Awkward Prom Date

It’s the end of the school year, which means teens in their formal attire are all over Applebee’s and other casual restaurants, eating riblet platters and posing for a photo before their big night …

Creative Writing Prompt: Awkward Prom Date

Your character’s prom date went … not so well. Why?

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.


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81 thoughts on “Awkward Prom Date

  1. AvatarKerry Charlton

    Uncle, I am three quarters thru a rewrite and I intend to shoot for.the end of the year
    Will.keep you posted on it, thanks for stopping by

  2. Avatarwriter_sk

    The prom approaching seemed to be the vehicle carrying us into a new era.

    My friends were breaking away from what we had all been throughout high school: rap and R&B cheerleaders. Now, Shy hadn’t even gone out for varsity and was taking a college film course at the local community college. She was wearing around an extra large t-shirt adorned with a black and white Kurt Cobain’s eyelinered close-up talking about “when Kurt died” She had fallen for this tall guy in a band and kept writing poetry for him that she said could be “used as song lyrics” Tabby had tried out but seemed obsessed with her new car and often picked me under the false pretense of going to the mall. An hour later we’d be out in the boonies listening to Beastie Boys. I felt like we weren’t supposed to get into them till college. Our Friday routine used to be cheerleading practice, pizza at the mall, go over our routine again, hit a party or dance, drink illegally, end at Friendly’s ice cream and sleepover whosever house. Lately Tab took off with her boyfriend after practice and would maybe make an appearance at the dance and Shy would say she was “going to a show” which meant seeing some indie bands.

    I found myself out watching such a band and felt kind of cool up close to the small stage packed in with college guys and different types of people. The crowd was full of flannel shirts – part of the new grunge movement that had swept the Seattle area and had come to full realization after “Kurt’s death.” It would take me a couple more years to get on board and even then I would need a transitional palette cleanser in Smashing Pumpkins before latching onto Stone Temple Pilots and Alice In Chains.

    After the show Shy finally asked me about my prom dress. We had the obligatory giggly exchange of dress details then moved to the iffy subject of dates. My friends knew I was waiting since our kiss last summer for my cute neighbor to ask me to prom. He never did. He talked to me in a polite way which said he wasn’t interested in me. It was particularly painful. I was going with another kid from my Biology class. He was ok. Shy seemed to think he was God’s gift.

    “You’re going with Weston January?” She turned her body fully around and stopped walking.

    I smiled, looking past her, preoccupied with seeing if the taco stand was still open.

    “He’s in a Pearl Jam cover band. He’s the singer.”

    “Uh huh.”

    I heard her but deliberately answered that way. I hoped they would play Bel Biv Devoe at the prom; bubblegum hip hop. Perfect for dancing or breaking out a cheer routine.

    The prom came and went and I was happy to see my neighbor sitting on my back stoop when I cut out early and went home. He turned the stereo to Boys II Men and I got my perfect high school prom moment, the way it was supposed to be.

  3. AvatarJennifer Park

    77. The Ball

    [Follows “76. The Nest”, under “Tornado Season” You can see a listing of the Darth Barbara saga chapters—and novelized sample chapters—by clicking on my name above. The sample first comics for the first chapter are about half-way done.]

    [Please help me rename Barbara and/or the Saga! Proposed possibilities:

    1. Barbara, Barbarella, “The Barbara”, The Barbara Saga

    2. Ruby, Rubella, “Ambassador Rubella”, Ambassador Rubella Saga

    ]

    The ball celebrating the defeat of the Mvuibnhueibdmluimmh seemed premature. Sure, the last of their ally planets had capitulated, after years of attrition warfare. Even the Mvuibnhueibdmluimmh home planet was now controlled by the Kryzlamei—although this was hollow, since the surface inhabitants there were themselves victims of the Mvuibnhueibdmluimmh Undergrounders. And, this was the problem: the key leaders of the Undergrounders were still at large.

    Including the Overchancellor.

    So, naturally, Barbara invited him to the dance.

    At least, his drone was invited. He and his lieutenants still controlled dozens of drones that could wreak havoc in many planetary governments.

    “Is there a dance you cannot dance, Ambassador?” asked the Overchancellor.

    The music was an Okpeshid waltz. “Flattery won’t do your doomed civilization any good, Overchancellor,” whispered Barbara sweetly. Besides, almost every species had three- and four-beat dances, albeit at very different tempos suited to each physiology.

    As the waltz concluded, there was a round of diplomatic applause.

    The next song was a Piotam gavotte. 7 beats per measure. Drove most species nuts.

    But, there was a Mvuibnhueibdmluimmh equivalent, and the Overchancellor perked up. “May I have this dance as well?”

    “Of course.”

    Barbara happened to know the Mleuoemleuoi, and the pair cut a dashing figure across the now mostly-emptied dance floor. The Piotam version was subdued, choreographed, and took up little space. The Mvuibnhueibdmluimmh version was like a combination of Earthling quickstep and tango, with dizzying footwork that careened free-form from one corner of the dance floor to the other.

    The crowed watched them, mesmerized.

    Barbara’s footwork was not perfect, but the Overchancellor was adept at catching her at the right moments and moving the action along. This was the advantage of having a skilled leader in a partner dance: Barbara looked ever so better than she really was.

    Which made her wonder, “So, I take it this is really you dancing, not preprogrammed?”

    “Oh, Ambassador, all of my dancing is my own. I would not have it any other…”

    There was a loud crash, and the ancient, hand-carved calcified-wood entrance panels to the Third Palace fell off their hinges and onto their floor.

    From the unnecessary dust emerged Subgeneral P’Eche-eche, of the Near-Planetary Unit.

    “What are unwashed those thugs doing here?” Barbara pouted as the music came to a halt.

    To answer her question, the Subgeneral marched right up to her, and raised an accusatory finger at the drone. “Ambassador Barbarella, it has come to our attention that you are consorting with an enemy agent.”

    “Am I? Gasp,” she said drily.

    The finger moved toward her. “Ambassador Barbarella, you are under arrest for the suspicion… suspiciousness… of… for… the suspects of being an enemy of the Union.”

    Barbara rolled her eyes. Did this upstart not understand that she was the Union? “Oh, dear.”

    Soldiers came up to restrain the Overchancellor.

    “Well, Overchancellor, I guess this is good-bye.”

    There was a great, dusty explosion.

    When the dust cleared, Barbara was gone.

  4. AvatarEric Miller

    I thought my prom date started awkwardly. That was nothing compared to how it ended.

    Being the nerdy girl, yes the one that wears loose fitting jeans and oversized t-shirts with obscure references to sci-fi characters, I felt totally out of place coming down the stairs in a tight fitting, low cut dress. Juan was waiting at the front door, oversized corsage in hand. His face was bright red. Friends since third grade; we made a pact in Junior High to go to prom together if we did not have dates.

    And, here we were. I felt naked and he looked ridiculous. The fact that my parents were smiling from ear to ear as they took pictures was not helping.

    Then he tried to pin the corsage on the thin strap of my dress. He fumbled and stuck the pin into my flesh. Yes, there was blood. All we could do was laugh, but I know we both wanted to cry.

    Once we got in my car, we both calmed down. This was our place. Juan didn’t drive because of his anxiety disorder, so we spent hours together in my car. He was shotgun and controlled the tunes. I focused on getting us where we were going in one piece. This is where we used to talk and share our deepest thoughts.

    I’ll spare you the details of our arrival, the embarrassment as we walked into prom and I felt like every person there was staring at me in disapproval. You can imagine the part where we stood together in the corner nervously watching the crowd and engaging in mild gossip as we saw couples swirl in front of us.

    We danced a little, it was not pretty, but we checked off that box. The slow dance was the worst. I know Juan had never held a girl that close before because we had talked about it a month ago. I had never been held that way either. My body took over and reacted. Hormones and blood flowing to places I didn’t want them to. I could feel, against my hip, that the same was happening to him. Our bodies on autopilot, we leaned harder against each other as our eyes looked over each other’s shoulders with panic, scanning the room for an escape.

    Mercifully the dance ended. The king and queen crowned most of the kids sped from the parking lot headed to after-parties. Juan and I didn’t say a word to each other as we walked to my car. The silence continued to his house.

    That is where our friendship ended.

    He looked at me and said, “I think we are supposed to kiss.” So we did. Our bodies took over, and we made out for a good ten minutes. He was clumsy. I was hesitant. Neither of us let our hands go anywhere dangerous. We just kissed. Compelled by expectations, loneliness, and desire we could not control, we kept at it till I had had enough. It just felt wrong. This was my best friend.

    I gently pushed on his chest and told him it was time for him to go inside.

    He didn’t text me the next day. I have not talked to him in over a week.

    1. AvatarKerry Charlton

      Such a tender way.to write a story about the coming of age. I think it applies to all of us but some choose to deny the feelings because it’s not cool. Well I’m not afraid to. Perfect.ending you chose.

    2. Avatarwriter_sk

      Eric

      This was very good. You got the awkward down pat.

      In the first couple sentences you re use the word “oversized.”

      This story was a nice little gem

    3. AvatarJennifer Park

      Why is it that it is sometimes wrong for everything to go right?

      Part of my is, like, it’s only been a week… maybe things will turn around… but, I also understand if it is just not meant to be…

      In other words, I’m completely invested now. Good work!

  5. Avatarkate_good

    We waited patiently in an art gallery anticipating more traditional forms to be displayed on the walls. Instead we were propelled into the center of the galaxy, surrounded by stars, planets, asteroids and other wonders of the unknown universe created in Fiyas’s imagination.

    I knew there were still others around me because I could hear their audible gasps of astonishment, but my vision had completely been altered so all I could see was the dream Fiyas had created. I just had to get him on the prom committee with me.

    Word quickly got out that the nerd sitting in the back corner of everyone’s potions or divinations class had an award winning ability. Soon everyone wanted to be his friend, or at least use him for an out-of-world experience of their own. Fiyas was in his prime, getting more attention from his classmates than he had ever received prior.

    I worried about him though as I watched all of his new “friends” constantly ask him to “do that thing with my vision!” I vowed not to be the one to rain on his parade though, even when I found myself jealous to learn he was going to the prom with Gabriella.

    We worked together on the prom committee for weeks leading up to the big night. When the evening finally arrived Fiyas’s vision and décor was even better than we could imagine. The walls of the school seemed to disappear inside his creation and all we could see was where the earth ended and the night began. This time however he replaced the stars with candles that surrounded us for as far as the eye could see. It was truly a wonder to behold and romantic in every way.

    It was in the middle of a slow dance number that I bumped shoulders with Gabriella on the dance floor. When I turned to apologize I realized she was not dancing with Fiyas but rather another 2nd year I barely recognized. I quickly turned to find Fiyas but caught his eyes at the same time he caught Gabriella’s.

    In an instant the candles in his vision around us started to melt. The tables and chairs appeared to catch fire and some kids later swore they could feel the heat. Some screamed and everyone started running, not knowing which direction to go to get out of the hall. I ran to Fiyas.

    I carefully placed my hand on his shoulder and instantly felt his anger, disappointment and rejection. I tried to pull some of the pain away from him so he didn’t have to suffer alone. We stood there for a moment and I felt his gratitude as rain began to fall in the scene around us. A gentle thunder storm began to extinguish the images of flames. He sniffled and I pulled him into a hug. We shared a mutual feeling of understanding. Sometimes you don’t need to be appreciated for your talents, sometimes you just need to be appreciated as a human. Even if you’re only partially human.

    1. AvatarKerry Charlton

      Beautiful ending to a very unusual story. Sometimes reality can blend so well with imagination and we are caught in the middle of chaos as a result.

      Blend

    2. AvatarUnclePizza

      I’m generally not a fan of fantasy but you had me really enjoying this – you writing style got me outside of my “enjoyment zone” without my even realizing that it had happened. I would been happy to read more!

  6. AvatarJD

    The night raised goosebumps on Giselle’s arms, and she rubbed them to try and bring a little warmth back into her skin. The smell of smoke rode the air, and she had a brief, irrational sense that she was rubbing it into her pores, that she would come home smelling like ash.

    ‘Where have you been?’ She thought in her father’s voice.

    ‘I decided to go to a bonfire instead of prom,’ she responded mentally. It actually wasn’t too far from the truth. A lock of hair fell over her face as Giselle turned to view the smoking ruin that used to be a five-star restaurant. Now it was an unrecognizable landscape of ash and embers.

    She sighed and rubbed her arms a little harder. Despite being feet away from smoldering wood, she was still freezing. As if what she’d done had taken all the heat out of her body. She started to shiver and locked down her muscles against the motion. Or tried to. She abandoned her efforts to rub warmth back into her arms and wrapped them around herself instead, looking out at the city lights miles below. From the rock where she sat, the speckling of lights was really quite beautiful. But it would be quite a while before any diners enjoyed this view again.

    ‘Not how I pictured tonight going,’ she thought.

    When she closed her eyes, Giselle could still see it, vivid as a blowtorch. Sneaking half-drunk into the kitchen, taking nips of cheap champagne from the flask Allison snuck in, giggling like an idiot. Fiddling with the stove and getting the weird urge to light every burner, to turn them up as high as they would go. Allison helping until they were all on. The weird way she could feel each flame, knew somehow that when she crooked her finger, they would bend. Lifting her arms, watching the flames leap higher, barely noticing Allison running from the room…

    She opened her eyes and got up, stumbling closer to the wreckage. Her date was probably under there somewhere, but all she could feel was cold. She reached out her hands toward the warm embers, longing for their heat, and little nips of light and energy, little streaks of fire, flickered across her fingers and into her skin. Faster and faster, first from nearby and then from every corner of the wreck, unit it was cold and dead, and Giselle felt warm and alive.

    A glimmer of light caught her eye and she stood up to peer closer. Pulsing red and blue, near the bottom of the hill. A second later, the sound of sirens reached her ears. She stared for a moment, then turned and started picking her way down the hill. They’d arrest her without even trying to let her explain. She took out Allison’s flask and had another sip, felt it burn in her belly. And besides, the night was still young. It was prom season.

    There were so many more parties to burn.

  7. AvatarUnclePizza

    August 3, 1944

    Yesterday we learned that there are two other families in hiding. They are living in a secret annex like ours, in a building directly behind the one where we are living. Mrs. Gies told us about them as she was sneaking some supplies in to us. Apparently there are eight people living together, which I can’t imagine. It’s difficult enough with just the five of us hidden in a home that we can never leave.

    Or maybe we can? Mrs. Gies said that she and Miss Voskuijl are hoping to sneak us across the alley tomorrow night. They feel bad that we are all locked away, hidden, with no entertainment to be had. The children of the other families are teenagers, as are my sisters and me. Mrs. Gies said that Miss Voskuijl will bring us some of the latest records and we can have a dance, like the schools do in the spring. Only we will have to just wear what clothes we have as she can’t risk smuggling nice suits and gowns.

    Mrs. Gies also said that one of the girls hiding in the annex across the alley is 15, the same age as me. I asked her if she had a photograph to show me, but she said no, it would be too risky to carry. What would she tell the gestapo should they stop and search her bag? She described her to me though, and she sounds beautiful. Mrs. Gies said that the girl’s name is Anne and that she has been keeping a diary. I decided that I will keep one too. Today is my fist entry.

    I am very much looking forward to tomorrow as it will be an exciting day. All the days so far have been dull with not much to do. We mostly listen to the news or worry about getting found and sent away. Those who have been sent away never come back.

    But tomorrow we will have a dance and I will meet Anne. Perhaps we will fall in love, and after the war, we will be married. I will have so much more to write about after tomorrow!

    ———————————————-

    History from August 4, 1944: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/anne-frank-captured

    1. AvatarKerry Charlton

      Uncle, shivers down my spine as read about Anne Frank. There is nothing.more fascinating than history. My family made me look at the death camps in.1945. I am glad they did. The way to defeat evil is to know evil. A wonderful response you have come up with.

  8. AvatarFleur

    *****************************
    Foul Date
    *****************************

    Eloise came to my house, drenched in tears. Her hair was messed up and so was her dress. Mascara streamed down from her face as she sobbed even harder onto my shoulders. My heart was heavy with guilt. I didn’t know what to do. Eloise just kept on crying and crying, not hugging me back. I tried to comfort her, but my words meant nothing to her.

    Prom night was supposed to be fun, so what in the name of stars happened to my friend for her to fall apart right in front of me? A slight chill ran down my spine as waited for Eloise to provide an answer.

    “Oh Ace, why didn’t you come? You should have came! You should have!” Eloise cried.

    ‘I couldn’t leave my little brother behind,’ I wanted to say. ‘Besides-’

    “My prom date was horrible! He’s the worst man I’ve ever met!” Eloise yelled.

    “What…did he do?” I asked fearing for the answer.

    Eloise sniffled and began to wipe away the tears and mascara. She took in a few deep breaths in a vain attempt to stop crying.

    “Acerola, he smelled! His entire body had the scent of Summit Dew and old potato chips, it was terrible!” Eloise replied. “He…he also kept burping, while we were trying to dance!”

    I stared at my friend with a bewildered expression. I’m glad that nothing truly bad happened to her, but Eloise’s description of her prom date left me speechless. A part of me weirdly wanted to laugh.

    “And the way he talked too. Dear stars, why did I choose him?” Eloise said. “He wouldn’t stop saying, “milady I’m the most nicest guy you’ve ever met! All of those other guys mean nothing to you!” “Milady this, milady that,” holy smokes just talk like a regular being and shower for once! Did you think a fancy tuxedo would magically make you clean and a gentleman?! Disgusting!”

    “Beware the neckbeards, my friend. His mouth that smells and spews out words that make him sound fake and leaves everyone ashamed about his presence. Beware the fedora on his heart and mind. For he spends too much time complaining how he can’t get laid. Down in the basement with a computer by his side. Also, he hasn’t showered in like 60 weeks. If you ever hear him say “milady” run away as fast as possible! His stench and ideologies will corrupt your mind!” Canna’s voice echoed inside my head.

    Remembering what she said had caused me to-

    “Ace!” Eloise yelled shocked by my reaction. “Are you laughing at me?!”

    “What? No! No! No! Not at your situation, it’s something that my friend had said about neckbeards,” I said sheepishly trying not to laugh anymore.

    “Neckbeards? What is that?” Eloise asked.

    “Ummm….come inside and I’ll explain,” I said.

    Or try to that is.

    Eloise sat down on the couch, once again wiping away the remaining tears and mascara.

    “Before you explain, how come you couldn’t come to prom again?” Eloise asked.

    “Eloise,” I said. “I’m a junior.”

  9. AvatarDMelde

    Stacey heard the meteor as she sat at a booth inside of the Freight House, her favorite, riverfront restaurant. Her prom dress, hair, and make-up were all meticulous. She was the very definition of style and loveliness. Seated opposite from her was Benjamin in a loose-fitting, rented tuxedo. Stacey didn’t mind his unkempt appearance because he was boyishly handsome with dark, tussled hair, and she knew from the way he looked at her that he adored her. Plus, Benjamin had high moral standards, and he was a little dim, making him easy for Stacey to control.

    Benjamin heard the meteor as he sat gazing at the corsage pinned to Stacy’s dress. It moved up and down on her chest in a regular, sensual rhythm. He tried remembering what he had read in Madame Rosa’s “Book of Love”, but he couldn’t think of anything else, except for the corsage and what lie beneath.

    Everyone in the restaurant turned and looked towards the noise. Through the restaurant’s large windows they saw a bright, white fireball flying through the sky, seemingly in slow motion, headed straight for the river. Stacey did a quick mental calculation using a surveyor’s double angle formula to approximate where the fireball would land. She didn’t like their odds.

    “Get up! We have to move!” Stacey said.

    She ran to the back as the other restaurant patrons ran forward towards the exit, slowing her down. Benjamin followed in her path, staying close behind. Through the commotion and the panicked screams they finally arrived in the restaurant’s kitchen.

    “Quick, get in the walk-in freezer!” Stacey said.

    Benjamin looked at her questioningly, but he did as he was told. Once inside, they looked out through the door’s small window. Nothing happened at first, but suddenly, a bright flash of light blinded them. The ground shook and the floor tiles cracked. A few minutes later the fireball from the meteor’s impact arrived, along with the concussion wave. The front of the restaurant was destroyed in under a second and everything was set ablaze, but the freezer door held fast. They were safe for the moment.

    Stacey did a quick inventory of the freezer. The food inside might be all they would have for a long time.

    Benjamin stood still, deep in thought. After a time, he lifted his eyes to Stacey.

    “You know,” Benjamin said, “we might be the only survivors. We might have to repopulate the Earth.”

    Stacey couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She gave Benjamin the Stare. It was the same Stare that every man receives at least once in his life. A Stare that withers a man’s soul until he cries out in his agony and despair, “My God, why was I ever born?”

    Benjamin turned stiffly away. He was right, and she might not understand now, but after she sees how alone they are, then she’ll know. He regretted upsetting her. With a sigh, he wished he had bought Madame Rosa’s companion book, “How to Raise a Large Family”.

    1. Avatarjhowe

      Yeah, Benjamin should have waited a while for his re-population comment; at least until after the dust settled. I’m familiar with The Stare.

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        I believe we’re all familiar with the stare, at least I am. Rally liked the premise of the story and you turned your characters well enough that I knew what they looked like. You think the stare withers a man soul, do you. Imagine what it does to your ‘you know’.

  10. AvatarShamelessHack

    “You’re such a good dancer, Felicia. Are you having a good time?”
    “George?”
    “I know I am. And I’m so happy you came to the prom with me. This is great.”
    “George?”
    “What, Felicia?”
    “George, I’m leaving you.”
    “What! What? Why?”
    “I only let you take me to the prom, you little twerp, so I could get closer to Matt. He’s with Jane, but I know he loves me.”
    “I, I don’t believe this! Matt? That pompous jock? That pimply-faced piece of space junk?”
    “Yes, George, I’m sorry, and…Oh! There’s Matt now, and he’s alone. Jane must be in the ladies room. Gotta go. See ya’ George.”
    “What? What? I don’t believe this. She can’t just walk out on me at the prom. Incredible. I feel like a dead asteroid.”
    “I know the feeling.”
    “Oh, hello, Jane.”
    “Matt is a real jerk, George. And so is Felicia I guess.”
    “Yeah, we’ve both been given a hard jettison.”
    “Yes, George. Sigh. I hope they both dance right out of the gym, and over the edge of the High School railing. It’s six miles down to the ground you know.”
    “Well, I’m not letting this turn of events ruin the night, Jane. You wanna dance?”
    “Hmm. All right George.”
    “It feels like this will turn into a pretty good night after all, Jane.”
    “Mmm. Better than I ever expected. And you’re such a good dancer, George.”
    “Ever dream about the future, Jane?”
    “Well, sometimes I dream that I’ll marry and have two children. A boy and a girl. I already have the names picked out. Judy and Elroy. How about you, George.?”
    “Well I never had a dog. If I ever get one, I’m calling him Astro.”
    “Look! Looks like Felicia and Matt won Prom Queen and King. Oh well.”
    “I feel like I won, Jane.”
    “You know, George, so do I.’
    “I think you and I are going to have a blast in the future, Jane.”
    “George, we ARE in the future.”

    1. AvatarUnclePizza

      For someone who has clearly spend far too much of his youth watching TV, you have been doing a phenomenal job with these spoofs! (I also like how you use nothing but uninterrupted dialog in telling them.). Your mother may have warned you that watching that much TV would rot your brain, but lucky for us, some things rot in a good way (think grapes/wine).

  11. AvatarJRSimmang

    THE LIGHT OF AMORTH, pt 2

    Glitz and glam fascinate me. Yards of glistening fabric have created the illusion that the whole gymnasium is an undersea kingdom, and these children are creatures craving the salt water.

    What are their most secret desires?

    We think, when we’re young, that we’re implacable, that we can withstand the raging winter winds. But, we become fragile.

    I look down at my son, his eyes scrutinizing the fog machines and penny loafers. He hasn’t heard music from a speaker before, and I’m sure the tinniness of it makes him shudder.

    “Father,” he probes. “If this works, then what can we expect?”

    I put my hand on his shoulder. “If this works, then we will see freedom.”

    “How do we know they aren’t already free?”

    Laughter from the rafters trickles down to me, and for a moment I hesitate. “See that boy standing over there? The one staring into that lighted device?”

    I feel my son nod.

    “That is a fetter, son, a disastrous onus. Do you know what he is looking at?”

    “But there are many who are looking at their own devices.”

    “They are all communicating through it, beholden to the device itself.”

    He squirms.

    “The ambiance. Their clothing, their transportation, their euphoria, their weakness and illnesses, all of the things that pull them into a spiraling abyss is the result of us.”

    He looks up to me and stares into my eyes. “Then we have no choice than to try.”

    I slowly, gingerly unfurl the scroll and run my fingers over the ancient ink. I shiver against the surge of magic crawling up my spine. It’s something I’ve always loved.

    The words are not foreign to me. They are old, yes, but they are familiar.

    A burst of purple explodes from one boy’s hands. The sound of a million waves crashing careens through the auditorium. A dragon erupts from a girl’s mouth, splitting her in half lengthwise.

    Black-blue clouds of an electrical storm creep and crawl above us; the power of the sun surges through underneath.

    Then, they scream.

    I lift my wand to my throat and project, “Careful young children, you are the chosen first!” They push and scramble toward the exits. I know I will not reach them all. “Embrace your new gifts, for you have been imbued with the magic you all have had inborn! Do not squander your newfound abilities!”

    Another bursts into flames. Yet another completely disappears.

    I was anticipating chaos. Chaos at the first influx.

    There was enough magic in this world. Enough for everyone to claim what is entitled to them.

    My son and I stand at the top of the bleachers, and I see the equalization.

    Several have changed colors completely. Others have transformed into animals and are milling about aimlessly.

    They will need guidance, but I have work to do.

    ***

    Georgina’s klaxon blares, alerting her to unlawful magic use. “That’s directly south of us,” she says out loud to no one in particular. “Obdigan! Get yourself ready!”

    She grabs her wand, waves it through the air, and opens a vapor. Her mind fixes on the location from the alarm; she breathes in deeply, closes her eyes, and reopens them a split second later.

    She was expecting to see a school, and instead is staring into the thick of a corn field.

    “What the?” she whispers. “Where? Where am I?”

    She levitates, pushing herself above the field of corn. “Where’s the school?”

    ***
    Obdigan brushes the dirt from his jacket and pants. “Well that was new,” he says.

    “That man just came out of the ground!” an elderly woman screams. “Right there! He’s risen from the dead!”

    “Crap,” Obdigan mutters, then opens a vapor again and falls in.

    ***

    Little by little, I think. Little by little shall they all be equal.

    -JR Simmang

    1. Avatarjhowe

      Very deep. JR. I loved the kids being beholden to their devices. I also was intrigued that Georgina used unreliable magic to combat unlawful magic. It seems she was tricked into the corn field. Very satisfying.

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        Loved the style this was written in. I get a little lost in the story but love the way you have written it. Will there be a third segment?

  12. AvatarPete

    The music doesn’t skip to a stop like it does in the movies. Although everyone does turn and gawk. I am, after all, a very gawk-worthy girl.

    Terrified eyes, covered mouths, close whispers. I hate all of them.

    Vice Principal Moyers straightens, her smile vanishing as she sets her shoulders back. Her face wears the pain of her past, like wrinkles pressed to cheek after a deep sleep. Whatever happened to her, she’s bound and determined to pay it forward.

    They are all so stupid. With their dresses and tuxes and beaming ignorance. With their hushed accusations. They think Jason was one of them. He wasn’t. He hated them, too.

    I almost take a bow. For him. For me. For theater. I am proud of my get up. A tutu, striped socks. Jason’s football jersey under a jean jacket vest. Because screw ‘em—that’s my motto.

    The school almost nixed this shindig. They had my vote. But the admins figured we needed this. We needed normalcy. We needed to trudge on. We needed to dry hump to trap rap because Jason would be proud.

    I set my chin up and approached the dee-jay. Middle age white guy, bobbing his head to the rap music, his Dre beats over one ear. Beer gut. Jeez, would it kill this school to be original?

    Dee-Jay guy glances over to me, totally pervy until he sees my outfit. Then he nods, his teenage smirk at odds with his bald spot. “What’s up?”

    I swallow my pride. Resist the urge to give them all the finger. “Can you play The Cure?”

    He looked confused. I sigh, wanting so badly to turn and leave and go to the cemetery. Again with the finger. But something makes me plant my shoe. “Pictures of you?”

    Lame Dee-Jay guy looks over the dance floor, where Jackie Massie and Chaz Diggs are either slap boxing or dancing, it’s hard to tell. He shrugs, “I uh, I don’t think I have it.”

    “It’s 2019, do you have the internet?”

    Dee-Jay guy shakes his head. “Look, I’m just trying to keep them dancing.”

    I look down at my stupid socks. It’s for the best. I don’t need this, any of it. I hate this school and I have exactly three weeks to go and then I can leave for good. Go back to Washington.

    I turn and walk, brush through the bodies in the gym. Yes, Jason would be alive if it weren’t for me. Yes, I’ve thought about dying since he fell. Yes, I’ve come close to doing it. Twice.

    I get to the door when I hear the chimes. I turn as the warbled guitar chords pierces my ears, my skin, my heart, my tear ducts as my eyes water before I can gasp. I see Jason in the hallway on the day I arrived at Jefferson Morris High School. His smile, the chip in his tooth. His laugh in the crook of my neck. His warm, strong arms around me. The sound of his breath the first time he told me he loved me. The cold chill of the night as we crossed the railroad trestle. The wind in my hair. How he stretched his arms out for balance. His face when he slipped…

    It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my fault.

    “It wasn’t your fault.” Vice Principal Moyers hovering over me…Pictures of You fading to silence…Ms. Moyers waving off the approaching shuffle of shoes inching closer…Taking my hand, leading me through the streamers and posters, lights…The disco ball throwing light like rain until we are outside…

    I am not okay. I’m shivering. Vice Principal Moyers actually lights up and smokes a cig as I tell her how it was my idea to cross the trestle, how Jason would still be alive if I’d listened to him. How my parents look at me like they think so, too. How the police basically said as much when they asked me questions.

    How I’m completely alone with my guilt.

    Ms. Moyers tilts her head when she exhales. She tells me her husband died five years ago in a car crash. I search her face for BS but only see the pain. The music is back to thumping inside. She says it gets better. But some days it’s worse. But if it ever gets too bad, like, really bad, bad like it did those couple of times when I thought I might actually… that bad. I can call her. Anytime.

    More smoke. I look at my socks, my defiance, my determination to be different when I only want to feel something again.

    I tell her I’ll call.

    1. AvatarKerry Charlton

      Oh Lord Pete, I stepped inside of your story as I read to see if there was anything I could do to help. This is far and above the most powerful story I have ever read from you. Watching you grow as a writer has been a thing of joy. Don’t ever waste the talent Pete. Keep climbing higher and higher until you’re walking in the clouds. You have all the talent it takes to do it. Nail this one up on the wall. Kerry

    2. AvatarJRSimmang

      This is such a powerful, consistent narrative, Pete. We’re always on the search for mentors, and I’m glad you chose Ms Moyers as your MC’s mentor. You also nailed how “original” your MC is, the rebellious nature of middle schoolers, thinking their fancy socks will set them apart, though she falls into the same stereotype she tries so hard to escape. What sets her apart, then, is her experience, which she finds isn’t hers alone. I’ll be curious to see how Moyers and she navigate their futures.

    3. AvatarBushkill

      Poignant. A school up the road from where I work (as a teacher) suffered the loss of a student the day after prom in a wreck. Two others life flighted the fourth hospitalized in a more conventional ambulance delivery. I’ve stood beside the caskets of too many kids taken too early. This is very touching.

  13. Avatarkopkid

    It had been a long day. At least, that’s was how Cassie felt. Looking around at the smiling, less-than-sober faces of her classmates, she wondered whether she was alone in her exhaustion. They all looked so happy, so freely able to live in the joy of this milestone moment. Cassie only wished she could feign such exuberance, never mind actually experience it.

    “Cassie? Heeellooo … are you evening listening to me?”

    She wasn’t. She hadn’t been listening to Joe for hours now. Certainly not since sometime after the ceremony had ended.

    “Why can’t you just enjoy this evening without obsessing over the future? You only graduate high school once in your life for god’s sake!”

    Cassie turned her head slowly, as if coming out of a daze, and looked at Joe. She both pitied and envied his ignorance, like a child who doesn’t yet comprehend mortality.

    “Joe, honestly, I’m fine,” she finally brings herself to say. “Go celebrate with your friends.”

    “But I want to celebrate with you! C’mon, just have one beer. It’ll lighten you up.”

    “I already told you, I’m not drinking tonight.”

    “I don’t understand why you won’t at least try to have fun. This is supposed to be the night every high school kid dreams about.”

    He was right, of course. Cassie had been envisioning Prom for years. She had visualized herself in the perfect flowing gown, her hair and makeup styled like never before, dancing with Joe and his handsome tux long into the midnight hours. Less than a week ago, she had still been dreaming that same fantasy, but now that all seemed a world away.

    “I know you’re worried about Chicago and everything in the fall,” Joe continued, “but just for tonight, can we not think about all that?”

    Cassie looked away without saying anything. She desperately wanted Joe to enjoy the big night but it was becoming increasingly obvious that she could no longer conceal her fragile state of mind. She could feel her stomach tying up in knots and her heartbeat intensify. The cacophony of music, lights, and gyrating bodies on the dancefloor made her head spin and she felt a bout of nausea overcome her. Without saying a word to Joe, she turned and half ran, half stumbled out the back door of the building, just making it to a row of bushes in time to be rather violently sick. She could hear several partygoers nearby smoking and chuckling about her “rough night”. If only they knew.

    Joe came running out after her, a look of alarm and bewilderment etched across his face.

    “Christ! Cassie, are you alright?”

    She looked up at Joe from her crouched and feeble position, tears on her cheeks and bile on the corners of her lips. She saw the loving concern in his eyes; the warmth and tenderness in his heart; the fierce protectiveness visible in every tensed muscle in his body. She saw a boy she had grown up with and a man she trusted. In that moment, she knew she was ready.

    Cassie picked herself up off the ground and wiped her eyes and face clean. It was time to tell him.

    1. Avatarjhowe

      What a great story, kopkid. I certainly wish the two of them all the luck they deserve. They’re going to need it. Well done. Thank you for the subtle hints and letting the reader figure it out.

    2. AvatarJRSimmang

      A whole story in such few words, Kopkid. You’ve woven a backstory in there, too, which makes us eager to read more. There are fewer dilemmas that completely disrupt a high schooler’s life. Nice job navigating that emotional minefield. Is Joe the reason for her “rough night,” or is there a third person in the mix? I’d like to see this one continued.

  14. AvatarRafTriesToWrite

    “Babe, come on, talk to me. What’s wrong?” Brandon asked for the hundredth time.

    “Nothing’s wrong.” I yelled at him as I stomped my way out of the school grounds feeling upset about all the things.

    “Lexie, something’s clearly wrong.” He caught up to me and grabbed my arm.

    “Let go of me Brandon.” I hissed at him then kept on walking away from the school.

    “Just tell me what’s going on.” He’s still following me.

    “Ugghh!” Was my creative reply.

    “Lex.” He went in front of me, crossed arms. I took a deep breath and prepared myself.

    “Nothing’s wrong Brandon.” I said to him.

    “Then what’s the prob-“ I cut him off.

    “That’s the problem.” I almost yelled. He just looked at me like I’m some deranged person, underneath the lamppost in the middle of the night, crickets singing their song and the flashing lights coming from the school gym illuminated the place.

    “What?” He was confused.

    “Nothing is wrong. That’s my problem. It’s too perfect. I’m the queen, you’re the king, there’s no drama, the punch tastes great, all the food tasted incredible, everyone was dancing really good, even the DJ is doing an awesome job with the music, it’s like I’m in some sort of perfect dream. It felt so weird and awful that I had to get out of there.” I complained.

    “I thought, that’s what you wanted?” I asked dumbfounded.

    “I know but, it just feels different, weird. You know?” I said.

    “Well you’re still in the sim, if you hadn’t noticed yet.” His words made me tremble. I’m in a simulator?

    “What? No I’m not. That was last week, and it was just for fun. What are you talking about Brandon? Don’t scare me like that.” I held my arms and started to walk home.

    “No Lexie, you’ve been here for a month now.” He said in his cold dead stare at my eyes as he appeared in front of me from the ground.

    My body shudders, my knees weakened, I could barely walk. What is happening? I can feel my heart racing, my blood boiling, my head aching, my eyes getting sore. I can’t even clench my hands let alone stand up.

    “We thought you already knew this Lexie?” He said. We?

    “Kn-know what?”

    “That you’ll be staying with us forever.” He creepily smiles as he bends down and hugs me in the middle of the street. Then came in the swarm of people coming from the gymnasium, all of them chanting my name heading towards me. I couldn’t get out because Brandon’s hug was too tight.

    “No no no no no no no no no. AAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggghhh!!!!”

    I knew it was too good to be true. Hanson and Ford’s dream simulator was faulty. Sure it gave you your wildest dreams and makes it seem like a reality, but they forgot to mention that it can also bring your nightmares into play.

    1. AvatarWilliam

      That certainly took a dark turn! Creepy!

      I think there’s a small error towards the middle of the page. Just want to make sure I’m reading it right. Shouldn’t ” “I thought, that’s what you wanted?” I asked dumbfounded.” be ““I thought, that’s what you wanted?” he asked dumbfounded.”

  15. Avatarwriteroftheking

    Jessica stood on the curb in front of Scaffon County High School’s gym, brow furrowed and hands on her hips. The throb of music could still be heard, pulsing loudly from behind the closed doors, but her thoughts were elsewhere as she watched the taillights of her date’s car bob frantically down the road. Derek sure was a bad driver.

    She reviewed the events of the past two hours, trying to pick out where she had gone wrong; why Derek had high-tailed it out of the gym so quickly.

    “Let’s see…” she thought, casting her gaze upwards into the dark. “He pulled up, walked up the front path, fergot to close the gate. Rang the doorbell, Daddy answered. I was behind Daddy, I r’member, cause I couldn’t see Derek cause Fredrick the skunk was still all curled up on Daddy’s head. Daddy stepped aside…boy were Derek’s eyes big! He didn’t even look at me, he jest kept staring at Fredrick…such a pity he didn’t notice mah dress right ‘way.”

    She gave an admiring glance down at her dress, the alligator skin giving off a slight shimmer from the streetlights.

    “We walked out to his car, the nice shiny convertable his daddy gave him, an’ then he started makin’ this squeakin’ noise when he saw that Teddy had all chewed up the nice leather seats. It was Derek’s durn fault, so I don’t know what he was fussin’ about: ya can’t jest leave someone’s front gate open without expectin’ to let the billy goat out. Don’t he know them billy goats love car seats?

    “Lesee—ah! Then I drove to the school ‘cause Derek was too shocked to grip the wheel, but he perked right up when I started drivin’. Yep, Daddy taught me to drive durn well, he did. Derek’s car sure was sleek-lookin’. Was missin’ a pedal, though. I figgurd it out ‘ventually, but it sure did make an awful noise when I tried pressin’ both those pedals!

    “An’ we pulled up to school–I told Derek he should try out for that choir group at school—he’d be an awful good soprano, from what I heard.

    “Whal, he was shakin’ too much by then, so we couldn’t dance proper, but he got all stony still when he noticed mah dress—he was awestruck by how beautiful it looked—or mebby he was starin’ at my live-snake neckless (George was all too willin’ to be my jewelry for the night).

    “Anyhows, he ricocheted outta that buildin’ faster than hounds after a ‘coon, so then I was thinkin’ he should try for track and field ‘stead of choir, but he was in his car an’ speedin’ down the road before I could tell him that.”

    Jessica eyeballed the sky again, as if it would tell her if she left any detail out, then snorted a breath.

    “Humph. City boys.”

    1. AvatarRafTriesToWrite

      Oh boy oh boy, king! The accents, the scenery, I could imagine myself watching every bit of it on my TV. Superb.

      And for the record, I also didn’t knew billy goats loved car seats. Then again, I’m also a city boy.

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        Tickled my fancy so bad it crossed my eyes and I can’t get them unlocked. Sounds like Beverly Hill Billy’s to me. I wish youwoul write this as a cartoon strip in full color. Loved every word of it.

  16. AvatarKerry Charlton

    THIRD TIME WAS A PIECE OF CAKE

    I was in the middle of exams in the spring of my first year at the university when I happened to see Dad come in to the driveway on a Saturday afternoon in May. He had been to the golf course where he spent his life at on the weekend. I walked over to his car as he got out,

    “Kerry, I need to talk to you,”
    My brain hit ‘alarm’ but I answered, “Okay.’
    “I volunteered your help, hope it was okay.”
    “Of course.” ‘This doesn’t sound good,’ I thought.
    “You remember Bob Jennings, my golf buddy, you met him a few weeks ago? Well his daughter Susan is a senior at your high school and her boyfriend didn’t ask her to the prom. It’s been hard for her because she doesn’t have anybody to go with.”
    “Dad, you didn’t …….”
    “I did, told Bob, you would be happy to escort her. Any problem with that?”
    “No sir, not at all. Do you have her phone number?

    As I drove over to her house the following Saturday, it would be fun. “Blind dates are not always disasters’, I figured. Their house was average but the car in the driveway wasn’t,. a brand new 1955 Buick Road Master convertible, solid white with a red leather interior beckoned to me to take a look but I didn’t dare touch it as I passed it on the way to the front door. Mr. Jennings treated me like an old friend and almost hugged me as I entered his house. Mrs. Jennings did hug me, but that was okay, she was quite a looker.

    “Before Susan comes down, I want to thank you for doing this.”
    “Not necessary sir, we talked for a long time on the phone. I’m looking forward to meeting her.”
    “A couple things Kerry..”
    “Oh, I’ll take good care of Susan.”
    “Already know that but here are the keys.”
    “Keys?”
    “To the Buick.”
    “Thank you, but I wouldn’t want anything to happen….”
    “Nonsense, take the keys and slip this in your pocket if you stop somewhere.”
    A twenty dollar bill landed in the palm of my hand.
    “Oh and one thing further, Susan said tradition was spending the night on Biscayne Key and watching the sun come up. Do that also, bring her back later tomorrow morning”

    Then Susan came down the stairs, tall and willowy, brunette with long hair and beautiful to look at, dance with, talk to and also to kiss in the moonlight on Biscayne Bay. So I had three proms I went to Junior, Senior and first year of college. Almost forgot, the prom was at Dinner Key in Coconut Grove overlooking the bay and Miami. Skitch Henderson’s orchestra played till one AM and may I say, Susan was smart, funny and a remarkable dancer. The kiss in the moonlight, well no one knows about that but Susan and myself. I will end this story with one statement.
    I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, the Buick drove like the wind and the kiss?
    Wow!

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        Thank you Raf, funny thing about this story though, it’s true. It’s a snip-it from my autobiography, ‘Living In Paradise and Not Knowing It. Glad you enjoyed it.

          1. AvatarKerry Charlton

            Uncle, I am three quarters thru a rewrite and I intend to shoot for.the end of the year
            Will.keep you posted on it, thanks for stopping by

    1. AvatarWilliam

      Great story! Interesting parenting though. “Hey stranger! Take my daughter and make sure you stay out with her all night!” Lol where were all THOSE dads when I was dating?

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        Thanks William . My Dad and Susan’s father had been playing golf together for over ten years. So if anything had happened, I would have been ‘dead meat.’

        1. AvatarKerry Charlton

          Hello writer King, thanks for stopping by. The 1950’s were a peculiar time. If you wanted to date a girl, you landed in the girl’s living room to meet mother and Dad. That’s it, no parents, no girl. Never had a problem there until I dated a girl who’s mother was half Seminole Indian [a real beauty] and her father was Jewish. That alone would make an entire story. Was tempted to take Mom for a stroll and leave the daughter home. Oh well.

    2. Avatarjhowe

      Leave it to you, KC, to have these experiences in your repertoire when the time comes to write good stories. It’s obvious you possess charm but you must have been quite the man back when. I also drove a Buick to my senior prom. It was my dad’s Wildcat, I forget what year, mid 60’s probably, and I was terrified something would happen to it.

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        Hey John, I loved the wildcat Buick. My father in law had one in baby blue and white. Unfortunately, he never trusted me to drive it. Thanks for the kind words.

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        I did drive it Pete, top down and in the moonlight, over looking the bay and Miami. . Skitch Henderson’s orchestra was unbelievably grand. Thanks for stopping by. .

    3. AvatarDMelde

      nice, nostalgic story, Kerry. you know that somewhere, in someone’s garage, there’s stored under a canvas tarp an identical Buick in pristine condition. now, the trick is in finding it …

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        Hey Dave, glad to see you back. Had a chance to buy one about twenty years ago. But couldn’t handle the cost which was thirty five thousand. Now who knows how much they are. Thanks for the kind words. Going up the prompt to read you now. K.

  17. Avatarjhowe

    Jerry Temple sipped slowly on his eleventh glass of punch. The DJ made yet another inane comment about yet another inane song. The senior prom was slipping away by the minute. He’d come to the conclusion it was up to him to initiate conversation with Chrissy Barker, who sat at the other end of the gym twirling her hair. She certainly wasn’t making any moves.

    Jerry walked nonchalantly across the floor, avoiding the area set up for dancing. The DJ announced a song by a new artist called Elton John. What kind of name was Elton? Jerry didn’t think this guy would ever amount to much. Pulling on the lapels of his brown crushed velvet tux, Jerry sidled up to Chrissy, jostling some of his punch on the pink fluff of her dress.

    “I’m so sorry,” he said, attempting to wipe the stain away.

    “Please don’t touch my breasts,” she said, shooing away his hands.

    Jerry felt the heat rise in his face and the multiple glasses of punch kicked in and he wet his pants. Chrissy turned away when Jerry noticed she was staring at his dampening crotch. He swayed, dropped his glass and fell backward, his head bouncing hard on the wood floor.

    Jerry awoke to the cooing sounds of his mother. She held his hand and smiled as he opened his eyes.

    “There’s my big boy,” she said, adjusting the bandage on his head. “You gave us quite a scare.”

    The events from the prom flooded Jerry’s mind and he groaned.

    “Oh no, what’s wrong dear. Does your head hurt?”

    “I’m fine, mom.” He would never be fine again. He’d have to move. Far away.

    Forty four years later, Jerry watched his granddaughters making mud soup in the yard. His wife came out to the patio, two glasses of punch in her hand.

    “I was just thinking,” she said, handing him a glass. “About how you fell for me the night we met.”

    “Very funny. Pardon me if I forget to laugh.” His suppressed smile cracked wide open. “Oh, and nice touch with the punch. You should apply for a job at Comedy Central.”

    They sat together and watched the kids play. Tiny Dancer played on the Echo Dot.

  18. AvatarWilliam

    Rented tuxedo with custom cummerbund = $185.00

    Matching corsage and boutonniere = $75.00

    Escalade limousine with chauffeur and all the amenities = $195.00 /hour

    Three course pre-prom dinner at Brennan’s = $140.00

    Leaving early because your date found a new boyfriend at the prom = $Priceless

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        Enjoyed it William, Even added the money up in my head. Women have not changed one grain of sand in the last sixty years. Take my word for it, A classic woman is a walking treasure, piece of fine art. Remember this one sentence. even if you forget your own own address.

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