These entries from March'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 "March Writing Challenge."
Sound of Waves
As they ran through the field, all their worries began to melt away. They felt free, as free as birds when they first learned to fly.
“Faster,” she screamed, “faster!” her voice echoing through the field.
“Slow down, you’ll fly away,” he said laughing, knowing that this wouldn’t stop her.
She looked at him from the corner of her eye, but this was enough for him to know.
She sprinted forward, her dress whirling in the wind and her hair flying freely.
She reached the edge of the cliff, stopping right before it dropped, panting, out of breath, but happy. “We should have done this more often,” she whispered, staring out at the distant horizon.
Beneath them, the ocean sparkled like a million crystals being reflected in the sunlight.
“We can still do this more often, you know?”
But she didn’t reply. Instead, she kept staring at the ocean, at the infinite blue in front of her.
“Listen,” she said quietly, “the waves are calling us.”
He followed her gaze and got quiet as well, listening to the waves as they crashed against the shore. Indeed, he could hear a distant melody, a soft voice calling out for them. It was a lullaby, sung by the depths of the ocean and carried away by the freedom of the wind. It enchanted them as they swayed to the rhythm of the waves, rocking slightly back and forth.
“We should get to them,” she said, grabbing his hand and slowly moving closer to the edge.
“You sure about this?”
She shook her head but said: “Can’t you hear their cries?”
He nodded before stepping beside her, his toes edging from the cliff.
“You ready?” she asked.
“As long as you’re ready, I’m ready.”
She smiled at that. “By three,” she said softly. “One.”
They leapt forward, falling for what seemed a split of a second, before letting the wind carry them away towards the sound of the ocean.
I know it’s a dream, but I can’t wake up.
I can feel heat around me, sweat swimming into my pores and flooding off my feverishly hot skin. My bedroom is an oven, searing my body. My heart is beating so fast in my chest I fear it will burst out. I convulse, needing some kind of relief from the pain of this burning sensation. My head pounding, I struggle in my dream.
I want — NEED — to wake up.
I attempt to force my eyelids open, but a pain like a hot iron rod attacks my face, and I have to back down. Somehow, the cover falls off my bed, and I swing my legs over the side as it does so. My feet are greeted by a ticklish warm and dusty feeling carpet – what is that? I take a step, blind, towards my door. Breathing in balmy dense air, stumble along touching walls where I can. They seem to be radiating heat, but I make my way to the kitchen, the nearest exit, the nearest place for water.
I am at the stairs, my vision zero, but my mind one hundred percent alert. What is wrong with me? This can’t be a dream. As I reach the bottom, the air is getting cleaner while the heat only intensifies. It is scorching into my skull now, into my soul, my very being.
I MUST WAKE UP!
Finally, a speck of strength allows my eyes to open, just long enough to take in the scene of total destruction before me.
A blaze of amber, white, gold is rushing from the oven, spreading all over the walls, floors, and surfaces. A fiery vision so awesome I struggle to believe it’s real.
But it is.
My house is on fire, the flames are licking at my heels, my whole body is burnt, my parents could be dead, everything I know could be gone, I could be…
I collapse, feeling helpless, hopeless, lifeless.
I lie there in paralyzing pain for an undeterminable amount of time before I hear voices, see lights, feel my inert body being lifted to some kind of safety.
“Can you hear me?”
My eyelids flutter open and are blazed with artificial lights. A silhouette shadows me, a body – the body who was talking to me. My eyes adjust to the light. It’s a nurse.
“Hello, Katherine, how are you feeling?”
What does she mean? I’m not ill, I’ve never been ill, or to hospital ever. I murmur an unintelligent, confused, “What?” and she sits on the bed.
She sighs, looks me in the eye, and takes my hands.
My hands – covered in bandages and blood and scars.
“You see, Katherine…” the nurse begins to explain, but there is no need. It all comes back to me.
It was not a dream.
Beneath the Stars
Music blared from the speakers on one side of the stage. Girls and boys danced in the middle of the confetti-strewn dance floor. Fairy lights hung from the gym’s ceiling rafters. On the bleachers, girls either took pictures of themselves or retouched their make-ups. Every once in a while, you’d see a couple or two snogging or arguing about whether they should be on the dance floor or not. Typical prom night. I stood at the back of the crowd, arms across my chest.
The party adrenaline was intoxicating.
I looked around the crowded room, searching for one face I hoped to see. The dancing bodies and the fairy lights blurred my vision a bit. Without any luck of seeing his face, I walked out of the gym.
I walked through the dark hallways lit only by the moonlight coming in through the glass windows, the sound of my heels against the tiled floor echoing off the walls.
My whole high school life flashed in front of my eyes: my first day of school, the tests I failed to nail, the nonsense talks I’ve had with my friends whenever there’s free time, late nights doing schoolwork, the issues we’ve had with almost every teacher, truth or dares, project-occupied weekends. Him. This might be the last time I’ll ever walk in this hallway.
I went out into the field, and there standing under the moonlight was Sawyer Finch in his black tuxedo and slacks. He was looking up at the star-scattered sky.
“You’re missing the night’s highlights, Sawyer Finch,” I said as I walked up to him. He was still looking up.
“What highlight? The partying? Partying really isn’t making memories. It just consumes all your energy, leaving you none to make memorable stuff.”
“Stuff like standing under the moonlit sky and staring at a sky full of stars?”
“Yeah. At least, in the future, when they ask me what I remember during prom night, I can say that I stood on the field and talked to Amber Dwyne about the silly things in life. That is quite more memorable than saying I danced on the dance floor during prom,” he said, his eyes twinkling.
“Okay, you’re being weird. I’m gonna miss you so much, my lanky boy.”
This time, he looked at me and smiled. “Your? Your lanky boy?”
“I didn’t mean—”
He cut me off by grabbing my wrist and dragging me into the middle of the field. The cold wind blew against our direction, making my hair escape from its pins. Despite the cold, his hand was warm.
We stopped, my heart racing, my cheeks burning, my breath catching.
For the first time in six years, he held my hands. He intertwined my cold fingers with his warm ones and looked at me, his eyes smiling.
“This was what I meant about this being more memorable than partying. Lanky boy is such a dumb nickname for me, though. But, I’m yours. I’m yours, Amber Dwyne. Now, may I at least have this dance?”
I couldn’t say anything, so I just nodded and wrapped my arms around his neck. He was still smiling like a madman, and so was I.
Never have I thought that my prom night would go like this.
For what seemed like hours, we danced under the silent sky and talked about the silly things in life with the moon and the stars as witnesses.