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Short Story: The Cabin in the Mountain

12 September 2021 at 02:23

Only seasoned hikers challenge the physically demanding but popular two-day mountain trail. That means that most of them plan the trip with the cabin in mind.

No one knows who owns the cabin. All they know is that hikers have been sharing it for years, and no one has ever come to chase them out. The large structure, more like a mansion than a hut, has enough room to house half a dozen groups at a time, and the unspoken rule is that anyone who uses it is also responsible for taking care of the place.

Either from the forums or through the more experienced hikers, everyone learns the chores needed to keep the building running. How to stock up the firewood, where to collect water to fill up the tanks, the tradition of leaving extra supplies for the emergency pantry, and more.

Those who don’t do their part, or worse, actively sabotage the amenities, get booted out. It doesn’t happen often, but a freezing night outside and with the howls of nocturnal predators are usually enough for most people to learn their lesson.

After all, if they don’t take care of the cabin, they won’t have this pit stop to refuel, and this trail won’t just be challenging, it’ll be deadly.

~End~

Genre: slice of life, general

September post count: 3/12

logicaldreamer

Short Story: The Cabin in the Mountain

12 September 2021 at 02:23

Only seasoned hikers challenge the physically demanding but popular two-day mountain trail. That means that most of them plan the trip with the cabin in mind.

No one knows who owns the cabin. All they know is that hikers have been sharing it for years, and no one has ever come to chase them out. The large structure, more like a mansion than a hut, has enough room to house half a dozen groups at a time, and the unspoken rule is that anyone who uses it is also responsible for taking care of the place.

Either from the forums or through the more experienced hikers, everyone learns the chores needed to keep the building running. How to stock up the firewood, where to collect water to fill up the tanks, the tradition of leaving extra supplies for the emergency pantry, and more.

Those who don’t do their part, or worse, actively sabotage the amenities, get booted out. It doesn’t happen often, but a freezing night outside and with the howls of nocturnal predators are usually enough for most people to learn their lesson.

After all, if they don’t take care of the cabin, they won’t have this pit stop to refuel, and this trail won’t just be challenging, it’ll be deadly.

~End~

Genre: slice of life, general

September post count: 3/12

Short Story: The Different Child

7 September 2021 at 09:34

Her parents had twelve children.

Most were adopted. And by most, she meant she was their only biological child. Yet somehow, she resembled her parents the least. The only blonde among the brunettes, the only O blood type among the As and Bs, the only one without a widow’s peak…

With her family structure, she’d grown up assuming she was adopted the same way most people assumed they weren’t. It was only after her parents showed her the video of her birth that she believed them when they told her she was their flesh and blood.

β€œBut why do I look so different?” she asked.

β€œRecessive genes. You just happen to have a lot of them. And it’s not true that you don’t look like us. You’re just not looking at the right spots.” Her mother bopped her on the nose. β€œWe have the same schnoz.”

β€œThe same smile.” Her father grinned.

β€œGrandma’s wavy hair.”

β€œGranpa’s tiny toes.”

A weight dropped across her shoulders as her older brother chimed in. β€œAnd you all scrunch your nose the same way when you smell baked beans. I’ve never seen anyone else do it so you’re their kid alright.”

β€œIs that enough proof for you?” her mother asked.

She snuggled into her father’s side until only a single shy eye peeked out. β€œI’ll believe you more if you make earl grey panna cotta.”

β€œAnd that’s your aunt’s bargaining style right there.” A large hand patted her head as they chuckled. β€œAlright. If we start now, it’ll be ready in time for dinner.”

~End~

Genre: family, slice of life

September post count: 2/12

logicaldreamer

Short Story: The Different Child

7 September 2021 at 09:34

Her parents had twelve children.

Most were adopted. And by most, she meant she was their only biological child. Yet somehow, she resembled her parents the least. The only blonde among the brunettes, the only O blood type among the As and Bs, the only one without a widow’s peak…

With her family structure, she’d grown up assuming she was adopted the same way most people assumed they weren’t. It was only after her parents showed her the video of her birth that she believed them when they told her she was their flesh and blood.

β€œBut why do I look so different?” she asked.

β€œRecessive genes. You just happen to have a lot of them. And it’s not true that you don’t look like us. You’re just not looking at the right spots.” Her mother bopped her on the nose. β€œWe have the same schnoz.”

β€œThe same smile.” Her father grinned.

β€œGrandma’s wavy hair.”

β€œGranpa’s tiny toes.”

A weight dropped across her shoulders as her older brother chimed in. β€œAnd you all scrunch your nose the same way when you smell baked beans. I’ve never seen anyone else do it so you’re their kid alright.”

β€œIs that enough proof for you?” her mother asked.

She snuggled into her father’s side until only a single shy eye peeked out. β€œI’ll believe you more if you make earl grey panna cotta.”

β€œAnd that’s your aunt’s bargaining style right there.” A large hand patted her head as they chuckled. β€œAlright. If we start now, it’ll be ready in time for dinner.”

~End~

Genre: family, slice of life

September post count: 2/12

Short Story: Her Fanciful Room

30 August 2021 at 09:41

Her room is as big as a school assembly hall, filled with tall bookshelves arranged like a maze on the ground a level and a web of walkways on the top. Window seats dot the walls at different heights, soft and warm with cushions in contrast to the cold, hard ice that carpet the floor like an ice skate rink.

None of this is real. Her actual room barely fits a skinny bed, the only space she can afford with her meagre pay. But her fanciful room is her haven in this dreary world, and she builds upon it every night.

One day, she hopes to turn imagination to reality. Can she really do it? Maybe not, but in this place, no one can survive without hope, and an unattainable dream is better than nothing.

~End~

Genre: slice of life

logicaldreamer

Short Story: Her Fanciful Room

30 August 2021 at 09:41

Her room is as big as a school assembly hall, filled with tall bookshelves arranged like a maze on the ground a level and a web of walkways on the top. Window seats dot the walls at different heights, soft and warm with cushions in contrast to the cold, hard ice that carpet the floor like an ice skate rink.

None of this is real. Her actual room barely fits a skinny bed, the only space she can afford with her meagre pay. But her fanciful room is her haven in this dreary world, and she builds upon it every night.

One day, she hopes to turn imagination to reality. Can she really do it? Maybe not, but in this place, no one can survive without hope, and an unattainable dream is better than nothing.

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Short Story: The Train

22 August 2021 at 07:54

At the age of ten, she comes a cross a train on her way to school. She’s seen trains before, but usually at the station, or running along its tracks. This one is just sitting out in the open, like a huge sunbathing caterpillar, a sight so unusual that she decides to make a detour.

She doesn’t know this, but the train will resume its journey while she’s on board, and it will take her twenty years to find her way back home.

But right now, she’s ten and curious, so she climbs in through an open window without a single worry.

~End~

Genre: slice of life

logicaldreamer

Short Story: The Train

22 August 2021 at 07:54

At the age of ten, she comes a cross a train on her way to school. She’s seen trains before, but usually at the station, or running along its tracks. This one is just sitting out in the open, like a huge sunbathing caterpillar, a sight so unusual that she decides to make a detour.

She doesn’t know this, but the train will resume its journey while she’s on board, and it will take her twenty years to find her way back home.

But right now, she’s ten and curious, so she climbs in through an open window without a single worry.

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Short Story: Driven to Excellence

17 August 2021 at 09:55

In every class, she paid full attention. Ears towards the teachers, eyes on the whiteboard, hands busy with notes. Even being the top student in the region three years in a row didn’t slow her down.

At first they praised her as a hardworking student, then they used her as an example for others to follow, but when she showed no signs of relaxing, they started to ask her to relax.

β€œLife is more than just studies. You need friends,” her homeroom teacher told her.

β€œBalance is important. Do you have any hobbies? And I’m not just talking about the mandatory extracurricular clubs,” the school counsellor said.

β€œWhy don’t you take a day off? You’re the only person in the school who hasn’t even taken sick leave,” the school nurse said.

No one asked her why she was so driven. They just assumed she was the studious type who was too serious for her own good, the kind of people who ended up never leaving academia for the β€˜real world’.

If anyone had cared to ask, she would have explained that she was the middle child in a family of nine. They were financially stable enough for all her siblings to complete basic education, but not enough for all of them to continue on to further studies. Her older siblings contributed by working odd jobs to help pay for their own fees. Her aim was a full scholarship so that the money that would have been spent on her could be passed down to the next sibling in line.

With her younger siblings’ future on at stake, how could she give anything less than her best?

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

logicaldreamer

Short Story: Driven to Excellence

17 August 2021 at 09:55

In every class, she paid full attention. Ears towards the teachers, eyes on the whiteboard, hands busy with notes. Even being the top student in the region three years in a row didn’t slow her down.

At first they praised her as a hardworking student, then they used her as an example for others to follow, but when she showed no signs of relaxing, they started to ask her to relax.

β€œLife is more than just studies. You need friends,” her homeroom teacher told her.

β€œBalance is important. Do you have any hobbies? And I’m not just talking about the mandatory extracurricular clubs,” the school counsellor said.

β€œWhy don’t you take a day off? You’re the only person in the school who hasn’t even taken sick leave,” the school nurse said.

No one asked her why she was so driven. They just assumed she was the studious type who was too serious for her own good, the kind of people who ended up never leaving academia for the β€˜real world’.

If anyone had cared to ask, she would have explained that she was the middle child in a family of nine. They were financially stable enough for all her siblings to complete basic education, but not enough for all of them to continue on to further studies. Her older siblings contributed by working odd jobs to help pay for their own fees. Her aim was a full scholarship so that the money that would have been spent on her could be passed down to the next sibling in line.

With her younger siblings’ future on at stake, how could she give anything less than her best?

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

Short Story: Annual Spring Clean

11 August 2021 at 09:15

Once a year, the whole extended family gathers from all over the world to their family home. It’s a huge building in the middle of nowhere, which means that their two week long gathering always starts with a massive spring clean.

Everyone tends to claim the same tasks year after year, familiarity making the job easier to complete when no one knows where everything is in the mansion. The exceptions are when new members join the family, or when the younger kids grow up.

He usually helps his dad in the attic. This year, he’s joining his cousins to clear out the β€˜shed’, a free standing structure that’s as big as a barn. While his cousins carry the heavier tools, he runs ahead to open the door.

The moment he pushes the wooden panels apart, his vision explodes in a buzz of black and yellow.

β€œBees!”

Arms thrown up to protect his face, he has no extra limbs to stop his fall. He lands painfully on his bum, but he’s only down for a moment before someone drags him to his feet. Blinded and disorientated, he follows the pull until they are safely inside the main house.

β€œThere’re honeybees in the shed!” his cousins announce to anyone who will listen. With so many people, surely someone knows what to do with the hive in their shed?

Someone does know what to do, and it’s to call in a team of apiarists. Yup. A team, because just like the shed, the beehive is massive, large enough for a few of them to crawl in if they hollow the hive out.

Looks like it’s back to attic duty for him this year.

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

logicaldreamer

Short Story: Annual Spring Clean

11 August 2021 at 09:15

Once a year, the whole extended family gathers from all over the world to their family home. It’s a huge building in the middle of nowhere, which means that their two week long gathering always starts with a massive spring clean.

Everyone tends to claim the same tasks year after year, familiarity making the job easier to complete when no one knows where everything is in the mansion. The exceptions are when new members join the family, or when the younger kids grow up.

He usually helps his dad in the attic. This year, he’s joining his cousins to clear out the β€˜shed’, a free standing structure that’s as big as a barn. While his cousins carry the heavier tools, he runs ahead to open the door.

The moment he pushes the wooden panels apart, his vision explodes in a buzz of black and yellow.

β€œBees!”

Arms thrown up to protect his face, he has no extra limbs to stop his fall. He lands painfully on his bum, but he’s only down for a moment before someone drags him to his feet. Blinded and disorientated, he follows the pull until they are safely inside the main house.

β€œThere’re honeybees in the shed!” his cousins announce to anyone who will listen. With so many people, surely someone knows what to do with the hive in their shed?

Someone does know what to do, and it’s to call in a team of apiarists. Yup. A team, because just like the shed, the beehive is massive, large enough for a few of them to crawl in if they hollow the hive out.

Looks like it’s back to attic duty for him this year.

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

Short Story: Friendly Bet

8 August 2021 at 09:26

Gambling is frowned upon, but among the teaching staff, friendly bets are the highlight of the school year. The annual marathon is no exception.

β€œWho do you think will win?” they ask each other, sharing their favourites for each category.

With the older students, the strong runners are already known. It’s the younger ones who offer more bragging rights for the correct guesser. Over the years, everyone has developed their own methods to sniff out upcoming hopefuls. Some look at physique, some at sports participation, some value competitiveness, some leave it to luck.

He usually grabs the student numbers and run them through a random number generator, but this year, he has someone specific in mind.

Among the first years clustered at the starting line, he points at a slim girl. Quiet at class and on the field, she hasn’t caught anyone’s attention, but she is his neighbour. He has seen her carry her younger siblings around while helping her parents take care of the house. She may not be fast, but she has grit, and he trusts her endurance to keep her running when others may stop for a break.

And even if she doesn’t win, he sees no problem supporting his neighbour rather than a random name spat out by a machine.

~End~

Genre: slice of life

logicaldreamer

Short Story: Friendly Bet

8 August 2021 at 09:26

Gambling is frowned upon, but among the teaching staff, friendly bets are the highlight of the school year. The annual marathon is no exception.

β€œWho do you think will win?” they ask each other, sharing their favourites for each category.

With the older students, the strong runners are already known. It’s the younger ones who offer more bragging rights for the correct guesser. Over the years, everyone has developed their own methods to sniff out upcoming hopefuls. Some look at physique, some at sports participation, some value competitiveness, some leave it to luck.

He usually grabs the student numbers and run them through a random number generator, but this year, he has someone specific in mind.

Among the first years clustered at the starting line, he points at a slim girl. Quiet at class and on the field, she hasn’t caught anyone’s attention, but she is his neighbour. He has seen her carry her younger siblings around while helping her parents take care of the house. She may not be fast, but she has grit, and he trusts her endurance to keep her running when others may stop for a break.

And even if she doesn’t win, he sees no problem supporting his neighbour rather than a random name spat out by a machine.

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Short Story: A Size Too Small

31 July 2021 at 09:31

They all had the same uniform, but her curvaceous body made her look more scandalous than the rest.

She shifted uncomfortably in the hanging room, tugging at the hem of her shirt that rode too high for her comfort while trying to breathe through the tight band around her bust.

β€œAre you alright?” her manger asked.

She pressed her lips together. Women didn’t like it when she complained about the issues that came with her larger boobs, saying that she was ungrateful for what others could only wish to have. Men tended to leer when she drew attention to her chest. This new place would be no different. It was better to keep her silence.

β€œAh. That looks a little small on you. I’ll get a larger size,” her manager said matter-of-factly as he grabbed a new uniform and handed it over to her. Once done, he left the room to let her change.

Maybe… this place wouldn’t be that bad after all.

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Camp NaNoWriMo short story count: 30/31

logicaldreamer

Short Story: A Trail of Smells

30 July 2021 at 09:59

She’s on the way home when she smells it. Strong spiced pepperoni mixed with earth mushroom and mildly sweet mayonnaise. As she follows her nose, more scents join in. Sharp lemon, refreshing mint, charred garlic. Before she realizes it, she’s standing in someone else’s garden, drooling at someone else’s food in someone else’s party.

…

She awkwardly backs away, hoping to disappear before they call the cops on her.

β€œWe have extras. Want to join us?”

Her body answers faster than her mouth, crossing the distance to park herself at an empty spot on the bench.

β€œYes.”

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Camp NaNoWriMo short story count: 29/31

logicaldreamer

Short Story: Herbal Memory

29 July 2021 at 10:01

The herbal tea shop has been in my family for generations, with every child learning the recipes in the same way other kids learn the alphabet.

Or so I’ve been told.

I don’t remember anything before I woke up in the hospital after a car accident. The medical staff call me an amnesiac. The strangers family members call me an heir. I can only nod along as they bring me to an old shop with large containers lined up under a traditional Chinese shop sign.

Even without looking at the name plates before the containers, I can smell the tea inside. Hemp Seed Drink for constipation, 24 Flavours to balance out heatiness, Five Flower Tea to sooth sore throats… And hidden at the side of the table, herbal tea eggs soaking in their savoury bath.

The familiar scents calm the worry in my mind. There is still so many gaps in my memory, but I still retain the knowledge to be the heir they want me to be.

For now, this is enough.

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Camp NaNoWriMo short story count: 27/31

logicaldreamer

Short Story: The Kid She Used to Babysit

26 July 2021 at 09:57

At her parents’ funeral, she promised the kid she babysitted every weekday to keep in touch.

She hadn’t meant to lie, but the hole left behind by her parents’ death didn’t fade away with time as she thought it would, and it was because every time she saw the bandages covering the burns on the side of the kid’s face, it was a reminder that her parents died while protecting him.

In the beginning she was given time off to grieve. Then she needed a longer break to catch up on her studies. Eventually, her client found another babysitter, and she found a different job in another city, closing a chapter in her life.

Then the kid turned up at her door.

He was taller than she remembered, almost the same height as her when he used to only reach around her waist. Although he had lost most of his baby fat, his distinctively long canine teeth hadn’t changed.

Even years after her parents’ death, the sight of the faded burn scars brought a fresh wave of grief. She wanted to retreat, but she braced herself for his accusations. She deserved it after running away for so long.

Instead, he held up a packet of sour ribbons, the green apple ones she loved and that always made him scrunch up like a raisin.

β€œI brought snacks. Can I come in?” he asked carefully, elbows tucked nervously to his sides.

The selfish part of her wanted to say no. The part of her who genuinely liked the cheeky but loving kid wanted to say yes. The responsible part reminded her of a promise she hadn’t kept for years.

She stepped back.

β€œCome in.”

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Camp NaNoWriMo short story count: 22/31

logicaldreamer

Short Story: A Trail of Smells

30 July 2021 at 09:59

She’s on the way home when she smells it. Strong spiced pepperoni mixed with earth mushroom and mildly sweet mayonnaise. As she follows her nose, more scents join in. Sharp lemon, refreshing mint, charred garlic. Before she realizes it, she’s standing in someone else’s garden, drooling at someone else’s food in someone else’s party.

…

She awkwardly backs away, hoping to disappear before they call the cops on her.

β€œWe have extras. Want to join us?”

Her body answers faster than her mouth, crossing the distance to park herself at an empty spot on the bench.

β€œYes.”

~End~

Genre: slice of life

Camp NaNoWriMo short story count: 29/31

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