Short Story Sunday 225: Underneath [Part 2 – Interactive Story]

Short Story: Underneath (Part 2) | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Interactive Story | RachelPoli.com

Did you read Part One?

            Pixel turned around to walk away. She could hear the two boys chatting away about this “Underneath” thing, their voices getting softer the more she distanced herself from them. She had barely made it around the corner of the corridor before she twisted her heels right back around continuing to walk at her usual pace but back toward the boys again.

“Hello?” she called to them immediately flinching. That greeting didn’t sound convincing at all.

Still, it got their attention. Both boys immediately stopped speaking, frozen, eyes wide.

Pixel stopped once she was a few feet apart from them. “Uh, hi.” She said again.

“Hi?” Alvin responded. His eyes shifted toward Miles, who kept a steady gaze on Pixel.

“Can we help you with something?” Miles asked. He stood taller folding his arms across his chest, his muscles flexing in the process. Pixel took a step back. Was he going to try to fight her or something?

“Probably not,” Pizel said shaking her head. “I mean, you probably shouldn’t. I really came over here to talk to you because I’m nosy. Sorry. I didn’t want to interrupt. In fact, I walked away… but then I decided to come back for… some reason…” she began to chuckle. It was the kind of laugh that escaped your lips when you were really nervous or embarrassed – and she was definitely feeling both emotions.

Miles dropped his arms by his side. He sighed. “So, you heard us talking, then?”

Pixel hesitated to answer. She wasn’t sure what the right answer was. If she told them the truth that she was eavesdropping, they might get mad. Then again, it seemed as though they already knew she overheard them. So, if she lied, they might get mad at her for being a liar.

“I’m a freshman, new here, I don’t know where my class is. Help?” she blurted quickly and immediately regretted it.

Alvin burst out laughing. In fact, he nearly doubled over in he was laughing so hard. Pixel couldn’t tell, but it seemed as though there were tears coming out of his eyes. Miles, on the other hand, just looked confused.

“Listen, Lady,” Alvin said in between breaths, “while I believe that, I think it’s pretty obvious why you’re talking to us right now.”

Pixel felt herself blush.

“You wanna know about the Underneath too, huh?” Miles said with a smirk.

Pixel found herself nodding. She didn’t know why either. She didn’t want to be attending high school. She wanted to keep a low profile. Whatever these boys were thinking or planning, it must have been against school rules. So why was she trying to get involved in it?

Miles stretched out a hand. “Miles, as you might have heard. I’m a sophomore here.”

As Pixel shook Miles’s hand she noticed Alvin waving behind him. “I’m Alvin. I’m a freshman too, though I’m supposed to be a sophomore. I stayed back.”

Pixel nodded. She had no idea what that meant though she had a guess. She certainly didn’t want to repeat any high school years. Talking to these boys probably wasn’t the best decision she’s made… and she’s only been in high school for about an hour.

“So, you’re a freahman, new here, apparently.” Miles prompted. “What’s your name?”

Pixel opened her mouth and then froze. Pixel wasn’t a normal name. She was to keep a low profile here and she knew with a name like Pixel people would ask questions.

Words: 591

I’m writing this story with your help! Please be sure to vote in the poll above for what should happen next in the story.

I hope you enjoyed part one of the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Short Story Sunday 224: Underneath [Part 1 – Interactive Story]

Short Story: "Underneath (Part 1)" | Flash Fiction | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

It was Pixel’s first day of high school. In her world, children could decide whether they wanted to go to high school or if they wanted to stop their schooling and go to work. Pixel’s parents had both stopped going to school which was why her father was pressuring her to go to high school.

It was bad enough that she had to go to public school against her will, but to start high school with a name such as Pixel? It was embarrassing.

“Now remember,” her father had told her, “If anyone asks, your mother is away on business and the hospital got your name wrong on your birth certificate.”

Pixel had rolled her eyes, like she did all the time, and reluctantly agreed as she took her brown paper bag lunch from her father’s hands.

It was hard for Pixel to take this whole high school thing seriously when ever her father was nervous and slightly embarrassed for her. It didn’t make her feel a whole lot better despite his forced smiles and words of, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine,” and, “it’s all going to be alright.” Or, her favorite, “The year will be over before you know it!” Right. Then she’ll have three more years to go….

The truth was, Pixel’s mother was not away on business. She was dead. She had died a long time ago in an effort to protect Pixel. Which was why she was in the human world and not where she originally came from, The Forest.

Her father was human and her mother was a Fairy. Fairies were magical beings and they had a lot of skills and properties built into them. Her mother had tricked her father into thinking she was human. They married, had Pixel, and when the doctor’s were baffled at Pixel’s one-inch size when she was born, her mother had run away with her.

She kept in touch with her husband, of course, but they couldn’t expose the fairy world. According to Pixel’s father, that would be bad. Don’t ask Pixel how or why. Her father never finished explaining.

When Pixel was young, something happened in The Forest. Her mother had given her life to save Pixel and thus now she was living as a human with her father.

She loved her father dearly and she was sure she would have loved her mother if she had gotten to know her. Still, Pixel couldn’t help but feeling bitter about her life. Why couldn’t she have been full fairy or full human? Why did she have to go to high school like this?

Pixel had researched high school on the Internet. It didn’t look pretty and it didn’t sound like a lot of fun. In fact, Pixel was afraid to go. Yet, her father dropped her off at the front with a big encouraging smile. He gave her a kiss goodbye, wished her luck, and then he was on his way.

Pixel waved as the car vroomed out of sight. As much as she resented this idea, her biggest fear was screwing up. She didn’t want to disappoint her father. Or her mother.

A loud noise rang through the courtyard and Pixel assumed that must have been the bell. From what her father told her, the bell meant Pixel had to get to her class. That was another weird thing about high school. Why did everyone base their schedule upon an inanimate object? Shouldn’t they go where they want or wait for the teachers to let them go? It was just weird to her.

Pixel entered the front door, among many other people, and she looked around in awe. The lobby was huge and bright. It looked much nicer than some pictures she had seen on the Internet.

It was crowded though so she couldn’t see much other than the large chandelier hanging overhead. And even though the bell had already rung, there were still a lot of students hanging around chatting with one another.

“How was your summer vacation?”

“Oh, it’s so nice to see you!”

“Wow, you lost a lot of weight! Good for you!”

Pixel flinched at each and every word. She was able to shift into a human and round out her pointed ears, but being part fairy, her hearing was still much better than the average human. That was something she couldn’t turn off and she was beginning to get a headache at all the noise. If this was just the beginning of high school, what was the rest of the day going to be like? What was the rest of the year going to be like?

Before she knew it, Pixel found herself running. She was bumping into people (and it seemed as though she knocked someone to the ground, but she didn’t stop to check) and she finally made it into another room. It was quieter there, though she could still hear the gossip and conversations from the lobby.

The bell rang again overhead and she knew she was supposed to get to class, but she didn’t know where she was supposed to go. Maybe she could find a teacher and they would be able to help.

She walked further into the room admiring all the many tables and chairs. This was a huge classroom! Then she got a whiff of pancakes, bacon, and fresh bagels. She licked her lips and noticed to her left was a kitchen. Wow, did all the classrooms have a kitchen like this? Maybe they had a refrigerator for her to put her lunch in.

Pixel was just about to go into the kitchen and ask one of the workers when something else caught her attention.

“Have you heard about the Underneath?” a male asked.

“No, what are you talking about?” another male responded.

Intrigued, Pixel headed over to where the two boys were talking. There were standing in the hallway on the other side of the large classroom. She poked her head around the wall and watched the two of them.

Both of them were tall, one tan with a stocky body. The other had darker skin with muscles bulging from his sleeves.

“The Underneath is hidden under the school.”

“No kidding, Alvin… That’s what underneath means.” The sports guy replied bluntly.

“You know what I mean, Miles! There’s treasure or something under the school. Our high school, can you believe it?” Alvin said rubbing his thick arms. Though Pixel didn’t think they were thick with muscles.

“Treasure? Who said treasure?”

“Well… I’m just assuming. I mean, what else could the Underneath mean?”

“Oh, I don’t know… A basement, maybe?” Miles said rolling his eyes.

Pixel couldn’t help but snicker to herself. Lucky for them, they didn’t seem to hear her. Still, this Underneath thing seemed interesting. It would certainly make high school a lot more interesting. She just needed to learn more about it.

But she was new at school. And she was supposed to lay low because of the whole fairy business. Pixel wasn’t sure what to do, but her curiosity was getting to her.

Words: 1,251

I’m writing this story with your help! Please be sure to vote in the poll above for what should happen next in the story.

I hope you enjoyed part one of the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Short Story Sunday 223: Turtle

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

            The box turtle banged against the side of its clear tank. Her long neck stretched all the way out, her face pressed into the glass. If she could talk, she’d be yelling at her owner to take her out and allow her to stretch her legs around the room. She pressed her front claws against the glass as though she was trying to climb up it. She slipped on the glass causing her to fall down. That didn’t stop her though. She lifted her front claws once more and tried to climb up the glass again.

When the top of the tank was opened, it made a loud scratching sound. The turtle recoiled back into her shell for a brief moment before peeking out to see what was going on. She had heard that sound before. It usually meant her water was being changed, she was going to be fed, or her owner was going to pick her up and lift her out of the tank.

She stood frozen and ready for lift off. Her owner’s hand wrapped around her round shell and belly and she was suddenly lifted up and out.

The turtle was placed on the ground in the room. She looked all around. The room was big. There was a lot of walking to be done, a lot of things to climb, and cool places to hide.

But what to do first?

First, she’d go under a big black box, a thing her owner usually her feet on when watching a bright, glowing box, while sitting on a bigger blue thing – except the blue thing was squishy and more comfortable. She knew because sometimes her owner would bring her up there to watch the glowing box with her. Sometimes she would hide under the blue squishy thing making her owner go nuts trying to find her. Then she’d have to move the blue squishy thing just to get the turtle out.

She liked to hide in the way back corner in between that and the two wooden blocks that carried her tank.

The turtle, making it back out from under the black box, strolled around the middle of the floor. She headed toward a bunch of warm blocks, some lit up and some didn’t. They all sat underneath the glowing box there were a lot of strings in the back that were attached to the wall and also warm. It was a great place to sit and relax in the warmth, especially when she was out for a stroll around the room in the middle of winter.

Normally she’d just sleep, but her owner never slept during the winter, so it was difficult. Plus, she wanted to be outside of her tank as much as possible. There was so much to do and a lot to see.

This was only half of the room after all.

When she tried to make it to the other side of the room, she noticed the door was open. Excitedly, the turtle turned around and headed for the door. She liked wandering around the landing outside the room. She often looked down the steep slope that led to a different floor. When feeling ambitious, she’d even try to walk down that slope… except she was too small and would usually just fall down the steps. Still, her shell was strong and she’d make it. After a quick recovery, she’d have another whole floor to explore.

But not today. Today she’d go into the other room where her owner slept. She liked to go under the bed which her owner didn’t like because then she’d have to move the entire bed to get the turtle out. Except the door was closed.

Her owner was catching on.

Well, she’d just go into the bathroom then. Sometimes her owner would bring her in there. Her owner would hide behind a curtain and, for some reason, the whole room would fill with steam and be super warm. The turtle loved it.

But her owner wasn’t in that room so there was no steam and it certainly wasn’t warm. So, she decided to go back into the other room. Her owner was sitting at a table with a smaller glowing box though she was doing something to it, making tapping sounds.

The turtle continued to walk in the middle of room when she stopped. The cat had come into the room. When did the cat come in? The turtle slowly began to turn around. She didn’t mind the cat, but sometimes the cat thought she was a toy and would try to bat her around. One time, the cat batted at her on the hardwood floor and the turtle went spinning around the floor. It was a fun ride, but she didn’t want that happening again.

Upon seeing the turtle, the cat got up from his resting place and headed towards her. The turtle was still walking, though she was a lot smaller than the cat. She didn’t have long legs like he did and was therefore a lot slower. Her speed had nothing to do with the fact that she’s a turtle.

The cat raised a gentle paw, his claws hiding. See? He wasn’t doing it to be mean, he just had no idea what the turtle was and didn’t understand why it was moving.

“Chase,”

The turtle heard a warning tone from her owner. The cat put his paw down. He gently tapped the turtle on the back thinking his owner wouldn’t be able to see that one, but she did.

The turtle continued to walk away while the cat was distracted with their owner. She didn’t get very far until the cat came back. He sat down directly in front of her blocking her way. Why? Couldn’t he see she was trying to walk here? Rude.

The cat then lied down and rolled over onto his back. He looked at her playfully but she didn’t feel like playing. She wanted to go under the bed but the door was closed. She wanted the steam from the other room but her owner wasn’t hiding behind the curtain. No, she was going to have to go under the blue squishy thing and just hang out in the peace and quiet.

She walked around the cat almost stepping on his tail. It spooked him enough that he kept his distance for a little while. She didn’t mean to step on it. In fact, she only just grazed it, but the cat brought the phrase “scaredy-cat” to a new level.

As the turtle continued her walk, the door opened a little. Oh, great. The dog was here. The dog was smaller than the cat though she was just as chubby. The turtle continued her walk knowing well that the dog wasn’t going to go near her.

As soon as the dog saw the turtle, she froze in the doorway. She whined looking up at their owner, who encouraged the dog to come into the room. She wouldn’t. Not with the turtle right there.

The turtle stopped walking. She knew the dog was afraid of her, though she didn’t understand why. Still, she liked to have a little fun and tease the dog. She couldn’t tease the cat at all so the dog was going to have to do. She stopped walking and stared at the dog. After a minute or two, the dog backed away and ran back down the slope.

When that was over, the turtle made her way under the blue squishy thing. She walked all the way to the back, dark corner. She curled up into her shell and fell asleep. Finally, peace and quiet.

Words: 1,281

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Short Story Sunday 222: Sail

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

            Clark found a dusty box hiding in the corner of the attic. He looked over his shoulder to see if any of his cousins had noticed, but they were all looking at old paintings, jewelry, and other goods their grandmother had kept rotting up there over the years.

Their grandmother was still alive but their parents were helping her move to a smaller space, one closer to her children in the case anything should happen they’d be able to get to her right away. So, naturally, when the parents were helping her move, it meant the grandkids needed to be up in the dirty, creaky attic scouring through boxes.

When Clark made it to the box in the corner, he wiped the dust off the stop with the palm of his hand before wiping his hand on his pants, a straight line of gray going down the front of his dark blue jeans. He bent down to open the box but it was sealed with packing tape. This was the only box he had come across that was sealed and he’d been up in the attic for a couple hours now.

Nothing else in the attic was protected. If they were left in a box, the box was almost wide open. There weren’t many things his grandmother would be able to take with her to her new home. Most of her belongings were ruined.

This was exactly why he needed to open that box and see what was inside. It must have been so important that she wanted to keep it protected.

Clark looked this way and that but couldn’t really find anything sharp to open the box with. He bent down to pick it up. He braced himself for liftoff as he wrapped his arms around the awkward shape. But when he lifted it off the ground with a heave he nearly fell over. Confused, he stood where he was slightly lifting the box up and down. It didn’t weigh anything at all. Was the box empty?

Taking a risk to be a little rougher with it, Clark shook the box from side to side. Something moved. He didn’t know what it could possibly be, but there was a single item in that sealed box and it weighed almost nothing. Now he knew it was important.

“Hey, Clark found another one.”

Clark froze squeezing the box tighter. His cousins were being greedy, pocketing small items here and there, and if this particular item was as precious as it seemed to be, Clark didn’t want his cousins to even know what it was.

“What do you have there, Clark?” another asked. The four of his cousins were walking over to him now. He had no choice.

“Oh,” he turned around. “This box was hiding in the corner. It’s sealed though.”

“No biggie.” Roger, the oldest of the five of them, whipped out a pocket knife from his back pocket. He motioned with his free hand for Clark to set the box down.

“Be careful, it’s really light.” Clark said as he put the box down onto an antique dining set chair.

Roger stabbed the middle of the box with all his might making Clark wince. It wasn’t a big knife so surely Roger didn’t pierce anything. Still, didn’t he just hear what Clark said?

Roger moved the knife downward and then back up slicing through the thick tape. He then put his knife away and used his hands to pry the rest of the box open. Everyone watched him in silence, all wondering what could possibly be in the only sealed box.

“Ready?” Roger asked with a grin. Everyone nodded except Clark who remained frozen, his eyes fixated on the opening that Roger had his fingers in between ready to reveal its contents.

Then he opened the box.

All five of them ducked their heads to peer into the box at the same time. The element of surprise had gone and their hopefulness disappeared from their faces as confusion set in instead. They all straightened up as Clark reached into the box to pull out the item.

“What is that?” Amy asked.

It was a piece of cloth. Clark let it rest in the palms of both of his hands. It was soft to the touch and smooth. He thought it might be a blanket, a baby’s blanket even, but it was even too small for that. He unfolded it and held it up for all his cousins to see.

They scoffed and made disgusted faces. One by one they each walked away muttering about how that wasn’t worth the big reveal. Clark, on the other hand, was fascinated.

The cloth carried vivid colors, neon almost, with pinks, blues, yellows, and just about any other color you could imagine. It was quite ugly really; the colors looked as though they had thrown up on the cloth. Each color was its own geometric shape – triangles, circles, rectangles, and squares filled every spot leaving barely any white patches.

The piece of cloth was in great condition, still soft and the colors still blindingly bright. Clark folded it back up in the palm of his hand careful to fold on the creases already made. He looked up and all his cousins were back to rummaging through other boxes. He held onto the cloth tightly and made his way out of the attic.

When he made it to the ground floor he breathed in deeply through his nose. A smoked shoulder was cooking and he suddenly realized how hungry he was. He walked past the kitchen though only peering into the room to see if his grandmother was there. Two of his aunts were cooking though, no sign of his grandmother.

He walked into the dining room after hearing a clatter of silverware. There was his grandmother and his mother setting the table for dinner.

“Hi Clark, need a break?” his mother greeted with a smile.

Clark shook his head. “I was wondering about something.”

His grandmother paused in what she was doing and looked up at her youngest grandson. “Oh?”

Clark unfolded the cloth and revealed it to her. His grandmother gasped and his mother put a hand on her hip looking concerned.

“Clark, honey, if you come across any sealed boxes you should wait for Grandma to open them. It’s not politely to go through her things like that.” She said calmly.

Well, he knew that. She should have been telling that to his cousins. They were all going to need to be patted down before going home.

“Oh, it’s alright, Rita.” Grandma walked over to Clark and took the cloth into her own hands. “In fact, I had forgotten about this.”

“How could you forget that?” Rita commented with a smirk.

“Well, I forgot I had it up there. I thought it was under my bed or something.”

“It might be better off hidden up in the attic.” Rita chuckled.

“Oh, shush.” Grandma waved a hand at her but she too was smiling.

“Uh, excuse me?” Clark interrupted raising his hand slightly. His mother and grandmother turned to face him. “What is it?”

“It’s a sail.” Grandma replied.

“A… Sail.” Clark said in disbelief. “Is that a little too…”

“Small?” she said smiling. “Yes. Very small. But Clark took it with him anyway.” Grandma held up the cloth and admired it.

Clark raised an eyebrow.

“You were named after your grandfather, Clark. You knew that.” His mother added. “He had always wanted to be a sailor.”

“But I had wanted children.” Grandma added. “You see? None of you would have existed if I didn’t stop your kooky father from going out to sea.”

“Yes, I know. Thanks, Ma.” Rita replied with a smirk. She rolled her eyes as though she had heard that a thousand times.

Clark remained confused. He didn’t know what kind of question to ask next and his mother and grandmother seemed to be having a nice conversation on their own. He felt bad for interrupting. But his grandmother turned her attention back to him.

“You see, Clark always wanted to be a sailor but then he met me. I wooed him—“

“Ma!”

“Alright, alright… We married, had children, you know how that works.”

Clark nodded with a disgusted face. He didn’t need to picture his grandparents… you know.

“After all you grandkids were born and he had retired, he so badly wanted to go out to see. Me, being the good wife I am, I found him at the docks one day. I had handed him this sail and gave him my blessing to go out to sea.” Grandma explained.

“And he left?” Clark asked surprised.

Grandma nodded. She looked down at the cloth and stroked it with her frail hands. “He laughed at me when I gave him this sail. I had sewed it myself. I was proud of it. Maybe a little color blind, but it was my best work at the time. He told me he couldn’t possibly use it as a sail due to its size. Still, he tied it to the top of his sail and let what little wind it could carry blow through it.”

Clark smiled. “That’s great!” then he frowned. “But… how did you get it back? I thought Grandpa died at sea?”

“Well, that’s the depressing part.” Grandma nodded with a sigh. She looked away from the cloth and at Clark. “They had found a shipwreck off the coast somewhere. I saw it on the news and lo and behold, there was this sail among the wreckage. That’s when I knew it was him. I tracked those news people down and demanded I get this sail back. He took a lot of things with him when he left, all of it lost at sea, except for this. I’ve held onto it ever since.”

Clark felt his eyes tearing up. He quickly rubbed his eyes with the backs of his hands. He didn’t want to cry in front of his mother and grandmother. How embarrassing would that be?

“I’m sorry to hear that… Accidents do happen, I guess.” Clark said. He wasn’t too sure what to say actually.

Grandma nodded. She smiled and Rita and held out her hand, her daughter taking it and giving it a squeeze. “I knew he wouldn’t do well out there. That’s why I tried to get pregnant as soon as I could. I wanted him to have a life first.” She laughed.

“And a good thing you did.” Rita said quietly.

Clark narrowed his eyes. “You didn’t trust Grandpa to go out to sea alone?”

His grandmother laughed. She looked back at him with amusement filling her gaze. “Oh, my dear, he didn’t know the first thing about sailing.”

Words: 1,797

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Short Story Sunday 221: Rush

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

            Tanner ran down the stairs, past the kitchen, through the living room, and dashed out the front door. He didn’t even bother to call goodbye to his mother or father. They both had a day off from work so they were most likely still sleeping anyway. If anything, they woke up to the front door slamming behind Tanner. Not that he had meant to slam it shut so loudly, but he was in such a rush that he wasn’t thinking.

He ran down the street trying to keep his breathing steady as he sprinted. He knew well enough to keep a good pace and to remember to breathe while running, but he needed to go fast. He had slept in way too late and now his legs and lungs were going to have to pay for it.

As he ran, Tanner thought back to his parents encouraging him to join the track team at school. He was a fast kid. He needed to be since he was late everywhere he went. However, he didn’t feel the need to join the team since he practically ran every day anyway.

His parents had wanted him to learn how to run properly though. He sprinted everywhere he went taking occasional breaks to catch his breath. They knew, and so did he, that he probably pushed his body too much when trying to get where he needed to go. If he was going to run and run fast, they preferred it be on a track with a coach to monitor him and make sure he didn’t make himself pass out.

Then again, none of this would be needed if his parents had just bought him a car. He had gotten his license right at the age of 16 and was excited to drive himself to school. He was excited to take his friends out after school to hang out. Of course, both his parents worked and actually had lives themselves so they always had their cars. Tanner wasn’t able to drive their cars except on the weekends and even then his parents were a little iffy because there were always errands that needed to be done.

Tanner still had to take the bus to school every morning because both of his parents had to be at work before school started. The thing was, Tanner always overslept so he usually missed the bus. How did he get to school? He ran.

He was getting tired of it. He knew it was his own fault that he kept hitting the snooze button on his alarm clock, but he was a teenager. People didn’t really expect him to be punctual, did they?

Now it was Saturday morning, the universal day for all teenagers to sleep in until noon. It was his only day to sleep in – well, he slept in every day, but it was his only day that he could actually sleep in without having to worry about being late anywhere. His parents made him go to church on Sundays so didn’t have the entire weekend to sleep.

Here he was, up fairly early on a Saturday morning having to run because he’s parents wouldn’t buy him a car. No, he needed to get a job. He had to run to his job because he didn’t have a car. It was a vicious cycle.

Tanner, still running down the street, took his phone out of his pocket and checked the time. At this speed, he’d make it in five minutes and he needed to be at the store in ten minutes. Hopefully, he’d be fine.

The upside to all this was he was in great shape.

He made it to the store and walked through the front door breathing heavily. He smiled at a woman behind the counter who stared at him with raised eyebrows.

“You’re not the new hire, are you?” she asked.

Tanner frowned and looked down at himself.

The downside to this was he was sweating through his uniform.

Words: 666

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Short Story Sunday 220: Quote

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

            “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful. Eric Thomas.”

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. Walt Disney.”

“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible. Arthur C. Clarke.”

Brooke peered through the archway as she walked by the entrance to the living room. She paused after she passed and took a couple steps backward gazing into the room again. Her little sister was lying on her stomach on the plush carpet. Markers were displayed all over the floor, a large poster board lying in front of her. She was humming to herself as she colored.

Brooke entered the room tossing the clean towels she had just washed onto the couch. She stood over her sister and tilted her head to read the writing on the poster. Her sister’s handwriting was atrocious and she was using so many colors – all the colors, really – that it was hard to read.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“I’m writing quotes.” Amber replied. She didn’t look up from her work. She continued coloring the black outline of words with a neon pink marker.

“Quotes for what?”

“Just because.”

Brooke squatted beside her lying sister and squinted her eyes to try to read the writing. “These aren’t too bad. Why are you writing motivational quotes though?”

“It’s for a present.” Amber replied.

Brooke nodded not knowing what else to say. She patted her sister on the top of her head. “Well, good job. Have fun.” She stood up her knees popping as she straightened out. Brooke groaned. She was in her mid-twenties, her body shouldn’t have been making weird noises.

She picked up the towels from the couch and left the room to put them away and finish the laundry.

Brooke was in between jobs. She used to work for a graphic design company. Her boss wasn’t very good and she had always worked the majority on a project because her co-workers always seemed to slack off. She had quit unexpectedly after getting so annoyed. She didn’t know what had come over her and were afraid her parents would be angry but they were actually proud.

In fact, they encouraged her to take this time to build a portfolio of her work and try to go into graphic design for herself as a freelancer. Once she could make a steady income from it she’d go back to school for business and build her own team of graphic designers.

It worked out well for her parents and for Amber as well. Their parents both worked full-time jobs, their father working a part-time job as well. Amber was old enough to stay home alone for a little while but their parents felt better knowing Brooke was home to pick Amber up from school and stay with her at home to make sure she completed her homework and such.

Brooke worked hard during the day while her parents and sister were at work and school, but after picking Amber up from school; Brooke spent the rest of the day doing chores. Her parents worked hard and were allowing her to take a big risk. She figured the least she could do was have the house clean and dinner started for them when they got home.

Later that night, Brooke had just finished helping her mother clean up from dinner. It was still early enough that she figured she could finish up one of her projects before relaxing for the night and heading to bed.

When she entered her bedroom, also her office, Brooke paused in the doorway.

“Amber! What are you doing in my room?” she demanded.

Amber turned around. She smiled sheepishly. “I was hoping you’d take a little longer downstairs.” She stepped to the side showing off her posterboard.

Brooke looked down at her sister’s feet seeing the tape dispenser and pieces of used tapes scattered at her feet. She sighed at the mess.

“What are you doing?” she asked more calm this time.

Amber shrugged. “I wanted it to be a surprise but you caught me earlier working on it.”

Brooke cracked a smile. “You were working on it in the middle of the living room. It wasn’t very subtle.”

“I was trying to hang it on the wall for you, but I think the poster is too heavy for the tape so it wouldn’t stay.” Amber turned around and looked at the board. She folded her arms as though she was trying to think of a new way to get it to stay.

Brooke stepped into the room and stood beside her sister. “Well, it’s a tri-fold posterboard. It’s meant to stand up on its own.”

“I know that.” Amber scoffed.

“Then you can’t hang it up.” Brooke shrugged.

Amber thought for a moment. She picked up the posterboard and moved it to the other side of the room. Brooke bent down and began picking up the little bits of tape.

“Perfect!”

Brooke stood up crumpling the tape into a ball in her hands. She stared at her sister who had stood the poster up beside her desk.

“Wait, I thought you said that was a present? You meant for me?” she asked.

Amber nodded. She stood beside the poster tall smiling proud as though it was her prized work showing it off for a science fair.

Brooke smiled. “Thank you, Amber. It’s lovely.”

“I thought you might need this to help you with your work.”

Brooke dropped the ball of tape back onto the floor and bent down to hug her sister. “This is the best gift I’ve ever gotten.”

Words: 952

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Short Story Sunday 219: Invitation

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

            “Who invited him?” Angie said in a whisper as she leaned over to her friend covering the side of her mouth with her palm. She eyed their classmate from afar.

Casey shrugged her shoulders. “How am I supposed to know? I’m not hosting the party.” She took a drink from her red plastic cup and smiled. “God, this is so good!”

Angie jumped and turned to face her friend. She looked at her quizzically. Why was it a good thing Allen was there?

Casey noticed Angie staring and she pointed into her cup with a wide grin. “Mom and dad haven’t let me have soda in so long.”

“Why?”

“They’re trying to cut out sugar, which means I have to cut out sugar.” Casey said with a groan. She rolled her eyes and put one hand on her hip. “I mean, they can make themselves suffer all they want, it’s their lives, but why drag me into it?”

Angie nodded absentmindedly. She was already looking back at Allen, who was leaning against the back wall alone. He didn’t even have a drink in his hand. Angie followed his gaze as he watched people walk by him, none of them bothering to cast him a quick glance him.

“Hello?”

Angie peeled her eyes away from Allen and turned her head only to see Casey right in her face. She had a deadpan expression.

“Are you listening to me?” Casey asked.

Angie nodded.

“What was the last thing I said?”

Angie opened her mouth but nothing came out. In fact, she had forgotten Casey was beside her let alone having a conversation with her.

Casey sighed but she was smiling. She downed the rest of her soda and placed the empty cup on a nearby coffee table. Casey stepped over one of their classmates lying on the floor – he was fine, conscious even – Angie had no idea why he was on the ground but she was afraid to question it. Angie watched as Casey got farther away and felt her face grow hotter and hotter the closer Casey got to Allen.

What was she doing? They had agreed to stay together during this party. Why was Casey going toward Allen? As far as Angie knew, Allen and Casey had never spoken to each other before. They didn’t have classes together, Allen probably had no idea Casey existed.

Angie gasped when she saw Casey take Allen by the hand and pull him away from the wall. He looked as shocked as she did. Angie could see his mouth moving as he was being dragged but Casey never looked back and said a word to them.

Angie wrung her hands together nervously. Were they coming over here? Casey was totally bringing Allen over here. Why? Why would Casey do that?

Angie and Allen had a couple classes together, but she didn’t think he knew she existed. Angie always sat in the back of the class, Allen always in front. Allen always raised his hand and participated in class, Angie always had her head bowed with her phone under her desk texting Casey. In between texts she would stare and admire the back of Allen’s head.

Casey arrived standing in front of Angie. She pulled Allen closer forcing him to stand beside her. She smiled looking back and forth between the two and motioned with her hands for them to get together.

“Have fun. I’m gonna get more soda.” Casey announced. She picked up her empty cup from the table and disappeared into the crowd.

Angie watched her walk away. She wanted to call out to her friend but no words would come out. The place was too crowded anyway; Angie doubted Casey would hear her. Or she’d just ignore her friend’s pleas.

She slowly turned to look at Allen. Yep, he was still there. Right in front of her. Staring into her eyes.

Angie pressed her lips together in embarrassment and looked at the ground. She played with the curls of her hair twirling her finger around.

“Uh… Hi?”

Angie’s eyes grew wide still staring at the floor. He spoke. What did that mean? What should she do? What did he want?

Allen’s face came into view upside down as he bent over to look at Angie’s face. She’d press it into the ground if that wouldn’t be deemed weird… then again, that kid was still lying on the floor. Maybe she should join him.

Instead Angie stiffened standing tall again. Allen jumped standing upright again. He looked at her with concern – or was it nerves? Did he think she was a freak?

“Are you okay?” he asked.

Angie nodded. It was a lie, but what else could she say? Nothing, apparently. She hadn’t spoken since he stepped into her bubble space.

“Look, I don’t really know why that girl brought me over here. If you want me to leave, I will.” Allen said. He jerked his thumb over his shoulder pointing back to the wall.

Once again, Angie had opened her mouth but nothing came out. He stared at her expectantly. Angie felt her face flush again. The room was beginning to feel like a desert. Did no one know how to work an air conditioner? This place was packed with people, turn a fan on! And was that B.O. she smelled? She hoped it wasn’t her.

“Yeah… Okay. I’m going to uh, go back. See ya.” Allen said slowly backing away. When he turned his back and began walking away, it was then Angie noticed she had her nose in her armpit. What was wrong with her?

She stiffened again bringing her arm down by her side. She looked around hoping no one else saw that. When Angie glanced to her right she saw Casey shaking her head. Of course. Of all the people to see what an embarrassment Angie was.

Casey made a confused face and mouthed, “What are you doing?”

Angie shrugged. She didn’t have a good answer for her and she certainly wasn’t going to shout across the room.

Casey pointed and Angie read her lips again. Angie shook her head in response. No, she was not going to follow him.

Casey narrowed her eyes and pointed to Allen again. She said something different, but it was through gritted teeth so Angie couldn’t make out what she was trying to say. She could guess though.

Angie sighed turning her head to look at Allen from afar again. He was leaning against the wall again watching the bustle of party-goers around him. Why did he even come if he was just going to stand by himself and not mingle with anyone?

She looked down at herself. Oh, right.

Angie cast a side glance at Casey not wanting to meet her friend’s gaze. Casey stood with both hands on her hips staring Angie down like a disappointed mother.

This was it. Angie drew in a sharp breath and took a step forward. She stepped over the kid lying on the floor – he was playing a game on his phone now – she weaved in and out of the crowd of kids. No one noticed her as she pushed through them.

When she made it to Allen she stood in front of him. He didn’t notice her right away. He was staring at a couple of boys playing foosball. Angie suddenly couldn’t move now. Her feet were planted into the ground and the rest of her body felt numb. She wasn’t sure if this was as far as she was getting or if she was going to fall flat on her face.

Allen faced forward again. They locked eyes right away and Allen gasped surprised. Angie swallowed a lump in her throat. She was just as surprised as he was.

Yet, as they stared at each other, Angie felt the heat disperse from her cheeks. The feeling came back to her legs. Her heart sped up a little bit but she didn’t know if that was from nerves or because Allen had seen her again.

He remained silent and Angie couldn’t blame him. In fact, she wouldn’t blame him if he left the party right then and there. Could this be classified as stalking? Maybe, she wasn’t sure. She was being a creep at the very least.

Angie cleared her throat and scooted closer to the wall. She stood beside him pressing her back against the wall. She turned to look in the opposite direction as though she didn’t notice he was there.

He was still silent and so was she. All Angie could hear with their classmates talking, shouting, playing games… Was Allen still standing there or did he talk that as an opportunity to run?

Angie bowed her head to the ground and slowly lifted it to the left hoping Allen was still there.

He was. She lifted her head all the way – he had to be at least a foot taller than she. They locked eyes again.

Allen smiled. Angie couldn’t help but smile back.

Words: 1,505

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Short Story Sunday 218: Partner

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

            “Well, it looks like it’s going to be you and me.” Shelby said. She put her books down on the desk and put her tote bag on the ground next to her chair. She sat down and smiled at the boy next to her.

His name was Hank. He was the new kid in school. A lot of rumors were spreading around about Hank, but none that Shelby believed. She didn’t know Hank personally. All she knew was that he was a boy her age who was just starting this new school. She didn’t know anything else about him, yet some people were saying outrageous things.

Some said he was a vampire on account he was so pale. People were thinking that this was his first time outside. Others were saying that he was such a bully at his old school that he must have been expelled. Others still thought he had flunked out of his old school. Or, some thought, maybe his parents were divorced. His mother couldn’t handle him so he had to move to live with his father. Shelby didn’t know if any of these accusations were true. As far as she knew, he was just a normal kid like her, trying to get through high school.

It was in the middle of the school year, yet there were new classes beginning at the start of the second and final semester. Shelby was already a bit nervous because she wasn’t good at science class and she had heard rumors about this teacher. But again, she tried not to listen to them. It still rocked her nerves a bit though.

“I’m Shelby,” she said turning to Hank with her hand sticking out for a shake.

Hank didn’t pay her any attention though. He didn’t flinch at her words or her hand coming into his face. He didn’t turn his head to look at her, he didn’t blink. It was as though he didn’t even know that she was sitting right beside him.

Shelby cleared her throat and brought her hand back down by her side. She looked all around the room. A group of kids sitting on the other side of the room stared and snickered. Sure enough they were now making fun of her for attempting to talk to the newbie. She tried not to let that bother her, though. If she was going to be stuck being lab partners with the new kid, she was going to be friendly towards him. Maybe they could even become friends and she could help him get to know his way around the school.

Shelby looked back at him and titled her head to the side trying to get a good look at his face. His blue eyes looked dull and he had dark bags under his eyes. His red, curly hair was unkempt and she could hear his nose whistle as he breathed. Maybe he just had a cold and wasn’t feeling too well. Yeah, that must have been it.

“Okay, well, if you have any questions about anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask.” Shelby said trying to sound as cheerful and friendly as she could. “I’m sure it’s difficult to start a new school.”

She cleared her throat again suddenly embarrassed. The other group of kids were still staring and laughing. Hank clearly didn’t care one way or the other so she just slouched in her chair and opened her textbook.

“So,” Hank broke the silence though he never took his eyes off the white board. “Which rumor do you believe?”

Shelby looked up at him in surprise. “Um… What?”

“Do you think my parents were killed in a car crash and now I’m living with my estranged grandmother?” he asked in a monotone. He slowly turned his head to look at her, his eyes seeming to be half closed.

Shelby sat up in her chair staring at him. He was either sleeping with his eyes open, he was on drugs, or that was just how his face looked.

“Huh. I haven’t heard that one yet.” She muttered.

Hank snorted and turned the other way.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that…” Shelby quickly defended herself. “I don’t believe in any of the rumors.”

“Right,” he grunted.

“I mean it. I don’t know you.” She said. Then she glared at him. “And you don’t know me either so don’t assume I’m part of that rumor nonsense.”

He turned to look at her again; his eyes open wider this time. “Touché,”

“Yeah… So there.” Shelby sneered.

Hank cracked a smile. “That’s the best you’ve got?”

Shelby shrugged. “Well, it’s not like I want to be rude.”

“Well, then.” Hank turned his body to face her and stuck out his hand. “It’s nice to meet you then, Shelby. You’re the first person to not be rude to me… Intentionally, I mean. I’m Hank.”

Shelby hesitated, but then she smiled and shook his head. “See, was that so hard?”

“Yes,” Hank said dully again taking his hand back.

“Alright, are we ready to start?” their teacher asked entering the classroom. Everyone immediately walked over to their seats.

“This is why people spread rumors about you, you know.” Shelby whispered flipping through her textbook again.

“No, people spread rumors because they’re bored. Because they spy fresh meat and find pleasure in putting other people down.” Hank replied quietly while opening his own textbook.

“Or,” Shelby said leaning back in her chair. “Maybe they’re intimated by you. They can’t be bothered to know the real you in case you’re better than them.”

“Oh, please. It’s my first day.” Hank snorted.

Before Shelby could respond, their teacher began to speak and officially started the class. The next 45 minutes went smoothly. They worked out of the textbook for most of it and listened to the lecture. Shelby and Hank didn’t have to do anything together, but there would be plenty of labs where they would have to share a grade.

When the bell rang, Hank packed up his things and smiled at Shelby. “Well, it was nice meeting you. I look forward to working with you. I hope you’re good at science because I’m not.”

Shelby laughed. “I’m not either.”

Hank nodded. “We’ll figure it out together then.”

“That’d be great.”

With another small nod, Hank stood up and walked across the class to leave. Shelby sat in her seat mesmerized as he walked away. He was a giant. He had to duck his head as he went through the door.

People thought he was a vampire? He was most definitely an alien.

Words: 1,102

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Short Story Sunday 217: Oxygen

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

            Amelia sat in the waiting room. Her body was slumped over one of the hospital chairs. It was cushioned, but was not at all comfortable. Then again, it may have been because she was sitting there for so long.

Her head was bowed down as she felt herself drifting off to sleep. She wouldn’t allow it though. The doctor was going to come out any moment and give her an update on her grandfather. While her eye lids were heavy and they stung every time she blinked, Amelia was not going to rest. Not while her grandfather was in pain and possibly suffering.

Amelia had called her mother, her grandfather’s daughter. She had also contacted her sister and a couple of her cousins. A few never answered the phone and the others were on their way.

It was Amelia’s turn to visit her grandfather. It was her turn to make sure he was comfortable and to keep him company for a little while. And while she knew something like this was going to happen soon, she had never imagined that he would have happened on her watch.

She could now say that she had dialed the emergency number for someone. She could now say that she finally put her CPR class to good use. She could now say that this might be it for her grandfather and she would officially have no more grandparents left.

“Amelia South?”

Amelia shot out of her chair as though she was never half-asleep. She didn’t want to seem too eager, but how else was someone supposed to act in such a situation?

“I’m Dr. Hopper,” a tall man stuck out his hand.

Amelia shook it staring up at him as best she could. Her vision was getting a little blurry though. She didn’t know if tears were forming or if sleep was overcoming her while standing.

“Amelia South, as you know, how do you do?”

“I’m as well as I can be, thank you.” He nodded. “You’re Rusty’s granddaughter?”

“Yes,”

“Is there anyone else coming?”

“My mother is on her way. She’s his daughter. I don’t know what’s keeping her though.”

“Okay, well I’ll tell you so you’re not in such suspense anymore.” He cracked a smile.

“Thank you,” Amelia breathed. She didn’t know why he was smiling in such a dire time, but she was going to take that as a good sign.

“Your grandfather is going to be just fine. You can see him in a moment. He had an asthma attack and being 92-years-old, his body had a tough time fighting back.” Dr. Hopper explained.

Now the tears started to come. An asthma attack wasn’t good, but it was better than a lot of other things that could have happened.

“We’ve put him on oxygen and there’s a chance he’ll need to be on that for the rest of his life, but he’ll be able to go home. We’re just going to keep him overnight for observations.”

“Thank you,” Amelia said with a grateful grin.

“You can come see him.” Dr. Hopper took a step back and led the way down the hall.

Amelia trotted after the doctor like an excited puppy. She smiled when she saw her grandfather lying in a hospital bed wearing a gown hooked up to IVs, various wires, and an oxygen tank.

“Grandpa?” she asked.

He turned his head and smiled at her. “Hey, Amelia. Did you hear? My lungs tried to kill me.”

Amelia chuckled as she sat down in a chair beside his bed. “You’re very lucky, you know. If you had just gotten that cold checked out at the doctor’s like we all told you to.”

“Oh, hush. What good would that have done? An asthma attack is an asthma attack. It would have happened sooner or later. Besides, it’s all alright. It’s not my time to go just yet. Don’t you worry about that.” He stretched out his hand and Amelia took it.

A few minutes later, Amelia’s mother came running into the room. She let out a sigh of relief upon seeing the two of them together. She walked over to the bed.

“Dad… How are you?”

“I’m great,” he smiled.

“Well,” Amelia’s mother looked down at her daughter and let out a small chuckle, “That makes one of us anyway.”

They laughed and Amelia’s mother pulled up a chair beside her daughter. Then the three of them sat and talked for a while. After a while, Amelia had forgotten that they were even in the hospital.

Words: 756

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Short Story Sunday 216: Nothing

Short Story: "Nothing" | Flash Fiction | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

“Oh, it was nothing.” He had said. But she knew better.

It was nothing to him, no skin off his back, but it bothered her. She didn’t know why it bothered her and she didn’t want it to bother her. But it did.

Did it really matter? There was nothing she could do about it. There were no more words to be said. There were no more actions to take.

He was fine, he was happy. That was all that mattered, right? But what about her?

People asked, “Is something the matter? What’s wrong?”

And she simply replied, “It’s nothing.”

Words: 100

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out my other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com