Whumptober 2022 fill No.8: Stomach Pain | Head Trauma | Back from the Dead
Takes place after Operation Drop and Roll. Read that first.
When Edmund was a child, there was a rope bridge near his house. He and his friends used to climb it on windy days and ride the swaying bridge.
The world was swaying now, but he wasn’t a child, and he wasn’t on a bridge.
Continue reading “Short Story: Swaying Bridge”
She realized she was in a time loop when she woke up to find her desk missing.
Ok. That wasn’t the full story.
When she first saw empty space in place of the new desk she’d just spent the whole day building, she thought she’d been robbed in her sleep.
Fear turned to confusion when she rushed to her living room and found her table, still packed in pieces in its original packaging. She could have sworn that she had already assembled the massive furniture, even had the bruise from when she dropped a drawer on her foot to prove it.
Except… her skin didn’t have a single mark.
For one scary hour, she curled in the corner of her couch, wondering if the stress from work had finally driven her insane.
She only had one free day off for the rest of the month, set aside especially to put her new desk together, so she pulled herself out of her spiralling thoughts and got to work. This time, she learnt from past experience and didn’t drop the drawer, but she stepped on a screw instead.
The next day, she woke up once again to an unexpectedly empty space. Only then did she realise time had rewound.
Assembling a desk half her weight was tiring enough once, she wasn’t going to do it a third time, especially if her day was going to reset itself. Which meant… she had a free day.
She rolled over, pulled her blanket up to her chin, and burrowed in.
Genre: science fiction
Time loop story: 1/8
“You’re always together. It’s cute,” her friends say.
She can only smile politely as her late brother’s best friend drinks his coffee, blatantly ignoring the group. What can she say when he’s a constant presence by her side not out of affection, but guilt?
Her late brother’s best friend is a man with many enemies. Her late brother had none. When they found cut brakes at the scene of her brother’s death, it didn’t take a genius to put two and two together.
After the accident, her parents were sent away to another country for their safety. A tactic that works because she remains behind as the more accessible target of revenge. And this time, he’s determined in keeping the remaining sibling alive, even if it means keeping her company for the rest of her life.
July stories: 20/21
The children in the village learn from a young age to be kind. “No” means no, it’s ok to be angry but not hurtful, allow extra time when travelling to allow for interruptions.
They learn this from their elders, their peers, their juniors, through explicit instruction, through observation, through experience. And when everyone is kind, it is easy to follow the crowd.
But there are outsiders who see their kindness as an opportunity, and they come expecting a group of easily exploited pushovers.
The children in the village learn from a young age to be kind. Boundaries should be respected, a listening ear is available to all, protect one another.
The harder the outsiders pushes, the harder they push back.
Genre: slice of life
July stories: 19/21
Her movie is just about to reach its climax when her little brother storms into her room with a petulant frown. She pauses the film as he dives face down onto her bed.
“Colour?” she asks.
Her blanket swallows her brother’s grumbled reply.
A red day then. She slips on her earbuds, picks up her laptop, and grabs her weighted blanket from her window seat before heading to her bed. The laptop goes on her bedside table, the blanket gets wrapped around her brother like the skin of a burrito, leaving just the top half of his head exposed.
At this age, he’s still light enough for her to tug him closer to her bedhead. She settles against the upholstery, his small body at her side and her laptop perched on her lap. One hand cards through his soft hair, the other adjusts the volume controls and resumes her movie.
There’s ten minutes left when the bundle beside her moves, her brother shifting to sit up straighter and lean his cheek against her arm. She takes off her earbuds and turns up the sound. Her brother listens silently to the heroes on screen pledging their continued protection over the land they have just saved.
“Colour?” she asks as the credit rolls.
“Yellow,” comes the quiet murmur.
She heads over to the kid’s section and lets him choose their next movie.
Genre: family, slice of life
July stories: 13/21