Tag Archives: YA Fiction

Bubble – A Short Story

She sat in the passenger seat with her bare feet on the dashboard with her knees bent up in front of her. Her hair was blown over her face as she turned to look at him. She could feel him looking at her, the sun glinting off of his aviator sunglasses. He smirked with slightly crooked teeth. She laughed.

She was 17 and in love. He was 18 and didn’t really know what he wanted, but she was too amazing to ignore. It was the summer and they were free.

They were on their way to the aquarium. Nineties’ rock was playing on the radio. She hated it, and yet she liked it just because it reminded her of him. He sang along with the ballads. It was his way of letting her know. She never really got it. She was too straightforward for that.

Neither of them saw the bride in the torn dress on the side of the road. They were in their own world, wrapped in a bubble. A bubble of brightness that blinded them like the reflection of the sun off the road. The white limo blended in with the blur. It was too late when the truck came into focus. It was too soon after the accident; there were still no police there to direct the cars around.

He saw it, but didn’t react. He didn’t want to break and startle her. He didn’t want to have her last feelings be ones of panic and fear. She deserved better. He kept singing to her. He took the last minutes he could to enjoy her as she sat with her head back, eyes closed, listening to his voice with a small smile on her pink lips.

No matter what he did, it would have been to late. He leaned back, gently took her hand, and closed his own eyes.

When he first opened his eyes they stung from the bright white. His eyes focused. She was there. Still smiling.

“Wake up, sleepyhead,” she put her hand on his. A scar that wasn’t there before ran from between her thumb and forefinger up past her wrist.

And at that moment, he knew what he wanted. Because if her smile wasn’t there, he knew he never really would have woken up at all.

 

The end.

He’s Back – A Short Story

The M&M’s I had just dropped into my mouth shot out again and ricocheted off my desk when I read the text message.

I was sitting alone at my desk. The window was open letting in the night breeze that smelled like pine after it came in off the trees across the street. Clothes I had meant to pick up lay crumpled on my floor and bed. It was late and the rest of my family was asleep, but I had an addiction to surfing the web at night. I wasn’t looking for anything specific so I always found something interesting.

The buzz of my cell phone on my desk shocked me a bit out of my web stupor, but that was nothing compared to the shock of what the message said.

He was home.

He was home and he was letting me know in a text message. You’d think that he would call me, would want to hear my voice. But then, you’d also think he would have called me as soon as he knew he was leaving that place in the desert… as soon as he was at the airport… as soon as he touched back down in New Jersey. But he got all the way back home until he text-messaged me. Waited until now to tell me he would be at my house in a few minutes.

I wasn’t ready for this. How could I deal with him now? After four months of being on my own. Alone. The first month of feeling empty, like I was missing my third arm or something. I could function, sure, but something felt wrong. The second month I got used to living without that extra limb. The third month I stopped writing everyday. I wrote only twice a week after that. It was too weird feeling like I was writing to myself. He didn’t seem to notice either way. I had only gotten three letters from him in the whole four months. I had only gotten two phone calls… the last one being about him having Joe pick him up at the airport instead of me. About how he wanted to spend his first day back with his friend instead of his girlfriend. Who he’d been dating for one and a half years. Who thought about him everyday he was in boot camp.

I guess that should have been a give-away. How do I have the right, after that, to be surprised that he didn’t even call to let me know he was coming home? His own girlfriend.

My phone buzzed again. He was at my house.

I was numb. I don’t really remember what happened. I answered the door and there he was, looking the same, smelling like cigarettes again already. And then he was gone. I was alone again after 15 minutes with the boy I waited four months for.

He had only come by to take back his heart and his XBOX.

 

The End.

The Cat in the Garden – A Short Story

There once was a boy, who wasn’t really a boy. He was only 17 so he wasn’t a legal adult yet, but he was beyond boyhood. He never considered himself a teenager either. Being a teenager seemed to him to be a time of rebellious experimentation that he never got to experience. No, this boy, this man, had been living on his own since he was 15 years old.

His parents had died. Instead of going with the strangers from Social Services, he ran away. He didn’t run far, but they never found him. Maybe they never looked for him — there was no one around who would have checked in on the situation.

He’s been completely alone for over two years now. Two years may not seem like a long time to some people, but these years contained the growth of a new universe for this young man.

When he ran away, he didn’t go far. Just across town to the wooded area behind Public Works. He had grown up taking camping trips with his family and when he learned from Social Services that he wouldn’t be able to stay in his house, he figured the woods would be a good place to live.

He never stole anything, but he was still able to find everything he needed, even clothes. It was amazing what people just threw away. Especially people who lived in town homes. They had the most lucrative trash — he didn’t know why. Not only was he able to build a home for himself, he was able to provide his own food.

Picking old vegetables and fruits from the trash is dirty business, but he did what he needed to be done. The seeds stuck to the gooey flesh weren’t trash anyway. They had so much potential. He rinsed them off, gave them their own special plot in his wooded abode, and cared for them until he had a disorganized garden of tomatoes, berries, garlic, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and more, even corn.

He ate like a woodland king when the weather was warm enough. He ate like a city bum when the weather was cold, however. He frequented dumpsters much more often in the winter, especially those behind restaurants. He had no money and no way of earning any. But still he lived a life full of adventure.

One day in late spring, he came back to his home to see he had a visitor. As far as he knew, no person ever knew his plot existed, but this cat had come to find him.

“Hello there, furry little one,” the boy said, kneeling down.

The cat did not run away, but timidly approached and sniffed the boy’s outstretched hand. The cat then rubbed his head against the boy. It meowed and looked up, hopeful.

“If you’re hungry I’m sorry I don’t have much for you,” the boy said, opening the canvas bag of food he had just collected, mostly stale bread. “Definitely no cat food and no meat either.”

The cat stuck its head in the bag and pulled out a piece of bread that was soggy with some type of sauce. It then began chewing.

“Well, alright, if that suits you,” the boy said. He sat down and they ate their small meals together.

The cat stayed with him for almost a week. It stayed and napped for hours at a time. And sometimes it left for most of the day. The boy didn’t know where this domestic cat had come from, but he sure liked having it around. It had been such a long time since he had any sort of company, anyone to talk to. And the cat kept the squirrels and rabbits away from his crucial garden. On his “grocery runs” as he thought of them, he made sure to get something extra — fish or meat — for the cat, too.

On the sixth day, however, when the cat came back from one of its long outings, someone had followed it. The boy was napping in his hammock when he heard the rustle of footsteps approaching. They were too near before he could think of anything to do. He sat up, panicked and shocked, as a woman walked right into his secret garden.

“Oh!” The woman said, perhaps equally as shocked when she moved the branch from her vision and saw what, or rather who, was before her. “Oh! I didn’t expect to… Have you seen a big, grey cat? Oh, there you are!” She spotted the cat scratching its claws on a thick, rough tree.

“Come here, you.” She bent down and the cat immediately bounded over and leapt in her arms. “You’ve had us worried sick. Thank you so much for finding him,” she added, looking up at the boy. “He’s my daughter’s and she’s been so upset since he’s been missing. She’s on the spectrum and doesn’t have many friends…”

She trailed off as she took in the whole of her surroundings. The hammock, the old canvas tent stuffed with blankets, the fire pit, the handmade rain barrel propped up in a tree (so the boy could shower), the garden, the old pots and pans, everything that the boy had collected in the last two years. Her gaze lingered on an old blue speckled pot that looked very familiar.

“Do you… You don’t…” She kept looking between the things and the boy, searching his face for some kind of clue. “What is this place?”

The boy looked down and licked his lips. “It’s just a place I like to hang out. You know, to get away.”

“That’s a lot of food,” she said.

“Well your cat is good company, but can eat a whole lot,” the boy tried to joke.

The woman nodded, but didn’t look convinced. “This is Spaghetti,” she said, nodding to the cat. I’m glad he was able to keep you company.”

The boy only nodded.

“Look…” she started, looking nervous. “Thank you for looking out for him. Do you… Would you like to have dinner with us tonight? As a thank you. I’m sure Juliet, my daughter, would like to thank you, too. She’s 14. Maybe you two would get along. After all, Spaghetti seems to quite like you both.”

“I…” The boy started, but then the words got lost in his throat with a croak.

“No pressure,” the woman said. And she finally smiled.

The boy looked up and saw another entire universe in that one smile, one filled with love.

“Okay,” he managed. “I’ll come.”

“Do you have to ask your parents? I can talk to them if you want,” she said.

The boy looked down again. “No.”

The woman nodded to herself and left it at that. “You can follow me. It’s not a far walk,” she turned and gestured kindly, still holding Spaghetti firmly in her arms. “What’s your name?”

“My name’s Romeo,” the boy answered.

The woman almost stopped and asked “Really?”, but checked herself just in time. Instead she said, “I’m Emily. It’s nice to meet you Romeo.”

Romeo nodded again and tried out his own smile.

 

The End