Sledding Inside

Flipper loosely gripped the book in both hands. He moved his thumb and fingers back and forth causing the book to flip up and down. It was his trademark activity – where he got his nickname. It was a habit, probably a compulsion. He paced as he flipped, which meant he was deep in thought.

He was in his cousin Emma’s upstairs bedroom with their best friend Josh. The three fifth graders had been playing video games but Emma’s mom told them to find something to do that didn’t involve a screen. This meant, of course, they were now bored.

Josh jumped up from the floor. “I know! Let’s slide down the stairs.”

Two minutes later they were in the hallway looking down the steep staircase, almost drooling. Emma sat in a clear tote waiting to be launched.

Flipper was worried Emma might get hurt. “How is she going to stop?”

“She’ll stop at the bottom.” Josh stated like the answer was obvious.

“But what if she crashes?”

Flipper’s question caused them to pause, each pondering the revealed risk that had previously escaped them.

They lined the walls with pillows and padded the bottom of the stairway with cushions and blankets. Flipper insisted on going first to make sure it was safe. He wore Emma’s bike helmet, had on a pair of goggles instead of his normal black-rimmed eyeglasses, and was tightly secured in the tote he was sharing with three blankets.

Emma peered from the bottom of the stairway holding her IPad just below eye level, recording this historic feat.

“Are you ready?” Josh asked.

Flipper leaned forward. He stuck his left arm, his dominant, in the air giving Josh a thumb’s up, then laid his arms on the sides of the tote.

“One, two, three.” At three Josh pushed Flipper over the edge.

The next day Flipper would agree that sliding down the stairs in a tote was a bad idea, but for the first eight steps he was having as much fun as he did when he played video games. Unfortunately, the staircase consisted of thirteen steps.

On the ninth step the front of the tote caught and sent Flipper and the tote tumbling. It turned out the bike helmet was a good idea. Another good idea would have been arm pads. Flipper instinctively reached out to break his fall. It would be only seconds before he realized that was a terrible idea.

Flipper lay at the bottom of the stairs trying not to cry. The pain in his left arm and the large lump near his wrist made that extremely difficult.

Five hours later Flipper woke up in the hospital bed, his arm in a cast. The first face he saw was his mom.

She smiled and gently brushed his hair back from his forehead. “The surgery went well. You have to wear a cast for a few weeks but your arm is going to heal just fine.”

Flipper’s dad, his Aunt Lavon, Emma, and Josh were also in his hospital room.

“Did you get it recorded?” Flipper muttered.

Emma nodded her head but didn’t speak.

“It was great!” Josh exclaimed. “It might have won money on America’s Funniest Videos.”

“What do you mean ‘may have’?” Flipper asked.

Aunt Lavon put her arm around her daughter. “Emma erased the video. It was disturbing to watch.” A tear fell from her eye. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know what you were doing. I would have stopped you…”

Flipper’s dad cleared his throat. “Lavon, remember two years ago when Emma fell and broke her arm while I was watching them at the park?”

Lavon nodded her head.

Dennis smiled. “Well, I guess now we’re even.”

 

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Satisfyingly Strange Short Stories, Volume 3

The third (and personal favorite) Volume of my Satisfyingly Strange Short Stories series is now available on Amazon.

The only humor you will find in these five stories is of the dark, sinister persuasion. They are twisted in more ways than one.

The stories features a bully, a ghost, an arsonist, a stalker, and a talking mirror. With unnerving plots and carefully designed twists, these tales are sure to provide plenty of goose bumps. Although the stories can be read in under thirty minutes, their ominous aura will remain with the reader for days to come.

Buy on Amazon

Satisfyingly Strange Short Stories: Volume 3 by [Bush, Bill]

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Christmas Night Prank

Josh missed his parents.

His dad was deployed overseas and his mom had gone to visit him. This wasn’t the first time both of his parents had been overseas without Josh, but it was the first time it had happened at Christmas time.

He thought it would be no big deal. He was twelve, after all. Besides, he got to stay with his best friend, Flipper, and his family. He had fun at first, but now that Christmas Eve had arrived, Josh was miserable.

Allison and her parents joined them for dinner. Also visiting was Flipper’s grandma who had Alzheimer’s and kept asking the same questions over and over again.

He didn’t mind that so much. She was nice and kept giving him pieces of candy — more than he could possibly eat. But he worried he would hurt her feelings or excite her too much. His parents had lectured him about being on his best behavior, which meant no practical jokes. That was like torture for Josh! So far his parents would be proud of him, but he felt like he wasn’t able to be himself.

Since Allison was Flipper’s cousin her parents agreed to let her spend the night with Flipper and Josh. They settled in Flipper’s room — Flipper and Josh in his queen-sized bed and Allison on the floor.

With the house quiet and dark Josh felt lonely. He tried not to think about how much he missed his parents by talking to Flipper and Allison well into the night. In fact, they chatted so long that Josh’ dinner wore off.

“I’m hungry.”

“Now I am too,” Flipper said.

“There’s some summer sausage in the fridge,” Allison suggested.

The three fifth-graders tip-toed downstairs as quietly as they could. As they went through the living room they saw that the meager selection of presents under the Christmas tree had grown substantially — Santa had visited!

After a substantial snack they snuck into the living room to snoop.

Josh saw his name on a small present about the size of the video game he hoped to get. He felt another pang of loneliness. He knew his parents had left gifts for him to open, but it wouldn’t be the same without them.

His need to be ornery and his need to get his mind off of his parents collided.

“What do you say we have a little fun?”

“What do you have in mind?” Allison asked.

“Let’s move everything around.” Josh didn’t think they would go for such a large task at — he looked up at the large, decorative clock — one forty-one in the morning, but they agreed.

Allison took a picture of the tree and presents with her phone. They moved the couch away from the wall and placed the presents on it. Flipper crawled underneath the seven-foot artificial tree. Josh pulled on the high branches, Allison the low branches, and Flipper pushed against the tree stand. Slowly, they inched their way across the carpet.

When they made it to the other corner Flipper said, “We only knocked off five ornaments. Not bad.”

They pushed the recliner to where the tree had been, the love seat to where the recliner had been, then the couch to where the loveseat had been. Allison pulled up the picture of the tree and presents on her phone and they intentionally placed the presents back under the tree.

“Quiet!” Allison whispered with sudden urgency.

The two boys froze. They listened and remained completely still for an agonizingly long five minutes. A toilet flushed; a door opened; footsteps down the hallway, then a bedroom door closed.

Flipper let out a deep breath. “That was my grandma.”

“That was close,” Josh added.

They got back to work. After a long and painfully tedious process of matching the presents to the picture — which Flipper and Josh didn’t think was near as important as Allison did — the three beamed with pride. Flipper and Allison collapsed onto the couch while Josh ran to the restroom. What he saw in there gave him another idea.

“We need to wish everyone a Merry Christmas,” Josh said returning from the bathroom.

“How?” Flipper asked.

Josh smiled and held up a roll of toilet paper.

“How does toilet paper say ‘Merry Christmas’?” Allison asked.

“We’ll need some tape.”
“I hate to ask,” Allison said hesitantly while Flipper retrieved a roll of tape.

Josh brought a chair from the dining room to stand on and hung toilet paper from the ceiling so it drooped down in front of the tree, spelling out ‘MERRY X-MAS’.

Finally, around three, the kids settled back into bed and fell asleep.

A few short hours later they awoke with a start at the sound of a scream.

They rushed downstairs with Flipper’s parents behind them.

Flipper’s mom gasped.

“What happened?” Flipper’s dad asked.

The sun shined brightly into the room, illuminating the tree. Even with toilet paper hanging from the ceiling and the room’s furnishings rotated ninety degrees, everyone’s attention was elsewhere.

At the bottom of the stairs, Flipper’s grandma stood, laughing hysterically.

 

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Joey Believes In Ghosts

Nine-year-old Joey poked his head into his parent’s room. “Mom? Dad? Can I sleep with you tonight?”

“Sure, honey,” his mom mumbled.

Joey crawled between his mom and dad and buried himself under the covers. The ghosts were bothering him again. He couldn’t wait to move into a new house. He desperately hoped there wouldn’t be ghosts there too.

He peeked from underneath the covers. The ghosts were gone now. They never bothered him when he was with his parents. Still, he trembled.

His dad wrapped his arms around him. “It will be better tomorrow, I promise.” Continue reading

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Satisfyingly Strange Short Stories, Volume 2

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My second installment of short stories is now available at Amazon. This time the stories center around children and animals, with a pesky ghost thrown in. What the stories lack in adult supervision they make up for in unexpected twists. … Continue reading

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The Christmas Parade Miracle

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Martin was a most unlikely candidate to dress as Santa Clause for the annual Christmas parade. What transpires as he rides atop a fire truck waving at children will change the course of many lives for years to come. My … Continue reading

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Advent Calendar

SIGN UP FOR KATHARINA GERLACH CHRISTMAS ADVENT CALENDAR

I’ve been invited by Katharina Gerlach to participate in her Winter/Christmas Advent Calendar. Sign up to receive a short story or flash under a 1000 word’s each day from different authors. My story: The Lonely Snowman. Sign up here. On the 26th, get all stories in a free e-book at the end of the countdown. Indie Author’s Advent Calendar 2016 Continue reading

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I Am Published!

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I published my first book this weekend! Satisfyingly Strange Short Stories is a collection of five flash fiction / short stories. It is available on Amazon for $.99.  Here is the address: Satisfyingly Strange Short Stories, Volume 1 If you … Continue reading

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Trapped – October Blog Hop

I am participating in a blog hop with some writer friends of mine. We have each written a Halloween/seasonal short story (under 1,000 words). Below is my story, followed by a link to each participants’ story. Enjoy!

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The Final Debate

It was the third and final debate of the election season. Less than three weeks remained until election day and the polls were tight, adding to the electric atmosphere. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump answered questions, argued issues, and tossed insults as frequent as the candy tossed in parades all across the country. Emotions were high and neither candidate succumbed to their conscience nor to human decency as they traded insult for insult.

The final round arrived. One minute awaited each candidate to make a closing statement – the last words to the nation from the debate stage. As the audience watched live and millions of citizens across the country listened in anticipation, each candidate, at the exact same moment, had a heart attack and died. The nation was in shock. Continue reading

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