While I was nominated by Hazelyn over at Archi-Anime, Keiko’s Anime Blog originated the Create-A-Story tag.
1. You pick your first word, your setting and your story genre from the list below. As individuals, your brand of creativity is unique to yours, so we want to highlight that by letting you choose from a bunch of words and creating something beautiful out of it.
Slice of Life
2. The short story will have a limit of 1000 words. You do not need to write a story with 1000 words exactly. It could be 300, or 500 as long as it doesn’t surpass a thousand.
3. YOU HAVE TWO WEEKS TO ANSWER THE TAG.
4. You must tag three people to participate.
5. Don’t forget to link back to Keiko (this is her story) so she can collect all the stories.
6. Use the Create-A-Story picture in the post.
7. Copy and paste the rules in your tag post as well, so others can be clued in to the Create-A-Story rules.
Author’s Note: I don’t know why this got so dark, and I apologize. But it is dark, though whether well written or not, I can’t say. My selected words are “rain,” “street,” and “tragedy,” though I realize now that, subconsciously, “station” and “fall” also played a part.
Story: Street Corners and Cemeteries
Professor Martin hated graveyards, he’d said. He’d grown up in Mexico, where sprawling cemetery cities are intentionally isolated from the daily grind. The habitual reminder of his own mortality, he insisted, was eerie to say the least.
Laura had never been afraid of death. Death, she’d said, wasn’t an ending so much as a beginning, and while she’d never race toward it, she wasn’t scared. Her mother took her to the Pentecostal church on Brant every Sunday, and while she thought their practices a little strange, she’d found faith in something bigger than herself. Laura’s mother thought it beautiful even as her father, atheist to the core, thought it foolish. But how he loved his foolish girls.
Dominic grinned at tragedy. He laughed when the characters in Final Fantasy met their ends, and his father worried a little when he’d caught Dominic smiling widely during the violent cut scenes from Assassin’s Creed. But that’s what made it so amusing to Dominic, he’d tried to explain as his father packed up his horror movies and video games. It seemed so unrealistic! It was a game! It wasn’t real.
Emily had a sixth sense about these things. She couldn’t describe it really, just a feeling that something was about to go wrong, a nagging suspicion, or a tingling behind her left ear. So when her sister got in the car that night to meet up with her project group, Emily tired to stop her. Emily’d been feeling it all day, but when Jessica opened the front door, she knew.
She’d begged her not to go, to wait until tomorrow night or call her friends and have them all to her house, but her sister was stubborn, and she walked out the door anyway. Emily started to cry.
It had just started to rain. At the corner of Mills and Hyacinth, a girl held hands with her boyfriend as they stood bundled beneath a gas station overhang. He held up his phone, and the girl laughed, turning her face into his jacket, smelling the mixture of sweat and body spray.
In the car rolling down Mills, another girl sat trying to navigate familiar streets while her best friend frantically chatted away in the passenger seat about the deadline for their project and about how her sister didn’t like her out after dark. Emily was always worried, she said, but tonight it was especially bad.
A block away, Professor Martin sped toward his mother’s house with a cooling casserole in the side seat and papers in the back to be graded after dinner with the family.
The young couple started across the street, and the boy tugged her wet braid, hopping away with a grin as she spun to face him. Laura laughed and rolled her eyes at Dominic’s teasing. He thought she was probably the most beautiful girl in the world.
Professor Martin considered all the ways he might convince his mother it was time to move in with him. After all, it was only right that the family stick together, even if they’d forsaken the compound that was their birthright. But Mama was stubborn and had truly embraced that spirit of American individualism which, for better or worse, permeated this country.
They were two miles from their destination when one of the neighborhood’s feral tabbies darted in front of the girls’ black Escort, and they swerved.
Professor Martin had the right of way as he pulled through the green light, and distracted as he was, he didn’t stop to check who might be coming the other way.
Dominic’s lighthearted leap let him off with a broken leg in the impact that t-boned his girlfriend between the two cars.
Suddenly, death was real. Nothing had ever been so real as standing helpless while his girlfriend, coughing up blood between the Escort and the Bolt, told him not to be afraid. By the time the paramedics arrived, it was too late for Laura, who had died even as Dominic, frozen, couldn’t bring himself to reach for her hand.
Fire-EMS cut Professor Martin out of the car, but from his position sandwiched between his door and center console, he heard Dominic gasp, and he heard Jessica screaming.
In the days that followed, Emily didn’t say much, though she did spend a good deal of time clinging to her equally quiet sister. Professor Martin underwent surgery on a broken shoulder. Dominic cried.
Two funerals were held on separate days in homes on separate ends of town. Jessica attended both, though—as neither the driver of the Escort nor friend of Laura—the second was unexpected. When Laura’s mother realized who she was, she walked away. Her father, quietly, stepped in to offer forgiveness he wasn’t sure was needed.
Jessica nursed her relatively minor injuries, and she struggled as her high school mourned two lost lives taken before the age of 17, one of whom she’d known since they were much younger children.
And Professor Martin learned that street corners and cemeteries both have a ways of reminding us of our own mortality.
I don’t know why I wrote this. I don’t even know what it is. I’m tempted to apologize. I write a lot of depressing things, though it speaks nothing to my underlying state of being, however; emotionally, I’m fine. In any case, while “enjoy” might be the wrong word, I hope you liked my writing.
I’m not tagging anyone because I’ve already broken the rules by writing this past the two week deadline, and I don’t know who has participated at this point.
To enter the sweepstakes mentioned here, click here. I’ll include this link on all blog posts published between now and the sweepstakes conclusion.
3 thoughts on ““Street Corners and Cemeteries” (Create-A-Story Tag)”
This is a beautiful story and you so don’t have to apologize for it. You have so much talent.
I do get the weird need to apologize though, considering that I wrote a death-themed piece for this tag myself (though it was barely a story).
It is wonderful and don’t worry I still haven’t answered my post… Sometimes things just happen and you came out with a lovely short too.
As dark and chilling as this was, it was also a wonderful and beautiful story so no need to apologise for that. 🙂 It’s ironic really, that I’m reading this piece on death and mortality which are exactly the themes I’ll be studying at uni come next week.