I haven’t written a short story in a long time. A couple years ago I was in the habit of doing what I called “A picture is worth a 1,000 words” stories, which is where I choose a random picture then time myself to see how long it took from the first moment I saw the picture until I had written a short story that was exactly 1,000 words about the picture.
It’s a great exercise for me as an author so when my wonderful friend suggested I write a short story for my blog post today, I jumped at the chance. I convinced her to pick out a picture for me, then I set my stop watch, looked at the picture, wrote the story and did a quick edit on it. It is exactly 1,000 words long.
From the time I first saw the picture until it was in the condition you see below was:
31 minutes and 20 seconds.
I hope y’all enjoy!
It shouldn’t have surprised me after all we’d been through, but somehow it still did. I took a deep breath, willing myself to have the courage. It didn’t work. “Are you sure this is a good idea?” I tried to keep my voice calm, but even I could hear it’s frayed edges.
“You’re not scared, are you?” Kallie’s eyebrows lifted slowly as if she was assessing my mood.
“I’m not sure that I would call it fear,” I tried backpedaling. “I just think it’s a really good idea to check all of our options and make sure we settle on the right one before we plunge ahead and, you know, take the dive.” I cringed at how my brain worked in puns even when it was stressed out.
“You do realize that we’ve been working toward this moment for the last three months, right?” Kallie sighed and ran a hand through her tangled blonde curls. “I thought you had decided to follow the map until the end.”
“That’s before I realized that the map was leading us straight into water.” I shuddered. “We have absolutely no clue what could be down there.” I pulled my sweater more securely around my shoulders. “We’ve already dealt with so much because of this map and I’m not sure if it’s worth it any more.”
The sigh that blew from Kallie’s lips was filled with frustration. “I’ll do it alone if I have it.”
“You can’t do that.” I echoed her sigh with one of my own. “The instructions clearly state that there needs to be two of us.”
“And if you’re backing out than what am I supposed to do?”
“I didn’t say I was backing out.”
“You didn’t?” Kallie’s sarcastic tone of voice reminded me of when we were little girls and she would hang around bossing me just because she was the older of the sisters.
“I’ll do it.” The words came out of my mouth before I had even thought them through.
“Lets go then.”
I held up a finger. “I’ll do it, on one condition.”
“You’re a little safety-lover, aren’t you?” Kallie dropped her backpack and reached up and massaged her shoulders.
“Which is a good thing if you recall correctly.” There had been three times since we’d started out pursuing the treasure that the map promised that my overthinking and cautiousness had saved us.
“Yes, it is a good thing most of the time, but really, just because you have a fear of swimming shouldn’t make our whole quest suffer.”
I had to concede, she did have a point. I rubbed my hand over my face, trying to erase the fear that was building up. I thought of when we had received the map in a letter from our grandparents. It had been exciting at the time but neither of us had been ready to tackle the huge journey it would send us on. We’d prepared for several months, snatching every spare moment we could while keeping up with the rest of our lives, then when our grandparents sent us another letter telling us it was now or never, we had took deep breaths and plunged into the escapade.
The last several months had been full of weekend trips, late night figuring and adventures we’d never even dreamed of as we spent our time finagling our lives around following the treasure.
“Are you ready yet?” Kallie’s voice broke into my memories.
“We have no clue if it’s safe or not.” As much as I enjoyed the hunt and hanging out with my sister, I was ready for life to go back to normal.
“I can tell by looking at you that you’re ready to give up.” Kallie’s voice was filled with accusation.
“We can’t spend the rest of our lives doing this.”
“We still have our lives, this is something we’ve been doing on the side.”
“Come on, getting over your fear of the water will be good.” Kallie started down the steps; holding my hand tightly, she pulled me along with her.
The fear I had felt up on shore got stronger each step we took. I gasped for breath, trying not to let my phobia get the best of me. I hated water.
“What if this is just another clue?”
“You can’t give into your fear.” Kallie addressed my real question.
When we reached the last step before the staircase entered the water Kallie slipped her arm around my shoulder. “Facing our fears makes us stronger.”
I bit my lip and then dipped my toes into the water. It wasn’t as cold as the air promised it would be. Deep breath. I continued the decent, Kallie at my side, until the water was waist deep. Then shoulder deep. Filling our lungs with air we continued a few more steps and then bumped into something solid. If I hadn’t been under water I would have screamed.
A moment later I opened my eyes to find that we were in a hallway of sorts the door was quickly closing behind us.
“What in the world?” Kallie and I slowly ventured forward, eyes widening with each step.
“An under water passage way?” There were drains on the floor that the water we had let in with us was swirling down. We reached another door and opened it, then gasped in delight. “This is it! This is the treasure!” Kallie threw her arms around me then twirled me around in a big circle.
We were standing in a huge, beautiful and elaborate room that was filled with books of every size and description and plush chairs to sit on while reading them. Lights had been flickering on since we had come through the door and soon the whole room was sparkling with beauty.
“This is a far better treasure than I had ever dreamed of.” I felt a huge grin slip over my face as my fear I had harbored during the last stage of the journey melted away.