Writing a Short Story: Buried Underneath

IMG_0198Remember when I said that I wanted to start writing more creative pieces? Well, as an attempt to get myself actually writing and not just thinking about writing, I decided that I needed to just sit down and start writing. A more accurate way to describe this “writing” is probably closer to some form of word-vomit. I just opened up to a page in my journal and started jotting down anything and everything that came to mind. Half of it didn’t make sense, and the other half was just random words and phrases that clumsily spurted forth from my pencil. After writing almost two pages of this, I stopped. And you know what? I felt better. I felt like a wall had been lifted from my field of vision, and I felt like I could write anything. It was like my mind had been cleared of all clutter, and it felt great.

So after playing around with a few ideas, I ended up writing a rough draft of what could possibly be the start to a short story or maybe even a story on its own. I had actually used a similar set-up in an old piece that I wrote for a class about a year ago, but I changed a few key details and focused on showing the scene rather than simply telling it. I didn’t want it to be the same piece as the one from last year, so I made a point to not even look at the old one. I just sat down with some paper and a pencil and started writing. This is definitely a very rough draft, and I don’t really know if it will develop any further, but I thought I would share with you guys what I was able to come up with:

Buried Underneath

The sun shone flawlessly through the open window, giving light to the small purple-painted bedroom. Piles of clothes lay scattered around the edges of the walls. A small corner desk sat covered in stacks of books, movies, and an array of miscellaneous items that served no purpose other than as emblems of memories long past.

A small path etched its way from the closed door to the small void in the wall that served as a closet. Sitting on the floor, surrounded by clutter, was Brooklynn Rose. She was quietly humming to herself while sifting through various piles of stuff, adding each item to its proper pile.

“Brook, are you almost done?” yelled a voice from across the house.

“Almost! Just give me five more minutes!”

She stood up carefully, trying not to disturb the piles of organized chaos at her feet. Looking down at the bottom of her closet one more time, an old grey hoodie caught her eye.

“That can go, too,” she thought as she bent over to pick up the piece of clothing to go in the charity pile threatening to topple over and onto the throw-away pile. As she picked up the hoodie, a large black book was revealed to be hidden underneath. Brook tossed the hoodie aside and hoisted up the bulky book. She wiped away some of the dust settled on the cover and smiled as she sat down on her bed with the book across her lap.

Opening it to a random page, Brook let out a quiet chuckle as she examined a picture of a much younger version of herself running through a large pool of mud. She began turning the pages that formed a visual timeline of her life, leading up to her high-school graduation the year before.

So much had changed in the last year. Brook was getting ready to begin her second year of college at a new school in the fall. She had bought her first car. She loved her new job. Everything in this moment seemed to be falling together perfectly. Well, almost perfectly.

As she neared the end of the album, Brook’s eyes lit up as she rediscovered the last few pages that had been filled with messages and notes from friends and family. Words of encouragement. Bits of advice and best-wishes. A few jokes about not enjoying the weekends too much while at school. By the time she began to turn to the third and final page of these hidden gems, Brook was smiling uncontrollably.

Her eyes wandered across the page, finally landing on the last entry. Her smile faded. Her eyes grew empty. Her heart seemed to stop as her throat began to tighten and her eyes pushed back against the pending tears. The words that haunted her tear-blurred vision sat in the bottom right-hand corner of the last page  of signatures. It consisted of only a few words, but it stood out among its neighbors as if it were the only one on the page:

My dearest Brooklynn,

I can’t believe this day is here. Congratulations, baby girl. I love you.

– Dad

Her face was burning with a gritty mixture of pain and anger. She slammed the book shut and held back the urge to throw the whole thing out the open window on the opposite end of the room. She buried her face in her hands, letting the tears flow as her breathing grew more and more uneven.

“Brooklynn, I am leaving in five minutes, so you better get those bags to the car before that!”

Brook cleared her throat and wiped her face. Her breathing slowly began to even out again. She picked up the album, got up off the bed, moved to the opposite side of the room to place the book at the bottom of her hope chest and proceeded to bury it under a pile of old journals and drawings. She rubbed her eyes one more time, checking the mirror hanging on the wall to make sure most of the evidence she had been crying was gone.

She walked over to the window and closed it. She let down the blinds, trapping the light on the other side of the plastic border between the outside and Brook’s room. She turned around and bent over to pick up three garbage bags full of old clothes. She opened her bedroom door and looked over her shoulder at the hope chest one last time.

“He’s not worth this. It’s been six months. He obviously doesn’t care enough to come around here, so why should I care that he’s gone?” she thought sharply as she turned her head back towards the door. She walked through the threshold, closed the door behind her, and walked away without looking back.

Comment-Question: Have you ever written a short-story or any other form of creative writing? It’s been a long time since I’ve really sat down and put time into something like this, so I felt a little shaky writing this one. Let me know what you liked/disliked about it – and be honest! Constructive criticism is a writer’s best friend, so criticize away!

4 thoughts on “Writing a Short Story: Buried Underneath

  1. I liked it a lot so far! I think it could definitely be a short story. I thought there was a lot of great imagery in here. I don’t usually write fiction, so I have a lot of respect for people that reveal their ideas through stories like this!

    1. Thanks! I haven’t written fiction outside of class in a long time, so I felt a little rusty while working on this. It feels great to actually get something written, though.

  2. I loved this. You really know how to draw your reader in, and I was instantly transported to that bedroom watching the young woman with the book on her lap. I would love to read more.

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