Hey everyone! It’s time for CPC Challenge 4, hosted by Carol @ Peeking Through a Kaleidoscope. Even though we are already halfway through the challenge, sign ups are still open if anyone is interested. It’s a really awesome challenge, so if you’re able to commit, please sign-up!
Before you read this post, check out my first entry of CPC. It has an interesting tie to this one at the end. I am planning to keep on connecting my CPC entires to make an even bigger story that all connects.
All of these blogs are awesome so please, go check them out and give them all a big follow ❤️
+1 point for submitting story/poem
+3 points for using all three prompts
+2 points for including one bonus picture/piece of artwork
Total Points: 6
For Toby: A Short Story
Jessica was sitting at her office, working on a memo that she would send to her coworkers tomorrow.
“Surprise! I’m back from the dead! Isn’t that exciting?”
Jessica, appalled, looked directly into the face of her dead brother. Well, used-to-be-dead-brother. Is that even a thing?
“Toby? Is that really you?” Jessica asked, standing up from the desk, close to tears. “I haven’t seen you…” Jessica stuttered. “Well, since forever.”
“Well, forever since I’ve been dead!” he chirped happily.
Jessica found this odd. Toby wasn’t supposed to be happy.
Toby was dead.
Jessica took a deep breath, closed her eyes and counted to five. When she was done, Toby wouldn’t be there anymore.
He was still there.
That was impossible.
“So,” Toby began speaking, to Jessica’s discomfort. “Have you concluded that I’m not apart of a strange hallucination you’re having.” he said, leaning against a ledge in his witty voice that Jessica knew so well. Or used to know, at the very least.
Jessica was so choked up with tears that she couldn’t speak. Her mind buzzed with failures and regrets of the past that she couldn’t fix, that time couldn’t heal.
It had been 15 years, but she still regretted what happened at the lake last night. It wasn’t supposed to play out that way.
Actually, that’s an understatement. Nothing to do with the lake should have happened. Ever.
When Jessica was 13, and Toby was 6, Toby got lost in their local shopping mall. Jessica’s mother told Jessica to go find Toby, and then come straight back to her, but that hadn’t happened. Jessica found Toby in a dark, narrow, alleyway to the side of the mall. Jessica remembered it like yesterday.
“Toby! What are you doing here?” she called as he guided gently guided him out of the darkness. “Never run off like that ever–”
And then it happened.
Someone grabbed Toby.
Jessica heard his scream.
Even after all these years, the thought still sent shivers down her back.
Of course, Jessica instinctively turned around to see what horror had just happened, but before she had the chance, she felt someone snatched her off of the ground and then she found herself with Toby, kicking and screaming as well.
That was just the beginning.
Toby and Jessica were blindfolded, handcuffed, and carelessly thrown into the backseat of a jeep and then they were sent to a secret, sinister, and definitely illegal enslavement camp with a couple other kids who seem drained of all life, happiness, and motivation.
Sadly, there were too. Months went by without Jessica hearing Toby’s sweet laugh. Months went by without Jessica ruffling Toby’s hair.
Jessica knew there had to be a way to get out: there just had to.
Jessica was a clever girl.
So on the eve of her 15th birthday, late at night, she snuck out with Toby, who was still quite young, and they ran to the lake. They only brought to things: a random rubber pool float that they managed to find, and a Lego that Toby had in his pocket the day he got lost in the mall. All they had to do was cross the lake and climb over a fence.
It was not as easy as it looked.
They had successfully made it across the majority of the lake, undetected until a the same man who had kidnapped them jumped in from a side and drowned Toby.
Jessica wasn’t brave enough.
She swam away.
She swam away, leaving her dear brother, an already defenseless six-year-old to drown.
She swam away from all of her problems, all of her demons.
Then she reached the fence.
She didn’t hesitate to climb over it, and once she was done to keep running.
The worst year of her life.
She knew all of the specific events that had happened, yet everything seemed to blur together like a tornado of terror that follow her around for the rest of her life.
She should have never left Toby.
She should have died with him.
It would have been better.
“Toby…” Jessica began, fighting back tears. “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s OK, Jessica.” Toby said, coming closer to embrace her. “Things are born–” he snapped his fingers. “And just like that…they die.” his voice suddenly dropped. This sent shivers down Jessica’s back.
“No, Toby you’re wrong. I did everything wrong.” Jessica was openly crying now. “I should have never left you.” her words filled with genuine regret.
“Jessica that’s not why I’m here.” Toby said, looking at Jessica right in the eye. “I’m here to warn you. He’s coming back.”
Who’s coming back? Did Toby mean the man who kidnapped them, after all of these years? It was impossible. The man was arrested for a life in prison.
“Goodbye, Jess.” Toby said softly, as he handed her a piece of paper that was folded multiple times. He slowly faded away into the air and eventually disappeared.
“No! Toby, stay with me!” Jessica cried, feeling around to see if he was still present.
He was gone.
Jessica opened the piece of paper.
Toby had made this for her on her 13th birthday, all by himself, just for her.
Suddenly, someone else walked into the room. She turned around to see who it was.
“Why hello there, Jessica.” said a calm voice. Sensing Jessica’s fear, he said “Relax, Jessica, I’m not going to hurt you.”
Jessica couldn’t speak. It was her cousin, Jonathan. She almost thought that he had forgotten about her.
“I need your help.”
“What is it? Why are you here?” she replied.
“I need you to help me find Eliza.”
First Toby, and now Eliza? Something was going on.
“I thought Eliza was…dead.” Jessica whispered.
“Listen to me, Jessica. I thought she was dead too. I was wrong. She’s alive and she needs our help.” Jonathan confessed. Before Jessica could respond, he interrupted her. “I can explain later, but we need to go now, or else it will be too late.”
“What? Jonathan, this is crazy!” Jessica protested.
“I’ll explain everything in the car.” he said, forcefully dragging her along. Jessica wouldn’t move an inch.
“Please, Jess.” Jonathan begged. “Just trust me.”
There was a moment of silence.
“OK. I’ll do it…for Toby.” she choked.
Jonathan nodded his head as a thank you and before she knew it, she was sitting in the backseat of Jonathan’s jet black Mercedes.
Going to find Eliza.
Thank you for reading this post. Are you signed up for CPC 2018 as well? What did you think of my interpretation of Carol’s prompts? Let me know in the comments.
Keep On Booking,