Short Fiction by Junior Honors Students

 

Male Eyes

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One and Two-Sentence Stories

Looking down at the engagement ring on her finger, she whispered, “This wasn’t the party we were planning,” to the casket in front of her.  — Allison
After another one of my impromptu drinking sessions, I stumbled into the bathroom — to relieve my qualms — when a horrific stench sobered me up.  As I opened the toilet seat cover, I gasped at the cold eyes of a beheaded corpse staring at me through the crimson. — Amy
In the rearview mirror I saw a man lounging in the backseat…smiling maliciously.  I was driving alone. — Amy
Micro Fiction (50-100 words)/Multiple Points of View

Staple Gang or Die, by Kush

The town was in distress because the Staple Gang was at its height. Every man, woman, and child lived in fear of their clothes being stapled. After the town clock struck 8, the streets were cleared; anyone who was seen outside was either killed or stapled. The former being the most requested.  The people prayed for a savior.   They prayed to the paper gods, yet their prayers remained unanswered. But one day, he came, he came to free them of their troubles.  His name was Kush, the One the Staple Gang feared the most, yet they continued to terrorize.

He did win the final battle, however, and with it he…heard a voice.

“Wake up, wake up, Kush!  It’s time to go to school.”

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Eyes, by Kayla

His.

His were emotionless as he held the letter in his hand. His showed no fear even after he read the news. His shone with pride as he put on his uniform. His showed the slightest bit of sadness as he hugged his son and touched my stomach. His showed no regrets as he slowly walked down the steps. I’m unaware of what they showed for the year that he was away. His return to me was anything but expected. I was still unaware of what they showed as I looked at him for the first time in a year.

Mine.

Mine were emotionless as I held the letter in my hand. Mine showed fear as I wondered how to tell the kids. Mine shone with pride because I knew he would not be forgotten. Mine showed a ton of sadness as I finally accepted. Mine showed the selfish regret of letting him leave. Mine showed worry for the year he was away. Never again would I see those piercing jades greet me as I wake in the morning. Never again would I see them crinkle as he smiled. His eyes were closed now and they would never open again.

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Stuck Inside During A Blizzard, by Anonymous

Aggravated Father: I have never been without coffee for so long.  So short is my tolerance.

Worried Mother: The house has never been this dirty; I could tidy everything up if this family was being cooperative.

Sassy Sister: I haven’t spoken to my friends in, like, years. They probably think I’m, like, dead.

Uncanny Brother: All my friends got a new video game for Christmas and I didn’t. Now I’m going to be a loser at school.

Obedient Dog: Woof.

 

Flash Fiction (1-2 pages)

Trapped, by Andrea

Where am I?

Swirling in a merry-go-round of dizziness, the brutal world topples over my own life with no speck of mercy. My head throbs in confusion as I desperately pat the ground under and around me in search of an answer.

I cautiously whisper aloud now, “Hello…? Is anybody there…?”

Forceful fingers grasp my head by a chunk of my silky hair and abruptly yank at a forty-five degree angle to the right. I frantically gasp for air as I sense a warm substance creeping down the side of my head. Rapid pulses of terror run from one ear to another, shocking a sort of light bolt through my body as my heart heavily heaves itself in pain.

An icy cold finger is placed under my chin as a faint voice whispers, “Love me.”

“Never.” Why would I consider loving this psychopath?

My stomach is plummeted with rounds of kicks as gusts of wind are knocked out of my soul. “Stop,” I barely choke out as my throat dries up in anguish. The blindfold wrapped around my head slightly shifts as I am tossed around from the physical impacts of the kicks, and I am able to catch a glimpse of the floor of my surroundings.

The sight of pools of fresh blood burns my eyes that had formerly been clinging to the slightest bits of hope. It’s surprising that I had enough remaining blood in my body to experience physical, emotional, and mental pain. Should I just give up?

“Let me go,” I breathe with a struggle. I shudder as the torturer’s two hands plop on top of my shoulders.

“It’s your decision to either leave or stay,” the familiar voice seems to tease.

“This is not the time to joke,” I growl as I attempt to locate his/her face. My warm breath reflects from the face of the beast, bouncing right back at my cheeks. “I demand to be released,” I angrily add, purposefully spitting saliva with every articulation.

“If you say so, it shall be.”

The blindfold gradually loosens and peels off my face as my vision is temporarily blinded by the sudden change of lighting. I gape wider and wider at the thing in front of me as my eyesight focuses and registers every single detail bit by bit. I yelp and jolt backwards.

The torturer was me.

____________________________________________________________________

Thalassophobia, by Angelia

I have always hated the ocean. It was a constant reminder that everything was being swept away from right under my feet. It was always whispering to me that nothing in this world was eternal; that even if something comes to me it could be taken away just as easily. It was always there, shifting and changing; one moment calm and shallow, then violent and a thousand feet deep the next. I’m not sure how much longer I can wade before I drown.

“Did you know that there are only two options for us? We either get married or split up.” My voice wavered as I spoke and you remained silent. Sink or swim? I continued: “What will happen to us?”

The thing about the ocean is that nothing’s clear. If you look too far into the water, the sky and sea will blend until it’s impossible to differentiate the two. It’s hard to tell the difference. The clouds in the sky disappear into the tide, swallowed whole. It’s like filling a glass with ice: eventually, the ice waters down the beverage until it’s nearly nothing.

Every time I close my eyes now, I try to bring you back. I grab at those blue bed sheets, wide-eyed and frantic. I pull at them as if they were a life vest but instead, they wrap around me; waves of blue blind me and pull me down. I can barely breathe but I at least I can still detect your scent. It’s nearly gone from all the nights you’ve been missing from here but I can almost feel you. You’re watered down, but at least you’re here.

Not enough, not enough. I grasp the sheet, taking the end and pulling it closer to me as if it was a map. End over end. Nearer, nearer. I grab the Atlantic in my fist and fold it over the Pacific, clutching the watery fabric to my chest in hopes that it’s not too late; in hopes that I can still bring you back here, back home to me.

I can see you now. I know that this must all be a mirage but still I try to hold you tight, I still try. Closer, closer. I’m drowning but I pull harder, try harder. Even so, I still can’t come up for air, still can’t will the image of you to solidify, to become something real.

You finally turned to face me after I had voiced my curiosities, “We’ll find out after I come back from overseas, won’t we? They say the war will be over by Christmas-time.”

You never did answer my question. You never did come back. Once again, the ocean had pulled something important right from my grasp. The ocean is dark and cruel but still I stand at the shore, hoping that for once, the ocean would bring something back. I can feel the waves pulling at my feet gently. In it’s crashes I can hear you. It’s soft and I strain to make out your voice. So I come closer, yearning to hear the answer to my question. Closer, closer.

_____________________________________________________________________

Death of the Firecracker, by Radhika

I’ve always liked the view from above. Everything just seems so small and it feels like there isn’t anything to worry about. Sitting here with my legs dangling over the side of the bare steel framework of this building in progress, I get that familiar feeling. The feeling of emptiness that accompanies not caring and forgetting. But of course, it all comes back to me.

I’ve always believed that we never really forget anything. No matter how much we may try to erase our memories, they all stay hardwired into our circuitry somewhere, somehow. I can still feel the rumbling of the earth as grenades hit the ground, letting loose a burst of heat and flames after the momentary 5 second lapse. The flashes of light still dance across my vision, blasting forward from the back of my head. And as quickly as the memories surface, I force them back down, hoping that this time they’ll stay under.

I know they’ll come back though. They always do. Like death, it’s only inevitable.

So I continue with my work. I get back into the rhythm of building. The hum of the crane, the clash of the rods, the whistling of the wind (since we’re up so high). Work. Apply a force, displace the steel, use some energy, and put it in its place. Repeat. Again and again until everything is “forgotten.” Build so that I don’t forget what it’s like to create. Build so that I have something to do. Build so that I don’t just rust away into a hollow shell of myself. Although, after the war, it seems like I’m already halfway there.

What’s that? It’s break time they tell me. Oh, well. I don’t feel like stopping now.

It’s nightfall now and I can barely see what’s in front of me. I turn on a flashlight and cut away into the unyielding metal. No one else is here now besides me; they all had the sense to go home. I look down once again, but this time, I see nothing. Just an emptiness that mirrors my heart. It looks so peaceful. Something tells me to not stand so close to the edge, but I ignore it. What harm could possibly come? What is there to lose? Everything was lost ages ago in that great, no, awesome war.

I can still remember the Fourth of July. A time before then. I was so enraptured by the idea of firecrackers at the time. Each one we lit would plunge into the sky, shattering the darkness of the night and my soul. It was as if a fire of my own had been sparked inside me.

What does it feel like to fly? To be free? To explode into something so beautiful and powerful that all one can do is stare in awe? Is that even possible anymore? When I had enlisted, they had promised a world free of their corruption. There was to be no more betrayal and disorder. Instead, their extinction has also equated to the death of spontaneity and zest. I want to feel as though I’m losing control in the best way again and not have to face the reality of a systems check preventing that.

I feel like I’m falling. This must be similar to flying. It’s as if nothing can stop me. There’s darkness all around me, engulfing me. I’m invisible. I’m free from my thoughts, my past, my weaknesses. I see the pavement rushing up to greet me.

Then I blink and I’m back up 521 meters above the ground. Alone, but for the stars looking down on me without judgment.

It had to be done, I tell myself. Survival of the fittest as those humans used to say. Would they still think that now if they could?  We may have won the war, but we lost the key to that spark I remember seeing in their eyes. Looking back, I think it was the result of joy, fulfillment, and love. But there’s nothing you can do now, I remind myself. So I sit back down, with my legs dangling over the side into nothingness, the glint of their metal piercing the darkness of the night and I wonder if there’s any way to remove the grenade launcher welded to my shoulder in favor of a rocket launcher to shoot some fireworks.

____________________________________________________________________

200 ft, by Anonymous

 

So…

Where to start. How about that step. The one step that would decide the rest of my life. Or, more accurately, my fate. That happened last week, Friday, June 6. I looked out into the world and I saw the purplish reddish haze of dusk. It was 7:06 in the morning. I looked down and watched tiny ant – like creatures scurrying about. They worried about so many things. Food, shelter, warmth. I envied them.

 

Most people about to do some tremendous action tend to take a deep breath. Like they’re mustering up courage that hangs in the air. Courage wasn’t what I needed, so i just took that step. 

000 ft.  I can hear the wind whistle past my face.  Monday, May 5. I’m huddling in a corner. It’s dark. I tried to feel around for a light switch but i couldn’t find any. So, I gave up. I could still hear them. Those people. I could hear them laughing. It was just a joke to them. I was just a joke to them. I tried to twist the door knob, even though i knew it wouldn’t budge. Dennis was probably the one holding it. He was always the stronger boy. My mom had always said strength wasn’t everything. I wish she could come get me.

000 ft. It’s getting stronger now. Slamming against my face. But that’s okay. It won’t matter.   Tuesday May 13. I was at the mall. I needed a new bag. He stole it from me. He took it and used it as a barf bag after drinking all night. He also tossed it away when I tried to grab it. He said “It’s just a bag. Go get a new one.”  Then he threw it into the Hudson behind that old creaky wooden hell and lit a cigarette. Collects welfare checks and wastes them on booze. He never even gave me the money.

As I was walking through the mall, I came upon a little girl. She was asking for money. Her eyes were bandaged. I asked her why. She lifted her bandages. I sighed and dropped all the money I had from mowing lawns into her little bowl. I turned around and walked away.

 

I decided to look back one more time. Wish I hadn’t. Some guy walked up to her quietly took the money from her bowl and then dropped a pin from a soda can in. When she heard the pin clatter onto the bowl she ecstatically exclaimed, “Thank you so very much. I can help feed my sister now,” the stranger said. “No problem then I walked off. I turned around to look at the smile on her face.

000ft.  It’s starting to get faster and faster. Closer and closer. Those ant-like creatures look bigger now.  Wednesday, May 21. Im walking home from school. I saw Dennis and his crew playing street ball. I take an ally shortcut. A dog zipped by my feet. I looked a it startled. When I turned back there was a man standing right in front of me. That startled me, too. He was holding a spray can. It was black and had paint crusted around the head. There was a drawing on the wall. It looked like a cop but it had a pig’s nose and a curly tail. I was afraid he might jump me. So i just told him that the painting was good. He threw his head back in laughter. He tossed me the can and told me to wait there until he got another color. As soon as he rounded the corner, a cop came around the other. He walked up to me, noticing the pig cop, art work he grabbed my wrist and tugged me to the station.

 He finally brought me home. I closed the door after us, and tried to creep quietly into my room. Before I could, he said in a deep menacingly gravely voice, “Where are you going?” And I turned around to see him take off his belt. I could see the belt hole he was using 8 years ago. It was well worn. It was two holes to the right of the one he’s using right now. It was also getting closer really fast.

000 ft.  Someone decided to take a strech. Now they see me.

Thursday, May 28. So I managed to survive. 16 years of the world. It was dark. I had turned off the lights. My bed creaked. I took out the little cupcake. The little candle was already partially used. I lit it. The candle flickered a moment. I closed my eyes and tried to think up a wish. I thought and thought but nothing came to mind. Nothing came to mind when i asked myself, “How can my life be better?” So I just blew out the candle. It smoked a little. I took a bite. Something crawled down my arm.

5 ft. Time stopped. I saw people look in horror. 

 

0.5 cm I heard a joke once. A man walked into a doctor’s office. He said he was depressed. The doctor looked at him and said, “Great clown Pagliacci is in town. Funniest man alive. Go see his show. ” 

The man said ” But, doctor, I am Pagliacci.”

00ft. Curtains. Saturday June 7. They autopsied my body. I died of sudden shift of inertia due to a large quantity of kinetic energy.

Negative 6 ft.  Tuesday, June 10. They buried me. Im not dead. Or at least I’m not gone. I didn’t see a heaven or hell. Just void. I was stuck in my coffin. I bet nobody even came to my funeral. That’s my story. Started 200 ft up.  Ended 6 ft under.

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