This is a short story I wrote for an online short story contest. I can’t remember…I think I got 78/100? I was the highest scorer, though, out of six people (plus me), though, so I guess I did pretty well.
This one had three prompts I needed to work into it: It had to be three pages on a Word Doc. in 12 point font using a font I currently can’t remember, and use two pieces of dialogue, “Suddenly speaking in gibberish doesn’t sound so bad” and “That wasn’t what was supposed to happen”.
So, without further ado, here’s Your Fault
“David, this is your fault.”
I glare at the boy in front of me, crossing my arms and glaring. He gives me a timid smile.
“Now, Mae, I wouldn’t say it’s my fault, exactly…” The little metal box in front of him sparks, and he jumps, before returning his attention to it.
I lean forward, propping my elbows on the damp ground. “It’s totally your fault. YOU were the one who was all excited about being accepted into a school for spies, and have volunteered for every stupid mission since we got here for EXTRA CREDIT, and have dragged me along with you. YOU were the one who volunteered us to take the night shift. And YOU were the one who dropped the freakin’ bomb!”
“It might not be a bomb.” David says hopefully, but if the sparking and the loud ticking emitting from the metal box says anything, it’s that David is wrong.
Welcome to the day in the life of a teenage spy, and her somewhat clumsy boyfriend. Actually, this wasn’t the most dangerous thing we’ve had to deal with. There was a rogue CIA assassin roaming the grounds once (long story), some sort of weird, mutated dog that got loose in the school (even longer story), and we can’t forget the day Cynthia Richards dropped the prototype for the invisibility gas and everyone turned invisible for four hours (don’t even ask).
In fact, I’d even say that a ticking bomb is rather relaxing compared to some things we’ve gone through in the last four months since school started. In fact, I think it’s even a pop quiz.
Our pop quizzes are a bit…odd, shall we say. Last one involved breaking into the booby-trapped headquarters of a downtown skyscraper. It involved scaffolding, double-sided tape, baby powder and silly putty. But that’s a story for another time.
But if there’s anyone I would choose to disable a bomb with, it’d be David. He got accepted because he’s this criminal mastermind at computer hacking. Sometimes I don’t even understand half the stuff that comes out of his mouth. And since this school (Lillen’s School for Gifted Teenagers) loves gifts like that, he got a letter in his mailbox early August saying that he had earned a full scholarship.
And me? I got in because of David, pretty much. He vouched for me. And because I have this talent of getting into trouble that mostly includes hotwiring a car (I didn’t mean to…well, not really), breaking into my former principles office (he had taken my computer the week before and was refusing to give it back), and blackmailing the worker at the county fair to let me in for free.
Yep. I’m one of those girls.
Which was why I standing here, staring at a ticking bomb that may be or not be a pop quiz. Suddenly, speaking in gibberish doesn’t sound so bad. That’s what Jonathon Parker and Emily White got as their pop quiz…Jonathon’s water was laced with this new drug that messes with the way you pronounce words and he had to try to explain to Emily how to drive a car because they were being chased by someone who wanted a flash drive that doubled as Emily’s necklace.
They got a C+. Points were docked for crashing into a fire hydrant.
David is starting to sweat as he pokes at the box, the mess of wires inside a tangle of red and black and blue. Hesitantly he moves a wire and the box sparks, causing him to jump back. “That wasn’t what was supposed to happen.” He murmurs, sitting back on his heels.
“Why does it have to be outdoors? I can barely see! Would it kill them to put some lights out here?” It could, actually, but neither of us mentions that.
I crouch down beside him, staring into the box myself. I notice something small and round…I reach in and pull it out, causing David to grab at me and splutter out a panicked warning. The bomb doesn’t blow, so I just give him a smile and turn the thing over in my hands. It’s tiny, about the size of a pea and perfectly round. It’s made a lead, solid lead, so it’s surprisingly heavy. It would be perfectly round if not for a small bit of lead sticking up, as if it had been peeled away.
David took this from me. “What is this, Mae? Was it loose inside?”
I nod. “It’s almost as if it’s supposed to fit somewhere, like a spare part or a weight…” Something dawns on me. “Or a key. David, it’s a key!”
“How do you know that?”
“Remember that time I found Elisa Whittaker’s Diary? The key for it wasn’t actually a key at all. It was a tiny bird figure that you had to press into the keyhole to make it unlock. She wore it on a chain around her neck. Honestly, it wasn’t worth the trouble I went to to get it…the diary was just full of mushy stuff and different crushes and whatever, and all the stuff everybody already knew so I couldn’t use it to blackmail her.”
“You scare me sometimes. “ David carefully turns the box around, wincing each time the ticking gets a little bit louder. We both examine it, running our hands over it. He finds the keyhole, it was what we thought was a chip in the corner.
I go to put it in what David stops me. “Wait…what if it’s a trick and it sets off the bomb?”
I look into his eyes. “Do you know what to cut to give us some time?”
David hesitates. “I think so. Cutting this red wire will set off the bomb, but it’ll take about thirty seconds.”
“That’s enough time to run. If this thing starts ticking louder, cut the wire and run, got that?” He nods, his face slightly pale.
“Ready?” At his nod, I push the little lead ball into the keyhole. I hear a click, and both David and I tense. But the steady ticking stops, dwindling into silence. I laugh, throwing my arms around David. His laughs too, somewhat shakily, and kisses my forehead.
“Well done.” The cool, calm voice comes from behind us, and I recognize Ms. Hamilton’s voice. Both David and I turn, meeting the tall, slender woman’s storm-gray eyes. Ms. Hamilton smiles coolly at us, saying, “You get an A-. You would have gotten A+, of course, but David you dropped it, and Mae you grabbed something out of it without checking it was okay. However, other than that, you did perfectly.”
She waves a careless hand. “Take care of this stuff. And by the way, Ms. Mae? You have a smudge of dirt on your cheek.” She walks away, leaving me marveling that she can walk across grass in high heels like that, and in the dark, no less.
David grins at me, running a hand through his hair, ruffling it up. He kisses my forehead again and uses his thumb to wipe the dirt from my cheek. He tucks the bomb box under his arm and stands up, pulling me up as well.
“A-.” He says as we start the walk back to school. “That’s pretty good, isn’t it?”
I lace my arm through his. “Very good. And I’d say we’ve earned a reward.”
I grab him, pulling him in for a proper kiss. Even in the dark I can see his cheeks flush a deep, scarlet red. I give him one more kiss, lace my arm through his once more, and we resume our walk.
Just the day in the life of a teenage spy.
Yep. Tell me what you think of it!