I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed today. My husband is currently deployed with the military until December and there is about a week left of summer vacation before my children (the oldest 3) go back to school. I have been trying to find the time and focus to do some editing on the first draft of my novel and juggle my real-life job.
Life can be hard to balance sometimes. Reading and writing have become an escape for me. I am so grateful for the authors who have poured their heart and soul into the books that give me an escape when the real world becomes too much. It wasn’t until I started writing in a serious way that I fully understood what goes into it.
I recently placed 7th out of 35 writers in my group ( there were approximately 4000+ writers in total) in the first round of NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction competition.
My genre was Fairytale, and my location was River Rapids, and I had to include A Scooter.
I decided to use my 4 boys as the main characters for my story titled, “Whisper Stones.” I have included the short story below.
Writing and reading keep me grounded. What about you?
Whisper Stones by Alicia Doyle
Once upon a time, in a sleepy mountain town, there lived four brothers named Kade, Clay, Seth, and Finn. Each day after school, hungry for adventure, they would set off to explore the forest on the other side of town. And each day, their mother would say, “Have fun, be safe, and stay away from the river.” In all their adventures, they had never seen a river in the forest on the other side of town, so they thought their mother was silly to warn them.
One sunny afternoon, the brothers went to explore the forest, and their mother gave them the same warning she always did. They walked the same route through town, and followed the same path into the forest, playing and laughing as they went.
“My legs are tired,” said Finn, the youngest of the four.
“I knew we should have left you home,” said Clay.
“Just a little further?” Seth pleaded.
“Just a little further,” Kade replied, “ Here Finn, I will carry you.”
The brothers continued down the path, passed the big rock and the tree that looked like a dragon. They walked and walked and just as they were about to turn around, Seth held a finger up to his lips.
“Shhh,” he said, “Do you hear that?”
“It sounds like a river!” Clay exclaimed.
“Follow me!” Kade whooped and took off with Finn on his back, barely hanging on.
The boys ran toward the sound, off the path, and up a hill through the tall trees. When they crested the hill, they stood, catching their breath, staring at the gushing water below. The river rapids were loud and rushed furiously over the smooth stones peeking up through the water.
“Mama said to stay away from the river,” Finn whispered.
“We won’t go in,” Kade said, “We are just going to look.”
The boys made their way down the hill toward the rapids. Stepping out of the trees, they spotted a bright red scooter sitting alone near the riverbank.
They looked for the owner of the scooter, but there were no tracks or footprints near the river, as though it had appeared there on its own.
“Well, if no one owns it, I think I should have it,” Kade said.
“Why should you have it?” asked Clay.
“Well, I’m the oldest, that’s why.”
“That’s not a good reason,” said Seth, “It’s my favorite color. I should have it.”
“But I want it,” cried Finn.
The brothers argued, each with their own reasons why it should be theirs. The more they argued, the louder they got, until they were screaming and shoving each other.
They didn’t notice the water sprite until she splashed them and hollered, “ENOUGH!”
The brothers were stunned to silence. She continued,” Who dares disturb my peaceful sleep from ‘neath the raging river deep?”
With her hands on her tiny hips, she glared at the brothers.
“We are very sorry Miss,” Clay said, “My brothers and I heard the river and wanted a closer look. We found the scooter, but we couldn’t decide who should get to keep it.”
“I see,” said the sprite, twirling a strand of her blue hair between her tiny fingers. “With this decision, I shall give aid, but first a task you must complete. If you agree, then three days hence beside this river once more we’ll meet!”
The brothers quietly discussed their options. When they had made their decision, they approached the riverbank.
“We agree. What do we have to do?” Kade said.
“Four brothers, all with eyes of blue, a choice I’ll give to each of you.” She gestured toward the river rapids, “Retrieve a stone from waters swift, and speak to it your heart’s desire, then place the stone upon a hearth, three days that it might feel the fire. When three days pass, return the stone, and stand upon the river’s edge, and once I have thy heart’s desire, I will fulfill my sacred pledge.”
One by one the brothers pulled a stone from the water. When the final stone was chosen, the sprite vanished.
“I have a bad feeling about this,” Finn said.
Stones in hand, the four brothers climbed back up and over the hill, through the tall trees, to the path that led them home.
That night, each whispered to their stones and placed them on the hearth as the water sprite instructed. For the next three days, they did not travel to the forest on the other side of town, and they did not go on any adventures.
On the fourth day, they each grabbed their stone and anxiously made their way back to the forest following the familiar path passed the big rock and the tree that looked like a dragon. Finding the river was much easier. Each brother placed their stone on the river’s edge and stepped back.
“Well, well, well,” said the sprite, rising from the water, “ I see you have returned. Did you do as I asked?”
The brothers nodded, and the sprite approached the first stone. With a single, delicate touch, she cracked open each rock and each time, a small gust of wind tousled her hair. She giggled, inclining her head like she was listening to a voice the brothers could not hear.
“Well,” said Kade, “Did it work? Who gets the scooter?”
“One boy wished an end to pain, for family, friends, and all he meets. Another asked for those in need to always have enough to eat. A third desired happiness and fun that comes without a cost. The last,” she said wiping away a tear, “requested one more day for all to spend with one they’ve lost.”
The sprite continued, “No greed or selfishness displayed, you thought of others, not yourselves. You have earned a just reward. Such goodness deep within you dwells.”
She snapped her fingers and disappeared, leaving four brightly colored scooters, one for each brother. And they scooted home happily with joy in their hearts.