short stories

private eye

short stories. happy monday! this little website endeavor has excited me with getting to peruse my hard drive for material I’ve written in days past, all the while writing more for supply. i’m currently in the middle of a new novelette/novella of sorts (basically a story i think will be not quite over 40K words). in the meantime, i resureced this gem from summer 2016 (that’s right, Reader, i wrote this when i was sixteen years old). that being said, it’s only a little cringe.

first things first, let me introduce Virginia Jean. our protagonist, Virginia Jean is an outsider of sorts. She’s never quite fit into her little town that’s more of a camp in the middle of the mountains, and she’s head over heels in love with Friedrich, who’s more beast than man, and loves her best friend, Leotie much more than the sickly girl before him.

this is the first story i wrote in Virginia’s voice, who is one of my only characters in which my prose became somewhat prophecy. Virginia has a congenital heart problem, and i was recently diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP). Virginia falls head over heels for a boy, but he’s in love with one of her friends. i pined after a boy through heartbreak he was attracted to one of my closest friends and had no feelings for me. Unlike Virginia, I do not have heterochromia, though I’d love a violet eye.

i hope you’ll enjoy this very short story about Virginia’s story, the first of a few excerpts of a saga in which two people with faults of their own learn to love each other despite the hardships and tragedy of life.


Friedrich strolled impatiently down the alleyway, his grip on my palm tight and partially unwilling. Ever since Leotie had forced us together, 

“Tell me about yourself.” He said gruffly, the wolf in his tone growling out in a manner that sent shivers prancing up and down my spine.

I stumbled over my words, and he didn’t hide his frustration at my floundering. His golden eyes seemed to roll back into his skull only slightly before he realized Leotie had requested he play nice. The wolf recedes.

“Tell me about your childhood.” He said flatly, rounding another corner towards the shops at the corner of the camp.

I cringed at his question. Did he not realize I’d been hospitalized for the very reason he spoke? I took a deep breath despite my panic and the aching scarring on my back, and I opened my mouth. “I don’t know. What about it?”

His booming deep voice smushed my hushed nursery-maid tones. “You know the usual questions. Have you always lived here? How many siblings do you have? Your mother and father still alive?”

I shuddered. “I’ve lived here all my life. I’ve had several fathers, but my birth one’s dead. Ma’s got fifteen babies.”

“Fifteen?” He questioned, eyes wide in what looked like horror or amazement. 

“Yes. Most of us end up sleeping on the floor.” I let out a breathy laugh. I didn’t like this. He needed to change the subject. 

“If you don’t mind me asking, are they all from the same father?” He asked, ever so quietly. Ever so respectfully. Had it been a boy at school, I would’ve pretended I didn’t know what it meant for there to be two fathers in the picture.

“There was a man before my father.” I muttered, sliding my hands up and down and up my arms. “The other children tell me he wasn’t as kind. Not as true. Not as genuine. My father was a nice man. He met my mother at some restaurant she was working at. Said she was the prettiest pearl he’d come across in a long time. I was conceived within the first few months -an accident. Mother didn’t want me. She tried to get rid of me. The other children have told me. They’d find her in the bathroom, looking at her stomach funny, talking to it. But not in a loving mother way. She spoke to her stomach as if a parasite was lodging inside. 

“Once I was born, Father went to find a job. The only ones were at the factory, so that had to do. It tore him apart, but he and Mother still managed to make another baby every year. When he came back from the factory everyday, he smelled like grease and oil. But I didn’t mind. I grew to like that smell.

“But it was killing him. Too much exposure. It started with little coughing episodes that you think are just the flu, and then the blood comes from the nose and the ears and the mouth. And he promised me it was all right. He promised me. He said, ‘now don’t you worry, little private eye. It’s only a head cold. Why don’t you get that little pretty china set of your’s and let’s have tea out in the yard, how’s that sound?’ And he took me to the backyard and we sat under the big pecan tree that must’ve been there for years and years and years before because he said trees grow slow ‘like a turtle trying to win a race’ and I believed every word he told me. 

“But after too many pecans had fallen on his head, and he’d rocked my make-shift doll to sleep, and I’d giggled so hard he said, ‘careful, now Virginia Jean, don’t wet yourself,’ Mother would come rushing out of the kitchen with furious violet eyes and scream at Father, ‘you missed your shift again, John!’ She always screamed real loud like that, and I didn’t like loud noises, so I’d always go to Father when she would start yelling. And then she’d spank me because I was keeping Father from work. 

“One day he got so sick and tired he just collapsed on one of the lines at the factory. That was when they knew he was done. Too tired. Too old. Two of the workers lugged him home and up the stairs. To the bedroom. He was coughing real loud then. And Mother knew. She knew. She did the best for him, but I knew she secretly wanted him dead. His death meant money and a new man to play with. When she didn’t feed him and went to the big house to go clean, I’d sneak tea cakes up stairs. ‘Aw, Virginia, that’s mighty nice of you to think about your old man like that.’ And I’d smile and he’d smile his big dimpled cheeks. And then Mother would return. And that was the end to our fun.

“I knew he was taking a turn for the worse when blood started appearing on the wall. He was coughing so hard it was spraying everywhere. When I’d bring tea cakes to him he’d cough and say ‘no, thank you.’ So I’d get out my book and I’d read to him about the dinosaurs and the twelve dancing princesses and the moon. And he’d smile because his throat was too swollen to talk.

“On the last day, I could feel he was going. There was more blood on the wall than usual. And he was crying. Happy tears. When I was sure Mother was nowhere in sight, I slipped into his room. He smiled when he saw me, his brown eyes sparkling with happiness. ‘Father, I brought you some tea.’ I said, carrying the little tea set I’d borrowed from my sister’s closet. Glass. Fancy. Mine was plastic but hers was glass. But I knew she wouldn’t know it was gone. ‘That’s wonderful, Virginia Jean,’ he rasped, his voice no longer even a whisper. On the tray were three pecans. The one that fell on my head, the one that fell on Father’s head, and the one he’d tried to shove in my mouth. 

“In a quick second, I knew it was over. He grabbed my hand, caressing its tiny, six-year-old size in his big, calloused, bearlike hands. ‘I love you, Private Eye.’ He said. His skin was so pale now, like I could draw on it and everyone would think it was a sheet of paper and not a face. I didn’t want to cry, but I did. I cried and cried and cried. And then he said, ‘little Virginia Jean, you do something great with that brown eye.’ He said because he knew he’s given it to me. That it was his that he was handing on to me. With that said, he coughed, blood slapping the wall across from him. I knew he was gone, and my tea set crashed to the floor. 

“I heard the door unlatch. It must’ve been Mother. I- I couldn’t stay in there, not with a dead man, so I ran to the room where the children slept, and I grabbed the black crayon on the floor, readying to draw on the wall even though Mother would be furious. Counting. That’s what I needed to do. Count. Like time passing by. One, Two, Three. I wrote shakily. Someone was coming up the stairs. One, Two, Three, I started over again. Fifteen steps and she’d be here. One, Two, Three. She was speeding up now. One, Two, Three. I really must hurry. One, Two, Three. She’s in the room, I know it. One. Two. Three. A scream. One. TWO. THREE. My letters become bigger, capitalized. ONE. TWO. THREE. ‘VIRGINIA JEAN WHEN I GET MY HANDS ON YOU-’ ONE. TWO. THREE. ‘I SWEAR-’ ONE. TWO. Threee… 

“The door busts open, and I’m still writing numbers. One two three four. One two three- She jerks me to my feet, staring me in my eyes. ‘You killed him, you wretched thing. Go clean the blood off the wall!’ She’s screaming at me, and I’m squirming because I don’t want to go in there. I don’t want to clean up the blood because then I’ll have to look at him, and my last memory will have to be of his dead face. 

“She drags me. All the way there. And she dumps me in the room. And all I have are my bare hands, and I’m scrubbing at the wall, the red staining my white shirt. And Father’s soul is not there anymore but death is, and it’s smiling, laughing, dancing all over him. And when I turn around. He’s staring at me. He’s watching. Not with kind brown eyes, but dead ones. So I count, hoping it gets better. One two three four, gradually getting louder, FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT NINE TEN ELEVEN TWELVE THIRTEEN!”

I barely notice I’m screaming until he takes me by the shoulders, “Virginia! Oh gosh, VIRGINIA!” 

“I- I’m sorry I didn’t mean to scream. I didn’t-” 

 “It’s all right.” He says, clearly unnerved, “I shouldn’t have asked.”

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