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There’s a certain chill in the air when you step outside. Small piles of snow still litter the ground from yesterday’s blizzard. The sky is a pale, wintery blue without a cloud in sight. You scowl wishing you had grabbed your coat, and quickly shuffle to the mailbox. “Bills, bills, and more bills,” you say, gallingly. You continue rummaging through the pile but stop short when you notice a tiny postcard in the midst of the bills. It’s an intensely bright yellow, a stark contrast to the dull grey atmosphere around you, and you squint. The postcard glistens, it’s edges sharp and crisp, as if it was newly purchased. Your brow furrows as you turn it over, reading the scribbled note addressed specifically for you.

Your friends need help! Please come back to us, Willow.

Love, Chrissa Beatrix.

It’s a peculiar letter, probably a prank from one of the neighborhood kids. With a shake of your head and a roll of your eyes, you tuck the bills and strange letter underneath your arm and head back inside. The door whips behind you with a woosh, creating a barrier between yourself and the outside world.

The house around you is cluttered, but you don’t mind. You step over the piles of newspaper scattering the floor, push aside the dirty dishes from last night’s supper, and throw your winter boots into the stack of tennis shoes and sandals. When people visit, you simply brush off your mess by saying it’s all part of the creative process. A writer needs clutter in order to pick out the stories. It may be a sad excuse, but hey, it gets them off your back.

Nudging a half-empty glass aside, you toss the mail onto the counter. It slides and the bright yellow postcard falls behind the counter. You have the sudden urge to rescue it and set it back with the other mail, but you don’t. Instead, you listen as it hits the floor with a small thud and turn around, shrugging.

An hour passes by, you work on your writing. The story does not come easily, it hasn’t for the past few weeks. You continue writing but nothing strikes your fancy. Creativity has not been your friend for a while now. In fact, you think it deleted your phone number and probably blocked you, too. It’s okay, you blocked creativity too.

You don’t think about the postcard for the entirety of your writing time. Why would you? It’s a silly thing, but perhaps that’s exactly why you should pay special attention to it. You are typing away at your computer, writing more gibberish than actual words, when you see something out of the corner of your eye. You rub your eyes, thinking it is just a hallucination from lack of sleep, but the object does not go away. Looking to your right, something hits you like a blow to the stomach. The bright yellow postcard lies innocently beside you, face up. “What the—” you say, eyes wide and heart pounding.

You hold it carefully in your hand, as if it might bite you, and flip it over to the written note. It is the same as before.

Your friends need help! Please come back to us, Willow.

Love, Chrissa Beatrix.

Simple, sweet, and awfully strange. You read that letter one, two, three, four times, searching for any kind of clue or hidden message. It isn’t until the fifth time over that something stands out to you. The name Chrissa Beatrix. There’s a connection to the name that you don’t quite understand, but it speaks to you. It calls to your inner self. That is when it hits you.

“Chrissa Beatrix,” you whisper. Your once imaginary friend from a time when you were a young child, only the age of eight.

“You remember me.” The sweet, silky voice nearly makes your skin jump off your body. You look around and there is Chrissa Beatrix standing in all her glory. She looks the same as you remember—black and white all over, a beautiful white dress that flows in imaginary wind, and only about four-feet tall. She is the same age, too, from all those years ago. She stares at you with glittering eyes. “You’re old,” she says, giving you a once over.

You let out a laugh, more boisterous than you intended but the situation is just too strange. “Twenty-years-old to be exact. Not quite as old as mother.”

“That is very true,” Chrissa laughs, remembering the inside joke you shared about the ancientness of your mother.

You stare at her and she stares at you, both with curious, unbelieving glances. “Why…how are you here?”

She shrugs. “I told you. In my note.” She gestures towards the yellow postcard lying across your computer screen and memories wash over you. You remember going to the woods behind your house, searching for pixies and fairytale creatures. You remember setting a place for Chrissa at the dinner table, refusing to eat until your mother fixed Chrissa’s meal. You remember the other members of your little team—Conroy, the stuffy know-it-all who was always the first to aid when life got tough; Selena, the discourteous young girl who no one ever truly liked; and, finally, Chrissa. Your heart opens with the sweet memories of your friends and your childhood; it is a feeling that has been lost in you for years.

“They…you all need my help?” you ask, still gazing at the tiny postcard with the possibility of adventure written upon it.

“We do, Willow. You are our only hope.” Another memory floods to the front of your mind as she says these words. When your parents announced their divorce, you had run into the woods alone to escape the yelling and the fighting. You left your friends behind at the house, not wanting to burden them with your sadness. The truth, however, was that they were already there with you. Grieving with you. Your friends had soon found you, informing you that Conroy had run away, as well. You were their only hope of getting him back safely. The adventure relieved you of your sorrow.

Biting your lip, you look around the cluttered apartment filled with useless objects and work, work, work. It makes you flinch, and you glance back at Chrissa. “They are all counting on me?”

Chrissa’s eyes sparkle and widen in a child-like way. “We need you. I need you.”

You nod. “Let’s go.”

It’s a silly thing, as you’re walking in the woods with someone you never realized to be real. As you walk, following your imaginary best friend to the location of your other imaginary companions, you find yourself smiling. You’re not thinking of work or responsibilities. Instead, you are only thinking of saving your childhood friends. It’s a silly thing, how quickly you got caught up in life. You forgot who you truly are. But you know now.

“We’re here,” says Chrissa. She stops in front of a magnificent oak tree and you crane your head to see the top stretching high into the clouds. You remember this tree.

You smile. “Let’s save our friends.” What a story this will make when you return home.

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22 comments

22:18 Jun 29, 2020

Hi, Maggie! This story was written very well. I loved the whole imaginary friend theme to it, along with the fact that the woman is an over-worked writer. I know you're busy, but I can't wait to read more of your works! :) Keep writing and stay healthy! -Brooke

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Maggie Deese
22:37 Jun 29, 2020

Thank you so much, Brooke! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I am actually working on a story for this week, so I should have that up in the next day or two!

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22:38 Jun 29, 2020

You're welcome! I'm looking forward to it!

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15:10 Jun 29, 2020

WOW..Such a sweet and heartwarming story! I loved your story concept! Your stories are really great! 😊😉 Keep writing and have a great day Maggie!❤️️

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Maggie Deese
16:15 Jun 29, 2020

Thank you so much, Harshini!

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16:20 Jun 29, 2020

You're welcome Maggie!😊

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20:39 Jun 28, 2020

It gave me shivers it was so well written. Period. Sincerely, A.

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Maggie Deese
21:21 Jun 28, 2020

Aw thank you so much! That means so much to me.

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21:58 Jun 28, 2020

Welcome! -A.

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Tolu Odel
17:39 Jun 26, 2020

I love this story and I love your picture too :)

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Maggie Deese
20:31 Jun 26, 2020

Aw thank you so much!

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17:33 Jun 25, 2020

This is so sweet and beautiful. I love the imaginary friend theme (I wish my childhood imaginary friend could just appear to me, haha) Great job on this one. I hope to read more from you.

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Maggie Deese
19:50 Jun 25, 2020

Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm going to try my best to write more stories, but I am working on some other projects at the moment!

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21:57 Jun 25, 2020

Okay, no problem. You can take your time if you have other things going. Reedsyprompts should be an aside for a busy person like you. Good luck on your writing!

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Maggie Deese
01:31 Jun 27, 2020

Thank you!!

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Yageen Faiz
18:01 Jul 08, 2020

hello! can you read one of my stories if you have time? thank you!

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Nandan Prasad
15:04 Jun 29, 2020

Very sweet and heartwarming story! The characters are well-fleshed out and the second person is also written well. Also, would you mind checking out my story if it's not too much trouble? Thanks and good luck!

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Mehak Aneja
13:13 Jun 29, 2020

Brilliant!! Literally loved your story. Very nicely written. Would you mind reading my story and giving it a like?? :D

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Batool Hussain
11:41 Jun 23, 2020

Five stars to you for such a beautiful story! Mind checking my recent story 'You and the train?' Thanks.

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Maggie Deese
19:51 Jun 25, 2020

Thank you! And sure, I would love to!

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Abigail Slimzy
13:52 Jul 19, 2020

Hahaha..I love the ending quite Kool. Weldone Maggie! Please see my stories too... thanks.

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Abigail Slimzy
13:52 Jul 19, 2020

Hahaha..I love the ending quite Kool. Weldone Maggie! Please see my stories too... thanks.

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