Short Story Sunday 306: Hostility

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

Detective Elliot stared at the suspect through the one-way mirror. The man sat in the other room, leaning back against the metal chair looking bored. The detective didn’t know what to do with this guy. He didn’t seem to care about the situation he was in right now. On the other hand, the suspect wasn’t talking too much. Elliot couldn’t tell if he just didn’t understand what was going on or if he was too crafty and knew exactly what he was doing. The suspect had refused a lawyer so Elliot was given the go-ahead to question him. So far, he hasn’t made a dent.

Judging from the way the suspect acted, Elliot and his partner, Detective Grace, assumed Elliot would have it all under control. Grace had decided to get a head start on the paperwork while Elliot finished up with the suspect. Now he waited for his partner in the back room so they could interrogation the suspect together. Elliot didn’t make any headway so maybe between the two of them, Grace would be able to get something out of this guy.

Grace entered the back room with a deadpan expression. “I thought we’d actually get off shift on time for once.”

Elliot sighed. “I’m sorry, but this man isn’t budging. I thought maybe if we gang up on him he’ll talk.”

“Does he want a lawyer?”

“Still doesn’t want a lawyer,” Elliot said, shaking his head.

Grace let out a frustrated sighed. “Well, it doesn’t seem as though this guy wants to make anything easy for us.”

“Why would they?” Elliot smirked. “I got all I could out of him. He kept giving me one-word answers. It got to the point he kept answering yes or no for all my questions even when I didn’t ask a yes or no question.”

“Oh, one of those?” Grace commented with a grunted. “Do you think he’s in a daze from all the events from today? Or do you think he’s faking trying to play us?”

Elliot reached over Grace and grabbed the manila folder on the shelf by the mirror. He opened it up and took a look at the case file that was quickly made up before they began their questioning.

“According to the woman in the apartment next door, she heard a man scream and she checked the hallway. The apartment to her left – the suspect’s apartment – was opened ajar. She took a peek to make sure everything was already and she found our victim dead on the floor in a pool of blood with a knife sticking out of his chest. Then she saw our suspect walking calmly out of the next room wiping his hands of, what she assumed, to be blood,” Elliot said, reading from the folder. “We of course, brought him in for questioning under the suspicion he murdered his roommate, but he has never once flinched. Didn’t resist arrest, doesn’t even seem to realize a homicide has taken place.”

Grace watched the suspect through the mirror with furrowed brows. He leaned back in his chair making the legs click on the floor. He began to hum along with the tune in a happy manner. “I feel like he doesn’t know what’s going on… either that or he’s a really good actor.”

“My guess is a good actor,” Elliot replied. “He refused a lawyer and said he didn’t mind talking to us about what happened. My guess is this is all an act in an attempt to fool us into thinking he’s crazy. If a lawyer was here, they’d see right through him.”

“That doesn’t matter. A lawyer would still try to protect him, that’s their job. We see right through it though and we don’t have to protect him,” Grace stated.

Elliot didn’t reply for a moment. While his partner was right, he still thought there was something off about the whole situation. Would a person really go through these lengths to cover up the fact that he murdered his roommate? People did crazy things when they were in crazy situations and were scared. Elliot had thought he’d seen it all but he knew he’d jinx himself for the next case if he said it out loud.

Either this suspect had planned to kill his roommate but didn’t expect the next door neighbor to hear – which Elliot thought was ridiculous in the first place. The apartment had thin walls that he was sure a lot of people in the building would have heard the struggle. Or, the suspect got too heated in the moment and didn’t mean to kill his roommate. Of course, you can’t accidentally stab a knife through someone’s chest, but Elliot has heard and seen a lot of crazy things throughout his years being a detective.

On the other hand, this suspect could have actually been innocent and the next door neighbor was too afraid and only thought what she was was actually what she witnessed. Maybe the suspect wasn’t talking because he was afraid. Why he didn’t want a lawyer was beyond Elliot. Maybe he knew he wouldn’t be able to afford one or maybe he was too confident that he’d be found innocent that he didn’t think he needed one.

Elliot watched him carefully through the glass. The suspect was too calm. It truly was hard to say if he was innocent and confident he’d be found so – despite the evidence and testimonies against him – or he was crazy and didn’t care at all about the situation he was in.

“Any ideas how to pursue this one?” Grace asked.

Elliot shook his head. “Do you want to go in alone and see if he’ll talk to you or tag-team this one?”

Grace shrugged. “I’ll see if he’ll be inclined to answer any of my questions.”

Elliot watched as his partner left the room. There were quite a few suspects who usually submitted to Grace’s questioning. Elliot had been doing this for years and he wasn’t sure if he was becoming less intimidating. Grace, on the other hand, had only been doing this for a handful of years but she was more intimidating to most suspects than Elliot was. He didn’t understand what he was about her, but she often scared people into talking. However, she was never out of line.

He watched as Grace opened the door to the interrogation room. Before she could take a step into the room, the suspect stood, let out an ear-splitting scream as he picked up his chair, and chucked it toward the detective before rushing toward the door.
Elliot jumped out of the back room and was just about to help his partner when he entered the interrogation room. When he made it to the doorway, Grace had the suspect pinned on the ground under the chair. Elliot tried not to crack a smile. “Did you catch the chair?”

“Of course I caught the chair, I’m no rookie,” Grace said as though she were offended he asked. “Go get backup, will you? I think he needs some more time in the holding cell.”

Elliot did as suggested and as a few police officers cuffed the suspect and brought him back to a holding cell, Elliot and Grace watched from the hall. He had the case folder in his hand and let out a sigh.

“You know,” he began, “I know nothing is ever easy. But for once, I would like a case that’s on the easier side. He was totally calm with me, I don’t know what you did.”

Grace shrugged. “My face scares people, as it should.”

Elliot chuckled.

Grace then sighed. “Great, now I have to add this in the report. More paperwork.”

Elliot didn’t answer his partner. Yes, she was right. They were going to have to add that into the case file, but there was certainly something that wasn’t right. “I think we should go back to the apartment and check it out again. I feel like there isn’t something right with that guy.”

“Ya think?”

“I want to go back to the apartment.”

“Alright, we’ll go back to the apartment.” Grace shrugged. “You can drive.”

*

The two detectives ducked under the caution tape that sprawled across the door frame to apartment 205. The remained in the doorway on the other side of the tape staring at the still-life apartment before them.

“Died right away from a stab wound to the heart,” Detective Grace said shaking her head. “What a way to go.”

“We’ve seen worse,” Elliot added.

“We have, but it still never gets less creepy. What are we looking for here?”

“Honestly, I’m not sure,” Elliot replied softly. “I thought something would jump out of me once we got here. I know that sounds a bit too easy, but… I have this feeling that we have the wrong guy.”

“The crazy guy is the wrong guy?” Grace said with a deadpanned tone.

Elliot nodded. “Maybe? I’m not sure.”

“He threw a chair at me.”

“That doesn’t mean he’s a murderer.”

“A metal chair.”

“Right, but-”

“And then he tried to run out the door. If he were innocent, would he try to run? What does he had to hide?” Grace continued.

“I can’t imagine being accused of murder when you’re actually innocent. I bet he’s afraid trying to put on a cool act.” Elliot explained.

“I get that, but I still find it completely odd. Something must be off about him. Regardless, he attacked a detective so he’ll be in trouble for something,” Grace stated. She watched as Elliot entered further into the apartment. “What are you doing?”

“Looking for clues.”

“I’m pretty sure we got everything.”

Elliot wasn’t convinced. He looked under tables and chairs but nothing seemed to be jumping out at him. He stared at the blood stains on the carpet in the middle of the living room.

“Do you think,” he began, “it’s possible our suspect came home and found his roommate dead? He might have tried to revive him with CPR or something and that’s how he got the blood on his hands. That’s what the neighbor witnessed.”

Grace walked further into the apartment and looked down at her partner who was squatting on the ground. “It’s possible, yes. Anyone who would walk home to see that would try to revive them with CPR despite a stab wound to the hear. Panic and grief sets in. But what about the scream?”

“It was our suspect. He came home and was shocked to find his roommate dead.” Detective Elliot stood up. “How would our witness be able to tell the two screams apart? They’re both male and I’m sure they don’t scream so often that their neighbor has been able to tell them apart.”

“Well, I hate to admit it, but you do have a point. Our witness didn’t actually witness the murder, she saw the aftermath,” Grace agreed.

*

The two detectives made it back to the station. They immediately walked down to the holding cells and found their suspect. He sat in a lonely corner of the cell weeping.

“I don’t think he did it at all,” Elliot whispered. Seeing him in this state confirmed any thoughts he had. He walked over to the cell and knocked on the bars to get his attention.

The suspect looked up, his face wet and eyes blood-shot from crying. He stood, walking to the bars. He looked confused but Elliot could tell he was trying to act tough.

“We went back to the apartment,” Elliot began. “You didn’t kill your roommate, did you?”

The suspect’s mouth gaped open. He looked back and forth between the two detectives before settling his gaze back onto Detective Elliot. His gaze softened as he smiled with relief. He shook his head.

“Then why wouldn’t you talk to us before?” Grace asked, glaring at the suspect. Elliot put a hand up signaling her to simmer down. Though he couldn’t blame her. He’d be annoyed if a chair was thrown at him too.

The suspect shrugged. “I’m sorry. I thought I was done for. I panicked.”

“You need to tell us what happened. No more staying silent if you want your roommate’s killer to be caught,” Elliot said sternly.

The suspect nodded. He looked Detective Elliot in the eye. “I think I know who killed him.”

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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Short Story Sunday 305: Suit

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

Jude stared at himself in the full-length mirror with disgust. In his 18 years of being alive, he had gotten out of wearing a suit with an almost 100-percent success rate.

Weddings? He’d wear sleek black jeans with a nice dress shirt. He’d the same thing for other special occasions or parents. The only time his parents truly forced him to wear a suit was when they had a funeral to attend and, lucky enough for him, he’d only gone to two in his life.

He fluffed out of the dress pants he was forced to wear. They were a bit baggy on him and they made a rustling sound when his thighs rubbed together as he walked. When he complained about it, all his mother had to say was that she told him to get the suit fitted before tonight. Apparently, he had no one to blame but himself. He supposed that was true. He didn’t get the suit fitted because he thought if he had “forgotten” to do it, he’d get out of wearing it.

The shirt fit just fine but the buttons at the end of the shirt were bothering him. The small plastic pieces rubbed against his wrists – not tightly, but just enough to be annoying. He tried to fold the button over, rolling his sleeves up a quarter of the way.

Whenever he did, his mother appeared by magic and “fixed” them for him. He tried to leave them unbuttoned but that didn’t work either. His mother wouldn’t stand for that because it looked too sloppy.

Jude didn’t even want to talk about the shoes. They fit him fine, but he must preferred his sneakers. He had half a mind to sneak his sneakers into his car so he could change without his mother’s knowledge. He was lucky she wasn’t chaperoning the senior prom. Otherwise he’d be in big trouble.

Looking at himself in the mirror, Jude realized something. He cleaned up nice. However, if he didn’t feel good in the suit, he didn’t care how good or bad he looked. He wanted to feel comfortable so that he was able to have the best time he could.

His father now entered Jude’s bedroom. Jude sighed knowing his mother had sent him into the room. He had most of the suit on so now they were arguing about the tie. It wasn’t fair that his mother didn’t feel fit enough to fight that battle. So she tagged her husband in to take her place. Jude didn’t have anyone to tag in, so what was he supposed to do?

“I brought three of them. You said your date is wearing a black dress, right?” his father asked.

Jude lifted one shoulder into a small shrug. “I think she said it was mostly black but it had silver specks in it. She said it looked like a starry night.”

“Oh,” his father chuckled holding up a tie. “So, I guess you don’t want to wear this one?”

Jude’s eyes widened at the tie his father presented to him. It was a crisp white with large, black polka dots all over. It looked like a cow and Jude didn’t want to be caught dead wearing that.

“That’s hideous,” he said.

His father continued to laugh as he tossed the tie onto the bed. “Alright then, you’ve narrowed it down to two.”

Two ties were held up in front of Jude’s face. One was a sleek black that seemed to be almost as shiny as his new dress shoes were. The other was another black tie with gray at the bottom. The gray dissolved as it climbed to the top of the tie allowed for small gray specks in the middle of the tie. Jude thought it looked as though someone had spilled something on the tie, but he thought it looked okay enough. He pointed to the black one with the gray specks.

“That one actually probably matches Paige’s dress.”

“Ah,” his father grinned, tossing the black one onto the bed. He stepped toward his son with the gray tie and tossed it around his neck. “So you do care that you match your date.”

“No, I do not,” Jude said firmly. “But I know girls tend to like this kind of stuff and can go overboard with the whole matching thing, so I guess I might as well try to make Paige happy about it.”

“Sure,”

Jude sighed. His father’s “sure” was always code for, “We both know I’m right so I’m not putting in the effort to argue.”

“Is Paige excited?” his father asked tightening the tie around his son’s neck.

Jude swallowed a lump in his throat hoping he’d be able to breath. Who invented ties, anyway? They were such a stupid way of being classy. There was no need to choke yourself in order to look good so you can have a nice time.

“I think she is. She hasn’t said too much about it, to be honest,” Jude explained. He put a hand on the knot in his tie trying to loosen it just ever so slightly as his father took a step back to admire his handy work.

“You look good, son,” his father said, a proud grin on his face.

Jude didn’t reply in fear he’d say something mean. He certainly didn’t feel good.

“Have you asked Paige much about tonight?” his father asked.

“Asked her what? I wanted to know about her dress because we need for match for some weird reason. I’m just glad she didn’t pick a bright pink or purple dress.” Jude rolled his eyes. He turned back to look at himself in the mirror dropping his hands down by his side. On the outside, he looked good. On the inside, he felt like a dope. Prom better go quick.

“Aside from making sure your tie matched her dress and asking her to the prom, have the two of you talked about it at all?” his father asked again.

“What else is there to talk about?”

His father let out a sigh.

“What?” Jude peeled his eyes off himself in the mirror and at his dad.

“Do we need to have a talk about woman?”

“God, Dad. No.”

“Alright, well, make sure you listen to her tonight, okay?”

Jude’s face twisted in confusion.

“Girls live for senior prom. Paige is probably way more excited than you’ll ever be about it. You want to make this night special for her, not for yourself.” His father sat down on the bed and patted the seat beside him, but Jude ignored the gesture.

“I need to make this night special for her by dressing up fancy even though I’m uncomfortable?”

“Yes.”

Jude’s face deadpanned. He didn’t know what else to say to his parents at this point. They didn’t know Paige, but if Jude thought about it, he didn’t know too much about Paige himself.

No, the two of them had never really talked about prom or anything else. He saw Paige across the room in math sophomore year when she moved to the area and he had wanted to talk to her ever since. They barely spoke a word to each other when he asked her to go to prom with him. They were working on a lab project together in science just two months ago and he blurted out, “Will you go to prom with me?” instead of a normal greeting such as saying hello.

Much to his surprise, she found it amusing and agreed.

Most girls Jude knew were going ga-ga for senior prom. It was true, he heard them talking about it ever since freshmen year. He didn’t doubt his father when he said some girls lived for senior prom. He wasn’t so sure one of those girls was Paige though.

In fact, the more Jude thought about it, the more he realized that when he asked Paige what color dress she was wearing so they could match, she didn’t seem too enthused about the idea. He got a weird tone from her voice over the phone when she described it. She only seemed to be excited about the starry night part of the dress.

Jude paused in his thinking. Maybe she wasn’t actually excited to go to prom at all. Maybe he was forcing her to do something she didn’t want to do. Maybe she was too nice and didn’t want to say no to going to prom. That was possible, wasn’t it? Some girls actually didn’t care about the prom stuff. Or maybe she didn’t actually want to go with him but she had already made the commitment a few months ago that she’d feel bad going back on her word or feigning ill. He knew he had asked her too early!

“Uh, Jude? Are you okay? You’re making an awful lot of faces.” His father stood up holding his arms out as though he thought Jude was going to fall over and he needed to catch his son. “It’s okay to be nervous. I sometimes feel that way when I’m nervous too. Just head to the bathroom now and get it all out before you leave.”

Jude stared at his father horrified.

“Otherwise you’re in a long night of embarrassment in front of your entire school.”

“Dad, please stop talking,” Jude sighed. “I’m not nervous. Of course I want Paige to have a good time. It’s just…”

He stared at his father who patiently waited for an explanation. Except, Jude had no idea how to explain this to his father and he didn’t want to get into it just then. He knew he needed to pick up Paige in about ten minutes.

“I need to leave now,” Jude said.

“That’s the spirit!” his father cheered.

Jude left his bedroom with his father trailing behind. He didn’t know what his dad meant by his cheer, but he didn’t want to ask.
After saying a quick goodbye to his parents – well, it wasn’t as quick as he would have liked. He needed to take the corsage from his mother and take a couple of pictures first. Once that was out of the way, he got into his car and headed to Paige’s house, which was about ten minutes from his own house.

He had to do the same thing at her house. They took picture after picture. Individual pictures, pictures together (all in various poses), pictures putting on the corsages… Jude was seeing so many spots he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to drive to prom.

Throughout the picture taking, Jude grew more nervous. Paige seemed to be in an okay mood, but she didn’t seem to want her picture taken at all. She was flattered by the corsage and even his tie, but she wasn’t overly excited about any of it. Jude knew there had to be some other guy she wanted to go with or maybe she just wanted to go with her group of friends. Jude shouldn’t have asked her in the first place. How was he supposed to help her have a good time when it didn’t seem like she wanted to have a good time with him from the get-go?

They made it into the car and as Jude pulled away from her house with Paige waving goodbye to her parents, Paige let out a long groan which startled Jude.

“Um, are you okay?”

“My mother picked out the floofiest dress,” Paige said.

“Floofy…?”

“I hate wearing dresses. I just wanted to wear pants. I even tried to compromise with her and told her I’d wear dress pants instead of jeans. She didn’t budge, as you can tell.”

Jude took his eyes off the road for a moment to look at her. “Well, I think you look lovely.”

“Lovely? Really?”

“Great?”

Paige snickered. “Listen, you don’t need to feel like you have to make me feel good or pretty or anything tonight, okay? Let’s just have a good time.”

“Do you want to have a good time with me?” Jude asked. He didn’t know where the question came form and wanted to rewind the moment it came out of his mouth, but there was no going back now. He continued before Paige could answer. “I mean, you don’t seem all that excited for prom. I didn’t know if you agreed to go with me because you felt awkward saying no or maybe I asked you too early… I know we barely talked before I even asked you and it’s kind of a weird situation.”

“Dude, shut up,” Paige laughed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you think I didn’t want to come with you or anything. I just don’t like getting dressed up. I want to experience prom but I also want to be able to move at prom.”

Jude let out a sigh of relief. “Oh, okay. Well, we’re in the same boat then. I didn’t want to wear a suit or even these shoes.”

“The shoes look good though. I brought an alternative.” Paige pulled a pair of sneakers from the floor in front of her.

Jude glanced at her. “Where did you pull those out from?”

“I told you, this is a floofy dress.”

“Yeah, but…?”

“I’m going to step on your feet at least eleven times tonight, would you rather I do so in heels?”

Jude shook his head. This was the most he had ever heard her speak. He didn’t mind it though.

“I’m sorry you need to wear those shoes all night,” Paige said.

“Nah,” Jude smirked, “My sneakers are in the trunk.”

Paige grinned. “I knew I liked you.”

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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Short Story Sunday 304: Month

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

It wasn’t the right time to ask questions. Ava knew something was going on but for some reason she couldn’t remember exactly what it was. Everyone kept mentioning the following month and even though she nodded and agreed with everyone she really had no idea what was going on.

She sat on the couch in the corner of her friend’s living room, people surrounding her. The music playing in the background was a little too loud to be background music and there were so many people crammed into the small apartment that Ava couldn’t hear herself think let alone figure out what she had agreed to do for the following month.

It was her friend’s birthday party. Rose had turned 21-years-old over the week. Ava was the youngest in her group of friends and she didn’t turn 21 for another two months. Obviously she was there to celebrate her friend’s glorious day of birth, but Rose had invited a lot of her college buddies. Ava didn’t know anyone there. There were a handful of people who had tried to talk to her, but she couldn’t hear anything that was going on. She felt rude. Most people trying to talk to her probably thought she was being snobby, but she was just practically deaf that’s all. Despite being the youngest in her group, she acted the oldest. Her friends often called her an “old fart.”

So, there she sat in the corner of Rose’s living room in her tiny apartment. Ava wished she could whisk herself away to Rose’s bedroom just to try to get a moment’s peace. However, there were so many people standing in the hallway – because there weren’t enough seats for them all – that Ava felt awkward trying to shove her way through the crowd.

“I’m looking forward to next month. Rose said everyone is going to be there.”

Ava tuned in to a stranger’s words. She looked over her shoulder and there were two guys standing directly behind her. She was surprised she heard them at all, but she was certainly intrigued trying to figure out what they were talking about.

“Everyone? I thought there were a handful of people who couldn’t come. Or, I mean, they weren’t allowed to know about it.”

Ava narrowed her eyes. What was that supposed to mean? She didn’t remember Rose talking about any big event for next month and if everyone was supposedly invited, she should have heard about it. Right? Ava and Rose had been best friends since elementary school. Of course Rose would have told Ava about it.

“There are some people who can’t know about it because they won’t be old enough to attend,” One of the guy’s said.
Ava sunk in her chair. Maybe Rose didn’t talk to her about whatever was going on. She wasn’t going to turn 21 for another two months. What else could she not be old enough for? Whatever Rose had planned for the following month, it must have been some sort of party where only people 21 and older could attend.

That obviously didn’t include Rose’s best friend.

Ava stood from her chair not wanting to tune into the guys’ conversation anyway. Out of all the conversations to overhear, why did it have to be that one? She could have sworn she and Rose had talked about something for the following month and she couldn’t remember what it was. Now Ava figured she heard rumors of something happening in the next month and she must have been thinking about that.

Of course, now she didn’t know where to go from here. Ava wanted to get away from people and their conversations but there was no where for her to go. Ava spun in a circle as though she tried to look for a way out, but there were so many people. She didn’t even know where Rose had gone. She couldn’t sit back down in her chair because then she’d look silly.

Well, maybe it wouldn’t matter. There were so many people around and she wasn’t engaging in conversation with any of them, so who would notice Ava standing and then immediately sitting again?

She turned back around to take her seat again but one of the guys was sitting in it now with the other guy squatting on the floor. They were still engaged in a deep conversation though it appeared to be a different topic. Ava could have sworn she heard one of them mention a video game.

Now she was stuck. She stood in the middle of the floor of the living in a tiny apartment surrounded by a crowd of people, most of whom she didn’t know. What was she supposed to do?

Ava looked at the time on her cell phone. Another one of her and Rose’s friends were supposed to come, but they hadn’t arrived yet. (Unless they had and Ava just hadn’t noticed among all the people.)

“Hello!”

Ava jumped at the sudden voice coming behind her. It was so loud as though it was directly in her ear. When she turned around, sure enough, there was a woman standing right behind her, close enough that Ava could smell the beer on her breath.

Please don’t be drunk, Ava thought to herself. “Hi,” she said, forcing a small smile.

“My name is Kate. I’m was Rose’s roommate during our first semester of college. How do you know Ava?”

“Oh, hi Kate. I’m Ava. Rose and I have been best friends since elementary school,” Ava replied.

She sort of recognized Kate now that Ava knew her name. Rose used to talk about her a lot. Ava was actually quite jealous for a while because it seemed as though Rose suddenly liked Kate more than she did Ava. It was a tough first semester of college but they never really fell out of touch with each other. Rose had always wanted Ava to meet Kate and, well… here they were except Rose wasn’t there to witness it.

“Wait, are you the Ava?” Kate gasped.

“Sure?” How was Ava supposed to reply to that? As far as she knew Rose didn’t know any other people named Ava, but who was she to truly say?

“Rose has told me so many great things about you!” Kate shouted.

Ava took a step back attempting to get away from the horrid stench of Kate’s breath. She wasn’t sure if she had shouted because the music was too loud, she had too much alcohol, or if she was truly excited to meet her. Ava guessed it wasn’t the latter.

“I think it’s so cool you and Rose have been best friends for so long. No one can compete with that that kind of commitment,” Kate continued.

Ava grinned and nodded. While she didn’t like how Kate seemed to compare them to a couple in a relationship, she did agree. Rose and her had a special friendship bond like no other. She was lucky to have Rose, despite the fact that Ava wanted to kill Rose for ditching her in the middle of this party where she didn’t know anyone and couldn’t even join in enough to have just one sip.

“You must be so excited for next month!” Kate exclaimed.

Ava’s eyes grew. Was this her chance to figure out what was going on next month?

No, Ava didn’t want to know. It didn’t seem as though Rose wanted to invite her anyway.

Or, on the other hand, maybe Rose couldn’t invite her because Ava wasn’t old enough.

Still, Rose could have told Ava about it.

Then again, Rose might have told Ava about it and she just didn’t remember.

“The fact that Rose would do that for you is so cool!” Kate went on, a dreamy look in her eye.

Ava froze. “For me?”

Kate nodded, a goofy grin on her face.

“What are you talking about?” Ava asked. She didn’t want to know but her interest was piqued too much. It seemed as though everyone at the party knew what was going on next month except for Ava – and she wasn’t sure if she was supposed to know or not.

Kate giggled and took another sip of… whatever was in her red cup. Ava forced herself not to roll her eyes. Kate was Rose’s best friend from college. Ava didn’t want to make a bad first impression. If Rose was friends with her, then Ava wanted to be friends with her. (Though not while she was drunk. In fact, maybe Ava could be rude to Kate and she wouldn’t remember it in the morning.)

“So, how exactly did you and Rose meet?” Kate asked after gulping down an amount of liquid that filled up both her cheeks.

Ava sighed. “Rose tripped and fell at recess in first grade. I helped her up.”

It was a stupid story, really. Ava was chasing after a ball and while she ran past Rose, Rose had tripped over her untied shoe. Ava forgot about the ball and walked over to help Rose up. The two of them started playing with each other and they ended up becoming the best of friends. They spoke with each other every day after that. It got to the point where, in the coming years following that moment, teachers would attempt to separate them and pair them with different peers. The teachers and their parents were afraid they weren’t socializing enough with other classmates. It didn’t help though. Rose and Ava continued to remain best friends. They stopped ignoring everyone else around them as they got older. Still, the two were peas in a pod.

“Wow, that’s such a beautiful story,” Kate said, a look of awe plastered on her face.

“Sure,” Ava agreed.

“Hey, you two found each other.” Rose appeared out of seemingly no where and put an arm around Ava’s shoulders and Kate’s shoulders.

Ava smiled. “Yeah, Kate seemed to have stumbled upon me.”

“I’m so happy you guys are finally getting a chance to meet. I’ve wanted you to be able to put a face to the name for such a long a long time.” Rose explained.

“Yeah, me too,” Ava lied. Well, it wasn’t too much of a lie. She had been wanting to meet Kate for quite some time as well but she didn’t expect it to happen in the middle of this party where she could barely hear. She also didn’t fancy talking to people much when they were drunk.

Kate tried to take another sip from her cup, but Rose took it out of her hand. “Hey, why don’t you go ahead and lay down in my bed for a minute?” she suggested.

“Okay.” Kate shrugged and walked away.

Rose sheepishly grinned at Ava. “She just turned 21 the week before I did. She’s a little excited about it.”

“Oh, you guys almost have the same birthday? What a shame, I didn’t get a chance to wish her a happy one,” Ava said trying not to sound as sarcastic as she felt.

Rose then frowned a bit. “I’m sorry this party is a bit much. We haven’t had a chance to see each other all night and it’s way more crowded than I thought it would be. People keeping asking me if they could bring their boyfriends or girlfriends and I didn’t think it’d be an issue.”

Ava genuinely shook her head. “No worries at all. It’s not a problem. Your apartment just isn’t… well, it’s small.”

Rose chuckled. “Right, I know.”

There was a moment of silence before Ava cleared her throat and broke the ice. “Hey, what’s going on next month?”

Rose’s eyes grew twice the size of what they normally were. “What do you mean?”

“I’m sorry, but so many people have mentioned something grand that’s happening next month that you’re apparently throwing. Is it some sort of party that I’m not invited to because I’m not 21 yet?” Ava asked. She felt like a jerk for bringing it up at all, let alone in the middle of her birthday party.

Rose furrowed her brows. Ava couldn’t tell if she was becoming annoyed or not, so she continued.

“But then Kate mentioned that there was something going on for me? I don’t think she was thinking straight anyway, but I’ve just gotten curious. Maybe it’s none of my business anyway. Or maybe you told me about it and I forgot and if so, I’m sorry.”

At that moment, Ava realized that she and Rose had never fought in all their years of being friends. Yes, they’ve bickered and argued as though they were sisters, but they never had a huge blowout with each other or stopped talking to each other for a long period of time.

They were always close. They did everything together and told each other everything. Ava knew everything they needed to know about Rose and vice versa. Ava didn’t want to get into an argument over something that may or may not be going on next month. She also didn’t want the two of them to drift apart simply because Rose was going to experience being 21 for an entire month before Ava would get the chance.

After a brief moment, Rose let out a sigh though her lips were curled into a smile. When she looked Ava in the eye, she shook her head. “I didn’t tell you anything about next month. I was going to tell you about it next week. It never occurred to me that you would hear about it through the grapevine so I definitely should have told you sooner. Especially since it seems as though people are playing telephone and wires keep getting crossed.”

Ava nodded not knowing what else to say. She wanted Rose to continue talking.

“I’m not throwing some elaborate party next month that’s only for people who are 21. I have no idea who started that one. Kate, despite her being a bit tipsy, is the one who’s on the right track,” Rose clarified.

Ava tilted her head to the side. She still didn’t know what to say.

Rose jerked her head to the side taking Ava by the hand. She squeezed past the crowd, Ava trying to stick as close to her as possible. It was though they were at some sort of club and not a tiny apartment. The bathroom was only a few feet away, but it seemed to take a bit for them to get there. When they did, Rose pushed her into the small room and shut the door behind them.
The music was still loud, but Ava could at least hear herself think. She didn’t need to speak loud either in order to make sure Rose could hear her. She wondered why she hadn’t thought to head into the bathroom and stay there for most of the night a while ago.

“I had something special planned for the two of us next month. I didn’t want to tell you right away because I wanted it to be a surprise. As I said before, I was going to tell you next week,” Rose explained. “Your parents already know about it and have known about it for a while. That’s why they’re so adamant on you staying for your family reunion the third weekend of next month.”

Ava rolled her eyes. “Oh, right… I forgot about the stupid family reunion. Maybe that’s what I was thinking of when I thought you told me something I forgot it.”

Rose chuckled. “They didn’t want you to make any plans for that weekend which is why they told you a lie.”

Ava’s face flat-lined.

“There is no family reunion, lucky you.” Rose laughed.

“No, lucky you. I was going to drag you with me,” Ava said chuckling herself. “But what do you mean there’s no family reunion?”

“It was lie your parents and I cooked up together because we wanted you keep that weekend free. In reality, you and I are going on our very first vacation just the two of us!” Rose grabbed both of Ava’s hands in hers and jumped up excitedly.

Ava stared at her open mouthed. “You mean…?”

“Happy early birthday to the two of us!” Rose exclaimed. “I wanted to do something special since we’re both 21 this year. I know you won’t be quite 21 yet so no drinking – your parents made me pinky-swear – but pretty much all the other weekends were booked at the hotel. So I had to grab it while I could.”

Ava didn’t know what to say. She felt like she wanted to cry. All She had gotten Rose for her birthday was a cool wine glass, she didn’t think of surprising Rose with some elaborate gift such as a weekend getaway!

“Are you happy?” Rose asked shyly.

Ava nodded. “I just don’t know what to say.”

“Don’t say anything. Just jump with me and be excited!”

The two laughed and cheered in the small bathroom, holding hands and jumping. When they finally stopped to catch their breaths, Ava held up a finger.

“Okay, since this is for both of our birthdays, I call doing something special for you while we’re away. Let me pay for breakfast and dinner one day… or something.” Ava realized how lame that sounded compared to planning a secret weekend getaway trip. She’d think of something special to do for Rose. A good idea was going to come to her soon enough.

Rose shook her head. “We’ll work out all the details later, but this isn’t a competition. Besides, I’m doing it just as much for your birthday as I am mine.”

Ava snickered. “Okay, that’s fair. Where are we going, anyway?”

Rose grinned as though she was cooking up some mastermind plan. She opened the bathroom door and began to head back out to the party.

“Wait,” Ava said taking her by the arm. “Where are we going?”

“I’m not spoiling all the surprises. I said I’d tell you next week.” Rose winked.

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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Short Story Sunday 303: Charismatic

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

Lily always had a way with words. She easily out out of anything she didn’t want to do or something she forgot to do and didn’t want to get in trouble. For example, if she didn’t do her homework, she always had some elaborate speech cooked up. It wasn’t an excuse as to why she didn’t get her homework done. It was a reason why she didn’t get her homework done. It often inspired the teacher in some weird way and the class she performed in front of cheered in excitement.

She was also able to get herself into something she wanted to do. If she was too young, it suddenly wasn’t an issue anymore. If there was no more room in the group or the tickets were sold out, an exception could easily be made.

One day, though, her charm was bound to run out. Asher was sure of it.

He couldn’t wrap his head around the idea that someone could be so manipulative. That someone could have everyone wrapped around their finger. Asher hoped – no, he knew – she would cross paths with someone soon enough who would see right through it.

Her charisma skills worked all throughout high school with teachers and peers. They also worked at her retail job. Surely a college professor would see through it all, right?

Asher pulled into the parking lot on their first day of college. He had separate classes from her and was disappointed he wouldn’t get the chance to see her crash and burn in front of her new peers. Then again, it was only the first day so Asher didn’t think there’d be anything for Lily to crash and burn about.

He already had homework though. Last week when he checked his school email, he noticed a message from one of his professors who assigned something due for the first day of class. He wasn’t sure if it was legal to begin the class before the semester officially started, but he did it anyway. Asher couldn’t come up with a well-told story like his sister could. He couldn’t lie and he didn’t want to lie. Lily was always the mastermind behind their twin shenanigans when they were young. They almost never got caught and, on the few occasions they did, Lily managed to get them out of trouble with her fancy words.

Lily hopped out of the car and drew in a deep breath. “Just smell that brand new air!”

Asher turned the car off. He got out of the driver side and opened the backseat to grab his backpack. “You mean the college smell of smokers and drinkers?” he closed the door and made his way around the front of the car.

Lily gently whacked him on the arm with a flick of her wrist. “Come on, be excited, will you?”

“I’m nervous.”

“Don’t be, you’ll do great. You’re the smartest guy I know,” Lily said. She started walking across the parking lot, Asher remaining by the car, watching her.

He didn’t think he was the smartest guy. She had always been smarter than him. Aside from the charm and her way with words, she always had straights A’s in school somehow. He didn’t understand it when she didn’t do her homework most of the time, but she somehow managed to get through life the easy way. He wasn’t so sure this would be the case for her now that they were in college.

“Hey,” he called after her, jogging to catch up. She didn’t reply, didn’t even look back over her shoulder at him, but he managed to get beside her anyway. “Where’s your bag?”

Lily held up her arm where her beige purse was hanging from.

“No, I mean your backpack,” Asher said exasperated. “Where are your books? Notebooks? Pens?”

“I have a pen in my purse if I need it,” Lily replied.

Asher couldn’t help but roll his eyes. It was their big day. They had both been waiting for college their whole lives and she couldn’t even come prepared. Sure, a pen was great to have but it didn’t do much when you didn’t have paper to go along with it. Though he supposed she figured she could worm her way into getting the supplies she needed for free.

In fact, now that Asher thought about it, he wasn’t sure she had even gotten her textbooks. He let out a sigh.

“Are you okay?” Lily asked as they reached the door to the main building. “Do you need a minute?”

“What? No, I’m fine.” Asher shook his head.

She stared at him softly. “You will be okay, you know. College is just another school. You’re smart and know what you’re doing. You’re going to kick ass in all your classes.”

Asher chuckled, looking at the ground sheepishly. He didn’t expect such a compliment to come from his sister. They were close when they were younger, but they sort of drifted apart as they got older. Despite being twins, Asher had a hard time relating to her on many different levels.

Lily leaned in class and gave him a tight hug. “Today is going to be a great day!”

She didn’t wait for him to reply. She opened the door and disappeared into the building not even holding the door open for him. Asher remained outside for another moments. He didn’t think his sister had it in her to give such a compliment. Then again, he wondered if she was using her charm on him? He couldn’t tell anymore.

He wanted to heed her words though. Today was going to be great day and he needed to focus on the three classes he had. He wasn’t Lily to have a great day as well. He wanted her to succeeded.

On the other hand, he wanted her to have a rude wake-up call. Though, maybe she had somehow matured overnight. He couldn’t be too sure.

“Yo, are you going in there or what?”

Asher was startled by the unfamiliar voice behind him. He looked over his shoulder to see two girls and three guys standing behind him. He laughed nervously and entered the building, holding the door and allowing them to go in first. They all ambled in as though they were a train. The caboose stopped beside Asher and smiled at him.

“First day?” he asked.

Asher shrugged. “Nah, I’ve been here for years.” He let out an unwanted snort and fake-coughed to cover it up.

The guy replied with a sympathetic smile and a quick nod. “Well, good luck today.” He walked inside the building.

Asher sighed. If Lily were here, that conversation would have gone smoother. In fact, he might have even made a new friend. Now he probably seemed like a freak to that guy and the rest of the group. There was no point in standing there calling himself an idiot. He walked inside the building and headed to his first class.

When Asher made it back to his car, Lily was already standing there waiting for him. It had been a long morning – at least for him – and he wasn’t sure if he was ready to hear about Lily’s day. He only had three out of his five classes and he already had so much homework and hated one of his professors. (The professor being the one who gave homework due the first day, of course.)

Asher unlocked the car and made his way to the driver’s side without bothering to even look at his sister, who was leaning against the passenger side door. She was suspiciously quiet and Asher had a feeling that, if she had a good day, then she’d be talking nonstop.

Once they were both sitting in the car, Asher stared absentmindedly at the dashboard. He dared to cast a side glance at his sister who seemed to have the same expression on her face. He drew in a deep breath.

“So… how was your day?”

Lily turned her head in slow motion to gaze at him sadly. “College is hard. They yell at you if you don’t have paper. It didn’t matter what I said or didn’t say. My professor has officially put me on his shit list.”

Asher was shocked. “He didn’t actually say that, did he?”

“No, but his face said it all.” Lily leaned her head back against the headrest.

Asher thought he’d be happy that she got a rude awakening. However, he felt bad for her. College was supposed to be a fun experience and both of them had nasty first impressions.

“My other professor was fine. He didn’t care about anything. In fact, he barely looked at me. I don’t know if he knew I was even in the class. Still, he told us point blank that he doesn’t care if we bring our materials. He doesn’t even care if we bring ourselves. He said he gets paid regardless of whether we pass or fail,” Lily explained.

Asher nodded as he listened. That all made sense. He had heard mixed messages about college. His high school teachers all told him college was going to be crazy hard and the professors were strict. They wouldn’t let certain things fly like the high school teachers did. On the other hand, he talked to many people who had already gone to college or were still in college – such as cousins and friends of the family – and they all said that more professors don’t care. They said every once in a while he’d get that professor that everyone hates but college, for the most part, is pretty laid back. High school teachers use college as a way to scare their students into doing better.

“I don’t get it. I’ve never had to follow the rules,” Lily said.

Asher didn’t know what to say. He put the key in the ignition and turned the car on. He always wondered whether Lily knew what she was doing or not. He didn’t know if she was constantly trying to get out of doing things or trying to get people to bend at her will. Or maybe it was just her personality and for some reason those things always seemed to work in her favor. Now it was clear to Asher that she knew what she was doing. She knew most people gave her whatever she wanted and she was using her powers for evil.

“Put your seatbelt on,” he said as he pulled out of their parking spot. He saw Lily obey out of the corner of his eye.

“Did you have a good day at least?” Lily asked quietly.

Asher shook his head, keeping his eyes on the road.

“I’m sorry.”

Asher glanced at her. She genuinely sounded sorry which was unusual for her. She normally talked about everything that was going on in her own life, mostly about the good stuff. She never really asked how he day went or what as going on in his life – not as they got older anyway.

“College is going to be rough, huh?” Lily asked.

Asher nodded. “Most likely.”

There was a brief silence before Lily drew in a sharp breath. “Can we drive to the store so I can get some stuff for school?”

Asher felt as though he were about to have a heart attack. “You want to buy school supplies?”

“Apparently I need notebooks and stuff.”

“That’s not breaking news,” Asher chuckled.

Lily shrugged. “I know our old teachers used to say college was hard but so many other people told us that it would be laid back.

Well, mostly. So, I figured it’d be the same as high school. But I guess maybe I’ll actually give it a try.”

“You mean you haven’t been trying all these years?”

Lily snickered. “I didn’t have to. People like to listen to me talk.”

Asher rolled his eyes.

“Don’t give me that,” she warned. “It worked out in both our favor when we were kids.”

“Unfortunately,” Asher began, “we’re not kids anymore.”

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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Short Story Sunday 302: Cellar

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

Emily followed Jasper down to the cellar. At first glance, she didn’t like the looks of it. He opened the door and the stairs looked as though they lead to a bottomless pit. She could have sworn she saw a bat fly out the door, but Jasper called her dramatic before heading down the steps. Reluctantly, she followed.

The two had just recently married. They were both fresh out of college and couldn’t afford anything. Between their student loans, they had a small wedding and no honeymoon. Maybe for their fifth or tenth anniversary they’d be able to splurge on a vacation out of the country, but Emily and Jasper were just as happy to be together no matter where they were.

The problem was, Emily still lived with her parents. They loved Jasper but thought the two of them rushed into their marriage. Since both of them had just graduated, neither one of them had set careers yet. Jasper hated his job and it was an entry level position in his field so he wasn’t making much money. All Emily had found, so far, was an unpaid internship. She figured some experience was better than nothing though she was still looking for a job.

Emily still lived with her parents, but they told her now that she was married, she needed to grow up and figure things out with her husband. Jasper had a studio apartment which was far too small for the two them. Emily couldn’t move most of her things into it because it was so cramped. Jasper even got rid of some of his things for her and Emily’s parents were being nice enough to let her keep some things at their house until they figured things out.

So, they were looking for a house. Emily wasn’t sure it was the right decision since neither of them had much money. She didn’t know what made Jasper believe they could afford a mortgage among all the other bills and headaches that came with owning a house. They had just paid for a wedding (small, yes, but it was still a rather hefty expense) and they both had student loans they needed to make monthly payments to.

Jasper thought it wouldn’t hurt to look at some houses especially since most rent for apartments were the same as a mortgage. Emily understood his reasoning, but there were more bills that came with a house than an apartment. She wasn’t too sure which would be the right decision for them.

When he found a fixer-upper home that was in their price-range, Emily had to humor him and take a look at it. He was so excited and Emily knew he truly thought they would end up with the house.

Jasper called the real estate agent and she gave him the code to the lock box for them to check out the house themselves. Emily found it strange they were allowed to tour the house themselves. She wondered how many other people had the code to the lock box. Would they walk in on another couple looking at the house? Will someone walk in on them while they toured around?

The house was certainly in bad shape and Emily wondered if some people who knew the code had come in to vandalize it to knock the price lower. The price was low enough, especially to be in their range. However, Emily knew they would have to put quite a bit of money back into it to make it a livable space which would mean it’d be out of their price range soon enough.

“I can’t find the light,” Jasper said.

“Don’t joke,” Emily warned.

“I’m not joking.” Jasper’s face lit up as he turned the flashlight app on his phone. He moved it around the room taking a closer look at the walls.

Emily stood on the final step of the staircase ready to turn and run if need be.

“Oh, here.” Jasper reached over to a switch behind him. He flicked it upward but nothing happened. He hummed to himself. “Maybe the bulb is dead.”

“I think there’s something more that’s dead down here,” Emily whispered.

Jasper smirked, holding out his hand to her. “Stop being dramatic. Everything is fine.”

Emily took his hand and stepped off the final stair. She still didn’t like the idea of being in the basement. “What is it that we have to see down here?”

“Well, apparently, we need to make sure no dead bodies are hidden down here.”

Emily froze.

Jasper sighed, gently tugging her along. “I’m joking. You seem to think this place was used as a torture chamber. It’s just a regular basement though. See?” he moved his flashlight back and forth in slow motions trying to get a picture for the whole room.

“It’s small,” Emily observed. She didn’t dare let go of his hand.

“It is, but I think this would make a fun hangout space for us and whenever we have friends over,” Jasper suggested.

Emily nodded in agreement. There wasn’t much to the basement at all. Looking up at the ceiling, there was only one light fixture and the bulb was missing. A small armchair sat in the far corner of the room though it looked run-down and old. She assumed the previous owners took the other furniture and left that one behind for certain reasons. There was a spot where it looked like a TV used to be. There were cable cords sticking out the wall lying uselessly on the ground. On the other side of the room, there were folding doors – one open and one closed that seemed to reveal the washer and dryer behind it. Emily shrugged to herself. That was something. Of course, who knew what condition they were in seeing as they were left behind.

The carpet was dull and dirty. Emily was sure it wasn’t supposed to be a murky brown color. She was glad to be wearing her sneakers because the whole atmosphere of not just the cellar, but the house as a whole, was dirty. She cast her gaze to the ceiling and noticed a few cobwebs in the crevasses.

“What do you think?” Jasper asked.

Emily turned to him with a harsh frown on her face. He frowned in return.

“You saw the dust and spiders? I was hoping you wouldn’t notice. Those are easy to get rid of though.”

Emily sighed. “I know. It’s just… it’s hard to picture this place as livable space. It seems so sad down here.”

Jasper nodded in agreement. “It needs a lot of work, for sure. I feel bad the place hasn’t been taken care of either. So, maybe this is an opportunity for us to help the house out.”

Emily didn’t answer. She knew Jasper was right. She felt bad for the house and she wanted to take care of it. However, the two of them had a hard time taking care of themselves, how would the be able to help out this house?

“We don’t need to decide right now,” Jasper reminded her. “But it might be something to think about. It’s a little under our budget and we can slowly renovate and update things as we get the money to do so.”

Emily nodded still not answering. She was too busy staring at the cobwebs in the ceiling.

Jasper turned her around so she couldn’t stare at them anymore. “Let’s go back upstairs where there are windows and it’s light.”

As soon as Emily turned around, she screamed. Jasper jumped a mile startled at her sudden outburst. Emily leaped behind Jasper and he turned his flashlight in the direction of the stairs where Emily screamed.

A man stood at the bottom of the steps, shielding his eyes with his hand from the light. “Could you please put that thing down?”
Jasper lowered it a tad. “Who are you?”

“My name is Henry, I’m the owner of this house,” he replied.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Jasper said.

Emily narrowed her eyes at him from behind. She felt his tense shoulders relax and she wasn’t so sure they could trust this Henry guy. He probably waited for people to head to the basement and then killed them. Maybe, for whatever reason, he didn’t want people to buy the house. Maybe he really was the owner of the house but was a ghost and didn’t want people moving into his space.

She gripped Jasper’s shoulders tighter causing him to wince, attempting to pry her fingernails out of his skin. She suddenly felt faint.

“No, I’m sorry to have surprised you,” Henry said. “The realtor didn’t tell me there was anyone looking at the house today.”

“She gave us the code to the lock box to get the key and said we could come look at it any time we wanted,” Jasper explained.

Henry scoffed. “Yeah, right. I don’t know why she doesn’t come with people to look at the houses. I came here the other day to grab my TV down here and it was gone. The people who had looked at the house before said they weren’t interested and, ironically enough, disappeared,” He said sarcastically.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Jasper said. He took Emily by the hand again, her knuckles turning white. “Shall we move the conversation upstairs?”

“Of course,” Henry said. He turned around and began walking up the stairs.

Jasper tugged Emily along, whispering to her. “Everything is okay. There’s nothing to worry about.”

“He could have murdered us,” Emily snapped.

“Alright, no more crime shows before bed.”

When they made it to the top of the stairs, Henry was waiting for them in the kitchen. There wasn’t any furniture left and Henry apologized for not being able to offer them a seat. He apologized for not even being able to offer them a beverage.

“So, are you interested in the house?” Henry asked bluntly. “I know it doesn’t look like much so we’ve been having a hard time selling.”

“We’re not entirely sure yet,” Jasper replied. “We’ve both just graduated college and don’t have a whole lot of money. This house is in our budget but there’s a lot to fix and update.”

Henry nodded. “No, you’re right. That’s what a lot of people have been saying. The house is cheap, but they don’t want to put in the extra work to fix it up. Or, as in your case, they don’t have the extra money to fix it up.”

“How did it get to be like this?” Emily asked.

Henry shrugged. “Honestly, I don’t know. Both my parents lived here their whole marriage. They soon got to be too old and sick to clean or take care of anything. When something broke, it never got fixed and they learned to do without it. I admit, I’m a horrible son and didn’t check in with them as often as I should have.”

Emily frowned. “I’m sorry for your losses then.”

Henry chuckled. “Oh, no. They’re both alive and living with me now. Karma is a bitch.”

Emily couldn’t help but smile as well. She couldn’t imagine if both her parents had to move in with her after so many years. Her parents were tough nuts to crack anyway, she couldn’t bear the thought of having to be responsible for both of them. She figured she’d rather Jasper’s parents over her own if someone had to move in with them.

“They keep sending me here to grab something for them. They’re not too happy I’m selling the house,” Henry explained.

Jasper nodded. “I can understand that. I’m sure if my home was being sold without my wanting it to, I’d be pretty upset as well. It’s tough to root the elderly from their normal day to day living style.”

“You’re absolutely right,” Henry agreed.

Emily bit her lower lip. She looked up at Jasper and leaned in close. “We’ll take it.”

Jasper’s eyes grew as he looked down at her. “What?”

“I want the house.”

“You were terrified of it a minute ago.”

“But think of Henry’s parents. I’d rather us live here knowing we’ll take great care of the house rather than people coming in to steal stuff only pretending they’re interested in the house.” Emily softened her tone. “Look at the house, Jasper… it’s begging to be loved.”

Jasper turned to Henry open-mouthed. Henry put his hands up in surrender.

“Hey, it took me two marriages to learn my lesson and know not to mess with women. This is a conversation between you two and possibly the realtor,” He said.

Jasper chuckled though Emily narrowed her eyes not sure whether that comment about women was an insult to her or not. Jasper looked back at her.

“You want the house even with the creepy cellar?”

She nodded. “All we need to do is add more lights down there.”

Henry laughed out loud. “I never went down there as a kid.”

Jasper sighed, though he still smiled. “Alright, then… I guess we’ll head back to my apartment and take a look at our finances.”

Emily clapped her hands together in excitement. She didn’t think she’d be the one to have to convince Jasper in the end, but it seemed as though they were finally on their way to be an actual married couple with adult responsibilities.

The three walked out together and right as Jasper was about to shake Henry’s hand, Henry backed away and dipped his head in goodbye. He turned and walked away as though he was headed back into the house.

Jasper opened the passenger side door of his car for Emily to get in.

“I guess I shouldn’t complain,” she muttered, “but don’t you think it’s odd he wouldn’t shake your hand?”

Jasper shrugged. “Maybe he doesn’t like germs.”

“And he can stand to be in that house?”

“Emily, just get in the car. We’re going to look into the house, aren’t you pleased with that?”

“I am, but…” Emily looked over her shoulder at the front door. She narrowed her eyes. “Where did he go?”

Jasper looked in the general direction she was staring. “I think he went into the house.”

She shook her head. “No, we would have heard him go into the house.”

“I mean… yeah, but…” Jasper’s voice trailed away.

Emily shivered. “Did we just agree to buy a house from a ghost?”

“No,” Jasper replied quickly. He stared at her in confusion. “No?”

“You’re not making me feel any better.”

Jasper hesitated to reply. “Get in car and let’s get out of here!”

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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Short Story Sunday 301: Possible

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

“You know what they say,” Amelia said. “Friends make the best business partners.”

Grayson furrowed his brows, tilting his head to the side. He pursed his lips together shaking his head. “I’m pretty sure that’s not how the saying goes at all.”

Amelia shrugged and turned her attention back to the notes in her binder.

“In fact, I think it’s the opposite.” Grayson pointed his index finger in the air. “The saying goes you should never do business with your friends. I think it ruins the friendship or something like that.”

Amelia cast her friend a side glance briefly looking away from her writing. She continued to move her pen across the paper and didn’t bother to say a word. She thought it was a great idea and was so excited to tell her best friend about it. She didn’t quite understand why he wasn’t as excited about it as she was.

Amelia and Grayson grew up next door to each other. He had moved to the neighborhood when he was six and she was five. They played together once in a while when one of the neighbors had a block party or there was a pool party. One harsh winter, the neighborhood had a blackout for an entire day and Grayson’s parents invited the whole neighborhood over for a bonfire. They grew pretty close with one another and, like their families, they had been there for one another through thick and thin.

She would even start a business with him if he had wanted to. Though it didn’t seem as though he’d go for the idea even if she had asked him about it first.

“Did you hear me?” he asked.

Amelia looked up from her binder. “Yes, I heard you.”

“And?”

“And what else is there to say?”

Grayson folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the side of Amelia’s desk. He towered over her especially when she was sitting. She didn’t have a large bedroom either so Grayson often looked like a giant when he came through the door.

“What makes you think you and Gemma can run a business together?” Grayson asked.

“Gemma and I are pretty close.” Amelia put her pen down and turned around in her chair to look up at the tall man before her. “We both have a love for crafting. We each bring different talents to the table and together we can create awesome things.”

“Okay, I agree with that,” Grayson replied.

“See?” Amelia smiled.

“But that didn’t answer my question. I know what you guys can do and what you can do together, but what does crafting have to do with the business side of things?”

Amelia sighed. “Why are you against us starting a business together?”

“I’m not against it,” Grayson said, standing tall again and holding his hands up in surrender. “You know I support you in all you do, even if I think it’s a dumb idea. I’m here with a broom and dustpan to help pick up the pieces if you fall apart.”

Amelia didn’t want to laugh at the last comment, but she had to chuckle. There were so many times Grayson tried to tell her otherwise with something and she’d do anyway and it would backfire. She was beginning to wonder why Grayson still talked to her at all. She had made quite a few stupid mistakes growing up.

“I’m only concerned because neither you nor Gemma know anything about running a business,” Grayson explained.

Amelia shrugged. “We can learn. There are loads of information on the Internet.”

“Neither of you majored in business in college. You went for education.”

“So, we’ll take a couple of classes.”

“What’s your backup plan if this business doesn’t work out for you guys?”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

Grayson snorted. “Okay, fine. Let me ask you this one. What’s the number one complaint you always have about Gemma?”

Amelia opened her mouth and quickly shut it. She wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted her to say.

Gemma and Amelia had been best friends since middle school. They knew each other inside and out. Gemma had a few problems growing up. She didn’t have the best home situation and she was often a flaky mess. She especially had a tough time in high school. She’d often skip class or wouldn’t do her homework. She just didn’t care. It always bothered Amelia because she knew Gemma had so much potential but she would never apply herself. The two worked on group projects together and often times Amelia would do the whole thing because something would come up with Gemma. Something would happen with her parents or she’d forget to do her part of the project. It got to the point Amelia would do the whole thing and if Gemma remembered her part, great. If not, they were covered.

Amelia worried for Gemma though because she didn’t complete college. She didn’t get the grades because she missed so many classes most of the time. When Gemma approached Amelia about starting a side business with their crafting projects, Amelia was all over the idea. She loved the fact that Gemma wanted to do something with her skills and talents.

Grayson waved a hand in front of Amelia, snapping her out of her thoughts. He smirked. “You’re thinking about a lot of things you’ve complained about her, aren’t you?”

“No,” Amelia scoffed.

“You always told me Gemma is unreliable. What makes you think the two of you can run a business together?” Grayson continued on even though Amelia thought her tone of voice and eye rolls were making it clear she didn’t want to talk about this anymore.

She stood from her desk, closing her binder, and sat down on her bed. She looked the other way pouting like a child. “You’re right, I do always say Gemma is unreliable. But this was her idea and I’m happy she wants to do something with her life. She’s great at creating things with her hands.” Amelia smiled thinking back at some of the things Gemma had made for her. “My hat, scarf, gloves, and two blankets on my bed were created by her. She made me scrapbooks, picture frames, jewelry… she’s really great at various kinds of art.”

“I don’t doubt her ability,” Grayson said, sitting beside Amelia on the bed. “I’ve seen her work and I think it’s all fabulous. I only wonder how long it will take her to get bored with this business.”

Amelia pressed her lips together biting back a reply. When Grayson put it like that…

“I know you’ll do the research and learn how to run a business. Maybe Gemma will as well, but only in the beginning. Soon enough, you’ll be the one running the whole show. Soon enough after that, Gemma might not even complete her work. You won’t be able to count on her for a lot of things, I think.” Grayson continued with a hand on Amelia’s shoulder.

It was something he always did when he tried to have a serious conversation with her. It was also something, Amelia noticed recently, he did whenever he was right. It didn’t matter if Amelia listened to him or not. If Grayson had a conversation with her where he put a soothing hand on her shoulder, it always turned out later on that he had been right the whole time.

Amelia turned her neck to face him. She frowned. “I know what you mean and I hear you. But I have to at least try this with Gemma. She’s flaky, yeah. She’s unreliable as you said.”

“As you said,” Grayson corrected.

Amelia nodded. “I still can’t help but wonder if this will be a big break for her. She’s tried and quit so many things and every time she wants to do something new, I always encourage her because I think that’s what she needs. Maybe if more people encouraged her and believed in her, she might stick with something for longer than a few months.”

Grayson remained silent, which shocked Amelia. He always had to put in his two cents and for him to actually nod along and hear what she had to say about Gemma was great for Amelia.

“Gemma enjoys crafting. She’s always happy when she knitting a piece of closing or stringing some beads together into a bracelet. This is the first time she’s thought of doing something more with her crafting. Everything else has been school related or something she didn’t care about. She really cares about her art though. So maybe, just maybe, this will be Gemma’s big break.” Amelia finished. She looked Grayson in the eye and smiled. “I want to be there for you like you’re always there for me even when I make stupid mistakes.”

“Like right now.” Grayson chuckled.

Amelia laughed as well. “You don’t know that.”

Grayson shook his head. He let go of Amelia’s shoulder and laid back on her bed. “You’re right, I don’t know that. I don’t know Gemma as well as you do. I only hear stories about her from you most of the time. However, I still think you’re not making the right choice. I understand you want to be there for you, but you need to think of yourself as well.”

Amelia nodded. She too laid back on the bed lying beside her friend. “I get that. Part of me is excited to learn something new. I went to college and got a degree in education and I hate my job. I liked the idea of teaching, but now that I’m actually doing it… it’s not great. Starting a business will allow me to try something new. I’ll learn things out of my comfort zone. Maybe if this doesn’t work out with Gemma I’ll still continue to be a business woman and start something else. This could be a stepping stone for me.”

Grayson raised his hand and tucked it under his head. “Okay, I can go along with that logic.”

“We’re still young, Gray,” Amelia said. “We’re meant to explore our options before we become full-fledged adults.”

“We’re in our mid-twenties. We are adults.”

“I said full-fledged adults,” Amelia repeated. “Everyone knows in this day and age you’re not a true adult until your forty.”

Grayson laughed. “Somehow I don’t think it works that way.”

Amelia laughed along with her friend. “You tend to say that phrase to me a lot.”

Grayson sat up in bed and looked down at her. “Okay, I give you permission to start this business with Gemma.”

“Gee, thanks.”

He wagged a finger at her with a smirk. “Don’t give an attitude. But also don’t say I didn’t warn you. I honestly don’t think this will work out. I’m here to support you and I’ll even be your first customer as long as Gemma doesn’t use ugly colors to create whatever her first product will be.”

Amelia sat up and wrapped her arms around his neck. “I appreciate you, Gray. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had.”

“Can I get that in writing? Because I see you going into business with Gemma and not me, your best friend.” Grayson leaned back, putting a hand over his heart as though he were offended.

Amelia narrowed her eyes while chuckling. “I thought you weren’t supposed to go into business with your best friends? It’ll ruin the friendship and I certainly do not want to ruin this one.”

Grayson’s mouth gaped open into a wide smile. “Oh, so you do listen to me! Also, you just admitted that you don’t care about ruining your friendship with Gemma.”

Amelia became serious as she defended herself. “That is not what I meant.”

“It’s what you said.”

“No,” Amelia shook her head, “I’m not worried about ruining my friendship with Gemma because the business will work out.”

Grayson sighed. “You’re very optimistic.”

Amelia grinned. “You never know what will happen unless you try. Anything is possible.”

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in a comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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Short Story Sunday 300: Restaurant

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

When Olivia put on her apron for the evening, she didn’t expect the kind of customers she was to have. The night was going to be a long one and if the universe had given her a head’s up about it, Olivia would have called in sick to work. Her father owned the restaurant, so calling out would have proved difficult but she’d think of something.

Table 1

Olivia walked out of the kitchen, pad, and pen in hand, a perky grin on her face. She walked over to the table closest to the kitchen and stood before a man and woman.

“Good evening,” she greeted. “I’m Olivia and I’ll be your server for tonight’s dinner. What can I get you?”

“A new place setting, please.” The man packed up his fork, spoon, knife, and napkin and shoved it toward Olivia, who nearly it dropped it all as she tried to take it while still holding her pad and pen.

“Oh, um, is there something the matter?” Olivia stammered. She dropped her pad and pen in her apron pocket and tried to inspect the utensils without the man noticing.

“They were spotty. Bring me a new one and then we’ll give you our order.”

Olivia suppressed a sigh. She headed back to the kitchen, dumped the utensils in the sink with an eye-roll to the dish washer (he chuckled, knowing exactly what Olivia’s face meant), and grabbed another set. She took a peek, making sure they weren’t spotty, and headed back into onto the floor.

“Here you are, sir. I believe these are clean. I’m sorry about earlier,” Olivia said still smiling.

“Fine,” he said grumpily. “I’ll take the steak, medium-rare, and a soda.”

Olivia nodded writing his order. “What would you like as a side? Fries, baked potato…?”

“Just steak. If I wanted a side, I would have said so.” He glared at her.

Olivia cracked another smile, though she wanted to punch him in the gut. “Right, sure.” She turned her attention to the woman, who Olivia assumed to be this monster’s wife. “And for you?”

“I’ll take a garden salad and ice water, please.”

“Sure, thank you.” Olivia abruptly turned and headed to the kitchen.

She tossed her order in the pile with the others and made her way back out to the floor with the water and soda. She placed them on their table without a word and walking away. Normally she would have killed him with kindness, but she couldn’t bear to look him in his face.

Table 2

“Hi,” Olivia said with a grin. She was now about five tables away from the grumpy man. This table had four teenage girls, all with their faces in their phones. “My name is Olivia and I’ll be serving you tonight. Can I start you guys off with something drink?”

Silence. Neither girl looked up for their phone. Olivia opened her mouth to say something when one of the girls laughed. Olivia instinctively smiled again, though it quickly turned into a frown when she realized the young lady wasn’t acknowledging their waitress at all. Instead, the teenager shoved her phone in friend’s face sitting across from her.

“He’s such an idiot!” she squealed.

Olivia cleared her throat loudly. Two of the four girls turned her way. Olivia smiled again (this was going to be a night where her face would hurt from all the fake smiling). “My name is Olivia and I’m your server for tonight. Can I start you off with a drink?”

The girls froze staring at one another as though Olivia spoke another language.

“I think we need a minute,” one girl said. The four of them, in unison, put down their phones and picked up their menus.

Olivia sighed. “I’ll be back in a minute.”

Table 3

Two tables down from the teenagers were two men, both dressed in suits and ties. Olivia introduced herself and one of the men, without even looking at her, ordered an appetizer for the two of them, and promptly waved her away with a flick of his wrist. They got back into their conversation about money for Olivia even had a chance to write down the appetizer they wanted.

Olivia made her way back to the kitchen. She put in the appetizer and checked on her first table’s order. When she found out it would take a few more minutes, she figured she’d go ask the teenagers again.

As she made her way to their table, she passed the married couple. The man snapped his fingers to get her attention. Olivia took a deep breath before turning around to face him. It was too often customers snapped their fingers at her and it was her biggest pet peeve working at this job.

“Did you need something, sir?” she asked.

“Where’s our food?”

“It’s almost ready.”

The man turned to his wife and began to complain about the slow service. Not wanting to hear it, Olivia promptly walked away and headed back to the teenagers.

It was a long hour for Olivia. The husband and wife weren’t the most pleasant of people, though Olivia couldn’t complain too much about the wife. She barely spoke. The teenagers were too wrapped up in whatever drama was unfolding through their text messages or social media to realize they were in a public place and the same went for the two businessmen. They must have been in the middle of some sort of meeting with one another because whenever Olivia walked toward their table, she was shooed away.

Olivia sat in the corner of the kitchen. It was the least quiet place in the whole restaurant but she needed to get away from the customers. Some nights at the restaurant were pretty good. She’d have fun customers and her co-workers would be in good moods. Tonight, however, her co-workers were stressed out since they were so busy and the customers were at their worst. It was as though no one knew how to behave in public.

She heard a bell and one of the chefs call out an order for one of her tables. She sighed, forcing herself to stand and make her way back out onto the floor.

Table 2

“My food is too cold, can you take it back?”

Table 1

“I asked for medium-rare, what is this?!”

Table 3

“We’re not ready to order just yet. We’ll be here a while.”

“I’ll take a refill on my drink though.”

Table 1

“How long does it take to cook a steak?”

Table 2

“What’s your wi-fi password?”

Table 1

Olivia was relieved to see the husband and wife had left. She picked up the receipt of the check. They had paid with a credit card and when she looked at the tip spot, the husband wrote $0.00. Olivia sighed. There was no cash left on the table either.

After clearing the table, she stood by the hostess, drawing in deep breaths. Isla, the hostess, gave her a sympathetic smile.

“I think it’s been this kind of night for everyone.”

“Is there a full moon tonight?” Olivia asked.

“There has to be.” Isla shrugged. “To make matters worse, our tables are completely full so I had to put someone in Marco’s area.”

Olivia remained silent. She knew what that meant.

Isla smiled sheepishly. “Since one of your tables already left, do you mind…?”

Olivia stood straight and let out another breath. She smiled and pointed to her mouth. “Does this look real?”

Isla chuckled. “Not in the slightest.”

“Perfect,” Olivia replied through gritted teeth.

Still smiling, she headed toward her new table. She passed the two businessmen, who looked as though they were arguing over the bill. She also passed the four teenage girls, who were obnoxiously laughing over something on their phone. They had already eaten and Olivia had cleared their plates, but they wouldn’t leave.

Table 4

Olivia made it to her new table and tried to sound as energetic as she could. “Hello, my name is Olivia and I’ll be serving you tonight. Can I start you off with something to drink?”

An elderly woman looked up at Olivia and grinned. “Yes, please. I’ll just have water.”

“Coming up,” Olivia replied. She turned away and let out a sigh of relief. Just one order, which meant maybe the woman wouldn’t stay too long.

Table 3

“We’re not paying for this. We had two appetizers and a couple of drinks. This bill is outrageous,” One of the men said.

Olivia raised an eyebrow. “You each had six alcoholic drinks. Plus the two appetizers. The total reflects that.”

“Listen, we’re starting up a business and this is not how you conduct business.” The other man chimed in.

Olivia furrowed her brows. How was she supposed to respond to that? That had nothing to do with the fact their ordered expensive drinks. If they don’t know how to handle their money, maybe they shouldn’t be in business.

“I want the manager! You clearly don’t know what you’re doing and you’ll be getting no tip from us.”

Olivia rolled her eyes as she turned away to call the manager on duty. She wasn’t expecting a large tip from them anyway.

Table 2

Olivia stared at the four dollars on the table that was left as a tip. She was glad she didn’t need to see the girls leaving, but was that really all they had? They were loud and obnoxious the whole time, ordered a lot of food, and only left her four dollars? Olivia pocketed the money and began to clear more of the table. She didn’t care anymore.

Table 4

Olivia was pleased to see her three tables empty, quiet, and clean. Most of the customers had left by this time and there weren’t too many other people around. Olivia was so tired and she couldn’t wait to get out of her uniform and into bed after a long, hot shower. She needed the elderly woman to finish her meal first.

Isla nodded her head to the table motioning for Olivia to give the woman subtle hints to get out. Olivia nodded and headed to the table, though she didn’t mind the old woman. She was at least quiet and polite.

“How’s your meal, ma’am?” Olivia asked upon standing by the table.

“It’s wonderful, thank you.” She replied. “All of you work so very hard.”

Olivia’s mouth gaped open. “Oh, uh, thank you.”

“I used to come here often with my husband. We stopped when he got sick.”

Olivia grew hot. Oh, no. Not one of these stories. Please, her day had already been long enough.

The woman frowned. “His funeral was this morning. It’s been weird not having him around. I thought it would be special to come here tonight for him.”

Olivia smiled. This time it was genuine. “That’s very kind of you. I’m sorry to hear about your loss.”

The woman waved her hand. “He was old. I’m not too far behind, I don’t think. I don’t think I’ll last long without him, anyway. I think I’ve only survived so far because someone needed to plan his funeral.” She laughed.

Olivia too chuckled. She picked up the empty dishes. “I’ll be right back with your check.”

She dumped the dirty dishes in the sink and made her way to a cash register. She stared at the bill, which was only around twenty dollars. Olivia pulled the money out of her pocket, including the four dollars that was her only tip for her whole shift, and paid the bill. It wasn’t much, but Olivia realized even though she had a rough night, there were still people out there who had it worse than she did.

When she made it back to the woman’s table, Olivia told her she was all set. When the woman argued that she hadn’t paid, Olivia assured her it was all taken care of.

“I’m sorry again for your loss and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your evening,” Olivia said. She walked away allowing the woman to gather her bearings and leave the restaurant.

At the end of the night, a busboy approached Olivia as she was leaving.

“You forgot your tip!” he called.

“What?” Olivia closed her car door before getting in and turned to Niko.

“I cleaned the table where the old woman sat.” He began to explain. “I thought you forgot to put her bill in. I wasn’t going to say anything because I knew you had a rough night. But then I saw it had already been paid. So I assume this is your tip. I mean, it was left under a napkin that said thank you.”

Niko took Olivia’s hand and put a crinkled bill in it. He grinned. “People suck, but not all of them, I guess.”

Before Olivia could say anything else, he headed to his own car. She opened her palm and gasped at seeing a fifty dollar bill. She could have cried, she was so excited. She put it in her pocket and made eye contact with Niko, who gave her a wave. She nodded, grinning, and it wasn’t a fake smile this time.

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in a comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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Short Story Sunday 299: Noble

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

Jack was a noble man. He had always been honest and decent in whatever he did. He was brave and unselfish. So, when Charlotte awoke in the middle of the night to find his side of the bed empty, she immediately thought the worst.

She sprang out of bed, forgetting to cover her bare feet with her slippers. She did toss on her cotton bathrobe as she made her way to the bedroom door that was left ajar. Charlotte pressed her ear against it. She couldn’t hear anything going on in the rest of their small house. It didn’t seem as though any lights were left on either. At least, the hallway was dark. She couldn’t tell if any other room in the house was awake.

The war was headed to their homeland. Charlotte and Jack knew it was only a matter of time they’d have to evacuate. Charlotte has had the spare bedroom covered with suitcases just in case they need to grab what they truly need and run. Of course, there was still packing to be done. Their hometown, as much as it pained her to feel this way, was going under with their new king. She had packed the essentials first, but she wanted to pack the whole house and find a new place before they had to. Then they wouldn’t need to leave anything behind and it wouldn’t feel like running away.

Two of Charlotte’s friends from the bakery had their husbands drafted to the war, much to their dismay. Charlotte knew it was only a matter of time when Jack would be drafted.

She stepped out into the dark hallway still unable to hear or see anything. Surely Jack wouldn’t be drafted in the middle of the night? Or maybe he was drafted a day ago and didn’t want to say goodbye? Charlotte felt her eyes well up and she bite back the tears for someone hearing her.

She couldn’t bare the thought of Jack going to war. He was courageous and did what was best for the kingdom always. He was kind to everyone, he helped out at so many of the shops. If something was broken, he’d be the first to offer his assistance to fix it. The whole village knew and loved him. What were they to do if he were to go off to war?

What would Charlotte do if he were to go off to war?

She stumbled over something in the middle of the hallway. Grunting in frustration, she stepped over whatever it was and kept moving toward the kitchen. She had been packing so much these days the house was a disgrace.

When she made it to the kitchen, she finally turned a light on. Sure enough, no one was around and the kitchen looked to be in the same condition it was when she and her husband went to bed. Charlotte sat down at the kitchen table and stared at the old, rough wood. Jack could have left a note at least.

The tears started to come regardless of whether Charlotte wanted to cry or not. He must have done off to war and didn’t want to upset her so he didn’t say goodbye. Why would he do that though? She was his wife! It would have been difficult to say goodbye yes, but he didn’t need to be a coward about it. She knew all too well Jack would want her to still leave the village. She wouldn’t be able to pack up their life and leave without him. What would happen when the war ended? If he made it home, how would he find her again?

Charlotte hiccuped, her tears suddenly hitting the brakes. She heard laughter, a light giggle. It sounded close, just outside their house. She stood, walking toward the window. Who would be laughing right outside their house in the middle of the night?

She drew back the bland curtain to the kitchen window ever so slight. She saw the back of a blond woman. Charlotte knew everyone in the village though she couldn’t make out who this one in the dark and from the back of their head. She was just about to knock on the window to ask why the woman was standing outside her house in the middle of the night when she heard another laughter.

A man’s laughter. Jack’s laugh.

Charlotte froze. Why would Jack be out there with another woman in the middle of the night? Jack was well known in the village and people went to him for a lot of things, but surely not in the middle of the night.

She watched for another moment, debating if she should knock on the window or go outside. Or maybe she should stay put and watch.
Charlotte’s question was answered in another moment. The woman moved out of the way, her back pressed up against their house.

Charlotte narrowed her eyes and could see it was one of the workers from the bakery. Her husband had just been drafted three days ago. Jack now stood in front of her, the two smiling giddily, and he leaned for a kiss.

Charlotte stumbled backward nearly knocking over the chair to the kitchen table. She quickly steadied it, hoping Jack and the woman didn’t hear. She didn’t want them to know she was spying despite it was them who were doing wrong.

The tears came again and Charlotte raced back to the bedroom. She lit a candle, not wanting the whole room to light up. Jack did not need to know she was awake and packing up the rest of his things. Jack enjoyed helping everyone out in the village, though Charlotte didn’t think that included helping the woman grieve over their drafted husbands.

Yes, Jack used to be a noble man. Charlotte now saw he was no longer honest in his marriage and certainly not decent with the village folk. He was a selfish man who claimed the other woman as his own and cowardly enough to do it behind their husbands’ backs. So, when Charlotte awoke that middle of the night and saw his side of the bed empty, she knew it would stay that way.

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in a comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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Short Story Sunday 298: Celebration

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

Molly didn’t understand what there was to celebrate about. She looked around as her graduating high school class cheered while standing and tossing their caps high into the air. Molly took her cap off and gripped it tight. She didn’t want to let it go. There were too many people surrounding her (this is what she gets for having a last name beginning with a letter in the middle of the alphabet). There were also too many caps flying around everywhere too. She didn’t want to lose hers in the crowd.

Molly craned her neck to look at the rain of black and white graduation caps cascading down. Some caps had signatures on them in permanent marker. Others were bedazzled with glitter and gems. Some had stickers and she noticed one was beautifully hand painted. They all had their graduating class’s year on it.

She looked down at her own white cap, which was just that. White. Blank. Bare. She drew it close to her chest and held on tight.
Most of the caps had fallen from the sky at this point. A handful was thrown back into the air but for the most part, her classmates were putting their caps back on and leaving their seats to find their friends. Molly knew her two friends would be together. They were near the front since their last names began with letters at the beginning of the alphabet.

When they started rehearsal for the graduation, Molly remembered being so bummed out when she found out she wasn’t going to be able to sit with her friends. She understood being in alphabetical order made it easier for the teachers to keep track of everyone and to also make sure everyone gets their diploma in a neat, orderly fashion. She was sure it was easier for the person who created the graduation programs. Despite her understanding, Molly couldn’t help but wish she could spend her last time at the high school with her friends.

This was her last chance, after all. As soon as the ceremony was over, she had about three graduation parties to go to and neither was for her. Molly’s mother decided to have her party the following weekend when things would be calmer. Molly didn’t want a party though. There was nothing to celebrate. She had always had good grades so the fact she graduated was no surprise. The only thing happening was her being split from her friends.

Iris was headed to college on the other side of the country. Wren had decided to head to college where her father lived outside of the country. Iris was part of the Italian club and they were headed to Italy for the summer. Wren was moving in two weeks to live with her father so she could intern at his company for the summer before school started again.

Molly sat down in her chair again. She was stuck in the middle of her graduating class. She couldn’t see Iris or Wren at the front of the class and the groups of people sitting on either side of her remained where they were chatting and goofing off. They seemed to all be with their friends. Molly’s only friend at the moment was her own thoughts.

It was just as well, Molly thought. She was going to have to get used to not being around her friends. She would have to get used not walking to their house every day or constantly messaging them in a group chat through text. They were now going to be in three different timezones and Molly was sure at least one of them would only be awake when Molly was asleep.

She gazed down at her blank cap once more. Iris and Wren had gotten together the previous night to decorate their caps. They wanted Molly to join them but she couldn’t bring herself to go. She had seen their caps before the ceremony started. They had decorated each other’s and Molly thought they both looked great. She felt a pang of jealously pull at her though she couldn’t explain those feelings. She had declined their invitation.

The fact remained. Molly’s cap was bare. She no longer had high school and her friends were going away. It was irony at its finest.

“Mooollllyyyy!”

She looked up in confusion upon hearing her name. Molly suddenly remembered where she was and realized her mother was probably wondering why she hadn’t moved yet. The ceremony was long over. Molly stood, trying to find some way out of the mess of chairs and people that blocked her in when she noticed Iris and Wren standing at the end of the row she was in. Molly cracked a smile and waved. She parted the chairs in front of her and walked along the seats in that row, shoving a few people out of her way, to get to her friends.

“We did it!” Iris squealed, pulling Molly into a tight hug.

“What were you doing over there?” Wren asked. Her face twisted like a puzzle as it normally did when she knew something was up. Wren had a sixth sense about her to know when something wasn’t right with one of her friends.

Molly shrugged when Iris let her go.

“Can you believe this day has finally arrived?” Iris exclaimed, clapping her hands together and bouncing on her feet.

Molly cracked another smile. She still didn’t see what there was to celebrate.

Sure, she was excited to go off to college herself. She decided to go to the local community college because she wanted to stay close to home and also because she didn’t know what she wanted to do for a career. Both her friends had seemed to already figure that out and

Molly felt even more behind.

She wasn’t doing anything too special – no studying abroad, no living in a new country, no decorations on her graduation cap.

Molly knew how they would play out. Iris would meet some cute Italian boy and Wren would meet a cute intern at her father’s work. They’d both make new friends and find new activities to do. Molly would be forgotten.

She rolled her eyes to herself. She sounded so dramatic. Of course, she’d meet new friends at college. She planned on getting a summer job. She’d keep busy. But things wouldn’t be the same in the slightest.

“What are you rolling your eyes for?” Iris wondered, waving a hand in front of Molly’s face.

She quickly snapped out of her thoughts and forced another smile. She noticed Wren’s smirk from behind Iris. “What?” Molly asked.

Wren took Molly by the hand. “Come here, I want to show you something in my car.”

“Oh, right!” Iris clapped again, jogging ahead of the two of them.

As Molly was lead away by her friends, she glanced over at the stands on the other side of the field. She happened to make eye contact with her mother, who waved frantically holding up her camera. Molly shrugged apologetically and held up a finger asking her to wait just one more minute. She was relieved to see her mother nod with a smile.

Molly was shocked when they made it to the parking lot and Iris climbed into the bed of a blue pick-up truck. “Where’s your car?” she asked.

“I asked my brother if I could borrow his truck. Now we can all sit together,” Wren said. She hopped onto the bed and motioned for Molly to join them, which she did.

Iris grabbed a bag from the corner and dumped out its contents which were stickers, gems, and permanent markers.

“What’s this?” Molly asked.

Wren took Molly’s cap off her head. “I was going to decorate Iris’s cap, Iris was going to decorate yours, and we were going to have you decorate mine. But you weren’t feeling well last night so Iris and I decorated each other’s.”

Molly pressed her lips together. She didn’t realize she had told them she wasn’t feeling well. She didn’t mean to lie to them. She was nervous to go to their house because she didn’t want that to be the last time.

Her gaze crossed Wren’s, who was smiling still. Molly looked away sheepishly. Wren knew everything. It was obvious she knew Molly wasn’t actually not feeling well the night before.

“So,” Iris continued explaining, “We’re both going to decorate yours.”

Molly sighed. “You don’t have to.”

“Too bad,” Iris replied. She grabbed a purple marker, uncapped it and got to work.

Molly sat in silence while her two friends passed her blank, white cap back and forth. Their backs faced her so she couldn’t see how they were decorating it. There was nothing for her to do but sit there and wait. She couldn’t wait to get home and re-watch her favorite detective show to drown out her sorrows.

After just a few minutes, both girls turned back around, Iris holding out the cap in front of her. They both grinned like clowns.

Molly took her cap. It was hard to see the white now, they had filled it up so much with so many words. She maneuvered the cap around to see it all.

“Iris, Molly, and Wren.” Molly read the middle first and worked her way toward the four rims of the hat, spinning the cap in circles. The words were written in a spiral. “Friendship, Love, Laughter… what does all of this mean?”

Iris flipped her cap over and Molly realized she still hadn’t seen theirs yet. Hers said the same thing. Iris grabbed Wren’s cap and it too was the same. “When you didn’t come last night,” she explained, “we decorated each other’s, but decided to do the same thing instead of surprising each other.”

“It’s cool,” Molly said. She didn’t know what else to say. She didn’t understand the significance behind it all or why they were choose to create the three caps equally.

Wren scoffed but she still smiled. “Don’t be an idiot. They’re the same because we’ll all be apart.”

Molly bit her lower lip. That made sense. Now she understood and now she needed to make sure she didn’t cry in the middle of the school parking lot on graduation day.

“When we miss each other, we can always send an email or text. I know the timezones will make it difficult to have a fluid conversation, but we’ll still be there for each other,” Iris said.

“That’s why we wrote all these words down because these describe our friendship perfectly,” Wren added.

Molly looked down at her cap again. She moved her thumb, which covered part of a word. “Forever,” she read.

Iris shrugged. “Yeah, it sounds corny, but it’s true. We know people always say you’ll fall out of touch with your high school friends, but a graduation cap is something you keep forever. Even if we go long periods without talking, we’ll see our cap and think, hey. Maybe I should reach out to them and say hi.”

Molly chuckled. Iris always had a funny way of thinking. She couldn’t disagree though. Molly thought her cap should remain bare because that’s how she felt. She thought she had nothing once today was over. Her friends had just changed all that and not she felt bad for not going to decorate the caps with them in the first place. On the other hand, this was the best surprise she had ever gotten.

Wren pointed to the words on the cap. “These are all reasons to celebrate.”

Molly looked at her shocked though she shouldn’t have been surprised. Wren was always so observant and seemed like she could read their minds whether something was wrong or not. Then Wren smiled.

“You’re mom called us last night.”

There was a moment of silence as Molly thought. Then she started to laugh and the other two chimed in. Today was a good day for a celebration.

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Short Story Sunday 297: Point

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

Owen pointed at her with both of his index fingers. He wagged them back and forth but nothing was coming out of his mouth.

Sienna folded her arms over her chest and stared him down. She knew he didn’t have anything to say to her. He might not have approved of what she did, but even he knew she had good reasons for doing it.

“Are you going to get out of my way?” Sienna asked.

Owen brought his arms down by his side and sighed. “I guess so, but you shouldn’t have done that.”

“I know I shouldn’t have done it, but they shouldn’t be doing it either. I had to do what I had to do.” Sienna defended herself coolly.

Owen stepped to the side and motioned with his arm for her to go. Sienna didn’t move though. She frowned.

“Are you mad at me?”

“I’m not mad, just disappointed.” Owen replied. He held up his hands in defense when Sienna opened her mouth to protest. “I know, I know, I’m not trying to sound like mom and dad. Trust me, that’s the last thing I want to do. I understand why you did it but… I don’t know, I thought you were stronger than that.”

“I am,” Sienna said a bit exasperated. “I knew what I was doing when I did it. I had to do it just once so they would see how terrible it is and how dumb they look.”

Owen tilted his head to the side. “So… you’re not going to do it again?”

Sienna shook her head. “Honestly? I don’t think they’re going to do it again either.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“Oh. Well, okay then. Good job, I guess.” Owen said. He stretched out his arms and wrapped his older sister into a hug. Sienna hugged him back resting her chin on the top of his head.

“Sienna?”

“Hm?”

“You need to take a shower right away when you get home. You reek of smoke.” Owen said. He pulled away and made a disgusted face.

Sienna smelled one of her sleeves. She groaned. “Yeah… I almost couldn’t put out the fire I started. It was kind of scary.”

“I saw.” Owen said grimly.

“Like I said, after seeing me struggle and almost burn the place down, I don’t think they’ll be running around starting fires anymore.” Sienna explained.

“I hope so… but seriously, mom and dad are going to come home within the hour. Go shower and toss your clothes out. I’ll throw them in the wash for you.” Owen offered.

Sienna smiled and gave him another hug squeezing tight. “You’re the best brother in the world and you have no idea how glad I am that you have a good head on your shoulders.”

“I learned from the best.”

Words: 466

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