Keeping Bree

Submitted into Contest #53 in response to: Write a story about another day in a heatwave. ... view prompt

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               She always ran around with it and always whispered an “Okay, you can come out now,” every time she thought nobody was listening or near her. The girl’s name was Vivian Woods and her friend’s was Bree. Vivian and Bree spent loads of time together, more 24/7, and this was because Bree was in the small, battered, and peeling children’s story book Vivian carried around with her everywhere she went – the store, the park, even the bathroom.

School had been out and it was late summer in the middle of a heatwave that had been occurring for the past week, drying out the plants and spoiling food that wasn’t in the fridge within a few hours. People were groaning about the sweltering heat and about how there was nothing to do. Except Vivian, of course.

She’d asked her mother if she could go play with her friends in her complex. Vivian and Ms. Woods lived in a tight knit community where all the mothers knew each other. Ms. Woods said yes, and Vivian had squealed, tied her sneakers, and left the house, book and water bottle in hand.

 It wasn’t true. She wasn’t spending time with those loud boring kids, no. She was going to the woods that was conjoined with the complex to spend quality time with Bree.

 She plopped herself down on her favorite fallen log, deep enough into the woods so that she couldn’t see others or be seen but could hear if she was being called and whispered, “Okay, you can come out now.”

The old book opened and shut itself twice before the pages ruffled and the book flew open, Bree popping out and landing on her bottom. They giggled and hugged each other for almost a minute before letting go. Bree was slightly chubbier than Vivian with long black hair, big brown eyes and a bright smile that couldn’t help but make you smile, too, whether you were happy or sad.

   “I was waiting for you to call me. I’m not sure I like it much over there anymore,” Bree said, sipping Vivian’s water bottle and sitting across from her on the ground covered in dried crispy leaves.

    “Why not?”

Bree shrugged. “Remember the author wrote me to travel alone, right? Without you, I’d still have nobody, and I can never make it past page 8. I used to be able to skim through my story because I knew everything that was gonna happen, but I don’t have the energy anymore.”

  “Wait, but I read you every day. Don’t I get you to page 23?” Vivian asked her, furrowing her brows at the thought of her best friend going through a hard time.

   “Yes, but once you close the book, I repeat from the first page.”

    They stayed silent for some time, listening to the chirping of the birds that appeared to be playing tag and using the leaves and branches as an obstacle course plus the faint yelling of the obnoxious complex kids. 

 Vivian got up and stretched her hand for Bree to take it, which she did. They got their things and made their way deeper into the forest where the small stream of water ran and where there was a little hollow cave embedded into a large rock. Bree took off her worn out sandals, one missing the clip, and dipped her feet into the refreshing water, while Vivian sat in the cave, leaning against the wall of it and looking at her friend making small splashes with her feet. She wasn’t going to let Bree suffer that stress.

Two hummingbirds landed in front of the cave, the bigger one dropping a seed and flying away with the other. Vivian’s hazel eyes brightened, and a toothy grin took over her face. She ran out to Bree, nearly tripping into the stream and sat herself down. “I have an idea.”

Bree’s eyes narrowed and she let out a long sigh. “Uh oh. That's never good.”

“What if you stay with me and you don’t have to go back?” Vivian asked, head tilted, eyes questioning.

Bree’s eyes widened for a second before she shook her head. “No. We’d be going against how the book works. You know every time you call me, I only get exactly one and a half hours with you.”

Vivian’s shoulders slumped and her lips quivered. “But, you can’t keep going over and over.”

Bree walked over to her and wrapped her arms around Vivian’s middle. “It’s fine, I’m serious. I’m already used to it. And as long as I keep seeing you, we’re okay, right?” Bree asked, comforting her best friend whose cheeks were wet from the tears that were dripping.

Vivian nodded but it still seemed wrong to her. If Bree wasn’t repeating life OVER and OVER again, Vivian would have left it alone, but now that wasn’t the case. A thought smacked her in the head. “We’re gonna burn the book.”



“I might get stuck forever, Viv.”

Vivian shook her head. “I won’t burn it when you’re inside it, of course. I’ll burn it when you’re here with me.” She looked so hopeful waiting for an answer that Bree had to agree.

They made their way back up to the fallen log after playing a few rounds of hide and seek by the stream, the woods providing perfect places if you didn’t want to be found. Vivian looked at her mermaid themed watch her father got her as a gift before he divorced her mom to start a new life with somebody else, barely keeping touch with Vivian. 1:19. Bree popped up at 12:34. They had less than an hour to keep Bree here.

Back in their house, Vivian asked her mom for things that could start a fire and she had received dry wood, some kindling, and a match. Well, her mother handled it. Ms. Woods and Vivian went outside to their backyard, wearing baseball caps and fanning themselves while Bree hid behind the giant tree with droopy branches that hovered over the house.

Ms. Woods did things Vivian did not understand but soon a small spark grew into a large fire that shot a wave of overwhelming heat towards them. Vivian marveled at the way the air looked distorted above the fire. She looked at her watch. 1:33. Her mother handed her the book.

Vivian tossed it in the fire and watched the old book crumble and disintegrate. She ran to the tree and she hugged Bree with all her might. Now all they had to do was wait until 2:04. They played for a while around the house before Bree rushed to Vivian, forehead creased and eyes wide. "Check the time," she said. Vivian looked at her wrist. 2:17. They screamed and embraced each other so forcefully they both landed in a squealing heap on the scorching ground.

Ms. Woods rushed outside to see what the commotion was about. Vivian walked to her. “Mom, this is my friend, Bree.” Bree waved, knowing all about Ms. Woods since she basically "lived" with them.

Ms. Woods smiled at her. “Hi, honey. Why don‘t you two come in for slushies. I made them a few minutes ago.”

Vivian grinned at Bree and they walked hand in hand inside the house.

August 02, 2020 02:42

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1 comment

Afreen Shanavas
01:23 Aug 13, 2020

A good one! Great diction and use of words. Keep it up! Hope you win!


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