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Tales told - a.k.a free reads > December 2015 Creative Writing - On Ice - stories

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message 1: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments We had some great pictures in the poll, and the winner was this one of a guy lying on the ice - who is he? Why is he there? Sad? Lost? Asleep? Enchanted? Composing a poem? Posing for an artist? An unearthly guy who doesn't feel the cold? Tell us what you think this picture is...

Any length from haiku to novel is welcome. As always keep it YA-appropriate and some LGBT content. Let's share the December creativity.

message 3: by Riina (new)

Riina Y.T. (ibxxxriina) | 469 comments YES! Excited to do this :) Hope many will participate!

message 4: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments To see your home star
Shine through the tops of the trees
An ice bed is fine.

message 5: by Volker (new)

Volker (ipslore) | 1 comments Your love is fire so
I lie here waiting for you
to achieve our dreams

message 6: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments :) Nice image Volker

message 7: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Sweitzer | 2 comments I'm looking forward to participate in this ^_^

message 8: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Sweitzer | 2 comments participating*

message 9: by Al (new)

Al | 15 comments Jack Frost
Remember me ?
You stole a kiss and left me
Brilliant with ice
And life
Now my warmth
Claim me ,
For I am yours
Until we melt

message 10: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Wonderful poem, Al.

message 11: by Juli (new)

Juli | 5 comments I haven't really written in a long time, plus english is my second language, but I thought I'd give it a go. It's mostly just worthless rambling but I gotta start somewhere I guess!

There’s something about lying down on ice that’s calming to Dan. It may be the way it sends chills up and down his spine, or how it feels secure, the cold seeping in being the most constant thing in his life right now. No matter how much he fucks up, how many days he goes without seeing Cody or talking to his friends, despite it all shifting constantly, he can always count on this lake being frozen, and on the fact that when he lays down on it, he’ll feel nothing but glacial webs weaving themselves into him.
He’s aware of how dramatic it sounds, oh yes, but he’s always had a perchance for drama, and just because it’s all crumbling down around him doesn’t mean it can’t be with the usual flair. There’d been nothing moderate about the way Cody had completely pushed him off when they’d been discovered, no, it had all been almost in slow motion. First, the strong push, forcing his body back and causing him to slam into the brick wall. Then, the barrage of feelings. Confusion, sadness and most of all hurt. He hates it, loathes the way it clogs up his mind every second of the waking hours even now, always with him like a weight he can’t shake off. But, in a certain twisted way, he guesses it was meant to be, the gay drama kid tortured by the oppressiveness of society. Proper cliche, that is, and if he gets to have nothing at least he’ll keep this, the knowledge that he fits the mold so well he can’t possibly be alone.
Maybe they’re not as mildly insane as he is and forcing metaphors into cold slabs of ice, but they’re out there, teens with this same hurt, carrying it around for god knows how long. It’s not to mean he likes it, picturing other people going through the mess he’s experienced to get to this odd place of self acceptance, of realization that one is what they are, even if it means being the typical gay kid, but it’s oddly comforting amongst a week of mixed feelings. The knowledge that there must be others like him existing outside LGBT+ leaflets and unrealistic novels feels kind of empowering if he thinks about it.
Maybe that will be his own piece of portable ice to keep him grounded from now on.

message 12: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Juli wrote: "I haven't really written in a long time, plus english is my second language, but I thought I'd give it a go. It's mostly just worthless rambling but I gotta start somewhere I guess!

There’s someth..."

Wow - very cool (no pun intended.) I like the way you work the ice through his thought process. (and I'm jealous of your second-language skills)

message 13: by Wren (new)

Wren  (wrenreaders) My heart is torn
I feel numb and false inside
Ice cold and stuck and frozen

My foggy breath
Like little clouds remind me of
Something I have not chosen

My name is not he
My heart is not his
My life is not him

She is screaming in my mind
She is locked away inside
Prepared to sink beneath this deadly ice

message 14: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Wren (He or They) wrote: "My heart is torn

Wow - that's powerful. <3

message 15: by Wren (new)

Wren  (wrenreaders) Kaje wrote: "Wren (He or They) wrote: "My heart is torn

Wow - that's powerful. <3"


message 16: by Wren (new)

Wren  (wrenreaders) Nichele ♥'s Jed & Ryder wrote: "Wow! Great poem, Wren!"

Thank you!

message 17: by Kaje (last edited Jan 02, 2016 10:00AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Dangerous Wishes

“That's not what I wanted!” I tried to shove Asad out of the way, but my hand just passed though his insubstantial form with the faintest press of resistance. I snatched it back.

His perfect forehead wrinkled. “Why not?” He waved at Leo's still body lying ten feet away, on the ice of the creek. “You wished for the boy to be with you. There he is.”

“Passed out cold!” I dodged around him and scrambled to the bank of the stream. Leo's foot was within reach and I grabbed for it. I didn't trust that ice. The last thing I wanted was to dump the guy I'd been eyeing for months into ice-cold water. I tugged roughly and his sneaker came off in my hand.

“Shit!” I tossed it away and clutched at his foot. He was so still, so cold and limp, even touching him through his sock. I pulled more carefully and his body slid toward me, his hoodie scrunching up under his arms. I managed to get his other foot, and hauled him closer. I could see his skin getting paler with each moment on the ice. Leo wore only a lightweight sweatshirt, and it was the middle of winter. “Help a guy out,” I snarled at Asad.

“Alas, I cannot. Unless you wish to use another of your wishes… You would still have one more, after all. You are granted three.”

Three. Like some crazy fairytale. I almost did it, but his coaxing tone made me bite my tongue. Whatever he'd done to Leo, it might take both my remaining wishes to undo. “Screw you, I'll manage.”

“Screw? Do you wish to fornicate with me? Is that a wish?” Asad's voice became all honey and smooth, slick as warm oil. For a bare instant, every nerve-ending in my body responded. He was perfect and sexy, dark-haired and olive-skinned and gorgeous. And magic. Which didn't turn my crank.

“No. Just stay back.” I ignored the creature at my side to ease Leo further onto the bank, trying to guide him into my lap and keep the snow from slipping up under his clothes to chill him further. He was surprisingly heavy and hard to handle, unconscious like this, even though he was a little smaller than me. His head lolled back, exposing his bare throat. In a sudden panic, with my hands busy trying to hold him against my chest, I pressed my lips under his jaw. Oh god, thank god! I felt the soft bound of his pulse under my lips. “What did you do to him?”

“He sleeps. A prince, awaiting his… prince.”

“So it's what, a spell? Like some old fairytale? I can wake him with a freaking kiss?” It wouldn't be a hardship, except for the part where Leo Klune would wake up in my arms in the middle of the forest being kissed against his will. If he didn't scream “roofies!” at the top of his lungs I'd be really lucky. And guaranteed I'd be in deep trouble.

“Well, not a kiss.”

I dragged my gaze away from Leo's lips to turn and stare at Asad. “Then what?”

“Do you wish to know?”

I almost said “yes” but caught myself. “Would that count?”

“As your second wish? Yes, Master.”

“Don't call me that.” I struggled out of my parka, one arm at a time, trying to keep Leo from falling over. When the parka was wrapped around him, he looked a bit less pale but the wind cut through my shirt like an ice-cube to the spine. “Let me think.”

How the hell did I get into this mess?

I'm not normally like this. Weird, I mean. Well, I am queer. But in the most boring way. I go to school, I play ball, I do my homework, I get turned on by impossible guys and never do more than beat off thinking about them. I'm ordinary.

But then last week, my Uncle Wilbur's will was read, and he left me this old lamp. With instructions to take it somewhere private, rub it, and have fun. Uncle Wilbur, unlike me, was a really weird guy. Although possibly also queer, because when I decided, after a week, to take the stupid lamp out to my favorite of his hunting blinds… well, Asad came smoking out of the lamp. The son of a bitch smiled hotly, looked me up and down, and said, “I am Asad. I am here to serve you, Master. What is your dearest wish?”

You'd think I'd figure out, from the sudden appearance of a translucent, sexy guy, that this could be dangerous. Or else, that the sight of those huge dark eyes staring at my crotch would have made me wish for fun with Asad. Or at least think, for once in my life, before speaking. But what came out of my damned mouth was, “I wish Leo Klune was here with me.”

And hey, presto, fuck-the-hell-up-o, here he was. Unconscious.

I stood, staggering a bit, but managing to lift Leo in my arms. I am a football player, not a weakling. “I'm going to take Leo somewhere safe and warm. Then we'll talk, you and me.” I tried to put some menace into my tone. It's not something I'm really good at.

When I got to the blind, where I'd dropped the little lamp, I managed to sink to one knee, pick it up, and stuff it in one of the parka pockets, then lift Leo and stand again. Go me. I didn't drop the hottest boy in school on his head in the snow. I staggered on. The blind was private, but not in the least bit warm. My uncle's hunting cottage wasn't far off though.

It only took about five minutes of trudging through the snow to reach the cabin. I almost fell when Asad said suddenly at my elbow, “I have been here before.”

I grunted, fumbling with the door. The cabin was deep on Uncle Wilbur's private land, and not locked, but I had no hands free. Eventually I managed to turn the handle enough to go in. The main room was chilly too, but at least there was no wind. There was a futon-thing, and I set Leo down there, then turned to make a fire in the fireplace. It was laid ready, the way Uncle Wilbur always kept it, and took only a match to start, although the heat was pretty feeble at first.

I straightened, tossed the end of the long match into the growing flames, and glared at Asad. “Talk, you douchebag!”

“I what?”

“Never mind. Who are you? A fucking genie, right?”

His lips curved up far too knowingly. “Sometimes, yes.”

I ignored the double meaning. “Magic. From in the lamp.” I could see the brightness of the window shining through his shoulder, but I still didn't believe it.


“I rubbed it and you came out.”


“And granted me a wish. Stop me anytime.”

“I granted you the first of your wishes. Yes.”

I staggered three steps and sat on the floor beside the futon. Leo's lax hand was reassuringly solid against my shoulder. Or maybe not so reassuring, given how he got there. “Uncle Wilbur gave you to me. At least, he gave me the lamp.”

“I assumed as much. I felt the old Master pass.”

“Did you give him three wishes too? What…? No, don't tell me.”

“Do you not wish to know?” He came toward me. Stalked, I decided was the right term. Like a cat after a mouse. “Would you like to hear how your uncle used me?”

“No!” I threw up a hand as if that would stop him. Then snarled, “Stop there!” Because I was no mouse. “What I want is to get Leo back home safe and sound, and to get out of this weird shit with my brain intact.”

“Mm.” Asad hummed a noncommittal sound but stopped where I told him.

First things first. “How do we get Leo back where he belongs?”

“That's easy. Use your second wish.”

I tilted my head, looking at him. “And he'll be just the way he was before?”

Asad blinked slowly. “That depends on what you wish for.”

“Crap.” I'd never been that good at logic, or words. I'm a simple guy. “So if I word it wrong, what then?”

“Well, you get your wish. Whatever it is.”

I shoved my fingers into my hair, wishing it was long enough to pull. “Why? Uncle Wilbur, why me?”

Asad actually looked concerned. “He had to will me to someone. That's the way it works. Three wishes, and lifetime guardianship. Then you pass me on.”

Something about his tone made me look more closely. It was probably my imagination that his eyes seemed sad. “How long have you done this?”

“Over two thousand years. Sixty-one masters. A hundred and eighty wishes.”

I was crap at math, but… “Shouldn't that number end in a three?”

“Some wishes are fatal.”

“Oh. Wonderful.” I sat there on the hard wooden floor. Behind me on the futon, Leo breathed slowly and deeply. The fire popped, as a small branch broke. The heat was beginning to be noticeable. “Did anyone not take their wishes?”

“Some tried. But a lifetime is a long time to resist temptation. At some point everyone wishes for magic.” Once again, I thought there was something in his tone that wasn't seduction or gloating.

“Like when they were dying?”

“Occasionally. If they were very strong and very alone. More often for the benefit of someone else.”

Oh. Hell, yeah. If I could have kept Uncle Wilbur alive with a wish, I would have had a hard time resisting. “So can you do that? Keep someone from dying? Bring back the dead?”

“I'm magic, but not a god. I can't bring the dead to life, and while I can heal the sick and injured it seems to go badly.”

“Like what?”

He sighed. “Like Shan, who asked me to heal his wife, dying in childbirth after giving him a healthy son.”

“Did you?”

“Oh yes. Then a week later, she got up in the dark, felt faint, and dropped her oil lamp. The fire killed them all, man, woman and babe.”

I swallowed hard.

“I have found it's generally best to get my masters to use up their wishes right away on something trivial, before they try for eternal life or great wealth.”

“Wealth seems like it would be simple.”

He raised one perfect brow. “One might think so.”

Behind me, Leo snuffled and grunted, like a little snore. The sound reminded me it was my fault he was now snoozing ten miles from where he lived. Which I happened to know exactly, from having maybe once followed him home by accident. “But you can undo wishes? I mean, if someone wished for the wrong thing.”

“Well, not if anyone died. And not as simply as wishing you'd never wished. That ends by replacing one harm with another, usually.”

“So you're not a gift from Uncle Wilbur, you're a curse.”

“A responsibility, say.” He shrugged, an odd motion with the window flickering behind the shifting of his ribs. “You can wish me solid, then wish me to suck your prick, and all is done.”

I swallowed hard for a different reason. “But Leo would still be here. And wait, if you're solid, how would you go back into your bottle?”

“Any wish that alters me does not last. So what is your wish, Master?”

I fumbled thoughts around in my head. If I said, "Wake Leo up,” who knows how Asad might decide to do it? I'd have to specify how, and for how long, and that he was allowed to sleep again at night, and not be made to stay awake forever. If I said, "Put Leo back exactly the way he was,” well, who knew? What if he'd been crossing a street on the green light, and now that light was red? How much control did Asad have? How much leeway? How much power?

Eventually, I said, “I think I'm ready but I want to know, after the three wishes, what happens to you?”

“I go back in my bottle. And you and those you care for are safe. Well, safe from magic, until you die and your heir gets three wishes.”

“And you what? Sleep?”

“I wait.”

“Wait?” I stared at him. “Like, you're awake in there? For years?”

“Decades. Centuries. Millenia. Yes.”

“That totally sucks!”

His lips actually twitched like he was trying not to laugh. Or maybe cry. “It does.”

“How can you get free?”

“A Master would have to give up one of his three wishes, and wish me home safely.”

“So? Why not? It sounds like they're crap to use anyhow.”

“But powerful. I could truly make you the best quarterback ever born. Or give you the winning lottery ticket for a hundred million dollars.”

“How do you know I'd want that?” A flash of suspicion tightened my chest. “How do you know about modern things like those anyway?”

“Your Uncle kept my bottle near the television set. It was a kindness. Except during election years.”

message 18: by Kaje (last edited Jan 02, 2016 10:09AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments “Oh.” He was right. I could feel the temptation so strongly I had to press my hand to my mouth. I was second string quarterback, and odds were I'd never be first. And how cool would it be to be the best football player, ever, and then come out? In the NFL? God. God!

It was the sadness, deep in his eyes, that helped me in the end. I took my hand away. “Two wishes. I wish you would tell me exactly how to have Leo wake safely and with no lasting harm.”


I waited. After a few minutes of fraught silence, I said, “Hang on. That's your answer?”

“Yes. Wait. Eventually he will wake up. You will have to think of a story to explain wherever you put him before that happens. But there will be no harm done to him that way.”

“Oh. All right.” I turned to look at Leo. His dark hair was drying in the warmth of the fire, and he looked more healthy than pale. His eyes shifted under his closed lids, like he was dreaming.

I turned back to Asad. A million dollars. A Lamborghini. A cure for cancer? that last had me almost asking, until I realized how fraught it was. A cure, that didn't kill the patient, didn't cost too much, was available on Earth, that I could convince someone actually worked, that lasted a lifetime, didn't cause other major harm… “I wish you would go home, safely, to where you belong, with no lasting harm to anyone.”

His eyes brightened from dark to gold, and he leaped toward me. For a moment I panicked, thinking I'd freed some evil creature. But he grabbed my face with nearly imperceptible hands, and pressed the faintest of kisses to my mouth. “By all the Gods! Thank you, nephew of Wilbur. May you live long and prosper!” There was a bright flash, and a snap, like something breaking, and he was gone.

I sat there, my back to the futon, Leo's limp hand against my arm, for a long, long time. Eventually, Leo stirred, grunted and rolled onto his side. I twisted to look over my shoulder and our eyes met. He sat bolt upright. “What the hell! Where am I?”

“Uncle Wilbur's cabin,” I said. I'd thought about leaving with him, but he was heavy and I was tired, and help was miles away. “I found you lying out in the woods, passed out.” It was the truth, after all.

“You what?” He leaned forward, pressing his hands to his head. “I don't remember. I don't have a clue how I got there.”

“What do you remember?”

“I was shopping for my mom. I picked up an eggplant. There was a noise…” He lifted his face from his palms to stare at me. “I know you. Vic. You're the quarterback.”

“Um. Yeah.”

“And you found me?”

“It was a good thing too. You're not dressed for the snow. That's my parka you have on.”

He stared, then ran his hands over the jacket wrapped around him. “Wow. It's not mine.” He dipped a hand into the pocket and grunted. “Huh?” He pulled out his fist clenched around a crumble of clay. “You keep dirt in your pocket?”

In the mixed rubble, I saw hints of blue, a little flash of gold. Goodbye, Asad. “Sometimes,” I said.

“Weird. Not that I have anything against weird. But how did I end up out there?”

I couldn't help saying, “A genie, maybe?”

“Don't be a jerk.” He leaned toward me, and put his clay-smudged hand on my arm. “Vic. I'm… confused. A bit freaked, to tell the truth. But thanks for the jacket and everything.”

“No problem.”

“Would you, can you help me out?” His eyes were the color of melted chocolate. “I need to get home and, um, maybe a doctor? Or maybe… maybe I won't tell anyone yet. I don't know. I… fuck, I'm confused.”

“Do you feel sick?” I desperately hoped the shift from grocery store to frozen stream hadn't hurt him.

“No. That's weird too. I feel fine.” He glanced around. “Except for being here, I feel normal. Freaky! I don't understand. Vic?”

That lost tone in his voice made my heart hurt, but I couldn't say so. Instead, I said what I could. “Don't worry. We'll figure it out. As long as you're not hurt, that's what counts. Right?”

“I guess. Thanks, dude. I'm so glad I didn't wake up alone out there, you know?”

“I'm glad too,” I said. “And I'll help, any way I can.”

His tentative smile was my reward.

And if I'm going to hell for never telling him how he ended up lost that day, well, we've been together three years and counting now and the opportunity hasn't come up. Anyhow, I bet hell is fabulous,and I'll fit right in there. They say that's where all the hot gay guys go, and maybe that's where genies come from, after all.


message 19: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments :) Thank you. I've written about 75 of these for the group by now and most of them want to be longer. I am fighting off the temptation :D

message 20: by Whiskey (new)

Whiskey Black (whiskeyblack) | 3 comments Kaje, for the love of good stories, stop fighting it!
Wouldst thou deny thy talent and refuse thy creative calling? Tis a sin against the literary Gods! :=)

message 21: by Riina (new)

Riina Y.T. (ibxxxriina) | 469 comments love, love, love the poems!

I don't want to pick a favorite, but Al; that was seriously awesome!

Really enjoyed the stories as well, Juli and Kaje!

message 22: by Riina (new)

Riina Y.T. (ibxxxriina) | 469 comments Jessica wrote: "Kaje, for the love of good stories, stop fighting it!
Wouldst thou deny thy talent and refuse thy creative calling? Tis a sin against the literary Gods! :=)"

Heh. Agreed! :)
And thou shalt not sin, or so, I think :)

message 23: by Kaje (last edited Jan 04, 2016 06:35AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Jessica wrote: "Kaje, for the love of good stories, stop fighting it!
Wouldst thou deny thy talent and refuse thy creative calling? Tis a sin against the literary Gods! :=)"


Goodreads lists 47 works in print for me (over 2 pen names) in the 4 years since I've been publishing. That doesn't include the 75 short stories. I don't think I'm fighting that hard LOL.

Someday though, I really do want to do a longer YA. Thanks for all the encouragement guys :)

message 24: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments <3

message 25: by Riina (new)

Riina Y.T. (ibxxxriina) | 469 comments That's A LOT indeed! Wohoo! :)
Um. What's your other pen name?

message 26: by Kaje (last edited Jan 04, 2016 11:13AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Riina wrote: "That's A LOT indeed! Wohoo! :)
Um. What's your other pen name?"

Kira Harp

for YA - so readers know what they are going to get from me. (My Kaje Harper published fiction is not under-18 appropriate.) I'd have used that one for this group, but I was already a member before I became a mod. And it's a pain to jump between users.

message 27: by Riina (new)

Riina Y.T. (ibxxxriina) | 469 comments Kaje wrote: "Riina wrote: "That's A LOT indeed! Wohoo! :)
Um. What's your other pen name?"

Kira Harp

for YA - so readers know what they are going to get from me. (My Kaje Harper published fi..."

Thx. You've been busy :)

message 28: by Tully (new)

Tully Vincent (tully_vincent) | 78 comments Excellent story, Kaje! That one needs to be published...!!

message 29: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Aw, thank you <3

message 30: by Riina (new)

Riina Y.T. (ibxxxriina) | 469 comments The stars left, gone with
the wind that carried my pain.
Don't leave me behind.

message 31: by Kaje (last edited Jan 04, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Riina wrote: "The stars left, gone with
the wind that carried my pain.
Don't leave me behind."

Awww. So many unknown stories that could be the tag to. Evocative.

message 32: by Riina (new)

Riina Y.T. (ibxxxriina) | 469 comments thank you *^^*

reading your intro post, Kaje, now I'm stuck on the idea of "Enchantment"... Do we want more stories? :/

message 33: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Riina wrote: "thank you *^^*

reading your intro post, Kaje, now I'm stuck on the idea of "Enchantment"... Do we want more stories? :/"

We always love more stories... although the next picture will post tomorrow.

message 34: by Riina (new)

Riina Y.T. (ibxxxriina) | 469 comments That's true! I can't keep up :/

message 35: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Write for what motivates you - there's no requirement.

message 36: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Kirkwood (Levac) (genuinejenn) I am just editing my story. Can I still post it when it is finished? (I am really new to writing and a tad nervous to share)

message 37: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Jennifer wrote: "I am just editing my story. Can I still post it when it is finished? (I am really new to writing and a tad nervous to share)"

Absolutely - no rush and no pressure. And you can edit after posting. I always find new typos after i post it. <3

message 38: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Kirkwood (Levac) (genuinejenn) Kaje wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "I am just editing my story. Can I still post it when it is finished? (I am really new to writing and a tad nervous to share)"

Absolutely - no rush and no pressure. And you can edi..."

Thanks Kaje, I know I will likely spot more errors after posting but here it is.

Ben leans forward making Tom take one step back, finding himself with his back up against a big tree trunk. Putting his left hand on the tree trunk up by Tom's face, he leans forward and with a fierce passionate need, places his lips against Tom's. Tom can't believe what is happening but kisses Ben back with so much hunger for Ben, it surprises him. Tom has been waiting for Ben to show some sign of feelings towards him for a long time. Ben's right hand comes up to Tom's face and cups his cheek. The warmth of Ben is making Tom lose himself in more than the kiss, he can feel himself hardening at his groin.

Ben drops both of his arms to his side and takes a step back from Tom. The passionate and need written all over his face. He is panting hard.

"I..umm..I am sorry," Ben finally says to Tom as his eyes dart to the snow covered ground.

"What? You don't need to be sorry, I have been hoping you would kiss me for months now," Tom replies, stepping closer to Ben. "You didn't do anything wrong, I have just been to nervous to make a move on you first."

Ben looks up with those dark brown eyes, looking at Tom before speaking, "I needed to finally make the move as this tension between us has been too much for me to even concentrate on anything lately."

Tom is beyond happy that Ben feels the same way he does. He wasn't so sure when Ben took off after the movie last Friday night without as much as a goodbye.

"Want to grab a burger tonight?" Tom asks shyly.

"Sure, meet you at The Grill at seven?" Ben steps closer to Tom, but shifts his weight from his left foot to his right foot, showing how nervous he really is. Tom thinks Ben looks really cute when he is nervous. Tom smiles at Ben.

"Sounds good to me," Tom says as Ben closes the gap between the two boys and gives Tom a quick hug, turning quickly on his heels and heading out of the woods, leaving Tom standing in the middle of the frozen pond.

Tom drops himself to the ground, landing on the frozen pond. Laying on his back looking up to the sky. The sun is starting to drop and the moon is making its appearance, Tom thinks to himself with excitement, He actually likes me. Tom has had a crush on Ben since Ben arrived at Woodward High a couple months ago from Huston. Ben is tall, with wavy dark brown hair and the most deep dark brown eyes. He is the first male that Tom has been attracted to since he realized he wasn't into girls. Jessie and Tom dated for about eight months before he decided he couldn't just date her to make his family happy or anyone else. He just wasn't feeling those feelings for her. They were best friends, that is where his feelings for Jessie stopped, nothing romantic, even as hard as he tried. There was nothing. He was finally okay with admitting he just isn't into girls. It broke Jessie's heart but she has come around and they are still best friends.

Tom slowly gets up from the ground, wiping the snow off and heads home to get ready for his first date with Ben.

Ben arrived at The Grill first and found a quiet spot in the back of the restaurant for dinner with Tom. He really wanted Tom to like him. Moving away from Huston had been really hard on Ben, especially leaving football and all his friends behind. Everyone at his old school knew Ben was gay and didn't have a problem with it. Even his parents have been cool with it but with moving to Woodward he wasn't sure it would be as easy. This is a small town where it seems everyone knows everyone and some of the older people are living in the old days from what he has seen.

Ben spotted Tom as soon as he walked through the door at The Grill. There is just something about Tom, Ben thought as he stood up and waved to Tom. He is a bean pole with these piercing blue eyes and a his smile. He is smart, always has his head in a book or playing video games, not like Ben who lives, eats and breathes football. He likes to read but more graphic novels or sports magazines. It is nice to have someone that gets him and is happy with him the way he is. Being 16, most of their friends are chasing girls or partying. Tom isn't like that at all.

Tom heads through the restaurant as he sees Ben waving to him from a table in the back. "Hi Ben, have you been waiting long?" Tom asks as he takes off his backpack and jacket, sliding into the booth across from Ben.

"No, maybe five minutes if that," Ben says as he shifts in his seat. Ben can feel his palms getting sweaty as he tries to relax. "So, what is good to eat here?" Ben asks Tom, he picks up the menu and casually flips through it.

"Straight up beef burger and fries, but their pizza is really good too," Tom says as he pushes his menu to the end of the table. "Want to grab a large pizza and split it?"

"Sure, pepperoni good?" Ben asks and places his menu at the end of the table on top of Tom's.

"Sure," Tom says with a nervous grin. Tom is nervous for this first date but doesn't want Ben to know that it is his first. Is it even a date? Tom thinks to himself.

"Are you guys ready to order?" asks the waitress.

"Ya, we want a large pepperoni pizza and two colas," Ben says looking to Tom for assurance. Tom nods in reply.

Tom and Ben's conversation continues about class, football and video games until the pizza arrives. Neither one of them knowing how to bring up the question they both want answered, are they a couple?

"So, I heard you were dating Jessie last year, the girl in our English class," Ben finally says between bites of his pepperoni pizza.

"Ya, we dated for most of last school year," Tom replies.

"Umm, so what happened?" Ben is trying to himself not sound too eager for the reply.

"It just wasn't for me. Jessie is great girl, we get along really well but you know..." Tom's sentence trails off and he takes another bite of his pizza.

"No, I don't know man, that's why I asked," Ben says with a laugh.

"I am not attracted to her," Tom says and looks up at Ben to see his reaction. Ben is now looking at Tom and waiting for more to the answer.

"You mean, not attracted to Jessie or not attracted to girls?" Ben reaches for his soda and takes a huge gulp to wash down the last bite of his pizza.

Tom stops and puts his pizza down onto his plate and looks up at Ben, "No attracted to girls," Tom says and smiles at Ben hoping he will change the subject.

"So, I was wondering if maybe, umm, well, I know we have only known each other for a few weeks but I don't know," Ben is stumbling over his words and getting more frustrated with himself for being nervous than anything else. "Want to go out with me?" Ben finally says to Tom.

"Yes," Tom says and knows that his grin on his face must look like the goofiest grin around. He can't believe Ben has asked him out. His first boyfriend.

"Cool, so lets get out of here. My parents are out for the night, want to hang out at my place?" Ben asks Tom.

"Sure, let me just call home to tell my mom I wont be home," Tom replies.
Ben pulls his fathers Chevy truck into the driveway and cuts the engine. He is happy his parents are away for the weekend as he can tell Tom is nervous with all this. Ben decides he will take things slow with Tom as this seems like a whole new thing for him. He can't wait to cuddle up on the couch with Tom and watch a movie.

Both Ben and Tom get out of the truck and head up the walkway to the front door where Ben pulls out a key to unlock the house. As they enter the house Tom hears light foot steps from upstairs, "I thought your parents were away tonight?"

"They are, that is Molly, our dog," Ben takes off his jacket and throws it on the bench in the front hall. "Lets grab a drink and head to my room to watch a movie,"

"Cool," Tom says as he removes his coat and shoes, following Ben into a spacious kitchen with a center island with stools. He slides up onto one when Ben heads to the fridge.

"We have soda, juice, water, and beer," Ben offers to Tom.

"I'll have a soda," Tom says.

"Coming right up," Ben reaches into the fridge and pulls out two cans of soda, placing one if front of Tom and the other in front of himself at the island.

"Thanks, what movies do you have man?" Tom asks as he pops open the soda top. He can feel the tension rising between Ben and himself. He wants to touch Ben so badly but he also doesn't want to mess this up on the first date.

"Lets go see, I have lots of war and some horror movies," Ben says and leads the way to his bedroom, down a long hallway off the kitchen into the back of the house.

"Make yourself comfortable on the bed or couch, just make sure you leave room for me," Ben says, walking over to the TV stand. He starts flipping through movies on the stand, pulling out a DVD case, he turns around to face Tom. "War and horror, fight the zombie apocalypse, ya?"

"Sure," Tom says as he makes himself comfy on the one end of the couch.

Putting in the movie and grabbing the remote Ben plops down beside Tom, "Don't be shy now, just cause you know I like you," Ben teases Tom in a playful way moving in closer to Tom.

Tom can feel himself getting red in the face. He has never felt this way about anyone before, he is a little bit embarrassed that he is acting so shy around Ben.

"Man, I am not being shy," Tom replies and puts his arm on the back of the couch around Ben.

"Good," Ben says and moves in closer so that he and Tom are almost touching with their noses together. Ben can feel the heated tension between them and quickly places his lips on Tom's, taking in his scent. He lets his hands wander to Tom's chin and holds him close while kissing him deeply. After awhile Tom and Ben break away and take in some air.

Tom smiles at Ben. "This is nice,"

Ben decides to be forward, "Want to spend the night?"

"Sure," Tom says and leans in to start kissing Ben again. He can't get enough of this mans lips. He can only wonder how the rest of the night will go.

message 39: by Kaje (last edited Jan 08, 2016 11:27PM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Jennifer wrote: "Kaje wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "I am just editing my story. Can I still post it when it is finished? (I am really new to writing and a tad nervous to share)"..."

Sweet and needy, and stops right where it has to for YA... I hope you had fun writing it and thanks so much for sharing your guys with us. :)

I love seeing all the different takes on where this picture leads.

message 40: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Kirkwood (Levac) (genuinejenn) Thanks Kaje
I did have a lot of fun writing it. it is the first short I have finished and shared with anyone, other than a very short dialogue scene on my blog.

I look forward to doing more thus year.

message 41: by A.O. (new)

A.O. (ao-chika) | 10 comments Here's mine. As always I decided to take a different direction. PS: I'm not sure why it came out angsty.

I hate the way my body looks like in the mirror. The person is too skinny, too curvy and too soft. Her shoulders are not broad enough; her chest is too puffy its looks as if a tiny balloon is glued to her chest. Her voice is too high and not deep enough to be me.

I know I’m not a girl but I'm not sure if I’m a boy. I love online shopping, the stripper heels, Kanye West sneakers, binders, compression shorts and premium lipstick can attest to that.

I’m not always like this though; sometimes I feel like Beyoncé and sometimes like Nick Cannon. Sometimes I’m stuck in between and it doesn’t hurt, other times it does.

At sixteen, most people want to get a boyfriend, a new laptop or some swanky gear. I have all that but all I want is to be a complete person. Not a half boy, a half girl or some confusing person.

I’m not depressed; I’ve never tried to kill myself or anything like that, I’m not mentally or emotionally sick either. Nana says I’m just being a greedy little girl who wants everything and wants to be everything and maybe she's right.

Dad has finally taken a week off and we’ll be going to one of our cabins in the woods. There’s no internet there, I don't know anyone there and most importantly, it’s FUCKING WINTER.

Nana is already spewing crap about family bonding and connecting with nature. Frankly, the only thing I want to connect to right now is my boyfriend’s dick but Jerry has been avoiding me as of late.

Sometimes I think his masculinity is so fragile that when he sees me working out in my binders and boxers he gets threatened. It hurts that he sees what I’m wearing not me, why should it matter that there are times I hate my boobs, hips and vagina, it’s not like I don’t let him fuck me despite that.

I’ve never tried to kill myself or done anything to permanently change myself but there are times I wish I could. I stand in front of my mirror, pink scissors In hand as I cut my hair like Jerry’s it’s not a flattering hairstyle and it’s more suited for the backup singer of a boy band about to split up.

Despite how unattractive it looks, there’s this thing in my chest that calms down a bit. I can’t say I’m happy but for now, I’m fine. I know I should take a bath to wash off the hair on my body but I feel like if I take my clothes off to take a bath when I see myself in the bathroom mirror the thing in my chest will die.

So I stand up, dust the hair off my body, grab one of my binders and boxers from my underwear drawer. I walk towards my closet and pick up one of my T-shirt, jeans and zipped jacket. I don’t look fabulous or anything; I look weird and average but that thing in my chest is still there, so it doesn’t bother me so much.

Wearing my one of my sneakers, I sneak out of the house. It's 2 pm and Nana is probably reading a book or taking an early afternoon nap.

I remember the tiny spot a few minutes away from Jerry’s. The ice should be thick enough for me to lie down and stare at the sky.

It doesn’t take long, it’s been around only twenty minutes, I'm not sure as I’m not wearing a watch and I left my phone at home, all that matters is that I’m here. The ice is inviting and there's silence all around, no dad who has to work almost every day but still has the time to rebuff my life choices. No Nana who can’t just mind her own business, no Jerry who doesn’t love me enough to stay with me and help me figure out what’s wrong with me.

I lie on the ice and close my eyes; I let my mind drift. Call it a moment of weakness but I’m tired of always been strong, of always being on guard, I want to relax and for once there is no one around. No dad, no Nana, no Jerry or gossiping maids just me.

“My name is Stacey and I don’t know what I am.” I whisper to myself. I open my eyes as a snowflake lands on my cheek, I know I look pathetic lying in the cold with not enough clothing to prevent me from being sick but it doesn’t matter right now.

There is no confusion, no self-loathing, no reflection in the mirrors or in the silverware. The thing in my chest is calm.

“My name is Stacey and I wish I could stay like this forever.”

message 42: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments A.O. wrote: "Here's mine. As always I decided to take a different direction. PS: I'm not sure why it came out angsty.

I hate the way my body looks like in the mirror. The person is too skinny, too curvy and t..."

That's amazing - I love the mix; confidence and doubt; self-aware and confused. We're all a bit that way as teens to begin with, and then to work out gender identity adds to it. I hope Stacey gets up and keeps on going - and I'd love to hear more of the story someday.

message 43: by Kaje (last edited Jan 09, 2016 09:51AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Jennifer wrote: "Thanks Kaje
I did have a lot of fun writing it. it is the first short I have finished and shared with anyone, other than a very short dialogue scene on my blog.

I look forward to doing more this..."

Congratulations! We'd love to have you write whenever. It can be fun to do here - no pressure, just share a little bit.

message 44: by Melvin (last edited Jan 11, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

Melvin Davis III (tr0isxheart) | 87 comments December*

A month had passed , and it still hurt like hell. That day i felt the pain of him dying all over again. It brought me back to not being able to see him one last time, not being welcomed to the funeral and not know where he is buried. That void grew deeper , darker , more painful. Trey had left and at that time it was forever. I screamed in agony ;breaking apart repeating "you said you'll never leave me " .

My father and I hadn't spoke since Trey's family exposed me for sleeping in his room ;banning me from every single last moment before the funeral.He was ashamed that I acted in the way I did ,but that all went out the window when i broke down. He rushed in and held on to me and whispered "I'm here son ,let it out. Don't hold on to it anymore .Your love is genuine and I guarantee he misses you just as much .Never forget the love you guys shared." That let me know that he finally reached the point of acceptance, too bad it was too late. I calmed down after a while and my father sat there with me until he believed I would be fine.

Mid-November, I started grief counseling,after being diagnosed for temporary blindness because of psychological stress.I let that be the excuse for why I couldn't see. I mean, who would believe I was blinded by a heavenly light that was in my head ? Honestly ,the counseling started working .It took away some of the pressure. But i couldn't and I wouldn't let go of his promise to me no matter what the counselor told me. For the rest of the month, I sat in the corner of my room in the chair next to my mirror.I couldn't part from iy because it was the last place he had seen me before he crossed-over. I just sat everyday listening to life happening outside ,something I had no interest in being apart of.

Now, three weeks had passed in December and my eyesight just started coming back in one eye. I could only get blurry images. I started to feel so much better although blindness was my safe haven away from the world. It made me feel closer to--- him.I let my dad talk me into coming out my room at least once everyday, i commend that guy for not giving up on me .I believe it brought is closer.

The day before New years , my birthday had come. I had my dad help me to my bed so I could take a nap before the dinner I didn't even want.The only thing I could ever want; was gone. I touched the dream catcher ,my grandma sent me, before I laid down and said," catch my dreams but don't take the memories of my love from me." This was important for me to do every night because every time I slept I suffered in my dreams . I needed all the bad gone and what i had left of Trey to stay.Before I knew it I was asleep.

"we have to kill him. He needs to die ,we can't let another merge like this happen."

I laid and listened , none of the voices sounded familiar.It scared me ,but I couldn't move , I wanted to be back with him no matter how selfish it sounds.If dying was that way, so be it. In the distance the sound of a door opening came, followed by heavy silence.

"You'll do no such thing ,you two will follow me.Utter no words of deceit , and keep a mind of purity or you will be no more.He will know, he always knows."

What in the hell is going on , I think.But I hear it, as if, I said it aloud. I hear feet stumping towards me , someone's charging me .
"Tye-dye. get up and run" My heart drops through the floor but I get up. " To your left ." I immediately hear things crashing as if there was a fight going on behind me but someone's gaining on me. to my left i find a door where I exit through.I feel a tug on my pants and i start to run faster "Trey ?" I say in my head , but hear it aloud again. "10 steps ahead of you , count ,brace yourself ,there's another door.Go through it and two steps down , He can't follow you out there." I reached the door and a breeze takes me as i opened it. I missed a step . I slid across what seemed to be ice.My vision in my one eye was still so distorted I couldn't grab anything to stop me. "duck!"

I didn't duck in time. I slid right into a tree branch and fell back hitting my head on the ice , before I knew it I was unconscious.I felt him grab my hand and rest his other hand over my eyes. "We don't have much time".That was the last thing i heard before i blacked out.when I regained consciousness I felt the cold and a sting on my eye lids so I open them .I was met my evening skies and surprise; i could see. Not far off, i could hear my family calling and running towards me.My vision was back and so was everything I felt about Trey. My loves wasn't gone . It was time for me to find him.

message 45: by Kaje (last edited Jan 10, 2016 09:48PM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Melvin wrote: "December*

A month had passed , and it still hurt like hell. That day i felt the pain of him dying to me all over again. It brought me back to not being able to see him one last time, not being wel..."

Emotional, unusual story. Very cool use of the picture for the ending :)

Thanks for writing for us.

message 46: by Melvin (new)

Melvin Davis III (tr0isxheart) | 87 comments Thanks i did some minor edits lol. ..

message 47: by Jason (new)

Jason (jason_williams) | 732 comments Okay, this prompt just begs for haiku, I can't resist.

Cold steel is my bed
Until you return to me
I dream of spring time

message 48: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments Subtle, and lots of ways to take that, Jason :) - added to the links.

message 49: by Jason (new)

Jason (jason_williams) | 732 comments I don't know why, but I just love this photo. Figured I'd contribute one more.

There is a place I often will go
That cuts a path in the snow
The frozen creek, silky and white
I slip and I slide and I dance with delight
Try as I can and try as I might
To escape the world I know

Far from their cruelty, away from their world
No bullies around, they know not where I go
To the place out of reach and I can be me
My refuge the ice where I spin with such glee
I lie on my back and I look through the trees
And escape the world I know

I feel in my heart, out here I belong
I wish I could stay, but the day isn’t long
Boy liking boy, I’m told this is wrong
This is the world I know

message 50: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16659 comments <3 I love that one.

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