At the time of writing this I am enrolled in an online MFA program for creative writing. One of our assignments this week was to write two scenes of a very short story based on this prompt:
“A teenage girl, routinely bullied by her peers, finds an artifact that bestows seemingly magical powers. She discovers the artifact while trying to hide from the bullies, but they find her because of the artifact. When they do, something terrible and unforeseen occurs.”
I’ll admit, I had really been wanting to find a story to go with this particular image for a while:
Now the real challenge of the assignment was to write the first scene in First Person POV. The second scene had to be written in an Omniscient POV. The switch was so jarring, and I’m not even sure I did Omniscient POV correctly. But I had a lot of fun writing it.
P.S. If it seems like this scene ends a little abruptly, just know I had a word count I was assigned to stick to. Naturally, I went well over it.
The Red Earring
First Person Point of View:
Our floating campus through the stars has hit another pathetic milestone. The Christmas holiday. Our fifth one since leaving Earth. I have always—even in my short ten years on the home planet—dreaded this holiday. Yesterday’s Christmas was no different. Yet, something very strange occurred last night. Strange even for outer space. I woke up in the middle of the main corridor with no memories of how I’d gotten there. I suppose I shall recount what I do remember.
It all started when Razeen and Zedna—or the Crimson Cats as I call them—were on the prowl again. I swear, those red jumpsuits they were issued are not regulation size. And they always make sure all the boys in the program watch their every move with bouncing eyes and waggling tongues. Despicable. I have never met a craftier duo of flunking space cadets. Why won’t Miss LeGuin expel them already? Send them home on the first escape pod to Earth.
Naturally, the teachers never believe me about all the horrible things these girls do to me. Yesterday, Zedna chased me down the corridor. Razeen was waiting for me at the end. She locked me in the zero-gravity chamber. Ha, ha. Joke’s on them. The whole reason I signed up for this snooty, study-abroad program was because I am in love with the feeling of weightlessness. Why fly through the stars if you can’t experience what living among them would feel like?
Miss LeGuin found me there. Alone of course. The Crimson Cats had gone to annoy someone else by this point, or so I believed. She scolded me for floating around in the chamber. I didn’t argue with her, even when she restricted me to my cabin for the remainder of the evening.
As I was returning to my cabin, glad to be done with everyone, I found them again waiting for me. I sprinted as fast as I could back to my room. The two of them with their flying curses and clacking footsteps were close behind. I locked my door, and raced to my bed. I could see them. Their ugly, make-up covered faces breathing fog onto my window. Still shouting curses, but I couldn’t hear behind the thick glass.
I turned to my bed. There was a box with a red ribbon waiting for me on the sheets. Why was there a gift here, I wondered. I ignored the pounding fists on my door and opened the unmarked gift. Inside was a single, ruby-studded earring.
“I’ll bet you she snitched us out to LeGuin,” Razeen said. “Wait til I get my hands on her. Rip her stupid hair out.”
Zedna started to laugh. “Oh man, could you imagine her bald? Let’s cut her hair.”
“Scissors dumbass. I’ve got some in my room. Go get em.”
“You get em!”
Zedna rolled her eyes. “Fine. Make sure she doesn’t go anywhere.” She banged her fist on the hard, window. “Hear that little snitch? Someone’s getting a haircut.”
Zedna ran to her room while Razeen stayed behind. She glared at Alyria through the window. Alyria turned her back on her. How Razeen hated her. Ever since the first day Alyria showed up at the academy. Razeen remembered the boys with their comments.
“—blonde girls, man. Hot—”
The last girl that had stolen hers and Zedna’s spotlight paid dearly.
Alyria looked out her window, ignoring the stares from behind. They were hovering over a blue planet that looked so very much like Earth she believed. Alyria took the earring in her hand and placed it on her ear. She felt a strange sensation within. As if her insides were being sucked out through her feet. She turned once more to face her attackers. Both of them were in shock.
“How the hell did you lose her?” barked Zedna.
“I’m telling you, she disappeared. One minute she’s putting on an earring or something, the next she’s gone.”
“She couldn’t have gone far. Come on!”
Zedna and Razeen ran down the corridor; neither of them really knowing where to go. All the while Zedna fidgeted nervously with the scissors as she ran. She knew LeGuin would find some way to blame the disappearance on them.
Suddenly, a blinding red light appeared before them. There in the center was Alyria, only she wasn’t quite herself. Her own eyes looked enflamed. Her hair was all spread out and floating. She lifted her hand and Razeen and Zedna froze mid-sprint. The fire in Alyria’s eyes grew fiercer. She pushed her hand forward and the two girls were sent flying across the hallway screaming.
Alyria watched their bodies roll out onto the silica tiles. Both of them were out cold. The heat she’d been feeling lessened in her body. Her eyes grew still, and the earring quit pulsing. She blacked out.