The bottle of red wine, a Spanish Roja bought on the cheap, was almost done when he asked
“How come we have never kissed? Do you not find me attractive.”
The little boy hurt leaked into his voice, despite him trying to act the sophisticate.
She looked at him closely, considering, before finally saying in a voice far smoother than the wine.
” If I kiss you… you will die.”
He laughed, thinking she was making fun of him, or about to tell a joke, but his laughter fell away when he saw her expression of sadness tainted by anger.
“You’re…serious? Come on, it’s a great line but….”
He shrugged, dismissively.
She traced a fingertip over the rim of her glass
“Have I ever lied to you?”
Her glare stopped him dead, she continued
” My father was a scientist, my mother was an orchid…”
” You mean a flower? That Orchid?”
” Yes and if you interrupt again I shall never tell you the truth. My mother was an Orchid, a Brazilian Night Orchid to be exact, beautiful but quite deadly to the touch, but my father was a very stubborn man…. and thus they had me, I am both their DNA twisted and bent until… I am known as a Midnight Orchid, one touch of my lips… deadly. There is no cure, no immunity… Do you know how lonely I get? How I thirst for the touch of a lover’s lips against mine?:”
The tears fell like rain drops from an Amazonian leaf.
He wanted to reach for her, to hug her tightly and tell her everything would be OK. But he halted and suddenly a smile spread upon his lips and he laughed
“You almost got me…. Orchid…. Poison lips… come here you.”
He pulled her to him and pressed his lips against hers, for a moment she resisted but with a half moan, half sigh, her lips parted and the kiss deepened.
She kept kissing him as his heart slowed, then stopped, and swallowed his last dying moan before slowly pulling her lips from lips already cooling in death.
She stood, and with her petal fingers, the Midnight Orchid closed his eyes.
Alone once more she left to put down roots someplace new.
the lonely heart
You know how hard it is to find an empty bar on a Saturday night? I do. Too many reasons to drink. The end of the work week, or having to start on a Sunday. Not getting laid, or getting laid off. Girls, girls, girls, and the Motley Crue song of the same name that makes strippers out of sorority sisters. And then, of course, the worm in your gut called alcoholism, that turns your stomach into Jose Cuervo’s private stock. You don’t find an empty bar on a Saturday night. No. Like the black-dressed, bare-shouldered mess of running mascara, it finds you.
The Lonely Heart is a little pub down on Dundas Street that gets its name from its location, wedged like an ingrown hair between an antique book store and a flower shop, that should attract worn elbows to sticky table tops, as drones flock to pollen. The Lonely Heart, however, a dying breed, daring to live up to its name, is full only of its emptiness. I tug at the door and feel it resist me. Even with my vision narrow as a tourniquet, I can make out the letters. Pull, it says, but nothing gives. I push instead, and find myself inside. I’ve always had this talent for understanding jokes, so with one mirthless syllable of laughter that expands into the lack of clientele, I express my genuine approval. Even the bartender is absent, which makes it that much easier to make myself at home.
The dim orange lighting overhead buzzes at the same frequency as my brain, low and full of implication, without anyone to receive it. The bottles lining the wall make me feel like a game show contestant. For a moment, I wonder if the place is even open, but immediately realize that I don’t care. Then, from out of the corner of my eye that’s shrunken to a slit, I catch the pale fire of her bare wrist, flickering like treasure from behind a mahogany pillar the colour of dried blood.
I consider calling to her, but the words are as children playing hide and seek, or the liquor sloshing around inside of me, refusing to come out. Instead, I take a seat alone at the counter. You know how hard it is to find an empty bar on a Saturday night? I hold my head in my hands to give my sore neck a rest.
“Can I get you anything?” a voice asks me, soft and sensuous as the low tide. I look to my left without lifting my head, to where the woman from earlier would have been seated if I could see through wood. “Hey?” The voice tugs at me, like a lighthouse.
“Yeah,” I say, but only after meeting her eyes. There’s a quality of despair there, so well-hidden that I can’t miss it, so familiar that it connects me to her as a tree to its branches, and so profound that we must remain separate as its leaves.
Short Stories: 10 Tips for Creative Writers
. Get Started: Emergency Tips
Is your short story assignment due tomorrow morning? These emergency tips may help. Good luck!
- Who is your protagonist, and what does he or she want?
(The athlete who wants her team to win the big game and the car crash victim who wants to survive are not unique or interesting enough.)
- When the story begins, what morally significant actions has he or she already taken towards that goal?
(“Morally significant” doesn’t mean your protagonist has to be conventionally “good”; rather, he or she should already have made a conscious choice, with repercussions that drive the rest of the story.)
- What unexpected consequences — directly related to the protagonist’s efforts to achieve the goal — ramp up the emotional energy of the story?
(Will the unexpected consequences force your protagonist to make yet another choice, leading to still more consequences?)
- What details from the setting, dialog, and tone help you tell the story?
(Things to cut: travel scenes, character A telling character B about something we just saw happening to character A, and phrases like “said happily” — it’s much better to say “bubbled” or “smirked” or “chortled.”)
- What morally significant choice does your protagonist make at the climax of the story?
(Your reader should care about the protagonist’s decision. Ideally, the reader shouldn’t see it coming.)
Drawing on real-life experiences, such as winning the big game, bouncing back after an illness or injury, or dealing with the death of a loved one, are attractive choices for students who are looking for a “personal essay” topic. But simply describing powerful emotional experiences is not the same thing as generating emotional responses in the reader. (See “Show, Don’t (Just) Tell.”)
For those of you who are looking for more long-term writing strategies, here are some additional ideas.
those of you who are looking for more long-term writing strategies, here are some additional ideas.
If you are having trouble getting started, look out the window. The whole world is a story, and every moment is a miracle.
-Bruce Taylor, UWEC Professor of Creative Writing
Read, Read, Read
- Keep a notebook. To R. V. Cassill, notebooks are “incubators,” a place to begin with overheard conversation, expressive phrases, images, ideas, and interpretations on the world around you.
- Write on a regular, daily basis. Sit down and compose sentences for a couple of hours every day — even if you don’t feel like it.
- Collect stories from everyone you meet. Keep the amazing, the unusual, the strange, the irrational stories you hear and use them for your own purposes. Study them for the underlying meaning and apply them to your understanding of the human condition.
Read a LOT of Chekhov. Then re-read it. Read Raymond Carver, Earnest Hemingway, Alice Munro, and Tobias Wolff. If you don’t have time to read all of these authors, stick to Chekhov. He will teach you more than any writing teacher or workshop ever could.2. Write a Catchy First Paragraph
-Allyson Goldin, UWEC Asst. Professor of Creative Writing
In today’s fast-moving world, the first sentence of your short story should catch your reader’s attention with the unusual, the unexpected, an action, or a conflict. Begin with tension and immediacy. Remember that short stories need to start close to their end.
To read the rest of this amazing article with tons of examples on what not to do, go to Jerz’s Literary Weblog!
How do you write a short, two page story? I'm thinking about this for english essay purposes. How do you keep stories short and direct, but still an enjoyable read? Would you suggest a more narrative or descriptive take?
I write short stories. I love short stories. Specially when I have ideas that can take a fair amount of words and narrative. The deal with them is that they need the whole story to be told in only a brief short spam, such as a long scene, or a set or short scenes.
In long stories you can take pages and pages or paragraphs whenever you want to get down your setting. In short stories, you need to find the best way to give your readers an idea of where they are.
But that does not stop you from creating evocative scenes. I believe any good short story should have a fair amount of both narrative and description. If anything, let’s say 70% narrative and a well condensed 30% of descriptions. There are ways to both develop the action and show the people reading the story what is happening, where is happening, how, and who is making it happen. Find those ways, which are often more interesting than paragraphs dedicated solely to narrative or description.
I found you these great links:
The hunger of a lion is written on your face
Warning: Contains explicit content.
Jared had invited me to dinner this night because he was being so hyper at the thought of playing the first big concert, after what felt like a lifetime to him, tomorrow. Of course I eagerly agreed, happy that even though he had so much to do he still found time to take me out for dinner. So I dressed up in a tight black dress, one of those he loved so much on me and tried to look as good as possible. Wearing red lipstick for him and my hair falling over my shoulders in soft curls. We had an amazing evening, he was being the most amazing gentleman ever and I felt unbelievably good in his company. After we exited the restaurant and headed to the car, where he leaned in close to my ear and told me again how beautiful I looked, we drove home. The grin was almost plastered to my face and of course I had no idea what would happen next.
An Asshole Speaks
Sometimes I drive to an empty parking lot, turn the car off, and sit for an hour or more because it’s easier for me to think under streetlamps next to a busy highway than in the dark and silence of my own home. Even though it’s always been just me in the apartment, it feels abandoned, like it should be and used to be the home of a dozen close friends who paint themselves bright colors on the weekends to better absorb whatever good times they find. It feels like they left just before I moved in and left behind the heavy air of the memories they never wanted to forget, and so it’s not my fault that I can’t relax; it’s just all that stale air not wanting me to sit down, that wants me to leave and do something, something thick and significant and most of all memorable, so that the memory I bring back can play with the others.
The air in my car is calm; it doesn’t say anything at all. And the cars passing each other somewhere over there keep me from worrying, maybe because I convince myself that their motion means something. I sit and close my eyes and breathe in the hiss of the highway, believing that all those rubber wheels are turning the world while I take some time off to wonder whether I still want to be part of the world tomorrow, keeping my knuckles white, holding on to nothing, hoping that I won’t fall off and twist and tumble through the black of space until I can’t hold my breath any longer.
I used to hate sitting in the car. Mom would turn off the engine and say she would be right back, in just a couple of minutes. Then I would sit there, with my seatbelt still on, feeling every degree of temperature change, wondering if ‘couple of minutes’ actually meant something else to adults, something I didn’t understand. And sometimes I would start to panic because if something happened to Mom, what would I do? And just when I would be ready to get out of the car and hitchhike to Texas, where Grandma was, Mom would come back and drive us home.
But sitting in the car is harder now, in a way. I don’t know why I keep coming to parking lots, what it is I’m waiting for, or whether it will ever show up. Maybe the solution is simple. Maybe I would feel better if I just drove the damn car instead of constantly looking for somewhere to park. Maybe all I should do is drive. Maybe I should be the one to keep the world turning while hundreds of other pathetic little me’s try and find a quiet place to feel lost.
K Side Story Collection: No.7 Fushimi Saruhiko by Kabei Yukako
This one is my personal favorite.
It had happened again, he’d woken up next to the body of a girl. He leant over and checked for a pulse. He hated when he found one as it was today. He assumed it was today. Yesterday was an alcoholic blur and tomorrow would be a drug-fuelled one. Too many questions and not enough answers. He picked up his inside-out T-shirt and read the label. So his name was John. It helped to write his name on clothing just like a child would. It helped because the blackouts were becoming worse recently. He probably ought to get that checked out, but he’d never been one for doctors. Fuck ‘em - he ate apples.
‘Good morning,’ said a voice thick with sleep next to him.
She was stirring, and very prettily too, all Bambi eyes and full lips. He felt something catch in his stomach as he watched her stretch out her arms like a cat.
‘Um…yeah,’ he said. John put on the shirt and then his jeans and stood up. The room was still dark and smelt like day-old sex. Not pleasant. He needed to crack a window. Actually he needed something else of an altogether more chemical nature but he’d have to call his dealer and he was pretty sure he wasn’t in town and that was shit. Really shit.
‘Come back to bed,’ she said.
John wrinkled his forehead and smoothed back his mop of hair. His whole skin itched and he scratched absently at his various Maori-inspired tattoos. Maybe that’s why the girls seemed to like him. Fuck knew.
‘I’m out,’ he said. ‘It was…fun,’ he hazarded with a vague motion of his arms.
‘It really was,’ she said smiling.
Shit, this girl was obviously a decent person and John hated being a dick to decent people but he’d just end up leading her down a really dark path and he’d done that so much recently and to so many people even he felt bad.
‘Yeah, Chloe, I’m not just saying this and hate me if you want, but I’m really messed up. I don’t know who you are, I don’t know where I am and I’m burning up on re-entry like a fucking asteroid and there won’t be much left of me when I do, so I’m going to go. I’m sorry and whatever but really, forget this ever happened, go on with your life and become a lawyer or something ‘cause I can see the law books on your table and work hard and shit. Chalk this one up to an experience you can tell your friends or your kids or whoever, but this won’t happen and it’s a good thing it won’t, just trust me on it.’
Chloe sat open-mouthed, covering her bare body up by degrees with her duvet as John switched on his 5% battery iPhone and softly opened the door and let it click shut. Yeah he was a fucking asteroid all right he sighed as he pulled out a crumpled Marlboro Red and it seemed for just a moment that it lit up just before he put the lighter flame to it.