Posts tagged ‘short story’

AUTUMN ANXIETY

The Forest Painter: A Short Story

Written by Diane Mae Robinson

Deep within The Majestic Forest, a bugle call from the top of Peak Mountain has summoned the fairy sprites, the elves, and the wind weavers to perform their autumn responsibilities. But Aura, the Forest Painter, who has been designated to paint the leaves in autumn colors, feels she cannot accomplish the task. Her grandmother was the master painter. Both Aura’s grandmother and parents have already left to paint the heavens. Aura complains that she has not been prepared properly for the task. If she cannot complete her work before the frost arrives, the frost queen will claim the forest forever. Kepa urges her to ask Boreal to help, but Aura believes that Boreal once stole her grandmother’s paintbrush. Will Aura succeed in her race against time to save the trees of the forest? All the plants and animals of the forest are dependent upon her.

This twelve-page story is written with tenderness and empathy. Robinson has deftly woven personification and alliteration with a cadence of language that is charming. Written for a middle-grade audience, it is a sweet and sensitive read that will appeal to a wide range of audiences from beginning reader to adult. Perfect afternoon read to get into the spirit of the changing season.

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DEATH AND DISNEY

Fantasia: A Short Story for Children and Adults

Written by Jane Turley

Fantasia,pic

This book is a short story containing 5,000 words. Fascinating plot combining the iconic character of Walt Disney with the subjects of cryogenic suspension and climate change. I would not recommend the book for young children, but children age nine and older will certainly enjoy it and have plenty of questions to ask after reading it.

At the outset we meet a doctor and his patient, Walt Disney, who has just emerged from a sixty-five year cryogenic suspension. The year is 2031; Disney awakes both crusty and humorous. He inquires if his film, “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day” won the Oscar. Disney has much to learn about modern technology and film making. Soon he is busy reintroducing himself to this strange new world, where New York and London are flooding and viewers are able to transport themselves inside the films they are watching. As Walt grows stronger, it appears to the doctor that this first successful cryogenic resuscitation will be a total success. The ending is totally unexpected.

In less than twenty-five pages, Turley spins an interesting tale raising lots of questions for young and older minds. Great choice for parents and teachers to raise discussions on modern technology, medical science and climate change using a non-scientific story-telling format.

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FLASH OF WHITE LIGHT

The Triumph

Written by Frank Scozzari

TheTriumph,pic

Powerful short story centering around a Mozambique guide named Mowambi and his white friend, Mr. Rick. They had almost reached the top of the rise in their plan to escape the white safari hunters, but now Rick is dead and Mowambi has been shot.

Beautifully written tale expressed in Mowambi’s voice as he explains their passion for stopping the killing of elephants for their ivory. They had almost succeeded; now the end is near. Yet Mowambi comes up with a scheme to thwart the hunters’ objectives.

This short story is appropriate for readers age ten and older. Less than twenty pages, but packed with emotion. Many a reader will shed a tear as the author makes his readers one with the characters and with nature. Certainly deserving of its nomination for the Pushcart Prize.

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BY THE WATER’S EDGE

The Brook”

Written by Anne Marie Stoddard

The Brook,pic

This short kindle selection can easily be read in one sitting. Stoddard has switched from murder mystery to horror and vampires in this short story. At the outset we meet a young girl named Violet Carson, who goes against her instincts to follow the sounds of a babbling brook along the trail of Honeysuckle Path. She decides to take a midnight swim. As she dives into the icy pool, she experiences a radical drop in temperature and a tingling sensation all over her body. Before she can react, the surface underneath her disappears and the water around her turns scarlet red. Only her skin, bone and hair remained.

Violet had been employed as a babysitter for ten year old Michael Wilson. Michael believes in vampires and is convinced that this is how Violet met her demise. He searches for evidence that vampires might have appeared in the mist near the brook, but his older brother Tom, as well as everyone else in the small Mississippi town of Sampson refuse to believe in his theory. There are those adults in town who blame Violet’s former boyfriend, Jake, whom she just caught cheating the night before she died, but there is no plausible evidence to validate that. Michael’s father Dale threatens to send his son to therapy, if he continues to talk about monsters.

Michael does love scary stories about supernatural powers, but he sincerely believes that the town is in danger. So one night when he is home alone with Tom, Michael succeeds in sneaking out with a supernatural emergency kit, containing a canister of garlic and a wooden cross made from a chair leg. Michael is determined to prove that he is right, solve the mystery, and slay the monster.

Are the ten year old’s fears substantiated? Will he encounter a supernatural force? What part did Jake play in the murder? The reader already has lots of questions he wants answered. There are quite a few twists and turns in this short story.

I would recommend this book for adults and young adults over the age of twelve. There are one or two curse words, and some mention of nudity, but the book does not present overt sex or gruesome horror scenes. The book is a fast paced, exciting read.

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A GIFT TO ONESELF

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I would like to wish my subscribers and their families all over the world peace, joy, health, and happiness however and wherever you celebrate during this holiday season.

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The Prayer: A Haunting Children’s Christmas Tale that Captures the True Spirit of Christmas

Written by Stephan J Myers

Illustrated by Kerry Fisher and Stephan J Myers

The Prayer,pic

These verses were first written in 2009 and recently published in Great Britain in kindle format. The author makes one request: before reading the story promise that you will never forget the meaning in these words. I don’t think that you will…

The title is a bit misleading because this book is not a prayer in the religious sense. At the beginning the scene is set for children round the world dreaming of the images and gifts that Christmas will bring; then suddenly shifts to the image of children who have no family, friends, and are struggling to survive the night. “For sometimes the children who need things the most, are lost to the night and a pale winter’s ghost.”

A starving child dressed in rags hears a voice in the darkness that urges him to follow his lantern so that he may discover a home with a hearth and a warm fire. This spirit instructs the boy to hold up his lantern and peer through the windows he passes along the way. The boy obeys and observes a young boy reading in a room with presents piled under the tree. At the next house he views this same boy who is now a father with a child on his knee; the kitchen tables piled high with food. As his lantern grows dimmer, the boy gazes through another window viewing that boy as an old man. No one in these houses is able to see his plight. The lamp is beginning to fade, and so is the life left in that little boy. When New Year dawns, those lucky children are still reveling in the holiday oblivious to his plight, while that little needy little boy has become a ghost.

This is a powerful and well written short story done in verse that will remain in memory long after you read it. The illustrations are colorful, fluid, warm and penetrating; they reinforce the words and draw on compelling images that do not allow the words to recede from memory. Myers represents the story through the eyes of the starving child though the execution does not always work. I would strongly recommend this book as a family read or a book for classroom discussion reminding all of the deeper meaning of the Christmas season.

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TALE OF TWO TREES

TALE OF TWO TREES

Written by Barbara Ann Mojica

Heather was sitting with her mom and grandmother on the couch when her younger brother, Alex and her dad walked into the living room with the artificial Christmas tree. A gasp of horror escaped from their lips simultaneously. Dad proudly announced, “Isn’t it beautiful, and we don’t have to worry about finding pine needles in the rug next July.” Mom and Heather managed to slowly stand. But we were planning to go to buy our tree tomorrow! Dad just smiled, “Alex and I thought we would surprise you. We bought some beautiful new ornmanets too.” Heather peeked into the bag. She found some glass ornaments shaped like pine cones in bright colors that were covered with sparkles. “These are hideous! You can’t be serious about putting this up in our living room.”

Heather and her mom walked into the kitchen. They decided that they needed to act quickly so they talked with grandma and hatched their plot. Early the next morning all three jumped into the car and headed to the local Home Depot. In less than thirty minutes they had found the perfect tree, an eight foot tall Douglas fir, replete with thick, sweet-smelling branches. They hauled the tree atop the SUV and brought it home. Alex and dad had already installed their tree in the living room. That did not deter the ladies from installing their freshly-cut tree in the dining room alcove. By the end of the day both trees stood proudly, one smelled of pine but the other did not!

When people came to visit that year, they were treated to two beautiful family trees. Most of them were at a loss for words; they refused to take sides in the debate over which was prettier, but the next year the new artificial tree quietly disappeared!

WORRIED WARRIOR

From Man to Man (Wroge Elements)

by D.E. M Emrys

 

From Man to Man

This book is a fast paced fantasy short story that is a prequel to the novel From Ashes to Man. At the beginning of the story, we meet Draven Rheinhart leaving his wife and son at home early one morning. Draven is torn by indecision. He looks at the closed wooden chest at the foot of the bed and desperately wants to open it, but he has made a promise to his wife and son not to go back to his old life. Draven tried being a server and a farm worker in the medieval village of Hidann, but he was unsuccessful at both. When he snatches the axe and closes the door, we realize that he had been a mercenary. A frustrated Draven is chopping trees when a stranger approaches him; this stranger appears to know about his past. He offers Draven a job. He is the village blacksmith named McGowan. Draven refuses the offer until a Huntsman convinces him to use his axe as a tool not a weapon. Draven returns to the blacksmith to accept the job which is to protect the tax collector from outlaws, while he collects taxes from the village. Suddenly there are footsteps in the forest and arrows flying through the air. Lurking in the woods are fourteen bandits led by a character named Pig Nose! Will Draven be able to fulfill his promise to safeguard Nicolas, the tax collector?  What will become of Draven? Can he keep his promises to his family or will he return to his old life? This tale really does not provide an answer. The end of the story is a preview of the novel to follow.

 

Emrys, who is himself a former soldier, writes a fast paced story. He uses colorful language and draws vivid images. “Strutting a loping gait, head bobbing, back bent under the weight of the ledger in one arm and the coin pouch swinging from the other, Nicolas seemed to turn more heads for his manner rather than woes of  his business.” Using few details and telling the story in first person, Emrys quickly lays out the plot and presents his characters. I read the tale  along with the rhythm the author sets and could not wait to find out more. Young adults and adults will want to read the novel and future books from this talented new author.

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