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Short Story: Triple Trouble

Three pairs of eyes watched intensely as his needle dipped in and out of the jagged wound. Stitch by stitch, he pulled the gap close until worn fabric closed over the yellowed cotton inside.

One loop, two, three, then a knot pulled tight. He snipped the thread and the tucked the free end in.

“There. All done.”

Immediately, three little bodies pounced on him. He raised the newly-mended stuffed elephant above his head and out of reach of the over-excited kids.

“Careful! Remember what just happened?”

The triplets froze at the reminder of the three-way rough play that had almost ripped their stuffed elephant apart. Much more subdued, the triplets reached out for their elephant again. He looked them in the eye, one at a time. Deciding that they had learnt their lesson, he released the elephant to them.

“Thank you big brother!” three voices said in unison. Then the triplets dashed out of his room, eager to return to their interrupted playtime.

He packed the sewing kit and returned it to its usual spot at his bedside table.

For next time.

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

Short Story: Stumbling in the Dark

With careful steps, he felt his way through the dark. His feet didn’t make a sound as he crept heel to toe across the-

Something stabbed his foot. He stumbled at the sharp pain and crashed to the ground.

“Daddy?”

The light switched on. His daughter sat up from her bed.

“Sorry, Love.” He looked down at the broken pieces of what used to be a toy arrow. He swept it aside with his feet. “I’ll fix that later.”

He returned to his daughter’s bed and sat on the chair.

“Lie down. I’ll stay until you go back to sleep,” he said and patted her pillow. She settled back down and her turned off the light.

With a quiet sigh, he leaned back in his chair and prepared for another long wait.

Next time, he would not forget his phone again.

~End~

 

Genre: slice of life, family

Short Story: Scavenger Hunt Will

In life, he was the glue that kept their splintered family together.

In death, he still drew them together in the form of his scavenger hunt will that required teamwork from all branches of the extended family.

Did it bring them closer? Yes, too close. There was a reason they didn’t like to hang around each other. Old grudges bit back, unhappy secrets came out, and new feuds began.

But for him, who tried so hard to keep them all together, they could try. Even if only once in a long while.

~End~

 

Genre: family

Short Story: The Fire Alarm

The fire alarm rang just as their food arrived.

They were hungry, no one else was leaving, it was probably a false alarm, but she had kids with her. However she felt about fire alarms, she should teach her kids to take them seriously.

“That’s the fire alarm. Pack your things and get ready to go.”

It turned out to be a good thing, because not long after all her kids had kept their things, the fire alarm turned out to be real. They were all chased out of the restaurant, and with everything already packed, her kids left without any fuss.

Still, it would have been better if they could eat first. She was so hungry her stomach was trying eat itself.

“Mum?”

She looked down.

Her older son presented her with the tacos they ordered. Her older daughter held the quesadillas. Her younger son had salsa. Her younger daughter… had smuggled out the whole jug of pineapple juice.

Ah. Her wonderful children.

“Thank you.”

~End~

 

Genre: slice of life

 

Short Story: Not Enough Sugar Cubes

Fact: her brother started his day with a cup of coffee with a serving of milk and three sugar cubes.

Fact: she started her day with a cup of tea and a serving of milk and one sugar cube.

Fact: there was only two sugar cubes in the jar.

Problem: not enough sugar cubes.

“We can have one each,” she suggested.

“We can split one cube into half, so we both have half our usual sugar,” her brother said.

“That’ll just leave a mess everywhere.”

“Or you can grab more from the pantry,” a third voice cut in.

They turned to see their little brother, holding up a bag full of sugar cubes. He raised his eyebrow at them, to which they could only respond by reaching for the bag.

“Thanks, little bro.”

Solution: have a smart little brother.

~End~

 

Genre: slice of life, family

Short Story: Crispy Bacon

Everyone had something they would travel to the ends of the earth for. For her husband, it was crispy bacon.

Hot or cold, fresh or cured, as long as it had the crisp, he wanted it.

Their precious daughter knew her daddy liked bacon, but not that he only liked crispy bacon. So it was with great amusement that she watched their two-year-old waddle back and forth between the dining table and her daddy, bringing with her a slice of bacon on a plate each time.

“Bacon.” Their daughter presented the soft, non-crispy bacon.

“Thanks, sweetheart.” Her husband forced a smile and accepted the offered bacon.

One hand pressed against her lips to muffle her laughter, she recorded it all on her phone.

For posterity.

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

Short Story: The Elephant in the Room

“Mum, Dad, we need to talk about the elephant in the room.”

His daughter held up an elephant plushie with a solemn frown, which broke into a proud smile.

“Get it? Elephant in the room?”

“Yass.” His wife gave their daughter a high five. “Nice one.”

His daughter happily skipped out of their room. He sighed and ran a palm over his face.

“I chose this one,” he reminded himself, “No returns. No refunds.”

“Hey love, are you crying over…”

“No. No. Don’t do it.”

“… spilt milk?” His wife pulled a box of milk from who knew where and started to tip it over. He lunged for it before metaphor became reality.

“Don’t worry. It’s not even opened.”

He could only flop over his wife in defeat.

“I didn’t choose the pun life. The pun life chose me,” she said as she patted his head in consolation.

“And by extension, me.”

“You’re right.”

“…”

“Because you’re on the right.”

“… I know.”

~End~

 

Genre: slice of life, family

Short Story: Spicy Happenstance

~Spicy Happenstance~

This wasn’t what she ordered.

“Someone get milk!”

Tears streamed down her face as fire burned a trail from her tongue all the way down to her gut. Ice water gave only temporary relief. Once she downed the glass, the fire returned as fierce as ever.

“Try this.”

Another cool glass pressed into her hands. She gulped it down glass after glass, until the fire calmed down to a more bearable burn. She leaned back in her chair, gasping for breath.

“Are you alright?”

Her whole digestive track was lava, but she would live. She replied with a thumbs up.

“Sorry about that. You got my order which was a super spicy,” said an apologetic gentleman who had been the one to call for the milk. “Let me make it up to you with a meal.”

“And that was how I met my  boss. The end.”

“That doesn’t explain anything!”

“What happened after that?”

“Wait! Don’t be distracted. Mum was supposed to tell how she met Dad.”

“Was I? My memory’s a little hazy. Maybe it’ll sharpen if everyone finishes their dinner…”

“Wait. No!”

“Quick! Everyone eat.”

“Kekeke.”

~End~

Genre: family, slice of life

 

Short Story: Saturday Zen Time

Every Sunday morning from 8 to 9, her grandfather sits out in the gazebo to draw lines on paper.

He calls it his ‘zen time’, and no one is to interrupt him during this time. They can watch, but no talking, no touching, and no fidgeting.

Some Sundays, when she can bring herself to crawl out of bed so early on a non-school day, she joins him at the gazebo and watch him draw perfectly straight lines by hand. No rulers needed.

“Want to try?” her grandfather asks as he pulls a sheet free for her.

“Yes!” She eagerly accepts the green marker he offers her. With full concentration, she draws one straight line down the page.

It’s not straight.

“That’s fine. Just try again,” her grandfather says.

She moves her marker back to the top of the page, and as her grandfather draws his lines, she does too. One line at a time.

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

Short Story: The Sleeping Dragon on My Homework

Follows after The Dragon on My Homework.

 

~The Sleeping Dragon on My Homework~

There’s a dragon on my homework.

The tiny lizard nuzzles my book, but otherwise does not look like it wants to set my homework on fire.

This looks familiar.

I settle into my seat. At closer look, the dragon actually appears to be asleep. It… her flank rises and falls gently with each breath. A peaceful sight, but I’m not falling for that again.

I wave my hand through the illusion, only to meet resistance. My brother must have moved on to solid illusions. It’s excellent work. Indistinguishable from the real thing in both sight and touch.

The dragon snuggles against my hand. I automatically run my fingers over her warm hide, rubbing extra hard in between the twin rows of soft knobs female dragons tend to have along their back.

I’m on my second subject when my brother bursts into my room.

“Have you see-ahhhh!”

The dragon jumps to her feet beneath my hand and spits a spurt of fire that chars my exercise book and oh my biscuits that’s a real dragon.

We freeze in a three-way standoff. My brother at the door, the dragon by my hand, and me and my innocent homework caught in between. Please stay calm dragon. Half my grade for this subject is in that book.

Many tense moments later, it’s the dragon who stops the standoff by settling down and burrowing under my hand. I take the hint and resume my patting.

“She likes you,” my brother says. “Perfect! You can keep her.”

“Say what?”

But my brother is already gone.

The cheeky kid. Next time I see him I’m going to tickle him until he begs for mercy. How can he just dump such a rare creature on me like this?

Wait. Where did he get the dragon from?

“Come back here! We’re not done yet!”

~End~

Genre: fantasy

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