short fiction

Good Night Gone Wrong: A Flash Fiction Piece

Although there was no judging or awarding of first, second, or third places, I’d received a ton of compliments for my piano-playing and singing-performance of “Let it Go” from Disney’s “Frozen”. People had said to me, “You were really great, Aliana,” despite the pause in the middle of the song. I’d blanked out for a few seconds due to my live-performance anxiety. But everyone experienced them, even the greatest and bravest performers—of anything.

            I sat on my bed and looked at my laptop. People posted pictures of me performing at Spotlight Night. Someone even tagged me.

            I’d thanked my mom for forcing me to practice my piano and voice performance for weeks straight rather than focusing on trying to get my anime comic published. I was only a high school junior after all. My birthday wasn’t for five months. In fact, I’d started attending the public high school in September. Before that, I’d attended private school—the same one since kindergarten.

            A message came up in my Facebook messenger. It was my best friend, Veronica. She said, “Aliana, I just came back from the hospital for a few weeks. I saw that you performed ‘Let it Go’ at Spotlight Night. Well, tell you what? That was my idea. You stole it from me.”

            I replied back. “Veronica, I am sorry you feel this way. However, I wasn’t able to contact you. I’ve visited you a few times and not once have you said that you had that song in mind first. You should’ve said something.”

            Veronica replied. “Maybe we should part our ways.”

            I lowered my jaw. No. She did not just say that. Or she didn’t mean it—she couldn’t have.

            I responded. “Veronica, you don’t have to do this.”

            But she did nothing. I waited a few minutes and surfed other parts of the web instead.

            I returned to Facebook. Veronica had still not answered me. Okay, maybe she had to get offline for something.

            I looked at my digital clock. It was nearly 11 P.M. Tomorrow was Friday. I turned off the computer and got ready for bed.

            I went on my phone to see if Veronica had gotten back to me. Nope. She couldn’t have unfriended me, right.

            I went to the “Who Deleted Me” app on my phone. And guess who was listed… Veronica Button. What? No. She couldn’t have.

            My energy drained. I looked down. My eyes watered. That girl had been my best friend since the first day. And now she was no more.

            I contacted my old friend, Lorenza from my previous school. But she didn’t answer.

            The tears streamed down my cheeks. I sat on my bed. There had to be some way to reciprocate.

            Wait, tomorrow was a gym day. Perhaps, I could talk to Veronica before or after our activity. She should listen. Maybe she’d had a bad day. So she should understand.

 

short fiction

Plump and Pretty: A Flash Fiction Piece

Senior prom drew nearer. There was a boy in my class named Trevor who loved me. He always told me how beautiful I was and how much he adored me.

            I considered it a compliment as I had more weight than many of my classmates. I wore huge round glasses and curly dark hair. I have had crushes on a boy in middle school, who’d left in ninth grade. He didn’t like me. He’d thought I was too chubby.

            How could he? I loved my body. Girls needed to accept who they are and not compare themselves to the ideal skinny ladies they saw on the media. Not to mentioned how heavily photo-shopped they’d been. Many probably looked like me.

            Anyway, Trevor and I had dated for a few months now. Today was June sixth. Prom would take place tomorrow. I’d already bought my dress. It was navy with thick shear straps.

            I went on Facebook and browsed through my feed. Trevor had announced that he’d entered a relationship. Wait, what? Why hadn’t he done that earlier?

            I scrolled down and saw a picture of him with this thin, redheaded girl, Leila Cronin. I gasped. No—no! He couldn’t have. Leila had bullied me in eighth grade for my looks.

            This couldn’t have happened. Not in a billion years. Unless he’d tricked me to trust him.

            I felt tears in my eyes. I called Trevor and continued to breathed through a narrowed throat.

            Trevor answered.

            “Trevor, what is wrong with you?”

            “I’m sorry, Chloe. But I just take you to prom.”

            “Why? Because I’m not—”

            “I just like Leila more.”

            “She’s a jerk!”

            “Don’t talk about my girlfriend like that!”

            “Girlfriend?”

            Trevor hung up.

            I burst into tears and threw myself onto my bed. I couldn’t go to prom anymore—not even with a group of friends. They all had dates. And who would I go with? No one.

            There was a knock on my door. “Cloe?”

            “What is it, Dad?”

            My dad entered. “Hi, honey. Are you okay?”

            “Trevor dumped me for that Leila girl!”

            “What?”

            “He likes her better!”

            “Oh, that’s not right.” My dad sat on my bed. “You know what? My friend, Horace’s son, Dexter, is also looking for someone.”

            “Is Dexter nice?”

            “Yes. I’ll take you to meet him tomorrow.”

            “But the prom’s tomorrow.”

            “We can meet him during the day. Sound good?”

            I nodded.

 

            The next day, my dad took me to see this boy, Dexter. We parked outside a diner. I figured my dad didn’t want me to go to Dexter’s house since I hadn’t met him before.

            We went inside and got seated. A man and his son joined us. The boy wore glasses, stood tall and broad. He also had some plumpness. “Hi, I’m Dexter.”

            “Chloe.” I shook his head.

            “I can’t wait to be your friend.”

            I tilted my head.

            Dexter’s father whispered, “He has autism.”

            “Oh,” I said.

            “I’m graduating high school like you, Chloe,” said Dexter. “But I don’t have anyone to go with.”

            I considered inviting him, except that I just met him.

            “You should take each other to your proms,” my dad said.

            I stared. Then I smiled. “Okay.”

            “Yay,” said Dexter. “You’re going be date. I can’t wait.”

            “Neither can I.”

            And so Dexter and I talked the whole time. I left the diner grinning. What else could ruin this day?

 

short fiction

Down with Design: A Flash Fiction Piece

Someone needs to design a better hotel. I just came back home from Greece. Yes, I am aware that European luxury hotel designs may differ from those in America. I also know that Europeans often pack less than Americans due to space in their homes.

However, the decorations made it seem more like a Victorian Era mansion. Chandeliers hung from the ceiling. Marble statues stood on the floor. Gold and red dominated the whole hotel.

Hello? Someone could accidentally knock something down. Or, someone like me, may prefer more modern décor. That’s when you eliminate unnecessary decorations. You have simple shapes and minimal color—at least based on what I’ve seen.

Now I’m not saying my trip to Greece stank. I had a good time, from seeing the Parthenon to boating around Crete. However, this was my first trip to Europe. I’ve never left the United States, except when we went to Canada for my cousin’s wedding two years ago. Even there, the hotel we stayed in had a more modern design.

I am now in my room in New York City, overlooking Times Square. There is a parade happening, but it is about Mexican Culture. Right—it’s Cinco de Mayo. The Mexican Hat dance is playing. People are wearing Sombreros. I, myself, am Mexican-American.

I look out my window, thinking about my culture as a observe the parade from the fifteenth floor. I just turned fifteen a few months ago. I had huge quinceanera at a hotel in midtown. The banquet room had chandeliers, gold and red color scheme, and a lot of old-fashioned décor.

And yet, I disliked our hotel in Greece. Who am I to blame? Old-fashioned interior design will exist forever. I have to get used to it. It might be 2018, but still. How could I forget that my own party had been held in a room like that? And not only did the room have old-fashioned décor, but so did the entire hotel.

Friends and family from all over have come to watch me turn fifteen and celebrate it. My parents still have the balloons that spelled out my name, Angela. You know what? I should know better. Design may matter, depending on the building and who it targets to, but I need to accept all types of décor, whether it’s old fashioned or modern.

short fiction

It’s a Wonderful Week: A Flash Fiction Piece

I wish an alarm would notify me whenever I had to complete a task from my to-do list. I get overwhelmed by all the things I have to do, especially when it’s a lot.

            In about a week, I am moving out to college. It’ll be about three hours north. I’ve already met my roommate. Her name is Sienna. She comes from California.

            I have to buy my supplies, for both my dorm and classes. I also have to pack. My mom suggests two weeks’ worth of clothes. Then she would send me warmer clothing as the weather cooled down.

            I am sitting in my room right now, looking at my high school graduation pictures as well as my eighteenth birthday photos from March. I am going to miss my high school friends and their nickname for me in stage crew “Glitters” rather than my real name, Amanda.

            Freshman orientation will happen for the first three days. Then classes will begin. I’ve heard rumors about college and how scary it might seem, especially for first-years.

            My older brother, Winston, had commuted. He graduated last year, when I completed the eleventh grade. Despite his time living at home and attending college, he wouldn’t talk to me a lot about the experience.

            I close Facebook and turn off my computer. My friend, Lola, also living at home for college, is going to hang out with me in about an hour. I will enjoy the last week here in Connecticut until I bid goodbye to my house.

short fiction

The “Haunted” Dude Ranch: A Short Story

Cassandra and her ten-year-old sister, Michaela, settled into their assigned cabin of The Kullen Ranch. The parents took their room across the hall. Cassandra and Michaela shared a room with two different beds.

Cassandra picked up the guide on the nightstand. She opened it—only to spot handwriting that said, “Beware of the cowboy ghost and the vampire weasel.”

Cassandra ignored that. She still remembered being told that Santa Claus didn’t exist four years ago, at age eight. She was twelve and would begin seventh grade next month. That writing had to have been a prank or some fool messing around.

Michaela had a guidebook on her nightstand too. She picked it up and read it. She looked up at Cassandra. “Cassandra, there’s this weird message about a cowboy ghost and a vampire weasel.”

“Ignore it.” Cassandra flicked her long, braided locks behind her shoulders.

But there was a whish coming from outside. The wind blew the yellow grass. The sound increased to the inside of this room.

“Cassandra, what’s going on?” Michaela looked around.

“I… I have no idea,” she said.

“Beware of the vampire weasel,” said a man’s voice. “It’s real, all right. And it’s on this property.”

“Who was that?” Michaela bolted up from her bed.

“I don’t know,” said Cassandra.

There was a knock on the door. Their mom opened it. “Girls, is everything all right?”

“Mom, we heard a voice,” said Michaela.

“And we both got a message about a cowboy ghost and a vampire weasel,” Cassandra added.

But the mother tilted her head. “You’re ten and twelve years old and you believe in that stuff?”

“Didn’t you hear it?” asked Michaela.

“Grow up, both of you.” The mom closed the door.

Cassandra hung her jaw down and turned to Michaela.

“What’s wrong with mom?” asked Michaela.

“You don’t think we’re the only ones, do you?” Cassandra asked.

There was another knock on the door. The mother opened it. “Girls, it’s time to have dinner.”

Cassandra and Michaela left. They followed their mom and dad downstairs and outside.

Michaela adjusted her bun and caught up to the father. “Dad, did you hear a voice about a vampire cowboy and—”

“Let’s not discuss that,” he said.

Cassandra said nothing and followed everyone to the patio.

A waiter sat them down. He directed them to the barbecue buffet. They went up and helped themselves to their food.

Cassandra stirred her baked beans. But air swished again—yet without any wind.

“Once again, beware of the weasel,” the same mysterious voice as before said.

“Cassandra, aren’t you going to eat?” asked the mom.

“Yeah, but I heard that voice again,” Cassandra said.

The mom sighed.

“What did I tell your sister about that?” the father asked.

“Since when was I dragged into this?” asked Michaela.

“You girls are to stop making up stories this instant,” said the dad.

“It’s not a story, though,” said Cassandra.

“Enough,” said the dad. “Now there is to be no more talking until your plates are cleaned.”

Cassandra sighed and ate. She considered if anyone else on this ranch had heard the voice? Had it been set that only kids could hear it? Just her and Michaela?

Of course, it wasn’t like she and Michaela had been jinxed with this. But how would they prove to their parents that they did hear the voice and didn’t make up stories?

 

A few hours had passed. Cassandra had changed and did her evening routine. Michaela had already fallen asleep.

Cassandra crawled under her bed covers and turned off the lights. But as she lay her head on her pillow, the swishing sound occurred again. Cassandra lifted herself up.

Rays of light shined from the ceiling. Cassandra covered her eyes. Michaela woke up. “Cassandra, what’s going on?”

A gaseous boot showed itself, followed by jeans, a torso, and a man’s head. Cassandra and Michaela screamed.

“Relax, girls,” said the translucent figure. “You don’t want to wake your parents up.”

“W-who are you?” asked Cassandra.

“The cowboy ghost.”

“Oh my God.” Michaela hopped out of her bed. “I’m telling my parents.”

“No, you’re not.” The cowboy ghost flew and blocked Michaela’s path. “I’m only visible to you guys.”

“What?” asked Cassandra. “Why won’t you make yourself visible to our parents? Or anyone else here?”

“I don’t know,” the cowboy ghost said. “But I tried to make myself visible to everyone. For some reason, I only got you guys.”

“So what are you doing here?” asked Cassandra.

“I’m here to tell you that at nine a.m. tomorrow, the vampire weasel will come here,” said the cowboy ghost.

“In the day?” asked Cassandra.

“Well, it’s supposed to rain tomorrow,” said the cowboy ghost. “So you need to find some garlic and throw it at the weasel.”

“But where are we going to find some garlic?” asked Michaela.

“You’ll need to figure that out yourselves.” The cowboy ghost flew back up into the ceiling.

“Wait.” Cassandra held her hand out.

But the ghost had left.

Cassandra thought about where to find garlic. There was no garden. Guests would not be allowed in the kitchens. Did people put garlic in their eggs?

Although Cassandra and Michaela came from New York, they couldn’t imagine that having garlic at breakfast happened a lot here in Wyoming.

 

After last night Cassandra had not told her parents about the ghost. Neither had Michaela. The mom and dad had not even asked who they’d talked to.

The family walked to breakfast. They held it out on the patio, despite what the cowboy ghost had said.

The clouds had darkened. But no rain fell from the sky. People served themselves breakfast. No signs of the vampire weasel came up.

Cassandra and Michaela stood in line for the buffet. Cassandra eyed the food for any signs of garlic.

But a paw climbed the patio. Cassandra and Michaela gasped. The creature showed its face. It looked like a weasel. It hissed, revealing its sharp fangs. It spread its wings and flew into the area.

The people screamed and ran. Cassandra and Michaela stayed, though, still searching for garlic.

“What are you girls doing?” the father ran to them. “Get away from here!” He grabbed both girls and ran with them off the patio.

“We were looking for garlic,” said Michaela.

“Now’s not the time!” exclaimed the dad.

But the clouds cleared, letting the sunlight in. The weasel shrieked and flew away.

The crowd watched it. It soared far away.

“Guys, you can come back now,” said a waitress.

The crowd returned to the patio.

“I think the sunlight was enough,” Cassandra told Michaela.

Michaela giggled.

 

 

 

short fiction

Sierra the Former Snob: A Flash Fiction Piece

Sierra dragged her feet up to her room. Only a couple months remained until high school graduation. But she wished she had earned her Girl Scout gold award.

She entered her room and sat on her bed. She had done everything she could to try and receive the reward. But her attitude in Girl Scouts had made her mom pull her out of the troop.

Her family had a ton of money. Sierra had not bragged about her wealth in Girl Scouts, but had been let down by things that’d been below her standards or when the other girls had complained about her wishes involving more money than they could afford.

When the troop took a trip to Paris a year ago, they had not stayed in a hotel, but a hostel designated for Girl Scouts. Sierra had complained about no house keeping, décor matching the level of schools, and had stated that it would have made a great homeless shelter.

Other times, Sierra had suggested trips to Niagara Falls and amusement parks, which the troop leader had turned down for costing too much. When eating out, Sierra had had to deal with sandwiches and salads rather than bistros or taverns, which she’d preferred.

But Sierra had wished she hadn’t boasted about her richness. No one in the troop spoke to her anymore—not even those in her grade at school, unless they had to.

Sierra now wanted to go to a SUNY college rather than the Ivy League she had chosen. Maybe she didn’t deserve fancy things. Perhaps, she should not go to college this fall.

However, her parents had already paid. What would they say if she’d told them she wished to delay her freshman year for the following autumn?

short fiction

Hannah and Troy: A Short Story

Hannah looked out the window and gazed at the people on the shore across from her beach house. They played volleyball, swam, built sand castles, rested, or just hung out with others.

But Hannah looked down, letting her long golden hair fall down her torso. The two months she’d moved here to New Jersey had not done much for her. In a week, she would start eighth grade. Unlike her old school in Delaware, this one would mandate uniforms. It was a private school, but Hannah still experienced palm sweats and energy drains when thinking about not getting to wear what she wanted anymore.

She also had not made any friends at camp. She still remained in touch with those from her previous town on Facebook. But she wouldn’t see them ever again unless she visited the area.

Hannah breathed and headed to the door. Her parents hung out in their bedroom. Plus, Hannah would not stray too far. She just planned to talk to somebody on the beach.

She walked outside—only to hear grunts coming from the backyard.

“Will someone help me, please?” cried a teenage boy.

Gasping, Hannah rushed to the property behind the house. The boy stuck out of the sand. He wore no top, had dark tousles of hair, and appeared to be a few years older than Hannah, who was thirteen.

“Oh my God, are you okay?” Hannah approached the kid.

“I think the water pushed me here and now I’m stuck,” the boy said.

“I’ll pull you out.” Hannah grabbed the kid’s hands and pulled back. She clenched her teeth, and her arms ached.

The boy ascended from the ground. More of his torso showed. But he stopped and got stuck again.

“I can’t climb out,” the kid said. “You need to keep pulling.”

Hannah inhaled and exhaled. She added more pressure to free the boy from the ground. She squeezed her eyes shut. Some weight increased as Hannah continued to let the boy out. But a flap sounded.

“Thank you,” the kid panted.

Hannah opened her eyes and jumped back, shrieking. The boy had a fish tail. Hannah’s chest tightened and her muscles stiffened.

“I swear I’m not wearing a costume,” said the boy.

Hannah said nothing and just sucked in her breaths.

“I guess you’ve never seen a merman before,” said the kid.

“I… I was going to invite you for dinner,” said Hannah.

“I wish I could join you.” The boy looked down. “But I will thank you for saving me.”

“You’re welcome.” Hannah kneeled down at him. “My name’s Hannah, by the way.”

“Troy.”

The two shook hands.

“I need to get back to the ocean,” Troy said. “I’m supposed to be around humans.”

“So how did you end up here?”

“A current pushed me—it’s complicated.”

“So if you’re not supposed to be around people, how am I going to get you back to the water?”

Troy sighed. “I guess you’re going to have to wrap me in a towel and cover my tail completely as you carry me back.”

“Okay.” Hannah rushed back inside her house. Her parents stood in the kitchen.

“What you were doing outside?” Hannah’s dad asked.

“I… uh… was talking to a boy.”

“Where is he from?” asked Hannah’s mom.

Hannah remained mute for a couple seconds. “Far away. He wants me to hang out with him.”

“Oh, okay.” Hannah’s dad nodded. “Can we meet him?”

Hannah remained silent and frowned. “He’s a little shy. I’m going to go get a towel for him.” She continued to the closet and grabbed a towel. Then she returned outside. But Troy wasn’t there. Hannah gasped. “Troy?” She looked around. “Troy?”

There was no answer.

“You stay away from here, you mutant fish!” yelled an old man.

“Oh no,” whispered Hannah. She ran to the front property. A fisherman carried a net. A large fish tail stuck out of a sack. Muffled noises sounded.

“Hey, you!” Hannah dashed to the guy. “Let the boy go!”

“What do you think you can do to me?” the man asked. “You’re just a kid.”

“You let that boy go right now, or I’m—”

“You can’t threaten me, child,” said the guy. “I am going to do something with the young merman that I do to every fish I’ve caught. And you can’t stop me.”

“He is not yours,” Hannah said. “He belongs in the ocean, where he can roam free whenever he wants.”

The man grasped Hannah’s shoulder and pushed her down.

“You’re not stopping me, little one,” the guy snarled.

“Leave them both alone!” cried another girl around Hannah’s age.

She sprinted to the fisherman and jumped onto his back. She grabbed his neck, and he dropped the net.

Hannah removed the sack and the handkerchief around Troy’s mouth.

“Thank you so much,” Troy moaned.

“You’re welcome.” Hannah untied the rope around him. She pulled him out of the net.

But the girl who tried to defeat the fisherman screamed. The guy stepped on her belly. “I am going to hurt you next.”

“Leave her alone!” yelled a woman, probably the girl’s mother. She took out her cell phone. “If you don’t get out of here, I’m calling the police.”

The man didn’t move. But the lady touched her device. She pressed a few more times.

“Fine!” the old man exclaimed. “You win!” He ran away from the shore and behind the beach houses.

The woman put her phone down.

“Thank you so much, everyone,” Hannah said. She turned to the girl who’d tried to save her before. “Thank you, as well.”

“Don’t mention it,” the child said. “If anyone needs to be thanked, it’s my mom.”

“Oh,” said Hannah.

“Can you take me back, please?” asked Troy.

“Yes.” Hannah picked him up and carried him to the ocean.

“I’m sorry I can’t stay with you,” Troy said. “But I’ll always remember you.”

“Me, too.” Hannah continued to the water. She reached it and lowered Troy.

“Goodbye, Hannah.” Troy waved. “And thank you.” He turned around and swam away.

Hannah sighed and looked down. She turned around and dragged her feet.

“We can hang out with you if you want?” the same girl as before said, walking with her mom.

“You can?” Hannah asked.

“Yeah, absolutely,” the mom said.

“You want to have dinner with me and my parents?” asked Hannah.

“We’d love to,” smiled the mother.

The girl held her hand out. “My name’s Jennifer.”

“Hannah.” She and Jennifer shook hands.

The weather cooled down.

“Let’s go meet your parents,” said Jennifer’s mom.

“Sounds good to me.” Hannah nodded.

The three walked back to the house. Hannah hoped to become friends with Jennifer. And a new life would start.

 

short fiction

Somebody Has Lost a Sheep: A Flash Fiction Piece

I scanned the surrounding as I pushed my barrel down the field. The sun hadn’t risen yet. It was probably not even six A.M. yet.

I returned to my house, after exceeding the distance I had intended to push the barrel. I then returned inside, eying the chocolate morsels on the counter.

Oh darn it, I didn’t clean up well enough before, I told myself. At fifteen, I knew how to make pancakes from scratch. I had since I was eleven. I loved to put chocolate chips in them. But I should have checked the counter last night. My childhood dream of becoming or turning other things invisible would never come true.

I swept the candies with my hands and threw them away. My family hadn’t woken up yet, so they couldn’t yell at me. But the moral of cooking was always to tidy up after you finished.

I flicked my long, dark hair behind my shoulders and headed back to the stairs to relax. But a sheep from outside baaed.

I turned to the window. A white sheep roamed across my backyard. My family lived on a farm, and we had sheep, goats, and chickens. But this sheep did not belong to us. It wore a purple collar. Some other farmer must’ve lost it.

The creature buried its head into the barrel and ate the hay in it. I couldn’t think of any action to take.

My parents and sister still slept. But maybe I could call the number for lost animals and see if whoever lost his or her sheep could have it back.

I returned upstairs and took out my phone. I dialed the number on my device’s Internet and waited. But no one answered. So I left a message. “Hello, this is Rebecca Arbuckle on fifty, Gray Stone Street, Petunia Town, NY. I found a lost sheep in my backyard and wanted to know if you could tell the owner. The sheep is white and wearing a purple collar. Please give me a call back at 631-555-1234 when you get this message. Thank you and have a good day.” I hung up.

My eyes drifted to my bedroom window. The sheep ran away. It galloped down the street.

The sun also began to rise. I decided to get ready, but would not give up on making sure the sheep is returned to its owner. Today would involve lots of work, but in a good way.