by Cindy Green, Age 15, Canada
Artwork by Lucy Zhang
The January fiction prompt was “ball.”
She was alone. Just her and the grand piano in a dark, shadowy room.
She touched a key, but there was silence. She touched another, but it made no sound. Bewildered, she sat down and slowly placed her fingers on the keys, playing a short piece. Still the piano did not make music.
Sweat trickled down Sydney’s temple. Her fingers danced along the keyboard of her laptop, each step and twirl creating a word.
There was a knock. She turned, expecting to see the French doors she had entered. But instead, there was one door, painted to blend in with the wall.
Sydney could feel shivers racing down her spine. Her mystery novel excited her, so much so that she felt as if she were the girl in it.
She told herself not to approach the waiting door. She told herself not to dare.
“‘Just a peek,” Curiosity whined. “That’s all you need.”
“‘Don’t do it,” warned Common Sense. “You don’t have to do it.”
“‘But you want to!” argued Curiosity.
Sydney bit her shaking lip as the dramatic suspense played out in her mind. She could see her character. She could see the piano. She could see the door.
She slowly stood up, on trembling legs and reluctant feet. The voice of Curiosity was a loud, persuasive drumbeat, drowning out the warning pleas of Common Sense.
“With each dauntless step her trembling legs and reluctant feet grew confident. Her hand stretched out to touch the cold handle.
Sydney could almost hear the door swing open, releasing an atmosphere of mysterious familiarity. She placed a finger on a key, suddenly hesitating. Her own story was frightening her.
After that, silence. She gingerly looked inside the door and saw––
Sydney stopped. What did she see? What was inside the door? She rested her chin in her hand. How had this escaped her attention?
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Sydney’s chest tightened. Her eyes widened and were still. She was frozen in almost solid ice. Was that a knock? How could someone be knocking? She was alone, and more importantly, she was outside.
She had discovered that solitary writing in clear, open air was much easier and more enjoyable than the stuffy desk area beside her bedroom window.
But here, there was no door to knock at.
Sydney turned, slowly. Her lashes quivered, as if afraid to let her eyes see the cause of the noise.
There, in the tall, grassy field, stood a door.
A door, with no building or construction attached to it. It was completely unaccompanied, standing on its own wooden frame.
“What’s behind that?” Curiosity whispered craftily, directly into Sydney’s perky ear.
Sydney sat aghast at the sight, unsure of whether to be interested or afraid. “I…I don’t know.”
“And let’s keep it that way,” suggested Common Sense. “Curiosity killed the cat.”
“I did no such thing,” Curiosity spat.
Sydney held up a hand for silence. “Just a minute.” She rose on wobbly legs and slowly stepped through the grass, her eyes darting here and there to watch for new surprises.
She reached out a hand to touch the knob, turning it very slowly. Curiosity watched eagerly, but Common Sense was hiding his face in his hands.
She opened the door. Soft music met her ears and brilliant lights met her eyes. She stepped back, aghast.
Inside the door was another world. It was a little village, with people buzzing about in the midst of falling snowflakes and biting wind. Customers entered and exited the decorated shops that lined the snowy streets. A slowly-turning black disc wound its way around a record player as it breezed out “The Sugar Plum Fairy.” Villagers bowed to ladies and took their hands, seeking a partner to dance to the music. The street held a cluster of waltzers, with dreamy-eyed men who twirled laughing, skirted girls.
Sydney stood gaping at the sight, unaware of someone approaching until she felt a cold, clammy hand grab hers.
She was pulled into a dance, fingers easily slipping into each other and arms relaxing into place on shoulder and hip. She was moving before she realized it and found herself looking into the warm blue eyes of a young village boy.
“Hi,” he said, a smile spreading across his lips.
“Hi,” she breathed, a crooked, wondering half-smile returning his nice one.
“Nice dress,” he remarked, nodding as they swayed.
Slight confusion settled into Sydney’s eyes until she looked down to see a yellow ball gown in place of the jeans and pullover she’d grabbed that morning.
“Oh. Thanks,” she replied simply.
“You like it?”
Sydney looked up. “What?”
“This.” The boy motioned his head to the scenery surrounding them. “The town. The dance.”
She quickly nodded, assuming familiarity. “Yes, yes; it’s lovely.”
He smiled proudly, beginning to explain. “The people here aren’t familiar with a real ball in a real ballroom, but this is real enough, I think.”
Sydney smiled back, a full and wider smile. “It’s very nice.”
His eyes lit up. “It…it’s like a storybook.”
Her smiling eyes met his. “Yes. Exactly like a storybook.”
He lifted his arm and gave her a whirl, which she performed beautifully, laughing.
His eyes silently studied her. “You aren’t from around here.”
She looked at the ground and shook her head. “No. I was writing this novel, and…it’s a long story.”
“I’ve got time,” he told her, the setting sun sparkling in his eye.
“It’s nothing.” She looked around, her eyes catching the winter sunset as it blanketed the snowy village.
He followed her gaze. “What is it?”
She turned to him, a dreamy smile curving her lips. “I just thought of what to put behind my door. And how to finish my story.”
His eyes brightened. “How?”
Her eyes were even brighter. “‘Don’t be afraid to take a chance and open the door.'”
Cindy Green is an LTC Insider Plus+ Member from Canada. Cindy writes, “I’m a 15-year-old writer from Canada and I never want to stop.”
Want to write fiction for us?
The February fiction prompt of the month is to begin a poem or short story with this line: “The minute my eyelids fluttered open, I was aware that I was not in my own room.”
Your deadline is January 15, 2015. Our prompts change every month and the deadline is always the 15th.
Please read our submission guidelines before you submit your work