Archive for the ‘Short stories’ Category

“What do you have for me D?” a man’s voice asked as footsteps sounded in the dimly lit room.

            “An opportunity,” a second man, simply called “D”, replied.

            The first man inhaled deeply and sat up, interested. “Explain.”

            “I was listening to the police reports. A house, not too far from here, has experienced a terrible tragedy. The woman of the house, a widow, has died.”

            “How does this benefit me?”

            “She leaves two children. A daughter of eighteen and a son of twelve. I think they would be perfect for you. They need someone to raise them and show them how to live.”

            The man chuckled and said, “You’re a genius D. And that is why you are on my team.”

            D smiled but stayed serious. He was all business when talking with his boss. “WE should probably leave soon if we want to get to them in time.”

            “Agreed. Let’s go.”

            The two men walked out of the room and into a long hallway. Their shoes made a slight tapping song against the flooring. The sound of the tap’s echoes bouncing off the walls was, in a way, soothing to the superior of the two men. They reached the end of the hallway and went through the door before them, entering a garage.

            “What do you think, Boss?” D asked.

            D’s partner went over to a police cruiser and patted the hood. “Hop in D.”

            D pulled a key ring off a line of hooks and unlocked the cruiser. The two men got inside and D started the car. As D pushed a button, which raised the garage door, the other man reached behind his seat and found a duffle bag sitting on the floor. He pulled it into his lap and unzipped it. He pulled out a black shirt, slipped it on over his white T-shirt, then did up the buttons. Next he removed a pair of black boots from the bag. He kicked his sneakers off, resting his feet on the dashboard, and put on the boots. Lastly, he removed a police badge and a walkie-talkie. He clipped the badge to his breast pocket and the walkie-talkie to his belt.

            “Pulling up to the house, Boss,” D said as the car started to slow and move closer to a curb. When the cruiser finally came to a stop, D parked and stayed in the car while his partner got out and observed the scene.

            Standing on front steps, a pretty girl had her arm around a young boy who’s shoulders were shaking. The girl’s face was calm and stone-like, showing no emotion. Her eyes wandered, taking in everything that was happening. The flashing blue and red lights danced across her face. Officers were talking with each other, deciding what to do next.

            “Now’s my chance,” he thought. He confidently walked over to the kids and gave them a sympathetic smile.

            “Officer,” the girl said. “What’s going on?”

            “My name is Officer Owen Holt,” he said. “I’m here to take you to the station so you can make a statement, explain everything that’s happened , and then we’ll decide what we are going to do next.”

            “Do you know where we are going to live or who is going to take care of us?” she asked.

            “All of this will be decided at the station.”

            The girl nodded and gave the boy a gentle squeeze. He looked up to the officer in front of him, his cheeks shiny with tears.

            “We’re going to be ok, right?”

            “Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of you,” Owen said.

            The kid gave a weak smile. Then he and his sister followed the officer into the cruiser.

            “Go, D,” Owen said as he slammed the door shut.

            D turned the cruiser on and hit the gas. He was tense for the first couple of minutes of the drive, afraid that he would be pulled over by a cop who had realized they had taken those kids. But after five minutes, he began to relax.

            “The police station really isn’t that far from our house,” the girl said. “Why is it taking so long?”

            “Look, don’t worry about how long it’s taking, ok?” D said, annoyed.

            “Now, now, D. Don’t be rude,” Owen said calmly, turning in his seat so he was facing the children. “What’s your name, dear?”

            “Talita,” she replied.

            “Talita, you have nothing to worry about. Everything is fine. You’ll be taken care of. I promise.”

            Talita crossed her arms across her chest. “Something just doesn’t feel right.”

            “Of course not,” Owen replied. “You’ve just experienced great tragedy. Things won’t feel ‘right’ again for a while.”

            Talita’s face softened and she sighed, leaning back in her seat.

            Owen turned around in his own seat. “Do yourself a favor. Take a nap.”

            “It’s going to be a long enough drive that I can take a nap?” Talita asked, a slight whine sounding in her voice.

            “Yeah,” Owen replied. “Trust me, you could use a little sleep. Your brother seems to agree with me.”

            Talita turned her head and looked at her brother. He was fast asleep, his head resting against the cool window.

            “His name is Noah,” Talita said.

            Owen didn’t reply, but made a mental note to remember the name.

            Talita sighed again and pressed her cheek against her own window. Tears prickled at her eyes as her mind wandered to the events that took place in the last hours.

            “It’s my fault, you know,” Talita said quietly.

            Again, Owen did not answer, but he did listen. He wasn’t going to deny Talita a chance to rant and let it all out. He’d been through enough painful situations to know that holding in thoughts and emotions was a bad idea.

            “This wasn’t an accident, I mean. They’ll figure it out eventually. She didn’t die for some unknown cause like I told those cops and paramedics back home. I know how she died and I know why.” She paused, watching a tear slide down her cheek in her reflection on the window. “She… She killed herself,” Talita choked out. “She overdosed on some medicine she stole from our neighbors. They were some kind of painkillers…” Her tears were falling faster now, like a drizzling rain suddenly turning into a thunderstorm.

            “She stole them a while ago, like, over a month I guess. But she never threatened me with them until a week or so ago. She had been so… so damn moody and… and we fought so much more often. And it was about stupid stuff too. Stuff like me not sweeping the floor one night or coming home five minutes later than I said I would. And at one point in every argument, she would always say that I was driving her to the breaking point and if I didn’t get my act together, she would swallow the whole damn bottle of painkillers. She said… that… she said that would teach me a lesson…”

            Owen felt his chest get tight with sympathy. He couldn’t help it. He knew he shouldn’t let emotions get in the way of his plans, but no human being with a heart could listen to this story without feeling even the littlest pang of sorrow for the kids in the cruiser’s backseat. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, but tried to make it subtle. The last thing he wanted was for Talita to know her words were affecting him.

            “Lucky for Noah, he never seemed to be around when Mom and I were fighting. He would be at sports or hangng out with a friend or sleeping. He was always somewhere. Always out of the way. He’ll never suspect suicide, which means he’ll never blame me… I wouldn’t be able to live if he knew the truth… I could never face him again…” She cleared her throat.

            “Today, Noah was with his friend, Jarrell. They were at Jarrell’s house. This was around noon, I guess. And I was in my bedroom just listening to some music and reading a book. And suddenly, Mom came thundering up the stairs and slammed the door. And she just started screaming. She said some raccoons had gotten into our trash cans outside and strewn garbage all over. Then she asked me why I didn’t clean it up. I told her that I didn’t know about the raccoons. I hadn’t taken trash out today, so I hadn’t seen the mess. But she called me a liar. She said I was just too lazy to do anything and that I always made her do everything. Then she ripped my CD player’s cord out of the wall, picked up the player, and threw it at me…” Her voice started to become watery again, but Talita tried to hold back the sobs.

            “My mom has never laid a hand on me or Noah. Not even when we were little. She never spanked us or anything. She didn’t believe in it. But she was so mad… She threw a god damn radio at me! It hit me right in the back. And it hurt so freakin’ bad… Jesus, I’ve never been in so much pain before… And that’s what did it for me. I was so fed up with everything. I don’t know what changed her so suddenly, but there was no way it was my fault. It had something to do with her and her private personal life. There was nothing I could do and I was done being her scapegoat.

            “I let myself fall off my bed and I pulled myself up so I was standing in front of her and I was in her face. My body was shaking from the pain, but I ignored it. I freaked out at her, telling her that I wasn’t putting up with her crazy shit any more. I really let her have it, telling her how I feel and everything. I told her that it wasn’t me who needed to shape up, it was her. I told her that if she didn’t chill out, I would leave and I would take Noah with me so she couldn’t hurt him too. I told her I’d change our names and get disguises and everything. I had a plan. She just needed to give me one more reason to execute it.”

            Owen unintentionally winced at the word “execute”, but still stayed silent. Talita needed this. He wasn’t going to stop her.  However, he found himself silently wishing that Noah stayed asleep. He didn’t want the kid hearing this.

            “Of course, this is when Mom brought up the pills and everything. She told me that if I didn’t stop my bullshit and stop treating her the way I was, she would down the whole bottle. And… And I told her that she was a liar. I said she would never do that and she was just trying to scare me. I told her it wasn’t going to work anymore. She couldn’t scare me off with her threats. And then I left. I got into my car and I drove off. I didn’t really go anywhere. I just drove around, blasting my music, trying to get my mind off everything. I was so furious and in so much pain, I was shaking and could barely drive at one point. I pulled into the parking lot of some fast food joint, turned off the car and just cried. I couldn’t believe this was happening and I couldn’t understand it. We had always been such a happy little family, even when my dad died. I stayed there and cried for an hour or so. Then I drove around some more. I stopped at a pharmacy for some pain relief. Then I decided that I should go home.

            “On the way, I saw Noah walking home. I lied and told him I had been out with my friends and offered to take him out to dinner. I guess I was still trying to give mom some time to cool down. So, I took him out to eat,  then we went back home. The house was really quiet and, I guess, Noah and I instantly knew something was wrong. We looked downstairs and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. So then we looked upstairs. Noah’s room was fine. My room was fine. And then we got to Mom’s room. And she was laying on her bed… And… I knew. I knew she had been serious this time… And I knew she was dead…”

            Owen clentched his teeth and closed his eyes. He took deep, relaxing breaths to stay calm. His hands were starting to shake a bit, so he quickly folded them in his lap and hoped they would stop.

            “Noah, of course, became hysterical. We both cried and cried. We lost our mother… We have no one left. And I had an even bigger burden. I was… I am… so full of guilt. I let this happen. I pushed her. I challenged her. And she proved me wrong…

            “Once I managed to clam down a bit, I called 911. And that’s where we stand now… I have no clue what’s going to happen. I have no idea what they are going to do when they realize the truth about Mom. What’s going to happen to me and Noah? To our house and all our things? I just don’t know…”

            Talita sighed and wiped remaining tears off her face. She sniffled a few times then went quiet again.

            Owen was at a loss for what he should do. He didn’t know if he should turn around, face her, and comfort her. Was she looking for sympathy and comfort? Was he capable of providing them? Of course he felt sorry for Talita and Noah. It was impossible not to. But Owen had never been good at expressing his sympathy for others. The right words could never form and he always seemed so awkward. Maybe it would be better if he just stayed silent. Or would that be too heartless? Then again… Owen didn’t want Talita to think he was some mushy teddy bear or some shit like that.

            Finally, Owen just said, “Why are you telling me all of this? It-”

            “Don’t say it could’ve waited until we got to the station or could’ve waited until a better time because it couldn’t. There’s no time like the present. Or so I’ve been told. And besides…” She took a deep breath. “I know you’re not cops.”

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Nightmares

Posted: December 9, 2010 in Short stories

My head hurt. It hurt like hell. Slowly, I opened my eyes. The first thing I noticed was that it was dark. Not so dark that I couldn’t see though. It was as if night was just beginning to fall. Next, I noticed the prickly grass under my face. I groaned and pushed myself with my hands into a sitting position. I looked around and saw that I was in a large, grassy field, but I had no idea how I got here. Last I remembered my three best friends, my sister, and me were hanging out at the Acme grocery store, waiting for my mo to get out of work. Suddenly, a hand touched my shoulder and I screamed.
“Ellis! Jesus Christ! It’s ok… It’s just me, Riley.”
When my heart returned to it’s regular beating pattern, I turned and saw my friend Riley Fahey staring at me with sad eyes.
“Thank God you’re ok,” he said. “It feels like I’ve been waiting forever for you to wake up.”
“How long have you been waiting?”
“Four days.”
“Four days?! I’ve been asleep for four days?!”
Riley nodded. “But I couldn’t leave you. I had already chosen you and if I left… you’d be gone too.” Tears shimmered in his eyes.
“What are you talking about Riley? Where are we and how did we get here?”
“You don’t remember?”
I shook my head, wishing I could.
“We fell through Hell.” His face and voice were stony and expressionless.
“‘Fell through Hell’?” I repeated. “What do you mean?”
“I mean we fell right through the freaking ground, past Hell, and landed here!”
“People don’t just ‘fall through the freaking ground’!” I argued.
“Well we did!”
I flinched. Riley had never yelled at me before. I’d never seen him sad or angry in the whole time I knew him and it scared me.
Riley noticed my reaction and his face softened. “I’m sorry Ellis. I really am. I’m just stressed and upset.”
This time, tears didn’t just fill his eyes, they fell and raced down his cheeks. I’m so sorry Ellis… I’m so, so sorry.”
“What happened?! Where are they?!”
“I couldn’t save them all… I could only save one and you were the first one I found…”
“What are you talking about?!” I demanded, tears beginning to fill my eyes as well.
Riley put his head in his hands and  began sobbing. His shoulders shook violently and his cries filled the night air, sending shivers down my back. My heart broke at the sound of him crying. As desperate as I was to find out the fate of my other friends, I waited silently until Riley calmed down and was able to explain.
“I don’t know how far back you remember, but we were sitting in Acme, waiting for your mom. Then all of a sudden, the lights went out and the floor started cracking. It was like in the movies when an actor steps on thin ice and the whole lake begins to break. And we just fell through. Everything was dark. Before we fell, you passed out. I remember that because Catalena grabbed your arm so we would know that you wouldn’t get lost or something. But at some point, on the way down, we all must have passed out.
“When I woke up, a woman was standing over me. She was beautiful, but terrifying at the same time. She had glossy, black hair. And her eyes were so dark. I couldn’t even tell the difference from her iris and her pupil. It was just… black. But she was very pale and insanely skinny. Like she hadn’t eaten in years. And she had blood dripping from her mouth. It was so odd. All I could think of was a vampire…
“Anyway, she told me that everyone had been separated and that I was the one responsible for saving one person. She told me I had two hours to find someone and declare them as the one I wanted to save. She also said it was impossible to save more than one person and even more impossible to save everyone. She said the best idea was to just stay with the first person I find. And that was you.
“She never said what would happen to everyone else or where they would go. All she said was that they couldn’t be saved and that they’d never be the same. She said there’s no point in even thinking about trying to save them. It’s impossible. All we need to focus on is getting out of here.
“Luckily, she told me how to do that too. Well… sorta. She told me that somewhere in this field there is a silver archway. The archway us covered in golden roses. That’s the way out. She didn’t say where in the field it is, but she did say that we’d stumble across it eventually. And besides, how big can this field be anyway?”
I looked around. The field seemed almost endless. There were no trees or even flowers. Only grass and the early night.
“I guess we should get moving, huh?” Riley said, standing up and then offering me a hand.
I took it thankfully and then said, “I don’t think we should believe that everyone couldn’t be saved. We have to go look for them.”
“I don’t know Ellis… She seemed pretty serious.”
“Riley, these are my bet friends. I can’t just leave them.”
“They’re not your best friends anymore Ellis. They’re changed.
“This isn’t Twilight, Riley. People don’t just randomly turn into monsters and lose their humanity.”
“People also don’t just randomly fall through the ground, and yet, here we are.”
“This has to be a dream,” I said stubbornly.
“Feels pretty real to me,” Riley muttered.
I ignored him and began to walk, in hopes of finding one of my best friends or my sister.
“Wait! Ellis! Don’t leave me here!” Riley caught up with me and we walked together in silence.
By the time my legs starting hurting, my stomach was growling, and beads of sweat were forming on my brow, despite the cold air. I figured we had to have been walking for at least an hour. I sighed and looked at Riley who was also panting and sweating. Suddenly, his eyes widened and he pointed in front of him. I quickly looked to where he was pointing and my jaw dropped.
Not far from where we were standing, a figure was laying in the grass, not moving. My blood ran  cold and my heart dropped into my stomach. I knew it had to be one of my friends. I started running toward her, desperate to see if I could help her.
“Ellis! No!” Riley called after me, but I kept running.
When I reached the body, I dropped to my knees, sending sharp, hot pain up my whole body. I clenched my teeth to keep from screaming. Then I reached out my arm and turned the body until I could see the face of my best friend, Catalena Wilson. Tears streamed down my face as I brushed a strand of black hair away from Catalena’s closed eyes.
The sight of her was horrible. Her usually tan skin was a light shade of blue and it was freezing cold to the touch. Her clothes were torn, making her look like a wild animal had attacked her. However, there were no wounds anywhere as far as I could see.
“Catalena?” I said, trying to gently shake her awake. “Cat, please wake up. Please,” I begged her. But she didn’t move.
“I told you,” Riley said sadly, walking up behind me. “I couldn’t save them.”
I shook my head quickly, as if by doing so, his words would suddenly become false and Catalena would sit up, laughing and teasing me about how I fell for their little joke. But she remained on the ground, cold and unmoving.
I brushed my best friend’s cheek lovingly. “I’m so sorry Catalena…”
As if the sound of her name finally triggered something, Catalena’s eyes flew open. I gasped and found myself short of breath. Catalena’s eyes had lost their warm, brown color and were now blood red. It was terrifying. I wanted so badly to look away, but I couldn’t bring myself to do so. Instead, I whispered, “Cat…?”
And then she started screaming. It was the most spine-chilling scream I’d heard and worse then anything I could ever imagine. I jumped away in fear and just stared, tears pouring down my cheeks. Catalena just lay there and screamed. Her face did not contort to show that she was in pain. In fact, her face was completely expressionless.
“Ellis, we need to get away from here.”
“But we need to help Catalena!”
Riley yanked me to my feet and spun me around until he was staring into my eyes. “That is not Catalena! That is not your best friend! We need to find the silver arch and that means leaving her here. There’s nothing we can do to help her.”
Sadly, I knew he was right, but the thought of leaving one of my best friends killed me. I glanced at her one last time, then took Riley’s hand, and we began to run again. We ran until we couldn’t hear Catalena’s screams any longer. I was amazed that I was still able to cry. I had never cried so much in my life. I looked over at Riley and saw he was crying again too.
“Do you think they are all like that?” I asked him.
“I really don’t know. I just hope we don’t run into anyone else. That was horrible.”
I nodded my head and despite the agonizing pain in my legs, I began to walk again.
“I wish that creepy woman had told you where in this field the arch is.”
“That would make things too easy,” Riley said bitterly.
“Hey! Do you think they could tell us where the arch is?” I asked, pointing ahead to where two figures were standing.
“I don’t think we should go near them,” Riley said, stopping in his tracks. “It could be like Catalena again. Or… worse.”
“But what if it’s not?” I pressed. “What if they really could help us?”
Riley raised an eyebrow. “Do you really think there is anyone in this place that wants to help us?”
I placed my hands on my hips. “I don’t know, ok? Maybe they’re not people who can help us. Maybe they’re just going to make everything worse. But either way, I think we should go over there.”
“But…”
“Riley, please. If you really don’t want to go over there, then don’t. Stay here. But I want to go see who it is.” With that, I began walking toward the two figures. I closed my eyes and held my breath as I wished for the turnout to be positive. When I opened my eyes, I was standing right in front of them. I bit my lip and willed myself not to cry, but my eyes didn’t listen. I cried anyway.
My other best friend, Veyona Soed, was standing there with her arm draped over Ian Tweed, a boy at school whom I had a huge crush on. Veyona was so pale, she looked sickly. Her brown hair stood out strangely against her colorless skin. Her eyes were just like Catalena’s. What used to be jade green was now a deep, scarlet color. Ian, on the other hand, looked completely normal. He had his normal, chocolate colored skin, soft brown eyes, and curly black hair.
Ian and Veyona were talking to each other and neither looked as if they had noticed my arrival. Veyona looked very pleased, but Ian showed no emotion at all. His face was a stonewall that refused to give in to expressing whatever he was thinking.
“Ian?” I called softly. “Are you ok?” I was worried. Ian did not look like something horrible had happened to him. In fact, he wasn’t even with us when we were at Acme. So, I was really confused on how he had gotten here. But, if he was ok, I was determined to keep it that way. If there was any chance I could save someone, I was going to jump at it.
“Ian?” I called again.
Veyona rolled her ruby eyes and sneered at me. “Can’t you tell? He doesn’t want to talk to you. He doesn’t even like you. Never did. Never will. God… When will you learn?”
I began to chew on my bottom lip. Veyona had never said such terrible things to me before.
“Veyona… Please just leave him alone. Just let him go and we’ll all get help.”
“I don’t want your help,” she spat.
“Please V. Just come with me. This isn’t who you are.”
“You have no idea who I am!” She looked at Ian and grinned wickedly. The arm she had draped around him twitched and a small knife appeared in her hand.
“Veyona… put that down. No one has to get hurt.”
Veyona laughed and then she plunged it into Ian’s shoulder.
I let out a loud scream, but Ian’s face didn’t even flinch. He didn’t look like he was in pain, or even scared. He just stood there as Veyona slid the knife out of his skin and a crimson stain spread across the sleeve of his white T-shirt.

“No!” I screamed. “Veyona! What are you doing?!”
Veyona laughed. “You like that?” She raised the knife behind Ian and sunk the blade into his back. Ian fell to his knees, his face still unreadable. Veyona laughed harder.
Unable to handle listening to her cackling. I went to run over to her. My fists were clenched and I had every intention to punch her in the face. But the moment I took a step, something began pulling me back. I tried to fight it until Riley’s voice rang out.
“Come on, Ellis. We can’t stay here.”
“But Ian!” I sobbed.
“I know… But there’s no use.”

He dragged me away. We didn’t run this time. We were too tired. My body began shaking with exhaustion and I had to lean on Riley for support. We hobbled through the field, praying silently that we would find the silver arch soon. Just as I thought we would both collapse, something shimmered in the distance. I patted Riley’s arm and pointed.

“Do you think that’s it?” I could only manage a whisper because my throat was so dry and sore.

“I hope so,” Riley sighed.

With the hope of finally getting out of this place filling us up, Riley and I sped up and ran to the glimmer. When we finally arrived, tears of  joy filled or eye. A large, beautiful arch made of shiny silver and ornamented with thousands of tiny, gold roses stood in front of us. I screamed and hugged Riley, jubilation filling every inch of my being. We were getting out of this hellhole! My heart was beating so fast, I thought I was going to explode. Tears shined on Riley’s happy face.

“I can’t believe we’re here,” he breathed.

I just nodded my head, unable to find the words that would express my happiness. I stretched out my arm and Riley gripped my hand tightly. Then, we began walking closer to the arch, holding our breath, not wanting to let it go until we were on the other side. Suddenly, we noticed a young woman standing in front of the arch. Her back was facing us and her head was tipped up as she stared up at the arch. My whole body tensed up. I knew that figure. That hair. The way she stands. I’ve known it my whole life.

“Calise…” I whispered my sister’s name.

“Ellis, don’t do anything drastic.”

“Riley, that’s my sister. Calise is right there.”

“I know but-”

“How are we going to get past?” I ask.

“I don’t know…”

Slowly, Calise turned around. Her light brown hair shimmered in the sun. Her skin had its normal, healthy color and glow. Her eyes were a sparkly blue. She was normal. Completely normal.  Swiftly, tears filled her eyes.

“Ellis! Riley!” She ran toward us. “I can’t believe it! You guys are ok! I thought I was the only one!”

“Riley said he and I were the only ones who were going to make it!” I yelled back. “Oh my God! Calise… I can’t believe you’re alive…”

Calise held out her arms. “I can’t believe this either. Come on. I need a hug.”

I took a few steps and then wrapped my arms around Calise. The familiar feel of my sister’s hug warmed me and filled me with life.

“ELLIS!”

Riley’s scream jolted me out of my happiness and suddenly my body was filled with pain. I dropped to my knees as coldness filled me. Riley’s terrified scream rang in my ears. The pain was a fire, burning my insides and threatening to burst through my flesh. I closed my eyes and begged for everything to end. Riley screamed my named one last time and I was enveloped by darkness…

Bare Bones

Posted: December 9, 2010 in Short stories

Ena Cambell wandered slowly into the bookstore. She was biting her bottom lip and her plump cheeks were flushed. As she walked down the aisles, she let her fingers stroke the old, wooden shelves. The sound of her black leather clogs made a muffled thump thump as she made her way to the back of the store. A large, black plastic sign that said “Self Help” in white letters hung over a single shelf.
For a brief second, Ena stood in front of the shelf, her breath becoming shaky and her hands beginning to sweat. She tucked a strand of rust colored hair behind her ear. She quickly glanced over her shoulder, her eyes wide and scared. Satisfied that no one she knew was around to see her, Ena turned down the aisle. While most people skim shelves to find a book that intrigues them, Ena knew exactly where to go. She had already picked up this particular book seven times before.
“You Are Beautiful” by Skye Greene. Ena clenched her teeth as she tucked the book between her arm and her side. As she turned out of the aisle, she silently prayed that this time, she would pull through. She would actually read this book, cover to cover, instead of throwing it in the fireplace like she had to the seven other copies she had previously bought. Making her way to the counter, she could already smell the pages burning. The crinkly, popping sound of the flames engulfing the paper. The sickly sweet smell of parchment and ink, devoured by fire.
Ena’s knees trembled. She didn’t want to have to come back again. She wanted today to be the last day she ever buys “You Are Beautiful” by Skye Greene. She placed the book in the hand of the woman working the register than grasped the marble counter top to keep herself steady. The clerk, whose nametag read “Ashley”, looked down at the book then back at Ena, giving her a sympathetic smile. A pang of hot jealousy and anger surged through Ena. This woman was beautiful. She didn’t know what it was like to be in Ena’s place.
“$12.99,” the woman said.
Ena angrily shoved a $20 bill in her hand, snatched the book back, and stormed out of the store.

Paranoid

Posted: November 9, 2010 in Short stories

Something’s wrong. Something’s wrong and she won’t tell me. Why won’t she tell me?! Does she not trust me? Why wouldn’t she trust me? What did I do?! Great… This is just great. This is how it all begins. It starts as one little thing. Maybe she got into a fight with her mom. That’s all it is. A fight with her mom. But then it will escalade. She’ll have bigger problems that she won’t confide in me. Like… A pregnancy scare! What if she thinks she’s pregnant and she never clues me in? Where does that leave our friendship? You can’t have a friendship if you don’t trust each other… Does this mean we’re not friends?! Or maybe we’re slowly drifting away from each other. What about all my other friends? Am I slipping away from them as well? Or… What if there’s nothing to really slip away from? What if they all just hang out with me because they feel bad for me. That would mean that everything I ever believed was a lie? And what does that make me? A loser? A fool? A foolish loser? Why do I think like this? Why do I put myself through this mental torture? My friends love me. My friends love me. My friends love me.

Right?

Defensive

Posted: November 9, 2010 in Short stories

[Heather is sitting in a hotel room with her friend, Kat. Heather just read a text message from her sister, about how she was just dumped. Heather is furious and is pacing back and forth, ranting to Kat.]

“He said what?! Are you kidding me?! Are you freakin’ kidding me?! Who does he think he is? How can he think this is ok? That is no way to treat a friend! I can’t believe he doesn’t have the balls to break up with her in person! Ugh! [Heather throws her hands into the air.] I should yell at him. I should call his house phone and demand to speak with him. Then I’ll let him have it. Oh, I will lose it. He won’t even know what hit him. I mean… Seriously?! You can’t break up with your girlfriend by having someone else tell her it’s over. And to make it worse, it was over text! It just doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t. Seriously? Be a man and tell the girl yourself that you want to break up. Even if you can’t tell her face to face, at least call her. What is he so scared of anyway? He knows her. He knows she won’t be mad. She, of all people, would understand. Maybe he’s scared of me… Maybe he thought I’d be mad. Well, I guess that sucks for him because now, I’m really mad and when we get home, I’m kicking his butt!” [Heather flops down on her bed and sighs.]

Dependent

Posted: November 9, 2010 in Short stories

With tears in my eyes, I shut and lock my bedroom door. My world is literally ending. There is no way I can go on without my friends. They are my life. They keep me standing. Without them, I’m broken. I can’t handle life’s day to day struggles knowing that I don’t have a shoulder to cry on.I slam my fist against the wall and sob. “How could you do this to me?!” I scream into the air, subconsciously thankful that my house was empty. “You’re supposed to be my best friend!” I fall to my knees and the world feels like it’s closing in on me. My vision starts to go black. All I can picture is where I was just several hours ago…
    “I know I’ve made some bad choices lately, but I want to fix it. You guys are my best friends.” Katie’s face seemed so sincere. She looked as if she really regretted everything that she had done to hurt us.
    “You’re going to have to prove it,” Sam said.
    “I understand that,” Katie replied. “Just give me one more chance. I swear I’ll make it better.”
    “I hope so,” I chimed in. “You guys are my everything and, to be completely honest, I don’t think I’d be here if I didn’t have you. I honestly think I would kill myself if I lost you. You’re all that holds me up.”
    “I know Heather. And I love you so much,” Katie smiled. “I promise, it will be different this time…”
    Only two hours after that talk did the proof that things would never change come in the form of a phone call.
    “You lied!” I scream. “You told me things would change! You told me you would fix things! You promised…” I stare at the ceiling fan as it spins around and around and around. The tears on my face slowly start to dry. I pull myself to my feet and shakily walk to my bed.
    “You still have Michelle, Debbie, and Sam,” I tell myself. “You don’t need Katie. You need real friends. Debbie, Sam, and Michelle would never do this to you. You haven’t lost everything. Open your eyes. Look at what you still have. You have three best friends who will never let you down.”
    All dark thoughts creep out of my mind, run out by the positive truth that is starting to sink in. And I smile. I still have someone to go to. There is still someone to hold me up.  can’t do it by myself, but I know I don’t have to.”

Nurturing

Posted: November 5, 2010 in Short stories

“I will protect you from all around you, I will be here, don’t you cry.”~ Phil Collins

Dear Jonah,
When was the last time I told you I miss you? You might think it was yesterday, on the phone. But really, it was last night, before I went to sleep. I looked up at the stars and asked them to make sure that you knew just how much I miss you. It pains me to know that when I wake up in the morning, I won’t see your happy, laughing face smiling at me. It always seemed as if the only reason the sun would rise in the morning was to see you spread your happiness to, not only everyone in the house, but the world.  I’ve gotten so used to that. Now that it’s gone, those nine years feel like only yesterday. All those days that I spent at home, taking care of you and Brett and Gary just seem like nothing. I feel like we haven’t spent enough time together. I want so badly to pull you onto my lap, hug you close to me, and call you my baby.  I want to tickle you, letting your laughter ring out for everyone to hear, and then cuddle up and watch the next installment in the Total Drama series. I miss you. Next time I come home, I want to spend all day with you. I don’t want your life to pass me by.
Love,
Heather