Short Story Sunday 219: Invitation

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

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

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

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

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

“Why?”

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

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

“Hello?”

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

“Are you listening to me?” Casey asked.

Angie nodded.

“What was the last thing I said?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Uh… Hi?”

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

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

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

“Are you okay?” he asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She looked down at herself. Oh, right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words: 1,505

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

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Short Story Sunday 218: Partner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hank snorted and turned the other way.

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

“Right,” he grunted.

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

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

“Yeah… So there.” Shelby sneered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shelby laughed. “I’m not either.”

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

“That’d be great.”

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

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

Words: 1,102

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

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Short Story Sunday 217: Oxygen

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Amelia South?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes,”

“Is there anyone else coming?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Grandpa?” she asked.

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

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

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

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

“Dad… How are you?”

“I’m great,” he smiled.

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

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

Words: 756

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

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Short Story Sunday 216: Nothing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words: 100

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

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Short Story Sunday 215: Come Here

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

            “Can you come here for a second?” Harper shouted from the living room. She was sitting on the couch with her laptop on her lap and the TV on for background noise as she worked on her homework.

No one answered.

After a few minutes, she rolled her eyes. She had just called Annie and she answered to her name. She had to have heard her calling.

“Annie?” Harper called again.

“What?” came the response from the other room.

“Where are you?”

“I’m in the kitchen?”

“Great, can you come here for a minute?” Harper asked again, this time raising her voice just a little more.

There was no response again.

Harper continued to type her essay while she waited. She hoped that her sister was just finishing something up in the kitchen before coming into the room.

But when another ten minutes passed, Harper shouted for her again.

Again, Annie never answered because this time she stormed into the living room. “What do you want? I’m trying to do my homework.” She demanded.

“Well, I’m trying to do mine too and I’m having a hard time concentrating.” Harper explained.

“So, shut off the TV.”

“It’s not because of that.”

“Well, what? And what does it have to do with me for?” Annie grunted.

Harper pointed up to the ceiling. “There’s a spider. Can you kill it?”

Annie glanced up at the ceiling. Then she looked at Harper, rolled her eyes, and walked back out of the room. Harper was about to protest when Annie came back in with a tissue and one of the kitchen chairs.

She stood on the chair, squished the bug, and brought everything back into the kitchen. From the kitchen she shouted, “Happy?”

“Thank you! I love you!” Harper replied with a smile.

“Yeah, right…”

Words: 300

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

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Short Story Sunday 196: Babysit

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

            “Are you sure you can handle this?”

Elliot rolled his eyes. “For the last time, Isabel, I got this. You have nothing to worry about.”

Isabel stood in the middle of the kitchen. She stared down her older brother like he had carried the plague into her home. She was dressed up in a knee-length red dress with silver sparkling heels. She held onto her black clutch in front of her, her knuckles turning white.

Elliot walked up to her and took one of her hands in his. He kissed it and smiled as sweetly as he could even though she was beginning to annoy him with her constant worry.

“This isn’t my first rodeo, you know. I have three kids, remember?” Elliot said.

Isabel nodded her head. “Yes, I know… But this is your first time with my kid.”

“She’s a year old and she’s asleep.”

“What if she wakes up?”

“I’ll change her diaper.”

“What if she’s crying?”

“I’ll soothe her.”

“What if–”

“Isabel, don’t make me pick you up and throw you out the front door…” Elliot wagged his index finger in her face. He was smiling, but she didn’t seem amused one bit.

“Where would I go? My date is picking me up.” Isabel said. Then her bottom lip began to quiver. She turned away and walked into the living room.

Elliot opened his mouth to say something before she had turned her back but decided against saying anything at all. He followed her into the next room and watched her as she placed her handbag down on the coffee table and sat on the couch with her head between her knees.

“Okay…” Elliot cleared his throat. He walked over and sat down on the couch beside her. He put a hand on her back rubbing in small circles. “Listen, I know this is going to be a tough night for you, but you really like this guy, don’t you?”

Isabel nodded, but it was hard to tell considering that her head was still buried in her dress.

“So don’t worry about that… guy.” Elliot coughed. He wasn’t too sure what to call his almost brother-in-law. As soon as Isabel’s fiancé had found out she was pregnant, he broke off the wedding and got back together with his ex-girlfriend.

Elliot was the one who was there when his niece was born. He had thrown the best baby shower there ever could have been, he gave her a part of his house before she was able to rent her own apartment. He stayed with her when her due date approached. He drove her to the hospital, stayed in the delivery room with her, and he was even the one to cut the cord.

A year had passed since then and while Elliot had helped her a lot, especially since both of their parents had already passed on, Isabel was eventually able to get back on her own feet and take responsibility for being a single mother. Elliot now had become back-up when his sister was in a pinch.

Isabel met Gary about a month ago at the coffee shop she worked at. He had become a regular costumer and it was recent that Isabel realized it was because he wanted to see her every day. They were finally going on their first date. Isabel really liked him and while Elliot had never met him, he was impressed by Isabel’s stories about him.

This was the first date Isabel was going on since her fiancé of two years and boyfriend of three years. Elliot knew it was going to be hard, but date or no date, Isabel hadn’t had a night out since the baby was born.

“Go out and have fun. And don’t think of this as a date.” Elliot said.

“But it is a date.” Isabel sniffled lifting her head. She looked at him with blood-shot eyes.

Elliot grunted. He pushed himself off the couch mumbling, “You’re smudging your make-up…”

Isabel chuckled. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.

“No, don’t do that.” Elliot grabbed a box of tissues on the other side of the room. He handed her the box and sat down beside her again. “Here,”

Isabel took a couple of tissues. She stood up, taking her bag, and walked over to the mirror above the mantel. After wiping her face, she began to reapply the make-up from her handbag.

“Just have a good time with Gary as friends. I know he asked you out, but don’t let a label like ‘date’ put any pressure on you.” Elliot explained.

Isabel took a deep breath still staring at herself in the mirror. “You’re right.”

“I know, I always am,”

She turned around and rolled her eyes at him, but she was smiling.

“You look beautiful; you’ll have a fun time.” Elliot stood up and walked over to the window. “And right on cue,” he said peeking through the curtains, “is your ride.”

“Crap…”

Elliot opened his arms. “Give me a hug and then go open the door for him.”

Isabel did just that. She gave her brother a tight squeeze and then opened the front door before Gary even had a moment to get all the way up the front steps.

After greeting and complimenting how beautiful Isabel looked, he introduced himself to Elliot and shook his hand. The three of them made small talk for a few minutes before Gary checked the time and realized they didn’t want to be late for the show. They said their goodbyes and Elliot closed the door.

He side stepped to the window and carefully peeked around the curtain watching Gary back out of the driveway with Isabel in the front seat.

Once they were out of sight, Elliot made his way into the kitchen. He made up a few snacks for himself, grabbed the baby monitor, and made his way back into the living room. His niece was sound asleep. He kicked his feet up on the coffee table, cracked open a soda, and turned on the TV.

Maybe after tonight Isabel would be able to get her happy ending.

Words: 1,027

 I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

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Short Story Sunday 195: Anticipation

Short Story Sunday: "Anticipation" | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

            Brenda paced her gaze focused on the ground. The white tiled flooring was shiny and clear, clear enough that she could see her reflection. Her worried expression seemed to be plastered in every clean tile on the floor. A couple of times, as people passed by, she wondered if they would see it too. She wondered if they knew.

There was nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to freak out over. Still, being in a hospital waiting room made her nervous.

Brenda’s legs were growing tired. They were beginning to ache. The bottoms of her feet were stinging and she was pretty sure blisters were forming on the heels from the straps of her sandals.

Every once in a while, she’d hear a beeping sound. She’d freeze in her pacing and listen. Her mouth gaped open, her eyes wide. People would walk this way and that way passed her, but no one seemed to pay her any attention.

Didn’t they see her standing out there? Didn’t they sense she was worried? Didn’t they want to help her?

No, she didn’t need help. There was nothing wrong. Everything was going to be fine.

Brenda began to pace again.

One, two, three, four… She found herself counting the tiles on the floor. Before she knew it, she was at the end of the hall. She turned around and started counting all over again.

Brenda had done this more times than she could count. What was taking so long?

Yet, no matter how hard her feet hurt, how dizzy her head got from staring down at the ground, or how heavy her eyelids become, she kept pacing. She kept counting the tiles. She kept staring at her reflection in the floor. Her heart raced, her breathing had become jagged. If someone didn’t come and tell her something soon, she was going to have to be admitted to the hospital herself.

“Brenda?”

She paused. Her eyes grew wide upon hearing her name. She slowly turned around and came face to face with a nurse. She wasn’t sure how much time had passed between her getting that phone call up until now. Her throat suddenly felt dry, probably from the continuous counting.

“Y-Yes…?” she answered quietly.

The nurse smiled sweetly. “Your sister and brother-in-law are doing just fine. They’re the proud parents of a healthy baby boy.”

Brenda put a hand over her heart, her vision becoming blurry as tears sat in her eyelids. “You mean…” she breathed heavily, “I’m an aunt?”

The nurse chuckled. “Yes, Brenda. You’re an aunt.”

“For real…?”

The nurse let out another chuckle. “Everyone is doing well, but we just need to give them another few minutes. I’ll come back in a bit to bring you to the room, okay?”

Brenda nodded.

The nurse walked away.

Brenda pressed her back against the wall. She bent her knees, sliding down to the floor. She looked over at her purse, which had been sitting in the middle of the hall the entire time. As she wiped some tears away, she wondered why no one had taken it. She had forgotten she even had it with her.

Opening her purse, Brenda reached her hand in. Once she felt something soft she smiled and pulled it out.

She placed a small teddy bear with a blue bowtie in her lap. She couldn’t wait to meet her nephew.

Words: 563

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Short Story Sunday 193: Looking Back

Short Story Sunday

Another year
Has come and gone.
Did the year stand
To your expectations?

Did you
Accomplish your goals?

Did you
Tell people how you really feel?

Did you
Remain optimistic?

Did you
Find happiness?

Did you
Stay carefree?

Did you
Say heartfelt goodbyes?

Did you
Show kindness to all?

Did you
Reach your goals?

Did you
Try something new?

Did you
Face your fears?

Did you
Give thanks to people you love?

Did you
Change for the better?

Another year
Has come and gone.
Remember all the good and bad,
And live and learn for next year.

Words: 97

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Short Story Sunday 192: Broken

Short Story Sunday

            Shay stared blankly at herself in the cracked mirror. She lifted her arm and ran her right index finger along the split down the middle, tracing the break. The woman winced as the break pricked her finger. She glanced down at her index finger, a red bubble of blood forming. She rubbed her fingers together getting rid of the stinging feeling.

She wondered how the mirror got like that in the first place. She wondered who was around to break the mirror.

This wasn’t an ordinary mirror as it allowed Shay to take a look back into the past whenever she wanted to. She didn’t use it that often. She knew well enough not to dwell on the past. She regretted things she had done before, but the only reason she would look back on them was to find a way to fix her mistakes.

Shay wasn’t a good person. She tried to be, but things never turned out the way she wanted them to. Things never turned out well. It was all because she was cursed with double witch magic.

Most witches in her town came from one witch parent. Their mother or father was a mortal while the other was a witch. It just so happened that Shay’s parents were both witches, which meant double trouble for their daughter. They weren’t allowed to have children in the town’s eyes, but they didn’t listen. Now Shay was paying the price for their selfishness.

In fact, that was something Shay often looked at in the mirror. She enjoyed watching memories of her parents. They were both long dead after an accident happened when Shay was just a little girl.

She tried to convince herself that it wasn’t her fault. She was young and had no control over her powers. Yet, she still missed them dearly and had to grow up shunned away from the world trying to figure out her powers all on her own while trying to keep them in check at the same time.

Shay looked deeply into the mirror, but only one side showed her her parents. They were dancing in the middle of the kitchen of Shay’s tiny shack. It was their house that she inherited after their deaths.

She smiled at her parents dancing in the kitchen. Even in the darkest times, they always found a way to remain carefree. They loved each other very much. Shay then frowned realizing that was their last day alive.

Before Shay could watch anymore, she heard a sound coming from the other room. She snapped her head around to look over her shoulder, a slight panic beginning to build up inside her.

“Who’s there?” she called, turning her whole body around. She stared at the closed door hoping it wasn’t the town’s guards coming for her again. She hadn’t been outside in a few days. She hadn’t done anything.

“Who are you?” was the reply.

Shay stiffened. That was her voice. How was she answering herself? Where was it coming from?

She turned back around to face the mirror. The left side where her parents were dancing was now her regular reflection. The right side, on the other side of the deep crack, however, was Shay standing beside her mirror confronting a woman.

Her mouth gaped open wondering what that could possibly mean. She had never seen that woman in her life, so how could the mirror be showing her the past? And how come it was only showing up on one side of the mirror?

“Figure it out yet?”

Shay jumped and turned around. She took her wand out of her pocket and held it in front of her defensively. Then she recognized the woman as the same person in the mirror and dropped her guard just a little bit.

“Who are you?” Shay asked. It was then she realized what the mirror was doing.

The woman smirked. “You’re welcome. It now reminds you of the past and tells you about the future.” She pointed to the mirror.

Shay stood up tall and narrowed her eyes. “You broke my mirror? How? Why? And how did you get into my house?”

The woman rolled her eyes. “I don’t believe you’re asking the right questions, nor are you asking them to the right person… Or, thing.”

Shay raised an eyebrow, but kept a steady gaze on the woman. She had a feeling this woman was somehow talking about the mirror, but Shay didn’t dare turn her back on the hag.

“Are you a witch?” Shay asked.

The woman chuckled. “Again, you’re asking the wrong questions. But I guess I’ll humor you.” She walked along the perimeter of the room and sat down on a large, dusty armchair. “My name is Aspen. I used to be a witch.”

“Used to be a witch?” Shay repeated.

“I was stripped of my powers by the town mob a few years ago. My time as a mortal is almost up, which is why I’ve come to you.” Aspen explained.

“I didn’t realize the town could take away a witch’s power.” Shay muttered.

“That’s what you’re getting out of this conversation?” Aspen deadpanned. “No, the stupid mortals cannot take our powers away. They want to hang you. They hung me and I traded my powers for life.”

“Why? How?”

“You ask too many questions.”

Shay remained still staring at the woman.

Aspen sighed realizing Shay wasn’t going to let her questions drop. “Cats have nine lives for a reason, dear.”

Shay gasped. “You killed your cat?”

“No,” Aspen scoffed waving her hand, “Pixie still has four left. I only took one because after that my powers were gone. It’s an interesting price to pay… She lost the other three on her own trying to protect me in various battles eons ago.”

Shay opened her mouth, but closed it. She really didn’t have much to say. She was just as confused as ever.

“Anyway,” Aspen stood and pointed to her reflection, “I split that mirror for you—you’re welcome—so now you can see when the battle is going to begin. The town mob will be coming for you soon and you need to be prepared.”

“What do you care about me for?” Shay asked.

“I’m helping a fellow witch, an orphan. Be grateful, will you?”

“You’re not a witch anymore. How do you know all this stuff?”

“I may not have my powers, but I still remember my witch’s life.” Aspen stated.

Shay let out a deep sigh. Then she smiled. “So, you’re telling me that all I have to do iss find a cat, let the town hang me, and I can be mortal?”

Aspen scrunched up her face in disgust. “What a stupid child you are!”

Shay stiffened, taken aback.

“No!” Aspen exclaimed. “You don’t want your powers taken away. Something big is going to happen and you’re going to need all the help you can get.”

“I want my powers gone, though. Then I can live a normal life.” Shay explained.

Aspen looked at her cockily. “Turn around and gaze into that mirror. Tell me what you see and then decide whether it will be worth it to lose your powers or not.”

Shay stared at Aspen for a few moments wondering whether she should listen to her, wondering whether she should turn her back on this woman. Shay finally nodded her head and turned to face the mirror again.

On the left, were her parents staring and smiling back at her with their arms wrapped around each other. They weren’t doing anything, but they stared as though they could see their daughter on the other side, in the real world. It was almost as though they had been waiting for this moment and couldn’t wait to see her reaction to what she was about to see.

Shay peeled her eyes away from her happy parents and looked to the right side. But all she could see was her reflection. She furrowed her brows in confusion. She never had to ask the mirror to show her the past. It just always knew what she wanted to look back on. Why wasn’t the future working?

“Ask,” Aspen said.

Shay drew in a sharp breath keeping her eyes on the right side of the mirror. “Um, what’s my future look like?” she had no idea what she was supposed to ask, but she hoped that would suffice.

The mirror lit up and showed her entire town in ruin. Mortals were dead, witches were captured or hung. But that’s all the mirror showed. Shay turned away from it and looked at Aspen.

“What in the world is this?”

“The future of the town. I don’t care so much for the mortals, but did you notice that there were no witches to be found? Someone, or something, is getting rid of them. That’s where you need to come in.” Aspen explained.

Shay raised an eyebrow.

Aspen rolled her eyes. “You need to save the town. Save the other witches. You’re the only one strong enough to do it.”

Shay remained staring at Aspen with confused written all over her face.

“You have double powers!” Aspen shouted. “You don’t realize how strong you are because you were gifted with double magic.”

“Cursed,” Shay corrected through gritted teeth. “I was cursed with double magic. I killed my own parents.”

“Exactly, they weren’t here to teach you the importance of cats… How absurd…”

Shay glared at the old woman.

“Pick up a spell book and read it!” Aspen snapped. “Your powers wouldn’t be at such the low stage they are now if you had just practiced on your own, learned to control them. You wouldn’t have to hide in this filthy shack away from the townsfolk. You’d be able to wander around with the ability to act like one of them without batting an eyelash… Or blowing something up, whichever you prefer.

“Your magic really counts now. You need to figure out how to control the magic, accept the magic. Only then will you be able to do what you’ve been destined to do.” Aspen explained, her tone softening now.

Shay’s jaw dropped. Once she learns to accept who she is, she’ll be able to do what she was destined to do? This was her life, real life, not a fairy-tale book. What was this old woman thinking?

“Take a look in the mirror again if you don’t believe me.” Aspen pointed behind Shay.

She turned around and noticed the left side of the mirror was back to normal, but the right side showed Shay with her parents. Shay pointed to it with wide eyes.

“But… That’s not possible.”

“It is because you’ll end up dead soon enough. That is, if you don’t do anything about it.” Aspen said.

Shay turned around and swallowed a lump in her throat. She knew well enough not to trust strangers, and Aspen was a stranger. However, she also knew that the mirror never lied. If the mirror and Aspen were saying the same things, then Aspen must have been telling the truth.

Aspen picked up a satchel on the ground, something Shay didn’t notice she came in with, and the woman reached into the bag. She took out a maroon book. It was old, the binding was cracked and the cover was peeling.

“What is that?” Shay asked knowing very well what it was.

“This was my spell book when I was a witch. It was my favorite.” Aspen smiled. “There are so many good prank spells in here.”

Shay blinked slowly. Now was not the time to be thinking about tricking people.

“I pass this onto you.” Aspen outstretched both her arms, allowing the book to rest flat on both the palms of her hands. “This will help you save the world.”

Shay slowly took it out of Aspen’s hands, but kept a skeptical gaze on the old woman. She wasn’t entirely sure what to believe, but the mirror never lied. Shay was going to end up dead if she didn’t do anything about… Well, about whatever Aspen was anticipating. While Shay wanted to see her parents again, she certainly didn’t want to lose her life anytime soon.

Aspen smiled. “Open the book. Then everything will become clear to you.” She picked up her bag and turned around to leave.

“Wait,” Shay called after her, “you’re not going to stay and help me?”

There was no answer. The old woman was gone.

Shay sighed. She looked the book over, front and back. There were no words on it. It felt rough, the book was worn-out.

She looked over her shoulder to take another peek at the mirror. Her reflection stared back at her on both sides. Nothing was appearing and Shay didn’t know if that was because she didn’t ask for anything or if it was because the mirror had already shown her her fate as of right now. She dies.

Shay drew in a sharp breath and shrugged her shoulders. If she was going to die anyway, what did she have to lose? She opened the book. A white light shone through the pages and everything disappeared.

Words: 2,198

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Short Story Sunday 191: Zoo

Short Story Sunday

            It was 6:59 in the evening and Bailey was working on her final paper for her master’s degree. It wasn’t due for another week, but she wanted to get the whole assignment done and over with. She hoped to have ample time to edit and proofread it before finally turning in her last homework assignment for the rest of her life.

As soon as the clock on her cell phone turned to seven o’clock, the alarm went off. Bailey peeled her eyes away from the 15 pages she had already written on her laptop and hit the “stop” button her cell phone screen.

A message popped up saying, “Feed Zoo.”

Bailey picked up her phone and looked at the time once the alarm had cleared. “Seven already?” she muttered to herself.

She saved the word document that held her final grade and pushed her chair backwards to stand up. As soon as Bailey stepped out into the hall one of her cats appeared out of nowhere. He meowed and began to rub up against her legs.

“I know I’m coming to feed you.” Bailey replied in a sweet tone.

She started walking down the stairs when another cat bolted down the stairs after her, completely passing her, and taking a leap of faith when there were still four more steps to go. Bailey grabbed onto the wall so that she wouldn’t trip and fall over the two cats. She didn’t grunt or groan, she didn’t even laugh. She was used to tripping and nearly falling down the stairs. The cats did it to her multiple times a day, every day.

Bailey walked through the living room and looked at her eight-pound dog, who was sleeping in her crate. “Are you ready for dinner?”

The dog perked up immediately and jumped out of her crate. Bailey stepped into the hallway that lead to the kitchen passing by her gold retriever. She patted her leg and that dog too immediately got up.

Bailey opened the refrigerator and took out multiple cans of wet food for the dogs and cats. She took out six bowls, for the four dogs and two cats. As soon as she took the food out, she turned around. Sure enough, all four dogs had magically appeared and they were sitting patiently right behind her in the middle of the kitchen. Bailey turned her head the other way and the two cats were sitting on the other counter patiently.

Bailey turned back to the food chuckling. All eyes were on her and it was like she had never fed any of them before.

Once all six bowls were filled, Bailey fed each animal one by one in order that she had gotten the animals. First one dog, then another, then a cat, then another dog, the second cat, and then the fourth dog. They all ate in unison as Bailey put the food away.

By the time she had put the cans back into the fridge, most of her pets were finished and were waiting. Bailey picked up the empty bowls and put them into the dishwasher.

Then she took out another bowl and put a handful of frozen peas in it. She warmed the peas up in her hands, but decided to let it sit out and thaw for a little while.

Taking the bowl with her, Bailey walked back into the living room. A 55-gallon fish tank sat in the corner with a plethora of fish in it. She sprinkled some food over the top and watched the fish scramble for a few moments.

Bailey turned back around to notice that all six animals were following her.

“The peas aren’t for you.” She said, even though she knew that they knew their food was all done for the night. They would each get one treat before bed and that was it.

Bailey walked back up the stairs. She placed the bowl of peas into her box turtle’s tank. Her turtle immediately came out of her log and began to eat.

Bailey then turned around and fed her betta fish that was in a small tank beside the TV.

“Great,” she whispered. Now that everyone was fed, she was able to get back to writing her paper.

Bailey sat back down at her computer and started typing when she heard a small whimper. She looked to her left and noticed all four dogs and the two cats were sitting in the middle of her office staring at her.

Bailey checked the time. That’s right she always finished homework around dinner. She liked to give herself a few hours to relax and do nothing before going to bed and starting a brand new day of work. The animals always enjoyed cuddling on the couch with her while she watched TV.

“But I really should finish my homework…” Bailey pleaded to her pets.

They all remained staring at her expectantly. None of them understood that she had important homework to finish. They only knew their routine and they knew well enough not to break it; especially when Bailey needed a break from work.

Bailey looked back at her paper. She still had another 1,000 words to write. That was going to take her a while since she needed one more topic point plus the conclusion.

She sighed, saving her paper again. She would just have to finish it tomorrow. It was due in a week, so she would still have ample time to read through it, edit it, add and delete points to it, and proofread it.

Bailey also knew that she didn’t want to spend too much time on the paper or else she’d make herself crazy.

She exited out of the word document and then shut down her computer.

“Who’s ready to watch some crime TV?” she asked.

As if they understand, the dogs and cats took their positions on the couch. The two cats on the head of the couch, the two smaller dogs each sat on one end of the couch so Bailey could sit in the middle, and the two bigger dogs rested on the floor by her feet.

Bailey sat down, got comfy cozy, and turned on the TV.

Words: 1,035

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