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Submitted by writers on Reedsy Prompts to our weekly writing contest .
His grandfather had lived out his childhood in a house overlooking a busy railway line. Greg lost count of the number of times he’d heard the story about the night a fire closed the line further out of town.‘Woke up suddenly,’ Grandpa said. ‘Nine forty-three precisely. The silence woke me – should have been the Birmingham night train coming through. I couldn’t sleep after that, sat up watching the empty lines and knowing there was something wrong.’Greg had been fascinated to hear the story as a child, moving on to boredom in...
Trigger warning: suicidal ideation
The whole scene could have been a stock photo--the park grass was the kind of green and the sky the kind of blue that only came with late summer. There were kids out chasing a soccer ball around a boundless field. The smell of grilling hotdogs and burgers wafted from some charcoal grill. The laughter and chatter of carefree summer conversations were carried along by a pleasant, gentle breeze. I had brought chips to contribute. Everyone brought chips. It was that or the Ore...
My mother almost drowned me once.
My pudgy fingers were wrapped around a sapphire, a blue glass jewel caressed to smoothness by a century of waves. I had spied it resting on a dimple in the sand. I wondered at the shard’s origin; perhaps a pirate’s goblet or the perfume bottle of an exotic, sunken princess.
The slap rang in my ear before I felt the heat spread. I raised my hand to my face, too late to shield my stinging cheek. She snatched my treasure from the sand where it had dropped and hurled it in a high a...
The arguing started early that day. As we ate our dinner—baked chicken with rosemary seasoning, homemade mashed potatoes, and fried green beans—our forks hit the plates with a sense of urgency. It was the first time in weeks that Mom had cooked a meal from scratch. Or even partially from scratch. My sister and I were getting used to the week-old McDonald's. We had been so desperately hungry that I suppose we forgot to use our manners.The silverware clanged noisily against the china, food falling out of our mouths from to...
Old man Mawson was a timeworn, craggy giant of a man who was older than the hills and who had been the second man to settle in that part of the country.
Who was the first man? It was Mawson’s older brother, reportedly murdered by the third brother after a mix-up of who chopped down a certain bloodred-barked dogwood tree in the third brother’s yard. Mawson, the real...
If you are reading this, then I am surely dead.
(Note to the person reading this aloud: Pause here for dramatic effect. It will drive my family insane.)
Do not pretend to be alarmed. You know I have always had a flair for the dramatic.
The morning was crisp and clean but smelled like sandy floors and clogged up anger. Kaitlyn sat with her arms around her knees, chin buried in her purple skirt. The ocean gasped and shuddered, steps from their front stoop, but she did not look at it. Her hair was pinned back in a loose braid, trailing sleepily down her rounded back, and her eyes were rimmed with hatred-colored red.
It was Evie who wanted the kids, Orville remembers. Orville would have been content drinking coffee with his Evie in the mornings, looking out the window, watching the birds at the bird feeder, quietly listening to her go on about this and that. “When does the school bus come, Ollie?” Evie asks. “About 3:30,” Orville replies for the third time. “I want to make some cookies for the girls. How about oatmeal raisin?” Evie suggests, her eyes look hopeful, full of purpose. Orville ...
That’s Not MeWhen I regained consciousness, I couldn’t move. I don’t mean I was paralyzed, I mean I appeared to be trapped in some sort of box. I was laying on my back. My feet were touching the box below me and it felt like I was wearing dress shoes. My legs and arms could feel the box as well to either side of me. And extending my arms forward confirmed that the box was closed above me. It was pitch black and I heard what sounded like the pa...
One.The blue truck rattled from side to side. In the truck bed, a boy sat curled up behind the wheel well, dust in his red hair and cracked slices on his cramped hands. The pockmarked gravel road stretched out behind the bouncing truck, and the sun glimmered through the white limestone, up into the boy’s eyes.He kept his mouth closed, even when the truck flung up sharp bits of gravel to cut his hands. The sun burned across the south plains, a...
I have never seen weathers become so dark in my life ever,there was not even a ray of hope. When I was a child,I used to think that one day I will become the most famous and richest person in this world.I was living a mediocre life with my small-town world. It's obvious that if you are from small-town then all the richy-rich articles attracts you. Because you have a tag of lowclass, your parents encourage you to think big and dream big.As I was a obedient child, I was just following them. Due to their philosophy of think big...
The metallic doors slide open, moving to the chime's cadence, signaling the arrival of my transport. My reflection is distorted by the steel as it's pulled apart, allowing me to step inside. I hold my hand at the edge of the cold metal frame, waiting for someone else to enter. No one follows. The doors are slow to close, perpetuating a forced maneuver, an onus task. I always get the feeling I should be anticipating someone—or something. The vessel craves more than one soul, but it only gets me. I move my finger towards the terminal of but...
It seemed like yesterday since my Aunt Jackie gave me advice on boys. Aunt Jackie would always say, “If he can’t accept the word, No, then he isn’t the one.” She, my cousins, and I would bake cookies when my parents were at work. We would call our baking sessions, Momma Jackie, and girls’ time. We talked about our days, laughed, and played music. Her cookies only turned out good when we talked about finance, dur...
“Ya homar,” The man cursed, his voice muffled because of the black bag over his head “What are you doing? Untie me right now.” He tries to grasp free from the tight clutches of the rope, but his attempts were to no avail.
My brother looked at Mr. Gonzalez, our ‘employer’, for a moment. Gonzalez nodded in response, before Jacob removed the bag from over the man’s head.
March 13 -
Cecelia at the Cecil Hotel. It sounded so good in my mind when I made the reservation. Now, I’m not so sure. I came here to get away. I’m known for playing it safe and for being mildly superstitious. I figured no one would ever think to look for me here. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
I have been here for seven days and six nights. Night seven is quickly approaching. At the best o...
Trigger Warning: Depression, self-harm
May 10, 2020
I haven’t really done this whole diary thing too often, but I’m going to give it a shot. We’re in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020, and it’s a bit late to be keeping a journal now that it’s going to be over in a few months. (hopefully) But I’m making one anyway in the hopes of creating a keepsake for grandchildren or historians or something like that.
So my documentary about Dian Fossey mad...
“Going up?” Alexa Kalaponski asked, index finger hovering over the panel.
The single other occupant in the elevator pushed his glasses up his nose and nodded. “To infinity and beyond.”
Alexa blinked because ... weird. “Uh ... is there a specific floor level in that response somewhere?”
And then the universe decided to sneeze and shake the metal box carrying the two of them up, up, and ... not up any...
She was delivered to Albert fully charged. The deliveryman carried the heavy, human-sized wooden crate off his truck with an old rusty trolley that nearly toppled over in the middle of the suburban street. Spring had barely settled, and the frightening sound chased away a yellow-feathered warbler eating grains in the birdhouse on the front lawn.
“Careful!” yelled Albert, out...
Trigger warning: sexual violence
It’s been an eternity since we last saw each other. Alright, not eternity but only three months. People might think I am exaggerating, but since we got married, which was 5 years ago, we have never spent even a single night without each other.
My husband needed to leave us for a few months in order to pursue his dreams. The Culinary Arts Academy in Switzerland required him to stay there to complete his studies. We could not go with him because I have a job here in Maryland. S...
“I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things.” This was the line that was giving Simon a hard time. He had been preparing to recite the “Act of Contrition” prayer at his confirmation for about a month, and it was this line that kept him stumped. He looked helplessly into the mirror, and then around the bathroom trying to figure out how to nail this performance. It wasn’t like when he was little, and ...
Captain Pax stared intently out of his ship’s front windshield as an enemy fleet slipped away through the infinite cosmos. Just minutes before, he had ordered his crew to escape the ship, as he was certain it would not survive the onslaught. He sat in his chair and spoke to the only companion left with him.
“Vessel, give me a diagnostics report on the ship, please.”
“Certainly, sir.” The artificial intel...
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