Greetings everyone and welcome to the first installment of the WE ARE INFINITE stories and giveaway! I'm so grateful to be able to do this and to share stories that remind us all of connection and our intrinsic worth.
Now, before we dive into today's tale, let's have a quick refresher on what's happenin' 'round here:
1. Contest is simple: you send me (email@example.com) your INFINITE STORIES and I post 'em. I also promote them, so if you want to include a link to a novel you wrote, an etsy shop, or other such awesomeness, then by all means, include that in your entry! I want to share the love!
2. INFINITE STORIES are tales that remind us of connection: ghost stories, past lives, prophetic dreams, a moment that changed your life, how you found faith, how you found love, how you recovered from heartache, a friend who saved your life, a dog that meant the world, a cat that knew too much, a feeling that spared you or a loved one from pain, a feeling that hooked up a pair of friends for marriage, kids, and life. Anything and everything goes!
All the details about what I'm looking for and how to play are found HERE.
3. Each story enters you for the grand prize. What is it, you ask? Well it's Amazon cash, artwork, and a book!
4. Don't have a story you want to share? No problem! Sharing information about the contest also constitutes an entry for the grand prize! More details about that are right HERE.
5. More questions? Check out the FAQ or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And last but not least, don't forget to check out the always-accumulating-ever-impressive-oh-so-powerful WE ARE INFINITE STORIES INDEX, where all the contest entries will be linked for you to peruse anytime you need a reminder that you are never, ever alone!
Today's entry is one of mine, just to kick us off. I have every intention of shushing and letting other awesome people speak, but I do love a chance to be publicly grateful for all the incredible ways the people in my life and the Universe at large has helped me out over the years.
I love bragging on other people. It's a thing.
I'll be posting my entries mixed in with others as the contest rolls on. Deadline for all entries is FEBRUARY 8, 2015!
Much love, many thanks, and light and love to you and yours.
Finance for Business Majors was held in an auditorium with a massive screen at the front and sleeping students at the back. The professor was a short, perky brunette with a professional attitude and a voice that could shake the rafters even without the microphone that was always pinned to her shirt. Despite the fact that the class had at least three hundred students, typically only a quarter of them showed up on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at two in the afternoon; I was always one of them. I didn't believe in missing class. It conflicted with my perfectionism religious beliefs.
I sat in the third row. The seats were cozy, much like theater chairs, and usually I'd wait for class to begin by trying to read a few pages of whatever book I was enjoying at the time. But on one particular Friday, I had no interest in reading. We were a week away from Thanksgiving, so everyone was stressing over finals, which would be held when we got back from vacation, but that wasn't what was keeping me from tearing through my used bookstore novel. I was faintly ill, but not because I was coming down with a cold. I was twitchy and nervous, but it wasn't from lack of sleep.
Nope. I needed a suit. I needed a nice suit, and I needed it soon. I needed a very nice suit, very, very soon, and there was absolutely no money to spare for such a thing.
The reason for the panic was caused by another one of my classes. The final was a formal business presentation given at a real business in front of real business people. The attempt to make our education as real-world accessible and relatable was something I knew I'd love once I was out in said real world, but at the moment, all it was doing was reminding me that most of my clothes dated from when I was fourteen, and none of them were suitable attire to wear to a Fortune Fiver to talk to indulgent, middle-aged, minor VPs about the pros and cons of their current marketing strategy.
The rest of my finals team had been talking shop and about what they were going to wear for weeks. We'd all agreed to wear black suits with gem colored dress shirts. I'd gone along with this plan, even though I owned exactly no business-causal slacks, much less a button-down, gem-colored dress shirt. Every other kid in my group had parents who were together, happy, and financially stable. I had a father I didn't acknowledge due to the stunts he pulled during my parents' divorce, a mother who was back in school and working full time, and my only credit card had a spending limit of one hundred dollars. I'd gotten it to buy the occasional tank of gas and establish a credit score for myself. I'd thought about seeing if I could raise the limit, but hadn't quite found the stomach for that, yet. Credit and debt scared me post-divorce years. They still do. My mother had offered to buy me a suit using her only credit card, of course, but I knew it was strapped. There'd been emergencies which had come up in the few years since my father had left, and those had left a hole in both our wallets.
Never had I hated my decision to rely on financial aid through college and avoid taking part time jobs more than I did as I counted down the days to that final. While not working had allowed me to weigh my schedule down with eighteen and nineteen-hour semesters and get through college in the four years I had covered by scholarship, it had also meant eating a whole lot of Rice-a-Roni.
And it meant no savings and no money for stupid shit like a brand new business suit.
All this was circulating around my mind like a demented Ferris Wheel when my friend Maryanne arrived in class. Maryanne was my friend, though it baffled me as to why. We couldn't have been more different. I was the artist, hippie type. She was a Southern Baptist. My idea of extracurricular activities was taking a nap. She was a member of a very famous cheerleading squad. I think she might have even been the captain. I don't know because she didn't talk about it that much.
What Maryanne did talk about was how she wanted to maintain her perfect GPA throughout college, and she had been thrilled to find me, a fellow member of Perfectionism Anonymous. She baked. She cooked. She had the cleanest and nicest college apartment I'd ever seen. She was fearless, positive, and the kind of person who'd bring you greeting cards with magic marker writing just to tell you she liked you.
Ours was a curious friendship, but it was one that helped me through more than a dozen hard times in school. I like to think I returned the favor a time or two. I don't actually think she knows how much she meant to me, even to this day, though I've tried to tell her.
Anyway, on that day, Maryanne was wearing jeans and a sweater and looking gorgeous as usual with her ponytail and massive backpack. She had a determined, stomping gait like she could maintain forces like gravity and the turn of the earth just by walking, and you know, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if people like her did make the world turn.
On that day when she sidled past me to sit next to me on my right side, always her preferred seat, she had a pensive expression that I noticed right away. Maryanne was very Shrek-like; lots of layers. I absolutely know I didn't make it through even half of them in the time I got to know her. As she sat and hauled her bag onto her lap, I studied her.
"Hey," I said.
By way of answer, Maryanne deposited homemade brownies on my pull-up desk. "Thank you," I said.
"You're welcome. I thought we could use treats, what with finals coming."
I always envisioned Maryanne baking at four o'clock in the morning and taking out aggression on cookie batter. Any time I asked where the hell she found the time to cook, she'd just wave a hand and say it was something she did to keep herself occupied. As if school, homework, cheerleading, social life, and a semi-famous boyfriend weren't enough to keep her busy.
"Something up?" I asked.
She took a deep breath and turned sideways in her chair to face me. "Don't freak out." Her tone was halfway between plea and command.
"I may or may not be freaking a little already," I confessed.
"No, it's. No. It's not bad. I just know how you are."
"Which part of me is what, now?"
She waved a hand at me. "And you can't ask questions."
"Seriously, what game are we playing?" I joked, but I was sweating and tense. This could be anything from an invitation to a party I definitely didn't want to attend but had to because of some silly "You should get out more, Kelly" logic in Maryanne's head. She had this idea that people were good for me and staying in my tiny, haunted apartment drinking exceptionally cheap vodka and writing weren't such hot activities for me. Crazy talk.
Blue eyes studied me until I felt strip searched. Gently strip searched, but naked and probed all the same. "I was out last night with some people," she said slowly and carefully. Maryanne fundamentally could not lie, and I could tell she was trying very hard only to convey information that I was allowed to know. "One of those people came up to me and said they needed to do something for you."
"Wait, what?" I asked. "Do I know this someone?"
She glared at me. "No. Questions."
"No. You don't know them. Actually. You don't." She grinned like this was the coolest thing ever.
"Then how do they know me?"
She tsked. "Because I do, silly."
I felt my eyes widening. I could not possibly imagine what Maryanne would say about me to strangers. "What did you tell them?"
"Good things. Anyway." She paused to see if I was going to pester her with more illegal questions. "This person said they had to do something for you. They felt called to do it. By God." She said those two words with reverence that I'm pretty sure I'll never find.
"Oh Lord," I said.
"Now, it's very important – very important—" she held up a finger in front of my face. I went cross-eyed looking at the painted nail. "—that you understand I had nothing to do with this. I didn't ask. I didn't say anything that wasn't true. I didn't tell them anything you would be embarrassed by them knowing."
I'm categorically difficult to embarrass. "I am now terrified at what you're about to pull out of that bag, Maryanne. You know this, right?"
She gave me a tiny smile, turned to face front, and took a breath. She seemed to be looking around like she was trying to tell if anyone was watching. She yanked out a plain white envelope, the size and shape of a greeting card, and handed it to me like it was a pound of cocaine.
"The heck?" I asked. I didn't curse around Maryanne. I just didn't.
"Put it in your bag," she hissed at me.
I flailed for my bag, shoved the envelope to the bottom, and zipped the thing. "Now what?" I asked.
"Now we take notes." She opened her notebook and turned to a blank page.
I blinked a few times. "Can I open the—"
Maryanne snorted. "When you get home. With your door locked." The finger came back and vibrated under my nose again.
I nodded. "Yes, ma'am," I said.
She laughed. "Good. I was worried you'd give me a harder time."
"I've only begun to give you a hard time," I said. "I've not opened the envelope, yet."
"Shhh!" she looked around again, and I swear I ducked lower in my seat.
"Government secrets?" I whispered after a moment.
"Location of Elvis' alien mothership?"
Maryanne giggled. "No." She grinned at me. "It's just something someone thought you'd need."
Though I tried, I couldn't get any more out of Maryanne that didn't involve the word no or the waving, emphatic finger ordering me to hush. We got through class, left together, and walked to the parking lot where we both parked. She said good night, to call her if I needed anything, to be careful, and she left with her usual wave. I watched her walk to her car, making sure the earth rotated at exactly the correct speed as she went.
I drove home faster than I should, the envelope burning a massive hole in my mind, not to mention my bag. I followed Maryanne's orders precisely. I even shut the blinds and put on the door's security chain. After plopping down in the exact middle of the single room, I opened my pack and got out the envelope.
It was thick, and I could tell exactly nothing about it from the outside. It was sealed not only with spit but also tape. Somebody, probably Maryanne, had put a smiley-face sticker over the point of the taped flap. I had to use a knife to cut the thing open.
Inside was a card from a very nice stationary set. There were lilacs and butterflies on the front. I ran my finger over the embossed image and opened the thing up while holding my breath.
Inside were five crisp one hundred dollar bills. They fell out because I wasn't expecting them, and I gasped, gathering them all up in my hand.
The only words on the card were, "Get what you need."
After a long few minutes, I flailed for the phone. I dialed Maryanne.
"Hello?" Maryanne answered.
"What's up?" she asked, tense and expectant.
I took a breath. "Did you know what was in the envelope?"
I was starting to tear up. "Was it... did... Is this like, a problem for the person who did this?"
Her voice was gentle. "No, Kelly. It isn't. At all. I promise."
"Tell them thank you."
"I will. And I swear, I didn't say anything. I didn't say a word about your mom or your dad or anything. I swear. I just told them about finals. I told them you had that group thing coming up. I told them how stressed out we were and how you were like me."
"Like you?" I asked, utterly bewildered.
"Yeah. Studying hard and a four-oh kid on scholarships." She laughed. "And that you take care of everybody."
I swallowed. "Seriously, I don't know how to... what do I...?"
"You use the cash and you write a thank you note. I'll deliver it for you."
Maryanne always knew the right thing to do in any situation.
A week later, my mother and I went out the day after Thanksgiving, and I found a suit jacket, slacks, and a button down shirt. I had cash left over, and I used it to buy Christmas gifts for my mom. And a couple of new used books for me. I wrote the thank you note, and Maryanne said she gave it to whomever the generous person had been.
I aced the final, along with the rest of my group.
I still have that suit jacket. I also still have the card with flowers and the simple words, which have become a kind of life motto and also my view on what the Universe wants us to do with our existence:
"Get what you need."
Light, love, and all things vital coming in their own time,
Kelly Wyre enjoys reading and writing all manner of fiction, ranging from horror to romance. She used to work in advertising but is now happily chained to her writing desk and laptop. She believes she's here to tell stories and to connect people with them. She's written several novels, novellas, and short stories and has no plans on stopping anytime soon.
Kelly relishes the soft and cuddly and the sharp and bloody with equal amounts of enthusiasm. She's a coffee addict, an avid movie lover, a chronic night owl, and she loves a good thunderstorm. Currently Kelly resides in the southeastern United States.
Available January 13, 2015
Meet Me at the Gates by Kelly Wyre
Outer Banks bookstore owner Hyacinth Silver Fox has a secret millennia in the making: her soul was magically entwined with another, and at night she dreams of every lifetime they've ever spent together. The rules of their magic are simple: Hydee always knows her lover, but he, or she, doesn't remember her. It's up to Hydee to find and make her soulmate see they are destined for each other, and this lifetime is no different, but there's one problem: her soulmate is Theo Monk, heartthrob actor and Hollywood's sometime-infamous badboy. Hydee's hope of reuniting is wearing thin, but she has no idea how dire the situation really is.
Because meanwhile in California, Theo Monk is losing his mind. Anxiety and paranoia rule his life, along with his on-again-off-again girlfriend and her entourage. When fear and frustration push him to an edge, Theo cuts and runs as far from his problems as he can without knowing Fate's giving him one last shot to unite with the only person who can help him. Hydee and Theo must save one another before hope runs out and Hydee's despair and Theo's fear keep them apart forever.