Contest #40 shortlist ⭐️

32 comments

General

Timothy Morrison is standing in a room on a chair with a light bulb in his hand. It’s just past ten o’clock at night, and the light bulb is still warm through the faded yellow bandana. A bandana with nostalgic bloodstains on it from the time he was ten and stole it from the top drawer of his mother’s dresser.

The blood is from a time he was on the river bank; a river bank his mother told him to stay away from countless times. 

Find me a ten-year-old that listens and I’ll find you the next Dalai Lama.

He was standing there watching for the fish just beneath the surface. Watching for fish without a fishing pole. He watched and waited, watched and waited until that joyous moment a shadow slid through the water. A life on the side of the water that he’ll never know. He crept down a little lower, holding on to the trunk of a small sprouting tree that bent as he scooted down, down to the edge of the river bank.

Down until his foot slipped a little faster than the trunk could hold him and he fell flat on his back down the muddy slope. It was a green bottle without a label, that’s what did it. It sliced his forearm. Didn’t slice it open, but enough to terrify any ten-year-old that didn’t want to tell his mother where he was. 

Find me an honest ten-year-old and I’ll find you a kid that gets picked on too much in school.

Timothy, he ran across the field, blood flying from his arm, and his little heart knew he was going to die there in that field. If not there, then it would be his house that it would happen. Through the field he ran, leaping and jumping just in case there was a snake or a few ticks in the tall grass. It was as if the water was rising behind him, threatening to drown him right there in the field. He was running that fast. 

When he crashed into the front door with a calm panic, he could hear her just down in the other room. He could possibly make it to the bathroom, but he could tell from the front door that his dad was in there. It was the fan that he could hear. He heard her, she was in the kitchen, and he walk-ran into her bedroom and his eyes dashed around the room until he could find anything to press against his arm. There was laundry on the floor, some on the bed, but Timothy, he knew they’d notice. His eyes dashed back and forth, and he could hear the toilet flush, and he threw the top drawer open and rummaged through it. 

There, he found the small, yellow bandana with white designs on it. He pressed it tight against his arm, though the blood was nearly dry by this point. He pressed and pressed until he felt calm.

He told them he thought he left a shirt in there. That’s what he told them about why he was standing in the room with the drawer open.

The light bulb, it rested in Timothy’s palm. Still warm to the touch, still wrapped in the faded, nearly-transparent yellow bandana. Those dull red spots still visible even through the age. He stepped down from the chair, the filament shaking in the light bulb as he tossed it in the trash can. 

It was a few years after he nearly drowned in a field, but still a few too early. It was foggy from a heavy rain the night before. Timothy, he still remembers this. It was a morning that he only pretended to brush his teeth before school. He just turned the water on and sat on the toilet, the sun barely breaking above the hills. He turned the water off and walked into the living room, where his dad sat.

His dad took him to school that day. And the next day, and the next day. Timothy never pretended to brush his teeth again after that.

Timothy, his mother was always here and there. Used to, she was joyous one day, Timothy the light of her entire life. Other days, she couldn’t be found for weeks at a time. If she were around, she wanted to sleep a lot. Yelling and smoke-filled living rooms, those are what kept Timothy up at night. Monsters didn’t matter to Timothy.

Used to, Timothy’s mom would call him Timmy, or Tim-Tim. Years before Timothy stole the bandana, his mom, she would carry a sterling smile held up by her ears. It used to be that she would tickle his belly until he would laugh that gapped-tooth smile that only kids can wear. 

That was back when monsters still existed under his bed and in the dark.

We wear emotions like stickers. We peel them on and off so many times, until eventually they wear themselves out. 

Timothy, he learned to crave the smell of cigarette smoke and neighborhood arguments, just to hear the sound of normalcy. 

Even sitting with the aged, yellow bandana, part of him wants to hear it. He wants to hear that knock on his front door, and there she would be with that Marlboro perfume and ears still holding up that sterling smile like stone statues. 

Or at least a call that she had been found so that he would have something to visit.

  Timothy, he knew his mom’s sticker wore off a little quicker than his. Now all he’s left with is a sticker that was ripped off so fast it pulled the hairs off with it. A sticker that’s been taped to his chest with the word love carved in it like when kids used to carve their names in those old wooden school desks, as if he were named Love.

He sits on his couch, a cigarette burning in the crowded ashtray. That dingy bandana with the blood of better times, nearly transparent as he holds it up to the light. His window is open and the sounds of the city play like a radio with the antenna not placed quite right. 

There’s a knock at the door.

Find me a ten-year-old with hope gripped so tightly in their fragile little hands, and I’ll find you the future.


May 02, 2020 01:58

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32 comments

02:07 Jun 23, 2020

Love this. Made me think of how my son views me. Moving. Thanks

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Kathleen March
15:45 May 19, 2020

I really like the narrative flow and the way the voice travels through the main character's emotions. The subtle humor and 'fear' are perfect.

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A.R. Eakle
16:11 May 19, 2020

Thank you so much for the read! I’m glad you liked it. I tried to work on my narrative voice in this one.

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Kathleen March
16:58 May 19, 2020

And successfully. It was what stood out first.

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A.R. Eakle
17:58 May 19, 2020

That’s so good to hear! Thank you 😊😊

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Len Mooring
00:01 May 18, 2020

Great story. Your portrayal of the mother's role, certainly in this family, is excellent. Usually, family life pivots around them, almost unacknowledged, but devastating if not there.

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A.R. Eakle
00:49 May 18, 2020

Thanks! I agree completely. A mother’s role is really important in a family, and can be really detrimental if not there. Thanks for the read!

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Najwa Zandlo
01:02 May 15, 2020

I really liked the way this story climbed. Each sentence moved the story along - it was very intentional. Great job! 😊

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A.R. Eakle
02:21 May 15, 2020

That is one of the best compliments! Thank you so much. Thank you for reading 😁

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Caitlyn Ash
13:45 May 14, 2020

I loved the, “We wear emotions like stickers.” It helped set the mood and really made me think. Great job!

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A.R. Eakle
14:02 May 14, 2020

Thank you for reading it!

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A. Y. R
23:09 May 08, 2020

I really like how you shifted the focus in an out the story to build it up, it's really well written! The grammar and tenses did throw off though every now and then

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A.R. Eakle
03:31 May 09, 2020

Thank you for reading! I really appreciate it.

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Maggie Deese
19:19 May 05, 2020

I really enjoyed this! Your style of writing is incredible and very unique. Keep writing, you're great at it!

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A.R. Eakle
00:17 May 06, 2020

Wow, thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for reading 😊

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Maggie Deese
00:35 May 06, 2020

Of course! 😊

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17:17 May 02, 2020

I love your language style, it's incredible. I couldn't possibly master it as you did which I think makes you a great writer.

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A.R. Eakle
19:11 May 02, 2020

That’s probably the best compliment 😭 Thank you so much!

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19:22 May 02, 2020

Awnnn😊 that's nice. And I'm serious

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Pranathi G
16:14 May 02, 2020

Nice story! I loved how you kept using "find me a ten-year-old."

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A.R. Eakle
16:22 May 02, 2020

Thank you! Thanks for reading it. :D

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Amel Parvez
21:55 Apr 15, 2021

Beautiful! the story is just AMAZINGG Enjoyed reading it:)

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A.R. Eakle
13:45 Apr 16, 2021

Thanks for the read! :D

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Amel Parvez
16:01 Apr 16, 2021

No prob! =)

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D. Kase
13:14 Dec 09, 2020

Impressive. I grew up with a mother who smoked incessantly in the house. I craved cigarettes and snuck some of hers. Later on I started smoking at 17. That was another life. I know it wasn't based off a mother solely smoking. I'm just saying that your story is relatable to me. Good work.

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A.R. Eakle
13:25 Dec 09, 2020

I'm glad you were able to relate! I think the mother's smoking was a large part of the story. Though not explicitly stated, he burns cigarettes with the windows open sometimes, just for the smell, he doesn't actually smoke them. I think little things like senses are what makes stories so relatable, so I'm glad you were able to connect :)

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S T
17:31 Aug 20, 2020

It's a really cool one! Your writing style is amazing, keep it up👍

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21:04 Aug 17, 2020

WOW! WOW! WOW! I just LOVED this! I loved the language, style of writing, and the flavor of poetry in it. This is SO GOOD. KEEP. IT. UP!!!! (P.S. Would you mind stopping by and checking out some of my recents? Thanks!!!😁)

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12:51 Aug 14, 2020

I just love: Find me a ten-year-old that listens and I’ll find you the next Dalai Lama. And also Find me a ten-year-old with hope gripped so tightly in their fragile little hands, and I’ll find you the future. Great quotes and so true! I want to know whether he used the bandana to remove the light bulb because it was hot (I assume so) and also who is at the door!!

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Brandy Batz
18:14 Jul 27, 2020

We wear emotions like stickers. We peel them on and off so many times, until eventually they wear themselves out. (Yes) I like how you used the find me line throughout to punctuate childhood.

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A.R. Eakle
10:46 Jul 29, 2020

Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it 😊

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WOOOOOO Hello great judge! Thank you. This is heart warming!

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