Flash Nano: Day #1

This year, instead of trying to push to do a novel I know I won’t finish, I decided to participate in Flash Nano, put on by Author Nancy Stohlman. You can find more info here: https://nancystohlman.com/flashnano/. Basically, I have to write thirty flash fiction stories in thirty days based on prompts. Can I do it? Subscribe and cheer me on!


Day #1 Prompt: Write a story that takes place on a school bus.

The classic yellow bus kicked up a smattering of dust as it came to a stop in front of Cara. She glanced nervously back at her mother, who urged her daughter on with a smile. Cara drew in a reassuring breath. Today would be different. Today, she would hold her head high.

Grasping the smallchrome handrail, she climbed the steps. The ruckus didn’t stop, and neither did the driver, as the door squeaked closed and the bus jerked forward, forcing Cara to grab onto one of the cracked green leather seats for balance. Spinning in a less than graceful manner, she managed to sit in the vacant seat, shuffling over to stare out the grimy window.

Mile after mile of rustic farmland whirled past as Cara thought about her life to this point. She would graduate middle school this year and move on to the local high school, and a new bus. Maybe there she wouldn’t feel so awkward and hated. She dropped her head to stare at her backpack placed firmly in her lap. She was smart, her teachers said. So much potential. But what was potential without friends?

No one wanted to be around the gangly girl who knew all the answers. The one who spent her lunchtime in the library, shelving books and diving into her favorite stories of smart girls who did triumph. Anne of Green Gables. Elizabeth Bennet. Pippi Longstocking. If only life could be like that.

The bus stopped and started a dozen times, until the seats began to fill up and the only one left was beside her. No one would sit there, even if it meant squeezing a third person onto one of the already-filled seats. No one wanted to be caught talking to the smarty pants.

Screeching to a halt, the bus door opened. The hushed whispers around her caused Cara to lift her head. In the aisle was a new girl, blonde and pretty. Cara sighed. Another potential person to make fun of her. She dropped her head again.

“Hi, can I sit here?” The collective gasp issued from the kids on the bus had Cara’s heart thumping.

“Umm, sure.”

The girl sat. “My name is Grace. What’s yours?”

“Cara.”

“Nice to meet you, Cara.” Grace smiled warmly, and the ride continued.

Finally, the bus arrived at school and the kids piled off. Grace stood, peering over at Cara. “Are you coming? I’m new and I’d like some help finding the office. Can you help me?”

Cara looked around, trying to figure out if she was talking to her. “Me?”

“Yeah. I don’t have time for silly people and you seem cool. Hey, is that Pride and Prejudice?” She pointed to the book poking out of Cara’s bag. “That’s my favorite.”

Cara’s face lightened. “Yeah, it is.”

“I don’t know anyone who can read that in eighth grade. Can we be friends?”

Cara felt weights lifting. “Yeah.”

“Cool. Let’s go.” Grace turned to leave the bus.

Cara opened her bag, placing Pride and Prejudice more securely in the confines. Her fingers brushed over cool metal, and her heart changed. “Not today.” She hoisted the bag over her shoulder and followed Grace off the bus.

 

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