WEP August 2018 Flash Fiction Challenge, Janie B and A Change of Heart, By Pat Garcia



WC: 962

The bed placed against the wall facing the huge bedroom window gave Janie B a good view of the lake. Two willow trees one on the left and one on the right of the garden framed the garden’s center, presenting her with a surreal picture that stirred up her grey cells and made her think. She ran her fingers through her tiny afro. Massaging her scalp, she shook her head, not quite believing she’d succeeded.

The curtains clapped as a breeze from the patio swayed their movement.  Janie B smiled at her imagination and gazed out of the window to observe the moon beginning to rise with its lightly reddish tint.

 That she was sleeping in the same cabin where she was once held as a prisoner was no longer a millstone around her neck. The horrible experience now captured, a part of her past vanished with Paolo Mendoza taking her through the chaos to freedom. Each nightmare had become a therapeutic playground where he led her farther and farther into a discovery of the strength lodged inside of her.  

Meeting him changed her heart about the way she grappled and dealt with the dangerous situation she’d experienced.  His methods had given her a new life.

She would never forget his bursting into the cabin as her captor tied the last piece of purple yarn around her neck. He’d been climbing the mountain and come upon the hut. How strange that just as a stranger had captured and tortured her another stranger would be the one to save her.  Now, Paolo was responsible for her lying in bed with a smile on her face. He made her take on the demons from that awful day. That was Paolo. Stern, loving, and kind, yet his gentleness amazed her.

Paolo was no big daddy. He wasn’t even sympathetic or compassionate when it came time for her to take another step toward her freedom. He didn’t let her hide behind shame.  Didn’t allow her to bury her hidden wounds. Always confronting, he forced her to take an in-depth look at her heart attitude. Made her see what she didn’t want to see. No, she couldn’t hide with Paolo Mendoza.

He didn’t duck. He challenged. Like the day he forced her to drive his Aston Martin. The first time she’d returned to this cabin. She hadn’t wanted to, but he’d insisted when she started having nightmares. He even demanded she learned how to knit.   It never occurred to her that he was preparing her to attack the horror of what happened in the cabin so she could free her mind. She’d knitted him a purple hat. Then, he had wanted a red scarf, and then he’d asked her to knit him some yellow gloves. That was Paolo.  The leader of his team of silent raiding frogmen, his cruelty to her displayed itself in coercing her into facing whatever was hindering her from being the lively woman she’d locked behind the doors of her heart.  

Janie B turned to lie on her left side and spooned herself against Paolo’s back as she gazed out the window. Sleep evaded her. Typical.  Even though she’d triumphed, she couldn’t quite believe she was sleeping in the cabin. She’d just done a three-hundred-sixty-degree pirouette.  Her heart was still doing somersaults as she thought about how she’d spun herself out of the last part of the terror that had befallen her.  She released a deep sigh and kissed Paolo’s back.

“Why can’t you sleep, JB?”

“What happened today has got me spinning, and my heart keeps flipping.”

Grunts of laughter shook his belly region.

“You looked mighty good in that red wedding dress, Babe. In fact, you looked like my dream.”

“Umph. Whoever heard of a 42-41-48 size woman getting married in a red dress. The dress hugged my big hips. It was ridiculous.”

“I love the ridiculous, JB.” He removed her arms from around him and turned to face her. “Put on your red dress, baby, cause we’re going out tonight,” he sang with his deep throaty baritone voice while he did his best to imitate Tommy Tucker. “Put on your red dress baby cause we’re going out tonight.

Janie B couldn’t help but screeched as she laughed and joined in “And you’d better wear some boxin gloves,”she sang back to him in her contralto voice, “in case some fool might wanna fight.

“I love it when you sing, JB. It’s a confirmation,” Paolo said and yawned.

“About what?”

“About your heart, JB,” Paolo replied while drawing her closer to him. “About your heart, sweet lady.”

Janie B chuckled. “Mr. Mendoza, you have a lot to do with my heart change.”

“Let’s say, I prodded you into conquering your dragons. You have nothing to fear.”

“You kept me from becoming a recluse. I’m no longer the fearful, frighten heart you found in this cabin.”

“I know. That’s why I had to marry you quickly. Didn’t want anyone else snapping you up.  Never thought I’d encounter my big beautiful woman by climbing up a mountain.”

“Paolo, look,” Janie B almost shouted, glancing toward the window pane “A deer with horns!”  

“Those are antlers, JB. He’s admiring you.”

“Well, he can stop admiring and go away.”

Grunts of laughter came from Paolo. He turned so he could lay on his back and gaze at the deer while keeping one arm around Janie B. “Put on your high-heel sneakers, Lordy, wear your wig-hat on your head,” Paolo murmured in his sleepy, sing-song voice, and Janie cackled like a hen gathering her baby chicks.  “Put on your high-heel sneakers, child. Wear your wig-hat on your head. Ya know you're looking mighty fine, baby, I'm pretty sure you're gonna knock 'em dead.”




Shalom aleichem,

Photo on 14-10-2016 at 08.45

Pat G

WEP - June 2018 Challenge, Unraveling The Past by Pat Garcia


Unraveled yarn

Unraveling The Past


Janie B sat behind the steering wheel of her Aston Martin gazing down at the old dilapidated mill by the lake. Balls of yellow, red, and purple yarn lying in the passenger seat beside her. From a distance, the two houses looked as if they hadn’t changed. Memories flooded her senses. Her hands behind her back, the yellow yarn tied around her wrists, cutting off the circulation of blood. Every now, and then she’d done her best to wriggle her fingers to keep the blood flowing, and a weird yodel like a wolf howling would come out of his mouth. His eyes would light up, and he would slap her face.

He walked toward her with the red yarn mumbling it was the blood yarn to bind her ankles.  Tears filled her eyes. She wouldn't let him see her cry. As he tied her thick, dark brown ankles together, a spark of laughter flew out of her mouth. Instead of gasping at the pain, she wanted to laugh. The thick red yarn wedged into her skin, biting against the black hair on her legs. 

Who was this guy?  Why did he hate her? Why did he kidnap her?

He slapped her face again. She wiggled her fingers and wiggled her toes to keep her blood circulating.

The slaps to her face, the whip stinging her back, the pawing dirty fingers of her oppressor, pressing some of the purple yarn in her mouth, choked her as he wrapped the yarn around her neck.  Purple for a royal grave he’d said, but she didn’t feel royal; trapped into a concoction of a crazed man thirsting for revenge.

Who was he? Why did he hate her? Why did he kidnap her?

Each minute the purple yarn tightened around her neck. Each movement of her head brought no relief. Turning her head meant choking. The purple yarn threatened to give way, her saliva, the need to swallow was bringing it closer and closer to clog up her throat.  

Too weak to fight back, she welcomed the darkness that death offered. With her eyes closed, she waited.

A door flew opened, a loud crash, a touch of wind touched her nakedness, and the coldness of a damp cloth went across her face.  

Paolo found her. He stepped between her and the man, between her and death.  Paolo became her savior. 


The car door opened. His hand touched her shoulder bringing her back to reality. 

“I don’t think I can do this, Paolo.”

“Put the yarn in the bag, JB.”

“Paolo didn’t you hear what I said. I don’t think I can do this.”

“I heard you, JB. Put the yarn in the bag. It’s time.”


Janie B reached over and picked up the three balls of yellow, red, and purple yarn and packed them in her bag.  She sighed and shook her head trying to shake away the fear.

“Look at the lake, JB. See how peaceful it is?”

“Yes,” she whispered.

“That’s the peace you seek.”

“But why did I have to come back here to find peace, Paolo?” 

“Because this is where you lost it,” Paolo said as he helped her out the car. 




Shalom aleichem,



Pat Garcia

WEP - APRIL 2018 CHALLENGE, Janie B, by Pat Garcia

April Challenge
Janie B didn’t know what hit her.  Standing in one of the dressing rooms of a noble boutique, she turned to look in the mirror. Janie B assessed the form-fitting sheath dress. She shook her head in disapproval. The dress hugged her hips a little too tightly. Not that her big hips stirred up feelings of shame, deep within her heart, she liked her big hips. Wouldn’t slim them down for nothing in the world.  They gave her character and an image of being a tough girl that took no shit. Very few people knew that inside she was like a frightened kitten who needed to be accepted for what she was and not for what others wanted her to be. She took her hands and rubbed them down her side, pulling on the material, trying to loosen the tightness of the dress. The cloth didn’t budge. Her hips got bigger, and the knees to her big legs seemed to peek out at her laughing. Not a dress for her.  It was too short and too tight.


Country girl that she was, she didn’t understand why Paolo chose this boutique. It was way above her price range. Paolo had said he knew the owner. When they entered, a bell tingled, and from the back of the shop, a chic, plus-sized woman came out smiling. The woman hugged Paolo.  She had also given Janie B a powerful embrace and kisses that shocked her. Janie B was a loner, stayed mostly to herself. She’d adjusted to living a life alone––that is until Paolo stormed into her life. That was her strength.


She looked in the mirror once again. Her nappy, coarse, hair had lost its shape. Pulling the dress over her head had taken care of her hair appearing orderly. She smirked. Putting it over her head was easy. Even getting her thick arms through the sleeves presented no problems, but the largeness of her breasts had caused her to take a deep breath and pulls in her lungs to get the upper bodice over them.


Red. Paolo chose the colour. Red appealed to her.  It made a blatant statement about her self-confidence, a character trait that she struggled with. She grunted and caressed her face as she looked into the mirror. Red enhanced the colour of her shiny dark brown skin. She hadn’t noticed that before. Maybe it was because she had never worn the colour red since one of her colleagues told her that red didn’t become her.  That had wounded her deeply. Up until that time, she’d thought red was her colour.



Behind her, the door to the dressing room opened. Not bothering to look into the mirror, her nose told her it was Paolo. She could identify him by his fragrance anywhere. He’d been waiting for her to reappear and model before him. She mumbled her exasperation about the dress.


“You look gorgeous,” he reiterated, and he turned her to face him.


“Paolo, what so gorgeous about big hips, big legs, and big breasts. I think you’ve gone and lost your sanity.”


“If I have,” Paolo said, “then I’m glad it’s with you. Tonight’s the night.”


“Maybe, we should reconsider our plans.”


“Why?” he said and kissed her cheeks before claiming her lips.  “Have you changed your mind, JB?” he asked calling her by the pet name he’d given her.


She gazed up at his chin, avoiding his eyes.


“No,” Janie B said. “I just want to give you more time to consider what we’re about to do.”


“Oh, JB,” Paolo said, “Stop worrying about me. It’s not me you want to give more time but yourself. I know what I want to do. Do you?”


Janie B placed her hands on his chest and stretched them out.  She stepped away from him putting distance between them. He’d crashed into her life out of nowhere. She’d been caught on her blindside. His friendly words, his checking up on her over the past year, and his taking care of the garden and showing her how to hang wallpaper and other small jobs that she lacked the know-how to do. He had grown in her mind over the months to be the almost perfect friendly man who just happened to be there for her. In her eyes, he’d become her hero.


When he had told her what he did for a living, she’d opened her heart even more. As an agent for Interpol, he travelled to many of the northern African countries. He didn’t often talk about his job. She talked; he listened. Six months ago, she’d asked him to talk about himself. He’d said later. He’d come to hear her talk. That was the night, he’d told her that he would be gone for six months. He requested that she write him long emails and share her days with him.  She’d done that.


His return had brought back a man hungry for her total commitment to him.


“I asked you a question, and you didn’t answer,” Paolo said, breaking into her thoughts. “Do you know what you want to do?” he asked repeating his question.


She raised her head a little higher and look into his sea-green eyes. The scar on his neck palpitated quickly. Her intuitive insight into him had shown her he was dreading her answer. Yes, she loved him. Should she or should she not?  She sighed, Shakespeare, hit the point correctly in his Hamlet soliloquy, ‘To be or not to be, that is the question.’

In her case, to commit or not to commit to a man younger than she; who hailed from a different culture; who counted his days like pebbles on a beach –– transient. Should her heart dominate?


“Yes. The path that we’re about to set out on has taken hold of my heart,” Janie B said.  “I want to explore it and see the end.”


With her red dress hugging her body, she shortened the distance between them and embraced her future.

IN TOO DEEP, WEP CHALLENGE, FEBRUARY 2018, Until Death Do Us Part by Pat Garcia

In too deep


Gianluigi arms embraced the window sill. His head bent looking down at the empty street.

 The quietness didn’t alarm him. The two street lamps that shone in darkness comforted. The shadowed forms that mirrored them reminded him of the difference between life and death, between high and low, between deep and trivial. Soon he and his three team members would venture out into the vast unknown, not knowing the end until it was over.

 The street lamps flickered. The shadows too. Life is like a flickering lamp. Its depth unexplored until you face the ultimate sacrifice. Emotions too deep rose within him. Her fragrance, like a wisp, slivered up his nose causing his mind to wander away from its Moorish thoughts. As if he were looking through a slide projector, pictures of her flashed before his eyes, bringing back the pleasant memories of their last night together. His Gretta, the woman who stirred up his desire to return or her melancholy of loss if he didn’t.

 A breeze from an open door entered the room. Not moving, Gianluigi didn’t look to see who had opened it. He knew who it was and waited for the question that was always asked. It had become their good luck charm. Just knowing that he had done it, had somehow become a placebo for his team and gave them the assurance to walk out into the deep, darkness where they played for the highest of stakes, their lives.

 “Have you called Gretta?” Gabino asked, making himself known.


 “Are you going to call her?”

 Gianluigi turned and moved away from the window. He regarded his dear friend and partner.

 “I don’t know yet,” he answered. “I know she’s not asleep. She never sleeps when I’m away on duty. She catnaps,” and he grunted before he continued, “It’s her way of battling the fear of losing me.”

 “What are our chances, GL? Gabino asked, calling him by his pet name.

 A sliver of laughter escaped Gianluigi’s mouth before he said, “As always poor to middle. The big guns will lift us out, dead or alive, if we get hit.”

 “Like last time,” Gabino said. “It took them forever to get in. Another quarter of an hour and we would have been gone.”

 “I know,” said Gianluigi. “I wasn’t ready to depart.”

 “Are you ever ready, GL?” Gabino asked as he looked at Gianluigi. Gabino took his special handkerchief out of his pocket and blotted his forehead as he waited for Gianluigi to answer.

 Gianluigi gazed at the sweat drops threatening to run down Gabino’s forehead. The more he wiped, the faster they appeared.

 “No, never ready but assured that I’m doing the right thing. Living my life to protect others.” He walked to his bed and pulled out the case that held his rifle from under the bed. “Where are Paolo and Carlos?”

 “They’re coming,” Gabino said. “They’ve just finished talking to their wives.”

 “Good. Have you talked to Tessa?”

 “I did that before I came to you,” Gabino said, laughing.

 “Alright. Give me five minutes, and we meet at the door, suited up to take our hostage.”

 “So, you’re going to call her.”

 “Yes. She’s a part of me, and I want her to know that.”

 When Gianluigi took out his mobile, Gabino left his room.




Gretta sat in his chair. Twice, she had closed her eyes to catnap. Both times, she had failed. Her sleep, elusive, was neither here nor there since her marriage to the thirty-nine-year-old agent, Gianluigi Battisto, whom she had promised to love till death parts them. Since she had given that promise, she seldom slept when he was away.

 Her mobile rang once. “When do you leave out?” she asked anxious to hear his voice. His call meant that they were mentally connected to each other.  For her, that was a good omen, and sitting in his chair, she lifted her face upward and said a silent prayer.  Her life had changed. The introspective and reserved man who had very little to say had demanded her heart, and she had given it to him.  

 “As soon as I hang up.  I take it you’re in my office,” he said, not really asking. She seldom varied her routine when he wasn’t around. She spent the majority of her time in his office. She ate and slept there instead of around the large oval table in the dining room of their seven-room condo.

 “As always,” Gretta said, feistily. He laughed, and she relished the sound of his laughter. It was alive. He was alive. For now. She suppressed the desire to scream, don’t leave me alone, and she closed her eyelids to stop the impending tears. Silence hovered between them.

 “Where do you want to celebrate your birthday, my sweet invincible Gretta?“

 “I’ll wait until you get back and then we’ll talk about it. After all, who celebrates birthdays when they’ll be fifty-five?” And she choked the sob that tried to escape her throat. “You’re the one that’s invincible, my sweet.”

 “I love you, Gretta,” he said.  “It’s time to go,” and he hung up.

 She held the mobile in her hand. He hadn’t given her time to say, I love you too. The tears that she’d held back fell, and she laid her head against his comfy chair and cried herself into a crazy nap where bullets whiz by her head and men screamed while women cried.


Her mobile rang. She thought it was in her dream until she felt the vibration in her hand. The face of her mobile said, Gianluigi Battisto.

 “Gianluigi?” she whispered, stunned.

 She heard the laughter in his voice. “Who else would be calling you at the break of day?”

 “You’re safe.”

 “I’m hungry,” he said. “What time is breakfast?”

 “Is everyone well?” she asked, holding her breath as she waited for his answer.

 “We’re bruised and tired, but we’re all well.”

 “Thank God,” she murmured. “Come home, I’m waiting.”





WEP- Submission - December 2017, An Eternal Beginning By Pat Garcia

AABeginnings (1)

An Eternal Beginning


Liza loved peanut butter, especially when mixed with blueberry jam.  She ate tubs of it.


She sat back from her kitchen table and propped her legs high on the chair next to her, while she gazed out at the graveled stone path surrounded by grass through her colossal kitchen window.  The bottom of her feet itched, and she folded her legs over one another so that she could scratch the bottom of one foot against the other.


The small round bowl of peanut butter and blueberry jam she concocted lay in her lap, and she gathered enough to spread on one of the bagels that were lying on her bread and butter plate before her. 


"I love peanut butter-jammy mix on bagels," she said, talking to herself as she gazed out of her window.



Having turned sixty in August, she had lived alone most of her life except for the time she and Celso were together.  Marriage to him had winked at her at the age of fifty-five, but she’d ignored the wink.  His chosen career had increased her heartbeats every time he went underground on one of his team’s secret missions. It brought her sleepless nights and rings around her eyes in the mornings. His age had also provoked fearful thoughts of him one day leaving her. Falling into a deep hole, she would be a basket case no longer able to put herself back together again.


The headlights of a car shone through her huge kitchen window, and she turned to her left to look at the clock hanging over the refrigerator.

She frowned. It was ten-thirty in the evening and one of the darkest winter nights in Southern Italy. No one visited her after nine o’clock.  She got up and walked out of her kitchen and into her hallway where her weapon cabinet stood and pulled the key out of the drawer beneath it and opened the door.  She took out Lucy, her rifle, and insured herself that it was loaded. As an ExPat African-American, she lived excluded in her village, and she had applied for a license to possess a weapon in her home when she moved there. She smiled as a memory of Celso surfaced. He had taught her how to protect herself.  He insisted upon it because of his job. He told her she had become his woman, and everyone knew it, including the criminals that he hunted down in the dark world where he worked.


The car stopped, and Liza’s heart picked up its beat.  She asked herself who would dare visit her after nine, as she returned to the kitchen with her trusted friend Lucy in her hand. In the afternoon, one of her neighbors had stopped by and warned her of a stranger in their little old Italian village who walked into the café bar showing a picture of her and asking questions. He said he didn’t give his name and walked out after he was told where she lived. She wondered if Celso’s clientele was trying to track her down.


With the rifle in her hand, she waited for the knock, ready to fire, if whoever it was meant ill toward her.


The knock came, not with a hardness that sounded like someone trying to knock down her door. Nor did it sound like a fragile knock coming from a woman’s hand. It was a strong, confident knock.


“Who are you?” Liza called out. Her rifle pointed toward the door.



"It’s me, Liza. Open the door."


Like a short burst of rain from a cloud, Liza burst into laughter.


 "Celso?” She hastened to the door to open it.  “How did you find me?" Standing before him with her hand on the doorknob and the rifle in the other.


"If you don't mind, Tresore Mio, I'd appreciate you putting that thing aside," he said, pointing at her rifle with a smile plastered on his face.


"Of course. Come on in." And she stepped aside so he could pass by.


She walked to the hallway to put her rifle back in her weapon cabinet with Celso following behind her.


"My neighbor said someone was asking about me in the café bar, but I never thought it could be you, Celso."  She said as she placed the rifle back in its proper place and locked the door.  She turned and looked up into Celso’s watery eyes. What’s wrong?” she asked.


“Come here,” he said, opening his arms. “Let me hug you.”


Hurriedly, she rushed into his opened arms. “It’s been so long, Celso.”


“Too long. I shouldn’t have let your fear separate us, but I was too immature to understand, then. Your rejection made me want to hurt you,” he said, and then he planted butterfly kisses on Liza’s cheeks before capturing her mouth in a tender kiss. “We have unfinished business to take care of," he said, breaking the kiss.


"It’s not unfinished,” Liza said, shaking her head.  “You got your answer, five years ago."


"An answer born out of your fear, Liza."


"So, you can read my mind?"


"Never could, but I felt you were lying to me, and I let you go because I didn't possess the maturity to fight you and your fear. When you told me to leave, I obeyed like a whipped dog and left."


"Then, why are you here now?"


"Because I'm no longer a whipped dog.”


Liza regarded Celso. His sea green eyes mirrored sadness that matched her feeling of loss. The long zigzagged zipper scar running down his cheekbone he hadn't had, and he was much thinner than when they were together. 



"When did you get the scar?" She asked.


"Nine months ago.”  


 She let out a deep sigh and shut her eyes as she tried to stop her tears from overflowing.


"Don't cry,” Celso said, reaching out to touch her cheekbone.  “This hideous scar brought me out of the lethargy that's hung over my life the last five years."


"Celso, I am a recluse.  Outside of our hormones pulling us toward each other, what else do we have in common?"


"For one, I love your reclusiveness, Liza.  And your age and nothing else has ever bothered me. You know that. I need you in my life, permanently.  Besides, our love for music, reading, and walking has to count for something and that hormone attraction that you mentioned counts for us instead of against us."




“Shh…Don’t say no, Liza. Life is incalculable. Let’s not waste time not loving each other.  No one walking on this earth knows when they're going to die. Let’s wake up to a new tomorrow for the both of us."


"You haven't lost your touch of persuasion, Celso."


"Last time, it worked against me."


"Last time, I wanted to end it.  I was afraid." And Liza laid her head against his chest. Recognizing that she had been given a chance to cross the same crossroad again in a different place and time, she knew what she would do if Celso asked her again.


“Let’s come together for the eternal beginning of us, Liza,” Celso said, softly.


Liza lifted her head and raised herself upward to kiss the zigzagged scar running down his cheek. “To our eternal beginning,” she mumbled against his scar, with thankfulness toward Providence.  





Tomorrow is the Third Advent Sunday and after it,  we will start approaching the Fourth Advent Sunday.  I would like to say thank you to all who have supported me this year by reading my Flash Fiction on the WEP. You have played a great role in my stepping up to the plate every time WEP rolled around, and it is important to me that you know this. In a world where love and appreciation is growing colder every day, I feel  it is essential that we express our thanks to people who are genuine regarding us and also give us the impetus to keep moving as we fulfil our destiny. You all have been a part of the fuel that has helped me keep moving forward, one foot after the other.

Have a Merry Christmas and crossover safely into 2018. It's going to be a great year.

Shalom aleichem,

Pat Garcia August 13 2016

Pat Garcia 







WEP - OCTOBER 2017 CHALLENGE, A Dark Night Of The Soul - By Pat Garcia

October Badge



The trail seemed endless. Voices whispered in the pitch-black night. Stumbling over potholes, she couldn’t see, she missed one and fell into it. It swallowed her legs, and she kicked to break away from whatever it was that was trying to pull her down into what seemed like a bottomless pit.

Around her, the grunginess from the foul odor of worms squished together formed a halo around the hole. Decay had set in. Macerated to an unrecognizable substance, she cringed and tried to avoid touching the liquid mash. The hollow whisperers in the wind, witnesses to her misery, tortured, with familiar whining voices, “nearer, come nearer.”

No, she thought, as she tried to unwrap the swaddling vines that bound her legs preventing her escape. She twisted and kicked to try to free her legs that were not free.

No longer the master of her own plight, she breathed deeply, fighting against what was next to come, struggling to find herself in the dark soupy night where stars were not seen and thin vapors, cold and wet, dampened her face.

Hell, she thought. This must be hell, and she screamed out.

“No, not me. Not this way, never” she shouted, and with the remaining strength in her arms, she pushed down around the edges of the pothole, and the vines released her legs.

Crawling out, Tirzah forgot about the squishy worm liquid that she was afraid to touch.  She sought the light. Free, she ran, not looking back, not giving ear to the horrible whisperers that were trying to get her  to turn back.

She felt something warm touch her shoulders.

“Hey, it’s me,” John said as she screamed.  “It’s okay. No one going to hurt you.” And he took her in his arms.

Tremors ran through her body. She checked her hands.  Her teeth clenched together tightly. Looking out of their bedroom window, lightening blitzed across the sky.

“When did you get home?” she asked and buried her face against his chest.

“A few minutes ago. I heard you scream as I walked in and rushed upstairs to check on you. Did you have that same nightmare again?”

“Yes,” she said. “The horror of my narrow escape doesn’t seem to let loose. I can never thank you enough.”

“Tirzah, don’t try to thank me. Your becoming my wife was thank you enough.”

“Will I ever forget the torture and the pain I saw as a woman prisoner in that beastly guerilla war camp?”

“Forget, I don’t think so,” John said and let out a deep sigh, knowing that she had been lucky.  His squadron arrived in time to save her from the pointless rapes and beatings that killed the souls and bodies of the women held in captivity at the camp where she’d been freed.  “But your experience in that hell pit has made you sensitive to women who suffer the horrors that you were spared.”

“It was my dark night of the soul, John.  A night, I can barely live with,” And her tears started to flow. “I was counting the hours waiting for my turn to come,” Tirzah muttered against his chest.  “But my dark night ended suddenly when the tiny light of hope showed up right on time.”



Shalom aleichem,

Photo on 01.08.17 at 11.13 #2

Pat Garcia

WEP Submission - AUGUST 2017 CHALLENGE, REUNIONS, A Poem, by Pat Garcia


August Badge
Class Reunion aug 15 2017

A manifestation that time doesn’t stand still,

Ever revealing the plots of our lives that connect

And the plot holes that never did.

Exposing dreams that didn’t stand the test of our faith,

Revealing our folly for foolish thinking,

Which led to dumb occurrences we now regret.

Reunions reunite us and keep us moving on.


Are you still the dreamer you once were?

How did the world greet you?

What did you do?

Where have you been?

Questions asked by so many soulful hearts that have missed it all.

Years where dreams have lain in slumber,

Like the embers of dead ashes that have lost their flame.



The sound of mighty rushing wind,

Ushered in by hope and expectation,

Shaped by years of experience,

Tamed by patience,

Extolled by the bell of victory,

When determination rings out its win.

The same bell tolls as a bell of sorrow,

As it eulogises its tribute to a life expired. 


Are you still the dreamer you once were?

How did the world greet you?

What did you do?

Where have you been?

Questions asked by so many soulful hearts that missed it all.

Years where dreams laid in slumber

Like the embers of dead ashes that lost their flame.



An old friend, no longer friendly,

An old arch enemy now a comrade,

A teacher who stood the age of time still there,

A building filled with the ghost cries,



And disappointments.

A pang of sadness for those who have heard the bugle call,

Whose lives are now recorded;

The final judgment made.


Are you still a dreamer?

How does the world greet you?

What do you do?

Where have you been?

Questions asked by so many soulful hearts that miss it all.

Their dreams lay in slumber

Like the embers of dead ashes that have lost their flame.




Shalom aleichem,

Photo on 01.08.17 at 11.13Pat Garcia

Many Thanks! The Bridge of Hope Is Runner-Up in the WEP JUNE 2017 BRIDGES CHALLENGE

I am associated with a group of writers who participate in the WEP CHALLENGES  that are simply magnificent. Most of them are published authors with many books that have been published, and one or two, like myself, are striving to get the first contract.

Writing is hard work. We spend days and sometimes nights working on three or four sentences, and sometimes even one sentence, trying to express ourselves and how our perception of the events and situations influence our lives––our worlds and our beliefs.

Writing demands courage because it tests who you are on the inside. It consumes and forces you to kick yourself upward when you are down. You find yourself writing even through the hard times.

I found out at 6:30 this evening per email that my flash fiction The Bridge of Hope placed as runner-up in the WEP BRIDGES 2017 CHALLENGE.

In recognition of this honor, I would like to thank Denise Covey and Yolanda Renée, who are the sponsors for WRITE-EDIT- PUBLISH WEP CHALLENGES and their team members Nilanjana Bose, and Olga Godim who work along beside them to make this challenge happen every two months.  Their giving of their time, talent, and expertise to promote writers on a platform that is indeed outstanding is mind-blowing.

I would also like to recognize all the writers who participated. I have had the privilege of reading at least one or two books from many of these writers, and I can say these writers are par excellence. Knowing them reassures me as I trek through this lonely desert on the way to publication. I know that I am not alone. They have trekked through this same desert, and they made it through, and so will I.

Shalom aleichem,

Pat Garcia 2 August 13 2016

Pat Garcia

The Bridge of Hope by Pat Garcia

June Badge

 WC: 919

Around her, disturbing sounds floated into her ears. Hammering against her head, beating against her heart, intorsions whined at the prevarications of her life over the past three and a half years. Hurts, disappointments, and scars gouged into her soul, buried beneath the bridge of callousness he’d built.

Yet, she had let him. Sinking into the never ever world of her fantasy, she had hidden herself as he lay stone for stone, by day and night, crushing her love. It took him three and a half years to erect this huge monster between them. Like the building of the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel, today he had lain the last stones.

 “We’re not suited to be parents,” he said, haughtily,

 “Why not? What about me?” She asked, hoping to loosen a tiny stone of compassion.

 He didn’t answer. He walked to their bathroom to shower, leaving her lying on their bed. She turned on her side and watched him. His back toward her, she wondered why she had married him in the first place.  Three and half years, she thought for him to build the bridge of callousness she tasted in her mouth, the rejection she felt in her heart, and the repudiation of herself that gnawed at her conscience.  She placed her right palm on her small bulge.  It didn’t matter that she was twenty weeks. The fact was, she was not able to hide it anymore. Girdles and corsets, wide dresses and baggy pants couldn’t swallow up her weight gain or her bulging breasts. He didn’t find it funny that she looked like a hippopotamus. He found it revolting and told her so.

 She got up from the bed and walked out to the edge of their second story balcony, and she gazed down into the deep. The clear water in the pool below reflected the blue floor at the bottom of the pool. She blinked; it had turned a murky, dark, red.  She shook her head, trying the shake away the surreal picture of blood that hyponagogically appeared for a nanosecond.

 Shaking her head, she wondered why she had not seen him as he truly was. That he was demanding she got rid of the nuisance that would destroy her life with him didn’t disturb him.  

 “What’s twenty weeks in comparison to a lifetime with me?” He asked passing by the door that led out to the balcony on the way to his wardrobe.

 She had said nothing. He took it for granted she would do as he requested. After all, he needed her to devote herself to looking pretty, not pregnant. She had to charm, not look like a bloated whale.

 She stood there leaning against the rail, looking down into the deep. This was her chance, her only chance.  His footsteps sounded behind her. So, close, yet so far away from each other. The bridge he’d built between them was too difficult for her to cross over.  Could she tell him that?

 “What are you thinking about?” he demanded as he put on his tie.

 She turned to look at him but didn’t answer. To tell him about all the birthdays he would miss; to mention the first tooth, the first steps, the first signs of laughter, he wouldn’t understand, so she said nothing.

 He went back into the bedroom, and she continued to lean against the rail of the balcony.

 “Come, you can ride with me to the clinic,” he said.

 “No, I’ll go alone,” she said regarding him, dressed up in his tailor-made suit and his rattlesnake shoes.

 “I can cancel my appointment and stay with you until it’s over, but then I need to be in my office for three o’clock appointment. It’s with the senator.” He said smiling.

 “No, it’s not necessary. I’ll go alone,” she repeated.

 “That’s my girl. You’ll thank me for this later.”

 She said nothing.

 “I have to go,” he said, not even giving her a hug. He felt no sorrow, no regret. “I expect you to have it taken care of by the time I return. If you need a nurse, afterward, hire one for a day or two.”

 She watched him walk to the door.  He stopped when he reached it and turned and looked at her once more.

 “Either it or me,” he said. “The uncomely bulge in the front of you has to go.”

Then, he left.

 She leaned her head to her left side and thought about the large shoulders she would miss.

He would never understand. The bridge she allowed him to build was too narrow for two people to walk across. He had built it wide enough for her to walk to him, but he couldn’t walk to her; the damage to her soul was on his blindside.

Sickened by his demands, she turned and gazed down the path watching him walked toward his chauffeur.  He didn’t turn to look back; that didn’t surprise her. He never did. He assumed she would carry out his orders.

Tears ran down her face as she walked back into the bedroom to shower and dress. She took her passport and three wrapped bundles of five hundred dollars out of the safe.

He was still commuting to his office when her taxi came.  Walking out the door, she whispered goodbye as she turned away from the bridge of callousness she wouldn’t cross over.  She laid her first stone to the bridge of hope, reclaiming herself and the life of the unborn within her.


Shalom aleichem,

Pat Garcia 2 August 13 2016

Pat Garcia

WEP Submission, April 19, 2017, The If of Peace and Love by Pat Garcia









Silkworms April 18 2017

 The If of Peace and Love by Pat Garcia


If silkworms could grow peacefully,

Silk would fill the whole earth.


If the larvae of butterflies could choose,

Then, they would hatch on green leaves,

And grow in their brilliance.


Whatever happened to the vision of hope?

The gift of faith,

The coadunation found in peace and love,

The ideology of humans understanding humans,

The sacredness of respect.


The silkworms can’t spread,

Humans need silk scarves,

Silkworms multiply in glass houses for production.


Larvae grow into caterpillars,

But are trampled under feet

By people who walk, run, and drive

Ignorant of nature’s beauty.


Whatever happened to the vision of hope?

The gift of faith,

The coadunation found in peace and love,

The ideology of humans understanding humans,

The sacredness of respect.


I know, said the silkworms

Enclosed within their prison gates,

While another bunch of larvae mashes beneath hurried feet,

Or squishes under rubber tires.


The vision of hope is long obliterated,

Said the silkworms.


No, said the butterflies,

It is the loss of faith,



No, said the silkworms,

The ideology of understanding has turned into variables shades of gray.


Yes, said the butterflies, we agree.

The coadunation found in peace and love cocooned in faith,

Is no longer the sum total of the sacredness of respect.




Shalom aleichem,

Pat Garcia August 13 2016

Pat Garcia



The Box in the Loft by Pat Garcia

February BadgeWC: 827



The loft wasn't supposed to be a storage room for Giovanni’s things. It just evolved into one. Each anniversary, she would pack away his summer things, and they celebrated one more year of them, together, one loving one, them, loving them. He would laugh at her.

“All things are temporal, Kathleen Katy-bear,” he’d say, combining her birth name with the pet name he’d given her. “What we have is priceless. The things you’re stowing away can never compensate for the memories in our hearts.”

Then, he would take her into his arms. “Come sleep with me,” he’d say, taking her mind off the task she was doing. He would stress the present moments as he pounded into her body.   Her screams of delight and his groans of pleasure, as he released his semen, had him falling on top of her after their climax, whispering words between breaths, as he pecked her ears, her neck, and her cheeks, planting tiny kisses in the aftermath. “This is significant, Katy-bear,” he’d say. “Nothing is more important than this. My lips on your lips. The warmth of our mouths as we explore each other, me pressing you close to my body letting you feel the heat you’ve generated in me. Only that counts, Katy-bear."

 Kathleen sat holding his jacket in her arms. Three years had passed, but his aroma was still present like yesterday.

Tears covered her face as she unpacked. She was on the last box before the Salvation Army came to pick up his clothing. She gave them a call after he appeared to her in a dream. He’d admonished her for dishonouring their love by not remembering the sweet golden moments.

The smiles when they were both thinking about the same things, the hugs when she accidentally asked a question that pointed out an error in the planning of his next mission, or the late-night walks where she gathered stones and put them in her pockets, and he would remind her those stones were like him. Each time that he returned she collected the broken pieces of his soul and put them back together again.  In the evenings, he would take her in his arms and hug her tightly, and say, "Let's go upstairs, I need you."  And upstairs, they went and made passionate love with the full realisation each time could be their very last.


 It happened. They both knew the time had come. Yet, Giovanni’s death came too soon. He was too young.

 What do I do now? Even though I was older, you understood me. What do I do now, Giovanni?

 "I hate you, Giovanni!”  Kathleen cried out. “You and your honour for your country. Why did you have to go on that particular mission? Why couldn’t you let someone else volunteer? No one misses you as much as I do," she screamed.  

Her tears flowed heavily; mucus ran out her nose, and her hands trembled as she pulled the things out of the last box and threw them on the mountain before her.

She picked up the jacket she mistakenly threw back into the box.

  I'll keep this jacket. It smells of you.

She put her left arm into the left sleeve. Something solid in the left pocket of the jacket touched her hip bone. Reaching into the pocket, she pulled out a flat, jagged key.

  NaNu, what do you open? 

With the key in her hand, her gaze went to the box, and that’s when she saw the dark mahogany chest. She lifted the chest out of the box sat down on the floor; her back to the mountain of clothing.

Where did you come from? Why would Giovanni buy a chest?

 Her hands trembled; the key shook as she put it into the lock.

 She hoped the key wouldn’t fit. All her beautiful bubbles of their seven-year relationship could suddenly burst into thin air.


 Laughter filled the loft.

 Giovanni, are you here?

“Don't be afraid Katy-bear. Turn the key!”

Her heart beats became irregular; her chest ached.

People will think I’m insane if I tell them I heard Giovanni’s voice.

Her eyes grew large when she raised the chest top. Within were seven mid-size diaries, and she took out the first one.

 Leaning against her mountain, she opened the journal and began to read the first page. She burst out in laughter. “You sneak!” She yelled out joyfully for the first time in three years. Her tears forgotten, she began to read aloud.

“Words for you, Katy-bear. Invisible conversations I’ve had with you on each mission. Each diary records my present moments when you weren’t there. I love you, Katy-bear. Always have, always will. Love is eternal.”

 The anguished and inner turmoil she’d suffered, eased. The pain in her chest disappeared.

Yes, love is eternal.

Sitting by the box in her loft, her back against the mountain of Giovanni’s clothes, Kathleen read as she slipped over into eternity to be with her Giovanni.


Shalom aleichem,

Pat Garcia August 13 2016

Pat Garcia