Posted by: DIYwriting | July 3, 2022

Science

“No way you found teeth on your walk.  We live in the city.  People walk these streets all day every day.  Someone would have picked them up before you.”  My father stared at me as if he was begging me to contradict him.  He would never let anything he considered magical or untrue into the house.  I was only able to read Harry Potter because my father didn’t know.  I checked the books out from the school library and kept them at school at all times.  I didn’t talk about the books, the movies, magic, nothing. 

He did everything in his power to keep me isolated from any influence and any new ideas.  If he knew of any of the groups or clubs I was in throughout my high school career, he would have pulled me out and homeschooled me.  For sure.  From what I have gathered about the grandparents I never met, they were too into the divine, into the wild, and into the everlasting.  I got the hint he tried to forge ahead with his head in the clouds, but could never get his feet off the ground.  The farther my grandparents ventured into the unknown and the celestial, the more rooted he came into science. 

So now here I was finding something possibly scientific and he wouldn’t even listen.  I backed down from pressing my father about the teeth.  For now.  My resolution was to look through the ‘forbidden’ basement as soon as he left for work.  I knew that’s where the rest of the teeth had gone and who they belonged to.  They were my mother’s. 

Posted by: DIYwriting | July 2, 2022

The Gourd

I knew what happened to the gourd, but you couldn’t pay me enough money to tell my grandmother what happened.  Even if she didn’t agree, I knew my life would be over.  I don’t know what it was about my grandmother and her gourds, but the one I had just broken was her favorite. 

I wanted to move out – had – wanted to for a while – but maybe this was the perfect time.  She was obsessed with the gourds and would not stop until she found out when and how it had broken.  She would probably kick me out anyway if I didn’t help her to investigate. 

I heard her stomping around above me and I knew she was awake from her nap.  I edged toward the front door so I could make a quick exit if she started yelling.  I had to get out.  And fast.  My grandma may be 72, but she could still move.  As she came down the stairs, I tried to gauge her mood. 

If she got any kind of nap, she might be in a generous mood, otherwise I was in a huge spot.  The closer she came, I tried to get a read on how she was doing, but she wasn’t letting any feeling show.  In the end, I don’t know what surprised me more, her smile or the fact she collapsed at the bottom of the stairs. 

Posted by: DIYwriting | July 1, 2022

Carpe Diem

“Please don’t even tell me to seize the day.  Carpe diem is the last thing I want to hear from you.  If that comes out of your mouth, I will leave immediately.”    I didn’t look at Mary, but I could feel her eyes boring holes into the back of my head.  I didn’t turn because I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction of knowing how annoyed I was. 

Mary got on my nerves with every shift we worked together.  Without fail, she always had long drawn out stories about her dreams and told terrible jokes that never made any sense.  I always managed to be at the front desk when she was in her most talkative episode I had been forced to listen to in several months. 

Mary’s weirdest dream was the dream where she married Abraham Lincoln, divorced him for Han Solo from Star Wars and then the three of them took a trip to the moon together.  I had to pinch myself several times while she was analyzing her dream so I wouldn’t fall asleep (or laugh) in front of her.  Today she was on a roll that everyone needed to live their best life and take care of themselves above all else.  She had literally been talking about seizing her moment, her chance for the time of her life for three hours straight.  Mary talked until I quite literally lost my mind. 

“Carpe Diem,” was the last thing she would ever whisper into my ear. 

Posted by: DIYwriting | June 25, 2022

The Hideaway

The day after ‘it’ happened, everyone thought I had performed a miracle. I didn’t know if I should tell them the reality of the situation or not. Had they not seen the same thing I had? Did they not realize I had nothing to do with the ‘finding’ the missing child? I had stumbled across the young man because I knew where he had been staying. I knew where he had been staying because I had suggested the place. So it wasn’t really a surprise to either of us that I was the one who had found him. 

Darren came from a home where I knew he wasn’t safe. But being only fourteen, I thought he was too young to be out on his own, but he also couldn’t stay at home with his parents. I knew what it was like not to feel safe so I helped Darren to find a place to stay at least for the time being. I hadn’t thought too far ahead about the repercussions of him being listed as missing, but it turned out, his parents didn’t realize for several days he hadn’t actually been home. After showing Darren the loft he could sleep in for a few days while my parents were working, I brought some food by and left him to figure out what he was going to do next. I had seen him around town and at school and knew he had likely been left to his own devices for a while.  

I saw him around school so I at least knew he was still going for the most part, but I did wonder what he was doing when he left. When he finally emerged from the loft two weeks after he ‘disappeared’ he was almost a different person. He had gained a little weight and had a shine in his eyes that hadn’t been there before. If I had known know what he was planning to do, I would have gone with him. 

Posted by: DIYwriting | June 24, 2022

Footsteps

Growing up, I wanted to be exactly like my older brother.  He was the coolest guy I knew and why would I not want to be like him?  He was great at school (without ever seeming to study), baseball seemed to come natural to him and he was always surrounded by a large group of friends.  Somehow my parents only wanted me to be like my sister.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved and admired her too, but I wanted her to be more assertive than she was.  She agreed with everyone.  All the time.  Which was not necessarily a bad thing, but she never seemed to have her own opinions.  And I definitely made my opinions loud and clear.  Which was what my parents disagreed with, whether they would admit it or not. 

After graduating from high school, my brother decided last minute to take a year off instead of going straight to college.  A year to travel, work, exercise, basically do whatever he wanted before taking on the financial burden of paying for college on his own.  I thought my parents were going to lose their minds right then and there. But personally, at fifteen, I thought it was brave he was making a decision he thought was best for himself and not the best decision for everyone else. I knew my parents were nervous I would do the same thing so they started pushing school on me even more than they already had. But I already knew. I already knew the right decision for me and it wasn’t to sit back safely and hide behind my sister and my parents. I knew the right path was to follow my brother and follow my heart. 

Posted by: DIYwriting | June 21, 2022

The Haunted Apartment

When we first stepped into the apartment, I knew we could never live there.  The main problem being the fact the windows were small and dark.  Mom had too many plants for this to be acceptable.  I also craved natural light too much to be stuck in such a dark apartment.  But when my mom smiled grimly, I felt my heart sink.  I guess our bank account was in more trouble than I thought. What I hadn’t expected was the haunting that would come with the renting of the apartment. 

Things started off subtly, but quickly became overbearing. The worst part of the haunting was the fact my mother seemed to be oblivious to everything. She seemed to go to work, come home, eat and sleep without any problems. I, on the other hand, could not be in the apartment overnight without hearing being disturbed. Items in my room would move without being touched. My bedroom would go from frigid to unbearable heat without either one of us changing the thermostat. The longer we stayed in our apartment, the less I slept and the more paranoid I became. When I asked my mother if she had noticed any disturbances, she practically laughed in my face. Or was that my paranoia acting up again? 

Was she the one who was causing the problems? Was she the one who changed the thermostat while I wasn’t paying attention? Maybe I was in such a state of terror and was so sleep deprived, I had no real grasp of reality. The day I lost everything was the day I finally talked to the apartment manager. When I told him how affected I was by the ghosts or the spirits or whatever was happening in our apartment and my mother was somehow spared, he only stared at me. Dumbfounded. 

“But you live there alone? I have never met your mother.” 

Posted by: DIYwriting | June 15, 2022

Bus Whisper

“Please don’t do it,” the woman behind me whispered into her phone. Should I turn around or should I just mind my own business? She had been talking in whispers for the entirety of the bus ride and this was the only time I had actually heard any of her conversation. She had gotten on the Greyhound somewhere around Wichita when I had been asleep. I was trying to make it to New York City so I could start my life over, but wasn’t sure exactly how it was going to work out for me. 

I didn’t have a ton of money and I think my friend had an extra room for me, but I wasn’t sure. I hadn’t exactly confirmed anything with her before leaving home. I was too afraid she would say no. I couldn’t stay home one more day or I knew things would get worse between my mom and I. I had to leave before she made me. 

“Please don’t do it,” the woman said finally raising her voice above a whisper. “If you do I will never come home and you will never see our child again.” 

The moment she hung up, I knew exactly who it was and I wanted to hide. Did she know I was sitting directly in front of her? How had I not recognized her voice before now? Was it because I had only heard her yell? I had never known my mother to whisper before and she wouldn’t again if she knew I was leaving town as well. 

Posted by: DIYwriting | June 14, 2022

The Waterfalls

PHOTO PROMPT © David Stewart 

I heard the waterfalls long before we made it.  This is the moment I had been waiting for, for six years and I couldn’t quite believe I made it.  Even though I had been hiking and training for months, I was winded. My heart was beating fast, but I couldn’t tell if it was from exertion or excitement. I stared at the waterfalls, soaking in their beauty, but also the danger they put forth. I knew there were jagged rocks at the bottom of the waterfalls because of the death last year. I hoped Simon wouldn’t know what hit him. 

More Friday Fictioneers stories can be found here.

Posted by: DIYwriting | June 10, 2022

The Bully

In elementary school, I didn’t think I would ever end up being friends with Lacey.  Not only was she was the bully of our elementary school, but she was also a huge ass kisser.  She was able to bully anyone and everyone and got away with it because all the teachers loved her.  They just couldn’t believe the stories we all talked about on a regular basis.  I was mostly able to avoid her criticism throughout elementary school because she had a huge crush on my older brother, Damien.  I think she lived along the lines that if she was nice to me, she would eventually have a chance with him.  She was delusional. 

Then by the time we hit seventh grade, something happened.  Something changed that summer before school started and Lacey came back different. She was quiet, she didn’t lead the pack of girls down the halls of the school like she used to, she walked with her head down and tried to sit alone at lunch. Not that any of her friends would let her sit alone whether she wanted to or not. From what I could tell, they all seemed to realize something was happening or something had happened, but no one was able to pull it out of her. As she started to draw more and more into herself, I started feeling bad for her regardless of how she had treated me in the past. When I finally got up the courage to ask her if she needed any help, for a minute all she did was stare at me. 

“Lacey! Are you okay? Should I get the nurse?” My heart started to beat a little fast in fear something terrible was happening at that very second. 

“No. My brother. He is gone. Missing. I don’t know where he is.” Her eyes went back to the table and her shoulders slumped again.  

Lacey had a brother? Why hadn’t I known? And had his disappearance been on the news? I hardly watched TV during the summer, but surely I would have heard about a missing child. I reluctantly left Lacey to herself as her friends started to surround her while shooting me dirty looks like how dare I ask their friend if she needed help? Much less talk to her at all. 

After I got home from school, I scoured the internet for signs of Lacey’s brother. I searched for articles mentioning missing children, missing teenagers, missing young adults, but there was nothing. I even broached the topic with my parents, but they didn’t remember anything about anyone going missing from the summer either. The more I dug, researched and asked around about Lacey’s missing brother, the more I suspected she wasn’t being completely honest. But her daily actions did tell me something major had happened in her life over the summer. When I finally found out what the truth was (and her brother was definitely not missing), I no longer wanted anything to do with Lacey. I didn’t know someone could do something so terribly vile and live with herself after. Her poor dog.

Posted by: DIYwriting | June 8, 2022

The Flickering of a Light

As soon as I saw the light flickering, I knew what it meant.  I knew I needed to go save Amanda, but I also needed to make sure I protected myself.  I had been preparing for this very moment so I had a bag ready to go.  I hated calling it a ‘go-bag’ like they did in the movies and on television because that is what I reserved for actual emergencies.  Our family home had caught on fire when I was eight and I still sometimes have nightmares about it.  Luckily, our house had only been damaged and not completely destroyed so we were able to rebuild the damaged portion and could move back in with no real problems.  Or at least that’s how I remember it.  I would imagine my parents had an entirely different story about the damages to the house. 

Tonight, however, was not a night where I needed to be ready to run for my life.  Amanda was flashing her cellphone’s flashlight in Dylan’s window across the street and this usually meant she was desperate to get away from his Civil War stories and re-enactments.  Being the history buff he was, he was constantly trying to impress my sister with his knowledge, but hadn’t caught on she wasn’t hanging out with him to learn as much as she could about Abraham Lincoln.  I hadn’t figured out why she was spending so much time with him either, but I suspected it had something to do with her Algebra homework.  I tried to let her suffer as long as I could, but when the flashing light became annoyingly consistent, I finally called Amanda with an “emergency”.  She usually answered by the second ring, but when she didn’t answer at all, I wasn’t entirely worried.  I only started to worry when twenty minutes later, she still hadn’t answered and the light disappeared from the window. 

Should I rush over and ring on the doorbell?  I knew she would be mad if Dylan learned about our con, but what if something really was wrong?  Ten more minutes passed and this time I did run over to ring the doorbell and pound on the door.  When Dylan finally answered he looked like he had just gotten out of the shower, when I knew I had just seen his shadow in his bedroom window.   

“Jessica!  What are you doing here?  I was just about to call your sister…”   

I stopped listening and started screaming when I noticed the small trace of blood on the back of his wrist.  The blood he must have missed when he took a shower.  Sometime later, I woke up on the couch in my living room with both parents hovering over me, not remembering where I had been and how I had gotten there. 

“Do you know where you are?  Do you remember what happened?”  My mom asked putting her hand on my shoulder as if she was trying to keep me on the couch. I looked between my mother and father and tried to decide what to tell them. After confronting Dylan at his front door, I must have passed out. Maybe hit my head since my head ached as I swiveled from side to side to look at my parents. But did I pass out or was I attacked? Dylan had done something to my sister, I just didn’t know what. Before I could say a thing, Dylan was standing behind my parents, staring at me and shaking his head. I knew I would end up just like my sister if I ratted him out. Did I dare or did I want to live? 

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