Story excerpt from Riptide novella

short story, writing

Here’s a little peek at our novella project tiled Riptide.

 

 
                “Are you dead?”
                I open my eyes and see a little girl in a red and white striped bathing suit standing over me. Her curly hair is pulled into two pigtails and there’s still baby fat visible around her face. I groan and blink the sunlight from my eyes.
                “No.”
                She lifts a Popsicle to her lips and licks it. The sight of food clenches my stomach into knots. I haven’t eaten in almost two days. I shove up from the suitcase and stretch my arms over my head, hearing popping sounds as my joints pull apart. The drooping fronds obscure us from prying eyes on the beach. She must have wandered off.
                “You know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers, right?”
                The girl smiles and rocks on her heels. “I’m Poppy. What’s your name?”
                “Stella.”
                “Now we’re not strangers,” she giggles. Catching me eyeing her Popsicle, she holds it out to me. “Do you want it?”
                I feel stupid taking food from a little girl, but the rock of hunger sitting in my gut couldn’t care less. I gingerly take the Popsicle and take a bite off the top. The taste of strawberries melts over my tongue, erasing the sandpaper feeling.
                “Thank you.”
                Poppy waddles forward and touches my head, patting my hair. “Where’s your mommy and daddy?” Her eyes are large and all-encompassing as she waits for an answer.
                I chew on the Popsicle slowly. For a kid who couldn’t be more than five, she sure asks a lot of questions. “I ran away.”
                She frowns. “Why?”
                I lean back, sinking a hand into the warm sand. “Because they didn’t love me.”
                “Parents always love their kids. That’s what my mommy says.”
                I chuckle at her ignorance as I lick the Popsicle stick clean. “Well it’s a nice thought.”

-Collins 

Advertisements

get to know me

excerpt, story, Uncategorized, writing

riptide post

Here’s a little excerpt from “Riptide,” our current writing endeavour. In this piece, you get to meet Stella and Seb as they get to know each other better.

Seb made good on his offer to try to set me up with a job. Newt had left earlier that morning because line cooks have to prep food before the Starfish even opens, but Frannie was going to drop by on her way to work and give me a lift.

I chew on a piece of toast at the small kitchen table as Seb eats spoonfuls of cereal cross legged in the living room. He’s watching an episode of Hogan’s Heroes.

“Who’s the Beatles fan?” I ask, spying a splay of records discarded on the coffee table and couch.

Seb answers over his shoulder, between bites of cereal. “That’d be Baron. He really digs the fab four’s sound.”

“I wouldn’t have pegged his as a twist and shout kinda guy.”

“He’s an enigma,” Seb grins.

I walk over and pick up a Beatles record, turning it over in my hand to check out the track list. “Seems that way. What about you? What’s your sound?” Setting it down, I run my fingers over another cover. “Are you a Chuck Berry kinda guy?”

Seb howls with laughter, shaking so much that milk from his bowl dribbles onto the floor. “That’s all Newt.”

“What’s so funny?” I pout.

“Do I look like a Chuck Berry idolizer?” he asks, motioning to his outfit.

He wears pants with vertical stripes, a button up with a funky pattern worn mostly open. His rose colored glasses are balanced on the bridge of his nose and he’s wrapped a length of fabric around his head to keep the hair of out his face. It’s only when I spot his moustache that I crack up.

“No, you’re right. I don’t think you’d find Chuck sporting a milk moustache,” I get out between giggles.

Seb expression grows confused, then self-conscious.

Crouching down, I use the tail of his head wrap and pat at his moustache. He reaches up, placing his hand over mine to hold it in place. He looks at me questioningly, his face only a few inches from mine.

“Stella—“

The doorbell rings and we both jump.

“That’s gotta be Frannie,” Seb blurts. “I’ll get it.”

He leaves me, startled, on the floor. What just happened? Why was he looking at me like he wanted to…

Frannie round the corner all smiles, Seb following behind. His demeanor has shifted to carefree once again, leaving me fumbling to regain my composure.

“Hey, Frannie,” I smile.

She pulls off her sunglasses and takes a seat on the couch, beside the records. Her hair is still styled in a beehive, but she wears a uniform today. She sets her purse carelessly down on top of the records and kicks off her heels. One collides with the wall on the other side of the room.

“Hello. Geez, I shouldn’t have drunk so much last night, I woke up with the most God awful headache.” She rubs her temples with her fingers. “How about you?”

Seb perches on the arm rest of the couch, leaving me to sit awkwardly on the floor. I shrug my shoulders.

“I only had one beer.”

“I had more than you did and I’m bright eyed and bushy tailed,” Seb gloats.

Frannie makes a humph sound and crosses her legs. “Well your stomach’s a bottomless pit. You could down an entire vat of brew and still be coherent.”

Seb’s lips draw up into a smug smile. “You’re probably right.”

-Collins