I had the privilege of doing multiple writing workshops in November at Stansbury High School. Mrs. Langlie and Mr. Heiner were gracious hosts. As part of my visit, I introduced a writing competition among the students in the categories of Poetry and Short Stories. This contest ends at the end of the day on Saturday, December 10. Winners of each category will win a free Beholders t-shirt and a permanent link to their story/poem on the website.
How can you help? It is your opportunity to play jury! Please read through the following Short Story entries and leave a comment below nominating your favorite.
Entry #1 (untitled)
"But you can't leave," the little girl bawled. "You haven't even been here that long!"
"I have accomplished all I can do here," the man said, kneeling down and offering the little girl his handkerchief. "There is nothing left for me here."
With one more quick embrace, the man stood up and dusted his ragged pants off with his hand. He looked down at the brown eyed girl, smiled, and turned back down the road that he had walked in on.
There was no sorrow in his gait. Not a hint of regret, or a hesitance suggesting that he didn't want to leave. He had nothing tying him to the small town. With the almost cheerful skip in his step that he had entered the town with only a week ago, the bard was gone.
Entry #2 - "Magic Mayhem"
I ran as fast as I could while keeping quiet. I was late for class and I didn’t want to get caught. I puffed, knowing I was out of shape. Flicking my long blond hair out of the way, I silently wished I had payed closer attention in magic class to the invisibility spell. As soon as I thought that I dismissed it. I would need a crystal to cast that, and being a poor student I obviously didn’t have one.
I screeched to a halt. People were coming down the next hall, which my class just happened to be in. My only hope was the transforming spell that I had memorized.
“wen ydob fo tac,” I mumbled.
My backpack disappeared and I became a small cat in the middle of the hall. I padded to the edge and squeezed against the cold brick, hoping I wouldn’t be seen.
The people walked casually along. It was the headmaster and a teacher. My ears perked at their conversation.
“Everything is going as planned. The brainwashing spell will be ready by tonight, and then the children will be in our power,” the teacher said.
Ah yes, then we can use them to attack the nearby villages without complaint,” the headmaster added.
They continued down the hall. I padded down to my class. Thoughts jumbled around in my head. The main question that surfaced was: had this been their plan all along? I also knew I had to do something. The door was cracked open and I slipped through. I leapt on my chair.
Dlo ydob fo lirg I thought, (because it’s impossible to say it aloud with a cat mouth). I appeared with my bag next to me. I picked up my quill and began taking notes.
Mrs. Tilet turned from the chalk board, “… And so, oh, Sailee, when did you get here?”
“I’ve been here the whole time,” I replied sincerely.
“I’m always missing you in the roll, aren’t I?” she moved to her desk to change the roll.
“Yes ma’am.” I twirled one of my matching braids around my finger. If I did this cat thing too often she would catch me eventually.
At lunch I told Brent what I heard.
“You’re kidding!” he said while dropping his chicken drumstick, which was amazing because he loved food.
“Would I kid about this?”
“No…” He picked up his drumstick and began devouring it.
“I already searched the spell archives for a counter spell, and here’s what I found.” I pulled a piece of paper from my pocket and laid it in front of him.
“Sai, how did you even get to the archives? They’re password protected.” He didn’t even glance at the paper.
I rolled my eyes. “The password is ‘password’ in spell language. In my opinion it is the dumbest password ever.”
“I could never figure out spell language.” Brent gnawed on the bone of his drumstick, which no longer had any meat on it.
“Now you’re kidding. Spell language is each word spelt backwards.”
Brent moved his plate over and started banging his head on the table. “I’m so stupid. No wonder everyone kept telling me it was so easy and I should figure it out myself.” He stopped hitting his head and rested his chin on the table, and looked at the paper still resting there. “Dude, that’s long.”
“No it’s not. I already memorized it. Anyway, the spell has to be chanted, then the user is safe from any brainwash spell.” I took a bite of my chicken wing.
“Okay, so the plan is to follow the brain washed people, then run?” Brent asked.
“Basically,” I smiled.
When it was time for bed, I went to the dorm and when the others weren’t watching I quietly chanted:
“Peek em efas thginot morf esoht ohw hsiw ot esu em rof rieht gniddib.”
It didn’t take long for the girls to get out of bed. They seemed to be in a trance.
I had a mission. I hadn’t told Brent because I knew he would stop me. I was sure that this spell had some sort of potion or doohickey that made it work. After all, they had said it was finally ready, so it needed something made in advance. If that was eliminated, then the spell would be rendered useless.
I separated from the group and found a secluded window. I watched as students poured out of the school. I spotted Brent in a throng of boys. He kept looking back at the school. He carried my cat carrier. I had made some excuse for him to have her with him instead of me. I had left a note in the carrier for him in case my mission went sour.
When everyone was out I rushed to the center of the school.
“onrefne!” I shouted the spell at the top of my lungs. Fire spewed from me. It raced down the halls and into every nook and cranny. I ran, coughing, down the hall toward the outer door.
A teacher found me.
Paz fo htead,” she said and pointed her finger at me.
A lightning bolt shot from her finger and hit me square in the chest and I rammed into the wall. My nightgown caught on fire. I rolled from the wall, putting the fire out on my nightgown.
The teacher ran to the door, shouting back, “You’ve ruined everything!”
I smiled. I had no energy left. I had saved the students, but all I could think about was Brent. As my vision darkened, I realized that not every story has a happy ending.
Entry #3 - "Battle Cry for Freedom"
The paddle came down hard on Peace’s rear. She clenched her teeth as her mistress kept hitting trying to make her squeal. She had refused to clean up the bedroom for Jamal and Jamee, the “precious” twins. They purposefully made the biggest mess possible so that Peace would have to take forever cleaning it, and get a whack for taking so long. Today she had decided that was enough of that. She was constantly refusing to do stuff and her mistress seemed overly annoyed. The whacking stopped. Peace waited for the next whack, but it didn’t come. She looked over her shoulder to see that the mistress was catching her breath for a final huge swing.
“Ya ain’t even gonna get a wince out a me lady.” Peace said.
“You can’t talk to me ever!” The mistress shrieked and smacked as hard as she could. Peace was thrown to the other end of the log cabin’s living room with impact. No hurt or emotion went across Peaces face. Inside she was ready to scream.
“That is the final straw! You are going away tomorrow!” Peace shrugged her shoulders at the mistress and skipped out into the night sky. Her short thin black braids bounced as she skipped right over to the tumble down shack of her place. She waved a Grace, 14 like her, and picked up her piece of cloth which served as a pillow. She screamed into it. Grace looked at her.
“Ya whacked again?” She asked raising an eyebrow.
“Yeah, ya know I hate ta clean that room a there’s. That last one really hurt though.” She looked at her rear and winced. “Anyways I ganna get sold tomorrow.”
Graces heart dropped. That would mean she would have to clean the bedroom, eew! The only reason she liked her was because Peace was so busy getting in trouble she never got whacked. “Then ya might as well have a good nights rest.” She said trying to sound nice.
“You right, like always Grace.” Peace slipped over to the bedroll and was fast asleep. Grace looked over and scrunched up her nose. That meant she would have to take over Peace’s chores after all. She sighed.
The mistress was guiding peace through the crowd over to the selling block. Peace just gazed at all the funny white people with fancy hats and expensive pets, gathered around to purchase more slaves. There was a family of 4 up on the stand at the moment.
“Sold, to the man with the carpet bag!” The auctioneer shouted.
“I just want the adults” The man replied.
“Sure, why not.” The auctioneer replied. The scene that played up on the podium was an all too familiar one to Peace. It reminded her of when big sis, Mama, and Papa where bought, but they didn’t want her. As She had been pulled from her mama’s grasp she had said a few words to her. “Be tough and do what you think is best”. She had nodded her head and that was the last she had seen of any of her family. Peace shook her head to shake the memory and brought what was happening now. She yanked her hand away from her mistress and ran up to the podium. She kicked the man in the shin that was trying to separate the children from the parents. She sang loudly something she had made up that wasn’t quite in tune.
“Down with the shackle,
up with the star!”
up with the star!”
She continued to chant. The family joined in. The slaves in the corral waiting to be auctioned off joined in too. Soon all the slaves present where chanting with Peace. Eventually the police showed up and beat Peace till she passed out. The rest of the slaves were warned and then she was taken to jail with out trial. Eventually she died at 16 of malnutrition, but what she had started continued on. Slaves fought against their owners and many ran away. Peace lived on in the souls of many.
Entry #4 - "Ultimate Prank"
Isaac yawned. It was so hard to wake up in the morning.
He stood staring into the mirror of the Inn bathroom. A few of his hairs were standing straight up, but that was normal. Isaac grabbed his toothbrush. Whoosh. Bang.
Isaac whirled around and found Mia storming in, dripping wet. She looked like she was about to explode.
“Isaac! Are you the cause for this?” she said, gesturing at herself.
“No,” Isaac said while handing her a towel. “What exactly happened?”
Mia took it thankfully and began drying off.
“I was leaving for some breakfast. When I opened the door to our room a bucket fell down and drenched me.”
Isaac chortled, “It sounds like you’ve been the victim of a prank.” He turned back to the sink and mirror and put toothpaste on his brush.
“I don’t see what’s so funny about it,” Mia huffed.
Isaac went to brushing his teeth. He choked and coughed into the sink. Bubbles poured out of his nose.
Mia started giggling. “Now I get it.”
Isaac looked at his tube of toothpaste, “shaving cream, I knew it.” He turned to Mia.
“We better warn the other two.”
They rushed out of the bathroom into the room. Ivan was opening the wardrobe.
He was smacked in the face with a banana cream pie.
Malicious laughter filled the room as Garet fell out of the wardrobe.
The pie tin slipped from Ivan’s face. Even covered in yellow and white froth Isaac could tell his face wore a scowl.
Garet surveyed his victims after pulling himself from the floor. He began laughing again as he stared at dripping Mia, Ivan, and Isaac, whose mouth was circled by white bubbles. He continued laughing as he walked out the door.
Isaac looked at Ivan.
“We need to get him back.”
“Leave me out of it,” Mia said as she, too, left the room.
“You know, he is a deep sleeper…” I van said.
They both left smiling.
The next morning at a different inn…
Garet smiled while he went toward the bathroom to admire his hair. He was still very amused by his pranks of last morn.
He gaped at the mirror. His beautiful, amazing, hair was gone!
Through the mirror he could see Ivan and Isaac at the door laughing their guts out.
That's all of the entries in Short Stories. Don't forget to leave a comment nominating your favorite, and be sure to check out the Poetry entries as well!