Posted in Short Story Sunday

Short Story Sunday 179: The Writing Portfolio

It was the second day of school for my cousins. One was in her sophomore year of high school and the other had just begun eighth grade. Neither were happy to be going back to school, but when they came home on that first day, they were all smiles. I think they were glad to be back into some sort of routine and it was nice to see all their friends again.

So on that second day, it occured me that we were indeed back into the swing of things. And when I say that, I mean homework.

The three of us were the only ones home and we sat in the living room talking. I asked how their days went. The older of the two said her day was fine, the younger described every minute of her day without missing one detail.

Then I asked about their homework. Being in upper middle school and high school, I assumed they had homework. Even if it was the second day of school.

They both nodded, the older explaining she had no idea what she had to do.

I took out her planner and read out loud what she wrote.

“English,” I said, “bring in writing portfolio.”

“Yeah, what’s that?” she asked.

I blinked at her. How did she not know what a writing portfolio was? Still, I explained it to her that it was like having samples of your writing. It was a folder of her previous work, I assumed essays she had written from her English class last year.

“I don’t have that.” she shrugged.

I didn’t know whether to agree or not. I was sure she had copies saved on the computer, but her teacher didn’t really expect the kids to keep an actual hard copy portfolio from the previous year?

“Well, what did your teacher say?” I asked.

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know…?”

“She might have explained it, but I don’t remember… Or maybe I wasn’t paying attention.”

This didn’t surprise me. I sighed and said, “Well, I guess you can just ask your teacher tomorrow.”

“But it was due today.”

I stared at her. I glanced at my other cousin, who sat in the armchair beside me. She was smirking, clearly enjoying that her sister was going to get a bad grade on the second day of school.

“Wait, it was due today, but you didn’t think to worry about this last night?” I asked.

“Well,” she continued, “my teacher must have said something about it yesterday and I just wasn’t paying attention. I only know about it now because kids were handing in thick folders with papers inside to her today.”

I sighed. “Okay then you’re just going to have to reprint everything you wrote last year and put it all together.”

“I don’t have that.”

“You have your laptop.”

“But I didn’t save anything.”

I cringed at this. How do you not save your homework? How can you write pages upon pages of essays and not bother to save any of it or at least print out an extra copy?

“I mean, the more stuff I save onto the computer the slower the computer will be.” she explained with a smile. A proud smile as though she had thought outside the box and solved the “slow computer” problem. The answer has clearly been right in front of us the whole time… So, stop saving your work onto the computer, everyone!

I had no idea what to say to her.

“Then go to your English teacher from last year and ask him if he has any copies.” I said. I knew that was a long shot, but it was the only thing I could think of to say.

“He already gave it to me.” she replied.

“Then what are we even talking about here…?”

“I think that’s how the other kids had their folders. Our teachers last year gave them to us at the end of the year.”

“Then where’s yours?”

“I asked Daddy to make a fire at the beginning of the summer and I burned all my schoolwork.”

At this, my other cousin burst out laughing. I was completely dumbfounded.

Thankfully, my mom walked through the front door. I stood up and said, “Tag. You’re it.”

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you think in the comments below and we’ll chat!
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Posted in Short Story Sunday

Short Story Sunday 178: Random

Short Story: "Random" | Flash Fiction

            Quinn walked through the long hallway at one of the buildings of her college campus. She walked with her head down staring at her cell phone. She was texting her sister, Alexia, who was somewhere at the same college. She was just in a different building in class.

After sending a quick response to her sister, Quinn looked up from her phone to watch where she was going. She was headed to the library to work on some homework while she waited for Alexia to get out of class. There were a ton of kids walking coming out of the library. Quinn stepped to the side to let them through. A class must have just got out that was being held in the library.

“You’re misinterpreting randomness.” A tall guy said to his friend as they walked by.

Quinn couldn’t help but smirk at the comment. She had no idea what they had been talking about, but she found it hilarious all the same. That was definitely something Alexia would love to hear.

As Quinn entered the library, she put her cell phone into her back pocket. The librarians didn’t care if the students were on their cell phones just as long as they were on silent and didn’t actually talk on the phone. Even so, Quinn always felt as though she was breaking some sort of rule if a librarian noticed her texting or playing a game on her phone.

She walked all the way to the back of the library behind some tall bookshelves and put her tote bag down on top of an empty square table. She took her phone out of her back pocket, put it on the table, and sat down. Quinn took out her laptop and turned it on. While waiting for it to boot up, she plugged her computer into a small dome-shaped outlet in the middle of the table that fit four plugs. She reached back into her bag, took out a notebook and pen, and then put her tote bag down on the ground underneath her chair.

Her laptop, being five years old, was still loading since she had shut it down all the way instead of hibernating it like she usually did. So, Quinn picked up her cell phone and texted her sister: “Heard in the halls: ‘You’re misinterpreting randomness!’” She snickered as she hit the send button before putting it back down and then giving her attention to her laptop.

Quinn opened her notebook to her notes about the book she was reading for her English class. Her professor had given the class a list of three essay questions to go along with the book. Quinn had picked one out and already wrote a rough draft of most of the essay in her notebook. She always liked writing her essays in notebooks first. Then she could edit, add, and delete things as she typed. So, when she edited the typed version, it would be like already editing the second draft.

Once she got a word document up on her laptop and was just about to type away, she noticed the screen of her phone light up from the corner of her eye. She smiled knowing that Alexia would get a kick out of that sentence Quinn had just texted her. Quinn couldn’t wait to see what she said.

“Hmm. I wonder what that means?”

Quinn raised an eyebrow at the response. What was that supposed to mean? It was just funny, wasn’t it?

“I mean,” Alexia texted again, “I wonder if someone said something silly and someone else took offense to it. Hence, them misinterpreting randomness.”

Quinn scratched the top of her head while texting back with one finger on her other hand. “Aren’t you over thinking this one just a bit? I just thought it was funny and, no pun intended, random.”

“Right, but that’s a great line to use in a novel.” Alexia responded.

Quinn nodded her head impressed once she got the response from her sister. Both Quinn and Alexia enjoyed writing stories. Neither one of them knew if they were serious enough to want to be published someday, but they both searched for ideas everywhere. Inspiration was hidden in everyday life and it was fun to find.

“So, I’m trying to imagine the story behind it.” Alexia replied again.

“I think you’re right on the ball.” Quinn typed into her phone. “I don’t really have any other ideas as to what it could mean. I mean, who says that kind of thing to people?”

Quinn got back to typing up her essay as Alexia didn’t respond for a while. Quinn knew that she had a test in her math class was probably in the middle of doing that. The best part about taking tests in college was that, usually, when you finished you were able to leave class early. Alexia was pretty good at math, so Quinn had her hopes up that she would finish quickly and the two of them would be able to go home early.

Both of them also had the day off from work so both of them were eager to get home and early as possible and enjoy the rest of the day.

Another half hour had passed when Alexia texted Quinn to meet her at the car in the parking lot. Quinn grinned at the message. Alexia was usually in class for another 45 minutes. She was happy to get out early.

She packed up all of her things, not bothering to turn off her laptop. She simply closed it knowing that she was going to use it right when she got home anyway. Quinn put everything into her tote bag and stood up to leave.

As she walked out of the library, she passed by the two boys coming back into library. Quinn looked away from them as she caught herself smiling thinking back to what they were saying earlier.

“Yeah, she’s still mad at me. I started speaking gibberish and she thought I was making fun of another culture. I told her I was just being random, but she didn’t believe me.”

Quinn raised an eyebrow as they entered the library and she exited the building. That was a pretty stupid reason to why he said what he did earlier, unless they were talking about something else, but that didn’t seem the case.

Quinn smiled again as she headed towards the parking lot. She and Alexia could write a much better story using that line of dialogue.

Words: 1,090

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Posted in Short Story Sunday

Short Story Sunday 177: Quack

Short Story: "Quack" | Flash Fiction

            Joanna walked out of her house and across the street to the pond. The sun was just starting to rise so most people weren’t out and about yet, especially since it was a Saturday morning. She had been walking around the pond every Saturday morning for the past couple of years. The only times she hadn’t was when she or her husband was sick or if it was too cold during the winter time. If that was the case, she loved to sit on her front porch and watch the water sparkle in the sun.

Joanna wanted to stay home this morning. She had just buried her husband the day before and she wasn’t sure if would be able to walk the pond alone without getting too upset. However, she had a feeling that her husband was going to want her to walk around the pond. He wasn’t there physically, but she knew that he would be there with her.

She walked around the perimeter of the pond until she made it halfway. He had always gotten tired at this point so they sat down at a bench and rested for a few minutes. Joanna wasn’t tired at all. In fact, she could have finished the lap and then walked around a second time if she wanted to. However, she felt as though she should sit down on the bench just for her husband’s sake. Maybe he was there waiting for her.

Joanna watched the ducks wade on the surface of the pond. Her husband had always brought bread or crackers with him in hopes that a duck would waddle up to him and eat out of his hand. He and Joanna knew they shouldn’t have been feeding the ducks, but they enjoyed it and so did the ducks. Except, the ducks never came near them. They always stayed a safe distance away even though Joanna and her husband would have their hands out gently with food in their palms. Finally, they would give up waiting for the ducks to make a move and eventually toss them the food where they would promptly gobble it up and head back into the water.

As Joanna sat down at the bench she realized that she had completely forgotten about the bread and cracked. She sighed hoping the ducks wouldn’t feel bad. She hoped her husband wouldn’t be disappointed with her.

She closed her eyes and prayed to her husband for a few moments.

“Quack,”

She opened her eyes and looked around. She turned around and noticed a duck standing right behind the bench. He waddled around the side and sat down on the ground in front of the bench where her husband would have been sitting next to her.

“Hello,” Joanna smiled.

They sat together in silence for a little while. The duck remained in that spot until Joanna decided it was time for her to get up and go home. Only then did the duck waddle back into the pond.

Words: 499

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Posted in Short Story Sunday

Short Story Sunday 176: Smell

Short Story: "Smell" | Flash Fiction

            “What’s that smell?” Barbara asked. She stuck her nose in the air and sniffed a couple of times before drawing in a deep breath.

Emily sat up in her bed and sniffed the air without saying anything in response. Then she looked at her sister and shrugged her shoulders.

Barbara tossed the blankets off of her body and swung her legs over the side of her own bed. She slid her feet into her slippers and stood up grabbing her silk bathrobe that hung on the frame of her bed.

Emily watched as her older sister walked out of their bedroom. Once Barbara was gone, Emily decided to get up and out of bed as well. She didn’t smell anything at all so she was curious as to what Barbara was doing.

Emily reached up on top of her shelf and put on some slipper socks. She always kicked them off her feet in her sleep in the middle of the night so she didn’t bother wearing them to bed anymore. Once they were on, she hopped out of bed and followed her sisters downstairs with her arms wrapped around herself. There was a slight chill in the air and Emily wasn’t one for bathrobes. She was still wearing tank tops to bed even though it was going to be winter soon.

When Emily reached the bottom of the stairs and walked into the kitchen. She sniffed the air again, but she still couldn’t smell anything. Her nose was usually stuffy in the morning. That was most likely caused from her wearing a tank top and no socks to bed in chilly weather, but she didn’t care.

“What do you smell?” she asked her sister.

Barbara looked all around the kitchen. She twisted each knob on the stove to make sure they were all shut off. “I thought I smelled something burning. I still do, but nothing seems to be on.”

“Maybe the heat clicked on. Sometimes it smells like something is burning.” Emily suggested.

Barbara nodded her head. “Yeah, you could be right. I just wanted to check anyway.”

“Good idea.” Emily agreed. Their parents were out of town for the weekend. The last thing they needed was for their parents to come home to no house.

Barbara looked at the clock on the microwave and sighed. “I was hoping to sleep in a little later than this.”

“It’s Saturday, though. We have the whole day now!” Emily smiled. It was only seven o’clock in the morning. Which, to Emily, that was a normal time to wake up. Barbara liked to sleep in late, though.

“I know,” Barbara sighed. “I’m going to take a shower and then maybe we can go food shopping?”

Emily nodded. “I want to take a shower too, though.”

They walked out of the kitchen together and both stopped shocked as they made it into the living room. There, just outside their window, the neighbor’s house across the street was smoking.

“Barbara, is that…?” Emily stammered.

Barbara walked closer to the window and noticed the smoke coming from the kitchen window. “I can’t tell if they just burned something or if there is an actual fire.”

Emily turned right around and went back into the kitchen. She picked up their landline and dialed the number to their neighbor’s house. The phone rang a couple of times before someone picked up.

“Hi, it’s Emily across the street. There’s a lot of smoke coming from your kitchen. Are you guys cooking something?” Emily asked. The phone was attached to a cord, but she stretched it out enough so she could peek into the living room.

“No?” her neighbor responded.

Barbara gasped in the other room. “I think I see flames!”

“Jill, I think your house is on fire.” Emily said quickly.

“I’m calling the fire department.” Barbara raced back up the stairs to get her cell phone.

While still on the phone with Emily, Jill went down stairs in her own house and checked out the kitchen. Sure enough, there was a fire. She woke up her husband and two kids. She gathered up the cat and they all ran outside together.

Emily opened her front door and beckoned for them to come inside. It was cold out and they shouldn’t have been standing right outside their smoke-filled house.

“I can’t believe this!” Jill exclaimed as she sat down on the couch in Emily’s living room.

“The fire department is on the way.” Barbara said walking back down into the living room. Shortly after, they heard sirens in the distance.

“What do you think happened?” Emily asked.

“I have no idea.” Jill shrugged her shoulders. “I noticed the stove burner was on. The cat might up jumped up there and turned it on by accident.”

“I thought you had child-proof locks on the knobs because he jumped up there a lot?” Barbara asked.

“We do, but he broke one of them. We haven’t gotten a new one for it yet.” Jill sighed.

Barbara and Emily looked at each other pitifully.

A red fire truck pulled up just outside their house and the firefighters immediately went into action.

“Stay here, I’ll handle this.” Jill’s husband walked away from the window and went outside.

They all watched from the window as the fire department took out their big hose and washed their house down. Fortunately, the fire didn’t get big enough to spread through the rest of the house.

When all was said and done, Jill went outside to talk to her husband and the fire fighters.

“The good news is,” her husband said, “it was just the kitchen. The bad news is, we have no kitchen.”

Jill put a hand on her heart. “I’ll take that as opposed to the whole house burning up.”

Emily elbowed her sister as they watched Jill and her husband talk to the firemen. “Good nose.”

Barbara chuckled. “I only got out of bed because I thought Mom was making pancakes or something.”

“Mom isn’t even home.”

“I know, but when you wake up groggy, you forget these things.”

Words: 1,016

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing, Writing Prompts

Short Story Sunday 175: Special (Part Four)

Short Story: "Special" [Part Four] | Flash Fiction

Read Parts One, Two & Three Here!

Thanks to everyone who read and voted on the third part of this short story. You all chose for Meredith to fold the page and put it into her back pocket. Enjoy this final part!

            Meredith didn’t know what to think about this notebook or the new Paige. She thought that if she got rid of the paper, it would get rid of the new Paige. But what if it didn’t? She sighed, folding the page and sliding it into her back pocket. She was already late to her first class, so she figured she might as well go visit her dear old professor.

*

            “Come in, come in,”

Meredith pushed the doors open to his office. Professor Hobbs had the day off today, but he lived at the college. He always made time for his students.

“Good morning, Professor.” Meredith greeted politely. She wanted to get the formalities out of the way.

“Hello, my dear. What brings you in today? No classes?” he asked.

Meredith shook her head. It was easier to pretend she didn’t have any plans that day. She walked across the room over to where Professor Hobbs sat behind his desk. The place was a mess and his desk was covered with papers.

“I had a question for you about…” Meredith swallowed a dry lump, “well, about the notebook.”

The Professor titled his head to one side looking confused. “What did you do…?” he asked ominously.

Meredith snapped her head to look up at him. She narrowed her eyes. “Did you know I was going to mess things up?”

“No, no… I expected you to do great things with this notebook. Still, curiosity gets to the better of us. What did you unleash into the school?” he drummed his fingers together with a wicked grin.

Meredith continued to stare at the one teacher she looked up to the most. Now she was having second thoughts. She held up the notebook. “What were you expecting me to do, exactly?”

Professor Hobbs continued to stare at her, waiting.

She sighed. “I changed Paige. I tried writing a story about me and her and she woke up this morning an entirely different person.”

“Excellent!” Professor Hobbs threw his head back and laughed.

“No!” Meredith snapped. “It’s not excellent at all! We have to get the real Paige back.”

The room went silent as the Professor looked Meredith in the eyes once more. He frowned and then shrugged his shoulders. “Well, I apologize to say that we cannot get the real Paige back. You’ve rewritten her future.”

“I wrote two paragraphs…” Meredith breathed.

The Professor didn’t respond.

“What exactly did you want me to do with this notebook?” she asked. “If it changes things that can’t be changed back… What did you expect me to do?”

Professor Hobbs shifted his gaze away as he stroked his stubbly chin. Then he turned his back on her and began to rummage through a filing cabinet behind his desk. “You will figure it out. The paper is special and you are special. You’ll learn how to use it wisely. All you need to do is get to know it a little better. Start small and then you can create big things within the stained lines of the parchment.”

Parchment? Meredith raised an eyebrow. She was beginning to realize that Professor Hobbs may be a bit off his rocker. She slowly back away towards the door.

“Okay, Professor. I’ll figure it out.”

“Don’t tell anyone about Paige!” he whipped around waving a finger in the air.

“I promise,” she nodded. Then she slipped out the door.

Meredith closed it and was alone in the hallway. She bit her lower lip trying to process everything, but nothing was making sense in her head. She looked down into her tote bag, now empty.

What Professor Hobbs didn’t realize was that she had buried the notebook underneath all the paperwork on his desk while he rambled on and on with his back turned.

She didn’t know why she was the special one to carry that notebook, but it was too heavy a burden to carry. So now, Meredith would never know.

Once again, thanks to everyone who voted on the various parts of this story! I had fun writing it and I hope you had fun reading and participating in it.

Let me know your thoughts on the story in the comments below. For example, what do you think Professor Hobbs was trying to accomplish? I have further ideas for this story and I’m curious of what you all think. Let’s chat in the comments!

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Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing, Writing Prompts

Short Story Sunday 174: Special (Part Three)

Short Story: "Special" [Part Three] | Flash Fiction

Read Parts One & Two Here!

You guys voted for Meredith to wake the stranger, so that’s exactly what she does. Enjoy, and please vote for the next part below!

            Meredith sighed deeply as she prepared herself for what she was about to do. She reached underneath her bed and pulled out a baseball bat. One of her other friends had left it in her room and she just kicked her underneath her bed. It bothered her that they never came back for it, but she was grateful it was in her hands now.

She drew in a breath and held it as she stood as far away from the bed as possible. She stretched out her arm holding the bat and gently poked the lump under the blankets.

Nothing happened.

Harder this time, Meredith jabbed the bat into the person’s backside. They groaned and rolled over in response, causing Meredith to jump on top of her bed as though the floor was suddenly made of lava.

The girl turned over in Paige’s bed. When she blinked her eyes open and saw Meredith, she sat up looking confused.

“Meredith, what are you doing?” she asked.

Meredith’s eyes grew wide. She held onto the bat tighter. “How do you know my name…?”

The girl rolled her eyes. “Don’t be stupid, we’ve been roommates all semester.”

Meredith furrowed her brows. Quietly, she said, “Paige…?”

The girl, apparently Paige, looked at Meredith. “What?”

Meredith sighed, sitting back down on her bed crossing her legs. She blinked her eyes a few times, shaking her head, and even rubbing her cheeks with her hands, but this other girl, who claimed to be Paige, was still there.

What in the world was going on?

“Oh, crap, is that the time?” Paige groaned upon looking at her cell phone. She threw her blankets off her body and hopped out of bed. “Why didn’t you say something? We’re both going to be late!”

Meredith watched Paige grab her clothes and dash into the bathroom.

No, this couldn’t have been Paige. Paige had a mop of thick, curly auburn hair and this person had stick straight blonde hair. Paige snored and this person didn’t. Paige didn’t care how late she was to class and this one did. Who was this person and why were they pretending to be Paige? Was Paige trying to play some sort of trick on Meredith?

After a few moments, “Paige” came out of the bathroom running a brush through her hair. “Aren’t you going to head to class?”

“I usually wait for you.” Meredith said quietly.

Paige chuckled. “How late did you stay up last night? You’re acting so strange.”

“And you’re not?”

Paige cocked her head to the side. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, you weren’t snoring, you changed your hair, and you actually woke up fairly easily. Plus, you’re talking about going to class.” Meredith explained.

Paige put her brush down on her bed and put her hands on her hips. “Okay, the semester is just about over. I would think you’d know me a little by now. I told you that over the summer I got those nasal strip things. I straighten my hair after each shower because the curls were driving me nuts. And, you and I have been a team when it comes being late to class. You usually cover for me, but now…” she glanced at the time on her phone and rolled her eyes. “Now we’re both going to get into trouble.”

Meredith didn’t remember any of this. Paige was a completely different person when she went to bed. How could this be happening?

Paige picked up her school books and sighed. “Well, I guess I’m going to try to explain my tardiness to the professor. You coming?”

Meredith slowly shook her head.

Paige nodded. “I’ll tell the professor you got sick last night.” She winked and suddenly she was out the door.

Meredith immediately reached for the notebook underneath her mattress. That had to be it! Her professor told her it was special, he said to use it wisely. She wrote about Paige, wishing she could change her roommate, and that’s exactly what happened.

How, she wasn’t sure.

Meredith took out the notebook and opened to the first page. She re-read what she wrote and shook her head. She didn’t want this notebook to be changing everything in her life. As cool as this version of Paige seemed, she wanted the old Paige back.

She ripped out the first page, silver sparks popping as the papers tears.

Meredith paused trying to process what had just happened. What did those sparks mean? Were they going to cause a fire or something?

She glanced at her waste basket and then back at the notebook. Then she looked at the page in her hand.

Surely, since it was out of the notebook, Paige was back to normal, right? Or did she have to tear up the page and throw it away to get the old Paige back?

I hope you enjoyed this third part of the story. Please vote below and check back next Sunday to see what happens next!

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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Short Story Sunday 173: Special (Part Two)

Short Story: "Special" [Part Two] | Flash Fiction

You voted for Meredith to write a fictional story in her notebook. Thanks to everyone who voted!

If you haven’t already, read Part One of this story here!

            Meredith drummed her fingers on her desk staring at the first two blank pages before her. She looked over her shoulder at her sleeping roommate and wondered whether she should do anything with this notebook or not.

Professor Hobbs seemed adamant that he wanted her to keep it a secret, to keep the notebook hidden in a safe place. Yet, he had told her to “use it wisely.” How she was supposed to use it, Meredith had no idea. It was just a notebook, wasn’t it? How does a notebook have special paper and how are you supposed to be careful with it?

Meredith reached over to a wire cylinder cup on the top right hand corner of her desk and picked out a blue gel-ink pen. It was her favorite pen because it made her handwriting look much better than it was. The point of the pen just glided along the paper so smoothly. Special paper called for a special pen.

She tapped her chin with the backside of the pen. What should she write in the notebook? What would Professor Hobbs want her to write about? It had to be something good.

Was anyone else going to see what she wrote, or was it just going to be herself and maybe Professor Hobbs?

Right before she was about to place the tip of her pen on the paper, her roommate snorted. Meredith rolled her eyes. She and her roommate, Paige, got along very well, but Paige snored a lot. It was often hard for Meredith to get a good night’s sleep because of Paige, especially because she was also a night owl. Meredith was surprised Paige was even asleep at the moment.

Then Meredith chuckled. She knew exactly what to write.

Once upon a time there were two young girls who attended the same boarding school and were roommates together.

She cringed at the opening line, but she shrugged and continued. She could rip the page out later.

Amy majored in English while her roommate Justine majored in science. Amy was an early-bird and Justine was a night owl. Amy didn’t snore, Justine did. Amy often wished for a new roommate.

Meredith took her pen off the page and leaned back in her chair. It was a lousy beginning to a story, if one could even call it that, but at least she could say that she wrote something in the notebook. She had a feeling that Professor Hobbs was going to ask her about it the following day when they got to the class. Meredith could tell him that she really like the paper and started brainstorming for their final assignment in it, even though that wasn’t entirely true.

Professor Hobbs was an English teacher and he was always trying to get his students into creative writing. Most of the students grunted and groaned, but Meredith didn’t really mind it. It was a nice break from all the academic stuff from her other classes.

For their final assignment for the semester, they had to write a short story. Meredith wasn’t planning on writing a short story about Paige’s snoring problem and her own lack of sleep, but at least she was able to tell her teacher that she tried writing in the notebook. The final assignment was the reason he gave it to her, right? Though she didn’t exactly see what was so special about the notebook.

Meredith took her cell phone out of her back pocket and checked the time. It was almost midnight. She gasped and closed her notebook. She was never going to be able to wake up in time for her first class if she stayed up any later.

With the notebook closed, Meredith tucked it under her pillow. She crawled into bed and pulled the covers up under her chin. Meredith closed her eyes and as soon as the clock struck midnight, she drifted off into a deep sleep and Paige’s snoring abruptly stopped.

*

            Meredith awoke the following morning at six to her alarm on her cell phone. She quickly sat up and shut it off. She stretched her arms high up above her head and let out a massive yawn. Meredith blinked the sleep out of her eyes and tossed her legs over the side of her bed.

“Paige, it’s time to get up.” Meredith grunted standing up from her bed. She and Paige had the same class starting at seven on Wednesday mornings. Yet, Meredith was always accountable for waking Paige because she had such a hard time with mornings. So, when Paige didn’t budge, Meredith didn’t think anything of it.

She walked over to Paige’s bed and poked her back. “Come on, Paige.”

Paige rolled over onto her back and Meredith was able to see her face. Except it wasn’t Paige’s face. The girl in Paige’s bed was not Paige. Meredith had no idea who it was. Yet, she looked strangely familiar.

She gasped looking all around the room, but it was a small room. There would be no where for Paige to hide if she was trying to play a prank on Meredith. Besides, how would she get a complete stranger to come in and sleep in her bed?

Meredith looked back at the stranger lying in her roommate’s bed and drew in a deep breath. She wasn’t entirely sure what to do next. She knew Paige was sleeping in her room just a few hours ago.

I hope you enjoyed this second part. Please vote below on what Meredith should do next! Check back next week to read the next part to see what happens.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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Short Story Sunday 172: Special (Part One)

Short Story, "Special" [Part One] | Flash Fiction

“Special” is an interactive story! I hope you enjoy this first part and, when you get to the end, please vote on what you think should happen next!

“It’s a special kind of paper. Use it wisely.”

Meredith took the one-subject spiral bound notebook into her own hands. She eyed her professor with caution before drifting her gaze down to the shiny, purple cover. She rubbed the palm of her hand along the top while it balanced on top of her other palm.

“So… Now what?” she asked.

Professor Hobbs pointed to the notebook as though egging her on to do something with it, despite his warning to use its power wisely. Meredith, of course, took that as a sense of danger. So she didn’t want anything to do with the paper. At least not now.

Meredith raised an eyebrow at his grin. He was starting to make her feel a bit uncomfortable. The smile wasn’t going away from his face and he was way too happy about whatever this paper was capable of doing.

But it was just paper. It wasn’t capable of doing anything, right?

She opened the cover of the notebook revealing the first, blank page. She stared at it and then looked back up at Professor Hobbs. His smile grew and Meredith could have sworn she heard his voice squeak in excitement.

“I still don’t get it.” She deadpanned. She was confused and getting annoyed by her teacher’s behavior.

She had thought she was in some sort of trouble when he had called her into his office. She had assumed she got a bad remark on the last essay she had to turn in. Instead, when she entered his office, he was ecstatic to see that she had heeded his request.

Now that he had given her a blank notebook that supposedly held “special paper,” Meredith didn’t know whether to be flattered or assume that her professor was cracked up.

“You won’t understand its full potential until you actually use it.” Professor Hobbs said, his tone quick and sharp with excitement. His hands were out as though he was going to use them as he spoke, but his fingers only flittered and fidgeted together. Meredith had never seen him speak like this in any of his lectures. Was he drunk or something?

“Use it? You mean write in it.” Meredith corrected.

“Or draw in it,”

“I’m not a very good artist.” She shook her head.

“Ah, yes, you’re right. Maybe it would be best if you stayed away from doodling in that notebook. It could prove to be disastrous.” Professor Hobbs stroked his chin with his thumb and index finger deep in thought.

Meredith closed the notebook without saying anything else. She had a feeling this notebook was just going to lead to more trouble than it was worth. And she felt silly for thinking such a thing, because how could a notebook cause trouble in any way?

“Use the notebook, Meredith. You’re a wonderful writer and a beautiful person.” Professor Hobbs said. He looked around the room as though he was making sure that the two of them were alone. Then he lowered his voice and continued, “I believe you will be able to do great things with that notebook. Just think before you use it, okay?”

“I still have no idea what you’re talking about.” Meredith said in her normal tone of voice. She tucked the notebook underneath her arm without even thinking about it, but she noticed Professor Hobbs watch her tuck it away as though his heart shattered.

“Be gentle with it, take care of it,” He said, his fingers dancing in midair again. “You’ll know when it comes time to use it.”

Meredith cocked her head to the side, but didn’t bother to say anything else. She had a feeling the conversation would just continue to run in circles.

Professor Hobbs flicked his wrists as though he was shooing her away. “Off you go now. And please do not tell anyone about that notebook. Hide it. Keep it safe.”

Meredith nodded her head as she turned to walk out the door. “Uh, thank you, Professor. I’ll see you tomorrow in class, then?”

“Yes, yes,” he replied in barely a whisper.

Meredith walked through the long, dark hallway. It was well past curfew at this point. Apparently since this notebook was supposed to be a secret, she now understood why Professor Hobbs wanted to talk to her in private after school hours.

She continued on, her mind racing with various questions about the paper, but she tried to push them out of her mind. It was late after all and she had a test in the morning. She needed to get some sleep.

Yet, when Meredith made it back to her room, she tip-toed over to her desk. She tried to be quiet as her dorm mate slept on the other side of the room. Meredith turned on her lamp with a faint click and turned the head so that the light was away from her sleeping friend.

Then she opened the notebook to the first page.

I hope you enjoyed this first part. Please vote below on what Meredith should do with the notebook! Check back next week to read the next part and see what happens.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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Short Story Sunday 171: The Night Before Christmas [Dear Diary]

Short Story: "The Night Before Christmas" | Flash Fiction

            I babysit three to four days a week for a family I’ve been with for two years now. They have two kids, a boy, Zachary, at the age of eight, and a girl, Riley, at the age of ten. I had the two of them in preschool when I worked at the preschool in my church before it closed. I’ve known them for a long time, but now we have a much different relationship than teacher and student. It grew into a babysitter status and now that’s it’s been two years, I feel as though I’m more of a big sister to them. I still have the authority of a babysitter, but we treat each other like family.

I remember having them in preschool and both of them were very creative and energetic. They loved being at the art table drawing and creating crafts with our recycled toilet paper rolls, cardboard cereal boxes, and the like.

Now that I’m with them and see their home, I know how they’ve kept that creativeness in them all these years. I always tell people they are the easiest kids I’ve ever babysat (and I’ve watched many families over the years) because I don’t have to nag them to do things, other than homework, but really, who can blame them?

They always want to be outside and if they can’t go outside they want to create something such as drawing, writing, or baking. It’s very rare that I have to pull them away from the TV or their iPads, which is nice. So, if want a lazy day to just watch a movie together, I don’t feel bad doing so because we don’t sit around and do nothing that often.

The kids know that I love to write and that I hope to be a full-time author someday. They enjoy writing stories of their own. So, one day in November 2016, the kids were seven and nine at the time, Zachary asked to write a book with me.

One of his spelling words that week was “publish.” He kept asking me questions such as if I had any books published or when I would publish them and so on and so forth. I answered as best as I could to get a seven-year-old to understand, especially since I knew he was asking because the word was in the back of his mind from school.

That same day he asked if he could write a book with me. I said I would love to.

“I’ll be the illustrator, so I’ll draw the pictures.” He had said.

“Perfect! You’re a much better drawer than I am.” I had responded, which wasn’t a lie. He really is a much better artist than I am. I can’t draw no matter how much I would love to be good at it.

“You can be the writer… I forget what the actual word is called.” He said.

“You mean author?”

“Yeah,”

We got out a stack of blank paper, some pencils, a black fine-tipped marker, and he got out his artists chest which held tons of markers, crayons, oil pastels, paints, and much more.

“What are we calling this book?” I asked, uncapping my marker.

“The Night Before Christmas.” He said with a smile.

I chuckled writing it down at the top of the cover page. We both know there’s a book called that already, but it seemed appropriate for the kind of story he wanted to tell.

I wrote the title and underneath I wrote my name next to “author” and his name next to “illustrator.”

“Wouldn’t this be awesome if we could get this book published?” Zachary asked.

“That would be so cool.” I agreed.

I grabbed a new page and created a couple of lines using the edge of a box since I couldn’t find a ruler. I wrote the number one at the top of the page and then looked at Zachary.

“So, what are we writing?”

“A mom and dad go far away to buy Christmas presents for their four kids. But there’s a blizzard so they can’t take a plane home, so they get on a train. Then that breaks because of the snow and the cold so then they all wish they can be home for Christmas—oh, this happens on Christmas Eve, by the way—and then Santa appears and lets the mom and dad get on his sleigh and he and his reindeer drop them off at home. Then everyone is happy.” Zachary explained it in nearly one breath. I listened intently and nodded my head here and there taking the plot in.

“That sounds like a wonderful idea! I’ll get to work.” I began to write the first page, which was just a couple sentences long.

I gave Zachary the first page and as he drew the picture for that one, I began to work on the second page. We worked on two pages a day since, according to him, drawing the pictures was a lot of tough work. The first page alone was covered with stars, which represented the snow.

A few days later, as we neared the end of the story, Zachary was lying on the living room floor illustrating one of the pages. I was in the kitchen making him a grilled cheese sandwich when he called out to me.

“Do you think we could ever get this book published?” he had asked.

“I don’t know. It would be cool if we did, but getting a book published is a lot of hard work and it takes a long time.” I explained to him which still in the kitchen standing over the stove.

“I know we probably won’t get this published, but I just think that would be so awesome if we did.” Zachary continued. “I mean, you said you tried to get some books published, but haven’t right?”

“Right,”

“So if we got this book published then it would be your first one.” Zachary said. I could hear the smile in his voice. “And I would just be so proud of you.”

My heart melted. Zachary is the sweetest boy you’ll ever meet. He’s always looking for ways to help people and he rarely thinks of himself before others. The fact that he said he would be proud of me for publishing my first book instead of him, a seven-year-old, thinking how cool it would be if he got a book published made me so happy.

I’ve tried explaining the writing world to non-writers who ask me about it. They never fully understand and, since they don’t write, I don’t expect them to. However, some of them just don’t get it or some think they understand when they have it completely wrong.

Zachary doesn’t understand, but that’s because he was seven at the time. Yet, despite his age and innocence, he understood enough.

He wouldn’t be proud that I have a book published because he can say that he knows someone “famous,” but because he knows what a huge accomplishment that would be.

And, I hope, in the near future I will be able to celebrate that accomplishment with them.

Words: 1,194

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Short Story Sunday 170: Pumpkin

Short Story: "Pumpkin" | Flash Fiction

            Anna pushed the stroller along the pumpkin patch as her eight-month-old son napped. As she paced around hoping to keep him asleep, she watched her husband and her five-year-old daughter wander around the many pumpkins for sale.

Anna’s daughter, Victoria, had never picked out her own pumpkin before. She was too young at the age of one, didn’t understand what was going on at the age of two, and she had a terrible cold when she was three and four. It was the weirdest thing and Anna expected the worst this year, but she was happy that Victoria was finally able to pick out her own pumpkin. And Victoria sure was excited!

She waddled around the many pumpkins looking thoroughly at each one. Parker, Anna’s husband, followed closely behind waiting for their daughter to finally pick one out.

“What about this one?” he picked up a small one. It was a good size for Victoria to carry all on her own.

Victoria tilted her head to the side staring at the pumpkin. She was thinking deeply about whether she wanted it or not. Finally, she shook her head. “Nah,”

“Why not? This one is cute.” Parker said.

Victoria ignored him and kept on walking. Anna chuckled from the sidelines.

“Okay, well then how about this one over here?” Parker picked up another one. It was the same size, but it was more round like a circle rather than an oval like the other one he picked up.

Victoria turned around and looked at it. She tilted her head to the side again in wonderment. Anna stifled a laugh. Did her daughter always tilt her head like that when she was deep in thought? Who did she get that one from?

“Nah,” Victoria said coldly. She abruptly turned around and kept walking.

Parker sighed and put down the pumpkin. He looked at Anna and shrugged his shoulders.

“Don’t rush her. This is a very crucial decision.” Anna said with a smile.

Parker nodded, but he continued to look for more pumpkins. He spotted a white one and pointed to it. “Hey, Victoria, look at that white one!”

Victoria stopped and stared at it in confusion. “That’s not a pumpkin.”

“What are you talking about?” Parker asked. “Of course it is.”

Victoria shook her head. “Pumpkins are orange.”

“Not all pumpkins.”

“Pumpkins are orange.” She said again and walked away.

Anna burst out laughing. Parker turned his attention and narrowed his eyes at his wife. “She sure told you!” Anna said.

“She takes after her mother.” Parker smirked.

“Good,” Anna replied bluntly.

Victoria continued to weave in and out all of the pumpkins. Parker followed along not bothering to point out any more pumpkins. He obviously had no idea what his daughter wanted. Well, he knew she wanted an orange pumpkin at least.

Victoria gasped with a grin spread across her face and she broke out into a run. She tripped a couple of times over some of the pumpkins, but she never fell down. Parker watched her get farther away, but wasn’t worried as the patch wasn’t that big. He couldn’t lose sight of her.

“Victoria,” he called out to her, “where are you going? The smaller pumpkins are over here.”

Victoria stopped and pointed to one right next to her. “I want this one!”

Parker’s jaw dropped. The pumpkin was the same size as his three-foot daughter. Why on earth did she want a pumpkin the same size as her? He thought she was going to want to carry it around with her. She couldn’t carry that! Would Parker be able to carry it? He had no idea.

“This is perfect!” Victoria cheered jumping up and down.

As Parker got closer to her he realized that she wasn’t wrong. The pumpkin was, to say the least, pretty perfect. It was the ideal circle, and very smooth to the touch. It was a bright orange color, too, so of course Victoria wasn’t going to shun it.

“How are we going to get that one home?” Parker asked.

“You carry it.” Victoria shrugged.

Parker sighed. Well, he didn’t go to the gym every morning for nothing.

Parker squatted and wrapped his arms around the pumpkin. He grunted as he lifted it off of the ground. “Watch out, Victoria. If I drop this, I don’t want to squish you.”

Victoria cheered and ran back to her mother. Anna stared at Parker with wide eyes.

“You’re letting her get that pumpkin?” she asked.

“This is the one that she wanted.” Parker groaned. He tried to shift his weight to get a better grip on the pumpkin, but it was like trying to hug a sumo wrestler.

“Where are we going to put it?” Anna asked.

“On the front porch,” Parker stated.

“But how are we supposed to carve it?”

“On the front porch,”

“We’re going to just sit out on the front lawn with knives and carving tools and just let the neighbors watch us carve a humongous pumpkin?”

“Anna,” Parker grunted, “if I drop this pumpkin, that won’t be the only thing that will smash.”

Anna looked down at Victoria who was grinning from ear to ear. No, they couldn’t allow this pumpkin to break or else they’ll break their daughter’s heart.

“You’re right, we should go.” Anna sighed.

“I think my back is going to break… And I can barely see anything around this thing, so could you lead me?” Parker asked.

“Parker,” Anna sighed, “how are we even going to get it into the car?” she looked down at Victoria. “Honey, let’s try to find a pumpkin daddy can carry.”

Victoria’s bottom lip quivered as Parker spoke up.

“No, I already got it this far. Let’s just keep moving, please.”

Victoria smiled again and Anna pursed her lips together worriedly. This was not how she expected their pumpkin picking adventure to go.

“Alright, but…” Anna started.

Parker groaned. “Now what?”

“Well… You know they charge by the pound, right?”

Parker closed his eyes and sighed loudly. He wanted to complain, but he also wanted to let Victoria get whichever pumpkin she wanted to get. It was the first one she picked out all by herself.

“It’s just one pumpkin, Anna. We can deal with it.” Parker said.

“If you say so,” Anna shrugged. She took Victoria’s hand and together she and her daughter pushed the stroller over towards the cash register.

After Anna had paid for the pumpkin, Parker stretched out his arms and then squatted again to pick up the pumpkin. Before he stood up, he looked up at Anna.

“Why don’t you go on ahead and bring the kids to the car?”

“But shouldn’t we stay with you in case you fall over?” Anna asked.

Parker sighed. “Anna, just bring the kids to the car, please.”

Anna shrugged and turned away without another word.

Parker lugged the pumpkin all the way out to the parking lot. Anna was in the driver’s seat with the engine running in front of the general store just outside the pumpkin patch. He smiled, grateful that Anna had brought the car around for him. The trunk automatically opened and Parker dropped the pumpkin in as gently as he could. He let out a big sigh and held onto his back as he closed the trunk door.

He walked around the car and sat down in the passenger seat.

“Are you okay?” Anna asked.

Parker nodded still trying to catch his breath.

“Thank you, Daddy,” Victoria said sweetly from her car seat in the back.

Parker smiled. The back pain was suddenly worth it.

Words: 1,269

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