Tag Archives: My Works

YAFF Muse is Back: School Daze

12 Jan

YAFF Muse is back!!! Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Raygun by wintersixfour

School Daze

By Rachel Marie Pratt

Some schools have rules. Others have a code of ethics. This school—my school— has zero tolerance.

The gymnasium fills with teachers and students for today’s Call to Discipline. Despite the thousand plus in attendance to the afternoons event, the room is completely silent. Not that anyone would dare to make a noise during such an assembly. To do so would bring about great consequences.

Already there are several of us waiting in line to be punished when Principal Shuster crosses the gymnasium. Everyone joins together in showing support. Like a synchronized beat we clap. Clap.Clap.Clap.Clap.Clap.

He takes his place behind the podium. His hands part in the air and the room falls silent again.

“Welcome students. Faculty.” Shuster begins. “Here at Redwood we pride ourselves on the conduct of our students. Many of you were left in the guardianship of the school, because your parents saw the need for structure and accountability in a world drowning in its own sin and disregard. Redwood was built on discipline, with a defined set of ideals. It is through the constant application of these principles we maintain a safe environment and quality of living your parents dreamed for you.” He holds the schools commandments in his hand. All 3041 ways a student can earn a place in the Offenders Line. “Without further delay, let the Call to Discipline commence.” Shuster steps down. And in his place is Eli Manager, who we call “the executioner.”

“Francie Dressler,” he says.

The sound of my name being called reverberates off the high ceiling. Every muscle in my body tightens. I plant my feet firmly on the floor, but I’m no match for the two guards selected to bring me forward. At the center of the gymnasium, a third guard takes hold of my legs and I’m lifted onto a cool, metal slab. As if this hardened table has a memory, images of the tortures preformed here flood my mind.

“Please, don’t let them do this!” I plead with my classmates, to help me. Even though I know nobody will stop the events happening here today. I can’t blame them I’ve been where they are now. And I’ve done nothing the same as they will do nothing. Still, my yells persist until a rubber muzzle is placed over my mouth and secured to the back of my head, deadening my cries.

I thrust my head from side to side. The muzzle is like a vise squeezing my mouth closed until it feels as though my teeth are going to shatter like glass.

“I invoke the first commandment of Redwood: Tardiness will not be tolerated.”

Blinded by a glaring white light overhead, I shift my gaze to the side. A cart draws forward in my direct line of sight.

The Executioner takes his place at my side. He chooses his device of discipline. It’s one I’ve never seen before. It looks like a toy gun. But I know better, this is not a toy.

“Hold her still,” he instructs as the device whirs to life. A six inch needle shoots out. “You like my newest invention?”

© 2011, January 11, rmp. (rmg)

This muse came to me after I decided to steer from the b-rate sci-fi movie idea. In the end, I’m happy with the results. And VERY glad I didn’t attend Redwood.

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment. This will be our last Muse until after the holidays! But make sure you check back after the first of the year for more YAFF MUSE!

Miranda Buchanan

Rebekah L. Purdy

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger


YAFF Muse: Long Ride Home

15 Sep

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Photo by: phypet

Long Ride Home

By: R.M.Gilbert

Leaning, with my elbows against side the viaduct, I peered out at the old neighborhood. The rundown apartment I shared with Mom. The train tracks below, where I played chicken with the subway. But nothing felt like home more than the maple tree at the far end of the road. My haven whenever Mom had a fight with one of her guys.

I inhaled the stale air, thick with the scent of rust and moldy wood. Who knew one breath would bring back the past?

The clatter of alcohol bottles echoed in my mind. I put my hands over my ears, but the cli-clank of glass got louder. And the neighborhood before me turned fuzzy like an out of focus lens.

Music blared from a boombox on the floor next to the coffee table, competing with the screams of my baby brother. Mom’s by the door. A guy stands next to her. Long greasy hair stringing past his shoulders, a scar on his right cheek and a bum eye.

“I’ll give you a half ounce, for five minutes alone with your daughter,” the man said. He dangled a small bag full of white powder under Mom’s nose. She probably thought I was too busy making the baby a bottle to hear, but I heard everything. And this guy was not going to lay a finger on me. Not one.

I watched the door closely for any signs he might push his way in. Mom’s feet shifted as she twists to glance at me in the kitchen. With the rear of her hand, she wiped her nose. Her nostrils flared and beamed bright red against the pale of her skin. The consideration in her drugged gaze was all the indication I needed to go to my special spot.

Slipping from the kitchen, I edged the wall of the living room. And while they negotiated I sneaked to mine and my brother’s room.  His tiny hands reached. Not for me, but for the bottle. I wondered if Mom fed him while I was at school. I pushed the bottle into his mouth, kissed his tear covered cheek then laid him back in the crib.

“Someday I’ll take you from all of this,” I said and turned to the window, knowing that was an awfully big promise for a twelve year old to make.

I sighed, taking one last peek at the crib before I shimmied down a vent pipe. The rusted metal scraped like gravel on the way down. But scratched hands were nothing compared to a mutilated spirit. The tips of my toes touched down and with the earth beneath me, sirens wailing around me, I raced to the end of our road, climbed to the highest spot I dared to climb in my tree and waited.

Waited for the sun to come up.

Waited for Mom to pass out.

Waited for the men to leave.

Waited for the five o’clock train to tell me it was safe to go back to my brother.

I listened for the train now, but instead…

“Are you okay?”

My eyes refocused and I glanced at the hand grasping mine; the fingers aren’t as tiny as they were then. “Yeah,” I whispered.

“Is that the train you took me out on?”

I searched the commuter cars, long deserted on the tracks, their graphitized walls.

“That’s not the one.” I shook my head. “Ours went the other direction. Downtown. To the police station.”

“Hey kids,” Aunt Pauline called from the end of the viaduct. “It’s getting late and you still need to eat and shower.”

Off in the distance I heard a screech on the rails. I squeezed my brother’s hand thankful for the five o’clock train.

©2010, September 15, rmg.

This weeks muse was written last second. My baby girl turned 12 yesterday so I wanted to portray a story of a girl the same age. But a close look at the picture this week and everything in the neighborhood looked broken down, so I put a 12 year old there and asked myself: What would her life be like? How would she survive? Who would be there with her? Where would she find an escape if not in something bad?

In the end, the answers would heartbreaking and yet a relief at the same time. She’s  courageous, a survivor, and a savior.

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Cambria Dillon

Mindy Buchanan

Rebekah L. Purdy

Vanessa Barger

YAFF Muse: Breaking Free of the Forum

23 Jun

Well hold onto your pants for our new blog series. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.

Without further delay, this weeks YAFF Muse pic was provided by YAFF Memeber: Cambria. Don’t forget to check out the other ladies stories, I’ve linked their sites at the end the post. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: valyeszter

The Trouble with Tea

–R.M. Gilbert

It’s totally lame when Mom says I have to stay with my grandma over the summer. I’m sixteen for shits sake. Definitely beyond pampers and bottle feeding. Smart enough not to allow some strange door-to-door salesmen in the house while Mom’s at work. And I’ve always hated helping in the kitchen, so I’m not about to burn the house down using the oven. Why then, am I going to be stuck spending my summer with some old lady who I only see at Christmas?

Here’s why:

“She’s starved for company, you know.” Mom parks the car out front of a tiny shoebox house.

“Why don’t you stay with her then, and I’ll pick you up in a few weeks?” I say.

She scowls. “Out of the car, now.”

Okay, not to be a jerk, but really, what a pain. I push out of the car muttering about injustice while Mom heads to the front door.

She sucks air and pulls a note that’s been taped to the window. “Oh shoot?”

“Now what?” I grumble.

“She’s out back for tea.”

“What am I suppose to do?”

Here’s what:

Mom says, “At the back of the house there’s a path, remember? You played there,” she pauses. “Goodness, over ten years ago, I think.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me. I was like five and you expect me to remember that? Why don’t you walk me back? She’s your mom.”

“Can’t, I’m wearing Jimmy Choo’s.” She points at her newest pair of heels.

“Fine.” I take off for the side of the house when she calls after me.

“I’ll set your bag inside. See you in a couple weeks.”

Whatever, I think moving on. Mom’s high maintenance. I don’t know if Dad was. He’s gone. He died when I was about six. Mom doesn’t talk about it much.

On the path, I work my way through the winding maze of trees until I come to a small clearing.

“I wondered when you’d come.” Grandma sits on one of two wicker settees, under the cover of a rundown gazebo.

The steps creak under my weight as I join her, a small wooden table between us.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” She lifts her thin arm–skin and bones–and gestures at the nearly dried up swamp and dying timbers.

“Are you feeling okay?” I ask.

“Tea?” She offers without responding to my question.

I stare down at the dainty cup about to refuse, but she pours me a drink regardless of what I want.

She says, “Sit. Drink.”

Um, no. I look over my shoulder, back up the path and wonder if I hurry, if I can catch Mom before she leaves. But I sit down, pick up the cup and take a sip of the bitter liquid. Squinting out into the tree line I spot a teacup dangling from a small branch. A pattern of blue flowers delicately painted on its side. Then I spot another. And another. Like ornaments on a Christmas tree.

“Hey, what are all those cups for?”

“Those who’ve come for tea.” Her voice rasps. “The white one with the blue flowers was your fathers. We had a drink years ago, such a sweet man.” She sets her cup down. “You know the trouble with tea? It makes me hungry.”

“What?” I turn. Catching a glimpse of her crimson stained teeth and black eyes.

She lunges at me…

Here’s lunch.


©2010, June 21, rmg.

So here’s where I’m suppose to say what gave inspiration to the story. Well, I have to admit at first I was like ‘eh’ over the picture but after about five minutes of staring at the pic I knew exactly what I wanted to write. There were two things that inspired me to write The Trouble with Tea. The first, obviously the picture. The second, my hubby’s grandma.No she’s never eaten anyone who’s come for tea. (At least not that I know of).

Seriously though, Grandma is a blessing and every time we spend a morning chatting she’s put the tea on. A cup, saucer, milk…the whole shi-bang. So it didn’t take long to incorporate Grandma into the story. But then, I needed a twist. Let’s face it, I write Fiction. So while Grandma never lunges over the table to take a bite out of her Grandchildren, the one in my story does.

So tell me, did you see the end coming? How do you take your tea?

After commenting be sure to stop by other YAFFER sites to see how the picture inspired them:

Cambria Dillon

Mindy Buchanan

R.L. Purdy

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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