Here it is–the last post of 2021. I’d like to thank you all for reading along with me in what turned out to be a tumultuous year for most of the world. Let us all hope that next year brings new hope and better news. I look forward to continuing this blog and all my writing endeavours, including finishing the final polish of Archivist Book 1, ready to query to agents and publishers.
I hope you continue to join me in 2021, and enjoy the short story below (my Furious Fiction entry for December 2020).
Happy New Year!
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Dusty Plastic Rebels
The box exploded.
It was a tiny box, and thus a relatively small explosion. Spectacular all the same. The assembled toys watched in horror and anticipation.
Three shelves up, Marshall leapt into his fire truck, and found its wheels glued to the lacquered surface.
As if the dog’s furious yell was a spotlight, a tanned man appeared from between two bottles of paint. Fists on hips, palm-print shirt open to his chest, he grinned from ear to ear.
“How’d you like my fire, guys?” he drawled, ignoring the shouts from the Paw Patroller heading his way.
“I dunno, Ken,” grumbled Old Roo. “You’re inviting trouble.” The patched and worn kangaroo turned away. “‘Scuse me while I wait it out.”
Ken’s chiselled features tensed. “I made it for you, old man,” he said to the retreating back. Glared at the others. “I did it for all of you.”
They shuffled feet and paws and wheels, a collection of grimy toys and outgrown cuddlies, forgotten in the hallway closet. On the tiled floor, Hawaiian Barbie drained her cocktail and picked up a match Ken had spilled from the original box. She stabbed it, spear-like, into the growing furnace, and a white flare erupted at its head. Her blue eyes gleamed in the flames.
“You want to get outta here or not?” she said to the nearest observer. “Lightning McQueen? I thought you were a race car. Not a dust bunny.” The car reversed; the match whirled. “You! Toothless. An apt name. Do you want to fly the roost or wait here to die like the rest of your kind?”
“Oh, be quiet, Barbie.” Another blonde-haired figure stepped into the light, her silver gown lending queenly grace. “Why can’t you be content? The closet is safe; it’s out there that can’t be trusted.”
“Of course the ice princess says that.” Ken swung down from the paint shelf on a skipping rope. “You can afford to wait in the cold. Everyone knows the children will come back for you; the studio hasn’t finished making your movies yet.”
Elsa stomped her foot. “That’s not the point! You’re inviting disaster. Remember what happened to Lego Spider-Man.”
A murmur rippled through the closet.
“It’s not our fault he lost his head.” Hawaiian Barbie waved her matchstick for emphasis, catching Marshall as he jumped from the final shelf. He hit the floor and rolled. Smoke rose from singed fur.
“This is why we don’t play with fire, guys!” Marshall said, shaking himself.
He advanced, but Ken grappled him, leaving Elsa to wrestle the torch from Barbie’s fingers. It tumbled away, beneath the door and into the hall beyond.
Footsteps pounded down the stairs. “Do you smell something burning?” The Mother said. “Oh my God!”
The doorknob turned.
“This is it,” yelled Ken, dashing past Marshall to grab Barbie’s hand. “Freedom, baby!”
She kissed him full on the lips, drunk on excitement and chemical fumes. And the door swung open.