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Short Story: The Abiding One

Genre: general

 

Nothing was permanent. He learnt that when all the people around him but one left him when he was in trouble. Now the hustle and bustle of life filled his mansion once more, but he couldn’t shake off the nagging feeling that it was just an illusion. That the moment trouble hit again, these people would desert him once more.

If that happened again, however, he would take comfort in the fact that there was one who stood by him in the past, and that he could count on her abiding loyalty for support.

But, his traitorous mind pointed out, What if she doesn’t stay this time?

The thought coiled in his chest, sometimes so heavy that he felt like he couldn’t breathe. It was a weight he would have to get used to, because he would only find the answer when trouble came knocking again.

~End~

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Short Story: Search Party

Genre: fantasy

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

Some people think that means I know everything from the past. They’re both right and wrong.

Ever walk into a situation and be completely lost due to lack of context? That’s me. All the time.

I have a lot of practice digging around to find out more, but certainly not enough to stake someone else’s life on it. There is a world of difference between finding a missing person and pinning a murder on someone.

“No,” Uncle James says.

“She can save lives,” the homicide detective says.

“Eli already is saving lives.”

“She can save more by helping us.”

“And what will you say at the court hearing? Going to tell them all your evidence comes from one ‘psychic’? You want to let all your hard work go to waste because of technicalities?”

“I’m not picky with where I get my leads. Especially not when innocent lives are on the line. She only needs one day to do what a whole team needs weeks for.”

“You think she doesn’t need to work hard to do what she does?”

A sudden weight on my shoulder startles me.

“Who let papa bear James out this time?” Officer Farah asks.

“The homicide division wants my help,” I say.

“HahahaNO. You’re barely in secondary school. No murder mysteries for you until you’re at least allowed to drink. Come on. Let’s go.”

I happily follow Officer Farah into our office. Finding people is much better than talking to angry adults.

Today’s first task is to find a hiker who was accidentally separated from the rest of the group and is now lost in the mountain.

“Any reference point?” I ask.

“I was there last month. First Saturday,” Officer Dennis says.

look at him.

He grabbed his keys off the table. His watch showed yesterday’s date.

look back.

The car pulled into the parking lot. On the dashboard flashed the right date. The family of four followed the footpath to the cafe at the beginning of the hiking trail.

look at the mountain and look forward as close to the present as possible.

A group of young adults waited around the cafe. Two talked with the local rangers.

I look backwards and track the group’s progress until I find the point where the missing person separated from the group.

look at him.

Trees stretched as far as the eye could see with no path in sight.

“Found him,” I say as I look back to retrace his steps. “Can’t see any unique landmarks but I can guide someone to him.”

“I have a staff on the phone.”

Switching in between the past and almost present, I lead the search party to the missing person. Only after the rangers undeniably finds the missing person do I pull back and close my eyes with a sigh.

“Well done.” Someone claps me on the shoulder.

“Thanks.”

I look up and freeze at the sight of the homicide detective by the door. He tips his head to me and leaves without a word.

“What did he say?” I ask Uncle James.

“Don’t worry about him. He decided his team could handle their own case after all,” Uncle James says with a smile.

As expected of Uncle James. He can solve any problem.

“Ok!”

~End~

 

 

Short Story: Safety Measure

Genre: fantasy, family

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

What this means is that I’m very good at finding things and people. Not to brag, but there isn’t anyone else that’s as good as me.

And that’s the part that worries Uncle James the most.

“This is a tracker,” he says as he holds up a necklace. “If you ever get lost or need help, this is what we’ll use to find you. The red flower in the middle is a distress button. Do this and we’ll come find you.”

Uncle James shows me how to twist the red bit just so until it pops out into a button I can press down. Together, we practice until I can do it every single time.

Always wear this,” he says as he fastens the necklace around my neck, “Don’t let anyone know, or someone might find out and take it from you. If that happens, we might never find you again.”

“Ok, Uncle James.” I tuck the necklace under my shirt, where no one else can see.

“Good girl.”

~End~

Short Story: Stable Dreams

Genre: fantasy

 

The dream world is very much like an alternate reality. Where the real world is bound by laws natural and man-made, dreams have no such limits. As long as it can be imagined, it can exist.

Dreamers have no problems with this. In a dream, everything makes sense, and even the most random piffle falls perfectly into place.

It is the dreamwalkers, who are still constrained by their expectations from the real world, who have to constantly rearrange their perception of ‘normal’ and ‘impossible’. Every dreamscape runs on its own every changing rules, and a dreamwalker who clings tightly to their ideals of ‘how the world works’ will have a difficult time ahead.

Like this young one.

Even the real world lacks the order she craves. Dreamwalking, despite its great potential, may be more of a curse than a blessing for her.

In the real world, she is the little miss of the estate, and he is just a struggling student working during his summer break. He does not have the ability to dreamwalk, but he is a lucid dreamer, and now he has a permanent job for the foreseeable.

Where the rest of the dream world is chaotic and unpredictable, his dreamscape is carefully controlled so that the little miss is never unpleasantly surprised. It is to be a safe haven for the little miss, not just from the chaos, but other malicious dreamwalkers.

On one hand, he gets paid a lot for something he literally does in his sleep.

On the other hand, in providing a safe haven for the little miss, he lost his own. Can’t let his dreams unfold naturally and run wild when he has to watch out for the little miss.

Maybe he’ll get used to it, or maybe a time will come when the little miss no longer needs to hide in his dreams. Either way, this is paying his fees, so regardless of his personal feelings, he’ll create the best haven the little miss will ever find.

~End~

Short Story: Unwanted Patrons

Genre: general

 

Something was up.

On the surface, it was just another day at work.

For those who knew their stuff (and she knew her stuff), their cafe did not get this much traffic at 3 in the afternoon.

“I don’t want to go out there,” she told her colleague.

“Me too. But them customers need to be served. Gimme. I’ll do it.”

She happily handed the plates to him and stayed behind the counter. Her professional smile hid her growing anxiety as more and more grim-faced patrons walked in.

Their instincts turned out to be dead on when a patron grabbed her colleague by his neck without warning. The other patron who shared the table tensed, but the quiet conversation continued as if nothing was wrong.

The rest of the room either pretended not to notice or begin to reveal their own threats.

A fight was about to happen.

She slipped into the kitchen and grabbed her phone. The operator picked up as the noise level picked up.

“… your emergency?”

Furniture crashed.

“We’re under attack!”

~End~

Short Story: Friendly Competition

Genre: slice of life

 

The problem with having two competitive best friends, was that they competed over everything, including his friendship.

“Which do you like more? The soup or the fried noodle?”

“They’re both nice,” he said diplomatically.

“Yes, but one has to be better.”

“I like the one I chose most.”

His friends wandered into a different topic and he hid a sigh of relief.

He had told them many times, alone and together, that he didn’t want to be part of their competitions.

They said they would try (after saying they wanted a tiebreaker. The two of them were more alike than they liked to admit), and they have, but there was always something new they wanted to compete over.

It was easier to refuse to be the tiebreaker they wanted, and maybe one they, they would settle down and agree on things.

Right…

~End~

 

Possibly related to Not A Competition.

Short Story: Energetic Puppy

Genre: slice of life

 

He thought he was energetic.

This puppy showed him that he still had much to learn.

“No more. Have mercy on me,” he said.

The puppy nudged him all over with her damp nose. Her tail whipped like a propeller blade behind her.

“Too late,” his sister said, “She already knows you’re the fun human.”

He released an exaggerated moan and rolled carefully on top of the puppy. “I’ll squash you!”

The puppy yelped and wriggled out enough enough to lick his nose.

“Eww! Dog spit in my nose.”

His sister laughed so hard she couldn’t breathe.

“Your turn to puppy sit.” He lifted the puppy and put her on his sister. Her laughter turned into hapless shrieks.

“Have fun!”

He sprinted to his room and locked the door behind him.

Peace at last.

Dog spit dripped off his nose.

Yuck.

~End~

Short Story: An Issue of Trust

Genre: slice of life

 

The remains of the eaten cake matched the chocolate stains on her face. The evidence could not be denied.

“It wasn’t me,” she said.

From anyone else, the words would just be a barefaced lie of a guilty culprit caught red handed.

From her, however, who was famous for her candor, the words presented a tough choice.

Disregard the evidence and consider her innocent.

Or disregard her character and judge her guilty.

This wasn’t the first time he had to face this decision in the past month. Either her character had changed, or something fishy was going on.

Hiding his intention, he investigated her. It took him another month and two more strange incidents before he found the answer.

The culprit, in the end, wasn’t their candid friend but her jealous rival. A weight lifted off him as they led the true culprit away.

If he couldn’t trust the one person who could be trusted, then he couldn’t trust anyone else.

~End~

Short Story: Musical Beckoning

Genre: fantasy, mystery

 

She heard it the moment she stepped through the door. A soft song with a melody that rolled like gentle waves. She followed the sound one step at a time, until she reached a room.

On the bed stood a music box. The ballerinas danced to the tune on the wooden surface. The ballerina in the centre beckoned to her. Without a thought, she walked forward.

A hand pulled her back.

“What are you doing?”

Her mind sharpened. The lullaby vanished.

“Please stay with your group,” the tour guide said and led her out of the room.

She looked back, but the room was just a closet too small for a bed.

~End~

Short Story: Holiday Expectation

Genre: slice of life

 

Expectations.

Everyone had them. So did they when they booked an apartment for their week-long holiday.

The basics: enough beds for all four of them, two bathrooms, and heating to combat the winter chill.

What they actually got: one bed and a single mattress, one bathroom and a kitchen sink, and a fan.

“This is nothing like the pictures,” they complained.

It was late, however, so as the lawyer in the group dealt with the host over the phone, the rest of them faced the disappointing room.

“I have an idea.”

By the time their lawyer friend got off the phone, they had turned the room into a giant nest made out of anything soft they could find.

It was actually pretty comfy.

~End~

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