Today, I’m doing something a bit different: my first post in the new linkup, A Good Story . About a week ago, one of my writer friends,...

Thoughtful Thursdays: Monthly Link-Up: Mackers and Me

Today, I’m doing something a bit different: my first post in the new linkup, A Good Story.

About a week ago, one of my writer friends, Mariella, suggested a monthly linkup, where we’d share snippets of stories – nano-fiction, blurbs, page-long beginnings – that never got the attention they deserved. That, for whatever reason, we never expanded on. I thought it was a great idea (chance to share my unhailed genius, you know), so here I am participating.

I came up with this piece about two years ago, based on a prompt for a GoTeenWriters contest. Unfortunately, I submitted another story and got disqualified because I messed up the prompt sentence (there’s some genius for you). On the bright side, though, I did gain a cool story idea:

***

“I would like you to call me if anything happens to Mackers,” Aunt Jenny said, slipping her arms into the ugly, black trench coat, prim airs rolling off her and doing nothing for my mood. I rolled my eyes behind her back; what in the world did my aunt think could happen to her stupid hamster anyway? The most he did in an hour was run on his wheel and eat celery, and the only thing he was good for was scraping said vegetables off my plate and into his mouth.

When Aunt Jenny had finally left, headed to yet another auction, I turned, surveying the living room with yet another sigh. There wasnt a screen in sight – no TV, no computer, no video game consoles, not even a cell phone, except the ancient flip thing in my pocket. Even the windows were shuttered  yes, shuttered. I didn’t even know houses came like that anymore.

But there were antiques aplenty, from paintings to vases (vaw-ses, according to Aunt Jenny); from French art and Renaissance costumes to African masks and Native American dreamcatchers. And little Mackers, too, sitting in his cage in the corner, fast asleep.

I decided the hamster, stupid though he might be, was onto something. So with nothing better to do, I collapsed on a couch as old as Adam himself and fell asleep.

When I opened my eyes to see the gigantic Mackers staring over me, I definitely did a doubletake. Mouth wide open, I stared at the massive version of the once-tiny rodent. He rolled his jaw in a sort of chewing motion, and I think I let out something like a strangled scream.

For whatever reason, Mackers didn’t try to take a chunk out of me, so I had a sec to let my eyes dart around the living room, with all of its no-good-for-weapons antiques and the now-broken cage in the corner. A cage which definitely did not contain a hamster anymore.

I looked back at Mackers, blinked, and rubbed my eyes. Surely, I was seeing things. A boredom-induced hallucination. Or perhaps a very vivid dream.

But Mackers the Not-Hamster-Anymore stayed right where he was, staring at me with wide, black eyes, blinking them every couple of seconds. He just sat there, looking at me looking back at him, like he was waiting for something. 

Though painfully weaponless and thoroughly terrified, I stayed surprisingly cool for the situation, scrabbling my fingers around in my pocket for my cell phone. Aunt Jen replied in seconds. “Yes, Louis?” she asked, sounding slightly annoyed. “What is it?” 

Opting for the honest approach, I went ahead and said it: “Mackers isn’t a hamster anymore.”

I expected her to laugh. I expected her to call me crazy. I expected her to be ticked, to fly off the handle, and yell at me not to bother while she was doing important things  like spending a crap-ton of money on some dead dude’s painting.

What I didn’t expect was the next four words, “Of course he isn’t.”

My eyes bulged. “Of course?”

“15,000 dollars!!!” She yelled, and I nearly jumped into Mackers’s nose  which was now as big as my head  before realizing that Aunt Jen probably wasn’t talking to me. While my heart was still slowing from a thousand miles an hour to a hundred, she replied, “Well, yes, didn’t your mother tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“Oh dear.” She sighed, like I’d just said we were out of ice cream. “I knew Ray-Anne didn’t like the Morphers, but I didn’t know she wouldn’t tell you anything. Oh well. I’m nearly finished here, so I’ll be home in a little, hon. Don’t worry about a thing. 16,000 dollars!

And just like that she hung up. 

I stared down at the phone in my hand, then slowly raised my eyes to the ginormous rodent bearing down on me. “Don’t worry,” she’d said.  How the heck was I supposed to not worry?

I heard a shuffling noise, and kicked desperately, propelling myself back into the couch. Which in hindsight was quite useless, but then again, I had nowhere else to go. 

It didn’t matter anyway because Mackers the Not-Quite-Hamster seemed to have tired of me and was turning slowly around, shuffling in the opposite direction towards the kitchen. I wondered if I ought to do something – he might eat everything in the pantry or knock over some million-dollar Madagascan mask. But then I took another look at the former-hamster, which was now the size of a small car, and decided it would be best if I stayed out of his way.

For such a large rodent, he didn’t do much damage. Most of my aunt’s antiques were hanging up, and those that weren’t were on tables or pushed up against the walls, creating a clear path for Mega-Mackers. He lumbered through as if he walked it everyday, not bumping into a thing.

When he finally squeezed through the wide arch leading to the kitchen, I breathed a deep sigh and flopped back onto the couch. All the adrenaline had drained from my body, leaving me a scared, shivering mess. 

Looking around the room once more, listening to the very large rodent shuffling through the house, I wondered if this was why Aunt Jenny didn’t have a TV: She was afraid Mega-Mackers would knock it over.


***

Whaddya think? If it’s dumb, don’t be afraid to say so; I adore constructive criticism! Also, don’t forget to check out the others in the link-up!


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4 comments:

  1. THIS IS NOT FAIR. I want to know why he's a giant hamster and how it happened!!! !!!!!!! at least tell me in a message or something?!

    BRILLIANCE

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! So glad you liked it! And lol, I'm a pantser, so I'm actually not sure what's going on with the whole hamster thing. But if I go back to working on this story and I figure out, I'll let you know :)

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  2. Well that was a twist. I think my favorite part was "as old as Adam himself" because that just cracked me up. Still, I'm super curious to see what happens next... Maybe?

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    Replies
    1. That's one of my favorite lines, too! Honestly, like I said in the other comment, I'm a pantser, so I'm not even sure what happens next. But, hey, if you guys like it, maybe I'll continue this one for my monthly linkup posts. If I don't have something else to share.

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