Wednesday, 31 January 2018

My Monthly Challenge: January

This month I set myself the challenge to write very short stories within a 30 minute time limit using daily writing prompts. I am sad to say I failed this challenge pretty quickly. I didn't get 31 short stories written. I didn't even get close. Here are the 10 stories I wrote:

1. Unopened.

People say some doors are best left unopened. I wish I had listened to that warning. Things were so much simpler before I knew the truth. Now I can’t even look at my girlfriend the same way. She’s not the same beautiful tom boy I’d grown to love. The electric blue streaks running through her wavy brown hair that I used to love playing with, I can’t even bring myself to touch. Her glistening green eyes that used to resemble pools of emeralds, now remind me of a slippery serpent holding back her lies. The grunge clothing she wears that scream “I don’t give a fuck” is just a front to hide who she really is. She was the perfect girl. I thought she was the perfect girl. But no, I was wrong. Why did I have to open that door? A woman’s bedroom is a sacred place. A sacred place where they hide their deceit. It seemed so innocent at the time. Just a bit of harmless fun that would lead us to her bedroom. I was caught up in the moment. Unprepared for what I was to face when I opened that door. Pink. Everywhere. Hot pink, baby pink. Pink walls, curtains, carpet. Little fluffy pink cushions polluting her bed. And the teddy bears. Who could forget the teddy bears. They were pink as well. Maybe I could’ve handled all the pink had it not been for the posters stuck to her wardrobe. “How to be a better Barbie.” “Unleash your inner Barbie.” “You’re a Barbie girl and this is YOUR material world!” Then I saw it; the make-up, the clothes, the shoes! She was a closeted Barbie wannabe. I couldn’t believe it. My perfect tom boy had a deep dark desire to be Barbie. Suddenly everything I knew about her seemed a lie. Now I sit alone in my apartment. My cold, dark, very not pink apartment, wondering how I can ever be with someone like her. I don’t even know her. Things were so much simpler. I guess some doors really are best left unopened.

2. CD.

I decided it was time to get my life together and be more organised. I’m twenty-nine and just lost yet another boyfriend. My life is a total mess. A spiralling web of chaos. I’ll never be able to hold onto anybody until I get my together. But how does one begin to get their life in order? I guess I could start by decluttering that old cupboard. I never use anything in there anyway. The door is even a little stuck, it hardly ever gets opened. Look at it, so much junk. A mess just like my life. Why do I even hold onto all this crap? A deck of cards with six cards missing. A giant foam flower. A stack of old time detective novels I’ve never bothered to read. These all seem like random objects with no sentimental value at all but with each one I hold in my hands, memories come flooding back. The deck of cards from when me and John went camping and our house of cards accidentally caught fire resulting in the top six cards being burnt to a crisp. The giant foam flower that Simon had won for me on our second date to the carnival. The stack of old time detective novels that Jack loved to read and gave to me when I expressed an interest in them. These things were memories from all the loves I’d had and lost. I pull the rubbish bin closer to me and hold the deck of cards close to my chest. It’s time to let go. Dropping the cards into the bin takes a weight of my shoulders. Next the flower and the books, with each item I feel myself getting lighter. It almost becomes easy. Before long the cupboard is empty except for one item. A small CD. I found it on the top shelf covered in dust. I let myself slide down the wall to the ground, holding it in my hands. Wiping the dust away I see the words “To Anna, love William.” This item doesn’t just bring back memories, it also brings back pain. William; my first love. The one where it all went wrong. My one that got away. I thought he was it, the one. I thought we were happy. The day we broke up he gave me this gift. Hoping it would be enough to mend the pain when he told me he’d been seeing someone else. “How could it?” I thought. It was just a CD. He begged me to put it in my computer and see what was on it but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead I threw in my cupboard and told him to get out. Told him I never wanted to see him again. I was hurting. He obeyed my wishes and left. But I wish he had stayed. If he had stayed he would still alive today. On his way home from my house a speeding 'driver ran a red light and hit William as he crossed the road. He died instantly. In the aftermath of his passing, I had completely forgotten all about the CD. It’s been six years since that day, maybe it’s time I actually find out what is on it. What did William put on here that he thought could make me forgive his betrayal? I insert it into my computers CD drive and wait while the file loads. The moment I see what he left for me, my eyes begin to fill with tears. “Oh William...” I whisper.

3. No more staples.

“I am so sorry if this hurts but the staples have been left in longer than they should have been.” the midwife remarked looking down at the eleven staples still holding together her young patience body. She very gently began pulling the staples out one by one. “I looked over your hospital notes and there is no mention of you having staples at all.” she continued.
“I didn’t even know I had them until I removed the dressing covering them the other day. No one told me.” the patient replied.
“Well they really shouldn’t have been in any longer than a week. It’s amazing that after two weeks, your skin hasn’t started to heal over the staples.” the midwife stated as she pulled the final staple out. “There, no more staples.” she added as she helped her patient up off the bed. “I will have to inform my boss of what has happened though and an investigation will be launched to find out why there was no record of your staples.”
“That is fine, I’m just happy to finally have them out! They were starting to get really itchy.” the patient said, rubbing the wound through her jeans.

4. Buy Milk.

Take dog to the vets, check. Take kids to karate, check. Order flowers for mother-in-laws birthday, check. Buy milk, uncheck. “Saved the easiest task for last” I say aloud to myself as I start up the car. The corner store isn’t too far from our house so easy to swing passed on my way home. We live in a quiet little suburban town where not a whole lot happens. Anything that does happen however is always gossiped about by Fran, an old crow of a woman who owns the corner store. She means well, bless her heart but she doesn’t know when to keep her mouth shut. Mind you, I think she does it because it keeps people in her store longer. She doesn’t have anyone really. Husband died a few years ago and they never had any children. All she has is the customers in her store. I can understand her filling the void with idle gossip to fight off loneliness. Still, it’s not nice when you know she has dirt on you. Half the town will hear about it. Of course everyone acts like they haven’t heard anything but you can always tell when someone knows your embarrassing laundry. I don’t know what the town will be like the day Fran passes on. I imagine everybody will attend her funeral. Pay their respects to the woman who told everyone their secrets. If you think about it, she’s not a very nice person but yet we all like her. “Why?” I think to myself as I pull up outside the store. Fran is outside sweeping the footpath. She looks up and smiles fondly as we lock eyes. As I get out my car she hurriedly shuffles over to me.
“You’ll never guess what I’ve heard” she starts.

5. Leftovers.

Thursday night, leftovers night. “What concoctions can I create tonight?” I wonder as I begin raiding the fridge. Hmm, tomato and basil pasta from Monday with a couple of rice balls leftover from the curry on Tuesday and a slice of the meatloaf from last night. That sounds like a truly horrible combination but I’m gonna love it. I really do look forward to leftovers night. I think I look forward to it more than take away Fridays and Date Night Saturdays where me and the Mrs go out to all the swankiest restaurants. Sunday roasts are always good but nothing quite beats leftovers night. I like being creative with the meals we never quite finished. My wife isn’t a fan of leftovers night like I am. She usually chooses to have a few slices of toast and a cup of soup for dinner. I think she’s missing out. One day I’ll get her to come around to my way of thinking, but not tonight.

6. My Charger

Amber’s phone buzzed loudly on her desk. A message from Brittany flashed across the screen
“Oi I left my charger at yours. Can u bring it to skool 2moz?” Amber rolled her eyes and let out an exasperated sigh as she began thumbing her response.
“Cant soz. Cadence n I r skippin skool to go see a concert.” she paused before she hit send. They hadn’t invited Brittany to the concert and she might flip out if she finds out about it. She’ll probably snitch to the teacher as well. She quickly clears most of the message and begins again.
“Cant soz, feelin sik. Will give ur charger to my sis Delilah 2 take 2 skool. K?” smiling at the updated message, Amber hits send and places her phone back down on her desk.
“Delilah!” she yells. Down the corridor she can hear the sound of a door opening and foot prints thumping towards her room. Delilah pushes the door open and stands looking unamused in the doorway.
“What?” she groans
“Cadence and I are going to art exhibit tomorrow so get some inspiration for a class assignment we’ve got and we haven’t invited Brittany to come with us as she just doesn’t get art. She wants me to bring her phone charger to school tomorrow so I’ve just lied and told her I’m sick and that you’ll bring her charger in for me. So yeah, give her this will ya?” Amber replied, throwing the charger at her sister.

7. Cable

“Excuse me miss, have you seen my dog? He broke off his leash chasing a squirrel.”
“No, I’m sorry. I haven’t seen any dogs on loose. What does he look like?”
“He’s brown and scruffy. His name is Cable.”
“Cable? That’s an unusual name for dog. Why did you name him that?”
“Oh! Well when he was a puppy, he wouldn’t leave my tv cables alone. He liked to try and chew on them. I was worried he was going to electrocute himself. Every time I see him chewing on them I’d scream out cables and after a while he just assumed that was his name and it just stuck.”
“That is such a cute story. He sounds like such a mischievous dog.”
“Oh he is! He still likes to chew on cables if he can reach them.”
“Really? Because I passed an open switchboard box just down the path. That could be a good place to try and find your dog. There were plenty of cables for him to sink his teeth into.”
“Oh shit! Thank you for letting me know. Here’s hoping he doesn’t cause any damage. It was nice to meet you.”
“Likewise. Maybe I could come meet Cable sometime too?”
“Yeah of course!”
“Cool, here’s my number. I’m Trish”

8. All gone.

Ash and dust fell slowly to the ground like little snowflakes of sorrow. The tragic result of mass destruction. Everything was gone. Burnt to a crisp. Drake stood a broken man, staring at what was once his world. A single tear dropped from his sea green eyes and soaked into poorly groomed brown beard. The world had been at war for years now but finally it had caught up to his home town. He had been on his way home from work when the bombs started falling. He had been spared but his home had not. He stood beside his car, staring at the wreckage that used to be his home. His girlfriend Trish had the day off work today. Drake had no idea if she and their dog Cable had been inside the house when it was destroyed. He prayed they weren’t. He tried to call her but there was no signal to dial out. He slipped his phone back into his pocket and walked towards to pile of rubble that stood in place of his home.

9. Goals.

12:02am. January 1st. 2018. Trish sat alone at her pristine white desk, illuminated by nothing more than her bright pink desk lamp. A pink notepad sat in front her and a fuzzy pink pen in her hand. It was another new years eve that she was spending by herself. No family, friends or a boyfriend to bring it in with. On her notepad read the words “Goals for 2018!” She was fulfilling her annual tradition of writing out her new years resolutions after the stroke of midnight. Usually she could fill her notepad with resolutions but this year the list was blank. Her heart was heavy. She thought this year she’d finally be able to bring the new year in with someone but not long after he’d seen her bedroom, he broke up with her. She loved the colour pink so much and Barbie had been her role model since she was a little girl so it was only natural for her to fill her room with the things she loved so much. But every time anyone saw her bedroom, they ran for the hills, laughing at her and calling her childish. With a tear in her eye, she wrote down her first goal for the year.
‘Remove all Pink and Barbie from my life.’ She looked at what she wrote and let out a sigh of sadness. “It’s time to give up who I am and become someone new.” she whispered to herself.

10. Exercise

Every year I make the same new years resolutions. Exercise more. Get Fit. Don’t be a fat slob any more. I start the year off so full of optimism and motivation but two weeks later I’m back to my old self. Sitting in front of my computer, stuffing my face with delicious chocolate biscuits, neglecting my health once again. I scroll through Pinterest, pinning hundreds of workout regimes but never actually trying any of them. I create a list of fitness clothes I want to buy from Amazon, but they sit in my basket, saved for a later date. I see my friends posting statuses on Facebook of them smashing their exercise goals and oh how I envy them. How I want to be like them. No! I won’t let this year be the same! I’m putting down the biscuits and lacing up my trainers. It’s time to exercise.  


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