Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company! discussion

Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 65- (January 9th-16th) Stories --- Topic: Dirt In My Eye DONE!

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message 1: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments You have until January 16th to post a story/poem and on the 17th and 18th 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 300-2,500 words long.

The topic this week is: Dirt In My Eyes (P.S. get over it and start thinking. No complaining allowed. You're writers and writers can write about anything)

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!

message 2: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments Stephanie, what in the world made you think of that?

message 3: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Rofl. Um, I wanted something different. Something that might challenge you all and something I know I might here complaints about because well, I don't know. You guys need a real challenge, I'm thinking right now and I just might message Al. Muhahahaha

message 4: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments Oh, Al will love it! I hope Elle's nose has a chance to heal up before Al gets the next episode written.

message 5: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Hehehehe No, really, I'm thinking of something that might actually challenge you guys.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I love this :D
My dad has a piece of metal in his eye from like... 28 years ago.
mom says that when they got married it was a shining piece of sliver you could see. lol.

message 7: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments Good heavens! You have an interesting life.

Realteenreviews Anyone can write a story, right?

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

of course!
thats what this group is for :P

@M - By some perspectives, I guess. I think I just get more opportunities than other kids. I've been running and air nailer since i was ten and a skillsaw and tablesaw since i was eleven. So I guess.... in a way lol :P ha ha

message 10: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Yes, Realteenreviews, anyone can. We love having lots of submissions. And, having finished KOTOR 2 last week, I'll be around more. Muhahaha, you poor people. And it just took me a minute to remember if I was suposed to write pore (didn't look right), pour (didn't look right either), or poor. Then I remembered that it was poor. Dain English language. I mean, we have five different words for pig.

message 11: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments I've never studied any of the other languages. But I had a "vocabulary" class, which was basically studying the English language. It's no wonders it's so confusing sometimes.

message 12: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments I had a semester of French, but they threw me out when I asked the waiter to bring me three peas.

message 13: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Lol, why in the world would you do that?

message 14: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments I didn't study much in those days . . .

message 15: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments So you meant to say something different.

message 16: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments Oh, yeah! I'm sure I knew what I wanted to order. The whole problem with restaurant situations in French class is that you can't just order a burger and fries. "Apportez-moi un Number 3 et supersize les fries, s'il vous plait."

message 17: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Wow, I'll stick to English.

message 18: by M (last edited Jan 10, 2011 01:36PM) (new)

M | 11397 comments I figure the accent's the hardest part, but you can pick that up by watching Pink Panther movies. Now, if I can just get past the chapter on ordering dinner, I can move on to driving a voiture . . .

message 19: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments My brother can do accents really well.

message 20: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Lol, have fun with that. *sigh* I wish I could do a accent that well. I love British, Scotish, Russian, and Irish accents. They're so....no, I can't say it.

message 21: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments You do a great British accent, Alex! Even I thought you were British at first, and I've never heard you talk.

message 22: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments I know, Alex. *sigh*

message 23: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments :D I just slipped on our wood stairs here, slid down them, and my right knee is kind of burning. You know the feeling?

message 24: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments Ouch! Be kind to your knees, Stephanie. They'll give you lots of trouble when you get older.

message 25: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments That sounds like it really hurt, Alex. I can see why they'd still give you problems. I know, M, but now I have a big bruise on my right knee and a smaller one on my left.

message 26: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Lol

message 27: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments Al, there's a story in there somewhere . . .

message 28: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Stories are everywhere, they just have to find an author and be written.

message 29: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments I was sort of poking Al. Her experiences with broken bones and such provide quite a bit of fodder for her stories.

message 30: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Yes, everytime I mention getting hurt she seems to reveal a new wound.

message 31: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments It's interesting to speculate what kind of novels we'll see Alex's name on, isn't it? I have a feeling they may be the sort that kids like me loved to read but that teachers frowned on.

message 32: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Yes, yes, M, I have no doubt. lol

message 33: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Sorry for the lack of pacing and detail, guys, I was getting a little lazy.

Title: M

Word Count: 575

Most people say I’m a naturally clumsy person. I tend to disagree but, hey, what does it matter right? I’m actually a normal kid, most of the time. I have to deal with bullies sometimes but that’s only because they’re jealous I’m smarter than them. By the way, I’m Jack.

So as I was saying, bullies, right? I remember the last run-in I had with them; it was pretty gruesome. I was, as always, just minding my own business. I mean come on, how threatening is a scrawny guy who’s only five foot three? Anyway, I was just doing my homework during lunch when the school bully, Michael, also known as M or Big M, dropped his bag on my table.

“Stevens.” Yeah, I know, the classic name right? Every case I read about bully victims I find that the victim’s last name is Stevens. I’m starting to think that they were all related to me. But I digress.

“What do you want, Michael?”

M scowled at the name. He preferred one of his nicknames over his real one. I think it makes him feel a little wimpy. And who could blame the guy. Michael? What bully’s name is Michael? How non-threatening can you get?

He dropped a brown paper bag on the table, next to my tray. “Why don’t you explain this?” he said with a superior tone.

“It’s your lunch?” I guessed. Actually, I had swapped his lunch with one I had prepared especially for him.

“Then why don’t you taste it?”

I rolled my eyes and pulled a cupcake out of the bag. I couldn’t help it anymore; I snorted and started laughing.

“It’s not funny, Stevens!” M grabbed me by the shirt and pulled me out of my seat. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention one of the most important parts of this story, I’m outside. He threw me face-first into the dirt. Now, you’re probably going “so what”? Well, you see, I’m allergic to the dirt. I mean I have to wear shoes whenever I go outside. I’m a dirt-deprived child. All I can say is that it’s not my fault.

Back to the story…I was thrown into the dirt and some of it flew into my eyes. Now, the rest of my face wasn’t so bad, it started getting red but it was my eyes that alerted M that something was wrong. He picked me up, stopped, and let go of me. “What’s wrong with you!”

I rubbed my eyes, which made them worse. They were swelling and I couldn’t see a thing anymore. The next thing I knew, I was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. When I got there, the doctors almost immediately started poking me and no one would answer my questions.

By the time I learned anything it was all over with and I could hear my parents’ voices outside the door. I think it was a few minutes later when I heard the door open.

“Mom? Dad?”

“Oh Jack!” I felt my mother’s tears on my body.

“Dad? What’s going on?” I knew my mother couldn’t talk.

“Son, you’re blind,” he answered sadly. Is it just me or was that a little…desensitize sounding?

And that’s why I’m not really writing this story. I’m talking and someone else is writing it for me. The only good thing that came out of this whole thing was that M was expelled. Hallelujah.

message 34: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) | 2869 comments aw, sad!

message 35: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Haha

message 36: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments Big M, here! Move over, Stevens. I may have gotten kicked out of school, but they let me take my notebook computer with me, so I'll have a story posted (if I can think of one) by tonight or tomorrow morning.

Good story, Stephanie! In school, I was always the wimp. We're out at the lake this weekend, and there won't be much signal after daylight. The pancake breakfast started five minutes ago, so I'd better get moving.

message 37: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Haha, glad you enjoyed it, M! I had to pick on you a little when I chose the bully's name. I was like wait a moment, Michael...M...hmmmm.

message 38: by M (last edited Jan 17, 2011 01:43PM) (new)

M | 11397 comments A Crossroads in the Hills
by M (about 2,160 words)

After a summer at home, in a hot mid-afternoon, Todd Barnes was driving back to college. It had been a dry August, and the wind that had kicked up was like the breath of a furnace. His sportscar was loaded with luggage and books, and from the radio, amid the rhythm of synthesized percussion, a woman’s voice sang lyrics from a languid interval of poolsides, piers, and cocktail hours Todd wished could have lasted a few weeks longer.

Oaks hung their dusty leaves over the rural highway. At the crown of a hill, not far from where Morton County falls away to the low hills of the counties to the west, a gust of wind blew dirt in his eyes from an unpaved road that disappeared among trees on the right. Cursing aloud, he tried not to squeeze his eyes shut but was unsuccessful, and winced as the grit cut into his cornea.

As usual, there was hardly a soul on the road. Soon he found himself in a shady river bottom of vines and towering trees, and before him rose the high trusses of an old bridge that crossed the Mirliton River. The bridge made a hollow sound as the car sped over the joints in the roadbed. As the afternoon wore on, forest gave way to meadowland, and in late evening a sliver of a moon hung in the sky over ponds and lazy hills.

When Todd got to school, he threw his duffel bag on a striped mattress, then he stood over a bathroom lavatory and bathed his eyes. "Hey, Todd!" his roommate greeted, entering the suite and toting his own bag. Like Todd, Bud Mixon was tanned and muscled, a senior and a geology major. He had spent the summer on an archeological dig and had the callouses to prove it. "How'd you get dust in your eyes?" At excavations, especially in places like the Badlands, where they had gone last summer, windborne dust was a hazard. "From a road in the hill country," Todd said. He laughed. "I wasn't digging up bones, merely driving back."

In November, when Todd drove home for the Thanksgiving holidays, the landscape had changed from the lush hues of summer to one of muted browns and pale greens. At dusk, crossing the flood plain at the foot of the hill country, as he approached the rusting bridge, he saw a woman walking beside the lonely highway.

He stopped and rolled down the window. “Would you like a ride?” Absently, she turned to him as though she hadn’t heard him drive up. She looked to be about his age, had dark-blonde, shoulder-length hair, and was wearing blue jeans, moccasins, and a sweater. The air had a bite to it, and he wondered if she weren’t cold without a coat.

He reached across and opened the door for her, moving some books and folders from the seat to the floorboard. “Thank you,” she said quietly, climbing in and closing the door. She didn't seem accustomed to sitting in a car that was low to the ground. When she made no move to fasten her seatbelt, he almost suggested it but thought better of it.

Looking into the rear-view mirror, he shifted into gear and pulled out on the highway. No one was coming. He hadn’t seen more than a couple of cars in the last thirty miles. “I, uhm, I’m Todd Barnes,” he said, glancing at her. “I go to at Marrs University, out in Midway.”

“I’m Lisa McClure,” she smiled. "I'm a student at Straughon's Business College." Though he couldn’t have said what it was, there was something about her that made him uneasy. As the bridge loomed, he noticed that she seemed to stiffen, and as they went over the river, her face mirrored stark terror. Through the sunroof of the little car could be seen the riveted girders and criss-crossing braces, dark against the sky.

Once the river was behind them and the car was headed up the long hill, she seemed to relax. “Are you on your way home from school?” she asked. There was no emotion in her voice. He nodded. “We’re out for a week.” He laughed. “Just long enough to relax before the pressure is on to get term papers finished, and of course finals week.” He pointed to the folders on the floor. "I'll be using my time off to do additional research." She had long, slim legs. Her eyes, pale and vacant, left him wanting to say something but at a loss for anything to say.

He noticed that she had beautiful hands and wore a pearl ring and an outdated watch, and he found himself wishing he knew more about her. Near the crest of the hill, she sighed in a resigned way and said, “My road is right up here.” To his surprise she indicated the dirt road he had passed during a gust of wind the previous August. She insisted on being dropped off beside the highway.

“I don’t mind driving you--” he began, but she shook her head. Her hair, curled out at the bottom, reminded him of styles from the 1960’s. She had a face that was more than lovely, and though there was a girl-next-door wholesomeness about her, Todd sensed that something was very wrong.

As she opened the door to get out, he asked, “Lisa, isn’t there anything I can do for you?” She returned his inquiring, almost beseeching, look with one that he perceived was intended to be kind but instead was unsettling. "Take care of yourself," was all he could think to say. As he drove away, he watched in the mirror. She crossed the highway and began walking into the deep shadow of the dirt road.

That night, in a comfortable chair before the den fireplace, Todd told his parents about the girl he had picked up. “I felt very sorry for her,” he admitted. “What could I have done?” His mother gave him a rueful smile. “There’s no telling what kind of place she had to to go home to.” Taking a sip of a martini, his father raised his eyebrows. "That part of Morton County, bordering the Mirliton River, was once once prosperous. It has a strange climate that's good for growing wine grapes, gourds. The people are reputed to be secretive."

All through the Thanksgiving break, the girl stayed in Todd’s mind--her strange, pale eyes, her hands that he longed to hold in his own. He wondered what kind of dwelling she had followed that road home to. Did she live in a dilapidated farm house? Had she been made a slave to life of domestic servitude, abused by an alcoholic father? He imagined that she had tried to run away from a horrible existence only to surrender at last, hopeless, sad-eyed, her expression empty.

The following week, he departed for school a couple of hours earlier than planned, determined to see where the dirt road led. It was a clear afternoon in what had been a dry late fall, so he wasn’t likely to get stuck. What would he do when he found her? In his heart, he knew he would do whatever he had to. With a feeling of rising apprehension, he slowed as he approached the place where the girl had gotten out of his car. Shifting down, he turned right off of the highway.

Contrary to what he had expected, the little road wasn’t rutted and in disrepair but appeared to be well maintained. Alongside one side ran a barbed-wife fence, beyond which was rolling pastureland. At length, he came to a crossroads, where he abruptly had the disconcerting feeling of having gone back in time.

A large, wooden building, long abandoned, its paint peeling, bore on its pediment in block letters the word “Mercantile.” A small row of brick buildings, one with “Mirliton Bank” stenciled on a Victorian window, looked like something out of the Old West. Here and there were the remains of wooden sidewalks.

He stopped before a porch on which a middle-aged woman in a gingham dress and sunbonnet was affixing a bracket to a post. She eyed him curiously as he opened the door of his silver, mid-engine sportscar and climbed out into the cloud of dust he had brought with him.

He had no idea what he might say to her. Laying down a drill, she saved him the trouble of speaking first. “May I help you?” Rather than going up onto the porch, he gazed up at her from the ground. “I’m sorry to bother you,” he began. It seemed best to be direct. “I’m Todd Barnes. I’m looking for someone named Lisa McClure.”

The woman stared at him as though he had spat in her face. “Well, you’re about twenty years too late, boy.” She reached for the drill and turned her attention again to the bracket she was putting up. Seeing that he was still there, she opened her mouth as if to ask him why he didn't have things to do, but his dismayed, uncomprehending expression caused her to soften. She pointed. “Take the Sollers Hollow Road. You’ll see the big arch on the left. She's in the next to the last row.”

He blinked up at her, unable to think clearly. “What happened to her?” The woman picked up a screw. “She went off to business school. One weekend she came home but never got here. They found her in the river.” She shrugged, and her eyes clouded. “I always said that’s what sent her ma to an early grave.”

Thanking her, Todd returned to his car and drove to the intersection. A old-style wooden post with weathered, painted arrows showed which road led where. One said “Bailey Hill,” another “Sollers Hollow,” another “Melcher.” The Sollers Hollow Road led unexpectedly into a steep valley. At the bottom, in mossy gloom, was a beautiful, rocky creek, and as he carefully piloted his car across a narrow, plank bridge, he wondered, “What in the hell am I doing out here in the middle of nowhere?”

The road maundered out of the shadows into high hills and farmland. Looking at his watch, Todd saw that it was already four o’clock. It would be after dark when he got to school. Rounding a bend on a ridge, he found before him a breathtaking view into a blue distance beyond knobby oaks. Ahead, on the left, was a cemetery with an iron fence and a high arch. It was with a sense of foreboding that Todd pulled off into the brown fieldgrass and parked.

In the profound silence, the sound of the car door as he closed it made him think of a pebble dropped into an ocean. He considered the remoteness of the place and what the world must once have been like.

The high, spiked gate, a relic of another time, creaked as he opened it. The property hadn't been recently mowed, but otherwise appeared nicely kept. In the midst of the cemetery stood a yew so old that it seemed a bizarre sculpture. Some of the markers were badly eroded, some cracked from a century of freezing and thawing. Walking among the gravestones, in the next to the last row, he found what he sought:

Lisa Jean McClure, 1942-1963, “I am the first and the last and the ever-living one.”--Rev. 1:17

The woman's voice echoed in his head: "They found her in the river . . ." As he stood in the chill November stillness, rereading the incised words, anger stung him like splinters of glass, and he felt as though his life had been ripped to shreds. He wanted to find whoever had done this. At the same time, he felt a growing undercurrent of fear.

Rather than taking a chance of getting lost in the hills, Todd followed the Sollers Hollow Road back to the crossroads. The woman in the gingham dress was no longer out on the porch, and a "Closed" sign had been hung in the window.

When he at last emerged onto the highway, the long shadows of late afternoon were fading into the grayness of twilight, and he switched on the headlights. He recalled briefly the scorching wind of a summer that seemed a lifetime ago, the dust that had blown in through the open window and gotten in his eyes.

Crossing the bridge, he wondered how he could feel this way about someone who was dead. Why had Lisa McClure chosen him? Watching the stanchions go by, he wondered what the old bridge would have to say if it could talk. What had happened to her on that fateful day she had gone missing? A cold feeling in his stomach told him he was going to find out. Not far ahead, in the dusk, someone was walking by the road.

message 39: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments Thank you, Al!

message 40: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments The polls are up you bunch of pirates!


message 41: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Lol

message 42: by M (new)

M | 11397 comments I have an idea for this one-reel creature feature Stephanie has ordered up, but whether I can bring it to the big screen of the imagination in a thousand words or less is an unanswered question.

message 43: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Well, let us be the judge of that and post it. I need to read the other stories....

message 44: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Results of the polls are in!

Stephanie won first place and M won last.

Thanks for voting guys!

message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

dang, i was out of town!
I did have an idea tho. haha
too late :P
good job, stephanie, i liked yours too M :)

message 46: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (chasmofbooks) | 2875 comments Thank you, Averi.

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