#JoinTheStory

JoinTheStory is a social movement and an ongoing, daily, character-based prompt for flash-fiction designed to sharpen our craft and deepen our understanding of human nature. Drive out fear. Take back your story.

StoryShop Forums #JoinTheStory

This category contains 5 topics, and was last updated by Avatar Sean Platt 1 month, 1 week ago.

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    • JTS: Amara (Miscarriage)
      Whenever Amara allowed herself to remember her first ultrasound, her emotions rushed up into her chest in a jumble. It was easier for her to focus on the feelings she had felt then--six months and three days ago. Fear and wonder. She was afraid to tell the baby's father. She was afraid to tell her parents. She was afraid to be a mother. But the fear had dissolved into wonder. This tiny human was alive in her--depended on her. Then the cycle of fear had started over again. After all the grief and joy...after all the ups and downs...it had all come to an inglorious end, while she had been asleep. That end now became an emptiness inside her that hadn't even existed six months and four days ago. How could she be so hollowed out so quickly? How could something so precious be taken away right as she began to recognize it's value? Even as her desire grew? Worst of all, Amara felt guilt. If she had wanted the child from the beginning...if she had cherished it differently. If she had decided on a name. If only she would have named her son before he died.
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    • JTS: Annabelle (Neglect)
      Annabelle just became the youngest person to ever win New York State's chess tournament, at the age of fourteen. Her father wasn't even there. It wasn't that she needed him there, or would have even noticed, it was the fact that he couldn't be bothered to show up. It wasn't like he was a brain surgeon, and someone would have died if he'd attended her tournament--any of her tournaments. He was a podiatrist. Whose feet had been more important than his daughter? Forget chess. That was her thing. She had been able to beat both of her parents since she was eight. What she wanted more than anything was to go camping with her father the last weekend of summer, right before school started--to head into the mountains and spend the weekend together. Her father had promised a camping trip every summer for the past six years. Yet another summer had come and gone. Well, forget her father. She could get along fine without him.
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    • JTS: Brayden (Gender Identity)
      When Brayden and his friends received their name badges at comic-con this last year, they had a laugh while adding their pronouns to the badges. Brayden hadn't intended to use "zie/zim" as zir pronoun. But as zie held the sharpie in zir trembling hand, zie knew it was what zie wanted to do. The rest of zir friends didn't seem to think too much about it. At first, neither did Brayden. Later that evening, sitting on zer bed, zie realized zie had never felt so much peace about zir identity. Something clicked. For the first time, Brayden understood that zie didn't have to "fit" with every expectation for a male. Zie didn't have to struggle to fit the definition of manhood his parents so desperately wanted for zim. The new pronoun had felt like freedom. At the same time, Brayden knew then, and certainly knew now that zer path toward discovery would be a difficult one.
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    • JTS: Chavez (Isolation)
      CW: Isolation, Broken home Since age ten, Chavez has started every morning by looking in the mirror and acknowledging that he probably wouldn't survive the day. Many times, he could have died. Several of his friends have. There has been no reason to think about the future. There has been no point to the present other than survival. Only his grandmother made an effort to tell him anything different. Now she's dead--dead from the flu. Chavez knows she's dead because she was poor, dead because she wasn't white. No one cared about her, and now no one cares about him. Why should he care about any of them?
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    • JTS: Emma (Drug Abuse)
      Emma's experimentation started after her parent's divorce, but the memories that drove her to use drugs started with the sexual abuse. During her high, it was heaven to leave behind who she had been turned into. She wanted to stop wanting to reclaim what had been taken from her. The truth was, she hated herself. Maybe that was why she'd OD'd at some boy's house. He wasn't even a boyfriend. At least he'd called 911, from a bus stop, with her phone, before leaving her there alone. She didn't remember how she got here, but here she was--strapped to a bed, sick, alone--one of the junkies.
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    • JTS: Hondi (Absent Parent)
      Hondi's parents immigrated to the United States from Malaysia before he was born. He felt like a stereotype growing up in New York with parents that barely spoke English while he barely spoke Malay. They had wanted their only son to be a doctor. At least Hondi was able to choose which type--podiatrist. That always made him smile. The same parental pressure had been applied to meet a nice girl, get married, and create grand babies. Hondi happily complied with the first two. Even starting a family hadn't seemed like a terrible idea at the time. Now Hondi couldn't help but feel that he was becoming his parents, making all the same mistakes with his daughter. His parents had wanted him to "have it better" than them. They worked all the time. They missed his first track meet--all his track meets. His mother had once given him a cooking lesson. He had burnt the pork. His father ate the meal without complaint. That was Hondi's happiest childhood memory. Annabelle had turned fourteen yesterday. She was practically a woman. Tears trailed down Hondi's cheeks as he tried to remember even a single such experience, like the burned pork, that he and his daughter had shared.
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    • JTS: Jameill (Profiling)
      Some hopped up idiot jacked a couple hundred dollars from the till of the corner market near Jameill's flat. Of course the criminal mastermind had brandished a knife, and was a young, black male. Jameill just happened to also be a young, black male...and to be a couple blocks away when the crime had been committed. Luckily for the criminal mastermind, the police found Jameill first. Unluckily for Jameill, being a "young, black male" was all the commonality required to be detained by said police. After 24 hours in prison, all his college savings to post bond, and two months of being dragged to court, Jameill's freedom depended on the shopkeeper, an elderly man from Guatemala, to be able to tell two black people apart. Jameill found it increasingly difficult to not slip into the angry, black male stereotype his father had been--that everyone seemed to expect him to be.
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    • JTS: Jean (Chronic Illness)
      Jean was a pipe welder...in a previous life. He didn’t love his work, but he was damn good at it. A few years ago, he thought the travel was getting old. Now he’d kill for that kind of freedom and independence. To be able to pull his weight--to earn his keep--and be something more than a burden to his wife and kids. At first, it seemed like fatigue. He attributed it to stress, travel, and long hours. Then his hair started falling out. Unexplained rashes and constant flu symptoms became too much to push through. It took five years and all their saving to get a diagnosis. After being diagnosed with Lupus, some med-fangled label for being useless and broken, Jean lost all identity and direction.
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    • JTS: Melissa (Instant fame)
      CW: Instant fame Melissa works at her local coffee shop. She enjoys the job, and enjoys most of the customers, but she dreams of singing. On a whim, she uploads a video of herself singing on YouTube. All she expects is an awkward Grandma comment, "You are so amazing. When are you coming over for dinner?" and a couple dozen likes from her friends. She is shocked to wake up to a full inbox, over a million likes, and hundreds of comments. People recognize her at work, and several customers ask her when her next concert is. Comments range from positive to negative, and overwhelmed doesn't even begin to describe how she feels.
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    • JTS: Morgan (Child Loss, Child Illness)
      Morgan had worked at the children's hospital for seven years. She was meticulous, and her work ethic sometimes led to other nurse assistants pressuring her to let up. Her supervisor increasingly leaned on her to handle duties that shouldn't have been hers...and that she wasn't being paid for. Even worse, they had been shorthanded for a month, and the hospital would most likely not fill the position. To do her job right, Morgan had to move faster while staying sharp. Halfway through a double shift, she decided to try some caffeine pills. She zipped through the rest of the shift--patient after patient. She drove home and fell directly to sleep. Five hours later she was awoken by her phone. One of her patients, an eight year-old boy, had been given the wrong IV bag last night. After an allergic reaction, he'd died two hours ago. Her supervisor needed her to come in immediately. Two weeks later she had been fired and was under criminal investigation for negligent homicide. The boy's mother was out for blood. Morgan's lawyer recommended taking a plea deal--going to prison. Morgan still couldn't believe she had been responsible.
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    • JTS: Ralph (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
      Ralph rolled his eyes every time he thought about the doctor's recommendations for dealing with his damned angry bowels. Eat right, exercise, drink more water, cut down on the coffee, and stop smoking. Ralph shook his head. Oh, and try to limit the stress. Why didn't he just lay down and die? That would be more fun and way easier. Ralph was a general contractor for high end homes and small resorts in the Jackson Hole area. That meant he spent tons of time in his truck and at construction sites. He was already spending over an hour a day in porta potties, and he had started worrying about things enough to carry his own rolls of toilet paper everywhere he went. Coffee, cigarettes, soda, and those damn Little Debbie's were all that got him through the day. What was he supposed to do? Jumping jacks on site? He'd at least been clutching his cheeks enough that he figured that counted as exercise to a certain extent. It was only July, and he had to hustle all the way through November, but he didn't know how he was going to survive another bumpy gravel road.
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    • JTS: Rob (Betrayal, Imprisonment)
      Rob had everything he wanted as a young, successful cryptocurrency developer and investor until his two business partners framed him for fraud and landed him in prison for five years. Now that he’s served his sentence, his reputation is ruined and there are few opportunities for an ex-convict. None of his past developer contacts will talk to him, much less give him a recommendation or a job offer. Who would want an ex-con on their white paper? Meanwhile, his ex-partners have grown wealthy from their early investment in bitcoin—a third of which is rightfully Rob’s. Without any direction, and nothing but depression and bitterness in his heart, Rob doesn’t know what to do next.
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    • JTS: Santos (Illegal Immigration)

      Santos last saw his wife, 3 year-old daughter and 5 year-old son three months ago when he left them at his sister’s. They had no choice but to leave Venezuela when they did. He considered himself blessed that they had made it safely to Mexico, where his sister had moved years before. He’d merely been a driver for high end customers between the airport and downtown. He didn’t even know who most of them were—journalists or diplomats, he assumed. Now he was in Phoenix, Arizona driving for a transportation company under a false license. The money was good, but he’d paid so much to cross the U.S. border, and even more for the license. He was working as many hours as he could, and he hadn’t even started to save payment for his family. He was growing desperate.

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    • JTS: Troy (Bereavement)
      CW: Mass Shooting, Bereavement Troy stems from a long line of farmers in rural California--hard working, long-living folk. His grandfather died in his rocking chair at age of 82 after an afternoon of stretching wire to replace the fence that Troy’s nephew had accidentally clipped with the road grater. Troy had left the farm for university at So Cal and had never gone back. Boy meets girls, boy starts family. Then boy’s world crashes down on him when his peaceful existence is shattered by a mass shooting near his home.
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    • JTS: Wanda (Single Parent)
      Every year when the holidays roll around, Wanda wishes she was still running her own ethnic, vegan bakery. But since her divorce, bundling her three kids for school, shuttling them to activities, and keeping them in decent health takes all of her time and energy. Now she's working for a regional chain. Early on, they pretended to be interested in a few of her recipes, but they wanted her to sign away the rights and let them be changed. Vegan wasn't commercial enough. Wanda works hard. Her manager wants her to work more hours and take over more responsibilities...while getting the same pay. She doesn't have the time or the flexibility to find a new job, and her boss knows it. Her mother wants her to find a new man. Ha. Lotta good the first one did. Wanda's trapped in a cycle that keeps her maxed out on her credit cards, her exhaustion, and her sanity.
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