Hey there everyone!
I'm pretty excited to announce that I'll be bringing a mini-story series to the blog! When I started the blog I promised that I'd be sharing some of my writing on here and since I'm not sure sharing my "novels" is a good idea just yet, I thought of writing random minis here. Here's how it's gonna work:
I'll post a picture on here (probably something really sweet) and then I'll write a short piece to go with it. It'll also be a cool writing exercise for myself. And well...who knows, it might just be a fun read for you. What I would definitely love from you though, would be feedback. Just let me know what you think and why (be as honest as you want, just be polite). So, what d'ya think? You game?
Today will be the first attempt.
Please note: The following story was written by myself and is under strict copyright laws. In NO CASE can it (in full or an exert) be copied and pasted, appear on another website or someone else's work or be used in any other form possible. If you wish to share the story with someone else, kindly direct them to this page.
Here's today's picture:
The summer heat particularly felt suffocating today, burning through Joshua's lungs instead of relieving him. He probably shouldn't have gone out for his afternoon run today. Not in this heat. Gasping, he suddenly came to a halt and bent low, his head leveling with his dark caramel kneecaps. He took a long sip of water from his now-hot water bottle and sighed heavily as he started walking slowly back home. On turning the street to a familiar array of beautiful villas he stopped short when he caught sight of the figure that stood in front of the Greene's villa. Katie? His breath simply caught.
Katie Greene walked up and down in front of the villa, using her hand to pull strands of her hair in place in obvious frustration. Her other hand held a cell phone to her ear until she finally retrieved the phone and seemed to punch in some digits.
Joshua's heart was racing. Should he turn back? Wait until she had entered into the villa? Or should he go round the back? No. This was ridiculous. He couldn't hide. Not after so many years. He took a deep breath and made his way towards her.
"Everything OK?" He slipped off his headphones as a small smile took possession of his lips.
Katie Greene spun around and her face suddenly lit up with a smile. Before he knew what was going on, she'd thrown her arms around him in a hug, whips of her brunet hair getting caught in his eyes.
"Joshua!" she exclaimed, "Look at you!"
Joshua wished she wouldn't. Not when he was all sweaty like this.
He chuckled "Gone two years, you'd think you'd have grown a little taller" he teased.
She laughed and slapped him on the arm "you certainly haven't changed. What are you doing home? Thought you also planned on leaving...got a job somewhere didn't you?"
He shrugged, "Didn't take it. Got something good here though. It's something about this place. Hard for me to leave. Too many memories I guess..." his eyes quickly darted away from her. He hoped she couldn't read him.
"Yeah...I see what you mean. I'd forgotten how beautiful home was...everything I'd left behind..." her voice trailed off.
"Hey, you know where everyone is? No one's home and no one's picking up their cell" she looked down at the cell phone in her hands.
Joshua felt a pang of discomfort "they're on vacation...out of the country. Your Mum said they'd be gone two weeks. They should be back any day from now. You didn't tell them you were coming?"
He watched as her face fell. She buried her face in her hands for a few seconds and sighed.
"No...I didn't tell them...Where am I gonna stay?" she motioned to her colourful small suitcase that stood in front of the Greene's villa.
Her eyes suddenly seemed to mount with tears.
"Katie, it's not a big deal"
She sniffed "Yes, it is. Look at me. Everything's falling apart. I don't need this. I'm enough of a mess as it is!" a tear rolled down her cheeks.
He tried to make sense of her words but all his brain could register were the tears that made their way down her cheeks. Something inside of him broke.
"Look, Katie, it's no big deal. You can stay at Rachel's. Just down the street. Her folks are away and her little sister hasn't come home from college, she's got more than enough room for one"
Katie wiped her pink-stained cheeks "Rachel? I stopped talking to her in high school"
"Rachel's the most generous person I know. She'd let you stay a couple days even if you'd never spoken to her"
Katie looked pensive for a long time. She finally brushed her hair to the side. "Alright. You said Mum, Dad and Sue'll be back any day right? So, it'll probably only be for one night. Just one night"
"I'd ask you to stay at my place but what with the twins and I've got my sister-in-law and nephew over..." why did he feel like he had to explain?
Katie smiled "how's Auntie? I mean, your Mum? And are the twins still..."
"A pain? Yeah. Tia's basically your average teen girl with lots of attitude, she doesn't hold back. Tim's alright, he's just really really lazy. But the kid's got a big heart. Always involved in one thing or the other in church"
"Doesn't sound so lazy then...I remember when we were their age"
Joshua chuckled "Yeah...we lazied around all summer. C'mon, let's go see if Rachel's home"
For the next three days, as he went about his everyday business, he would see Katie sitting outside the Greene villa on the sidewalk, obviously waiting for her family to come back. She would sit out there in the sun looking out into the road. He could tell she was hurting but he didn't know what about. "God, use me. Use me to speak the comforting words she needs to hear" he prayed.
On his way back from Bible study Friday evening, he saw that she was still sitting there looking into space. She had ditched the high hills she'd been wearing the day she got back and now wore comfortable jeans and a pair of Chucks. He couldn't but smile as he sat down on the side of the road next to her.
"You still have your old Chucks"
She looked down at her black Converse "Are you kidding? I love them. I see you still have yours too" she waved at his feet.
Joshua's smile widened, "Yeah, that was one of my favorite Christmases. Who would've thought we'd get ourselves the same gift?"
Katie turned to him and looked into his dark brown eyes "You knew me too well. I, on the other hand, just took a lucky guess"
Joshua chuckled "a lucky guess only a best friend would make"
Katie turned to him again, her expression unreadable "is that...is that what we were?" her eyes searched his.
Joshua froze. His heart went for a sprint. He suddenly looked down at the ground as he played with his hands.
"How's it over at Rachel's?" he cleared his throat, aware he was changing the subject.
Katie didn't answer straightaway, "It's good. She's really cool. I'd forgotten how much fun she was. I can't remember why I stopped speaking to her in high school..."
"I remember. She wouldn't stop talking about Jesus and her faith. You and the girls didn't think it was cool..."
Katie's eyebrow rose "Wow. It seems like such a petty reason now. She always seemed like little miss perfect. 'That's not right Katie', 'don't do that Katie'...it drove me nuts."
"It always made me wonder, her faith, I mean. Before you left two years ago, I wanted to tell you something. I wanted to let you know I'd given my life to Christ...He used Rachel" Joshua smiled.
"I wouldn't be surprised. You too had started to get so close" she turned away, an edge to her voice. "So, how's it going for you...Jesus? Did all your troubles suddenly evaporate?" the sarcasm was all too present.
Joshua snickered ,"As if! But I know now that whatever might come my way, He's there for me"
The rest of the evening was spent talking about old times. And every afternoon for the next three days Joshua would sit out there with her for a while.
On Monday, Joshua took his place beside her on the sidewalk to find that she was in tears.
"I've been back for a whole week Josh! A whole week and they're still not back!"
He put his arm around her shoulder. "They'll be back soon"
"I want them here now. Josh, I miss them so much. I haven't seen them since I left. I barely called..." her voice broke and she burst into tears again.
"Hey...you're here now"
"Josh, I'm a mess. Things didn't go as well as I thought they would. I...I messed up so many times" she sobbed.
Joshua played with his fingers, "we've all messed up. We're all somewhat of a mess. You knew me well before you left, Katie. I was alright on the outside but deep down I was a mess and I think you're the only one who knew"
"You never got over your Dad's accident. You blamed yourself..."
"A complete mess" he sighed at the thought. "You probably won't understand but...when I gave my life to Christ, it took some time but I started to see things differently, see myself differently. I accepted I wasn't perfect. I was a mess. It was OK. It was OK to be a mess. I didn't have to be perfect. His strength is made perfect in my weakness"
Katie wiped her eyes and didn't speak for some time "Josh, I'm...I'm sorry I left. The day I left, you showed up at the bus stop...you asked me not to go"
Joshua chuckled, "asked? Girl, I begged!" he exclaimed.
Katie's laughter filled the summer air. That's what he liked to hear. Neither spoke for some time.
"Why? Why'd you beg?" Katie's soft voice broke the silence, her piercing gaze holding his own.
Joshua took a deep breath as he searched her eyes.
"Why do you think?" he whispered.
At his words, her heart raced "I'm a mess" was all she could think of saying.
"A pretty awesome mess" Joshua's eyes didn't leave hers.
He reached forward and took her hand in his. She studied his caramel colored skin against her own pale skin as her heart continued to race.
"Katie, whatever's wrong, I'll work it out with you. You left two years ago. But I am not going anywhere. I'll sit out here with you for a whole month if I have to. I'll tease you all day long just to keep that smile on your face and I won't stop praying for you until you feel better. Katie, nothing's changed on my end since two years ago..." his eyes bore into hers and she couldn't doubt a word he spoke.
She looked away and watched a couple kids running around in the grass, trying to dodge the sprinklers. They were what, 7 years old? That used to be her and Josh with Rachel and a couple of the other kids. Her mind started to race as she thought of all he'd said.
After what seemed like forever to Joshua, she finally squeezed his hand "my birthday's coming up soon" she looked up at him and beamed.
"In exactly 4 days and..." he looked at his watch "and 9 hours. "So...what would you like?" he grinned at her. Friday was already round the corner...
"Mmm...another pair of Chucks. Red ones" she chuckled "and..." She looked up at him, her face full of emotion. "And please let me come to Bible study with you and Rachel"
A big grin took it's place on Joshua's face as he nodded "It's a deal".
He looked the other way and so did she. As they sat there hand in hand enjoying the lazy afternoon heat poured down by the dancing sun above...he couldn't help but thank God for answering two years' worth of prayer. Truth be told, he had never stopped praying for Katie Greene.
So, that's it! Hope you liked it! It was a little (alright, a lot) longer than intended but oh well, it was fun writing it. None of it was thought through before writing. I came up with it as I wrote. It would be fun to develop the characters more but I'll leave you with this. We agreed on "mini" stories right?
Actually, elements of this mini or short story are actually from a novel I'm currently working on. So it'll be quite interesting to know what you think of this one.
What do you think of the characters? Is there someone in your life you're praying for and you know you won't stop praying for? Who do you identify with the most: Joshua? Katie? Or Rachel?