The Ones is a writing blog game in which participants receive a story title and a little wrinkle to up the challenge factor, and then must create a single draft story in no more than one hour from the prompt. They then trade stories and post someone else’s entry on their website. My guest this week is writer Alisia Faust.
The jumbled mix of voices pulled me from my dream back to reality. I wasn’t ready to leave the comforting embrace of sleep, and kept my eyes shut tight, hoping to drift back to wonderland.
“How could you be so stupid?” A deep baritone boomed. That was Mr. Mann—I’d recognize that threatening voice anywhere—which meant his daughter Jessica must be nearby.
“What are we going to tell his parents?” Jessica spoke quietly, so I leaned forward to hear her.
“We have to tell them the truth. Damn it, Jessica, what were you thinking?”
She fell silent. Or did she? Jessica had always been soft-spoken. I strained my ears to listen, and my foot knocked something to the ground. The sharp clatter rang in my ears. I hastily laid back and pulled the thin blankets over my chest, feeling a gentle pressure tug on my arm. Was there a needle in my arm?
I could feel the weight of their eyes smothering me, and beads of sweat formed at my temples. Although my heart pounded wildly in my chest, I tried to keep my breathing deep and steady. In my effort to stay calm, I noticed the slight chill in the air. My limbs were uncomfortably free of clothing, and I missed my favourite hoodie. The room smelled unfamiliar too—too clean with a lingering scent of antiseptics. How long had I been in the hospital?
Mr. Mann’s deep voice cut through my thoughts. “He could have been killed!”
“But he wasn’t,” Jessica said. Although her voice became unusually strong, her words waivered a little.
“Thank god for that. But that’s not the point. You’re the responsible one. You were supposed to keep him out of trouble.”
“I didn’t think he’d jump off the roof!”
“That’s right, you didn’t think. What were you two doing on the roof in the first place?”
Jessica hesitated. I knew what she was thinking. We’d been hanging out on the roof ever since I learned how to climb a tree. Our bedroom windows faced each other. At first we would flash lights to grab each other’s attention and hold up notes against the window. Then I noticed the rogue bough. A sturdy apple tree separated our property. One of the higher branches hung right below her window sill. My room was on the second floor and over looked the garage. If I hopped onto the slanted roof of the garage, then I could easily pull myself onto the nearest branch of the apple tree.
The first time I stuck my leg out of my window Jessica cried out in warning and surprise. I was almost caught by my parents and urged her to keep quiet. She continued to chide me with fierce whispers, but after a few times it didn’t bother her anymore.
I don’t know why I tried to jump. I know it’s stupid. I just wanted Jessica to see me as fearless, but all I accomplished was make another mess for her to clean up.
“You’re lucky, Jessica. He’s lucky. But after something like this he’ll never be the same.”
I frowned. I could hear Jessica’s sniffles and sporadic gasps. It was time to wake up.
“I’m okay,” I said. I opened my eyes expecting to see their shocked faces—Jessica’s nose would be red and her eyes puffy but somehow she’d still look so pretty. Instead, my world remained dark.
Alisia began writing when she was between jobs with too much time on her hands. Now she’s juggling three different writing projects at once. She is primarily a flash fiction writer, partially because it caters to her ever shortening attention span. More of her work can be found on her blog, or follow her on twitter: @eurasianflavour.