September Fiction: Stories of Paint (short story)

by Megan Handley, Age 13, Canada

Artwork by Journey Meyerhoff

The prompt of the month for September was to use the word “orange” at least three times.


Stories of Paint

“Mom,” Kate whined, “I’m bored.”

“Is your room clean?” asked Kate’s mom.


“Well, don’t complain about being bored, then.”

“Isn’t there anything else for me to do?”

“You could weed the garden for me.”

“You know what I mean.”

“You don’t want to weed the garden?”


“Go paint a card for Aunt Mabel. It’s her birthday next week.”

“But I don’t even like Aunt Mabel! She’s loud and she smokes and she smells bad.”

“Kate! That’s no way to talk about your relatives!” exclaimed Kate’s mother, shocked.

“Well, you’re the one who always told me to tell the truth.”

“Kate, go, now,” said her mother sternly, raising her voice slightly. “I know for a fact that my sister loves homemade cards.”

Kate stormed upstairs and yanked her cheap watercolour paints out of her drawer. She thumped around the house, collecting brushes, paper, and a glass of water. Sitting down heavily in her chair, she sighed. What could she possibly paint for awful Aunt Mabel?

Kate closed her eyes and jabbed her brush violently at her tray of paints. Opening her eyes, she discovered it had landed in orange. “I hate orange,” thought Kate in despair. She still had no idea what to paint!

But she had to stick to her own rules. A drop of orange dripped off the tip of her brush and landed in the centre of the page. And, all of a sudden, Kate was painting.

A splat of orange became a gift, a sweet citrus fruit for a child living on the streets. The child’s mouth opened in astonishment, a shout of glee escaping his mouth. He cradled it in his hands like it was the most precious thing in the world. His eyes were opened wide, filled with joy. A smile spread across his split lips, a smile that had been missing for months.

An orange balloon tied to an old woman’s wheelchair. The orange was the only spot of colour in the small room; the walls were white; the bedsheets were white; the wheelchair  black. Her grey skin was covered with thousands of tiny wrinkles like a discarded tissue. She sat alone, gazing out the window. A young couple sat on a bench in the soft spring sunshine. The man was leaning over and whispering something in the woman’s ear, and her head was thrown back in laughter. Back inside the room, a blue drop of paint formed a tear running down the woman’s ancient cheek.

A humongous orange pumpkin with a grinning face sat in front of a maple tree with gleaming yellow leaves. The afternoon sunshine cast strange shadows across the face of a small baby, no more than a few months old, who was sitting inside the pumpkin. The baby looked utterly bewildered. Standing in front of the pumpkin stood the baby’s mother, an intense expression on her face, camera at the ready.

Kate put down her brush and gazed at her three paintings, each telling a story of their own. Smiling, she got up and taped them each to her wall. She sat back down in her chair and folded another piece of paper in half. On the front of the card, she painted a small blue flower for Aunt Mabel.


Megan Handley is a 13 year old writer living in Canada. Of all the hobbies she enjoys (dancing, singing, acting, painting – pretty much everything) writing is one of her favourites.


One comment on “September Fiction: Stories of Paint (short story)

  1. Cindy

    Wow – I absolutely adore this!!! Amazing, and a very sweet story. Keep this up, Megan! :)

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