spin to it, that have happened in the neighborhood I live in and how it led to a story I wrote.
The Story Within
by Lisa McCourt Hollar
"Can I go to the park?"
Leena looked up from her kindle, her mind working on an excuse to give her daughter. She hated telling her no, but the baby was sleeping. She couldn't just pick up and head to the park, even one that was only a block away.
"Maybe later sweetie. Scott is sleeping."
Rysa's eyes flashed with anger for a second, before she managed to gain control. She wanted to scream at her mother that it wasn't fair. They had moved here BECAUSE it was close to the park. She was nine. Her mother had told her when they moved, that she would be able to go to the park by herself. Then they had found out the realtor had left something out of her sales pitch. How mean the kids in the neighborhood were. She had narrowly escaped being beat up the last time she'd gone to the park and she had been with her best friend. Now she couldn't leave her own yard without her mother or older sister.
"What if Claudia goes with me?" Claudia was the girl across the street. She was 17. But she was also developmentally delayed and small. She looked like she was Rysa's age. Leena shook her head no, feeling like she was being unfairly cruel. But she knew it was too dangerous. If only she had put as much research into moving to this neighborhod as she did her writing. She would have discovered how often the police were called because of vandalisim and theft. She would have learned there was a gang of kids that ran the streets and terrified the residents. And the police did nothing about it.
"Why don't you see if Claudia can come over here and play. Or you can play in her yard."
Leena watched her daughter cross the street, her mind working out what she would like to do to the kids that had effectively caged her daughter. While Rysa and Claudia played tag, Leena tried to go back to the book she was reading, but her mind refused to get lost in the story. Instead she was thinking about werewolves and the comment her older daughter had made after Rysa had come running home from the playground.
"I wish werewolves were real. I wish I was one. Then I would tear those kids apart."
'That would be fun,' Leena laughed. Inside she heard Scott crying. Glancing across the street, she saw that Rysa and Claudia were sitting on the porch, playing with dolls. They should be okay for a few minutes.
"It's okay Scott," she said, opening the screen door, "Mommy's coming."
Leena was just finishing changing the baby's diaper when she heard a loud screech outside. Recognizing Rysa's voice, she quickly placed Scott in the crib and went running outside. She and Claudia were still on the porch, but there were two kids that weren't there before. Leena recognized one of them as the piece of shit that had punched her daughter in the arm their first week in the neighborhood. The other one was the Peeping Tom she had caught looking in their windows. The peeper had hold of Claudia's cat, holding it by the back of it's neck with one hand while she held a lit lighter underneath the cat's belly. The cat was hissing and struggling to get loose, while Rysa screamed in terror, begging the girl to let the cat go. Claudia was laying on the ground in a fetal position, crying.
"PUT THE CAT DOWN!" Leena ran across the street and the two bullies took off, dropping the cat and heading for the park. Lizbeth, her oldest daughter came around the corner just then, holding her boyfriends hand. When she saw her sister crying and the girls running, she took off after them. Leena found herself half hoping she would catch them, even though she knew she wouldn't.
Later that night Leena sat in front of her computer. She needed to work on her novel, but the story working in the back of her mind had nothing to do with the paranormal romance her publisher was hounding her to finish. Instead she began to write:
Karen looked out the window, nervously fidgeting
with the curtains. Her sister still wasn't home.
She should have told her no when Kay asked to
go to the park, but Billy had come over after
school and being alone with the hottest boy at
East River High had been too much of a
temptation. Besides, Karen had reasoned, the
park was just down the road, how much trouble
could the little beast get into?
Word Count: 875
The rest of Leena's bully inspired story can be read at http://www.lisamccourthollar.com/2011/08/beast-inside.html
This story was really inspired by the way the kids in the neighborhood I moved into, treated my daughter, although the opening scenes never happened. There were threats to harm the neighbors cat though and thankfully the kids in question have moved. I still will not let my daughter go to the park alone.