Short Story: Why It Happened

Start from The Thing That Happened, then How It Happened first.

 

~Why It Happened~

Her plans for a quiet day popped like soap bubbles the moment her brother wrapped all six feet of himself around her like a determined koala around the last eucalyptus tree in existence.

“Help me!”

It didn’t matter how old they were, or what the problem was. She could never reject her brother’s cry for help. And that was why, three hours later, she found herself at the activity hub, hanging around the water fountain with a pill in her pocket while her brother smiled stiffly on the other side at his stalker admirer.

According to her brother, the pill was designed to create smoke when in contact with water. All she needed to do was drop the pill in the fountain to create a fake accident. Her brother would run away, allowing his friend to swoop in to save the girl and hopefully take her heart too.

Trying very hard not to draw attention to herself, she let the pill roll off her fingers and slip into the water with a silent ripple.

Followed by a loud bang.

Smoke immediately spilled out. And not the tame little tendrils her brother described. It was like a whole city’s worth of thunderclouds, bursting out of the fountain like students after the last exam of the year.

She reared back, arm over her nose as her eyes watered. Blinded by the smoke and ears ringing from the confused screams around her, she somehow stumbled out of the complex.

One little pill ended up causing a huge incident. And to add insult to injury, because of how suddenly the smoke exploded, her brother instinctively protected his admirer all the way until they safely evacuated the building. Which meant that not only did he fail to cut ties with her, she had now fallen even harder for him.

“Help me!”

Another day, another plea from her brother. Considering what happened last time, she should say ‘No’. N. O. No. She practised the word in her mind until she felt ready to say it out loud.

“Alright.”

~End~

 

Genre: family, general

The Thing That Happened | How It Happened | Why It Happened

Short Story: How It Happened

Follows after The Thing That Happened. Read that first.

 

~How It Happened~

It started with a loud bang, that much the eyewitnesses could agree on. But everything else? The story was as varied as the people who told it.

Some said the sound came from the underground car park, others the roof, some right in the heart of the building where a water fountain stood.

And the conflicting points didn’t end there. Some said the fire was stared by pranksters, some claimed bombs were triggered by the hub’s jealous competitors, some argued the fire was part of an insurance fraud scheme and didn’t even exist.

Many independent investigators attempted to uncover the missing steps leading up to the event, but while many well crafted theories surfaced, no one figured out the truth.

That the incident at the activity hub was created by a single pill dropped into the water fountain.

~To be continued in Why It Happened~

 

Genre: general

The Thing That Happened | How It Happened | Why It Happened

Short Story: The Thing That Happened

The multi-story complex activity hub, usually the most popular hang out spot in the city, was now the last place anyone wanted to be. Smoke snaked out from the building like an octopus uncoiling its arms from under an upturned bowl, smothering everything within reach, even sound.

Within seconds, cameras captured the scene for the whole world to see.

In less than an hour, emergency personnel and reporters descended on the scene, one diving into the smoke while the other waded through the human sea in search of the story everyone wanted to know.

What happened?

~To be continued in How It Happened~

 

Genre: general

The Thing That Happened | How It Happened | Why It Happened

Camp NaNoWriMo part 19

Genre: general

Start from the beginning here or check out the previous part here.

 

They didn’t fulfil the mission objective of finding the Beauris heir, but everyone who went out came back unharmed.

Plus two.

The two extra people stood side by side before the team. The sound of a chair scraping over the floor made Darius turn his head to find his housemate on his feet.

“Esther?” The name left Wilfredo’s mouth like a gasp.

“That’s me,” a familiar voice said.

Darius turned his head back to face the two new faces. Was that…

“Hello, Beauris. I am Esther Turnery. This is my husband, Roger.” She gestured at the man beside her. “Thank you for your help. As promised, I will tell you where the Sharoon heirloom is. But first, I need some time with my son, Darius.”

That was the same voice as the person who made a deal with his housemate. So this woman was his mother. And the man beside her…

His breath caught at his throat. Darkness crept in at the edges of his vision. His fingers shook.

A hand clapped his shoulder. He jumped, but it was only his housemate.

“Something wrong?” Wilfredo asked.

The shroud of unexplained panic pulled back. Darius shook his head, not trusting himself to speak. His housemate didn’t look convinced, but didn’t press the issue.

“Let’s go.”

Wilfredo led the family of three to an empty room. Darius kept his distance from his father. He didn’t remember his father at all, but his body did. The reaction didn’t bode well for his relationship with his father.

His mother broke through his thoughts with a gentle hand around his.

“Sit here.” She sat on a sofa and pulled him down beside her. When he sat stiffly at the edge, she pushed him until his back rested against the cushioned back of the sofa.

“Relax.” She hooked her fingers under his jaw and tilted his head back until it also rested against the sofa back. Her palms passed gently over his eyes and he closed them automatically.

“You have amnesia,” she said, “I can bring your memories back, but it might be uncomfortable, and no matter what, you can’t fight me. We can both get seriously hurt. Understand?”

“Mm.”

“You are my son. I won’t harm you, so trust me and let me in.”

“How?”

“The easiest way is to sleep. Let go of your fears and let me do all the work.”

Darius released a short laugh that was equal parts nervous and bitter. “Easier said than done.”

“I’m your mother. I know you more than you know yourself. Just trust me.” Her hands moved to run through his hair. She hummed a tune that he had never heard before but tugged at the forgotten corners in his mind.

He forced his body to relax and emptied his mind of all thoughts but the wordless song. The rest of the room faded away until it was just him on the sofa with his mother. Eventually, even that faded away as he slipped into a daze.

~To be continued~

Mission Gone Wrong 15: Troubleshooting Theo

My response to the prompt urgent, and the last part of Mission Gone Wrong.

Genre: general

 

~Troubleshooting Theo~

When Alan told Theo to think about why he wanted to stay and why he was struggling in the team, he hadn’t meant to make it sound so urgent that Ronald, their usually hands-off supervisor, felt compelled to attend the meeting. It would have been better if Ronald stayed away. Things were awkward enough for Theo without an extra person the newbie had only met once.

The meeting continued downhill from there. Despite their best efforts, they only uncovered what they already knew. Theo wanted to stay because he liked the team (which they could tell) and he didn’t know why he was struggling (which put him on the same level as everyone else).

Unpacking yesterday’s mission didn’t help. Theo ran away because he panicked (obviously), didn’t return to the group because he got lost (no surprise there), attacked the monsters so they didn’t attack him first (the only surprising fact), and climbed the tree because he thought he could do it (everyone did that all the time).

Alan rubbed his temples (something he didn’t think he would do this often after Lucy left). This was going nowhere. Lucy always had a dozen different ways to squeeze answers out of people.  If analysing the mission didn’t work, he needed to try something else.

Intimidation wouldn’t work. Theo was terrified enough as it was.

Pranks wasn’t his thing. And would just scare the newbie even more.

Flattery also wasn’t his thing, but honesty… He could do honesty. There were things that Theo had actually done well. A little well-earned praise might do the trick.

“You are strong,” Alan said before he second thought himself, “In terms of strength, you have the potential to be the strongest on our team. That’s why I can’t understand why you’re still struggling.”

Theo stared at him for a few moments. His mouth opened and closed as he struggled with his words.

“But…” he finally said, “I’ve never won against anyone before. Not even Ezra.” Theo’s gaze slid to Ezra. “No offense.”

“I’m not strong,” Ezra said, “But I’m good. We all are. Including you. I watched you face two monsters at the same time. You can do it. You just need to think less and do more.”

The words slowly sunk in.

“You… really?”

“Yes.”

Theo looked around the group. If there were any disagreements or hesitation, everyone hid them well. Theo straightened unconsciously in his seat.

“I’ll do anything. I’ll get better. Please, let me stay.”

Alan pretended to ponder, then come to a solemn decision. “One more month, and we’ll review your place on this team.”

For the first time since Theo walked into the training room that day, his face lit up in a smile.

“Thank you, Captain!”

It was too early to tell if Theo’s crippling self-confidence issues was the root of all his struggles, but it was a start. They could work with that.

~End~

 

Of all the different parts/chapters of Mission Gone Wrong, this was the hardest to write. The version posted here is my third attempt, which is very different from the second attempt, which also differs greatly from my first try.

It was probably so difficult because this chapter had the very important job of tying together what had happened before in the mission and presenting the breakthrough the team needed to grow in the future.

So that’s it for this multipart story. I hope you enjoyed it. If you would like to check out more stories of this monster hunting team, check out Defenders of the Wall.