These entries from August's challenge were selected as Honorable Mentions. Those who completed this challenge are now encouraged to share their stories in the comments section of the "August Writing Challenge."
Blueness against blueness, an evangelic shade I could admire indefinitely. I have always had a fascination with waves, and the way they seemed to effortlessly yet mercilessly crash against each other, as though they sought to capture the beauty inherent in their own self-inflicted destruction. It made me wonder that perhaps we are all like waves: seeking and searching for beauty our whole lives, yet destroying ourselves in the process.
I silently admired their turbulent movements until that sweet shade of blue tinted into absolute darkness, in the same spot I did every midnight on the first Saturday of February. A day where I meet with Felix and watch the stars dance in the sky until they burn only our names over and over. We met a couple of summers ago when our dysfunctional families brought us out here on holiday. But we now come here each summer to escape the fast pace of our lives for a little while.
As Felix approaches, his eyes reflect the dusky blue that was mirrored in the waves only momentarily ago, as if they had stolen the enchanting colour.
He grins in my direction. “Hey, stranger.”
“Long time no see.” I shift myself on the bright red blanket to create room for him to sit, to which he happily obliges and moves closer towards me.
“We really ought to make these meetings more than just once a year. I do quite enjoy these splendid nights.”
I only smile in response because no set of words would be able to capture just how much I would like that.
“Parents still fighting?” he asks gently, holding my gaze, unafraid of the darkness that he might find in my answer.
“Yeah.” I shift uncomfortably on the blanket, trying to disguise the sadness in my tone, something that I have perfected. “But I don’t feel like talking about that tonight.”
“Why not?” He stares at me enquiringly, and his concern makes me smile because there are very few people in this world who genuinely care as much as Felix does.
“Because when I’m here with you, I am happy. And lately, happiness seems like such a rare occurrence for me that I would rather savour this feeling than invite sadness in to destroy it.”
“I make you happy?” He smiles to himself goofily, and god, it somehow makes him even more attractive than he already is.
“What about you?” I steer the conversation towards him to hide the prominent blush forming on my cheeks. “Is your step-dad still a douche pants?”
He laughs loudly, and it is the kind of melody that is contagious. “Okay, firstly, no one says douche pants anymore.”
I laugh along and nudge him lightly. “Stop trying to change the subject!”
“Well, to answer your question, yes. I guess things haven’t really changed since three summers ago, huh?”
We remain silent momentarily, pondering over the blinding truth of the statement. “I guess the world stays the same,” I begin as he looks up at me — his eyes holding galaxies in them. “Pain and hurt is always there, and it follows you like a shadow. But Felix, you are my midnight flight. You are the flight which helps me escape the burdens of life and takes me to a place where I find the beauty in the darkness that is alongside the shooting stars.”
He smiles — really smiles. The smile that reaches your eyes kind of smile. “You are my midnight flight too, Nova.”
And as we watch the ocean in comfortable silence, I know that it is true.
We save each other.
If you could please open your eyes, I will show you what’s going on. Ah, thank you.
Put yourself in her shoes. This hallway must seem like forever, it’s so long. Aren’t I right? But that makes it more of an adventure, I think. The longer, the wider, the taller, the better. But what is she running towards? Come closer. Do you see what’s at the end of the hall? A pair of little black shoes, beautifully crafted. Her grandfather made them for her, despite the fact that cobblers had gone out of business ages ago. He still remembered the craft, however, and when his little granddaughter needed her first pair, he wanted them to be special. Special they were, though she knew not why. All she knew was that she had to take very good care of them. She hadn’t worn them in so long, but tonight, being a special sort of night, she was given permission to put them on.
What else can you hear? Her mother is calling. It’s almost time to go. Watch as she slips on her shoes; she’s so careful for someone so young. Watch as she jumps to her feet, runs down the hall, forgetting for a moment the rules of this house. Everything is an adventure today: these shoes, this hall, this event. Her father has been talking about it for weeks. You don’t know about it yet, but I’ll show you soon, don’t worry. Just watch.
This room is like a jungle to her. Tall counters, wooden cupboards, so much to see, so much to hide. And, when you look up, the great giant. A friendly one, most days. Her father scoops her up, lifting her so she can touch the ceiling with her smallest finger. Today is a special day, he tells her, are you ready?
Are you ready?
Imagine what it would be like to be up that high. Can you imagine? It would be like you were flying, wouldn’t it? The lights would be spinning, they’re like the sun, so bright and optimistic, like nothing could go wrong. And then her mother is here, wearing her finest, for today is a special day, as everyone says. Come, dear, we should go, or we’ll be late, her mother says. And then she is leaving, mother and father and daughter, all off to see a show on a very special day.
And then she is off! And we’ll follow along and see where they’re going. Watch, my friend, the shadows are growing. The time is nearing, it is almost here! Are you ready, her father asks.
Are you ready?
She is getting closer now, what does she see? It is towering over her, this little one, it is so much larger than even the hall, holding more secrets than even the cupboards. Do you see it? Look up — farther — now there, do you see that? Isn’t it beautiful? More beautiful than even our world?
Oh, we’ve made it just in time! Look up now, look up with her, watch as it explodes into the horizon. The world has awaited this moment; don’t you know how hard they’ve worked to make this happen? You have no idea what we’ve been through, and now it is here! Watch as they wave, watch as they run, watch as they hold up a thumb and then watch as it flies up and up and up, up into the stars. Watch as it disappears from your view! Watch, now it is gone.
They are gone.
How special Midnight’s flight turned out to be.
The near-summer joy filled my senses as we cruised down the highway at seventy-four. Cassie was driving, the windows were rolled down, and the low humming of the radio filled the decade-old beige sedan.
Her purple-dyed hair blew past her pale cheeks as the nighttime air hit her face cruising down the highway.
She was my opposite.
Cassie Shappell moved to Chicago at the start of our junior year, hailing from Beverly Hills. She didn’t care what people thought of her, making her my idol. I was shy, scared, and timid. She was my polar opposite and, nonetheless, my best friend.
Cassie had gotten me to sneak out for the first time that night, after all I had done was complain about our advanced-placement history final the next morning. She said that I had needed a break and wanted to show me something special.
Cassie jolted the car to a stop; the sedan stretched across three parking spaces. “C’mon,” she said, waving me out. Cassie was still dressed in her black dress, fishnets, and black leather jacket.
While stepping out of the sedan in my plaid pajama pants and grey shirt, I noticed that she wasn’t wearing shoes. “Where are your shoes?” I questioned.
Brushing me off, Cassie replied with, “Left them at home… I recommend you leave yours here.” She pointed to the sedan, so I tossed my slides into the car through the open window.
Before I could ask where we were going, Cassie took off with her purple hair flowing behind her through the city. What if we get caught? I thought. Ignoring my worries, I chased my best friend through the city.
We ran through the middle of the empty streets and under the bright lights until our tired feet were met with something soft.
It was then, I realized, we were at the beach.
“Why are we here?” I asked my best friend in exasperated breaths. My black hair hung in front of my face as I leaned on my knees.
“Come with me,” Cassie replied. She took off down the beach until she reached the concrete breakwall.
As tired as I was, I ran after her. “Again, why are we here?” I asked, tossing a black curl over my shoulder.
“We’re here to let go. We’re here to fly free,” Cassie stated in a dream-like voice, purple wisps of her hair making small movements.
“Are you high? I cannot believe I let you drive me!” I angrily shouted. What Cassie said was beautiful, in her own weird way, but it sounded like the time she got high at a party and I had to drive her home.
“No!” she said, rolling her eyes. Cassie turned back to look at me with her green eyes for a moment and tossed her leather jacket onto the ground.
She then ran to the edge of the breakwall and jumped off into the water.
“Cassie!” I shouted. I watched her head pop up from underneath the water. I let out a breath of relief I didn’t know I was holding.
“C’mon in!” she replied, waving me in. She laughed and smiled, brushing her wet hair back. I shook my head, but Cassie insisted. “Come fly with me!” she shouted.
I nervously checked my watch, seeing it was midnight.
Without looking back, I jumped.
I left my world for a moment, the one with school, grades, colleges, and finals. I felt free. I felt like I was flying.
When I came above the water, I saw Cassie beaming.
“See, Beverly Marx, you are capable of flying free,” she stated.