This is a 2-in-1 post. The below story is inspired by the #Bloganuary challenge, as well as a BlogBattle prompt.
10-year-old Charlie peered through the fence in his backyard. He was so close, yet so far from all the fun happening at the playground of the neighborhood park. Billy, Cedrick, and Patrick played tag while Dominic, Ethan, and Robbie stood around in a circle, undoubtfully talking about their world-domination plans. At least a dozen of other kids slid down the slides, swung on the swings, and climbed the monkey bars.
It was the perfect weather for kids to play outdoors – the sun was shining, the sky blue, and the breeze gentle. Charlie had been asking his mother whether he could join the other kids every day since the summer had started. ‘No,’ his mother would reply every single time. Sometimes, when Charlie felt as if Mom was distracted enough or in a particularly good mood, he would ask her why she never agreed to his request. ‘Kids are like a petri dish – full of germs,’ she would reply before putting on a white glove she always carried in her pocket and checking for the presence of dust on a nearby surface.
Even though there were trees and bushes between the Miller’s fence and the playground, Charlie still had to be careful so as not to be seen by the other kids. During the previous summer, they pretended to try and help Charlie jump the fence but once he got on top of it, they kicked and shook it until Charlie fell off. His pride was not the only thing that got hurt. Scrapes and bruises covered his body.
‘I told you these kids were no good!’ Charlie’s mother screamed when he returned home and told her what had happened. It just made her argument against going out that much stronger.
It was the last day before school was scheduled to begin. All the kids would have plenty of things to talk about while he would be stuck with the outcasts, silently looking at the others with admiration. Charlie HAD TO figure something out, but no matter how much he tried, he could not come up with anything the cool kids would be interested in hearing.
Resigned, Charlie grabbed his shovel and began to dig – he liked to pretend as if he was an archeologist stationed in Mesopotamia, about to make a groundbreaking discovery. Three shovels in, he struck something hard. Immediately, Charlie pushed the shovel to the side and dropped to the ground to use his hands to dust the dirt off whatever he had just discovered. Whatever it was, he had to be careful with it. No museum would want to feature a fossil broken into a million pieces. He knew it was not a fossil, though. The noise he heard from the shovel striking it sounded like he hit something made out of metal.
The tea can he uncovered was royal blue with golden adornments. So many thoughts ran through Charlie’s mind. ‘Am I going to be famous? Will I be on TV? Will the cool kids finally want to hang out with me?… Should I even open it?’ He remembered reading about the curse of Tutankhamun’s tomb, Pandora’s box, and the like and suddenly felt nervous. He dropped the box and crouched away from it slowly. ‘Idiot!‘ he scolded himself at first for not handling the discovery delicately and then for potentially providing the cool kids with more material they could use to torture him.
Charlie stood up and looked towards the park. The kids were still playing and not paying any attention to him. Maybe for the first time in his life, Charlie thought of it as a good thing. He carefully picked up the metal box and carried it home.
‘Oh, dear! What is that?’ his mother asked as soon as he entered the house.
‘I found it in the garden,’ Charlie answered and pulled the discovery a little closer to himself. The last thing he needed was his mom taking it away from him.
‘Wow… oh, okay, then,’ Veronica replied, pushed her reading glasses up her nose, and went back to reading a magazine.
Charlie swallowed a lump in his throat. ‘Well that was easy,’ he thought as he walked upstairs to his bedroom.
The Internet had no relevant searches that would help Charlie figure out what could be inside the can as there did not seem to be any inscriptions of the box. ‘I just have to be brave,’ Charlie thought to himself and pushed his chest out. In a few short years, he would become a man and he had to start acting like one sooner than later. The other boys in his class made that abundantly clear time and time again.
He sat down on his bedroom floor, took a deep inhale, and opened the box. Nothing happened. He was still alive, which was a good sign. Unless the effects of the invisible noxious gas were delayed… Charlie shrugged. There was nothing he could do about that possibility after having opened the box.
Inside, there was a brooch made up of tarnished-looking silver leaves. There was an inscription on the back, but it was too faint for Charlie to make it out without his mom’s magnifying glass. ‘Nothing else?‘ he wondered briefly, before realizing that the treasure must be all the more valuable for it not to be lumped with a variety of other items.
As Charlie approached the staircase, he overheard his mother talking to their private chef.
‘He’s with it in his room now.’
Charlie paused. ‘Why would Mom talk to Cecil about that?‘ he wondered.
‘It was a great idea, Cecil! I put a brooch Martha got at a flea market in there. He was SO excited. You should have seen him! With this on his mind, he’ll forget about those other kids.’
Charlie dropped the brooch onto the carpet where he stood and ran back into his room. Soon, his pillow was soaked with tears…
“Write a story inspired by the word ‘park'”
– prompt used for this CW piece.
P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use this prompt to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post so that I can get an alert and check out your piece. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!
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