Short Stories

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Excerpt

The swimming pool is shaped like a heart. No, wait — it’s an apple. Of course! The poisonous apple Snow White took a bite of that sent her into a coma. Sort of weird, really, when you think about it. Who’d want to swim in a poisonous pool? No one by the look of it. The pool is empty. All that delicious coolness just lying there, sparkling in the late afternoon sun. …

Poison or not, alligators or not, I’m hot and I want into that pool. I head straight for the diving board, take as big a bounce as I can off the end and cannonball into the water.

Splash!

I drift down into the blue coolness, my eyes wide open. Glug, glug, glug. There is only watery sunlight down here, as if the sun was a big yellow china ball that someone smashed into little shards and sprinkled on the blue tile floor. My goggles aren’t on tight enough and water seeps inside, so with a little kick off the bottom I drift to the surface.

“Hey, you!”

A voice booms above me. I grab the lip of the pool. I also grab a mouthful of water, which makes me cough and cough. There is a large pair of hairy feet planted right beside my hand. I look up, my vision all swimmy through goggles full of water — way up, past a pair of Superman legs, a pair of yellow bathing trunks with palm trees on them, a chest big enough to pitch a tent on, to a face glaring down at me as if I am a toad and the only thing stopping him from squashing me is that he doesn’t have his toad-squashing boots on. Then I see the comic book in his hand. It’s sopping wet.

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The Whirlpool
Excerpt

There’s no need for Snapchat or text messages in a high school cafeteria at lunchtime. All you have to do is sit at one of the tables. Guaranteed, after a minute or two, you’ll know everything there is to know. It’s all here. Carried just above our heads. Words surging and swelling and rolling across the cafeteria like bodysurfers at a concert. Talk washing over us, flooding us with the ohmygods, the names, the details. Everyone, even the quiet ones, caught up in the rumors. The gossip. The whirlpool.

Sometimes the whirlpool slows. A sudden waiting, watching, listening silence. A signal that fresh drama is about to unfold. Not on the stage at the back of the room, the curtain drawn shut. This theater plays out right in front of us, down on the floor, in the depths of the cafeteria.

I’m not surprised when the current pauses in front of me. It’s the end of September but it’s still my name that swirls around and around and around. My name trapped in the whirlpool since school started, the day after Labor Day.

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