I am so behind with my writing. I really need to do better. I apologize to my followers and I promise I will have new stories soon!
“I hate public speaking! I barely passed in college and not much has changed since then,” pouted Bri as she lay sprawled across the ottoman in Khia’s living room. She lay on her stomach with her head hanging over the edge so that her hair fell in a curtain over her face. Khia continued watering plants on the other side of the room. She was used to the anxiety induced tantrums that her sister would throw. Public speaking, wasps, rain, crowds—just about anything you could think of would send Bri over the edge.
“Well, don’t do it, ” Khia responded. “If you’re that nervous pass it off on a coworker.”
“I can’t just pass it off. Burnham would never go for it. You know he’s a monster,” Bri whined.
“I honestly don’t know what else to tell you. Maybe you could get together with a couple of your coworkers and turn it into a group presentation. That way you won’t be up there all alone and you will have the collective knowledge of your collegues.”
Bri considered this option that may, or may not, spare her from public humiliation. For as long as she could remember she had been terrified of speaking in public. She also hated calling in food orders, making any other important phone calls and asking for help in unfamiliar places. Her mother had labled her as “extremely shy”, but she knew that the fear she experienced was abnormal.
“Here,” said Khia. “Try this tea. It’s a new brew that I came across at the corner store. Taman said that it helps calm the nerves.”
“Taman recommended this? The thug that owns the corner store? Is it laced with something? I’m certain that the reason he’s always so calm has absolutely nothing to do with tea. It’s probably definitely green, though.”
“Not nice,” Khia responded. “Just try the tea. I’ll give you some to go, too. I want you to drink it before you leave for work tomorrow. You will be relaxed and ace that presentation.”
Bri holds the mug with both hands as she sips the warm, earthy mixture. Hints of honey and chamomile tickle her taste buds. She watches her best friend move about the kitchen and wonders how anyone could be so sure of themselves. Khia was a few inches shorter than Bri, but what she lacked in height she made up for in courage. Khia moved quickly and efficiently no matter what she was doing. She made prepping tea look like an intensely important task. Bri knew that she would never have that kind of confidence.
“I wish I could just shrink,” Bri whispered to herself as she sipped her tea. “This stuff is pretty good! What is it again?”
“I’ll send you home with some. It’s ‘guava-gana-somethingoranother’. Just let it work.”
Bri went home, ran a hot bubble bath and turned on some music. She poured a cup of tea to sip as she relaxed in the tub. She allowed the warmth of the bath to surround her while the scent of her lavender bubble bath filled her nostrils while the fizzing bath bomb tickled her feet. Her worries about the next day’s meeting melted away into the tub. She let the music take her away to another universe where she didn’t let her anxiety rule over her entire life. Her current position had initially seemed appealing to her because it did not involve direct sales or face to face talks with clients. Had she known that she would be required to lead meetings she probably would’ve passed on the job. Once her water grew cold, Bri threw on her favorite white night gown with martini glasses on the front. It looked a little longer than she remembered. Maybe it she’d bleached it too much whenever she washed it and it stretched. She wan’t exactly a domestic goddess and had ruined her fair share of clothes since moving out on her own. Bri forgot about the length change as she climbed into bed and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning Bri was awakened by the alarm on her cell phone. It seemed much louder than normal. She could feel the wave of each “beep” pass through her chest. She felt as if the weight of the covers was crushing her. Why couldn’t she find her way out. How did she manage to slide this far down in the bed? After a brief struggle with her bed linens, Bri finally made her way out of the darkness and could see her phone just sticking out from beneath her pillow. It was a lot bigger than it had been the night before. It was then Bri realized that she was standing up in her bed, but she was smaller than everything around her. She ran over to the pone and jumped on the “dismiss” button to cancel the alarm.
“Ok,” Bri thought to herself. “This is just a weird dream. I’m just going to lie back down and when I get up everything will be back to normal.” Her phone began to ring as she stood on the screen. The vibrations felt like an earthquake. It was Khia calling. Bri stepped on the ‘answer’ button.
“Khia, I think I’m losing my mind,” she yelled.
“What’s wrong? Did the tea not work?” Khia asked.
“Oh, it worked. It just didn’t create the calming effect that you promised. I need you to come over as soon as possible and bring some doll clothes.”
“Doll clothes? What are we, 12?” Khia exclaimed.
“You’ll see when you get here, Khia. Bring the spare key I gave you. I can’t reach the lock on the door,” said Bri.
“Ok…I’ll be there in 10,” Khia answered.
After hanging up with Khia, Bri decided that her best option would be to call in from work. Five minutes had barely lapsed when her coworker, Brian, called her in full panic.
“What do you mean you can’t come in?!” he yelled into the phone. “Did you forget about our presentation? What are we supposed to do?”
“No, I didn’t forget. I’m emailing you everything I have right now. I’m just—a little under the weather. I don’t want to risk infecting the entire office.” Although Bri had been nervous about the presentation, she would have never considered calling in to get out of it. The only thing she hated more than public speaking was feeling as though she was inconveniencing others. The sound of the front door opening drew Bri from her thoughts.
“Hey, I hope I didn’t take too lon—Oh. My. God! Bri, you’re like, six inches tall! What happened?! I honestly thought you’d lost your mind when you asked for the doll clothes.”
“I was hoping you could tell me what happened. What’s in that tea you gave me?”
“I don’t really know. He just said it you help me relax. I haven’t tried it yet. I thought you could use it more than me,” Khia replied.
“Well, it looks like we need to find Mr. Taman,” said Bri.
Bri put on one of the tiny dresses. It was a little big on her, so they tied a piece of yarn around her middle.
Let me start off by saying that I had no idea what a “circlet” was until I came across this prompt. To be accurate, I didn’t think that I knew what it was. Obviously, it has something to do with a circle, right? I decided to ask my buddy, Google. Not only did I get a definition, but I found pictures, too! A circle is kind of like a tiara, but it comes down on the forehead. The thing that Sailor Moon wears, I guess. I’ve always called them headbands. Unfortunately, even after I learned what it was, I still couldn’t come up with anything entertaining to write. I guess we can call it writer’s block. I hope that this is the only post of it’s kind while I work through this book.
The mobile above the baby’s crib rotated slowly, it’s soft music enchanting the occasion with cheer and adoration. At only three days old, and still unnamed, she watched the dancing animals intently. The shadows of the spinning marched steadily around the room, undisturbed by the mother when she walked into the nursery and took her seat in the rocker to admire the baby. Unsatisfied with just looking, the woman picked the infant up and rocked her in her arms. Witch. The word was uttered in such a low, hushed tone that the mother believed she imagined it. Sorceress. The woman frantically searched the room for the source of the insinuation. Her husband was in his study and the servants in their quarters. Clutching the baby to her chest, the accused woman walked swiftly about the room. Nothing was out of place in the rose-colored nursery. There wasn’t enough hiding space behind the dresser or changing station. Maybe she’d only imagined the words breathed into the air just moments ago. Her paranoia was beginning to get the best of her. She knew that the baby was different. Fully awake and very attentive and only days old. Her husband had attributed these strange characteristics to “good genes”, but she knew otherwise. The child had been born a witch just like her mother. No, not good genes, but genes nonetheless.
She can’t hide that darkness from the father long.
Maybe she can. She’s managed to hide her own secret this long.
He isn’t that stupid. Adult magic is one thing. It can be controlled.
Magic is magic.
No, it isn’t. What do you think will happen the first time she throws a tantrum?
She’ll just be a toddler throwing a tantrum.
True. That is, until the lights begin to flicker and the windows shatter.
Panic had settled over the new mother as she clutched her infant tightly in her arms. Her eyes shifted from the shadows on the walls to the animals on the mobile. The monkey, elephant, lion and giraffe floated silently above the baby’s crib. Anger filled the woman from head to toe. How dare these stupid toys insult her! She reached toward the mobile and grabbed the elephant in an attempt to pull the contraption down. No matter how hard she tried, it would not separate from the ceiling. The lights in the house began to flicker softly as her anger increased. Soon, her anger turned to fear. What would happen when her husband found out? She and her child would be put out on the street. She couldn’t allow that. If anyone must go it would be him. An accidental death would ensure that the woman and child would be safe and taken care of.
The woman lifted the child and walked to the window facing the back yard. There he stood, trimming the azalea bushes that bordered the swimming pool. A sudden wind surrounded him, blowing leaves and trimmings about his face. He backed away from his project while fighting the airborne debris that pelted his face. He’d forgotten the pool behind him and fell backward into the empty chasm, striking his head on the hard concrete below. The woman sat down in the rocking chair and rocked her new baby as if nothing had happened.
Iggy has scorched nearly all my socks since school started. He doesn’t like being home alone all day. I only got him a week after school let out for the summer. I won him at a Memorial Day carnival. The guy working the bean bag toss said he found him while fishing at the lake. He thought he was a common lizard, just funny colored. We all thought he was just a lizard. I was surprised and excited when he grew wings a began to breathe fire. My mom was a little freaked out and for good reason. He’s eaten most of her house plants and terrorizes the cat.
Now, Iggy and I are in a tug-of-war over my school belt. He’s no bigger than an iguana. I wonder if I could sneak him into school with me. I quickly dump my books and binders from my backpack. Iggy quickly forgets the belt and goes after a red folder as it slides across the floor. I throw Iggy’s favorite blanket and a handful of dried mealworms into the bag.
“C’mon Iggy! Want to go to school with me today?” He cocks his head to one side, studying me as if I’m the weirdo. I guess he finally understood what I’d asked, because he bounded across the room and jumped into my bag. I zipped it shut before he could change his mind, gathered my books in my arms and headed for the bus stop. I made it to the stop just as the bus rounded the corner. My best friend, Kenny, gave me a weird look as I flopped down in the seat next to him.
“Okay. Do you want to explain why you’re carrying your books in your arms when you’re wearing a perfectly good backpack?” he questioned.
“Not really, but since I know you won’t let it go I’ll just show you.” I opened the zipper just enough for Iggy to blow a small cloud of smoke at Kenny.
“You have got to be kidding me! How are you going to keep him in that bag all day? Am I only the one that remembers last Saturday? He nearly burned your entire house down!”
“Shh! I remember that. It’s just… my mom is getting fed up with him. She hasn’t exactly said it, but I can tell. It’s just for one day. Maybe if she doesn’t have to worry about him for one day she won’t be so annoyed by him.” The idea sounded as crazy as the look Kenny gave me, but what other choice did I have?
We made it to school before Kenny could protest. As I struggled to open my locker my locker-neighbor, Madison, snuck up on me.
“BOO! Hey Goobert. How was your weekend? I thought I’d see you at the rink, but I guess you had other plans.”
Iggy still hadn’t gotten past “BOO” and was growling something fierce when I tried to answer.
“What’s that sound?” Madison asked.
“I-I was in bed all weekend,” I lied as I clutched my stomach. “24-hour stomach virus. I guess I’m still not back to normal.”
“That’s pretty gross,” she replied.
After she walked away, I turned my backpack to the front and peeped in on Iggy.
“Dude, you can’t just randomly growl at people at school. No one can know that you’re here with me, okay?”
“Check it out. The dweeb is talking to himself now,” said a voice to my left.
“Maybe it’s his imaginary friend. I bet he still sleeps with a teddy and believes in the Tooth Fairy, too!” chuckled another.
It was Chris and Tyrone. I forgot how hard it would be to get anything past those two.
“So, which one is it? The Tooth Fairy or your imaginary friend?” asked Tyrone as he shoved me against the lockers.
Iggy growled again, and I clutched my stomach. “You two better stay away,” I warned. “I caught a stomach virus over the weekend and I’m not afraid to use it!”
The two bullies backed away, covering their mouths and noses with their shirts.
“That’s gross you little shit!” Chris called out as they walked down the hall.
I turned my attention back to Iggy. “I amend my previous statement to say that it is perfectly fine for you to growl at bullies. Just don’t growl at friends or teachers. Got it?” Iggy just yawned and curled up into a blue-gray ball on his blanket. I hope he sleeps the entire school day.
I awoke to my baby brother, Landon, wrapped around my torso.
“Do you hear the thunder, Tia?”
To be honest, I hadn’t heard a thing. I sleep like the dead. “It’s ok,” I told him. “It’ll probably be over in less than ten minutes. Just one of those pop-up storms, ok?”
“But the lightning was red, Tia,” he whined.
“Red? What do you mean it was red?”
Before he could respond, a red-orange flash washed over my bedroom. It was closely followed by a crash that could have split the earth in two. My bedroom door swung open to reveal our hastily dressed mother.
“Get up! We need to get out now,” she shouted.
It was then that I heard the chilling screams in the distance.
The ground usually shakes a little when the people walk by, but this was something different. Something scary. The sound was low, but still very loud. Like a hungry belly ready to swallow up the world. The rumble opened the door to my cupboard just enough for me to see the plates and bowls crashing down from the cabinets above. Fruit from the counter on The Other Side rolled onto the floor. I wanted so badly to go after the grapes, but I was afraid. Sounds of things breaking surrounded my little space. In here, I was safe. Only the dish towels were in here with me. Suddenly everything outside went dark. I backed into the corner of my cupboard where I had some food bits hidden. Wailing sounds cried out in the distance. I’ve heard these sounds before. Those sounds took the old man away. He was nice to me. The wailing sounds never brought him back. The sounds faded away, leaving just the quiet of the house. I hope it stays that way.