Sunday Stories

17th February
written by amber

Dear Writing Students,

You might not hear from me for a couple of weeks, as my husband is going in for hip replacement surgery. We’ll drive to Westlock next Sunday and be back sometime the following week. We’re hoping for a speedy recovery!

To keep you busy, I’m leaving you with some inspiration for short short stories of 100 – 200 words –

A man ran down the alley.

Flowers struggled to survive.

They looked up at the sky in terror.

The key to writing really short stories is to keep things simple, limit the number of characters, reign in impulses to include more than the most essential description and trust your subconscious to bring the piece to a conclusion.

Have fun!

17th February
written by amber

“Something bit me when I was just about to come out of the ocean – something big.”

The children laughed, small faces beaming with wide smiles and loud laughter. Gordon Peters was a favourite speaker at the Children’s Center; his stories captivated and entertained children of all ages, even the adults.

“Then what happened?” a little boy, about five years old, his nose running and his left shoe untied, asked Gordon.

Gordon got off his chair, and, kneeling down, began to tie the little boy’s shoe.

“Well, sir,” Gordon began, “I grabbed hold of whatever I could, because I was so afraid I was going to get pulled into the ocean by whatever it was that bit me. I had grabbed onto the back leg of a rhinoceros named Billy, who actually sold ice cream just down the beach.”

The children went wild, giggles and wiggles went back and forth throughout the audience.

“Rhinoceros’s don’t sell ice cream,” a little girl yelled from the back row.

Gordon finished tying the boy’s shoe, and then turned to look at the girl.

“You’re right, Serena,” he answered back, shaking his head, “They don’t sell ice cream.”
He hesitated, and then continued. “They sell mint flavoured pickles instead.”

Gordon busied himself, cleaning up chairs, and straightening up the toy shelves, as he always did when the children left to go home. A sweater one of the children had forgotten lay across Gordon’s favourite teddy bear, obviously keeping the toy warm and safe by whoever owned the sweater. He picked up the teddy bear, and, leaving the sweater on, nestled it on the top of the short bookshelf, making sure the toy was cozy for the weekend. Every Friday someone forgot something, only to find it safe and sound come Monday morning.

He looked around, and made sure the place was clean and tidy. Today he had planned on bidding his farewell, but he just could not go through with it. He loved the children, and was trying to figure out how to say goodbye; he had been here for many years, and had entertained a plethora of innocents, becoming as much a fixture here as the old hardwood floor. His stories were almost legendary, and children would listen as he wove tale after tale. He turned his attention out the window; the large willow trees bordering the playground swayed in the westerly breeze, dancing an unrehearsed dance filled with grace and elegance. He wondered how he was going to tell the children he was leaving. He knew he deserved to leave; official retirement age had passed by five years ago.

“Mr. Gordon?”

A small voice brought his thoughts back. A little girl, Melanie Tsui, stood by the doorway, her mother standing behind her, donned in sunglasses, holding Melanie’s favourite doll. Gordon smiled broadly; Melanie had not been here for weeks. Always a frail little child, she looked much more so today, her face thinner, her frame almost fragile.

“Hello, angel,” he spoke with love and care in his voice, “Where have you been?”

“She has been sick, Gordon,” her mother quietly said, and then added, “Melanie, can you go see the toys?”

Melanie nodded, and, very slowly, walked to the toy shelf.

Gordon sat at his desk, as Melanie’s mother told him about Melanie’s condition. The sweet child had recently been diagnosed with a form of untreatable leukemia, and was not expected to live more than a few months.

“She still insists on walking on her own,” her mother stated, her shoulders hunched, her eyes, now without the sunglasses, lined, puffy, and exhausted. Too many tears had flowed; too many hurts had left their footprint. Gordon sat, his eyes filled with tears of his own, as he watched the little girl play.

Melanie looked up from holding Gordon’s favourite bear, the sweater neatly piled back on the shelf.

“My Mommy told you about my trip?”

Gordon pressed his lips tight, tying hard to control his voice. “Where are you going?” he managed.

Melanie cradled and kissed the teddy bear. “To a place where the pain can’t find me,” she simply answered.

Gordon bent his head, sobs wracking his frame. He felt terrible, he had no right to cry, he needed to be strong for the sake of this little girl.

A small, frail hand slid into his. He looked up into the dark, quiet eyes of Melanie Tsui.

“Do you want to hear a story?” she asked.

For once, his words failed.

“There’s this place…” she began.

This is the story that Darryl wrote in response to the January 20 first line prompt. Please feel free to leave comments.

3rd February
written by amber

Check out for the Broken Social Scene story contest. This is your assignment for this week. The story length is 1000 – 5000 words and the title or theme must be the name of one of the songs on Broken Social Scene’s first album, You Forgot It In People.

I won’t post your stories on this website as the contest accepts only unpublished work, but let me know in the comment section if you do enter the contest.

I’m toying with the idea of using the song Cause=Time for my story.

Have fun with it!

27th January
written by amber

Dear writers – you have your choice of two first lines to inspire you this week. We are having a watercolour workshop at the Black Cat Guest Ranch and the creativity was amazing. I asked for suggestions. Here are two –

Somehow it didn’t make sense: what I was seeing.

It was the first time she could stop to catch her breath and she could still hear the dogs in the distance.

24th January
written by amber

Here’s a story posted by one of the participants to my on-line writing workshop. Another story suggestion will be posted this Sunday. Please feel free to make comments on Darryl’s story.

The Hunt

“I smell the unicorn.”

Shadia was never wrong. She was born of the Clan Wysderi; who were Keepers of the Woods. From an early age, some of the tribe were chosen for specific abilities. Some were Trackers, able to track creatures even after three weeks of passage, and across the hardest of ground. Others were Talkers, able to communicate by thought.

Even fewer were those that could sense the rarest of the Woodland creatures, usually one was born every other generation. In the Clan Wysderi, one had not been born for five generations; until the birth of Shadia. The instances of these births were becoming fewer and fewer, and many feared that one day, none would be born again. More and more frequently, those that could sense these rare beasts were paid quite highly by Off Worlder’s, to track down these creatures so that they could be either caught and sold as oddities, or dispatched to collect the rare items they possessed. Her Clan counted on the annual migration of the unicorn; the outside shell of their singular horn shed just after mating, and was used for many purposes by the Clan. Once shed, the horn shells deteriorated quickly, and needed to be found as soon as possible. Unicorns were generally creatures of shadow, difficult to find, their secrecy was almost complete. Once a year, however, during the Time of Union, they became visible for only a day, and their sheds fell, male and female, as if on cue.

“Over there,” she whispered, pointing off to the right, using her chin to direct the small group’s attention towards a glade of wide trunked and heavily foliaged trees.

The group followed behind her, trusting her senses, believing in her expertise. They moved slowly, noiselessly through the trees, as if a slight breeze rustled the grasses and shrubs. Suddenly, Shadia stopped, and stood still; the group followed her lead and stopped, standing still beneath the forest giants. One of the members of the group, holding a weapon not commonly seen in the forest of the Wysderi, moved quietly to her side and whispered into her ear.

“What is it?”

Shadia did not answer; she simply stood and looked towards the grove of trees

“Remember what will happen if you do not guide us to the herd,” the man continued.
Her people would die, if she did not lead them to the herd of Unicorn she knew to be just ahead. They were been held as captives by other members of this man’s group, and were to be executed if Shadia did not bring the group to the herd. Once she showed them the herd, they were to open fire and kill as many Unicorn as possible, the horns themselves were invaluable, and carried a great bounty beyond this world.

“Where are they!” demand hissing in his whisper.

Shadia was Clan Wysderi, Keepers of the Woods. She suddenly lifted her head, and issued a high pitched whistle; the Unicorn would understand.

With the whistle, she had saved the Unicorn, but doomed her Clan.

They were Clan Wysderi, they would understand.