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Anna {Follow me for reviews! (✿◡‿◡)} Here you can share your short stories that you don't enter in contests! Please keep them from being too long--just basically not pages and pages long.

message 2: by Penny (last edited Jan 14, 2020 05:13PM) (new)

Penny | 33 comments I just did this for a short story competition in another group, but I figured I'd post it here too since there are some people on here who aren't on the other one:) Constructive criticism would be GREATLY appreciated, no matter how big or small! I kind of did some of it in a rush, so some parts are pretty weak ahahha (also it's a little long ahaha)

The Clearing
By: Penny

Riippp. The midnight blue chiffon caught on a branch for the hundredth time, tearing the delicate fabric and jerking me back. I groaned again and stopped to quickly untangle it, before resuming my hurry; I was long past mourning the destruction of my gorgeous dress. Layers upon layers had already been snagged and mauled by the branches and thorns that surrounded me. I could no longer afford to lose what precious time I had left, so I spared only a quick glance over my shoulder, hoping not to see my pursuer.
I was having a wonderful time at the party; dancing, laughing, and actually forgetting about the dream for the first time in weeks. But then I saw him. The dark shadow lingering at the edge of the crowd. He nodded then went into the woods. I knew I had no choice but to follow him. Unfortunately for him, the exchange didn't work out the way he had hoped and ended with me throwing me shoe at him, which was part of the reason he was now chasing me barefoot through the forest. I grinned to myself as I ran and leapt, relishing the memory of the clunk! my stiletto heel made as it collided with his forehead. I was able to run so much easier barefoot. I knew these woods. I knew every towering pine, every trickling stream, every clearing, every path, every nest. Glowing moonlight spilled over the treetops and dripped down onto the forest floor, illuminating patches of the ground. The occasional moonbeam draped my arm, turning my light brown skin pale and bright. I paused as I approached two familiar towering pines that were planted directly side by side, then grew out opposite each other, forming a giant V. I knew about 50 yards west grew another smaller pine tree. My tree. My escape from this world.
I leaned over to catch my breath, pausing to listen for hurried footsteps. I heard the wind gently rustling the leaves throughout the forest, quiet snuffling nearby of some nighttime critter; to the east, a distant wolf howled. But no footsteps. I began to make my way west as silently as possible, imagining I was a deer who could bound and leap over branches and bushes with grace and ease. I ran faster and faster, soon sprinting with anticipation. No matter how many times I had crossed through the tree, I still felt a thrill every time I approached it. But this time, the rush was coupled with a shiver of unease. No one had ever followed me to my special pine, much less knew the truth behind(or rather, inside) this particular tree. If I could just get in quick enough, my pursuer would never know where I escaped to!
A flash of white caught my eye on the left, then another soon after to my right. I grinned, recognizing them as the white bird houses I had hung roughly ten paces apart from each other, marking the location of my tree. One last blur of white on my left.
Twenty more paces now. The bush grew thicker, forcing me to shove my way through. Ten paces. My heart raced ever faster. Five. . . . I was pulling myself through the bush now. Four. . . . Stubborn branches snapped as I shoved my way through them. Three. . . .two. . . . Thorns scratched my arms, causing me to grimace.
With one final thrust, I stumbled at last out of the tangle of branches into. . . .
A clearing?? Bright moonlight bathed me fully now as I spun round, trying to gather my bearings. The clearing did not belong here. This whole section ought to be full of trees and bushes and nests and MY tree! This can't be right! My tree should be planted right here, I know it. How could everything suddenly be. . . . My thoughts trailed off as I noticed a shadow shifting at the edge of the clearing. Two shimmering, glaring eyes, low to the ground. The body of a wolf, fur gleaming silver, crept out into the open circle, snarling but holding itself back. But it wasn't the savage wolf that made my heart turn to stone. It was the familiar outline of the man who stepped out of the shadows after it, stroking the wolf's coat. He casually tossed a sparkling blue shoe in the air and caught it again. I began to tremble as recognition sunk in. The man smiled, teeth glinting. "I believe we have some unfinished business, don't we darling?"

Anna {Follow me for reviews! (✿◡‿◡)} Here are a few little things! (Cool story, by the way :P)

change "destroyment" to "destruction"

"a deer who could gallop" Perhaps use a different word for "gallop," such as "bound," or something. I think of a horse with "gallop," even if it is a deer.

"Three. . . .two. . . .Thorns" Put a space between the last period and the word "Thorns" so it will look better on the line.

"The body of wolf, turned silver by the moon, crept out into the open circle, snarling. But it wasn't the wolf that made my heart turn to stone. It was the outline of the man stroking the wolf's hide." ----I'm a little confused here... Is the wolf dead, or is the wolf the man, or is the wolf the man's companion?

You don't have to do any of this, these are just suggestions!! :P It was pretty cool!

message 4: by Penny (new)

Penny | 33 comments Ahhhh thank you Anna!! These were exactly the types of things I was hoping to fix! My brain was pretty fried when I wrote this, so I completely missed all of this! I KNEW "destroyment" wasn't a real word, but for the life of me I could not think of a replacement😂 Also, for the last bit, I changed it up a little, so hopefully now it makes more sense?? The wolf and the man are separate, and the man is the wolf's master(?) or something like that😂

message 5: by Rosie (new)

Rosie Walker What Love Means

What does Love mean to you? Is it a romance? Is it a mere emotion? Or is it something else, like the love one shows in a kind act towards a stranger, no matter how random or small it may seem? I am rather inclined to lean toward the latter, for in each small act of kindness we reflect the love of Christ, as if onto a crystal clear lake, through a window in our heart. And the giver shall not go unrewarded.

Let me tell you a little story. Fictional or non-fictional I will leave for you to decide; for, no matter how remarkable or unbelievable a story may seem, it is always the author's wish that it may seem true to the reader. And if it seems true, there is nothing I should like more than for someone to imitate the example of Sabrina Norton, whose story I am about to relate.

Sabrina was a happy young girl, the only child of her young widowed mother. Her delight was in the companionship of her four-footed best friend, Ella. Sabrina's mother did her utmost to instill in her a love for giving, and it must be said that she succeeded far better than many a mother in a better situation than she had ever done, as will be seen.

Sally Martin, also an only child, and motherless, lived a few hours away from Sabrina's home. At the age of seven, Sally was diagnosed with cancer and given three months to live. Her father was devastated.

The girls, unbeknownst to each other, lived completely different lifestyles. Sabrina, happy and well cared for, with a mother who taught her to love good and shun evil, had few cares in life, while Sally, motherless, lay sick and dying, with no hope of any cure, and no companionship, for her father must work, even then, for her support.

One morning, Sabrina heard Sally's story on the radio. Sally's father was looking for a dog: one who could be a companion for his little daughter, during the time she had left.

"Mother, what's cancer?" Sabrina asked innocently, seeing her mother's face turn sad as she switched off the radio.

"Darling, it's so hard to explain, to one so young as you. It's an illness -" she paused uncertainly, looking for a way to soften her explanation, but it was clear that her daughter needed to know the truth. She went on gently, "Some make it, but most don't. Sally is one of those who won't."

Sabrina's eyes filled slowly, as the reality of the situation dawned on her. "And that's why - her dad wants a dog - to be her friend?" She choked.

"Yes, dearie," she wrapped her tenderly in her arms. "And I pray he finds one, soon."

Sabrina turned her head to rest her eyes on her beloved dog, lying in the corner - her favorite spot. She seemed to hesitate, but spoke bravely. "Mother - I want to loan Ella to her - may I?"

"Sabri, are you sure? Do you understand that you will have to be separated for a long time, maybe three months, or even more, if the doctors are wrong? Think it over, darling; I don't want you to do something you will regret."

"But Mother, you told me that love is always right. I don't need to think it over; I know what I want to do. May I, please?"

"I suppose you're right. All right, you may. I'll call him right away, but you need to be off to school before you are late."

Sabrina turned her head to look once more at her friend.

"He won't be able to come until tomorrow, at least, I'm sure. She'll still be here tonight. Be a good girl, and run along, now. I love you, darling," and she planted a tender kiss on her forehead.


Meanwhile, at the Martin residence, Mr. Martin was engaged in a solemn conference with the doctor, who had dropped in to see Sally, en route to his office. He was in the habit of doing this each morning, not because he was requested to do so, but because he wanted to. His one little house-bound patient had become rather interesting to him; he never heard her complain of pain or loneliness, though both must have been supposed to be sufficient for a girl of her age. He had grown fond of her, and he dreaded the coming grief almost as much as her own father.

On this particular morning, he found her condition weakened considerably, and he left the room, solemn and silent. "Mr. Martin," he began slowly as that gentleman led him into the next room. "Can you possibly get leave to take a few days off work? She shouldn't be left alone."

Mr. Martin paced the floor nervously. "I'm afraid it can't be done, no matter how badly I wish it could; I need the money, to support her." He paused hesitantly near the door. "You think it is as bad as that?" he questioned, anxiously.

"I'm sorry to be the one to tell you that it is. Before, I had thought she could last a few months, but now..." he paused as Mr. Martin sat heavily in his chair and buried his face in his arms. His shoulders shook violently.

The doctor began to pace, now, seeming quite agitated. "If only there were some way you could find a dog."

"I hope to, soon - the ad is out, but no one has called. I don't know what to do," and he sighed wearily.

The good doctor laid his hand on Mr. Martin's shoulder. He was a married man, and being childless since his own little son had died at an early age, he knew what this grief was, and had a strong sympathy for any parent going through it. He was not like most other doctors seem to be, professional and uncaring; he had a soft spot in his heart for all ailing folk, most especially for the terminally ill. Most especially for children. "Help will come soon; never fear for that. I must be going, now," he added kindly. "but I will stop in again tomorrow morning. Good day, sir."

"Good day," Sally's father replied despondently. "And thank you."

After the doctor had departed for his office, the father resumed his dejected pacing of the floor, thinking over his dismal prospects. Sally was all he cared for in the world, anymore, and thoughts of her passing filled him with a despondency few can relate to unless they too have gone through such a trial.

He ran his hand across his eyes and turned to leave the room, but stopped as the phone rang. He turned swiftly around and lifted the receiver to his ear. "Hello?"

"Good morning, Mr. Martin," a woman's calm, reassuring voice came across the line. "I am Mrs, Norton. I understand that you are looking for a dog for your little girl. My daughter heard your request on the radio this morning, and she wants to loan her own dog to your daughter."

For the space of about ten seconds, Mr. Martin remained speechless. "How - how old is your daughter, if you don't mind my asking?"

"Not at all. She's six, but ever so much older, in some ways, and younger in others; but that's not a bad thing. You see, she is so young in her mind, and in her heart, that she cares more for others than for herself. But when you meet her, you will find her manners to be such as one at least twice her age."

Mr. Martin, finding his tongue, replied, "I am sure I will be pleased to meet the young lady, ma'am. When would it be possible, and could you possibly bring her, and the dog, here? I don't wish to leave my Sally any longer than I already have to, for work."

"I'm sure we could arrange that, tomorrow being Saturday. Would that be suitable? We wouldn't be able to arrive until late afternoon."

"That's fine," Mr. Martin answered, feeling his spirits rising a little, in spite of himself. "I get back from work at three."

"And it'll give Sabrina more time to be with her darling," Mrs. Norton added, thinking how hard this separation would prove for her daughter.

"I feel guilty, taking her pet."

"Don't," she answered, gently. "My daughter knows what she wants to do."

"You must be very fond of her."

"I am, indeed," her voice shook a little. "Fond and proud. We will see you, Mr. Martin, tomorrow afternoon, and give our regards to Sally."

"I will, ma'am. Thank you, for everything."


Sabrina, full of good purpose and intentions as well as grief, found it very difficult to drift off to sleep, that night. Her mind was filled with thoughts of the coming separation she would have to endure, and when she did sleep, it was more of a doze, light and troubled.

And still, though sad at the prospect before her, she knew what was right, and wanted nothing so much as to make someone happy, if only by a small sacrifice on her part.

Next morning, Sabrina and her mother set out, with Ella, for the house of Mr. Martin. They arrived late, and, after paying a short little visit, tore themselves away to find a place to stay that night.

Sunday, having been invited by Mr. Martin, they once more entered his home, for the purpose of seeing how the girl and the dog got on.

To everyone's surprise, Sally seemed a little stronger than she had the night before, and was propped up in bed, stroking Ella's head, and she smiled gratefully into Sabrina's eyes. Ella was fulfilling her purpose, much better than anyone had expected, and Sabrina found that she no longer felt quite so sad about the situation, for she knew that Ella was where she should be.

Several times during the following weeks, Mr. Martin phoned the Nortons and gave them such updates as he could. During one such call, he said, "You don't know how much of a comfort that dog is to me, as well as to Sally. I feel as though I can leave for work each morning, knowing that Sally is well taken care of. And when I come home, she's sleeping peacefully. Ella never leaves her side, unless I'm there to take her place for a few minutes. I don't know how to repay you."

But Sabrina didn't want any reward - she had had that, just in knowing that her little sacrifice had made a difference. And when the call came, saying that Sally had slipped away, Sabrina thought long and hard. Mr. Martin would be all alone, now, with no one else to care for, like he had cared for the sick little girl.

"Mama," she spoke finally, as they were driving over to the bereaved man's home. "I want to do something for Mr. Martin, now he's all alone."

"That's sweet, honey. What do you want to do?"

"As much as I miss Ella, I think she should stay with Mr. Martin; as long as I get to see her, now and then."

And that, my friends, is what love is. It's not merely an emotion, but an action, a sacrifice of one's own will, to give peace and happiness to another.

Anna {Follow me for reviews! (✿◡‿◡)} Dorothy, your story is wonderful.

message 7: by Zakle (new)

Zakle | 2 comments Annabel in Numberland (409 words; this was an answer to a music prompt back when Figment was a thing. I used Paul Shapera's The Dolls of New Albion musicals, the first act of his ever expanding, wacky, and terribly sad universe.)

The euphoria Annabel McAlistair felt throughout the day vanished when Jasper, her dear Jasper, finally spoke. As the voicebox faded back into silence and the mannequin head flopped to the side like the lifeless thing it once was, she slowly stood and walked away, her legs suddenly weak. It wasn't supposed to happen. The moment of happiness when he realized he was alive again, the talks they would have, the companionship she never knew. Those were supposed to happen and yet …

"Elysium. The place where your sorrows end. Why’d you bring me here? Oh, why’d you bring me here? Why’d you bring me here again?"

Those words, coming out as a song from her use of the radio, dawned painful reality. Jasper didn't want to be there. Jasper was happy on the silent shores of death. And she took him away, she caused him pain.

Annabel picked up her notes, not really seeing any of the words she obsessed over and knew like the back of her hands. The maths, the facts, the fractions couldn't help her see the outcome.

"You could have been my angel," she said, rapidly blinking to keep the tears at bay. "You could have saved me."

Annabel remembered clearly the first time they met. He didn't even know she existed and yet she loved him from a distance. They only had one moment. A moment that ended with a kiss.

They had talked for hours. If it was even possible, she had fallen even further in love with Jasper that day.

Then she was expelled.

Jasper died in an accident.

She brought him back. She finally showed the world she was useful and she did something no one else had ever done before--she conquered life and death.

Of course, failure had to hold her hand through it all. Her hands tightened around the notes.

"Forgive me, Jasper." Annabel let go of the crumpled papers, her fingers curling around the handle of an ax.
The Narrator watched, her body turning to stay out of Annabel's touch. She stayed silent for several moments, simply watching, simply thinking before she turned to the nearby audience to finish the first generation's story.

"So, Annabella destroys her Doll, her beloved toy-boy, and takes all the notes that she made and packs them away. Thus Annabel vows that she won’t tell a soul and stay lonely. Defeated now, she sadly creeps back to her lab."

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