short fiction

Animal Psychic: A Short Story

Isabella woke up. Energy filled her mind as she hopped out of bed and got dressed. She brushed her long, dark brown waves and put on her glasses.

Today was her eleventh birthday. She hurried downstairs where her aunt, Molly, prepared breakfast.

“Happy birthday, Isabella,” said Aunt Molly.

“Thanks.” Isabella sat down. She looked outside and frowned. If only her parents and uncle could see her today.

Three years ago, Isabella’s mom had suffered from depression after the dad had died from a heart attack. Isabella’s mother had lost so much control that social services had sent Isabella to live with Aunt Molly. Uncle Tanner had divorced Aunt Molly a year after and had moved to Vancouver.

“Isabella, after breakfast, I have a surprise birthday present for you.” Aunt Molly tied her ash-blonde hair into a bun.

“Oh, yippee.” Isabella ate her pancakes. She cleaned up, and then Aunt Molly led her downstairs to the basement. Aunt Molly turned on the lights. “Ta da.”

An albino guinea pig ran around in its cage. Isabella opened her mouth.

“You get to name her,” Aunt Molly said.

“All right,” Isabella said. “Her name will be… Peppermint.”

“Nice name,” said Aunt Molly.

“Why peppermint, though?” asked a strange female voice.

Isabella gasped. “Aunt Molly, did you hear something?”

“What? The guinea pig making noises?”

“No, someone asked why I named the guinea pig, Peppermint.”

Aunt Molly tilted her head at Isabella.

“I’m serious.”

“Whatever. Play pretend like you’re five.” Aunt Molly returned upstairs.

“Aunt Molly, stop it!”

But Aunt Molly closed the door.

“You can read animal’s minds,” the same unknown voice said.

Isabella breathed and looked around. “W-who’s there?”

“Its me, the guinea pig you named Peppermint,” said the voice.

Gasping, Isabella turned to the creature. She rushed her breathing.

“Last night, someone gave you the power to read animal’s minds,” the voice said.

“But how am I going to convince my aunt?” asked Isabella.

“There is a note in your closet upstairs stating the name of the person. It appeared last night when you were sleeping.”

Isabella hurried upstairs and to her bedroom. She opened her closet and saw a piece of paper under her shoes. She picked it up and read it.

 

Dear Isabella,

 

            I wanted to let you know something about myself. I was born with the power to read everyone’s minds, including animals. I’ve kept it secret from you for many years. I was worried that I was going to scare you. So I sent some magic into the letter that would make you understand what I’ve gone through. I miss you. I wish I could be here for your birthday.

 

            Love,

            Mom

 

Isabella flushed. Tears stung her eyes. How could her own mother want her to read animals’ minds? The mom couldn’t have gone that insane. It made no sense.

Isabella hurried downstairs. “Aunt Molly?”

“What now, Isabella?” Aunt Molly asked.

“I got this note from my mom.” She held up the paper.

Aunt Molly put her hands on her hips.

“It is, I swear. I even recognize the handwriting.”

“Let me see.”

Isabella handed the note to Aunt Molly. Aunt Molly read it. Her eyes watered. She burst into tears. “I c-can’t believe it.”

Isabella remained mute.

“I don’t want you to be like this, Isabella.”

Isabella shook her head. “Neither do I.”

“There’s got to be a way to undo this.”

Isabella paused. Then she returned to the basement.

“You’re back,” Peppermint’s internal voice said.

“I need to get rid of this curse,” Isabella said.

“The only way to get rid of it is to suppress it yourself.”

            “How?”

“You have to replace thoughts of me with thoughts of other people.”

“B-but I can’t forget you.”

“It’ll only take a few minutes. Then you can spend as much time with me as you’d like.”

            Isabella looked down. “Okay.” She returned upstairs and sat in the living room. She closed her eyes. Thoughts of her friends, teachers, and even her mom, came into her head. She thought about the guinea pig, but replaced it with a memory of her dad going to the hospital.

Peppermint’s internal voice faded away from Isabella’s mind. Isabella pushed herself to remember the voice. But she had forgotten.

She went back to the basement. Peppermint made her usual guinea pig sounds. Isabella gazed at her. The animal climbed her cage bars. There were no unusual voices.

Isabella grinned.

 

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.