I finished the challenge. So I’m posting one of the stories here. Let me know what you think.
Sticky tar on the bottom of their tiny tennis shoes slowed Laurie’s four little ones as they made their way to the center of the roof. As she spread the threadbare blanket, snatched from her double bed for use as a makeshift picnic blanket, she hoped it was enough to keep the heat off. Her four lemmings following their leader. Five, four, three, two.
She positioned each in front of a bowl.
She’d come up moments before and left the meal on the heat vent. She was dragging not just from the hundred degree temperature but the day to day, paycheck to paycheck existence which was her life. She didn’t know if she could continue.
“It’s too hot for oatmeal,” whined the four year old.
“It’s a special oatmeal,” said Laurie. “It has fairy dust to help us fly.”
“I want a Popsicle,” asked her five year old.
“After the eclipse,” she said.
All four children rushed to take a seat in front of a bowl.
“There’s no such thing as fairy dust,” said the five year old, giving her mother an expectant look.
“Fairy dust is real,” said Laurie, her hands on her hips, “If you know where to get it.”
The two year old got up from her spot on the blanket and wandered over to the edge.
Her mother panicked and ran over to the small child and knelt in front of her. She hugged her to her chest tightly.
“Be careful,” she said. “It’s not safe close to the ledge.”
Before she could say anything, the roof door flew open.
A teenage girl and boy came stumbling through the door, and even without a breeze, she could smell the stale rancor of beer.
“I told you this was the best spot to see the eclipse,” she slurred her words, pointing to the sky as she walked.
“Looks like someone is already here,” he pointed at Laurie’s children.
“You up here to see the eclipse?” asked the girl, bending to the kids level.
“Just having a picnic with my kids,” said Laurie, moving to her blanket.
“I like picnics,” said the girl.
She and the boy sat down.
“Oatmeal,” he said, wrinkling up his nose.
“It’s for my children,” Laurie said, pulling the pot to herself.
“Really come on now, you can share,” the girl snatched the pot from Laurie, and stuck her hand in the steaming pot, pulling out a finger scoop of oatmeal.
“This is good,” she sucked her finger.
“There’s only enough for four,” said Laurie, gently taking the pot back.
“They are little kids,” said the boy, standing and towering over Laurie. “How much can they eat?” He reached for the pot.
Reluctantly, she gave it over.
The girl and boy walked to the roof edge and sat there scooping out the oatmeal with their fingers.
Then Laurie and the children stared up at the darkened sky. The eclipse was only for a few minutes.
She hugged her children to her. I can raise them better than that, she thought, thinking of the disrespectful wasted teenagers. I will do this.
As the sun came peeking back from behind the moon, Laurie turned to ask the boy for her pot.
Her pot was on the roof, but neither teenager was and from the screams below, she figured they’d flown away.
“Let’s go get those popsicles,” said Laurie, leading her children back down the stairs and off the roof.