Tag Archives: coming of age

294. The children all hauled a lumbering beast behind them

The children all hauled a lumbering beast behind them, a hundred feet tall, its arms and legs the size of tree trunks. On top of the beasts a small forest grew, with lush pines and green meadows, a safe haven to retreat at night, to eat and rest for another day’s march along the barren plains.

I had often asked them why they journeyed the globe this way. How they had tamed the beasts and why they were only led by children, not by adults – the sight of whom I had yet to experience in this strange land. But they never spoke a word. All they did was walk into the big nowhere.

Not until my fifth week did I notice a change in the pattern. I saw one of the older girls of the troupe  climbing from her beast, kissing it goodbye and then wandering off into the night. I tried running after her but the beast blocked my path until the darkness had swallowed her.

The following day the beast that had lost it’s child, decided to stay behind, broken-hearted, yet somehow contented. As if it had fulfilled its destiny and was now able to lead a life alone.

We never encountered the runaway girl again, though a few days later a new beast joined the troupe. It was led by a child so young it could barely walk. But she kept up with us and when night fell, like the other children, she climbed up her animal, ate some berries and fell sound asleep.

She had her mother’s eyes, this child.

And when she was old enough, she too would be allowed to stand on her own feet, find her own path and burst from her fragile cocoon to blossom into a magnificent, caring beast.

 

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227. Two had gone before

Two had gone before.

Years ago their bikes had returned – neatly parked at the edge of the tunnel – but they themselves had not. Hope was they were still out there. Somewhere in the vastness.

Young Hilliard had spent most of his youth waiting for their return, with stories of undiscovered lands and strange creatures beyond the reaches of space. Waiting, at the edge of the tunnel, with its delicately warped interior. Waiting, eternity within reach.

And as time passed and hope for the two subsided, Hilliard’s courage grew alongside his curiosity. At the age of 21, he bought a rusty old bicycle, said goodbye to his parents and peddled doggedly into the blackness. Three days later the bike returned. Hilliard did not.

His name would soon be forgotten, as had been those of the first two. But young boys are still gathering at the edge of the tunnel, staring into the void.

Staring, through their youthful struggles, to the stars.

 

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Did you enjoy this story? Then why not try the 101 stories in 300 words or less in YOU’RE GETTING SLEEPY, THE HYPNOTIST’S APPRENTICE YAWNED.

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215. I saw her naked

“I saw her naked.”

Peter’s jaw dropped firmly to the floor as Alvin cheekily flicked a cherry bubblegum in his mouth.

The two best friends were walking home from playing hooky all day and Peter was surprised that only now, with just five minutes of their day left to discuss it, Alvin dropped the bombshell.

“You saw her boobs? How? When?”

Alvin smiled mysteriously.

“I didn’t just see her boobs.”

“You filthy liar.”

Those were the three words Alvin had been waiting for. He whipped some lace lingerie out of his trouser pocket. Peter fondled the fabric in disbelief and slung his arm around Alvin’s shoulder.

“You are now officially my hero, you know that, right?”

“I got lucky, that’s all. I was practicing my swing with my little brother in the backyard when I hit the ball right on the sweet spot. I mean, I have never, ever hit a ball that good. You should have seen it.”

“Alvin? Less baseball, more boobs.”

“Okey, so I hit the ball and it went over the fence, straight for her house. Straight for her open window.”

“And you climbed up there?”

Alvin nodded.

“Hero!”

“I wasn’t in there for ten seconds or the door flung open and in she walked. Wet from the shower. Naked. Hot! I had to hide, but boy, I could see …”

“Everything?”

“Everything!”

“I’m gonna need descriptions. Detailed descriptions.”

“No.”

“No?”

“I’m not gonna tell you how she looks.”

“How long have we known each other? Eight years? That’s two thirds of our lives!”

“All I’m gonna say is that my baseball is still up there.”

Peter looked up. The window was open and he could just about hear the shower running.

“Hero,” Peter said, hugging his friend so hard he nearly crushed his ribs.

 

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Did you enjoy this story? Then why not try the 101 stories in 300 words or less in YOU’RE GETTING SLEEPY, THE HYPNOTIST’S APPRENTICE YAWNED.

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123. Swing for the fence

Swing for the fence.

Todd eyed the cross-weaved wire and, ten yard beyond it, the rusty car amid the wieldy knee-high grass. He had tried for months to hit it, but so far had not succeeded. And with summer drawing to a close his window of opportunity was shrinking rapidly.

“Ready?” his friend Jesse asked.

Todd gave a nod. Jesse promptly stepped onto the hill and threw a fastball. It barely grazed the swinging bat and hobbled a couple of feet across the pitch before coming to a disappointing rest.

“Want another go?” Jesse asked.

They were already late for supper so Todd was in for a whooping from his dad come what may.

“Hit it in the same spot,” he told Jesse. “Just a little bit faster.”

“I’ll try,” his friend replied as he made his way back to the hill.

This time the fastball collided with the bat right on the sweet-spot.  Todd let go of the bat and followed the ball in the air, walking after it, then running, as it headed towards the fence.

“Come on!” Todd yelled. “Make it. Make it!”

The ball started dropping. It was certain to clear the fence. Bit would it hit the car? Jesse, who was also running after the ball by now, exchanged glances with Todd. They were both sporting elated smiles.

Years on they’d forget the brand of the car, its colour, even how old they were when it happened.

But they never forgot the sound of that ball denting the hood.

 

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Did you enjoy this story? Then why not try the 101 stories in 300 words or less in YOU’RE GETTING SLEEPY, THE HYPNOTIST’S APPRENTICE YAWNED.

Available at the Createspace Store, at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or any other Amazon store in your territory.  E-book is also available.

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