Finding Courage

How Briefly Getting Lost In The Wilderness Made Me Realize We Should Be More Like Ron Weasley

I heard rustling from the freely growing shrubbery that lined the dirt trail, and then I saw it crash from seemingly nowhere about 20 feet ahead of my trekking poles. The crash sounded like the moment a riding horse shifts from a trot to a full gallop. I could hear the sheer power of the hooves and the weight of the large animal as it slammed onto the narrow ledge of the rock face several thousand feet above the last human I saw. The doe quickly rolled from where it landed on its side and shot up before staring in my direction. I froze. The deer froze, and we made eye contact for what seemed like a full 20 seconds.

Continue reading “Finding Courage”

Dealing with My Deadly Friday the 13th Curse

Why I Will Always Associate Friday the 13th With The Time I Was Involved In Attempted Manslaughter

The Catholic school that I attended between the time I met my best friend in second grade until our graduation day before going off to separate high schools made every single sixth, seventh, and eighth-grader volunteer for safety patrol. The job involved forcing middle schoolers to either open the car doors for arriving or fleeing students and taking turns as crossing guards before and after school for one full week at a time. I only ever did this crossing-guard duty on two occasions. The first time went completely fine without a problem. The second time involved the changing of local legislation, the cops, crying students, and Friday the 13th.

I wore a bright yellow vest over my school uniform that consisted of a neatly ironed white polo and a green plaid skort (or a yuppy cross between a skirt and shorts because it was the early 2000’s) that stayed put by Velcro. It was a little larger for my small eleven-year-old body, but I made do with what I had. It was on the second or third day of my turn as a crossing guard after school when another small student and I looked both ways to check for cars, extended our heavy stop signs out into the marked crosswalk around scores of tiny children before slowly stepping into the street. Out of nowhere, a car zoomed by narrowly missing my black chunky platform steel-toed shoes that I wore solely to kick boys in the shins stylishly. My heart leaped from my chest as I swiftly brought my foot back on to the sidewalk for safety, but the damage was done.

Continue reading “Dealing with My Deadly Friday the 13th Curse”

A Car Named Susan

Photo by Moyan Brenn via Flickr
Photo by Moyan Brenn via Flickr

The first time I found myself stranded on the side of the road was when Betsy, my first vehicle who happened to be a mini van, had broken down in a very dramatic billowing of smoke. I was on the right side of Interstate 5 going north and all I could see were barren mountains and speeding cars for miles around.

I called my mom, AAA, and then waited inside of the car for help. I slid over to the passenger side and tried to quiet the rising panic in my chest. However, about a minute after I got off the phone with AAA my door quickly opened in a way that made me nearly fall out. Continue reading “A Car Named Susan”

The Greatest Story Never Told

Photo by waterlilysage via Flickr
Photo by waterlilysage via Flickr

An older man with salt and pepper hair, a collared white shirt and blue slacks sat across from me at the metal table that I was siting at. He reached into the pocket on the jacket that was draped over his chair and pulled out a dark handkerchief. He had begun to perspire under the bright light that was hanging above the table inside of the Springfield interrogation room with the two-way mirror, and he used the handkerchief to dab away the beads of sweat that slowly arose from the pours on his forehead.

“I’m not going to ask you again—who else did you share this information with?”

“And I asked to speak with a lawyer.” Continue reading “The Greatest Story Never Told”

Without Warning

Photo by victoria e via Flickr
Photo by victoria e via Flickr

A small duffle bag, filled to the brim, sat with its top left sloppily slumped over on the queen-sized bed. The bag, still in need of a tight squeeze while the interlocking zippers made their way around the polyester fabric, was to be taken with a passport, extra cash, and plane tickets to somewhere far away, but plans were abruptly canceled when its owner was dragged away in a body bag.

A paragraph placed in the obituary section of the newspaper online described Mark as a man who kept to himself and who suffered from a heart attack just before going on vacation. They were all kind words, however, the story they tell isn’t exactly the truth. Continue reading “Without Warning”

Writing Prompt: A Mind of its Own

Photo by: Nevit Dilmen acquired from Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Nevit Dilmen acquired from Wikimedia Commons

Your computer won’t shut down when you are getting ready to leave work at five. Instead, it is looping a message, and then attempts to tell you something. What is your computer doing? Write this scene. –Writer’s Digest

I stare anxiously at the clock that is located on the wall behind the water cooler. It seems as though time has stopped indefinitely at 4:59 p.m. So I grab my briefcase even tighter to get ready for when time decides to reinstate itself and move its minute hand up to meet the 12.

When the clock eventually strikes 12, I quickly stand up with my briefcase in hand, adjusting my black pencil skirt in the process, and reach for my computer mouse. I move the pointer on the to the startup button and select the option to shut down my computer. However, for some reason, the computer begins to shutdown, flashes some sort of error message, and then goes back to the desktop screen. Continue reading “Writing Prompt: A Mind of its Own”

What Is Heartbleed and How to Protect Yourself

heartbleed1As published on Examiner.com

It is probably a safe bet if you changed all of your online account passwords right now if you haven’t done so today already. There’s a huge security computer bug in OpenSSL, a popular data encryption standard, called Heartbleed which has gone undetected for two years. The bug allows hackers the ability to extract very important data from the online services we assume are mostly secure and that we use every day.

OpenSSL works by encrypting your data, or making it so that the stuff being sent from one computer to another looks like complete nonsense to anyone but the intended recipient. The heartbeat happens when one computer occasional checks to see that there is still a computer at the other end of the secure connection by asking for a response. Heartbleed takes advantage of this but mimicking the heartbeat in order to trick your computer and steal all your data. Continue reading “What Is Heartbleed and How to Protect Yourself”

Haunted Trails: Part 3 of 3

Go read part one first!

Haunted Trails Part 3I waited for him to emerge, but assumed he was just going to jump out and scare me when I went over there instead.

“Matt! I’m not going in there, so whatever you’re planning won’t work!”

I waited for a response, but I never heard an answer. Damn it, Matt, I thought to myself. I dropped my bag next to Matt’s and walked through the grass and over to the building to get him to head home with me. The whole night was not the way I planned it to be, and I wanted it to end. When I got to the front of the house, I pushed the door open and scanned my light across the empty room.

“Matt?” I whispered. “Where are you?” Continue reading “Haunted Trails: Part 3 of 3”

Haunted Trails: Part 2 of 3

Go read part one first!

Haunted Trails Part 2

Don’t look back! Don’t look back!

All I could think about was making a break for it, but my flashlight was shining on a rock in the middle of nowhere with a message telling me not to.

“What do we do?” I said.

Matt looked up and into the ravine, “I’m a little curious now. Do you want to try hiking a little further?”

“You have terrible reading comprehension.”

Matt chuckled a little. “Let’s go.” Continue reading “Haunted Trails: Part 2 of 3”

Shock Wave: Part 20- A Piece of Her Soul

PHOTO_6334137_21864_7489354_ap Catch up before you continue on with the story.

All of the swirling thoughts of time that has passed and the images of a blonde-haired blue-eyed women sitting next to Sarah inside of a blue truck had forced an idea in her head that had been deeply seeded in the back of her mind. It was obvious how her husband and her psychiatrist were involved with her memory loss. Sarah knew that they were the ones responsible for it. They wanted her to forget something that was so much a part of her life and her being that it has nearly driven her to the state of madness. A piece of her soul has been partial ripped, and she was going to figure out how and why. Continue reading “Shock Wave: Part 20- A Piece of Her Soul”