A Maze of Lies – Part Two

Continuing the story of lies, deception, and wrong choices. Click for Part One. I’d love feedback! 😀

Hailey yawned. She could feel the heat of the sun on the side of her face. She finally mustered enough strength… to open her eyes. The sun was shining brightly through the window. She sleepily sat up and glanced at the clock. It was already well past noon. Melanie and Kaitlyn were still sleeping soundly in their sleeping bags. Hailey automatically reached for a pillow.

“Oof!” Melanie grunted groggily. She pushed the pillow off her face. She looked over at Hailey, who was trying her best to fend off laughter and look innocent. Melanie rolled her eyes. “That wasn’t very nice,” she stated.

Hailey gazed at her solemnly. “You’re going to use the pillow to wake up Kaitlyn, right?”

“Of course.” Melanie snorted. “Do you think I would pass up an opportunity like this?” Hailey grinned at her.

Five minutes of pillow-pounding later, a very grumpy Kaitlyn was sitting up in her sleeping bag. “What time is it?” she grumbled.

“Almost two,” Hailey informed her.

“What time did we fall asleep?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Well, I remember popping the seventh bag of popcorn around five, and we never did finish it.” Melanie nodded to the half-empty bowl. “So, I think it was around six.”

Kaitlyn rolled her eyes. “No wonder,” she muttered. “We’d better get dressed and eat something. My mom’s coming to pick me up in half an hour.”

~~~

“Hi, Hailey, Melanie!” Brenna called, winding her way to the other girls through the post-class traffic. She finally reached them. “How was the sleepover?” she asked. “I wish I hadn’t missed it.”

“It was great,” Melanie told Brenna, mentioning all of the best parts. Of course, she left out the part about Finding Nemo.

Kaitlyn walked over to them. “Hey, guys. I was actually able to make it through today. Apparently the kid that the guys are usually messing with isn’t here today.”

Hailey didn’t say anything, but looked up, relieved, although she did wonder where Jason was. The girls left the school together and split up, heading their separate ways.

Once at home, Hailey couldn’t focus on her homework. She kept wondering why Jason hadn’t been at school. Finally she picked up the phone.

“Hello, Craywell residence.” The voice didn’t sound like Jason’s.

“Hi, can I talk to Jason?” she asked hesitantly, feeling awkward. She and Jason hadn’t really talked lately, after all.

“This is he. Who is this?” Hailey still didn’t think it sounded like him.

“It’s Hailey.”

“Hi, Hailey!” A smile leapt into his voice. “What’s up?”

“Not much. I was just wondering why you weren’t at school today.” Hailey fiddled with her pencil.

“Oh, Kelly got a cold and passed it on to me. I’ll probably be back tomorrow, though. Thanks for thinking of me! I missed church on Sunday, too.” He sounded genuinely happy to hear from her.

“Do you need any of the assignments?” Hailey asked quickly, changing the subject.

“Sure!” Jason replied eagerly.

Hailey found the assignments for the classes they were in together and listed them. As she waited for him to write them down, an idea hit her. Jason was always asking her to go to church with him. She had always refused, coming up with various excuses. This was her chance to get him off her back once and for all.

“Thanks, Hailey. I guess I have something to do tonight.” They laughed. A short silence followed. Hailey twirled her hair around her finger nervously as she tried to think of something to say. Finally Jason broke the silence.

“So, do you want to, uh, come to church with me on Wednesday?” he asked somewhat awkwardly.

This was the question Hailey had been waiting for. “Nah,” she replied after a moment. “I didn’t really enjoy it much when I went on Sunday. I had wondered where you were—”

“You went yesterday?” Jason interrupted excitedly. “Aw, you should have called me. I wish I could’ve been there! Did you like it?”

“Not really,” Hailey replied hesitantly. Jason’s enthusiasm was starting to make her regret her lie.

“Oh.” Jason said thoughtfully. There was a short pause. “I’ve got to go, Hailey, my dad’s calling me. Feel free to call me later.”

“All right, ‘bye,” Hailey replied. She hung up the phone with the guilt weighing down heavily on her shoulders. She tried to concentrate on her schoolwork, but she couldn’t keep her mind on it. She couldn’t help hoping that this would be the last of all of the church invitations.

~~~

“Hey, Timothy!” Jason called as he slipped into the nearly-empty youth room that Wednesday.

The kid sitting at one of the small tables looked up, brushing his short brown hair out of his eyes and adjusted his glasses. He slipped a bookmark into his book and grinned. “Hey, Jason, I’ve got an open seat over here that has your name on it!”

Jason grinned and slid into one of the open chairs. “How’s it going, Timothy?”

“Pretty good,” the boy replied. “We missed you here on Sunday.”

Jason made a face. “Yeah. I was at home, sick. You’re still working on Moby Dick, huh?” Timothy nodded. “Oh,” Jason began, remembering. “A friend of mine came on Sunday. Did you get to meet her? Her name’s Hailey, she’s got red hair. She’s not very easy to miss.”

Timothy thought for a little while, unconsciously chewing on the eraser on his pencil. Finally he shook his head. “No, I didn’t see her. There were only a few people here on Sunday, and they were all regulars.”

Jason frowned. “Are you sure?” he asked.

“Yeah,” Timothy nodded.

That’s weird, Jason thought. I guess I’ll ask Hailey about it tomorrow after school.

~~~

All week long Hailey’s friends had dragged her over to watch Jason getting bullied. She was finally tired of it. She was barely able to escape through one of the side entrances. She had plenty of time to get home since she had made it out of school early, so she strolled leisurely down the sidewalk.

Hailey had almost made it to her house when she heard running footsteps behind her. She turned around and saw Jason running towards her.

“Hi, Hailey!” he called, catching up to her.

“Oh, hi, Jason,” she replied somewhat nervously. She felt a twinge of guilt as she thought about the phone call.

“Hi,” Jason gasped as he finally reached her. “How’re you doing?”

“Pretty good,” Hailey replied. “What about you?”

“I’m fine,” he replied, still trying to catch his breath. “Oh, last night at church I asked a friend of mine if he’d met you, and he said he hadn’t seen you in youth.”

It only took a split second for Hailey to realize how bad this could be for her, and another one for her to come up with a reply. “Oh, I stayed in the main sanctuary, you know, with the adults. That’s probably why he didn’t see me.”

Jason laughed. “That makes sense. It also explains why you disliked it, too. Youth’s a lot of fun, while the adult service… not so much.” Hailey mentally groaned. She knew what was coming up next.

“So, do you want to come again on Sunday? You can try out the youth group. It’s a lot better than the sermons in the sanctuary,” Jason suggested eagerly.

“No, I don’t think so. I’ve got a big project due on Monday since it’s the week before spring break.” Hailey lied again. “We’re going shopping on Saturday, so I won’t have much time the rest of the weekend.”

“Oh, yeah,” Jason nodded understandingly. “Those teachers always dump extra homework on us right before spring break.”

Hailey laughed, relaxing. “Yeah. Well, I’ve gotta get home. I’ll talk to you later.”

Jason nodded. “Okay. See ya tomorrow!” he called over his shoulder as he jogged back towards his house. Hailey continued down to her house, breathing in the scent of the flowers blooming in the flowerbeds. She was really glad to have dodged two more tough spots, but she wondered how many more would follow.

A Maze of Lies – Part One

Love this short-story-that-was-supposed-to-be-a-novel. 😉 Let me know what you think of this part. More parts coming soon!

Hailey Baker slammed the door on her locker, pulling her hands through her strawberry-blond hair. Her light brown eyes focused on a group of kids laughing farther down the high school hallway. She groaned inwardly, realizing immediately what was going on.

One of her fellow softball players and close friends, Melanie Brandt, looked up too. Pushing her short brown hair behind her ear, she took in the scene unfolding down the hall. She rolled her brown eyes. “Great,” she complained. “Haven’t those guys got anything better to do? They do this every single day after the classes are over.” Her loud voice carried to most of the people around them.

Brenna Cooper, another volleyball teammate, looked up from pulling her books out of her locker. She shrugged, flipping her blond hair over her shoulder. “We might as well watch the action.”

Brenna and Melanie immediately moved down the hall towards the commotion. Hailey followed reluctantly. Finally they were able to find a good vantage point to watch “the action”, as Brenna called it.

In the middle of all the commotion, a blond sophomore named Jason Craywell was standing next to some lockers, clutching a stack of books to his chest. Two of the other sophomores were teasing him and pushing him around. His green eyes blazed, and Hailey could see him gritting his teeth. The kids at school often teased him about his beliefs, but he continued to stand strong. He made eye contact with Hailey, and she quickly looked away. She knew he was disappointed that she was simply watching and not intervening, but she didn’t know what else to do.

Hailey and Jason had known each other since they were in second grade in the same class. They didn’t truly become close until one day close to the end of their second grade year. It was Jason’s first day back at school after his mom’s death. During recess, Hailey found him crying behind one of the school buildings. They had eventually become best friends, and this friendship continued throughout elementary school and their first year of middle school. Not long into middle school, though, Hailey had become popular, and they began to grow further apart, especially when Jason became a Christian and began to become unpopular. Now that they were in high school, the two of them didn’t hang out very much at all, although they did talk occasionally, outside of school.

Hailey’s attention returned to the scene before her. The noisy laughter must have finally caught the attention of the teachers in the nearest classrooms. A few of the teachers came out to restore order, and the kids began scattering. Jason, looking slightly relieved, turned and walked out of the building.

“Guess the fun’s over,” Brenna sighed, faking disappointment.

Melanie ignored her, turning to Hailey. “Will you be able to sleep over Saturday night?”

“Yeah,” Hailey replied. “I’ll be there at six.” She looked distractedly at her phone. “I’ve got to go now, though. I have a babysitting job I need to get to.”

“Okay, see you tomorrow!” Melanie called to her as she wove her way to the front doors. Hailey turned back and waved, and then continued pushing forward through the crowd of teenagers.

~~~

“Where’s the popcorn?” Kaitlyn Monroe called from the kitchen. Melanie looked up from searching through the DVDs.

“There are some bags in the top part of the cabinet, far right,” she replied. She turned to Hailey, who was arranging the sleeping bags. “Do you think we should watch VeggieTales: The Penniless Princess?”

Hailey laughed. “No, I think it’s too scary for Kaitlyn,” she joked.

“I heard that!” Kaitlyn yelled from the kitchen. The other two girls laughed. They soon heard the popcorn popping in the microwave.

Hailey grinned slyly at Melanie. “I brought jalapeno kettle chips,” she confided.

Melanie licked her lips. “My favorite.”

“So, where’s Brenna?” Hailey asked. “I thought you invited her, too, and she never misses a party if she can help it.”

Melanie laughed. “Well, this time she couldn’t help it. They have family visiting this weekend. She begged her parents to let her come, but it didn’t work.”

“I’ve got popcorn!” Kaitlyn announced, slipping into the room, balancing a bowl of popcorn with one hand.

“Don’t drop it!” Hailey and Melanie chorused, laughing.

Kaitlyn frowned jokingly. “You doubt my abilities?” she asked incredulously. The bowl wobbled as she stepped towards the table.

“Yes,” Hailey stated, “and for a good reason.” Melanie laughed and took the popcorn from Kaitlyn. Hailey moved to the stack of DVDs that Melanie had been looking through. The other two girls joined her.

“Oh, here it is!” Melanie held up a DVD.

Hailey raised her eyebrows. “Finding Nemo?”

“Yes, I love that movie!” Kaitlyn settled down into a mountain of pillows that she had brought with her.

“You guys are so weird!” Hailey said, laughing. She had to admit that she wouldn’t mind watching the movie, though. She settled down on her sleeping bag.

Melanie put the disc in. “This is going to be one fun night.”

Gone

I’m pretty sure this is the very first story where I had one of the characters die. Since then, I believe there’s only been one other character that has died. So I’m mostly not violent. 😉 A sad story to write. Hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think!

“Get out, Hilary!” I yelled. I pushed my little sister out of my room.

“I was just looking around!” Hilary whined.

“It doesn’t matter!” I shouted. I was fuming. “You shouldn’t be in my room at all!” I pushed my seven-year-old pest, I mean sister, the rest of the way out of my room, slamming the door shut behind her. I sighed, plopping down in my desk chair. I then began to work on my homework.

Just a minute or two later, I heard a knock on the door. “Who is it?” I called grumpily.

“Erika.”

I immediately recognized my mom’s voice. “Come in.”

My mom opened the door and slipped into my room, Hilary trailing in behind her. I gulped. My mom perched on the end of my bed, with Hilary on her lap. I could feel a lecture coming on.

“Erika,” my mother began sternly. “I think you owe an apology to your sister.” She held up her hand to ward off all of my protests. “I understand about you wanting her to stay out of your room, but you could have asked her to do it in a more kind and loving way.”

“But, Mom—” I began with a whine in my voice, until my mom cut me off with a glare. I turned to Hilary. “I’m sorry,” I grumbled grudgingly.

My mom sighed. “That’s good enough for now, but I expect a sincere apology later,” She nodded towards my school books as she stood up. “You can get back to your homework now.” She picked up Hilary and left my room, closing the door softly behind her.

I immediately jumped up from my desk chair and paced around the room, stomping furiously. I stopped by my bed and slammed my fist into the mattress viciously. “She always takes Hilary’s side!” I growled to no one in particular, glaring at my door. I finally sighed, frustrated, and slumped back into my chair to work on my homework.

~~~

I sat in silence during dinner, just picking at my food. I was still fuming. My dad had finally made it home, and Hilary was chattering on and on about everything that had happened to her that day. Needless to say, I was having a hard time keeping my temper under control. I really just wanted to get away from Hilary.

“How was your day, Erika?” my dad finally managed to ask when Hilary took a break to eat her hot dog and macaroni and cheese. Of course, it was her favorite meal.

“Fine,” I muttered, pushing back my chair. “May I be excused, please?” At least I’d said it politely.

Mom looked over at my plate. “You can probably eat some more of that food,” she told me in her no-nonsense voice. I slid my chair back into place.

“Did you have a bad day at school?” Dad asked. He wasn’t really concentrating on me; he was too busy trying to keep from laughing as Hilary’s hot dog began to drip ketchup on her plate.

“No, it was fine,” I mumbled. I ate several more bites of my food. After choking down the rest of the macaroni and cheese and half of my hot dog, Mom finally let me leave the table, so I hurried up to my room.

After the rest of the family finished dinner, I went downstairs to use the computer in the living room for my homework. I narrowed my eyes when I got in there. The computer was taken… by Hilary, of course. I checked the screen over her shoulder. Ugh. Of course. She was playing some princess game. She looked up at me, smiling.

“Look, Erika, I’m designing a princess and her horse. I’m making her look like me.” She paused, grinning proudly. “Do you think I could be a princess?”

I rolled my eyes. “You have to be the daughter of a king or queen or married to a prince. Now, get off the computer. I need to do my homework.”

“But I got here first!” she complained, putting on her pouty face.

My homework is more important than your silly princess game!” I snapped. I picked her up out of the chair and set her down on the couch. I sat down in the chair myself and immediately began working on my homework.

“Erika!” Hilary squealed, tugging on my arm. “Don’t close my—” Too late. I clicked the button to close the window with her princess game. She flopped down on the floor by my chair, sobbing loudly. Drama queen. I ignored her.

“Erika? Hilary?” Uh-oh. Mom poked her head into the room and spotted Hilary sobbing in a heap on the floor. Of course, she fell for Hilary’s drama queen act. “Hilary! Oh, what’s wrong, honey?”

What happened next was totally predictable. Hilary ratted on me, but completely exaggerated the whole thing, painting me as the mean, scary bully, while she was the absolutely innocent angel. She was sobbing throughout the entire story. I do have to admit that she’s a pretty good actor. She was pretty convincing. Almost.

Unfortunately, my mom bought the entire performance. She comforted Hilary, and told her that she should stop crying. Then she turned a steely glare on me. “And you, young lady, will go to your room immediately. I’ll be up there to talk to you in a minute.” She turned back to Hilary. Luckily, I had enough sense to remember not to stomp up the stairs or slam my door. I flopped down on my bed.

It had hardly been a minute before my mom came into my room, a frown pasted on her face. I stayed where I was, staring up at the ceiling. She perched on the edge of my bed again and studied me.

“I’m very disappointed in you, Erika. You really need to work on loving your sister more. I understand that sometimes little sisters can be annoying, I had three of them, but, since you’re older, we expect you to be more mature, especially now that you’re in eighth grade. Is that clear?”

I reluctantly said what I knew that she wanted me to say. “Yes, ma’am.”

My mom looked at me thoughtfully. “Maybe you should read First Corinthians 13 tonight.”

I sighed and nodded, my fingers crossed behind my back. I might read just enough to be able to give my mom a short summary in the morning. I don’t mind church stuff, but I didn’t want to read anything that my mom thought would help me be nice to Hilary.

Mom stood up. “Dad’s playing Go Fish with Hilary, so you can use the computer for your homework if you still need to.” She patted my knee, standing up. “Think about what I said, Erika.” She left my room quietly, closing the door gently behind her.

~~~

The Wednesday night youth group meeting is one of my favorite parts of the week. That’s mostly because I get to hang out with my friends. Our youth pastor, Keith Jenkins, is pretty cool, too. He’s only twenty-five, so he’s really good at making his lessons interesting to us. He’s also really good to talk to.

That’s why, when I got to church, I headed straight to the youth worship room instead of the fellowship room. I knew that the worship room was where Mr. Jenkins stayed until about fifteen minutes before the service started.

“Mr. Jenkins?” I called when I peered into the worship area. He looked up from reviewing his notes about the sermon and smiled.

“Erika! Come on in.” He sat down on one of the chairs and patted the one next to him. I came in, letting the door shut behind me. He motioned me over. “Sit down. Do you have something on your mind?”

I looked down at my hands. I’m not very good at opening up to people; it doesn’t feel very natural to me. “Uh, kind of.”

He leaned towards me. “Go ahead. And, remember, anything you tell me is confidential; I won’t tell anyone about anything unless you tell me otherwise.”

“Well,” I hesitated, “I’ve been having trouble with my sister.” I told him everything that had happened, starting with Hilary in my room. “She’s just so annoying. She’s such a pest!”

Mr. Jenkins nodded. “I understand. Sometimes it’s really hard to get along with our siblings.”

“Sometimes!” I protested. “She’s always bothering me!”

He laughed. “But you do see your sister a lot, which makes her a very good candidate for a really close friend.”

I snorted. Not very ladylike, I know. “No way. I’ll never be able to be friends with Hilary. She gets on my nerves so much. Sometimes, I wish… I wish she’d never been born!”

Mr. Jenkins studied me. His face was dead serious now. “You may feel that way now, but someday you’ll realize how much you really need her and love her.”

~~~

About halfway through homeroom the next morning, the intercom buzzed. Mrs. Walton, my homeroom teacher, was clearly indignant at the interruption, but she replied anyway. “Yes?”

“Please send Erika Gardner to the office immediately.” the voice requested, crackling over the speaker.

Mrs. Walton nodded at me. I was immediately the center of attention as I stood up to leave. Ugh. I hate it when other people stare at me, and they were all wondering what I had done. I quickly escaped into the hall, my mind racing. I couldn’t think of anything I’d done (at least, not lately) that would be severe enough to force me to go to the principal’s office. Most of the time, I’m a pretty good kid, except for a few mistakes every once and a while, like the time in third grade when I dared Donny to go down the playground slide on his back, head first. Not good. I got in trouble big time. There was also the time last year, seventh grade, when Cindy and I started a food fight. That was fun. But I couldn’t think of anything I’d done lately.

Finally I reached the principal’s office and walked in. Uh-oh. Something must have been really wrong, because both of my parents were there. Both of their faces were pale, and my mom’s eyes looked puffy and swollen, like she had been crying.

The principal stood up and nodded at me. “I’ll leave the three of you alone.” She left the room, closing the door behind her.

I glanced nervously at my parents. Something was going on, and whatever it was, it was definitely not good. My mom looked over at my dad, and he reluctantly took over.

“Sit down,” he told me. I obeyed. He took a deep breath and began. “After the Johnsons picked Hilary up to take her to school, they were involved in a car accident. Hilary died in the crash.” He was clearly having a difficult time.

I opened my mouth to protest, wanting to say something that would help Hilary not be dead, but no sound would come out. The room started to spin before my eyes, and I gripped the chair, my knuckles getting white. I could hear my parents talking to me, but they sounded really far away. “No,” I was finally able to whisper hoarsely as the room stopped spinning. “No!” I yelled, sobbing hysterically. “Hilary can’t be dead! She can’t! She can’t…” My voice faded away into choking sobs.

~~~

I diligently went to Hilary’s funeral that Saturday, but when we got back home, I threw myself down on my bed, sobbing. I remembered what Mr. Jenkins had said on Wednesday night, the day before Hilary died. Boy, was he right. I really did love Hilary, deep down inside. Sometimes you never know what you got till it’s gone.

 

“They say you never know what you got till it’s gone…”

Gone-tobyMac-

Friday Fiction Challenge: 7-18-14

A challenge to help you write, get you thinking, and spark some creativity! Add a link to your response in the comments below and link back to this post. If you just decide to answer the question, and it’s not a full length post, feel free to just comment with your answer. Be creative and have fun!

The Question

Do you prefer writing in first person or third person? Why?

The Challenge

If you like writing in first person, write a story about yourself in the third person. If you like writing in third person, write a story from someone else’s point of view in first person.

ULOR Excerpt: Quote I Just Wrote

“The world is a horrible, cruel place, Captain Hensley. Any country you go to, even so-called developed countries, you’ll find poor people. Abused people. Hurt people. I was one of those people, and now I plan on standing up for those people.”

“While ruling the world and killing those who get in your way.”

Raltan grinned. “But of course. What other way would there be?”

ULOR: United Lands of Raltan. In progress. All rights reserved.

Tales From The Writer’s Desk: Out To Lunch

Inspired by questions on sarahtps’ post about her Liebster Award acceptance. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think. I love feedback! 😀

“Hi, Cascade, Iris, Slade,” I greet as the three troop into my office. It’s quite crowded with this many people. “Are you guys ready for lunch?”

“Starved,” Slade groans. Iris jabs him in the ribs with her elbow. We leave and head out of the building. “Where are we going to eat, anyway?” Slade asks.

I shrug. “Um, well, I guess we could go to the Shawarma Palace,” I suggest.

Cascade nodded. “That’s perfect. They’re amazing.”

We make our way down the street and take a cab at the corner. Even with all the heavy New York traffic, it doesn’t take us long to reach the restaurant and order our food. It’s pretty early for lunch, so the restaurant is virtually empty. We quickly devour our food.

“That was good, Bri, thanks for treating us,” Iris says, smiling at me.

“No problem,” I reply. “I enjoyed it, too.”

“So, what are we going to do next?” Slade asks. “You said you had a full day planned.”

“Fighting ninjas? Or crocodiles? Or man-eating tigers?” Cascade suggests eagerly. I laugh, and I’m about to reply when a voice from the booth behind us interrupts me. A man stands up and faces us.

“How about fighting… me?” he asks, an evil grin crossing his face. His knotted black hair is pulled back in a loose ponytail, and his sun-darkened face has wrinkles crossing it. They’re not smile wrinkles. A scar stretches across his cheek from his chin up to his eye. And then his eyes… one is green, the other yellow, and they’re both glittering with an intense hatred and glee.

“Raltan,” I breathe. “Raltan Menger.” He’s the villain from the story that Cascade was in, and he nearly killed her twin brother, Darrin.

He smiles. “Of course.” He turns to face Cascade. “I’m sure you wouldn’t be too scared to fight me.” He smirks.

Slade waves his hand as he steals a French fry from Iris. Raltan tumbles backwards, landing on his rear. Cascade leaps on top of him and clips handcuffs on his wrists. “I would fight you,” she admits, “but it’s probably a good idea to lock you up first.” She winks at Slade. “Too bad you weren’t there when we needed you.”

“Yep, lock him up,” I agree, relieved. “It’s a very good idea.”

Chloe – Part V

The final part in the Chloe story! Please let me know what you think, and I hope you enjoy it. Click for Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

Jen and I slipped into the living room after dinner while our parents were talking. I heard her flop down on the couch. “Your parents are so going to let you go to public school.”

I snorted. “What makes you say that?”

“They’re practically hanging on my parents’ every word,” she pointed out. “They’re not really exchanging notes on raising blind kids. It’s more like they’re asking my parents for advice.”

I thought about it for a minute. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. It’ll be awesome if they let me go to Thatcher.”

“You have a crush on John, don’t you?” she teased, laughing.

“What makes you say that?” I asked, surprised. Nobody really knows how to read my feelings, not even my parents most of the time.

She giggled. “Hey, I’m a fellow blind person. I can tell what others have on their minds a lot of the time. You’re hoping you’ll get to go to Thatcher to be with John.”

“And…” I prompted.

“And because you want to be normal,” she added, a bit of the levity falling out of her voice. “You know that it won’t really happen, right?”

“I know,” I replied, sighing. “But it’s not just being normal, I also want my parents to just treat me like I’m normal.”

I heard her sigh. “It took my parents a while to do that. They have to learn, just like you have to learn how to respond to change in your own way. Sometimes it’s really hard for them to realize that they can’t hold on to their image of you as a poor blind girl and that they have to let go.” She took a deep breath and let go. “You have to let go of that false identity, too. You can’t let the label ‘blind’ define you your entire life.”

I nodded slowly, then remembered that she couldn’t see me. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

“Chloe, Jen!” my mom called from the dining room. “Could you girls come in here?”

We walked into the dining room, which my mom had dressed up really nice for our guests. One of her fancy tablecloths had been laid out, along with the nice silverware and real china, well, for everybody except me. My mom didn’t really trust me around breakable things.

“Chloe,” my dad began, “we’ve been talking to Jen’s parents about how you want to go to public school, and they’ve given us lots of helpful tips. They think that you’re probably responsible enough to be able to go to public school, so…” He took a deep breath. “We’ve decided to let you go to public school at Thatcher this year.”

“Really?” I asked, hiding my excitement.

“Yes,” my mom told me. “You know that this will be a really big commitment, right? You’ll have to work very hard on your schoolwork and keep your grades up, okay?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I agreed. I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to public school.

———-

I walked carefully down the high school hallway, my cane tapping gently against the lockers. My first week at Thatcher had been a tough one, but I had mostly figured out how to get around the school. Most of my classes were pretty easy, since, with my mom’s homeschooling, I was a little ahead of the class. My teachers were really nice, too, and super helpful. Most of the kids acted like my cane was poisonous or like I had a disease or something, avoiding me. I didn’t mind that much. I still hadn’t made any friends, but being a loner didn’t bother me.

A locker slammed almost directly in front of me. I went wide around the area where the locker had slammed to avoid running into the person. I felt a foot hit my shin, and I stumbled, slamming into the hard floor. Laughter rang out around me. I could feel my face burning.

“You need to learn how to walk, blind kid,” a taunting voice said to my left. Giggles reached my ears. I felt somebody grab my shoulders and yank me up off the floor. The next thing I knew, I lost my breath as he slammed me into a locker. There was more laughter, and I could feel the anger bubbling up inside of me.

“Leave her alone, Brian,” a slightly familiar-sounding voice called, and I heard footsteps approaching. The guy holding me, Brian, I guess, loosened his grip and stepped back.

“I was just messing around,” he protested.

“Whatever,” the voice snorted. “Are you okay, Chloe?”

“Yeah, I’m fine, John,” I replied.

“How’d you know who it was?” Brian asked, surprised.

John nudged me with his elbow. “She has a built-in voice recognition system, right?”

I laughed. “Yeah.” John led me down the hall towards the front door. “Thanks,” I whispered in his ear.

“No prob,” he told me. “Besides, what are friends for?”

The End

Writings About Writing – Those We Love, Part One

Sherlock Holmes. Nancy Drew. Black Beauty. Charlotte and Wilbur. Velvet Brown. Despereaux. Yes, I’m just listing some of my personal favorite characters.

How did all of these authors do it? How did they make characters that aren’t perfect, but are so well loved? Sherlock Holmes, one of the most famous detectives of all times, was often arrogant, broke the law, and had a cocaine addiction. Black Beauty… well, he was a horse. Wilbur was, let’s face it, not the sharpest knife in the drawer. And a pig. That too. Velvet Brown was a skinny, sickly kid who liked to play with paper horses cut out from magazines. Despereaux. He was a mouse. Again, skinny and sickly.

So how come we love Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web and hate Napoleon from Animal Farm? (I’m not the only one who didn’t like Animal Farm, am I?)

Basically, I’ll be discussing these questions and more in this little series.

What are some of your favorite characters? Do they have flaws? Have you made any characters that you absolutely loved, or hated? What made you like them so much?

Chloe – Part IV

This short story is one of my favorites, but it’s fourteen pages long, so I’ll be posting it in parts. Please let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy! Click for Part I, Part II, and Part III.

“Hi, Mom,” I said cheerfully as I slid into my seat at the dining room table. “What’s for dinner?”

“Spaghetti and meatballs,” she replied. I could smell the sauce and the pasta in the air, but I knew she liked it when I asked, like a normal kid, instead of saying something like, “Oh, I love spaghetti and meatballs!” Sometimes it makes her uncomfortable when I show how much I can figure out without my eyesight.

“I’m home!” my dad called, slamming the door into the garage. I heard him clomp into the kitchen. “Hi, honey,” he said to my mom. I heard them kiss and could barely keep from gagging. He came over to the kitchen table. “Hi, Chloe. How was your day?” He leaned over and hugged me.

“Good,” I told him. “I got a lot done.”

“Good,” he replied. I could hear a smile in his voice. Unlike my mom, he didn’t treat me like I was fragile all the time. He treated me like a normal person.

“I went for a walk in the park down the street, and I met a blind girl,” I told him. It wasn’t exactly a lie, but it wasn’t the whole truth either. “She was really nice. I was wondering if you could convince Mom to let her and her parents come over sometime. I’d really like to get to know her better.” I knew my dad would at least mention it to my mom, and, if he agreed, he’d convince her, too. She always listened to him.

“Sure, Chloe,” he agreed. “It sounds great. I’m glad you’re getting to know other blind people. It’ll be good for you and probably pretty helpful.”

You have no idea, I thought. “Yeah, you’re probably right, Dad,” I said aloud.

He grinned. “You know I am.”

———-

Later that night, when I was up in my room, my mom came and sat on the end of my bed. “Be sure to tell your friend that she and her parents can come over tomorrow night for dinner,” she reminded me.

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied, hiding my grin. I was so happy that everything was working out. My mom kissed my forehead, then, after a short pause, left the room and went downstairs. I reached for the phone and punched in John’s number.

“Hello?” a high female voice asked when I picked up the phone. I frowned. This was definitely not John, and it didn’t sound like Jen. I gulped.

“Hi, can I talk to John?” I asked nervously.

“Who is this?” the lady asked suspiciously.

“Tell him that it’s Chloe,” I replied, trying to sound pleasant. Really, I was nervous, but I tried not to let it show.

There was a long pause as I heard the person on the other end set down the phone. “Okay, he’s coming,” she told me.

A few seconds later John came on the phone. “Hi, Chloe, sorry about that,” he told me.

“Who was that?” I asked curiously.

“Oh, that was my aunt, Jen’s mom,” he replied. “Okay, we just moved into my room, and I now have you on speaker phone so Jen can hear too.”

“Great,” I said.

“So how’d it go?” Jen asked impatiently.

I laughed. “You and your parents are officially invited to dinner at our house tomorrow night,” I told her.

“Awesome!” she exclaimed. “Did they give any specific reasons?”

“My dad said that he thinks it’s great for me to get to know other blind kids, and it’s apparently helpful for them to get to talk to other parents with blind kids.”

She laughed. “Yeah, that’s what my parents say. I guess we’ll see you tomorrow then.”

A Quick Update From The Writing Whirlwind

As the title states: a quick update.

ULOR – Current Stats

Pages: 52

Words: 14,301

Chapters: 5

Outline points left to go: 6 (This could be counted as more as these last few are quite vague, and require more details. Maybe I’ll talk about my outlines in a Writings About Writings soon.)