Tag Archives: short story


Her front yard was always scattered with blossoms from the neighbors tree. They often offered to rake them up for her, but she always declined. It was like seeing a sea of white and pink, she told me. It was like being in a dream.

Her eyes were always lidded and I think that was her way of living in a half-dream state. The real world was never really her friend. I’m not sure if I really ever was, either.

I remember driving up to the vast white yard, her front door wide open. I found her sleeping in the filed of blossoms; she had been laid out like an angel. I got her back inside but she never seemed to wake up. She was half-asleep. Like always.

It was surprise, of course, but somehow not very surprising at all. She looked just like she always did, like a sleeping angel on the ground, surrounded by her white flower petals. I could feel my chest constrict when I saw her as though I knew before I even touched her. Before I saw the blue tint to her lips, or how her skin was pale, so pale.

The tears took a while to come. So did any emotion, really.

The ambulance was silent when it rolled to a stop. The whole day was like a silent film. I wanted to change the channel but I couldn’t. I stayed seated by the snow angel of blossoms when people entered and exited the house.

They said they had found an empty pill bottle.

I just wish she would wake up. I’ve always been waiting for her to wake up.

Wake up, I pleaded in my head.

Please, wake up.




Hands twist in the dirt while he sits in the schoolyard laughing with the few friends who have to wait, too. His smile so bright and his eyes so full – everyone loves him.

He hands in notes to the teacher, very prone to sickness. But he smiles and curls his shirt around him, fingertips peeking out of the sleeves. It’s a little loose, a little faded. He thinks it used to be his dads.

When the rest of his friends go home, he takes his time waking. For a while he pretends it’s okay and there will be hugs waiting for him. His heart hammers away in his chest and he thinks maybe he’s a mouse when he sneaks through the front door, creeping up the stairs.

He makes a little too much noise with the creak in the floorboard but he makes it to his room, curls up in the bed.

His desk the next day is empty – he came down with the flu.

A few days and he’s deemed healthy enough to return. Right as rain. His smile’s a little faded and he yanks his sleeves to his hands.

It’s okay, the bruise under his eye from playing catch with his dad. So were the lies that marked his arms, his chest.

He tells the best stories in class and gets praise from the teacher. She doesn’t know he’s been telling stories for a long time already. She doesn’t know the story he paints over with pretty lies.

Maybe he’ll be a writer one day. He waits for that like he waits for love to disappear on his arms.

Too bad he’s prone to sickness.

Something’s Wrong

With all the missing children, who would care about another no-face gone off?

Wheat hair, freckle-faced, and copper eyes. She wasn’t even the starlight girl she dreamed of. Her hands twist the wrinkled, old purse strap hanging on her shoulder. It used to be her mothers. She found a pile of old purses in the back of a closet and liked this one the best. It was much more wrinkled now than it had been, though. 

Her steps were slow and steady. She let her mind drift off to her daydreams per usual. In her daydreams, she was taller, prettier. She had midnight silk hair and striking eyes always covered by big sunglasses that covered half of her face. She didn’t have one mark on her face and she knew she was beautiful.
Instead of being here, walking on this dirt road that led to nowhere, she was click-clacking down the sidewalk of some city with bright lights. She commanded respect and when she smiled, it dazzled. 

The daydreams were a little harder to get to now that she was a little older. She was a teenager now, even though she barely looked it, and the portal to her imagination was smaller and harder to fit through. The bottles on the top of the fridge opened it wider, but she had to be careful. What would her parents think? 

Gorgeous Marie wouldn’t have to worry about what anyone thought. The cool gaze of her eyes was enough to let people know she knew what she was doing. She would be able to take a pretty crystal glass and fill it with whatever she wanted, and no one would question her. Marie didn’t have to sneak drinks from a bottle. 

Marie didn’t think about going missing. She didn’t think about disappearing forever when she got a little too lonely. Mostly because she didn’t get too lonely. 

Reality always hits eventually, though. 

Out of her stupor and the lights are gone. There are no friends surrounding her, no laughter bouncing off the walls of her room. Her head is buried in her hands and she is folded on the floor and her hair is not the perfect shade of midnight. 

She is who she is and so she writes ‘missing’ on her arms. 

Because this is not really who she is.

Prompt: Gift Wrap



It was getting ridiculous.

There was a looming, mountainous tower of different colors, textures, and patterns. Not to mention the tape; oh, God, not the tape!

Her face was darkened rose with frustration, eyebrows furrowed in concentration and her breath was quickened. She didn’t have her mothers nimble fingers, nor her fathers careless negligence. Nothing was coming out the way she wanted, and so much wasted paper.

At least she thought to purchase an abundance of rolls. Now she was just hoping she wouldn’t need more. She couldn’t need more. There were so many! As she looked at the heap, though, she wasn’t quite sure. Maybe she had overestimated herself. There were at least five empty rolls, three close to their end, and two – maybe three if there was another in her closet – that still had their full lives left.

She glanced at the small pile of gifts already wrapped and tried to convince herself that she had done well wrapping them. Upon closer inspection she would wince at the obnoxious amount of tape and bunched up corners. It was a shame that she couldn’t help but tear up the paper when she got too excited or exasperated – or that she was very poor at measuring how much she would need. She fell short more often than not, which made up quite a bit of that ever swelling mass of gift wrap.

With just the right amount of determination and uncompromising will, not to mention the few glasses (maybe bottles?) of wine, she was down nine rolls of glittering, pretty paper, and almost to the end of the tenth.

The humble stack of presents weren’t the most handsome, but she grinned prideful, buzzed satisfaction and leaned back. It may have taken most of the night, and she would get hardly any sleep before having to somehow get herself out of bed and make her way over, but at least this year she wouldn’t need to resort to using gifts bags that she was always teased for.

The tape in her hair would always come out, right?

She went to bed gleefully, putting away that worry for the morning. Her last glance at the pile made her heart leap and she couldn’t wait for them to be torn apart an opened.

It was almost better than receiving.



She blows out a breath of smoke after handing him the thin, closed envelope. A smile is allowed to grace her face for just a moment when he grins at her in excitement for it.

“Just in time for the wedding,” he says, “thank you.”

He only gets a nod in response and she turns around with one hand in her pocket and the other brings her cigarette up to her lips.

Maybe he can’t see it but her heart’s breaking and later she’ll take the battery out of her phone and only use her work email to send her manager the writing she still needs to get done. She had spent too much time trying to think of something for the couple. In the end she gave up, said ‘to hell with it’ and wrote down her heart.

When he gets into his car, his excitement is too much for him to take so he whispers his apologies to his bride-to-be for reading it without her, and slides his fingers under the glue to open it.

“My heart beats and it shakes
And it loves and it breaks
For you and only you

When you stand and face her at the alter
Know my heart will again be breaking

For I still feel you in my dreams
And you are the reason for my smile
And now the reason for my tears

I love you”

Scrawled beneath is her messy hand writing telling him to “please don’t respond.”
He crumbles the envelope and buries his face in his hands with the paper the passenger in the car. After he composes himself, he tucks the paper safely in the side of his door and finally tells his almost-wife that she had too much work to do and was unable to get out anything she wouldn’t get paid for.

All night he sends calls and texts and all night she types up all of the writing she was hired to do, smoke blowing out of her mouth and she tries to ignore the breaking in her chest.

I don’t have a roommate.

I don’t think she knows that I observe her. It’s a little weird, I guess, but we’re roommates. We’ve been roommates for a while now and I still don’t think she knows I see her.

I see the way her smile disappears so quickly, and I see the way she locks herself in her room. I see the way she stares out the window and I see the way she always has her guard up. Even if it’s just her and I in the kitchen, I see the way her laughter comes out in a rehearsed string.

Every so often she’ll forget to close her door and I’ll see her lying in bed, just lying there unable to sleep. Sometimes it’s even before eight o’clock. She’ll curl into herself with music echoing between the walls and I think she’s waiting. I think she’s waiting for time to pass. I think that’s why she likes sleeping so much.

It’s usually quiet in my room, but that’s because I like to listen. I don’t think she realizes I can hear beyond the music to her soft cries. I don’t think she knows I can hear how badly she’s hurting.

So I think she waits for happier days. Days she can laugh and smile and not worry about anything. I think she waits and I worry that she’s waiting for nothing. I worry she spends too much time waiting and not enough time being. But I also think on the days she is living, are the days she locks herself in her room. I think those days are harder than the others.

I have nothing to help her and I don’t know if anything really even could.

Sometimes her words scare me and send shivers down my spine. Sometimes she says things that claw at my eyes as if begging me to cry. Sometimes I think she just wants someone to know but I can’t say anything to help her.

But, God, do I want to help her.


There were times I couldn’t sleep and I would end up with the radio playing softly while my feet padded on the kitchen tiles. I would dance with an invisible stranger on those yellow tiles and the small space would be an entire dance floor. The tiredness would leave my bones while my arms were raised and poised and I would close my eyes as if it came naturally.

My shadow would display my movements and sometimes I would dress up that shadow and make up someone completely different. A princess, a farm girl, a lady in waiting. The brain can be funny without much sleep.

I would only dance at midnight, though. Once the morning would roll around I would sit on the counter with a glass of wine and try to figure out my thoughts. There was so much clutter in my head that it was hard to organize and more often than not I wouldn’t figure anything out at all. The better days I could be asleep by three. The worst, I wouldn’t sleep at all.

Those nights would lead to interesting days; usually I’d continue my little fantasies. Often it would leave me wondering about this life, and the previous, and the next. I wondered if this life was what I wanted. I never achieved an answer and it usually left an unpleasant taste in my mouth that worried me.

When this girl moved in, she would join me on my sleepless nights. The first night found her a little awkward but when I carried on with my ghost, she found her own and we danced in the florescent lighting in the small kitchen. We would sit on opposite counters with our wine in our hands and talk in quiet voices like we might wake someone if we were too loud. I found it was better than being alone in my own thoughts and often we would giggle like mad over nothing. We became good friends quickly.

One of those nights I told her to show me something different and we danced together. She spun me and I spun her and it was fun to see the world around us become a blurry mess. I leaned my head against a cabinet and watched her legs swing soundlessly above the floor. We talked about life then, and leaving.

She said she wasn’t built for leaving, but she didn’t seem to fit anywhere, either. I told her I think I hadn’t found a home. She nodded her head and poured more wine in our glasses.

There was a time when she would confide in me she was too scared to leave and I told her she needed someone to follow, someone to give her courage. I think that was when I started thinking about what to do with the money I was putting away. Maybe I would be that person. I could find my own courage and set us both free.

I left at the end of winter for something better. We had phone calls in between my long drives and I told her where I had gone and where the next place would be. She left in the middle of spring and thanked me for being her courage. We hung up and to the deadline buzzing softly, I thanked her for reminding me there was a door.