Short Story Sunday 261: Cooperate

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

Tania sat down in a chair in the corner. She watched everyone else in the group laugh, chit-chat, and generally have a good time. She wanted nothing to do with whatever they were doing though. She crossed her arms and legs and tried to look the other way whenever Saul, their youth group leader, turned in her direction.

The youth group was a new thing at her church this year. The education leaders were trying to find ways to bring the kids together more than just two hours each week. They said they wanted the kids to be friends, make memories with once another. All the while having fun and doing good for the world.

This was the fifth meeting. So far, they’ve already went out and volunteered at an animal shelter (Tania had to admit that was fun. Who didn’t want to spend the afternoon playing with dogs and cats?), they hosted a get-together for their church, they’ve gone on a field trip to their local bowling alley, and the rest of times they’ve stayed in their classroom – or “meeting room” as Saul liked to call it (it was the classroom they had Sunday school in each Sunday for church). Whenever they stayed in the classroom, they sometimes played games or they sat in a circle and talked.

Tania couldn’t complain too much. They were little work involved unless they were volunteering, but she didn’t mind that at all. She just didn’t want to be there. She already had to spend two hours every Sunday morning with these people and then sit in the church service with them for an extra hour. She didn’t want to be here for an hour on Saturday. She was in her church far too many times during the week and she was surrounded by these people too often.

She was only grateful that Saul didn’t constantly talk about God and Jesus. He mentioned them a couple of times, but ultimately, he said, “This youth group is a safe space for us to get to know each other, hang out, and have fun.”

Um, isn’t that what she had friends for? Friends who were seeing the latest superhero movie right now that she wasn’t able to go to because she had this youth group thing. Friends who didn’t understand the youth group either and kind of made fun of her for going to do it. It’s not like she had a choice though, but her friends didn’t really care about that.

Tania resented her mother for making her go to this. It was bad enough that her mother made her go to Sunday school but now her mother thought the youth group was the best idea in the world. Her mother thought she’d make friends with some of her Sunday school classmates (again, she already had friends. Why did she need to hang out with her Sunday school classmates?) and her mother also thought she’d learn a lot. Tania was in school Monday through Friday and then Sunday school on Sunday. Now youth group on Saturdays. Why was it that she needed to be in a learning environment for every day of the week? It wasn’t fair.

Tania cast a glance back over to what the group was doing. They were awfully loud. They were split into two teams stacking cups or something. She didn’t pay attention to the directions when Saul explained them because she knew she wouldn’t be participating. As soon as Saul split them up, explained the game, and shouted, “Go!” all the kids began to play and Tania turned away to sit in her chair in the corner. She was pleased Saul left it there for her from last week instead of putting it away at the end of each meeting like he used to.

Since she looked over at the group playing the game, Saul caught her staring. The moment they locked eyes, Tania snapped her gaze away. She knew it was too late though. She had a feeling Saul was walking over toward her right at that moment. She heard a chair sit beside her and she rolled her eyes. Great, he brought a chair to sit beside her. This wasn’t going to be a quick chat, he was most likely going to lecture her.

He didn’t say anything though.

Tania peered over her shoulder just a little. She didn’t want Saul to notice and assume she wanted to talk. When she looked at him, he was casually sitting back in his own seat watching the other kids with a dopey smile on his face.

Out of all the places in the classroom, he had to watch them from right beside her? And he wasn’t even going to talk to her? Why? What was the point?

Tania ignored him for a little longer but finally she snapped. “Are you just going to sit there and do nothing?” she turned to him.

Saul twisted his neck to look at her. He seemed surprised she had spoken. “Are you?” he countered calmly.

Tania narrowed her eyes. That wasn’t fair. He couldn’t throw that back in her face like that. This was her spot. His spot was over with everyone else.

Saul didn’t speak again after that. That bothered Tania. For some reason, this was worse than a lecture.

“You’re annoying me.” Tania said bluntly. She didn’t mean for it to come out that way, but… well, she guessed she had this building up inside her for a long time.

“Am I?” Saul replied.

“Yes,”

“Okay,”

Tania scoffed. “Aren’t you going to do anything about it?”

Saul shrugged. “To me it sounded like you were just stating a fact. You didn’t ask anything of me.”

Tania narrowed her eyes and glared at him again. Oh, this man was good, she had to admit. “Do you have to sit right here?”

“No, I suppose not.” He replied.

Tania groaned. Apparently, she needed to be specific with him. “Then can you please move?”

“I appreciate the politeness and I’d love to oblige, but may I ask why?” Saul replied. He was still so calm. That was bothering Tania even more.

“No,” Tania said sternly.

“Because you don’t want to explain or because you don’t have a reason?”

Tania opened her mouth but only a small squeak came out. She didn’t have a good response to that one. She just wanted him out of her way. But she was starting to think that wasn’t going to happen.

“I’ll leave you alone if do one thing for me.” Saul said.

Tania threw her head back with a thunk against the wall. “Oh, so you’re bribing me now?”

Saul raised an eyebrow. “No, think of this more as a negotiation.”

“Is the hour over, yet…?”

“I’ll leave you alone for the rest of the hour – hey, maybe I’ll talk to you mother and let her know how unhappy you are here.” Saul stated his terms.

That got Tania’s attention. She looked at him. “You’d really talk to my mom and me not coming anymore?”

“I don’t want you to be unhappy. That’s not what this group is about. This group is here for you to make new friends, try new things, and feel comfortable. If you’re not getting that, then you shouldn’t feel trapped here.”

Tania’s eyes grew wide. He had just expressed everything she was feeling. She wasn’t sure how he knew (okay, maybe it was because she always sat in a corner), but she was impressed that he was spot on. She was surprised, in fact, that he had paid so much attention to her even though she never participated and never spoke or engaged with him or the her classmates.

“Three weeks,” Saul held up three fingers, “I want you to try. I want you to engage with your peers and participate in the games. I want you to share how your week was or share a story during our discussion time. I want you to try to get to know at least one other person here.”

Tania scrunched up her face in disgust. “That seems like a lot of terms…”

“You have three weeks and if you’re still unhappy, I’ll have a talk with your mother. All I’m asking is for you to try.” He explained.

Tania sighed. Alright, she knew she wasn’t able to argue with that one. He brought up good points and she had never really given the place a chance. She still hoped she could get out of it, but trying for three weeks wasn’t so bad. It was only an hour, after all.

“Okay, fine. Deal.” Tania said with a nod. “Does this start next week?”

“How about today?”

Tania grinned. She had found a loop-hole. “How much time is left?”

“Oh, about…” Saul checked his wrist watch, “45 minutes.”

Tania’s jaw dropped. “I’ve only been sitting here for 15 minutes?!”

Sault stood up and motioned to her classmates. “Time does fly when you’re having fun. I promise.”

Words: 1,501

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Time To Write: Flower

Last week’s writing prompt was a Set the Scene prompt. Check out some stories from fellow writers here:

This week’s writing prompt is:

Time To Write: Flower | Creative Writing Prompt | Writing Prompt | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Write a story about the word above – Flower.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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Sunday Morning Cover Reveal

Sunday Morning is here! I can’t believe it. All this hard is finally paying off and it’s (almost) over. There’s still more work to be done, but the brunt of it is over.

This has been a work in progress for such a long time and I can’t believe I finally did it. I never imagined my debut book would be a flash fiction collection, but I’m proud of it. My writing has improved so much. I’m pleased with how the stories turned out. I love the cover I created. I’m amazed I made it this far.

So, I’m pleased to show you the cover for Sunday Morning.

Sunday Morning by Rachel Poli | Flash Fiction Collection | Creative Writing | eBook | Self Publish | Author | RachelPoli.com

This is so cool! I can’t stop staring at it. I mean, I like how the cover came out, but it’s actually on Amazon.

Guys, Sunday Morning is available for pre-order right now.

It’s too surreal for me. I’m proud of it though. I’m proud of my writing, I’m proud of how far I’ve come.

In 2016, I said it was the year of me. Then again in 2017. And again in 2018. I didn’t say it for 2019 because… well, the previous years didn’t work out so well. Maybe I had been jinxing myself this whole time.

Now, look where I am.

Look at it.

Are you looking?

I really want to thank all of you who read and comment on my blog or interact with me on social media. I’ve learned a lot from all of you in the past few years and I honestly wouldn’t have made it this far without your support.

Right now, the book is available for Kindle on Amazon. You can check it out here. No pressure in buying it, but definitely click the link. I’m actually on Amazon!

But seriously, thank you all so very much. Short Story Sunday has gone way farther that I ever thought it would. Now, it’s time to give my attention to my mystery novel… and the next Sunday Morning book.

Thanks again for all the support over the years!

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Short Story Sunday 260: Attic

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

Gloria stood in the middle of the dark and dusty attic. She scanned the room with the low ceilings and musty smell. She didn’t want to be up there but she knew someone had to clean it out eventually. There was a lot of junk up in that attic. A lot was from her childhood – old toys and mementos. There was even more from her now deceased parents. There were outdated holiday decorations, mementos from their own childhood, old but important paperwork that was most likely overdue for a good shredding, and much more.

Gloria didn’t even need to go through the old boxes to remember what was in the attic. She just knew it was all stuff that hadn’t been touched in years. All of it, despite being packed away in boxes and storage bins, was most likely gross at this point. They might have been damaged or smelled of the old wooden beams and floorboards.

There were so many boxes and other items lying around. There were even old pieces of furniture left out. Though they were covered by white sheets, Gloria knew there was a thick layer of dust sitting underneath.

It was no wonder no one ever wanted to come up here and clean it out. They’d be in for quite the shower afterwards.

Gloria didn’t have any siblings and she had moved back into her childhood home to be with her elderly father when her mother passed away. She had loved living back home even though her husband had wanted a place of their own. However, now her father was gone and Gloria wondered if she and her husband should fix up and sell the place or if they should just stay put. Going through her parent’s thing though, she didn’t have any room to put them. The attic was the only logical place, but that too was full.

Her husband had offered to help her go through all the items. Gloria declined. She knew this was something she had to do on her own. Besides, she didn’t feel like telling her husband constantly what to do. Every item he picked up he would have asked what to do with it and Gloria would have to decide on the spot to keep it, sell it, or trash it. It would be easier for her to go through everything herself and in her own time.

Gloria finally stepped forward and took a look at the box closest to her. It was labeled, “MaryAnn.” Her mother. Gloria remembered her father had made a few boxes of her things not too long after she had passed away. Gloria opened the box and took a peek inside. A flood of memories poured out and quickly closed it.

Maybe she would start with a different box.

There were a few labeled “Gloria” and she had a feeling she knew what those were. Old school papers and drawing from when she was a little kid that her mother wasn’t able to let go of. Gloria knew all that could have gotten thrown out. She didn’t care too much for her own hand-print turkeys or high school persuasive essays.

When Gloria opened the box, however, old stuffed animals and photographs were inside. A wave of nostalgia came over her and she quickly closed the box.

Gloria looked around the room. There had to have been something she was able to go through and get rid of. The furniture! Maybe she could get rid of some old chairs. They were most likely rotted anyway.

She lifted the sheet off the first chair she was able to reach. It was the rocking chair her father had bought her mother when she was pregnant. Gloria got a whiff of her mother’s perfume and could have sworn she heard the creaking of the rocking chair as if her mother was sitting it right then.

Gloria put the sheet back over and hurried out of the attic. It was no wonder no one ever went up there anymore.

Words: 671

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Short Story Sunday 259: Look

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

“What do you see?”

Cory narrowed his eyes. He thought about what he saw. He thought real hard. Nothing was coming to mind though. He didn’t want her to think he was stupid, but there wasn’t anything that was popping into his head on what it could possibly look like.

“Hello?” Lucy piped up again.

“I’m thinking.” Cory hissed.

Lucy smirked. “You’re not supposed to think about it. That’s the whole point of ink blots. There’s no right or wrong answer.”

“I know, you’ve told me that plenty of times already. But just let me think.” Cory repeated.

Lucy rolled her eyes and put the card face-down on her lap. “No, I’m going to move onto the next one. Do not think about it at all. I’m going to show you and I want you to tell me the first thing that comes into your mind. I’ll give you five seconds.”

“But–”

“Are you ready?”

Cory sighed. “Fine.”

Lucy held up the next card. “5… 4… 3… 2… 1 and done.” She laid the card face down in her lap on top of the previous one. “Alright, so what did it look like to you?”

“A butt.” Cory replied without any hesitation.

“A butt?!” Lucy exclaimed. She picked up the card and turned it over so she could see. “You can’t be serious.”

“Hey, you told me to say the first thing that came to my mind when I saw it and it looks like a butt to me.” Cory defended himself.

Lucy stared at him with a horrific expression.

“Alright, fine, you tell me what it looks like to you then.” Cory challenged her.

“I believe it looks like a fountain with the water cascading down.” Lucy explained.

Cory shook his head. “No, see, that’s ridiculous. It’s clearly a butt.”

“I have no idea how you see a butt.”

“I have no idea how you see a water fountain.”

“There’s no right or wrong answer. It can be a water fountain if I believe it is.” Lucy stated.

“Ah-ha!” Cory exclaimed. “If there are no right or wrong answers, then it can be a butt if I believe it is!”

Lucy sighed. “Yeah, but…”

“Yes, butt.”

Lucy shot him a glare. Then she looked back at the ink blot. “I see something beautiful. How can you not?”

“You see something beautiful?” Cory repeated in disbelief. “How can you see something beautiful in a big black blob in the shape of a butt?”

“Okay,” Lucy sighed. “I think we’re done here for today.” She stacked the used cards and remaining ones neatly on her lap and then stood up heading for her desk.

“Done? We only wen through four cards. You have plenty more, I can see that much.” Cory said. He stood up and followed Lucy to her desk.

“Yes, but maybe we can pick this up next time. I think I’ve had all I can take.” Lucy replied. She smiled at him but Cory knew what that smile meant.

“I’m looking at your smile and do you know what I see?” Cory asked wagging a finger in her face.

“What do you see?” she asked still smirking.

“I see your mind and it’s thinking I’m pretty stupid.”

“Not stupid, Cory. Ridiculous, maybe, but certainly not stupid.”

Words: 549

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Time To Write: Sentence Starter 45

Last week’s writing prompt was a picture prompt. Check out some stories from fellow writers here:

This week’s writing prompt is:

Time To Write: Sentence Starter: "Look at that!" | Writing Prompt | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | Poetry | RachelPoli.com

Write a story beginning with the dialogue: “Look at that!”

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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April & May 2019 Writing Submissions [Writing Contests]

Here is the updated list for April & May 2019 writing submissions. I try to find submissions and contests with no fee (or on the cheaper side at least), which is surprisingly hard. As always, if you know any places that run contests and accept general submissions that are not on my list, please let me know and I’ll check it out to add it.

April & May 2019 Writing Contests | Writing Submissions |Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

April 2019

Genre: Fiction
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: April 30, 2019
Entry Fee: $18
Prize: First – $2,500

Genre: Fiction
Theme: Family Matters
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: April 30, 2019
Entry Fee: $18
Prize: First – $2,500

Genre: Fiction
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: April 30, 2019
Entry Fee: $2
Prize: $700

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Think Positive, Live Happy
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: April 30, 2019
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

May 2019

Genre: Fiction (self-published print books only)
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: May 1, 2019
Entry Fee: $125
Prize: Grand – $8,000

Genre: Fiction, Poetry (list of categories are on website)
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: May 6, 2019 (early-bird deadline)
Entry Fee: $20 for Poetry, $30 for manuscript
Prize: Grand – $5,000

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Forgiveness
Website: Chicken Soup
Deadline: May 30, 2019
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Ongoing

Genre: Stories, essays, plays, poetry, art
Website: Literal Latte
Entry Fee: $3

Genre: Various
Website: Narrative Magazine
Entry Fee: Yes, but amount is not listed

Genre: Flash fiction and short fiction
Website: CRAFT Journal
Entry Fee: N/A

Genre: Fiction or narrative nonfiction
Website: The Masters Review
Entry Fee: N/A (for New Voices – new, unpublished writers only)

Genre: Short fiction, flash fiction, memoir, or poetry
Website: Split Lip Magazine
Entry Fee: Free (only during certain months)

Genre: Flash Fiction (53 words only)
Website: Press 53
Entry Fee: N/A
Deadline: 21st of every month (new prompt given on the first of every month)

Genre: Short story, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, novel excerpts, poetry
Website: Rejected Manuscripts
Entry Fee: N/A
*Your piece must have been rejected for publication or failed to win a prize at a literary competition in order to qualify.

Please be sure to read through the guidelines for each submission. Information may change.

Do you know any other deadlines coming up? Are you thinking of submitting to any of these? Let me know in the comments below. Good luck! If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Short Story Sunday 258: Ex

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

“What do you mean I’m crossed out?” Amy asked as calmly as she could bare. She tried not to grit her teeth but if she didn’t release some sort of pressure, she knew she’d punch someone.

Emily shrugged. “I don’t know, your name it just crossed out on the list. So, I was told not to let you in.”

Amy narrowed her eyes. “You do realize we’re here to work on a school project, right? This isn’t some rave party or dance club.”

“Listen,” Emily let out an annoyed sigh, “I don’t know what my sister does, okay? And honestly, I don’t care. All I know is that she paid me 20-dollars to wait by the door. She told me some people were allowed in and others weren’t.”

Amy rolled her eyes. Leave it to Morgan to pay her younger sister to be the bouncer of her house. “You said others weren’t allowed in? Who are the others?”

Emily looked down at her clipboard. Her gaze scanned the list of names – all five of them. She looked back up at Amy and bluntly replied, “Just you.”

Amy’s jaw nearly dropped. What a slap in the face. “Are the other girls in there now?”

Emily nodded. “You’re the last one to arrive. Well, I guess Sam was the last one to arrive since she was actually allowed in.”

“Emily, this is stupid.” Amy growled pinching the bridge of her nose.

“I don’t make the rules.”

“There are no rules!” Amy raised her voice. “We’re supposed to be working on a project together for school. How am I supposed to help them if they won’t let me in?”

The young girl shrugged.

Amy sighed. She suddenly felt more upset than she did angry. “Do you know why they don’t want me in their group?” Her teacher did allow them to choose groups. Amy had no close friends in science though and was the odd one out as there had to be groups of four and there were 17 kids in the class. She got assigned to be with them.

“Hey, you want my advice?” Emily said in a hushed tone.

“Sure, why not?” Amy replied. What else was there to do?

Emily held out her hand. Amy rolled her eyes and handed the devious little brat a five-dollar bill.

“When you go to school on Monday, tell your teacher everything that happened. Do the project yourself this weekend and hand it in. I know all my sister’s friends. If you worked with them, you wouldn’t have gotten a good grade anyway.”

Amy smirked. She was most likely going to do that anyway, but hearing it from Emily in such a way made her smile. It made her feel a little better anyway.

She nodded her thanks to Emily and turned around and headed for home to work on the project herself. Good thing it was her job to get all the research done. She’d be finished before she knew it.

Words: 498

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Time To Write: Picture Prompt 27 [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a general prompt. Check out some stories from fellow writers here:

This week’s writing prompt is:

Time To Write: Picture Prompt | Creative Writing Prompt | Creative Writing | Writing Prompt | Flash Fiction | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

Write a story based on the picture above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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