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Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 404 (March 15-21) Stories Topic: Bump In The Road

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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 21st of March to post a story and from the 22nd to around the 26th of March, 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: Bump In The Road

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!

Note: Apologies as to the contest this week going up so late. I have mentioned what happened in the story thread last contest if anyone has missed my explanation and wondered why I wasn't able to do this. Things have mostly settled now and I appreciate your patience. Thank you!

message 2: by Maria (new)

Maria (mariasaleem) | 83 comments I just wrote a story related to this topic yesterday! What a coincidence. Thanks to the person who suggested it! I'm gonna go edit my story a bit and then post it.

message 3: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9321 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Silent Warrior, Chapter 21
GENRE: Educational Fiction

As a handsome middle-aged gentleman in a brown ponytail stood by her side, Linda Williams took center stage of the gymnasium with a microphone in hand. She noticed the sullen expressions on her students’ faces as they filed into the bleachers one by one. Linda caught a glimpse of Adrienne Simpson sitting in the far upper corner by herself. The Principal’s heart ached for her and all of this new trauma she had to deal with. That was not to undermine the sadness of the other students filling the seats, all of which had slumped over postures and saggy frowns.

Right at the time everybody was seated where they needed to be, Linda tapped the microphone a few times and tested it for feedback. She gazed around at the audience before her with a combination of sympathy and strength in her face. She needed to be strong when others felt they had the strength sapped right out of them. Linda took a few breaths to steel her nerves and brought the microphone up to her lips to begin her oratory.

“Before I get started with this emergency school assembly, I want to get two talking points off my chest. First, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for coming today, students and teachers alike. I wish this was all under different circumstances, but it is what it is. And secondly,” Linda patted the ponytail-wearing gentleman on the shoulder and said, “This is Paul Corbin. He will be your new US history teacher as he’s taking over for the departed Tom Simpson. He’ll take good care of you and hopefully you’ll find him to your liking.”

Linda gazed down at her loafers to allow for a beat of silence. Reengaging the audience, she said, “I’m sure some of you heard by now what happened with Tom Simpson and why he’s not here today. For those of you who need to be brought up to speed, let’s just say he won’t be working here anymore. He made a bad decision and it cost him his job. I know that argument sounds familiar to those of you who were close to one Scott George. I know how quickly rumors can travel.”

Pacing back and forth with slowness in her step, Linda cleared her throat and said, “We can debate all day long about the morality of what Scott George did. Then again, we can also do the same thing for Mr. Simpson. And for Alan Young, another student whose name you might recognize. Varying opinions aside, I have a confession to make as it pertains to my tenure here at Perkins High.”

“I haven’t been a perfect Principal. I’ve made a few enemies here and there. But the one thing I can never forgive myself for…is allowing my own students to be victimized. I’ve been blind to the mistreatment going on around here. I thought it was just another day at the office. And then I saw a You Tube video of Scott George sobbing at his father’s grave while the so-called filmmaker Alan Young laughed in the background. That never should have been the ultimate breaking point and for that I’m sorry.”

Pointing her arm at the new teacher, she said, “As you can see from Mr. Corbin’s presence, there are going to be some changes around here. These changes are going to shake the very foundation of this once esteemed high school. No more abuses of power. No more hostile work environments. No more mediocre school lunches. Everything is going to change around here from top to bottom, left to right. Mind you, these changes aren’t going to happen overnight. Reforming a broken school takes time and effort. While I realize that patience isn’t always a virtue among everyone here today, it is needed if we’re to make these changes in a civilized and methodical way.

“To put it as delicately as possible, Scott George hit some bumps in the road during his educational experiences here. I’ve no doubt that many of you feel the same way. The only difference is, his story came to my attention first. And his story is the reason why these radical changes are happening in the first place. As long as they’re happening, I’d love know your stories as well. You know why? Because unlike what Tom Simpson had been preaching this whole time, democracy isn’t dead. Your voices matter now more than ever. You have the right to be heard and there’s not a teacher walking this earth that can take that away from you.

“Which brings me to my final talking point of the day. If you’ve been following the local news, you’d know that Scott is currently sitting in jail awaiting his final sentencing. The crime he committed had no victims, yet he currently has a five thousand dollar bail looming over his head. He doesn’t have a lot of time left before that bail will be revoked and his prison sentence will officially begin.

“Therefore, I am announcing to you all this morning that I’ve set up a Go Fund Me page to pay for his bail. The link to the page will be posted on the bulletin board outside of my office. I don’t expect any one person to fork over the full amount. In fact, I don’t want any of you to think that the new changes to this school will be contingent on how much money is donated to the cause. This isn’t extortion. This is purely optional. One dollar would be fine. A quarter. A nickel. Every little bit will help.

“If you’re wondering why you should care about a kid who was rebellious at his worst and tearful at his best, then know that I would do the same for any one of you if you were placed in a similar situation. No student deserves to be taken advantage of. No student deserves to be silenced. Every student has the right to an education should he or she decide to pursue it. I feel that way about Scott George, a kid with so much promise and so much of an upside that it breaks my heart to see him lose it all over an asinine loophole in the law he allegedly broke.

“I’m not asking you all for help. I’m pleading with you. I’m all but on my hands and knees. I’m asking for this school to be united, not torn apart by bullying or abuse of any kind. If there’s one thing Scott George will teach you all, it’s that empathy and love will go a lot further than empty disciplinary tactics and mindless conformity. He wants you all to be free thinkers. He wants you all to take advantage of the opportunities you have. He wants to see these changes to our school just as much as you all need them. I’ll close this assembly with one final plea: can you find it in your hearts to give Mr. George another chance?”

The expressions on the students’ faces spoke volumes: angry eyebrows, defeated frowns, and tense stares. One by one they left the gymnasium without waiting for Miss Williams to give permission to exit. They never said one word, presumably because for so long they had been fed the “democracy is dead” shtick like it was the worst tasting medicine imaginable, worse than any worm-infested food Scott George would eat in his new home. The only student who didn’t get up and leave was Adrienne Simpson, who pulled her knees up and tucked her head in her lap, feeling dejected and forlorn.

As soon as the bleachers were empty sans Adrienne, Paul Corbin placed a gentle hand on Linda Williams’s shoulder and said, “You did your best to convince them.”

“Did I really, Paul? Is this just another chapter of broken promises and ignorant leadership?” asked Linda in a sullen tone.

“Nobody’s perfect, Linda. Not you, not me, not Scott George himself. But that’s what makes us human. We grow, we adapt, and we learn things. Isn’t that what school is all about?”

“It’s too late for us now,” said Linda. “These changes should have been made long before Scott was taken into custody. I could have prevented all of this from happening. But instead, I sat by and did nothing. I was naïve to think everything was okay. Does anybody really tell you that everything is wrong in their world? For god’s sake, I should have never hired Tom in the first place.”

Linda’s stonewall strength had crumbled all around her and she couldn’t help but shed a few silent tears. How could she remain strong after all that’s happened? She believed it was all her fault and that she had no right to cry about it in the first place. But the tears kept coming, albeit in a silent sob that still caught the attention of Paul Corbin. The new history teacher gave the Principal a hug light enough to avoid awkwardness, but strong enough to know that he was by her side.

“Excuse me, Miss Williams?” said Adrienne, who was now standing within close range and Linda hadn’t even realized it until she picked her tear-soaked face up. The little freshman held out a twenty dollar bill and said, “I want to contribute this to Scott’s bail. It’s not much, but I hope it’s a step in the right direction. I’ve been saving it for a rainy day.”

A smile spread across Linda’s face despite the flowing tears. She accepted the twenty dollar bill and said, “Oh, Miss Simpson, bless your little heart. I know Scott means a lot to you. He means a lot to me too. Speaking of rainy days…” The last sadly joking sentence was punctuated by pointing at her own teary face, hence the raindrops.

“I’ve been doing that a lot lately too, Miss Williams. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. You’re still one of the strongest women I know, next to my mom.”

Linda sighed, “I guess we all have to be strong now, don’t we? I just hope Scott feels the same way. Of course, it’s hard to be strong when you’re all alone behind those barred walls.”

message 4: by C. J., Cool yet firm like ice (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4263 comments Maria wrote: "I just wrote a story related to this topic yesterday! What a coincidence. Thanks to the person who suggested it! I'm gonna go edit my story a bit and then post it."

That's great to hear, Maria! Also if Guy had seen your comment he'd tell you all about fushigis which are like what you said in your first sentence. :)

message 5: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : Suspect Connect (Helen Singer, Chapter Twelve, First Half)
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 1401
Rating : PG13

I didn’t sleep well that night; I kept thinking about my dad in the shed, and where my little brother had disappeared to. The only bright side was that my mum hadn’t come home either, so I didn’t have to listen to her wondering where everybody was. Although, to be fair, I was also kind of wondering where she was, too.

I’d spent most of the night staring at the ceiling, waiting for the sun to come up. At least then I could go out looking for Ladon without disobeying my mum. I know it sounds silly, but if she had come home and found all of us missing with no explanation then she really would have been worried. At least this way, if she had turned up, I could have made up an excuse for my dad and Ladon.

As it was I didn’t see her that morning. I lay staring at the ceiling, thinking about what a terrible turn my life had taken, which was when I heard a violent banging at the front door.

I threw on a cardigan over my shortie pyjamas and slowly trotted down the stairs. Looking through the peephole I could see a very eager looking Fran standing on the doorstep, her eyes wide and red from lack of sleep. I sighed, unlocking the front door and opening it up.

“Emmett Cocker The Third!” Fran grinned as if that name was supposed to mean something.

“Come again?” I said.

Fran pushed past me into the hallway, and I closed the door quietly behind us.

“Emmett Cocker The Third!” Fran repeated excitedly, “That’s who I think is behind all this.”

I presumed she was talking about the giant serpent issue. She wasn’t particularly clear.

“Emmett Cocker The Third,” I said, mulling the name over in my head, “what’s that got to do with disappearing kids and my dad turning into a garden gnome.”

“It’s the surname,” Fran said, taking a seat on the living room sofa.

“I’d have thought with a name like that he’d be more likely to turn into a spaniel,” I smiled.

Fran ignored my comment, “After I got off the phone with you last night I was looking up creatures that turn people into stone, and I came across this.”

Fran presented me with a print off from a web page, featuring a picture of a creature that looked like a cockerel with a snake’s tail and leathery wings.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“A cockatrice,” Fran said eagerly, “a mythical creature that can turn people to stone with but a glance. Legend has it they come about when a cockerel lays an egg with no yolk.”

“And what’s that got to do with this Emmett guy?” I asked, rubbing my eyes which still felt very sleepy.

“Think about it.” Fran said, “Cocker The Third? Cocker Thrice? Cockatrice! It’s got to be him.”

“What did the article say about this thing kidnapping children?” I asked.

“That’s not important,” Fran casually waved her hand in front of me like she was dismissing my opinion on an item of clothing, “what is important is that we have our first possible suspect. He must have the book!”

“Aren’t there other creatures that can turn people to stone? Like Medusa or the other Gorgons?” I smiled to myself, “Maybe someone called Gordon has the book.”

“We do need to investigate every possibility,” Fran agreed, “but I really think that Emmett Cocker is out best bet right now.”

“Fine,” I sighed, “just so long as we can turn my dad back to normal.”

Fran frowned, “Well, it is morning,” she said, “he might well have changed back at daybreak. Where is he, anyway?”

I stared at Fran, then all sleepiness fell away from me as I realised what I’d done. I raced into the garden, Fran following me with what I can only assume was a puzzled look on her face.

I stopped outside the shed door and listened closely. I could hear a banging coming from inside. It was only faint, almost as if it was the tail end of an hours long session of banging for help. When had the sun come up? Probably a few hours ago by now.

I looked at Fran, who had caught up with me and was now standing by my side. She looked at me for a moment, then asked quietly, “Did you lock him in the shed?”

“I didn’t know what to do,” I admitted, “I panicked. I didn’t want my mum to see him, so I stashed him inside.”

“Do you have the key?” Fran asked calmly.

I looked blankly for a moment, then ran back into the kitchen where I’d returned the keys to their magnetic home on the fridge. Returning to the garden, I opened the shed door, and there stood my dad, looking sweaty and tired, but at least not made of stone.

“Dad?” I said, trying to put on a fake puzzled voice, “What are you doing locked in the shed?”

My dad looked through bleary eyes at me and Fran, his face looking genuinely puzzled in comparison to mine, “I...” he began, “I don’t remember.”

“Were you drinking, Mr Singer?” Fran asked, trying to help but really not.

“I don’t think so,” my dad said, “last thing I remember was coming home with Ladon, and then hearing a noise. The next thing... nothing. I woke up in the shed. At least, I think I woke up. I was standing up, which seems odd, but I must have been sleeping because everything before that is a blank..”

“That is weird,” I nodded as if I understood completely, “perhaps you should go and have a lie down.”

“What time is it?” my dad asked.

“A little after eight,” Fran offered.

“I’ve got to get ready to open the library,” my dad said, “can you look after Ladon for me, Hel?”

“Of course,” I told him, thanking God and all his angels that my dad hadn’t actually asked where Ladon might be, “that’s not a problem.”

“Great,” my dad smiled weakly, “I’d better go and have a wash before I head next door. Thanks again.”

“No problem,” I said as my dad disappeared back in to the house, “see you later.”

“Well,” Fran said once my dad was out of sight, “that could have been a lot worse.”

“What do you mean,” I hissed, “my little brother is still missing. What if this thing you think is kidnapping children is actually eating them? I’m not going to be able to explain that away to my mum and dad so easily.”

“Well, we’ve got a suspect to work with,” Fran said cheerily, “all we have to do is go over to Mr Cocker’s campaign headquarters and look around for the book.”

“Campaign headquarters?” I repeated, “What does this guy do for a living?”

“Didn’t I say?” Fran said flippantly, “He’s running for Mayor.”

“Running for Mayor?” I threw my arms in the air, “This just gets better and better.”

“It’s not like he is the Mayor,” said Fran, “he’ll be more than happy to entertain the youth of today.”

“That would be us?” I asked.

Fran nodded, “That would be us.”

“Well, let me get dressed,” I sighed, “he probably won’t be around before nine o’clock anyway so we’ve still got time.”

I jogged upstairs to my bedroom, picking out some clothes and throwing them on, while Fran waited in the kitchen. Looking at myself in the mirror, I groaned about my Goth hairdo once more. I really needed to get over this issue with my hair; if I didn’t want to look like a Goth then I shouldn’t have coloured it in the first place. I was probably more annoyed about it than my parents were, so maybe I’d just colour it back. Or wait for it to grow out. I couldn’t decide, I was too concerned about this child-abducting monster traipsing around the village.

Once I was suitably dressed, I headed back downstairs where Fran had been waiting patiently by the fridge. She looked like she was reading something in her hand, but when she saw me she slipped it into her pocket, a smile appearing on her face.

“Well then,” she said, “let’s get going. I just hope this isn’t yet another bump in the road and that we finally catch this thing!”

(continued next week)

message 6: by Kearsie (last edited Mar 21, 2018 08:43AM) (new)

Kearsie (permanentrose) AUTHOR: Kearsie
TITLE: A (Literal) Bump in the Road

Ivy’s arm seared as she shifted it out from underneath her hip, dragging it achingly across the gravelly pavement. She coughed, sputtering out a few small rocks, tasting the blood and dirt lining the inside of her cheek. She couldn’t manage to sit up yet, her lungs winded and rendered useless as she choked out another frantic cough.

The brilliance of the sky hurt her eyes, hued deep cerulean without even a wisp of a cloud. She searched desperately for something to focus on, her eyes finally landing on a tree branch hovering in her peripheral vision. The passage of time was momentarily agonizing, each second amplified as her heart slammed against her chest. She lay on the pavement for several minutes, capturing breath after breath into her aching lungs.

The world felt strangely still and isolating; a harsh ring clanged in her ears against the backdrop of cicada hums. The old high school, now only a dark abandoned building, was only about three miles away from town, but it was distance just far enough away that her seclusion was apparent, weighed down by temporary paralysis. She had come here with Jess and Elinor many times, on lazy afternoons after school, during the hours that nobody bothered to worry about them. Jess would lead the way, guiding her bike around potholes more agilely than Ivy could ever manage.

It was one of those merciless potholes that had done her in today, tossing her from her bike with unexpected momentum, spilling her across the gravelly road like pliable ragdoll. With a quivering breath, she watched the flimsy branch waver briefly in the breeze. At last, she managed to sit, cradling her sore arm against her stomach. She filled her lungs slowly, methodically her darting around the familiar setting, in search of something she could not find.

She managed to wheel her bike for about three blocks, her right arm hanging uselessly by her side, before letting it clatter down against Mrs. Carlson’s lawn. She clutched her limp arm against her side, taking frightened glances at her wrist. It was painted with a splash of murky bruises, seeming only to deepen each time she dared to look.

“Dad!” she hollered breathlessly as she made it up the front walk, hobbling through the door. It was dimly lit, even in the brightness of the afternoon. The bulbs on the left end of light fixture had burned out ages ago and no one had bothered to replace them.

“Daddy!” she called again, her voice strained in desperation. “Da—Oh, Flora. Hi. I forgot it was Wednesday.”

“Ivy! What happened to your arm?” Her sister rose from the kitchen table, momentarily unbalanced as she put one hand against the back of the chair for the support, the other resting in instinctive protection against her swelling abdomen.

Another timid glance confirmed that her wrist was still as terrible as it felt.

Ivy did not have a chance to collect her voice (almost gratefully, as her head was swimming with the onslaught of pain), when a clatter of nails sounded from down the hall, carrying with it dog. It was large and clumsy with scraggly fur the color of sand. Ivy’s footing wavered, and she fell back against the support of the cupboards, her mind momentarily clouded with shock.

“Ivy! Ivy! Did you see what I found?” Posy, filthy from an afternoon of hard play, spilled through the door immediately after the dog. “Do you seem her? I named her Tulip, so she fits in with all our flower names. She can be like our sister.”

The dog clamored around the kitchen, eager and ungraceful, edging her nose into crevices and upsetting the unstable piles of clutter scattered across the floor. And she stunk. Even from a distance, Ivy could smell the rank scent that clung to her matted fur.

“You can’t just bring an animal in here! Where did you even find it?” Flora’s eyes flashed, an icy blue.

“Flora!” Posy, unaffected by her oldest sister’s stern tone, bounded across the kitchen, leaving a trail of dusty footprints in her wake. She latched her arms around Flora’s torso, thoroughly peppering the circumference with sloppy kisses. “Hi, baby. Hi, hi, hi.”

“Posy!” Flora unhinged Posy’s arms from her waist, frowning as the dirt clung to the fibers of her white shirt, though her face had softened considerably.

Ivy, forgotten and dizzy with pain, made a small noise from across the kitchen, though it was immediately diminished as the basement door opened with such force that even the dog skidded to stop.

“Girls!” Meant to be forceful, their father’s voice came out in more of muffled cough. He stood in the doorway, hiking up his pajama pants, flimsy flannel with an elastic waistband that no longer stretched properly. His auburn beard was flecked with gray like a pepper shaker, looking shadowy against his tired face. His next statement came out flat and weary, “What is all this noise?”

The dog bumbled out from behind a stack of TIME magazine topped with a broken toaster, tucked away on the floor beside the oven. It clattered loudly, sharp and metallic, as the dog whipped her tail back and forth with unbounded fervor. Posy stepped up beside her, putting on a brave smile as the dog’s tongue lolled out of her panting lips. “Daddy, this is Tulip.”

Ivy, woozy with nausea from her unattended pain and the unsettling scent of the dog, bent at her knees and unceremoniously heaved her stomach contents across the kitchen floor.

A certain urgency filled the air then, as the dog became immediately enticed by the sudden onslaught of a new smell. Flora intercepted just in time, herding the dog out the front door with Posy in tow behind her. Their father had grown suddenly pale at the sight of Ivy’s bloody arm, his hands trembling so badly as he tried to unlock the station wagon that Flora snatched the keys from his hand and escorted him to the passenger side. Ivy curled herself into the backseat, and Flora kindly put a plastic pumpkin bucket -(hastily retrieved from a pile of clutter in the garage) into her lap as a precautionary measure.

“Posy!” she called, ducking into the driver’s seat to ignite the engine. “Car. Now!”

Posy, fierce and defiant, clung to the dog at the edge of the lawn. “I’m not leaving Tulip.” Her words were firm, and she dug her bare toes solidly into the dirt.

“Posy, we’re not doing this right now. Leave the dog, and get into the car,” Flora broke the distance between the car and Posy in three even strides. She glanced back at the car, imploring the aid of her father, but he remained unresponsive, his face a ghostly pallor.

“No! No, no, no, no,” Posy, who had never responded well to a denial of her requests, wailed, clasping the dog so tightly that it let out a low whine. “You can’t make me. She needs me.”

It was how they ended up stuffing the dog into the back of the car before executing their much delayed trip to the emergency room. After procuring a parking spot, Flora checked to make sure all the windows were cracked and the child locks were properly activated before ushering her queasy father and whimpering sister through the sliding glass doors.

Once the x-ray had confirmed that Ivy’s wrist was indeed broken, Flora announced, “I’m going to check on Posy.”

Her father nodded. The color had begun to seep pleasantly back into his cheeks.

“So,” her father began, speaking into the silence once Flora had left the room. “You were riding your bike down by the old high school?” He reiterated the story that the doctor has gathered, achingly pieced together between yelps as Ivy’s wrist was uncomfortably manhandled.

She nodded, tucking a flyaway strand of ginger hair behind her ear with her good arm.

“You know I don’t like it when you go down there, especially alone.” His authority was often undermined because he had a habit of presenting his demands as requests. I’d prefer it if you didn’t dye your hair pink, Flora. Or, Posy, I really don’t think it’s safe to jump down the laundry chute. For better or for worse, his lax parenting allowed his children to learn primarily from trial and error, both outcomes often followed by the frequent refrain, But Dad never said no!

“I’ll be more careful,” Ivy finally spoke, careful not to lock herself into any promises she might end up breaking.

message 7: by Maria (last edited Mar 20, 2018 10:38PM) (new)

Maria (mariasaleem) | 83 comments Title: Surreal
Author: Maria
Word Count: 1,078

We are in a dream. Rain splatters on the road as our car passes under the lamp posts casting a yellow glow in the night. The streets are deserted. But all the life is inside the car.

My little brother Danny is dancing - which is more like just jumping energetically on his seat - and singing loudly to his favourite song that is currently playing.

He occasionally loses balance whenever there comes a bump in the road but gets up on again and continues his singing. It's the funniest thing. And I chuckle every time he looks at me and grins through his dance moves like he's having the time of his life.

His favourite cricket team in the country, the Kings won against a strong rival tonight, and it was already late by the time the match ended, but dad insisted we celebrate, when on call with an excited five-year old telling him every detail he could about the team's victory, unknowing of the fact that dad had been watching it too, from his side of the town.

We got ice-cream from the local ice-cream shop (because they have the best strawberry ice-cream) and now here we are, my brother in his Kings merchandise and me in my pyjamas, having left the house in a rush, and now heading back home.

In some ways Danny is like me, though a ten-year younger version of Isabelle. If he's passionate about something he would let the whole world know. But in his case, the world would listen, and would reward him for the joy he brings to it with his cheerfulness. I look at my little brother adoringly while he digs through the many m&m's his strawberry ice-cream is topped with - still standing on his seat in the process. I shake my head. OK, I'm not that stubborn. I think I've told him to put on a seatbelt at least twice now. He takes a bite of his dessert and his brown eyes sparkle at his favourite taste, long lashes fluttering.

I appreciate this downtime after such a stressful week of work and studies, even if it was just an ice-cream takeaway before bedtime. It's been a while since I had a night out with family. Too bad dad had to leave so suddenly in the morning, and all packed for the night, too. He trusts us. He always says Danny is the life of the party though, and he would've enjoyed this small celebration with him.

But something seems off. I see it in the driver's bloodshot eyes, his cheeks too flushed. I see it in the way our backs are pressed so hard to our seats my breath is knocked out. A strange scent drifts in the air. I try to deny it, because it seems such a little thing to worry about when everything else seems so happy and perfect. And maybe I am out of breath from cracking up every time the song reaches its chorus and my brother sings the loudest yet.


Our car is speeding. I finally accept it when it gets too obvious to ignore. I recover from my laughter and try to yell over the loud music to tell the driver to slow down. But it’s too late when he hears. There is a second where I lose sense of my surroundings. And the next, our car crashes.

It rams into a stationary truck parked near our garage, when the driver was trying to swerve to the right, towards the garage. I am thrown forwards and then immediately backwards, hard, as an impact. Now my legs are jammed. I am in a daze but my hands manage to find my phone and dial the police. The sirens and flashes come in a few minutes and they pull me out of the car. The entire front of it is destroyed. The haze in my mind starts to clear. I had sat in the back. They tell me I am the only survivor. I hear it as if from a distance. I shake my head. They heave out a body from the front. I keep shaking my head.

They pull another one, a small bundle of a body and lay it on the ground. The chest is soaked in dark liquid that I refuse to accept as blood. Then I see a blue shirt and a cricket team logo that I recognise too well. My stomach drops. I feel myself paling, and my legs weaken. There is a sudden pounding in my head, and I feel nauseous. I throw up at the side of the road and my knees give out. I feel numb and empty. I sit staring into empty space as they carry it away behind me. Someone puts a hand on my shoulder. I barely feel it. I barely feel anything.

They ask for my dad's number and call him. He was gone for a full day, having to stay for a business meeting. Really, it wasn't our first time home alone. But it was his last.

He comes as soon as he can. Seeing him there in his white shirt and the pretentious calm on his face floods my heart with all the emotions I was deprived of previously. I rush to him as cries rack my body. He wraps his arms around me like a blanket. I hug him tightly. I want this all so badly to be a dream. To wake up to a normal morning and the cheerful noise of Danny playing around the house. Dad stays quiet, and I am stood embracing him while he tries to comforts me. I try to tell him the truth, the ugliness that shattered our dream, but it all comes out as blabbering.

‘He was on drugs! The driver was on drugs! Papa, I saw him but I didn't know at the time. He took them before he drove us to...,’ I fail to keep a sob from escaping.

‘Hush, sweetheart. I know, I know. They told me. I'm sorry I didn't know that about the driver, honey. I’m so, so sorry. I should've never let this happen.’ For the first time, his voice sounds broken, too. ‘Come on,’ he takes my hand to lead me inside. ‘Let's go home,’ he says.

A lot of things broke tonight. But some things are going to mend.

message 8: by C. J., Cool yet firm like ice (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4263 comments Kearsie wrote: "AUTHOR: Kearsie
TITLE: A (Literal) Bump in the Road

Ivy’s arm seared as she shifted it out from underneath her hip, dragging it achingly across the gravelly p..."

Welcome to the group Kearsie. I hope you will found it comfortable posting here in the WSS. We look forward to meeting you. (Not trying to sound creepy. There is a link for that lol.)

Check out this link: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

message 9: by C. J., Cool yet firm like ice (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4263 comments Also the polls for the story thread are now up!

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