Short Story Sunday 290: Potion

Short Story Sunday: Potion | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

“What do you think would happen if I put the syrup into the mixture as well?” Margo wondered aloud. She held up a small glass bottle of brown liquid. She examined it as though the syrup itself would answer her.

She was experimenting and had to admit she had no idea what she was doing. Part of her homework assignment was figure out what various parts of a potion did to make the potion a potion – and to make it a good one. Margot had a list of ingredients and a recipe for a certain potion spell.

Ideally, her professor wanted her to recreate the spell and experiment by changing the amounts of each ingredient she put in or omitting some ingredients all together. Every part of a potion down the exact amount needed was important to every single spell. Even one little extra drop could change the entire outcome. It was her job to see what each ingredient did for a potion – or for this particular one – and see what her results had in common with the other witches in her class. Everyone had a different recipe they were supposed to work with and together they could find out if some ingredients helped with the spell or just added flavor.

Margot wanted to make sure her experiment was the best. She didn’t want to follow the exact recipe. She knew it would be cool to try to create her own potions and spells and see what each ingredient did to her own creations. (No, maple syrup was not one of the original ingredients she needed to use for the recipe her professor had assigned to her.)

She was giddy. She was wondered if she would stumble upon a brand new potion and create an awesome spell that no one had discovered yet. If that was the case, she wouldn’t need to finish school. She’d be famous!

Ruby stood on the other side of the room standing over her own cauldron over the fireplace. She looked over her shoulder and gave Margot a worried look as soon as she noticed the syrup.

“You know,” she said, “you should really follow the recipe our professor gave you. She’s not going to appreciate you not following her directions. You don’t know what could happen if you throw random amounts of syrup into your pot.”

Margot looked away from the syrup and grinned at her roommate. “Yeah, exactly. We don’t know. That’s the whole point of an experiment. Isn’t it exciting?”

“Isn’t what exciting?”

“Not knowing what’ll happen.”

“No, it’s not.” Ruby said gruffly. She turned away from her own work and glared at Margot. “I swear, if you blow up our cottage…”

“Don’t worry about that.” Margot laughed waving her hand dismissively. “Our professor wants us to experiment and that’s what I’m doing. Humans do it all the time. Why would she assign this to us if she didn’t expect us to get out of our comfort zones a bit?”

“Humans end up killing themselves and each other. Humans make mistakes all the time.” Ruby countered. “I don’t know how they do it since they don’t even have magic, but they manage.”

Margot stifled a laugh. “They manage to screw up because they’re stupid.”

“Agreed, but you’re being pretty stupid right now.” Ruby stated putting her hands on her hips. “Seriously, don’t put the syrup in. What other ingredients do you have over there that you’re not supposed to have?”

Margot hummed as she looked at the mess of ingredients on their kitchen counter. She paused for a moment trying to come up with an answer that wasn’t a lie but didn’t exactly tell Ruby the truth either. Pretty much all the ingredients she had, she wasn’t supposed to.

Their professor had given them small sample bags of all the ingredients they would need for their assigned recipe. Even though she only wanted them to experiment with the recipe three times, Margot had used up all of her sample on the first go. She had to improvise.

She had gone down to the kitchens late one night and took some more ingredients that she needed. It was innocent at first, but she saw all the other food and potion-making ingredients that she couldn’t help herself. This was the whole point of an experiment, right? Her professor should be proud of her for thinking outside the box and Ruby should be jealous right now.

“Hey,” Magot said finally answering her roommate, who was staring her down at this point. “Did you know that if you get hungry in the middle of the night, you can sneak down to the kitchens and get whatever you want for a snack? No one locks the kitchens and there’s no one on duty. We can go down at midnight tonight if you want and I’ll show you.”

“No,” Ruby said firmly. “I know that’s just code for you stole the ingredients that you’re not supposed to have.”

Margot sighed. “I really was hungry that first night. And I did need some extra ingredients because I used all mine up from what our professor gave us. I meant well. I still mean well.”

“That’s all well and fine, but you should know that every single potion uses just a pinch of every ingredient.” Ruby said.

“Really?” Margot asked scratching the top of her head. “No wonder I’ve failed all the tests…”

Ruby rolled her eyes and turned back to her cauldron. She peered inside and used her wand to stir the contents of the pot.

“What are you making over there? How did you change it from the original recipe?” Margot asked. She stood on her tip-toes to try to see inside the cauldron, but she was too far away and Ruby was blocking her view.

“Honestly, I’m not sure what this is. Our professor gave me a recipe I don’t recognize. I added an extra pinch of mint though, so we’ll see what happens. I figured, for my next try, I’ll omit the mint completely.” Ruby explained.

“Mint?” Margot repeated. She looked down at the maple syrup in the bottle, the orange and banana peel she had, and a few other random food items she had gathered from the kitchen.

“You know,” she started, “humans eat this stuff on a regular basis. We’re kind of wasting their food.”

Ruby grunted. “Says the witch who wanted to toss a whole bottle of maple syrup into her cauldron…”

“No, really.” Margot said ignoring the comment. “How come we waste the humans’ food like this? What good does it do us?”

“We have magic, Margot.” Ruby said exasperated. She turned away from her cauldron looking over her shoulder at her roommate. “Why do you always have to question it? This is the way we are and we use human food among a ton of other things to make potions and spells.”

“Right, but why don’t humans use their food to make potions and spells? The food is good at it.” Marot stated. She sat down on a stool in the kitchen and furrowed her brows deep in thought.

“Humans don’t have magic. Humans don’t even know that magic exists.” Ruby explained slowly. She acted as though Margot wouldn’t understand what she was trying to say, but they had this conversation so many times. Ruby was tired of it.

Margot was fascinated with humans. Her favorite class was Human Studies and she couldn’t understand how a species could be so stupid and delightful at the same time. They were interesting in the way they lived without magic and yet they were completely complicated in the way they used green paper and metal coins to get what they wanted. If Margot wanted anything, she casted a spell or made it herself. Sure, humans didn’t have the magic ability, but why didn’t they have that? Why didn’t the whole world have magic ability and why did they keep it a secret from the rest of the world?

Ruby was now standing in Margot’s face. She had her index finger up and pointed wagging it back and forth. “I know what you’re thinking.” She said. “I don’t want to hear any of it. We have this conversation too many times.”

“I didn’t have the conversation with you. I’m having it with me inside my head.” Margot defended herself. She leaned back a little to get Ruby’s finger out of her face. Ruby walked back over to her cauldron shaking her head.

The room was silent for a moment as Ruby got back to work on her assignment and Margot, sitting beside her simmering pot, still thought about the humans.

“What do you think would happen if a human knew about magic?” Margot piped up.

Ruby grunted hitting her forehead against the rim of her cauldron. Margot winced.

“Isn’t that hot?”

“Yes, but I don’t care…”

“Ruby, I’m serious.” Margot sighed.

Ruby stood straight and looked at her roommate, a red line across her forehead. “I’m serious too. We’ve had this conversation many times before.”

“Well, have it again with me.” Margot replied with a shrug of her shoulders.

Ruby sighed. She snapped her fingers and turned off the fire underneath her cauldron. It was obvious she wasn’t finishing her homework tonight. “If humans knew about magic, they’d try to take it from themselves. Or they’d be afraid of us and try to get rid of us.”

“How do you know that would actually happen though?” Margot wondered.

“It’s in all the textbooks. We learned about it in class, specifically Human Studies which I thought you paid most attention to.”

Margot nodded. “No, you’re right. But I don’t get who wrote those textbooks. If humans really don’t know about magic, then how can those experts say how they’ll react? Did they ever experiment with it? Did they ever tell human and then erase their memory once the human reacted poorly?”

Ruby buried her face in her hands. “I wish the professor never taught you what an experiment was… This is getting way out of hand.”

“You have to agree with me, Ruby.” Margot said sadly. “You know I’m making sense.”

“I mean, I guess so.” Ruby looked back up with a shrug. “But there’s nothing we can do about it now. Humans live the way they live and we live the way we live. End of story. Why do you need to make such a case out of it?”

“Make a what out of it?”

“Never mind…”

“I think we should find a human and talk to them about us.” Margot stated blunty.

Ruby’s eyes grew nearly popping out of her head. “I’m sorry, what? You’re not serious, are you?”

“No, I’m serious.”

“Margot, no! There’s no way we can seek out a human and tell them about our entire race. We could wipe all the witches out of existence!”

“Nah, that wouldn’t happen.” Margot said waving her hand dismissively. “This will be a fun experiment. If our professor wants us to try new things, then this would be perfect. We could live in peace and harmony with the humans too.”

Ruby narrowed her eyes and folded her arms across her chest. “And what if we don’t live in peace and harmony? What if the humans freak out about us?”

Margot drew in a sharp breath. She cracked a smile. “I guess we’ll cross that bridge if we get there.”

“When we get there.”

“If,” Margot corrected. “You don’t know the outcome of the experiment until you test it out.”

Ruby rolled her eyes. She seriously needed to talk to her professor about this. “Why do you want to talk to a human so bad? Why do you want to expose us?”

“Not expose us,” Margot shook her head innocently. “To inform them. To educate us. Humans are fascinating and I think we’re taught a bunch of lies about them. Who knows what humans must think of us?”

“I don’t want them to think of us. They don’t know we exist.”

“They should know we exist.”

“Why?”

“Because we know they exist.”

Ruby clamped her mouth shut. While she hated to admit that her roommate might have a point, she still didn’t believe that it made any sense. She knew Margot was fascinated with the humans, but she never imaged Margot would ever want to meet one.

“Ruby?” Margot asked.

“Yes?”

“Wanna go to the Human World with me?”

“No!”

Margot grinned. She stepped forward taking Ruby’s hands into her own. “Please? We can meet real humans and interact with them. We don’t have to tell them we’re witches. Not right away, anyway.”

“We don’t tell them at all because we’re not going. We don’t even know how to get the Human World.” Ruby countered.

“I do,”

“Of course you do…”

“I’ve researched it.” Margot stated proudly. Then she frowned and let go of Ruby’s hands. “Alright, I guess I’ll go alone. It would have been fun to share it with you though.”

Margot turned her back and headed for the door.

“Wait, you’re leaving now?” Ruby asked.

Margot looked over her shoulder. “It’s dark. Everyone should be in their cottages or asleep. Now’s the best time.”

Without waiting for a response, Margot left the cottage and disappeared into the night.

Ruby stood in silence for a moment before rolling her eyes and dashing out the door. She knew well enough Margot would get herself into trouble if she went alone.

“Wait for me!” she called.

Words: 2,251

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Short Story Sunday 289: Notebooks

Short Story Sunday: Notebooks | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Chloe pulled the drawer out from under her bed. She had more notebooks than she could count and she needed to get them organized a little bit. She was starting college soon and Chloe’s mother wanted her to go through all the school supplies she already had before they went shopping.

Chloe was a notebook junkie, as her mother put it. They both knew Chloe didn’t need to buy any new notebooks for college even though Chloe wanted some fresh ones. Why would anyone not want to buy new notebooks? She knew her mother was right, though. She didn’t believe in having too many notebooks, but college tuition and the textbooks were expensive. If she could save a bit of money on the school supplies – even if it was just a couple of bucks – that would be great.

So, she opened the drawer under her bed. It was a tough one to jimmy open on account of it being so stuffed, but she managed.

Chloe wasn’t sure what kind of notebooks she would need for college. Her teachers in high school were so picky. Some wanted a one-subject notebook while others wanted a five-subject notebook. None of the teachers wanted their students to share the same notebook with a different class. Why? Chloe had no idea. She assumed it was because the teachers thought they’d take a lot of notes, but that wasn’t the case at all. At least, it wasn’t for her. She shared notebooks with classes anyway to fill them up. Her teachers never read her notebooks so they never knew.

Still, there were some notebooks that were halfway filled or three-quarters filled with school notes and doodles. Chloe put those ones to the side. She didn’t want to bring those ones to college, even if the notes inside might end up being useful. No, she’d use the extra paper from those notebooks for more doodles, scrap paper, or making lists. She wanted fresh notebooks for her college classes.

The next few notebooks Chloe skimmed through were the same. Some were almost filled up, others halfway, and some just the first few papers were used. She got stuck looking through these ones as they held old stories and poems. She liked to write every now and then, though she wasn’t serious about it. She liked to keep her written work though, even though it was taking space up in an otherwise brand new notebook.

Chloe knew most of those stories she could rip out of their notebooks and stick in a folder somewhere for safe keeping. However, she didn’t want to disturb the pages. There was one notebook that had a single Haiku in it and that was it. Chloe read it to herself and made a face. She didn’t know what she was thinking when she wrote that.

Now that Chloe was looking at all this, she realized she never wrote the date on anything. She wished she wrote the date on her stories so she knew how old they were. It was obvious her writing had improved from one notebook to the next and it was certainly interesting to check out her own writing again. A lot of these stories she had completely forgotten about. She briefly wondered if she could get back into some of them. Maybe she’d bring a couple to college with her in case she had any free time in her dorm.

She set aside those notebooks and realized there were two more small bins under her bed. Both of those held notebooks, but they were smaller. Some were notepads but most of them were journal-like notebooks. Chloe wasn’t going to bring any of those to school for note-taking.

She also knew, in the other room, she had a filing cabinet where she kept even more notebooks. Did she feel like going through those as well?

Chloe knew most of those notebooks were filled with started and half-written stories and poems as well. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to go through all of those and set the stories aside. The notebooks were the stories’ home, she didn’t want to rip them out and put them away in a folder. She had a feeling she’d never get back to the stories otherwise.

Chloe picked up the few notebooks she had and put them into her suitcase. She could use those to finish her stories and poems in her free time during college. If she was running low on paper for class for any reason, she could take a piece or two from the back. However, it seemed as though she was going to have to go to the store and buy some new notebooks for her classes.

Now all she needed to do was go back downstairs and tell her mother.

Words: 799

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Short Story Sunday 288: Embox

Short Story Sunday: Embox | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Olivia placed one end of the packing tape on the top of the box and moved it down with a screeching sound as she taped the cardboard flaps closed together. She stood straightening her back when that was done. She kicked the box to the side with her foot and looked around on the ground for any other boxes that needed to be taped shut.

“How are you doing over there?” Sam asked as he entered the living room holding onto a stack of three boxes. He couldn’t see where he was going and he was awfully close to the couch.

Olivia leaped over a box and stood in front of him pushing him back just a little. “Stop! You’re going to trip yourself.” She didn’t know what was in those boxes but she didn’t want him to fall and hurt himself. She certainly didn’t want anything in the boxes to break. She had worked too hard packing them.

Sam put the boxes down on the couch and looked down at where his feet were. “Oh, thanks. I didn’t realize I was already in the room.” He chuckled.

“Did we get everything?” Olivia asked looking around the living room. The big pieces of furniture were still there, but they needed to wait for the movers to come in the morning in order to get those in the truck.

“I believe we have everything packed up, yes.” Sam replied. He looked down at her with a grin. “Can you believe we’re finally getting a house? No more being cramped in an apartment. We’ll own our own space!”

“We don’t own anything until we pay off the mortgage.” Olivia replied with a sigh. She walked away looking at everything in the living room. She didn’t see anything lying around other than furniture that was too big to fit inside boxes. All the small pieces, nick-knacks, blankets, pillows, and the like were all packed up. They had done every room in the house except for their bedroom and part of the kitchen. The movers were going to be at their apartment first thing in the morning and Olivia was so stressed at the amount of work they still had to do.

“Oh, come on. Don’t worry about that.” Sam said trying to reassure her. “If we couldn’t afford a mortgage than we wouldn’t have gotten a house. We’ll get everything done in time too, so we’re good. There’s nothing to stress over.”

Olivia sighed. “I know you’re right, but I know I’m not going to be getting any sleep tonight.”

Sam smiled. “Of course not, you’ll be too excited.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“You’re not excited?”

“No, I am. I just want this part to be over.” Olivia said gesturing to all the boxes.

Sam nodded. “Yeah, this is kind of the tough part. It’s hard to pack everything up and decide what you truly need to bring with you and what you don’t need. We got rid of a lot of stuff and it’s ironic because we’re moving into a bigger place. But unpacking it all will be fun and it’ll be even more fun to go shopping to buy new things for the house, don’t you think?”

“Buy new things? We have a mortgage now!” Olivia exclaimed.

“Oh, dear…” Sam sighed.

“How can we afford new things? We’re going to have so many new bills… we’re going to be homeless before we know it!”

“Whoa, okay.” Sam said rubbing the back of his head. He took the packing tape out of Olivia’s hand and tossed it onto the coffee table. “I think we need to take a break. We’ve been packing for three days straight and tomorrow is going to be a really long day. It’s dinnertime, let’s go out to eat and get out of here for a bit.”

“Get out of here for a bit? We’re leaving this place forever. The landlord already has a new tenant lined up.” Olivia stated. “And how can we go out to eat and buy dinner when we’re going to have to go furniture shopping and we need to pay so many bills? We can’t afford dinner!”

Sam sighed. It was obvious no matter what he said he was just going to make Olivia panic even more. He took her by the hand and led her to the door. He gabbed his car keys hanging up by the door and walked her out into the hall without saying a word. She didn’t say anything either but she followed willingly.

As soon as they made it outside of the apartment building and walked through the parking lot hand in hand, Sam looked back down at his girlfriend. He noticed her take in a deep breath.

“Feeling better?” he asked.

“Yes, actually.” Olivia nodded. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to get crazy.”

“You’re not being crazy. You’re nervous and excited at the same time and I can’t blame you. This is stressful and it’s a lot of work. But we’ve made it this far. We got the house, which is the hardest part of this whole process.” Sam explained.

Olivia nodded in agreement. The two of then made it to the car. Sam got into the driver’s side and Olivia sat in the front. She buckled her seat belt as she waited for Sam to settle in his seat.

“We’ll go out, get some food in our systems, relax and chat for a bit, and then we’ll head back here and finish up any packing we have left to do. We’ll be fine and get everything done in no time.” Sam stated. He turned on the car and pulled out of the lot.

Olivia nodded again. “No, you’re right. We’ll be fine. It’s still early so we have plenty of time to finish everything. Our friends and family are coming over early in the morning to help with last minute things and then the movers will be coming…”

“And then we’ll officially be home.” Sam said with a grin.

Olivia couldn’t help but smile too. She looked at Sam and took his hand in hers. “And then we’ll officially be home.”

Words: 1,026

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Short Story Sunday 287: Make

Short Story Sunday: Make | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

May waved goodbye to her parents as her father backed out of the driveway and turned left right after her mother backed out of the driveway and turned to the right. Once both cars were around the corner and out of sight, May closed the front door and ran into her kitchen. Her parents were going to be at work for the next six hours, but she had never baked a cake before. She didn’t know if it’d come out terrible and she’d have to do it all over again.

            She entered the kitchen and turned on her iPad that was propped up against the cookbook holder. She had found a delicious looking chocolate fudge cake recipe with chocolate frosting on someone’s social media page. Both of her parents were hardcore chocolate lovers and this was their 20th wedding anniversary.

May was only 15-years-old. Her mother did all the baking and cooking and she didn’t have a driver’s license of her own to try to get ingredients for the cake. She needed to make this all from scratch and hope for the best. She didn’t have a gift for them because she didn’t have any money to spend so she thought making a cake for them to celebrate with after dinner was a good plan.

She got the recipe up on her iPad and read the list of ingredients silently to herself. It seemed easy enough and, if she had learned anything from watching her mother, she knew well enough to get out all the ingredients first and measure them before actually mixing anything together. If there was something she didn’t have or did have enough of, she was going to have to walk to the store and buy a cake. She knew where her parents kept their stash of emergency money. She could always pay them back later. She did that a lot and they never noticed. Hopefully, it wouldn’t come to that though.

May spent half of the day gathering ingredients, throwing everything into a bowl and mixing it all together. She was lucky enough to have enough of everything she needed. The cake was in the oven and it smelled good – she just hoped that it would taste good.

She cleaned up the kitchen while she waited for the cake to bake. She made a huge mess in the kitchen – a mess she wasn’t expecting to make. Once the cake had baked and was completed cooled, (she knew it needed to be completely cooled. She had made that mistake once already before.), she still needed to frost and decorate it. She knew she was going to make another mess with the frosting.

May had planned on making the frosting herself but she had found a can of frosting in the cabinet. It was chocolate and unopened so she decided to just use that. It would be easier and quicker for her. She did have sprinkles and icing to write on the write the cake. She just needed to hope it was legible.

When all was said and done, May put the cake in the fridge. She was proud of her masterpiece and she couldn’t wait to show her Mom and Dad when they came home. She went into the living room and sat down on the couch putting her feet up on the coffee table. Baking the cake took a lot longer than she had expected. It had taken a good chunk of her Saturday away but she didn’t mind. She was excited to see the look on her parents’ faces when they came home from work.

Later that day, May’s father came home first. She had heard him come through the front door and came out of her bedroom to greet him. He was just closing the fridge in the kitchen when May entered the room. She hoped he didn’t see the cake she had baked for them. She wanted to bring it out as a surprise to both of them after dinner.

“Hey, Dad. How was your day?” she asked.

“Good. Work was boring. How was yours?” he replied.

May shrugged. “It was fine. I just relaxed all day.”

“Good.” He grinned.

The front door opened in the other room and they heard her mother call a greeting. She came into the kitchen holding a white box in her hands.

“Oh, you’re both here.” She said holding up the box with a grin. “Happy anniversary! I got us a cake for dessert.”

“Oh,” Dad replied. “Happy Anniversary,” he chuckled opening the fridge and taking out a white box. “So, did I.”

Mom laughed. “Well, it seems like we’re going to have cake for a while, huh?”

May sighed. “Yeah, a real long while.” She motioned for her dad to step aside and when he did, she opened the fridge and took out the cake she had made.

Her mother and father glanced at each other and then they both smiled.

“You made us a cake?” her mother asked.

May nodded.

Her father laughed. “Well, we’ll eat yours tonight. A home-made cake is better than store-bought anyway.”

“Great minds think alike, I guess.” Her mother replied. She wrapped her daughter into a hug and gave her a kiss. “Thanks for thinking of us on our anniversary. I can’t wait to taste this cake!”

May cracked a smile. “I hope it tastes good.”

“Well,” her father winked at her, “I’m sure it tastes delicious. But, if it doesn’t, we have two back-ups.”

Her mother nodded in agreement. She put her cake down on the counter and then looked at the other two. “So… I don’t feel like cooking tonight. Should we go out to eat or just have cake for dinner?”

May’s face lit up. Would her mother really let them skip dinner and just have cake for the night?

“I think I know May’s answer and I think I have to agree with her.” Her father replied.

Her mother nodded. “Good. I was thinking the same thing.” She took the cover off the container May had put her cake in and grabbed a knife from the drawer. “May, would you like to do the honors?”

May nodded with a grin taking the knife from her mother. Then she cut into the cake, making three large slices for all of them.

Words: 1,054

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Short Story Sunday 286: More

Short Story Sunday: More | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Bella picked up another book off the shelf and flipped it over to read the back cover. Her gaze glazed over the words on the back. She grinned and nodded to herself and tossed the book into the basket her boyfriend was carrying. He looked down at the stack of books in the basket and let out a sigh.

Bella ignored him.

She continued down the isle of books, her hand caressing the spines along the shelves as she leisurely moved along. Theo followed along sighing with each step, getting louder and louder.

Bella looked over her shoulder at him. “Don’t rush me.”

“I’m not rushing you.”

“You told me you’d take me to the bookstore to get whatever I wanted for my birthday.”

Theo glanced down at the basket again. “I did and I instantly regret it. This basket of books must weigh at least 100 pounds.”

Bella giggled. “Oh, I can’t wait to go home and start reading them!”

“Great, so let’s go home.” Theo said grabbing her arm and nodding his head toward the check out. “We can go pay for what we have, I’ll make you a bath, and you can read in the tub while I go through my bank account.”

Bella smirked at him. She stood on her tip-toes and kissed him on the cheek. “Have I told you lately that you’re the best boyfriend in the whole world?”

“You have, but not often enough.” Theo replied holding up the basket of books again.

“Well, I’m telling you now. I have to say that this is the best birthday I’ve ever had!”

Theo let out a nervous chuckle. “I’m never going to be able to top this birthday, huh? There’s no way I’ve ever telling you to go nuts in a bookstore with my wallet ever again.”

Bella shrugged. “It’s okay, I’m getting all paperback books.”

“Well, I appreciate you considering my income for this very large gift.” Theo deadpanned.

Bella gave his hand a squeeze and turned the other way. She disappeared around the corner heading into the next isle. Theo lifted the basket balancing the handle on his elbow while using his other hand to count in the books. Then he followed her to the other side.

“You have eight books here. How about you get two more and then–”

Bella walked straight toward him, a book in each hand. She placed them both into the basket with a grin and turned back around again.

“That was fast…” Theo muttered. He stared at the back of Bella’s head. “Okay, so there’s ten books now. We can pay and go home, right? This should last you for a little while? I hope?”

Bella laughed at him. “Don’t be silly, those ten won’t last me a month.”

“But… we’re done, right?” Theo asked again.

“One more minute?” Bella asked sweetly.

“How about one more book?” Theo said with another sigh.

Bella chuckled again shaking her head. “Oh, please, Theo. I can’t promise that.”

“Why not?”

“We haven’t made it to the mystery section yet.”

Words: 511

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Time To Write Stories

Last week I posted another sentence starter. If you’ve read my I’m Starting Over post, you’ll know these prompts are on a break until January 2020. Thanks to all those who have participated and I hope to see you again in a couple of months.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the writers who submitted stories for this sentence starter.

Time To Write: Sentence Starter: "I need more." | Creative Writing | Writing Prompt | Flash Fiction | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

Happy Writing!

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I’m Starting Over

2019 has existed. It was mean at times and it’s just been an interesting one, to say the least. I haven’t had a “bad” year in a while, so I guess I was due. However, with everything that happened, I’m trying to move on, get past it all, and try to have a sense of normality again. With that, I’m starting over.

“Starting Over”

No, this isn’t meant in a literal sense. I’m not scrapping the blog or anything like that. But I’m going to basically pretend that this year didn’t happen. I wasn’t consistent on the blog, I rarely read other blogs, I missed so many comments, and I just haven’t engaged like I normally do.

I keep trying to think of ways to “get back into the swing of things.” I keep looking back at past posts and the long gaps in between them wondering how to get back into my usual routine.

At this point, it makes me overwhelmed. I have too many other things on my mind. There are so many projects I’m working on, I want to work on, or I’m collaborating with others behind the scenes on secret projects. This isn’t to say I want to stop doing any of these things – I want to continue them all. But I think that’s part of my problem. I’m trying to do too many things at once.

Between all that and real-life happenings on this side of my computer, 2019 has been pretty bad.

Thinking Outside The Box

In other words, I need to stop looking at what I have done and start thinking about what I need to do in order to move forward. I look back at the past couple of years, blogging daily, writing, and everything else. In my mind, getting back to normal is doing that again. But I don’t think that’s what needs to be done. I think that’s what I’m used to so I’m trying to get back into those habits.

I’m starting to realize that I need to form new habits. I need to work in different ways. It’s time things changed and that I shake things up a bit.

I need to stop trying to get back to where I was when 2019 started. A lot of things have happened, a lot has changed. I’m sorry to not go into detail about what these things were, but it’s put some things into perspective for me and I’ve come to realize that the “normal” I’m trying to get back to is not my “normal” anymore.

So, What Am I Trying To Say?

Well. I have to admit, this was not my original intention for this post. But, as I type this out, I realize I made a decision deep down and my mind is now just catching up. I think it’s the right decision too because I think I’ve known this for a while but just didn’t want to admit. So, with that said…

This blog is on hiatus until January 2020.

Yes, I know in my October goals I mentioned that I’d be getting back into the swings of things. But, as I just said, I think the normal I’m trying to get back to isn’t my normal anymore.

I have plans and ideas for this blog going forward and I think I need time to sort them out so I can implement them and enjoy myself while doing so. I haven’t been able to yet because I’ve been so busy trying to come up with content so I can start posting daily again. But I don’t want to post for the sake of getting something up here.

Not for nothing, but I originally started this blog in 2012 to share my creative writing. I’ve barely written a thing all year long. It’s hard to talk about writing when you’re not actually writing anything.

What About The Rest Of 2019?

I’m not stopping everything. Short Story Sunday will still be posting every week for the remainder of 2019. I am stopping Time to Write though. I love the writing prompts and will continue them in 2020, but for now, I can’t be sure I’ll check them each week to add your stories. I apologize for this. I will add the stories from last week on this Friday, but there will be no prompt to follow.

For the rest of October, I don’t know how often I’ll post (if I post). I definitely want to keep in touch so maybe, in addition to Short Story Sunday, I’ll whip up a post once a week or once every other week. The same thing will go for December. Between 2020 prep for everything plus the holidays, I’ll try to keep in touch and post a handful of times, but I make no promises.

November, on the other hand, is NaNoWriMo. I’m still going to participate in the event and will post at least once a week about my progress.

2020 Will Be Great

I have a lot of great ideas for 2020. Features, post ideas, collabs, and more. I’m really looking forward to it and I think taking a couple of months off from the actual blog content will allow me to start fresh with a brand new year.

A lot of things, unfortunately, fell to the wayside in 2019. I’m going to take a look at each and every on and either bring it back, as usual, bring it back in a new way, or just do without it. We’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime… I hope 2019 was a lot kinder to you all. It was a good year – I don’t mean to sound pessimistic and say 2019 was absolutely horrible. But there were some questionable things that happened and it was just a weird year overall.

I appreciate you all being patient with me this year when I disappeared without a trace on a couple of different occasions. I’ll be back and ready to go in 2020, but I’ll keep in touch.

Talk to you soon!

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Pen & Paper [Healthy Writer]

Being a writer means that you’re sitting down for most of the day writing. Or, at least, trying to write. This also means that you’re most likely sitting down at a computer staring at the screen all day too.

Healthy Writer: Pen and Paper | Creative Writing | Healthy Habits | Work From Home | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

The Computer Age

I don’t know about you, but I do the majority of my writing on the computer. Typing is faster, I can Google research right away if I need to, and… well, there are other distractions of the Internet. It’s not ideal, but still fun.

My point is, I spend probably about 80% of my day on the computer. I’m writing, blogging, researching, or doing other work. Or I’m mindlessly scrolling through various social media sites. The latter isn’t exactly good and I’ve cut back, but still. I do it. We all do.

With all that said, we can really strain ourselves from being on the computer all the time. Which is why it’s not a bad idea to pick up a pen once in a while.

Pen & Paper

It sounds like it’s more work, I know. Handwriting takes longer than typing and, to me, it tires my hands out faster since one is doing all the work. However, I love writing by hand once in a while for a few different reasons.

1. It Gives Your Eyes A Break

This is obvious. You’re off the computer and aren’t staring at a bright screen for a long period of time. Not to mention it’s easier to pick up a pen and notebook and bring it anywhere and everywhere with you. Yes, you can do that with a laptop, but notebooks are easier and lighter to carry.

2. It’s Great For A First Draft

I’ll admit that I haven’t done this in a while, but I used to love writing my first drafts on paper and then transferring it to the computer. I know this seems like an extra step, but by typing it up on the computer after it’s already written is kind of like the first round of edits. You’re typing up the second draft and editing as you go because you’re writing and reading the first draft at the same time. You’ll catch errors and also come up with a few new ideas as well.

3. It’s Satisfying

I know I’ve said this before, but writing by hand is satisfying. I’m not sure what it is about it, but it just feels good once in a while after you’ve been typing for so long.

Do you write by hand often? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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What My Anxiety Attacks Are Like [Mental Health Mondays]

Thankfully, I haven’t had an anxiety attack in a while. I used to get them frequently when I was in school and, on occasion, I’ll get the feeling that I’m going to have one, but tend to talk myself out of it. If I do have an anxiety attack though, this is what it typically feels like for me.

Mental Health Mondays: What My Anxiety Attacks Are Like | Anxiety | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Mental Health | Mental Health Matters | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Hot Flash

Usually, when I begin to have an anxiety attack, I start to get a hot flash everywhere. I get clammy hands, sweaty everywhere, it’s gross. And it’s not a nice feeling either. I think I start to feel this way when I get overwhelmed and my body is trying to tell me to step outside and just get some air. When I begin to feel this way, I try my best to find a bathroom just to splash some cold water on my face or anything to cool myself down.

I love the summer, it’s my favorite season. I also would rather be hot than cold. However, that doesn’t help when I’m out in public and get hot. Sometimes I can’t tell if it’s the weather or I’m about to have an anxiety attack… in which case, I often work myself up to have an attack.

Shaking and Dizziness

These two go hand in hand sometimes. I’ll feel shaky and unsteady on my feet or get the feeling that the floor is moving or uneven. Then I’ll get dizzy and start to feel claustrophobic. I normally get this way in stores or restaurants. I felt this way all the time when I was in school. If I’m in a place that has little to no windows, then forget it. The entire room will be spinning for me.

I normally try to find a way out of where ever I am when I start to feel this way. Depending on the situation, I can sometimes stick it out, but I usually need to leave.

No Vision

If the anxiety attack gets far enough, I’ll lose my vision. I’ll basically blackout, but I’m not passed out. I’m still conscious and can hear things going on and such, but I just can’t see. It’s a weird thing and I don’t know if that happens to anyone else or not. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened in a while, but when it does, I just have to sit and let it pass. Once it does, I’ll be dizzy for a few moments while my body gets back to normal.

Shortness of Breath

This usually happens at any time, but mostly if the anxiety attack gets bad enough that I need to just let it pass and get through it. A million things can go through my head when I have an attack because it feels like I’m dying. Thus, shortness of breath. I also have asthma so mix that in with thinking I’m dying and… yeah.

Exhaustion

Once all of this is over, I’m down for the count for the rest of the day. It puts such a strain on my mind and body that I am super tired. The last thing I want to do is work, socialize, go anywhere, or do anything. It’s not fun.

Of course, tiredness comes with the package as a whole. Anxiety makes me feel tired all the time and having an attack just makes it worse.

Overall, anxiety attacks aren’t fun and I know people experience different things when they have an attack. I also know some are more severe than others. This is what I usually go through when I have an anxiety attack. Luckily, as I said before, I haven’t had one in a while. Usually, I tend to get them in the middle of the night too so at least it doesn’t interfere with work or anything else during the day. It doesn’t make it any less annoying though.

Let me know your thoughts on this post in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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