Introducing Story Well's Creative Writing Wednesday!
This is my chance to share my favorite forms of writing - stories and poetry - on my little corner of the internet. Hopefully it will give you a cool little midweek boost to get through that Wednesday slump! I'm excited to be able to post something other than standard blog posts here, and I think it will give my site a bit of variety.
Most of the time, it'll be my own original short stories published in installments.
HOWEVER, I would LOVE for any creative writers to send me an email using the Contact form if you would like to published during Creative Writing Wednesday! I want to give you a platform!
Alright, that said, here is my first short story of this endeavor: Chillers by Bree (pt. 1)
Let it be noted that this is a "semi-horror" story so it does contain mild violence and mentions of alchohol as well as stuff that might be scary for small kids but I think most of you are adults anyway! I'm not great at writing horror so this kinda ended up like a tragic, bizarre coming of age...
She’s no worse for the wear, I hear them say. She was one of the lucky ones, but isn’t it a tragedy, what happened to those kids?
I hear them and I know that they don’t really care. Our tragedy is their story to tell, in Walmart checkout lines and whispered in church pews. They don’t seize up and convulse when they hear Her name; Her name is only an endless source of a gossiper’s nourishment, like Lucky’s trashy All You Can Eat Buffet, open 24 hours. When the pastor spoke Her name, they nodded and pretended to dab tissues at their eyes. Yes. There were allusions in the sermon. There were posters on the walls. There was an assembly where the cheerleaders stood solemn. There was a feature on the local news. There was me in a bed with an IV drip, leaking euphoria into my veins. And then there was silence.
I live in Salem now, white foundation layered over my scars. It isn’t lost on me, the irony that I moved from one witch city to another. I dress normal now, trading combat boots and lip rings for big sweatshirts, short shorts, high ponytails. When my parents looked for something to blame, they found my diamond choker and called it good; they went no deeper than the clothes I wore to guard my skin, and decided I needed new armor. I listen to normal music; I threw my records away. I’m no worse for the wear.
So they say.
On the second Friday of my junior year, Isabelle Spree showed up in Algebra II with fortune-teller earrings and a pixie dust smile, all bright and blinding. A travel cup of something-or-steaming-other was clutched in one hand, a textbook in the other, and she held a paintbrush between her teeth. She slid through the door, the soles of her tattered hightops slipping on the Caution-Wet-Floor. Isabelle caught her balance just in time not to swallow the paintbrush and choke on it. Lucky her. Lucky us.
She tossed her piles of stuff on the nearest empty desk. And I mean piles. Pages and pages of notes in scattered handwriting and winding, endless sketches that went nowhere. Her human figures tapered off at the chest; her animal’s heads disappeared; her landscapes vanished into thin air. Half-finished or half-started. It all depends on how you look at it.
“That’s Taylor’s desk,” Larissa Wycliff said timidly, her red-red lips curling into a faint frown. Larissa’s never spoken above the lowest setting on the TV in all my years of knowing her, and those lips, those red-red lips, are still the boldest thing about her. That, and the fact that she kissed Zach Henfrew while his girlfriend was looking.
“Oops, my bad.” Isabelle giggled. “Tell me, does Taylor really care?”
“What?” Larissa tapped her red-red nails on her own desk. She was not used to being challenged. Despite her insistence on remaining a shy little churchmouse, Larissa was somehow popular, and she was not questioned.
“I said,” Isabelle took a swig from her mystery cuppa, “does Taylor actually care?”
“Uh, of course,” Larissa said, semi-indignantly. “Taylor has to sit next to me.”
“Oh, Taylor has to,” Isabelle dragged out the word. “Will Taylor die?”
“Uh, no.” Larissa said. “But-”
“Taylor can sit there.” Isabelle pointed to the desk next to mine. I gave Larissa a thumbs-up. She scowled at me, but I sure got a kick out of it.
“No-” Larissa’s red-red lips were completely twisted into a grimace now. It was the most facial expression I’d seen her make since Mr. Ramsay wouldn’t let her pay to pass the AP World History test.
“So you think you’re in charge, then, huh.” Isabelle mused. “I know how this goes. But I won’t be ruled by someone too stupid to use a ruler.” Isabelle gestured at the plastic ruler on Larissa’s desk.
The entire class burst out laughing then. We all remembered the Homecoming Incident. Larissa had screwed up the measurements for the Sophomore Float, and the wheels fell off in the middle of the parade.
Larissa sputtered. “H-how’d you-”
Isabelle smiled calmly for a while, eyes locked in contact with Larissa’s, the tension building, then dissolving in a foam bubble of laughter. Isabelle had a laugh that tasted sweet on your skin. The bubble floated towards me and I popped it, the curiosity burning in my chest. When it burst, the bubble sprinkled candyfloss clouds down on my head, and I started to like this Isabelle girl.
Much to the shock and awe of everyone at Sanderson High, Shawn Valery was my boyfriend. I was the skinny Mexican-Italian girl with blue ringlets and a dope record collection. Shawn was a day-glo theatre geek masquerading as a cool kid, and he got along with everyone. I never took part in conversations, only semisarcastically snorting at everything everyone else said. Shawn was Extrovert Extraordinaire, bouncing energetically from lunch table to lunch table, the type of guy who’d buy lunch for the next person in line. He had no enemies. And we all thought he was gay.
It’s not that nobody liked me at Sanderson. It’s just that nobody knew me. I prefer to keep to myself, so my secrets stay secrets and my life is still mine. I’ve seen too many girls - no, too many people - get sucked into the massive Jell-O monster that is “fitting in”. They’re absorbed in its’ ugly orange goo and then regurgitated out a perfect mold of the Popular Kid. They’ve lost themselves inside of it. They’re only a ghost now.
I wasn’t going to let that happen to me. I’ve spent my whole life fighting the Jell-O monster. I vowed not to let it sop up my brains and soak in my capacity for independent thought. The monster wouldn’t steal me, no sir. So I kept quiet.
Until Shawn told me he loved me. I told him, “Shawn, you love everyone.”
He said, “Yeah, but I love you more.”
And I was hooked on his bait. And we were perfect together. And I didn’t care if nobody thought it made sense. It made sense to me.
Neither of us had bowed to the Jell-O monster. He’d never get us. We were better together.
We were perfect.
Shawn had a habit of spotting new kids instantly. It’s like he had some kind of Welcoming Committee Radar commissioned by the Air Force or something. So of course he glommed onto Isabelle as soon as she sat down for lunch.
“Heyyyyy!” Shawn exclaimed, setting down his styrofoam tray. I trailed behind him, mostly excited about my burger. “Welcome to SHS! What’ve you thought so far?
“Hm. It’s ok,” Isabelle said, taking a bite of her Cosmic Brownie. “I don’t mind it.”
“What brings you here? You military?” We get a lot of new kids from the navy base not far from town.
“Nope. You could say I’m a mild delinquent. Been kicked out of like six schools this year already.” Isabelle said, still very chill, as she stabbed the yellow straw through the opening of the Capri Sun.
“You’re lying,” I interjected. “There’s no way.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln honest,” Isabelle said. “I could break into admin and show ya my file.”
“That won’t be necessary.” I tore the tip off of a french fry.
“Wow, haha,” Shawn laughed awkwardly. “That’s really somethin’. What’s your name, or should we call you Juvie?”
“Back home I went by Bree,” Isabelle said, “but here? Isabelle is fine.” She wiggled one of her massive hoop earrings and laughed again; another candyfloss shower. “Or you could call me Jivin’ Juvie.”
I shook her hand. “Simone Della Pietra.” I said. “SHS resident wildcard.”
She shook mine. “Mind if we share the job?”
Her voice was summer rain. “Not at all.”
Isabelle would vanquish the Jell-O monster; I just knew it.
During free period, she surfaced again. This time, she directed people to her locker, which was filled with mason jars showcasing neon-bright drinks, poured over ice. They came in every color you could possibly imagine - and then some.
Grace McGuthrie, the purest girl in school with the freckles and blonde braids, clutched a red-and-green drink that seemed to glow. She giggled, giddy with excitement. “Isn’t this cool?!” she shouted in my ear, over the din. Kids swarmed Isabelle’s locker.
“What’s it taste like?” I shouted back.
Grace took a long slurp. “Ummm, strawberries and limes. And… electricity.” She giggled again. “Awesome!”
Zach Henfrew had a blue-and-purple drink. “What’s yours taste like?” I called towards him.
Zach ran his free hand through his ‘fro. “I dunno,” he shrugged. “It’s really weird. Weird but good.”
“That one’s supposed to taste like blackberries, a dark storm, and winter pine,” Isabelle appeared out of thin air, apparently. “What do you think?”
Zach swished the liquid around in his mouth. “Somehow… yeah, yeah, that fits.”
“Want any, Shimmy?” he winked at me.
Always the charmer, Zach Henfrew. Didn’t he know I was immune? “Nah,” I said. “It’s probably spiked.”
“Oh, it’s spiked.” Isabelle laughed. (Candy and magic). “Don’t tell anybody.”
“No.” Grace gasped. “Nuh-uh.” She shoved her drink into my hand. “I’m not s’posed to-”
“Calm down,” Isabelle said, obviously amused.
“I’m gonna be sick.” Grace dashed to the ladies toilette. At least, she thought she did. In her apparent drunken confusion, she actually dashed to the little boy’s room.
“What’s in it?” Zach said, stirring his drink around with his straw, watching the ice whir in circles around the mason jar.
“I’ll never tell.” Isabelle smiled at me. “Not a fan of the strong stuff, eh, Shimmy?”
“Don’t call me that,” I warned her.
“Noted.” She shoved me playfully. “What’s your deal? You religious?”
“Yeah. But that’s not why.” My insides started to squirm a bit. Nausea crept up my throat like a snake.
“So what’s your deal?” Isabelle continued. examining her nails - they were sky blue.
“It’s none of your business,” Zach said briskly. “Hey, can I have another one of these?...these... what’re they called?”
“Chillers,” Isabelle said with a smile. “Chillers by Bree.”