I Woke Up At 4 In The Morning And Called The Police

This morning I woke to cussing outside my window. Just someone screaming, ‘F*CK YOU!’¬†in the alley. Or at least that’s what it sounded like. This isn’t unusual in my neighborhood. It’s not a very rough place, but it isn’t surprising to hear a rowdy young man screaming something at a friend late at night.¬†

I knew something was wrong when he kept cussing. Even more disturbing, I could hear furniture being thrown across a room. I looked at the clock. Five minutes had passed since I’d been woken up and I looked out of the window. There wasn’t anyone in the alley but I could still hear the screams. The next words shocked me.

“Kill me. I dare you to kill me. I dare you.”

Scared, I woke up my mom, who sleeps beside me. There was a fight across the street, I told her. So she called 911. Five minutes later they were there, four squad cars. You would think they wouldn’t have the need for more than one but they’d dealt with this guy before. He was a menace. Last time it took four police men to take him down.¬†

Needless to say, all the neighbors were awake and peeking through their blinds, trying to find the source of the commotion. The man was taken from the house in cuffs about twenty minutes after mom called the police. 

Meanwhile the birds were chirping and the sun was rising. What a beautiful start to a beautiful day.

On a better note it was my brother’s graduation today! Congratulations, Quincy, on passing a milestone in your life!

My Strangest Dream

While I wait for my clothes to dry I thought I’d tell you guys about the weirdest thing I’ve ever dreamed.

The strangest dream I’ve ever had was a couple years back. I was in third person, which is unusual for a dream, and watching a girl. She lives in a town where everyone really likes trail mix, that’s all I know about her. When I first see her she is chasing a boy through a field. The boy has her friend’s water bottle, which he stole from the girl in question, and this girl doesn’t want to lose something her friend graciously lent to her.

There’s a barn up ahead so he runs into it. In the center is a wooden stair case that spirals down into a black abyss. He runs down until darkness is about to swallow him and then he accidentally drops the bottle over the edge. The girl is furious and she stomps up the stairs. Now the barn is a vintage apartment building and an old woman is waiting for them. She tells them that if they lost something in the abyss, to come back at dinner with a present for her husband. Whoever brings the better present will be given the water bottle.

So they both come back, the girl with her best Lulu Lemon sweater to give to the old man. She’s sure that she has beaten the boy and is even more convinced when she sees that he’s brought a giant gummy worm that’s deformed and dusty. But the old man picks the candy. The girl leaves, raging about how unfair it is, and the boy stays to be lead to the water bottle. The girl goes home, where she looks out the window at the sky. In the dream it looks strange, like a million tie dye ponds of purple, turquoise, pink. Even the girl thinks this was odd, although she is in dream land. Over the horizon she could see the silhouette of the the barn against the sky. Then all at once, a hand reaches up from the barn and pulls down the moon. The girl knows something is wrong and she runs back to the house.

She gets to the house just in time to jump on a roller coaster like contraption, riding on a single metal strip that winds up and around the barn. There is the old man and the boy from earlier. The sky is still in tie dye colours and the moon is gone. There are also giant safety pins hanging on the metal strip and gnomes on the roof.

All of a sudden it’s dark. But as my eyes adjust (yes, now it’s me), I realize where I am. I’m in my elementary school gymnasium. Someone has turned off the lights and it’s almost completely dark, except for a faint glow that meant they were slowly booting back up. But what was really strange was that the room was filled with young girls dressed in bumblebee costumes. They were all chasing us.

Somehow I knew they were dangerous, so I ran for my life. For some reason though, I decided it would be a good idea to take a quick washroom break. The change room (also a washroom) had a long line up. Everyone in the line was one of the killer bees outside. But we all waited patiently for our turn nevertheless. As I waited for my turn that’s when I woke up.

I remember it was so strange and vivid, all of it still fresh in my mind, that I got up at 3 am and wrote it down as fast as I could. If anyone is good at dream interpretations, I’d love to hear what you think of this one, because it still perplexes me years later.

What are some strange dreams you have had?

The Novel Writing Spark

There’s a spark we writers feel while writing stories. That spark is the same one that causes us to write for hours on end, word after word, without pause. That’s the same spark that makes us grin like an idiot, laughing at our own jokes while we read over our work. It’s the one that throws us into a our novel so far that there’s no way out.

I started the second book to my fantasy series a week or two ago. The spark was there. Or I thought it was there. But every time I read it I winced. It was fast paced, to a point where it was sloppy and the characters were bland. Where was that spunk that was ever present in Morag, the main character, while I wrote the first book? Why was Emily, the girl destined to be Morag’s best friend, already joined at the hip with the protagonist in the first few pages?¬†

I needed to start over. That’s hard. You feel like you’re abandoning a baby because it’s ugly. But I did. I tweaked the outline, throwing away months of the preconceived notion that Morag and Emily would be friends from the start. Seconds later I started fresh and I’ve been writing the whole day.

We become awfully attached and even defendant of our books. It seems wrong to abandon them because we don’t feel the spark. But I felt that leaving my book to wallow around in the middle ground of¬†okay¬†was a crime in itself. I was cheating it out of it’s full potential. So I pulled myself together, set the original draft aside, and now the spark is there. What about you? Do you feel that spark? And how do you cope when you know it isn’t there?

How Peer Pressure Ruined My Ears

A year ago my friend invited me to the Britney Spears concert. Her name is Anne. If you’ve read my posts for a while you may remember her from the Baseball post or from the Flash Fiction post a few days ago. Anne is great, silly, innocent, and fun. She grabs new experiences in arm bars when they come her way and she’s always trying to learn something new. But she isn’t perfect. Sometimes she is a bit too silly and she doesn’t realize when she’s doing something that isn’t very funny.

At the concert I took ear plugs. I know, I know, It’s a concert, why would you take ear plugs if the whole point of it is to hear the performer? But let me tell you this, even through ear plugs you can hear a concert loud and clear. Do you really think they crank the speakers that loud so that everyone can hear? No, it’s because they want you to feel the music rattling your bones, for it to be the only thing you can hear.¬†

So we sat in the concert, Anne and I, she shook her head as I put the ear plugs in. “You’re no fun,” she said. And it didn’t do anything at first. But after more teasing I decided, what’s the worst that could happen? I took them out.

That night I came home thrilled. The concert was great, except that the people beside us kept spilling their beer all over us. But then when I got into the house and it was dead quiet, I started to panic. My ears were ringing. I tried to sleep but I couldn’t, I was too nervous. What if it didn’t stop? This had never happened before. I’d heard enough horror stories about Tinnitus that I thought I’d be smart enough to protect myself against it.

Two hours later I got up for the third time and paced around the living room. My mom asked why I couldn’t sleep and I caved in, telling her that I hadn’t worn earplugs. She was furious. She kept accusing me of giving into peer pressure. She said if I ever thought of doing that again, I wasn’t going to another concert. I denied that Anne pressured me into it. Anne wasn’t like that, she wouldn’t do that to me. But as I continued to think about it, she really did. She just didn’t realize that her taunts were hurting me. If she did, she would have stopped. Needless to say, I promised my mom that it would never happen again and I tried to go to sleep, this time succeeding.

My ears didn’t stop ringing that night. They kept ringing softer and softer months after the concert. There came a point where if I didn’t think about it, I couldn’t hear it, but there were still some nights that it took me hours to fall asleep. Today I don’t hear it at all, thank god, but my ears are still sensitive, and it comes back in short bursts every couple months.

Tonight I’m going to the Taylor Swift concert and I’m going to wear ear plugs. Even though the Britney concert wasn’t a very good experience, it taught me that you may have different needs than others. Anne didn’t need to wear ear plugs. I did. ¬†I shouldn’t have given into peer pressure and taken them out. That’s that. If you don’t think that something is good for you, don’t feel pressured to do it even though your gut is telling you not to. It’s your body, take care of it.

Have a great weekend. : )

Flash Fiction: How The Math Exam Should Have Ended

“Grade nines, you may start your exam.”¬†

My hand shot forward, flipping open the yellow booklet. There were short instructions; show your work, read carefully, use pencil on the bubble sheet, blah, blah, blah. I got this. Then I saw the first question. My face fell and I could feel beads of sweat gathering above brows.

Multiply the what by what? Did we even learn this? My eyes skittered around the gym, looking for others who were as lost as I was, but all I saw were pencils filling in the bubble sheets. I looked back at the paper. Okay, next question.

My eyes bulged. Solve that? Was that thing even considered math? It was just an angry jumble of numbers and letters. I cursed under my breath and continued to flip through the pages, trying to find something I knew how to do. 

20 minutes later I’d finished one question and guessed about five. Should I just guess the whole thing? It’s better than nothing right? But I’m failing! This is not good, not good, not good, not good‚ÄĒ¬†Wait a minute. Esther was sitting in front of me, math wiz extraordinaire. She was small too, so I could easily see what she was writing from over her shoulder. A, B, D, D, D, C, A, A, E, B… Okay, multiple choice is over. Now what?

I drummed my fingers impatiently on the desk, looking up at the clock. I was starting to sweat again. Oh god, I was already failing math. If I didn’t get at least a 70 percent I’d fail. AGAIN. No, stop it, I had to try at least. I looked back to my paper, trying to remember something, anything. Any number to the power of zero equals… zero? Shoot, I had no idea. I looked back to Esther, then at the teachers. None of them were giving me weird looks. I took that as a green light and nonchalantly brushed my formula sheet off the edge of the desk. Esther bent down to get it and she was out of my view for just a few seconds. I scanned over the paper, absorbing as much information as I could. Esther handed me my sheet and I muttered a thank you.¬†Any number to the power of zero equals one, I wrote.¬†

I kept doing this, but Esther was smart. She caught on after the third try and made a point of closing her exam book and covering her bubble sheet before bending to pick up my papers. Then she continued, hunched over, annoyance emanating from her like heat waves.

Plan B. I waited until no teachers were looking and then slipped my iPhone into my calculator case as fast as I could. To someone looking from the front of the gym, it would just look like I was just solving another question.

R U getting NE of this?, I texted Anne, my friend who was sitting a few rows down. I counted a few seconds and then I heard the ring from the back of the gym. 200 heads turned in unison. I cringed. Anne was frozen in her seat.

“Having fun, are you?”

I jumped, hitting the gum covered desk bottom with my knee and sending papers and pencils sliding to the floor. Esther even turned to pick them up again, but when she saw who was behind me she whipped back with a terrified look on her face. She glanced at me before she turned totally though, and I saw a hint of sympathy. My math teacher, Mr. Christie, looked over my shoulder at my phone. He was six foot five, 100 percent muscle, and practically breathing down my neck.

“You know what this means, right?”

“I-I fail?” I squeaked.

“Again.” He picked my exam up from the floor. When I looked back he was grinning. It’s like he wanted to see me in summer school. “Come, you don’t just get a free pass when you cheat on an exam anymore. Rules have changed.”

I gathered my things reluctantly. Ugh, my mom was gonna kill me.

Everyone was looking at me, but seeing Mr. Christie glaring back, they turned to their sheets. 

Christie lead us out into the halls. They were dead silent. Everyone was still in the exam and it would be another twenty minutes until anyone was allowed to leave. Christie stopped by a door beside the boys bathroom. I’d seen it before, but never really known where it went. Into another room? If it did then it had to be a closet. Was he going to lock me in a closet for an hour? So unfair.¬†

To my surprise there were stairs behind the door, leading into the dank, LED lit basement. I took a tentative step down. My gut told me to run for it. It was the last exam after all, and then it was summer. What did I have to lose?

“Hurry up, Epiphany. It’s not that bad.”

I followed him, but only because I decided it would be a good story  to tell later on. Yeah, and then he dragged me into the basement. Like, what even? 

The basement was just like any old basement, musty and ugly. No one had tried to make this place look nice. It was just filled with twisting brass pipes and pressure valves. 

“Come back here.”

I followed obediently, admittedly curious as to what was behind the next door he was unlocking. The room was dark, but he ushered me in. I heard the click of the door closing and the flick of the light switch. I gasped. We were in a dinner hall and all of my teachers were there, holding forks and knives. Large forks and knives. That’s when I decided this wouldn’t make a very good story after all. I kicked Mr. Christie in the stomach and grabbed his keys from the floor, then I opened the door, and shut it behind me.

It was locked, but I could hear banging. What the heck was going on!? This was what they did to cheating students? It’s bad to cheat but not¬†that bad. I ran up the stairs and jostled the handle. Locked. Shoot.

There were like, a million keys on this thing!

Okay Epiphany, calm down. You’ve got nothing to lose. Even if it looks like your teachers are going to eat you alive, at least you have a slim chance of survival.

The door was shaking. My heart pumped, I tried key after key, none of them fitting.

“Hurry up, hurry up!” I muttered. I heard a crack and I turned, they had broken right through ¬†the wood door. It was only a matter of time. I tried another key.

They were out and tripping over themselves to get to me. 

“Shoot, shoot, shoot!”¬†

Mr. Christie was bounding up the stairs, giant utensils in hand. He reached for me. 

The key fit, I opened the door, and ran like hell, screaming my head off. Then bang, I threw the outside door open, Mr. Christie lost behind me. Sunlight hit my face. I kept running. I was free. It was summer.

 

 

 

AN: Well that escalated quickly. Too quickly? What do you think. I guess I was just so glad that I’m finally done all of my exams and it’s officially summer! By the way, this is absolutely,¬†positively¬† fiction. Esther is actually one of my best friends and the exam wasn’t that bad. Also, Mr. Christie is at least five inches shorter than me and is super nice. He’d never try to eat me alive ūüėČ I don’t even have an iPhone. At least it was fun writing this. Have a great summer!

 

 

 

 

You Know You Do This When Summer Comes

Sorry for not writing in a while. It’s been sort of crazy with the final days of school. And now it’s summer. I feel like I should be running a marathon,¬†learning a new language, or writing about my non-existent summer romance. Instead I woke up this morning at 5:45 AM, went back to sleep, got up at 9, and have been fighting the urge to crawl back into bed for the duration ¬†of the morning. Even a few hours later I feel as though there’s some invisible force that’s pushing down on my head. Maybe it’s because I stayed up until midnight finishing an 800 page book?¬†Probably not.

Even so, I think all of our summers start off like this, sleeping for a week and then finally pulling our act together. I know that this is for the new year, but I have some summer resolutions. Well, not really resolutions. I feel like resolutions are things you want to fix. But the kind of things I’m talking about are challenges. Yeah, summer challenges. Everyone has them. You know the ones, where you lie in bed and imagine coming back to school or work, everyone aghast at how different you are. Like you learnt to break dance or you finished your first novel and everyone says “Wow, look at her. She really has it together”.¬†

Even though these never seem to come true, there’s never anything wrong with being optimistic. So here are the top ten things I want to accomplish this summer:

  1. Write 100 pages in my novel.
  2. Be able to play a song on guitar.
  3. Draw everyday.
  4. Walk everyday (I found out that my joints are not meant for jogging).
  5. Eat healthier.
  6. Learn more French.
  7. Watch ten amazing movies.
  8. Read all of the books I’ve put on hold; The Time Traveler’s Wife, Slum Dog Millionaire, Mockingjay, and The Mark of Athena.
  9. Blog like a maniac.
  10. And try something I was scared to do.

It doesn’t matter if I don’t accomplish all of these (although for some of them they aren’t that unrealistic), but at least my goals will keep me busy. What about you? What are you doing this summer? Do you have ‘Summer Challenges’ like I do or do you already have it all planned out? Are you going on a cruise in the Bahamas or are you going to the lake every week? Or maybe you’re like me, hoping adventures will come your way, but in the mean time relaxing. Whatever it is that you’re doing, I hope you have a great summer.