Flash Fiction, My Books

A Speak Your Mind Short Story: My Name is Zeebot

Welcome back on this wonderful Wednesday, Arrowheads! Boy do I have a special treat for y’all today! 😀 During the course of planning Speak Your Mind‘s release this month, I sat down and wrote the backstory for Zeebot, one of the novel’s zany characters. If you missed Zeeb’s character interview on Monday, he is a kid at the middle school who thinks he’s an alien. This is the story of how he became Zeebot!

MyNameIsZeebot

            The wind was unusually crisp in the small rural town of Grahamwood, a result of the cold front brushing eastern North Carolina. Little Joey Troup pulled his lime green windbreaker tighter around his small frame, bracing the chilly breeze as his grandma escorted him to the next house.

            “Grandma, why do I have to wear this dumb jacket? No one can see my costume!” Joey whined beneath his Darth Vader mask.

            “Sonny, if I got to tell ya one more time!” Grandma said, zipping up his jacket. “You’ll be sick as a dog out here in the arctic. Now remember, say ‘Trick or Treat’!” She knocked on the door of one of the other well-to-do houses in their neighborhood. Joey’s father worked as a psychologist, though he came from a family of old southern money, to which Joey’s grandma paid more mind to than Joey half the time.

            “Why hello there, Nova! I hardly recognized you without your red hat.” Mrs. Lenoir winked. She and Grandma Nova were in the local Red Hat Society branch together and enjoyed meeting for bridge club every Wednesday.

            “Yes ma’am! I thought I’d let my grandson do all the dressing up tonight. What do you say, Joey?”

            “Trick or treat!” Joey peeked around his grandma, eyeing the big bowl of candy Mrs. Lenoir held. He liked trick-or-treating in his neighborhood because he often scored full-size chocolate bars.

            “Wow! Don’t we have a scary little feller here?” Mrs. Lenoir gaped, bending down to get a better look at him. She placed three candy bars in the pumpkin he held. “And who might you be?”

            “I’m Darth Vader, Lord of the Sith!” Joey cried, thrusting out his glowing red lightsaber.

            Mrs. Lenoir startled back, hand flying to her heart. “Oh, goodness me!” To Grandma Nova, she cupped her hand around her mouth and half-whispered, “Who is Dark Tater?”

            Grandma Nova shrugged. “Beats me. Someone off all those space movies he watches. So, did you hear about Cordelia’s hip replacement?”

            Joey sighed, turning his pumpkin back and forth in his hands. Grandma Nova never seemed to care about Star Wars as much as he did. Plus, all of Grandma’s friends were old and boring. They never knew anything about Star Wars or space either.

            Growing bored of the hip replacement gossip, Joey ventured off to the next house alone, opting to tie his jacket around his waist. The closest house to Mrs. Lenoir’s was a little way past the neighborhood pool, so Joey wielded his lightsaber in case he crossed Brutus, the mean bulldog that liked to chase him around.

            As Joey approached the pool, he walked by a group of teenage boys, the kind the other kids in the neighborhood knew to avoid. But then again, being an only child and preferring learning about space to socializing, Joey didn’t know any better.

            “Hey, ain’t he the weird kid who zooms around school wearing the Buzz Lightyear bookbag?”  The tallest one named Alex asked the other two boys.

            “Yeah, I think so.” His friend Mikey laughed, watching Joey’s cape fly out behind him as he ran past.

            “You want to have some fun?” Alex smirked, heading toward Joey. He was the meanest kid in Grahamwood. Having been held back in the eighth grade twice, he was much older than the other kids at Grahamwood Elementary/Junior High and used it to his advantage. His most notable pastime was stealing snacks from younger kids. He had the belly to prove it.

            “Oh man, what’re you planning?” The third one, Rico, grinned through his braces.

            “Same old, same old. Stealing candy from nerds. But, with a twist.” Alex glanced over his shoulder as he stopped about a foot behind Joey. “Hey kid! Nice Darth Vader costume!”

            Joey stopped in his tracks, beaming as he turned around. Finally, someone appreciated his costume!

            “Thank you!” he chirped into the night.

            “No prob, little man. You know, you’ve got the makings for a great astronaut! I’m in charge of the town’s spaceman program, and I have a test I’d like you to take to get you in it.”

            Oh boy! Joey thought, I could get to be a real-life astronaut! At only seven years old, he was just naïve enough to fall for Alex’s lies. Joey stepped forward.

            “Awesome!” Alex chuckled to himself. “Just follow me!” Alex led Joey and the boys to the chain-link fence surrounding the pool. He unlatched the lock on the squeaky gate, proceeded past the pool, and stopped when he reached the dumpster behind the pool shed.

            “Alright,” Alex said, reaching under a mat outside the shed door and pulling out a spare key. “Mikey and Rico will go into the shed to get the test kit. I’ve got to get your blindfold ready. Let me see your mask.”

            Eager to begin his test, Joey peeled off the mask and handed it over. Alex snatched the mask and refit it on the little boy’s head upside down, so he couldn’t see out of the eye holes.

            “Can you see anything?”

            “Nope!” Joey answered.

            “Excellent! Now, while you’re taking the test, you’ll have to give your sword and candy over to me, okay?”

            “It’s a lightsaber,” Joey corrected. Nevertheless, he obeyed.

            “As you probably know, a rocket ship ride can make you dizzy. So we’ll start with the Spin Test.” With that, Alex grabbed Joey’s shoulders, twisting him in fast circles.

             After a moment, Joey began to stagger, clutching his stomach. “Did I pass?”

             He could hear the faint crinkling of paper. Alex offered a muffled “uh huh”. The bigger boy burped. “That means we’re ready for phase two. Now it’s time to meet aliens!”

             Joey gasped. He’d always dreamed of this moment!

           “Come on out, guys!”

           From behind the mask, Joey heard strange noises coming from the shed. Seconds later, a slimy, wet hand grabbed his arm.

          “Zee bee ooo!” cried the alien.

            “What did he say?!” Joey exclaimed, awestruck.

            “Um… he said he likes you!” Alex scratched his chin, formulating another fib. He said he wants to take you to his planet!”

            Joey jumped up and down. “Can I go? Please?”

            “Of course! But first, you have to put on your space suit.”

            “Where is it?” Joey started to peel off the mask, but Alex intercepted him.

            “No! You’ve got to keep your blindfold on, or else their alien vision will blind you. Now, hold your arms straight up over your head. Perfect!” He laughed, sliding an inflatable pool ring over Joey’s arms and down to his waist. “There. You’re all set!”

            The slimy hands grabbed Joey’s arms again, hoisting him into the air. They took off at the speed of light, and soon Joey could sense a bright light around them that previously wasn’t there.

            “Where are we going?” he asked.

            “Zee bee ooo dee bee!” The aliens chimed, swinging Joey back and forth.

            Joey’s stomach rolled due to all the twists and turns. He was glad he hadn’t eaten any candy yet.

            For a moment, all movement stopped. The aliens communicated in whispered tones.

            “This is the Space Captain speaking. From this day forth, you are to be named Zeebot!” A deep voice rattled the silent night, startling Joey. “Joey is no more. You must now call yourself Zeebot, and speak of yourself as “he” or “him”. You are no longer a little boy. You have been abducted by the Zeebeedoten alien force.” Alex snickered in the background. “And now,” the voice shouted, “now you’ll be transported into our alien portal!”

            Mikey and Rico picked Joey up again, hurling him into the uncovered pool. Joey landed with an incredible splash, which would have drenched the teenage boys, if they hadn’t run away.

            “What’s going on here?” An angry elderly voice growled. The pitter patter of light footsteps raced toward the edge of the pool. “Joey!”

            Joey kicked about unfazed. Is this what zero gravity felt like?

            “Joseph Elias Troup the third! Get out of that pool this instant!”

            “My—um, his name isn’t Joey anymore. His name is now Zeebot,” Joey replied, twisting in the water.

            “What’s going on, Miss Nova?” one of the men from the neighborhood called, approaching the scene.

            “Please get my grandson out of the pool. I think he’s caught hypothermia and has grown delirious!”

            Without another word, a second splash dove in after Joey. The man stripped the mask from the boy’s face, dragging him back to safety amongst Joey’s kicking and screaming.

            “No! No! I am an alien now!” Joey resisted, bursting into tears once their neighbor plopped him down at Grandma Nova’s feet.

            Grandma Nova snatched her grandson by the ear, pulling him along with her back to their house. “Thank you for your help, Mr. Houston. I’ll be sure to let his father know about this.”

            Joey trembled in his soaked costume, terrified of what his father would say. He was hardly ever home, and when he was, he had few words of encouragement for his son. Everything was psychology related, and Zeeb’s father only saw a collection of psychological wonders in his only child.

            Grandma Nova didn’t delay after ripping open the front door to the Troup home. She marched Joey straight to Dr. Joseph Troup’s home office, her grandson’s drenched clothes dripping onto the hardwood floor.

            Dr. Troup didn’t stir at the noise. He sat typing away at his desktop computer.

“Joseph, please attend to your son,” Grandma Nova spat, crossing her arms.

Dr. Troup peered over the monitor, eyes bulging behind his thick frames. “What on earth happened? I thought you took him trick-or-treating?”

“I did,” his mother argued, pointing to Joey. “But this little feller decided to go running off for a swim on his own. I couldn’t even find his jacket or his pumpkin anywhere.”

“Son, why would you do that? Are you still experiencing grief over your mother’s passing? Are you depressed?” Dr. Troup asked. Joey stared at him as if he had sprouted a horn. He never knew what the big words his father used meant.

A knock on the door kept Joey from answering his father. Dr. Troup jumped from his office chair to see who was there.

“Hey, Dr. Troup. After I got Joey out of the pool, I found his jacket and pumpkin laying back behind the pool shed. Looks like he ate all the candy he had in it,” Mr. Houston explained, passing over the pumpkin to Dr. Troup. The inside of the pumpkin was filled with opened candy wrappers.

“Thank you for all that you’ve done tonight, sir. Feel free to send me a bill for your dry cleaning.” Dr. Troup replied evenly, shutting the door as Mr. Houston retreated down the front steps. His calm demeanor faded as he pivoted to face his son. “Do you care to explain this?”

“Zeebot did not eat the candy. Zeebot was abducted by aliens from Zeebe… Zeebeedoten.” Joey recounted, frozen under his father’s glare. Why were his nostrils flaring? Joey was just telling the truth.

“No more sugar for you. Ever. If you can’t handle it responsibly, we have to remove the issue at hand. Sugar is nothing but a gateway into obesity and decaying teeth anyway.” Dr. Troup stated, storming over to the trashcan in the kitchen. Stepping on the opener, he tossed the entire pumpkin inside. The metal lid slammed with a thud.

Joey’s face crumpled at the sight. He ran upstairs to his bedroom, crying as he peeled off the freezing damp costume. Pulling on his Yoda pajamas, he looked into his bathroom mirror, a freckled-face boy he didn’t recognize staring back at him.

He knew what he’d been through that night. He heard the aliens, he felt their touch, earned their acceptance… something he’d never earned from his father.

“My name is Zeebot,” Joey whispered to the reflection. The name felt freeing on his lips. Now he had his own identity to go by. He never had to share his father’s name again.

© Copyright 2018, Allyson Kennedy. All rights reserved.


How did you like Zeeb’s backstory? I had the best time writing it for you all. Based on the character interviews, who is your favorite character in the novel so far?

Don’t forget to cast your vote for who the next interview will feature! Your choices are as follows:

Ms. Markovich: The kids’ language arts teacher and one of the reasons Victoria hates school

Meredith Waters: The meanest girl in school according to Victoria *Zeeb pushes me out of the way* And the sun of Zeebot’s galaxy!

Jessica Mayweather: A bubbly classmate of the kids, or

Brandon–aka Bran Muffin: Aiden’s awkward turtle older brother

Be sure to comment with your choice below! 😀

Interested in finding out more about Zeeb and the rest of the characters in Speak Your Mind? Add it to your Goodreads To-Read list by clicking the button below!

SpeakYourMind-FrontCover

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Speak Your Mind will be published on Saturday, November 24th (Lord willing).

Later Arrowheads

-Allyson 😀

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Flash Fiction

Scary Story Round-Up

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! In lieu of doing a full post today, we’re going to be doing something a little different. Since today’s Halloween, I’ve rounded up all the scary/creepy flash fiction stories I’ve posted on Authoring Arrowheads so far. So, please sit back, relax, and enjoy these frightening tales. Just click on the story’s name to begin reading. 🙂

ScaryStoryRoundUp

Ember (Part One)

Redford Creek Road

Ember (Part Two)

Scary Stories 

Ember (Part Three)

The Carolina Golden Neuse


I hope you’ve enjoyed these stories! Thanks for stopping by, Arrowheads, and have a safe Halloween! 🙂

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

 

Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction Friday: A Writer’s Paradox

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! I’ve got another Flash Fiction post for y’all on this lovely Friday, entitled A Writer’s Paradox. The idea sprang from a writing prompt I found on Pinterest (click here for source). Hope you enjoy it!

AWriter'sParadox

The novel sat quietly, gathering dust. Everyday, she passed by the bookshelf in a hurry, her mind in a constant uproar. Thoughts such as I need to find more reviewers, or, If I don’t plan the launch now, this book will never sell haunted her. Throwing her jacket over her shoulder, she leaves the house without so much glancing at the first product of her efforts.

While at work, she bites her nails to the quick, marketing efforts stirring on her mind as she completes her real job duties. Oh how she longs for the day when her efforts in writing books–her true passion–would support her financially! For then she could kiss this until then job goodbye and at last be satisfied with her life.

Success in her field of dreams, though, is hard to come by. Scurrying to get home, she logs into her laptop. At last, making time for her dreams! She keys up the month’s blog posts, responds to a trail of emails, checks her sales stats and closes out the browser. The clock strikes eleven, and she forces her exhausted mind from the couch and on to the bed, never thinking to visit her latest story.

She lay awake, her mind flitting through every possible thing she can do to expand her career. Drifting off to sleep around 2 a.m., her last waking thought is seeing her name on the bestselling authors list.

Yet, the novel sat quietly on the bookshelf, gathering dust. The dream, it seems, has proved to be futile. In all her efforts to become an author, she’s lost the faintest idea of who she’s always been… a writer.

© Copyright 2018, Allyson Kennedy. All rights reserved.


I feel like every writer goes through this “paradox” after they get published, and it has been especially true for me lately. By diving back into Flash Fiction recently, I’m rediscovering my true love: writing, not marketing.

Have you experienced this “paradox”? Feel free to share! 🙂

For more Flash Fiction stories, click here!

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction Friday: I Am Yours

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! Today I’ve got a special treat for y’all… a new flash fiction piece. I kinda got emotional while writing this one, so I hope it’s worth the tears! 😉

IAmYours

Every night for the past twenty-something years, I’ve watched you fall asleep, always tossing and turning, struggling to get comfortable and making a mess of the covers. For many years I slept amongst them too, twisted up in the sheets, sometimes smothered when you’d roll over in your sleep. No matter how uncomfortable I became, no matter how many nights I lay awake due to your soft snoring, these are the moments I looked forward to every waking day. From the crib to your princess bed, to the queen-sized bed you slumber alone in now, I’ve observed every emotion flash across your face when you dream. Even though the times I’m invited now are few and far between, your dreams are still what I live for.

You’re not home as much as you used to be. Remember when we were inseparable? I’d ride on your shoulders as you’d scurry down the staircase. Ah, the staircase. We had so many adventures there. Remember when we rock climbed? Such a perilous journey up those twelve steps. Or when you’d tie a jump rope around my waist and throw me over the banister, letting me bungee jump? If it was anyone else I’d be terrified, but you are mine and I am yours, and I know you were looking out for me.

As you grew older, I remained with you among the pages of those first stories you wrote as a girl. I danced with you to Aaron Carter and Dream Street tunes on your boom box. I’ve never stopped looking out for you.

And as the years continues to pass, the dread escalated. You always called me your favorite, gave me special attention. I never thought the day would come when another would take my place, until he showed up. I looked over your shoulder as you’d write about him in your diary, reading line after line declaring how much you loved him so. I’d snuggle closer to you, reminding myself that you have so much love in your heart that he and I could share it. Little did we both know that he would fail to recognize what I always saw in you.

One night, as I waited for you to fall asleep, you never did. For the longest time, your face was illuminated in the light of a computer screen. At first I assumed I was imagining the tears streaming down your cheeks, until you choked back a sob and stormed across the room, pulling me close. Your tears soaked my arms as you wept, and I soaked up all the pain he caused you. But how could I cherish this rare moment of closeness when you were in such pain?

He ended things over an instant message. That revealed his worth to me as a suitor after your heart. He couldn’t love you because he didn’t know you, the true you, the vulnerable and complicated you that I observed since you were but a year old. For if anyone saw what I’ve seen, they’d love you to pieces. Let me repeat, dear girl, I’ll never stop looking out for you.

Now that you’re older, and the times you need my comfort are becoming scarce, I want you to know this truth: I will never stop looking out for you. When you marry the man of your dreams, if you allow me the honor, I vow to guard and favor your children as you once favored me. As you may still favor me. I promise to be with them every step of their lives, from the crib, to the race car bed, to their full-sized beds as adults. I vow to help them realize their dreams and pursue them. I vow to soak up their sorrows, to hear their heartbreaks, to be a friend to mend their hearts. For you are mine and I am yours. Thank you for being my person.

With love, from the toy box,

Beary 🐻

© Copyright 2018, Allyson Kennedy. All rights reserved.


This story combined the aspects of toys having thoughts and feelings (like Toy Story) with my own interpretation of how my favorite teddy bear, Beary, feels about me being grown up. Like the story mentions, I’ve had Beary since I was one year old (actually ten months maybe), and he’s been my constant companion and confidant throughout life. ❤️

Did you have a favorite stuffed animal growing up? Do you still have them? Share your stories in the comments!

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction Friday: Step One

Hey there, Arrowheads! Today I’ve got another Flash Fiction Friday story for you! This one actually came about back in May, and I’ve been meaning to post it for awhile. I hope you enjoy this sweet tale of a couple daydreaming about a future together! ❤

StepOne

He wanted to buy a house. He was skimming online realty sites, showing her pictures of potential houses. As he chatted on about how much potential he saw in the weathered barn behind one particular house, her mind swam with visions of them playing Chip and Joanna Gaines, working together to fix up the place. Of course, all of this was time away, plans for years to come.

His eyes twinkled as he watched her scroll through the pictures the realty website offered. He could see the wheels turning in her mind: how the house could be decorated; imagining kids running about in the backyard, a puppy at their heels. Cheeks flushing, he wondered if she wanted all that with him.

Catching him out of the corner of her eye, she suppressed a smile, handing his phone back to him. Could he tell how excited she was? Did he know how often their possible future together crossed her mind? After a dozen months together, she knew she loved him. After two dozen, she never wanted to let him go. He was a rarity among the young men she had met in her twenty something years, a diamond in the rough. For months on end she’d daydreamed of all the possible sweet moments to come: getting engaged, their wedding, even waking up at 3:00 a.m. to change their first child’s diapers. All the little things, she wanted to do with him. She wanted to stand beside him at the wedding altar, and beside him at church every Sunday morning after. She wanted to hold his hand in the car every day, even into their seventies. But, she was uncertain about how he felt. He was shy, tentative about talking about the future.

It wasn’t that he was wary of commitment; as long as he had known her, he knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. But, he was a planner, a quiet conspirator who didn’t like to speak ideas into action until he was wholeheartedly sure. Concern etched his mind as he saw her brow furrow, her tell-tale sign of a worried thought.

Maybe it’s time to ease her mind, he thought.

Linking his fingers through hers, he gave her a coy smile, catching her off guard. Clearing his throat, surpassing his nerves, he spoke the promises to come to life.

“You know how your momma never let you and your sister make mud pies?”

She nodded slowly, amused.

“Well,” he said, allowing himself to sink into the depths of her eyes, “when we get married and have kids, promise me there’ll be a lot of mud pies, okay?”

Her eyes lit up, her pent-up smile relinquishing at last. “I promise.”

Filled with joy, he brought her hand to his lips, kissing her knuckles. It was a small inch forward, just a tiptoe on the path God was leading them on, but nevertheless, there was still something amazing about step one.

© Copyright 2018, Allyson Kennedy. All rights reserved.


Thanks for reading, lovely Arrowheads! If you’re in the mood for more Flash Fiction, check out my past posts here!

-Allyson 😀

 

Blog Tours, Book Reviews

Finding Christmas Joy Blog Tour: Short Story Review

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! If you’re like me, you’re ready for this summer heat to simmer down and for fall and winter to make a reappearance. For all of you cold weather lovers out there, I’ve got a surprise in store for you today! Author Amanda Tero’s newest short story “Finding Christmas Joy”, to be released on July 31st, is all about finding true Christmas joy in Christ, and I have the honor of reviewing it today as apart of her blog tour. So, sit back and grab some hot chocolate, cookies, and a blanket (and maybe set the AC to fifty degrees… kidding! XD ) and let’s get started!

Short Story Review: “Finding Christmas Joy” by Amanda Tero

FindingChristmasJoy

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, so when the opportunity came to be apart of Amanda Tero’s blog tour for her new Christmas short story, I couldn’t turn it down! Who cares if it’s July… the Christmas cheer brought through the birth of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice should stay with us throughout the year!

Amanda Tero has accurately captured the characterization for a newly single girl going through sudden heartbreak. The feelings were spot-on how I felt going through a dating breakup years ago, and I’m sure other girls can relate as well. The overall message of the story is that we can’t find true peace/happiness/every day Christmas cheer from earthly circumstances or human relationships, but only through accepting Christ’s gift for us on the cross. This story is a lovely and heartwarming contrast from modern Christmas movies/stories that center on receiving material things rather than on the true meaning of Christmas. I highly recommend it if you’re craving a Christmas story in this summer heat! 🙂

Overall rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars!

Thank you to the author for providing me a free ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

To purchase “Finding Christmas Joy”, click here!

You Can Connect with Amanda Tero At:
Blog
 | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

Giveaway:

FindingChristmasJoyGiveaway

Amanda Tero is giving away a copy of “Finding Christmas Joy” with one of her piano CDs! You’ll be able to enjoy the music of the season as well as a story that brings you the happiness of the season. (Note: there are two giveaways: one for physical copies for residents of USA, and another for international residents)

To enter the U.S. Giveaway, click here!

To enter the International Giveaway, click here!


Blog Tour Schedule:

July 28, 2018

With a Joyful Noise

Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Read Another Page

Honey Rock Hills

July 30, 2018

With a Joyful Noise

Writings, Ramblings and Reflections

Chosen Vessels

Lit Aflame

Maidens for Modesty

July 31, 2018

With a Joyful Noise

Literary Reflections Book Blog

Blossoms and Blessings

Authoring Arrowheads (You are here! 🙂 )

The World of the Writer

Life of Heritage Corner

Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

Christian Fiction Author A.M. Heath

His Princess Warrior


Thanks for checking in today, Arrowheads! Are you a Christian author looking for blog tour stops? Head on over to my Contact Page and reach out! 🙂

-Allyson 😀

Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction Friday: 300

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! As some of you may know from following Authoring Arrowheads, my boyfriend is a league bowler. During our two years of dating, I’ve watched at least 100 of his league games. Though my boyfriend shot his before we started dating, my favorite thing to witness during league is watching someone bowl a perfect game: a 300. I’ve had the privilege of witnessing two of Josh’s best friends bowl their first 300s, and it is an exhilarating thing to watch! This flash fiction story is dedicated to the rare and epic occurence of bowling one’s first perfect game.

300

“Oliver,” a crusty voice behind the lanes remarked, punctuated by shoving a chili cheese fry in his mouth, “is never going to make that shot. He’s gonna choke.”

Oliver’s teammates couldn’t hear the heckler as their eyes remained glued to their second spot bowler/best friend standing at the ball return, preparing for his final shot of the game. The preceding eleven frames had been marked off with neat red Xs, symbolizing all strikes. One more strike, and Oliver would earn his first sanctioned 300, otherwise known as a perfect game.

His four remaining teammates watched his every move in tunnel vision, as did Oliver’s girlfriend, Hadley, though she couldn’t ignore the hateful commentary of Old Man Oscar Monroe, the oldest and meanest man on the league. Old Man Oscar had made jabs at Oliver’s team—Roll With It—ever since the young boys established their team in their late teens. Now at 24, Oliver was due for his spotlight moment, and Hadley wasn’t about to let anyone take it away. In silent defiance, she turned around in her seat at the lane’s counter, raising an eyebrow and producing a glare so vile she hoped it would cause Oscar to momentarily choke on his fries.

As Oliver stepped onto the approach readying for his throw, Adam eased his way to the front desk, ready to report his friend’s 300 to the manager. The alley became dead silent as Oliver began to throw his ball down the lane, prompting Old Man Oscar to open his mouth again. Distracted by watching Oliver’s deliverance, Adam backed into Old Man Oscar, stepping on his foot. The old geezer swore under his breath as the ball hit the pocket, sending all ten pins splattering against the backboard.

Releasing a nervous breath, Oliver pivoted and floated back off the approach, immediately enveloped in a hug and kiss from Hadley. His teammates, as well as many other league members, clapped and cheered for his accomplishment.

As overwhelmed as a teenage Marvel fangirl meeting Tom Holland, Adam sprinted to the front desk, grabbing the microphone. “Listen up Strike Easy Lanes, my boy Oliver James just scored Roll With It’s first 300! Four more to go, baby!”

Old Man Oscar scowled at the boys, flexing his sore toes from within his loafers. In seventy-five years’ time, he’d never scored his own 300. “Dang Millennials!” he mumbled, hobbling off into the pro shop to sulk.

After everyone’s scores were written down and the next game began, Oliver slumped into the seat beside Hadley.

“You okay?” she asked, nudging his arm.

“No, I’m exhausted,” he replied, though his eyes were wide with adrenaline. “It takes a lot out of you!”

“Well keep it together, man!” his teammate Connor teased. “That was only the first game. We’ve still got two games to go. Go finish that set! 800 total minimum!”

Oliver’s eyes rolled back in his head. A deep breath, and he shuffled back up to the ball return.

© Copyright 2018, Allyson Kennedy. All rights reserved.

Bowling isn’t as boring/nerdy as society makes it out to be, y’all. I hope this story encourages people to bowl more often! ❤

For more Flash Fiction stories, click here!

-Allyson 😀

Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction Friday: The Carolina Golden Neuse

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! Over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting back into writing Flash Fiction stories. When I first began Authoring Arrowheads last year, the Flash Fiction Friday posts were some of the most popular ones; however, I soon ran out of ideas and wanted to work on finishing Speak Your Mind instead of dedicating time each week to write more short stories. Now that Speak Your Mind has been sent to my editor and beta readers, I’m taking some time to explore some new flash fiction ideas, such as today’s crazy tale: The Carolina Golden Neuse!

**A Quick Background on This Story**

The Carolina Golden Neuse is loosely based on a true story that happened in my family about 5 to 7 years ago. The characters in this story are not based on the real family members this happened to (though I’ll admit I was involved in the original story XD ) The legend mentioned in this story is fictitious as well. I named the “beast” after the Neuse river that runs in eastern North Carolina.

The Carolina Golden Neuse

CarolinaGoldenNeuse

The tale of the Carolina Golden Neuse began as innocently as any other Saturday morning. My younger sister, Auden, and I were diving into a pile of leaves, while Grandma Adeline had ventured over to the field to inspect how her sweet potatoes were coming along. A shocked, “girls, come here!” and we were at her side.

“What is it, Grandma?” Auden drawled, her southern accent strong for her seven years.

“Don’t y’all see that bird out yonder?” Grandma whispered, pointing across the field at a large, golden figure shuffling towards the woods.

“Ain’t that a turkey?” I asked, squinting to get a better look.

“No,” Grandma dismissed, her features etched with fear. “I heard the legend when I was a youngin. That right there is a Carolina Golden Neuse. They’re extremely rare, and prone to attack. Legend has it, they sneak into farms and kill every animal in sight… and the farmers.”

I eyed my grandma, skepticism brewing. She’d always had an overactive imagination. Just weeks before, she’d sworn she’d seen tiny red Martians dancing in her front yard, when all along it was a flock of Cardinals.

“Well, if it’s rare, we need to get a picture then,” Auden chimed in, as a gust of wind picked up. The creature bolted toward the woods, stirring up dust in its trail.

Grandma clutched her heart. “Absolutely not. Girls, go inside and get your brother to come run this thing off. My insurance ain’t gonna cover ‘mauled by psycho bird’!”

Silencing our rebuttals, Grandma ushered us back into her house, meeting our older brother, Rider, in the kitchen. Decked out in camouflage from head-to-toe, Rider had come in from turkey hunting earlier that morning.

“Rider go out there are shoo off that beast,” Grandma demanded, shoving her worn broom in his hand.

Rider stood warily from his chair, startled by her tone. Before exiting the house, Auden grabbed Grandma’s disposable camera from her overflowing bookshelf, whispering to Rider, “Get some good shots. I bet they’ll be worth a bazillion dollars.” Rider shook his head as he hopped down the back steps, muttering under his breath.

Watching from the window, Grandma’s breath hitched as Rider began his trek across the field. About fifty paces from the bird, Rider pulled out the camera and snapped some photos for Auden, as well as some of the field.

“Tracks! It left tracks! We’re gonna be rich!” Auden cackled, answered with an angry “Shhh!” from Grandma.

As Rider approached the bird, it soon took notice and charged in his direction. Holding the broom in a swinging position, he struck the bird as it drew near.

“Oh mercy, I can’t look!” Grandma shrieked, covering her eyes. “My poor grandson!”

I stepped in front of her to get a better look. Rider was in no peril at all. In fact, he was dragging the creature by the foot back to the house, a triumphant beam on his face.

“Ugh, he killed it!” Auden pouted, turning from the window. “Now everyone will hate us.”

“I’m calling Channel 8 News!” Grandma hauled off to locate the phonebook. “All of Linwood County should know the terrible Carolina Golden Neuse has been slain!”

The wind surged as Rider peeled open the back screen door, the creature in hand. Tossing it on the floor, he burst out laughing as he walked to the living room. “Here’s your beast, Grandma!”

Inching closer, I stared at the remains of the Carolina Golden Neuse. Its golden feathers appeared more metallic up close. Hesitantly, I reached out to poke the bird, and its skin deflated beneath my touch. Holding it out at arm’s length, I facepalmed myself.

“A golden unicorn balloon? Grandma, hang up now!”

With a quick click of the receiver, Grandma paced back into the kitchen, arms folded across her chest. “No one needs to know about this. Y’all hear me?”

“Too late!” Rider snorted from the recliner, flipping channels on the television. “You’ve already booked an exclusive on Channel 8.”

© 2018, Allyson Kennedy. All rights reserved.

I can already picture the amount of people thinking my family’s insane. XD Ah, well. I did it for the blog! 😛

If you liked this flash fiction story, feel free to browse through the archives and read over some blasts from the past! For longer works, my debut novel, Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl is available for free on Kindle Unlimited and through KOLL, and available for purchase for only $0.99 on Kindle. 😉

-Allyson 😀

Blog Tours, Book Reviews

Quest for Leviathan Blog Tour: Short Story Review

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! I’m super honored to host a third blog tour stop here at Authoring Arrowheads, this time for author Amanda Tero. Her biblically based short story, Quest for Leviathan is now released, and the blog tour is in full-swing, with a goal set for 99 reviewers! How awesome is that?! It’s such a blessing to be able to play a part in this. So, let’s dive into the review for “Quest for Leviathan”!

QuestforLeviathan

Author Amanda Tero has done a fantastic job adapting an aspect of the book of Job into an adventure-packed short story! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Anath’s thirst for revenge and how God uses his hardships to reveal His divine plan to Anath. My favorite character in the story was Joed, as he was full of Godly wisdom and did not judge Anath for his actions. The descriptions in the story were vivid and well-crafted, making me feel as if I were on the trireme with the characters. The author put a lot of effort into making sure the story was biblically accurate, as well as accurate for the time period. The cover design by the author and the illustrations by Natalie Nelson were beautiful and captured the essence of the story. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author!

My overall rating for “Quest for Leviathan” is  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars.

I received an ebook copy of this short story for review purposes. A positive review was not required to receive a review copy.

QuestLeviathanQuote

You Can Connect with Amanda Tero At:
Blog
| Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

Quest for Leviathan Blog Tour Schedule:

June 8 – With a Joyful Noise (Release Day Post)

              Resting Life (Spotlight, Review)

             The World of the Writer (Review)

             Authoring Arrowheads (Review) (You are here 😛 )

             Purely by Faith Review (Review, Interview)

June 9 – Victoria’s Book Nook (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)

             Bekah’s Books (Spotlight, Review, Interview)

June 11 – Clothed with Scarlet (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)

             Reveries Reviews (Review)

June 12 – Chosen Vessels (Spotlight, Review)

             My Purple Pen (Review)

             Read Another Page (Review)

June 13 – Once Upon an Ordinary (Review)

             Maidens for Modesty (Review)

             Yahweh Sisters (Review)

June 14 – Honey Rock Hills (Review)

             Life of Heritage Corner (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)

             Kaylee’s Kind of Writes (Review, Interview)

June 15 – The Red-Hooded Writer (Review)

             Blossoms and Blessings (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)

             Lit Aflame (Review, Interview)

June 16 – The Left-Handed Typist (Review)

             Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Review, Interview, Giveaway)

June 18 – Great Books for God’s Girls (Review, Interview)

             Peculiar Miss Darcy (Character Interview)

June 19 – Done in Love (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)

             Creating Romance (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)

June 20 – Keturah’s Korner (Review, Interview)

             Rock and Minerals 4 Him (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)

June 21 – A Baker’s Perspective (Review, Giveaway, Character Spotlight)

             Christian Author: A.M. Heath (Review, Interview)

June 22 – Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections (Review)

             Views from the Window Friend (Review)

             Hunting for Truth (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)

June 23 – Reading on the Edge (Spotlight)

             Summer Snowflakes (Review, Giveaway)

June 25 – With a Joyful Noise (Giveaway Winner Announced)

Are you a Christian author looking for blog tour stops? Head on over to my Contact Page and reach out! 🙂

-Allyson 😀

Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction Friday: Ember (Part 3)

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! So, it’s come to this… I finally wrote another Flash Fiction Friday piece, and it just so happens to be Part 3 of my short story, Ember. So, without further ado, let’s revisit this creepy kid:

EmberPart3

The burnt photograph of the courthouse wedding was the only thing left among the ashes of Ava and Robert Dean’s home. Ember’s orange eyes lit the stormy night with pleasure of a job well done. Rain settled in far too late to save ole Ava. Her next target though, she’d have to wait on.

“Sizzle sizzle, right to the ground!” Ember cackled from her vantage point on the upper branch of a live oak in the backyard, shielding herself from the rainfall. Oh, how she resented rain,  its power to bring life back to withered beings. Her former existence, weathered by over fifty years time, was now nothing more than folklore of the old southern town. Now though, now she’d give them all something to remember her by.

Ava and Robert Dean had seemed nice enough neighbors up until the fateful night of the kitchen fire. Suffocating in the flames, her flesh and hair burning, it was then Ember vowed if she got a second chance in this world, she’d seek revenge on the old hags. They had been too stuck up to check on her, too uninvolved to notice the bruises under her eyes, or the leash around her neck that her so-called parents made her wear. Either that, or too uncaring to tell anyone. After all this time, she decided it was the latter. The only thing that could quench her taste for justice was to do the same to the entirety of their family, no matter how many generations it took.

Uncle Sherwood and Aunt Atlee–as the granddaughter had called them–surely didn’t expect Ember to be the reason their honeymoon suite caught fire back in 1985. Unfortunately for her, they had escaped, as Ember didn’t expect there to be emergency sprinklers on the room’s ceiling. Another form of rain, always working against her. But, when the couple crashed their car ten years later due to a little girl playing in the road, no one was the wiser.

Now, all that was left was the sole grandbaby–Kenna, and her mother. The father–whose identity had never been known to Ember, nor Kenna–had left without a trace a few months into the mother’s pregnancy.

“Smart man,” Ember whispered to herself, twisting a fireball on her fingertips, “otherwise, he’d die today.”

Ember allowed herself to doze off around 3:00 a.m., not waking until the SUV she’d been waiting for spun into the driveway, causing the gravel rock to fly out beneath the wheels. Kenna and her mother emerged from the vehicle, crying hysterically as they ran toward the ramshackle house of ashes.

“Why didn’t anyone call?” Her mother wailed, falling to her knees, allowing ashes to sift through her fingertips.

Ember rolled her eyes and snuck into the vehicle through the back hatch. I’m sure they would have, if the “storm” hadn’t knocked down the powerlines, Ember thought, heaving a silent cackle while she hid in the vehicle, her grin thirsty for blood.

Soon, they’d all learn to never rely on rain.

© Copyright 2018, Allyson Kennedy. All rights reserved.

Thanks for reading! I hope this wasn’t too creepy for you; I’m not a fan of horror myself, but this story had been itching to be written for a while now.

-Allyson 😀