The Antagonist’s Turn

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

My last post was my entry to the Fall Writing Frenzy contest. The protagonist of my little story was a young girl helping her mother see the leaves change color “one last time” after her mom’s cancer came back.

So, today I saw this Twitter post by Kaitlyn Sanchez, one of the sponsors of the contest:

I need a good writing challenge, so I decided to come up with a story from the antagonist’s POV. In the case of my original Fall Writing Frenzy story, the antagonist isn’t a person. It’s a disease. Cancer. Yikes.

Challenge accepted! Here’s my story, which I also kept to the word limit of the original contest.

The Day I was Beaten

People hate me. Wait, that’s not a strong enough word. People despise me. I get called “the C word”—as if my name is too evil to speak. There are T-shirts and bumper stickers proclaiming “Cancer Sucks”—and worse, believe me. But, I have to keep this clean for kids.

Not that I normally watch out for kids. I mean, I grow uncontrollably fast in their tiny bodies just as easily as I grow in adults—another reason I’m so despised.

One recent autumn day, I felt ‘death ray level’ loathing directed at me by a little girl riding in a convertible with her parents. The family was saying goodbye. Making memories to cherish once my work in her mother’s body was done.

But they don’t know what I know.

Exactly 24 years later, that little girl—all grown up—will receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine for curing cancer. She’ll dedicate that award to her mother, and hold up a small shadow box containing a leaf. Her father will lead a standing ovation at the ceremony, with a lone tear rolling down his cheek.

That’s what I know. That autumn day was the beginning of the end for me.

2020 Spring Fling Entry

Hi everyone! I’ve decided to enter the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest for the first time. The rules (in a nutshell) are to find a GIF and write a short story for kids inspired by the image you choose. The story can’t exceed 150 words, and has to appeal to kids. Thanks for stopping by to read my entry, and thanks to talented authors Kaitlyn Sanchez and Ciara O’Neal for sponsoring the contest! Here’s my GIF (from gifimage.net) followed by my story. Enjoy!

best-gif-on-the-internet-5

Mac’s Stage Fright

My class is meeting online today! When it’s my turn to share, I have a perfect plan.

My hamster, Mac, loves carrots. He does the silliest little happy dance—flipping over in his scramble to gobble it to bits, while making some hilarious squeaking sounds. It never fails.

I can’t stop smiling as I set up for my video. I know it will make them laugh. My mom’s a nurse, so I worry about her these days…an awful lot. Sharing what makes me happy will help my friends too.

I get some broccoli for my brother’s hamster, Malware—I can’t risk him making any moves on Mac’s carrot. I’m all set. What could go wrong?

Ms. Ratchford calls my name, my heart pounds.

Lights, Camera, Action…Rolling…

I wait. Nothing.

Mac, how could you?! I want to cry.

Then I look at my screen. Everyone’s laughing. So I do too!

 

 

Witch Missy

Happy Halloween Everyone. I wrote this 100 word story for the 9th annual Halloweensie contest on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website. Click the link to check out contest rules. 🙂 Enjoy!

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“I’m a witch,” Missy chants—red curls poking messily from her black pointed cap. “I need a wand.”
She snaps a twig from a leafless branch. Perfect.
Her costumed group reaches a spooky darkened house.
Missy stops.
A friend tugs her arm. “We only stop for lit porch lights.”
Cobwebs litter the deserted porch. Owls screech.
Missy shivers.
“Come on.”
Missy ignores.
“We’re leaving.” They really do.
Missy stares.
A nearby chorus of “Trick or treat!”
A cauldron! A real witch’s house! It could hold potions.
Missy moves.
Inching closer, squinting.
Then…
“MEOWWW!!!”
Missy screams.
The cat dashes.
Missy laughs.

Just One Child

Happy Halloween Everyone. I wrote this 100 word story for the 9th annual Halloweensie contest on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website. Click the link to check out contest rules. 🙂 Enjoy!

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Creak. Her rocking chair broke the eerie silence.

“Just one child,” she thought.

She adjusted her pointy black hat, and rubbed her gnarled hands together greedily. “Just one.”

Yet, none came.

Her eyes scanned fake cobwebs and tattered scarecrows with disgust.

At long last, she rose to go inside—heart heavy, lonely.

Then, a chorus of voices behind her.

Trick or treat!”

A potion for her soul! She turned. Not just one child. Her great-grandchildren!

“Sorry we’re so late. It’s a long drive, but we wanted to visit on your first “nursing home Halloween”.

A full heart. A smile. Happy.

The Empty Spot

amazing-beautiful-breathtaking-cloudsHappy Fall Y’all! This is my entry for the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy contest.

The Empty Spot

196 words, Image 5, Picture Book category

This used to be our spot. On dark nights when the moon was full, we’d dash past Rachel’s feet and scurry up this tree. Full moons were always the best—especially when drifting clouds made it look like cheese. Sometimes, on nights like this, we would reminisce about the pranks we’d pulled or the ham we’d snitched from Rachel’s sandwich when she left it unattended for a minute. She loved us anyway. Even when she called us “her little stinkers.” Some nights we just sat, and rubbed our necks together.

 

I remember the day Rachel brought us home from the rescue in a cardboard box. She’d only planned for one cat, but ended up bringing us home together. Last week he stopped eating. When Rachel walked in the door with the empty carrier, I’d paced and paced. “I’m so sorry,” she’d said. Where was he? When would he be back?

 

Tonight, I sit alone. One, in a spot made for two. My purr is stuck somewhere in my chest. I wonder if it will ever come again?

 

I stare at the same moon. I sit in the same place. But nothing is the same. Not anymore.

 

Anywhere Doors?

wrought-iron-exterior-doors1

Writing Prompt:

Pick Your Gadget-Your local electronics store has just started selling time machines, anywhere doors, and invisibility helmets. You can only afford one. Which of these do you buy, and why?

This prompt immediately reminded me of the last Harry Potter novel when Harry, Ron and Hermione are discussing the Deathly Hallows, and each one picks the hallow that they perceive to be “the obvious” choice only to realize that they’d each chosen a different one. And they had good reasons for the choice based on their own lifetime experiences, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

I imagine the same will hold true for this writing prompt. Each one of us who respond will be bringing our own unique background and experiences into our choice regarding which gadget we would choose. For me, it took only a moment to weigh each option and decide on the one that I would choose. It would definitely be the “anywhere doors” over the other two choices. My choice has to do as much with why I’d love to have a set of these doors as it does with why I wouldn’t want to own the invisibility helmet or the time machine.

I’m sure that I’ve said, “I’d love to be a fly on the wall” as much as anyone else. It is so tempting to want to observe situations that we can’t due to being a solid hunk of visible flesh. 🙂 However, as much as I’d love to be able to disappear at times, it does have major privacy and ethical issues. Just as I don’t particularly want the NSA listening to my phone calls, I don’t want anyone, friend or foe, to have the ability to spy on me without my knowledge. It’s just creepy. So I have to rule out the helmet and hope that anyone who knows me does the same!

Next, the time machine. This one was tougher, because who hasn’t wanted to time travel? To this day I love a good time travel story. But inevitably, toying around with the complexities of time travel is going to lead to trouble. Your current self will see your past self and think it’s insane. Or you will tinker with one small thing that will have tremendous ramifications for every future generation to come. It makes great novel fodder, but I think I’ll stick to my current time no matter how screwed up the world seems at the moment!

So, that leaves us with those doors. Now that is the gadget that truly tempts me, and seems to have the lowest probability to land me in serious hot water. Let’s say that in order for these doors to work, someone on “the other end” also has to have a set. I have family and friends all over the world. Many of my dear friends that we met while living in Germany are now scattered to the four corners of the world–literally. Also, my cousins live everywhere from New Hampshire to Washington State and many states scattered in between. What keeps us from visiting each other? The $2,000 in airline tickets we’d have to purchase for the family to visit! To be honest, our family would have extended our tour and stayed in Germany longer if maintaining family relationships back in the states had been as easy as walking through some doors. For me, this is the best choice of the three gadgets.

This was a great prompt, but seriously…can someone get onto the invention of these doors ASAP? I’ve posted a prototype of them in the picture I chose to go with this post. I’ll be in line for your first working set!

Pick Your Gadget