Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company! discussion

Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 236 (November 6-13). Stories. Topic: Macaroni and Cheese

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message 1: by M (new)

M | 11043 comments You have until November 13 to post a story, and November 14-15 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.

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: Macaroni and Cheese.

The rules are pretty loose. You could write a story about anything that has to do with the subject. I do not care, but it must relate to the story somehow.

Have fun!

Thank you to Rachel for suggesting the topic!

message 2: by Ryan (new)

Ryan | 5334 comments Hah! Nice one, M.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Haha thank you, M! :)

message 4: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments I think it's time for another kitty story. This one's called "Bee Jay" and it goes like this:


Bee Jay, Chubby Orange Kitty
Hannah Jason, Sorceress

PROMPT CONFORMITY: Among the junk food Bee Jay steals includes a box of Macaroni and Cheese.

SYNOPSIS: Hannah has been commissioned by a powerful king to venture into the moors and slay an ogre named Bee Jay. When she finally meets this “ogre”, he turns out to be a sweetheart kitty whose only crime was stealing the kingdom’s junk food. Bee Jay feels lonely out in the moors and doesn’t want to leave for fear of both monsters and humans that lurk about.

message 5: by M (new)

M | 11043 comments Thank you, Ryan!

message 6: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Bee Jay
GENRE: Animal Fantasy
RATING: PG for fantasy violence and brief language

Hannah Jason was a sorceress only the foolish would mess with. Her travels through the moors have brought about all manners of foolish demons. With a twirl of her staff, she threw fireballs at imps, lightning bolts at blood ravens, and glacial spikes at walking corpses. She was a busy woman and her work manifested itself in the form of a trail of dead demons. This wasn’t a result that surprised her. She was a mercenary, after all. Her most recent assignment was given to her by a powerful king. Her instructions: bring him the head of Bee Jay the Glutinous, an ogre accused of stealing food.

All of this violence led her to a small cave in the middle of the moors. It was a lot smaller than she expected from an ogre. To be sure, Hannah pulled out her map and it indeed did not lie to her. This cave was the location of Bee Jay the Glutinous. She was scratching her raven-haired head and tossing about her white robes in confusion. But if this was the exact location, then she did nothing wrong.

With a boisterous voice, Hannah called out, “Alright, Bee Jay! I know you’re in there! And I’m coming for your head! You think you’re well-fed? That’s going to be nothing compared to the feast I’ll come home to once I’m finished with your fat ass! Now come out here and take your medicine like a man!”

Bee Jay did what he was told. He came out of the cave eating a bowl of macaroni and cheese. He had pasta pieces hanging from his bottom teeth and melted cheese oozing from his chin. There was just one minor detail the king forgot to mention to Hannah Jason. Bee Jay was not an ogre by any stretch of the imagination. He was a cat. A fat orange cat with an insatiable hunger and a planetary stomach.

“Are you kidding me?! You’re Bee Jay the Glutinous?! You’re this big scary ogre everybody was afraid of?! You’re the one stealing all the kingdom’s food?! Oh, this couldn’t be a bigger screw job,” said Hannah as she shoved her staff into the ground in disbelief.

The big fat kitty turned out to be friendly as he dipped his fuzzy paw in the bowl of macaroni and cheese and offered his new “friend” a bite. Hannah said, “You’re offering me a bite of macaroni and cheese? You think this is normal? You’re a cat! Cats are supposed to eat tuna!”

Bee Jay retreated back into his cave and came out again, this time with a tuna fish sandwich. Hannah knew she was being mocked right now, but by who was the question. The sorceress sat on the ground and held her head in her hands. She didn’t even notice it when Bee Jay the Glutinous came up to her and started rubbing his head against her brown boots.

“How can this be? What kind of sick April Fool’s joke is this? I should assassinate the king just for that,” said Hannah to herself.

“So, you’re not going to kill me?” To Hannah’s surprise, that low and stupid-sounding voice came from Bee Jay, who was purring and smiling at his sorceress “friend” at the same time.

“Great, the cat can talk too. This is just wonderful. And no, Bee Jay, I don’t want to kill you anymore. You’re not worth it. You’re just a stupid cat with a weight problem. I killed all of those demons on the way over here thinking this was going to be a fight for my life, which is why I’m being paid so much. Turns out the whole thing was a sham. Somebody has to die for this,” said Hannah.

“Are you sure you don’t want anything to eat, young lady? I’ve got lots of food in there. I’ve got macaroni and cheese, tuna and mayonnaise, and I even have some salted potato chips. Mmm-mmm-mmm!”

“Sorry, Bee Jay, but the only thing I’m hungry for right now is the king’s flesh. I’ll cannibalize that son of a bitch if it’s the last thing I do!”

“Looks like you’ll be going hungry tonight, Hannah.” That threat didn’t come from the heavy and happy Bee Jay, but from another magic-slinger. He was a tall, handsome young man with buzzed hair and knightly armor. He came armed with a steel staff and plenty of magic to throw around. Bee Jay gulped a deep gulp at the sight of this magic warrior.

“Raul…let me guess: this April Fool’s joke was your idea. You wanted to bring me all the way out here just so you can kill me off in private. For what? So you can add another head to your collection? To sell the rest of my body to a necromancer? You disgust me, Raul. Even you shouldn’t sink to such lows as to align yourself with the king.”

“So says the woman who drains wallets and blood at the same time,” said the mage now identified as Raul Thunderstone, Hannah Jason’s ultimate rival. Bee Jay tried to bob along back in his cave when he was interrupted by a bolt of lightning thrown in front of him. The poor kitty clung to Hannah’s leg as she stood up and pulled her staff out of the ground. Raul said, “Come to think of it, that bowl of macaroni and cheese sounds delicious right now!” before laughing a sinister laugh.

“Bee Jay, if you want to live long enough to completely clog your arteries, I suggest you get back in your cave. This is going to get ugly. Raul here is my worst enemy and this whole meeting between you and me was a trap. Get my drift, little guy?” said Hannah.

As the little big man Bee Jay sauntered back in his cave, Hannah and Raul were ready to throw down. The two of them twirled their staves until Raul was the first to shoot a lightning bolt as his rival. Hannah responded by conjuring lightning of her own and knocking the bolt in the air with her staff. The two of them traded electricity at a rapid fire pace and neither of them could do damage as they dodged and smacked every bolt coming their way like a couple of acrobatic warriors.

Raul Thunderstone tried another battle tactic in the form of a wave of fire descending hard upon Hannah Jason. She intended to dodge it, but she tripped over a jutting stone and dropped to her butt. The massive wave of fire was sure to crush her and end this fight with a quickness.

However, Bee Jay proved to be more than just a glutinous cat; he was Hannah’s savior. He had thrown a gigantic bag of popcorn in front of the fire wave and instead of incinerating Hannah, it popped popcorn everywhere. The sorceress picked up a few buttery pieces off her chest and snacked on them. Finger licking good!

Raul Thunderstone snarled and said, “You just signed your own death warrant, you little fur ball! I know the whole thing was just a prank, but I’m sure the king would love to have your head on a platter right now!”

After a hard gulp from Bee Jay, Raul jumped high in the air and twirled his staff to conjure another spell. This time he rained an icy blizzard over the little kitty, complete with spiky edges. Bee Jay wouldn’t have any of it as he threw something else in front of the ice shards: a big washtub of homemade soda, cola-flavored to be exact. Instead of slashing Bee Jay to pieces, Raul unwittingly gave Hannah another tasty treat, to which she gladly cupped her hand and got herself a drink. Again, finger licking good!

“I may not be very smart, but I’ve got magic powers too!” revealed Bee Jay, who was using the power of levitation this whole time.

“Enough! I’ve had it with you, you little snot rag!” screamed Raul as he rushed over to Bee Jay and attempted to punt him like a football. The little orange sweetie covered his paws over his face in anticipation of being struck hard.

Hannah was vigilant enough to see Raul running towards them and used her sorcery to manipulate the ice in the soda tub. The ice swirled out of it and blew in Raul’s footpath, causing him to trip and stumble until he landed face-first in a cherry pie Bee Jay threw in front of him at the last second.

Bee Jay and Hannah were rolling on the ground laughing at their foe as he stood up and wiped the cherry filling off his face with his tunic. They weren’t laughing for long as Raul rushed up to Hannah and pressed his staff against her throat, choking her with every ounce of strength he had. “I’m tired of your crap! I will end this one way or another!” Just when Bee Jay was about to interfere again, Raul threw a kick his way and while he didn’t get hit, it was enough to shoo him away for the moment.

Hannah was now in a struggle to get the metal staff off of her throat. She pushed with the last of her fading strength and tried to stand up only to get stomped in the stomach by Raul. He said, “You like popcorn?! You like soda?! You like macaroni and cheese?! I hope they serve all of those things in hell!”

While Raul had one hand on his staff and against Hannah’s throat at the same time, he reached down and picked up pieces of food off the ground before chewing them up. He was going to spit them mockingly in his opponent’s face before she used the last of her magic to manipulate the soda-covered popcorn into an ice sickle spell. She shot the ice down Raul’s throat, causing him to let go of his grip and choke violently.

Hannah was regaining her breath when Bee Jay returned to the battlefield with another helping of macaroni and cheese, steaming hot and fresh out of the cooker. While Raul was choking on the sharp ice in his throat, Bee Jay launched the cheesy treat in his face and burned his flesh badly. He even manipulated the cheese into a water spell of his own as the hot liquid slid down Raul’s constricted throat. It was only a matter of time before the villainous wizard spun around and plopped to the ground unconscious. With no oxygen left and burned lungs to breathe with, he was dead.

Hannah plopped backwards on the ground and was breathing hard for a much different reason: relief. Bee Jay pranced next to her with a bowl of fruity cereal and said, “Do you want some now?”

“What the hell. Life is short. Shorter than Raul’s over there. I’ll put as many calories into my body as I want,” said Hannah. She and Bee Jay snuggled together and ate junk food for as long as they wanted.

message 7: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments I've got a story! I hope to publish it soon if I can.

message 8: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments Err, post it! Whatever haha.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Garrison, A very clever use of the topic! I loved the last name of Thunderstone that you used and also the phrase, "planetary stomach". The phrase just seemed to drive home the fact that the cat was glutinous! Funny the things that I pick out sometimes! Nice job!

message 10: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments Aww! Thanks, Melissa! You would have liked having Bee Jay on your lap as he purred like a lawnmower. ^_^

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Here is my short story submission for the topic: Macaroni and Cheese. Feedback is ALWAYS welcome!

The Elbow Conundrum by: Melissa Andres
Word Count: 952

He watched her from across the crowded cafeteria. She sat with her usual group of friends, laughing, talking and nervously winding her long, golden chain necklace around a pinky finger. The beautiful auburn-haired girl with the deep green eyes was in the popular crowd at Honey Grove High School; he, definitely, was not.

Mackenzie Anderson was a cheerleader, Junior Prom Princess, on the election ballot for Homecoming Queen and had just been voted in as Miss Senior Smile. The young beauty was quite involved with the yearbook committee, newspaper and photography club as well.

Duncan Tyler pushed his black frame-rimmed glasses up the bridge of his nose. Many cliques walked the hallways of Honey Grove, just like any other school, he supposed. The popular, the jocks, the cowboys, the geeks and the loners shuffled in and out of the large brick building five days a week.

Shoving muddy-colored hair from his forehead, Duncan smiled as he thought of his own high school status. He didn't feel as if he belonged to any of the typical cliques. He was just there; not really fitting in or belonging. He assumed there were others who felt as he did as well. So, in a sense, wasn't that a clique too?

"Hey! Hello? Earth to Duncan!"

The teenager turned his head and snapped from his reverie to see a pale, chubby hand waving before his eyes.

"What?" he asked, Mackenzie's image still floating in his mind.

"It's Friday. You still coming over tonight to play Dungeons and Dragons?"

Staring at his lunch companion, Duncan slowly pushed his orange food tray across the cafeteria table. "Let me get back to you on that, Chip."

Standing to his full height, shoulders square and chin solidly set, Duncan strode confidently across the busy room, ignoring the din in his burning ears.

"That sub for Mr. Ryan is so cute!" Duncan heard Lauren North say.

"Oh, yeah," Josey Patterson replied. "That's Mr. Chase. Doesn't he have the most adorable dimples?"

The girls giggled.

Cold sweat trickled between Duncan's shoulder blades, his palms moistening. Mackenzie poked at her macaroni and cheese with a black plastic fork.

"Forgive my intrusion, Mackenzie, but I would be honored if you would accompany me on a date this evening." Duncan expelled a gush of warm air as the trapped words finally escaped his throat.

A moment of silence ensued.

Shuffling from one sneakered foot to another, Duncan's bright face dulled as hysterical laughter bellowed in his ears. Lauren and Josey shook, pointed and mocked.

"I'm sorry I bothered you," Duncan apologized. "Please enjoy your lunch, ladies." As he turned to go, Mackenzie reached out and touched his wrist.


"Excuse me?" He barely heard the whispered word that replaced the snickering.

"Yes, I would love to go out with you, Duncan." Mackenzie's dark eyelashes fluttered.

"You know my name?" Duncan was more surprised at this revelation than the acceptance to his invitation.

"Yes," she said again, simply.

Sitting in the booth at Gino's Pizzeria, the unlikely pair talked and laughed. Mackenzie felt comfortable. She didn't have to pretend; she didn't have to be fake and frivolous.

"Why did you ask me out?" she asked suddenly.

"You probably think I'm going to give you the standard answer about how beautiful you are," Duncan replied. "You are, don't get me wrong," he waved a hand, "but I see insecurities in you that I see in myself. I feel a sort of, well, connection with you."

Mackenzie blushed, reached up and removed Duncan's glasses. "You have gorgeous eyes," she announced. "They see a lot."

It was Duncan's turn to blush.

"So what is it about girls that you like?" she asked curiously. "In general, I mean? Most guys like a girl's chest, butt, maybe their hair. I just wonder about a guy like you."

Duncan stiffened his back for just a moment, prickling at the term 'a guy like you'. Realizing she didn't mean anything derogatory, he laughed.

"You're going to think I'm insane," the young man picked at the edge of his paper napkin.

Placing a hand atop her date's, Mackenzie smiled. "Try me."


"Excuse me?"

Duncan was so easy to talk to, nothing like the football or basketball players she had gone out with recently. He was nothing like Lauren and Josey. She was having a wonderful time but now she was afraid it was about to unravel. What kind of cruel joke was this anyhow?

"It's hard to explain," Duncan smiled weakly. "I just imagine escorting my girlfriend or possibly one day my bride, into a room with my hand delicately cupping her elbow. It just seems so regal, so surreal to me." He looked over the pizzeria menu to avoid Mackenzie's eyes. "Stupid, I know."

"No, no it's not," Mackenzie grinned. "I think it's sweet.

When the waitress sauntered up to their table, Mackenzie Anderson ordered a Large elbow macaroni and cheese pizza and two ice-cold teas.

The following Monday morning, Duncan Tyler spun the combination to his locker, opened it and found a small package tied in brown paper and string sitting on top of his Chemistry and Calculus books. His brown eyes searched the hallways as he read the Post-It that stated, THANKS. The crumpled paper at his feet, the tall, gangly boy held a blue box of Kraft elbow mac and cheese in his fingers.

Five years later, Duncan delicately cupped his new bride's elbow as he led her onto the expansive dance floor.

"This just seems so regal, so surreal to me," Mackenzie whispered into her husband's ear.

Spinning lightly on his feet as he held his beauty, a cheesy grin spread across the groom's face.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Garrison - I like cats. When I was married to my ex-husband we had several. Now my husband Mark and I have two crazy (yet loveable at times!) dogs. I would love to have a cat now but I'm afraid our dog Cooper would probably tear him or her up. Our dog Ruckus probably wouldn't care at all!

message 13: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments Cooper and Ruckus: two cute names for two cute puppy-duppies! ^_^

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Cooper is a rescue dog named after Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. He is really smart. Ruckus is a rat terrier that is almost 13. We have had him since he was 7 weeks old. He's not so smart and he barks constantly but he is part of the family. Even though he irritates the heck out of me, I still can't see life without him! haha!

message 15: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments Despite their faults, Cooper and Ruckus sound like worthy candidates for a belly rub! ^_^

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh yes! They both love that!

message 17: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments Belly rubs are the universal sign of love for puppy-duppies. ^_^

message 18: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments Melissa, I see a lot of myself in little Duncan Tyler. We’re both nerdy. We’re both Dungeons & Dragons fans. We’re both awkward. I always love to read stories about the nerdy kids conquering when it comes to love. I hope to do the same someday. Your story was very well-written and handled the topic of romance in a realistic and sweet way. Thank you for making me believe in the power of love yet again. Good job this week!

Garrison, I just got a message from kitty heaven and it’s from Bee Jay. He says he’s been reincarnated as either Smokey or Nacho since they’re both orange-yellow kitties. He also says he loves you with all of his heart and enjoyed “hugging it out” and eating junk food with you. He’s currently sprawled out on a leather couch in kitty heaven and is snacking on Cheetohs. His belly is bigger than ever. What I’m trying to say to you, Garrison, is you’ve done your kitty justice with your fantasy story this week. Thank you for immortalizing your beautiful kitty. ^_^

message 19: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments Though it's not fully realized, hope to get mind done soon.

message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, I was probably a lot like Duncan myself when I was in school. I was kind of the nerdy wallflower type but mainly, I was just there. I have twin sisters who are three years younger than me and they were the popular cheerleaders. A lot of guys in my senior class in high school were totally in love with them. At my 10 year reunion, I ended up sitting at a table with the President of our senior class and all he did was talk about my sisters all night. And, he didn't even remember MY name! Stuff like that still happens today but, what can ya do? Oh well. I just basically laugh about it. It's all you can do, right? :)

And, you will find someone Garrison. I believe there is someone out there for everyone!

message 21: by Laura (new)

Laura R | 59 comments Here is my submission for Macaroni and Cheese, please excuse me, this is my first time posting a short story here. WARNING, DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH! This should probably be rated R... for violence... feedback is definitely welcome.

A Family Party by: Laura Lavelle
Word Count: 1,610

I shiver as another gust of wind sweeps over my body; ice practically scrapes at my cheeks as the storm rages on. My eyelids begin to grow heavy as the cold starts to claim my body, and I feel as if I can no longer continue forwards. I slump onto the ground, my knees sinking into the snow while my breathing slows. My vision grows dim as I blink once, twice, searching for something that could help me remember where I was supposed to be. Oh, right, I think as I try to stand back up, the wind battering at my back, I should have been lying on a beach by now in the sun. I huff, gathering up the remainder of my strength I stand to keep moving forward, my arms and legs already numb.

I shuffle forwards as the wind howls, hoping to find someone to help, somewhere to go in order to bring myself back to life; this frozen landscape would be the death of me if I couldn’t get somewhere soon. As hope began to die within me I spotted a small cabin off in the distance. I charged forward, making my way through the ice storm until I finally had the wooden cabin just within my grasp. I felt my knees give way and I collapsed, falling onto the icy door.

“Please, is there anyone here?” I whisper; my voice barely loud enough to break through the howling winds.

I felt the door give way and I went tumbling towards the warm wood of the cabin floor.

“Oh, my!” I heard a gruff voice exclaim as a pair of hands reached under my arms, pulling me into the blaring warmth of the cabin. I lay there, watching as the man let go of my arm, slamming the cabin door shut against the storm. Jeanie!” he called out, a small woman came rushing out of a door. She shrieked as she looked down at me, and I could feel my body begin to convulse. “Jeanie, go put some water on the fire, and bring some dry clothes for this young lady.”

She nodded, running back in through the door. I felt the man lift me up, his hand ripping off the frozen jacket from my body as he folds a dry blanket around my arms. I began shaking violently as the pain began to come back into the body; the frost nearly burning my skin.

“Th-th-th-thank y-you, sir,” I managed to say through chattering teeth.

“It’s my duty to help any straggler who’s up in these mountains out, especially on a night like this.” I nod, hoping to convey to him that I understood what he said. He smiled, “What’s a young lady like you doing out in this weather anyhow?”

I swallow, hoping to stop my chattering teeth long enough, “We were on a-a-a-a flight to ber-ber-Bermuda when the p-p-plane went down.” I closed my eyes, trying to compose myself, “I’ve been wandering around f-f-for hours.”

“You poor thing! How did you make it out?”

“Don’t know actually. I just w-w-walked away.”

He looked back at me with sad eyes, “Were there any other survivors?” I shook my head, feeling the boiling hot tears spilling out of my eyes. “Oh, please don’t cry! My wife and I will be happy to help you out while you wait out the storm. Jeanie, where are those dry clothes?”

A second later she came bustling out through the doors, dry clothes in her arms along with a kettle and a mug. “Thank y-y-you again,” I managed to say as she handed them to me.

She nodded, her husband taking her by the arm and leading her out of the room, “We’ll give you some privacy while you change.”

I looked down at my blue fingers as I fumbled with my clothes, trying to unbutton my soaking wet jeans and tank top. It took a while, but finally I had pulled on the flannel shirt and pants, sipping on the tea she had brought for me. The door opened up a moment later and Jeanie came rushing back in carrying a tray in her hands. She set it down before me; a large bowl filled with macaroni and cheese sat atop it, steam rising high.

“Eat, it’ll warm you up,” the man said as he walked back in, sitting down on the worn couch behind me.

I dug in, my stomach growling at the first bite. I scarfed my food down, grateful to have something warm to eat. “Thank you,” I finally said after devouring the gracious platter.

“The name’s Don,” he said, extending a hand out towards me.

I took it, wincing as my stiff muscles creaked with the movement, “My name’s Aria. Thank you so much for helping me.” I stood, making my way over towards the chair by the fire.

Don nodded, “We couldn’t let you die out there. It would be such a waste.”

I looked back at him, confusion marring my face, “What do you mean?”

“Well, it would be a waste for someone as delicious as you to die out in this storm, no?”

I stood up as alarms rang in my head, “I’m sorry, but I can’t stay here. Thank you for your hospitality…” I collapsed onto the ground, my vision growing blurry.

“Jeanie!” he called as I began to crawl my way towards the door. She came out and smiled, exposing razor sharp teeth, “Jeanie, tell the boys that dinner’s here.”

My world grew dark, and I finally awoke to a light hanging overhead. I groaned, trying to move my arm to rub at my eyes, but it wouldn’t budge. I looked over and saw my wrists tied together around a metal loop, my arms raised over my head. I went to scream but it came out muffled; a piece of cloth tied around my head and looped through my open lips. Tears slipped down my cheek as I bucked; trying to get myself off of the table I was stretched onto.

“It won’t work, dear.” The voice, sticky sweet and tinkling, came from just behind my head. I sobbed, my lips cracking as Jeanie stepped into my view. “You see, we are so hungry, dear, and you just happened upon our cabin at the right time.”

“Mama, is dinner almost ready?” a small voice asked.

My heart began to beat rapidly as I watched the little boy come into view; his teeth were sharp, his eyes black, his lips caked in dried blood. “Oh, Tim, don’t badger your mother,” Don answered.

I cried out again as he came into view, a knife glistening in his hands. He motioned with his head and Jeanie untied the cloth from my mouth. “Please, don’t kill me,” I pleaded as the blood from my lips dribbled into my mouth.

“Did you know that when you consume human flesh it warps your body?” Don stood there, examining the point of the knife.

I shook my head, “Please, just let me go.”

He laughed and I sobbed again, “You see, there are legends saying that certain body parts increase your knowledge, your speed, your vision. But what they don’t say is that it warps your body, turns you into something not entirely human.” I sobbed harder as he gently drew a small line with the tip of the knife down my bare belly. “It also turns out that your hunger never goes away. Your stomach yearns for it, for flesh. And, let’s be honest, I can’t say no when my kids beg for some fresh meat.”

I cried out as he pressed the knife into the soft flesh of my side, warmth trickling out in a small river down my side and onto the table. “Why bother feeding me? Taking care of me?”

He smirked, “We had to make sure you weren’t dead. And cold meat isn’t as good as the fresh kind. Besides, how else were we supposed to drug you?”

I opened my eyes, sobbing so hard I began to hyperventilate, “Please, just let me go! I can’t die, not now…”

“Alright, gather around the table, kids. Daddy’s going to say grace.” Jeanie smiled as she pulled the chair out beside me, sitting down at the table I was strapped onto.

Three small boys, their stomachs rumbling, came shuffling back towards the table, hastily taking their seats as Don took his own on the other side of me.

They took hands with the person sitting beside them, closing their eyes as I sobbed on, “Bless us, O Lord,” I closed my eyes, shaking my head back and forth, “and these, Thy gifts,” I sobbed even harder, feeling my lungs wanting to burst. “which we are about to receive from Thy bounty,” I screamed as I sobbed, thrashing about on the table as Don continued forward.

“This isn’t what God would want!” I screamed over him.

“Through Christ, our Lord.”

“STOP!” I screamed, hyperventilating as panic flooded my body.

“Amen,” they said together.

Don lifted the knife, plunging it into my stomach. I screamed as the cold metal bit into my flesh, opening me up and exposing my insides to the cool air. He pulled the knife, slitting open my stomach before reaching inside and ripping out a string of intestines; my screaming growing even louder as his hands wrapped around my organs. I felt my vision growing black around the rim as he pulled out a string of what looked like pink, bloodied sausage. Don smiled as he brought the knife back up, severing a strip and handing it to Tim, “Merry Christmas, kiddo.”

message 22: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments Melissa, it feels good to laugh about the past instead of feeling bitter. Laughter is the best medicine, they always say. I know that phrase gets said a lot, but that goes to show how important it is. :)

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Garrison, I totally agree with you! Laughter can cure a lot of ailments! :)

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Laura - Your story was extremely well-written. For me though, yeah, probably a little too graphic! I am one of those with a weak stomach but I read it anyway! I could see this being a horror movie or a horror-type novel though for people who are into that sort of thing. Everyone has their own genre that they enjoy. Again, extremely well-written! Good job for your first post. Hope you keep coming back to write more!

message 25: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Ok. Veterans' Day and no school: I'm determined to write a story this week!

message 26: by Angie (last edited Nov 11, 2014 11:05AM) (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Author: Angie
Title: Just Beginning
Words: 782
Feedback always appreciated!

Steven munched on his macaroni and cheese carefully. His nine-year-old daughter had the day off from school today and had insisted on making his lunch for him; as sweet as the gesture was, some of the undercooked bits required some extra chewing.

His secretary popped her head into the room. “Heath Bradley has arrived for his appointment.”

“Send him in, Cheryl.” Steven closed his half-empty Tupperware bowl and decided that he’d finish the mac and cheese in a few minutes. In the folder on his desk were Mr. Bradley’s medical records and other information Steven had been able to find about the NFL quarterback’s recent spine injury.

The door creaked as the football player was wheeled into the room; defeat and hopelessness were already carved onto his weary face. “Thank you for seeing me, Dr. Beckwith. I understand that you’re the best in the business. Have you looked over my file?”

Steven nodded. “Indeed. Before we go into your options, I’d like to discuss any pressing questions you have or preconceptions you have in your mind.”

The quarter gnawed on his lip hesitantly. “I only want to know one thing: is my life over?”

“Ah, an easy question to start with.” Steven smiled wryly. “I can assure you that your life is most certainly not over. This will take a lot of adjusting but you’ll be able to go on with your life. A few doors will be closed, so to speak, but many more will remain open.”

“Are you saying I’ll still be able to play football?” A glimmer of hope shone in the man’s eyes.

“Unfortunately, no. Your spine was broken at the bottom of your thoracic curve and the damage was severe. With the technology we have, your paralysis is irreversible, Mr. Bradley: You won’t be able to walk. In future years, that might change, but I’m afraid that your days as a quarterback are over.”

“But you said my life wasn’t over!” Hysteria crept into his voice and tremors ran up the quarterback’s muscled arms.

“I assure you, it isn’t. Your days in the NFL might be through, but there is plenty you can still do with your life, Mr. Bradley.”

“What would you know about being a cripple?” Heath yelled. “Being a doctor for them and being one are completely different things! You don’t understand what it’s like! You don’t know what it’s like to feel like half of your body is missing!” He began to weep inconsolably.

Steven wheeled from behind his desk to sit beside the man and passed him a box of tissues. “I know more than you think, Heath.”

Heath Bradley looked down in surprise, taking in Steven’s own wheelchair and twisted legs. “How did you lose yours?”

“After 9/11, I enlisted in the marines. Two months after finishing basic, an explosion sent shrapnel into the lumbar region of my spine, almost severing the nerves completely. I lost all control of my lower body. Believe me when I say I understand what you’re going through.”

“Did you have to give up your future, too?”

“Oh, Heath, this isn’t the end of your future. You’re just being given a future different from the one you had planned out. But your new life can be just as satisfying. I, for one, would never have gone to med school if I’d staying in the marines, never would have met my wife, Natalie, or had our beautiful children.”

“I always wanted to have kids of my own… Now I never will, will I?”

“You can have kids, Heath, but it’ll be different. You’ll never rush to the hospital when your wife goes into the labor, never wait in the delivery room to hold your baby for the first time, never be able to look at your princess and think, ‘She has my eyes.’ But that little baby will still become your entire universe. Your kids will still be able to crawl into your lap during movies and wake you up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning to open presents. Those things won’t change.” Steven reached over to the frame on his desk. “We’re an odd family, but we love each other to bits. Adopted children can come with their own baggage, but they will love you as much as any biological child would.”

Heath looked over the image tearfully. In the picture, Steven was in his wheelchair, his pale skin contrasting with the Hispanic child’s in his lap. A red haired little girl stood with her arms wrapped around her adopted mother, who looked Chinese. They looked so happy.

“So my life isn’t over, then?” he repeated.

“No, Mr. Bradley. In fact, it’s just beginning.”

message 27: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Garrison: It's wonderful to get to read your posts again. They always make me laugh. It would be so cool to have a cat like Bee Jay.

message 28: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Melissa: What a sweet story! Duncan has so much courage to be able to approach Mackenzie like that and I'm so glad she didn't turn him down.

message 29: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Laura: You did an amazing job building that dark atmosphere for your story and I certainly look forward to your future posts.

message 30: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments Aww! Thanks, Angie! I would have loved to put Bee Jay on your lap and have you feed him Doritos. ^_^

message 31: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Haha as long as he doesn't mind sharing the Doritos, we'd get along just fine.

message 32: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments He was a friendly kitty, so much so that he'd wrap his paws around your neck in a big ol' kitty hug! ^_^

message 33: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments Laura, as someone who used to be famous around here for over-the-top violence, I commend your story this week. It was a brutal and terrifying experience, one that is true to the nature of horror story writing. It’s easy to compare this to a Stephen King story, but I’d like to think of more underrated horror writers like Jack Ketchum and Bentley Little when drawing comparisons. Thank you so much for this blood-soaked story!

Angie, you’ve painted a perfect picture of the tearfulness that comes along with a life-altering diagnosis. Heath Bradley will never play football again, but his life is far from over. Steven conveyed that message to him in a more convincing way than just being crippled himself; he was empathetic. He was wise. He was strong. Those are the three things Heath Bradley will need if his new future will be as bright as Steven says it is. Very inspirational story this week, Angie. I’ve missed reading your stories a lot!

message 34: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Thank you so much for your support, Garrison! I really appreciate it :)

message 35: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments Anything for a fellow writer, Angie. :)

message 36: by Laura (last edited Nov 11, 2014 07:21PM) (new)

Laura R | 59 comments Thank you so much! I'm glad that you enjoyed it!

I do love everyone's stories! Garrison, Bee Jay sounds like such a cutie!! (and I love kitties! :3) Angie, I have to say that your story was full of such hope, especially after you find out that Steven is in a wheelchair as well. And Melissa, I do love a cute little love story, so I have to say I enjoyed it!

message 37: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments I have pictures of Bee Jay in the Photos thread under Totally Random if you want to see what he looks like. He's a cutie pie! ^_^

message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

Angie, Thank you for the compliment on my story. I really enjoyed yours as well. I couldn't imagine the feelings and torment that someone who has had a life-altering experience goes through but I know this young football player's doctor will have compassion and teach him more than just the medical aspects of his condition. Great job!

message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you, Laura! One thing I love about this group -- no matter what the topic of the week is, we get so many different stories! Love stories, horror stories, simple, insightful ... you name it! It's always fun to see everyone's take and creativity!

message 40: by Laura (new)

Laura R | 59 comments I noticed this... I'm so glad I found a judge-free community of writers! I can't wait to read more stories!

message 41: by Anne (last edited Nov 12, 2014 06:52PM) (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Here's my entry for this week.
Comments / suggestions to improve my writing are most welcome.

Title: Comfort Food
Word Count: 2285

“Oh, no…” I whimpered. “I’m never going to make it. It’s just not going to work.” I looked up at my roommate, Katie, who met my gaze with sympathy. I bit my lip to keep it from trembling and looked away. Running my hands through my long brown hair, I felt like pulling it out. Maybe if I focused on something besides money, it would keep the tears at bay.

We were sitting at the kitchen table, paying our bills. We split most everything down the middle, since we earned about the same. But Katie, best friend that she was, picked up a good chunk of the grocery bills.

She had told me, “You’re always cooking for me, so I’m saving a lot of money by not going out. Buying the groceries is the least I can do.”

I argued, “We’re a team in the kitchen. You work at it as much as I do.”

She laughed, wagging her finger at me, “Oh no, I’m just your helper. I can chop and peel and measure as long as you tell me what to do. You’re the creative one. You understand it.”

She was a sweetheart. I knew it was her way of trying to help me out, even though she had a point. I had no problem paying my share, but I was desperately trying to save enough money to make my dream come true. Working as a customer service rep didn’t allow me save a lot. Desperate for a career overhaul, I spent two years worth of weekends waitressing for tuition money. And if I was at school all day, I’d still need money to live on and pay the bills. Weekend waitressing wouldn’t be quite enough.

“How bad is it, Holly?”

“I still need a few thousand.” I looked down at my bank book. I was so tired of working the numbers, trying to figure out what I could do without to save more money. I did so NOT want to take out another loan when I was still making car payments. Not unless I absolutely had to.

We had already considered all kinds of options. No, we could not take in another roommate. No, I couldn’t sell my car. No, there was no one to lend me money. No, I couldn’t move in with my parents, since I had no idea where they even were anymore. Anyway, I could easily imagine their reaction. They were good people, but seemed befuddled at the thought of parenting. Mom’s favorite response to any childhood dilemma I faced was a pat on the head, a gentle smile and “You’ll figure it out.”

If I bypassed Mom and went to Dad, his version of helping me deal with the challenges of growing up was to kneel down with me, hold both my hands in his and say, “Let’s pray together. God will find the answer.” Unfortunately, God wasn’t talking to me too much in grade school. Or high school.

Still, I felt like they couldn’t wait for me to graduate from high school so they could do their own thing. Three years ago, when I was nineteen, was the last time I saw them. They were on their way to do missionary work in Africa. They were great at talking to people about salvation for the soul, but not so great at helping me figure out girlfriend / boyfriend entanglements or life management skills. We wrote for a while, but their letters came less often. The last one I sent came back crumpled and unopened – no forwarding address. Maybe they’d gotten eaten by cannibals for all I knew.

To help me deal with my feelings of abandonment I turned to comfort food.

My favorite of course was macaroni and cheese, followed closely by meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Chicken pot pie had a special place in my heart, too. Pot roast with roast potatoes – yum. And no day was complete without a dish of ice cream topped with chocolate syrup and a side order of chocolate chip cookies. That first year I gained over 30 pounds. Tall and skinny to start with, I absorbed some of it easily. Still, I had filled out quite a bit, to put it nicely.

Did I learn to eat less? No way. I needed those feel-good moments of savoring tasty morsels. But I did exercise more. Running and biking helped even things out.

It turned out I had a knack for cooking. I had concocted about a dozen variations of mac & cheese. Katie was a great guinea pig and eagerly devoured everything I made. It was great for my ego. That’s how cooking became my passion. And that’s when I began to consider it as a career. But cooking school was horrendously expensive. I didn’t qualify for a scholarship, but I had a chance for a partial grant.

“Couldn’t you just start with a certificate and work your way up?” Katie interrupted my reverie, trying to be helpful.

“I could, but I wouldn’t earn as much, then I’d be in school that much longer & all the best jobs go to chefs with advanced degrees, or at least graduating from somewhere prestigious. Or knowing the right people. A certificate might get me a job flipping pancakes. If I’m lucky.”

Which I might have to settle for anyway, unless it paid even less than what I was making now. It was a tough job market for chefs.

Katie had moved on to reading the newspaper. I was still staring at my checkbook, willing the numbers to grow.

“Hey, listen to this,” her voice grew more excited as she read to me, “The Midwest Regional Cooking Show is hosting a cook-off. They’re sponsoring a Comfort Food Competition! Holly, you have got to enter this.”

I grabbed the paper she was all but shoving in my face.

First prize- $5,000, second prize - $3000. Even third prize at $1000 would be a huge help, enough to get me in this coming semester, instead of waiting one more long, torturous year.

Comfort food. My specialty. I smiled at the thought. Things were looking up. My mind was already racing with ideas as I submitted my application just before the deadline.

The next several weeks were a whirlwind of activity as I outdid myself, trying different embellishments to make my recipes more outstanding, trying to give myself an edge.

“What do you think, Katie? Should I add jalapeno peppers to the garlic mashed potatoes, or –“ she interrupted me before I could finish.

“—NO!” Her earnest expression took me aback. “No hot stuff. It’s COMFORT food. It’s supposed to make you feel warm and cuddly, not put a fire in your belly.”

I fumed. I glowered. I paced.

“Look, you don’t need to change anything. Just make your best recipes and leave them as they are. Trust me.”

She had a point. Maybe.

The night before the competition, I still wasn’t entirely sure what to make. I pored over my cookbooks and recipes one more time, comparing my favorites with those on the internet.

The hell with it. I would take Katie’s advice.

The little sleep I actually got that night was filled with cooking fiascos. The stove wouldn’t light. The oven blew up. I couldn’t find the right pan. I forgot to bring my seasonings. Each nightmare jolted me awake, my heart sputtering with panic.

Before dawn, I gave up and got up. It was time to make the final preparations. We loaded up the car and took off. Katie came with as my assistant.

The exhibition room was filled with people. We checked in and were shown to our stations. I tried to size up the competition. Most looked as nervous as I felt. One girl was chewing her lip so furiously I was afraid she’d rub it off completely. One guy stood there with a smug grin on his face. How could anyone look confident? He must be bluffing. On second look, the smugness did look a bit frozen.

Okay, stop looking at anyone else. You’ll make yourself crazy. Focus on the job at hand. You can do this.

“You can do this, you know.” Katie whispered in my ear. Bless her. She voiced the words I had just thought. Somehow that affirmation made it seem like it could even be true.

It was time to start. Katie helped me prepare the butternut squash for the first course, a delicately flavored creamy soup. My secret ingredient was leftover sweet potatoes baked in an orange-maple syrup glaze. It was something I discovered by accident as a way to use up leftovers and it added that little something extra – hard to define, but made it taste just so.

I quickly prepared my killer meatloaf with all the usual…. onions, garlic, crushed salad croutons, an extra egg to make it fluffy, my special seasonings and soup to make it juicy…. This would be mouthwatering. Instead of baking it as a loaf, I used a scooper to make mini- meatballs which would be drizzled with a mushroom-onion sauce before serving.

Katie & I worked like an assembly line. She peeled and cut and chopped and measured. I mixed it all together, seasoned it up. As the soup was cooking, we started on dessert.

Chocolate mousse with a marshmallow whipped topping, sprinkled with shaved chocolate and dotted with a few raspberries. We shoved it in the icebox and prepared to move on.

Katie pureed the soup and started grating the zucchini for the fritters while I started on the mac & cheese. But first – I tasted the soup. It needed something. What did I forget? Hmm. A little pepper and a splash of thyme. Perfect. We could keep that hot.

I finished forming the zucchini fritters while Katie put the meatloaf balls in the oven.

Meanwhile I mixed up my macaroni with three kinds of cheese, adding finely chopped sautéed onions and some cream of broccoli soup – oops, not too much. I hollowed out the red, green & yellow peppers & stuffed them with the mac & cheese mixture, topped it with parmesan bread crumbs . I would add a splash of bacon bits before serving. This went into the oven broiler to finish up while we fried up the mini zucchini fritters.

Two minutes left.

Katie got the bowls and plates -- everything had to be properly presented too.

The meatballs were placed gently on the plate, garnished with mushroom sauce. The zucchini fritters found their way to the opposite side of the plate and the mac and cheese stuffed peppers were centered in the middle. Cherry tomatoes studded with chives added a colorful garnish. A cup of soup sat along side the plate.

The buzzer went off just as Katie dashed back to the table with dessert in her hand. She reached out to set it on the table as she fell to her knees. I grabbed it to keep it from falling into the soup. Whew.

I looked around the room at the others for the first time. I smelled fried chicken -- that was a favorite – several had made that. Others had made meatloaf, too. I saw roast beef and chicken pot pie. Lots of brownies.

Reality set in and I started to panic, hyperventilating and mopping my damp face and neck with my apron. Katie looked at me and gave me an encouraging hug.

The judges made their rounds and sampled everything, taking notes on their little clipboards. I stood still and tried not to stare as they came over to my table. They said very little to any of the contestants. One woman with raven black hair raised her eyebrows at my soup and one older man with silver hair smiled at me, “No one else made macaroni and cheese -- you’re the only one!”

My eyes flickered, unsure if he was paying me a compliment -- maybe I was unsophisticated and my meager offerings were just too ordinary.

I felt like we stood there for hours, waiting.

Finally. The announcements started.

(cont'd next post)

message 42: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments (Comfort Food continued)

My knees became spongy and started to buckle. I gripped the edge of the table. Katie held on to me.

I heard the voices, the blare of the loudspeaker. It took a moment to sink in. My lips moved, but no words came out.

2nd place. I came in 2nd place. I had to keep repeating the words.

Katie was jumping up and down. I was still in a daze as people around me shook my hand, clapped my shoulder and rendered their congratulations.

Finally, it registered. I screamed and put my hands over my cheeks. The tears started streaming down my face. We hugged and jumped and hugged and jumped some more.

I did it.

It was enough. My dream would come true. I sat down and realized neither of us had eaten all day. Our stomachs were growling at the sight and scents in front of us.

Katie and I looked at each other as we both said, “Let’s eat!”
So we sat there at the table in front of everyone and popped meatballs and fritters into our mouths.

“Who won first place anyway?” I asked, looking around.

Katie pointed over to the freckle-faced girl who’d been biting her nails down to her knuckles earlier.

“Huh? What did she make?” I craned my neck to look. “Chicken Pot Pie? Shoot, I was going to make that!”

We looked at each other and laughed.

I dipped my spoon into the mac & cheese and as my tongue rolled around the smooth cheesy pasta, I said, “But at the end of the day there’s nothing like good old macaroni and cheeseI”

message 43: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Garrison wrote: "AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Bee Jay
GENRE: Animal Fantasy
RATING: PG for fantasy violence and brief language

Hannah Jason was a sorceress only the foolish would mess with. He..."

Garrison, you have great way of combining strong action and humor in this story. I liked the use of magic to make weapons out of food--very creative!

message 44: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments Thank you so much, Anne! You deserve a hug for that! ^_^

I'll read your story in a minute. I know it's going to be a good one. :)

message 45: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Melissa wrote: "Here is my short story submission for the topic: Macaroni and Cheese. Feedback is ALWAYS welcome!

The Elbow Conundrum by: Melissa Andres
Word Count: 952

He watched her from across the crowded c..."

Melissa, this is such a sweet story. I'm a sucker for a happy ending between two people who are unique!

message 46: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Ooh! Another entry! I can't wait to read yours Anne. Sadly, it'll have to wait until I finish my homework. Whenever that is... >.<

message 47: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Laura wrote: "Here is my submission for Macaroni and Cheese, please excuse me, this is my first time posting a short story here. WARNING, DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH! This should probably be rated R..."

Welcome, Laura & thanks for the heads-up. I can never resist a challenge so I braced myself for a good horror story and you didn't disappoint :) -- This is on a par with Stephen King, I think. Well done.

message 48: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Angie wrote: "Author: Angie
Title: Just Beginning
Words: 782
Feedback always appreciated!

Steven munched on his macaroni and cheese carefully. His nine-year-old daughter had the day off from school today and h..."

Angie, this is a lovely, touching story with so much truth to it. You really showed how the power of attitude change a life.

message 49: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9056 comments Anne, there’s a huge part of me that wishes I was judging that contest and eating the delicious food: it’s called my stomach. Hehe! Everything in that contest sounded like culinary heaven, especially the big ol’ bowl of macaroni and cheese. I just ate supper a few minutes ago and now your story made me hungry again. I could go for some of that gooey goodness! Well, not some of it. All of it! Mmm-mmm-mmm! Thanks for cooking up such a tasty story, pun definitely intended! ^_^

message 50: by Laura (new)

Laura R | 59 comments Anne wrote: "Here's my entry for this week.
Comments / suggestions to improve my writing are most welcome.

Title: Comfort Food
Word Count: 2285

“Oh, no…” I whimpered. “I’m never going to make it. It’s jus..."

Wow... and to think I was good at cooking! This sounds so amazing! I like how you went into detail about the food, the way it's prepared; not many people know the finer points of the culinary process. This was just a really cute read (that made me super hungry)!

And thank you for reading my story! Hope I didn't freak you out too much!

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