Once again, I’m taking the plunge into Susanna Hill’s Valentiny contest, where participants must write a story that is 214 words or fewer (title not included). AND this year, it must contain a character who is curious. They can be curious about anything. No illustration notes are allowed, so even though this is an exercise for picture book writers who depend on the illustrator telling half of the story, in this case the text must provide enough context for the story to make sense.
My entry comes in at exactly 214 words:
By Jilanne Hoffmann
One day when Oren’s sister was being unbearably bossy, Oren asked her, “Mika, what’s a Valentine?”
“You don’t KNOW??” Mika checked to ensure the coast was clear.
“If you get one, you’re DOOMED.”
Oren raised an eyebrow.
“UNSPEAKABLE things happen.”
“How do you know Smarty Pants if nobody talks about it?”
“Okay, I’ll tell you if you SWEAR to keep it a secret.”
Oren zipped his lips and crossed his heart.
“Follow me,” Mika said.
The broom closet was stinky and dark.
“This is creepy!” Oren said.
“Shhh! The Valentine MONSTER will hear.”
“Monster?!” Oren gulped.
“The one that gives out Valentines.”
“What are Valentines?”
“They look like chocolate kisses, but they’re the KISS OF DEATH.”
“At the stroke of midnight, if you’ve eaten the KISS OF DEATH, gremlins will KIDNAP you.”
“What was that?” Oren whispered.
“Then they’ll BOIL you in oil.”
Oren gasped. Something tickled his neck.
“And slip WORMS into your shrimpy ears!”
“Gahhhh!!!!” Oren shot out of the closet and raced to his room.
Mika cackled, chasing after him.
She found Oren chomping chocolates on his bed.
“Oren! What are you DOING?”
“Saving you from the Kiss of Death.”
Mika wailed. “I was just KID-DINGGG!”
“Gotcha back.” Oren grinned. “Here, time for a truce. Happy Valentine’s Day!”
Anyone care for a chocolate?