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       Rock, Paper, The Iron Writer, p.1

           Danielle Lee Zwissler
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Rock, Paper, The Iron Writer
Danielle Lee Zwissler

  Rock, Paper, The Iron Writer…

  Copyright © Danielle Lee Zwissler

  Published by: Z Productions



  Dear Awesome Reader,

  Hi, and thank you for downloading this free short story collection of mine. The stories that you will read are all from a website called “The Iron Writer”. The Iron Writer is a ‘challenge’ for writers of all walks of life. The challenge is to write 500 words with four elements chosen randomly by the person in charge—Brian Rogers. I started this challenge last year, my first being challenge#46. After my first taste of The Iron Writer, I couldn’t stop.

  If you’d like to know more about The Iron Writer, please feel free to visit the website and check it out! We are always looking for new writers, new competition, and more fun!

  Thank you again, and HAPPY READING!


  P.S. The link is here:

  To learn more about me and my other writings, free and otherwise, please check out the last page of this group of shorties!

  Challenge 46

  The Elements:

  A High Diving Horse

  A Haboob

  Birmingham Jail (The Song) 


  Hang Your Head Low

  Danielle Lee Zwissler

  Thorton Wild took his knife and made small cuts on the man’s arm in front of him. He watched as the blood pebbled and he sang softly. “Down in the Valley…”

  “Please, please, just let me go; you don’t want to do this!”

  Thornton’s eyes were wild and he spoke with an edge in his voice, “You think you can come up here, Jetman, and steal this!” he said, pointing to his head. “You want the secrets; you want them like the rest of them do!”

  “No, no, I don’t—I was just… I just wanted to see above the mountain. That’s all, man, that’s all!”

  “Shut up!” Thorton yelled; his hands came up to his head, and he rocked himself slowly back and forth. “Just shut up!”

  The man in the chair started to cry. “Please, please!”

  “What did I tell you, Jetman?! I told them years ago when I got out of the military to just leave me alone.” Thorton stood up, knife now fully embedded in the man’s skin, sweat bubbled on his forehead. “Stand up!”

  “I’m going to show you something that I built. I made it special for someone just like you.”

  “What do you mean?” the man asked fearfully.

  “Ever see that movie about the diving horse?”

  “I don’t understand,” the man cried as Thorton walked him up the dark path in the woods outside his home and further up the mountain.

  “Oh, it’s just up ahead. I make platforms, tall ones.” Thorton started humming the tune once more. “Late in the evenin’ hear the train blow…”


  “Down in the valley, the valley so low,” Thorton continued, half whistling, half singing the tune. The man in front trembled as Thorton pushed him up toward the platform. It was much smaller than the ones in the movie; it only had one trap that could fall, but that was perfect enough for what he was going to use it for.  He took the man and lined him up on the top platform, and then reached behind him on the plank where a long rope was sitting in a box. He pulled it out and looped it through a ring attached to a pole above him. It reminded him of a hangman’s post.

  “Please, please,” the man begged louder. “Please!”

  Thorton looped the rope around the man’s neck and secured it with two knots, and then stepped down the platform still singing the words to Birmingham Jail.

  “If you love me, put me at ease….”

  He kicked the platform out from underneath the man above, and the dust that swirled as his body hung limp reminded him of the dust storms that he used to see when he served in the Middle East. They called them haboob’s there.

  “Hang your head low…”

  Thorton took a deep breath, then turned around and walked back to his house, leaving the Jetman hanging from the platform. When he got back in, he looked at the three remaining people in the room.

  “Who’s next?”

  (I lost this challenge by one vote)

  Challenge 46 (Poll Closed)

  The Small Shiny Things with Heft - Lee Cox  39.37%  (50 votes)  


  Hang Your Head Low - Danielle Lee Zwissler  38.58%  (49 votes)  


  The Girl from 'Bama - M. D. Pitman  14.96%  (19 votes)  


  Lake of Sherbet - Angela Yuriko Smith  7.09%  (9 votes)  

  Challenge 55

  Danielle Lee Zwissler

  The Elements:

  A Zombie Apocalypse

  A 1936 Chevy Corvette

  A Snowplow

  A Coyote

  The Five Graves of Wiley “Coyote” Barnes

  Danielle Lee Zwissler

  Behind a false brick in my childhood home, I found blueprints for a time machine, a 1936 license plate and keys to a Chevy Corvette.

  My grandfather was an inventor and worked for NASA. He had always talked of time warps and black holes, feeding my mind with stranger-than-fiction ideas. It wasn’t until the world started to fail that I realized how important those talks with my grandfather were to me. Like much of my life, he was a mystery, always hiding things around the house, talking of the Great Depression and then the War right after. They hid things, my grandparents, in time capsules, false bricks, a vase or oddly enough the cookie jar in the kitchen.

  After two years of fending off the zombies, nearly running out of ammunition, I took a serious look at the blueprints for the time machine and decided to go for it. The instructions were precise and most of the supplies could be found in the shelter that my grandfather had built years ago. I only added one thing to the design: a snowplow that I had found in the garage. I needed something to clear the dead bodies. I often wondered if my grandfather had the gift of foresight, when he built the shelter all those years ago. I wondered if he was preparing for WWII or if he knew that the world would one day come to this.

  When I heard the sound emit from the walkie talkie, I knew it was time.

  “Coyote, are you in? Coyote, this is Tomcat.”

  Tomcat was my best friend, Brody, from High school.

  “Coyote here, what’s your 21?”

  “Outside the shelter. They’re everywhere. Are you getting ready to move out?”

  “Yes, I really hope this works,” I said, feeling somewhat confident. “I’ll be back when I can. I want to warn my grandfather about the walls.”

  “I really hope this works. Good Luck.”

  “I’ll need it. Godspeed, Tomcat.”

  “Godspeed, Coyote.”

  After breaking the connection, I took a deep breath and pulled out the letter that I had found in the brick where the license plate was stored. It had instructions on where to drive, how long and what to take. I thought it was a long shot, but knowing my grandfather, I figured I had better adhere to his words. I set the year to 1936 and prayed for the first time in a long while.

  Two days later, I appeared outside of the same house that I had lived in for the last 36 years. My grandfather was standing in the front yard, and when he saw me, he swallowed deeply.

  “Back again?”

  “What, I’ve been here before?”

  “Yep every day for the past five days.”

  I swallowed, finally realizing why the date on the note was crossed out and rewritten so many times. I took a pencil from my pocket and crossed the last date out and wrote another, and then wrote something new and in bold letters ‘STRONGER WALLS’.

  “You going to die on me, too?” he asked.

  Just then, before I blacked out, I saw four graves with the same name. Wiley ‘Coyote’ Barnes.

  Challenge 57

  Danielle Lee Zwissler

  The Elements:


  24 plastic dinosaurs

  One Wheeled Motorcycle

  A Sewing Machine

  Hello, Vegemite!

  Danielle Lee Zwissler

  Elsa Mathers watched the man fly down the street on the odd contraption. It made a loud gurgling sound, mimicking that of a Harley and a moped. For some reason, she was intrigued.

  She had never been much into bad boys, more so nerds if she were to name a group of men that tripped her trigger; so when she saw him riding on that wheeled motorcycle, she felt flush and excited at the prospect of meeting the man.

  He stopped when he saw her, eyes blazing in the afternoon sun. His dark brown hair was curly as she suspected. He took his helmet off and capped it underneath his armpit and held it there by the crook of his elbow.

  “Hi,” he said. His voice was gruff, gravely. Elsa bit her bottom lip and watched as he came closer.

  “Hi yourself,” she replied.

  “I’ve been driving by here every day this week and was hoping to catch your name.”

  “I’m Elsa.  What’s yours?”

  “Jason. Elsa…would you like to go on a picnic with me?”

  “I sure would,” Elsa replied, swooning at the chance.

  “I’d offer to take you on my…bike, but it’s only built for one.”

  Elsa blushed, knowing that her original idea that he was a nerd was spot on. She nodded fast. “I’d like that. I’ll just go get my car and follow you.”

  Twenty or so minutes later, Elsa pulled into Jason’s driveway.

  “I have to pack a few things first, if you don’t mind.”

  “Not at all.”

  Jason’s apartment was neat.

  “What’s that?” Elsa asked.

  “It’s Vegemite.”

  “Come again?”

  “Oh, it’s this awesome paste for sandwiches.”

  “Nice,” Elsa replied, not having a clue what that was.

  “It gives me energy.”

  “Oh.” Elsa grinned.

  There were costumes everywhere Elsa looked, and then she noticed the old Singer.

  “Tell me you didn’t make these?

  Jason looked a little sheepish, but he shrugged his shoulders. “My mom taught me everything I know. I’ve never been popular, and I’ve always looked up to the superheroes… Marvel guys mostly.  I go to comic cons where good looking women like you throw themselves at the Hero.

  Elsa blushed. “You’re kidding?”

  “No, I’d like to say I had this suave thing going on all the time, but… it usually only impresses women when I’m wearing one of these.”

  He picked up a mask and put it over his eyes.

  Elsa bit her lip once more. “I really think you’re hot.”

  He grinned and came closer. “Really?”

  “Yes. I’ve been watching you this week as well.”

  “Well now…” He pulled her into his arms and moved in for a kiss.

  A few moments later, they were making out on top of his couch; and a few minutes after that, Elsa felt a tiny prick of pain at her side. She groaned, and he moved up quickly, denoting the plastic dinosaur figure.


  He made a ‘sorry face’ and sat up.

  “I have like 24 of these things at my house…I bought the…”

  “Samson collection?” he finished for her.

  She grinned. “Yes.”

  “Marry me?”

  “Oh,” Elsa said, feeling something else. She grinned. “Hello, Vegemite!”

  Challenge 58

  Mark Twain Division

  Spring Equinox

  The Elements:

  A Bridge on the edge of a cliff

  A kitchen apron

  Fruit scented lotion

  Your favorite karaoke song

  Tuesdays with Hanna

  Danielle Lee Zwissler

  It all happened on a Tuesday—every single good and bad thing in Jack and Hanna’s life did.

  They were married on a Tuesday in Las Vegas nearly 43 years ago. He met Hanna at Kirkland’s Karaoke Bar inside one of the biggest hotels in Nevada. She sang You Made Me Love You by Harry James, and she swayed back and forth to the beat, mesmerizing nearly every man in the place. She had golden brown eyes that matched her long curly hair, and she was everything that Jack never knew he wanted until that moment…that Tuesday in 1941.

  A few years later, on another Tuesday, Jack was enlisted in the Marine Corps and fought with pride alongside many of his comrades. The day that he finally came back, his son, Jackson was born, making it the second happiest day of his life.

  It was a hard day to forget, watching his son being born; feeling the pride that only a man can feel for his wife and his newborn son. He remembered lots of things about that day. The scent of her skin and the fruit scented lotion that she always wore that drove him crazy, the smile that she seemed to only have for him.

  Even now, years later, he pictured his sweet Hanna in her kitchen apron with little Jackson at the counter, making holiday cookies, singing her classic Patsy Cline tune, no longer favoring the Harry James sensation. Jackson, at only three, could tell his momma was something special.

  Nineteen years to the day Jackson was born, his convoy was shot down while he was in Vietnam, making them alone once again.

  That Tuesday, Hanna stopped singing, she stopped swaying in the kitchen to Patsy, and she stopped smiling.

  Jack knew that it was time to start over again, relive the days of romance, the days before Jackson came to them and to try and get her to feel for him what she once did. The first step was bringing her flowers.

  It had been twenty years since Jackson died, and now Hanna—last week, on a Tuesday of all days. It was only fitting that she left him on that day.  Jack looked over the bridge that was on the side of the mountain overlooking the once lively spot where they first met. The hotel where the karaoke bar was had since been torn down, but the bridge on the cliff side was still there. Jack held the urn and opened the hatch and let the contents pass through the breeze. He also brought flowers, the last ones that he would ever give his loving wife.

  Tears streamed down his face as he thought of his life with Hanna and with their son. He didn’t want to live without them. Jackson leaving was hard enough, but with Hanna gone, Jack knew it was time to punch his time card.

  As he went over the bridge, he held a picture of his family in his withered hand and just before he hit the bottom, he heard that old tune once more and smelled the sweet scent of Hanna’s lotion.

  - See more at:

  Challenge 60

  2014 Spring Equinox Final

  The Elements:

  Conveyor Belt


  A pressed rose

  A Glass House


  Danielle Lee Zwissler

  I met him at the airport. He had the most beautiful blue eyes that I had ever seen. It took me a few moments to catch my breath once our eyes met over the conveyer belt where we had just picked up our luggage. Our hands touched…briefly. But it was a moment in life that I will never forget, for I had touched a soul for the first time…for the only time. My heart sped up, my palms were sweaty. I looked down, and he walked away. How could someone walk away after that?

  That afternoon I got the job for American Airlines. It was something that I needed and wanted at the same time. I would finally have something to fall back on–just in case. I have always been a ‘just in case’ girl. My parents weren’t reliable—my father gambled away most of his life savings and my mother was a drunk. She was in and out of rehab most of my life, as I was in and out of
foster homes in between benders. I always had a suitcase packed along with my doll Sarah and a funky looking camera my grandfather gave me.  It was sad really, a life of a little girl—roaming from place to place, always prepared for adventure.

  I learned from childhood not to live in glass houses. There was always something or someone better out there. I knew that from the moment I left for that first time. “Never throw stones” was practically my mantra. I hadn’t had the best childhood, and I wasn’t the best person in the world either. It was something I was constantly working on.

  After I got to my hotel room, I decided to take a look at the beach before turning in. Immediately, I felt my heart hammer in my chest. The man from the airport was there; I just knew it.

  “You,” a male voice said.

  I turned in the direction and was assaulted by the sea blue eyes. “Yes.”

  It was as if two worlds collided into one that day. We came together shortly after in a kiss that I will never regret for the rest of my life. It was he that I was made for.

  The rest of the night was spent in his arms, legs tangled, hearts entwined, a vase full of beautiful red roses beside the bed.

  Jessop closed the journal and placed the pressed rose back in its place. He wiped his eyes once before going out into the hallway. He pulled a black case down from the closet and wiped the dust from its outer shell. He unlocked it slowly, taking small choking breaths before he grasped the Glock in his hands.

  He walked out into the garden where his wife was tending her roses and waited for her to look up. Two bullets later, they both lay in a pool of their own blood, rose buds scattered everywhere like ash.

  Had Jessop read the last page of the journal, he would have seen the words The End and realized his wife was finally fulfilling her dream of being a writer.

  The Iron Writer Challenge #64

  The 2014 Iron Writer Championship

  The Authors:

  Steve Harz – 2013 Summer Solstice Champion

  Don Corcoran – 2013 – Autumn Equinox Champion

  Dani J Caile – 2013 Winter Solstice Champion

  Danielle Lee Zwissler – 2014 Spring Equinox Champion

  The Elements:

  Acquired Savant Syndrome

  A Letter to your older self

  A pet Fairy

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