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Featured Stories, Week of April 8, 2018: "Noise Enforcement" and "Bonding"

Updated: May 12, 2021

Each week we feature a story written by one or two of our group members at one of our meetings. For this week's featured stories, the group was given a location to write about and a handful of related words that they could not use in their story (a-la-the game Taboo or 25,000 Pyramid.) The goal was to give the group a good idea of the setting and have them guess what it was without using key words. We had 20 minutes to write.

Noise Enforcement

By L. E. Lasko

Location: Dungeon

Taboo Words: dungeon, chains, dark, torch, torture, cell, or lock

There is no sunlight, only rows of florescent lights. I can’t sleep – I haven’t slept in days. I think it’s been days – maybe only hours?

The sirens go off every fifteen minutes. They’re random in length and pitch, unlike clockwork. Logically, I know escape is impossible, but my thoughts flirt with the possibility, enthralled by the idea.

A sequence of beeps and a slot opens in the door.

I run to the opening, smashing myself against the wall.

“Please, please can you make the noises stop?” No answer.

“That’s really the only thing I need, please?

A tray slides through the slit. Something they deem edible.

“Or just turn them down? Please, anything…”

I try to glimpse the person on the other side. His shadow bounces and reflects – I know someone’s there.

There is a gleam of something metallic and the slot snaps shut.

The sirens never stop.


By Salem Cole

Location: Remote Cabin

Taboo Words: remote, cabin, woods, forest, lake, logs, shed, axe.

Total isolation, I thought as I hulled my duffle bag from the makeshift parking spot my dad created in the tiny clearing. I pulled my phone out and checked the service. Zip, zero. I might as well turn it off. No one was going to find us if Bigfoot barbequed us for dinner.

At the thought of dinner, my stomach growled.

“Hungry already?” Dad asked as he dragged the cooler of food along the dirt and wet leaves. “No pop tarts in this cooler. It’s all stuff from the farmer’s market. We have to make it ourselves.”

Jesus when was this nightmare going to end, I said to myself, proving my defiance to this “great idea” my dad had. My thoughts roared and raged at him, but I never said a word. We don’t talk about our feelings like that, and I wasn’t going to start now.

I gave the area a panoramic gaze. The hundreds of red timber giants almost made the open air feel claustrophobic, and there, sitting in the most picturesque spot was my dad’s residency of choice. I was still twenty feet away from the rundown lumbered shack, and if its surface flaws were an indication of the inside, this nightmare was only beginning.

“You just need to get away from the smog,” he said. “Clear your head and start fresh,” he said. I bet he even thought we’d bond. Ha, not if I had anything to do with it. I wasn’t fooled by this sudden need to get to know me. I wasn’t going to let him win this round of who “tried” when we report back to our therapist.

The first step to the porch was broken. With fifty pounds of clothes in my hand, I stair climbed over the splintered step. The screen door looked like rapid squirrels shredded it. A creak and a moan grumbled from the door as my dad opened it. Flicking the light switch on, we stared at the state of our temporary home.

“Maybe we should start singing,” my dad joked. “Coax those squirrels to come back and help us clean up.”

I groaned and turned around to leave the shack, but I was greeted by the ever-present nature. Nowhere to run. I could’ve had my first driving lesson stealing my dad’s car to find the nearest town. But no, I couldn’t leave the poor man to cook for himself. I stepped back in through the door and slammed it shut. A rusty hinge fell off.

If you can read this: help me.

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