- Damaris Chanza
November Short Story Writing Challenge Part 2
November is National Novel Writing Month. In celebration, there is a novel writing challenge where participants attempt to write a 50,000-word novel during November. I took this challenge as inspiration for my own November writing challenge. I definitely won't make it to 50,000 words, so it's more of a short story than a novel. A new part of the short story will come out every Tuesday this month until the story is complete.
If you haven't read part 1, please read that first.
Here is part 2 of my November short story.
Baffled and fumbling with her words, Denise frantically flips through the newspaper, looking for the ghostwriter ad.
"I . . .I spoke to her yesterday; she told me to meet her here for a meeting," she said, handing the newspaper to Ingrid.
"Who are you? That's not funny. Who put you up to this? My grandmother passed almost a week ago. How could this ad make it in the paper at the same time as her obituary? She didn't do this."
With tears further staining her cheeks as they rolls down her face, Ingrid crumples up the newspaper, shoves it in Denise's hands, and demands she leave. Denise scurries out the door without a word and rushes to her car.
"What the . . ." she mumbles to herself.
She dials Jim, but he doesn't pick up.
"God, what do I do now? This was my last chance. What am I supposed to do? How is this even possible? Who did I talk to yesterday?"
Countless questions rapidly ran through her mind.
"This can't be real."
She pinched herself, rubbed her eyes, and even reread the obituary; nothing reassured her that it was all a dream.
"She goes to the senior center?"
She drove to the senior center thinking she could get some information. She parked in the almost vacant parking lot and hesitantly took the keys out of the ignition. She opened the door, ready to get out, then changed her mind and turned the car back on.
Startled, Denise looks over and sees someone she was hoping to avoid.
"Denise, it's so nice to see you; my goodness, it's been so long."
"Hi, Margaret. How are you?" she awkwardly turned off the car and stepped out.
"Me? How have you been? Haven't we seen you around in a while? We miss you around here."
"Yeah, well, life happened. I'm here looking for someone, actually. Do you know Mildred Besent?"
"Mildred. Oh, what a nice lady. She has the coolest stories; she was a groupie, you know. Sorry to say she passed recently, though. It was sad; she didn't have much family. She was a lonely woman, but wow, she had a crazy life. She loved telling us all about it."
"Doesn't she have a granddaughter?" Denise interrupted.
"Ugh, her granddaughter. The one time she came to visit was a disaster. She and Mildred didn't get along. Wait. How do you know Mildred?"
"Um, she uh . . ."
"Where are my manners? I just sprung all this on you. That someone you know is dead, and I am asking you all these questions. I'm sorry. Look, why don't we go inside and grab a cup of coffee, and maybe you can call out the bingo numbers like old times."
"No, that's okay. I actually have to go." Denise stepped back in her car and drove off before Margaret could say another word.
Denise drove around for a while, contemplating what to do next but ultimately returned home.
She put the newspaper and pamphlet on her desk, sprawled across her couch, and started mindlessly scrolling through Netflix. But, questions about Mildred wouldn't escape her mind. Suddenly she found herself googling Mildred.
"Mildred A. Besent Obituary
Local Woman Collapsed At the Park, Police Say
Ingrid Besent, Set to Inherit Musical Empire"
. . .