Here is chapter one of Shruti's story. I decided to call it OVERWHELMED. Hope that's okay, Shruti! Enjoy!
  “Well. . .that sounds all right.” I said, in a very light, liberal voice. “When are we going?” “Next week.” my mother hurriedly brushed her bangs out of her face and continued washing the dishes. “For the summer.”

“The summer?”

“Well. . .yes.” said my mother, looking up at me with a surprised expression. “I thought you'd be pleased.

“But. .” I trailed off. “But Camille and Diana, and Sophie, and. . .and the mall, and shopping, and dances, and sleepovers. There'll be none of that at the beach. I mean, I need a tan, but for almost three months? Doesn't that seem a little.. .overkill?”

My mother laughed. “Sure all that will be at the beach. Come on, we're going to Florida!”

“To a little shack town where no people go to the beach, and where they get drunk on Saturday nights and run wild around the tiny town on their cheap motorcycles, screaming and hollering?” I retorted.

“Where the town will be named something very cheesy and all the restaurants serve smelly seafood and have bars? Where I'll have no cell phone reception and we'll end the summer being eaten by alligators?”

My mother laughed again. “Will you please stop laughing at me?” I said frustratedly.

My mother sobered. “Oh, Carmody. It'll be wonderful. I promise, you and your sisters will have a lovely time.”

“We'll see.” I said moodily. “But I've got to get to school.”

My mother offered a wave as I stepped out the front door to await the bus.


I jerked my head up to see the face of my teacher, Mrs. Able. I turned red.


“Carmody, I don't think you were paying attention.”


“Recite the eighth and ninth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”

So that was what she had just been teaching about.

“Um, no weird punishments, or too much bail, and, um, oh! Quick trial, or something.”

My teacher walked back up to the front of the class. “Incorrect.”

A slithery hand rose from the seat directly in front of me.

“I can tell you, Mrs. Able.” said a voice so sweet and sugar coated that I nearly smacked the speaker.

The speaker was Margie Ann Ross, and she was the teacher's pet. Everyone else hated her, except for her best friend and also thoroughly annoying person, Marcy K. Hawfield.

Mrs. Able's stand-to-attention expression was broken with a smile at Margie Ann. “Of course, dear. Go ahead and tell us.”

Mrs. Able never called anyone but Margie Ann , 'dear'.

Margie Ann flashed back a fake smile, then stood up from her desk.

The 8th amendment,” recited Margie Ann, “Prohibits excess fines and excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment. The 9th amendment asserts the existence of unenumerated rights retained by the people.” Margie Ann looked around the classroom with an expression of pride, and looked as though she awaited an applause.

“Oh, Margie Ann!” exclaimed Mrs. Able, “That was wonderful, as always, dear. Come up here and get a lollipop.”

Mrs. Able kept lollipops in her drawer for children who had just done something exceptionally well,and nobody ever got them except for Margie Ann, who of course scored perfectly on every subject.

Margie Ann walked up to Mrs. Able's desk, received a lollipop, flashed some more fake smiles, and sat back down at her desk.

I looked to the desk next to me at my best friend, Camille. We simultaneously rolled our eyes.

“No, Mom. You were supposed to turn right on Heron Road two miles ago.”

“Are you sure?”

“Mom. Of course I'm sure. Turn around!”

“Don't sass, Lindsay.”

Suddenly, my mother jerked the steering wheel and the car swerved, sending Carrie flying across the car and into my lap.

We were on our way to Florida. “We”, meaning my mother, and sisters. Lindsay, who was fifteen, me, at thirteen, Roselle, at eight, and Carrie, at four.

My parents were divorced, and I lived with my mother. I hadn't seen my father since I was two.

So, we were lost somewhere in the Florida Keys, trying to get to our beach, and unfortunately right before we had left our GPS had been taken by a certain four-year-old who had wanted to play register with it, and it had been discovered in the refrigerator, sticky with applesauce. But of course Mom never got mad at Carrie. So we had gotten a map, and apparently it was difficult to use.

“Carrie,” I said, “Get off of me.” I shoved her off of my lap and back into her car seat, and buckled her in. “No, no!” she screamed, kicking the seat in front of her, which happened to be Lindsays. Lindsay turned around, a very angry expression on her face. “Roselle,” she yelled, “DON'T KICK MY CHAIR!” “It wasn't me!” Roselle said. “It was Carrie!”

Lindsay turned to Carrie. “Don't you dare-

“Lindsay!” my mother said, in a shocked voice. “Don't start at Carrie. Just turn around and give me directions.”

Lindsay rolled her eyes, and turned back around. Picking up the map, she continued to guide my mother.

In case you couldn't tell, my family was very dysfunctional .


“What do you mean, I have to share a room with Lindsay?” I huffed. “She's a bratty teenager.”

“Carmody!” my mother said. “Stop it. She's just . . .going through a phase. And yes, you two have to share a room, unless you” -my mother was looking pointedly at me- “Would rather share a room with Carrie and Roselle.”

I shook my head. “No way.”

“Then-” my mother said, “Why don't you go settle in your room. Lindsay's already up there.”

We were at the beach. Our house was pretty, just a little small for five people. It was a small little cottage on the beach. We could walk down the beach to town, and it was about half-a-mile. Also, half-a-mile away was also where all the people were on the beach. Where we were, we were alone.

Our cottage was white, with a wide front porch and lots of windows. It was surrounded by coconut palms and shells littered the front yard. We were about thirty yards from the water. We were surrounded by nature. Nearby canals, rivers and creeks were abundant. There was a forest behind our cottage.

4/28/2011 01:37:33 am

Lily, feel free to email me your character any time, and I'll insert it into the story.

4/28/2011 11:32:25 am

Yes, sorry about that, I've been overwhelmed (ha ha) lately. How about a girl named.. um.. Charlie? She can meet Carmody sometime and they can become friends.. or enemies, whatever you want. Here's a description of her..

Caramel hair, deeply tanned skin, kind of petite, quiet before you get to know her, chatty when you do. And collects ships in bottles. :D

If that doesn't fit with the story, just email me and I'll change it. Great story, by the way, I look forward to the next chapters!

5/4/2011 06:51:29 am

Where did you find the pictures? Are they people you know, or did you find them online?


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