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Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 394 (December 28-January 3) Stories Topic: A New Year

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message 1: by C. J., Cool yet firm like ice (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4263 comments You have until the 3rd of January to post a story and from the 4th to around the 8th of January, we’ll vote for which one we thought was best!

Please post directly into the topic and not a link. Please don’t use a story previously used in this group. Only one submission per person is allowed.

Your story should be between 300 and 3,500 words long.

REMEMBER! A short story is not merely a scene. It must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

This week’s topic is: A New Year

The rules are pretty loose. You could write a story about anything that has to do with the subject/photo but it must relate to the topic somehow.

Most of all have fun!

message 2: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9325 comments The perfect topic to close out 2017! Thanks, CJ! My story this week will be called "Down with the Sickness" and it goes like this:


1. Ryan Lawrence, Affectionate Husband
2. Lillian Lawrence, Affectionate Wife
3. Anthony Robertson, Disgusted Patron

PROMPT CONFORMITY: This story happens to take place on New Years Day, a holiday that Anthony planned on celebrating alone by eating at Red Lobster.

SYNOPSIS: Ryan and Lillian celebrate their newly established marriage together by eating at Red Lobster. While enjoying their meals, they kiss and grope each other in front of the other customers and waiters. Anthony is the only patron who has the courage to get out of his seat and confront the couple, telling them how sickening their PDA really is. Anthony even goes so far as to ask Lillian for some “hot action” on the table.

message 3: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9325 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Down with the Sickness
GENRE: Anti-Romance
RATING: PG-13 for swearing, sexual references, and violence

Another new year, another lonely meal for Anthony Robertson. He absentmindedly twirled his shrimp linguini with his fork while gazing with a silent fury around Red Lobster’s clientele for the evening. So many happy people. So many successful couples with adorable kids. Men in suits and ties. Girls in cocktail dresses. All of them beautiful and perfect like the Mary-Sues they were. All Anthony had to show for his troubles was a doughy body covered by a Star Wars T-shirt and sweatpants along with a permanent resting bitch face.

He sighed and twirled his food some more, only occasionally taking a sip of his diet cola. He could see his reflection in the drinking glass and though distorted, he hated that image with fire and fury. Anthony could easily join a gym, shave his face, cut his hair, maybe even speak up for himself every now and then. But what was the point of it all? How would any of this make a difference at thirty years of age? How would this set of New Years resolutions be any different from the others? He thought maybe he should have the waitress box his meal up so he could eat it when he got home. No sense in taking in this circus of conformity any longer.

Of course, no circus of conformity would be complete without its own set of clowns. “You’ve got to be shitting me,” Anthony mumbled to himself. Dancing happily towards their booth was the tuxedo-wearing Ryan Lawrence and his new wedding dress-wearing wife Lillian, their faces familiar to Anthony dating all the way back to high school. Prom king and prom queen. Football stud and cheerleader chick. Cult of personality and goddess of love.

The newly-minted Lawrences occupied the same side of the booth so that they could spoon together like the lovebirds they were. At some point during Anthony’s silent apoplexy of jealousy, he had forgotten that there was a plate of shrimp linguini in front of him and a cup of diet cola not too far off. He closed his burning eyelids and took a bite of his meal. Creamy sauce, check. Soft noodles, check. Garlicky shrimp, check. Lillian’s lipstick, check…wait a minute…

Sure enough, the jarhead Ryan and his blond bombshell were playing a Stanley Cup-worthy game of tonsil hockey, much to the ignorance of the other patrons. Every time their tongues bathed in each other’s mouths, Anthony could feel the same sensation just from eating his meal. Suddenly his entire pasta dish looked like saliva and dentistry. His stomach felt like it was pregnant with a bag of bowling balls.

Yet Anthony couldn’t look away from this romantic display. He could have heard their lips and tongues smacking even if he was in Scotland….during a rock concert…with plugs in his ears…and permanent ringing. The PDA even included Ryan fondling his wife’s breasts through the dress. Any chance of Anthony getting a boner that night had died a long time ago with his high school self-esteem.

The lonely juggernaut waddled over to Ryan and Lillian’s table and slammed both fists on the wooden surface to snap them out of their little love fest. With a gaze as scalding as the coffee pot on the table, Anthony said, “Now that I have your attention…and everyone else’s attention in this fucking restaurant…could you do me a favor? The next time you plan on shooting a porn movie in a public place, make sure to send me an advance copy so that I can rub one out instead of crying myself to sleep at night.”

While Lillian folded her arms and pouted in shock, Ryan laughed it off and said, “Listen, buddy, I know it’s hard for a big guy like you to get girls, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find one someday. Maybe you’ll get to shoot your own porno in public. Until then, could you please get the fuck out of here so my wife and I can enjoy our suppers?”

Anthony stood up straight and hollered into the waitress’s vicinity, “You hear that? These two want to enjoy their meals! Don’t bother bringing them crab legs and cheddar biscuits! They already have someone, I mean, something to eat!”

While that last joke earned a few awkward chuckles from the other patrons, Lillian’s expressed the opposite of humor when she stood up in the booth and asked, “Who the hell do you think you are?”

Ryan barricaded his wife with his arm and sat her down again while saying, “It’s alright, honey, I got this.”

“That’s right, Lillian, there’s no need to fight your husband’s battles for him,” mocked Anthony. “As soon as the two of you have a daughter together, that’ll be her job, not yours.”

Ryan stood up and was nose-to-nose with his assailant, teeth gritted and fists clenched. “What the fuck is your deal, you ignorant cow?!” He muttered. “This is not the time or the place for your jealous bullshit!”

Anthony grabbed Ryan by his bowtie and growled, “Speaking of not being the time or the place for anything, I think you’re pretty much forgotten that this is a restaurant! A restaurant where people eat food! Nobody wants to eat their food with a bunch of disgusting tongue warriors next to them! You know that old phrase get a room?! Well, that sounds like damn good advice right now, don’t you agree?!”

Ryan kneed Anthony in his pudgy gut and dropped him to the ground. Waitresses, waiters, and patrons scrambled onto the scene to hold the husband back and prevent further violence. Their tight grips on his arms and legs didn’t prevent Ryan from shouting a few choice swear words at his opponent, who grabbed the edge of the table to pull himself to his feet.

Lillian, who didn’t have the disadvantage of a crowd blocking her path, stood up from the booth, slapped Anthony across his bearded jowls, and sneered, “Serves you right! Come on, honey, let’s eat somewhere else!”

The knee to his stomach and the slap across his face lit a fire within Anthony Robertson’s soul. If his pent up rage of twelve long years of loneliness and disgust was an actual fire, the governor would declare a state of emergency. Anthony didn’t have the power of pyromancy at his side. He didn’t have a flamethrower or cigarette lighter handy. But he could burn it all down anyways. In one swift motion, he spun Lillian around by her wrist and splashed scalding hot coffee in her once beautiful face.

The blood curdling scream caused Ryan to push the now weakened onlookers aside and kneel by his wife’s side. Her flesh peeled, reddened, and in some places bled profusely. Her tongue grew pitch black like she had just swallowed a lit cigar. Steam rose from her blistered face like a California wildfire.

Anthony’s grin grew wider than even his jowls could allow. “Go ahead, Ryan. Kiss her. Kiss her deeply. Show her how much you love her. Go ahead and cannibalize her. She’s what the steak chefs would call…well-done!”

Holding his wife tightly while patrons scrambled to call 9-1-1, Ryan’s visage was a cauldron of rage and sorrow. He looked so heartbroken that he couldn’t bring himself to his shaking legs to bring the fight to Anthony. Instead all he asked was, “What the fuck is wrong with you, man? All we did was kiss each other! There’s nothing wrong with kissing! It’s all about love, right?”

Anthony leaned closer to Ryan’s melting puddle of a face and said above the din of Lillian’s slowly calming screams, “I wouldn’t know what good kissing is like. According to you and your football friends, the only kissing I knew was with a hideous pimple faced princess named Jennifer. You think I forgot about those lies you spread about me, Ryan? Sure, it was over a decade ago, but try explaining that to my traumatized mind. Try telling me that as I eat my meals and see Jennifer’s face in my plate. That disgusting, disfigured, retarded face chewing my food for me! It’s a shame, too. I was enjoying being on the honor roll. They don’t let traumatized kids on the honor roll, Ryan. They don’t even let them have English degrees.”

Ryan’s face softened from rage and agony to shame and regret. His wife was still a fucked up mess with her acid-like burns. No more kissing for this triangle of terror known as Anthony, Ryan, and Lillian. Nobody knew what Ryan was thinking, but it probably had something to do with Anthony’s mental scars being just as painful as Lillian’s physical ones. At least that’s what Mr. Robertson hoped as he waddled away from the scene of the crime.

A whole litany of racing thoughts burned through Anthony’s mind as patrons scrambled to administer first aid to Lillian. He secretly wondered if Ryan would divorce his wife on the basis of her not being attractive anymore. But then again, he believed those two deserved each other until the end of forever. While Anthony couldn’t have his cake and eat it too, he could eat something else that was probably more nutritious and realistic: the plate of shrimp linguini he had been nursing for half an hour.

But that wasn’t how revenge worked. Instead of healing his mind, Anthony’s thoughts raced faster and faster, each damning trauma flaring in his mind ever so painfully. He knew he was destined for the hellhole of prison for his actions. He knew the food would taste even more disgusting than a false high school girlfriend’s mouth. Maybe it would have worms and maggots in it. Maybe there would be more traumas waiting for him behind bars. There was no turning back now. Anthony sucked in a deep breath and prepared to surrender his body and fucked up mind to the colorful police sirens outside Red Lobster.

message 4: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : Moving Improving (Helen Singer, Chapter Two, Part 1)
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 2347
Rating : PG13

I sat in the moving truck, me and Ladon between my mum and dad, thinking back on my life in the city and the friends I was leaving behind. It wasn’t just Carmen I was going to miss; it was everyone at my old school, even those people I didn’t really get on with or wasn’t even really friends with. I just knew that the major lifestyle change of moving from the City to the Suburbs was going to take some getting used to, but I didn’t really have a choice in the matter anymore. Not now that we were actually in the truck and on our way.

It had taken a few hours to get all the remaining furniture on board the moving truck; the furniture my dad hadn’t moved himself during the week, just the remaining beds and the TVs and things, and now that we were finally on our way I could feel my stomach twisting and turning, telling me it really wasn’t happy about any of this. I hadn’t even seen the house we’d be living in, though my dad insisted that I’d be sure to love it. Apparently it was connected to the library he’d be working in, so I could check out whatever books I liked and keep them for as long as I liked, within reason of course. Granted, that did sound pretty cool, but with a new school year approaching I’d probably only have time to read set texts and important revision books, so I wouldn’t get to enjoy having carte blanche access to the library’s books for my own personal pleasure until at least the Christmas holidays. And it didn’t really appeal to Ladon, whose idea of relaxation usually involved sitting on the sofa playing the latest video games and completely ignoring the rest of reality.

My mum was going to have even less fun when she arrived in town. She’d be working for the local constabulary, which consisted of less than a dozen officers from what she’d told us. She’d actually be helping run the department, which I’m sure would go down like a lead balloon in that particular type of old boys club. I could just imagine all the old men that worked there, all of them set in their ways and believing that a woman’s place is in the home, tied to the kitchen with a baby in each arm. If there was another woman other than my mum working for the police station in Graves Hollow I’d happily sit down and eat my hat.

Metaphorically speaking, of course. I love my hat. It covers my ginger hair. Well, it used to when my hair was still ginger.

I dozed a little on the drive across the City, waking once or twice to look out the window at the buildings which seemed to decrease in size and number as we left the city behind, and eventually after a couple of hours driving we reached our new home.

Parked outside our new home was a car that looked like it belonged to an estate agent, judging by the advertising plastered along its side. An average looking black woman who clearly made a lot of effort to look better than average looking stood next to the car, a huge smile on her rouge tinted face. Her bleached teeth sparkled as my dad pulled the truck into the driveway, parking a short distance from her car.

“Mr Singer, Mrs Singer,” she greeted them enthusiastically, “welcome to your new home.”

“Hello Esme,” my mum said politely as she climbed down from the cab of the truck. I got the impression my mum didn’t like this woman very much. Maybe it was the fake smile, or the rouge, or the combination of the two.

“I just wanted to make sure you made it here safe and sound,” Esme continued, “and I needed to give you this extra set of keys. I didn’t want to leave them in the letterbox in case someone managed to lay their hands on them. They’re for the shed and the garage.”

“Thank you, Esme,” my dad said, taking the keys as he too climbed down from the truck cab, “you didn’t have to come all the way here and do that.”

“It’s no trouble, really,” Esme beamed, “it isn’t often that a property in this area comes up for sale. The people in Grave’s Hollow love it here so much that they are usually extremely reluctant to leave.”

“The previous owner didn’t leave,” my dad pointed out, “she died.”

“That’s right,” Esme nodded, still not letting go of that smile of hers, “poor thing.”

“Well, if that’s everything,” my mum tilted her head in the direction of the road, clearly wanting Esme to leave.

“I’ll leave you to unpack your things,” Esme said, climbing into the driver’s seat of her car, then she held something out the open window for my mum and dad to take, “here’s my card again. In case you need to get in touch.”

My mum took the card, smiling a fake smile that almost put this Esme woman to shame. She and my dad waved half-heartedly as Esme pulled out of the driveway and took off down the road.

“Who was she?” Ladon asked, finally venturing out of the truck once Esme had gone.

“That was Esme Dusa,” my dad frowned, “she organised the sale of our new house. She means well, but she is a little--”

“Annoying,” my mum finished for him.

“I was going to say intense,” my dad chuckled, “but annoying works just as well.”

I climbed out of the truck cab, joining the rest of my family in the driveway. Before we even started to unpack the truck, me and my mum headed into the new house to take a look around. It was much bigger than our place in the city, and we were amazed that it had been thrown in as part of the package to get dad to take the librarian job, though I can’t imagine anyone else wanting to buy a place that’s attached to a library. We headed upstairs to the bedrooms, and I opened the door to the room my mum indicated was mine.

My new bedroom was huge and, aside from my bed, all my furniture was already set out, along with a brand new bookcase that my dad must have organised for me to have. Most of my books had been kept in piles on the floor in our old place, so now I actually had somewhere to put them. I’d probably move some of the furniture around at a later stage, but for now I think dad had done a pretty decent job, especially with getting me that bookcase.

“So what do you think?” my mum asked me, clearly seeing that I was trying not to smile.

“It’s okay,” I said, underplaying my thoughts entirely. I wasn’t about to admit that our new house was awesome, not when I’d just spent the last twenty-four hours chopping off my hair and dying it black and blue in protest against the move. I knew she knew I liked the place anyway, so why shouldn’t I give her a different answer to the one she was expecting? If she wanted the answer she expected, then she shouldn’t have asked the question.

“High praise,” my mum said simply, smiling knowingly before heading back down to the truck.

Ladon walked into the room that had been chosen as mine, a scowl appearing on his face.

“Why can’t I have the bigger room?” he asked, even though neither of our parents, the decision makers, were present, “just because I’m younger than you.”

“You’re twelve,” I said to him, “so you get what you’re given.”

“But I’ve got so much more stuff than you,” he complained, as if having more possessions than me was actually something to complain about, “so I should get the bigger room.”

“Just be grateful that mum and dad buy you all those games that you’re not even legally old enough to play,” I told him, “I wouldn’t rock the boat if I were you, so just keep quiet and you might carry on getting everything you want.”

Ladon tutted before heading across the hallway to his room. To be fair, his room wasn’t that much smaller than mine, and it had a fitted wardrobe which meant he had extra space added on. I looked at my room, smiling to myself.

I was happy enough with it. Let’s just hope school met with my expectations and wasn’t full of hillbillies and country folk.

Once I’d checked that all of my boxes were present and accounted for, I headed back to the truck to help mum and dad with the rest of the furniture. We soon managed to get the beds into our rooms, which took a lot longer than we anticipated seeing as we had to manoeuvre them up a flight of stairs, and with the truck now empty I was left to go through the rest of my boxes and unpack. It was a boring job, but in many ways it was a cathartic one, too. There were things I’d quickly packed into boxes that I now decided that I didn’t need, and other things I’d forgotten about were now going to take pride of place in my new, much larger bedroom.

I looked through a box of books and smiled. I’ve always loved books; I must have received that particular gene from my dad, and I have a particular fondness for books of myths and legends. I happily lined my books up on my brand new bookcase in what I deemed their correct order, sorted by author then by release date. Once this was done, I walked over to my dressing table and looked at myself, wondering what I should do about my hair.

It didn’t look that bad, considering how pale my strawberry blonde skin was, and I guessed I’d be able to pull it off if I didn’t come across too sternly when school started up in a week or so. Hopefully the kids at my new sixth form would just think I had dark hair, and not that I was some sort of Goth or, worse still, an Emo. Emo kids are the worst.

I quickly looked through my remaining box of clothes and found my slouchy hat, crocheted, woollen, and green, and pulled it over my short hair. It was funny not seeing long red locks flowing out from underneath, but it gave me a little bit of colour and made me look less dark and depressing.

This done, I trudged down stairs to see my mum and dad. And I guess, to some extent, my little brother.

“Can we look around the library?” I asked my dad, desperately wanting to see what sort of a catalogue they had there. Hopefully they had some decent books that I could actually enjoy, and not the usual dross that nobody in their right mind would ever want to read. We had to study Wuthering Heights when I was in year ten, and even my teacher admitted it was a boring book that basically tells the same story twice, and neither time in a particularly gripping way.

“You and your brother can come across with me now, if you like,” my dad offered, “I’m going to open it up this afternoon. It’s been closed for a few weeks now, so I’m sure it’s high time that the people of Grave’s Hollow finally got the opportunity to borrow some books out again and educate themselves.”

“Or more likely just use the free internet access,” my brother grinned.

I frowned at my dad, “Why did they close up a library?” I asked, “Surely there was somebody who could have continued to run it until they hired a replacement.”

“Like in charity shops,” Ladon chuckled.

My dad shrugged, “Nobody wanted to be left in there alone after what happened to the last head librarian,” he told me.

“What happened to them?” I asked, suddenly interested. I loved mystery stories, and this sounded to me like it might involve a death of some nature, whether natural or murderous.


message 5: by Edward (last edited Jan 03, 2018 06:15PM) (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : Moving Improving (Helen Singer, Chapter Two, Part 2)
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 2347
Rating : PG13


“Well,” my dad began, leaning forward as if this story was going to be a good one, “late last year the librarian apparently died under very mysterious circumstances.”

“Mysterious?” I repeated, intrigued, “In what way mysterious?”

“Well, she was found on the steps of the library, every bone in her body shattered as if she’d been dropped from a great height,” he paused for effect, “only the library building is a measly two stories, and the damage she suffered was far more than could be expected from such a small fall.”

“How big a fall did they think?” I asked, fascinated by the story.

“Possibly as much as twenty stories,” my dad told me, “and the biggest building in the village is only five. Your mother heard about the accident when she was being interviewed for her post here on the local police force. Apparently Mrs Griffin was very popular round these parts.”

“Mrs Griffin?” I smiled. Like I said, mythology was a passion of mine, “As in the Greek myth? That’s funny.”

My dad frowned, “How so?”

I shrugged, realising maybe it wasn’t that funny, “You know. The griffin? Half lion half eagle. Maybe she was flying around when she had her accident.”

“That would have been awesome!” Ladon grinned widely.

My dad rolled his eyes at the pair of us, “Don’t be ridiculous, you two.”

I shrugged, “I’m just saying,” I said, “it’s kind of a funny coincidence, don’t you think? And it would explain what happened to her.”

My dad tutted, “Just come on,” he groaned, “let’s go take a look at this library and see what we’ve got to work with.”

And so me, my dad, and my little brother Ladon headed next door to take a look at the local library.

And that’s where the trouble started.

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