short stories

A Fight For August

Short Stories

My hands have a bluish tint to them thanks to the cold and I can barely feel the homemade cigarette between my fingers. Laurie is lying next to me on the large, scratchy blanket slowly puffing on hers. She learned to make them with tea from a Youtube video. They’re not half bad but she looks better smoking them than I do.

   I turn over onto my back and rest my face against her shoulder.

     “Ya know, this would be a very movie-like situation if we weren’t turning into giant icicles,” I say as I stare at the quivering stars.

   Laurie laughs too loud and covers her mouth. We both quickly look over at her house to make sure no one woke up.

“Jordan, look it’s a shooting star.” She points to the sky, her cig leaving behind twirly trails of smoke.

I grab her freezing hand in mine and smile. I close my eyes and take a deep breath of icy air.

     “What did you wish for?” I ask her. I hold my cigarette between my forefinger and my thumb.

     “That we won’t get caught.”

     “What? Smoking or running away?” I turn to face her.

     “Running away,” she says. “Have you figured out where you want to go? We can’t stay in one spot, but we’ll still go to L.A.”

I roll over onto my stomach and pick at a splinter in my thumb.

     “I’ve been thinking, and I don’t think we should go through with it. It’s not worth the punishment. I mean, our parents would never trust us again. It wouldn’t be a big deal if we were gonna run away for forever, but we’re coming back. And I’m sure they’d find us anyway.”

I don’t look at Laurie as she sits up and stares at me.

     “Jordan, you can’t be serious. I need this. We need this,” she says. She cranes her neck to try and get me to look at her.

I don’t.

     “Fine. I’ll go alone.”

Is she serious, right now? I can’t believe her. Always the drama queen.

I don’t say a word but breathe in the bitter smoke from my cig and blow it out through my teeth.

     “Well, some friend you are. I guess I see your true colors now. I thought you cared, Jordan. I guess I was wrong.” She tucks her legs up to her chin and places her crossed arms on top of them.

I roll my eyes underneath my fringe.

     “I do care, Laurie. It’s just that I’m not willing to risk my freedom for temporary freedom. And what would we even be able to do? We’re 15 not 21.”

     “That’s why we’ll bring Devon. He’s 20.”

     “He won’t come. And, dude, that might be illegal. He could get in trouble for running away with a couple of minors.” I stand up and stomp on the butt of my cigarette with my boot. “And since he won’t come we can’t go because he’s the one that drives.”

    “I’ll be able to drive in a few months, legally that is.”

     “Then fine. Go alone. Suit yourself.” I stand up and adjust my cookie monster beanie that I borrowed from Laurie’s younger brother. “Life isn’t as bad as you think, ya know? All you can do is create great moments like these ones and make sure reality’s not allowed in for a little while. I hope you have fun. See you in the morning.” I lean down and kiss her head.

I climb down the ladder and smile at her.

She doesn’t smile back.

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Chicken Nuggets

Short Stories

   I’m sitting in the middle of the street in my bathing suit with my younger sister and our two friends.  We live in a small town up in the mountains where everybody walks to where they need to go, so we’re not gonna get run over. We’re pretending to be fairies and the asphalt is so hot that you could squish it with your finger.

   I sat poking the street and squinted upwards as I heard footsteps.

     “Who’s that?” my best friend, Aly asks me. She closes one eye and her mouth is in a confused snarl.

   I shrug. “I dunno.” I go back to poking the asphalt.

Our town is supposed to be a secret and I don’t like it when people find it.

The stranger keeps walking towards us. This one was just a boy, about our age.

     “Hi,” he says. He’s tan and has hair that almost matches his skin. His teeth are crooked and he has scabs on his hands.

     “Hi,” my little sister says as she waves at him. All of us look at each other. The boy just stands there staring at us. None of us looks at him.

     “I gotta go home now. Bye guys. Come on Hope,” I say as I get up and take my little sisters hand. Aly and her younger sister wave goodbye and leave the boy alone in the street. Hope and I get home and spread ourselves out on the living room floor.

     “Who is he? Have you seen him before?” I ask and spit on a scratch on my knee.

     “No.” Hope shakes her head full of dark hair.

     “You don’t think he lives here do you? I hope not.”

Someone knocks on our front door. No one ever uses our front door. They always use the backdoor that never closes unless you slam it.

I get up to answer it. I see through the shades the shape of a young boy.

     “I think it’s the boy.” I open the door. “Hi.”

     “What’s your name?” he asks me.

     “Melody. What’s yours?”

     “Jimmy, but you can call me PJ,” he says as he pushes his way past me and walks into our house.

   I look at Hope and raise my eyebrows. I accidentally slam the door. I really don’t like this kid. I sigh and stick out my chin.

     “I’ll be right back. I need to ask my mom a question,” I say and walk to my parent’s room. “Mom, there’s this kid in our house and I don’t know who he is.”

     “What?” my mom asks me.

     “Aly and me and Hope and Lala met him today and we don’t know who he is.”

     “He’s probably the new neighbors.” She walks to the bedroom door and glances outside to look at PJ.

     “Oh,” I say. I dig my big toe into the carpet.

     “What’s the matter?” She looks back at me.

     “He’s gonna ruin our group. We have fun when it’s just us. He keeps trying to play with us and we don’t want him to.” I look down and make my mouth a rainbow shape.

     “Melody, that’s not very nice.”

   I scrunch my nose at her and leave.

I see PJ in our kitchen, going through our fridge. He grabs the snack I was saving for later and sits down at our table.

    I blink slowly as I watch him eat my food. I feel a bump pop into my throat.

     What the heck is he doing? That’s my snack.

  I stand still and breathe through my mouth.



   A few hours pass by and he’s still bugging me.

   I hear another knock on the door. Someone’s at the front door. I open it up and see a short lady with puffy red hair holding a cigarette in one hand and her cell phone in the other. 

   She’s gotta be the new neighbors. Everyone knows you don’t get cel service up here.

     “Hello, I’m Linda,” she says as she smiles. Her hands are shaking and she doesn’t look at me when she talks. “I’m looking for a little boy named PJ.”

   My mom suddenly pops up out of nowhere like she does and smiles at the strange lady.

  “Yeah, he’s here. I’ll go get him,” my mom says as she walks away to my room which he’s taken over.

My mom comes back and PJ’s looking down at his mud covered boots.

     “Thank you.” His mom smiles, grabs PJ’s arm and closes the door.

My mom breathes out for a long time, purses her lips and rubs the back of my head gently.

I hate it when she does mom-ish stuff like that.



   A few weeks later I’m over at Aly’s house with our friend Sarah. She’s been on vacation for a while so we’re telling her all about PJ.

     “Yeah, and then he-“ I’m cut off by Hope and Lala running towards us, screaming. They both reach us and point behind them.

     “He’s coming. Hide. It’s PJ,” says Hope between pants.

Sarah looks at us wide eyed and we all run to the garage.

     “Get in, get in. Hurry up.” I push Hope inside but leave the door open just a bit and peek outside. PJ walks into Aly’s yard and starts to wander around.

    “What’s he doing?” Sarah asks me.

     “He’s sitting down,” I say.

   Aly groans.

     “Ok, we should go out,” I say. Aly’s mouth falls open, a few strands of her sandy blonde hair are sticking inside her mouth. “He’s not gonna leave till a long time so we should just go out now.”

As I open up the door PJ turns around and smiles at us.

I roll my eyes, and we all walk to Aly’s front door.

     “Hey! Wait for me!” he says.

I stop walking and poke my cheek with my tongue.

     “Wanna play?”

     “I can’t today. I have a cold.” I say as I turn to face him and fake a cough.

     “Yeah, me too,” Aly says. She coughs too. I poke Hope in the ribs. She coughs, then Lala does.

     “What about you?” PJ points to Sarah. She looks down at the tips of her hair hanging towards the ground.

     “She has one too.”  I cough again. Sarah nods.

   PJ frowns at all of us.

     “Yeah, me too.” He coughs.

I squeeze my jaw tight and my stomach feels warm and heavy.

     “Ok, we’ll play with you. Just let us eat lunch. Aly’s mom is making it for us.” I turn away and run towards her house. We walk inside Aly’s house and go to her room.

     “Alright, we need a plan,” I say as I slowly look at my friends. “Here’s what we’re gonna do.” I motion them closer. “We’re gonna pretend that we can’t see him. So, like, we walk around and play with each other but act like he’s not there. It’ll make him really mad.” I smile and lean back on my heels. All of the girls smile back at me and nod.

   We walk back outside, giggling.

     “So whad’ya guys wanna play?” PJ asks us.

We ignore him.

     “So what do you wanna play? How about faeries?” I say. I try not to look at PJ to see his reaction.

     “I don’t wanna play faeries,” he says.

     “Did someone say something? What’s that noise?” Aly asks.

     “I don’t know,” Hope says.

We all start to walk away from PJ and snicker.

     “Where’ya going? Hey guys, I thought we were gonna play.” He walks up to us and pushes me. I still ignore him.

We keep moving away from him and for a little bit he follows us, but suddenly I don’t hear his footsteps anymore. I smile at Aly, she smiles back; but then we see PJ run past us, crying. We all stop walking.

    All of us look at each other and then down at the gravel.

     “It was your idea,” Hope says.

     “I know.” I frown at her. I scooch my mouth over to one side of my face and grumble.

I follow PJ.

I jog a little ways until I catch up to him. I see him dart around the corner near my house. He runs into a house I’ve never even noticed before. It’s small and blue.

I slowly go up to the door, but I don’t knock because I hear people yelling from inside.

     “Shut up, kid! I’m tryin’ to talk. Why’re you crying?!” says a man.

     “Please stop screaming! PJ would you get outta here? Me and Kraig are tryin’ to have talk.” I hear the Linda lady say.

     “But, mom, I-“ she cuts him off.

     “I don’t give a damn, PJ! You’re tryin’ mamma’s patience. Now please, get the heck outta here.”

  I don’t hear anything for a few seconds. But then the man swears. He says all the bad words I know and some that mom says I’m too young to know.

     “Nobody wants you around, kid! Go bother someone else with your snotty nose and whimpering or else you’ll eat outside again tonight!”

 I flinch and bite my lip. I run away as I hear footsteps coming toward the door.

I stop in front of my house. Aly and the girls are still standing in the same spot waiting for me. I glance into the living room window of my house and see my mom vacuuming the carpet.

I make the same face mom did a few weeks ago when we met Miss Linda.



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Sticky Fingers

Short Stories




   The steamroller smokes and hums as Emitt and I sit on the sidewalk at midnight. It’s a good thing neither of us is talking since you can’t hear a thing over the construction workers.


     “You don’t mind do you?” Emitt says to me as he pulls out a cigarette. He sticks one end in his mouth and cups his gloved hands around his lighter. 


     “Actually I do mind,” I say as I turn to face him. Only Emitt’s eyes shift to look at me. He sighs and lets his head drop as he blows out a cloud of smoke. “Don’t act like that Emitt. You know smoking is bad for you. I don’t want you to get cancer or something.”


     “Why do you care?” He gathers his thick eyebrows together and tosses back his unwashed ginger hair.


     “Because I’m your sister, Emitt.” His mouth scrunches as I say his name. He hates his name because our dad has the same one. “Please put it out.” I feel my pocket vibrate, and I pull out my cell phone. “It’s mom. I need to get home. You were supposed to take me home hours ago.”


     “Don’t blame this on me,” Emitt says. Actually I’m not blaming him. I’m thanking him. I hate it at home. He gets up, his fake leather pants squeaking. He tosses his cigarette onto the pavement and stomps on it with his boot. “There. You happy now?” He turns around and walks towards the car. 


  I lift myself off the sidewalk and smile as I follow after him. I climb into his car and close the door. I see an iPhone lying on his dashboard.


     “Whose is that?” I ask.


     “Bernadette’s,” he says.   I accidentally let out a growl.


      “Did you say something?”


     “No.” I tap my foot as I continue staring at her the phone.  I pick it up and touch the screen with my thumb. Her lock screen photo is a picture of her and Emitt. Look at her stupid face.


She’s not even pretty. He deserves better than her. “Actually,” I say without looking at Emitt, “I do have something to say. I know you’re gonna get mad at me but I just need you to know that I hate Bernadette.”


     “What? Why? She’s a great girl. Is it because she moved in with me?”


     “No. It’s because she doesn’t even love you. She knows that dad has money and she wants it. That’s the only thing you two have in common; both of you are waiting for dad to die.” I pull my bleached bangs down over my eyes and sit up straighter.


   From the corner of my eye I see Emitt raise his right eyebrow till it almost reaches the roof of the car.  “Well that’s just too bad, Alex. I love Bernadette, and the two of us can do what we want. You’re not my warden or my guardian angel. I don’t have to listen to anything you say.”


The big vein in his forehead starts sticking out, and his neck is turning red. 


     “You don’t have to but you always do.”


   He grips the steering wheel tighter with his left hand and starts sucking the nicotine off his fingers on his right.


     “Stop that,” I say as I swat his hand away from his mouth.


     “Don’t tell me what to do, Alex. Hurry up and get out.” The car lurches forward as Emitt  pulls into the driveway and puts on the brakes.


     “Alright, just know, Emitt, that one day she’s gonna leave you, and you’ll be left with nothing but late mortgage fees.” I slam the car door shut and stride into the house. I peek through window to look back at Emitt. He’s staring at Bernadette’s phone. 




Two weeks later Emitt and I are standing outside of his apartment door. I’m tracing the


outdated pattern on the carpet with the tip of my shoe.


     “Did you touch my keys?” He asks me.


   I shake my head and pull the corners of my mouth down into a rainbow shape. Emitt grunts and brings his shoulders up closer to his ears.


     “Just knock and see if Bernadette’s there.”  I really hope she isn’t. I’d rather stand out here for a million years. Emitt shakes his arms as he adjusts his jacket and knocks on the door.


   Bernadette opens the door. “Hey Honey.”


   I walk inside after Emitt and throw myself onto the sofa face first.  I hear Emitt laugh. I like it when I make him laugh. I sit up and reach for the remote.


    “Oh, are you going to watch something?” Bernadette asks me.


     “Yeah,” I say without turning around to face her. “Is that a problem?”


     “No. Well yes. I was actually watching something before you got here.” Bernadette is staring at Emitt and so am I. Me or her Emitt?


     “Bernadette, I know you’re watching something but Alex doesn’t have cable at her house


and she really wants to watch this movie that’s playing tonight,” Emitt says as he strokes


Bernadette’s arm. 


   I see Bernadette’s neck muscles twitch, and she sticks her chin out. “Alright,” she says almost inaudibly. She leaves the room, her skinny arms and dyed hair swinging behind her. I smile and change the channel. Emitt sits next to me and puts his arm around my neck.


     “Hey Emitt?”




     “How long has it been since you last talked to dad?” I pull my legs up and put them to the


side of me  as I stare at Emitt.


   Emitt takes his arm away from my neck and rubs his hand over his eyes. “Alex, just let it go please. It’s none of your business how often I talk to dad. I’m a grown man, and I don’t have to answer to him anymore.”


     “You need to talk to him, Emitt. He’s your father and he loves you.” I grab the remote and


turn the volume down.


     “She’s right, Emitt,” Bernadette says. She walks out from the kitchen and leans up against


the doorway. I whisk around to look at her and raise my eyebrows.


     “No one asked you, Bernadette. It’s none of your business,” I say. She frowns.


     “It’s neither of your guys’s business,” Emitt says. 


     I ignore Emitt’s last statement. “Why do you even care, Bernadette? Their relationship


doesn’t affect you.”


   Bernadette walks forward and crouches at the back of the sofa. “Because no one should be on bad terms with their parents.”


     “Yeah, because if someone is on bad terms with their parents they won’t get any


inheritance,” I say as I scrunch my nose at Bernadette.


   Emitt’s vein makes an entrance and he sets his jaw. “Alex, don’t be rude.” He stresses my




     Bernadette unfolds her long limbs as she gets up.


     “Emitt, are you going to let her talk to me this way?”


     “Bernadette,” Emitt says as he stands up, his eyebrows drawn together.


     “We just want you to make up with your father, Emitt,” Bernadette says. 


     “No. She just wants dad’s money. She doesn’t care at all whether you’re on good terms with dad or not.” I stand up and clutch the edge of my sweatshirt’s sleeves with my fingertips. 


     “What did I ever to do you, Alex? Why are you treating me this way?” Bernadette asks me.


     “Hmmm I don’t know, let me think. You stole my brother from me and fool him into thinking you love him even though all you want is his money.”


   “You’re humiliating me, Alex. Please stop.” Emitt’s eyes are becoming blood shot, and they’re drooping like a hound dogs. He walks towards the door and zips up his jacket.


     “Where are you going?” Bernadette asks Emitt.


     “For a drive,” he says without turning to face us. His shoulders are hunched up and his


hands are in fists.


     “You can’t do that. You’re my ride home. I want to go home now.” I walk towards him and


put my hand on his back.


   He breathes in deeply through his nose and tilts his head up. “Fine, just don’t talk to me.”






     About a month later Bernadette and Emitt are driving me home.


     “Why are you stopping the car?” Emitt asks as we pull into my driveway and Bernadette


takes the keys out of the ignition.


     “Because you’re going to talk to your father,” she says as she jingles the keys with the tips of her fingers. Emitt slams his back against his seat and crosses his arms.


     “Emitt, please. Just talk to him. I’m tired of you and dad being on bad terms, ok.” I lean


forward and place my hand on his shoulder. He shrugs my hand off and shakes his hair out of his face. “Emitt,” I say. Bernadette turns to look at him and reaches for his hand.


    Emitt mumbles curses under his breath as he swats Bernadette’s hand away and throws the car door open.  I smile and skip after him. I open the front door and Emitt walks inside. I see Bernadette follow us so I slam the door in her face. Emitt didn’t see me do that…thankfully. 


     “He’s in there.” I point to dad’s study. “He knows you’re coming by the way.”


     “Stay out and don’t listen,” Emitt says to me as he closes the double doors.


     Hours pass and by this point Bernadette and I are sitting drinking coffee. I hear doors being  opened so I turn around and see Emitt. Bernadette jumps up and walks to him.


     “What’s happened, baby?” she asks Emitt.


     “I think what Bernadette really means is ‘are we getting any money?’” I say. Emitt looks at Bernadette.


     “That’s not what I mean. But now that we’re on the subject…” she holds Emitt’s hand in both of hers.


     “We’re not getting any money,” Emitt says. His voice is so monotonous I can’t tell what


he’s thinking or feeling. “We get the ownership of my dad’s company, and Alex gets the money


he’s saved and put aside.” 


     I grin and tug on my earlobe. “Looks like your plans to suck Emitt dry have been prolonged,” I say to Bernadette. Everyone’s heads in the room whip around to look at me. 


     “You know what, Emitt? I can’t take this abuse. I try so hard to nice to be nice to Alex, and I try so hard to be there when you need me, but you just stand here and let her insult me! I’m done, Emitt.” I cringe as I see Emitt flinch and bite his lower lip as she pushes away from him.


      “Where are you going?” Emitt asks her as he turns around, his leather jacket snapping.


      “Sean’s,” she replies without barely moving her mouth.


   Emitt’s hands twitch and he sticks his chin out. “Sean’s? You’re still seeing him? You told me you stopped hanging out with him after-“ Emitt lowers his head and pulls on the corners of his mouth with his fingertips. 


     “Did you really think I stopped hanging out with Sean? I’m a grown woman, and I can do


what I want. Besides, Sean treats me better than you ever did. When Sean and I were together he-” 


     Emitt cuts her off. “When you were together with Sean? You were never together with him. You cheated on me with him.”  I see Emitt’s eyes slowly turn red and his Adam’s apple is moving up and down as he tries to swallow back his tears. “Fine, just leave. Take the car, take my house, take my money I don’t care. Just leave.” He lumbers away to the kitchen and leaves the room quiet. Bernadette grabs the keys to his car and slams the door shut as she leaves. 


   I walk into the kitchen and see Emitt sitting at the table. His head is resting on the surface and his hands are on the back of his neck. My father walks past me and towards Emitt.


     “Son,” he says as he sits down next to him. “You can stay here for the night if you want. You know where your room is.” My dad gently rubs Emitt’s back and leaves. Emitt lifts his head from the table. His eyes are bright red.


     “Can you go tell dad ‘thank you’ for me?” Emitt asks.


     “No. You tell him yourself.”


   Emitt stands up. I always forget how tall he is. He follows after our dad, and I hear whispering.


I sneak over to the hallway where they are and peek around the corner.


   They’re hugging


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