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Sad Kids Drama

Trigger warning: suicide


Our night first began at the graveyard. It was about five o’clock, the time where most families would be laughing and clanking pans and talking about politics. But there we were, our feet sinking in the wet grass, the smiles gone from our faces. 

The daisies that Josie held were bending and hiding their creased faces. She clutched them in one hand, her fingernails making brown indents in their stems. “Do you know where they are?” she asked, her voice cracking through the silence. 

“No,” I replied, wiping a hand across my eyes. “But we’ll find them.” 

The lines of graves ran diagonal on the land. Josie brushed them with her knuckles, pausing occasionally to read the engraved names. 

There were flowers already laying on their elbows in front of some stones. They looked like they were having trouble breathing. I was too. The air was thick. 

Patches of sky were darkening and shadows stretched behind the graves. It was a clear day overall, but the kind of temperature that makes you want to close your eyes. Josie was sweating and I could see it on her shirt.

“Do normal people visit their family today?” she asked, sucking in her lips like a fish. 

I wanted to giggle but something held me back. “Normal people do.” 

Josie nodded to herself, “So we’re normal, then.” 

“Whatever you want to call it,” I told her. My lips almost curled, but then I saw them. 

A group of smooth stones over to the left. They sat up straight and had dead petals littered at their feet. The names, we knew, didn’t matter anymore. I read them, my hands in my pockets, while Josie set a single daisy before each of them in the dirt. She had just enough. 

I started with my brother, shifting my weight onto my knees and curling my fingers into a fist. Josie jumped towards her mother first. Together we whispered some poems and songs and things we didn’t mean. We left them with a kiss to their stones and moved on. I glanced at her mother’s grave, briefly, mouthing a ‘sorry’ for all the things I couldn’t say. 

Next for me was my grandmother. She was a sour old woman but I loved her and that was that. It was like I could hear her voice, tickling my ears, catching on the wind. I know she’d say something about dead daisies and how much she hated small talk about weather. 

Josie moved on to her and I inched to the right. A small grave, carved with hearts and unreadable words. I wasn’t ready to face her yet. So I averted my eyes and moved to the next one. 

My parents. The first ones to go, the last ones I wanted to talk to. Josie was busy laughing and touching Grandmother’s stone in a way that made me uncomfortable, so I decided I’d have to deal with it on my own. The pain. 

“Hi Mom, hi Dad,” I whispered, my throat aching and my eyes lingering on the daisy. “So how are you?” 

Silence. 

I sighed. “I’m taking care of Josie like you asked.” I peered at Josie, the apple-cheeked girl. I needed to tell them something, though. And I was so glad they couldn’t speak. “I’m not working at the firm like you asked.” It came out quick but not enough. Josie glanced in my direction. “I found a job at a local bakery. It’s nice and pays the bills—” Tears ran down my nose and dripped onto my sleeves. They caught in my mouth and I swallowed them while toying with a loose thread on my sweatshirt. The graveyard was more a home than than bakery but I didn’t want to worry them. 

I felt arms around me and saw that Josie had crawled over. She closed her eyes and let me rest my head on her shoulder. “I thought I could do it but I can’t.” Admitting it felt so much worse. 

In the car ride back to her apartment, my hands shook on the wheel and Josie hummed an overplayed song. She asked me, over and over, if I was okay. I reassured her I was fine every time but looked immediately out the window because I couldn’t bear to lie to my little cousin. 

Once we arrived at our apartment, Josie stripped herself bare and smoothed out her dress out on the bed. It had been her mother’s when she was a girl and it was black and embroidered and beautiful. 

I changed into my pajamas, already over with the night. Although it was only 6:30 pm, the time where normal families would be holding hands and eyeing the feasts before them and whispering turkey jokes until the walls vibrated with giggles. But there Josie and I were, in our bedroom, staring at our ripped pajamas and wondering why the balcony door was wide open. 

“Wind,” Josie said, “warm November wind.” 

But we both knew I had forgotten to shut the door. I led Josie out onto the balcony and pulled up a chair for myself to sit on. Before us was the city, grey and sparkling and tall. The world was big and we knew it, but we also knew we were safer in our apartment, eating day-old scones. 

Josie touched the rail and let the breeze ruffle her hair. Her eyes were closed and she stretched her arms to cradle the sunset clouds. 

“I come on this balcony a lot.” she muttered, opening her eyes. “And I always wonder, what if I jumped?” 

I shut my mouth and looked at her. Time revolved around this moment and I knew what was coming. “Don’t say that.” My lips curved like I was reciting a script. 

“I am causing you trouble and pain. If I just jumped—” Josie began, leaning on her toes and glimpsing what lied below. Sidewalk and graffiti and smashed windows of cars. 

“No!” I stood in a flash, grasped Josie’s arm and yanked it back inside. I threw myself onto the couch, glancing up only to realize the balcony doors were still open. And Josie was gone. 

Screams echoed in my ears. The memory flooded back so often it was hard to live reality when Josie was tiptoeing around my apartment. I thought instantly of that small grave at the graveyard. With the hearts and scribbles in her handwriting. I said the names didn’t matter but they did. That one read ‘Josephine.’ 

My whole family was dead and that was that.

November 25, 2020 15:22

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20 comments

Scout Tahoe
15:24 Nov 25, 2020

A few things: -I hate my recent stories. I can't blame it on the prompts, only myself. -Is this story confusing? -Barely made it past the 1,000 word mark. -Not sure about mentioning the trigger warning in the beginning. -Needs a lot of editing so please critique if possible. [Thank you Neha.] -If you're going to tell me this is good (which I doubt) please tell me why. I'd love to know. -Thanks for stopping by.

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Wow, such a beautiful and a unique story! Deserves a win! :)

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Scout Tahoe
22:46 Nov 26, 2020

Oh, thanks. :)

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FJC Montenegro
00:52 Nov 30, 2020

Jesus Christ, Scout! I'm shook! That twist was perfect. First of all, I don't see any problem with word count here. I consider this a piece of flash fiction, and not because of its length. I see a novel as a character's journey, a short story as something more focused on a specific experience, emotion, or feeling, and flash fiction as a punch in the gut. This one certainly is a punch in the gut. At "Josie was gone" I instinctively covered my mouth with my hand and mouthed "oh no!" I had to reread that paragraph, though. Yanking her ins...

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Scout Tahoe
01:23 Nov 30, 2020

Wow, haha, thank you so much. I'm glad you liked it because I was worried it was one of my worst. I didn't want to tell anyone anything because honestly I didn't really know where it was going. :) I can't wait until you post another story.

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Ariadne .
23:28 Nov 25, 2020

The graveyard was more a home than than bakery but I didn’t want to worry them. ~ than the, not than than. Josie stripped herself bare and smoothed out her dress out on the bed. ~ Too many 'out's here. You could write "Josie stripped herself bare and smoothed her dress out on the bed." “I come on this balcony a lot.” she muttered, opening her eyes. ~ The period in the dialogue should be a comma. “I come on this balcony a lot,” she muttered, opening her eyes. “No!” I stood in a flash, grasped Josie’s arm and yanked it back inside. ~...

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Scout Tahoe
01:09 Nov 26, 2020

Thank you so much, Ria. Really. I took all your critiques and I'm a little embarrassed about some of the grammar ones, haha. Yes, Josie showed some signs, but what could the MC do about it? They didn't have any parents or money and the MC was so guilty about not working at the firm. She either missed the signs or tried to talk to her. I want you to know, though, that the scene in my story of Josie jumping is a flashback. It had happened in the past and the MC was just imagining her. That's what I hope is clear. :) By the way, I will che...

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Ariadne .
18:57 Nov 30, 2020

Don't be embarrassed! We all make ridiculous mistakes at times. It's a part of life, unfortunately. I see. That actually makes sense. Like, I have enough problems as it is, as long as that doesn't get too bad and you don't ask me for help, I'll just not worry about it and let you deal with it yourself. Unless you meant that a completely different way and my puny brain misunderstood. Oh yes, I got the flashback idea! So creative, ugh. Makes me wish I wrote this or came up with the idea of the story really being a memory playing in the ...

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Scout Tahoe
22:31 Nov 30, 2020

Thank you so much! Glad it's clear, or at least kind of clear. Of course, feel free to use in a story of yours. :) You're welcome.

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N. N.
16:28 Nov 25, 2020

Hey Scout, Don't be too hard on yourself, seriously, this story isn't as bad as you think! Its actually good, and each sentence, I thought, was like an arrow- sharp, and medium-sized but it hits right. And it certainly wasn't confusing. Now, I'm not very good at giving critiques, but here's what I found: 'And Josie was gone. whole' --> I'm not really sure about why you've put the 'whole'. I'm guessing that it's either a mistake, or an unfinished sentence. As for the word count, I'd like to suggest to perhaps add a bit more descri...

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Scout Tahoe
16:38 Nov 25, 2020

This comment is lovely and so, so helpful. Thank you so much and I will fix every one of them. Ha, how'd you get a great eye for critiquing? ;)

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N. N.
18:03 Nov 25, 2020

Yay! I'm so glad that it was useful to you. "Great eye for critiquing" ?! Gosh, now I'm going to have an impossibly huge grin plastered on for a long while. XD

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Scout Tahoe
19:06 Nov 25, 2020

And I'll have an impossibly huge grin plastered on my face knowing I caused the impossibly huge grin on your face. Haha

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21:04 Nov 25, 2020

Critique? It's short. Confusing? It's a good kind of confusion. Personally, I think this one was great. Know why? Because while reading, I said to myself: when will you learn to write like this? I don't know why Josie would kill herself though. Fine, we know she feels bad about depending on her cousin but is there a particular reason she would jump? I suppose yanking her back is a product of her imagination, don't know. Why are they visiting the graveyard? Her entire family died, right? How? The feel of the story seemed to come from youn...

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Scout Tahoe
22:07 Nov 25, 2020

Thank you so much. Ha, I doubt the judges will shortlist this because it's so bad and you're right, short. I was thinking Josie killed herself because of depression because of her family dying. I don't know how her family died, though. I was leaving it up to the reader. They're visiting the graveyard on Thanksgiving because she wanted to see her family and apologize to her parents. Thanks again.

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Maya W.
21:00 Nov 25, 2020

Hey Scout. Please, please, please, don't be so hard on yourself. I've really been enjoying your more recent stories, and I really loved this one. The element of mystery combined with the intrigue of the characters made for a very well written story. There's nothing wrong with shorter stories, too. Some tales just need less words to tell. This one didn't really need more words. My two problems with it are that I don't know how it fits the prompt, and that the ending seemed a little out of place. But all in all, a very well written story! I lo...

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Scout Tahoe
22:18 Nov 25, 2020

Thank you so much for the kind words, really. I'll check out your story of course. I want to take a break but ... I don't know, I have nothing better to do. It fits the prompts because she tells the parents she's working at a bakery instead of the firm.

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Maya W.
22:42 Nov 25, 2020

Go with your gut. If you want to write, then write. But don't write if it feels like a chore. I think I speak for all of us when I say that your well being is more important.

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Scout Tahoe
00:01 Nov 26, 2020

Thank you, really. :)

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