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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Kenzie Fell Down on December 17, 2007


In a living room, in a stained armchair, sits a man. He is a king, obese and disgusting, surrounded by a kingdom of crumpled trash, old food, and empty bottles. His piggy eyes are firmly fixed on the TV, even as his hand raises a half-full bottle to his flaccid lips. The dialog of a badly filmed, badly enacted, late night rerun zombie movie echoes from the room into the rest of the little house.

‘There’s no such thing as zombies.’

The petulant voice floats down the hall into the kitchen, where a girl is sitting on the counter, washing a massive pile of dirty dishes. It’s obvious she’s been at it a while, and still more obvious she’ll be here a while yet. From the doorway comes a faint whisper.

‘Melissa?’ The girl looks up at a young boy in a night shirt with little dogs on it, a stuffed dog and a piece of paper clutched tightly in his arms.

‘Hey, Nathan, I thought you were asleep already. It’s late, and…’ Seeing the look on his face, she stopped, then asked, ‘What’s that you have there?’ Nathan tiptoed up to the counter, then held up his paper.

‘I got a hundred.’ He looked shyly at the floor. On the paper, printed in a childish scrawl, was the alphabet, and at the top in red ink, a broad 100 and a smiley face.

‘Wow,’ Melissa started, but again cut off, this time for a loud clinking that came from the living room. Setting the paper to the side, she quickly reached down and hauled Nathan up onto the counter beside her, biting her lip and wincing at the pain in her side. Already, heavy footsteps were clumping down the hall, accompanied by a scream from the TV.

‘Oh, calm down, Carly. It’s only a cow.’

Ponderously, the man stomped to the refrigerator, yanking it open with a grunt. He rooted around inside for a few minutes, as Melissa and Nathan huddled quietly, then he pulled out a pack of beer, with a few bottles missing. He placed them on the counter with a clunk, completely ignoring the frightened children huddled by the sink. Tearing a bottle from the package, he stumbled back out the door into his putrid domain. Melissa sighed out the breath she hadn’t dared release, and then eased Nathan down onto the floor.

‘You really should get to bed now, honey. How can you keep getting such awesome grades if you’re tired? I’ll be up in a second to tell you goodnight.’

Melissa turned back to her dishes, and Nathan reached up for the edge of the paper that hung over the counter, not realizing the beer package had been set on top of it. With a crash, the bottles fell to the floor and smashed. Melissa whirled around to see Nathan, wet with spilled alcohol, beginning to cry.

Hurriedly, she dashed off the counter and down beside him. Kneeling, she whispered, ‘Nathan, don’t cry. Nathan, listen to me! Run upstairs, go change, hop in bed. I’ll be up in a second, kay? DON’T COME DOWN.’ She pushed him toward the stairs.

She was just wiping up the spilled drink when the man came lumbering back into the room.

‘No, John, don’t open the door!’

The shrill whine of the actress mingled with the man’s roar as he took in the scene in the kitchen. He flung himself at Melissa, striking her repeatedly with his fists, his feet, the bottle still in his hand. She locked her jaw closed and curled up on the tile. She didn’t want Nathan to hear her screaming.

On the stairs, Nathan watched the violence through the doorway, tears coursing down his face, the dog clutched tightly to his chest.
Finally, the man grew tired of his grim game and shuffled back to his chair, entirely unaware of the little boy huddled on the stairs, the girl sobbing on the kitchen floor amid rivers of alcohol and blood and shattered bits of glass.

‘Why, John? Whyyyy....’

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