Story Short

The following is a story I wrote a year ago from the story prompt exercise we did. This is actually a combination of three prompts combined into one beginning for a story. Hope you enjoy it. It got my paranormal juices flowing.

Abner settled into his seat at the back of the classroom and listened to the lit teacher drone on about the tragedy inherent in the work of Shakespeare. Abner drew a murder of crow with beady amber eyes and a cemetery filled with nameless tombstones. Abner’s eyes focused on the front of the room, but his hand flew across the paper drawing on its own accord.

Abner often daydreamed of the dark and supernatural. Rarely did he listen as his professor prattled on about things Abner thought uninteresting. He didn't care about Shakespeare. He much preferred the works of Poe.

Abner was a quiet, unimposing straight A student who kept to himself. People thought him odd with his out of style clothing and mannerisms. Many questioned his ability to multitask while still maintaining a 4.0 GPA. The faculty silently questioned as to whether or not the young man might be one nerve away from erupting into a violent, bloody massacre.

Abner had been so absorbed in his private world that he'd barely heard the bell ring. Only when clusters of students began to file from the classroom did he realize class was over.

“Abner,” Mr. Gruwell said. “I’d like a word with you before you leave.”

In his haste to rake his sketch papers into a folder, one of his drawings drifted to the floor. Mr. Gruwell bent to pick it up and his eyes went wide. Abner glanced at the paper his teacher held in front of him and the color drained from his face. “I didn't do that. I couldn't have.”

The once nameless grave markers in an unkempt and forgotten cemetery now had names. Twenty-three tombstones with twenty-three names. All of them, Abner’s fellow lit classmates.

“It’s always the quiet ones, you know?” Detective Markham said to Bonnie, the morning dispatcher, while he sipped from his lukewarm coffee.

“You think Abner Wellington is capable of carrying out some sort of school massacre like Columbine or Virginia Tech?” Bonnie asked.

Jacob Markham shrugged his shoulders, “We have to take these things seriously Bonnie. The University has a zero tolerance policy.”

Bonnie Chambers knew Abner’s grandmother, Alice Wellington. Alice and her own grandmother had been friends for many, many years. Alice was a bird-like woman, her fingers knotted from arthritis, but her mind was sharp-as-a-tack. Alice was gossip fodder for the small-minded townspeople who claimed that her clairvoyant abilities were devil's play. But Bonnie knew Alice to be a God-fearing, eighty-year-old gentle soul with an uncannily accurate psychic abilities.

Bonnie was also aware of how much Abner abhorred violence. He would rather open the door and shoo a spider outside than kill it. And oh how he cried when his beloved dog Gypsy had died of old age. No, Bonnie wasn't buying that the socially backward young man was plotting something as sinister as what the media claimed him to be. Bonnie mused that perhaps Abner had predicted some future catastrophic event not planning some heinous crime.

Bonnie was raised in an open-minded family, her father, a spiritualist minister, and her grandmother a member of the National Spiritualist Association of Churches in Lily Dale, NY. Bonnie knew all about automatic writing. She’d even heard of automatic drawing. That’s what it had to be. Unfortunately, she feared Abner would never receive a fair trial in this town. Trial or no trial, people wanted to lock him up in an insane asylum and throw away the key.

“Maybe I’ll stop by and talk to Alice on my way home,” Bonnie busied herself tidying up the papers on her desk. “She has to be worried sick.”

“Maybe you can find out something,” Detective Markham suggested. Bonnie shot him an ugly look and he sighed. “Strictly off the record, of course.”

It had been three months since they moved Abner Wellington from his home with his grandmother near Erie, PA. Abner’s lawyer feared for the safety of her client and had him transported to the psychiatric hospital in nearby Fulton.

Abner didn't do much in his room. He mostly sat on the thin mattress with his knees drawn to his chest and cried. He wasn't even allowed pencil and paper. If he wasn't crazy when he arrived, he was slowly moving in that direction with each passing hour of each passing day.

His lawyer, Debbie Glade, believed in him. She saw him for the sensitive, creative soul he was and not the twisted loner the media had made him out to be. “Abner, is there anything I can do to make things easier for you?” she asked.

Abner stared at her through watery blue eyes and whispered, “I need to draw.”

Debbie leaned forward and put her hand on his arm sympathetically, “They’re afraid you’ll try and do something. Hurt someone or even,” she paused and stared down at her newly manicured nails. “Or even hurt yourself.”

“I don't want to hurt myself. I don’t want to hurt anyone else. I don’t know how those names got on my paper. You have to believe me Ms. Glade, I could never do the things they're accusing me of.”

Debbie stood and closed her briefcase, “I’ll see what I can do Abner. But I can’t promise you anything. Try to get some rest. I’ll be back next week.”

After she left, a fat, greasy guard came to lead him back to his room in solitary “You’re a long way from home, boy. Ain’t no one here cares what happens to you,” he muttered as they walked along.

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Lori L. Clark

Lori L. Clark currently resides in Hazelwood, MO with three rescue dogs. When Lori isn't listening to the voices in her head, waiting for the next creative inspiration to strike, she also loves to read, run, paint pet portraits and save dogs. Email Lori at

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