Blog Archives

Short Story: Matching Umbrellas

On the steps leading up to his office, raindrops danced like the fingertips of a pianist on a deep red umbrella with cat ears.

His eyes narrowed in fondness. He would recognise that umbrella anywhere.

Sure enough, when he crouched down for a better view under the waterproof fabric, he found his daughter, drowsily wrapped around another deep blue umbrella.

“If you’re tired you should have stayed home,” he said.

She startled at his voice. The plump cat ears bobbled as she moved.

“Dad!” She untangled her skinny limbs to offer him the second umbrella, a blue twin to her. “For you.”

He smiled.

“What a coincidence. I left my umbrella at home today,” he lied.

With some careful juggling, he gripped his briefcase and umbrella handle in one hand, leaving the other free for his daughter.

Hand in hand, they stepped into the rain, dry under their mobile canopy while matching cat ears danced above them.

~End~

 

Genre: slice of life, family

 

Short Story: The Cotton Ball

A girl bounced lightly from one bench to the next. Only her shadow touched the yellowed grass beneath her.

A boy looked down from his window. “What are you doing?”

The girl looked up. “I’m a cotton ball!”

“You’re a kid,” the boy shot back.

“Only when I touch the ground.”

The girl continued her weightless bounce, her long hair flowing around her like wings.

Then an adult called the girl’s name. With a final bounce, the girl’s feet touched the ground, and the carefree cotton ball turned into a prim lady. With precise steps, she closed the distance between herself and the adult and left his field of vision.

The boy’s lips twisted.

He preferred the cotton ball.

~End~

 

Inspired by the prompt nefelibata.

Genre: slice of life

Short Story: Learning to be Lazy

If she was an animal, she would be a house cat. Content to laze her whole life, draped bonelessly over things while watching the world pass.

Her brother was cut from an altogether different cloth. He was more like a dog, always on his feet, ready to do something. He faced life with a determination not to waste a single moment, which meant that when he actually needed to stop and rest, he didn’t know how.

Fortunately for him, she, expert on doing nothing, was willing to help him out.

They lay side by side on his bed, her easily stretched out on her back like a cat basking in the sun, her brother doing a very good impersonation of a stick insect. The only time he broke the straight line his tense body made was to cough or grab a tissue, and the occasional attempt to escape.

The blanket shifted. She reached out to press her brother back down without even opening her eyes.

“What do you want? I’ll get it for you,” she said.

“Just want to stretch my legs,” her brother said in a hoarse whisper.

“Nope. Walking is still work.”

“Restroom.”

“You just went.”

“I want to go again.”

She opened one eye. “If you need to go every ten minutes, you need to see a doctor. So? Do I need to make the call?”

Her brother’s gaze slipped away from hers. “… No. I’ll stay.”

“That’s what I thought.” She shifted onto her side so that she had a better view of her brother’s face, especially the deep lines etched onto his brow. She couldn’t help but press a finger to the furrowed skin and try to smooth it out. Her brother gently nudged her hand away.

“Don’t come too close. You don’t want to get sick.”

“I do, actually. Then I can laze in bed all day.” She grinned.

Her brother’s lips twitched. “Let’s trade.”

She released an exaggerated sigh. “Sadly, fatigue isn’t contagious.”

Her brother replied with a smile as tense as the rest of him. She shook her head in exasperation.

“How are we related?”

“We both like pineapple in savoury dishes,” her brother said immediately.

“That’s true.”

“And we like honey in our coffee.”

She smacked her lips. “Yum.”

Her brother continued, listing all kinds of delicious food combinations that made her want to make a trip to…

She frowned and pushed herself up on her elbows to give herself the extra height to loom over her brother, which didn’t really work because the bed sunk beneath her but that wasn’t important.

“I know what you’re doing. I’m not going anywhere. Not even for food. My job today is to teach you to be lazy, and I’m going to make sure you learn it. Go to sleep!”

She dropped back onto her side and ran her fingers through her brother’s hair, the way her parents used to do when she was younger. Just enough pressure to be felt, unhurried and regular, drawing rhythmic patterns into his scalp as if she could pull the tension in his body out with her fingertips.

In the end, they couldn’t remember who fell asleep first, but the important thing was that her brother finally gave his body the rest it deserved.

She rewarded herself with another nap.

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

Short Story: The One Who Watched Out For Him

Follows after The One He Couldn’t Get Along With. Read that first.

 

~The One Who Watched Out For Him~

In a quiet corner of his friend’s cafe, his enemy dropped a bold claim.

“I don’t hate you.”

“You don’t?” The question slipped out of his mouth as the spiced fig slipped off his fork.

“No. Why would you think that?” she said as she scooped a mouthful off her plate.

“You don’t talk to me.”

“I don’t talk to a lot of people.”

That… was true.

“You always argue with me,” he said.

He brow furrowed as she took a few moments to consider the question. Finally, the crease smoothed as her lips parted.

“Ah. You mean when I disagree with you. It’s normal for people to have different opinions.”

“But you only disagree with me.”

“Not true.”

He raised his fork at her. “You’re doing it now.”

She batted his fork away with her own. “I disagree with other people too. The only difference is that your fans are too starstruck to speak up when they should.”

“They’re not my fans. They’re my friends.”

This time it was her turn to point her fork at him. “Friends don’t just stand by and let you do stupid things like try to dance near stairs when you’re drunk.”

“I don’t do that,” he protested.

She sent him a flat look. “You did. Just last Friday.”

He didn’t actually remember last Friday, so he could neither confirm nor deny her claim.

She slid her attention off him to spear the flaky Danish pastry on their tasting platter. He cupped his chin in his hand.

“So, from what you’re saying, we’re not enemies.”

She didn’t even look up. “Don’t be dramatic. Of course not.”

“Then… are we friends?”

“We don’t interact enough to be friends. More like acquaintances.”

He tapped his fingers against his cheek.

“But… we could be.”

She looked up, brow creased again, this time with suspicion. “What are you getting at?”

He straightened in his seat and offered a hand. “Let’s be friends.”

She huffed. “What are you? Five?”

But she accepted his hand in a firm handshake. He didn’t have an enemy.

All was right with the world.

~End~

 

Genre: slice of life

Short Story: The One He Couldn’t Get Along With

He got along with everyone, even those people loved to hate. There wasn’t a mask he couldn’t lift aside or a cold shoulder he couldn’t warm to him.

But this girl. In the face of his open smile and warm words, not only did she keep her silence, she only broke it to argue against him.

Anyone else would just write her off as a lost cause. Not him. He got along with everyone, and that meant everyone.

“The cafe around the corner just received a fresh batch of figs. The pastry chef is a good friend of mine. She’s looking for some taste testers. Would you like to join me?” he said.

He was prepared to sweet talk and even bribe her into coming with him, but she accepted the invitation without a fuss.

To share a meal was to make a friend. There was something about eating together that never failed to lower the walls people put around themselves. He would turn this enemy into a friend. Definitely.

~Continue the story in The One Who Watched Out For Him~

 

Genre: slice of life

Short Story: Coming Down

Follows after Going Up. You’ll want to read that first.

 

~Coming Down~

He loved hiking. Together with other people, on his own, it didn’t matter, as long as he could feel the breeze on his skin and smell the earth in the air.

He took a deep breath and let it sink into his bones, still tired from the intense three three month case his team just closed. He hoped his little sister didn’t mind his reticence this hiking trip. It had been so long since he could relax outside like this. He just wanted to be outside.

It wasn’t until after their lunch break at the lookout point, as he watched his younger sister try and fail to stand, that worry and fear replaced his contentment.

He crouched to find his sister’s skin hot against his palm. His mind helpfully pulled up the memory of her laboured breathing behind him while they walked up the mountain trail. He had thought then that they were just normal exertions of a typical hike.

“What’s wrong?”

His sister was reluctant, but he interrogated criminals and witnesses for a living. Eventually, he coaxed the truth out of her.

The culprit behind his sister’s condition: fever.

“You could have told me. We can hike another day.”

She shook her head. “What if you get a new case?”

There was nothing he could say to that, not when the exact same thought was the reason he planned this hike even though lingering exhaustion still pulled at his body.

With a sigh, he shifted his backpack so that it sat on his chest and turned around to present his now free back to his sister.

“Get on.”

First silence, then a rustle of fabric as too-warm arms wrapped tentatively over his shoulders. He hooked his arms under his sister’s legs and pushed himself to his feet. His legs wobbled traitorously beneath him.

“Am I heavy?” his sister asked.

At peak condition, he could carry his little sister with one arm. He wasn’t at peak condition now, but he was still more than able to bear her slight weight down the trail back to their car.

His lips curled in a grin his sister couldn’t see. He hopped and made her bounce at his back, startling a laugh out of her.

“Nope. Not at all.”

~End~

 

Genre: slice of life, family

Short Story: Going Up

“Let’s go hiking together, just you and me,” her older brother had said… three months ago.

It wasn’t his fault. For the past three months, a group of serial arsonists had demanded all of her brother’s time at work. The only times she saw him was when he was asleep, curled just inside their door, too tired to even drag himself the extra few steps to the couch.

So she slipped pillows under his head, draped blankets over his prone body, refilled his bag with fresh food and clothes, everything but wake him to bug him about the promised hiking trip.

But nothing lasted forever, even crime, and the day came when her brother and his team’s hard work paid off and they caught the arsonist group. Even then, she waited. She didn’t have the heart to bother her brother when his greatest achievement was dragging himself all the way to his bed before falling asleep.

Finally, her brother recovered enough to bring up the hiking trip. Her mind was ready.

Her body wasn’t.

Hiding her trembling limbs under a poncho blanket and a steady headache behind a smile, they confirmed the details of their hike. She had a few days. She thought she would recover her health by then.

She didn’t.

It didn’t matter. Another case could steal her brother from her at any moment. If he said they were hiking, they were hiking.

Walking up a mountain trail had never been this difficult. It took all of her attention to put one feet in front of the other and not slide off the path like runaway jelly. It left her with no brainspace for anything else, let alone an actual conversation. Fortunately, her brother was still recovering from his intense three months, so he wasn’t in a chatty mood either.

Her stubbornness carried her all the way to the lookout point, and no further.

Her brother’s eyes narrowed as she smiled nervously up at him, unable to stand on her unresponsive legs. Without a word, he crouched down to meet her eyes.

“What’s wrong?”

~To be continued in Coming Down~

 

Genre: slice of life, family

Short Story: Sandy Punishment

For the past half day, he had painstakingly picked grains of sand from one bowl to another with a pair of chopsticks.

Why?

Because he was good enough to slip through his teacher’s security into her room, and she was petty enough to punish him with this tedious task.

And the worst part? After all the effort he put into completing his task, his teacher heartlessly dumped the sand back out into the garden, wiping any trace of his hard work.

“Consider this your first warning,” his teacher said, “The next time you try to enter my room without permission, it’ll be two bowls of sand instead of one.”

Scratch that. This was the worst part, because what his teacher meant as a warning, he could only hear as a challenge, and there wasn’t a challenge he could ignore. That was what got him into trouble in the first place.

He swallowed a sigh.

Either he was going to learn to be super stealthy, or he was going to become very well acquainted with the sand in this school.

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Short Story: First Impressions

The first the twins saw of her was a limp hand hanging down from the side of the stairs leading up to the second floor of their best friend’s new home.

For the twins, who had last night’s horror movie fresh on their minds, there was only one logical reaction they could give.

They screamed at the top of their lungs and dashed out of the house.

Later, they would learn that the hand didn’t belong to a ghost, but their friend’s narcoleptic sister. However, it was too late. The first impression had already been made.

She was the ghost girl, and they were the scream twins.

Ten years later, the twins chuckled as they signed their birthday gift to her.

Happy birthday ghost girl.

From, 

Your favourite scream twins

~End~

 

Genre: slice of life

Short Story: Eye Patch Week

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.

I know this isn’t ‘normal‘, not when Uncle James is so determined to make sure I keep my black eye a secret. But it makes me wonder… what is normal?

It’s time for an experiment.

As far as I know, my black eye is the only un-normal thing about me, so if I cover it up, I’ll be normal, right?

For one week, I wear an eye patch over my black eye, even during school, because what’s the point of the experiment if I’m not consistent about it?

What I find is that rather than help me feel normal, the eye patch makes me stand out instead. People flock to me to ask about my eye, even people I’m not very familiar with, and I find myself having to lie over and over again about an eye injury that doesn’t exist. And, through it all, my black eye continues to see the past.

The eye patch week ends up becoming the most un-normal week of my life. I end the week by dumping the eye patch into the thrash so I’ll never see it again.

I might not be ‘normal’, but I have my own version of normal, and that’s good enough for me.

~End~

 

Genre: slice of life, fantasy

Word of the Day Challenge

Alternative haven for the Daily Post's mourners!

Isabel Caves

Poetry, Fiction & Photography

Shawn Writes Stuff

Not necessarily well, but here we are.

Little Wee Stories

Very short stories to delight and entertain

CANVAS & QUILL

Faristha Kanakkapillai