20 comments

Friendship Urban Fantasy Adventure

Like bars of a prison cell, shadows from the trees fell across the ground. A man sitting alone in the park held his hand in a half fist, hovering in front of his face. His face grew closer by the second and then violins played from the speakers on either side of the theater. The scene faded to black, casting the room into darkness for two seconds, until words scrolled white across the screen. The smell of buttered popcorn drifted through the theater and the distinct crack of theater seats snapping back to their upright positions gave me permission to not whisper. “My grandfather loved these movies. He loved to tell me that I’d never understand the feeling of seeing it on the big screen when it first came out.”


Brenda’s head lifted off of my shoulder and she turned in her seat toward me. “Well, I guess he was wrong wasn’t he?” She smiled at me.


I chuckled. “Yeah, I guess he was. Ready to go?”


“Nah, I like sitting through the credits.” She rubbed her thumb over mine. “Is that weird?”


I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know, but I enjoy sitting here with you.” My grin spread across my cheeks. That was the closest I’d come to admitting that I liked her, although holding her hand every chance I got had given that away a long time ago. I leaned my head against the back of the seat and closed my eyes. Five months earlier, when I was told that I’d be stuck in 1974, I was very agitated. Since then, given the time we’ve had to spend with each other, the months passed too quickly. The lights came back on and we stood from our seats.


Walking through the large doors from the darkness of the theater made it difficult to see in the brightness of the afternoon sun. Josh shoulder bumped me. “Why did you want to see that movie so bad? It was boring if you ask me.”


“You thought that was a boring movie?”


“Most of the movie was them sitting around and talking.”


Brenda shoved Josh’s shoulder. “You think a good movie is a bunch of morons dressed in long underwear and capes pretending to have super powers.”


“Hey, no movie gets more people watching it than superhero movies. They’re amazing, unlike that dull-fest we just sat through.”


Shane walked slightly in front of us. “I liked it.”


Brenda walked backward in front of Josh. “Ha, looks like you’re the one with bad taste here.”


Lisa pulled up beside us in her green station wagon and rolled down her window. “Hey, I’m glad I found you guys,”


Shane and Josh crawled into the back seat. Brenda opened the door and scooted onto the middle of the front seat and I followed. “Yeah? What’s up?”


“My friend’s sister…”


Brenda asked, “Jocelyn figured out how to help?”


Lisa shook her head. “No, but she wants to talk to you guys. She said that she needs to know personal details from each of your lives in order to try to get her idea to work. Honestly, I don’t know what she’s talking about.”


Shane cocked his head and raised an eyebrow. “That doesn’t make any sense. That camera sat in that house for decades before any of us were born. It’s not like whoever put that camera in the house knew any personal details about any of our lives.”


Brenda’s voice sounded irritated. “I don’t know, didn’t I just say it didn’t make any sense to me?”


Shane sighed. “Okay, whatever. Let’s get it over with. It’s not like we have any choice. We obviously have no way to get out of here by ourselves.”


***


Lisa parked her car in front of the white square apartment building we’d been living in for months. The five of us poured out of the car and walked up the stairs that led into the building. As soon as the apartment door was opened, the smell of pizza wafted into the hallway. A large lady with a flower print dress and black braids sat on the couch with a slice of pepperoni pizza in one hand and a cigarette in the other. She placed her slice of pizza on the plate on the coffee table, crossed one leg over the other, and took a drag on her cigarette. “Y’all must be the rats that got shipwrecked in our town.”


Lisa closed the door behind us and introduced us one by one to Jocelyn. Once the introductions were finished, Jocelyn waved her hand over the pizza boxes stacked on the coffee table. “Eat first, then we’ll talk business. There’s a pepperoni, a cheese, and a sausage. Sorry, I didn’t know which kind any of y’all preferred so I kept it basic.”


I smiled at her. “The pizza is great, any toppings are appreciated. Thanks." I grabbed a slice of the sausage and put it on a paper plate. "Do you think you’ll be able to get us back?”


She flashed a smile at me and then a small frown creased her face. “I’m not positive. I’m still trying to figure out how to accomplish that.”


Shane plopped down next to her, grabbed a slice of cheese, and put his foot on the corner of the coffee table. “I have an idea." He waved his pizza slice in the air. "Our friend Robby was with us, but he didn’t jump with us. The camera that brought us here was from 1974, so I figure that a new camera from 2022 will bring us back there. So all he has to do is come back here with that camera, and someone uses that camera to take pictures of us entering the house, then that should bring us back, right?” He grinned form ear to ear and then took a large bite of the slice of pizza in his hand.


Jocelyn squinted her eyes at Shane and pointed at him. “You want to possibly trap y'alls friend in the past with y'all, which he’d somehow avoided, on the off chance this half-baked theory of yours works?”


Shane stopped mid chew, frowned, and spoke around the food in his mouth. “It’s half-baked?”


She nodded at him. Brenda looked at Jocelyn then at Shane. She twisted her lips and nodded with Jocelyn.


He slapped the remaining slice down on his plate and looked between the two girls. “Then what are we supposed to do?”


Jocelyn said, “Like I said, enjoy this pizza for now. Then, while we’re eating, each of ya can tell me something personal about yerselves. That’s the first step to hopefully getting y’all back.”


I sat down on the other side of her. “You actually believe we’re from the future and you have no problem with that?”


She said, “No. Didn’t Lisa tell ya? I’m a sorceress and can do many things which most people believe are impossible. I’ve studied about jumping between times, I’ve just never gotten personally involved in any of that. She twirled one of her braids. “It’s not that I don’t know how to, ya understand, it’s just that I’m not exactly a fan of it myself.”


Josh finished chewing the last of his fifth slice and threw his paper plate, piled with unfinished crusts, into the kitchen trash. “This is what I don’t understand." He wiped his hands on a napkin. "If you need personal information from us, then how did that camera from before we were born bring us back?”


Jocelyn leaned back in the couch and folder her hands in her lap. “Someone who knows personal information about y’all, back from your time, must have planted that camera.”


Josh smirked at her and shook his head. “Impossible, do you wanna know why?”


She smirked back. “Why don’t you tell me?”


“We broke back into that house when we first got here and the camera was already in that jacket pocket. That means that it was planted in the house now, before any of us were born.”


Shane crossed his arms over his stomach. “Yeah, and…” He nodded his head in accent to each and. “When we found the camera in the jacket, the film was still in it, and the pictures were already taken. But, in the future I had taken the film out and developed it.”


She closed her eyes and breathed in and out for several long seconds as she twirled her braid between her fingers.


Josh grew impatient. “Well, what about it Jocelyn?”


She opened her eyes and released her hair. “I don’t have all of the answers. Maybe the camera jumped through time with you? I don't know. What I do know is that I need your personal information. Possibly the person who enchanted this phone used a different method not familiar to me.”


I held up my hands. “Okay guys. Look, we just need to trust her and hope for the best.” Then I shrugged my shoulders. “What’ve we got to lose?”


***


The darkness outside the windows of the apartment matched the solemn faces crowded around the small living room. Empty pizza boxes sat atop the kitchen trash can that was stuffed with unfinished crusts and paper plates. Lisa, Jocelyn, and Josh sat on the couch smoking. Josh looked a lot older now than he had before we jumped. He crushed his cigarette out in the ash tray. “Alright, so you have everything you need to get us back now?”


Jocelyn said, “No. I still need a camera from your time.”


Shane started laughing and had his face in his hands. “We’re so stupid.”


I was sitting on the floor with my head leaning against the wall and my eyes closed. “What’s so funny Shane? You think it’s hilarious to be stuck in the seventies?”


He calmed down and said, “No. We’re just idiots.”


I didn’t open my eyes but asked, “Why are we idiots, Shane?”


“We’ve had a camera this whole time.”


I lifted my head from the wall and looked at him through furrowed eyebrows. “What are you talking about?”


“Josh, where’s your phone?”


He shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s been useless. I haven’t thought about it in months.”


Shane started laughing again. “It doesn’t matter. The battery would be completely dead by now and unless you happen to have carried a charger with you then we can’t charge it to take any pictures.”


Lisa said, “My fiancé is studying to be an electrical engineer. I bet he could figure out how to charge it.”


Shane stopped laughing. “Where’s your fiancé?”


“He’s back from college on winter break. I can talk to him tomorrow.”


Josh shrugged. “That’s not going to help until I find my cell phone.”


I stood up and stretched. “Well, there’s no time like the present, or the past I guess.” I chuckled. “We’ll find your camera together, then Lisa can bring it to her fiancé, then if he can get it to charge, we’re home free.”


Jocelyn took an exaggerated inhale and exhale. “I’ll try.”


Josh shook his head at her and croaked in mimic of Yoda. “Do or do not. There is no try.”


Lisa and Jocelyn looked at him with puzzled looks on their faces and the rest of us chuckled. The two women looked at each other and shrugged.


***


Light from the morning sun shone in our windows and light flakes of snow flurries swirled around outside. Someone’s fist pounded at our apartment door and I sat up on the couch I had been sleeping on. “Hold on. I’m coming.” I ambled over to the door and looked through the peephole. The small glass window that was supposed to allow me to see who was at the door was fogged up. “Who is it?”


Lisa called from the other side. “It’s me and my fiancé, let us in.”


A small metallic sliding sound and two dead-bolts snapping unlocked preceded the squeaking of the door hinges. A cold arctic wind blew into the living room causing me to shiver. Lisa and her fiancé stepped into the door and I closed it as fast as I could to retain as much of the apartment’s inadequate heating as possible.


The over six foot man with curly brown hair held his hand out for me to shake. “Hi, I’m James Woodard. Lisa here tells me that you guys have been through quite the ordeal.”


My mouth opened and I stared at him wide eyed. “Wait, wait, wait. You’re James and Lisa Woodard?”


His smile took up almost his entire face. “Not yet. Our wedding isn’t for another seven months, after I graduate.”


I shook my head vigorously. “No, that’s not what I mean. I mean…” I pointed at Lisa. “She’s Principal Woodard and you’re her late husband James, I totally see it now. I should have known it when I first saw your mom.”


Lisa’s face fell and James looked at me with confusion. “You know two people with our same names and that Lisa is the principal at your school?”


Lisa cupped her hands to her face. “Wait. How well does your Principal know you guys?”


“Well, the four of us she knows very well. She makes a point of getting to know each of her students, especially those of us who are more adventurous. But, Brenda’s brother Robby isn’t in our high-school yet.”


Lisa was shaking her head. “This can’t be. I can’t be responsible for you guys being here. That doesn’t make any sense, why would I want you guys here?”


James stared at Lisa. “What are you talking about? I thought you told me that you got this apartment for them because they needed a place to stay?”


“No, that’s not what I mean. Yes, I brought them to this apartment, but I cannot believe that I brought them to here.” She pointed emphatically at the floor.


James shook his head. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”


She leaned back against the door to the apartment and struck her head into the frame. Brenda stood in the doorway to the bedroom and Shane and Josh stood on the other side of the living room. Brenda held Josh’s cell phone in her hand and walked toward us. She stared at Lisa with half-closed eyes, then looked to James. “This is the device we need fixed. If you can fix it for us we can get out of here.”


***


Intermittent gusts of wind swirled brown and orange leaves down the street and piled them against a rusted chain link fence. Green and brown ivy crawled up the sides of the red brick home with a structure that looked like a castle tower. The double hung front doors shimmered and turned from yellowed peeling paint and boarded up windows to freshly painted gloss white, with intact glass panes. The doors swung open on their hinges and three teen boys and a girl stepped through.


***


I looked out onto the front yard from the house we just exited. The gloss black fence was rusted, the bricks of the front porch were loose and faded, and the entrance in the fence gaped open from where the gate fell. Brenda’s hand was gripping mine and I hugged her tightly. “We’re home. It worked.”


She beamed at me. “While I’m happy to get to see my family again, I’m going to miss all of the time we’ve gotten to spend together.”


I held both of her hands in mine and faced her. “We’ll just have to make more of an effort to spend as much time together as we can.”


Josh shoved me and ruined the moment. “Pfft. It’ll never work out.”


Brenda released my hands and punched Josh in the arm hard enough to elicit an, “Ouch!” and Josh rubbed his arm. “Seriously, girl, learn to take a joke.”


She glared at him. “Learn to be funny.”


Shane laughed. “You’re lucky she doesn’t do worse.”


Brenda asked, “What do we do now? Didn’t you say that we’d be transported to when the phone was made? Doesn’t that mean it’s possibly months before we first jumped and there’s now two of us here?”


Josh said, “My parents had ordered the phone, since they were out of stock. Hopefully that means it was less than a month old. Maybe it’s best to find out the date and then hide out in the house until the night we show up.”


Brenda punched him in the other arm twice as hard as the first time. He yelled, “ouch” again and rubbed his arm. “What was that for?”


She glared at him. “It’s for even suggesting that we ever go back in that house.” She pointed back toward the open doors. “There is no chance that I will ever step another foot into that house, ever.”


I rubbed her shoulder. “You know it had nothing to do with the house right?”


She shrugged. “Yeah, well I’m not taking any chances.”


***


Shane’s front door swung open and a frantic Robby scrambled out. He stopped short and stared at us. “You’re here?” Brenda pulled him in for a long hug. Robby squirmed and moaned, “Too tight, come on, I can’t breathe.”


Brenda released him and grabbed his shoulders. “I’m so happy to see you.”


He cocked his head at her. “You just saw me five minutes ago. How did you guys change your clothes so fast and why are you dressed like that?”


We laughed and Robby scratched his head. “What’s so funny?”

I ruffled his hair. “Let’s go back down to the basement and we’ll tell you all about it.”


Once silence hung in the basement for more than a few minutes, Robby cleared his throat. "You guys think I'm super gullible don't you?"


I shook my head. "It's what happened."


He shook his head back at me and stood up. "Oooohhh Kaaayyy." Then he walked out of the basement muttering to himself.

May 24, 2022 17:53

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

20 comments

Happy Father's Day, Clinton! I pray you're well, and enjoying whatever you're doing to celebrate today.

Reply

17:32 Jun 20, 2023

Thank you! I had a great Father’s Day. My kids made me feel very loved!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Bonnie Clarkson
19:04 Aug 24, 2022

Good story. Good job of not using a lot of passive verbs. Good job of including physical actions. Shane seemed to come out of nowhere. I was a little confused about the characters, but it may just be my age of not thinking as good as I used to. Saw a "got". It was in narration rather than dialogue. I had an editor that didn't like using that word. First sentence might need some more baking. It is facts, though the phrase "like prison bars" caught my attention. Reedsy YouTube channel has videos called First Line Frenzy. An editor critique...

Reply

16:53 Aug 31, 2022

Out of curiosity, did you read parts 1 through 3?

Reply

Bonnie Clarkson
18:13 Aug 31, 2022

No, I didn't. It probably would have made more sense if I had. My statements would have been biased in that direction. I stand by not using "got" (at least not in narration) and that First Line Frenzy videos are worth watching.

Reply

Bonnie Clarkson
18:36 Aug 31, 2022

I apologize for not noticing Part Four in the title.

Reply

Show 0 replies
19:38 Aug 31, 2022

For sure, those are great catches! :-) I was just curious. Regardless of whether you read the first three, I was trying to make each stand on its own, which it doesn't if the characters jump out of nowhere.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 2 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Sharon Hancock
01:28 Jun 07, 2022

Such an interesting and unique story! Great characters and storyline. I love this kind of story about a group of friends who go on adventures. I enjoyed the first part and this part…gotta catch up with the middle I haven’t read it yet! I think middle school kids would love this. Well done!😻

Reply

02:38 Jun 07, 2022

I’m glad someone didn’t think it was dry white bread. Lol Thanks for reading and complimenting. It was definitely outside my wheelhouse.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
22:34 May 28, 2022

This story kept me engaged from start to finish! Amazing piece

Reply

23:21 May 28, 2022

Thank you Alyssa! I’m happy that you enjoyed it enough to let me know.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Bradon L
23:38 May 27, 2022

You seamlessly spread this out over 4 different prompts! It flowed soooo well. I love this specific story by itself(interesting, well written, etc etc) but the fact that this is a 4 part series is crazy impressive to me. I tip my hat to you!

Reply

00:11 May 28, 2022

Thank you so much for your comment. It made my day a heck of a lot better. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. It’s funny because I planned on writing it in a single prompt, but when I reached the 3,000 word mark and hadn’t made it to the end, I thought it’d be a two prompt story. Every week I thought that it was going to be the last week, so after the fourth week I was actually a little sad it was over. Anyway, I had so much fun writing it that I made a cover and printed it for my kids to read. My ten year old already finished it and my thirt...

Reply

Bradon L
00:26 May 28, 2022

I’m sad it’s over and I’m just the reader😂. Sometimes stories that have more than one part can feel stretched, but this one just flowed so beautifully.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Anissa Waterman
14:13 May 25, 2022

Love how you made this a continuing story. Great work!

Reply

15:06 May 25, 2022

Thank you! Sadly, I think it's come to a conclusion. Although, I'm debating on writing an epilogue on Lisa's motivation.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Mike Panasitti
17:59 Jun 04, 2022

You had a moist banana bread with chocolate chips premise, but the results were white bread dry. Better luck baking next time.

Reply

14:00 Jun 05, 2022

Ouch

Reply

Mike Panasitti
21:57 Jun 05, 2022

Clinton, I apologize for the hurtful comment. It's not easy to sustain the plot and characterization in a story over the course of four episodes. Your series was a valiant effort.

Reply

23:28 Jun 05, 2022

Maybe with more practice? Thanks.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.