How We Write – The Backyard

Orion wrote this a long time ago, for the prompt: Children live in the real world. Adults are acting out the fantasy. She says she started it not knowing how it would end, just waiting for the story to tell her. Even she was surprised at where it went.

Then, when we got to revising it together for the blog, Kyros upped the ante and turned a little slightly disturbing story into a little piece of horror!

And it’s a much better story for our collaboration. That’s one of the perks of having a writing partner. We highly recommend co-authoring, if you can find someone whose skills, ideas, and level of writing match yours.

Photo by Caroline Hernandez



“What’s everyone doing, Sammy?” asked five-year-old Kelsey, peering around the flowery bush. Her older brother Sam, all of eight years old, shook his head.

Beyond their hiding place, their parents were working furiously on the backyard. They had planted a small tree and were rolling grass over the newly turned dirt. Their father stood up, stretching his back. He wiped sweat off his forehead and took a drink of the beer sitting beside him. Their mother, kneeling beside the tree, glared up at him and pointed at the ground with the small shovel in her hand.

“Maybe it has to do with Aunt Katie coming next week,” Sammy answered.

“Why?” Kelsey asked. “Is she going to sleep under the tree?”

Sam snorted. “Of course not! She’ll sleep in the guest room. Like always.”

“Then why does that,” She pointed at her parents and the tree. “have to do with Aunt Katie coming?”

“Because, silly, the yard has to look especial nice for her,” Sam said, like he was losing patience with her stupidity.

“But it was fine before. We don’t need another tree. That one’s too small to sit under or climb, so why do we need it?”

“I don’t know. But it’ll be better now. Mommy said so.”

“Ffft! Grown ups! They see problems everywhere. Even when there’s nothing wrong.” She shook her head, golden curls flying into her face.

“Maybe this is your fault for bringing home that little grey boy with the large head and small body yesterday.”

“Well, he looked hungry…,” she said, sticking out her bottom lip.

Her brother shook his head. “Mommy and daddy told you to stop bringing things home after you came home with that little person with wings. And besides, his skin was rubbery and he couldn’t talk and he carried that little black box…”

“I know!” she broke in. “But I couldn’t just ignore him. Or that little fairy they hid under here.” She pointed at the bush they were hiding behind.

Sammy shook his head in an all-knowing fashion. “If you keep this up, we won’t have a backyard to play in anymore.” He gestured the various roses, carnations, peach trees, and rhododendrons scattered around the yard. “It’ll be full of plants covering all the things you bring home.”

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