Short Story Sunday 298: Celebration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mooollllyyyy!”

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

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

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

Molly shrugged when Iris let her go.

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

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

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

Molly felt even more behind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s this?” Molly asked.

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

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

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

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

Molly sighed. “You don’t have to.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re mom called us last night.”

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

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Short Story Sunday 297: Point

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Are you mad at me?”

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

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

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

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

“Really?”

“Really.”

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

“Sienna?”

“Hm?”

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

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

“I saw.” Owen said grimly.

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

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

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

“I learned from the best.”

Words: 466

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Short Story Sunday 296: Welcome

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

“Thank you,” Colton said as he dropped some change into the tip jar and took two hot coffees from the barista. She paid him no more attention as there was a long ling behind Colton in the café. He held the coffee close to him, weaving in and out of the people waiting for their own, and finally made his way back to his table.

He sat down handing one of the coffees to the woman sitting across from him. She took it, nodded her thanks, and took a sip looking at the crowd gathered in the coffee shop.

“You come here all the time?” Ingrid asked.

“Every day.” Colton replied with a proud smile. “I like the workers here and I don’t know why, but being in a coffee shop always helps me think.”

She turned to him and smirked. “A buzzing, obnoxiously loud coffee shop helps you think?”

“My apartment is too quiet, I guess.” he shrugged.

Ingrid gave him a small shrug of approval. She took another sip and hummed to herself. “Well, I can certainly see why people come here for the coffee.”

“Told you,” Colton replied taking a sip of his own.

The sat in silence for a few minutes. Ingrid watched the people roam around the cramped café while Colton watched her. She was new to town, new to the state. She moved halfway across the country to go to school, get her license, and get a job here. Why this particular spot, Colton had no idea; Ingrid was quiet and wasn’t too keen on opening up about her life. He understood that; neither was he. However, Colton wanted to get to know her as much as possible now that they were partners.

Colton wasn’t brand new to the force. He had been working on cases for almost a year now. However, there were some officers in the department who still considered him a rookie. His older partner moved up in the ranks and a lot of people were shocked to find out that the chief had assigned Colton a newbie as a partner. Some people called it, “the blind leading the blind,” but Colton knew that wasn’t the case.

He knew that wasn’t the case. He had a year’s worth experience and learning a lot from his previous partner. Sure, he was surprised to be assigned a new partner who was fresh out of the Academy and finishing up a college course, but he knew Ingrid wouldn’t have gotten the job if she wasn’t good. Colton knew there was a lot he could teach her and believed there was a lot she could teach him. He wasn’t worried about it at all.

“So, yeah,” Colton broke the silence capturing Ingrid’s attention, “since we’re partners, we’re probably going to be coming to this café a lot. I’m glad you like it.”

Ingrid cracked a small smile. “No, this is a nice place. I only hope I can get used to the noise like you are. I prefer quiet when I needed to think.”

“That’s good to know.” Colton replied. “What else?”

“What do you mean what else?”

“Tell me about yourself. How come you moved all the way out here to be an officer? What made you want to be an officer in the first place?” Colton rattled off a couple questions just to get her started.

Ingrid blinked at him and took a sip of her coffee. He could tell she was stalling on her answer. It was clear she didn’t have a good enough answer or she just didn’t want to tell him. He bit the inside of his cheek realizing his questions sounded like he was interviewing her for the job all over again.

“Are you allergic to anything?”

Ingrid narrowed her eyes at him in confusion.

“I mean, I brought you to a place with food.” Colton tried to explain himself for the random question. For some reason, he felt odd explaining that he just wanted them to get to know each other.

“I’m not allergic to anything.” Ingrid replied.

Colton nodded an approval. “Okay, good.”

“Are you?”

“What?”

“Allergic to anything? Ingrid asked.

“Oh, no. I’m not.”

“Good.”

“Good,” Colton said. He cleared his throat and took another sip of his coffee. Well, it was more like a big gulp. Why did he feel so awkward around her?

“We’re going to be working for a long time, I hope.” Ingrid stated.

“You hope?” Colton asked raising an eyebrow.

“I like you. You seem like a great guy, someone who knows what he’s doing. I think I’ll learn a lot from you being your partner.” Ingrid said nicely.

Colton held up his coffee as a cheers. “I know I’ll learn a lot from you as well.”

Ingrid smiled genuinely. Finally, he had said something right.

They went quiet again as did the buzz in the coffee shop. Colton checked his watch and realized they needed to get back to the station soon. He stood from his chair at the same time Ingrid did, clearly having the same thought. She chuckled at each other and Colton waved her on allowing her to lead the way.

As Ingrid passed him, she said, “My favorite color is blue.”

Colton nodded with a smile. It was a start.

Words: 884

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Short Story Sunday 295: Center

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

Piper held up the banner and straightened it out as best she could. The banner was over three feet long and her arm span couldn’t stretch that far to make sure it was completely flat against the wall, let alone not cooked.

“How’s this?” she grunted with her chest and one side of her cheek pressed against the wall as she was completely stretched out.

“It looks good.” Shane replied.

Piper tried to form a smile around half her face being squished by the wall. “Awesome. Did you tack it?”

She heard Shane do something behind her and then he came into view tacking the other side. Once he stepped away, Piper felt it safe enough to back away and look at the banner she had worked so hard on making. Of course, the hardest part was just hanging it up now.

Piper’s jaw dropped when she stepped back and saw the banner on the wall.

“Shane!”

“What?” he replied with confusion.

“Look at it!” Piper exclaimed pointing to the large paper. “You were supposed to direct me in hanging it up.”

“What? I think it looks great.” Shane stated. “You did a great job on it.”

“That’s not what I mean,” Piper countered exasperated. “You were supposed to tell me how it looked on the wall. If it were any more crooked, it’d be upside down. Plus, it’s not even high enough up on the wall.”

Shane scoffed. “Well, you’re not exactly tall and the step stool you used wasn’t even tall either.”

Piper glared at him. “You could have offered to help.”

“I did. You said you wanted it to be perfect, remember?”

Piper stiffened. She knew she was a control freak, but she didn’t remember saying that to him, even if it was only about 15 minutes ago. “Sorry,” she murmured.

“It’s doesn’t have to be centered. It’s fine.” Shane replied looking at the banner. “Honestly, that’s us.”

“But we haven’t seen Dad in a year.” Piper said with a disheartened sigh. “I wanted everything to look good and be perfect for him.”

Shane smiled wrapping his arm around his sister. “But that’s us. He hasn’t seen us in a year, something needs to remind him.”

“What are you talking about?”

“We’re crooked.”

Piper couldn’t help but laugh at that one.

Words: 384

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Short Story Sunday 294: Fast

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

Rachel opened the top of her turtle tank. She reached in, cupped her hand around her turtle’s shell and pulled her out. Cora held onto the small reptile with both hands as though she were about to take a bite out of her like a hamburger.

“Good morning, Raph.” She grinned, eye-level with the turtle, who poked her head out of her shell slowly stretching her long neck.

Rachel put the turtle down on the ground and watched as she slowly ambled away from her feet. Rachel stepped over her pet and walked toward her desk. She picked up the banana on the side of her desk and unpeeled it. She took a bite and then looked back down at the turtle who was now trying to crawl over her foot.

“Do you like bananas?” Rachel asked. She broke off a small piece of the banana and placed it down on the floor.

Raph wandered over to the piece, stretched out her neck to get a good look and sniff it. Rachel watched waiting for her to take a bite, but the turtle turned away and walked in the opposite direction.

Rachel shrugged and turned back to her work. Either Raph wasn’t hungry or didn’t want to bother trying the banana. Turtles were picky eaters and they were shy. They didn’t like to be watched while eating. Rachel decided to leave the banana there for now in case Raph wanted to give it a try later.

Rachel stood up from her desk. She left the room to grab her notebook from the next room. When she came back, she noticed her dog was in the room.

“Oh, hi, Chip.” She said. Then she noticed Chip was eating the piece of banana on the floor. “Chip!” she raised her voice. Not that a banana was bad for the dog, but that was supposed to be for Raph.

Raph noticed Chip eating the banana and, while she didn’t want it in the first place, felt compelled to chase the dog.

Rachel moved out of the doorway as Raph sprung into action. She began to move so fast that it was the fastest Rachel had ever seen a turtle move. Chip whimpered and ran out of the room as fast as her small legs would carry her.

Raph was a lot slower than Chip, but she was fast enough for a turtle.

Rachel laughed. She looked at Chip, who was hiding behind her.

“Well, you shouldn’t have eaten her banana.”

Words: 417

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Short Story Sunday 293: Cheat

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

Ivy flipped through the file for the hundredth time. She pressed her palms into her forehead staring down at the paperwork, her eyes being stretched open. There was no rhyme or reason to any of this. She was beginning to feel discouraged about the whole thing. The worst part of all this was she knew she was completely wrong to do this. She had brought it on herself and now she was more confused than ever before.

She had a huge math final coming up in the morning and she had no idea what she was doing.

Ivy wasn’t good at math. It was just something she always had a hard time understanding no matter how hard she tried at it. She paid attention in class and she did all her homework. She did well enough on the tests, but she was still only barely passing the class. The final was all the previous tests combined and if she knew anything at all, it was that there was no way she would remember all that she had supposedly learned throughout the school year.

Her neighbor was a year older than her and was a grade ahead. He was good at math but he also had the same math teacher Ivy had. This math teacher combined all the tests from the year together and were the same problems and numbers as the tests. If Ivy had known that she wouldn’t have thrown out any of her previous math tests when she got them back. She had most of the problems wrong anyway.

Her neighbor though, he still had the final math test along with all his other tests from the previous school year. He had given them to Ivy so she could study. He got As on all his tests with only one or two problems wrong here and there. It was hard for Ivy to study because all the answers were right in front of her. She tried to study the work that her neighbor had shown on his paper but she didn’t understand any of it. She had no idea what was going through his mind when he wrote these problems out.

So, now she was just trying to memorize the answers. She was good at memorizing things like that. How Ivy was going to show her work to her teacher when she got all the answers right, she had no idea. It was part of the reason Ivy was getting such a headache looking at these tests. She knew she was going to fail and even if she got the right answers, her teacher would surely know she was up to something with her lack of work… or she’d do the work out and get the wrong answer but someone write the correct answer anyway.

Ivy leaned back in her chair tilting her head. She stared up at the ceiling for a moment and the closed her eyes. There was no way she was going to get through this. She wasn’t going to pass the test no matter how well she studied. She wasn’t going to pass no matter how well she memorized her neighbor’s answers. She didn’t know how to do any of the work. She didn’t remember anything they had learned during that school year. There was some math on her neighbor’s paper that she actually didn’t recognize. She went back through her own notes and couldn’t find anything on it. Unless she was absent that day, but she always made up her missed work, Ivy was convinced her math teacher was throwing them for a loop.

“Excuse me?”

Ivy opened one eye to see the librarian standing over her.

“Hi, Honey,” she greeted warmly. “I wanted to let you know that we close in ten minutes so you need to wrap it up over here.”

“But I’m studying.” Ivy groaned. She lifted her head back up and wiped her eye with her index finger. She was tired, but she didn’t realize how exhausted she was. If the librarian hadn’t come over, Ivy probably would have fallen asleep.

“I can see that,” the library said with a light chuckle.

“I know… I’m doomed…” Ivy replied agreeing with the librarian. She wasn’t studying. Even if she were looking at the papers, she wasn’t studying at all.

The librarian patted the back of Ivy’s hand sympathetically. “Good luck on your test tomorrow, Sweetie. I hope to see you tomorrow.” She said as she walked away.

Ivy gave her a half-hearted wave as she closed the file folder and packed up her things. She was just going to have to accept her fate. She wasn’t able to get any more studying in or else her head would explode.

Actually, that didn’t sound like a bad idea. If her head exploded, she wouldn’t have to take the test. She wouldn’t have to take a test ever again.

No, no. That didn’t make any sense. That was possible. Ivy was stuck taking this test no matter what. It didn’t matter how well she was prepared; the test was coming ready or not.

The following morning, Ivy sat in the math class first period. She rested her head on the surface of her desk staring at her number two pencil, the pointed end staring her back in the face. She felt like the pencil was mocking her and she wanted to blame the pencil for any mistakes she knew she would make today… but she was thinking irrationally again.

“Take out your notes.” Her teacher said and all the students did just that.

Ivy looked around the room confused as she took out her own notes. Did they not have the final today? There was one week left of school, how was there no final today? Did she study for nothing? She wasted her entire night last night.

“I’m letting you use your notes on this test since it’s a big one. Be careful not to waste too much time looking up something though. If you don’t finish by the bell, then that’s that.” Her teacher explained. She began to pass out the final and Ivy swallowed a lump in her throat.

She took out her notebook with all her notes in it but they weren’t very good notes. She knew that was going to help her at all. She also took out the folder with her neighbor’s tests inside tucking it underneath the notebook.

What her teacher didn’t know wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Words: 1,081

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Short Story Sunday 292: Snow

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

Nora woke, sitting up in her bed extending her arms way up in the air and arching her back into a deep stretch. She stifled a yawn trying to convince herself not to lie back down and go to sleep. She had the day off from work and had planned the entire day to do errands. Normally, she enjoyed staying home all day when she didn’t have to go to work, but she figured she’d run her errands first thing and then have the whole day.

            She needed to run to the bank and pick up a few things at the grocery store. Neither of those things were something she wanted to put off.

Nora hopped out of bed and got dressed right away. There was a nip in the air and her brain went into panic mode trying to convince her to get back under the warm blankets. She always hated getting dressed first thing in the morning in the middle of winter. It sounded weird, but she was toasty from her bed only to get hit with a blast of cold air (despite the heat being on) and her clothes sitting on her dresser were always cold. She shivered as she stripped down and put on her clothes for the day – at least she had picked out sweatpants and a warm sweater.

Once she was dressed, she went over to the window and pulled the blinds opened. She gasped when she saw the amount of snow draped over the ground. There were quite a few inches of the white stuff. Nora couldn’t see her driveway, her car was blanketed, and she didn’t know where her mailbox had gone to. She didn’t remember the weather ever mentioning snow.

She walked over to her nightstand and grabbed the remote turning on the TV. The news immediately came on and, lucky for her, they were just starting to discuss the weather.

Surprise snow is what they were calling it. Last night the weather man said the skies would be cloudy and cold today but then everyone woke up to this. Nora grunted. The weather man was usually wrong, but not like this.

Nora turned her head to look back out the window. She wasn’t a fan of the snow. She didn’t like the cold and she always hated shoveling and brushing off her car. Yet, she smiled. The good things about the snow was that it was relaxing to watch and it was beautiful when all was said and done (until cars drive by and make the snow turn a yucky brown color).

“Well, then,” Nora said to herself as she turned off the TV. “I guess this means no errands for me today.”

The news mentioned everyone staying indoors today. Nora had already taken the day off from work so she didn’t need to worry about that. She didn’t need much at the grocery store and could always go tomorrow after work.

If she was going to stay home all day, a snowy day was the perfect day to do so.

Nora went downstairs to the kitchen and began making herself a cup of coffee. She was going to sit on the couch and begin her next read to start the day. It was going to be a good one.

Words: 550

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Short Story Sunday 291: Secret

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

Eli ran down the street as fast as he could. He held his drawstring backpack close to his chest and tried to avoid eye contact with anyone he passed. He weaved in and out of the crowd until his house came into view. Once he made it to his yard, he noticed an open window and his mother standing inside the kitchen. Eli stopped in his tracks. He couldn’t go into the house now. His mother was supposed to still be out shopping.

He looked left and right trying to find somewhere else to go. He noticed the stable and knew that was empty. His father and brother had taken the horses out to stretch their legs. Eli knew they wouldn’t be back until dinner.

Eli ran into the stables and into one of the horse’s pen. He sat down on the pile of hay and stared at his backpack.

“Eli?”

Eli hugged his backpack to his chest tighter holding onto his breath as well. The voice didn’t belong to his father, brother, or even his mother. He knew who it was but he didn’t want anyone seeing what he had found.

His friend poked his head around the wooden pillars and grinned. “Hey, there you are. I thought I saw you run by. I tried calling your name but I don’t think you heard me.”

Eli cracked a small smile. He had tried his hardest to make sure no one saw him. He thought Neville said he had a lot of chores to do and wasn’t able to go out. He must have finished them early and went out in search of Eli to hang out.

“What are you doing? You look like you’re hiding or something.” Neville questioned tilting his head to the side. He entered the stable and sat down beside his friend.

“I am hiding.” Eli replied. He tried not to grit his teeth but Neville was the one who said he couldn’t hang out. Now Eli needed some peace and quiet and Neville was bothering him.

“Why are you hiding?”

“If I could tell you, I wouldn’t be hiding in the first place.” Eli replied.

Neville frowned. “Oh,” he stood up and turned to leave, but Eli grabbed his arm and gently pulled him back down.

“Well, as long as you’re here. I guess this would be fun with more than just me. I mean, this is going to be a hard secret to keep to myself.” Eli explained.

Neville sat back down and grinned giddily. “Oh, there’s a secret involved? I want to know about it!”

“Then keep your voice down.” Eli scolded in a low tone.

“Sorry,” Neville whispered.

“You can keep a secret, can’t you?” Eli asked cautiously.

Neville nodded his head looking serious now. Eli noticed his gaze turned to the black backpack but he remained silent, patiently waiting.

Eli balanced the backpack on his laptop and slowly opened the top of the bag. He peered inside and glanced over at Neville. His friend looked like he was breaking out into a sweat in anticipation at what Eli was going to pull out of the bag.

Eli opened the bag a little bigger and reached his hands in to pull it out.

Neville gasped when his friend pulled out a small gray kitten. He put his hand over his mouth and Eli couldn’t tell if his friend was shocked or worried or excited. Eli held the kitten close to him. It mewed softly but seemed pretty content to be held and petted.

“Where did you get him?” Neville asked softly. He reached his hand over and stroked the kitten gently.

“I found him on the side of the road. There were a lot of people around. I didn’t want him to get stepped on so I scooped him up and brought him here.” Eli explained.

“And your mom said you can keep him?” Neville asked in a shocked tone.

Eli shook his head. “No, remember I said this was a secret?”

“Oh, yeah… so you’re just going to keep the kitten hidden?”

Eli sighed. “I don’t know. It’s not right for me to do that. It wouldn’t be fair to the kitten or to my parents… plus, I’d get in a whole lot of trouble.”

“So…” Neville looked away from the kitten and at his friend. “What are you going to do then? You have to tell your mom soon. It’s going to start getting cold out and you can’t leave the kitten in the stables. The horses would trample it!”

Eli narrowed his eyes. He obviously knew the kitten couldn’t stay in the stables, but now he was just imagining the kitten getting trampled. Why did Neville have to put that thought inside his head?

“I just told you, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I want to ask my parents about it but I know they’re not going to want a kitten and I can’t just let the kitten go back out onto the streets.” Eli said in a stressed tone. He hugged the kitten closer to him.

“You don’t really think your parents would force you to toss a kitten out onto the street, do you?”

Eli jumped hearing the new voice. When he opened his eyes, Neville was standing looking nervous. Eli’s mother stood in the doorway of the stables smiling.

“Oh, Mom…” Eli said standing. He looked down at the kitten in his arms and then back up at his mother, who sighed but was still smiling.

“We told you no kitten because we can’t afford to buy one right now. But I’m sure you have some allowance saved up?” she asked.

Eli nodded his head.

“Then maybe you and Neville should run to the store and get the kitten some food and a bed. Maybe get him a toy or two.”

Eli and Neville grinned at one another. Eli’s mother stepped to the side and pointed to the door. “You’re welcome. Now get a move on before it gets too dark.”

Eli gave his mother a hug. “Thank you!”

His mother took the kitten out of his hands. She snuggled with it to her cheek. “I’ll keep an eye on this little guy. Go on.”

“But Mom, wait.” Eli said and Neville paused in the doorway. “What about dad?”

His mother giggled staring at the kitten and stroking his chin. “Your father’s fine. He won’t be able to resist this face… Besides, I think I can convince him.”

“Oh, right. You’re always in charge.” Eli grinned.

His mother winked at him.

Words: 1,098

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Short Story Sunday 290: Potion

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

“What do you think would happen if I put the syrup into the mixture as well?” Margo wondered aloud. She held up a small glass bottle of brown liquid. She examined it as though the syrup itself would answer her.

She was experimenting and had to admit she had no idea what she was doing. Part of her homework assignment was figure out what various parts of a potion did to make the potion a potion – and to make it a good one. Margot had a list of ingredients and a recipe for a certain potion spell.

Ideally, her professor wanted her to recreate the spell and experiment by changing the amounts of each ingredient she put in or omitting some ingredients all together. Every part of a potion down the exact amount needed was important to every single spell. Even one little extra drop could change the entire outcome. It was her job to see what each ingredient did for a potion – or for this particular one – and see what her results had in common with the other witches in her class. Everyone had a different recipe they were supposed to work with and together they could find out if some ingredients helped with the spell or just added flavor.

Margot wanted to make sure her experiment was the best. She didn’t want to follow the exact recipe. She knew it would be cool to try to create her own potions and spells and see what each ingredient did to her own creations. (No, maple syrup was not one of the original ingredients she needed to use for the recipe her professor had assigned to her.)

She was giddy. She was wondered if she would stumble upon a brand new potion and create an awesome spell that no one had discovered yet. If that was the case, she wouldn’t need to finish school. She’d be famous!

Ruby stood on the other side of the room standing over her own cauldron over the fireplace. She looked over her shoulder and gave Margot a worried look as soon as she noticed the syrup.

“You know,” she said, “you should really follow the recipe our professor gave you. She’s not going to appreciate you not following her directions. You don’t know what could happen if you throw random amounts of syrup into your pot.”

Margot looked away from the syrup and grinned at her roommate. “Yeah, exactly. We don’t know. That’s the whole point of an experiment. Isn’t it exciting?”

“Isn’t what exciting?”

“Not knowing what’ll happen.”

“No, it’s not.” Ruby said gruffly. She turned away from her own work and glared at Margot. “I swear, if you blow up our cottage…”

“Don’t worry about that.” Margot laughed waving her hand dismissively. “Our professor wants us to experiment and that’s what I’m doing. Humans do it all the time. Why would she assign this to us if she didn’t expect us to get out of our comfort zones a bit?”

“Humans end up killing themselves and each other. Humans make mistakes all the time.” Ruby countered. “I don’t know how they do it since they don’t even have magic, but they manage.”

Margot stifled a laugh. “They manage to screw up because they’re stupid.”

“Agreed, but you’re being pretty stupid right now.” Ruby stated putting her hands on her hips. “Seriously, don’t put the syrup in. What other ingredients do you have over there that you’re not supposed to have?”

Margot hummed as she looked at the mess of ingredients on their kitchen counter. She paused for a moment trying to come up with an answer that wasn’t a lie but didn’t exactly tell Ruby the truth either. Pretty much all the ingredients she had, she wasn’t supposed to.

Their professor had given them small sample bags of all the ingredients they would need for their assigned recipe. Even though she only wanted them to experiment with the recipe three times, Margot had used up all of her sample on the first go. She had to improvise.

She had gone down to the kitchens late one night and took some more ingredients that she needed. It was innocent at first, but she saw all the other food and potion-making ingredients that she couldn’t help herself. This was the whole point of an experiment, right? Her professor should be proud of her for thinking outside the box and Ruby should be jealous right now.

“Hey,” Magot said finally answering her roommate, who was staring her down at this point. “Did you know that if you get hungry in the middle of the night, you can sneak down to the kitchens and get whatever you want for a snack? No one locks the kitchens and there’s no one on duty. We can go down at midnight tonight if you want and I’ll show you.”

“No,” Ruby said firmly. “I know that’s just code for you stole the ingredients that you’re not supposed to have.”

Margot sighed. “I really was hungry that first night. And I did need some extra ingredients because I used all mine up from what our professor gave us. I meant well. I still mean well.”

“That’s all well and fine, but you should know that every single potion uses just a pinch of every ingredient.” Ruby said.

“Really?” Margot asked scratching the top of her head. “No wonder I’ve failed all the tests…”

Ruby rolled her eyes and turned back to her cauldron. She peered inside and used her wand to stir the contents of the pot.

“What are you making over there? How did you change it from the original recipe?” Margot asked. She stood on her tip-toes to try to see inside the cauldron, but she was too far away and Ruby was blocking her view.

“Honestly, I’m not sure what this is. Our professor gave me a recipe I don’t recognize. I added an extra pinch of mint though, so we’ll see what happens. I figured, for my next try, I’ll omit the mint completely.” Ruby explained.

“Mint?” Margot repeated. She looked down at the maple syrup in the bottle, the orange and banana peel she had, and a few other random food items she had gathered from the kitchen.

“You know,” she started, “humans eat this stuff on a regular basis. We’re kind of wasting their food.”

Ruby grunted. “Says the witch who wanted to toss a whole bottle of maple syrup into her cauldron…”

“No, really.” Margot said ignoring the comment. “How come we waste the humans’ food like this? What good does it do us?”

“We have magic, Margot.” Ruby said exasperated. She turned away from her cauldron looking over her shoulder at her roommate. “Why do you always have to question it? This is the way we are and we use human food among a ton of other things to make potions and spells.”

“Right, but why don’t humans use their food to make potions and spells? The food is good at it.” Marot stated. She sat down on a stool in the kitchen and furrowed her brows deep in thought.

“Humans don’t have magic. Humans don’t even know that magic exists.” Ruby explained slowly. She acted as though Margot wouldn’t understand what she was trying to say, but they had this conversation so many times. Ruby was tired of it.

Margot was fascinated with humans. Her favorite class was Human Studies and she couldn’t understand how a species could be so stupid and delightful at the same time. They were interesting in the way they lived without magic and yet they were completely complicated in the way they used green paper and metal coins to get what they wanted. If Margot wanted anything, she casted a spell or made it herself. Sure, humans didn’t have the magic ability, but why didn’t they have that? Why didn’t the whole world have magic ability and why did they keep it a secret from the rest of the world?

Ruby was now standing in Margot’s face. She had her index finger up and pointed wagging it back and forth. “I know what you’re thinking.” She said. “I don’t want to hear any of it. We have this conversation too many times.”

“I didn’t have the conversation with you. I’m having it with me inside my head.” Margot defended herself. She leaned back a little to get Ruby’s finger out of her face. Ruby walked back over to her cauldron shaking her head.

The room was silent for a moment as Ruby got back to work on her assignment and Margot, sitting beside her simmering pot, still thought about the humans.

“What do you think would happen if a human knew about magic?” Margot piped up.

Ruby grunted hitting her forehead against the rim of her cauldron. Margot winced.

“Isn’t that hot?”

“Yes, but I don’t care…”

“Ruby, I’m serious.” Margot sighed.

Ruby stood straight and looked at her roommate, a red line across her forehead. “I’m serious too. We’ve had this conversation many times before.”

“Well, have it again with me.” Margot replied with a shrug of her shoulders.

Ruby sighed. She snapped her fingers and turned off the fire underneath her cauldron. It was obvious she wasn’t finishing her homework tonight. “If humans knew about magic, they’d try to take it from themselves. Or they’d be afraid of us and try to get rid of us.”

“How do you know that would actually happen though?” Margot wondered.

“It’s in all the textbooks. We learned about it in class, specifically Human Studies which I thought you paid most attention to.”

Margot nodded. “No, you’re right. But I don’t get who wrote those textbooks. If humans really don’t know about magic, then how can those experts say how they’ll react? Did they ever experiment with it? Did they ever tell human and then erase their memory once the human reacted poorly?”

Ruby buried her face in her hands. “I wish the professor never taught you what an experiment was… This is getting way out of hand.”

“You have to agree with me, Ruby.” Margot said sadly. “You know I’m making sense.”

“I mean, I guess so.” Ruby looked back up with a shrug. “But there’s nothing we can do about it now. Humans live the way they live and we live the way we live. End of story. Why do you need to make such a case out of it?”

“Make a what out of it?”

“Never mind…”

“I think we should find a human and talk to them about us.” Margot stated blunty.

Ruby’s eyes grew nearly popping out of her head. “I’m sorry, what? You’re not serious, are you?”

“No, I’m serious.”

“Margot, no! There’s no way we can seek out a human and tell them about our entire race. We could wipe all the witches out of existence!”

“Nah, that wouldn’t happen.” Margot said waving her hand dismissively. “This will be a fun experiment. If our professor wants us to try new things, then this would be perfect. We could live in peace and harmony with the humans too.”

Ruby narrowed her eyes and folded her arms across her chest. “And what if we don’t live in peace and harmony? What if the humans freak out about us?”

Margot drew in a sharp breath. She cracked a smile. “I guess we’ll cross that bridge if we get there.”

“When we get there.”

“If,” Margot corrected. “You don’t know the outcome of the experiment until you test it out.”

Ruby rolled her eyes. She seriously needed to talk to her professor about this. “Why do you want to talk to a human so bad? Why do you want to expose us?”

“Not expose us,” Margot shook her head innocently. “To inform them. To educate us. Humans are fascinating and I think we’re taught a bunch of lies about them. Who knows what humans must think of us?”

“I don’t want them to think of us. They don’t know we exist.”

“They should know we exist.”

“Why?”

“Because we know they exist.”

Ruby clamped her mouth shut. While she hated to admit that her roommate might have a point, she still didn’t believe that it made any sense. She knew Margot was fascinated with the humans, but she never imaged Margot would ever want to meet one.

“Ruby?” Margot asked.

“Yes?”

“Wanna go to the Human World with me?”

“No!”

Margot grinned. She stepped forward taking Ruby’s hands into her own. “Please? We can meet real humans and interact with them. We don’t have to tell them we’re witches. Not right away, anyway.”

“We don’t tell them at all because we’re not going. We don’t even know how to get the Human World.” Ruby countered.

“I do,”

“Of course you do…”

“I’ve researched it.” Margot stated proudly. Then she frowned and let go of Ruby’s hands. “Alright, I guess I’ll go alone. It would have been fun to share it with you though.”

Margot turned her back and headed for the door.

“Wait, you’re leaving now?” Ruby asked.

Margot looked over her shoulder. “It’s dark. Everyone should be in their cottages or asleep. Now’s the best time.”

Without waiting for a response, Margot left the cottage and disappeared into the night.

Ruby stood in silence for a moment before rolling her eyes and dashing out the door. She knew well enough Margot would get herself into trouble if she went alone.

“Wait for me!” she called.

Words: 2,251

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Short Story Sunday 289: Notebooks

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

Chloe pulled the drawer out from under her bed. She had more notebooks than she could count and she needed to get them organized a little bit. She was starting college soon and Chloe’s mother wanted her to go through all the school supplies she already had before they went shopping.

Chloe was a notebook junkie, as her mother put it. They both knew Chloe didn’t need to buy any new notebooks for college even though Chloe wanted some fresh ones. Why would anyone not want to buy new notebooks? She knew her mother was right, though. She didn’t believe in having too many notebooks, but college tuition and the textbooks were expensive. If she could save a bit of money on the school supplies – even if it was just a couple of bucks – that would be great.

So, she opened the drawer under her bed. It was a tough one to jimmy open on account of it being so stuffed, but she managed.

Chloe wasn’t sure what kind of notebooks she would need for college. Her teachers in high school were so picky. Some wanted a one-subject notebook while others wanted a five-subject notebook. None of the teachers wanted their students to share the same notebook with a different class. Why? Chloe had no idea. She assumed it was because the teachers thought they’d take a lot of notes, but that wasn’t the case at all. At least, it wasn’t for her. She shared notebooks with classes anyway to fill them up. Her teachers never read her notebooks so they never knew.

Still, there were some notebooks that were halfway filled or three-quarters filled with school notes and doodles. Chloe put those ones to the side. She didn’t want to bring those ones to college, even if the notes inside might end up being useful. No, she’d use the extra paper from those notebooks for more doodles, scrap paper, or making lists. She wanted fresh notebooks for her college classes.

The next few notebooks Chloe skimmed through were the same. Some were almost filled up, others halfway, and some just the first few papers were used. She got stuck looking through these ones as they held old stories and poems. She liked to write every now and then, though she wasn’t serious about it. She liked to keep her written work though, even though it was taking space up in an otherwise brand new notebook.

Chloe knew most of those stories she could rip out of their notebooks and stick in a folder somewhere for safe keeping. However, she didn’t want to disturb the pages. There was one notebook that had a single Haiku in it and that was it. Chloe read it to herself and made a face. She didn’t know what she was thinking when she wrote that.

Now that Chloe was looking at all this, she realized she never wrote the date on anything. She wished she wrote the date on her stories so she knew how old they were. It was obvious her writing had improved from one notebook to the next and it was certainly interesting to check out her own writing again. A lot of these stories she had completely forgotten about. She briefly wondered if she could get back into some of them. Maybe she’d bring a couple to college with her in case she had any free time in her dorm.

She set aside those notebooks and realized there were two more small bins under her bed. Both of those held notebooks, but they were smaller. Some were notepads but most of them were journal-like notebooks. Chloe wasn’t going to bring any of those to school for note-taking.

She also knew, in the other room, she had a filing cabinet where she kept even more notebooks. Did she feel like going through those as well?

Chloe knew most of those notebooks were filled with started and half-written stories and poems as well. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to go through all of those and set the stories aside. The notebooks were the stories’ home, she didn’t want to rip them out and put them away in a folder. She had a feeling she’d never get back to the stories otherwise.

Chloe picked up the few notebooks she had and put them into her suitcase. She could use those to finish her stories and poems in her free time during college. If she was running low on paper for class for any reason, she could take a piece or two from the back. However, it seemed as though she was going to have to go to the store and buy some new notebooks for her classes.

Now all she needed to do was go back downstairs and tell her mother.

Words: 799

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