Category Archives: Fiction

Forgotten (Flash Fiction)

WP_20180523_09_57_02_ProThe morning delivery came as usual. It plopped onto the damp ground in the light drizzle and waited to be picked up. As the minutes passed, the rain fell harder, faster.  There’s only so much plastic can do.

Four days later, the sun reemerges, but it’s too late. All that remains are paper pulp marked with tire tracks and shredded plastic. The words will go unread.

 

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What Dreams Are Made of (A Short Story) Part 4

Part 1
Part
2
Part 3

7:32am. Books lay strewn all over Gaila’s desk. She should have been grading worksheets, but she was searching for a different kind of answers. After school the day before, she tried to find the little kindergartener she had seen in her dream. He wasn’t in the car line, and she didn’t know how to ask his teacher about him without sounding crazy. Instead, she hurried to the library and gathered all of the books she could about dreams.

After another restless night, she left early for school and hid herself in her classroom. Strong coffee was her only companion. Together, they would figure out what was going on.

So far, she had read about countless theories on dreams, but none of them seemed like the right answer. They couldn’t account for that little boy’s stare which still haunted her.

Part of her hoped that she would find him today. Perhaps at recess. Perhaps she could strike up a conversation and see if he had the same dream. Part of her thought that this was crazy. Perhaps it meant she was going crazy. But part of her dreaded that it was real somehow. And she wasn’t sure what she would do if that were the case.


What Dreams Are Made of (A Short Story) Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

11:23pm. Gaila’s husband was already asleep. She stared at the ceiling. The street lamp cast strange, unsettling shadows. Though she knew she had to sleep, the previous night’s dream and the literal mark it seemingly left haunted her.

She hadn’t told her husband. She hadn’t told anyone. The mark on her hand had to be a coincidence. If she told people that her nightmares seemed to be real, who would believe her?

She tried to shake the dread as she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Tonight, she would have normal dreams. Everything was going to be fine.

4:51am. Gaila sat on the edge of the bed again, shivering. The wasps from the night before had been ridiculous, but tonight’s dream had been outrageous.

A relaxing day on a flying cruise ship had turned into disaster. The ship was hijacked by faceless thugs. There was no way to escape, so she searched for the safest place she could find. A walk-in safe would do. Before she closed the door, she realized that a tiny boy was already cowering there.

“I’ll keep you safe,” she whispered as she closed the door.

Even as she bolted upright in bed, she could still feel his trembling body in her arms.

This time, she couldn’t bring herself to go back to sleep again. Instead, she sought the safety of the bright kitchen and a potent cup of coffee.

11:45am. Gaila followed her third graders to the lunchroom. As they hurried to their usual spots, she greeted the passing kindergarten teacher. At the front of the line was a little boy. The same one from her dream. He stared at her, mirroring her confused look as he followed the teacher out of the room.


What Dreams Are Made of (A Short Story) Part 2

Three years after starting this story, it’s time to finally continue it. Part 1 is available here.

7:38 am. Gaila poured another cup of coffee. She was going to need it.

As expected, the parasitic wasp nightmare had continued when she went back to sleep. This time, it wasn’t just one hair-like wasp in her finger. They were all over her arms. Desperately, she tried to pluck them all out, but the pain was too much. When she started awake, her skin tingled where the wasps had been.

She spent the rest of the night staring at the clock, wondering what to do. Maybe she should wake her husband. But over a dream? No, that was just silly. Instead, she waited patiently for 6:00. And when her husband asked how she slept, she barely mentioned the dream. The less she thought about it, the better.

As she moved to set the pot down, the second grade teacher, Sarah, offered her paper cup and a smile. “Looks like you had a rough night.”

“I just didn’t sleep well,” Gaila replied, conjuring up her most convincing smile. How would it look if the third grade teacher had the same problems as her third graders?

“Well, nothing a little extra coffee won’t fix.”

Gaila nodded, more to herself than to Sarah. Yes, coffee and daylight would fix this. She would think about normal, non-wasp things, and that would ensure her a better night’s sleep.

7:42 am. Gaila sat down at her desk and sipped the coffee. Everything would be fine. She reached for the coaster, realized that there was a pile of papers in the way, and pushed them aside with her left hand.

As she did, she noticed something odd. A strange red mark on one of her fingers. It was right where the wasp in her dream had been.


What Dreams Are Made of: A Short Story Revisited

The house is quiet. The baby is asleep, the cat is lounging in a window, and my husband isn’t home yet. My imagination is itching to tell a story.

I scroll through my Pinterest board, looking for a prompt to start everything off, and I find one that reminds me of something from about three years ago.

Back when my husband and I first started watching Dr. Who, I had a series of particularly unusual dreams. They were weird enough to inspire a flurry of story ideas, and upon remembering it, they make my fingers fidgety. So I decide to do something about it. I am finally going to write something based on them.

I remember that I had posted about them, so I search through the blog for that post. But to my surprise, today’s idea isn’t new. I have already begun writing about the strange dreams.

Even more surprising, though, I realize that I never finished the story. All right, so that’s not the most surprising thing since there are several stories on this blog that began to take shape but were abandoned. (Not forever, necessarily.) However, this story already had so much to it. I was sure that I had to have finished it. But I haven’t.

So, it’s time to revisit the story and actually finish it this time. Three years late is better than never, right?

What Dreams Are Made of (Part 1) is available here. Next week, expect Part 2!


A-Z Challenge: Yclept

(A continuation of A-Z Challenge: Worn.)

It hadn’t taken long for her eyes to adjust to the constant darkness of the Wilds, but her heart raced just as fast as when she first stepped foot into the forest.

Everyone knew the stories about this place. Here, wild monsters lurk behind every shadow and time itself bleeds away. She had always hoped that they were just myths, but the crunch of nearby footsteps and uncertainty of the hour confirmed that it must be true.

She gathered all of her courage and pressed on, sword clenched tightly in her hand. She had to. She was her people’s last hope.

There were footsteps to her left, louder than any she had heard yet. She stopped and peered into the darkness. At first, she couldn’t see anything. Then, between the silhouette of trees, she made out a light. A torch was headed her way.

She gripped the hilt firmly with both hands now. Her mind raced. The torch and its bearer were getting closer now. Clearly, her presence was already known. There was no point in running, and even if she did, losing the path would mean the end of the quest and likely her own life.

Finally, the person stood within clear view, for a person indeed it was. The light bothered her eyes more than she expected, but she could plainly make out the man donning hunting gear.

“Who are you?” she asked, tightening her grip with her sweaty hands.

“Sorry, miss,” he replied with a bow. “Didn’t mean to scare you. I’m a hunter yclept Theron. Who are you?”


A-Z Challenge: Worn

(Based on a writing prompt I found on Pinterest.)

She stared down at her worn boots nervously; she never thought her training would be used for this. The Wilds were the most dangerous place in the world. Like every princess, she had been trained with some combat and survival skills, but to survive in there? Alone?

“No one will follow you that way,” her father had said as he eased the full pack onto her shoulders. “They will expect you to take the East Road. You will reach the Well a full three days ahead of them. That is all that matters.”

That is all that matters. It was little comfort now that she stood on the edge of the dense forest covered in a thick canopy. Behind her, most of the city burned. Only the castle remained — with her parents and the few knights who were left in it. She was their only hope.

She drew her short sword and a deep breath before plunging into the darkness, one worn boot after the other.