The Desert | Quick Piece

I felt the heat scorching my skin, but I continued walking. It’s been a week since I left home and I’ve come across this desert. Leaving home wasn’t a big deal, but I knew that once I reached this desert, the fight for my life would begin. The water in my backpack sloshed and I made a mental note in my mind. Just about thirty minutes ago, I drank about 4 ounces of water, which is about a quarter of a standard water bottle. I’ve got 2 more water bottles. “Crap!” I muttered to myself. “I better save my water or else I’ll run out.” The sun was bearing down on me and I felt my sweat run down my back. I pictured a bunch of sweat droplets landing on the sand and quickly being dried up by the sun. It’s almost as if a little part of myself was journeying to meet the sun and going back to the Earth again. Nearly three hours later, my eyelids were drooping and I was down to the final couple ounces of water in my water bottle. I had stripped down to my underwear and wore my t-shirt on my head to absorb some sweat. I fell down to my knees and started regretting my decision to leave home. “You bastard desert!” I cried out while pounding the soft sand. “I thought if I could take you on, then my life would be easier!” I sobbed into the sand and the sand clung to every inch of me. I curled into fetal position and saw the orange desert horizon hugging the blue sky one more time before closing my eyes and whispering, “You can take me now, desert.”

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Unlimited Balance | Quick Piece Breakdown

Hello everyone,

Sorry about the delay – my first day of classes was yesterday, so I had to deal with buying textbooks at a good deal and making sure I went to all my classes as well as trudging through the snow.

Unlimited Balance

Ever since I started reading, I’ve always loved to read fantasy books that contained some kind of magical powers. Naturally, I gravitated towards the Harry Potter series although my sixth grade teacher told me to pick another book to read after plowing through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Anyways, I’ve always found those type of books to be fascinating. As I developed my writing, I always seem to sneak in a “magical abilities” story which always end up coming out quite cheesy and cliché. For this story, I tried really hard like I did for “Incredible” to piece together a comprehensive story with my usual excitement.

This story is basically about a ritual a family goes through to gain their magical ability. As each child turns 10, they’re given the ability to pick an ability out of mystical jar. I didn’t want to focus on the details behind why the family did it like that. I wanted to focus more on the reactions and incorporate a little more comedy with the magical genre just so it wouldn’t become the usual fantasy piece. The kid ended up picking out the “unlimited balance” ability which confused everyone because it wasn’t as straight forward as it seems to be. I wanted it to be more so of an ability that is something that we wouldn’t really request for like teleportation or having food appear instantly in front of you, but it’s more of a “subtle ability”. It’s the ability to have a good and regulated life which is definitely not something a 10 year old would have. Eventually, the story concludes with a sweet ended about the kid, now a grandfather, telling his grandson about the stories of the choosing process.

As usual, I wanted my story to have a theme of family unity as well as some lighthearted humor. I also wanted to focus on the beauty of the simplicity that life can carry. Sometimes we can get caught up on things we need to do and things we haven’t done, but we should just sit in awe of how far we’ve come.

Thanks for reading & stay warm!

Alice

 

Unlimited Balance | Quick Piece

“Today’s the day!” I announced. My older brother patted me on the back and said, “It’s going to be great. I hope you get an awesome power.” Today was the day I’ve been waiting for since I could start walking. When you turn 10, you have the ability to choose an ability whether it be elemental manipulation, shadow control, animal shape-shifting ability or even invisibility – anything you can imagine! Two years ago, my brother got the ability to summon a large flock of birds. It sounds useless, but it’s great if you forget something at home. A kind little crow would bring him his notes and everything was fixed. I hope that I’ll get something cool like summoning fire demons or controlling bodily functions. “Honey, it’s time to pick your ability!” my mom called from downstairs. I rushed downstairs and saw my brother, mom and dad standing in a row wearing long flowing robes. I felt kind of inadequate with my favorite rock band t-shirt and plain jeans. My dad stepped forward and said in a loud booming voice, “My dear son, you’ve proven to us as a part of the Sullivan clan that you’re worthy. It’s now time to commemorate your 10th year by choosing your ability.” He held out a large jar that was constantly shifting through the spectrum of the sky and continued, “Reach into the jar and whatever is destined for you will come to you.” At this point, my palms were sweating and I was terrified I might get the ability that my aunt got – unlimited lemons.” I glanced at my brother who barely fits in his robe and he winked at me. I took a deep breath and reached into the jar. It felt cool and warm at the same time and I wasn’t sure if it was wet or dry. My family started to hum as I extended my fingers in the jar. Something heavy landed in my palm and I pulled out my hand. There was a small, smooth black box sitting in my palm. “Open it! See what it says!” my family exclaimed as they pulled off their robes. I sat down on the couch and opened the box with shaky hands. I pulled out a small slip of paper and read, “You have been gifted with the unlimited balance ability.” My mind was already going in circles when my brother blurted out, “What is that supposed to mean?” My dad got up from his chair and pulled out his giant book of magic abilities and started flipping through the pages while muttering, “I’ve never heard of that in all my years of being a mage.” My mom stared at the small piece of paper and said with a spark in her voice, “Maybe it means that you can’t be pushed over!” She gestured to my brother and told him to push me. My brother gleefully said, “I can’t believe mom gave me permission to push you!” He gave me a hard shove and I ended up toppling to the ground. My dad was still flipping madly through his books and he ended up consulting a 5,000 year old book, but he still couldn’t find anything. At the end, we never figured out what unlimited balance was supposed to be. For a while, I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t turn into anything or summon a beast, but to be honest I was pretty happy with myself.

“Hey grandpa, what did you get for your ability?” my grandson sat in my lap and fiddled with my beard. “Well sir, I got the unlimited balance ability.” I said with a smirk. My grandson wrinkled up his nose and said in a high-pitched voice. “What the heck is that?” I chuckled and said, “I guess it just means that I have the highest blessing to having a good life. And look! You came along.” I hugged him tight and felt my heart grow bigger.

Incredible | Quick Piece Breakdown

Hello everyone,

Long time no story! I hope you enjoyed this cute little story!

Incredible

Even though I’ve been writing poetry, it was a slightly awkward transition to getting back to writing stories, so I had to start simple. This past year, I participated in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Contest, which is basically a writing contest where you get a genre, setting and an object that you need to use in a story. To top it off, you have to submit the story within 48 hours of finding out the genre. There are 4 rounds that you write through each with different genres, settings and objects, but based on how well you do with point systems especially in the second round, it will allow you to proceed to the next rounds. Unfortunately, I got 0 points for the 1st and 2nd round, but the awesome thing about this contest is that the judges will write commentary for your pieces! And boy, did I learn a lot. The judges loved my story concept, but had trouble grasping my sentence structure and story organization. By starting back to the basics (like seriously), I’m going to be forced to be more conscious about all the nitty gritty stuff that make up a story.

Simply put, this story is about the innocence and wonder of a child that passes onto a mother and the older, the loving bond between a mother and daughter and self-esteem. I love exploring themes about familial bonds and self-esteem because it’s so pure. But this time, I took care to make sure the story actually flowed and not so much on the fancy words. I think it turned out quite nice – let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading!

Alice

Incredible | Quick Piece

“Hey! Are you watching?” my daughter called out from a distance. “I’m about to do something incredible!” My three year old daughter recently learned the word, incredible and she’s been throwing it around correctly, but oftentimes incorrectly. I smiled as I watched her tumble on the grass, sending her dress flying over her head. “Ta-da!” she happily called out. She rushed over to me and whispered loudly, “I have to do an incredible thing in the bathroom now.” I stifled my laughter and helped her to the bathroom. This is definitely something I’ll have to record in the books just to do her future self a favor. I hoisted her up so she could wash her hands. She gleefully wiggled her feet and splashed at the water while making faces. “I’m the incredible water monster!” she roared at herself, causing some older ladies to chuckle. “Oh my! That was a terrifying roar!” one of them remarked. I set my daughter on the ground and she asked the old lady, “What does terrifying mean?” The old lady bent down and said, “It means that it’s so powerful, it’s scary just like that roar you did.” My daughter looked at me in amazement and said, “Am I terrifying?” I laughed and said, “When you don’t want to take your nap, you are, but you’re my sweet girl.” My daughter pouted and frowned. “I want to be terrifying!” At this point, the old lady got up and winked at me. “Well young lady, I think what your mom means is that your sweetness is your terrifying-ness! You’re a wonderful monster.” My daughter beamed and tugged at my hand. “Did you hear what she said? I’m a wonderful monster! What does wonderful mean?” I laughed and gave her a hug. “It’s who you are.”

L’enfer, C’est Les Autres | Quick Piece Breakdown

Hello everyone,

What an unexpected story after a long hiatus! I hope you enjoyed it!

L’enfer, C’est Les Autres

For starters, the title is French and it means, Hell is other people which was uttered by Jean-Paul Sartre who was the author of the famous, one-act play, No Exit. I haven’t read this play before because I literally just Googled “Famous French Quotes” in order for me to have a striking title that would fit my piece. Despite my ignorance, I suggest that you read it and I will eventually. The phrase is quite fitting for my piece since it deals with “the other person” as “hell”.

In middle school, I had opted to take French instead of Spanish because I loved the sound of it and I wanted to visit France one day. But while I was prepared to eat all the delicious pastries, I wasn’t prepared to digest the tough grammar. Since I went to a small school, everyone who eventually made it to the AP French, I had been with since middle school. As we advanced through French, I got worse at it and I got used to receiving grades dipping into the 30s. Yes, I admit that I had my lazy moments where I refused to study the conjugation patterns. I kept my cool even though other people started to freak out more since I knew how I learned materials best and my learning pace.

The couple of sentences at the beginning of the story were true. Someone had gotten a decent grade and cried over it while I received a reminder that I had to get my lazy-ass up to study. From there, I decided to spiral the story around my annoyance in seeing this reaction over a grade that I would’ve loved to receive. The violent instinct became the epitome of hatred. When you hate something, you typically want it to not exist. While I’m not going to reveal my intended ending, rest assured that the narrator of the story didn’t kill the girl.

The main point of this story is about academics and the short-term or long-term consequences it may have. What if the blond girl had very strict parents who would only allow grades higher than a 90? How come the narrator seemed to feel helpless about how to mediate the low grade? Why is there such unnecessary heavy burden and competition on grades? If education is a privilege, then why does it feel so suffocating at times?

I wanted to invoke a dialogue about education and how to better the aspect of learning where it doesn’t revolve around so much competition and hierarchal goals, but rather, it should involve proper interest and understanding of the education received.

I hope you enjoyed my piece!

Alice

L’enfer, C’est Les Autres | Quick Piece

She drooped her head and let her dirty blond hair touch the desk. “What’s wrong?” her friend asked, ducking under her head and tried to peer at her. “I got an 82 on my test.” she said with a voice full of sorrow. She sniffled and pushed away the test. I had to force myself to not roll my eyes. I looked down at my test and saw a glaring red 35. “Yeah, you’re stupid too.” I mentally told my test. I walked over to the pencil sharpener and deliberately made sure to pass her desk where two more people counseling her surrounded her. I threw her a nasty look, but she was too busy telling her pity story to even notice. As I ground the pencil into the sharpener, I wondered what it would be like if she had gotten my 35 instead of her 82. I smirked and walked back to my desk and felt the grade boring a hole into me. I shoved it into my backpack and waited for the class to end.

All day in my classes, I couldn’t stop thinking about her stupid reaction to a decent grade, how her face was red and puffy just like the red marks scribbled all over my page. When I came home from school, I crumpled up the test and tossed it into a corner of my room. I opened up my French notebook and took out a worksheet that the teacher handed out to help us practice the future tense. To be, to have, to eat. It was an endless list of verbs that we needed to conjugate. My eyes started blurring and the verbs started to shift. To maim, to stab, to kill. I furiously rubbed my eyes, but the verbs stayed the same. I scanned further down the page and saw, To kill, to torture, to burn. I crumpled up my assignment and the next day, my teacher scolded me. I looked to my left where she usually sat, but she wasn’t there which was odd because she never missed a day of class. My teacher handed out more worksheets to practice the imperfect tense and when I reached for my pencil, my hands were stained with a crimson red. The verbs on my sheet read, to be fulfilled.