The Beginning of a Short Story

Kira used to love summers.

Until, her ultra-conservative father decided to cave into mid-life crisis, purchase an engine-red Porsche and have an affair with his Executive Assistant; a woman twenty years his junior.

Her mother got the short end of the stick in this bitter divorce. She got stretch marks, saggy thighs, drooping boobs and a dilapidated Buick.

Kira couldn’t stomach the sight of her father anymore, and instead of living with him and his silicone bride-to-be in suburbia, she moved with her mom to a microscopic studio in the middle of WeHo.

The building is ancient. It dates back to 1940s, and the lobby still has remnants of Art Deco in the ceiling and the molding of the walls.

Other than that, the hallways reek of urine and boiled cabbage. Some of the lights are broken and it makes it very hard to navigate down the hallway at night, not to mention super creepy. The elevator hasn’t worked for months, and the windows get broken at least twice a month by the crazy junkies that like to huddle outside, by the dumpster.

And, the building is plagued with uninvited guests.

Roaches.

Kira encountered one while sleeping on a sofa bed that she shared with her mom. She turned on her side and there it was, staring boldly at her on her mom’s empty pillow. It didn’t even scurry off until she screamed and jumped out of bed!

Since then, she triple-checked the sheets before going to sleep, and never left food on the counter or the table anymore.

Kira pushed open the moldy door to the studio, with her foot, and walked inside.

It was unbearably hot and stuffy.

She slumped her backpack down on the floor and walked towards the opened window.

The sweltering heat wave smacked her face and with it, brought the thunderous sound of honking, sirens wailing in the distance and smells of greasy, fast food.

Kira shut the window and turned on the decrepit A.C.

At first, it coughed up dust, but then after an hour it began to blow out cold air, and with it, brought a foul stench of rotten eggs.

Kira let out a deep, exasperated sigh and wondered if her life would ever get better.

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The Beginning of a Short Story

A Purple Dream

Streaks of gold bid an intimate farewell to the cotton-candy clouds. The fiery sun gracefully sank behind the green hills and stained the sky above with a soft, copper glow. The remaining traces of light flickered through the dense trees and evaporated like spilled champagne.

A young woman kicked off her strappy heels, grabbed a fistful of her long, tulle skirt and made her way barefoot across the sea of emerald-green grass.

With a pensive expression on her face, she hummed a familiar tune; a tune she fell in love with as a child, and slowly walked towards a lonely pergola.

It stood amidst the evergreen field.

Lush strands of Wisteria cascaded down from its wooden ceiling while its roots snaked down the pillars and dove deep into the ground below.

Underneath the sea of fuchsia, lavender and white flowers hung an old, wooden swing.

The young woman carefully sat on it.

Her long fingers wrapped around the ropes and with a light kick of her foot, she pushed off the ground and swung back. Then forward, and then back again.

Memories of childhood waltzed through her mind, and with every high swing she had forgotten her worries.

Suddenly, a young man appeared on the horizon.

The sight of his face sparked a sweet, cashmere-soft feeling in her heart. Even though the evening was warm and inviting, a ripple of shivers ran down her spine. Her insides twisted into a cherry-knot at the thought of them being alone, at last.

He walked inside the pergola and with him brought a dark, starry night.

The darkness, however, was speared with hundreds of fireflies. They fluttered above the blanket of green grass and illuminated the pergola, and those inside of it.

He quietly stood by one of the pillars, with a slow, mischievous smile on his lips, and his hands thrust into the pockets of his meticulously pressed slacks, and watched her swing back and forth.

Their stares were aligned and their eyes burned with desire, but neither one spoke nor found the strength to close the intimate distance between their bodies.

The two lovers remained apart, yet their hearts were as one.

A Purple Dream

It’s Official, My Sister Lives in a Shoe Box

“This is where you live?” I asked in surprise as my eyes swept over her small yet surprisingly chic apartment.

Even though it was the size of a tool shed, and it reeked of oil paint and coffee, it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined it to be. I thought she lived in a crypt!

The paintings that covered every inch of her walls were creepy, though. They featured disfigured silver-haired girls with pale, bloodstained faces and sinister, red-eyed animals.

That is Julia in a nutshell, dark, twisted and borderline psychotic.

The open space was furnished with a black, Chesterfield loveseat and tufted armchair. In the middle stood a glass table, and it was covered with an array of charcoal pencils, sharpies, squeezed paint tubes and scrunched up sheets of paper.

Surprisingly, a flat screen TV was mounted to a wall above the electric fireplace and it was paused on Sherlock. I had no idea Julia even knew how to stream on Netflix.

In the dark corner, behind the five-tier bookcase, stood a Queen-sized bed with a tufted headboard. The bedspread was sleek ebony satin with matching shams, and completed with brocade and sequin accent pillows. On each side stood Hexagon, mirrored tables with gilded iron lamps.

Above the headboard hung a large painting of a raven-haired girl with big, anime eyes, and in her arms she cradled a white, rabid bunny.

I peeled my eyes away from the blood that trailed down her frilly, lace dress and said, “I gotta hand it to you, Julia, you may dress like a reject from the Addams Family but you got a knack for interior design.”

She flushed with embarrassment, visibly taken back by the compliment.

“Er—well—uh—it’s a little messy right now,” she mumbled and stumbled over the art supplies that were scattered all over the wooden floor. “I had a couple of friends over last night and I didn’t get a chance to clean today. Obviously.”

I gave her a long, steady gaze.

If she was under the impression that my backhanded compliment would somehow blossom into sisterly affection, then she has a couple of loose screws in her head.

“Stop lying. You don’t have any friends and the voices in your head don’t count.”

“At least I don’t buy my friends unlike some people,” she countered coolly.

I gave her an angelic smile. “How’s your real mom doing in Transylvania? Is she still married to Dracula?”

This polite exchange of words dated back to the summer of my junior high graduation party. Julia slathered on SPF 5,000 on her skin and lounged under the umbrella by the pool with Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven in her white, bony hands.

I was dared to cannon jump into the pool. I had no idea the water would splash her and ruin the book.

Needless to say, she screamed her head off, and claimed that I did it on purpose. Just before my mother ushered her back into the house, she accused me of buying my popularity, in front of all of my friends.

To return the favor, I told everyone my freshman year at Waldorf High that she was adopted and her real family lived in Transylvania. After that rumor circulated the classrooms, she got bombarded with questions about vampires and I got grounded for two months.

Julia seethed with resentment. “You are so stupid, I swear.”

“My 4.0 GPA would state otherwise. Anyway, I hate to break this cute and fuzzy moment but I’m super jet-lagged and I want to get some sleep. So, where’s my bed?”

She curled her lips into a Grinch-like smile and pointed to the loveseat. “There,” she said.

I slumped my shoulders. “You suck.”

It’s Official, My Sister Lives in a Shoe Box