Wednesday, January 20, 2016

And so she started to write...A Time for Daring

I set a challenge for myself to write and post a "short story" based on a writing prompt at least once a month.  This absolutely terrifies me.  I'm a librarian who enjoys writing, but I know that I'm not really a writer.  I'm a dreamer.  Not a storyteller.  But they say you have to practice to hone any skill, so here I am...honing my writing skills and putting myself (and my words) out to the world.  This is me stepping out of my comfort zone.

So here we go...Part I of my first "short story".  Part I only meaning that I haven't quite completed said story - but if I post the first half I'll feel obligated to finish.  A quick write with little editing (and just so we're all being upfront with one another - you're going to see that preface every month :)

I hope you enjoy (or at the very least I hope you don't cringe too very much).  And I hope you find something that pushes you this year!

Prompt: "If we get arrested, it's your fault."

A Time for Daring

It had seemed like a good idea at first, but now, hanging precariously on the side of a water tower in high heels with a messenger bag full of spray paint and jelly beans, Maggie was starting to believe otherwise.

“If we get arrested, it’s your fault.”


“We had a deal.  I let you come, and you don’t get to whine or make me crazy,” she growled.

Confidence was the key to any good prank.  Confidence and a slight simmering anger to keep your heart pumping and your feet moving forward.  Maggie was hoping it was also enough to keep herself from throwing Will off the top of the tower.

The truth was that Maggie was not a prankster.  She was a terrible liar and a bit of a goody-goody, going as far as to ground herself in the third grade when she had forgotten to put her bike in the garage one night. Her parents hadn’t even noticed.

Maggie picked up her pace, yelling at Will to hurry up.  Her confidence was quickly waning and the slight anger was turning to panic the further she climbed.

As for Will...he was a twelve-year-old junior in high school who had become her constant shadow after she found his lost library book in the cafeteria and returned it before it was overdue.  Yeah.  He was that kind of kid, and he was most definitely not the person to take on a surreptitious mission.

Maggie was determined to not be herself for one night.  Just one night.  She would throw caution to the wind and prove to everyone that she could suck the marrow from life.  Yes, she had been reading too much Thoreau.  And, yes, she had maybe gotten a little too into Dead Poet’s Society (“Go on, lean in.  Listen, you hear it? -- Carpe -- hear it? -- Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”)  But she needed a moment to be wild and free.

Climbing up to the top of a water tower wouldn’t make her life extraordinary.  Deep down, Maggie knew that.  But she had to start somewhere.  She had to leave her mark on this night.  In this town.  Just this one time.

As for the high-heels...she would just have to blame that on her father’s inability to follow simple instructions.  She had accidentally left her favorite pair of green Chuck Taylor’s on the stairs that morning, and he had promised to drop them off at school during her lunch period.  Maggie’s Communications teacher required business attire for each presentation, and she had meant to bring a change of shoes (she was not known for being graceful walking up the school stairs - which explains the Great English Hallway Massacre of 2014), but she was always running out of the house at the last minute each morning, chasing the bus down the street, hoping to catch it at the next stop.

Maggie grabbed hold of the railing and pulled herself onto the grated ledge that circled the water tower.  She could hear Will mumbling about it being Wednesday and comic book day under his breath as he finished the climb.  When he finally joined her at the top, he sat down, panting, and leaned back against the tank, staring out over the trees.

Sometimes Maggie forgot he was only twelve years old.  He was smart.  Much smarter than she would ever be.  And he didn’t have to pretend to be confident.  Confidence just comes with the territory when you’re a child genius.  But he was really just a kid.  A kid tired, and scared, and wanting his new comic books. He could solve advanced math problems in his head in mere seconds. And he could also regale you with the complete history of Superman and his many incarnations.

Maggie leaned against the railing and looked out over Mt. Pleasant.  The town looked so small from atop the water tower.  It was small, but she could almost forget how small if she tilted her head and squinted just like you would at a Christmas tree.  The lights seemed brighter and the streets full of life, especially if she closed her eyes and she let her imagination wander.

It was time to be extraordinary.

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