"No! That's stupid, Carmody." Charlie bit her lip furiously, a sure sign that she was angry.

"I know, okay? I know." I used my most soothing tone, trying to calm her down. I felt like I was talking to a three-year-old. 

"Well, . . I don't know any way to fix this." I stated. Charlie's brow furrowed. "What do you mean? You could still come."

The problem was, my mother had sat me and my sisters all down in the living room last night. "I've got some news." she said. As it turns out, this whole vacation was a cover-up- not according to her, anyway, but I could just tell. Turns out, she put up our house for sale while we were gone. We were going to move to California.

See, my mom's boyfriend, Jack, got transferred from his job at a National Parks Service. She couldn't bear to be separated from him, I guess. So this meant we wouldn't drive to Florida anymore, which meant next summer's plans here, already begun by Blaire and Malaya and Emery and Charlie and me, were bust. I'd never see them again. 

 Saying goodbye was going to be harder now. Maybe, just maybe, if I did it quick, just a couple words and hugs, it wouldn't be too bad.

Yeah, right. These were some of the best friends I'd ever made.

I sat under a palm tree on the beach, thinking and listening to the sound of Charlie's flip-flops trudging away through the sand.

"Got your suitcase, dear?" My mom hefted her own suitcase, an ancient Louis Vuitton, into the back of the car. I wasn't really mad at her, for some reason. I was sad, for sure, but not furious.

"Yeah." I threw my floral-print duffel into the trunk with the rest of the things, and climbed into the front seat. Lindsay protested, but I wasn't going to have her yakking and complaining about moving the whole way back, with the sound carrying to the back seat and whatnot. She was going to sit in the back, with the little girls, and get banana mushed into her shirt and orange juice spilled on her shoes. Just like I'd had done to me on the way up.

Just one last thing- Ah, there they were. My friends came towards me from the beach, where they'd walked from town to say goodbye.

"Carmody," sobbed Mayala, "Why do you have to go so far away?"

Charlie just stared at her toes. Blaire gave me a quick, energetic hug. "Stay chill." she whispered in my ear. I nodded, and smiled.

Mayala was next. Gosh, was she a sobbing mess. I had to run in and get her a tissue. "You made the summer so fun."
My eyes started to tear up. Next was Charlie. "I'm not about to give you a hug," she said,  looking with cautious disgust at Malaya, "But-" she shoved something into my hand. "Take this." I unfolded my hand- and what lay there but a miniature ship in a bottle, tiny and elaborate and unique. Just like Charlie, I thought. "From my personal collection." she said, stiff but proud.

Last, but certainly not least, came Emery. Her eyes were red-rimmed, but she was strong and proud. As her tan arms embraced me, she whispered in my ear. "You've changed me forever, Carmody." Her lilting accent was so pretty. "You've taught me how to be kind." she said as she stepped back. "You've taught me how to love."

I was so shaken and sad I couldn't answer. A single tear drifted lazily down my face, and plopped into the sand. "Thanks, guys." I finally got out, though hoarsely. They started to back up and walk back down the beach. I watched them for a minute, and when I could almost see them no more, Emery turned back and nodded. I waved, and then they were gone.

I knew they would be all right. They had each other, and most importantly, Emery had made friends. This had been the best summer of my life.
The party was a big hit. The night of it, all us girls put on some cute dresses and baked some good- and I mean GOOD- food. Creme Brulee turned out to be delicious. I made Emery give me the recipe.

We bought balloons, (sadly, Blaire's Uncle's rubber factory was stubborn and we couldn't get them for free.) and we also found an old-fashioned record player at a garage sale. We got some old records with it and set that up for the party. Who wouldn't want to hear the Beatles? They were classics! 

Also, we watched Despicable Me and Leap Year, laughing the whole time.

Anyway, we all ended up having an awesome night. The party wound down around 10:30, and everyone was gone by 11:00. All, that is, except Emery. Her aunt was in Tampa so she spent the night.

The next day, we woke up and ate pineapple for breakfast(freshest ever!) and then we went to the beach for the day. Charlie, Blaire and Malaya didn't show, so we figured they'd slept in.

I was leaving in two days.

That was the problem. I was so upset at the prospect. I mean, back home I had all my other friends, but these friends were special. What would I do?
The title says it all! Here's what I got when I turned on my inspirational faucet:

I stared. I had never heard anyone say anything so. . .void before. It was as if Laila's heart had been frozen over, never to beat again. It was as if Laila's inside had turned black and was immune to light, or joy, or faith. It was as if she had locked the door to her heart, never to let the rays of anything good ever conquer the shadowy depths of her soul.

I could almost hear the whispers of darkness creeping through Laila's heart. Thorns grew in place of hope and Laila had silently, numbly, submitted to the ways of shadow.
  The next week, I met the two other girls that had been with
 Charlie. Their names were Malaya Mistry, whose family was
 from India, and she was tall, with beautiful, silky black hair.
Blaire Faucette, who was of medium height with long, artificially
colored red hair, was the other girl. I hadn't been over to Emery's since
 that morning a few days back.

Well, a few days after that, I was walking on the beach with
Malaya, Blaire and Charlie. We were about five minutes to Serenity.

We were all discussing what had happened that past
weekend: A girl just out of Captiva had been bitten by
a shark. She had been surfing and she had been rushed to
 the ER in the nearest town with a hospital.

“I wouldn't dare go out past the sandbar.” said Blaire.

“I wouldn't go halfway to the sandbar!” Malaya put in.

“There are sharks no matter what. It doesn't matter if
 they're past the sandbar or not. They could be a few feet
 from the shore.” said Charlie.

“It depends on what they feel like doing, and being.
 If they've just eaten, they'd probably not attack you.
 But if they're hungry. . .” I shuddered at my own words.

“You mean,” gulped Malaya, “That they come to shore
 hungry. . .on purpose?”

“Well, they must have learned that there's food. . .slash people
. . .at the beach. . . by now.” Blaire said.

“Well, duh, but I was watching a special on Worldview
Channel about how when surfers lay down and paddle
on their surfboards, they look like sea turtles to the sharks.
 And sharks eat sea turtles.” Charlie put in.

“Can we stop talking about this?” said Malaya. “You've already
 got me to scared to go into the water. I don't want to hear about
 sharks and what they eat.”

“Fine.” said Charlie. She turned to me. “Isn't there another
 cottage behind yours?”

I nodded. “Moonbay.”

Charlie nodded. “Oh, yeah. With that rude British
chick and her aunt, right?”

“Yeah.” I said. “But Emery's not all that rude.”

Blaire snorted. “Um, are you kidding? She's doesn't have any
 friends around, and I'm more scared of her than of a shark.”

“For good reason, too.” said Malaya.

I turned to Charlie. “Bad experience?”

“Well, not really. I mean, we've seen her around and all,
 and she just looks kinda mean.” Malaya put in.

“I,” I said, “Will prove to you that Emery Gael Wysten
is not mean.”

“How's that?” said Blaire.

“We're going to Moonbay.” I answered. But inside I was
 not as confident as I sounded. What if Emery was in a bad mood?

When we reached Moonbay, the other girls stood
 behind me, smirking.

Except for Charlie She stood up front with me, her head held high.

I knocked on the door.

“Oh, dearies, hello!” the screen door opened and Julia
 stepped out. She dried her wet hands on her apron--
this time it said Kiss the Chef--and embraced me.
“What's happening at Serenity, Carmody?”

“Nothing much.” I answered. Then I gestured to the other girls.
 “Julia, this is Charlie-” (“Oh, lovely to meet you, Charlie, dear!”)
 , and this is Malaya and Blaire. (“Hello, chickies, what beautiful

After the introductions, Julia smiled and placed her hands
 on her hips. “Now, how may I help you young ladies?”

“Well. . .actually, Julia, we were wondering if Emery was
 in.” I said, twiddling my hands in front of me.

Julia looked a bit surprised, but nodded and said she'd fetch Em.

We all stood on the porch, waiting for Julia. “Now,
 wasn't Julia pleasant?” I said.

Before anyone had a chance to answer, the door banged
 behind us and there stood Emery.

She was wearing a white collared shirt with buttons, but
 had rolled up the sleeves, and a pair of short jean shorts.
She had on about eight or nine anklets and her black hair was
in beautiful, long barrel curls with a small flower tucked behind her ear.

“Somethin' in particular you needed?” she said
 in the quaintest, sweetest accent.

“Um. . .yeah.” I said. “Kind of, anyway. I wanted to
 introduce you to. . .my new friends. Blaire, Malaya,
Charlie. And. . They wanted to meet you as well.”

Emery raised her eyebrows and slouched

 against a porch column. “Is that so.”

“Mm-hmm.” I said.

And we all stood there.

“Well,” said Emery at last, “Why do you all want meet me for,
 anyhow? I'm not terribly pleasant. . .I'm sure you've known that.
 So have you come to laugh at me? I'm sure it is
 so. Well, let me tell you all that I've been feeling lovely and pleasant
 today, so I've no clue what you're waiting to see.”

That was the most I had ever heard Emery speak
Malaya swallowed nervously and Charlie nodded
curtly. “Yes, well. We had simply come to see. . .if you
 were interested at all in joining our personal, friends-only-members
. . Coalition.”

Emery chuckled. “Coalition? What kind of word is that?”

“A word I've just used.” Charlie replied icily.

“Yes, well-” Emery stretched her arms way up
 above her head - “I'll think about it. But today, I've got lacrosse.”

Later that week, me, Malaya, Blaire and Charlie were
 clustered up in my bedroom. Charlie was perched on
my bed, me and Malaya were parked on the floor, and
 Blaire was tuning my radio, hoping to pick up some good
 tunes but getting only static.

“You know what you need to do, Carmody?”
 said Malaya. “You need to move out here.”

“Oh. .” I said. “Well. . It is nice here.”

“No, she doesn't want to move out here.” Charlie put in.
“She doesn't want to miss her friends back in Seattle.”

Malaya's smile disappeared. “I suppose.” she said,
 sounding a bit offended.

“No, no, it really is nice here.” I protested. “But, Charlie's-”

“Right.” Charlie interjected. “We'll enjoy Carmody while she's
 here, and that's it.”

Our silence was broken with a squeal from Blaire in
 the corner, who apparently had not been following the
 conversation whatsoever.

“Yay! I love this song!” she jumped up and clapped her hands,
 turned the radio up, and came to sit on my bed next to Charlie.
 She wiggled and bounced, so Charlie moved over to Lindsays' bed.

Charlie rolled her eyes. Malaya giggled. “You're such a
goofball, Blaire.”

“No,” Blaire answered, “I just have good musical sense.”

“Musical sense?” Charlie raised an eyebrow. “For real?”

“Isn't that a word?” questioned Blaire.

“Um, no.” said Charlie.

“There's horse sense, and fashion sense, but I've never
 heard of musical sense.” put in Malaya.

“Whatever.” Blaire sighed. “You guys are so critical.”

Just at that moment, the bedroom door opened, and

 Lindsay walked in.

She stood for a moment, watching all us us. Her
 face was a bit surprised, and then it changed to
 an expression of annoyance. Her eyebrows narrowed
 and she let out a loud huff.

“Why is she on my bed?” Lindsay said irritably,

indicating Charlie. “Get her off my bed.”

Charlie rolled her eyes. “Make me.”

“Oh – I'll make you, all right.” Lindsay was furious. She rushed
 over to Charlie and tried to pull her off, but Lindsay was flimsier
 than a piece of paper and didn't do anything. Charlie laughed.
Lindsay whirled around to me, her face purple-red.

“GET OUT OF HERE! All of you, OUT! Now!”

We left. Who'd want to hang with a chick like Lindsay anyway?

Three weeks later, me, Charlie, Blaire, Malaya, and
Emery were sitting at the local Ice Cream Bar, which
 was actually just an open bar with a thatch roof on the beach.

“Hey, I got it.” Blaire snapped her fingers next to her head.

“Got what?” Charlie drummed her fingers on

the bar. Barump, barump, barump.

“An IDEA.” Blaire turned to Malaya, who
 was on the other side of her.

Blaire squealed and clapped her hands.

“Okay, so, idea: Let's have a party!”

“A . . . .party.” Charlie furrowed her brow.

Blaire pulled out her notebook and
began to write down the details of the party.

“Yeah, this Friday. We could have all of us,
the Hendrickson boys, Troy Rudder, Krystyl Valsquez,
 and Winnie Rowndrup. We could order pizza, play
 video games, and just really live it up!”

We were all silent for a moment. “My uncle
 owns a rubber factory in Tampa. I'm sure I
could get balloons.” Malaya said finally.

“And I could bake crème brulee.” Emery put in.
We were all a bit surprised; Emery was usually quiet.

“What's crème brulee?” we all asked at once.

“They make it in England a lot. It's also called
Trinity Cream. It's a custard base that's blow-torched
 on the top. It's simply divine.”

“Ummmm. . .Okay, Emery. I'll put you down for –

 how do you spell it?” Blaire inquired.

“C-R-E-M-E – Oh's, it's two words, by the way – B-R-U-L-E-E.”

Emery stated.

“Cool.” Blaire tucked the notebook into her back pocket.

“Pizza, crème brulee, video games, movies, and balloons. Sounds
 cool, huh?” Malaya said. “I'm getting excited!"

This is a new piece I'm working on. If it's good I'll finish it after OVERWHELMED, my currect story, which is under OLD STORIES in the navigation bar. Tell me if this is good! Feedback please!

  I woke to screaming. People all around me were shrieking and clambering over deck chairs and life jackets. I blinked, and then looked around a bit better.

There was a woman with dark skin and hair trapped under a small deck table. “Help me, Help me, somebody help me!” she called out frantically in a thick African accent. “Can-” she waved her arms crazily- “Cannot—swim!”

I looked behind me. And gasped. The ship was nearly at a full tilt, almost straight up out of the water. I jerked around and pulled a deck recliner off my chest.

The African woman was trapped in between the railing and the table. She was a bit below me, so I held on to the railing and slowly lowered myself down to her. I reached her and, with a bit of tugging, managed to untangle her from the table. We both held on to the railing and watched the table skid down the deck below us, finally hitting the water and sinking into the seemingly infinite black.

But how could this be happening? Shipwrecks were the stuff of legends. And where was Elyse? And Uncle Ruben?

I shrieked as the ship rocked. Other passengers were screaming and holding onto things, too.

“Elyse!” I called out.

“I don't want to die! I don't want to die!” the cry resounded on the water. “Mommy, I don't want to die!”

My thoughts raced at supersonic speeds through my head. Where were the deckhands? And the lifeboats?

I saw the captain clinging to the railing. “Where are the lifeboats!?” I screamed.

“They. . .they're on the side of the ship that sunk.” the captain said quietly, miserably. A gash in his head dripped blood onto his face. He made no acknowledgment.

“But, sir,” I cried, “Aren't there life vests anywhere?”

“They're all gone.” he replied weakly. “When we first thought the ship was bound to sink. . .I-I gave them to the first-class passengers.”

The African woman put her head down and began to pray. “Lord,” she said, “Don't let me die if it isn't Your will. Save us, Lord, or bring us into Your Kingdom. Save us, Lord, save us.”

That was the last thing I heard. Because right then, the ship tilted over. And splashed. And sunk. I hit my head on the railing and blacked out.

Sunlight filtered through the palms above. Birds serenaded melodies nearby and the sound of lapping waves woke me up. I blinked and rubbed sand from my face. My whole body felt gritty.

Wait. Palms? Birds? Sand? I looked around. I was on a beach. There were about twenty other people around, slouched under palm trees or just waking, like I was.

I stood up, and immediately groaned. My head felt as if someone had dropped a bag of bowling balls on it. I clutched my hair, and drew it back down in surprise.

My hand was covered in blood.


Just then, a figure ran up to meet me. It was Elyse, thank God. Elyse was my cousin. Like me, she was fourteen. I feared greatly that I had lost her when the ship wrecked.

“Farrah, thank God you're alive!”

She ran up and hugged me.

“Oh my word, Farrah-” she withdrew, and pointed to my head. “Your head is all bloody.”

I nodded. “Y-Ye.. .ss.” I said. I felt as weak as I sounded. “I-It. . Hurt. . .ss.”

Elyse's eyes opened wider. “We've got to get you to Evangeline. She'll fix you up.”

My brow furrowed. “Evangel. . .”

“Evangeline. I met her on the cruise ship. She was a nurse's intern in the army.”

I nodded. Elyse slipped her arm around my shoulder and helped me limp up the beach.

I decided not to ask about the shortage of the other passengers. Besides, my throat was too parched to speak.

We arrived at a nearby cluster of about three coconut palms. Underneath the thickest was a very thin, very stressed-out looking woman, surrounded by about four or five people, all of whom were injured in some way. There was a man laid out on the sand behind her, with raspy breathing and an ominous-looking spreading stain of red on his chest. The African woman was there, sitting up against another palm. She was holding a cold piece of somebody's ripped shirt against a wound on her cheek.

All of the other people around her were hurt only mildly; a gash on an arm or a twisted ankle.

Elyse walked up to the woman. “Evangeline,” she said. “This is my cousin, Farrah.” Evangeline looked up at us. She had long, wavy auburn hair and green eyes. She only looked about twenty-six or seven.

“Her forehead-” Elyse gestured toward my head.

Evangeline nodded. “Come here.” she said to me. She and Elyse leaned me against a tree and mopped off my forehead with a piece of cloth soaked in saltwater. It stung. I cried out and Elyse looked up at Evangeline. “She'll be okay?”

Evangeline sat back. “Hold a saltwater cloth to her wound every other hour.”

“Thirs..ty.” It was only one word, but to me, at that moment, it meant so much.

“The men haven't found any fresh water yet. They're out looking now.” said Evangeline. “But here.” she opened a pack on her back and took out a water bottle. “Only take a little. This is one of the last water sources we have for now. The army always taught me to be prepared so any situation. So when the ship started to go down, I grabbed a few things I thought I might need.”

I took a sip of the water. It was hot, and gritty, but to me, it was one of the best things I had ever had to drink.

I could speak a little better now that my throat was moist. “Where are we?”

Evangeline sighed. “I don't know. There aren't any other people here on this island, though. It's probably undiscovered, which means. . .” she glanced around. “I don't know when we'll be found here. I'll tell you what though, we are incredibly lucky to have landed here.”

“But we were way off course when the ship sunk. Which means. . .Everyone else in the world thinks we're dead, so they're not going to bother looking for us. Especially way out here.”

Hey everyone! I know this is odd. Um, I was having some lengthwise issues with the old Short Stories page, so I made a new one. I will be posting stories here soon. You can reach the old short stories in the menu bar under the more option in the far right of the bar. Thanks everyone, I'll be writing more and hopefully posting soon!