Let Us See Some Short Stories!


After Tim Greaton’s popular story, left on a comment in the Dream thread recently, I thought it might be nice to see others post their own short stories.  It would give us a taste of differing writing styles and perhaps provide a bit of entertainment.  I know I’m more motivated to read Tim’s books after seeing how he writes.  Now this is a chance for others to show what they have.  It may even draw further interest in a person’s work!  Whether you are an author or not, please feel free to post.  Non-published writers often have fascinating stories to tell as well.  Tim, if you have something else you would like to post, feel free to do so.  Here are the basic guidelines: 

1) The story should be at least two-hundred words but not more than six-hundred.  It is okay if your story is plus or minus a few, but no more than that.

2) It can be about any topic so long as it isn’t too offensive or vulgar to the average adult reader.

3) You may submit a story that was written at any time, whether that is today or ten years ago.

4) This must be your own writing, and not belong to anyone else.  Also, make sure to put your name (or at least part of it) at the end.  Readers of the thread may want to know more about your books (if you are an author) and need that information!  For others, it is just a matter of attributing your work.

Please feel free to be creative.  I will look forward to seeing what you post. 

Also, for those who haven’t noticed, the page for Book Giveaways has seen many more authors contribute their books. These are free and most only ask that you give a brief review on Amazon when finished. Some don’t even ask for that. Please do check out the page and see if there is anything that interests you! There are more added regularly so its good to check back later as well.

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~ by Suzie on June 2, 2011.

39 Responses to “Let Us See Some Short Stories!”

  1. This is one of my son’s short essays:

    As I stare listlessly into the mirror, the fuzzy image that gazes back at me is someone I barely recognize. But I do. They say prison causes profound changes in a man, and the most extraordinary stem from the most incredible circumstances. That man in the mirror has undergone an unimaginable plethora of alterations because he is the absolute worst thing one can be in prison: an innocent man.

    I detect the bitterness in his hazel eyes, the constant worry that wrinkles his forehead, the anxiety that sets his jaw like cement and the frustration that has lightened his hair from brown to salty beige. But still, occasionally, I notice the soft smile of that gracious man I used to know, the kindness in his eyes and the youthful, even naive, wonder underlying his visage.

    I witness as he struggles for control over his flagging emotions; his quiet humbleness as he is degraded by those who believe that, by mere coincidence of fallaciously bestowed power, they are superior in some way; the way he continues to strive for good, despite the oppression surrounding him; how he never puts himself before others; and he helps whoever he can. The man in the mirror is tired of fighting but he cannot stop, he was never taught how to give up. But like Atlas, his back groans under the weight on his shoulders.

    I have observed the battles passing through his head as he combats the onslaught of vengeful thoughts for those who lied and cheated to set him up, refusing to hate them, regardless of their perfidious aspirations. The pain he feels for his loved ones, who he is powerless to protect from these people, seems to consume him with the voraciousness of a lion on the third day of an unfruitful hunt. He is tortured by his inability to provide the warmth and joy that he once gave to his children, and what they (and he) are missing each day. I rarely glimpse hope in his eyes anymore.

    I sometimes wonder if he will make it. He seems to know there is little chance for retribution in a society that persecutes based on loose insinuation, vicious accusation and thoughtless supposition, but refuses to accept it. He seems to linger in reminiscence of a day long gone, a day in which greed and narcissism did not pervade everything, a day in which distorted imaginations were not permitted to pervert wholesome interchanges with delusional exaggerations. He seems to stick to his beliefs as if they are the only branches within his grasp during a devastating flood of irrationality. It is like watching a bridge crumble, one speck at a time, over a century; each bit takes an eternity to weaken the structure, but none can be replaced once it has fallen to be swept away by the current.

    However, I still think he will overcome and persevere, because I have never seen his determination waver. And, as all of us in this situation know, prison mirrors are not very clear.

    J. C. Allen, author of M.O.D.

  2. My shortest story is 1500 words, so I wrote a new one just for this. Thanks for the motivation! 🙂

    “Untitled” (so far)

    Teagan eyed the lucky bamboo sitting atop the television. It was a crowned arrangement, one curled stalk in the middle surrounded by five medium branches, which were in turn punctuated by five more stubs at the bottom. The sprouting leaves were competing for direction as the offshoots crossed paths with each other.

    Teagan chanced a glance towards the door. Mom was in the kitchen. If Mom knew what Teagan was plotting, she’d be in for a verbal whipping. It just wasn’t fair, though. Teagan liked plants. Each had their own unique scents, and also carried the odors of strange places, transfers from wherever they had come from. Teagan didn’t get out much, so she needed these new, stimulating glimpses into exotic places. And sometimes they even tasted good…

    Mom would be very cross with her if she ate the bamboo, though. Teagan’s tail flicked back and forth in contemplation. The TV wasn’t very big. It was a clunky, dorm-room size, set upon a rickety old wooden cart. She could easily reach the control panel if she stood on her back legs. The problem was Mom had foreseen Teagan’s interest, and taken measures to inhibit her access. The television sat to one side of the table, leaving the barest strip to find purchase on, and the other side was stacked with a bunch of library books. It served a nice dual purpose of bookshelf/security alarm system for the colossal crashing noise it would make should Teagan accidentally knock any one of them down.

    Teagan’s whiskers twitched thoughtfully. She wasn’t one to give up, however. The plant was just such a tease, sitting up there with its fake flower (Mom did a decent enough job killing her plants without Teagan’s help). She inched forward, contemplating the physics of a well-timed leap, positioning, and force. It wasn’t just about making it up there; it was about being stealthy about it. Mom wouldn’t stay in the kitchen for long. It was now or never.

    Teagan rose off her haunches a few centimeters, arching her tail for balance. The muscles in her hindquarters rippled in preparation, the pads in her paws tingling with anticipation. She sprung. Her claws dug into the wood, her back feet struggling to hold the bulk of her body mass onto that tiny strip of wood on the other side of the cart. A tiny lip on the edge helped secure her grip. All she had to do was stand up and she’d be eye-level with the plant. She couldn’t hold it, though. Rather than fall (cats never “fall”), she pushed backwards off the ledge and leaped back to the floor. Grumbling, she paced in a circle and promptly sat down.

    When Mom came in a moment later (humans aren’t supposed to have hearing that good), Teagan looked like she was nonchalantly giving herself a bath. Mom looked at the plant, then back at Teagan. Teagan let out a chirped greeting, and sprinted after Mom back into the kitchen. Next time, potted plant. Next time.

    • Thanks Angela, I love a good cat story. We should call this “The Adventures of Teagan”. You could have regular episodes!

    • Good one Angela. I agree with Susan, “The Adventures of Teagan” could be a serial. Maybe Susan will start a page and we can tune in daily (weekly?) for the next episode!

      • Yes MM! A regular show, that is what we need. How about it Angela? We can work with your schedule.

        • Susan, if Angela isn’t interested or doesn’t have time to write a completely new story in episodes, perhaps you could pick a book and serialize a few chapters (with the author’s permission, of course). I remember Leland talking about his dog book having short chapters suitable for reading on your friend’s radio book club – something like that.

        • Wow, guys, I’m so honored! I would love to do a serial. How about twice a week?

          • Sounds great Angela! I will look into putting something up on here so you have a place to do it if you like. I imagine Teagan’s adventures could get rather exciting. I’m certainly curious for more.

          • I’m already brainstorming ideas! We can call the one above “Teagan vs. Houseplant.” I’m already envisioning round two. Susan, some bloggers have schedules for when they like to post stuff. I’m not sure if you’re trying to develop one for yourself; if you are, are there specific days you’d want me to post?

          • I’m not so picky about schedules as some. Plus you know when you have the time better than I do. We could do the posts in a couple different ways. Either I could open up a thread specifically for you to post the episodes (though this has the down side of it eventually falling down the page). I could create a “page” so it doesn’t leave the main screen or I can add you as a user and you can post on your own each time. There is a way to do it, like I just did for Kerra, that you just have the ability to post and edit your own threads only. Since you already have a wordpress blog, you are familiar with how it works. Whatever you want is fine by me.

          • Hm, having a page or being added as a user works. I guess it depends on whether you want the serial to be part of your main blog (everyone sees new eps), or an offshoot people have to seek out (people have to subscribe to a specific page to be notified of new comments, yes?)

            I’m sorry this thread got taken up with so much shop talk!

          • Sweet! So glad you can do this Angela!

          • Hijacking the thread can’t be helped in this case, lol. I sent you a message so we can get you set up. Just reply to me from that.

    • All these stories are so good!

  3. THE SHAFT
    by Tim Greaton

    I fell at least thirty feet.
    It’s hard to tell exactly how deep this shaft is, but that’s my best guess. I mean, a man couldn’t survive a longer drop. Could he?
    A furry limb brushes against my cheek. I don’t bother to push him away. I call him Harry—no pun intended. It’s like we’re friends now. I think he’s been hurt, too.
    I pull the new piece of webbing from my face. It’s a thick, sticky string. I roll it up between my palms. It reminds me of Mr. Salbury’s class where Eric and I used to roll up balls of masking tape and throw them at each other whenever he wasn’t looking. That was fifteen years ago. I toss the web roll against the stone wall beside the others. How much longer can Harry keep making this stuff?
    I didn’t know they came this big…spiders, I mean. I had to pull Harry out from under me after the fall. He must weigh five, six pounds.
    I hear him move down toward my legs.
    I’m a little hungry, but mostly thirsty. A soda would sure go good. My leg hurts.
    It’s pitch black here, blacker than I’ve ever seen. Many times, when I was a child, I thought I was in the dark. Now I realize I wasn’t. When I hid in closets, light always seeped in through the cracks around the door. And those times me and the other kids held séances in the basement, light always made its way through the makeshift drapes we stapled over the squat windows. But the bottom of this shaft is truly dark. This blackness doesn’t even carry the memory of light.
    I knew my leg was broken in several places by the way my right sneaker was pressing against my left ear when I came to. I must have passed out a dozen times before I was finally able to push the shattered limb back where it belongs. Still crooked, but….

    I struggle to a sitting position. I’m really hungry now and I’d die for a drink. Harry and I are friends, but I think he knows what I’m thinking; he doesn’t come near my upper body any more.
    He’s done a good job with my leg, though. Wrapped it real good. It hardly hurts at all. I’ve been pulling off any webbing higher than my upper thigh. I think the lower part is completely cocooned now.
    When we get out of here, I’m going to put Harry through medical school. He’ll like that.
    Chuckle.
    I don’t expect anyone will find me here. I came alone. Me and Julie had a fight just before, so I didn’t tell her where I was going. Hell, I didn’t even know myself. Just grabbed the flashlight and started walking.
    I used to come into these caves a lot when I was a kid—
    I feel a sharp pain in my right shin.
    “Cut it out, Harry!” I shout. Echoes of my croak fill the cool, stale air. “Be careful, will you? You’ve got the worst bedside manner I’ve ever seen.”
    Chuckle.
    It’s been over forty years since they stopped mining here. I heard there never was much gold anyway, just enough to tease old man Winters into bankruptcy. No one else was stupid enough to pick up where he left off. Been abandoned ever since.
    I don’t feel much now, just the chills that occasionally sweep like a Canadian wind up and down my spine. It’s as though my nerve endings finally gave up, excepting only the sporadic checks to make sure I’m not dead yet. It’s just a matter of time….

    Too tired to sit anymore, I’m lying with my head propped on a rounded stone. A few jagged shards of rock poke at my back, but they don’t bother me now. Funny, how a person can get used to things. Another pain shoots through my leg.
    I kick Harry.
    He was attempting to wrap my left leg at the time. It’s not that I mind. I know he needs the practice for med school, but….

    I only take two of his legs this time.
    He crawls away.
    I think he’s mad.
    Seems fair to me. After all, I did give him one leg and mine are bigger. I suck the juice from the furry limbs then chew through the fur to get at the stringy flesh. Reminds me of the frog legs we used to eat at Range Pond Camp Ground. We never had frogs this big, though.
    With food in my stomach I drift off to sleep, barely noticing as Harry again begins work on my left leg….

    I hold the rock tightly in my right hand. I rub my chin with the other and feel the stubble has turned to almost a beard. I wish I could get at my comb to run through it, but Harry’s got me webbed just above the waist.
    He’ll definitely be a credit to the medical profession: pain in my leg’s completely gone.
    I hear him sliding across the floor. Now that four of his legs are missing, it’s much easier to hear him. He’s real careful not to come too close to my arms.
    Suddenly, I pitch the rock.
    A satisfying thump announces my success. Everything from my waist down is wooden. It takes me the longest time to maneuver my body close enough to grab him.
    A tear runs down my cheek as I rip two more legs from his plump body. I’m worried that I hurt him with the rock.
    After I’ve eaten, I hug his body and fall into a deep sleep….

    My right arm is still free. In my hand I hold a small round stone. I promised Harry I wouldn’t hit him with a big one again.
    I listen carefully for any sound of movement. Harry’s having a tough time getting around, only one leg and all. I don’t know how he’s going to make out when I take the last one. It’s only fair, though.
    I hear him scurry. My rock flies….

    I hug Harry tight, a furry ball against my cheek. He’s shivering. I don’t think he’ll make it much longer. I feel pincers breaking the skin on my neck as I drift into the land of dreams.

    THE END

    Author of “The Santa Shop (available),” “From My Cold Young Fingers (available),” “Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End (summer 2011)” and “Ancestor (summer/fall 2011)”

    • Wow Tim, that story was great! I’m glad I gave you the exception on length now. I really kind of felt sorry for the spider, which is weird, but you managed to make me sympathize with the characters in a short amount of time. Wonderful job. Makes me want to come up with more reasons for you to post here.

    • Shivery!! Just the right touch of creepy!

    • Tim, that was amazing….and I HATE spiders. You are my new favorite author! When can I expect the next book? I have them all to date and do not want to miss one!

  4. Love this too. Poor Harry. 😉

  5. Speaking of dreams (we just were, right?), here is another story inspired by a dream that just happens to fit the guidelines. It’s a simple description of a terrible event, every detail of which I suffered through in my sleep!

    The story is titled Close.

    As unclear dreams go, we gassed up a few miles back and are now pulling into town. Town. An untidy strew of decrepit and peeling clapboard buildings. Okay, a town. After paying for a room – off-white décor, sticky carpet – I step out behind M. into the main street.

    “Wonder where’s the best place to eat.”

    “May only be one place,” says M.

    We gaze vaguely eastward over a sunburned field, absorbing the clear blue brilliance.

    Without warning, the unthinkable. A thick column climbs like a tumorous limb above the horizon – squirming, turbulent reds, charcoals, yellows, deep infected orange – blooms impossibly high in the deep blue, before flattening itself like a roiling brain atop a crippled spine, an utterly broken thing.

    “I guess it doesn’t matter now,” I say, my heart liquefying when I see M.’s haunted hopeless face. People are crying and someone retches in the street. I step forward and hold M.

    “Where is that?”

    “Uh-uh, I’m not even sure where we are. New York City, maybe? DC?”

    “We’d better get inside.”

    In the room, we search for shelter, for something solid, but the furniture is rickety. Even the sagging doorframes seem unworthy. Faithlessly, we force shut windows that barely fit in their frames.

    Then we hear it.

    An aberrant rumble swelling around the hint of a ruinous howl. Distant yet closing. We stand senseless, embracing. Awaiting the end (the end), an eventuality we couldn’t have remotely considered earlier that day, adrift yet untroubled on warm ribbons of Midwestern highway.

    An already hot day grows hotter. The rumble soon a catastrophe, assaulting the ramshackle structure in a storm of screaming heat. A violent, bewitched twilight come early, wholly uninvited. We stand for a long time, clasped in that shuddering embrace, amid hot unholy gales, me feeling the most bewildering blend of pure love and abject sorrow I’ve ever felt, or will likely ever feel again.

    Blessed mercy, it passes. I’ve no idea how long we remain there, shocked immobile, waiting for our stampeding hearts to return to us. Outside, fiery buildings crackle and dance. Thick coiling ropes of ash trail in the wake not only of gusts of wind but behind the gathering numbers of fleeing people; these latter gape-faced, blankly intent on outrunning the hurt in the air. The sound of cars being started and revved, of doors slamming. A few individuals are trying to direct these instant refugees, gesturing solemn at intersections, as if civic order were suddenly vital… albeit futile – with a lone artery feeding the Interstate, and an entire town attempting to simultaneously mainline, everything gridlocks.

    In the motel, we tie cursory bandannas over our mouths – too numb yet for regret, but oh so lonely – and sit watching thwarted drivers scowl against the backdrop of a smoking town beneath the preternatural murk of a heartrending sky.

    One of us says: “When it’s our turn to head back west, at least we’ll have a full tank of gas.”

    • Whoa! That was awesome, David!

    • Wow David, very suspenseful and descriptive. I’m not sure I could describe my own dreams so well. The one you wrote of here is disturbing, yet very compelling to read. Thanks for sharing even if I did have to threaten you with painful punishment to do it!

      • 🙂 The threat of punishment was the motivator… although defying you was also enticing for me, balanced as I am on the exact cusp of pain and pleasure, lol.

    • Hi, David. Very nice. Your language reminds me of a writing excercise I once did with a class or writers group (the years pass, don’t they :-). The goal was to describe a solitary farm with no living animals or people. Each author had only a paragraph to make it cheerful, sad, hopeful, calm, and so on. I think I learned more about the power of language from that one lesson than most any other thing that I’ve done since. Again, great use of description 🙂

  6. I don’t write a short enough short story to qualify but if anyone has time I do have one I posted on Goodreads (don’t think you have to be a member to access it). Some of you “young ones” may not know who the character is, especially if you aren’t familiar with Chicago. If you have time, it can be found at
    http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/266480-solving-life-s-riddle?chapter=1

  7. […] To find the first short-short that inspired the series, “Teagan vs. Houseplant,” click here.  If you enjoy these cat tales, tune in Mondays and Thursdays for new […]

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