Speaking of Getting Paid for Writing

Schizophrenic Writer is sponsoring a flash fiction contest. 500 Word limit. Winner Receives $50.00 Deadline July 4, 2010

Every day you listen to the voices around you. On the metro, in the coffe shop, at work, at home with your family, even in your dreams. Write a story  in which an unexpected voice causes a major change in your character’s life. 

Submit your entry in the comment section of the blog.

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24 Responses to “Speaking of Getting Paid for Writing”

  1. Akashio Says:

    I’d love to enter :)! Are there more details than this post? Like how long after the deadline the prize will be announced, what you plan on doing with submissions, what claim you make on the author’s publishing rights, etc…

  2. schizophrenicwriter Says:

    Good Questions!
    Announcement of the winner will be no longer than 30 days after the close of the contest.
    Authors retain all rights to their work.
    Payment will be made by check in U.S. dollars.
    I have no plans for the entries other than to host the contest and provide writers with a venue to showcase their writing and earn a little money doing it. $

  3. Joyce Lansky Says:

    How do you enter? I’m not seeing a link or e-mail to use for sending in my submission.

  4. Joyce Lansky Says:

    Millie

    Just last night, Rick and I muddled over the two crates nailed together to make our kitchen table and debated over which bill not to pay this month. So why was I drooling over the $150 rescue mutt that stood in front of me. With her tongue hanging out of her mouth, she stared at nothing and was oblivious to me. Her belly sagged and huge nipples stuck out from her rough underside.

    A voice in my head said, “Adopt her.”

    I can’t. Not only did we not have the adoption fee, but how would we feed her? Bringing this scraggly mutt home could mean the end of our marriage. After all, we could barely feed ourselves.

    “She belongs with you.”

    Dang that voice in my head! Maybe it should simply say, “You can’t afford her.” Once again I glanced at the pitiful animal that hadn’t even noticed me.

    “She’s a Terrier mix, two-years-old, and recently had a litter. All her pups were adopted, but the poor thing remained in a Mississippi shelter for a long time.” The lady took my check without even making sure it wouldn’t bounce. I prayed it wouldn’t, but if it did, she had our address since she’d followed me home to make sure our house was suitable for a dog. Surprise, we passed.

    I slouched on the ratty sofa with “Camilla” in my arms. Not a great dog name, but it was the one someone had given her. She made no attempt to look when I said her name. Maybe I’d made a life-altering mistake. Was this mutt worthy of breaking up our five-year marriage?

    I cried when I realized what I’d done. I loved Rick, and I hoped he’d understand why I did this. While debating whether or not to return her, she licked the tear off my face and snuggled her twenty-two pounds next to me. Her tiny heart thumped on my arm.

    I jumped when the door flew open and Rick towered over me. “What is that?” His mouth twisted into a confused line as his eyebrows squeezed together.

    “The voice,” I said.

    “Voice? Tell me you didn’t adopt a rat.” He paced in front of the ragged couch and played with the skin between his eyes–like he always did when something bothered him.

    “I’m sorry. I just, just—I had to have Camilla.”

    “Camilla?” He made a face. “You know we’re broke.”

    “Yes.”

    “You really want her?”

    “Yes.”

    Rick took a deep sigh and collapsed next to me on the couch. Wrapping his arms around both of us he said, “It’s crazy, but maybe a little fur ball can give us a reason to continue in this economic nightmare.” He patted Camilla’s head. “But the name has to go.”

    We still have financial problems. Nothing has changed in that area. But somehow Millie has given us the strength to continue on. When we come home from an aggravating day at work, she lifts our moods with her unconditional love.

  5. Wilbur Ochiltree Says:

    Hi, I’m lil’ Andy. I’m nine and a half. That man over there is my daddy. This is part of our story. I tell daddy what to do and he does it. No one else can see me, only him. Do you drink and drive? If you do we may be seeing you real soon…sweet dreams!”

    *

    Lil’ Andy rode his bike, oblivious to the car that suddenly careened toward him. The car ran up over him and his bike, pulling them under it like some hungry monster, crushing him to death; The front tire was the only part of his bike that wasn’t mangled; it poked out from under the car. You could see and hear it still spinning when his dad, Josh came running up.

    Josh’s son, Andy, died almost nine months ago. At nine and a half she took his life.

    Her name was Gloria E. Jackson. A sleek new sports car was the weapon she used to kill him. It took two men to help her out. She reeked of bourbon. She didn’t even have a scratch.

    *

    “Daddy hasn’t cried in a long time, but he cried then. Daddy’s world changed. Something inside him broke. The jungles that daddy fought in a long time ago didn’t break him, but me being crushed to death did.”

    “Mommy and daddy don’t live together no more, ’cause of my death, but mostly though, ’cause of the courts; that’s what daddy says. That woman, Gloria had so much money and her daddy was a judge too. She got away with killing me. Daddy was mad! He couldn’t get along with anyone, including mommy, so that’s why they don’t live together no more.”

    *

    Josh stalked her for months, taking notes of her routines and schedules. He knew she was a creature of habit.

    *

    “I told him this morning was the right time, and you know, daddy didn’t doubt me. He headed right out to set that trip wire.”

    “Daddy needed to be sure it would only be in place to trip her, no one else. He didn’t wanna hurt anyone else; but he would if he had to.”

    *

    Josh got into position and waited.

    He heard her scream and saw her fall over the edge. He stood and strolled down the path hand in hand with lil’ Andy.

    He looked up at the cliff, then back to her. “A long fall,” he said, in no particular hurry.

    “I was jogging and tripped…” she winced, looked up, her eyes pleaded.

    He shrugged off his pack. He squatted and studied her.

    *

    Lil’ Andy watched him. “What’cha gonna do, daddy?”

    *

    “You know who I am and why I’m here.” He grasped his hunting knife, knelt beside her, looked into her horrified eyes. He saw the flicker of recognition.

    “No! Ple…!”

    Josh put a hand over her mouth and stabbed her till he had no more strength left. He lowered his head; his shoulders trembled.

    *

    Lil’ Andy smiled, “Thank you, daddy.”

  6. Aja Says:

    Kerry’s supposed to be back at home in her bed, not stuck riding back and forth on the Staten Island ferry for three hours; but it was either this or sleeping at JFK, pillowing her head on her backpack and listening to the bitter noise from all the other people who had their flights overbooked too.

    So ferry it is. She’s watching the moon set behind the Statue of Liberty, listening to some indie band on her ipod while the crack addict down the row fidgets and mumbles his way through withdrawal. It would be one of those quintessential New York moments, half-surreal, half-sublime, except for how the ferry smells like urine and the band sounds like Garbage threw up all over Joy Division with totally unsexy results. She doesn’t even know how this band got on her ipod; 34,000 songs and only a handful mean anything, anyway. She hits the shuffle button and gets some hidden track she must have bootlegged—somebody recorded all 13 minutes and 26 seconds. Obstinately she lets the silence stretch on, watching the counter arrow move slowly towards the right. How much silence on one track? Five minutes? Eight? How long before whoever listened to the cd the first time gave up and hit fast forward?

    “You’ll never get over her, will you?”

    The voice is behind her, raised over the engines and crying babies and afflicted homeless–all typical 5 am sounds. This one isn’t. Kerry pulls off her earplugs and unmuffles the world.

    “I gave you six months,” the voice says. “Six months to get over it and make a decision, but you never will. You want to keep her and me and everyone around you in limbo.”

    The counter moves toward the three minute mark.

    “It doesn’t matter,” the voice behind her says. Kerry wants to turn around. “You said you’d know. No–no, did I need to tell you that I wanted an answer? Did I need to remind you like you were a kid? We set a deadline. We said six months. You can’t just rob someone of that much time and then say, ‘sorry, I don’t have a decision.’ You know what I could have done? I could have moved to Sydney. I could have dated Amy. I could have come out to my grandfather before he died. You know why I didn’t? I was waiting for you.”

    Kerry turns around.

    The girl has pink hair, long pink spirals all down her back. She’s wearing a denim jacket, the kind the Broadway roadies wear. Next To Normal.

    “You don’t get to say ‘wait longer’,” she says. “This is it. I’m getting on the plane today.”

    In the silence that follows Kerry takes a breath. She holds it until she hears the girl say goodbye.

    Then she stands up. Walks over and sits down.

    Says, “So. You flying out of JFK?”

  7. Aja Says:

    I apologize for this but I’d like to resubmit my contest entry! There is a word change I needed to make. Please delete or disregard my previous comment! Thank you!

    _______

    Kerry’s supposed to be back at home in her bed, not stuck riding back and forth on the Staten Island ferry for three hours; but it was either this or sleeping at JFK, pillowing her head on her backpack and listening to the bitter noise from all the other people who had their flights overbooked too.

    So ferry it is. She’s watching the moon set behind the Statue of Liberty, listening to some indie band on her ipod while the crack addict down the row fidgets and mumbles his way through withdrawal. It would be one of those quintessential New York moments, half-surreal, half-sublime, except for how the ferry smells like urine and the band sounds like Garbage threw up all over Joy Division with totally unsexy results. She doesn’t even know how this band got on her ipod; 34,000 songs and only a handful mean anything, anyway. She hits the shuffle button and gets some hidden track she must have bootlegged—somebody recorded all 13 minutes and 26 seconds. Obstinately she lets the silence stretch on, watching the counter arrow move slowly towards the right. How much silence on one track? Five minutes? Eight? How long before whoever listened to the cd the first time gave up and hit fast forward?

    “You’ll never get over her, will you?”

    The voice is behind her, raised over the engines and crying babies and chattering homeless–all typical 5 am sounds. This one isn’t. Kerry pulls off her earplugs and unmuffles the world.

    “I gave you six months,” the voice says. “Six months to get over it and make a decision, but you never will. You want to keep her and me and everyone around you in limbo.”

    The counter moves toward the three minute mark.

    “It doesn’t matter,” the voice behind her says. Kerry wants to turn around. “You said you’d know. No–no, did I need to tell you that I wanted an answer? Did I need to remind you like you were a kid? We set a deadline. We said six months. You can’t just rob someone of that much time and then say, ‘sorry, I don’t have a decision.’ You know what I could have done? I could have moved to Sydney. I could have dated Amy. I could have come out to my grandfather before he died. You know why I didn’t? I was waiting for you.”

    Kerry turns around.

    The girl has pink hair, long pink spirals all down her back. She’s wearing a denim jacket, the kind the Broadway roadies wear. Next To Normal.

    “You don’t get to say ‘wait longer’,” she says. “This is it. I’m getting on the plane today.”

    In the silence that follows Kerry takes a breath. She holds it until she hears the girl say goodbye.

    Then she stands up. Walks over and sits down.

    Says, “So. You flying out of JFK?”

  8. JK Coate Says:

    Four dollars and forty-six cents.

    For all that these box cutters are going to alter things irreparably, it’s a surprisingly small price to pay. She wonders if it’s a sign.

    Mallory crouches behind the dumpster soundlessly, sobbing through her teeth. She rips the package open with her nails. Slides and clicks the razor blade into position.

    She’s alone, she’s messed up big time, and in a few moments, it won’t matter anymore. The scars from her cesarean still ache with raw freshness, and her parents, states away, aren’t even aware of anything other than her college bliss. Knowing nothing of David. Or the baby. Or the fact that she’s arranging the blade so delicately over the whiteness of her wrist, like the needle above a record.

    It won’t matter. It won’t matter. So very soon, it just won’t matter when…

    Her hand is shaking. Cursing, Mal takes a little breath to steady herself. Looks up.

    City streets around her, damp asphalt beneath her knees and crumpled paper, neon signs that flicker in the twilight haze. She can see one now, for a restaurant, it says “DON’T GO HUNGRY”.

    But the later bit is blinked out, you see. Mal squints at the flickering green.

    DON’T.

    Flicker.

    DON’T.

    A single voice. So meaningless. So empty. Nothing in the grand scheme of things, it’s a sign, a stupid sign, not the kind she wants, not the human contact she so desperately craves. It’s a coincidence. Nothing more.

    But still. But still. Under its light, she can’t do more than scratch herself.

    Choking, Mallory hurls the blade away. Lets her body heave with gasping, mewling cries. Draws her legs to her chest and rests her face there, until the knees of her jeans are soaked in tears. She can’t even commit suicide properly. How stupid, how utterly worthless, how…

    The sign flickers above her. DON’T.

    DON’T.

  9. Thomas Mollica Says:

    Swallowing the last forkful of his Kung Pao chicken, Tony Clark moved the empty plate next to the finished bowl of egg drop soup and waved to the server. Within seconds the waiter was at the table placing the check along with a wrapped fortune cookie in front of Tony.
    “You want more? Another Coca Cola?”
    “No, I’m good,” Tony answered and paid.
    Opening up the cookie he pulled out the fortune. Looking under his brown horn-rimmed glasses Tony rubbed his emerald green eyes then read the tiny writing. “Your elbow is a place for happiness.” Scratching his head and mussing his prematurely graying, short black hair, he read the fortune again and thought. What does that mean?
    Next to him a wrinkled Chinese man with wispy white hair and a long growth of hair on his chin rose and stepped to Tony’s table.
    “I believe I have your fortune cookie,” the old man said and handed Tony a cookie still in the plastic wrapping.
    “No, no. I had one,” Tony answered.
    The Chinese man smiled, bowed and moved away with surprising quickness.
    Okay, I can eat another cookie. One thing Tony never had to worry about was gaining weight. No matter how much he ate, his tall, thin frame stayed the same. He took apart the delicate cookie and read his second fortune. “Some have a twin.” Another weird fortune, Tony thought. A twin? Well I was adopted.
    Tony stood, put on his Chicago Cubs ball cap and walked to the exit by the indoor waterfall.

    Tommy Dawson eyed the elderly Chinese man at the table next to him shoveling vegetables and rice into his mouth with chopsticks. The old man was eating so fast he was getting food in the paltry growth of hair extending from his chin. Tommy took the last bite of his Kung Pao chicken and washed it down with a swallow of Coke. Drinking the final quarter inch of broth that remained on the bottom of his egg drop soup he moved the cup too fast and soup splashed on his face. His brown horn rim glasses stopped most of the spatter but a drop landed in his emerald green eye.
    Wiping his eye with the napkin he saw the old Chinese man stand and with a sudden quickness scamper to Tommy’s table.
    “Your fortune cookie,” the Chinese man said, looked at Tommy, bowed and walked out of the restaurant.
    Odd, Tommy thought, stood, stretching his tall, thin body that had been cramped in the small booth, wiped his glasses and held them up to the light to see if they were clean. Sitting back down he opened the wrapped cookie and read. “Some have a twin.”
    Huh, Tommy thought. Strange fortune. A twin? Well I was adopted.
    After paying his bill Tommy stood, put on his Chicago Cubs ball cap over his short black hair that was prematurely graying on the sides and walked to the exit by the indoor waterfall.

  10. Akashio Says:

    “Lightheaded” by Kaston Griffin

    That day, the day before the worst day, she’d bought me balloons. Against the warm, orange sun, dipping behind shadow-black mountains, they stained fragments of the sky above me deep green, peach, and maroon. The translucent rubber looked almost frosty, like church-windows tugging against my small, pudgy fingers. I remember asking for ice cream or something cold, maybe shaved-ice. With a sincere and practiced motherly smile, her face half-shadowed, she told me that we’d missed our chance and that it was too late now. But, she continued, it was okay because we’d had been out having more than our share of fun.

    The sun slipped beyond the horizon as we’d gotten home and she tucked me into bed, my balloons huddled in the dark, floating together by my closet, all black. In the morning, between my father’s crying, the red waling of ambulances, the shuffling of feet and papers, and the feel of cheap, ribbed waiting chairs, I learned the word ‘apnea’ for the first time. And visiting her in her silent hospital room, I learned the meaning behind a word I’d thought, up until then, was obvious: ‘dead-weight.’

    For days, every morning and evening I untied the balloons at their base and slowly let out the air. I pictured her at the park and listened to her exhale.

  11. Wendy Hayworth Says:

    My story came out in a poetic format. Would that still work?

  12. schizophrenicwriter Says:

    Yes.

  13. Nalea J. Ko Says:

    Everyday for weeks it was the same. Before the sun peeked through her dusty blinds, she awoke to children screeching.

    A new kid seemed to sprout up in this God damned building everyday, Ms. Peale thought. They seemed to be multiplying like rats in her apartment building of 50 years.

    “There must be enough brats upstairs to fill three schools,” she thought, limping with a cane to fix her oatmeal breakfast.

    Ms. Peale would drag herself upstairs and whop them with her cane if her damn feet weren’t turning inward from her post-polio ailments. But going upstairs would never happen.

    She hadn’t been outside her apartment for years, and survived by the charity of volunteers.

    Ms. Peale was gnashing clumps of oatmeal when a thumping noise from upstairs made her jump.

    “What is this, a damn basketball court?” she screamed when the bouncing ball upstairs suddenly stopped.

    “That’s it! I’m callin’ that useless Mexican!” she screamed to herself. That “Mexican” was the apartment manager, Carlos. He had told her he was El Salvadorian and not Mexican. But to her, they were all the same.

    “Karlo, this is Ms. Peale,” she screeched into the phone receiver.

    “Those kids are at it again, trying to kill me!” she pleaded, asking him to hear the upstairs racket for himself. He reluctantly agreed to visit her apartment.

    Ms. Peale was already looking through the peephole when he raised his hand to knock on the door. She swung open the door.

    “Hi, miss. You have problem again?” Carlos said.

    “What?!? Do I have a problem? Is that how you talk to a lady?” she said tightening her robe in case he stole a peek at her 81-year-old sagging frame. She knew how “those men” leered at white women.

    “Those damn kids have ruined what’s left of my life!” she said.

    “Miss. Nobody is upstairs. Like I tell you, ‘cuz of the fire,” he said.

    “Fire?” she said pulling her robe tighter.

    Just then she heard the children run down the hallway, bouncing a ball.

    “There!” she said. “That noise. Those friggin’ brats!”

    “Ms. Peale,” he began. “No one is there. The ninos—”

    “Speak English!” she interrupted.

    “The kids, they dead now!” he said glaring at her. “’Cuz of the fire. They dead for a year!”

    She remembered now. About a year ago she was evacuated from the building. But did anyone die?

    “Dead?” she asked, still hearing small footsteps upstairs. He nodded as she began to lose consciousness. Her cane wobbled. Ms. Peale fell with a heavy thump to the floor.

    Carlos, his wife and six children were watching when Ms. Peale was whizzed off in ambulance. An EMS tech said it was probably a heart attack.

    “She’ll be gone forever, maybe,” he said speaking in Spanish to his wife.

    His wife peered up at his face that had taken on an ominous glow.

    “Do we hafta play upstairs still, papi?” said his eldest child, gripping a basketball.

    “We’ll see,” Carlos said.

  14. Ron Abreu Says:

    Change ?

    A rich man wakes up prepared to face the day as the day is always the same. Bound by habitual nature he walks the road he has walked for years now. As he walks he watches his feet, only looking up when he has to cross the street. The people on this road are as routed in their path as he. No one says hello, no one seeks to greet.
    He walks the world ignorant of what change could bring. Until the day it meets him face to face.

    As he walked he heard a voice, a voice so low and very weak, “Change?” it said.

    He turned to face, lifting his eyes for the first time in many days. There stood a man whose clothes were tattered and warn. His face was grizzled and his eyes were a thousand years gone.

    The voice spoke again, “Change?”

    The man, whose road had been set for years, reached into his pocket and pulled out all of his money. As he handed it to the man with the tattered clothes he replied, “Okay.”

    A rich man wakes now not with money but with soul. He is prepared to face a different day from all the ones before. He walks the same road but follows a different path. He says hello to all those who fail to lift their head.

  15. Wendy Hayworth Says:

    The Girl in the Mirror

    Look at you. You’re pathetic!
    I know.
    You’re gonna need more than a salad to deal with your extra baggage!
    I hate myself.
    Meet Mr. Finger!
    I was thin. I was weak. I was pathetic.

    Try it. It’ll make all the pain go away.
    I shouldn’t.
    Just inhale, deeply now.
    This is wrong.
    That’s a good girl.
    I was hooked. I was weak. I was pathetic.

    Everyone’s doing it.
    But….
    Don’t worry about it.
    It hurts.
    It’ll start to feel good.
    I was unclean. I was weak. I was pathetic.

    Everyone laughed at me behind my back. I knew they did. Did I do anything about it? Of course not. I was nothing; at times I felt hardly human. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was completely lost to myself.
    In my mind there was only one solution. My life simply wasn’t worth living. I would have to take matters into my own hands; better late than never.

    For the first time in years, I had complete control. The knife, clenched in my right hand, would decide it all.
    In a slight daze, I glanced at the mirror. I was surprised to see a stranger staring back at me. She too had a knife clutched in her right hand. She struck me as familiar but I couldn’t seem place her.
    Her pale skin, stretched over her small frame, was coated with bruises and faint scars. Her brown hair was a mess; clumsily parted in an attempt to cover her strange eyes. I say strange because her eyes didn’t seem to belong to her; they were so distant, but at the same time, such a bright blue. It was almost as if something inside her was fighting to get out. Even more shocking, she was crying.
    With shaking hands she reached out, trying to grasp something that wasn’t there. My heart ached for the poor girl. She seemed to be only a shadow of her former self. Tenderly she touched her own face.
    “It’s not too late.” Her lips didn’t move but I knew that it was the girl who had spoken.
    I realized that my own fingertips were wet from her tears.
    Wait- My tears.
    The knife slipped out of my hand and fell to the floor.
    The battered girl in the mirror was me. Those strange eyes were mine. I was the one reaching for something that wasn’t there. My heart ached for me. The words…
    I fell to my knees.
    The words weren’t mine.

  16. Cayla Garfield Says:

    It’s 6am. I’m freezing and worried
    Grandpa has cancer
    Another slit of my wrists.

    A day at school
    I’m questioned
    Questioned as to why I don’t speak.

    My team mates make fun of lesbians
    I rebel.
    I haven’t told them I’m a bisexual.

    I’m hurt and I’m weak
    I’m not a smart girl
    I don’t deserve this life.

    A new day. 6am
    Grandma has cancer
    Slit my wrists, almost too deep.

    I try to feel better, it only makes it worse
    Its pathetic, I wrote a list of why I should or should not die.
    Life’s in my hands, the list is favored in death.

    Look in the mirror
    I’m depressed
    I’m a mess.

    I touch the blade
    My only friend
    Tonight we dance again.

    The final day. 6am
    Sore and tired
    I have no friends

    Death is a wish
    Pain is my friend
    I know it’s the end.

    I go to school
    I say goodbye to people I thought I knew
    They question me, but I know that I’m through.

    I get home and I type a letter to my parents
    I tell them goodbye,
    Then I slit both wrists

    I feel light headed
    Goodbye world
    Peaceful sleep.

  17. Shelby Myers Says:

    My Worst Enemy

    I have to endure her torture
    every single day,
    I hate her.
    She screams insults,
    That creep inside my brain,
    And make it hard to get out of bed.
    She says things like,
    “You’re stupid!” and
    “You’re ugly!”
    I can usually comfort myself with a comeback,
    But she knows me too well.
    She knows exactly what to say now,
    She knows the things
    I have been tricked into believing.
    “You’re pathetic.
    You make too many mistakes.
    You’re a freak.
    You’re not even close to perfect,
    And you never will be.”
    The insults race towards me,
    like a waterfall.
    I am drowning in them.
    “No one wants to be around you when you’re sad;
    Don’t forget to plaster on that faux smile.”
    That one really hurts,
    But I know the one coming.
    The finishing, final blow is the worst.
    This is her favorite one to say.
    “You are not good enough.”
    My insides twist up in to knots.
    I wish I could prove her wrong.
    “You are not good enough.”
    I honestly never have any response to this one.
    “You are not good enough.”
    I will her to stop.
    She is screaming now!
    “You are not good enough…
    You’re not good enough for anyone.”
    She is a monster.
    I want so badly to run away from her.
    “You’re not good enough for yourself, either.”
    I cannot run.
    I try to forget the things she says.
    All I can do is walk away,
    from the mirror,
    She lives there.
    She is me.
    I am her.
    I am the monster.
    The worst part is that
    I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be able to
    Shut that part of me up for good.
    I honestly don’t know
    why I cannot stop trying to destroy myself.
    I am my own worst enemy.

  18. amandacrossley Says:

    The new room:

    I’m startled awake, its dark and for a moment I am confused. In the bed below I hear my sister crying, calling my name, it’s the third time this week. Making as little noise as possible I climb down out of the top bunk and get under the covers with her. Jenny is six and I can’t remember when the night mares started. Her little body is warm but she’s shaking, large tears streak her face. Gently I push on her shoulder whispering “it’s okay Jenny, I’m here, wake up.”
    She gasps as she wakes, looking quickly around the room. She doesn’t know where she is, we moved just a few weeks ago. The room is large and there is a door that must stay shut that leads to the attic on the far side. I can see the fear in her eyes. I pet her hair whispering “it’s okay you were dreaming, was it the bad men again?” I wonder why of all the things to be afraid of she has chosen this. My ten year old mind leans more towards monsters but my sister doesn’t fear things that are not real. She nods in the dim light, eyes fixed on the shadows moving on the wall.
    This house is old and has big windows. At night strange shadows sprawl across the room tricking us. “I was in the house but everyone was gone, you left me behind.” She says moving closer to me. I touch her hand; her fingers are wound tightly around the pillow case, her thumb moist. “I’m here,” I say settling in, “We could never leave you behind.” I can feel her small body relax and I know that my words have calmed her. I lay awake a little longer listening to her breath. The deep sound I know means she is dreaming again but this time of not being left behind, not of men stealing her and us forgetting. I want to believe my mother when she says that we will stay here, that things will be better this time. I want to tell my sister that she doesn’t have to worry because there will be no more leaving, but I don’t know these things. I can’t make her forget all the times before. I can’t be a big enough sister to protect her. I only know that my sister cries in the night and no one knows it but me.

  19. Cayla Garfield Says:

    Can you possibly pick a 2nd and 3rd place ‘winner’? Not for a prize, just for fun? (:

  20. schizophrenicwriter Says:

    Possibly.

  21. Chanelle Says:

    Thirteen year old Louisa Paulson was seated with her mother, and step father. They were gathered around a small wooden carved table, for tea, and biscuits and they were seated under an apple tree.

    Louisa’s mother had come down with a flu the week before, and they had called for a doctor. Louisa’s mother had gotten better, so her step father had decided that it was time for some air.

    Her mother and her step father chatted away, and laughed heartedly, and Louisa was quiet.

    She looked at her step father and smiled, for he had the most childish eyes she had ever seen.

    Her mother was wearing a big straw hat, and her yellow head was hardly visible, and neither were her pale blue eyes.

    Louisa’s step father stood up, and flexed his muscles; he looked up, and watched the bright sun shine.

    ‘Awfully lovely love’, said her mother.

    ‘I do believe so, it shines so brightly’, he replied.

    ‘Louisa’, began her mother.

    ‘Yes mama’, Louisa answered.

    ‘Would you care for an apple’, her mother finished.

    ‘No thank you mama, I’m quite content with my tea, and biscuits’, Louisa answered politely.

    ‘All right love, suit yourself, but I crave one’, her mother said.

    Louisa’s step father sat up, and reached for an apple, he handed his wife one, and got himself another.

    ‘Thank you’, she said, and he answered with a simple smile.

    Louisa looked behind her mother and step father, she was gazing brightly at the beautiful scenery that they were seated in.

    The prairie stretched out through the hills, Louisa could see the lake, and the reflection of the sun in it.

    She looked across the lake, and spotted five bunnies, she watched ad the searched for food until they were content, and sure. She was the little lilies, and lavenders, and the black and yellow bees seated on them, and she smiled heartedly.

    ‘Mama’, she said.

    ‘Yes love’, her mother answered.

    ‘Isn’t the prairie awfully lovely’, she asked.

    ‘Certainly love, it is lovely’.

    When Louisa and her family had finished with their tea, and it was almost evening, they trekked back to their little red farmhouse.

    Louisa’s mother was seated under an umbrella on the floor outside, and Louisa’ and her step father had decided that it was time for the eggs.

    Louisa had worn her little red rain boots, and was ready for the eggs.

    ‘Louisa, it’s time, come dear’, her father called.

    Louisa hurried outside, and helped her step father get the eggs, when they had finished, it was time for Louisa to check the cows.

    ‘You sure you’ll be okay love’, her father asked.

    ‘Yes, I’ll be quite alright’, she replied.

    ‘Okay dear hurry back’, he said.

    Louisa hurried along, she decided to not only check the cows, but to check all animals.

    SHe checked the Chickens, Roosters, Sheep, Goats, Cows, and also the horses that her father owned, she had smuggled juicy apples for them.

    Since there were only two-Thunder, and Pixie- Louisa had no trouble.

    ‘Hello Pixie dear’, she said as she stroked the white tame horse, she fed pixie an apple, and went towards Thunder.

    ‘Oh, Thunder love, you’re quite big’, she said as she kissed the young mustangs muzzle, the horse brushed up against her.

    Louisa decided that it was time for her to take a ride, she opened the gate, and pulled Pixie out.

    They strolled silently for a second, and then when Louisa decided that they were far enough from trouble, Louisa and Pixie rode off.

    They rode for minutes and then more minutes, Louisa looked up to the sky, and watched the stars, the sun had set already, and she’d missed it.

    Louisa motioned Pixie to turn around, but Pixe did not turn.

    She rubbed the horse, but it refused, Louisa bent forward, and looked at the ground.

    On the ground slitthering there was a green rattle snake.

    Louisa screamed so loud that she heard her voice echo in the prairie, under her she could feel Pixie shake, and she smaked the horse to move.

    The horse yelped, and prepaired to stomp the snake.

    Louisa, and Pixie went forward, and before she knew it, Pixie had dumped her on the ground and went on without her.

    Louisa looked around, everything was pitch black, she was scared.

    ‘Pixie’, she yelled. ‘Pixie’!

    Louisa got up, and rubbed her buttox, she was hurt.

    ‘Pixie’, she yelled again, and she fell.

    She could hear the snake slitther, and hiss.

    ‘Pixie’, she yelled again, but there was no Pixie.

    There was another sound in the area, and Louisa feared that it was another snake; she stepped back, and almost tripped herself.

    Sudden there was a loud stomp, and suddenly in front of Louisa was a black shiny Mustang, it stomped louder, and louder, until Louisa could not hear the slitther again.

    The horse stood mighty proud in fron of Louisa, and she was certain it would stomp her too.

    But instead the horse neighed, and ran away.

    Louisa, who was now filled with shock, and joy trekked her way home, she thought about the horse and how it looked alot like Mustang, it could’ve been his mother, maybe not.

    Louisa would definatley look for the horse, and she would definatley tell her step father.

    The horse could not hide from her, this was her home, her land, and her special place.

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