48 comments

Contemporary Kids Friendship

This story contains sensitive content

(Content Warning: This story contains mentions of physical violence, child abuse, self harm and suicide.)


The croquet ball in my room didn’t belong to my family. It was an old wooden model with weathered, dirty-looking red paint, chipped and scratched all over its dimpled surface. I only learned about the game when I asked my parents what the ball was for, and dad bought me a mallet to play with it in the back garden. I only hit it a few times before I got bored, it wasn’t all that exciting really. Leaving it on the grass, I headed back into the house to draw dinosaurs instead. 

Laying on top of my bed with my legs swinging to the ticks and tocks of my brontosaurus clock, I drew the outline of a triceratops. Now, the colouring. I wanted it to be pink, but I didn’t have a pink pencil, although a lot of things were pink. But boys weren’t supposed to touch any. Red would do; if I only pressed it lightly on the paper. 

I reached down to my pencil case and my fingers bumped into something hard. Pulling my hand back I poked my head over the edge of my bed. On the floorboards next to my yellow pterodactyl pencil case was the red croquet ball.


Weird. That wasn’t where I left it. Wrinkling my brows, I sent it rolling straight back into the bottom of the built-in wardrobe I found it in and put my pencil case on the top of the bed.

I never asked mum why she didn’t get rid of the battered ball when we moved in, but it was possible that she simply couldn’t. I figured it had a tendency to come back to you, when I heard the approaching sound of wood rolling on wood. Picking it up, I went to the wardrobe and put it in the bottom again, this time closing the door on it. I was only halfway back to my bed when I heard the slow creak of the wardrobe door, followed by the familiar rattle. I paused in my step and in a second it touched my heel.

The red croquet ball.

I picked it up, turning towards the wardrobe with the door ajar. Darkness gaped inside, the shadow appearing blacker than it should have. Like it was nighttime during the day. I swallowed and turned away from it, back to my drawings. The misbehaving ball I placed onto the bed under the little arms of Patty, my plush parasaurolophus. Maybe my room just wasn’t level..?

‘Make sure it doesn’t roll anywhere, okay?’ I asked Patty — she could usually be trusted to do a job —, and went back to colouring. But I couldn’t take my mind off the croquet ball by my side.


Its presence weighed on me. The air grew heavy and hard to breathe, and the lights and the colours seemed to drain from the room. A chill ran drown my spine and the breath caught in my lungs. I jolted up and grabbed the ball, chucking it back into the wardrobe across the room, where it landed with a loud bang, probably gaining some new damage. My heart hammered inside my chest and I was trying to catch my breath like I just ran a mile. 

The wardrobe’s door slowly closed with a lonely creak.



★✩★✩★



He threw it at me. It didn’t hurt, or, not like when my father did it. I didn’t feel pain like that anymore. 

It was the day my mother asked him for a divorce, and I got stitches on my eyebrow and an ice cream after. Lemon sorbet; sweetness hiding a sour taste. Trying to fill up an empty space with a treat, when the aching void isn’t in the stomach, is a bandaid over a break: makes it look like you care, but doesn’t do much.

I was aware of that pain again when he threw back the ball, even though my heart was long gone and buried in the ground.


‘Micah! It’s dinner time!’ His mother called.

I heard the zip close on the pencil case and his socked feet thudding on the floorboards as he hurried outside from the room and down the steps. He had dinosaur socks. I opened the wardrobe again and went to look at his drawings. A red dino? I smiled. He seemed like a nice kid. In any case, we were roommates now. So we better get on, right? I was not going anywhere. I had tried.


I opened his pencil case — it was much harder than I anticipated, and at the end, I couldn’t hold a pencil. A few fell onto the floor and the tips broke, and when I tried putting them back they kept slipping through my fingers. I worried the continuous dropping would damage their core too much and gave up on fixing my mistake. I could turn the page in his sketchbook though, and flicking through, I left it open on a picture of two dinos smiling nose to nose. Maybe he’d get it.

I want to be friends.



The voices from the dining room floated upstairs to me. His parents were talking, their laughter was warm and happy, and they made silly jokes. Nicely. He was a lucky kid to have them.

I sat on his bed and closed my eyes — interesting, how I was still able to do that. A life’s habit that dies hard? A smile tugged at the corner of my lips. I could have become a comedian.



When Micah came back I opened my eyes too late, and didn't have the time to move before he flopped down onto the bed — through me. The feeling of his body through my being was the first physical sensation I experienced since death.

‘Aaaah!’ I shot to my feet with a scream.’ I felt everything. Even his bones and his organs. ‘Ew…’ The feeling stuck with me like an unpleasant aftertaste, the texture of flesh and skin and the layers beneath. I would have been sick if I still had an actual stomach. He shuddered with a grimace and rubbed his arms. He would have felt something too. Then, his eyes focused on the croquet ball in my hand and he paled.

‘Floating..?’

Startled, I dropped the ball, in an unlucky coincidence right onto his foot.



‘Sorry,’ I muttered later, when he was sharpening the damaged pencils with an ice pack over his foot which he applied after the accident with the ball. Befriending him wasn’t going to plan.

When he was done and put the pencils away, he went to flip the page back to his project without sparing a thought for my message of peace and love.

‘Wait!’ I slapped my hand on the page without thinking. Half of it teared off as he turned it, the other half stuck underneath my hand. 

I beheaded a dino. 

His breath hitched and I froze where I was, unable to think, unable to move as his eyes filled with tears.


★✩★✩★


‘Can I get a new pencil case?’ I asked when we all sat down for dinner after my first day at the new school. Mum raised an eyebrow as she turned to me.

‘Is something wrong with your dino one? We only bought it last week.’

‘No, but… Everybody else has plain ones,’ I mumbled, pushing the peas around on my plate.

‘Well… you didn’t want a plain one in the shop. Did one of the kids say something mean?’

My face grew hot.

‘No. I just want one now.’

‘Darling…’

‘I said I just want one!’

‘Micah.’ Dad’s stern voice silenced me, and I sank low in my chair with an annoyed huff.

‘We can talk about it later. Your food is going to go cold if you leave it any longer.’

‘...not hungry,’ I muttered.

Later, Mum took the matter into her own hands, and I did not get a say in it. She wanted me to make friends, so she made sure I would hang out with my classmates, by bringing them into our house to play.



‘My brother has one of these!’ Liam picked up my pencil case. ‘He’s four.’

James and Ethan laughed, and the knot inside my belly twisted even tighter. I told mum this wasn’t a good idea. Why not invite some of the boys from school? 

This was why.

‘It’s cool though, it can fly. James!’ He threw the pterodactyl case to his friend who threw it to Ethan.

‘Be free!’ he shouted, yeeting it out of the window.

‘Why did you do that?!’ I ran to see where it landed.

‘“Why did you do that?!” Oh no, he is going to cry!’

‘I’m not—’

‘Oh you have plushies too?’

‘Like a baby!’

‘Don’t worry, the rescue team is coming!’ James laughed, with Patty scrunched in his hands.

‘No, stop. Don’t throw her.’

‘Her?’ They laughed.

‘See if you can catch it!’ James threw her towards me with full force, and I raised my hands in a panic, closing my eyes… but I wasn’t hit. Patty also didn’t fly out of the window.

‘What the hell?’ Ethan squeaked, and I slowly opened my eyes.

Patty floated in front of me, in mid-air.

Without thinking, I reached out and clutched her to my chest.

‘Oh right. I forgot to tell you there’s a ghost here.’ I said, forcing my voice to be calm.

‘Riiight, a ghost… Guys, he believes in ghosts!’

‘Boooo!’

‘Didn’t you just see it? And…’ Glancing towards the wardrobe I noticed the croquet ball. I had nothing to lose by trying. ‘He likes to play this game… He rolls a ball and then takes the closest person to it to his grave… to kill them.’ The red croquet ball rolled exactly between the three boys.

It was satisfying to hear their screams as they ran outside my room. I let out a relieved sigh. Finally, they will leave me alone. 

‘Thank you.’ I smiled. Picking up the croquet ball, I turned towards the wardrobe.

‘I don’t know who you are, but… do you want to be friends?’ I rolled the ball to him.


★✩★✩★


‘Dean, touch my hand.’ Micah lifted his palm. Though he couldn’t see nor hear me, he figured out a way for us to talk. I was clumsy, but not with the ball. So we used that. Move side to side for no, spin for a yes. He read me the alphabet to spell out my name.

I held my hand in front of his, close enough to feel the heat radiate from his body. He tilted his head as he looked through me.

‘I can’t feel it.’ He pushed his hand towards me, through mine. We both jumped backwards, and he hit his head on the wall behind. I wanted to reach out but stopped myself. One of these was enough — I didn’t know what he felt, but for me, getting up close and personal with the veins and ligaments of his body wasn’t a nice sensation. It made my skin crawl.

‘It was like… ice. But colder.’ He shook his head, his brown hair falling into his eyes. ‘It would be nice if you could hold things properly. We could play board games.’

I smiled and spun the ball. True. And I could hold his hand... But I liked it as it was too: we watched movies together, he invited me to share his bed, and though I didn’t sleep, I preferred it to the wardrobe. I laid next to him and watched the stars and the moon move across the night sky through the window, whilst listening to his steady breathing. It would've been nice to know him, back when I was alive.


‘Next week… I’m turning thirteen.’

I raised my eyes. It was difficult for me, when it was his birthday, because I couldn’t get a present. But we were even I suppose, as he struggled just the same when it came to me.

‘I’ll be the same age as you. It feels strange.’

I died when I was thirteen. It was a while ago.

‘Won’t it be strange, when next year I will technically be older? You are my only friend. I don’t want it to be weird…But you were older when we met… Or are you still older, even if you don’t age? Or do you age?’ He narrowed his eyes like he was trying to see me.

‘I wish I could see you!’

I read him right, and I laughed. I would've loved if he could, but there was an obstacle I didn't want him to clear.

‘You’d have to die for that!’ I shook my head with a grin. It was a tasteless joke and I was glad he couldn't hear it. I wished he didn't think of it by himself.


.

.

.


I tossed the ball at him when he first cut his arm with the piece of glass from the vase he broke during an argument with his mum — something stupid about not wanting to go on a field trip next month.

‘It’s fine,’ he said without looking up. I moved the ball side to side to say it wasn’t. It wasn’t fine, but he put his foot on it and continued. I watched helplessly, my eyes flickering between the shard of glass and his expressionless face. Why does it have to be like this, that I can't reach him when I need to?

‘Stop this,’ I pleaded, tugging on the ball, but he didn’t let go. Instead, he kicked towards me with his other foot.

‘Are you trying to hurt me now?! You don't need to kick for that!’ I stood and grabbed his wrist, my hand closing in on itself and again, I felt nauseous from touching his insides. But he dropped the glass, and I managed to throw it across the room.

‘What are you doing? I’m not about to take a lesson from you on life!’ He snapped. ‘You don’t know how it gets harder.’


I stood still for a moment and he sat still too, his words lingering between us.


For the first time in years, I slammed the wardrobe door behind me.


★✩★✩★


‘Dean..? Do you think I could see you if I died? Do you think I could touch your hand?’

I asked one evening as we lay on my bed and gazed at the stars. The ball stayed static next to me, silent with disapproval.

‘I’m not asking because I’m planning to. Just… hypothetically.’

Dean eventually signalled he didn’t know.

‘Right… I’m just wondering if it would feel nice.’ I whispered, not expecting a reply after the pause, but the ball moved, turning around slowly.

Yes.

I smiled and closed my eyes.

‘I think it would be nice too.’ I pressed my teeth together and drew in a long breath. ‘In three months… we are moving out.’ It was hard to say it out loud, it made it real and all the more terrifying. The thought of going to yet another town, another school and starting again once more was bad enough. Doing it without him? Imagining it made my heart ache with a question.

How can I stay with you?



★✩★✩★


I rolled the ball, and its colour melted into a puddle of bright red on the floorboards. My soul sank as I followed it with my gaze. When did he do it?

I rushed to him, trying to press on his wrists but my hands slid through.

‘Micah?!’

‘Is it not working..?’

‘What’s not working? You idiot!’

His lips formed a smile but it wasn’t a happy sight.

‘The first time I hear your voice you call me an idiot,’ he said softly.

‘Oh no. Oh no no no no.’ I was shaking my head. ‘Get up! Get help.’

I slapped him and it landed.

‘Oh crap!’ I pulled back and he grabbed my hand. His skin pressed on mine and I forgot to breathe. I forgot I hadn’t breathed for so long. It was ironic, for this moment to make me feel so alive.

‘Worrying doesn’t suit you.’ He smiled, his warm eyes meeting mine first time, shining with hope. One side of me didn't want to break the moment; that side of me was happy and I loathed it. I didn't want to let go. But that wouldn't be love.

‘Let go of me.’

His smile faded.

‘Why..?’

‘Because this is wrong. You can’t do this.’

‘We could haunt the wardrobe together.’

‘No.’

‘It will be nice. This is nice.’

‘No!’

I pulled my hand from his and ran to the wardrobe, banging the door shut as loudly as I could, over and over again, to alert his parents.

‘They will make me leave!’

‘Come back when you’re sixty! I will be here… Waiting.’ For however long it takes and however lonely I would feel, even if he never returned to me, I’d rather have that. I'd rather one of us gets to live, hurt and taste ice cream even when it's bitter.

‘Don’t hold my hand before you grow old.’

June 10, 2022 23:52

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48 comments

J.C. Lovero
23:21 Jun 11, 2022

You already know how I feel about this story. 😇 😍 🤩 Enjoy the yellow dot notification Ri Ri! PS. And while you're at it, check out the changes to my siren story lol

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Riel Rosehill
11:05 Jun 12, 2022

I just left you my comments 😃 Thanks for helping me out with this one! ❤️

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Zack Powell
14:42 Jun 11, 2022

I read this story yesterday and told myself to take the night to sleep on it and gather my thoughts and feelings. This was unexpectedly somber for a story tagged "Kids" (though maybe I should've read the content warning list before diving into it, LOL). Side note: big kudos for writing a Kids story! I've got fifteen tags left to go and I already know that's gonna be in the top 3 most difficult genres (alongside Historical Fiction and Western 😬). Second side note: I also saw both titles for this piece, and to weigh in on the debate, I person...

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Riel Rosehill
15:36 Jun 11, 2022

Hey Zack! Thanks for the legthy comment! I'd love for Reedsy to explain the tags - is the "Kids" tag for a story about kids (which this is) or a story for kids (which I don't think is quite a match!), so yeah, not sure about using that tag but I was super tired to think about this when I finally submitted the story. I was editing away this morning, adding & tweaking lines and putting back blank lines that somehow disappeared - so you aren't losing your mind! I was also trying to make those gaps bigger but Reedsy would ignore my attempts, s...

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Zack Powell
16:17 Jun 11, 2022

I didn't even realize I posted a novel until I hit the Send button and saw that fat WALL of text. xD And yeah, "Kids" (and "Bedtime" while we're at it) is just so ambiguous that I'm not sure what constitutes a story in that genre, hence my hesitation to write either. Good to know that I didn't go crazy overnight. Yeah, I'm not quite sure how to do the blank lines without using line breaks or using unwieldy transitional flashback-setup lines (ex: "Not hungry," I said. I'd already had enough [emotion] to fill my stomach when Liam and his frie...

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Riel Rosehill
22:54 Jun 11, 2022

I have tweaked a few things - I don't know if I have done enough, but... that's it (for now.) And I think you know how I feel about SciFi - I'll be joining you in the corner of tears..!

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T.S.A. Maiven
06:02 Jun 22, 2022

Difficult topic, good story

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Riel Rosehill
09:09 Jun 22, 2022

Thank you! 😊

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Kelsey H
00:31 Jun 17, 2022

I'm so late getting to read this, I felt the need to have a break from Reedsy for a bit! I really liked the switch in POV's of this, I feel like it's hard to have more than one narrator in a short story (I've never even attempted it) but you handled it well to give both sides without making it feel like too much head hopping. I liked the emotion to this, I love ghost stories anyway, and the ghost being a child gave it a sweet feel yet also sadness, because it's a ghost child. I loved the scene where he describes Micah unknowingly sitting on...

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Riel Rosehill
11:01 Jun 18, 2022

Hi Kelsey! Thank you so much for reading and commenting, it's always a joy to read your thoughts. I enjoyed writing the scene where Dean was sat on, thanks for mentioning that! I thought, what fun thing could I do to this ghost? Haha.

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Daniel R. Hayes
06:21 Jun 16, 2022

OMG, Riel!! Dude, you keep on putting out great stories, and I thought this was incredible. I thought it was a different feel from your other stories, but honestly, I think it might be my new favorite from you. Great job as always!! :)

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Riel Rosehill
06:45 Jun 16, 2022

Wow, it's an amazing feeling to start the day with reading this comment - a new favourite from my stories?! Thanks, Daniel! :D

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Thom Brodkin
19:51 Jun 15, 2022

Riel, I had to wait until I had some time to read this because it was quite long. I honestly don't usually read long stories, I have a pretty short attention span. Well to combat that I read this story out loud to myself and I am so glad I did. There was so much in this story. Love and life, pain and death, hopelessness and hope. You made me love both boys. You made me root for both and you made my heart break just a little at the end. The good thing is you actually left the end up to me just a little and I chose a happy ending. This sto...

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Riel Rosehill
21:21 Jun 15, 2022

Thom, you've made my day. I can't even begin to tell you how much this comment means to me. I was really feeling down about my writing (I almost deleted this story out of guilt for not being able to bring out its potential) so this is just the glimmer of hope and reassurance I needed. So thank you, THANK YOU so much! I'm going to head over and read your story - I do love a story about ghosts :)

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Thom Brodkin
21:57 Jun 15, 2022

It’s fun when I can honestly say it was my pleasure. Your story needs to be read out loud. I did it and it captivated me in a way I don’t think it would have if I read it conventionally. You could read it at an open mic night and I promise there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

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Zelda C. Thorne
13:15 Jun 15, 2022

Hi Riel, sorry I'm late reading this. I think it works really well. The slow build of their relationship was done well, with good dialogue throughout. The end was heartbreaking, I was rushing through it like No, no, no, no! Good luck!

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Riel Rosehill
15:53 Jun 15, 2022

Hi Rachel! I'm super behind as well - I'll try and get around to reading your story this evening! Thanks for the lovely comment, it definitely cheered me up today! X

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Carl Tengstrom
13:53 Jun 14, 2022

This is a rather nice story, even if it is somewhat cruel. The language is proper and easy to read. It would have been good for the story, if it wasn’t so long. Also it was difficult to keep the different characters from each other. It would also have been an advantage for the story, if the main motif had been presented earlier in the story. Nevertheless, I liked the story and it took me a while to understand what it was all about, but when I did, all was good.

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Riel Rosehill
14:43 Jun 14, 2022

Hi Carl, I aprreciate you leaving me your feedback! I also felt that I couldn't bring out the potential of this story - the alternating POVs certainly didn't help, it was just something I wanted to experiment with, but will probably make a pass on it in future stories. Thanks for the comment on the language, and I am glad that you liked the story despite its many flaws!

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Sharon Hancock
01:57 Jun 14, 2022

Oh wow this is amazing! I want to read more so please turn this into a novel right away. 😻 Dinosaurs play a significant role in my story this week too. I watched my kids give up things they still loved for the sake of not being made fun of…it’s sad! They\we give up true parts of ourselves just to fit in. And then it doesn’t make us any less lonely. I love the beginning and the way you brought in the spookiness with the ball. Fantastic writing and awesome story!!😻

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Riel Rosehill
09:37 Jun 14, 2022

Hi Sharon! I can't wait to get around to reading your story! 🦕🦖 So true about giving up parts of ourselves to fit in not making us less lonely..! Thanks you a million for reading and leaving this lovely comment! I'm still unsure whether I managed to bring out this story's potential but I am feeling much better about it reading your words. So thanks again! ❤️

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Aesha Amin
21:42 Jun 12, 2022

heyheyyy I read your story and then reread it. It’s so beautifully sad that I couldn’t just leave it at one read. The descriptions felt so real and the storyline broke me (and the last line brought it all together in the best way). Thank you for this story!!!

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Riel Rosehill
23:19 Jun 12, 2022

Heyy Aesha, Thank you so much! The fact that you liked it enough to read it twice made my day - I really appreciate that you took your time to read and comment. ❤️

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L. Maddison
17:15 Jun 12, 2022

Hello Riel, I really enjoyed this bittersweet story. The dual POVs worked well in tandem and I felt such sympathy with them both. I like this line: Lemon sorbet; sweetness hiding a sour taste. Great imagery. Wonderful story.

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Riel Rosehill
21:52 Jun 13, 2022

Hello L., That lemon sorbet one was my favourite line to write :) Thanks you so much for reading and commenting - I'm so glad you enjoyed it, it was a tricky one to write with the POV changes!

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Ace Quinnton
00:45 Jun 12, 2022

I can imagine this story very well in my head. I think of the timeline as something during 1989-1990s era. If you would ever consider on doing a sequel/prequal of this, I would highly suggest it. Though, that decision is up to you. If you WERE to do a sequel, I can imagine that Micha is a teenager/young adult, and he had gotten more involved in life. More friends, but not THAT many. Life isn't that glamorous, and I can see that Micha's folks are being harder on him with grades and such since he's going through that rebellious teenager phas...

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Riel Rosehill
11:34 Jun 12, 2022

Oh wow you've come up with a whole plot! I've never written a mystery, that's still on my list of genres to try but I agree that paranormal mysteries are pretty cool. Maybe I'll cross it off the bucket list one day. I'm not planning on writing more about these characters, but I have said that in the past about other characters and they still returned for a prequel, so I suppose I can't know for sure. Thanks for reading and commenting - I'm quite impressed this story inspired you to come up with a sequel, it was fun to read your ideas! 😃

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Ace Quinnton
19:01 Jun 12, 2022

I am an idea generator; anything can become an idea if you examine it enough. All writing needs is some love, creativity, and elbow grease, with a dash of drama and intrigue just in case. It's like cooking, you have to put the right ingredients in to have to perfect combination to the story.

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Michał Przywara
23:40 Jun 11, 2022

This was a ride! The first scene sets up an excellent haunting tale. At that stage it could easily have become a great horror story. The second scene shows us the POV of the haunter, which is a great twist. So we're not quite doing ghost horror, but it's spooky with an unusual character. The developing friendship was enjoyable, particularly Dean playing along to frighten the bullies, and then them trying to figure out a means of communicating. The story takes a heavy turn, for sure. I suspect Micah would probably not have seriously consi...

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Riel Rosehill
11:24 Jun 12, 2022

Thank you!! I've been really struggling with this one, the frequent POV changes, time jumps and all, I'm still not sure if I managed to smoothe them out enough, so I was kind of mad about it. Thank you so much for commenting, I'm very happy you enjoyed reading it!

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Dorsa S.
21:32 Jun 11, 2022

this is such a saddening piece, but it suits the prompt well. very enjoyable to read through, and it adapts a layer of realism to it. i think you did an excellent job of reinforcing all the harsher and heavier parts into something lighter, and undoubtedly wholesome, especially micah interacting with dean. well done!

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Riel Rosehill
11:17 Jun 12, 2022

Thank you Dorsa! I'm happy you enjoyed it - I definitely touched on a handful of heavy topics, but tried to keep the boys relationship wholesome throughout. To show you my odd way of thinking: I read the part of your comment saying "it adapts a layer of realism" and it took me embarrassingly long to realise that ghosts themselves aren't considered real 😂 Thanks for taking your time to read and comment, it's much appreciated!

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Katy Borobia
20:51 Jun 11, 2022

There's so much I love about this, Riel. I'm not good at writing lengthy comments, but I'll try to mention a few things. I think my favorite tidbit is how the ice cream comes back at the end. The last line is gorgeous, as is the first paragraph - starting and ending strong is one of the best things you can do for a story. The use of first person by both characters is confusing, but understandable. Well done!

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Riel Rosehill
22:03 Jun 13, 2022

Thank you Katy! I'm happy you liked the bits with the ice cream, that's a detail I really enjoyed adding. I know, the POV changes were confusing..! It's something I wanted to try, but I'm not sure I'd return to it for a short story...😅

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Aeris Walker
16:46 Jun 11, 2022

Hi Riel, I enjoyed reading your story and agree with some of the other sentiments: it took me a bit to understand who was speaking, but I think that was a creative way to closely follow two characters. The scene with all the boys felt a little fast, like a water hose of action and characters, but what you were showing was important—that the MC was being bullied, maybe dealing with constant teasing from other kids about his interests/personality, and that he struggled to make friends. I think these were some of your best lines: “Lemon so...

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Riel Rosehill
16:57 Jun 11, 2022

Thanks Aeris! I'll try and sneak in a few edits, I'll see where I can take it before it's accepted - I was getting accepted pretty slowly lately so, fingers crossed that stays like that for now. I'll have an hour or so on my phone on the train later... wish me luck! The lemon sorbet sentence was one of my personal favourites, so thanks for the mention there. :D I can't wait to get to your story - I heard it's amazing and we have no chance to win with it in the contest, so I'm very intrigued!

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Aeris Walker
17:18 Jun 11, 2022

I feel the same some weeks! Like “oh please don’t approve it yet, I’m over here with a defibrillator trying to bring it back to life!” Do some stories not get approved? I don’t fully understand how that works. Oh gosh, thank you for that lol! If it’s any good, it’s probably due to what I have been learning from all of you guys on here 😉😉

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Riel Rosehill
20:02 Jun 11, 2022

They don't get approved if there are trigger warnings missing, the word count doesn't meet the minimum, it's not on prompt or if the have something against the title - like it's too similar to something existing. These are just the ones I heard.👀

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Aeris Walker
20:08 Jun 11, 2022

Ah, okay that makes sense! Thank you.

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09:37 Jun 11, 2022

Wow, this was heavy. It takes some unexpected twists and turns, including into some dark places, and that's something I admire. The second section confused me at first, but once I clicked about the shift in character, I was like okay, this works quite well. And I like how you leave things for your reader to pick up, instead of saying it outright - another good example was the ending. It takes cojones to write that, honestly. One part confused me - I didn't quite understand the exchange after Micah says he is thirteen and it leads to a disa...

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Riel Rosehill
10:10 Jun 11, 2022

Shuvayon, I wish you were part of the Blue Marble Storytellers discord to tell me the temporary title was fine when I was whining about not being able to think of one! Now I'm torn between the two, I might change it back if anybody else also suggests so and if I'm still able to. Thank you so much for reading and for the thoughtful comment - I agreee, it turned out confusing in places and I wanted to flesh things out more to be honest - but I left this for last minute and was falling asleep on the story at 1 AM when I finally gave up and pos...

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10:24 Jun 11, 2022

Lol, that's hilarious! Don't stress too much - both titles are good! I totally get what you mean though. I've submitted my fair share of stories close to the deadline - it's so frustrating when you look back and see flaws you can't edit haha. I guess the most important thing is submitting something, right? Also, is the discord open invite? If so, I wouldn't mind joining! All good if not, though!

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Riel Rosehill
10:28 Jun 11, 2022

Yes, please come on over! I think you can find how to join through the podcast's website (let me know if you need my help and then I'll find you a link) - it's a great community :) And thanks, I'm definitely a "just submit ANYTHING" kind of writer, LOL.

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11:42 Jun 11, 2022

Sweeet thanks, will join sometime this weekend. :)

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J.C. Lovero
18:41 Jun 11, 2022

Saving you a step here: bluemarblestorytellers.com/discord We're a fun bunch! Come say "hi"!

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Amanda Lieser
03:48 Jul 16, 2022

Hello! As some of the other commenters have said I really enjoyed this point of view from you. I also loved the way you used the passage of time to your advantage with this piece. Something I picked up on that I hadn’t seen a ton of other comments on was the use of the pencil case. I think one of the masteries of crafting a story in the point of view of a child is to focus on something that is so very critical to them-even when the adults around them don’t seem to care and you did an excellent job of that with the case. My favorite scene was...

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