Thursday, June 11, 2015

May's Shorty Short Shorts

For May (National Short Story Writing Month), my delightful Writing Group did Micro Short Stories at 250 words (I'll admit that mine is closer to 300). It was probably one of most fun get-togethers ever, including dinner and shakes at Johnny Rockets and a trip to the theater to see Pitch Perfect 2. (That's right, we're professionals, people!) I presented the first three Micro Short Stories--a silly, snarky trio--in my last post May is For Micro Shorts. These are the remaining three, which include my submission.

Meg Zerkle
The text message simply said, Very clever.
I smiled. If only he knew.
I wondered what he’d found. The shirts with the sleeves sewn shut? Maybe the snake in his sock drawer? I was sure it wasn’t the mouse in his boots. He wouldn’t be amused by that one.
Can we talk?
Fat chance. But, I had to admit he was persistent.
I uncapped the Sharpie and picked up the first photo album. This was going to be fun. A moustache here, a beard there, and lots of large, black Xs. Those were my favorite. Even the pungent smell of the ink was pleasurable. I couldn’t stop smiling.
My phone rang a few times, but I ignored it. I was enjoying myself far too much to stop now.
It wasn’t what it looked like!
Ha! Just for a moment, I lost it and threw a handy vase at the wall. Luckily, my aim sucks and it sailed harmlessly through the doorway and bounced to a stop on my bed.  Deep breath. Anger isn’t productive. Revenge, now that was better.
I had 10 more albums to get through. Plenty of fun ahead. A giggle slipped out, and I covered my mouth with my hand. No, I just had to focus on the projects in front of me.
She’s just a friend! Don’t you think you’re overreacting a little?
Oooh! Nope! Breathe in. . . breathe out.
My boots! Why did it have to be my boots!
My dog howled in harmony with my maniacal laughter.

Sarah Boucher
One last breath. I closed my eyes, sucked it in, and held the taste of dried flowers and the tang of soap on my tongue. Tears pricked my eyes. The letter crinkled in my fist. I took another stabilizing breath. This time the flat smell of dust coated my mouth. I opened my eyes. Dust motes danced in the light from the nearest window, clung to the wide sill where I once read fairytales, and outlined the squares where mother’s cushions had sat.
Simple, clean, tidy. That’s how Mother had always kept her home. Sorrow rose at the back of my throat. I swallowed it back, but the flavor of tears hit my tongue just the same.
“Pardon me, miss.”
I swiped a hand across my eyes and pressed the letter to my chest. I turned to the boy. “Yes?”
“Everything is packed, miss.”
What little is left, you mean, I wanted to add. “Thank you. I’ll be right there.”
His shoes scuffed against the bare boards as he left.
Bare walls, bare floor. My throat tightened. I squeezed my eyes shut and made a wish. A wish for another family to furnish the home with love.
The scrape of footsteps sounded behind me.  The boy cleared his throat.
I looked him over. He was a waif of a boy with brown hair and plain clothes. None of this was his fault.
I pushed the words out. “Thank you, Johnny. I’m coming.”
I smoothed the wrinkles out of the letter before stowing it in the bodice of my dress. I reached for the bag at my feet, slung it over my shoulder, and stepped away from the life I had always known.

Shandra Burnett
Kim ran to the closet and began stuffing clothes into her backpack. A quick stop in the den for her passport and she was out the door. She almost forgot to lock it. Her brother, Jay, hated finding it unlocked. Of course, she wouldn't be there to hear his lecture. She smiled and almost laughed, but she would miss him. He would hate the way she was running without considering all possibilities and consequences. She saw this her chance to be like a new companion climbing into the TARDIS. Jay would see it as the last act before her mangled body was buried in the woods and “Missing” pictures started going out on milk cartons. Either way she couldn't hang out at home anymore. Just reading about adventures and dreaming about them wasn't enough. Not that anything was wrong with her life. Jay was great to live with and her job at the library gave her easy access to all the books she wanted. She’d been healthy and comfortably well off all her life, but nothing had ever happened. No love stories or heartbreaks. No crises with hard decisions to make. No fortifying leaps of faith. Just calm waters flowing steadily from day to night and back again. She wanted to wake up somewhere new. The sun was setting when she rounded the corner and saw his smiling face. He held the promised airline ticket. Kim took his hand and stepped forward into adventure that was bigger on the inside.

* * * 
As you can see, we excel at different aspects of the writing process. It makes us stronger as a group, especially when it comes to giving helpful feedback. If you're interested, all the ladies can be found on Facebook and half of us are on Twitter as well. Thanks for dropping in, friends!

FYI: Meg is an editor. How cool is that? Also, my submission is the beginning of Book Three (a.k.a. the Rumpelstiltskin retelling). What did you think? If you had your pick, which fairytale would you for me to rewrite?

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