Short Story Sunday 288: Embox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s not what I meant.”

“You’re not excited?”

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

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

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

“Oh, dear…” Sam sighed.

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

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

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

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

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

“Feeling better?” he asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words: 1,026

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Short Story Sunday 287: Make

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Good.” He grinned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May nodded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words: 1,054

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Short Story Sunday 286: More

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

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

Bella ignored him.

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

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

“I’m not rushing you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“One more minute?” Bella asked sweetly.

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

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

“Why not?”

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

Words: 511

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Short Story Sunday 285: Bad

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

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

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

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

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

“Then why aren’t you swallowed?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jasmine wiped her eyes but nodded.

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

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

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

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

Words: 895

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Short Story Sunday 284: Hook

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

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

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

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

Jane sighed. This better not be an essay assignment.

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

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

So, she rose her hand.

“Yes, Jane?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was certainly an assignment she felt confident in doing.

Words: 787

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Short Story Sunday 283: Bend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“If you push me in…”

“Would I really do that to you?”

“Yes,”

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

“Gee, thanks…” Hazel grunted.

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

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

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

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

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

Grant grinned. “You’re on!”

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

Words: 568

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Short Story Sunday 282: Set

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

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

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

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

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

“We cook dinner for ourselves every night.”

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

“Well, we need to learn.”

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

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

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

“Homemade mac and cheese.” Stella grinned.

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

Words: 244

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Short Story Sunday 281: Stomp

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

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

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

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

“Why was it dumb?” Audrey continued.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But it’s the first day of school!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words: 673

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Short Story Sunday 280: Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No, why?” Scarlett shook her head.

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

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

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

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

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

“What do you mean?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words: 1,102

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Short Story Sunday 277: Follow (Part Two)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I know you’re in there.”

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

“If you want to live, follow me.”

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

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

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

Alex nodded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You know what I mean,”

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

“Don’t you dare,” Luna snapped.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alex shrugged. “And now we wait.”

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