Short Story Sunday 286: More

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

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

Bella ignored him.

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

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

“I’m not rushing you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“One more minute?” Bella asked sweetly.

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

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

“Why not?”

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

Words: 511

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Short Story Sunday 285: Bad

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

“How is it?” Jasmine asked. She stood right in her roommate’s face wiping her hands in her floral apron around her waist.

Lucy chewed the food inside her mouth, her gaze wandering around the kitchen. She was having a tough time chewing the piece of brownie and she wasn’t sure if it was meant to be like that. The taste, on the other hand, she wasn’t sure about either. Was it her taste buds that didn’t seem to care for it or was it just cooked badly?

“Well?” Jasmine demanded straightening up and putting her hands on her hips.

“It’s good,” Lucy lied still chewing on the small piece.

“Then why aren’t you swallowed?”

“I’ve tried, but my throat keeps pushing it back up.”

Jasmine pouted and turned away as Lucy went over to the trash and spit the piece of chocolate out.

“Oh, man… what are we going to do?” Jasmine sighed. She sat down at the kitchen table. The kitchen was a pit. The sink was overflowing with dirty dishes, all the ingredients were left out scattered about on the counters and the table, as well as some of it spilled on the counter and even onto some parts of the floor. Lucy turned around from the trash and noticed the mess for the first time. She had no idea how Jasmine managed to make such a mess, but she had a feeling she wasn’t going to clean it all up on her own.

“I don’t know,” Lucy replied staring at the mess. Though she knew Jasmine wasn’t talking about the mess in the kitchen.

“I told them I’d bring something.” Jasmine wailed burying her face in her hands. “We have to go to the party in two hours and we have nothing!”

“Seriously,” Lucy stared at the empty egg carton, flour bag, and there was barely any sugar left. These brownies were not her first attempt. Lucy woke up this morning to the aroma of chocolate. The thing was, Lucy had no idea how one could mess up such an easy thing as brownies, but Jasmine refused to use a box. She wanted to try it from scratch. Even that was easy, but she still messed it up.

Honestly, Lucy was getting sick of tasting all the mistakes and Jasmine wanted to do it on her own so she wouldn’t accept any help from her roommate. Lucy was the one who always cooked dinner and she was beginning to think that she should have Jasmine help her more often. Maybe she’d learn a thing or two.

“It’s not a big deal. There’s always the grocery store.” Lucy explained. She picked up the empty ingredient containers and brought them over to the trash. She wanted to make Jasmine clean the kitchen herself, but she was so upset, Lucy figured she might as well help where she can.

“I don’t want to bring something store bought though… I told them I’d make something. Everyone else is going to make something. We’re adults now, we have our own apartment. I want to bring a home made something to their engagement party.” Jasmine complained.

Lucy sighed. Just because they lived in an apartment didn’t mean they were adults. They both had full-time jobs, but Lucy was still in school, and both of them called their mothers every night with some sort of question. Jasmine had to ask her father to come over the other day to change the lightbulb in the kitchen for them because neither of them could figure out how to take the cover off.

They had decided to move in together and take that step in their lives because they’re other two girlfriends were in relationships and living with their significant others. One of them had just gotten engaged and ever since they announced it, Jasmine has been feeling subpar. They were all the same age and Jasmine felt as though she was behind where she should be. Lucy had tried explaining they were more focused on their career while their other friends weren’t, but it was still a weird feeling for Jasmine.

Lucy understood that. It was weird for her as well. But she had a feeling they wouldn’t be the only people to show up to the engagement party with a store-bought item.

“How about,” Lucy said knowing everyone else with a store-bought dessert would have the same excuse, “we just say a few things came up and we didn’t have time to bake anything? No one will even ask, but in case they do.”

Jasmine wiped her eyes but nodded.

“Do you want to run out and get some fresh air? You can pick up something yummy and I can get started on this kitchen…” Lucy said tried to stifle another sigh.

Jasmine nodded. She stood and took off her apron, putting it on the back of the chair but it fell to the floor. She walked away not noticing and left the room to grab her keys and purse.

Lucy stared at the apron on the ground and grunted. She had only been roommates with her friend for about two weeks and was already wondering how much longer she was going to last. Jasmine was usually the level-headed one of their group.

It just goes to show how some people show their true colors when you live with them.

Words: 895

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Short Story Sunday 284: Hook

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

“The importance of the first line or the opening paragraph or even the first chapter is to hook the reader in.” Mrs. Terris stated pacing in the front of the classroom. She held up the current book they were reading in their creative writing class. She was a firm believer that people needed to read a lot in order to write, but Jane didn’t necessarily think that was always the case. Sure, reading helped, but she didn’t believe it was a requirement to write well.

Needless to say, Jane didn’t expect her first creative writing class in college to be like this. She had expected to learn the craft of writing and test it out for herself through writing her own short stories and maybe even begin a novel or try out poetry or something. Instead, they were reading novels and then discussing what makes them so good. The thing was, Jane didn’t care for most of the stories her professor picked out so she wasn’t learning much.

“I want you guys to pick out a sentence or two from the opening the chapter that you believe was the hook to get you to read more.” Mrs. Terris explained further.

Jane sighed. This better not be an essay assignment.

“Just write a quick paragraph about why that phrase hooked you into reading more of the book.” Mrs. Terris explained.

Jane stared at her copy of the book sitting on the corner of her desk. She didn’t like the book. She only kept reading because she had to do it for homework. If she had found that book in the bookstore herself, she would have read the back blurb and put it back on the shelf not giving it another thought.

So, she rose her hand.

“Yes, Jane?”

“What if you didn’t like the book?” she asked bluntly.

Half the class turned their heads to look at her while the other half looked onward at their professor, curious about her reaction. Mrs. Terris looked at her puzzled and held up the book higher for her to see – as if Jane as mistaken or thinking about something different.

“Jane, this is a classic.” Mrs. Terris stated.

“Yeah, and?” Jane replied. “I didn’t like it. It wasn’t an entertaining read for me and I didn’t get anything out of it.”

Mrs. Terris paused for a brief moment. She put the book down on her desk and leaned her back against it. She looked at the class with a curious gaze. “Is there anyone else who didn’t care for the book?”

A few of Jane’s classmates slowly raised their hands, scanning the rest of the classroom. It was almost as if they were afraid to voice their opinion about such a classic tale.

Mrs. Terris nodded. “Okay, that’s fair. The thing with reading books is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and we all interpret the words differently. That’s why, as an author, accepting rejection is a key piece to being a writer.”

Jane straightened in her seat. She was aiming to be an author, that’s why she took creative writing classes. So far, Mrs. Terris has just analyzed other stories. She felt as though she had just opened a can of worms but it might be in her favor this time around.

“With that said,” Mrs. Terris continued, “if you enjoyed the book, I want you to do the assignment I just said. Pick a sentence or two from the first chapter that hooked you into reading more of the story and write a paragraph or why that phrase worked. If you didn’t enjoy the book, I want you to choose a sentence or two in the first chapter that you believe was meant to be the hook and then write a paragraph about why it didn’t work for you. Or why the first chapter as a whole didn’t pull you in.

“Then,” Mrs. Terris continued on, “I’d like you all to take the sentence that you choose and use that as a first sentence to write your own story. How would you use that phrase differently to hook your readers into your own story?”

A boy in the back of the class raised his hand. “Does it have to be the very first sentence of the story?”

Mrs. Terris teetered her head for a moment. “No, I suppose not. Fit the sentence into your story where you see fit. Just make sure it’s early enough in the story.”

Jane grinned as she wrote down the assignment. She was thankful to finally have a creative writing assignment in her creative writing class. This was what she was expecting.

This was certainly an assignment she felt confident in doing.

Words: 787

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Short Story Sunday 283: Bend

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

Grant stepped out of his pick-up truck and pointed to the river bend as Hazel stepped out of the truck on the other side. He drew in a deep breath and grinned. “Can you smell that?”

Hazel nodded her head. “I smell something… dirt, maybe?”

Grant smirked. “Come on, Hazel. I love camping and I want to share this experience with you. I used to come here all the time with my dad.”

“You make it sound as though your dad is gone.”

“I don’t mean to. I know you say you hate camping, but you’ve never been before. I just want you to experience it and if you don’t like it, then we’ll never do it again.” Grant said. He stuck his hand out to his girlfriend. “Deal?”

“No deal,” Hazel took his hand and he led her down to the stream. “I’ve never been camping because I’ve had no interest in it and I don’t think I’m going to last out here. But I don’t want you to never go camping again because of me. If I really don’t like it, I’ll still come with you once in a while.”

Grant kissed the back of her head. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Hazel replied, “but I might kill you by the end of the weekend.”

“Have you ever skipped rocks before?” Grant asked ignoring her comment.

Hazel narrowed her eyes. “Yeah, I skip rocks in my above-ground pool…”

“Alright, alright. No need to be snippy.” Grant chuckled. “Find some flat rocks.” He let go of her hand and started looking on the ground.

“Shouldn’t we build the tent?” Hazel asked pointing to the truck. “Or build a fire or something? Doesn’t that keep bears away?”

“Oh, I found one.” Grant said still ignoring her. Though now he was wondering if this was such a great idea. This whole weekend might be filled with Hazel panicking and him trying to calm her down and convincing her they won’t get eaten by bears.

“Great.” Hazel sighed. “How is that little rock going to protect us from the bears?”

“Calm down, would you? We’re not going to get eaten and the rock is for skipping.” Grant got behind her and pushed her toward the water.

“If you push me in…”

“Would I really do that to you?”

“Yes,”

Grant hesitated. “Well, not right now I wouldn’t.”

“Gee, thanks…” Hazel grunted.

Grant, without another word, put the rock in her right hand and held onto her arm from behind. He did a couple of swinging motions before telling her to let go of the rock. She did and the rock plopped into the river.

“Huh.” Grant stood up straighter. “That was a lot more romantic in my head.”

Hazel burst out laughing. She turned around and gave Grant a kiss on the cheek. “You’re a delightful idiot, you know that?”

“I’d like to think so.” Grant agreed deciding to take it as a compliment.

“It seems like we both need some practice skipping rocks.” Hazel stated. “I bet, by the end of the weekend, my rocks will go much farther across the river than yours.”

Grant grinned. “You’re on!”

The two of them pushed away from each other and spent a good chunk of their afternoon scurrying about the shore in search of flat rocks, tossing them into the river, but none of the rocks going very far.

Words: 568

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Short Story Sunday 282: Set

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

“Everything needs to be just so.” Stella said. She placed the plates, utensils, and napkins down on the table. She backed away and took a mental picture of the place settings.

“No, they don’t. Trust me, no one is going to care where their fork is along as they have a fork.” Claire replied with an eye roll.

“No, this is our first dinner party as adults. We’re inviting our parents and close friends, I want everything to be perfect.” Stella paused to look at her roommate.

“I don’t think we should have a dinner party in the first place. Neither one of us knows how to cook.” Claire countered.

“We cook dinner for ourselves every night.”

“Yeah, we make noodles because it’s quick and easy and we have no idea how to cook.”

“Well, we need to learn.”

“I agree,” Claire nodded, “but I don’t think cooking a grand meal for all our close friends and family is a great time to start, you know?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Stella dismissed the thought with a wave of her hand. “I’ve picked out a couple of recipes from some cookbooks and we’ll test them out. If none of them go well, I have a backup.”

“What’s your backup?” Claire wondered aloud.

“Homemade mac and cheese.” Stella grinned.

Claire sighed. “Oh, yeah… mac and cheese. People are definitely going to want their forks and spoons to be on the correct side of their plate now.”

Words: 244

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Short Story Sunday 281: Stomp

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

Mary entered her house as loud as can be stomping her feet through the hardwood flooring in the living room.

Her older sister, Audrey, was sitting on the couch reading a book when her sister stormed into the room. “What’s wrong with you?” she asked.

“School was dumb today.” Mary growled. She kicked off her sneakers, tossed them into the closet as well as her backpack.

“Why was it dumb?” Audrey continued.

Mary closed the closet door. “My backpack can stay in there for now. I don’t want to even think about my homework.”

“I say again,” Audrey sighed putting a bookmark into her book and closing it, “why was school dumb today?”

“I have a lot of homework.” Mary pouted. She threw herself onto the armchair slouching her whole body like a slinky.

Audrey scoffed. “Yeah, okay. Been there, done that.”

“No, you don’t get it.” Mary said sitting up. “I have homework in every single subject tonight.”

Audrey nodded. “Yeah, that happens. You’re in high school now.”

“But it’s the first day of school!”

“The teachers don’t care about that. They want to get down to business as soon as possible.”

“I have five tests tomorrow too.” Mary continued.

“Five? Out of seven classes?” Audrey wondered.

“Six classes. I have a study last period.” Mary clarified.

“Then why didn’t you get any of your homework done then? Or why didn’t you get a head start on studying? That’s the whole point of a study period.” Audrey couldn’t help but smirk. Mary was so exited to start high school just that morning. She had no idea what the next four years was going to bring.

“I got some of it done.” Mary replied calmly. “Really, I did.”

“I believe you.” Audrey put her hands up. “What are the tests for though?”

“Summer reading, the summer homework we had to do, and one test is a placement test… whatever that means.” Mary said rolling her eyes.

Audrey frowned sympathetically. “I’m sorry. I know it’s overwhelming. This isn’t what you expected at all.”

“No, it’s not. And I already have two projects assigned! Both are from two of the books I had to read over the summer. One is just an essay that’s due by the end of the week and the other is an essay along with some sort of presentation with visuals and stuff… that’s due in two weeks.” Mary ranted.

Audrey raised her eyebrows. Mary must have had some tough teachers. She didn’t remember the teachers in high school being this brutal when she was there – especially not on the first day.

Mary sighed. “Please tell me your first day of college was just as rough. I’m sure that’s ten times worse than high school.”

Audrey tilted her head to the side. “Why would you want it to be worse? You’re going to have to go through it someday as well.”

“I know, but I don’t care right now. I just need to know I’m not the only one having a tough time.” Mary said.

“You’re not the only one, Mary. College was brutal today.” Audrey stated.

“How are you so calm about it right now?” Mary asked in shock.

Audrey shrugged. “I’m used to it from high school, I guess.”

“Oh. Okay.” Mary nodded. She stood up and headed toward the kitchen. “Maybe high school really does prepare you for college then…”

Audrey watched her sister leave the room. Then she went back to reading her book. She didn’t have the heart to tell her sister that college was great. Her professor is really nice and they didn’t have any homework to do tonight. She also had a feeling Mary forgot that Audrey made her own schedule and she only had to attend school three days a week for four classes. She wasn’t about to tell Mary that just yet though. Audrey decided to let Mary get used to high school and settle in with the new school then.

Then Audrey would brag to Mary about how wonderful college is.

Words: 673

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Short Story Sunday 280: Game

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

Scarlett sat down on her bed and put her laptop in her lap. She had a mug of coffee on her nightstand along with a glass of water. There was a bowl of leftover Halloween candy as well as a bowl of popcorn. Normally she didn’t like having greasy or salty food while she was on her computer or gaming because it was always a pain to wipe her hands after every bite and she didn’t want to get her things slippery, but she knew she was in for a long night.

It was Friday afternoon. School was long and boring but she had nothing to for the rest of the afternoon and absolutely nothing going on for Saturday. Her homework for the weekend was going to have to wait until Sunday.

She and her friends were about to embark on an epic journey and defeat the evil dark lord who was plaguing the land. This new expansion pack for the MMORPG she and her friends played all the time had been out for a couple of months. They had finally all saved their allowances and even did extra chores so that they could each buy a copy of the game – which was about 50-dollars.

A few months might be a long time to some but to others it’s not that long at all. Still, there have been no reports on anyone defeating this dark lord. People have posted on the online forums and discussed items they collected and certain things they’ve done in the game to prepare for the final boss, but so far no one has had any luck. So far, this boss was unbeatable.

Scarlett had been taking notes from these people online and writing down what has worked and what hasn’t. She’s also brainstormed some ideas she and her friends could try out and some items and status updates they could collect. They had been leveling up all their characters in the meantime. They weren’t as high a level as they could have been, but it was now or never. Scarlett was determined to be the first group to defeat this boss.

She had also heard reports that this boss took hours. There was a journey and tons of enemies to get to the castle, then they’d have to go through the castle and defeat a lot of enemies along with mini-bosses, and then it would be time for the dark lord. Or, that’s what people have been assuming. Most people haven’t made it past the third floor of the castle and there were only five floors.

Scarlett took out her notes and put on her headset while she waited for the game to load. She had told her parents that she was going to be busy for the rest of the night. She was expecting to pull an all-nighter with this one. There was no saving in the middle of the journey.

Once the game was booted up, Scarlett noticed that none of her friends were online. She leaned back against her pillow and unwrapped a candy bar waiting patiently. Then her phone beeped with a text message.

One of her friends had texted them all in a group message saying she wasn’t able to log on. Apparently, it was her parents’ anniversary and they wanted to go out to dinner. Scarlett pouted but didn’t respond as she noticed some of her other friends were replying.

One friend was relieved because they had forgotten they agreed to babysit their younger sibling. Scarlett’s third friend, and the final member of their quartet in the game, responded saying they mouthed off their mother and lost their computer privileges. (She lost her phone as well, but snuck it back and her mother hadn’t noticed yet.)

Scarlett sighed. She didn’t reply to any of them. She knew things came up, but she exited out of the game and shut down her laptop. She turned her phone off, shoved another candy bar into her mouth, and then opened her backpack from school.

There wasn’t anything left for her to do that night other than do her homework. Maybe her friends would be able to play Saturday night into Sunday. If her homework was all done by then Scarlett wouldn’t have to worry about it later.

But who was she kidding? She was just bummed because if she couldn’t play her game, she wanted to hang out with her friends on a Friday night. They were apparently all busy now… except for one who was most likely grounded. But what else was new with her?

A knock came at Scarlett’s bedroom door and her mother poked her head in. “Hi, I’m sorry to bother you… are you in your game, yet?”

“No, why?” Scarlett shook her head.

“Well, I was thinking and… wait, why is your homework out?” her mother asked confused.

Scarlett sighed. “They all just texted me. Andy has to go out to dinner with her parents for their anniversary, Cara forgot that she agreed to babysit her little brother and sister tonight, and Tori mouthed off to her mother again so she’s in trouble.”

“Oh,” her mother frowned. “I’m sorry, honey. That’s annoying. I know you were really looking forward to playing this game tonight.”

“I know,” Scarlett said with a shrug. “I guess we’ll just have to plan another time. What is it that you were going to say?”

Her mother hesitated to respond. “I don’t want to make you feel worse than you probably already do, though.”

“What do you mean?”

“I figured, if you’re going to stay up all night anyway, I was going to see if you wanted to invite your friends over for a sleep over? Then you guys could play the game and it might make things easier.” Her mother explained.

Scarlett smiled. “I’ll keep that in might for next time.”

“Maybe letting Tori out of the house would keep her out of trouble with her own mother too.” Scarlett’s mom laughed.

“I appreciate that you understand how important this game is to me. Thanks.” Scarlett said.

Her mother nodded and turned away from her heading toward the door. “I don’t get it, but I know you enjoy it. I want you to have fun even if I think it’s weird.” She winked. “Did you want to hang out with me and dad tonight? We could all watch a movie together.”

Scarlett closed her math textbook. “I thought I’d be proactive on my homework, but that sounds much better.” She grabbed the bowl of popcorn off her nightstand. “I’ve already got the popcorn ready.”

Words: 1,102

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Short Story Sunday 277: Follow (Part Two)

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

If you haven’t read Part One, you can do so here. Last week, you guys chose to have the characters check out the banging by the window. Here is part two.

Another banging at the window came, shaking the wooden boards that held it together. Luna shrank back stepping away from the window while Alex grabbed a poker from the fireplace and pointed it toward the window. Felix watched this with wide eyes before holding a hand up motioning for her to stand down.

He crept to the window and peered above the board that covered most of the glass. He saw nothing. He ducked lower and peered before the plank.

Felix turned back around with a shrug. He didn’t know whether to be relieved or worried that the banging must have just been the bugs or maybe the wind.

Alex let the poker go lip, her face twisting in frustration. Luna looked as though she were about to pass out.

None of them spoke a word or dared to breathe loudly. There still could have been something out there, but no one was willing to suggest it out loud.

“I know you’re in there.”

Felix looked back over his shoulder at the window. He heard Luna gasp from behind and Alex possibly take out another tool from the fireplace. He crept closer to the window.

“If you want to live, follow me.”

Felix furrowed his brows. He couldn’t make out who was standing outside. The window was tinted with dust and there was only a small crack at the bottom, Felix could barely hear him speak.

“If you want to live,” the voice said louder, “follow me.”

He walked away from the window and Felix turned to the girls. “Did you hear that?” he said quietly.

Alex nodded.

“You’re not going out there, are you?” Luna asked, stepping forward.

Felix shrugged. “This could be someone in the same boat as us. Someone who can help.”

“Or it could be a trap,” Alex suggested.

“He could have sent the bugs,” Luna added.

“I don’t think anyone can really ‘send bugs,'” Alex said, rolling her eyes.

Luna glared at her. “Have you seen the size of those things? They’re not normal. Something altered their DNA or their mechanical. And where did they all come from?”

“Bugs lay eggs and nearly 100,000 of them are born,” Alex stated.

“You know what I mean,”

“Girls,” Felix interjected, putting a hand on his sister’s shoulder. “I’m going to go outside and check what’s going on.”

“Don’t you dare,” Luna snapped.

“Alright,” Alex agreed. Luna shot her another glare, though the new friend just shrugged in response.

“We haven’t heard any buzzing in a bit, so I’m thinking the bugs moved on to a new location. Let me just see what this guy wants. He might be able to help us,” Felix explained in an attempt to convince his sister.

Luna shook her head. “Or he could just be trying to kick us out of our hideout so he can have it to himself.”

“Oh, please. This is the worst possible shelter,” Alex grunted.

Felix, ignoring Alex, looked Luna in the eyes. “I will be right back. I promise.”

Without waiting for a reply, he turned his back and exited the house closing the door behind him. Luna stared at the door as though it would open back up immediately. She looked over at Alex, who sat dwn on the couch.

Alex shrugged. “And now we wait.”

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Short Story Sunday 276: Contain (Part One)

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

Felix propped a couple chairs against the front door and wiped his hands on his pants. Dust flew around the room with any sudden movement they made and the house they ran into was filthy. It was clearly abandoned a long time ago. At least, he hoped it was… the last thing he needed was a stranger popping out.

“How about the couch?” Luna asked. She stood in the middle of the room hugging herself. She shivered with nerves but her face flushed with heat.

“The chairs should be enough for now. We might need the couch for later.” Felix replied. “Besides, this might be an okay play to stay the night. You can sleep on the couch. You’d be most comfortable there.”

Luna glanced down at the couch and gave it a disgusted look. It was leather, but the holster was scratched up as though a monster had come through and destroyed it. She wasn’t even sure what color the couch was supposed to be – brown, maybe? Whatever it was, it was faded. There was a thin layer of dust covering the whole surface of it as well.

“We have to make due, Luna.” Felix said exasperated. He knew exactly what his twin sister was thinking from the look on her face.

“Are we going to die?” Luna blurted.

Felix swallowed a lump in his throat. He didn’t know how to answer that. He wanted to tell her no, they weren’t going to die. However, their house and hometown were destroyed. They were on the move with no where to go. They had no money, no food, and this was the best shelter they could find. They haven’t come across another human in days. At least, Felix thought it was days. He had lost track of time.

There were no more days, only darkness. Whatever caused the bugs to come, it blocked out the sun somehow. It was hard to tell if there were clouds in the sky or if it were the bugs.

“You’re not answering me.” Luna sighed. She sat down on the couch. The cushion sunk pretty low but for some reason she didn’t even care.

“I don’t have an answer for you.” Felix shrugged. “I’d like to say we’re going to be fine, but mom and dad and… I just don’t know. I don’t even know what’s going on.”

Luna buried her face in her hands for a moment. She drew in a deep breath and then looked back up. She cracked a smile. “We’re going to be okay.” She said. She stood and walked over to the window. She pulled her sleeve over her hand and wiped away some dirt on the window. The bugs were swarming all around the house. There weren’t going anywhere for a long time. “Someone needs to contain them.”

“Who?” Felix asked. Now he sat down on the couch. He nearly fell over when the cushion sunk so low and he grabbed hold of the edge to balance.

“I don’t know. There must be some military or police around, right?” Luna asked. She hugged herself watching the bugs, listening to the buzzing getting louder and louder as they flew above the house.

“I hope so.”

“Are they following us? I feel like we haven’t been able to lose them at all.”

“They’re attracted to something.”

Luna jumped at hearing a strange voice. Felix too jumped from the couch and stood beside his sister. A young woman emerged from the other room.

“What they’re attracted to, I have no idea. I’ve been holed up in this house for a long time.”

“We’re sorry, we didn’t know anyone was here.” Felix apologized.

“No need to be sorry,” she shook her head. “We’re all in this together. It’s not like I’m going to toss you out and make you find a different shelter.” She smirked. “I’m Alex.”

“Thank you,” Felix said with a sigh of relief. “I’m Felix and this is my sister Luna.” Luna gave Alex a small wave.

“How far have you guys come? Is it just the two of you?” Alex asked. She walked over to the window and looked out.

“Just us, unfortunately. We’ve been walking for days. We’re not really sure how far we’ve come.” Luna explained.

“You and me both. I’ve been here for a while but I’m sure I’m a long way from home.” Alex stated. “It was quiet here and I wasn’t sure what to do next or where to go. I waited too long though and then the bugs made it here. They’re on the move, but like I said, I don’t know why. I don’t know what they’re trying to get to.”

“I wish we knew where they came from.” Luna added. “Maybe we could herd them back to where they came from or catch them or something.”

“There’s too many to catch. They’re too big to herd.” Felix countered with a shake of his head.

“We can’t squish them so the only thing I can think of is the light.” Alex said.

“The light?” Luna repeated turning her attention to the stranger.

“Think about it,” Alex began to explain, “the sun was blocked out as soon as the bugs came. I’m not sure if that’s coincidental or not. I’m not sure if it’s the bugs’ fault. But I know there are some bugs that are attracted to light and they bring themselves death by getting zapped. If we brought the sun back, then maybe the bugs would disappear or disintegrate or something.”

Felix hummed to himself. “You know, that’s not a bad idea.”

“But how in the world are we going to bring the sun back?” Luna sighed.

Felix turned to Alex. “Have you thought further on your idea at all?”

Alex shrugged her shoulders. “Well, that’s the problem. I have no idea how to get the sun back. But maybe, now that there’s three of us, we can think of something together.”

A banging came at the window causing the three of them to jump.

Words: 1,005

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Short Story Sunday 275: Coffee

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

Penny walked into her local coffee shop. The café had just opened about five minutes ago and the line was already nearly out the door. Everyone was on their way to work or school so most of the tables were vacant. Penny loved coming at this time of the day because there was a certain buzz around the coffee shop. It was loud, but it was almost like white noise. It wasn’t difficult to concentrate. She loved the aroma of the café between the various flavors of coffees being made along with the freshly baked pastries.

She claimed her usual table by the window across from the main counter where people ordered their drinks. She took her laptop out of her bag as well as a notebook and a couple of pens. She had a lot to get done today. Her boyfriend had taken the day off from work so he was home and still sleeping. Penny wanted to have some peace and quiet to work on her writing without her boyfriend nagging her to hang out with him and go out and do something. She’d get herself a coffee, write a couple thousand words, and then head home with a pastry for him. Then they could spend the rest of the day together.

It was six o’clock in the morning and she knew he wasn’t going to be awake for another two or three hours anyway. They’d have the whole day ahead of themselves and she’d be able to get her writing time in.

Penny sat down opening her laptop and turning it on. She was thinking about getting a scone but decided to settle for just a coffee for the moment. Her stomach was starting to rumble with all the smells around her. Hearing other people say their orders and receive their drinks, Penny was beginning to wonder what kind of drink she wanted to get. Her boyfriend always got the same thing whenever they got coffee. He was pretty easy but Penny enjoyed a wide variety. It always took her a little while to figure out what she wanted to get. She never really ordered the same thing twice in one week. Of course, the holidays were upon her which meant the winter drinks were out. There were so many good flavors that she wasn’t sure what she wanted to get this morning.

An older gentleman moved out of line after ordering and paying for his drink. The cashier behind the counter puffed his cheeks out in a breath. Penny and him locked eyes and she they smiled and waved to each other right before the next customer got in their line of sight and began to order their own drink.

Penny looked to the door and noticed the line was now inside the café. She figured now was a good enough time as any to hop in line. She usually didn’t mind waiting for the line to die down. She was never in a rush to get her coffee and she knew she was going to be there for a while anyway that it didn’t matter if she got her coffee now or an hour into her writing time.

She was never one who needed a coffee to wake up. She was a natural early bird and only made herself a lot of coffee throughout the day because she thoroughly enjoyed the taste – and she loved holding onto a mug of coffee during the colder months because she was always cold.

The line steadily moved forward. Penny waited patiently. The smells were beginning to get to her. She had decided that she didn’t know what she wanted to get so she was going to let the man behind the counter surprise her. He knew her well enough since she was at the café just about every day. It would be interesting to see what flavor he would pick out for her.

By the time she made it to the counter, she greeted him with a smile. Though before she could give him her order – or allow him to make it for her – he dismissed her with a wave of his hand.

“You can move on.” He smirked.

“What?” she asked.

“Your drink has already been ordered and paid for.” He said.

Penny looked around the café and the people in line behind her were starting to look a little grumpy. She didn’t care though. She wasn’t even taking long. “What are you talking about?” she asked again.

She had heard of people paying it forward but she had never imagined that it would happen to her. Usually when someone paid for a drink it was then honored by that person paying for the next one and so on, right? Penny took out the money from her wallet anyway. This was the point of paying it forward, wasn’t it?

“Okay, then here’s a medium for the guy behind me.” She said and noticed a smile go across the gentleman’s face who stood in line behind her.

The cashier chuckled. “Thanks for paying it forward, but I think your boyfriend was just trying to surprise you.” He took the money and put it in the cash register. Then he waved her on again.

Penny looked over her shoulder and sure enough Oliver, her boyfriend, was sitting at her table. He was sipping a coffee and there was a festive cup beside her laptop.

Her jaw dropped and waved a goodbye to the cashier. “Oliver?” she said as she made it back to her table and sat down.

“I got you a peppermint, hope that’s okay. I don’t think you’ve gotten that kind this week.” Oliver grinned.

“Nope,” Penny smiled and took a sip. “Oh, this is so good. Thanks for this.”

“Of course,”

“But what are you doing here? You were sleeping when I left.” Penny inquired.

“I pretended to be asleep. I wanted to surprise you. I want to spend the day together, but I know you want to get this done. I brought a book.” Oliver pointed to a book on the table.

Penny nodded. “Okay, fair enough. Well, I’m happy to have you here with me.”

“Me too.”

“How’d you sneak into the café though? I didn’t see you at all. I was watching the line.” Penny said.

“You weren’t watching it close enough,” Oliver laughed. “I was right in front of you a couple of times and you looked right past me. You hopped in line while I waited for the drinks. Then I sat down and waited for you to get through the line.”

Penny pouted. “You made me wait in line all that time even though you had my drink ready and waiting for me?”

Oliver chuckled and took a sip of his own drink without a reply.

Words: 1,136

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