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Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 417 (July 5-11) Stories Topic: Shattered

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

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4304 comments You have until the 11th of July to post a story and from the 12th to around the 16th of July, 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: Shattered

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) | 9610 comments I posted this last night in my writing folder, but I figured it would make for a good contest entry. And in case you're wondering how it conforms to the "shattered' prompt, let's just say that Ray's hopes are shattered in more ways than one. Enjoy!

AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: The Shit
GENRE: Modern Day Drama
RATING: PG-13 for swearing

Ray Hardy’s alcoholic scent could be smelled from a country mile away, yet his equilibrium and speech remained normal enough for functioning in society. Though it was hard for a cheap bottle of Thunderbird to mess up someone’s balance when none of it entered the man’s mouth. Instead the bitter liquid stained his white T-shirt to where it looked like he was sweating bullets. Coupled with the venomous expression on his face, his fists at his sides, and heaviness in his footsteps, Ray’s roommate Adam Victor was in for a rude awakening as soon as the former crossed the threshold into the apartment.

Even though Ray was one hundred percent sober, he still had a hard time fitting his key in the door on account of his trembling hands. When he finally fit the damn thing in the lock, he made his wrestler-like entrance by swinging the door open as hard as he could. Adam, who was previously channel surfing on the leather couch in his sweatpants, jumped to his feet at the sight of his roommate and best friend looking awful as fuck.

“Good god, are you alright? What happened to you?” Adam asked.

Ray sucked in his belly and released a heavy sigh upon formulating an answer. “Adam, I don’t think you give a shit how I’m doing tonight. But to answer your question…I’m not okay. In fact, I don’t think anything’s going to be okay ever again. There’s no way in hell I can show my face at that bar again, not after what Ruby did to me.”

Nervous and fidgety, Adam said, “Okay, um…so…what did she do to you? You can tell me.”

“Of course I’m going to tell you, dumb ass!” snapped Ray, causing his best friend to lean back a little bit. “But then again, you can probably find the whole thing on You Tube if you look hard enough. I finally did it, Adam. I stepped out of my comfort zone. I approached the woman I had a crush on for so long…” He pulled his glasses off and wiped a singular tear from his face. “Ruby threw a drink in my face while her friends laughed their asses off. That’s why I smell so bad.”

“Oh my god, that’s horrible! Why the hell would she do that?”

“…Because…because she thinks I’m too fat and ugly.”

“She said that to you? What the hell’s wrong with her?!” Holding his hands up defensively, Adam hurried his next words along. “Listen, I had no idea this was going to happen, okay? I genuinely thought stepping out your shell would do you some good. I didn’t anticipate her throwing a bottle of Thunderbird in your face and…”

“Shut up, Adam!” retorted Ray while pointing an accusatory finger. “You wanted this to go wrong from the start! Do you even know why they call it a comfort zone in the first place? Because nothing bad happens there! If I had just sat there staring at my shoes all damn night, I wouldn’t smell like a bottle of hobo wine!”

In response to Ray’s heavy, beastly breathing, Adam kept his hands up and said, “Calm down, buddy. The important thing here is that nobody got seriously hurt.”

“Don’t give me that shit! I’m hurting now! I’m hurting badly! And it’s all because you brainwashed me into believing that everything would be okay!” Wiping away another angry tear, Ray said, “You know what? There is one way this will all be okay. I tried my hand at talking to women and I failed miserably. I lived up to my end of our little deal. Now it’s time for you to live up to your end too. The wooden box, the one marked The Shit, where is it?”

Backing slowly away, Adam said, “Um, Ray, now you’re really going to be mad at me. There’s been a little bit of a snag with the box full of shit. You see, I didn’t get my paycheck this week and…”

“Where’s the shit?!” Ray bellowed, causing an uncomfortable silence to hang between the best friends. Adam slowly stepped to the side and waved his arm towards the wooden chest, which was sure enough marked The Shit with a permanent marker. “Yeah, I’m going to get the shit. DVD’s, gift cards, money, CD’s…yeah, I could use some shit right now!”

Ray skulked towards the wooden chest and flung the lid open as fast as he could, almost making a crack in the wall. His imagination ran wild with the kinds of surprises that could be in there. Maybe there was a gift card to McDonald’s. Maybe there was the latest Hellyeah CD. Maybe there was a wad of twenty dollar bills. But when Ray poked his head inside the box, his insane smile drooped into a saggy frown. “A mirror? A fucking mirror?! Is this a joke?! Huh?!”

“Ray, as I was saying, I didn’t get my paycheck this week, so I couldn’t buy you anything. I’m sorry.” No response, just a frozen stare into the mirror from Ray Hardy. Adam swallowed a lump of saliva and said, “If it’s any consolation to you, at least you learned something from your experience. You can’t put a price tag on that. No Double Quarter Pounder will ever replace a valuable lesson. Right?”

Ray stood up and slowly turned to face his best friend with a vicious gleam in his eyes, causing Adam to tremble and back away a little bit. “Lesson? Yeah, I learned a couple of things, actually. One, women aren’t worth the trouble anymore. And two, neither are best friends! I was counting on there being some good shit in this box! I needed these things to be there for me when I failed!” Pointing his sausage-like finger, he yelled, “I! Want! A safety net!”

“You want a safety net?!” belted Adam, sending a shockwave throughout Ray’s tense muscles. “No, you don’t get a safety net, my friend! You know why? Because safety nets are nothing more than rewards for failure! You don’t get rewarded for failing! You get rewarded for succeeding! I put a mirror in that box because I wanted you to take a good long look at yourself! I wanted you to realize that there are no participation trophies in life! But you should know that because you’re a college kid! If you get too many F’s and D’s, you don’t get gift cards and CD’s! You get kicked out! I put that mirror in the box because I didn’t want my best friend to coast through life, that’s all!”

Adam’s burst of rage muffled back into fear at the sight of his friend huffing and puffing like a rabid wolverine. Ray growled, “Coasting, huh? Do you even know what it means to coast? It means to become comfortable with your own success to where you become complacent. Let me ask you something, Mr. 4.0 GPA: how am I supposed to be comfortable with my success…when I don’t fucking have any to begin with?!”

Adam tucked his chin to his bare chest and solemnly said, “I don’t know, Ray. I just don’t know. Look, I know how much that box of shit meant to you, but…” He let out a sigh and continued. “I shouldn’t have yelled at you just now. I often forget that you didn’t have it easy growing up and you don’t have it easy now as an adult. I guess what I did doesn’t make me a very good friend, does it?”

Ray slammed the lid shut and sat down on the box, his glasses in his pocket and his head in his hands. The two friends had a cold war of silence between them for the longest time. And then Ray wiped away his few tears, sniffed mucous up his nose, and softly said, “You know what? Can we just end this night right now, please? I don’t want to think about this shit anymore. I don’t give a damn about Ruby and I don’t give a damn about anything else. Tell you what, Adam, if you really want to be a good friend, do me a favor. There’s a bottle of pills in the kitchen with my name on it.”

“Wha…wait a minute…your medication? You mean the stuff for your…” Adam tapped himself on the head to signify a mental illness of some kind.

“Yes, those pills. I’d get them myself, but I don’t feel like getting up right now. I need two pills and a bottle of Perrier. If you get those things for me, I’ll completely forget that you screwed me over tonight.”

“Well, of course you will, because that’s what your medication does.”

“Don’t be a smart ass, Adam!” snapped Ray before taking a few deep breaths and calming down once again. “Just please, get me my pills and something to swallow them with. I’m not going to make any decisions about my comfort zone until the morning. Right now I just want to go numb for the rest of the night…and try to forget that I smell like the world’s worst wine.”

Adam nodded and said, “Okay” before fetching the two pills and bottle of sparkling water. He gave them to Ray and allowed the big guy to medicate himself for the evening. He shivered in disgust at the bitter taste of the pills, but otherwise remained peaceful with his head in his hand.

“How do you feel?” asked Adam.

“…A little bit better. I’m actually surprised at how quickly this stuff works.”

Adam took a seat on the wooden box next to Ray and put a gentle hand on the back of his neck. Mr. Victor then sang the lyrics to “Rx” by Theory of a Deadman, a song about taking medication and being depressed. This got a sad chuckle out of Ray, who then said, “You know what? Maybe I won’t go to bed just yet. I’d rather just sit here and listen to you sing goofy songs.”

“So in other words, me hanging out with you and being there for you during your time of need is safety net enough?”

Ray sighed, “I almost hate to admit it, but…I guess that’s what I want.”

Adam patted Ray on the shoulder and said, “Truth be told, buddy, you don’t need a woman like Ruby if she’s going to treat you like that. You can stay in the comfort zone for as long as you want. Come out only when you’re ready.”

“I probably won’t be ready for a while…but if I crash and burn again…will you be the one who gets me my pills?”

“Not only that, but I might have to fill that wooden box up with pills and call that The Shit.”

The two friends laughed and sang together for hours that night. They even sang a Pantera song whose title fit the situation perfectly: “Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills”. How convenient. Then again, safety nets usually were.

message 3: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : Listing Persisting (Helen Singer, Chapter 20, Part 2)
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 1814
Rating : PG13

With our newly found lead we headed back to my house, where my dad had already arrived back from work for the day.

“Hey, Helen,” he called out from the living room, “hi Fran. Have you two seen Ladon?”

I groaned inwardly – we hadn’t mentioned anything to my dad about Ladon being missing, and as mum hadn’t mentioned it since she’d been turned to stone by the Basilisk we assumed she’d forgotten us mentioning the fact.

“I think he’s with mum,” I lied without really thinking, “he’s at the station. He’s fine.”

“Okay then,: my dad called back, turning back to the television, “so long as he’s off the streets.”

We headed upstairs where I went straight to my bedroom and switched on my computer.

“What are you doing?” Fran asked, sitting down on the edge of my bed.

“I’m copying the photos from the police station,” I explained, “so we can get a better look at the list of names.”

“Oh, okay,” Fran said, waiting for me to finish.

I plugged in the phone, opening the folder on my computer, and copying the photos to my desktop. I then opened them up.

“Okay,” I sat back in my seat, “do any of these names scream myths or legends to you?”

Fran got up from the bed and stood behind me, leaning on the backrest of my seat, “Let’s see,” she said slowly, reading through the alphabetical list in her head.

Grundy – Desk Duty
Hamelin – Desk Duty
Kappa – Beat -
Kinder – Beat -
O’Malley – Beat -
Reynardine – S/L
Singer – Desk Duty
Tion – Beat -
Wolf – Beat -
Yaga – A/L
Yu – Desk Duty

“Well, that one screams Pied Piper,” Fran said, pointing at the screen, “Officer Hamelin.”

“Makes sense,” I shrugged, a little annoyed that I hadn’t noticed that one first, “but what about the others?”

“Well, Kinder might relate to Kindestod,” Fran suggested, “though it doesn’t really bring in the musical side of the perp.”

Is that a real myth?” I asked, looking a little dubiously at Fran over my shoulder, “I thought it was just an episode of Buffy?”

“Well, it’s become a myth now because of Buffy,” Fran said, “I explained how this works, didn’t I?”

“Kind of,” I admitted.

“In any case, Kinder is German for child so it’s a definite possibility in any case.”

“Okay then,” I said, “but the rules are pretty vague at times. Anyone else?”

“And Yaga could be Baba Yaga,” Fran sighed, “she’s a Russian myth who lures children to her house and eats them, like in Hansel and Gretel.”

“Okay, so that’s three possibilities,” I wrote down the three names on a sheet of paper, “who do you think is most likely?”

“I’d go with Officer Hamelin,” Fran said, “the trouble is I don’t recognise the name.”

“Maybe he’s new, like my mum,” I said, writing Singer on the sheet of paper as well. In all fairness, my mum was a possible suspect as well because of her name.

“It says he was on desk duty,” Fran mused, “which means he would have been at the station when were there.”

“Do you know the others who were on desk duty?” I asked, looking at the list on my computer screen, “Grundy, and Yu?”

“I know Yu,” Fran said, “Benjamin Yu. He’s worked in the village since I can remember, and his daughter goes to our college.”

“So Grundy might be new as well,” I mused, “and the only other officer I can remember other than my mum was the one I hypnotised.”

“The young guy,” Fran said, “he must be either Grundy or Hamelin.”

“And if he’s Hamelin, then that’s the guy we’re looking for.”

“Actually,” Fran paused, “Grundy could refer to the Grundylow or Grindylow. They were rumoured to snatch children near bodies of water and drown them.”

I sighed, “I’ll add him to the list,” I said, “but we’re starting with Hamelin. If he’s not our Pied Piper, then we can move on to the next name in the list.”

“You know,” Fran sighed, “this could have been a lot easier if we’d just stayed at the station and gone over the list. We didn’t really need to come back here and look over them.”

I shrugged, “There was no guarantee our prime suspect was going to be working the desks at the station,” I sad, “they might easily have been working on the beat.”

“Still,” Fran sighed, “it would have been the logical starting point.”

I shook my head. Fran was starting to get on my nerves, questioning me like that all the time. It made sense for us to go back to my place so we could get a better look at the list of suspects. Plus, if we hadn’t been able to think of any obvious legends for the officers to be possibly cursed by, we could have logged on to Fran’s blog. Just because finding our new suspect hadn’t been relatively easy didn’t mean it was guaranteed to be.

We gathered ourselves together and headed downstairs, passing the living room where my dad was still watching television.

“Hey, you two,” he called out, “where are you off to in such a rush?”

“We’re heading back to the police station,” I said, “we’re going to get Ladon.”

Brilliant. Technically speaking, none of that was a lie!

“Well, hurry back,” my dad said, “remember there’s someone out there taking kids off the street, so stay safe.”

Weird. My dad sounded concerned, but the fact that he wasn’t stopping us from going out seemed a little unlikely. I paused for a moment to check on him.

“Are you alright dad?” I asked, approaching him slowly from the hallway.

“Never better,” he replied, turning to face me, “why do you ask?”

I stared in disbelief. There was something off about his eyes, almost like they were hypnotised or something. Could this be related to my new-found powers? Had I been influencing my dad without even realising.

“Glad to hear it, Mr S,” Fran said, grabbing me by the arm and pulling me towards the front door, “we won’t be long.”

“Did you see his eyes?” I hissed as we closed the front door and began to walk down the street at a steady pace, “do you think I did that to him?”

“We can’t go into this right now,” Fran replied, “we need to get to Officer Hamelin before he strikes again. We only have one more night left before the curse reaches its inevitable conclusion, and if that happens we might lose all those kids forever.”

We hurried out of the house and jogged down the street towards the police station. I was starting to agree that maybe going back to my place to examine the list of officers had been a bad idea, considering Fran had been able to identify the most likely suspect without any research needed whatsoever.

When we got to the station we found my mum standing by the reception desk, talking to one of the other officers. She had her jacket on and looked like she was about to leave.

“Hey mum,” I called out to her, “is officer Hamelin still here?”

My mum looked at me, a little confused, “Michael?” she asked, “He left about half an hour ago, not long after the building had been checked over.”

“You mean he’s finished his shift?” I asked.

“Not exactly,” my mum said, “he said he wasn’t feeling well, like he had a headache or something. It was probably the stress of being here when that explosion went off. I had to call in Seth from his beat to cover for him.”

“Seth?” I sort of asked.

“Officer Wolf,” my mum confirmed, “Sorry, I probably should have stipulated, what with him having the same name as your dad. Listen, I’m heading home in a second, and I think you should too. There’s some strange stuff happening today, and we can’t be sure that Basil Iskander was working alone in these child abductions.”

“Okay. Mum,” I said, “I’ll just say goodbye to Fran.”

Fran and I walked to the doors of the police station and stopped to talk.

“What are you doing?” Fran asked, “We need to find Hamelin tonight!”

I sighed, “We’ve no idea where he might be,” I said, “and I don’t know about you, but I’m shattered. I think a good night’s rest will do us both the world of good, then we can track him down tomorrow.”

“And what if he kidnaps someone else?” Fran asked, “How will that make you feel?”

“If he’s following the rules of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, then he won’t hurt them,” I argued, “once we stop him, we’ll be able to get those kids back.”

“You better hope so,” Fran said, “I’ll be round in the morning.”

“Safe trip home,” I waved as Fran left the station. The fish and chip shop was only round the corner, so there was nothing to really worry about.

I walked back to my mum, who now had her jacket on and had fetched her bag as well.

“Let’s get going,” my mum said, and we headed out of the station.

“Pretty busy day?” I asked my mum, trying not to smile.

“You’re telling me,” my mum replied, “I thought things were going to be quieter away from the city, but possibly catching a child abductor in my first week on the job? I’m pretty pleased with that.”

“You should be,” I agreed, “it can’t have been easy finding him.”

“It wasn’t so hard,” my mum admitted, “the fact that he’d been seen around town without any clothes on meant we had to look into him anyway, and we were just lucky that it turned out that he wasn’t just a pervert.”

“It’s not so lucky for those missing kids,” I said.

My mum nodded, “That’s true, but we’re hoping we’ll find them soon enough.”

“I’m sure you will,” I smiled as we picked up the pace in the chilly night.

We arrived home in less than five minutes, and my dad hadn’t moved from his position on the couch, “Hey Seth,” my mum called out, “we’re home.”

“You should have called,” my dad called out to us, “I’d have put the dinner on.”

He really wouldn’t have, I’m sure of it.

“What’s Ladon been doing all day?” my asked, taking her jacket off and putting her bag down next to the couch, “I hope he hasn’t spent the whole day in his room.”

My dad sat forward in his seat, “I thought he was with you,” he said.

“What made you think that?” my mum asked.

I stared at the floor nervously.

“Helen told me,” my dad said, staring at me. My mum turned to face me.

“Where’s Ladon, Helen?” she asked in a scarily quiet voice, “where’s my little boy?”

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

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4304 comments Hi guys! Due to being busy at the moment I will put up the polls and new contest later tonight (hopefully 5 or 6 pm west coast time) so stay tuned!

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