Midnight – A Short Story (Excerpt)

Hello, all! So, I’ve decided to post an excerpt from a short story I’m writing currently. Also… it’s a really, really short excerpt, because I couldn’t think of any other good place to cut it off. Also, the title is subject to change.

But really, I’m only posting an excerpt because this is the first short story of mine that I actually feel is worthy of publishing somewhere. The genre is realistic fiction, I guess… with a twinge of fantasy? So, here you are!


Midnight

A pair of twins, born minutes apart, on both sides of midnight. The twin of yesterday was seemingly similar to the twin of tomorrow in most aspects. But character was a different story.

One was given the name Phoebe Cassandra Wells. The other, Lilith Melanie Wells.

One was the personification of innocence. The other, harsh reality.

Five years old.

“Teacher, teacher, Lilith Wells drew on my picture!”

The teacher sighed; the third time this week already that a child had complained for the same reason. She walked over to Lilith, who was holding a black crayon, her eyes narrowed as she stared at the piece of paper before her.

“Lilith, why did you draw on Eliana’s picture?”

Lilith didn’t look her in the eye, only crossed her arms. “It didn’t look good. She must learn that sometimes her things will be ruined.”

“But that doesn’t mean you should do that. See, your sister. She isn’t ruining anyone’s drawings, is she?” The teacher pointed to Phoebe.

She was in the corner of the room, sitting in between to other girls. They were all drawing, and once in a while Phoebe would point at one of her friends’ pictures and give a thumbs up. They were all smiling.

“No.” Lilith said.

“Then why do you do it?”

Lilith went to sit back in her seat. “Because I’m not Phoebe.”

The teacher sighed again, and Lilith tried to ignore it. “Please, I want you to be good to your friends. I might have to call home again about this, okay?”

“Okay.” Lilith said. She looked back at the ruined picture beside her, then at the girl the teacher was now comforting. Apparently, Eliana had been drawing a field of flowers. Lilith claimed she wanted to make it nighttime.

At the end of the school day, Phoebe always skipped over to Lilith and put her arm around her. “Hello, Lilith. Did you know your name sounds like Lily?”

“Does it?” Lilith asked. She thought for a second. “Oh, it does. Are you going to call me Lily from now on?”

Phoebe shook her head. “No, because I know you don’t like nicknames.” she said, and Lilith nodded. “I was drawing flowers with Tara and McKenzie. I drew a lily for you!” She held up the piece of paper, which had a clumsily drawn, but still recognizable flower.

“Thank you.” Lilith said. She took the paper. Phoebe beamed.

“Did you know, Tara is an extraordinary artist.” Phoebe said, putting her hands together as she started to walk away. Lilith followed her. “She drew a little rose, and it looked very, very pretty. You should draw with us.”

“No, I’ll draw alone.”

“Oh, that’s sad, Lilith.” Phoebe said. But her cheery disposition never faltered. “One day, we’ll draw together, okay? And I’ll teach you how to draw a lily, too.”


It was really short… I feel ashamed… But if people would like to read more, I’d be happy to post more of the short story!

Also, since this post was quite short, I’ll provide a good resource for writers out there. The post is called “5 Short Stories That Will Make You a Better Writer” (this links to the post in a new window). It’s from another WordPress blog, and these short stories really have a significant impact on readers!

I wish you happy reading!

Former Thoughts – A Short Story

So, I’ve decided I’m going to post a little story I wrote a few days ago–I’ll just say this: my strength is in poetry, not short stories. But I’m choosing to post these publicly because I hope to gain some constructive criticism. This one is called Former Thoughts – I think it’s more of a fantasy genre.  I hope you enjoy reading!


Former Thoughts

            I used to think the Neighbors were kind. I had trusted them since I was little. But apparently, they have a grudge once you’ve changed.

Their gate was hidden in the cobbled wall near my home. Their words always echoed in my mind—“Mind your manners.”

I knocked three times. “Please.” I said. My memories flashed back to when I was seven, a time that seemed an eternity in the past.

“Pretty please, open the gate?” I’d ask. I would say it once for every knock I would pound noisily against the wall.

Now, I watched as the wall of rock dispersed to reveal a tangle of vines that seemed to hang in the air. I walked through them slowly, as I always did. The Neighbors always said the vines could get angry if you bothered them too much.

Now in front of me was the green door with the red knocker. It was a griffin, they’d remind me every time I forgot, when my mind was still young. I took hold of it, knocking twice.

“Is it Talia?” the voice inside asked.

“My name is only a restriction to what I have potential to be.” I replied sharply. I heard Grandmother’s broken laugh behind the thin door, and she let me in. I had to duck my head so I wouldn’t hit it on the top of the door frame.

“You’ve grown, Talia.” she said as she closed the door. Her eyes, one blind and one fully functional, stared right at me.

I sighed. “I’m eighteen. Of course I’ve grown—I’m not five anymore.”

Grandmother set her lips in a straight line. “Grandfather and Brother have missed you.”

“I haven’t had the time to visit.” I sighed. “College is coming, remember? I’m not staying here forever, you know.”

She reached out one arm to grab onto mine. With experience, I had learned the old woman had a tougher grip than it seemed. She used to act as a guardian for me when I was young.

“Know that your name will never define you.”

            “You told me yesterday, Grandmother.”

            “I know. But you can never forget that.”

“You can’t leave, Talia.” she said. “You’re one of us. You don’t belong out there, in that harsh world.”

“Well, in this society, it’s kind of a requirement.” I said.

Grandmother released my arm. She slowly inched her way towards one of the chairs sitting by a fireplace. “Touch your hair.”

“Pardon?”

“Please, do as I say.” she said.

I touched my hair.

“What color is it?” Grandmother asked.

I knew her vision was bad, but she wasn’t color blind, that was for sure. “It’s blonde, Grandmother.”

“A sickly, pale blonde.” she said slowly. “Almost white.”

“No, it’s not—“

I stopped, stretching my hand out that was holding strands of my hair. They were white, almost transparent. I didn’t scream; I only made my arm go limp, releasing my hair simultaneously.

“Change it back.” I said sternly. Grandmother always played tricks on me when she was annoyed. Levitating a chair to surprise me, making the lights flicker. But she never did anything like this.

The old woman raised her shoulders slowly, and then let them fall. “I can’t.” she confessed.

“What do you mean, you can’t? Your magic is strong enough, isn’t it?”
“Of course it is.” she said. Grandmother chuckled. But this one was different from the others—this one had emotion behind it. And it wasn’t pleasant.

“So change it back.“

“No, I can’t. Because you’re staying here.”

I shook my head. She wasn’t going this far to punish me, was she? “I apologize, Grandmother, but I’ll be leaving now.” I turned around. Blocking my way to the door was Grandfather.

His head was tipped slightly to one side. “Where do you think you’re going, Talia?” he asked silently.

“Home.”

“But this is your home. We’re your home.” he said. He was always the one who tried to reach out to me sympathetically—Grandmother was the one who didn’t care what you felt. “Now, go say hello to Brother.”

I grunted, but still made my way to the little window that was in one of the walls. It revealed another room, the one where Brother always stayed. For once, he was actually there.

“Hello, Brother.” I said. I saw his lips moving soundlessly. I knew he could hear me, but I could never hear him.

The first of few conversations I had with him was when I was nine. He looked to be older than me, maybe by four years. Apparently, he’d been there even when I first met Grandmother two years before. He just preferred to stay hidden, away from the window.

“Why do you always like to hide, Brother?”

            He used a little notepad—“I’m an introvert.”

            “Oh. I don’t like people either. But I like you.”

            “Thanks.”

            Now he sat in front of me, not using the notepad I saw in his hands. His eyes were blank, just as they always were.

But his lips moved in one fluid motion—he was trying to say something without the notepad. It seemed like they would just open and close, and I couldn’t find out what he was saying.

“Brother.” Grandfather said. “Use the notepad if you want to say something.”

He didn’t acknowledge Grandfather at all. He just kept looking at me, trying to speak even though he knew I wouldn’t hear him.

“I can’t hear you.” I sighed. I turned away, now meeting Grandmother’s gaze by the fireplace. “I’m leaving. That’s all the time I have today.”

She only stared at me. After the longest pause, she said, “The older they become, the more disrespectful they are. Isn’t that right, Grandfather?”

He nodded.

“And we’ve tried to keep you as innocent and kind as possible, but we couldn’t. And it’s made us upset.” Grandmother said.

“I’m not that rude.” I muttered. “At least, I’m much nicer than the rest of the world is. And—“

“It’s all thanks to us.” Grandmother said, interrupting me. And all of a sudden, I realized that this wasn’t the Grandmother I knew. Grandmother never interrupted.

 

The little girl walked into the house with Grandmother’s hand guiding her. “It smells even prettier today.” she said. Grandmother only smiled.

She was looking around the room, smiling at every detail. Her eyes shimmered. But then, she noticed the window, where Brother was sitting. Her whole expression changed—from awe t hesitant curiousity.

She ran up to him, getting her face so close it was almost touching the window. “Hello.” she said. Brother nodded.

Grandmother was coming up to her, and put a hand on her back. “This is Brother. He likes to keep hidden, so you haven’t seen him.”

The girl’s smile returned. “Oh, I see. Hi, Brother!” she yelled, waving enthusiastically.

He whispered something.

The girl tipped her head, confused. “Grandmother, I can’t hear him!” she exclaimed, pouting.

“He should be using the notepad.” Grandmother said. “Come now, Brother, please.” Now, Grandmother’s eyes flashed with some sort of remembering. “And while we’re at it. There’s someone else you should meet, child.” And she gestured to me. “Kirsten, that is Sister. Say hello, both of you.”

I walked up to the window. I picked up my notepad and scribbled “Hello” on it. I pressed it to the glass.

Kirsten smiled. “Hello, Sister!” she said, smiling. Her face was innocence all in itself—no wonder Grandmother chose her.

I didn’t reply. Brother put a hand on my shoulder.

“We’re warning this one sooner.” he said.

And I nodded.