“Jack” – short story pt. 1

Blog, bullying, characters, fiction, life, Short story, writing

It had taken the footballers of Cedar High School just half a week to discover the new kid and about fifteen minutes to make him feel welcome. Unfortunately by welcome I mean upend in the nearest dumpster. Did I mention the new kid is me?
Dumpsters smell like sour milk and mothballs and battery acid. The smell mingles in your mouth and stays there, especially when it’s constantly reintroduced. The only way I’ve found to get rid of it is cigarettes. The taste of dirt does wonders.
To say that bullies’ tactics are cliché would be an understatement. At this point, I would find it refreshing for some dumb jock to steal my gym clothes or give me a swirly. But no. Dumpsters are all I get.
It’s usually the footballers who like to upend me, but depending on the school, it could be the lacrosse team, or the basketball team, even the theater kids. I’ll admit, that one was a surprise, but at a school for performing arts, someone’s got to be on top.
I find myself leaning against the cool stone façade of my current high school, popping a cigarette between my lips and lighting it. I blow the smoke out through my nostrils and shrug my satchel into a more comfortable position across my shoulder.
A group of footballers sashay across the front lawn, several of them looking familiar. Sniveling idiots with leather on their shoulders and rocks in their heads. They cast me wry glances before turning toe in my direction. Luckily, the first bell rings and they decide against whatever they were going to do, chuckling as they head inside.
I can’t help the eye roll that happens as I take one last puff and crush the butt beneath my shoe.
Week two has given me enough time to memorize my schedule, my teachers’ names, and my locker combination. I haven’t bothered to make any friends, there’s no point. I spend lunch roaming the hallways, turkey sandwich in hand. A display case catches my eye and I notice it celebrates the Cedar Baron’s winning streak. The football team’s trophies and awards dazzle under the small fluorescent lights above, but those aren’t what concern me. Mounted in the middle of the showcase is a team photo. The name plate beneath gives away my tormenters’ names. Tad Drake, quarterback, Dillion Powell, receiver, Franklin Weal, Line man. I narrow my eyes at Tad Drake’s glowing face in the photo.
A girl trips over my foot and curses at me as she hurries down the hall. I don’t even have time to apologize as she’s fifteen feet away by the time I register what happened. The bell rings and I throw the remaining half of my sandwich into the nearest trashcan before heading to science class.  
The remainder of the day goes by without incident. Kids swarm the hallways, slamming lockers and buzzing about homework. I shove textbooks into my satchel and retreat from the building, using the chaos as my own cloak of invisibility from Tad and company. Feeling safe only when I’ve slid into a seat on the bus, I let out a sigh and turn my head to the window.
-Collins

Writer’s block x 2

author, life, Poetry, status update, Uncategorized, writing

So it seems that along with the blizzarding cold and various personal problems that January brought with it, it also blessed Turner and I with severe writer’s block. My poetry well has run dry and Turner’s story weaving has halted.

We’re hoping to shake this when the warmer weather starts defrosting February and along with it, hopefully our creativity. Thanks for hanging with us through the dry spell this blog has been experiencing!

Here’s to a fresh start.

-Collins

Merry Christmas

author, christmas, holidays, Life, sad, shortstory, Uncategorized, writers, writing

In the spirit of Christmas, I decided I needed to write something that encompasses the holiday spirit! Nobody loves Christmas as much as Spring does in this new piece. Enjoy.

(Warning, there is some foul language.)

-Turner

The tree was glistening, the lights flashing in an organized rhythm. Blue. Green. Red. Blue. Green. Red. The stockings were hung on the fireplace mantel, arranged by age and size. Mom. Dad. Hunter. And me, Spring. The milk and cookies were placed on the traditional Christmas plate my grandmother had given us when we were just babies. It looked like a Christmas magazine spread.
It was perfect, a flawless family holiday. Oh how I’d been wanting one for so many years. Ever since Hunter moved away for college and Mom and Dad started fighting, it hadn’t been like this. Each year I would call, stop by, hope that the decorations would be hung, that my mom would ask me to come over and bake her special Christmas cookies. Each year that I was denied, that my Mom said she was too busy, that there was no point and that I should have fun with my friends, a part of me would crack.
My brother was too busy with his college buddies and drinking to even answer my calls, my family had fallen apart. My father was always in his study, a strong glass of whiskey beside him, while he chatted with other women online. They thought I didn’t know about all their indiscretions, but I did.
But this year was going to be different. I decided I’d hang the decorations myself. Exactly how mom used to do. I baked the cookies in my mother’s oven, making sure they were just right. I poured just the right amount of milk for Santa. The presents were carefully placed under the twinkling lights. Everything was perfect.
I took in my masterpiece once more before a moan behind me broke my concentration.
“Mm, ahh!” My mother calls from behind her duct tape. Her blue eyes frantically searching mine. Her blonde hair pressed against her cheek from the sweat beading down her temples. I kneel in front of her and push the hair behind her ear. Her breaths are coming in pants as she tries to communicate with me. I shake my head at her, it’s not time yet. It isn’t midnight, it isn’t Christmas yet.
Movement to the left of Mother. My father, wiggling his hands, attempting to free the zip ties I’d placed on them. I know it must hurt, I don’t want to hurt them. I just want to be a family again. This is the only way. Mother looks into father’s eyes, tears falling from both. I think this is the first real emotion they’ve shown one another in years.
Lastly, my brother, Hunter. The brother I haven’t spoken to in almost six months. A brother who posts photos of himself with different girls every night, drinks and drugs in his system. Ignoring what was happening to our family. Ignoring his sister as she spiraled into loneliness. The duct tape I placed on him is barely allowing him to breathe. Bright green ecstasy pills I shoved into his mouth, telling him to not swallow. He needs to learn constraint. To abstain from the evilness of drugs.
I look up at the ticking clock, only eight more minutes til Christmas. A giddiness builds inside me. I look back to my family, who are all panting, sweating and eyeing me like I’m crazy. Frankly, I’m the one sane one in this family. I grip the kitchen knife harder in my hand, wishing time would move by faster. I look out the window, the snowflakes falling in the lights reminding me of when I was a child and would stay up to watch the white blanket covering our small town.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” I say, to no one really. Whimpers escape my mother. “Christmas is the most joyous season, wouldn’t you agree?”
My mother shuts her eyes tightly, her chin falling. I leap over to her, grabbing her chin and pulling her face to mine. “Wouldn’t you agree, Mother?” I ask politely. She nods frantically. Sobbing behind her gag.
I nod back, giving her my best smile. I walk into the kitchen and check on my punch, a family recipe. I take the large ladle and make sure all the pills I’d put in it earlier are dissolved. Almost there, perfect.
A crashing sounds sends me into the living room. Hunter has somehow escaped his duct taped hands, and is now pulling the tape off his mouth.
“You crazy bitch!” He spits at me. I take a deep breath and hold the knife up for protection as he comes towards me.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing? Jesus Christ, Spring!”
“I had to!” I sob, holding the knife out farther, halting his movements. Mom and Dad are now frantically trying to escape, eyes darting between their two children. “You don’t understand. Our family was falling apart!” I cry, a tear escaping my eye as well.
Hunter takes another step towards me and I slash the knife in front of him, he jumps back, his hands out in a soothing gesture. “Okay, just…let’s just put the knife down, Spring. Okay? We’ll put the knife down, let Mom and Dad out, and we can celebrate Christmas.” His head turns towards the clock. “Only four minutes left, right?”
I check, he’s right. Only four minutes. Maybe Hunter is right, maybe everyone is ready to celebrate Christmas. “O-okay.” I stutter.
Hunter lays his hand out, palm up in front of him. “Just, pass the knife over, okay?”
I grip it tightly once, before letting it go in his hand.
He takes a step back, towards Mom and Dad. “I’m just going to let them go, okay? Just so we can be together.”
Together. That is a nice word. Soon, we’ll be together forever.
“Oh, thank god.” My mothers voice rushes out, pulling Hunter to her and gripping his cheeks as she cries.
“Jesus.” My father mutters, pulling them both into his body. Protecting them, from me. Don’t they see, they don’t need to be scared of me. We’re a family. I take a step towards them, wanting to be a part of it all. They hesitate, but allow me into their fold.
After a moment of bonding, they all let go. I can tell they are shaking and unsure what to do.
I look at the clock one more time. One minute, perfect. It’s time for punch and Christmas.
“I’m going to get us some punch. Then we can sit by the fire and open presents, just like we used to, right Momma?” I say.
She nods. “Right.”
I quickly head into the kitchen, pouring ladle fulls of punch into the crystal goblets we’d always used. All the pills are dissolved, they won’t even taste it. Soon, every day will be like Christmas.
“Here.” I say, passing everybody their own glass. My mothers sloshes in her nervousness.
“Spring…I, maybe we should talk about what’s happening here?” My father asks.
Anger rushes into me. “NO! No. We’re going to celebrate Christmas like a family, like tradition!”
“Okay…okay, but after. After we need to…”
“Not now.” I snap. “It’s time. Let’s count down?”
Everyone nods.
“Ten. Nine. Eight.” Dad starts.
“We all sip on zero.”
“Seven. Six. Five.” Hunter.
“Four. Three. Two.” Mom.
“One. Zero.”
Everyone sips.
Merry Christmas.

A lost child

author, excerpt, new, Uncategorized, writers, writing

This idea came to in a dream so I just sat down for ten minutes and this poured out. I’m really excited to explore this.

-Turner

When I was fifteen, I had to make a choice. A big choice, a life changing one. Not just for me, but for the life of the little one I had grown for the last nine months.
“Are you sure this is what you want to do, Josie?” My mother asked, gripping my hand so tight it lost feeling. I know she wanted me to keep the baby, to raise it. But, I wasn’t ready. I was still a child myself, I couldn’t give this child what it deserved. A family, support and stability. I could see the tears starting to build in my mother’s blue eyes. Her lip trembled and her breathing had picked up. I didn’t want to break my mother’s heart as well, but I’d already made up my mind. It took me that moment, with only a week left til my due date, to get to this office.
I looked up to Mrs. Talbot’s soft eyes, she had been my rock through all of this, not pressuring me. Always being understanding. She was the director of the adoption agency I decided to go with. She found the best family to take my baby, to give it the things I wasn’t able to. Marcus, the baby’s father, was out of the picture. He was older than me, and the moment he found out how old I really was and what had happened, he split. Never to be heard from again. I had grown up without a father as well and I would never wish that on my baby. I rested my hand on my large belly, feeling the dips and rolls as the little one fought for room inside my under developed body.
“It’s alright, Josie. This is all up to you, everything is in your hands.” I know Mrs. Talbot was trying to be supportive, but that comment cut me to the quick. I picked up the blue pen that was resting in front of me. I gripped it so hard it nearly shot across the room. The moment I brought the tip down on the line that would officially release me of my baby, my mother broke down. Her sobs wracking her body.
“I’m sorry, I can’t…I just…” With that, she took off, out of the room to who knows where. I wanted to comfort her, she had been there for me my whole life, with nothing but love. But this wasn’t something I could help her through. I was barely holding myself together.
I looked up one more time to the kind, older woman in front of me. She gave me a reassuring smile. And with that, I signed my name.
I gave up my baby.
And…every day for the last nine years, I’ve cried for the life I never got to hold. To know. I never even found out if I had a boy or a girl. The adoption was closed. The moment I pushed the tiny body out of my own, a nurse swaddled it and took it out of the room, shutting the door behind her. That was the first night the dreams came.
They haven’t left.
That’s why today, I’m at Mrs.Talbot’s office. Desperation pulled me here. I need answers. I need to know my baby is safe, is taken care of. I want to know if I gave birth to a little boy with my blue eyes or a little girl with my dark blonde hair. I won’t be able to sleep for another ten years if I don’t.
With that thought, I pull open the large door with Miracle Adoption Agency printed on the glass.