Good morning! Here is my July Monthly Recap post, with my monthly reads, my top posts and blog stats for this month, and more! I hope that you enjoy!
m o n t h l y r e a d s + b o o k s
The finale in Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games proves to be excellent, just like the previous installments. Although it broke my heart, I still loved it. The pacing was perfect (I read it in just 2 days) and the ending was so satisfying. I greatly enjoyed reading this trilogy and if you haven’t already read it, put it on your tbr list right now!
Yes. This is the only book I have read this month.
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!
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.
Hey, everyone! I missed Challenge #2 because I was in South Dakota with my grandparents, but I’m back just in time for Challenge #3. Since the scenery was so beautiful, I decided to incorporate some of the pictures I took in South Dakota to use in this challenge. Hope you enjoy!
+1 point for submiting story/poem
+3 points for using all three prompts
+8 points for incorperating in 4 pictures
Total Points: 12
“Here, let me help,” Annie said as she squeezed her way through to help her Uncle pick up all of the old books and antique objects she had dropped.
“It’s fine, just go away,” her Uncle snapped, blocking her path. “You’ve already messed up everything as it is.” he muttered under his breath.
“No, I can fix it, it really! I promise, I can-” Annie was cut off, not by her Uncle, but by the look of genuine disappointment in his face. He didn’t care that she had dropped all the important books, but he was disappointed at her for what she had done.
Annie was starting to get frustrated, but instead of taking it out on her Uncle, she relaxed and fueled her emotions into her words.
“You know, I’m not as weak as you think I am.” Annie said. Her voice started off soft, and unsure, but gained confidence and volume towards the end of her sentence. Soon Annie found herself staring directly at her Uncle, with such a force and even a hint of rebelliousness, that she was sure to be grounded for the next week on top of what she was already in trouble for.
“Hmm, we’ll see…”
He walked away.
This made Annie even more frustrated.
He can’t just walk away…can he?
Annie didn’t know where to go or what to do, so she went to the place where she couldn’t mess anything up. This place was so perfect, that even the most useless and trouble-causing person in the world, such as Annie herself, couldn’t make things worse.
Annie was walking on a concrete sidewalk, which slowly transformed into a whimsical cobblestone pathway, which lead to the outskirts of the city. Where it seemed like there was nobody else in the whole wide world except for Annie. Annie liked that. The walk wasn’t too long, but it did take a little bit of time to reach her desired location.
She found her way into a prarie with a small valley just below. Wildflowers and other plants blew softly into the gentle wind. Her anger dissolved into calm. For the first time in her life, she tasted the sweetness of serenity.
Before she knew it, Annie was approaching an impressive, large rock formation known as the Badlands. The mere sight of it made her feel happy, for it was a secret refuge from the real world.
She took a seat on a small cliff, that was slightly eroded, just enough to make a comfortable seat. Her legs dangled off into the cliff, as she stared off into the distance at the wonder surrounding her.
Annie was 17 years old, which meant that she was almost 18, which meant that she was almost a legal adult. She couldn’t wait until November 14, when she could finally leave her mean Uncle and the worn down trailer he called a house.
The only problem was that Annie had no idea what she will do when November 14, 1932 comes along. The stock market crashed a couple years ago, and it was unlikely that she would be able to get a job. Well, there was one job that was always available to her. A job with her Uncle. What was the point of having the freedom of being an adult but having to relive childhood struggles each day? Even though it was probably the only way she could get food, the idea didn’t appeal to Annie.
The only thing that sounded enjoyable to Annie was staying out here, in the Badlands. She knew how to hunt bison and other animals, and what other choice did she have?
She had already scared away all of her Uncle’s customers at his bookstore by accidentally telling them that she liked to hunt bison. She remember their judgmental voices echoing through her head a million times like pinballs in an arcade.
“Do you even know how to shoot?”
“Quite unladylike, goodness how embarrassing!”
“Well I never!”
So Annie started to set up camp.
She might as well start now.
After all, November 14 was tomorrow.
Thanks for reading this post! What did you think of my story? Are you doing CPC as well? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments section.