4 Reasons to Write Short Stories

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For most of my creative writing life, I've tried to write novels. Novels are the pinnacle of fiction writing in the same way oil painting is the pinnacle of art. I thought that if I was going to be a writer, I didn't have a choice but to write novels.

4 Reasons to Write Short Stories

However, recently, my thoughts have changed. In fact, for a few years I locked my novel away in my desk drawer to focus all my attention on short stories.

4 Reasons to Write Short Stories

Here are four reasons why I chose to write short stories instead of novels:

1. The Best Writers Started With Short Stories.

Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, and Mark Twain became famous writing novels, but before they wrote novels, they published short stories.

Ernest Hemingway wrote twenty-four stories about a single character, Nick Adams, writing most of them before his breakout novel, The Sun Also Rises. 

Twenty-one years before The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain published his first short stories in a local newspaper.

Stephen King started submitting short stories at such a young age that by the time he was fourteen he had a stack of rejection letters so thick he could no longer nail it to the wall.

2. They're Practice.

If you don't already know how I feel about deliberate practice by now, just take a second look at our name. Because it's not enough to just practice, you have to practice the right way.

To practice writing deliberately you have to write finished pieces over and over again. What makes short stories so great for writers is that they give you the chance to write a full-length story from beginning to end. You can practice every part of the writing process, and you can do it in a matter of days or weeks.

A novel, on the other hand, could take years to practice the whole process. And if it's your first novel, after all that hard work it probably won't be published.

On top of that, deliberate practice requires regular tests. Researchers as early as the 1890s have found that when people are tested, they improve significantly faster, even compared to people with years of experience at a task.

Compare that to how you write. Do you ever write whatever you feel like, and then wonder why you're not getting better (or worse, why others aren’t responding to your “art”). Writing should be fun, but unless you're doing the hard work of constantly submitting your work for publication, you won't get better as fast as you want to.

Short stories are a training ground, the place where you can make all your mistakes before you jump into the much more difficult process of writing a full novel.

3. You Can Get Published Sooner

According to Duotrope, there are currently over 6,000 literary magazines that might publish your short stories compared to just over 2,700 book publishers. Combined with the fact that short stories take so much less time to write, you might find that you can get published faster if you focus first on short stories.

On top of that, getting your short stories published first can lead to finding a publisher for your book.

“Agents look to literary magazines to find talented emerging writers,” Linda Swanson-Davies, editor of Glimmer Train literary magazine, told me. “If your goal is to publish a book, having first published fiction in literary magazines gives publishers more confidence in the merit and marketability of an author’s work.”

4. Because You Have Stories to Tell.

You should write short stories so you can experience the taut tightrope walk of the moment, the inexhaustible richness of the present.

You should write short stories so your children can read them when they're your age and think, “Wow. My father, my mother was a writer.”

You should write short stories because you're consuming stories everyday, from books and television and movies and newspapers, because you want to stop consuming and start creating.

You should write short stories to discover what your life is for and why you're here and what you're supposed to do.

Don't Wait to Write

In short, writing short stories is one of the best ways to practice writing, get feedback, and get your stories into the world. If you want to grow as a writer, this is one of the best ways to do it.

Not sure where to start? Check out our master list of 100 Short Story Ideas to get inspired. And consider joining a writing contest for the feedback, encouragement, community, and deadlines to help you take that inspiration and turn it into a great story.

(Keep an eye out—we'll be announcing our next writing contest soon!)

We all want to become better writers. Why not start your next short story today?

Why do you write short stories? Let us know in the comments.

PRACTICE

As you're thinking about short stories, I want you to free write. Don't try to write any particular story. Relax. Just let your story take shape on its own.

Write for fifteen minutes. When you're finished, post your practice in the comments section.

And if you post, be sure to give feedback to a few other writers.

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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162 Comments

  1. Oddznns

    Good job! Are we all going to migrate over there now then?

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thanks Oddz. Hopefully not. 🙂 I hope The Write Practice is around for a lot time. This will just help people grow in a more focused way.

      Reply
      • Mariaanne

        I think a lot of us will do both.  I’m planning on being there as much as I can.  

        Reply
  2. Nikki Salisbury

    Thank you for this post!!  I used to write short stories when I was in high school, but then fell away from writing for awhile.  A few months ago, I started getting the hankering to write again and that’s when I found your site.  Every month I try and write a story for the contest, but have yet to finish one in time and enter it.  Regardless, I’m still enjoying writing again, even if it is just for myself right now.  When I decided to try writing again, the thought of writing a novel was just plain scary.  Short stories are the way to go for me.  The idea of carrying a plot for over 300 pages seems incredibly daunting.  I prefer 30 pages or less 🙂 

    Reply
  3. Katie Axelson

    I’ve been struggling with fiction for awhile mostly because I’ve got a love-hate relationship with the novel I’ve been writing (and not writing) for too long. Lately, digging in to short stories has helped me breathe again. I’ve also been reading The Night The New Jesus Fell to Earth by Ron Rash which is a collection of short stories kind of set up like the Canterbury Tales.

    Katie

    PS: I did the practice but it took longer than 15 minutes and is not G-rated, so I’m going to refrain from posting it.

    Reply
    • Rebecca Klempner

      I also think that writing short stories makes a great break from a longer project that is currently frustrating me. 

      I particularly like that you can try out lots of different genres, but the commitment is minimal. When I write long, it’s typically tween or teen SF/fantasy, but when I write short, it might be contemporary fiction, true short story, mystery or historical fiction, and it could be for any age. Each format provides a different type of practice, and lets my brain breathe before I return to the novel-in-progress that haunts me when I sleep and makes me want to pull my hair out. 

      Reply
      • Katie Axelson

        Great point.
        I’m really connect to my characters right now, so I’m using the same people in short stories. It’s helping with character development (even though it’s not always feasible because one’s dead for most of the book yet alive in a short story that would happen later but hey, I can do what I want until I’m submitting them, right?)Katie

        Reply
  4. Marla4

    (Signed up for the newsletter ! Yippee.)

    Her daddy was not her daddy. 
    That was the first thing she told me. 
    We were sitting in the Wide Awake Café, seeing each other for the first
    time in fifteen years.

    “What?” I said.

    Her aunt, the crazy one, told her after Rae’s daddy and mama both
    died.  Rae didn’t believe it at first.

    But then her aunt said, ‘Your daddy went down to the courthouse
    and gave some woman fifty dollars to scratch out Billy Hankins name and add his
    in.  I was there when he did it.”

    So Rae tells me how she found Billy in Tulsa, and when she met
    him, how it was like looking into a mirror, except Billy had a mustache.

    I asked her how it felt – I’m always asking people how things
    feel – since I don’t think I feel near enough myself, and Rae said. “Like I’d
    been set free.”

    Which wasn’t what I expected, since I liked her daddy, well,
    anyway, I liked the man I thought was her daddy, James Ray, who used to carry
    me on his back when I was three or four, that’s how far back we go.

    And then Rae launched into a story about how it all made sense
    now, the trouble at home, and how she was an outcast, like a leper, she said,
    although I’d never seen it.

    She was a handful, is what she was.

    Rae’s telling me about how her first daddy, James Ray, told her
    she’d never amount to nothing, wouldn’t have two hundred dollars to rub together
    in her whole life.

    “He held me back,” she said.

    And I remembered James Ray sitting at the dinner table when Rae
    and I were fourteen, and how he called Rae Cat and how he took her to
    Disneyland in the semi he drove for Garner’s Trucking, and how on that one trip
    she spent five hundred dollars on souvenirs that she passed out at school like
    candy.

    I try to jog her memory, but she just shakes her head and asks
    the waitress for more biscuits.

    And Grandma Dee, she said, “who I now know wasn’t my grandma at
    all, she was always after me, saying I was doing drugs when I wasn’t.

    Well Rae was doing drugs. 
    But I don’t say anything.  I’m
    thinking about when Rae turned sixteen and Grandma Dee brought her twenty
    dollars in a birthday card, and she’d slipped a yellowed Dear Abby clipping
    from the paper that she must have been saving for years.  In the article, Abby was going on about a
    girl’s greatest gift and how she could only give it away once and how the
    one-time offer better be proffered on a girl’s wedding night.

    And Rae said, in front of her mama and daddy and me, “Well,
    Grandma Dee, this here is about two years too late.”

    And Grandma Dee fell out, right there on the sofa, and James Ray
    had to carry her to Rae’s bed, where there on the nightstand was a bowl she
    kept with motel keys in it, from all across the state, little dives where the
    boys took her after football games and barn dances.  Grandma Dee took one look at the visible
    signs of sin and started to whimper.

    Me and Rae slept on the floor that night.

    Then Rae says, “And this one time, when I was eighteen and
    wouldn’t get a job, Mama said, ‘You’re just like your daddy,’ which I didn’t
    get because James Ray worked fifty, sixty hours a week.”

    Which he did.

    But Rae hadn’t worked a day that I know of, and all this talk is
    starting to get under my skin.  I’d have
    killed to have Rae’s real mama and fake daddy, and I want to tell her so, but instead
    I ask about her new daddy Billy.

    “He’s a flat-out jerk,” she says.  “First, he was nice enough. He never
    married.  I asked why and he told me a
    story about how you got to keep your options open.  And I said, ‘Like having a spare tire?’
    because you know I always have one guy I’m seeing and one guy I’m sort of
    seeing, just in case, and I told him that, and it made me feel kind of close to my new daddy Billy.  And then Billy laughed.  ‘Lightweight,’ he said.  ‘You got four tires on a car, and if your luck
    goes sour, and don;t it always? you could blow out all of them, so I keep about four women in
    layaway.’

    “Of course I asked him if he knew about me, and he said of
    course not, but he by God did, I just know he did, and then I needed a little
    money, you know, to have my teeth fixed, and he bowed up real mean.  So we don’t talk now, which is fine with me.”

    We were eating salads then, Rae picking out the tomatoes like
    she’s always done, and I thought back on when my own mama died, and how Rae
    stayed away, didn’t even call for a month after, and how that was what broke us
    up.  I never told her that, and while we’re
    sitting here, I get that same old feeling like I need her to love me, which is
    crazy, I know, but I feel the tug of our childhood, strong as a river, and I
    know she’s about to ask me for money, I see it coming, and I turn red-faced, I
    can feel it, so I take a drink of sweet tea and smile up at her.

    “Did you ever get your teeth fixed?” I ask.  And Rae, she holds her hand across her mouth
    as she’s chewing, like there’s shame behind her lips.

    “No,” she says. “And if I don’t soon, I’m going to lose this
    front one.”

    And without her even asking, I take out my checkbook and start
    to do the figuring.  If I pay my rent
    late, I can give her six hundred dollars. 
    I’m writing her name out, and I’m shaking a little, but I don’t stop
    writing.  What is this drug called
    memory? I wonder.  What is this need to
    be loved?

    and start
    to do the figuring.  ved?

    Reply
    • juwhed

      Good job. Good ending.

      Reply
      • Marla4

        Thank you so much.

        Reply
    • Mariaanne

      Great story Marla.  I like when she says she wants Ray to love her and the tug of the childhood memories is like a river pulling on her.  The end it well put too.  

      Reply
      • Marla4

        Thank you!

        Reply
    • Li

      I love the vernacular. I love the strong character development.

      Reply
    • Debra johnson

      This was really good. I like the catching up the girls did an how the chat went between them. It was simple yet strong.

      Reply
    • Rob Hunt

      I just love this. It has such authenticity.

      Reply
    • Janice Longoria

      I found myself totally wrapped up in their exchange, and I felt that little sick feeling of knowing when she discloses why they broke up. Yet, she helps her long-ago friend despite her shortcomings because they had been so close. It’s an elegant, touching story. Thanks for posting!

      Reply
    • Bruce Carroll

      Glad you’re getting such positive feedback, Marla. I was confused, which I guess says more about me than it does about your writing.

      Reply
    • Charles

      Good job!

      Reply
    • karen

      sounds southern so far narrating a narrative, liked the line “i never told her that while we are sitting here…” If you could expand a dialogue or specific time which would that be.

      Reply
    • CLM

      There’s one in every family. I loved the memory as a drug reference. I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but it does make us do things that make no sense.

      Reply
    • Sanjana Walia

      I loved this wonderful character and feelings of this charachter about what is this need to be loved?

      Reply
    • Peter Evans

      Really enjoyed this Story, loved the dialogue although sometimes I found it tough to keep up with who was speaking but that is probably my issue more than the writing. The imagery and dialogue I found really painted a picture, reminded me of Raymond Carver.

      Reply
  5. Dmullet

    Short stories fell out of favor for a time, but now they are returning. The short story has helped me to learn to develop plot and to hone in on character. Thanks for the post

    Reply
  6. 4u1solo

     What you want is not what you need – is it?

    Posted on August 14, 2012 by 4u1solo

    Tiny’s route covered three counties and took him 4 days to
    complete, average.  Some weeks it took two weeks to cover.  Holidays or
    traffic, remodels, hold-ups, shootings all of them was to be endured. 
    He had his work and that was what he sought, a job that never ended.  He
    delivered pop.  All kinds of pop, well some of his stuff was now a
    drink, juices like.  He owned his truck and he had been doing this for
    eighteen years.
    Tiny was really very large and carrying some extra weight, of course,
    that’s why he was Tiny.  He had his uniform and his electronic scanner,
    his keys, his wallet, his cell phone with GPS.  His wife was tall and
    skinny, almost six feet of never satisfied sex machine and he tanked God
    for her everyday of his life.  His four boys were spitting images of
    their mother and everyone a joy to them both.  His father-in-law was a
    lawyer in Atlanta and had set them up in the business when they got
    married.  He was a great guy and very caring.  His wife had died in a
    wreck years ago.  He really liked his daughter and he wanted Tiny to
    always take care of her – and Tiny wanted that too.
    Over the years Tiny had been in more than a dozen robberies, two live
    births, a hundred slip and falls, three major lawsuits and one arrest. 
    He looked like a rapist and was grabbed during lunch, one day.  They
    let him go at the end of the day, even drove him back to his truck. 
    Tiny once dreamed about writing a book about his life.  He felt he was
    blessed and wanted to share his experiences with others.  His wife said
    she would help.
    Tiny arrived at the Stop & Rob about nine thirty that morning. 
    He had carried in four hand trucks of drinks, unpacked, and stacked.  He
    gave the attendant his scanner printed bill and got a copy signed.  As
    he walked out the door he saw some lottery tickets on the doorway and
    picked them up.  They seemed to be valuable but as he stuck them into
    his shirt pocket he forgot about them and  watched a man and a woman
    kissing each other at their gas pump.  Tiny saw strange things all the
    time on his route, he liked seeing stuff, different stuff.
    A week would pass before she found those tickets in his pocket, she
    had long ago discovered that Tiny often tucked bills and receipts into
    his pocket and would forget them when he pulled into the driveway.  She
    had learned to check each pocket before washing.  She was surprised to
    find the lottery tickets because Tiny never played the lottery.  Then,
    after setting the machine, she thought about the tickets.  She took them
    into the kitchen and pulled out their laptop, the business computer
    where she kept all their financial records.
    It took her awhile to find the lottery site and then she began
    checking the tickets.  The tickets were separate pieces of paper, five
    altogether.  The fifth ticket was a winner with all the numbers,
    including the bonus number.  She pushed back the laptop and stared at
    the ticket.  Had he actually bought them, maybe someone had given them
    to him as a sort of tip.  Maybe he found them.  She called the lottery
    office in Atlanta and asked about the ticket, had anyone claimed the
    winnings.  They said there were no winners that week, so far, but there
    was a winning ticket purchased at a store in her area.  She read the
    numbers to the clerk and the clerk replied “you are a winner”.  She hung
    up in shock.
    Tiny would be home, shortly, and they would talk.  She loved her
    family and her life.  Tiny was everything she needed and wanted – she
    had fought with her father for weeks about Tiny.  Her father finally
    agreed with her and she married Tiny.  With her father’s help and
    careful counseling they were raising the boys and preparing for
    retirement.  They had health insurance and they were paying off their
    mortgage.  She and Tiny loved each other and enjoyed each other – why
    spoil that.  She took the tickets and pushed them into the sink, turned
    on the water, and switched on the disposal.  She was so happy that night
    that she and Tiny did it twice, she felt like having another child and
    loved Tiny for giving her everything she needed.

    Reply
    • Marla4

      I love what Tiny sees on his route. Great images.

      Reply
    • Oddznns

      I love this ending.

      Reply
  7. Cindy Christeson

    She named her Sunshine.  Sunshine’s hair was a mess and a mass of something close to blond, and the little girl liked it just like that.
    “I’m sorry sweetie, she was the only doll they had,” the little girl’s mom said while repeatedly pushing down on the doll’s head, hoping that the friction would somehow control the mop-like chaos.  “They said to check back tomorrow or the next day and maybe we’ll find a prettier doll.  As soon as I get home from work, we’ll wash her really well and I’ll find a way to make her hair look better, or at least go in one direction.  I can try a ribbon, or headband, or maybe a pony tail, and I’m sure I can find something cuter for her to wear….””No, no, no. No bath, no ribbons, no different dress,” the little girl said while holding the doll with a death grip.  “And no different doll.  Sunshine is mine, and she looks just like she’s supposed to look.  You like your dress, don’t you Sunshine?  See Mom, Sunshine is happy, and so am I.  Come on Sunshine, let me show you our room. “The little girl skipped down the short hall to the tiny second bedroom in the little apartment.  The girl held the doll close while skipping and singing.  Her weary mom sighed, but then smiled.  She recognized the song her daughter sang to the second-hand doll that was receiving first-rate love.  The mother hadn’t sung it since they moved to the apartment, but she used to sing it every night.  They may have moved from the big house, but the song hadn’t moved from her daughter’s heart.  It was time to start singing it again.The mother hummed the song, while finishing her chores faster than she’d expected.  She sat on the side of her daughter’s bed, stroking the little girl’s hair while the girl stroked the doll’s.The mom cleared her throat once, smiled and cleared her throat again.  It was time to sing.”You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy…”

    Reply
    • Marla4

      I love this. It’s really hard to get a child’s voice right, but you certainly did.

      Reply
      • Cindy Christeson

        Thank you Marla, I think it helps to be around my 4 small grandchildren!  I appreciate the encouragement, thank you!

        Reply
    • Themagicviolinist

       I like the ending to this one. Sunshine reminds me of my favorite stuffed animal: a cat that used to be white but is now gray. Her neck used to stand up on it’s own, but now flops to one direction or the other since there isn’t any stuffing left in there. She’s about nine years old and I love her just the same.

      Reply
      • Cindy Christeson

        Many thanks to you for your encouragement….I can practically picture your well-loved cat – which is worth much more to you just the way she is because she’s lived so much of life with you!  

        Keep on writing – you are a a gifted young lady!  

        Reply
        • Themagicviolinist

          No problem! I love to help people with their writing.
          Thanks so much! 😀

          Reply
  8. Cindy Christeson

    so many great phrases Marla – there’s shame behind her lips; tug of our childhood, strong as a river;  this drug called memory – great job!

    Reply
    • Marla4

      Thank yo Cindy.

      Reply
  9. Dawnstarpony

    i have a question for y’all. 
    like joe in the beginning of his writing career, i only thought (still think about, for me) about novels. i have written 2 really short flash-fiction kind of short stories (like 1000 words) and planned for 4 more (they are in my own little children’s series about being a good friend and such) and i have some short stories ideas (they were originally novel ideas but then i realized that they just aren’t big enough to be novels)… so i’m not really scared of short stories (wait, yeah i am–you have to be THAT GOOD in such a short amount of space! with a novel, you can at least write yourself into the answer.)more about my situation: i have many novel ideas and i have started many of them. i dont have a finished manuscript. should i switch to short stories **now** (aka giving up on the novels, especially the one i am writing NOW–after I resolved to finish at least 1 MS in my life)?

    i seriously thought about short stories. i especially like joe’s reason about getting published. i mean seriously short stories are awesome for that–not easy peasy but “awesome”.

    so yeah… if anyone has any thoughts, i’d greatly appreciate reading your reply 🙂
    from
    dawn

    Reply
    • Marla4

      I don’t think it has to be an either or, but I would concentrate on short stories for a while. You’ll grow as a writer if you practice here. And good writing is good writing. I had a teacher once who made us take our short story and turn it into a poem, to show us what it’s like to think about what’s absolutely necessary to get your point across. So all writing matters and will lead you forward.

      Reply
      • Joe Bunting

        Well said, Marla.

        I think you have to commit to something. If you don’t finish your work, you miss out huge areas of improvement. But that’s exactly why short stories are so great. They’re much easier to finish.

        Reply
  10. Laura Talley

    I like to free write fiction and short stories during my morning journal times. It’s when I feel most creative and it’s a great warm up! 

    Reply
  11. Ani

    Well, I guess it is just a matter of how you feel about it.
    I started writing in teenage years. It began with poems only, then short essays, then VERY short stories (about 250-600 words). Now I am half way to my first novel 27k words written already. The novel just came to me itself – never planned writing it, but it was such a good idea that I decided not to waste it.

    But in general – I think any type of fiction is good. As long as there are people who are willing to read and as long as those people will feel something while reading what I wrote, I will keep writing 🙂

    btw I finally publishem my first book of short stories. here is the link http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008OKBBKG if anyone is interested.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Congrats on publishing your first book of stories, Ani. That’s so exciting.

      Reply
  12. Themagicviolinist

       The air smelled of pine. If Flora was quiet enough, she could hear the birds twittering to each other, or a squirrel scurrying across the leaves. The woods were a magical place in the early morning. Flora closed her eyes and let the breeze carry her up above the trees. She could see the animals far below her. The trees were getting smaller and smaller . . .

              Flora woke up. The sounds of honking horns and traffic brought her back to reality. She sighed, remembering her old home. She could almost smell the fireplace. If she closed her eyes, she could remember the crackling fire dancing before her. Her old living room had been much cozier around Christmas time. The woods were her favorite place to go before she moved.

              Now the air was musty and her bed sheets smelled like mothballs. Her new apartment in New York was dirty and old. Why did her parents have to get divorced? Why did her little sister Alison get to stay with her mom and play in the woods while Flora had to move to New York with her dad? Most days, Flora was by herself in the apartment. Her dad would go off to work at his office and try and find the ‘next big story’ while Flora stayed in her bedroom and watched TV. Flora had never been alone when they were one big family living in the same house. Even when her mom and dad were working, she always had Alison. And when Alison didn’t want to play, she went to the woods, where she was surrounded by animals and nature. Now Flora was lucky to see a pot of flower outside someone’s’ window.

              Flora didn’t even understand what her mom and dad had fought about. Even though she was thirteen and plenty old enough to understand if they had told her, all she knew was that day after day after day dishes would fly across the house, her mom would yell and then cry, and her dad would throw a chair against the door. Flora had tried hard to talk to each of them, try and convince them to apologize to each other and make up. When that hadn’t worked, she retreated to the woods. Now if something got her down, she could only retreat to her bedroom. And that didn’t make her feel much better.
              Flora glanced at her clock. It was only five in the morning. She closed her eyes again, and she dreamt about the woods again. This was as close as she would ever get to home.

    Reply
    • James Hall

      Beginning uses a lot of Flora, Flora, Flora.

      Your topic gave me an idea of what I wanted to write.

      Again came the rustling in the autumn leaves. Two squirrels played, just barely visible in the bottom of the holler. Silence came once again, as squirrel game of chase flowed into the trees. A bird tweeted, and then swooped to the ground. It bounced around a few times, pecking at the ground. In the serene silence, it sounded like a bear crunching the leaves. The bird, once again, took to flight, tweeting away into the sinking sun.

      Quietly, almost imperceptibly, a soft crunch of leaves approaches from the left side of the holler. Crunch, crunch, silence… crunch, crunch, silence. A deer, barely visible through the foliage of the trees, turned his white-speckled head from one direction to the next. A set of crunches followed him as another deer appeared.

      Dalton could no longer hear the crunching of the deer over the force of his breath. Pressure built in his chest as he strained to keep his breath low and shallow. It did little to hold back the tension that coursed through his body. The white and fuzzy hairs of the deer’s front legs cast shadows over the deer’s brown chest. A splendid, beautiful creature. The creature was looking right at him. Maybe it knew he was there, maybe it– BANG.

      The deer flopped to the ground. Dalton stood up from behind his hiding place upon the hill. What a terribly exciting experience! As he, and his father behind him marched down the hill, he continued to look at the deer. What a terrible experience.

      Reply
  13. James Dibben

    I have always enjoyed short stories above any other kind.

    If I were to write fiction it would be short stories.

    Of course, I have no idea where to start.

    I look forward to reading your book!

    Reply
  14. Bjhousewriter

    It was Monday morning. The sky was over cased and Amy was looking for more of a day that included sunshine. It was her birthday and anniversary and she just wanted to have a cheerful day.

    She had the day all planned out. She has planned a surprise anniversary party for her husband and invited everyone she could thing of. She was so excited as she had received so many invitation back that those people could come.

    It was almost time to go. The party was going to take place at their favorite restaurant. Tom her husband was going to meet her their as he wat work.

    The guessed arrived and now they were wanting for Tom to get there. An half hour went by. No Tom. Where is he?

    Reply
    • Salmon Ammon Cheney

      This could build in a lot of different directions. A mystery, a romance, or a story about Amy overcoming a dependence on Tom. Word choice could use a makeover, but that might be the nature of freewriting and your word processor. Check out “overcast vs. over cased” and “their vs. there vs. they’re” and check tense (present vs. past). Good work.

      Reply
  15. ShortStory Publisher

    Yes. The reasons you mentioned are valid. However I tend to agree more on fourth reason. Short story writing requires a different skill. Many times, I have seen novel writer could not do justice to short story writing. Short story is a snapshot of the life and therefore every word counts. I have compiled 10 Tips for Short Story Writing with Example that may be a good resource for budding writers.

    Reply
  16. Karl Tobar

    Hey Joe (allusion to Jimi Hendrix unintentional) there is a line in this post that says, “You should write short stories because a writer, and you have stories to tell.”
    I hate to be “that guy” who points it out but in a community of writers I think *someone* should say something… 🙂
    Oh by the way, love the post! I’ve purchased the 15 Days book and the Let’s Write A Short Story book. I have them sitting on my hard drive collecting dust because I’m scared to step out of my comfort zone. But I keep telling myself, “After *this* story I’ll submit the *next* one!” Hopefully this time I can do it.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Be that guy, Karl. I’m cool with it. Thanks for pointing it out. 🙂

      You can do it! How can I help motivate you?

      Reply
      • Karl Tobar

        That comment, right there above this one, the part that says, “You can do it!” is pretty motivational! I’m wrapped up in my current short story but here and now I’m making a promise to you and to myself to get started when I’ve finished it.

        Reply
        • Salmon Ammon Cheney

          Good job Karl! New to writing blogs, but a long-time fan of making progress by connecting with others. Karl, you show real courage by reaching out for motivation. You are the type of person that succeeds, believe me!

          Reply
          • Karl Tobar

            Thanks Salmon! For the kind words and for being delicious.

  17. Li

    “Jesus, what a day. Just, can you get me a few logs, or a bottle a Jack, either way, something to keep me warm.” He stood about 6 ft and wore a starched flannel shirt. His voice bubbled above the volleying complaints and a screaming child in the social service room. He pressed his face flat against the plexiglass to privately recount the various ways his wife attempted to kill him; by shovel, axe, and he assumed poison. He wanted to “apply for everything”. He peeled his face back,turned to us, and smiled awkwardly. His nose had obviously been pressed more than his chin.
    She wanted to laugh but her hunger was distracting. Her vow to abstain from eating until she was hired resulted in the loss of 12 pounds. She missed avocados and eggplant the most. It had been 21 days. Almost everyone around her was overweight and slumped, like old moppets, limp and stained. Her thinness made her better than them. And her black wool coat, Columbia, 195.00 from the overstock warehouse gave the impression that she was there on accident or that perhaps something really gruesome, and not at all her fault, had happened. Either way she was not to be confused with the regulars, in fact she was why the system existed.
    He sat beside her despite the array of perfectly vacant seats. She knew he would. In bars she spoke to strippers, drunks, liars, and Bob, who had a love child with Marylyn Monroe and wrote every one of Nixon’s speeches. She knew more about the others than she wanted, before they shared three words. He rearranged his limbs, sighed, coughed pitifully and finally sank into a great snore. She waited a few more earth moving vibrations, then crumpled the blue paper tab stamped 71 and walked home.
    She and William lived together sometimes. Mostly he lived in Boston, she in NY. Four hours by train, 6 by bus, sometimes more, and nearly 1 by plane, though neither had the money for something so convenient. He warmed plates and ground whole seeds and chopped fresh herbs. Her frailness inspired him to create something warm and light on the digestive system. Ginger would give her fever. He settled for for a thin stew of brown lentils with mint, sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice ladled into each dish. It wasn’t the way he liked to cook. He recalled her past hunger and added a few more pinches of salt. He frequently turned the kitchen into a sticky spicy mess and left it to ferment. She of course would scour in his absence the bits of burnished onions and braised carrot recalling these were once her favorite parts. Now what she loved most was the feeling of control it gave her to to clean these cold unsavory bits into the sink and down the drain. They had no power over her. She ate out of curiosity. Hunger had become so commonplace that it had little effect on Her appetite.

    “Jesus, what a day. Just, can you get me a few logs, or a bottle a Jack, either way, something to keep me warm.” He stood about 6 ft and wore a starched flannel shirt. His voice bubbled above the volleying complaints and a screaming child in the social service room. He pressed his face flat against the plexiglass to privately recount the various ways his wife attempted to kill him; by shovel, axe, and he assumed poison. He wanted to “apply for everything”. He peeled his face back,turned to us, and smiled awkwardly. His nose had obviously been pressed more than his chin.
    She wanted to laugh but her hunger was distracting. Her vow to abstain from eating until she was hired resulted in the loss of 12 pounds. She missed avocados and eggplant the most. It had been 21 days. Almost everyone around her was overweight and slumped, like old moppets, limp and stained. Her thinness made her better than them. And her black wool coat, Columbia, 195.00 from the overstock warehouse gave the impression that she was there on accident or that perhaps something really gruesome, and not at all her fault, had happened. Either way she was not to be confused with the regulars, in fact she was why the system existed.
    He sat beside her despite the array of perfectly vacant seats. She knew he would. In bars she spoke to strippers, drunks, liars, and Bob, who had a love child with Marylyn Monroe and wrote every one of Nixon’s speeches. She knew more about the others than she wanted, before they shared three words. He rearranged his limbs, sighed, coughed pitifully and finally sank into a great snore. She waited a few more earth moving vibrations, then crumpled the blue paper tab stamped 71 and walked home.
    She and William lived together sometimes. Mostly he lived in Boston, she in NY. Four hours by train, 6 by bus, sometimes more, and nearly 1 by plane, though neither had the money for something so convenient. He warmed plates and ground whole seeds and chopped fresh herbs. Her frailness inspired him to create something warm and light on the digestive system. Ginger would give her fever. He settled for for a thin stew of brown lentils with mint, sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice ladled into each dish. It wasn’t the way he liked to cook. He recalled her past hunger and added a few more pinches of salt. He frequently turned the kitchen into a sticky spicy mess and left it to ferment. She of course would scour in his absence the bits of burnished onions and braised carrot recalling these were once her favorite parts. Now what she loved most was the feeling of control it gave her to to clean these cold unsavory bits into the sink and down the drain. They had no power over her. She ate out of curiosity. Hunger had become so commonplace that it had little effect on Her appetite.

    Reply
    • Li

      No end in sight.

      Reply
      • Salmon Ammon Cheney

        Good start though. I liked the balance of details from the past and details in the present describe characters simultaneously as then-and-now.

        Reply
  18. Salmon Ammon Cheney

    So what if a 15 minute free write attempt quickly becomes a 40 minute short story? Did I break the rules or excel? I thought I remembered from high school that free writing was usually nonsensical. Anywho, without any proofing:

    There were 20 when the day began and now there are only
    eight. It was the mysterious dozen that seemed to escape no matter the security
    measures, which made Maybell shake her wooden spoon and curse into the dust of
    her lonely cottage. She swore her day in the sun would come, as sure as the
    aches in her joints. Maybell turned back towards the kitchen and began work on
    a new plate, suitable to deliver to her neighbors. She softened the butter,
    broke the brown shells of her home farmed eggs and whisked in the sugar until
    the dough glittered, having just the right bit of grit.

    The timer was set, the oven already heated from the first
    batch. Maybell genteelly placed the tray on the rack, closed the oven door and
    went back to the dining room, hoping to catch the perp red handed. But there
    was no one there, and no sound. The plate of cookies sat there, cold as the 60
    year old table it sat on. And the cookies she counted out, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, …
    Six!? She had prepared the batch fresh this morning after the dozen she had
    made last night seemingly vanished into thin air. She was hot now. She could
    feel the effects of work in her bones and the cool swing on her front porch was
    calling her. She lifted her skirt as she crossed over the gnarled thresh-hold
    and she sat, like a queen looking over the row-homes. She smiled. “I’ll get
    those kids one of these days.”

    Taz and Boomer smiled too. They could hear her swinging as we
    crouched beneath the steps of her porch. We were careful to spot the chocolate
    chip smears on each others’ face. The evidence would convict us.

    A moment later Maybell made her way back inside. Taz and
    Boomer, waited a minute, then cautiously stood and made their way to the screen
    door. The door must be consistently oiled by the airborne Crisco from Maybell’s
    kitchen, it was a hundred years old and but as quiet as sifted flour. It was
    Boomer’s turn, he placed his hand on the door, and began to open ….

    “Gotcha!” From out of nowhere Maybell’s wooden spoon erupted
    from with her huge single tooth grinning behind it. She wielded it like a
    machete, and Boomer nearly fell over backward, but Taz, always clever, spoke
    quick.

    “Howd’ Ms. Mayb’l. Couldn’t help but smell somethin’ sweet
    through ya screen door. Yooz cookin’ somtin? By chance ya need couple o’
    tasters?” Then Taz grinned his 8 year old-grin that had rewarded so many
    scandals.

    “You mean you haven’t been tastin’ my cookies yet today?”
    The accusation in her voice was coolly waved off by Taz, it was Boomer whose
    lips were as tight as his eyes were wide. Sweat began beading on his hairline.

    “Nah Ms. Mayb’l. Ma sent us over las’ night. Said ya had
    somethin’ for her, but we got ‘stracted chasing them howlin’ frogs. Sure is
    loud, aint they Ms. Mab’l?” Cue smile.

    Maybell looked coldly at Taz, half hoping to intimidate the
    truth from him, and half smitten by that damned smile. Taz, could see the
    sparkle in her eye, and cleverly held his ground. “I made y’all a plate a my
    chocolate chip cookies.” she stared coldly a moment more, then submitted that she was beat. “Wait here
    and I’ll fetch the plate.”

    Boomer just about fainted with relief when Maybell turned away,
    but Taz just rocked on his heels and his cowlick stood with arrogant confidence
    against a gentle summer breeze. “Yooz goin’ ta ‘ell for yooz lies, Taz.”

    “I dunno. You think them Pearl’ Gates is squeaky?”

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      That’s fine, Salmon. The 15 minute thing is for two reasons: to not overwhelm writers by the size of the task, and to not overwhelm commenters by the size of the reading. This is for you, though. Use it the way that helps the most. 🙂

      Reply
      • Salmon Ammon Cheney

        I figured as much, but do you think of freewriting as different from stream of consciousness? Because I get them confused, and I don’t see feedback on stream of consciousness as very useful.

        Reply
        • Joe Bunting

          I know what you mean. Technically, stream of consciousness is a literary device to show the thoughts of a character. So feedback on stream of consciousness would be helpful because it’s the intended “finished product.” Where as free writing is a technique, somewhat like brainstorming, to get the author’s thoughts down. In that respect, giving feedback on free writing is probably less helpful, except maybe to pick out bits and pieces that are really interesting.

          Reply
  19. hopy

    I’m not a writer, but when I read this article I found that the stories have a wonderful imagination

    Reply
    • Friv 4

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      Reply
  20. Y8

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    Reply
  21. Yepi Friv

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    Reply
  22. Yepi

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    Reply
  23. kizi 2

    Very good informative post that you have shared and thankful your work for sharing the information.

    Reply
  24. Friv

    I love the strong character development.

    Reply
  25. justusmarcellus

    “I’m too tired,” he said.

    “Too tired my ass!” his father shot
    back. “Get your lazy butt out of bed and mow the lawn.”

    “Fine,” he snapped. His father
    stared at him coldly then left the room.

    “Asshole,” Michael whispered. His father
    suddenly stopped and turned.

    “All the shit I did to raise you
    right. What the fuck did I do wrong?” He turned away and walked down the hall
    to his room. Michael sat and thought about his father’s words. He wondered
    exactly what he meant. Am I actually that bad of a son? He thought. I’ll mow
    the damn grass; just give me a minute to get ready. Michael began to get angry
    and he stood to go confront his father but he heard his father approaching his
    room from down the hall. Michael approached the door to open it when his father
    suddenly burst into the room wielding a large kitchen knife. Michael was stunned
    by his father’s sudden burst of violence but all he saw was the knife coming at
    him again and again. He finally managed to isolate the blade wielding hand by
    grabbing his father’s wrist. His dad began beating him in the stomach with his
    free hand. Finally, Michael stole the knife from his father and, with his eyes
    shut tight, stabbed him repeatedly in the neck and chest.

    When Michael opened his eyes he was
    shocked to discover that the man he had killed was not his father. The corpse
    that lay before Michael was a complete stranger. Though he was every bit as
    tall as his father, nothing else resembled him and he couldn’t understand why
    he had ever thought this man was his father. Michael slowly walked to the
    bathroom to wash his hands. He placed the knife in the sink. As he washed the
    red off his hands, he noticed a slight ringing in his ear that drowned out the
    sound of the running faucet. “There’s a lot of blood,” he said softly. He wiped
    his hands and left the bathroom. While walking past his father’s room, Michael noticed
    something out of the corner of his eye. He turned back and entered his father’s
    room where he found his dad lying on his bed in a pool of his own blood. Michael
    stood, frozen, and observed the body. His throat was cut from ear to ear. His abdomen
    was sliced open vertically with multiple stab wounds in his chest and face.
    Michael left the bedroom. He walked to the bathroom to retrieve the knife and
    returned to his father’s room. Michael approached the bed and inserted the
    blade above his left hip and slowly pulled it across to his right hip. He fell
    down in agony beside his father. “Oh, the smell,” he said as he died.

    Reply
    • Elettra

      I was a bit thrown off by the sudden shift in tone from domestic dispute to psycophatic murder. Perhaps this passage could benefit from a bit of a build up from one section to the other.

      Reply
    • karen

      I would like to re write this for you to fill the speeches. I hope you will rewrite it for yourself see where this goes.

      As a father yells at his only son to help around the house, wished it would be clean for mother, who works all day. I am so tired, said Michael.
      Get your ass to work or leave!
      Then Micheal maddens his temper, while the father figure beats him. Michael was angered enough to fight back. Suddenly an angelic figure swirly winds into the house. Then he looked at the father figure aiming and the angelic lights shines on the fathers open face with no crunching or red eyes nor sharp teeth, Do not be afraid of him she said.
      Michael stepped back and watched this father figure move his feet. He help out his arms and caught the other hands and pressed them up. Then he folded the palms together with his hands on top and brought the hands to chest level. She said do not look in his eyes. Just Breathe.
      Michael walked into his true fathers bedroom filled with aromatic plants and flowers held by the air.
      -What happened, he was shocked. Where did the father go? What did my Father see in me. What could I not see in my father.
      He walked back to the dining room and saw the father figure standing there. Wandering close to him the figure fades away, closing in toward his seat. Then the figure vanishes and he sees the table and one chair. Michael turns around looking for that girl only to walk in sunlight shining through a window. Michael sighs, then smiles and slowly closed the Front door.

      Reply
  26. Elettra

    Galloping through the night on a half-horse of a central Asian equine, with gelid winds blowing down the soft nooks of her neck, Tav rued the day she had embarked on her trip to Tajikistan. “Skyler is moving to Dushanbe for a year, and I have to go with him” was how her friend Astrid had broken the news to her that she was heading off into the Asian steppes, perhaps never to be seen or heard from again. “Octavia, please come visit me?” she added, pleading. Corrupt, post-soviet officials who steal American passports for a laugh and a bit of friendly extortion? Sent to a cold stone jail and pried from my fingernails for
    inadvertently stealing the president’s nephew’s sock? Tav thought, no thanks.

    Three months later she was spilling her guts onto the unfriendly floor of a Russian Antonov as the vessel descended into Dushanbe. It was not exactly going as planned, and the plane was bounding up and down on what seemed to Tav to be a bouncy castle in the sky. Turbulence had chased the flight, no doubt intentionally, ever since it took off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, and it was not about to let up now. It had to be done, Tav thought, it just had to be done, bouncy castle or not. When had she ever passed up an opportunity to go to the dark places of our day? As far as she knew, a little turbulence and passport theft never got in the way of momentous human experience and pivotal world events. Tumult, gunpowder and dramatic landscapes drew her, stone cold prison cells notwithstanding. What was more, was that she had found the perfect activity for her crash course in central Asia’s essence: a horseback riding trip through the Hindu Kush, maybe with a quick dip into Afghanistan if the guide could be cajoled. There was certainly no harm in asking, Tav thought.

    Reply
  27. Kinza Sheikh

    “It was the usual hectic day in my office. Reading loads of stories just to see are they worth publishing, editing them and sending to the board. You got that right, I worked in a magazines publishing department. My dream was to become the editor-in-chief of this magazine. For achieving it, I had extraordinary amount of work to do.
    Around 6 p.m at evening, I got up from my desk and got on my way back to home. That was a thing I didn’t particularly look forward to, in fact there wasn’t anything to look forward to. I hated being alone, and in my house I had to be alone. My mother was herself a busy woman. She teaches at the morning and at the evening she has some tuitions, and her heart was unusually wea. She got so tired by her work that after coming back home, she does nothing but sleep. I hated being alone, but that I was doomed to be. Ever since the day my father died. We both had become work sheeps. The power of that man sometimes amazes me, now that I look back in my life. He used to have 10 hours job, but whenever he returned home. He always had his cheery and fresh attitude. He even managed to take us outside every now and then.
    The day he died, I had been brought to face this life. The soft shadow he had casted upon us, was now gone. We were exposed to the brightness of sun, to bear it alone. ”
    Ahhh thats a crappy paragraph I managed in 15 minutes. 🙁
    But I equally enjoyed the experience. I think I will do this exercise every now and then.

    Reply
    • Bruce Carroll

      I’m glad you found the exercise helpful, even if you didn’t like the results this particular time.

      Reply
  28. Aliquan Ulysse

    well I was wondering that how we make a short story because I don’t understand it. But I like the ending and the beginning.

    Reply
  29. david

    Havercamp looked up from his breakfast and looked straight down the barrel of a gun. He had been in this situation 5 times this month. Gert had begged him go into hiding or at least take his name out of the phone directory but If the truth was known Havercamp had come to tolerate if not enjoy the regular interruptions to his life. He had even taken to leaving his front door unlocked. Some still appreciated a challenge and came in via the back door or even scaled the three storey house to come in via the sky light. Perhaps some saw the open door as insult to their craft.

    This particular morning Havercamp had not heard the intruder come in. Sometimes a breaking of glass announced an arrival but if the assailant was particularly skilled the first he would know of their presence would be a hooded figure in front of his breakfast table.
    He couldn’t quite work out if todays villain was male or female. He liked to keep count. He offered them coffee – he always liked seeing the reaction. Sometimes they accepted but others saw it as another affront to their trade. The latest gun for hire knocked the coffee pot to the floor and spat on the accompanying croissant. Havercamp sighed, stood up and led the way to the master bedroom. The gun-person paused for a second and then followed. In the bedroom plastic sheeting had already been laid over the parquet flooring and Havercamp was relieved to see that his housekeeper had removed the sheets from the bed. He knelt on the floor and removed his toupee revealing a circular target tattooed in blue, red and white. The uninvited guest shrugged, pulled the trigger and left via the open sky light.

    Reply
    • Emilie Guillet

      Your story makes the reader want to know why Havercamp is being targeted by assassins.
      Why did the other assassins not succeed? It does make it somewhat comical that he is faced with yet another assassin, but there should be a reason for their failure. Does he fight back? Or perhaps, it could be changed : he has not been faced with other assassins, but he has imagined how they might come in or how he might react.
      Anyway, I enjoyed reading your story, it made me smile and I was impressed that you managed to construct a closed little piece like this.
      Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
      • B

        hee-hee! What a waste of a good pot of a coffee and croissant! I like that Havercamp. Wanted to read more…

        Reply
  30. You-know-who

    (A short fiction… I need some practice, but let me know how was it. Thank you for the feedback. Good or bad, I’ll greatly appreciate it :)) Happy writing everyone! x)

    “Audrey, I’m taking you tomorrow to the doctor. You’re
    depress.”

    “Mom, stop. I-am-not-de-press. How can you say that?”

    Me and my mom doesn’t talk that much, not until tonight. We’re
    having Pop Eyes mild chicken… again. Which I’m sick of, I just can’t tell her,
    because I can’t even cook and she doesn’t have time to cook, since she’s so
    busy with work. Trust me, I tried cooking, not my forte.

    “The letters.” She is in the kitchen sink washing dishes and
    I, at the dining table holding my dinner knife and fork, not even touching the
    food. I accidentally drop my fork to the floor when she mentioned about the
    letters.

    “Mom, you can’t do that!” I hear the rushing of water from
    the faucet and silence of the night, only the cricket’s sound outside. She went
    out the kitchen and stood at the edge of the table in front of me. She’s
    wearing her floral apron and slightly wipe her hands on it.

    “Aud…”

    “Mom, you can’t touch my stuffs!” I lost appetite and went
    upstairs to my room. I have this little box on my bedside table where you can
    see all my letters. It’s actually a journal or diary, but I put it in an
    envelope with a sign saying “open when…” (You are bored, happy, depress, you
    are feeling alone, etc.), to remind myself about the feelings I possess for the
    last ten months since dad died. It helps me a lot to feel better. It’s like
    someone is talking to me, even though I wrote everything myself.

    My father is a businessman and after the company fell apart,
    there’s no choice, but to shut down everything. The staffs lost their job, so
    is my dad’s position. It was hard to find work, so he tried working in a factory.
    Every day, I can hear him and my mom argue from downstairs. The next day, I can
    see how a mess our house was. Broken vases, dirty piled dishes in the sink, bottle
    of empty beers, messy clothes everywhere. Our life has been a mess after dad
    lost his company’s job. My mom complained about the month’s mortgage and bills,
    because their salary isn’t enough to cover the expenses.

    Ten months ago, the worst event happened in my life. I heard
    noises from downstairs. It was almost three in the morning. My mom was sitting
    on the floor, as people were trying to talk to her. It was the police. I stood
    on the stairs listening to what had happened. My dad’s car crashed from a
    bridge while driving. He was drunk. My mom stuttered, whimpered, shaking, and
    calling my dad’s name as the hospital announced his death over the phone.

    I wanted to hug her, but I can feel the sting too. I wanted
    to cry, but there’s no tears coming out of my eyes. I can’t breathe. I was
    suffocated. I was alone. I locked myself in a few months, we moved to a smaller
    house and school, I don’t have friends anymore.

    At the end of my letters, a piece of white paper was folded.
    My mom wrote it, I can tell from her penmanship. It looks calligraphic and
    neat. It was pretty long. In that letter, she told me I was never alone. That
    every day, she’s also trying to survive, because I am her only strength. She
    was sorry for me and half blaming herself for what had happened. She doesn’t want
    to lose me.

    After reading everything, I cried. A lot. I’ve been trying
    to keep my emotions, but I didn’t realize this is all I need. A good cry. I was
    crawling into my bed, hugging myself like a fetus. I’ve been selfish, and a bad
    daughter. I never cared for my mom a very long time. I miss her. I love her. So
    much.

    I went downstairs quietly and found my mom drinking wine
    with her apron still on. It’s been a long time. Her wrinkles are starting to
    appear, which I didn’t notice before. The bags under her eyes are visible and
    her eyes are swollen from crying. I have never seen my mom cry after the
    incident. She suddenly wiped her tears when she saw me. She is a strong woman.
    She has always been.

    I came closer and hugged her tight. I can feel the warmth as
    she hugged me too. There are no words. Only silence and emptiness of the night.
    But in that moment, we are both complete and I know, this is a new beginning
    for the both of us.

    Reply
  31. Fernanda Arguello

    I have that typewriter!!!!

    Reply
  32. Julie

    Interesting that you say novel writing is harder than short stories. For me it is the other way round. I have big ideas covering longer periods with more characters, and I struggle to think of contained, small scale stories. I don’t know how to get past this, even having read all the advice including your book!

    Reply
  33. Winfred

    Stepping into the line that snaked through the backstage and
    then along the back and side wall down on the floor of Coleman Coliseum, she
    felt a lot of things. But nothing that resembled peace. For over half an hour,
    she had been sitting in her seat. There she had hid her seething rage behind
    perfectly lined lips, pretending to pay attention as name after name was called
    in a seemingly endless procession of graduates across the state.

    Atop her head sat the final indignity, burning into her scalp a lesson she intended to share with the rest of her crowd as soon as the public pomp and circumstance allowed
    her a private moment with them. Today’s battle with Ninny Chrissy, her
    grandmother, centered on the little square measuring one foot by one foot bobby
    pinned to her head. There it sat, mocking the effort and expense she had
    invested in getting a brand new human head of hair woven the Wednesday before
    the ceremony. Sure enough, that graduation cap had turned into a real “conversation
    starter” among the other grads.

    After all, any honest person who saw it had to say something. It simply refused to be
    ignored. To her shock, however, the majority of the comments were not derisive
    and mocking. Quite the contrary, she could tell by the looks on their faces and
    in their eyes that people seemed to genuinely like it, even admire it.
    By the time the line had made it backstage, folks were gathering by her side to
    have their pictures taken not so much with her but with her grad cap. Against
    her own will, her heart began to ever so slightly soften toward it, and open to
    the reality that Mama Nell probably had spent a long time on it. Her love for
    her great-grandmother, who had not been able to make it to the ceremony, began
    to overshine the resentment she had felt toward wearing something so very not her.

    Red and white poms poms, each one the size of Ta’quila’s little
    palm, had been craftily affixed to it. Peering into the trunk of Ninny’s long
    pearly white Cadillac as her Ninny Chrissy pulled away the red and white tissue
    paper carefully protecting its treasure, Ta’quilla’s eyes had grown large.

    “I ain’t wearing that,” Ta’quilla spit out emphatically. “So you
    can just go on and leave it right there, Ninny. You can just take that mess
    right back to Birmingham.”

    Slowly, dangerously, her Ninny had turned around, straightening
    up every inch of her four foot nine inch height, drilling her eyes into her
    grand-daughter from underneath a hat with a brim almost as wide as she was
    tall. “Who.do.you.think.you.are, Ta’Quilla Rochelle Dorsey? Telling me ‘I ain’t wearing that,” she spit in a
    mocking tone, daring Ta’quilla to talk back.

    “So you think you come to Tuscaloosa, get you a degree, livin’
    the high life on my dime, thinkin there ain’t no need to remember who you is
    and where you come from, and now because of some fool piece of paper some white
    lady going hand you tonight, one that I
    bought you, lest you forget, you can do and say whatever you want? Tacky, we didn’t
    work and scrimp and save for you to come get uppity on your own folk. No ma’am.
    You will wear what I tell you to wear. More than that, you will sit your sassy
    tail down and and you write Mama Nell a thank you note before the end of the
    day, promising her a picture soon as you can get it print and sent. That is
    what you will do.”

    The Making of the Mortarboard

    After J.J., Ta’quilla’s cousin, had graduated from high school
    last spring, Mama Nell had gushed over all the glittery grad caps for the whole
    summer. Since she had been in a rare funk since her youngest brother Melvin had
    unexpectedly died that winter (at 97), the family encouraged her to make one
    for Tacky. “After all, Mama, it’s less than a year since she graduated. And who
    knows what with her studying that marketing and public relations – your
    original creation might be the Next Big Thing!”

    Mama Nell took to the project like ants to a picnic. Her
    solitary, sullen mourning for Uncle Mell had clearly entered the “anger” stage
    of grief, however, and what had started out as a happy diversion quickly
    morphed into nothing but pure trouble for all around her. Every stage of the
    project seemed a fresh opportunity for her to vent about the world headed
    straight to hell.

    It started in July when she asked J.J. what he had done with
    his, and got him to dig it out of the big pile of junk in his room he had
    thrown to the side when packing for college. Looking around his room with
    wide-eyed horror at the rap posters and general mess, he got a headful of
    lecture about The State of the World Today.

    In August, Auntie Christine tried to get Mama Nell to agree to
    let her order the materials online, but Mama Nell had read an article in one of
    her church magazines about terrorists using computers to tear down the country.
    So Auntie Christine and anyone visiting for the next few weeks heard about the
    Horrors of Technology, according to the Bible no less. Sometimes she veered
    back into the July rant about the State of the World Today.

    Uncle Freon (don’t ask) ventured the real reason Mama Nell hated
    computers so much was she knew she couldn’t find the power switch if her life
    depended on it. Mama Nell was generally sweeter than molasses, but hated to get
    shown up by anything or anyone. It hadn’t helped that Auntie Christine had been
    a little sassy in pointing out that Lee Wards’ had “been closed since way
    before the new millennium” when she offered to order craft supplies off of the
    internet. That didn’t go over well. At all.

    Only Shaya promising to share her employee discount at Michael’s
    got Mama Nell moving again. Suddenly she was a coupon clipping, shopping maniac.
    Aunt Christine, the only one with a car and time during a weekday to drive was
    suddenly out of the doghouse and on chauffeur duty, loading up on supplies. By
    then, Auntie Christine was already regretting ever taking her mama to J.J.’s
    graduation and thus getting her all inspired for this fool project.

    All this to say, by Ta’Quilla’s graduation day, the entire
    family had bound and determined that Tacky was going to enjoy that pom pom art
    if it killed her. In fact, Auntie Christine offered to go ahead and wring
    Tacky’s skinny neck herself if she acted anything less than thrilled. And since
    Mama Nell couldn’t come herself after breaking her hip in February, it was up
    to Ninny Chrissy to make present the gift. Given Auntie Christine’s death
    threat, Ta’quilla got off pretty light with Ninny Chrissie’s blessing out.

    Reply
  34. cutiepie

    they was a litle girl her name is ruby . ruby was such a sweet baby she had very loving parents and an older brother name thomas . they live very well . they enjoy they family.
    as the kids grew up they were very happy .

    Reply
  35. Emilie Guillet

    I never thought I would be sitting behind my computer screen at work writing away like I was being paid to do just that. It’s the detachment of the final hours. I am days away from walking out the door of this building for the last time. Once more, I am turning my back with little care for what I leave behind. Saying goodbye to places and friends has always been a part of me. I get the itch to move on every couple years or so. It’s the result of having grown up in a semi-nomadic family. Always on the run, always looking for that greener grass, always seeking anonymity.

    That’s what I enjoyed the most when I first moved to the city. I loved staring out from the mountaintop and watching the city lights grow brighter as the sky dimmed. I would spend those minutes imagining all the souls rushing home, getting ready for a party, reading in the metro and I would feel content knowing that none of them were thinking of me. None of them knew me.

    The itch to leave the city tingled four years ago, but I have stayed and now the anonymity is gone. On solitary, cold winter walks, I can still achieve that feeling of complete freedom, but then, I may bump into a friend or be tempted to walk into a familiar store and it will be gone instantly. Anonymity is freedom. If you have never moved, never been somewhere where no one knows you, you cannot imagine the trepidation of the possible lives you could live.

    Reply
    • evie

      Nice piece Emilie!

      Reply
    • Peter Evans

      I love this, found it very inspiring. It seems to have a beautiful pace and feel to it, I would love to read more of this.

      Reply
  36. Chris Kok

    ‘Just go with it. Don’t think. Just do it.’
    All that seemed easy for Raoul to say. He wasn’t the one standing on the rusty railing of a bridge, struggling to keep his footing, while at the same time trying to find the guts to step off. He wasn’t the one with an elastic rope tied around his ankles. He wasn’t the one whose skull would travel the length of his body and exit out of the tips of his toes, should the rope prove even the slightest bit too long.
    Another gust of wind, coming close to making the decision for me. Fucking wind.
    ‘I’ve done this a million times, it’s totally safe. You’re gonna be fine, James. I swear.’
    Swear. Right. Swear on who? On what? God? Raoul wasn’t religious. He’d told me so on the ride over here. His mother? Right. His parents had long ago severed ties with him due to his – as he put it – flagrant displays of homosexuality. He didn’t have any kids. Even if his swearing had meant a damned thing to me, the only thing I would be able to do by way of vengeance, would be to haunt him.
    Who in his right mind would trust a man who’d done this a million times, anyway? That was just insane. My right hand, soaked in sweat, renewed its slippery grip on the bridge post.
    “I think I might be having second thoughts about all this, Raoul.”
    “That’s totally normal, James. Don’t give in to it. Just jump. You’ll love it.”
    What do you know about what I love? I love coffee with a cigarette. I love Friends. I love having my skull nestled behind my face, rather than sticking out from under my toenails.
    Raoul sighs. He exaggerates it. There are other people waiting. They are whispering among themselves. I faintly hear the word ‘coward’. It’s time for me to shit, or get off the pot.
    ‘Okay, I’ll do it. I’m going to do it. I’m going to jump.’
    ‘Good man.’
    I let go of the post, and balance on the railing. I close my eyes.
    I shit my pants.
    It happens quietly. I am so preoccupied, and it happens so quickly, I don’t notice until it’s all out. It’s warm and heavy in my underpants. I feel it trickling down my leg. Soon, the smell hits me. It hits Raoul. It hits the others. Their hands rise to cover their noses and mouths.
    Suddenly, the thought of dying down there doesn’t seem so bad.
    I take a step forward, into nothingness, and fall.

    Reply
  37. John Pitt

    This is just a rough draft let me know. Thank you.
    As the night approaches the lover gets lost in the stillness of the time. Gazing out into the sky wondering wishing praying. No voice, no sound. just a whimper from the sound of a heart breaking. The loneliness of the night falls upon him. His pillow because moist from the tears he sheds for the love of his life. One that has made him feel a love once lost , but now stronger then ever in his life. He dives deep into his mind to fine a thought a picture a touch a feel that is missed. He sheds tears for a love he doesn’t see but only feels.
    He prays day in and day out. But not knowing, the mystery, the thoughts. He becomes confused he rides the rollercoaster of the night and becomes tired from the stresses of the thoughts. Not knowing where things will be or what’s to come. But still in all the fury and the noise of society he dreams and thinks and knows of only one thing. He loves her more then life itself. As he waits he becomes more saddened n wonders when life will give him a chance once again.
    For he loves only one the one he awaits and that one he dreams of in hope will be with him forever. It is hope that will get him through until the time is right.

    Reply
  38. John Pitt

    As the night approaches the lover gets lost in the stillness of the time. Gazing out into the sky wondering wishing praying. No voice, no sound. just a whimper from the sound of a heart breaking. The loneliness of the night falls upon him. His pillow becomes moist from the tears he sheds for the love of his life. One that has made him feel a love once lost , but now stronger then ever in his life. He dives deep into his mind to fine a thought a picture a touch a feel that is missed. He sheds tears for a love he doesn’t see but only feels.
    He prays day in and day out. But not knowing, the mystery, the thoughts. He becomes confused he rides the rollercoaster of the night and becomes tired from the stresses of the thoughts. Not knowing where things will be or what’s to come. But still in all the fury and the noise of society he dreams and thinks and knows of only one thing. He loves her more then life itself. As he waits he becomes more saddened n wonders when life will give him a chance once again.
    For he loves only one the one he awaits and that one he dreams of in hope will be with him forever. It is hope that will get him through until the time is right.

    Reply
  39. Bruce Carroll

    My novel is a collection of short stories featuring the same protagonist. There is an “arc” that reaches across the whole novel, but about every two chapters or so is a story all on its own. The result is admittedly episodic, and I think of it as a television series. (Sort of.) I try to make sure the character grows from one “episode” to the next, or at least that the reader learns something more about her.

    Reply
  40. Devora Porter

    Here is the first chapter that I wrote this morning. I would love some feedback. I am a new writer and looking to start out in short stories. Thanks!
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Any day working for his father in law was hell. Jamison had learned that early on. But
    some days were worse than others and this was definitely one of those days.

    Jamison had been married to Robert Franklin’s daughter for almost five years. He had
    thought this was his ticket to success. Robert Franklin was one of the most
    successful business men in America. When Jamison had first married Katherine, Robert had taken him under his wing, made him his right hand man and was grooming himbto someday take over the family business. Katherine was an only child and Robert’s only heir. Someday Jamison would have control of the vast Franklin Industries.
    Or at least that is what he had always believed. Now five years into it he was
    having serious doubts.

    In the beginning he was taken with Katherine’s beauty and her wit. She was his second
    cousin on his father’s side. Jamison was from the more “destitute” side of the
    family. His father had died when he was just 10 and had left his mother with
    just enough to get by.

    Jamison had known Katherine all his life. She was 5 years younger than him and had been at many family gatherings over the years. In truth Jamison had paid little
    attention to the little girl with strawberry blonde curls, long legs and a very
    free spirit. But things changed as they both reached their “marriageable
    years”. It wasn’t exactly an arranged marriage. No, more like a “pushed in the right direction” arrangement. Jamison needed a wife, preferable one with
    the right social standing and Robert Franklin needed an heir for his vast
    fortune. After all he couldn’t just leave his fortune to his rather wild and
    free spirited daughter. She needed a husband. One that Robert Franklin could
    groom or better yet control. Jamison Franklin had seemed like the perfect
    choice.

    After five years of his father-in-law belittling him not just in front of employees but
    even in front of business associates, Jamison was at his wits end. To add insult
    to injury for the past year Robert Franklin had been hinting at changing his
    will, leaving his entire estate to some long lost relative. Oh he would make
    sure Katherine and her husband would be taken care of. Jamison could still work
    for the company, they could keep the slightly upscale, all be it modest, home
    that Robert had given them as a wedding present and Katherine would receive a
    small monthly stipend for “living expenses”. But it had become increasingly
    clear that Jamison Franklin was not going to be taking over the family fortune
    any time soon, perhaps never.

    But today felt like the last straw. Robert had promised Jamison a healthy bonus once they closed a major deal with the US government to build all of their new
    battleships. After all Franklin Industries was the largest ship builder in the States,
    it was only natural that they would win the contract and Jamison had made sure
    that was exactly what happened. It had taken him almost 18 months of late night
    meetings, unending glad handing and a far bit of maneuvering but finally Jamison
    had not only closed the deal but at a higher profit margin than even Robert
    expected. This deal had made Franklin Industries the talk of the town. If Jamison
    knew anything about his wife, Katherine was already spending the generous bonus
    in her head. She had a taste for fine things, at least finer than what Jamison
    had been able to provide. Now Jamison was going to have to explain to his wife
    that her father had reneged on his promise and there would be no bonus. Worse
    than that he needed to tell her that she was no longer the heir apparent. That
    was one conversation he was not looking forward to.

    Fortunately, one of the perks that Robert had insisted on when Jamison joined the firm was a membership at his club. It was, the place that men of prominence met,
    socialized and ruled the world from. Jamison would stop buy on his way home.
    Perhaps a few shots of liquid courage would give him the right words to tell Katherine
    the news that he knew he would somehow be blamed for.

    Katherine Franklin was a force of nature. Raised in a wealthy industrialist’s family she knew the benefits that came with social status. Unfortunately, the very short financial leash her
    father kept her and Jamison on only added to her already frustrated nature. She
    was a social climber but if her father kept being such a miser she would never
    find her way into the social circles she craved so much.

    She knew Jamison was getting a sizeable bonus for the project the company had just complete. And a well desired bonus, Katherine might add. After all he had spent almost every evening the past six months working late. At least that is what he had told her
    and she had no reason to suspect anything different. Jamison loved her,
    actually he adored her. He would do anything to keep her happy. She was his
    ticket to success, a success they both wanted for very different reasons.

    Jamison’s time at the club didn’t have the desired effect, in fact quite the opposite.
    After four meetings with Jack Daniels he not only had to go home and face Katherine
    with no more idea what to say then when he entered the club, now he had to do
    it slightly drunk. Slurred speech was not going to help his case.

    As he poured himself into his black wool overcoat and stepped out into the cold night air a feeling of foreboding only increased in Jamison. Maybe it was the moonless
    night, or the sudden onset of Fall but something felt unsettled in his spirit.
    Well the sooner he got home the sooner he would have this mess behind him. But
    after tonight he knew he needed to do something about Robert Franklin. The man
    was ruining his life. A life he deserved and by God would have.

    Even though the night air was crisp it was a relatively calm evening and walking the ten
    blocks to the townhouse he and Katherine shared would clear his head.

    Just as Jamison turned the corner he caught sight of three men loitering around the alleyway. Normally he paid little attention to such. New York had its share of men down
    on their luck even though the city was prospering in the aftermath of the Civil
    War. Still the number of immigrants flooding into the city, not to mention the
    number of drunks made for easy pickings if the right victim came along. And
    that is just exactly what Jamison Franklin had become.

    “Well, well what do we have here mates? Looks like a member of society that’s come to help the poor. Wouldn’t you say Johnny?”

    “Yes, sir.An angel of mercy come to our rescue.”

    It was in that moment that Jamison saw the glimmer of steel in the reflected lamp light.
    Why had he decided to walk home? How stupid could he have been. Just when he thought this day could not get any worse he saw the bigger of the two men lunge for
    him. As he ducked, the other man knocked his feet out from under him landing Jamison
    with a crashing fall on his back, his head slammed against the wall of the
    alley. Would they just rob him or was taking his life the end game? Either way Jamison
    Franklin knew he had no hope of fighting these guys off. While fairly muscular,
    he was also fairly slight. And definitely not a fighter.

    It was in that moment, in that flurry of fists and swearing and loud clamor that Jamison Franklin’s life changed forever.

    “Let me give you a hand mate”

    Give me a hand? Who was this dark hulking figure that was leaning over him? One minute he was seeing his life flash before his eyes and in the next second a five-foot
    six-inch mass that was as broad as it was tall was offering him a hand up.

    As Jamison accepted the help up he couldn’t shake the confusion. All around him lay the unconscious bodies of his assailants and before him a total stranger who looked
    almost more fierce than the two on the ground.

    “Good thing I came along when I did those two look like they were not just interested in
    picking your pockets. A gentleman such as yourself probably shouldn’t be walking
    the streets alone at night at least not in your condition”

    My condition, who did this riffraff stranger think he was? Preaching to me about
    my “condition” and implying I could not take care of myself!

    It was then that Jamison realized this hulk of a shadow had not only saved his life but
    done it in front of the porcelain doll face that was standing in the shadows a
    few feet away.

    “I’m sorry, thank you of course. You saved my life. Jamison Edwards” he said as he reached out in introduction to shake the man’s hand.

    “Finnius, Finnius O’Mal…uh Molloy. Finnius Molloy. My friends call me Finn. This is my wife Fiona. Just glad we came along when we did.”

    “What can I do to repay you?” Jamison asked as he reached for his wallet.

    “There is no need for repayment sir.”

    “There must be something I can do to repay you. You saved my life.”

    “The misses and I just arrived in town. In fact, just a few hours ago we left the ship that
    bought us to the promised land. Right now the thing we need most are jobs and a
    place to stay.”

    The promised land, Jamison couldn’t help but admire the guy’s optimistic attitude. When had the promised land ceased to exist for him? Unfortunately, he knew all too well. It had been the day he started working for his father-in-law.

    “Well Finn, its seems today is both of ours lucky day. It so happens I am in need of a
    valet and my wife could use a lady’s maid if you are interested. The pay would
    be modest to start with depending on your experience. But you would also
    receive room and board.”

    “I do have experience sir. I worked as a parlor maid for a very wealthy English family
    back in Ireland.”

    As soon as the words were out of Fiona’s mouth she regretted it. Hadn’t she and Finn just talked about not giving out any information about their past? They were
    fugitives from the law and the British Crown was not so inept that it could not
    reach across the Atlantic and find them if it so had a desire.

    “Well good, then we are all set.”

    “My wife will be thrilled that I have found someone to help with the household and Finn
    I suspect you will find yourself working as my bodyguard as much as a valet in
    the days ahead. That right of yours is something else.”

    Little did Finn’s new employer know that right was just what caused them to flee their
    home and all that they loved.

    Reaching home Jamison could only hope that the addition of two staff to help around the house would soften the blow when he tells Katherine that her father once again
    reneged on the promised bonus. It was not like it was the first time that old
    man Franklin had stiffed him, but somehow it was always Jamison’s fault in Katherine’s
    eyes. Her one goal was to climb as high as she could in social status and that
    took funds as she so well reminded him of everyday.

    Reply
    • Joe Volkel

      This is a good story, but I have a little with the tense of the story – too many “had been”‘s etc. I am not sure what that is called, but I think they could be simplified into “was” or “did” etc. I am not a professional or anything and I am just sharing my opinion. Keep up the writing!

      Reply
  41. Debra johnson

    Would love feedback …. this is my 15 minute writing…. some days I write a lot in 15 minutes some days not so much… Thanks in advance.

    “Cecelia had always said she lived the first fifty years now the
    next fifty she was going to spend writing all that she learned. The one thing
    she really wanted was to open a ranch for disabled kids. So she spent her whole
    young life working at making money and saving it in various locations that she
    and others didn’t know.

    Offhand she didn’t know because she had forgotten since she had others in financial institutions place money in savings accounts as well as places where she would be able to have her money work for her. However, where these places were at and just how much she had in these accounts, she didn’t know. All of that information was in a ledger in a safety deposit box. So when the time came she would have access to them. What she added these last few years was in a bank account savings account just miles from where she lived. When the time came she and a friend would go and retrieve the cash to invest in the ranch and business she wanted to start.

    Reply
    • John Obelenus

      One quick question – Have you read this aloud to yourself listening to the phrasing and grammar? Reading something out loud is a great way to find errors in grammar and sentence structure. If at first you don’t pick any errors up, try recording and playing back your recitation….

      Reply
      • Debra johnson

        Thanks, I have not yet read it back to hear it. But I will Eventually I would like to make it a longer short story

        Reply
  42. S.Ramalingam

    You are right.If a writer is a novice and of course an aspiring writer, considering the scope of a short story, it is the best bet to become a matured writer gradually.Besides, short story writing helps a writer to begin from the scrap and as he goes on writing, his mental horizon gradually expands and makes him get acclimatised to creative writing.Once his short story gets published, it makes him embark upon into the next level to venture into a novel..

    Reply
  43. Mary Y

    I would be excited about this concept, but I have seen few authors who were published with a novella or short story before a novel in the last years…not talking about self-publish here as I am not sure about that for myself…ideas? publishers interested? Christian Historical Fiction is my interest.

    Reply
  44. Debra johnson

    I would love some feedback on this piece, it looks like it can be chapter one of a short story. But need help fleshing the characters out a bit. Thanks…

    AIRPORT LAYOVER

    Cara didn’t want to go home, at least not like this. Yet here
    she stood at the gate waiting to board the plane back home. But it wasn’t her fault she was going
    home. She was going back to join her
    family in mourning the loss of her grandparents’.

    Suddenly a male’s voice came over the loud speaker:

    “We are sorry for the inconvenience, but flight 243 to
    Lillington, North Carolina has been delayed 30 minutes due to weather. We are working as fast as we can to resolve
    this issue and have you on your way as soon as possible.”

    “Well that’s just wonderful.” Cara huffed.

    “Is everything alright?” A deep voice asked behind her.

    “Just peachy.” She
    continued in her sarcastic tone. Turning ready to say something else she
    suddenly stopped.

    “Oh what’s wrong?”

    For a moment she was frozen unable to speak because of his
    looks. Shaking her head, she cleared her throat.

    “My flight has been delayed thanks to this… weather.” She continued to talk. But the longer she spoke the more she wondered
    if she really wanted to continue talking then figured why not after all she did
    have 30 minutes to kill. She could always add it to the other encounters she
    didn’t have.

    “Sorry to hear that.
    Names Jake by the way. Can I buy you a drink?”

    “I’m Cara…Thanks, that would be nice.” She answered now
    snapping out of her trance.

    “Then let’s go.” He smiled at her as they turned to head to
    the airport lounge.

    As they walked they
    chatted about mundane things like where their final destination was, and the
    fun of traveling when one was on deadlines of one kind or another.

    Entering the lounge area, they began looking for empty
    seats. “Over there,” he said spotting
    two in the corner. He then took her elbow ushering her to the seats. Just as
    they sat down a barmaid came over.

    “What can I get ya?” She said chomping on a piece of gum.

    “Another barmaid.” Jake answered without thought.

    “Suit yourself.” She shrugged and waked away.

    Within seconds another woman walked up. Nodding her head
    first to Jake than Cara she spoke. “Sir,
    Ma’am. What can I get you at the bar?” She emphasized by placing two napkins in
    front of them.

    “Two Merlo’s and a plate of appetizers.” He said then turned
    to Cara. “are you allergic to shrimp?”

    “Nope.” she replied.

    “Good.” He then turned back to the barmaid. “That will do it for now. Thank you.” She
    tuned to leave when he stopped her. “Oh by the way, who was that other woman?”

    “She’s the latest in Paul’s picks.”

    “Ahh okay.” He said as if he understood the meaning behind
    it. “She’s a piece of work.”

    “You have no idea. I have had several complaints about her
    already just tonight, I hope he lets her go. We are going to lose a lot of
    money because of her.”

    “If you like I can speak to Paul.”

    “Nah, if it gets too bad I’ll let ya know. These young
    inexperienced waitresses come and go. Some are only here to get enough to help
    pay for what daddy doesn’t for college.

    “True, he has had some winners in the past.”

    She laughed, “That he
    has. I’ll be right back with those
    drinks.” She then said and turned to leave.

    I just sat there listening until it was just us again. “You
    seem to be well known around here.”

    “Yep, I travel through here often for business. This is one
    of my favorite airport lounges in fact”.

    “Ahh,” She said nodding.

    His brow crossed, “You really don’t know who I am do you?”

    “No should I?”

    “I’m Jake Robertson. ….”

    I was puzzled because he said his name like I should know who
    he was.

    “The Jake
    Robertson. From Comtel Industries?” He continued now a bit baffled. I really
    didn’t know who he was. “One of the
    richest men in America……”

    “Well it’s nice to meet you.” I said again.

    Not sure what to say now he just shook his head.

    “What’s wrong?” I asked looking at him.

    “You just don’t act like most of the women I meet and mention
    that to.” He said still trying to figure me out.

    “Well why do you feel the need to add that you have money?”

    For a moment he just sat there. Why had he done that? To see if they wanted to get to know him as a man
    or because he had money? At first he had to admit it was to impress the women,
    but after a while life alone was beginning to make the nights long, cold, and
    lonely.

    “Honestly, maybe a little of both. I wanted to see if they
    like me for me or my money?” He finally said.

    “Well this is one woman you can add to the list of those who
    saw you as a man first.”

    “I will do that.” He said just as the overhead speaker
    squelched.

    “All those passengers waiting for flight 243 to Lillington
    South Carolina can now line up at gate 12. Please have your tickets ready.”

    “Oh! That’s me.” She
    said getting to her feet and gulping the last of her drink. “It was a pleasure meeting you. May you find
    what you are looking for.” She said rushing toward the gate not wanting to miss
    it.

    As she hurried to her gate, she passed a man who was on his
    way to Jake.

    “Who was that?” The man asked.

    “Someone who seemed to be interested in me and not my money.”
    Jake answered still watching her as she walked away.

    “Seems to me someone like that would be worth pursuing.” The
    man replied looking in the same direction as Jake.

    “You could be right old boy…. Let’s go we have a plane to
    catch.” Jake said as they began walking
    back into the terminal.

    The end.

    Reply
    • Rob Hunt

      Hello, Debra. I will put together some feedback soon. Got to get to work now.

      Reply
      • Debra johnson

        Thank you, I look forward to it. I am re-looking at it myself and doing an outline and character description now.

        Reply
        • Rob Hunt

          Hello again. I love the idea of the encounter between the two of them coming from circumstance. Your girl just wants to kill some time while the air traffic untangles itself.You have probably already edited all this since but I just wanted to say I like the idea and the way you unfold it. There is one line in it that I will pick on if you haven’t already noticed it, and that’s the line where it says “Peachy” she said sarcastically. Just the response alone is sarcastic so need to add the description. I also like the fact that the guy is a little out of his comfort zone with her. I look forward to seeing what you do with this story. Loads of potential here. Rob

          Reply
          • Debra johnson

            Rob thank you for your thoughts…..I’m now beginning to look at the story and try to figure out where to take it…. I thought the same thing about the word peachy. ( was going for word count for the assignment as well here. but will take out that comment. ) Not sure how long it will take to do the rewrite, but hopefully I can re-post draft 2 here.I’m sure it will be longer.. And yea he is so totally out of his comfort zone… I am liking these characters already and I’ve only begun to touch on their character descriptions…

    • Mopedi girl

      Is this story meant to be narrative? Because sometimes it’s in the perspective of the woman and other times not…

      Reply
      • Debra johnson

        to be honest I don’t know. I just started writing. I want it in first person – Cara. But I think it took on a bit of 3rd person (if I’m correct).

        Reply
    • mary bradford

      I really enjoyed this and would love to read more. For a 1st draft, it is very good.

      Reply
      • Debra johnson

        Thanks Mary. I am working on draft 2 now and have fleshed out the characters a bit more now that I dont have word count limitations. May post it on my blog will let ya know

        Reply
  45. Rob Hunt

    Hello. I have a short to post but it has a few rather profane expressions within. Can I still post it?

    Reply
    • Rob Hunt

      Gill Peterson’s Little Honey

      “Fuck you, Travis!, Yelled Gill Peterson, almost choking . His voice, loud
      in his ears, bounced right back from the tight confines of the
      garage. Exhaustion threatened to overwhelm him but he steadied
      himself against one air-brick wall. The garage was hot and cloying
      with the oily reek of blood and sweat as well diesel fumes. His
      breath whistled in and out, wet and rank. It had been a hard fight
      but worth it. He cussed some more in short rasping sounds but Travis
      couldn’t hear him. Travis was dead. Gill’s thoughts turned once
      again to the shoe box and what it contained or at least what he was
      sure it contained. It was still balanced on the hood of his new Prius
      and in a moment or two he would go get it. His right hand still
      holding the chrome base-ball bat now began to throb from the repeated
      blows he had righteously delivered. Thick droplets of dark blood
      tapped at the floor that slid from the bat that had been originally
      been swung at Gill with murderous force.

      He had caught up with Travis in-time to see the awful thing the kid had
      been planning almost reach fruition. Travis had made the mistake of
      not planning well however or at least not thinking through well
      enough. When he built the bonfire he should have added the
      accelerant, in this case the three-in-one-oil, in the first place. He
      had seen that that the boy had taken Gills dearest possession as soon
      as he’d gotten out of the shower. He’d had no idea about the funeral
      pyre hastily constructed out there. The shoe box idea must have been
      Travis’s attempt at burning her without Gill knowing right away what
      was being consumed by the inferno. He had needed to stop for the oil
      though. Dum shit must of thought he had all the time in the world. He shoulda
      known better, thought Gill ruminating on the basic facts of life. One
      needed to be sure and one needed to be quick, because the world turns
      on a dime and a dime don’t go far these days. Travis hadn’t even locked the adjoining door from the house to the garage and was not ready to hear it being kicked open so soon. Travis had dropped the can of three-in-one and had backed up out of shock.

      The lil fucker had grabbed the chrome Base-ball bat leaning up against
      the tool rack. Gill had bawled at him “ Where is it? wanting to
      grab the kid and wring it out of him. Travis had swung like he was in
      Wrigley Feild and Gill’s head had just been pitched at him by Greg
      Maddux. Gill had ducked and then in the same movement launched
      forward into Travis’s lower body. They had gone crashing into a
      trestle table piled with junk near the door to the yard. It had
      collapsed sending them into a stack of near empty paint tins, the bat
      clattering harmlessly a few feet away. Travis’s back, hitting the
      floor, made hot stinking breath and spit bark from his open mouth.
      Gill, even though he was on-top, still caught a few wild punches to
      his jaw and one up the side of his head. He finally slammed a few
      good ones of his own into Travis’s face making him stop. Travis had
      rolled to his side making small grunting noises.

      Gill, then getting up on his feet, had reached for the bat himself
      imagining that Travis would either quit and run out of here or just
      stay down. Instead Travis insisted on more and this time pulled a
      switch blade out of his sock and lunged at Gill screaming ” Eat it
      !!!! Gill had easily side-stepped the thrust and, with his body
      already wound up to swing, let fly connecting with Travis’s exposed
      cheek. There had been an audible crunching sound that Gill felt as
      much as heard. Travis fell again, unconscious. His slight framed body
      laying motionless, limp and defenceless did not keep Gill from
      swinging some more. He cursesd over and over again as did so. His
      vision had blurred with tears while he meated out the just punishment
      in huge arcing strokes. The dull pinging that chimed from the metal
      bat altered in tone with every blow that cracked off Travis’s skull.
      The thick curly blonde hair covering the boys face had become matted
      with blood. Gil’s hands were greasy with it. He had kept on swinging
      anyway until he could not raise the bat any-more. Breathing hard he’d
      stood over his sons body. A pool of blood now grew around it in an
      almost perfect circle.

      Gill set the bat down and at last went to the shoe box. Gingerly lifting
      the lid off with his bloodied fingers he looked inside and a broad if
      sickly smile tore across his hot sweaty face. Fitting snugly inside
      the box was a resin and fibre doll. The doll was dressed in little
      white and gold Adidas sneakers under a pair of loose fit gold
      tracksuit bottoms and then a matching silk jacket. A New-York Yankees
      cap was sewn onto her chubby little head. Her pouting face was
      nearly covered by the wraparound deep blue metallic shades. The
      T-shirt of the same color had big block gold writing all the way down
      the front. It spelled out, Honey-G. Careful not to touch her with his
      grimy fingers, he lifted the box close to his face and kissed the
      doll. Just under her broad midriff hung a little cord with a pull
      tab. Gill wiped one hand on his denims and with thumb and forefinger,
      pulled the cord down. The little doll crackled like static and then a
      voice as harsh and as rasping as Gill’s own said. I
      SAY HONEY AND YOU SAY…….
      “GEEEEEEEEE!!!
      hollered Gill in unison with his doll. And she was indeed his ,all
      his.

      It was an indissoluble fact that his wife Julie could or would not
      understand. Three weeks to the day she had left him. She had careened
      out of here in her ageing Pontiac calling him every kind of ass-hole
      and that he needed serious psychiatric help. She had told everyone,
      the neighbours, even the cops. She had made it plain to him that she
      refused to sit at the dinning table if his stupid
      Chatty Cathy doll was going to be present. That had been the first insult and then he had
      been consigned to the spare bedroom as his wife would also be damned
      if she was going to share a bed with it too. Travis was no better and
      he would not even spend time with his own father crying Jeeeeeeezush
      dad! Get a fucken grip!!. He’d gone on to say that the G must stand for Gonzo or something. Gill had countered with his own opinion that Honey was probably the greatest
      up-n-coming rap artist of her generation! Then Travis had made with
      the smart mouth; a trait he had gotten from his mother. He went and
      said that she was the only up-n-coming rap artist of her generation, being a million years old and she still the worst! That had earned Travis a severe
      chastisement.

      Gill wondered at it all now. It seemed that Travis was not so smart when
      it came down to where the metal meets flesh with his sneaky little
      attempt. Creeping around and building his pyre while Gill had taken a
      shower had been such a Julie thing to do. Got
      be bold son if your going for broke. Bold moves, like a man.
      Life really had become a kind of shit powered Tilt-A-Whirl, that’s
      for sure, but he could could still make it good with some bold moves
      of his own. Gill decided it would be fitting to stick Travis on-top
      of his matchwood pile . He would sit him in it, knees up to his ears,
      dead like Elvis on the toilet and watch the flames take. He would go
      up a storm with all that product in his pampered hair. He’d go up
      like a SART flare. Gill would bring Honey and hold her close like a
      talisman.

      Out on the 224 police sirens cried their mournful wailing cry to the
      dying sun. The flames did take as he knew they would. If only his
      wife were here to see it. Then he could have asked her “ Who’s the
      ass-hole now? Soon, everyone would know.

      Reply
  46. Courtney Haywood

    I can completely relate to this post! Growing up I always was aiming for a novel. I could never come up with something long enough for a novel. I got turned onto short stories recently in my creative writing class. I love being able to actually finish it out without needing to write more fluff to it. Thank you for the 4 reasons, and the post!

    Reply
  47. Fabio Salvadori

    I love doodling. Sketching meaningless shapes on a piece of paper while I’m doing something else.
    Meeting are the most inspiring context for my doodling.
    Writing without a story to tell, without a seed on which to build a train of thoughts, it’s like doodling.
    Sometime I’m overwhelmed by the idea that there should always be a purpose on whatever we do.
    This thing about asking “why”? Why are you doing this? Why are your writing? Why are you working?
    I think it would be really liberating to be able to reply “For no reason, I’m just doing it”.
    So now I feel a bit like this. I’m writing for 15 minutes without a purpose.
    Without an idea to develop or something to present. Just writing.
    Even so, even if I was supposed to write just words I ended up with a piece that has a sort of a meaning.
    It’s time to stop. Really, from the next sentence I will just allow my hands to write whatever word that comes to my mind.
    Horses, sea, blue, grey, window, black cat, the glass is half full, the pen is over there.
    I need a new tattoo, I love music, bananas, the silence, I love the silence, a mirror.
    Does real silence really exist? Maybe out there in the space, but can we stop our mind from thinking?
    I know we can’t control the heart. It’s nice that we don’t have complete control on our body. Even nature doesn’t trust our mind. She knows we would kill ourselves.
    Is nature a woman? I’m hungry, I always confuse angry and hungry. I’m Italian.
    Saturday, It’s just a day like the others. Or is it special?
    It is, but only because the world decided that Sunday is special. It’s not true. Here in Kuwait Friday is special.
    Time expired.

    Reply
  48. Musick Fisher

    When we’re born, who chooses our paths in life? Well, sometimes we do but other times those paths are chosen for us. The wise and strong know there is a fundamental difference, but are nonetheless totally focused on the task rather than who made the call.

    Please join bestseller writers group http://facebook.com/bestsellergirl

    Reply
  49. agomonee barbaruah

    This was an inspiring post. I am dabbling in short stories myself to prepare for the longer adventure of a novel and I feel it has been truly rewarding in boosting my confidence. I tried to put together something after reading this post and would love to know what you guys think about it. Here goes –

    THE UNEXPECTED GUEST

    It was a sunny, June day. Amma’s one bedroom flat was feeling like a furnace in the sweltering heat. Her only respite was a squeaky old ceiling fan that her former landlord (now deceased) had installed when she moved in. She was sitting near the window, fanning herself with a newspaper, soggy where her fingers held it. She noticed a colony of ants crawling down the windowsill onto the wall. They were carrying the spilled, flat-rice she had fried for breakfast that morning. What a feast, she thought, looking at the ants.

    The doorbell rang. She sighed, annoyed at the herald of the inconsiderate afternoon visitor and got up to open the door. It was the electricity guy.

    “Amma, I’ve come for the payment. It’s been two months now. I cannot fool the boss any longer!” he entreated.

    “Alright, alright, let me get it,” she said and walked into the house.

    “How?” the guy yelled out.

    Silence.

    “Amma, how did you manage this month?”

    “Huh?” she grunted, looking at him blankly.

    “How?” he asked, rubbing his index finger and thumb.

    “Sewing,” she replied, handing the money to him. “The neighbour’s son tore his school shirt on the see-saw.”

    “And Appa’s pension?”

    “Who is going to run around for that trickle of a sum? My arthritis cannot!”

    “Hmm, anyway take care, Amma. Hope someone tears something off next month too!” he said with a smile and left.

    Amma closed the door and took her window seat again. She sat fanning herself for the whole afternoon and before she knew she had fallen asleep.

    A harrumphing sound woke her up. She opened her eyes, startled to hear the voice so close to her. There was no one. The fan kept whirring and squeaking at intervals. The wall-clock showed it was 4 PM already. Convinced that it must have been someone downstairs, she got up from her armchair to make some tea.

    Ten minutes later, when she tried to sit on her armchair with her tea, she heard the same sound. It seemed like someone clearing his throat. She stopped for a moment and looked out the window. The neighbourhood kids were playing but there was no elder nearby.

    What was the sound? Was Abha on the flat above her, dragging the chairs again? That wily woman! – thought Amma.

    She looked at the ceiling, murmuring abuses at Abha. She sipped her tea and smiled. It was just perfect for an afternoon like this.

    “Can I have one too?” This time, the voice was clear and absolutely near.

    “What?” said Amma, dropping her tea cup on the floor. “Who’s there? Who’s there?”

    A white apparition, clad in dhoti and a kurta appeared in front of her. She was staring through it at her clock but she could very well see that something (or rather someone) in front of her.

    Shaken yet motionless, she stood there, trying to grasp her situation. Was this an imagination? Was she going crazy?

    “Too bad you dropped yours on the floor,” the voice said, “I was hoping to have a cup too. It smelled good from the kitchen.”

    “What are you?” asked Amma, holding onto her chair, bent like she was going to swoon and needed support.

    “Why, I am your old landlord, Pothappa!” affirmed the voice.

    “But…but…you are dead! I saw them taking your body away!” she said, her heart beating out of her chest.

    “Yes, yes,” said the voice with a sigh, “I am. But I died too soon.”

    “Huh?”

    “I said I died too soon. You’ve gotten old and deaf since my death, Amma!” said the voice.

    “No, I don’t understand.”

    As Amma kept holding onto her chair, the voice moved a little further and settled above her old, torn sofa. As it would, there was a small depression on the seat of the sofa where the voice hung.

    For a few minutes, there was complete silence. The sound of the neighbourhood kids playing and screaming about could be heard. Amma thought she even heard the evening tutor of the kids living below her, open the compound gate. But she couldn’t utter a word.

    “Why have you come?” she finally asked.

    The voice sighed again. “It’s my son. He has ruined everything that I had built and worked for. Now, all I see are the weeping eyes of my poor wife and the drunkards coming in and out of my house. I cannot attain peace like this. Not in this life. I feel so helpless and lonely.”

    Amma was scared but she also felt sorry for her poor landlord. “But why did you come here?” she asked.

    “Because I see that you are lonely too. I notice you staring out of that window everyday till afternoon when you take your nap and then make your tea and dinner and go to sleep by evening,” he said.

    Amma finally heaved a sigh and fell back into her armchair, rocking it slowly.

    Nobody spoke for some time. Then Amma began, “You know when my son was little, he was very naughty. He would hide and then startle me or mess up the bed or kitchen so I’d get mad at him. He was also a very fussy eater.” She paused for a moment and resumed, “My husband left for pilgrimage and never came back. My son was my only reason to live. And then…he grows up, gets a job abroad and leaves his mother for good. He comes once in seven or ten years and leaves me a few crisp notes to spend. When that gets over and the bills are overdue, I sew for a living. When I get money I pay my bills and when I don’t, they disconnect my power. But who is going to fight them? I have neither money nor health to get the minimum to live a decent life. So I manage with whatever I have.”

    Silence.

    The voice coughed a little that sounded like a blob of sputum had clogged a wiry throat. After a considerable number of coughs, the voice said, “Daughters are often kinder, you know! They manage to come to your aid despite ruthless in-laws. But not all of them are like that. Mine fled with her lover at the first chance and never looked back. And my son quit the only job he ever got and spent all my hard earned money by robbing it off my wife. Now, he is under debt. People come home with threats and court summons but all he can do is, drink his life away.”

    “Why do children abandon us like that?” Amma wondered. “Why do they think that their responsibilities have ended with their becoming adults?”

    The voice coughed a little more. The window curtain moved to and fro, from the gentle breeze that blew in. Amma kept looking out. She noticed the mothers picking up their kids from the playground, chatting with each other as they did and moving into their homes. Such a short-lived delight that is…they’d know later, she thought.

    Amma and Pothappa went silent for quite some time. It was six-thirty when Amma noticed the broken tea cup on the floor and realised that she had been chatting with a ghost all this while. There had been no sound, no cough. Had the ghost left?

    “Pothappa!” Amma asked in a hushed tone. “Pothappa!”

    Silence.

    The realisation jolted her as much with fear as with a tinge of sadness.

    Reply
  50. Rob Hunt

    Gill Peterson’s Little Honey

    “Fuck you, Travis!, Yelled Gill Peterson, almost choking . His voice, loud in his ears, bounced right back from the tight confines of the garage. Exhaustion threatened to overwhelm him but he steadied himself against one air-brick wall. The garage was hot and cloying with the oily reek of blood and sweat as well diesel fumes. His breath whistled in and out, wet and rank.
    It had been a hard fight but worth it. He cussed some more in short rasping sounds but Travis couldn’t hear him. Travis was dead. Gill’s thoughts turned once again to the shoe box and what it
    contained or at least what he was sure it contained. It was still balanced on the hood of his new Prius and in a moment or two he would go get it. His right hand still holding the chrome base-ball bat now began to throb from the repeated blows he had righteously delivered. Thick droplets of dark blood tapped at the floor that slid from the bat that had been originally
    been swung at Gill with murderous force.

    He had caught up with Travis in-time to see the awful thing the kid had
    been planning almost reach fruition. Travis had made the mistake of
    not planning well however or at least not thinking through well enough. When he built the bonfire he should have added the accelerant, in this case the three-in-one-oil, in the first place. He had seen that that the boy had taken Gills dearest possession as soon as he’d gotten out of the shower. He’d had no idea about the funeral pyre hastily constructed out there. The shoe box idea must have been Travis’s attempt at burning her without Gill knowing right away what was being consumed by the inferno. He had needed to stop for the oil though. Dum shit must of thought he had all the time in the world. He shoulda known better, thought Gill ruminating on the basic facts of life. One needed to be sure and one needed to be quick, because the world turns
    on a dime and a dime don’t go far these days. Travis hadn’t even locked the adjoining door from the house to the garage and was not ready to hear it being kicked open so soon. Travis had dropped the can of three-in-one and had backed up out of shock.

    The lil fucker had grabbed the chrome Base-ball bat leaning up against the tool rack. Gill had bawled at him “ Where is it? wanting to grab the kid and wring it out of him. Travis had swung like he was in Wrigley Feild and Gill’s head had just been pitched at him by Greg Maddux. Gill had ducked and then in the same movement launched forward into Travis’s lower body. They had gone crashing into a trestle table piled with junk near the door to the yard. It had collapsed sending them into a stack of near empty paint tins, the bat clattering harmlessly a few feet away. Travis’s back, hitting the floor, made hot stinking breath and spit bark from his open mouth.
    Gill, even though he was on-top, still caught a few wild punches to his jaw and one up the side of his head. He finally slammed a few good ones of his own into Travis’s face making him stop. Travis had rolled to his side making small grunting noises.

    Gill, then getting up on his feet, had reached for the bat himself imagining that Travis would either quit and run out of here or just stay down. Instead Travis insisted on more and this time pulled a
    switch blade out of his sock and lunged at Gill screaming ” Eat it !!!! Gill had easily side-stepped the thrust and, with his body already wound up to swing, let fly connecting with Travis’s exposed
    cheek. There had been an audible crunching sound that Gill felt as much as heard. Travis fell again, unconscious. His slight framed body laying motionless, limp and defenceless did not keep Gill from swinging some more. He cursed
    over and over again as did so. His vision had blurred with tears while he meted out the just punishment in huge arcing strokes. The dull pinging that chimed from the metal bat altered in tone with every blow that cracked off Travis’s skull. The thick curly blonde hair covering the boys face had become matted with blood. Gil’s hands were greasy with it. He had kept on swinging anyway until he could not raise the bat any-more Breathing hard he’d stood over his sons body. A pool of blood now grew around it in an almost perfect circle.

    Gill set the bat down and at last went to the shoe box. Gingerly liftingthe lid off with his bloodied fingers he looked inside and a broad if sickly smile tore across his hot sweaty face. Fitting snugly inside the box was a resin and fibre doll. The doll was dressed in little white and gold Adidas sneakers under a pair of loose fit gold tracksuit bottoms and then a matching silk jacket. A New-York Yankees cap was sewn onto her chubby little head. Her pouting face was nearly covered by the wraparound deep blue metallic shades. The T-shirt of the same colour had big block gold writing all the way down the front. It spelled out, Honey-G. Careful not to touch her with his grimy fingers, he lifted the box close to his face and kissed the doll. Just under her broad midriff hung a little cord with a pull tab. Gill wiped one hand on his denims and with thumb and forefinger, pulled the cord down. The little doll crackled like static and then a voice as harsh and as rasping as Gill’s own said. I SAY HONEY AND YOU SAY…….
    “GEEEEEEEEE!!! hollered Gill in unison with his doll. And she was indeed his ,all
    his.

    It was an indissoluble fact that his wife Julie could or would not
    understand. Three weeks to the day she had left him. She had careened out of here in her ageing Pontiac calling him every kind of ass-hole and that he needed serious psychiatric help. She had told everyone, the neighbours, even the cops. She had made it plain to him that she refused to sit at the dinning table if his stupid Chatty Cathy doll was going to be present. That had been the first insult and then he had been consigned to the spare bedroom as his wife would
    also be damned if she was going to share a bed with it too. Travis was no better and he would not even spend time with his own father crying Jeeeeeeezush
    dad! Get a fucken grip!!. He’d gone on to say that the G must stand for Gonzo or something. Gill had countered with his own opinion that Honey was probably the greatest up-n-coming rap artist of her generation! Then Travis had made with the smart mouth; a trait he had gotten from his mother. He went and said that she was the only up-n-coming rap artist of her generation, being a million years old and she still the worst! That had earned Travis a severe chastisement.

    Gill wondered at it all now. It seemed that Travis was not so smart when it came down to where the metal meets flesh with his sneaky little attempt. Creeping around and building his pyre while Gill had taken a shower had been such a Julie thing to do. Got be bold son if your going for broke. Bold moves, like a man. Life really had become a kind of shit powered Tilt-A-Whirl, that’s
    for sure, but he could could still make it good with some bold moves of his own. Gill decided it would be fitting to stick Travis on-top of his matchwood pile . He would sit him in it, knees up to his ears, dead like Elvis on the toilet and watch the flames take. He would go up a storm with all that product in his pampered hair. He’d go up like a SART flare. Gill would bring Honey and hold her close like a talisman.

    Outon the 224 police sirens cried their mournful wailing cry to the
    dying sun. The flames did take as he knew they would. If only his
    wife were here to see it. Then he could have asked her “ Who’s the
    ass-hole now? Soon, everyone would know.

    Reply
  51. Santhana

    The room was dark and I could hear someone sobbing. I kept walking and found a young lady sitting on a cot. As I got closer I found that she was scared and her hands were trembling. Her face was pale and flushed. Her body was bruised and she was shivering.I tried to ask her what happened but she was not in a state to explain. All I could see in her was fear.

    I started consoling her.’Look, I know you’re very scared right now. But you have to tell me what is going on, please’.

    ‘I saw it and I think you see what it has done to me. I don’t know why it is following me.All I know is, it’s gonna come again’.

    I couldn’t believe what I just heard. Was she talking about something paranormal? I wanted to take a deep breath before I believed what she was saying.

    She continues.

    ‘Now there’s darkness everywhere. I can feel it’s presence. there’s no way I can escape this’.

    She starts panicking.

    I have to help her and I can’t do that unless I’m brave enough to face what I thought was coming.

    ‘Don’t worry, I’m here with you. you have to calm down. Just understand nothing can harm you now’.

    I could hear my heart pounding when I was saying that to her.Because I could sense that something was weird about that place.

    Before I could think about it, something came and just hurt her. I couldn’t see what it was but I managed to get her out of it’s way.

    I don’t know what it was like for her, but I looked at her and said ‘ Whatever it is, you have to be brave and fight this. I know you will survive’.

    I talked to her and fell asleep in a while.

    After sometime i could feel my head was hurting and I opened my eyes only to found myself being carried in a stretcher, covered in white sheets.

    I could feel someone holding my hands and there were two of them. Yes, the same thing that had hurt the young lady was taking me away.

    I was terrified. I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to yell but I could barely speak. I snorted and then finally managed to wail , ‘Ma..Ma.’

    Suddenly I heard my dad’s voice ‘ Are you okay? did you have a bad dream?’ I hastily opened my eyes to make sure it was all a dream.

    And yes, it was just another night mare.

    Reply
    • sherpeace

      This is an interesting tale, but I would try to show more & tell less. For example instead of saying “She starts panicking,” describes what she’s doing, i.e. sweating, heart pounding, etc. Again, when you say “something came & hurt her.” This would be much more powerful if you described how it hurt her, etc.
      You have some great stuff here. Keep working at it!

      Reply
      • Sanaura

        Sure, I will work on it 🙂 Thanks for your suggestions @sherpeace:disqus.

        Reply
    • Sarovah Widiawati

      It’s amazing making a short story in 15 minutes like this. Really enjoy to read it^^

      Reply
      • Sanaura

        Thanks @Sarovah 🙂

        Reply
    • yukta narvekar

      it is awesome

      Reply
      • Sanaura

        Thanks @Yukta 🙂

        Reply
  52. Karley

    It was crowded and loud at the bar- a perfect night for country dancing. Kimmy had finally decided to join her girl friends on a night out after her rocky breakup with long-time boyfriend, Benjamin, just two weeks before.
    “It was a long time coming,” they had told her. “You two just aren’t good for each other. It isn’t meant to be.”
    So, she had obliged. At the beginning of the evening, she hadn’t been looking forward to an obligatory night out on the town; instead, she viewed it as somewhat of a necessary chore.
    “I know I need to put myself back out there, but I don’t think I’m quite ready,” she had pleaded on the phone to her friend, Mandy. “Can’t I just join y’all next weekend? I know you guys will have plans to go out again then, too!”
    “Hell no, you can’t!” Mandy shouted back at her, obviously tipsy already. “You need this. We are taking you out and getting you DRUNK.”
    The other girls cheered in drunken unison in the background. Mandy had always had a knack for persuasion. Ever since the 8th grade when they first became best friends she somehow managed to talk Kimmy into doing the most peculiar things, and on more than one occasion.
    Mandy shoved yet another shot of tequila into Kimmy’s reluctant hands. “Another!” she demanded. Kimmy threw it back without so much as a hesitant thought. She wiped her mouth with her sleeve. “I could do this all day,” she said, coolly.
    Mandy and the two coworkers she’d invited from Hooters cheered in excitement. It was going to be a night for the record books.
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    After she stumbled out of the bathroom, Kimmy cast her blurry-gaze upon the spinning dance floor. Her pupils widened at the enchanted view of the colorful lights reflecting off of the glossy wooden floor. Twirling dancers glided effortlessly with their partners in a seemingly choreographed number from a musical play. She clonked her pink boots towards the floor and made a clumsy and obvious appearance on stage. And once she realized she did not have a partner to Two Step with, she decided to improvise.
    In the middle of a sea of country dancers and lovers alike, Kimmy began to do ‘The Robot’. She giggled to herself as she executed each jerking motion, maneuvering her body like the break-dancers’ she’d seen so many times in movies. This went on for two full songs before she noticed how silly she must look to those around her.
    ‘I need another drink anyways’, she thought to herself.
    And as she stumbled off the dance floor, a handsome man a little older than her gently nudged her elbow.
    “Hey,” he smiled. “Nice dance moves.”
    “You saw that, huh?” she laughed. “Thanks.”
    She felt her face turn red-hot under the disguise of the dim-lighting. As dark as it was, his beautiful light-blue eyes gleamed more brilliantly than the sparkling disco ball in the center of the dance floor behind him.
    “Kimmy!” Mandy’s voice ricocheted off of the blaring guitar solo in the background. “Kimmy! Get over here, we’re taking a picture!”
    Kimmy rolled her eyes. “Excuse me just a second,” she smiled politely at the blue-eyed gentleman. “I’ll be right back.”
    He watched carefully as she sauntered over towards her group of friends. The way she looked at him, jokingly aggravated, after their fourth attempt to take an acceptable photo made him laugh.
    “Sorry about that,” she said when she returned. “They are so picky about pictures!”
    “Oh it’s quite alright, darlin’.”
    “You wanna buy me a drink?”
    “I sure would love to.”

    The two hopped in line and continued their small talk without the slightest idea of what would come from this introduction. For the first time in two years, Kimmy forgot all about ol’ Benjamin. There was a new (blue-eyed) sheriff in town- and his name was Mark.

    Reply
  53. LilianGardner

    I have at least seven short stories in my PC. I enjoy writing short stories, this is why I love the competitions on TWP, with a specific theme and word limit. I like writing stories for children, be it fantasy, animals, or stories with tips (for children) of daily living.

    Reply
  54. Zerelda

    When I wake, it’s still pitch black all around. I roll onto my side and look out the window. The moon is full bright out, and casting shadows on my floor from the tree outside, bare skeleton fingers curled up on the carpet. It may be that the only part I don’t like about winter is that bareness.

    I puff up my pillow and snuggle up under my blankets, trying to get drowsy, but then I hear something through the wall, from my baby sister’s room. I listen and wait for the sound to repeat. There. Sniffling.

    I get up, feet biting on the cold floor, and cast about for my slippers. I pull a blanket off my bed to take with and slip out the door to tiptoe down the hall.

    Meg’s door is unlatched so I just push it open and glide over to her bed.

    “Meg,” I whisper, “you need a tissue?”

    “Uh huh,” comes the soft reply.

    I grab the box from her dresser and offer it to her. She takes one and works on her nose, and whispers, “I had a bad dream.”

    “What was it about?”

    “I don’t remember. But I can’t sleep now.”

    “Oh.”

    “Can you tell me a story? So I can get back to sleep?”

    I pause. It will be hard work. I’ve never had much success before. But I know it’s more about my not leaving than telling her a good story, so I nod. “Okay, I’ll stay a little while.”

    I settle down on the end of her bed and ask, “What do you want to hear about?”

    “I don’t know.”

    “What’s genre?”

    “What’s a genre?”

    “Should I just pick something?”

    “Can it be about unicorns and princesses and pegasuses and ponies?”

    “I’ll see what I can do.” I glance at the clock. Ten minutes. Just ten minutes.

    I begin a tale with no plot and no ending, no concrete path or moral, but she’s interested enough as I randomly pick which word to say next. When I take long walks in the woods, I fancy myself to be a great storyteller, able to weave tales in the air so clearly that you can hear and taste and smell them. But that particular skill seems to be inherent in everyone except myself.

    “Alright,” I say, when the last minute ends. “That’s enough.”

    “Wait,” she hisses, “don’t go yet!”

    “Meg, I’m really tired.”

    “Can you just stay a little longer?”

    I’ve been ’round this rodeo a thousand times, but it seems mean to just up and leave. I’ll at least give her some closure. I remember being little like that and abrupt endings taking a much bigger toll than they do now. It used to be a hard thing to find peace with. But it’s like my older sister told me, be kind to the younger kids so when they get older they might be kind to the younger kids. I remember the sheer pleasure of having one of the big kids pay some attention to me. And if it means as much to her as it would to me, it’s worth it to stay.

    I sigh, but I’m strong enough. “Okay, just a while longer.”

    Reply
  55. LaraTollin

    I write short stories because usually I can write the beginning and the ending in the same day and somehow I find that satisfying. I also write them because i have so many ideas in my head and somehow I have to get them out. By putting them onto paper and turning them into short stories I release my thoughts and I feel amazing for writing something and finishing it.
    I love this article, it really made me think and it also made a fool out of me. I always thought that if I want to succeed in the writing world I have to write a book. WRONG! I have to learn and practice so much before I can even consider it and I think short stories are the best way to do it.

    Thank you Joe.

    Reply
  56. Carlos Claudio

    “River Dead Ahead!”

    Two kids rode their bikes up to the edge of the river, watching the glistening water as it flowed in between rows of towering trees. One of the kids, Jimmy, dismounted his bicycle and sat on the edge of the river, dangling his feet above the water, his loose laces creating ripples. The other kid, Norman, stood beside the water, dusting off his pants and looking at the trees on the other side.

    “Jimmy,” Norman began, rubbing a dirt stain off of his shirt, “how are we going to get across the river? I thought you said there was a bridge here!”

    Jimmy looked at Norman, darting his eyes to scan the width of the river. There was no bridge in sight. “We can swim across.”

    Norman winced, backing away from the river and clutching a nearby tree. “No! We wouldn’t be able to last in the water! The river would drag us all the way down!”

    Jimmy sighed. “Well, do you have a better plan?”

    Norman scratched his smooth chin, looking at the river and then turning back. “I still won’t swim.”
    “Look. Soon, the school teachers are going to find out that we left. We have to either swim across or get caught.”

    The two kids entered a moment of silence. Beside them, the river silently implored their entrance, the sun appearing high in the sky and bouncing off the tips of the waves in the water. Norman scratched his head and sat beside Jimmy.

    “What’ll we do?” Jimmy asked, tilting his head and patting the grass beside him.
    Norman hesitated, staring deep into the small area of trees they came from, and he began taking off his shoes.

    Jimmy smiled, his cheeks stretching wide. “You’re gonna swim?”

    “No, I’m just not going back to school!” Norman corrected.

    The children both began taking off their shirts and socks and tested the water with their toes. Norman jumped back, but Jimmy submerged his entire foot under the water.

    “Let’s do this!” Jimmy yelled.

    Reply
    • Mel

      I like this!

      Reply
  57. Sarovah Widiawati

    This is my first writing and I still confused how should I start
    to write… #cry I think writing it’s a challenging, so i wanna try to like it and become my new hobby.

    Smile and the world will smile to you

    It’s a sunny day. The road looks so crowded after long
    weekend, everybody have to get to office. Me myself has already on the way to
    campus.

    I’m Ocha, I’m an English teacher in one of private school. Becoming
    a lecture is the best way to get in touch with people who have different
    character with us especially me.

    I walk in the corridor and my students call and great me. This
    morning, I don’t have a good spirit. How should I smile if I don’t want to
    smile but I have to do it because everybody doesn’t want to know about your problem.
    I take a deep breath and talk to myself, “ok, you have to smile, don’t let them
    know about your problem.

    Suddenly my mood changes, I feel happy.

    Reply
  58. Dori Acuff

    A journey to live one more time. I was giving a death sentence after leaving the doctor.
    He look at me and said well there things we need to talk about. I look at him and said smile doc it can’t be that bad. As I am looking at him across his desk with a smile.
    No you not listening to me I was shock to hear him come across like that.
    I raised an eyebrow and said with the calm words I could. Dr. K tell me straight up.
    He looks down at the file on his desk and then back up to me. Ms. Foster you have stage 4 cancer. We need to decide on the treatment you wanted take.
    I sit there not said one word to him. My hands in my lap but all I could think of was what my mother had been through. Then all at once I stood up and said I will get back to you.

    That’s all I got. What you think?

    Reply
  59. Mel

    She could not explain the feeling she got when she saw him, and he touched her. Every time she tried, the words would just fall out in random order.

    One day as they were laying on a blanket watching the drifting clouds, she looked at him and whispered, “I love you.” As he smiled he said, “I know you do,” his hand gripping hers tighter. “No, I mean I really love you. Do you remember when you were a kid and you would swing? The feeling you got in your tummy the higher you went,if there were a million pterodactyl-sized butterflies in there?” He rolled to his side and said, “Yes, that was the best feeling as a kid.” She smiled and said, “That’s the way I feel about you.” He reached over and sighed as he placed his lips to her forehead and whispered, “I love you.”

    MLK

    Reply
    • Nidhi

      Awww…thats so beautiful! Its short and simple and has an amazing comparison too!

      Reply
  60. Glo

    It’s strange that I still remember.

    A few months back, in the midst of the reserve officers training program that my university offered as a substitute course for its students, I remember standing in an open field. As my skin was baking under the sweltering noontime heat, I began to wonder why I ever even joined the program in the first place.

    I wasn’t alone though. Standing with me was a fellow cadet, a bit shorter and plumper than me, but a good conversation all the same. He was a beginning boxer, so I’ve heard. My interest was quickly drawn by his skilled demonstration of a jab, something that I’ve never heard about ’til that point in my life.

    Then I made a mistake that I still regret making to this very day.

    “Hey, What do ya think would happen if a Muslim were around here? ALLAHU AKBAR, am I right? Hahahaha!!!”

    In my youthful naivete, I didn’t even stop to think about who my words would hurt. My foolishness had gotten the best of me a few seconds later when my companion voiced out “I’m Muslim.”

    No jab came my way. Instead, he talked to me about the topic that I had just mentioned a few sentences back– that I was an aspiring writer. He relayed to me that I still had a ways to go before I could write something grand, if I was this dense. And then he told me to write about our conversation if the time ever came that an opportunity presented itself.

    Thinking back, I remember how stupid I was and how hurt he must’ve been. Anybody would be mad if their god was mocked.

    Reply
  61. Charles

    A young photographer was walking down the streets of Munich and noticed an old acquaintance,Hans,a former member of the Reichstag,who was approaching her. She greeted Hans but Hans’ reply was cold. Hans grabed her left arm with determination and whispered to her that he uncovered secret pictures and documents detailing the atrocities in the recent concentration camps. She didn’t believe Hans until he showed a picture that was small enough to hide in his pocket. Then she started to cry. “Only a mad man could do such evil.” she said. Hans tried to tell her as delicately as possible that the mad man was her lover…The Fuhrer.

    Reply
  62. Emma

    (I think I’m telling more than showing. Please give feedback cause Idk how else to make it good)

    Maggie shifted on the plushy la-z-boy so she could see Billy playing in the yard. Kirt would drive up the yard any minute now and that–witch–would be with him. She zipped the lunch kit close so that the apple juice shuddered against the balogna sandwich and set it besides her…and waited.

    When the sun dissipated behind puffy white clouds ten minutes later, she heard the rumble of a car and saw the blue volkswagon grumble to a stop in the front lawn. The ball fell with a thud from Billy’s hand and he bolted to his father climbing out the rickety piece of junk. Maggie sneered under her nose as the other woman, Jennifer appeared. The door slammed shut and her large grin inflamed Maggie’s pride. And hate.

    If Michael had to get a girfriend, did it have to be–her? She flicked her hair quickly behind her and strode down onto the concrete path, chastising a girlish bubble in her chest when Michael glanced her way. She hated him. Yes, there was no love left for her ex-husband. Yes, that was it.

    “Margaret” he said, throwing their three year old in the windy air and stopped when he saw the scowl forming on her face, “I would have been here sooner but dad was rushed to the emer..!”

    “Save it Michael. I expect my son back–safe. That’s all.” glaring at the tall blonde. Jennifer’s lip curled in equal indignation and she crossed her arm uncaringly.

    “..yeah..uh, Billy, stay with aunt Jennifer. I have to speak with mom” he said, giving Maggie a look she had a hard time understanding. With a last smile at her baby boy she hated leavint with that slut, she strode back up the three step stair and into the cool a/c’d house. She blushed. A house Michael built from scratch for her.

    The door clicked shut and her hand hung on her wide hips, thanks to early childbearing, and a dark crimson coloured her cheeks. Her heart banged a wild African drumbeat against her ample ribcage as they stared at each other in the walkway. She hated him. Yes, that was why…

    “Will you be okay for the next five days alone?”

    She swallowed the nervous bile and nodded. “Yeah, I’m good. You should leave. Don’t want to be late”

    He crossed the distance in two large steps and stood towering over her, neat brown hair rumfled atop his grey eyes. She was sure he could hear her erratic heartbeat. Pretty sure he understood the reason for her nervousness. “Margaret..” he whispered, cautiously bringing his hand to her hot face. Heat voursed through her body at his unexpected touch and her pink lips parted. Her eyes drooped when his wild gaze faltered on her lips, only ever bruised by his attention. God she wanted this! A film of cloudy tint clouded her eyes and her lips tingled as he slowly bent. So slow..she wanted to wrap the shirt she had bought him in trembling fist but her massive fear stopped her.

    “I..it’s not lov..Jennifer isn’t..baby, I want yo.. !”

    Reality knocked her back on her feet. She stumbled back and glared into his pained eyes. Jennifer! She threw a finger into his chest and swore, “I don’t want my little son exposed to that–Jennifer, if I can help it. I expect you to keep keep him in your sights at all time. Especially what happened last time! God I must be stupid to let you have him after she left him…urgh! Just bring him back safe from that canoe trip Michael. I could care less what happens to yo..” she said, coloring a bright red from exhaustion. Michael reacted like she expected, calm features quickly shading to a deep scowl.

    “I can take care of my son Maggie. And to think I want yo..forget it” he said, breaking off into a sigh.

    (Oh crape, 15 mins end here. Well, what do you think? Do you think it needs more showing or more work? I’m stomped)

    Reply
  63. Lorraine Marshall

    i need some idea on how to get started ?i want to write about my experiences as a nurse in the early 70″s and then give an account of my own perspective on todays current trend in nursing.I have retired now and have time to start this.

    Reply
  64. Marsha McCroden

    Marla, did you sell this? I think you should be able to, that first line really draws you in. Grabs your attention right off the bat.

    Reply
  65. Creig Sigurdson

    Praise of the villian scene.
    Waves of thought roll out from the shell of dust. So strong they knock Sue off her feet, sending another plume of dead dust into the air. She feel the presence of something ancient speaking in her mind. Like sand spilling over rocks the voices says – Oh how weary I am! How you grasp nothing I have done for you. With out me your kind would be nothing. Silence is what I wish for you, to cease your endless chatter.
    “What can it mean?” Sue thought ,unsure if it could hear her. “How could we be nothing, what has it been doing for us?
    Dust chuckles as it, she tries to comprehend what Dust means. He realizes her mind is different, not like the others. She can push back, keep her own mind, and not be a vessal for Dust.
    Female Sue Brightman, hear my words- I see the shard in you and are being drawn to me but you don’t know why. If you listen very hard I will answer the questions in your mind, understand your doom. As others have before you.
    “What are you and how long have you been here?” She sensed she already knew the answer, she should be afraid but she was not. She didn’t know a shard was, but it could explain why she now could think at this thing, this dust.
    -Child, how can I explain the countless droves of hu-mans I’ve hurled my influance at all this time. The numbers would cripple your tiny, insignifigant speck of a mind. All the others… set in motion to halt your gathering of clues, getting closer despite all your near misses death and still you come? -his whisper was sounding hoarser and rougher in her mind, something was different in his presence, a touch lighter or perhaps weaker.
    If only you stayed away a short while longer, just til the last of me was gone, to join the rest suspended up above.
    She glanced to the skies, for miles above a dark swirling mass, a funnel twisting high beyond the clouds, thick ,ugly and smothering dust cloud. She saw flashes ripple up and down its lengths. As it grew more and more hers eyes dried out looking at it.

    Reply
  66. Spawn_of_Santa

    The mound of treasure shifted slightly, a few coins sliding down, jingling in their descent. A large goblet clattered to the stone floor of the cavern. Everyone froze. The Paladin, a Golden Knight of Vo, raised her holy symbol and spoke the words of power.

    Silence

    Theyvid readied a spell. The half Orc, Nelvid raised his massive Warhammer, his knuckles as white as his visage was grim.

    Silence

    The three companions gazed upon the mound of gold, platinum, gemstones, and sundry other treasures and waited for three, four, five quivering breaths.

    Theyvid laughed, breaking the tension. His companions started and then stared at him incredulously. “Don’t you see?” his wheedling voice echoed through the chamber. He ran halfway up the pile of coins, turned towards his friends, “It’s dead,” he turned, too excited to recognize the looks on his friend’s face, “this is all ou…” he shouted, twirled around to take in “his” treasure, “…rs?”

    Theyvid gawked into the right nostril of a colossal black and red scaled wyrm. Its head cocked
    so as to take in the party with one enormous, swirling red and black flecked, slit pupil eye. “I think not.” The voice filled the cavern and a snort of whirlwind power sent the obese Halfling tumbling head over cloak tails down the mound and across the cavern floor.

    The dragon arose out of the mountain of treasure. The great beast’s horned reptilian head, eyes
    the size of salvers, huge frill-like, red-fringed mane emerged first, treasure flowed off it’s back and wings, the black wings spread into the dark reaches of the cavern. Its great tail slashed out taking Nelvid from his feet and nearly shoving the knight into the cavern wall.

    It was huge, larger than any dragon the three had seen, even Bahamut, the dead king of the Goodly Dragonkind, was smaller. The great claws, first the right, then the left, mounted the pile and the monster rose fully, a leviathan in a sea of gold.

    Theyvid, looking for all the world like a tumble of robes, equipment, and beard reached a hand out, casting a fireball. The dragon snapped a claw out and caught it. “Imbeciles.” The dragon said, “you’re all simple, dim-witted, feeble-minded, ludicrous fools.” The dragon spoke a word and the fireball grew in strength and size.

    Fatefully, at that moment, Nelvid screeched his Orcish battle cry. The dragon’s claw snapped around. The fireball, enhanced with draconic magic struck the Orc. Nelvid’s battle cry died on his lips, turning to a scream of horror and pain. His leather armor flashed, his equipment either burned or melted, his hairy body caught fire, and then vaporized. Mist, smoke, the stink of burning hair, and a puddle of bubbling steel that had once been a huge axe was all that remained of Nelvid.

    The now untangled Theyvid, never one to foolishly face danger that is better avoided, vanished,
    invisible to naked eyes. Even so, this dragon could see, and he saw the wizard fleeing down the southernmost tunnel. He sent a telepathic message to the bugabears, “Dinner is coming.”

    Which left the knight. “The only thing good about fanatics like you, knight,” the dragon rumbled, “is that unlike the damned rangers and dwarves, you bathe regularly and taste less like dirt.”

    “I am Helena, First Named of Vo, wyrm!” The knight blustered, raising her sword and
    emblazoned shield.

    “Ah,” said the dragon, “the customary exchange of names.” The Dragon moved his massive head
    closer to the Knight, clearly utterly undaunted by her weapons. He looked at her, and he could smell the urine soiling her armor.

    “I am Nordagrast. Reaper on the wind! Nordagrast, Doombreath, Nordagrast the Consumer, Nordagrast the Devourer, Nordagrast the Outcast.” The head rose away from the knight, and the dragon’s lungs expanded, “I am Nordagrast the Mad!” She knew these names. It was no longer just urine he smelled, but shit, and the overwhelming stench of fear. He breathed.

    Reply
    • Pradeep

      The style of narration reminded me very much of the LOTR series. The flow did sound a bit monotonous, but it still did not make me stop reading; I wanted to know where it was going. Now I’m wondering whether this is the best way to narrate a fantasy.

      The word “shit” sounded a bit jarring though; it hit like a bolt out of nowhere. Perhaps you may want to revise it with “excrement” or something to the same effect. Just to maintain the smooth flow of narration.

      Reply
      • Spawn_of_Santa

        Thank you. I questioned the use of shit as well, but also wanted to keep it simple… excrement would probably work as well, or I can do something a bit more poetic… ‘the rank smell of urine was accented by the knight’s fear loosened bowels…”

        Reply
        • Pradeep

          “Loosened bowels” may dilute it
          a little more than you want. ☺

          You wrote urine rather than piss. So excrement instead of shit will go well.

          But it’s your story. You’re the best person to decide.

          Reply
    • CLM

      Not normally my genre of reading but I thought it was interesting. I agree about the change from shit to excrement. The imagery you have created deserves a higher class of wording.

      Reply
  67. karen

    She wrote stories in her journal every other day. Chloe traveled to New York on the train, when Mr. Latour noticed her writing. He sat near and asked what is the novel about. Laughing, she said she wrote about the scenes of these towns. He asks to read one and loved it. He paid her 20. Chloe went to see her grandparents in New York for a few hours then went home. Mr Latour called her at home invited her to write for his photos. She wrote at least 13 stories in her first week on the job. Latour pays her 2000. She buys her own camera and Mr. Latour teaches her how to use. She would work with him after school. On a long weekend she went to Chicago with him. Her parents didn’t notice her gone. She goes to a conference and caught a glimpse of Tobee, he was doing well. Then takes break to walk around and meets people there and eats dinner with one group.
    Then they fly back. She goes back to high school. She woke up early everyday to photo or write about nature in the morning. Only one night she did not sleep, she photographed the stars and made a nature collage. Then a contact in Chicago runs in the high school and tells Chloe about a contest to enter. She entered at the last minute and won. She wins 100k. Chloe decided to pack her clothes placing the money in her largest suitcase and unregistered herself. She calls a friend in Chicago to sign a lease to an apartment for her. On Saturday morning she walked to the train to buy her ticket when Tobee catches her. She had seen him at the parties. He is 18.5 just out of high school.
    -What are you doing alone?
    -Leaving
    -You better go with me; you are too young to buy a ticket.
    -No, I am fine.
    -Go to California with me.
    -I want to stay in Chicago for a while. I know a few people.
    -Why are you running away?
    -An opportunity to live.
    -How much money do you have, know what your are doing. (pause to hop on train, didn’t talk until the airport)
    -Well have a great life Tobee, I know I will
    -Wait let me go with you, saw you at the conference. We could work together. I have my own plane/helicopter.
    -Why would you want to spend time with me? I do not know all about you, so no thank you.
    -I will not tell anyone you are here, besides do you know how to cook and pay bills?
    -I have friends, ill be ok…. Well, maybe you can visit, if you fly.
    -Lets go.
    They arrive at a small-craft airport. Tobee’s steam engined helicopter holds two people and five bags. ‘open the windows’ Chloe photographed the birds flying near. Landing on a building platform, they admired the view of Chicago. She loved the scenery.
    -I write stories and photograph nature. Where is the girl you were with?
    -We broke up. I have work here to bring to California. This is Ardley Avenue, do you live nearby?
    -Ardley, I heard of this street, I am nearby. I’m hungry lets eat. I cannot cook. What should we buy takeout or restaurant?
    -Can I shower and change, and go to Hard rock cafe? I love their food. Or we can pick out small meals from several places and buy groceries along the way.
    They took a cab to the apartment and she picks up her key from the front desk, signs the lease and moved in. They changed. Chloe agrees to walk on the streets of Chicago. They went shopping for food, and groceries. And while Chloe purchases a dessert, an older friend of Tobee’s caught up with him and bought him a bottle of red wine. It will have been 4 and half hours at 9pm, and Chloe felt tired.
    -Lets go home, I have film to develop now.
    -So how long can I stay? I could teach you how to fly(as they walk in apartment)
    After the groceries were put away, Tobee opens the wine and pours in two glasses. Chloe turns the second bedroom into a darkroom and started to develop some film. It was a Saturday in April. Then she sat in LR with Tobee and tried the wine.
    -You can stay for few days, if you have to be here. This wine is good, my photos are drying now.
    -Thank you so much, I can teach you cooking.
    -I will not eat meat, just chicken fish and beans. I have to shop tomorrow for school supplies and a photo portfolio.
    -Ok(dosing off to sleep, Chloe places the wine and glasses in the kitchen, and gets a pillow for Tobee)
    In the morning after breakfast she cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom. Since Tobee went to work alone so Chloe headed out to shop. She stopped in front of a grande synagogue and had to enter. She talked to the rabbi once, and left. She bought more fruits and vegetables and kitchen supplies. Then arrived home around 130pm. Tobee returned 1 hour later.
    -On Monday I am going to the city hall to register. What could you possible do on Sunday?
    -Talked to a friend who is also going to California, I am gonna fly him there.
    And so she goes to the high school and takes a job as a photojournalist for a company.
    It was June 10 and had learned how to manage a checkbook and save extra cash. She had the summer to work and travel the midwestern states. Tobee left the end of April. They were great friends now. 
At that time Chloe had a flashback. She felt closer to something or someone.
    This woman drugged for labor, screamed for more almost in a psychotic trance. After the baby leaves the baby looks closely at this woman and notices a spirit that entered the woman. Her eyes glistening with jubilance. The baby smiles, then sleeps. The spirit leaves the woman and when baby wakes up she saw a different woman with burning red eyes. The baby girl wondered who was there before, where did the spirit go? As she walked in Chicagos wilderness a spirit appeared in the trees and plants and the foliage. Chloe waited for moments to hear the spirit on the wind. Where did the spirit go and where would she lead the girl?
    At home she learned to prepare all kinds of meals. On June 18 went to all the museums for her birthday. Tobee called her and wished her well. Tobee had a successful start in California. He said he met up with his old girlfriend and they are dating.
    At the high school in September, Chloe noticed a flight school that anyone could attend the classes. Chloe had chosen a full schedule for her sophomore year. She will learn french, history, algebra, advance composition, flight, and will have time to photograph the sky.
    For two years she studied well and University of Calgary, Illinois, Colorado UCLA and Ohio State. She wanted to fly to Canada and see clear blue lakes and ski in snow cover pine trees. University of Calgary has an extensive literature department with many degrees. She will have much to learn.
    Heading towards the airport, Tobee calls her cellphone. He said to wait for him there. She agreed and in 3 hours Tobee lands his helicopter on the field
    -I broke up with her, I felt trapped for some reason. Then I have been thinking of you. I will go to Canada, how long will you stay?
    -I will be studying for 4 years, a BA degree, I have saved money and put some in a trust too. I can fly planes. I wrote 2 short books.
    -Thats great. I need to travel and work, time to be out.
    In Calgary, everything was cowboy style. Tobee and Chloe had fun shopping, before they move in. Chloe called about renting on a farm plantation. Tobee was thrilled they would live on a horse farm.
    -Who are we meeting
    -Two veterinarians and their 4 adults who live with them. The Laughaires sound so wonderful on the phone I cant wait to meet them.
    -What if there is one bedroom, will you ask them if I can stay?
    -Im sure there is an extra tent. hehe
    -Haha very funny, I should buy an extra mattress.
    The Laughaire family lives on a 30 acre farm of horses, chickens, cows and dogs in Calgary. It was August, Chloe had enough time to buy books and register at the college. Aiden hears the wind changing. He thought clearly, we would expect her. Dughan starts chopping wood and placed the logs next to the house. Dughan and Sadhhba live on a ranch and have 4 kids, that are all grown. Both have a degree in veterinary medicine. Aiden 24, the oldest is the tourist officer in town. Sheridan 21 and his girlfriend write for the newspaper. Aisling 18 is studying at all girls’ school and Elise 16 writes novels. Elise’s boyfriend volunteers at the ranch, whenever he was around. Dughan rebuilt the fireplace and Sadhhba made new plates this summer as if they expect her. As they fly north a spirit the winds sears through Chloe. It felt like the spirit was someone she once knew. Chloe feels grounded. At the entrance of the Laughaire Ranch the winds carry to the ground. Elise opens the door and everyone runs out to meet her.
    Chloe, -Hi I am Chloe Wildlife Photographer, and this is Tobee my friend. He is a photographer too.
    -I am Elise Welcome home.
    Dughan and Sadhhba said hello then Sheridan Aisling hug Chloe and Tobee.
    -We have been waiting for you. There is so much to teach you, and you could be working at the horse racing tracks.
    -The tracks, you own tracks! Tobee.
    -Dughan, come on in, We can really use everyone’s help here. The winters have been harsh.
    The Chloe turns to Aiden and goes to shake his hand. Their eyes meet and for a few long minutes Chloe and Aiden did not move. Smiling in awe like they knew each other.
    -I trusted the spirits this time.
    – Me too. Said Aiden.
    Chores are in ritual and Sadhhba cooks, Chloe helps, while the guys chop wood feed animals clean up the field , etc.like They all sit at a long table, blessing the meal, welcoming new friends and laughing and having a great time.
    That night in the barn house Tobee and Chloe were too exhausted to care who sleeps where. There were 2 beds and blankets and a dresser. Chloe comes out of the bathroom;
    -Whats up with you and Aiden, looked like you too where out this place.
    -I am not sure. He’s nice and attractive but it was a long day Im so tired.
    -Oh well, and what about me?
    -I like you, we’re best friends.

    After 4 years of hard work and study They said goodbyes and leave for Chicago and Tobee goes back to California. 10 years later Chloe flies to New England. She finds her family and on a Saturday the O’Malley’s invite Chloe and Renee, who she knew in the past, to have dinner at London Broiler. After they order, Tobee walks in and notices Mr. Finn and says hello. Chloe turns to him. Then she remembers building bridges with toothpicks in grade 7 algebra. Then they had to string weights on the bridge until it falls. Tobee shakes hands with Renee, (as Chloe smiles at him). He sat in front of Chloe. She introduces herself ( as if they just met, and he figured why she is back).
    -Hello, how do you know the Finns and O’Malley’s’? Renee moving her seat down next to Chloe and listens.
    -I worked with them years ago
    -When did you come back here?
    -I was in California and flew in this morning,
    -They invited you for dinner already! Well, I’ve ordered steamers I will share with you until your dinner is ready.
    -(Smiles back) Thanks I am lucky to see everyone again, (Smiles and pulls her leg into his, happy to see her)
    -Renee to Tobee-Have you found a place to live yet. I am expanding my business and earning extra income. If you want to live at my house you can apply at city hall. Ahh. There is our food
    And Chloe shares here steamers with Tobee, while Renee chomps on her red snapper and pasta salad.
    Then Chloe and Tobee step outside not caring what the elders thought of them.
    -How have you been? I missed you
    -Im great everything great I had to see them. I don’t know why. How are doing, Are you moving in from California?
    -Hitting my father’s grave and seeing old friends, I was in Chicago a few days ago looking for you. Where have you been?
    -Photographing, writing, and studying. (Renee and Tim walk outside and see them)(Tobee holds her and kisses her firm and soft.)
    Renee-Hey Chloe, come here lets walk and talk.
    Chloe stood near Tobee for a minute
    -Hi Tobee I’m Tim
    -How is it going Tim
    Tobee turns to Chloe-Want to go to NYC tonight.
    -I guess so, maybe, sure, may I have time to change.
    -You like to dance or hear loud music in a bar?
    -Whatever you choose, are we going with a group or meeting anyone.
    -Lets go now before they follow.
    Chloe and Tobee dance at a club in NYC. Then he asks her to fly back to Chicago.
    -Okay I have only 2 bags to pack.
    Tobee and Chloe fly their steam helicopter to Chicago. They build Photo-Bay and journal about wildlife and the sky. Chloe bought her own apartment. Tobee wanted her to live with him but they could not fully agree. She reads books, cooks, sews and talks to Tobee. At night, she prays.
    After mid-day prayer in March, Chloe had been living in Chicago for two months.
    Facing north she prays. Then Tobee, knocked on her door, and they have a lovely evening at a French restaurant, where acrobats dance in the air. Their business was going smooth and plenty of money.
    Then she hears the spirit woman. She had a most angelic voice and a glorious choir of angels on the point of path.
    Morning prayer. One cold, dark night, Chloe walked out alone on the streets of Chicago, just thinking about Tobee, Aiden and that spirit. What did Chloe want in life? Working alone at her own studio, traveling, meeting people. She photographed more scenic towns and religious houses. But something was missing or did she need to upgrade the work.
    Then she hopped in the shower to wash her hair. A classmate from High School, Brenda invited her to a party. Chloe wears a green and black short skirt and fishnet tights with a white off shoulder ruffly layered top. The weather was clear and slightly warm.
    Meanwhile, Brenda drives to fetch Chloe. The party is 30 minutes from here. Walking into a studio, the French style food and music is the theme. Chloe talks to some friends, they ignore her. It is a celebration of Shawna leaving to Paris, France, to become a fashion photographer. The flight is Monday. Brenda is laughing having a great time with Shawna’s friends. In dim light, Chloe, a wallflower, cannot be seen. A scream in the night thankfully stops Chloe’s thinking and drinking. Shawna wins a car and luggage, clapping happily. Later that evening Shawna says to Chloe, drunken, she is sad to leave home. Chloe asks if she is set up in Paris. No? Shawna wants the job interview at Ralph Lauren on Tuesday. Chloe speaks softly to Shawna, “If I sublet my apartment for one year, then I could apply to fashion photography in Paris.”
    Chloe drove Shawna’s new car and asks to take the Paris trip tickets. She wanted to get out of town for while and travel.
    In September the following year Chloe returns with rolls of film and new clothes. She took a week to create her photo album. There were photos of French fashion, Spain, and England. Monday night Tobee knocked on her door and they talked all night long.
    -Where have you been darling I miss you so much
    -I am back from a pinch of travel with film and journal notes
    -What, How are you doing?

    Then the winds turned her towards a road and she walked for 20 minutes. And whispering in the wind were voices saying, we miss you we need you, find us. Like the spirits from the West calls her. Chloe runs through snow covered pines trees happily. A spirit with a wondrous voice sang, she questions. Could that be the spirits? She trusts this person All of the sudden, the winds opened a path to the airport.

    Tobee and Chloe leave Chicago to find the spirit. They packed a weeks supply and ate dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. In the morning Chloe suggests Route 66. Tobee agreed. They both wanted to drive the whole way west and camp like tourists. The first day the spirit winds spread out, a night stopping to camp in (Springfield, Missouri) the field was cautious and weather was humid and dark. Tobee bought farm fresh vegetables and a light amount of beef. They prepared a stew to cook for a bit. Then the wolves howled through the darkness. The next morning she packed the tent while Tobee cooked eggs, and coffee on the grill. They shop for cowboy style clothes jewelry, and two bosses of the plains hats. After driving for (20 miles); caught in traffic. There was an accident and while they were stopped, Chloe felt something strong within. With the wind Tobee turns into route 1-35.
    -Why did you turn?
    -This feeling you get when we are headed north?
    At the next gas station on 135 Tobee packs more fuel and continues northwest on i-70. Speeding up to route 183 in South Dakota, as the darkness unfolding. They meet up with the Lakota’s and talk about life all week. Silence. The spirits help Tobee and Chloe in this dark, and starry night. Tobee and Chloe thanked the Lakota’s, and the spirits. Finally we were at peace.

    Reply
  68. karen

    Trips

    She wrote stories in her journal every other day. Chloe traveled to New York on the train, when Mr. Latour noticed her writing. He sat near and asked what is the novel about. Laughing, she said she wrote about the scenes of these towns. He asks to read one and loved it. He paid her 20. Chloe went to see her grandparents in New York for a few hours then went home. Mr Latour called her at home invited her to write for his photos. She wrote at least 13 stories in her first week on the job. Latour pays her 2000. She buys her own camera and Mr. Latour teaches her how to use. She would work with him after school. On a long weekend she went to Chicago with him. Her parents didn’t notice her gone. She goes to a conference and caught a glimpse of Tobee, he was doing well. Then takes break to walk around and meets people there and eats dinner with one group.
    Then they fly back. She goes back to high school. She woke up early everyday to photo or write about nature in the morning. Only one night she did not sleep, she photographed the stars and made a nature collage. Then a contact in Chicago runs in the high school and tells Chloe about a contest to enter. She entered at the last minute and won. She wins 100k. Chloe decided to pack her clothes placing the money in her largest suitcase and unregistered herself. She calls a friend in Chicago to sign a lease to an apartment for her. On Saturday morning she walked to the train to buy her ticket when Tobee catches her. She had seen him at the parties. He is 18.5 just out of high school.
    -What are you doing alone?
    -Leaving
    -You better go with me; you are too young to buy a ticket.
    -No, I am fine.
    -Go to California with me.
    -I want to stay in Chicago for a while. I know a few people.
    -Why are you running away?
    -An opportunity to live.
    -How much money do you have, know what your are doing. (pause to hop on train, didn’t talk until the airport)
    -Well have a great life Tobee, I know I will
    -Wait let me go with you, saw you at the conference. We could work together. I have my own plane/helicopter.
    -Why would you want to spend time with me? I do not know all about you, so no thank you.
    -I will not tell anyone you are here, besides do you know how to cook and pay bills?
    -I have friends, ill be ok…. Well, maybe you can visit, if you fly.
    -Lets go.
    They arrive at a small-craft airport. Tobee’s steam engined helicopter holds two people and five bags. ‘open the windows’ Chloe photographed the birds flying near. Landing on a building platform, they admired the view of Chicago. She loved the scenery.
    -I write stories and photograph nature. Where is the girl you were with?
    -We broke up. I have work here to bring to California. This is Ardley Avenue, do you live nearby?
    -Ardley, I heard of this street, I am nearby. I’m hungry lets eat. I cannot cook. What should we buy takeout or restaurant?
    -Can I shower and change, and go to Hard rock cafe? I love their food. Or we can pick out small meals from several places and buy groceries along the way.
    They took a cab to the apartment and she picks up her key from the front desk, signs the lease and moved in. They changed. Chloe agrees to walk on the streets of Chicago. They went shopping for food, and groceries. And while Chloe purchases a dessert, an older friend of Tobee’s caught up with him and bought him a bottle of red wine. It will have been 4 and half hours at 9pm, and Chloe felt tired.
    -Lets go home, I have film to develop now.
    -So how long can I stay? I could teach you how to fly(as they walk in apartment)
    After the groceries were put away, Tobee opens the wine and pours in two glasses. Chloe turns the second bedroom into a darkroom and started to develop some film. It was a Saturday in April. Then she sat in LR with Tobee and tried the wine.
    -You can stay for few days, if you have to be here. This wine is good, my photos are drying now.
    -Thank you so much, I can teach you cooking.
    -I will not eat meat, just chicken fish and beans. I have to shop tomorrow for school supplies and a photo portfolio.
    -Ok(dosing off to sleep, Chloe places the wine and glasses in the kitchen, and gets a pillow for Tobee)
    In the morning after breakfast she cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom. Since Tobee went to work alone so Chloe headed out to shop. She stopped in front of a grande synagogue and had to enter. She talked to the rabbi once, and left. She bought more fruits and vegetables and kitchen supplies. Then arrived home around 130pm. Tobee returned 1 hour later.
    -On Monday I am going to the city hall to register. What could you possible do on Sunday?
    -Talked to a friend who is also going to California, I am gonna fly him there.
    And so she goes to the high school and takes a job as a photojournalist for a company.
    It was June 10 and had learned how to manage a checkbook and save extra cash. She had the summer to work and travel the midwestern states. Tobee left the end of April. They were great friends now. 
At that time Chloe had a flashback. She felt closer to something or someone.
    This woman drugged for labor, screamed for more almost in a psychotic trance. After the baby leaves the baby looks closely at this woman and notices a spirit that entered the woman. Her eyes glistening with jubilance. The baby smiles, then sleeps. The spirit leaves the woman and when baby wakes up she saw a different woman with burning red eyes. The baby girl wondered who was there before, where did the spirit go? As she walked in Chicagos wilderness a spirit appeared in the trees and plants and the foliage. Chloe waited for moments to hear the spirit on the wind. Where did the spirit go and where would she lead the girl?
    At home she learned to prepare all kinds of meals. On June 18 went to all the museums for her birthday. Tobee called her and wished her well. Tobee had a successful start in California. He said he met up with his old girlfriend and they are dating.
    At the high school in September, Chloe noticed a flight school that anyone could attend the classes. Chloe had chosen a full schedule for her sophomore year. She will learn french, history, algebra, advance composition, flight, and will have time to photograph the sky.
    For two years she studied well and University of Calgary, Illinois, Colorado UCLA and Ohio State. She wanted to fly to Canada and see clear blue lakes and ski in snow cover pine trees. University of Calgary has an extensive literature department with many degrees. She will have much to learn.
    Heading towards the airport, Tobee calls her cellphone. He said to wait for him there. She agreed and in 3 hours Tobee lands his helicopter on the field
    -I broke up with her, I felt trapped for some reason. Then I have been thinking of you. I will go to Canada, how long will you stay?
    -I will be studying for 4 years, a BA degree, I have saved money and put some in a trust too. I can fly planes. I wrote 2 short books.
    -Thats great. I need to travel and work, time to be out.
    In Calgary, everything was cowboy style. Tobee and Chloe had fun shopping, before they move in. Chloe called about renting on a farm plantation. Tobee was thrilled they would live on a horse farm.
    -Who are we meeting
    -Two veterinarians and their 4 adults who live with them. The Laughaires sound so wonderful on the phone I cant wait to meet them.
    -What if there is one bedroom, will you ask them if I can stay?
    -Im sure there is an extra tent. hehe
    -Haha very funny, I should buy an extra mattress.
    The Laughaire family lives on a 30 acre farm of horses, chickens, cows and dogs in Calgary. It was August, Chloe had enough time to buy books and register at the college. Aiden hears the wind changing. He thought clearly, we would expect her. Dughan starts chopping wood and placed the logs next to the house. Dughan and Sadhhba live on a ranch and have 4 kids, that are all grown. Both have a degree in veterinary medicine. Aiden 24, the oldest is the tourist officer in town. Sheridan 21 and his girlfriend write for the newspaper. Aisling 18 is studying at all girls’ school and Elise 16 writes novels. Elise’s boyfriend volunteers at the ranch, whenever he was around. Dughan rebuilt the fireplace and Sadhhba made new plates this summer as if they expect her. As they fly north a spirit the winds sears through Chloe. It felt like the spirit was someone she once knew. Chloe feels grounded. At the entrance of the Laughaire Ranch the winds carry to the ground. Elise opens the door and everyone runs out to meet her.
    Chloe, -Hi I am Chloe Wildlife Photographer, and this is Tobee my friend. He is a photographer too.
    -I am Elise Welcome home.
    Dughan and Sadhhba said hello then Sheridan Aisling hug Chloe and Tobee.
    -We have been waiting for you. There is so much to teach you, and you could be working at the horse racing tracks.
    -The tracks, you own tracks! Tobee.
    -Dughan, come on in, We can really use everyone’s help here. The winters have been harsh.
    The Chloe turns to Aiden and goes to shake his hand. Their eyes meet and for a few long minutes Chloe and Aiden did not move. Smiling in awe like they knew each other.
    -I trusted the spirits this time.
    – Me too. Said Aiden.
    Chores are in ritual and Sadhhba cooks, Chloe helps, while the guys chop wood feed animals clean up the field , etc.like They all sit at a long table, blessing the meal, welcoming new friends and laughing and having a great time.
    That night in the barn house Tobee and Chloe were too exhausted to care who sleeps where. There were 2 beds and blankets and a dresser. Chloe comes out of the bathroom;
    -Whats up with you and Aiden, looked like you too where out this place.
    -I am not sure. He’s nice and attractive but it was a long day Im so tired.
    -Oh well, and what about me?
    -I like you, we’re best friends.

    After 4 years of hard work and study They said goodbyes and leave for Chicago and Tobee goes back to California. 10 years later Chloe flies to New England. She finds her family and on a Saturday the O’Malley’s invite Chloe and Renee, who she knew in the past, to have dinner at London Broiler. After they order, Tobee walks in and notices Mr. Finn and says hello. Chloe turns to him. Then she remembers building bridges with toothpicks in grade 7 algebra. Then they had to string weights on the bridge until it falls. Tobee shakes hands with Renee, (as Chloe smiles at him). He sat in front of Chloe. She introduces herself ( as if they just met, and he figured why she is back).
    -Hello, how do you know the Finns and O’Malley’s’? Renee moving her seat down next to Chloe and listens.
    -I worked with them years ago
    -When did you come back here?
    -I was in California and flew in this morning,
    -They invited you for dinner already! Well, I’ve ordered steamers I will share with you until your dinner is ready.
    -(Smiles back) Thanks I am lucky to see everyone again, (Smiles and pulls her leg into his, happy to see her)
    -Renee to Tobee-Have you found a place to live yet. I am expanding my business and earning extra income. If you want to live at my house you can apply at city hall. Ahh. There is our food
    And Chloe shares here steamers with Tobee, while Renee chomps on her red snapper and pasta salad.
    Then Chloe and Tobee step outside not caring what the elders thought of them.
    -How have you been? I missed you
    -Im great everything great I had to see them. I don’t know why. How are doing, Are you moving in from California?
    -Hitting my father’s grave and seeing old friends, I was in Chicago a few days ago looking for you. Where have you been?
    -Photographing, writing, and studying. (Renee and Tim walk outside and see them)(Tobee holds her and kisses her firm and soft.)
    Renee-Hey Chloe, come here lets walk and talk.
    Chloe stood near Tobee for a minute
    -Hi Tobee I’m Tim
    -How is it going Tim
    Tobee turns to Chloe-Want to go to NYC tonight.
    -I guess so, maybe, sure, may I have time to change.
    -You like to dance or hear loud music in a bar?
    -Whatever you choose, are we going with a group or meeting anyone.
    -Lets go now before they follow.
    Chloe and Tobee dance at a club in NYC. Then he asks her to fly back to Chicago.
    -Okay I have only 2 bags to pack.
    Tobee and Chloe fly their steam helicopter to Chicago. They build Photo-Bay and journal about wildlife and the sky. Chloe bought her own apartment. Tobee wanted her to live with him but they could not fully agree. She reads books, cooks, sews and talks to Tobee. At night, she prays.
    After mid-day prayer in March, Chloe had been living in Chicago for two months.
    Facing north she prays. Then Tobee, knocked on her door, and they have a lovely evening at a French restaurant, where acrobats dance in the air. Their business was going smooth and plenty of money.
    Then she hears the spirit woman. She had a most angelic voice and a glorious choir of angels on the point of path.
    Morning prayer. One cold, dark night, Chloe walked out alone on the streets of Chicago, just thinking about Tobee, Aiden and that spirit. What did Chloe want in life? Working alone at her own studio, traveling, meeting people. She photographed more scenic towns and religious houses. But something was missing or did she need to upgrade the work.
    Then she hopped in the shower to wash her hair. A classmate from High School, Brenda invited her to a party. Chloe wears a green and black short skirt and fishnet tights with a white off shoulder ruffly layered top. The weather was clear and slightly warm.
    Meanwhile, Brenda drives to fetch Chloe. The party is 30 minutes from here. Walking into a studio, the French style food and music is the theme. Chloe talks to some friends, they ignore her. It is a celebration of Shawna leaving to Paris, France, to become a fashion photographer. The flight is Monday. Brenda is laughing having a great time with Shawna’s friends. In dim light, Chloe, a wallflower, cannot be seen. A scream in the night thankfully stops Chloe’s thinking and drinking. Shawna wins a car and luggage, clapping happily. Later that evening Shawna says to Chloe, drunken, she is sad to leave home. Chloe asks if she is set up in Paris. No? Shawna wants the job interview at Ralph Lauren on Tuesday. Chloe speaks softly to Shawna, “If I sublet my apartment for one year, then I could apply to fashion photography in Paris.”
    Chloe drove Shawna’s new car and asks to take the Paris trip tickets. She wanted to get out of town for while and travel.
    In September the following year Chloe returns with rolls of film and new clothes. She took a week to create her photo album. There were photos of French fashion, Spain, and England. Monday night Tobee knocked on her door and they talked all night long.
    -Where have you been darling I miss you so much
    -I am back from a pinch of travel with film and journal notes
    -What, How are you doing?

    Then the winds turned her towards a road and she walked for 20 minutes. And whispering in the wind were voices saying, we miss you we need you, find us. Like the spirits from the West calls her. Chloe runs through snow covered pines trees happily. A spirit with a wondrous voice sang, she questions. Could that be the spirits? She trusts this person All of the sudden, the winds opened a path to the airport.

    Tobee and Chloe leave Chicago to find the spirit. They packed a weeks supply and ate dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. In the morning Chloe suggests Route 66. Tobee agreed. They both wanted to drive the whole way west and camp like tourists. The first day the spirit winds spread out, a night stopping to camp in (Springfield, Missouri) the field was cautious and weather was humid and dark. Tobee bought farm fresh vegetables and a light amount of beef. They prepared a stew to cook for a bit. Then the wolves howled through the darkness. The next morning she packed the tent while Tobee cooked eggs, and coffee on the grill. They shop for cowboy style clothes jewelry, and two bosses of the plains hats. After driving for (20 miles); caught in traffic. There was an accident and while they were stopped, Chloe felt something strong within. With the wind Tobee turns into route 1-35.
    -Why did you turn?
    -This feeling you get when we are headed north?
    At the next gas station on 135 Tobee packs more fuel and continues northwest on i-70. Speeding up to route 183 in South Dakota, as the darkness unfolding. They meet up with the Lakota’s and talk about life all week. Silence. The spirits help Tobee and Chloe in this dark, and starry night. Tobee and Chloe thanked the Lakota’s, and the spirits. Finally we were at peace.

    Reply
  69. Nidhi

    This is my first short story! So pelase bear with me! ♡

    “And so they lived happily ever after !” I finished.
    I kept the book down and kissed my daughter good night. As she murmured her ‘good night’ her little hand tightened around mine and she begged me with her eyes to stay.
    “There is no one in the room Aria! You are safe! You can just call me if you need anything and I’ll be here in a second!”I said.
    “But mama, the red lady is here and she’s angry!”she whispered.
    I looked around the room and saw no one as usual. This had become a regular thing for me now!
    “I dont see anyone dear! Be a brave girl!”
    “But mama-”
    “You’ll be fine” I interrupted and left.
    As soon as I laid down on my bed, I heard a loud bang and I ran to Aria’s room and found her door shut. I never closed her door!
    I opened it and saw my daughter huddled up in a corner with a terrified expression and started crying once she saw me.
    I let her sleep with me on my bed that night!
    This had never happened before!
    I remembered being scared of the dark as a child and how my mom helped me overcome it. I decided to call my mom.
    I went out of the room to let Aria sleep while i talked to mom for some advice.
    “Hello? Sophie? Why are you calling so late? Is everything okay?”my mom asked.
    “Yeah! Uh I need help with some parenting issue mom! Aria’s been talking some nonsense about a red lady scaring her off at night and i was wondering if you could help me get her out of this wierd phase!”I said.
    “Wait a red lady? I dont want to be creepy but you used to be imagery friends with a similar kind of lady. I mean you used to talk about a lady in a red dress being your best friend and how she hated me! I took you to a priest because i was totally creeped out!”my mom responded.
    I didn’t know what to say. I was more than wierded out. I was scared. How can younger me and my daughter imagine a similar being with a slight difference in relation?!
    Suddenly i had a sickening feeling in my stomach and an urgent need to check on my daughter.
    “Mom i gotta go!”
    “What? But-“I hung up.
    I ran to my room and screamed out in terror at the sight in front of me.
    My daughter hung from the ceiling , dark blood running down her body and white night gown to the floor. I stumbled towards her and my heart nearly stopped once i saw thefloor where her blood dripped on. Someone had run their fingers through the blood and written some words for me –

    We can finally be friends again Sophie! Nobody can break us apart! Come back to me!

    I backed away from the sight in horror and bumped into something. More like somebody. I slowly turned around and saw the gruesome lady from my childhood, her image resurfacing from the depths of my memories. She smiled her crooked smile and that’s when it all turned red!

    Reply
  70. Pradeep

    This started as a 15-min exercise, but took definite shape over an hour. Posting it here hoping to get some feedback from any writing/editing/publishing professionals reading this space.

    Conceited Conflict

    Simon did not die…

    The inviting aroma of freshly brewed coffee had been enough to persuade him to walk straight into the little beach-side shack without as much as a second thought. He had made a mental note to thank Danny–his colleague and friend–for suggesting the place for a quick getaway.

    People close to Simon knew that he savored these small pleasures of life: a peaceful evening relaxing at the beach, the blushing horizon as the sun set for the day, the scents of the tropical sea, the areca nut trees swaying to the music of the breeze, the waves at the shallow end lightly caressing his feet, the warm texture of the sand slipping away beneath his toes, children running around flying colorful kites… cocoa-rich dark chocolates, and fresh coffee.

    And why not? After all, he thought, what was life without these? Nothing but a stressful grind, it was. To fight the distressing official battles day in and day out. To struggle to defeat the unethical schemes of the back-stabbing lot who lurked among colleagues and friends. To come back home to the nagging demands of a materialistic spouse. All that did nothing good for the soul.

    It was late evening when Simon had walked toward the shack. When he got closer, he had noticed two men standing engulfed by the dark shadows behind the shack. Although he could not discern their features, and they were speaking only in whispers, their body language had betrayed the fact that they had been exchanging an agitated conversation.

    As Simon was about to enter the shack, one of the men thrust a wad of money into the other’s hand. The other man briefly regarded the bundle before stuffing it into his trouser pocket.

    A drug deal, likely–Simon had thought–or some other such shady business. How could these people come to such spectacular and peaceful places and engage in such disreputable and squalid acts? What a disgusting lot!

    He had shaken his head to clear his thoughts, and inhaled deeply as he entered the shack. Freshly brewed coffee! He had smiled as he sat at a small, round, plastic table in a corner. All other concerns would have to wait for half an hour, at least.

    Outside, unknown to Simon, the deal had been concluded. The men had followed up by exchanging a small vial of some sort. Then one of them had raised the hood of his jacket over his head and walked away swiftly without turning back, with his hands in his pockets. The other man had vanished into the darker shadows behind the shack.

    The next afternoon…

    Although–when it concerned professional life–Danny lacked severely in the department of moral and ethical values, he was regarded in their circles as a gem when it concerned friendship. He had rushed to the hospital at once when Simon’s wife had called. Dysentery–she had told him, repeating the doctor’s diagnosis–perhaps acute food poisoning. Very severe symptoms. Quite unbearable. Must have been something he ate yesterday.

    Danny had stayed on at the hospital with Simon’s wife to lend her moral and emotional support. He wanted to make sure–he had said–that she got all the help she needed; he wanted to make sure that Simon recovered all right.

    The third evening…

    Simon rested motionless on a bed at St Sebastian Hospital. Motionless. Still. He wasn’t even breathing. He was finally free of all suffering.

    Epilogue 1…

    Normally, convincing a chemist and obtaining the required substance might have been the biggest challenge. On this occasion, however, a well-maintained friendship with a pharmaceutical assistant had proved quite rewarding.

    The rest was simple to plan and execute. Simple did not mean without risk, but in this case the desired reward would be sufficient compensation for the risk.

    The dosage would be just right. The doctor would have only the patient’s symptoms to go on, which would be easily mistaken for those of common diseases such as food poisoning or dysentery.

    It would all be over even before anyone suspected foul play. Even if other signs did manifest afterwards, there was no incriminating evidence.

    Epilogue 2…

    Simon had felt the first signs of fatigue when he was almost half way back home from his getaway spot. He had believed that the nausea was caused by travel-sickness. Later that night his condition had become worse, and next morning he had tried home remedies for diarrhea. By afternoon, he had started discharging blood, and had to be hospitalized immediately.

    Danny had stood by his bed in the hospital, looking in his weak eyes, holding his hand reassuringly. Behind those heavy eyelids, in those weak eyes about to close, Danny had seen a faint spark of realization. The reality of the deal he had witnessed behind the coffee shack had dawned on Simon. I wish you understood, my friend–Danny had thought–that it was nothing personal, that everything is fair in professional rivalry. In any case, it was too late now. There was no turning back.

    Don’t strain yourself trying to talk–Danny had said–Just close your eyes, let go and relax.

    — End —

    Reply
  71. Pradeep

    Conceited Conflict

    Simon did not die…

    The inviting aroma of freshly brewed coffee had been enough to persuade him to walk straight into the little beach-side shack without as much as a second thought. He had made a mental note to thank Danny–his colleague and friend–for suggesting the place for a quick getaway.

    People close to Simon knew that he savored these small pleasures of life: a peaceful evening relaxing at the beach, the blushing horizon as the sun set for the day, the scents of the tropical sea, the areca nut trees swaying to the music of the breeze, the waves at the shallow end lightly caressing his feet, the warm texture of the sand slipping away beneath his toes, children running around flying colorful kites… cocoa-rich dark chocolates, and fresh coffee.

    And why not? After all, he thought, what was life without these? Nothing but a stressful grind, it was. To fight the distressing official battles day in and day out. To struggle to defeat the unethical schemes of the back-stabbing lot who lurked among colleagues and friends. To come back home to the nagging demands of a materialistic spouse. All that did nothing good for the soul.

    It was late evening when Simon had walked toward the shack. When he got closer, he had noticed two men standing engulfed by the dark shadows behind the shack. Although he could not discern their features, and they were speaking only in whispers, their body language had betrayed the fact that they had been exchanging an agitated conversation.

    As Simon was about to enter the shack, one of the men thrust a wad of money into the other’s hand. The other man briefly regarded the bundle before stuffing it into his trouser pocket.

    A drug deal, likely–Simon had thought–or some other such shady business. How could these people come to such spectacular and peaceful places and engage in such disreputable and squalid acts? What a disgusting lot!

    He had shaken his head to clear his thoughts, and inhaled deeply as he entered the shack. Freshly brewed coffee! He had smiled as he sat at a small, round, plastic table in a corner. All other concerns would have to wait for half an hour, at least.

    Outside, unknown to Simon, the deal had been concluded. The men had followed up by exchanging a small vial of some sort. Then one of them had raised the hood of his jacket over his head and walked away swiftly without turning back, with his hands in his pockets. The other man had vanished into the darker shadows behind the shack.

    -*-

    The next afternoon…

    Although–when it concerned professional life–Danny lacked severely in the department of moral and ethical values, he was regarded in their circles as a gem when it concerned friendship. He had rushed to the hospital at once when Simon’s wife had called. Dysentery–she had told him, repeating the doctor’s diagnosis–perhaps acute food poisoning. Very severe symptoms. Quite unbearable. Must have been something he ate yesterday.

    Danny had stayed on at the hospital with Simon’s wife to lend her moral and emotional support. He wanted to make sure–he had said–that she got all the help she needed; he wanted to make sure that Simon recovered all right.

    -*-

    The third evening…

    Simon rested motionless on a bed at St Sebastian Hospital. Motionless. Still. He wasn’t even breathing. He was finally free of all suffering.

    -*-

    Epilogue 1…

    Normally, convincing a chemist and obtaining the required substance might have been the biggest challenge. On this occasion, however, a well-maintained friendship with a pharmaceutical assistant had proved quite rewarding.

    The rest was simple to plan and execute. Simple did not mean without risk, but in this case the desired reward would be sufficient compensation for the risk.

    The dosage would be just right. The powder would dissolve perfectly in a hot bewerage. The doctor would have only the patient’s symptoms to go on, which would be easily mistaken for those of common diseases such as food poisoning or dysentery.

    It would all be over even before anyone suspected foul play. Even if other signs did manifest afterwards, there was no incriminating evidence.

    -*-

    FYI (a.k.a. Epilogue 2)…

    Simon had felt the first signs of fatigue when he was almost half way back home from his getaway spot. He had believed that the nausea was caused by travel-sickness. Later that night his condition had become worse, and next morning he had tried home remedies for diarrhea. By afternoon, he had started discharging blood, and had to be hospitalized immediately.

    Danny had stood by his bed in the hospital, looking in his weak eyes, holding his hand reassuringly. Behind those heavy eyelids, in those weak eyes about to close, Danny had seen a faint spark of realization. The reality of the deal he had witnessed behind the coffee shack had dawned on Simon. I wish you understood, my friend–Danny had thought–that it was nothing personal, that everything is fair in professional rivalry. In any case, it was too late now. There was no turning back.

    Don’t strain yourself trying to talk–Danny had said–Just close your eyes, let go and relax.

    — End —

    Reply
  72. alicia

    She sat on the grass and breathed a deep sigh. The day was opened to accept any possibilities. From her pocket, she removed a folded hankerchief with a sea green color, designed with red and gold colored flowers and orange diamonds. Unfolding it, she smoothed it out onto the ground and laid out her picnic snack. A peanut butter and raspberry preserves sandwich and apple slices. As she started eating her picnic snack, a loud buzzing noise filled her ears. Her head turned about to see what could cause such a noise. She looked up and stood to see if the source of the sound was somewhere within eyesight.
    A large object appeared in the sky – grey metal object which hovered over the canyon. As her eyes became glued to the object, the bite of her sandwich stuck in her throat, not making way at all down her esophagus to her stomach. Then with a hard swallow, she pushed this bit of the food down with a loud gulping noise. A soft whisper left her lips, “What in the world…”
    The object in the sky appeared to be a oblong oval object, with a row of dark windows lining the edge. There were several small feet that were protrudging at the bottom, which made it appear to look as if it were about to land.
    Her eyes still glued to the object, she started to run. Her eyes switching from the sky to the path in front of her. As she ran the quickest path home, and looking at the object in the sky, her body collided in a large thump into a tall body, whose arms took hold of her shoulders.
    “Cassie! Are you okay?!” yelled the man she had just crashed into.
    Now shaking, she replied back, “I’m okay but I don’t think they are.”

    Reply
  73. Phyllis Chubb

    Oh were the mind goes!

    Practice Two – 15 minutes
    A story, anything, a story must come from this exercise…. Here goes. Food will be the topic and food is near and dear my heart, especially involving full flavor and sharp tastes. Well, maybe that isn’t the complete truth, I love ice-cream and there is nothing sharp about ice cream. Rather, ice cream is cool, and smooth the texture of which makes my taste buds sing. Ice cream does nothing, absolutely nothing for my ever-expanding waist line.
    Now that’s another topic. My waistline and the relationships it develops with textures. I’ve already confessed cool and smooth is a weakness, but so is hot and crispy. In between soft and hot, there is the chewy texture provided by hot bread, especially naan. which I always have when eating a curry. Curry, now there we have variety unlimited: sweet curry made with coconut milk, hot super-hot curry of South India or the onion lasted curry of Northern India. My mouth is now watering and the resolution to eat moderately is rapidly fading into the remote areas of my memory.
    It’s not only my resolve to eat moderately that fades off the promises of exercise fade too. This brings me to the realization that by living up to one resolve I get to ignore the need for the second resolve. How does this work? It’s easy, at least in theory. If I could get myself to exercise, even walking around the block would help, I could then enjoy my food without the spice called guilt.
    It’s interesting how the desire for texture and the willingness to allow my feet to feel the firmness of concrete war with each other. Seeing the battle ground in print gives some starch to resolve….what’s the expression? No pain no gain? Pain. Pain is the other thi

    Reply
  74. Jackie Houchin

    Write a short story, huh? Yeah, about what? About a pig or a porcupine or a pineapple. How about all three? Okay, here goes.

    Pig met a young doe in the forest, rooting around in the pine needles for blades of grass. “Whatcha doing, miss Doe,” asked the pig?
    “Ah well young man, I’m eating for two these days you know. I’m with fawn. Do you know what that means?”
    The pig looked around. The doe wasn’t with anyone that he could see. She went back to nuzzling for nice grass, closing her big doe eyes as she did.
    Pig sighed and went on through the forest and came upon an ancient porcupine laying on its side.
    “What’s the matter?” pig said. “Are you stuck?” He thought that perhaps a few of the porcupine’s quills had punctured the ground too far and prevented the old fellow from rising. “I could try to help you.”
    Pig looked for a place in which to grab hold of the porcupine in order to pull him out of his predicament. But whenever he put his snout near a quill it poked him painfully. “Ow!” he cried.
    The prone porcupine moaned. “Leave me be, you porker. Can’t you see I am dying. Let me die in peace!”
    “Well,” huffed Pig. “Expire in peace, then.” He paced off, wiping his punctured snout on the soft cool dirt now and then to soothe the pain.
    Pig walked long and far. He grew tired and hungry. Maybe he should go home instead of this wandering in the world. He hadn’t met any friendly creatures, and he had been shunned when he’d tried to be nice. Nobody expected a pig to be nice. But why not?
    He sighed and was about to turn around when a wonder aroma wafted by and tickled his olfactory sense. “WHAT was that lovely smell? So sweet and enticing?
    Pig followed is nose, which was very discerning even with a bit of dirt clinging to it, and a few small swollen pricks here and there. He passed a farm yard fence. He passed a familiar sty. He turned into the gate just as if he belonged there, and actually he did! He’d made a big circle and arrived home! And his friendly farmer-owner had tossed a bucket of delicacies into his trough. (The farmer’s wife called it garbage, but Pig knew it was food from heaven…manna!)
    And tonight there was a whole, slightly browning in one spot, pineapple, oozing its sweet juices and intoxicating aroma. Pig dived in. He was in Hog Heaven.
    The farmer smiled in a kindly way to see Pig gobbling up the slop.
    The farmer’s wife smiled in an anticipatory way to see Pig eating to well and so much.

    Reply
  75. yukta narvekar

    “hey!! dad. what are you going to gift me on my birthday?” 10 year old Star asked her dad ten days before her birthday.” Honey i will give you something worth remembering.” saying that he left for work leaving the very perplexed Star behind. She let it go and watched t.v. After sometime her mom came back from groceries.”MOM!!!!!!!” Star shouted. Though she was daddy’s girl she usually loved both of them dearly.”So what is my daughter doing today??” her mom asked. “Mom!”Star exclaimed. she didn’t like to be referred in third person.”Ok fine!! So tell me what are doing?”her mom asked her.”just nothing” And saying so she went to her room to play.

    *****It was three days before her birthday*****

    “dad you told me that you would give something that would be worth remembering. What is that?” soon-to-be 11 Star asked.”Not today darling I will tell you on your birthday” he said crouching to her level. “dad i wan-”
    She passed out before she could complete her sentence. Her dad acted fast and called for ambulance.
    *****Four days later******
    “MOM!MOM!MOM!” Now 11 years shouted seeing all the machines around her,”Oh! Honey, finally you are awake.” her mom exclaimed happily.”Ya but where is dad?” She asked innocently.Her mom gave her a sad smile and pulled out a paper from her purse and got up to leave but not kissing her forehead and placing her hand on her heart. Intrigued Star opened the paper and started to read.

    “Hey!! Honey. its your dad here.You asked me the other day what birthday i had planned for you. Well if you are reading it right now, then probably you are 11 and your mom gave this when you asked her for me. So honey, keep your hand on your heart and close your eyes…..” With this the letter was over. Precisely at that moment the doctor came in and said” Congratulations miss Star the body accepted the heart just like it was made for it.” Star couldn’t understand anything. All she wanted was to meet her dad. Seeing her puzzled expression the doctor continued”Miss you had a heart disorder and this is the reason you passed out that day. And we had to change it. The donor was none other than-” “-my dad” Star completed his sentence. “I am sorry Miss.” the doctor said sadly.” No need to be sad” Star said. The doctors eyes shot up to her. She cleared herself.” There is no need to be sad ‘coz my dad’s not dead. He is still alive here” Star said pointing to her heart. She kept a hand on heart, closed her eyes and whispered” Dad you will live till i am alive and don’t worry about mom because i will take care of her like you took and also will her the love you gave her along with my love. I will make sure that no tear escape her eye.” Saying so she opened her eyes to find her mom with her eyes filled with tears. Her mom said only one thing ” I am proud of you my child.” And wiped her eyes dry.They hugged each other.

    ” I am also proud of you, honey!!” Her dad said form above. Saying so he finally rested in peace.

    Reply
  76. Takira Hodges

    Alright, I’m new here and am so excited for feedback on my works! If you would please criticize this piece to the fullest?
    Chapter 1
    “I’m getting a brother?!” cried Jill Cross, halting in washing the last load of dishes. Beside him a pristine pile of plates sat dripping water in the rack. On the other side sat a pile of dirty silverware, but Jill thought the clean ones were winning out.
    “Yes, Jill,” his mother, bending over at the family table and washing the surface with a rag, glared over at him with annoyed blue eyes. She was speaking with control in her voice. “You are. And I would appreciate this being the last time you ask me that.”
    “But, it’s just so…”
    “Jill,” his father said from the living room. Jill thought he was vacuuming but he realized he hadn’t heard the machine in half an hour since they started. “Listen to your mother and don’t start it.”
    Start what? Jill thought petulantly as he went back to washing dishes.
    He was still bewildered, though.
    The Crosses had alway been a three person team, just him, his father, and his mother. Fine he grew pretty lonely sometimes when his parents were off working or getting the monthly Quarantine, but he never once thought he’d receive what he most desired: A brother.
    Just fifteen minutes ago he was wondering why in the world they were cleaning the entire house up, like they were making it even more habitable than it always was-thanks to his mother-for a visitor. Then his father told him, after he’d carelessly tossed the last of his pancakes in the trash after breakfast, that he was to stop wasting food and help them clean, because they were getting a new son and he a new brother.
    Then he was put on dishes duty by his mother, still trying to get more information out of them.
    Three things he’d learned before they became exasperated and shut down: One, his brother looked like his mother: Wide blue eyes and fluffy short blond hair. Two he was twelve, the same age as Jill, and three, his name was Jack.
    Well, no, four things, because Jill also knew he was coming to the house today.
    That, however, was going to bode problems. He wasn’t completely into having a long-lost brother, especially if he didn’t know his background or where he came from or who he lived with. He tried to ask his parents about all of that, but they either didn’t know because they thought he was being annoying or they had no idea.
    Anyways, Jill knew his parents were just as uncomfortable about the long-lost brother thing, too. His mother’s workplace is the Children’s Orphanage for Foster kids, and she’d gotten a call from the manager yesterday about a boy calling himself Jack and asking for a Melody Cross.
    His mother was a bit shaken when Mrs.Eleanor told her that. Why would a random boy who popped out of nowhere call her name, especially when she’d never met him? Especially when he entered the program that same day just to leave again for the Crosses?
    And even weirder, why didn’t he come back with his mother?
    ***
    Jack sat in the back of the public transportation bus, watching the pretty lights of Tokyo pass by in a blur. He couldn’t really see them because it was sunny outside-which was a deceivable thing since the temperature outside was freezing cold- and the tall Quarantine buildings and Demon Prisons obscured most of the scenery, but he could imagine it was already christmas time at near dark, and the lights were shining for him-for them. Him and his long-lost brother: Jill.
    His humming grew louder and he kicked his feet higher. He was so excited. He’d finally get to see his real family, he’d finally get to meet his other half of his soul.
    Two seats in front of him, the passengers on the bus who got on with him, glanced back with annoyance on their faces. They muttered and glared, but Jack wasn’t watching. The shadows around him were whispering again.
    You’ll get to have loads of fun with Jill.
    You won’t be lonely anymore.
    Are you happy you got your wish?
    Jack smiled. “Of course I am,” he said to the quivering forms on his right. “I just hope he likes me ,too.”
    The public nearest him began to look mighty uncomfortable, and it made Jack pause for a moment to figure out why. He guessed earlier they moved up from him was because he smelled bad and he was in dirty wrinkled clothing, but now he wondered if it was because of his friends.
    Jill peeked at the shadows still whispering in his ears, and back to the pinched faces of the people. He said nothing for a long while.
    ***
    “Mom, didn’t you say he was taking the bus here?” Jill asked now, he was almost done with the fistful of silverware he had in his hand, scrubbing the metal pieces with a blue rag. “Don’t you think he should have came back with you when you learned he was your son?”
    “Jill, there are rules with that in the orphanage, like paperwork and schedules. And you really shouldn’t worry about that, just know that he’s coming.”
    Ok, so the coming back with his mother part wasn’t real. But Jill couldn’t help believing otherwise. Paperwork wasn’t that hard to do, and it was short, with the technology of today. And If his mom really wanted to, she could take Jack from there without the worry of schedules, she was practically the manager’s right wing woman.
    “Hm,” Jill said, finished with his part of cleanup. He dried his hands off on the towel folded over the stove’s handle, and shoved them in his black hoodie pockets. He glared at his parents’ backs, they too busy with their own work to notice, and started for the stairs.
    Unfortunately he had to pass the family table and through the freshly vacuumed living room to get there.
    “You’re finished already?” asked his mom, looking back at the sink and the rack full of clean dishes when he passed her. His father looked up from dusting the windows, his vaccum put away.
    “Yeah,” Jill ventured, having to stop. He thought about running for the stairs before they gave him something else to do.
    “Well,” his mother began. “Can you help-”
    Ding dong.
    Jill and his family paused for a full minute. If it was Jack, then he was way too early. It was still morning time, and nowhere near noon. “I got it,” his dad said for them all, moving toward the door. Jill and his mom stared after him as he unlocked the door and opened it.
    A boy Jill’s height stood on the front porch in a dirty blue sweater and jeans. His fluffy white curls were pressed down with even more dirt, and he was barefoot. His eyes, blue and clear as his mother’s, was as wide as theirs. “Wow, you all look so scared.”
    This unexpected comment broke the barrier.
    Jill’s mom walked toward his father, and put a hand on his arm. He stepped back and she kneeled in front of Jack where his dad had moved from. “Is that all you have?” she asked, acknowledging a black book bag slung over his back. It didn’t look full.
    Jack smiled at her, his blue eyes twinkling with mirth. “I don’t have a lot of things to carry because I travel a lot.” Then he looked through the door straight at Jill, who was still at the entrance to the kitchen where his mother left him. Jill was startled. “Can I come in?”
    Is he asking me?! Jill thought in a panic, but on the outside he gave him a no nonsense look and stayed silent.
    “Yes,” his mother said for him. “Please come in and get settled. Uh, before we can talk though you might want to take a shower.” Jill’s mother said when Jack walked past her to enter. Jill saw her wrinkle her nose and he wondered what Jack smelled like, though he wasn’t going to go check.
    “Melody,” his dad interjected, giving her one of his stern gazes. Melody looked chaste sized. Jill knew sometimes his mother could say harsh things without even realizing it, he knew because he got it from her. But, without fail his father was there to correct her.
    “I’m sorry,Jack.” she told him. “But you do have a smell…”
    Jack, who wasn’t paying a bit of attention to what was going on, put down his backpack and turned to his mother. “You’re fine. I know I don’t look presentable right now. I did walk here, you know.”
    What!?
    “You walked from the orphanage to here!?” Jill demanded at Jack.
    he raced to him, eyes on his feet, and grabbed one of his ankles.
    “Jill!” exclaimed his parents, but he was already lifting Jack’s foot and checking its bottom. It was dirty, but no blood told of his story of the sixty mile trek he had to take to get to his house.
    Jack yelped and tried to hold his balance, but he fell hard on his back.
    “You liar!” Jill accused, reaching over his body to glare face-to-face on him. Jack blinked up at him, his blue eyes curious and amused. “You couldn’t have walked all this way because your feet’s not bloody.”
    “Well, I didn’t say I walked that far.” laughed Jack. “I took the bus most of the trip.”

    Reply
  77. Whitney Shaw

    Short story i did when i was 15 at the time.

    There is an eighteen year old boy who has been fighting since he was only fifteen years old. His name is Freddie Long Legs. Boxing has been in his family for generations, its a tradition past down to the next generation. Freddie’s Grandfather was the first Native American Indian to ever compete in the Olympics of boxing.

    A boxing tournament was coming up for Freddie Long Legs; he’d been waiting for this day, for a long time. He has to fight Larry, a big guy with muscles. Freddie’s father, Gary Long Legs is his coach. The tournament was finally here, it was time for Freddie, Gary, Larry and his father to sit down in front of the cameras and reporters.

    “Freddie, so I have heard that you have never been to the Olympics, is this true?” asked the female reporter.

    “Yes,” said Freddie Long Legs.

    “Where did you learn to fight?” asked the male reporter.

    “Well I beat up this big cow boy on the Reservation, showed him a thing or too, also my Grandfather was the first Native American to ever compete in the Olympics of boxing from his tribe,” said Freddie Long Legs.

    “Who is your Grandfather?” asked the male reporter.

    “Black Cloud,” said Freddie Long Legs proudly.

    “Well I’m not a cow boy, I am the nearest good thing there ever was,” said Larry.

    “Hey Larry, when are you going to take him out?” asked the female reporter.

    “When am I going to take him out? When you beg me for more….then I’ll take him out,” smiled Larry.

    “Freddie what do you have to say about that?” asked the male reporter.

    “A big mouth is a sign of fear and ignorance,” said Freddie Long Legs.

    Larry jumped out of his chair and yelled.

    “I’ll take you on right now, Tonto! You, the Lone Ranger, Silver, your hold dang posse!” shouted Larry.

    Freddie just smiled; Larry and his father went to their locker room as did Freddie and his father.

    “How are you feeling?” asked Gary.

    “Good,” said Freddie taking a breath.

    “Are you ready?” asked Gary.

    “I am ready,” said Freddie.

    Gary brought down a box off of a shelf above them and opened it.

    “This was your Grandfather’s, I want you to have it, that’s if you want it,” said Gary Long Legs.

    Freddie looked at his father and smiled, then they both walked out into the arena.

    “Good luck son,” said Gary Long Legs.

    The bell rang.

    “Touch gloves?” asked the referee.

    So they touched gloves.

    “This will be the last time your gloves ever touch mine,” smiled Larry.

    “We’ll see about that,” said Freddie Long Legs.

    The bell rang again.

    “FIGHT!” shouted the referee.

    They started fighting, Larry kept hitting and pushing Freddie into the corner.

    “Put your hands up son, hit him with your right!” shouted Gary Long Legs.

    The bell rang again, Larry went to his corner, and Freddie went to his.

    “He’s strong,” Freddie catching his breath.

    “Your strong, he does not have what it takes, remember who you are fighting for?” asked Gary Long Legs.

    “Apache Nation,” said Freddie Long Legs.

    “Good, now take deep breaths, suck in some air,” said Gary.

    The bell rang.

    “It’s my turn,” said Freddie.

    “FIGHT!” shouted the referee.

    They started fighting, Larry was still pushing and punching Freddie into the corner again. Finally Freddie pushed Larry and got into the center of the arena and faced Larry.

    Larry kept punching Freddie, and backing him into the corner, finally Freddie Long Legs started to growl, and show his teeth, there were native women chanting, drums being played, men chanting, then Freddie quickly moved to the left and hit Larry from behind. Then he just started beating on him as he was growling, everybody jumped up and started cheering, and yelling Freddie, Freddie. Gary just looked and smiled and was very proud.

    Larry dropped to his knees and fell over, Freddie stopped growling and dropped his hands, everybody started cheering and clapping, Freddie started to look around and the native women and men, and the drums had stopped, he could finally hear the crowd. Gary came running inside the arena and gave him a huge hug and smiled.

    “Where’s the Olympics anyways,” smiled Freddie.

    They both laughed and walked to their locker room.

    “You don’t even know when it happens do you?” asked Gary.

    “What, what happens in the ring, I don’t know, I just fight,” said Freddie Long Legs.

    “Crossing into the Spirit world is a very powerful thing, they have chosen you, figure out why they call you?” asked Gary.

    “Great, I thought only medicine men had to deal with this,” laughed Freddie Long Legs.

    “Let’s go home,” smiled Gary Long Legs.

    So they packed all their belongings and went home.

    Freddie Long Legs never did go to the Olympics, as he got older he had a wife, a son and a daughter. His son wanted to be a fighter also. So Freddie taught him everything he knew about boxing.

    The years have come and gone, Freddie Long Legs is now a Grandfather himself. He tells his grandchildren stories that were told to him long ago by his father who herd them from his father and great Grandfather. Freddie Long Legs was 80 years old when he died.

    “God said it was time for him to come home, He has a plan for us all either we know it or not, we do not know when our time is coming only He does. But the question is? Are you ready?

    Reply
  78. MNC

    She was alone in a strange city where the crossing the street looked like in her country only big demonstrations against the governments. Thousands of people. Fluttering crowd, neon lights, modernity. People at arm’s reach and so far to any intimacy. She had the impression that if suddenly died, nobody would even notice it. The big crowd had own rules and aims. This crowd had to go on.
    And she? She was filled with feeling of invalidity. It was not completly new for her. But now, in this mass of people with slant-eyed, it hit her like tsunami, causing memories and flooding her with sadness and longing. What now? It reminded her the words she had read once. If you do not know what to do – take one step. She could certainly do that. However, there was a small problem. Three zebra crossings and everyone in the other direction. Take a step is one, but choosing in which directions is something quite different. In her country, she did not have to make such decision, crossing the streets. She did not even see the green light. Neither act of retreat nor choice was longer possible. The ruthless crowd kidnapped her with a force she did not know earlier.

    Reply
  79. CLM

    What am I supposed to tell her? Everything she does seems to fall through. She jumps from one thing to another, and it’s not that she doesn’t work hard, because she does. It’s just that nothing seems to work out for her. I know she needs encouragement, and I could provide a plethora of platitudes and Bible verses, but what she really needs, I don’t think I can give her.

    I’ve supported her and tried to be understanding, but the bottom line is, she has responsibilities in the real world. A family to provide for, a home to maintain, marital responsibilities and then all of the responsibilities she has because she “volunteered” to do something. I don’t know why she keeps doing that. Volunteering for everything under the sun. When is she going to have time to find a job if she’s busy doing everything else? I’m so tired of carrying everything. I love her, but I’m tired.

    Her mind is a plate of spaghetti. Everything is connected and touching, and one thing leads to another, and she’s lost focus again. Maybe she does need medication.

    Sometimes it feels like she doesn’t care about anyone but herself. I just wish I could understand what was going on inside her head and her heart. She still has so much hurt, anger, fear, and doubt inside. I see it in how she treats the kids. She’s too afraid he’ll leave so she doesn’t intentionally lash out at him, but the kids, they feel the brunt of her frustration too many times. I don’t know how to help her, and I’m starting to not really care anymore since she practically ignores me. Maybe it would be better…….

    No. I’m stuck. I can’t leave. She wouldn’t make it without me.

    Reply
  80. Ms727231

    Briee Bumbldorf stood looking at his neighbors, his family, with stunned silence. The hatred and fear that shown in their eyes was clear. They blamed him for the appearance of the young dragon that almost crashed through the town gate!
    He had put his life in jeapardy to steer it away from the town, but they really believed he was waving it towards them! How could they believe he would do such a thing?
    He felt a crushing weight of judgment hit him and he realized the door was closed to him here forever.
    He made his way through the crowd careful not to meet their eyes. But he didn’t hang his head either. Looking forward he passed on without another word and walked back down the path to his home. One last time.

    Reply
  81. Mary M

    She sat there gazing at the city below her. It was such a beautiful sight. The city was alive. Buildings reached for the skies with lights shining bright. Cars were racing down the lit streets. Even from a high cliff, she could hear the sirens and noise the cars emitted.

    She hugged her knees to her chest and laid her head on her arms. Taking a deep breath, she looked up to the sky. There were no stars out tonight. The city lights blurred them out almost every time. The wind gently pulled her hair into a soft dance. She could smell the car exhaust and smoke wafting through the air. The warm breeze carried with it a slight chill as the night progressed.

    Soft steps came from behind her. She didn’t move; she knew who it was. Ruffling from beside her sounded as the person sat, but she didn’t look his way.

    “It’s a beautiful night out, don’t you think?” The person tried to grab her attention by gently shoving her shoulder.

    “Yeah, it is.” She smiled lightly still looking at the city below her.

    The person shifted slightly. “May I ask what brought you here today?” He paused looking at the girl beside him wondering what she was thinking. “Another bad day?”

    She finally moved her eyes away from the city and turned towards the guy in front of her. She crossed her legs and played with the grass beneath her feet. “Yeah,” she let out a sigh, “I had another fight at home.”

    “Figured,” he muttered under his breath, but she heard him alright.

    Her eyes traveled lazily from the grass to the boy in front of her. No, he was no longer a boy, but a man who grew into knowing her. He was someone she knew she could turn to whenever her life felt like hell. She studied him quietly. The city lights from below cast shadows onto his face. His deep blue eyes were locked onto the high building he always liked to watch. His hair today was messy; unlike his well kempt locks he prided himself with every morning.

    One thought always rang through her head every time he came by to their spot. Why didn’t he leave like everyone else?

    “I promised I’ll always stay, and I’m keeping my promise.” She wasn’t surprised he knew what she was thinking of; she was stupid enough to voice that question out once before. “If I hadn’t made that promise, I would still be here,” he reassured her with a determined voice.
    A gentle smile spread across her face as she leaned on his shoulder. She closed her eyes and basked in this feeling.

    Reply
  82. Hamood

    At a beginning of June 2013 after long study, making a well pre-plan, decide to make a first successful international trip, the trip accompanied with other two motorcyclists. We were able to travel at a distance of ten thousands kilometers from Muscat, Oman to Hamburg, Germany. It took twenty five days, covering 500 kilometers per day. Well satisfied of this achievement.

    After achievement of the Europe trip, decide to do it again but this time at Asia continent – In 2015 from Oman to China it took 30 days, but were not able to complete the fully journey due to some issues happened in China. This year 2017 the trip starts from Oman and end up to Pretoria, South Africa. Crossing through fourteen countries; United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, crossing red sea by ferry from Jeddah to Saukin Port in Sudan, and continue all the way down to Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia to Victoria falls then crossing Zambezi river to Botswana then final destination is South Africa.

    Reply
  83. Sek DB

    The town if it could even be called that was dark. The empty steets were littered with trash, the street lights flickered, half of them were busted out, from gun fights the woman assumed as she began to make her way down the street. Her cold gaze took in the empty and gutted buildings around her. She didnt have to look long before she found the place that would be the most beneficial to her.
    The only building that was lit on the entire block, Like a beacon for thugs and common criminals. A small over crowded bar, letting the woman know that it was the only place with its doors open this late. It had two large bay windows on either side of the old rotting wooden door, the glass was dirty and littered with sun faded photos and posters. Intoxicated people stumbled out of the bar, a woman looking as if she were getting to start her work day rather than finishing it stumbled out laughing hysterically after two rough looking men.
    The woman hung back in the shadows, her violet hues lighting briefly on each person before skittering away and taking in her surroundings. Slowly she stepped forward, practically melting from the shadows as she stepped into the weak lighting from the bar. “8’s” was what the sign indicated the bar was called. Though the only way you could tell was because the cracked and and peeling paint looked vaguely like an eight ball and an “S” was the only thing that accompanied it. The woman could feel eyes on her as she slid in the door, all the conversations seemed to stop.
    It wasnt often that Strangers wandered into the dead end of a town. Literally there was only one road going into town, before it dispersed into much smaller road, encircling the entire town before curling back to meet up with the main road and lead back out of town. What was stranger still was that it was a woman and she didnt look like the kind of women that frequented these bars. Suddenly she grinned. Her pearly white teeth standing out against her naturally deeply tanned skin. Her violet eyes making her look even stranger.
    “Hello… I happen to be looking for someone who Ive heard happened to be staying here. I was wondering if any of you could be so kind as to point me in the right direction.” She said, her voice deep and husky as she pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.
    Removing one of the cancer filled tubes and placing it between her lips, lighting it and taking a long drag before looking back up. Her violet eyes flashing dangerously as she exhaled.

    Reply
    • Peter Evans

      I like the way it starts, it’s very dramatic. I would say, if anything, I found there was too much description, I wanted to feel more narrative or story telling. I like the atmosphere created with the writing too.

      Reply
  84. qwop

    This is a great……….
    qwop 2

    Reply
  85. Shruti

    He was banging the door, shouting at the top of his voice asking me to open the door. He wanted to be let in.

    My heart was beating so fast, it felt as if an adrenaline was passing through it. It was getting harder to breathe. Getting harder to keep my mind sane. My body was shaking so badly, I was afraid that I would pass out.
    I knew the door would give way soon. I needed to find a way out before it does.

    I couldn’t be around him anymore. The moment I came to know what he was, the entire world came crashing down. How could he not tell me such a huge thing? How could I have met him out of all the people out there? Fate works in a strange way; it confronts you with people you don’t want to be near, makes you fall on your knees before the ones you want to destroy, makes you love a person you are supposed to hate!

    I jumped out of my trance when I heard something hard hit the door. I needed to do something; I knew I couldn’t escape, but there had to be a way out. I got up from the floor, my legs still shaking. I frantically looked at my surroundings. Something…anything that would keep him away from him. My eyes wandered around finally finding its solution in the glass mirror that stood proudly attached to the wall. I picked up the nearest object I could lay my hand on and hurled it in the mirror, shattering it to pieces.

    No sooner had I picked up a rather big piece of glass, that the door gave in and he stumbled inside. I backed away in fright as I saw his eyes staring at me and then at the glass pieces on the floor.

    “Larisa, what happened?” He asked concerned, stepping forward.

    “Don…don’t you dare come near me. Back off!” I stammered pointing the broken piece of glass at him. My hands were shaking so badly. I held onto the glass piece using both my hands to keep it steady. It was the only fragment of my safety.

    “Please…please sweetheart. Calm down! You are hurt. Please…you are bleeding…you….” He said, still moving forward, his hand stretched out, gesturing me to calm down.

    “I TOLD YOU TO STAY BACK. I WILL KILL YOU…I SWEAR.” My tear stained face screamed at him.

    “You need first aid, Larisa… Please… Stop it…” He turned a deaf ear to my screams and continued walking towards me. I knew I was no match for his bulky strong frame. I couldn’t keep him away from me for much longer. He will get to me, but I won’t let him take me alive. I won’t allow him to touch me, not as long as I am breathing.

    Slowly, I bought my trembling hand near my throat, letting the cold piece touch my skin.
    “I…I will just kill myself before you co…could reach me. I won’t give you..you the satisfaction of destroying me.”

    I could see the fear evident on his face. He stopped in his place, not moving an inch.
    “No…please. I won’t move… But please…I beg you, don’t do that… Please… just tell me what happened. Why are you doing this?” He mumbled slowly, his voice quivering.

    I took a deep breath, careful not to rip my throat out in the process.

    “Fifteen years…” I started tardily. “…fifteen years, I have waited to seek my revenge. Get back the pleasure of watching you suffer, as I rightfully deserve. Watching your entire family burn down to dust. I deserve that… I deserve that after everything I went through. After all those things, your father brought upon me.”

    He watched me steadily, not blinking an eye.

    “But… but the stupid me… The stupid…stupid me gave my heart to you. I loved you so much. Loved you more than I can bring myself to admit. Why did it have to be you? Why? Out of all the other persons, why you? ANSWER ME….” I yelled. I wanted answers. At the very least, I needed them.

    “I…I don’t understand. I love you so much, Larisa. I love you to death. Please baby… ”

    “Lie… All lies! If you loved me so much, how could you hide it? How could you hide your identity? How could you not tell me who you are? We were supposed to get married. Was I supposed to marry you without knowing that? And then…then you would have just killed me right? Killed me along with our baby? How could you…how could you do that to me?” The tears flowed freely down my face.

    “You are pregnant?” His eyes were wide open. “I…I’m going to be a father?” He asked not believing the words that reached his ears.

    “Not anymore. Today, either I’m going to die or you. If I die, it all ends. But if I kill you, I won’t…let…my…baby be a monster like you. You are not going to be the father. You don’t deserve it. You. Don’t. Deserve. It.” I spluttered, not even able to believe my own voice.

    “I’m sorry, baby. I’m sorry for not telling you who I am. I needed the right time to let you know. Trust me, sweetheart…I wouldn’t have hidden it from you. I was going to tell you tonight. I didn’t want to go on with a lie. Please, I beg you…I will make it alright. Just tell me… I promise to make everything normal.” He begged, getting down on his knees.

    If it was any other time, I wouldn’t have been able to control myself. But it wasn’t any other time. It was killing me to see him so vulnerable, but I couldn’t go weak.
    “How can you? How can you make everything normal? You are a part of the Russian mafia and not…not just any mafia but the one who is responsible for all my pain…all my hardship. Everything! Your father killed my parents. Mercilessly. Without so much as a flinch.”

    I could see the color drain from his face as the bitter words left my mouth.

    “I was only ten, Anton. Just ten… I saw my parents blood dry right before my eyes. I felt their body turn cold. I saw it all. I saw how your father’s men barged into my house. They sliced his throat right before my very eyes, slowly…painstakingly. I saw them drag my mother by her hair near the dead body of my father. They ripped her off her dignity, they raped her before finally putting her life to an end. I saw it all. I know their faces by heart. I could still hear my mother’s scream. I could still see their lifeless eyes begging for mercy. Do you know how that is? Can you even imagine how my life turned after that?”

    He remained silent, his expression indescribable.

    “I wanted revenge. That’s all I wanted. I needed to see them suffer. Cry and beg me as I killed their families like they killed mine. Hear them scream like my mother. I wanted that. Can you give that to me? CAN YOU?”

    “Who were your parents?” He mumbled.

    “Oksana and Boris Petrov. Remember them?” I smirked as his expression changed to horror. It felt like a victory to me. But it wasn’t over yet. Not yet!

    “Oksana… Boris…? Larisa… There has been a terrible…terrible mistake. It wasn’t us. We…we didn’t kill your parents.”

    I laughed as the words left his mouth.
    “Way to go Anton. Way to go! You still have the nerve to lie to me? Lie to me right in my face? Even in this position? How low can you get? How low? Have a little… just the tiniest bit of conscience. Don’t lie to my face at least. Have that much pity for me.” I begged him. Didn’t he do enough already?

    “No Larisa. I wouldn’t lie to you. I swear. We didn’t. Your parents were betraying their own nation. The Russian spies killed them. And planted it as being the mafia. Everyone knows that. I’m not lying. We didn’t do it.”

    My blood boiled at the lies. That bastard… How dare he!

    “Don’t you dare say that about my parents. They did nothing of that sort. Stop trying to hide your deeds. Just stop it. How long huh? How long? Shouldn’t it be enough already?” I huffed.

    “I ain’t lying. I swear to you. Please! I promise… I promise to leave everything for you. I will hand myself over to the cops if you want. I will do anything for you. Just…just don’t do anything like that sweetheart. I have never loved anyone as I have loved you…and my baby. I need you both in my life. We kill people… True. But not your parents. I…I don’t know how to explain that to you. Or to prove that to you. I… I’m just helpless.” He cried. I saw the drops of water leave his eyes. Watching a man like him cry took every piece of my being. Was he speaking the truth? Did my parents?

    No…no! My parents couldn’t do that. Could they? How can I know? I was so young. Was the entire truth I was living on based on a lie? The Revenge? Was it all for nothing?

    My legs couldn’t handle it anymore. I dropped to the ground, the weapon falling to my side. My heart felt too weak to take it in anymore. My mind was numb. Could I have a family now? Could I live a normal life? I loved him so much. I loved him with all that I’m worth and even though I needed him in my life, I knew that he had to leave.

    He stumbled from his position to my side and hugged me.

    A shiver ran down my spine as his warm touch made me feel complete. Can I trust him? Yet again?
    I burst into tears. I cried like there was no tomorrow. He held my trembling body in his arms as I let my feelings out. I needed him so badly.

    “I’m here baby. I will give you justice. I won’t let you suffer anymore. You will get what you deserve.” He whispered against my ear, kissing my hair.

    I hugged him back tightly. His arms made me feel protected. Gave me the security I so long wanted. As my breathing steadied a little, I felt a stinging pain in my leg. Looking at it, I saw a glass piece sticking through my skin.

    I slowly lifted my head to meet his eyes. There was an unknown feeling playing in them. Somewhat unknowingly they made me feel strange as if I wasn’t a part of this all. I was trying to decipher the meaning behind it when I felt a sharp pain waver through my back. My whole body shuddered as I let out a scream. My bloodshot eyes turned to watch the sinister smile playing on his lips.

    He pushed the glass piece deeper into my back as I let out another earth-shattering scream. The pain was unbearable. I could feel the warm blood oozing out my back, damping my t-shirt in red. He gave it a final twist before pulling it out of me. But no noise came out of my mouth. My scream was numbed by the pain. The physical as well as the pain of betrayal.

    He pushed my limped body to the ground. Lifting up my chin, he muttered slowly,”I told you, sweetheart, I loved you to death. I really love you to death.”

    My eyes seemed to question him what my heart wanted to know, for I heard him answer it.
    “You shouldn’t have let me know who you were. Wrong step sweetheart. Wrong step! Fifteen years and all went to waste. I loved you truly. I was so happy to know that you were having my baby. But baby, mistakes aren’t meant to be committed. You knew you had to die.”

    He paused tracing the bloody glass around my arm leaving a trail of fresh blood.

    “I saved you only to kill you. I can’t let my prey be killed by someone else. Not ever by her own self. That’s a shame, a terrible shame.” He smirked getting up from his position

    “You got what you deserved. I gave you your justice. You wouldn’t suffer anymore. I swore to you, didn’t I?” His sinister voice reaching my ears as my droopy eyes saw his retreating figure.

    As the life drained out of me, all I could hope was for the help to arrive. For one last chance. But before any of that could happen, my eyes welcomed the darkness that pulled it in.

    Reply
  86. Peter Evans

    Hi all, I would love some feedback on the below short story if you have time (apologies for the crude subject matter in advance). This was my first 15 minute writing practice;

    I’d only worked at the flower shop for two
    days but I could already see which one it would be. Derek, the hapless brother, straight from
    back surgery and reminding everybody about it, would always be the butt of older
    brother Nigel’s jokes, for as long as they continued to co-exist in this
    suburban escape for the green fingered.

    I felt sorry for Derek, at the same time as
    I pitied him completely. I could picture
    him at school, being bullied and chosen last for the football teams in the
    playground. Nothing had really changed
    since then I imagined. His glasses were
    a permanent feature of his face, so much so that no one had ever seen him
    without them on and they seemed to be stuck, never moving, ever so light, a
    part of his face as much as his eyebrow were. He had the very depressing habit of making
    everything sound like bad news. The
    bright side was not where Derek viewed the world. I couldn’t imagine working there much
    longer. Derek depressed me and Nigel was
    a prick. A real prick. I needed an escape.

    Low and behold, one spring morning, the
    opportunity presented itself. Or rather,
    Derek presented himself. Far too much of himself, for a flower shop. I’d come in early to make a cup of tea before
    the shop opened, having run out of milk at home. As I approached the shop door, I noticed the
    light on and some condensation on the inside.
    I went in quietly and down to my right was someone kneeling down and gyrating
    their right hand. I think I realized who
    it was and what they were doing at almost simultaneous points in time. It was
    Derek, with one had in the Azaleas and the other tugging himself off. Knocking one out. In the flower shop. He hadn’t heard me come in, so I leaned
    against the counter and unlocked my phone.

    He was moaning and groaning, making
    exhalations of breath as he neared his end moment. Just at the crucial point I
    coughed to betray my presence. Derek,
    caught in-between the joy of his Azalea fuelled orgasm and the horror that he
    was being watched, sort of fell forward as he tried to stand while still
    covering his crotch. He moved round
    behind the shelf of weed killer.

    “Oh God…Jesus! It’s not what…look, I
    can…how long have you been there?”

    “Long enough Derek”.

    “Why didn’t you…but you must have…”

    “Its interesting Derek, but it looked to me
    like you shouldn’t really have been doing that in here. I mean..”

    The colour drained from Derek’s face. He
    stood with his mouth open, shell-shocked.

    I tapped my pocket, “Managed to get most of
    it on Camera too Derek.” That was when
    he fell against the seed packet display and tried frantically to grab onto
    something stable to hold himself upright.
    I tapped my phone again, looked him in the eye and walked out of the
    shop, the ringing of the doorbell hanging in the air for longer than usual.

    And so that was how I came to make my
    escape from that thankless place while still managing to pay for my
    studies. Derek set up a standing order
    to my account and the video remained off the Internet. I still feel sorry for Derek but I did send
    him some flowers when I graduated from medical school. A bunch of Azaleas of course.

    Reply
  87. Lina

    His baby blue eyes cracked open but his hand immediately flew to cover them from the dazzling white lights. His head was thumping in a scenery of pain and his back was hurting from the hard material he was curled up onto.
    It took him a while to get his squinted eyes back into focus and he was confused when he found himself in a sterile and morose corridor, completely empty, until he realised why he was there.
    His jacket was draped around him and tucked in. One of the nurses must’ve seen him sprawled into a heap on the hard cushioned seats and kindly placed it on top of him considering how cold the place felt.

    He saw the reflection of himself in the glass, though it took him a good while to realise it was himself he was seeing. His black curls were all messy and his eyes glazed and sprained with red, his cheeks were still dampened just like his hoodie sleeves where he had buried his face. He looked like a ghost, a shadow of his former self and that’s exactly what he felt like. Like just giving up on everything, just disappearing, vanishing into nothingness and going back to bed. All of this made him sick to his gut, like he was going to throw up any minute. The corridor was completely wiped out of life. The only people who occasionally passed by were nurses in a hurry to their living patients, only stopping by Brax to nod reassuringly and say something like “Don’t worry, It will get better.”
    He was always the optimist but of course it wasn’t getting any better, how was it supposed to? There was never something which was gonna fill that empty pit in his chest. There was never anything that was going to fill in the happiness and immense laughter and joy he had every time they’d had lunch at work in the university. The only thing that was filling his head was the image of blood. So much blood sippering out of that wound when he swooped her from the ground and desperately called for help while her head was lifelessly dangling back with horror struck eyes and the last time he had hugged her tightly to his chest.

    He wanted to scream. Punch a wall, smash something. He wanted to convulse into tears again, like he’d done before being too tired to possibly stay awake. He didn’t have any energy left to get up, sit up or to cry. He was just empty. A haunting feeling with too much emotion to handle which instead left him feeling like there was nothing off him left and never was going to be.

    Brax never froze, but now he was cold and numb and shivering where he laid, even his teeth clattered together loud enough to be heard across the hall, hence probably why he’d been tucked in under his jacket.
    It was always J.J freezing. All the time, any time and he always wrapped her inside his jacket in a tight warming hug, like a mother penguin, whether she had to go anywhere or do something he simply wouldn’t let her go before he had embraced her into warmth and ruffled her messy hair.
    But now it was him being bitterly cold with his fingers all numb and turning blue and he was the one ironically entwined in a jacket. His head pressured with painful attempts of not bursting into another crying fit so that the nurses would come back and take care of him. He’d never felt so lonely, but he wanted anything but having someone seeing him right now and telling him “It will get better.” it was merely kindness but right now he just couldn’t take it. He had to let the emotions run through him, feel the sadness and grief bite off his gut.

    Despite hating the thought of getting up, he had too, he’d been lying there for what felt like hours and it wasn’t going to change the unbearable truth gleaming all around those sorrowful looks the few doctors who passed by gave him.
    His head, which had been screaming, shouting and whirling like an unstoppable outrageous snowstorm inside his head was so loud his sight felt all swimmy and he was sure he was going to pass out anytime soon. But he didn’t want to fall unconscious again, because then he’d get those images back, and he did not accept the fact they’d been real. He couldn’t.

    He pressed in the digits on the black coloured pad and the vending machine let out a rattling sound before dropping two mugs onto the bottom.
    He bent down but his stiffened back from the uncomfortable sleep wouldn’t allow him to bend as much as he had too for his tall height. His fingers strained for the mugs before he caught the edge of them and managed to pull them out with far more effort than should’ve been required.
    His head was throbbing, his thoughts were so loud everything around him had been muted except the painful memories running through him. He was like stuck in a bubble, until something broke it.
    “A coffee lover, are you?” An old sounding voice came from behind him and knocked him out of trance. Brax slowly turned his groggy and reddened eyes to see a very short old lady with silver curled hair and a sweet smile of emerging wrinkles directed to the two coffee mugs held in each hand.
    It was at that point his heart sank when he realised he’d automatically bought two. He always got two, one of which he gave to J.J and then in the middle of drinking it up they’d swap cups and taste each others different coffee flavours and then when she had finished hers he’d always let her have some of his remaining cup as well because he knew how much she loved coffee. It was like a coffee ritual, and then there was that thing J.J did when she shook the cup up and down and said it was a coffee demon calling.
    But something teared a hole in him when the lady had said so, because he’d go buy two cups of coffee, never getting to give the second one to J.J.
    That was his plan, when shed woken up. He was going to get her coffee and ruffle her hair till it looked like a bird nest after hugging her for hours and hours until she’d eventually say something like “I love you – and hugs, its my favorite things in the world – but you’re crushing my ribs.” to which hed ironically reply “That’s how you die.”
    But that wasn’t going to happen now and there wasn’t the slightest of fun in the irony at this point, because that’s just what he had done before shed slipped into the coma.
    The old lady must’ve seen the pain striking across his aschen face because she seemed a bit regretful for asking. “Are you giving that to someone or are you just that tired?” It seemed like quite an ironical thing to say, but she said it with her heart on her sleeve.
    “I… I was gonna…” Braxs heart was thumping loudly in his chest, it was painfully beating against his ribcage. “Its okay. You don’t have to say.” She seemed to have understood this wasn’t just about coffee and immediately led the conversation in another direction. “Me myself – I like to have three cuppa for myself.” Her eyes wrinkled in a smile but it quickly faded when they sunk to the mugs. “You had a little accident?” She gestured towards his left hand which was tightly clutched around the iced caramel latte. “What -” he glanced down and saw a visible red line across his hand. It must’ve caught in some metal piece sprinting out in the vending machine which had scraped a red line across his hand when he had pulled out the coffee cups. But he couldn’t feel the stinging pain one would usually feel, even when he’d payed attention to its existence upon his shivering hand. He was completely numb.
    “I – I don’t know.” He mumbled. He didn’t want to sound rude, he was never rude, but it was the only response to which he found energy enough to reply with, which she seemed to understand. During this time he was allowed to not be cheerful and smile.
    “Why are you here then, young man?” She then asked, but the look on Brax’s face when she did must’ve caused her to rephrase the question. “I mean, by the vending machine.” she corrected though that hadn’t been her original thought of asking. “Also – I never call people young man, I just figured that’s what stereotypical old people do.” She gave a warm, compassionate chuckle to try and lighten the mood. “Well… Coffee…” Braxs tone was whimpering and broke off. He immediately cleared his throat to steady his voice in an faltering attempt to not show his usually well-displayed emotions and just how broken he was at that time. “Love coffee.” he tried smiling but his lips were glued into that sorrow filled face. Not even coffee can make one smile sometimes, at least not when the person you enjoyed it with wasn’t there. He couldn’t even think about it, it was like all of this were inside a nightmare. He couldn’t believe it had happened.
    “Me myself – I’m here getting coffee for when my son wakes up.” Brax wanted to know what had happened but he was too emotionally drained to do anything but nod dumbly. The woman drew a deep breath and bit down on her lip in a flicker of pain, yet she seemed to keep up the positivity. “His name’s Matthew. Brilliant kid. Worked for NASA actually, he was gonna graduate and become a space shuttle pilot or aerospace engineer or whatever its called. He was in a car accident and hes – hes in a coma now. The doctors are unsure of whether he’s waking up or not but I keep my hopes up, because that’s the only thing we can linger to in the end, isn’t it? Also, if anything were to happen – because sometimes it does – he’s an organ donor and I know he’d be more than happy… Knowing… Knowing he’d saved someone else’s life if he would you know, go.” She looked down for a brief moment before suddenly sticking her hand out. “I forgot. Willstone.” She smiled widely in a cheerful tone. Brax didn’t see the hand at first, it was so low down compared to his own arms he hadn’t spotted it until he’d realised it was her name she was giving him and quickly reached his own hand out, still lingering onto the coffee mug without realising it. “Joan Willstone.” She giggled as she took her fingers around the mug and gave it a quick shake. “Braxton Black” He replied with a vague trace of a smile when he realised the mug was still in his grasp, a typical moment of being a little gone and coffee drugged J.J wouldn’t have missed the chance to comment on. “Actually, you can take that. Give it to your son when he wakes up.” He gently pushed it back in her palm and she gave him another of those sweet smiles.
    “Thank you Mr.Black. I’ll make sure he gets it when he wakes up.”
    The sparkling hope in the womans old eyes was slowly mouldering his heart.
    He’d had the same hope in his eyes for two weeks, until yesterday when it had been mercilessly ripped out of him. Now he was left standing and all he could do was hope she would never have to feel the same hopelessness as he did. It was killing him like a knife piercing through his stomach. He could feel it tearing at him and chewing off his sanity. It crushed him knowing he was never gonna be able to truly smile that same sweet smile the old lady had and give that coffee Joan Willstone was wandering off with, to J.J.
    And whenever he’d buy two cups of coffee, the second one would only be put on a gravestone, never in her hands. A stone he could never imagine seeing, because he couldn’t believe it to be true. He just couldn’t live with that. He couldn’t live with the screaming silence that used to be filled with her loud singing and rhythmic tapping on her knees.
    Truth was, no matter how long it would take for him to get it inside his head, J.J Wrickler was dead. She was never gonna tap or give that murderous grin to him again.
    The moment Joan had left the room Braxs head sunk to the lonely cup in his red lined hand with a panicked frantic breathing taking hold before he submerged his face and convulsed into slobbery sobs.

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