Hello! Welcome to my short story gallery. After finally getting back into the swing of writing, I am very proud of some of the things I have written. By proud, I mean it is good enough to show off but not the best so I can still get critiqued. I write for a mixture of genres, so I hope you find something suitable to your interests. ^^
The Twinkie Thief
Twinkies are one of life's greatest treasures. Soft, golden sponge cake stuffed with cream. It's a delicacy. The crisp sound the plastic makes when you pull it apart.The sweet air rushing into your nose as it escapes. You inhale deeply - your brain thrilled by the aroma. You swallow, your mouth threatening to drown itself in saliva before you even bring the pastry up to your lips, a smile spread upon them. Yes, this is heaven. You know that you should take your time, as if you are making love. Sweet, delicate love. Temptations rush over you to just take the Twinkie and eat it in two large bites, but you know better. You can't rush love. You swallow again as you finally pull the cake from its wrapper. So close. The time has come for you and the pastry to finally begin your --.
"Stewart! Stewart Wallace Morton! Yoohoo! Stewart!" Your mother calls from downstairs. You've never liked her; her and her shrill voice. You stare at the twinkie in your hands as it begs you to eat it, but Evelyn keeps calling you. "Stewart! Stewart, you get your bottom down here this instant!"
Gently, you slide the twinkie back in its wrapper and lay it on your desk. "Another time, my love," you say soothingly as you lift yourself from the wooden chair, brush your pants off, and then turn to leave the room. The poster on the door stares at you; the magician girl's orange eyes taunting your very existence. Your dark eyes glare back at her as your reach for the doorknob and quickly pull it open, the girl not allowed to taunt you any longer.
"I'm coming, Mother!" Your voice travels through the small home, bouncing off the clutter in the floor.
You ignore her as you cross the kitchen and make your way into the living room. Evelyn is sitting comfortably in the recliner, a cat in her lap. In her hand is the remote control. "Stewart, something's on the news that you're not gonna like much. I paused it for ya." Immediately, you start to regret coming down here. What is on the news these days that isn’t murder or scandal? You watch as your mother slowly picks up the remote and presses play; the television immediately responding.
"The end of Twinkies may just be hours away..."
Your heart sinks. The Hispanic woman on the screen, with her low-cut blouse can't even hold your attention anymore. You shake your head in disbelief. No, no, no! This can't be right. You turn from the TV and begin to walk out of the room when your brain begins to buzz. An idea comes creeping into your thoughts as a smile begins to twist your lips. A brief image of the Grinch flashes as you turn toward a mirror. You want to chuckle due to the cleverness of it, but no. Now is not the time for fun and games. Now is the time for strategy and stealth. Tonight, all of the Twinkies will be yours.
You quickly head to your room, close the door, and plop into your computer chair. After pulling up the browser, your search begins. According to Google, there are four stores near your area that sell Twinkies: Shop-A'-Mart, Bandy Candy, See-More Spend-More, and The Only Store. You lean back in your chair for a moment and cross your arms over your chest. Is it really worth it? You twist your mouth as you think, pulling your lips tight. The smell of the open Twinkie greets you.
You reach for it and once you grab it, you begin to slide it toward yourself. A small smile forms upon your lips as you begin to take it out of the plastic wrapping for good when it slips from your hands onto the carpeted floor below. Your dark eyes stare at the yellow cake on the floor, tears threatening to form. There it is, your last Twinkie, lying on the ground. You can almost hear its dying voice calling out to you, “Why, Stewart? Why?” Slowly, you bend down to retrieve it. You feel helpless, like a child. Your dark eyes scan the pastry, observing specks of dirt and a few pieces of hair. Determining it as safe to eat, you greedily stuff it into your mouth. You sit in silence for a while before looking up at your doorway at the poster. The orange eyes stare back, tempting you. You break the stare and look back at you computer screen. You know what you must do.
With a purpose, you stand from your chair and close the laptop. The alarm clock on the shelf reads 8:56PM. Perfect. After taking a shower and trying to tame your overgrown beard, you find the only plain black shirt in your closet. After forcing it over your head and pulling it down over your large stomach you reach the conclusion that you should buy a larger shirt. Revealing your navel is not thief etiquette so you slip on a jacket and zip it up to your chest. You glance at the clock again. 9:45PM. You sigh as you begin to rummage through the dresser drawers looking for a ski mask. A black toboggan is the only thing you can find. So after taking the scissors from the desk, you cut out makeshift eyes and try the mask on for size. It clings awkwardly to your facial hair, making it itch rather uncomfortably, but you ultimately decide it to be manageable. After pulling on a pair a black jeans, you grab your keys and slip out of the house.
By the time 11:00 rolls around, you are sitting in your red ‘95 Ford Escort surrounded by boxes upon boxes of Hostess Twinkies. Slowly, you pull into the deserted parking lot of The Only Store and drive around to the back. As you park, you can’t resist opening the box to retrieve the golden goodness on the inside. You limit yourself though and take only a bite from one before you place it back in the wrapper and in the box. With a renewed sense of purpose, you open the door and step out into the cold fall air. You shiver slightly as you close the car door and make your way to the back entrance. As you pull on the handle, you sigh with relief to find that it is unlocked and swing the door open. Flipping on the light-switch your eyes immediately take in the most beautiful sight they have ever seen. In front of you are boxes upon boxes of Twinkies. You nearly faint with excitement and have to hold on the the wall for support. This must be their storage room. You can’t help but to admire the decision on their part, limiting the supply of Twinkies to be later sold for outrageous prices as the public’s access to them dwindles... Until now that you’ve found them, that is. You rub your hands together in enthusiasm before cradling some of the boxes in your arms. Back and forth you go, carrying boxes of Twinkies from the building and into the car. On the final trip, you bend down to pick up the few boxes only to hear a sound behind you. Quickly, you stand up and turn toward the door. A bright light is in your eyes and you drop the boxes in order to use your arm as a shield.
“Police, come out with your hands up!” the voice shouts as you try to blink away the light that is blinding you. As if hearing your thoughts, the officer turns off the light and slips the flashlight in his pocket. “Come on out with your hands up!”
You don’t want to listen, but you know you should. Slowly, you raise your hands above your head and walk out of the building. Immediately, the officer pushes you against the car, reads you your rights, and begins to handcuff you.. You are barely listening as you look through the windshield of your car window and see the boxes. You did this for them. The officer pulls you up from the hood and escorts you to the squad car in silence.
On the way to the station, the two of you listen to the radio. You just stare out of the window in defeat. The only thing that pulls you out of your shell is the familiar voice of the hispanic woman from earlier:
“Twinkie lovers, relax! Hostess will be continuing their production of America’s favorite snack after the holiday season!”
The Drunk’s Mistake
James Smithson hated the rain. Especially this rain. The smell of dead fish made his stomach turn. It always made things depressing, with its clouds and dark skies and this week couldn't take anymore depression. His neighbor,a widow named Marge Everett, had been brutally murdered, her body found in the street near their home. She was unrecognizable when the cops arrived; the rain just beginning to fall had washed away most of the blood from her face revealing a sight James had never seen before during his 25 years of law-enforcement and never wanted to see again. Then there was Stan Goode. He didn't really know the man, but he had heard of him. Everyone liked him alright. After all, he was their hotdog man. Stan would stand outside during hot summer days, rain or shine, and sell hotdogs for the pedestrians who came across his path. So why did he die? Was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Did he know something? Working with the public definitely could have put Stan in that situation of finding out some unwanted informa-.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” jolted James from his thoughts. He scrambled for his cellphone, his hands frantically hitting his chest pocket and each pant pocket until he finally found it, a few pennies spilling out as he pulled the phone from his pocket. Ruth. Stupid woman. He had told her that he wouldn't be in until late. He would eat dinner with the guys and then head over to Luke’s place for a few beers and a couple rounds of cards. It was Poker Night, for Christ's Sake. Did the woman know not to mess with a man on Poker Night?
Not that he had really intended on going, though. No, tonight he wanted to get drunk by himself. The recent events were weighing too heavily on his mind. James’s dark blue eyes continued to stare at the phone until Skynyrd stopped playing and a little beep told him that he had a voicemail waiting for him. Maybe he should have answered? Nah. Ruth could wait. He tossed his Nokia into the air, watching the phone flip once and land back into his palm before he placed the phone beside him. James shifted slightly, the small dips and rises of the wet concrete sticking to his jeans as he sat on the sidewalk, not caring if the rain flooded his phone or washed him away for that matter. At his feet, the brown paper bag that once concealed his whiskey had turned soggy fifteen minutes earlier and was now lying underneath the large, rectangular shaped glass bottle. Not much had been taken from it yet, only a sip or two as the golden liquid barely stood to the neck of the bottle. Beside this mess of a paper bag was a plastic bag carrying a six-pack of plain beer, or horse piss as he liked to call it. The rain wouldn’t beat it down quite as easily.
Uncomfortable, James pulled on his left leg, bringing it up so his knee was equal to his chest and his sneakered foot stood flat against the blacktop. He grimaced as a small amount of pain rushed through his kneecap and came to rest at his hip. Ruth constantly nagged him about getting it looked at, something he didn’t want to admit she was correct about. The injury had first happened five years ago, ruining his life. A damned teenager had stolen a car from Lakeside Avenue, the most wealthy part of Dunaromin, Georgia. After chasing the kid down the highway at top speeds, the thief ran off into the ditch and flipped the vintage car he had “borrowed”. To make matters worse, the idiot started running. James had already called for backup and was proceeding to chase the kid on foot when he stepped into a hole and twisted his leg. That bastard had cost Sergeant James Smithson his job.
Finally deciding his brain had thought of enough insubstantial matters, he grabbed the wet bottle of whiskey, swiped off the remaining paper bag with a finger and uncorked the cap. The smell of the honey whiskey almost drove his senses wild, the warm smell enticing his eyes to close and forget about the rain that continued its merciless raid against the earth. Finally, James’ cravings got the best of him, touching the top of the bottle to his lips and tilting the bottle ever so slightly. His body relaxed, savoring the burn against his lips, and followed the sensation to the pit of his stomach. This was what he lived for.
He didn't know how long he had been drinking. An hour? Two hours? Four? The rain had stopped and the night sky was turning a deep purple with wisps of pink coming from the east. James sighed as he threw an empty bottle at the nearby trashcan, the loud crash telling him promptly that he had missed. He had stayed out far too long. Ruth was probably worried sick, but the idea only fluttered through his mind for a brief second. Still, he wanted to go home. James struggled to stand up, his legs and arms shaking. Drunk and Exhausted. After a moment, he stood and staggered a step or two before losing his balance and falling to his knees, his left knee popping from impact. James hissed in pain, his arms immediately cradling his knee as close as he could get it to his chest, the alcohol only dimming throbbing pain slightly. Catching his breath, the drunk man was back on his feet again, his legs supporting him worse than before, but still he walked. With each step, his knee cried out in agony. With each step, James got more angry. Angry from the pain. Angry from the rain. Angry from the deaths earlier that week. Angry from not having any supper. His blood boiled.
The walk home wasn’t long. James had passed the time by cursing to himself with each step. He was so consumed by his distractions that he didn’t notice a tall figure step into his path. He barely noticed the man even as he walked right into him, his nose bouncing off of the man’s chest. The smell of Old Spice burned his nose and a deep chuckle made James’ body shake. His blue eyes barely focused on the figure, double-vision and fog had contorted his eyesight. For what seemed like ages, the two just stood there, facing each other. Finally, James knew. "You..." he slurred. The anger he had had manifested itself into his right fist, sending it flying into the jaw of the monster in front of him. The man stood and continued to stare for a moment, his black eyes burning through his victim, and then turned his head to spit out some blood.
He knew this was coming. He would have been stupid not to realize it. He had made himself a target. Even though James was an ex-cop, he still tried to work. Ruth sometimes called it an obsession, something James hated about her. This time, James had dug in too deep. In a flash, the man had his strong hands around his throat, his fingers tightening. He couldn’t breathe. He almost gave in, his uncoordinated hands giving up their fight of pulling away the hands that were going to end his life. This was a fight he could not win. The alcohol made him think differently. No, he had to fight. Sure, he was a drunk but he didn’t want to die like this. James had to fight and he would. He refused die as a coward, giving into the killer’s wishes and being just another statistic. No, he would make the murderer remember who he was. He couldn’t waste more time, he didn’t have it. With all of his strength, James kicked out with his right leg, his foot hitting his attacker where it mattered. In shock and pain, the man let James go as he doubled-over. Coughing and gasping for breath, James seized the opportunity to grab the man by the collar of his jacket and pull him to the ground. His eyes caught sight of the wooden baseball bat that was strapped across the man’s back. The murder weapon that killed Marge and Stan? If he was a gambler, he would have put money on it. James reached for the deadly piece of wood and jerked it from its home against the man’s back, the hiss of velcro following it. As the man lay on the blacktop, James raised the bat over his head and brought it down against the monster’s back.
Two weak swings was all he could get in before the man's hand grabbed James by the ankle and pulled him violently to the ground, his head hitting hard against the pavement and making his vision grow dark around the corners. Smirking, the murderer pried the bat from James’ hands and watched the drunk's eyes grow wide in terror. He tried to scurry away as the man stood, but his knee refused the bend and black spots clouded his vision any time he moved his head. The man raised the bat above his head, smiling, and brought it down with a crack. Pavement. James had managed to roll away once, but he wouldn’t get that lucky again, his vision dark and the pain in his head making him nauseous. The man followed swinging the weapon over his head and down again, making contact with James’s body.
The sun finally rose, its light shining down on what use to be James Smithson. Bones were turned in ways they shouldn't have been. His navy polo was torn and soaked with rain and blood. His salt and pepper hair was now red. Blood pooled around him, his body bruised and the right side of his face was clearly broken. As repayment for the fight James had put up, a gutting knife stood from the right side of his chest, the blade buried to the hilt. Finally, the murderer had taken his third life. His dream to become a serial killer had been completed.
And then James took a breath.
The Drunk's Decline
Beep, Beep, Beep."Don't leave me, James..."
August 17, 1987
The young man reached out from under the blanket , his hand trying to find the button to silence the alarm clock. The weight on his chest shifted, blonde hair brushing his chest. He smiled softly as he brought his hand back to rest in her hair.
"Don't leave me, James..."
The man chuckled, "Ruth, I'll only be gone for a few hours."
"I know that, but I'm still going to miss you."
"I'll be back before you know it."
He hummed a ‘yes’ as he gently pushed the woman off of him and turned to get off the bed. A pair of arms draped across his neck from behind. Soft lips tickled at his right ear, raising goosebumps on his arms. “Ruth, I have to go to work,” James sighed as he turned to face his wife. Her dark blue eyes stared back at him, pleading.
“You can be a little late,” she whispered, a smirk on her face as she shifted so James could fully see her.
“What the hell?” he replied as he wrapped his arms back around her and they melted into the sheets.
November 14, 1987
James and Ruth sat uncomfortably in the small chairs of the doctors office. The chill in the air froze the couple to their bones; Ruth was trying the best she could to fit in the nook of James’s arm without looking ridiculous.
The rest of the room looked relatively plain, save for the section in the far side of the room meant for toddlers. A little girl with bushy brown hair was playing with some letter blocks, trying to balance them. James could feel Ruth laugh silently as the blocks came falling down, resulting in a small “Uht-Oh” from the child. He couldn’t help but smile himself. Before he had met Ruth, he had known in his heart that he never wanted to have any children. They were disgusting brats who couldn’t control themselves, after all. Once he and Ruth had been dating, however, that all changed.
His gray eyes twinkled with hope as he watched the child’s mother come and pick her up once her name was called. Lillian... That was a beautiful name for a beautiful little girl. Maybe-
“Mrs. Smithson?” A woman in white scrubs stood in the doorway, a clipboard in hand. Ruth straightened herself up and looked at James with a smile. This was the moment that they had been waiting for. It wasn’t long after she had gotten up and walked into the hallway that she was back, her face glowing with excitement. She didn’t need to say anything. James had known it all along. Quickly, he got up from his chair and made his way to her, kissing her in front of the entire waiting room. He had never been more proud in his life.
April 27, 1988
“James, this is Sheriff Robertson. You need to get to the hospital right away.”
“What’s going on?”
“It’s Ruth. I’ll explain everything when you get here.”
James pulled the phone from his ear, throwing it on the couch beside him. His mind flew in every different direction as he scrambled for a shirt and the keys to the patrol car. Was she alright? Was she in labor? What about Lillian? What happened? Tears began to form in his eyes as he imagined losing Ruth and his unborn child. “No, no... Don’t even go there.. Just breathe. Don’t jump to conclusions. Everything is okay,” he muttered to himself as he left the driveway and made his way to the hospital with the sirens on.
It only took him around fifteen minutes to make his way from the couch to the receptionist's desk. “Ruth Smithson.. Where is she?” he asked the clerk, his face flushed with worry. Before the woman could answer, a familiar voice called his name. He turned to see Robertson making his way toward him, his face somber. James shook his head frantically. “Ruth? Where is she? The baby?”
Robertson shook his head, reaching out to grab James’s shoulder.
“Robertson, I swear to God. If you don’t tell me what-”
“There was an accident.”
“A-An accident?” James choked.
Robertson nodded, his eyes looking at the ground. “I got there as fast as I could, James... Ruth was pulling out of the Marge’s clinic and was hit in the side by Stan Goode. He didn’t have his lights on in the fog and Ruth just didn’t see him.”
“Is she alright?”
Robertson was silent.
“For fuck sake’s, tell me she’s alright!” James screamed, trying his best not to shake the man in front of him.
“She was unresponsive when I arrived. She’s in a coma, but she is slowly stabilizing. The baby...”
A cry of desperation escaped from the man as he shook his head in disbelief. The simple word ‘no’ began to repeat itself across his lips as his hands pulled at his hair and he collapsed to the ground.
May 4th, 1988
James sat at the edge of the hospital bed, his head against the mattress. His dark gray eyes watched Ruth’s pale fingers as he rubbed them with his own. It had been a week and there was still no response. Relatives would come and go, saying they were sorry; they would help in whatever way they could. It was all a bunch of bullshit, but James let them say it anyway.
Ruth’s mother was the only helpful one. She didn’t speak unless she had to. “They say that talking to them helps,” she told him a day ago when she brought him something to eat, “They say that they can hear you when you talk to them. Almost like they are watching overhead, but can’t find their way back home. I guess a loved one’s voice helps to guide them.” And then she left. After that, James began to talk to Ruth, as if she were awake. He would laugh with her, cry with her, plead with her.
Gently, he brought her fingers up to his lips and kissed them. The simple act brought tears to his eyes, but he had swore he wouldn’t cry again. He had cried enough for a thousand lifetimes, there was no need for more. James continued to play with her fingers, twisting the wedding band around her ring finger. He smiled softly as he remembered proposing to her in the park, under the old cedar tree where they had met, and then their wedding day. The past was- James looked up at Ruth, suddenly. Did she just move her fingers? His eyes darted from her face to her hand, a smile coming to his face. “Ruth, baby? Ruth, if you can hear me, move your fingers again,” he encouraged. It only took a few seconds before she responded. Overtaken with joy, James rushed from his seat to the door to get a doctor. As he reached for the handle, a soft voice floated across the room.
Beep, Beep, Beep“Don’t leave me, James..”
James groaned as he tried to shift in the hospital bed. Pain immediately shot through his entire body. A soft hand pressed against his cheek. “Shhh, James. Don’t move, Dear...” whispered a woman to his right. He forced his eyes open, closing them in response to the bright light.
“Where am I?” he grunted, as he encouraged his eyes to open again.
Ruth’s tired face slowly came into view, a small smile of relief pressed against her thin lips. “You’re in the hospital, Sweetheart.. You were... attacked,” she said quietly. It was evident that she didn’t want to speak about the prior events and James wouldn’t pressure her. “You almost died,” she whispered so softly that James had to strain his ears in order to hear her.
He smiled at her and opened up his hand for her to take. Death had changed him.