Tag Archives: coming of age

The Spot Writers – “Coming of Age” by Phil Yeats

Welcome to The Spot Writers. The August prompt is based on a photo taken at a local zoo. There was a fence leading to a “no admittance” area, but about 12 inches at the bottom had been bent upward, allowing admission of… people? animals? And where does it lead? The Spot Writers’ task: Write a story involving a fence that has been snuck through—as a major or minor plot point.

This week’s story comes from Phil Yeats. Phil (using his Alan Kemister pen name) recently published his first novel. A Body in the Sacristy, the first in the Barrettsport Mysteries series of soft-boiled police detective stories set in an imaginary Nova Scotia coastal community is available on Amazon.



Coming of Age by Phil Yeats

The school bus dropped them off on Friday afternoon after their third week in grade ten at their new high school. They lived in two isolated houses on the far side of a large industrial estate, the last two kids off the bus before the driver turned back to town. Everyone in school thought they were going steady because they spent their free time together, but it wasn’t so. They knew no one at school and had been friends forever, so they hung together. But they weren’t romantically involved, at least not then.

Mitch dropped his school bag at his place and continued to Jen’s where Mortimer eagerly waited for his afternoon romp. She threw her bag on the porch and chased after her mutt. Mitch followed more slowly knowing they’d make so much noise he’d have no trouble finding them. And anyway, Jen needed a run as much as her dog did. She was the high-strung adventuresome one, always getting them into scrapes.

When Mitch tracked them down, he saw Mortimer running along the chain-link fence that bounded unused forested land behind the industrial estate. The dog vanished through a gap in the fence. Jen yelled “Morty, come back here!”, then squeezed through the gap and promptly disappeared.

Mitch rushed up to the fence and stared into the forest. With no undergrowth or large trees to hide behind, he should have spotted them. Where were they? And why couldn’t he hear them?

After pulling at the fencing to widen the hole, he squeezed through, tumbling and banging his head on fine white sand. Mitch gazed at palm trees swaying in a warm breeze and listened to waves breaking on a beach. He stumbled past girls in bikinis and surfer dudes in their baggy shorts wondering how the Nova Scotia forest had transformed into a tropical beach.

When he found Jen and Mortimer, they were back in the Nova Scotia forest. She rested in a hollow in the long grass while Morty bounded around like the crazed rabbit in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. No more tropical beach, just a meadow in the forest, a place where they’d often stopped.

Mitch flopped down beside her, and she reached over and pulled him close, kissing his lips. Had she also been assaulted by the strange tropical beach images? Were they omens, images destined to lead them forward from children to adults? Had they suddenly joined the high school culture where everyone was more interested in relationships than the physical world around them?

Weird and wild, but hey, Mitch could handle it.


The Spot Writers—Our Members:


Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/


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The Spot Writers

This week’s post comes to us from Cathy MacKenzie, who writes short stories and poems. The current theme for The Spot Writers is to begin a short story with these four sentences:  “This is it. So very simple actually. Just the end. And no one can prevent it.”

Her new book, Between These Pages (over 60,000 words compiling 18 of her most recent short stories of varied genres), is now available on Amazon and Smashwords. $2.99 for the e-book; $10.00 for the print book. The kindle version for $2.99 can be found on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Between-These-Pages-ebook/dp/B00DP3RDOA/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374948755&sr=1-6

You can view all of her e-books on Smashwords at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/camack.


The End

 This is it. So very simple actually. Just the end. And no one can prevent it.

When I see the storm clouds, I run. As quickly as I can. But I can’t run faster than the rain, which pelts me like shards of glass. My flesh feels like it’s being punctured, but no matter how piercing the drops, they won’t cut into my skin. Another attack—more deadly than rain—might succeed, for nothing can be deadlier than black storm clouds chasing me down a dark alley.

The buildings loom alongside me. I almost feel smothered, and I would be, were they real, but they’re just inhumane chunks of concrete and strips of mortar and rising steel—inanimate objects—nothing that can actually crush the life out of me, unless, of course, the structures collapse upon me. But that isn’t happening. No, it’s the human factor in the equation I worry about, not the dismal grey surroundings.

I envision airplanes from World War II hovering over me, like when I was young and standing in the flowing fields, my face upturned to the sky, awestruck by the thundering steel birds breaking through the clouds. Menacing. War is like that—horrific. Yet, when it’s over, it’s done. And relief pervades. People relax. Somewhat.

I want this war to be over. When will he leave me alone? He is my war. I have no enemies except for him. I want no enemies. Life is within my grasp, breaths with which to flourish and eyes to wonder.

Yet, continual life is unattainable with him in existence. He prevents me from being me. From living and dying. Yes, even dying. Dying at will. Dying at my time, not his.

This is his time—or so he thinks. But he doesn’t know my stamina. I can live forever if I so desire. As much as he thinks he knows me, he doesn’t know me at all.

I hear the planes again and I’m transported back to 1944 when I was a toddler, uncomprehending and staring at the monsters above me. Many more years passed before I understood how complicated life is and how I may never understand men and women. How I may never understand life—nor death.

Death. That’s his aim. To kill me. I know that. Does he think it’s as easy to kill me as a mockingbird? I’m fearless. I can beat him. Like The Amazing Race, I’ll outwit and outrun him to the finish, intact and whole.

I sense him behind me, even though I don’t see. I want to see, but I can’t. Not with dark descending and overtaking light. Light can’t exist without dark, for what is light if dark isn’t there to obscure it? What is life if there’s no death? What is happiness without sorrow?

Despite my happiness, I’m clothed in sorrow, like at Halloween when masqueraders don their masks of deceit and hide from the world. But it’s not October. It’s still summer and the heat and chill fall upon me, trying to smother me as much as he wants to quash me.

I’m stronger than you, I want to shout, but I don’t, otherwise I’d give myself away. I hide behind one of the formidable pillars and I thank the architect for his unusual design. For surely it’s a man, right? It’s always a man.

He’s still here. He still chases me. I’m not as strong as I had thought. I used to be stronger. Age does that. Life overtakes you, swallows you whole, spits you out in pieces. You can’t win, no matter what you do.


The Spot Writers- our members:

RC Bonitz

Val Muller

Catherine A. MacKenzie

Deborah Dera


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