Monday, September 3, 2012

30 day challenge. Day # 3

Imagine you're looking through a collection of short stories. One of the titles catches your interest. That's the story you want to read first. What might the title be? Invent a title that would make you want to read the story. Now, write a story to go with that title...

And then the music stopped forever

When one of the girls in the school building had her birthday, Glen always was the one to decorate the cake. Venesia decked up the hall with streamers and photo cut-outs, while Pallavi painted a huge birthday card. Cicilia was the singer and Roberta the crazy little dancer. Together these teenagers made sure that each girl felt special on her birthday in the hostel.

The girls had all come to stay in the hostel when they were young. They were orphaned in different circumstances. Glen's parents died in the cold. Venesia was found in the homeless shelter and since she was just a baby they didn't know what to do with her. Mrs Hannigan had received the call from the shelter late into the night. She had gone first thing in the morning and picked up little Venny and brought her to the shelter. Her daughter, Cici, was approximately the same age. Pallavi's father had died while driving home from work. And her extremely young mother did not want to have any memory left of her previous life when she remarried a US citizen a year later. Roberta, or Bobbie, just walked up to the shelter when she was seven - confident and knowing exactly what she wanted. The younger girls knew that the five friends would be the best to turn to in case anyone needed any help, and also the worse kinds to have as an enemy. To Mrs Hannigan, the girls were her world. They brought about every joy she wanted. If Cici made her smile, the whole group together would make sure that the smile stayed put for the whole night.

Little Randy has her birthday tomorrow. She has been praying since morning for a new doll. Hand me down ones are the only dolls she has ever played with in the shelter. Cici tries to explain the financial problems on how they could all share, and how an old doll is much better because it also needs a new friend. Pallavi has been trying to make a new rag doll for her from her old polka dotted skirt which doesn't fit her anymore. She has always been good at sewing and crafts, though for difficult embroideries she has to run to the cook - plump Mrs Zafon - for help.

Parties are simple in the hostel. There is a cake, baked by Mrs Zafon and then decorated with whatever candies or toppings the girls are in love with at the moment. Venesia and Pallavi worked together in decorating and painting. Often they ran into Cicilia who would try to belt out new versions of Happy Birthday to you and YMCA and Shiny Disco Balls. Bobbie giggled every time she heard it, but then she never let anyone down. She would dance. And make everyone dance along with her. Even Mrs Hannigan had to come up and 'shake a leg'.

This time too everyone is busy making the preparations. Everyone is busy enough to not notice Randy when she goes to taste her stolen handful of candies. Busy enough to not remember about Mrs Hannigans blood pressure medicines. And then it happened. While they danced, with Randy in the middle of the circle, Mrs Hannigan fell on the couch. The girl's excitement had taken the best of her. She was old now. In her 50's. As she breathed her last, she thought of those five girls. She knew they would take care of the younger ones. They knew of her savings, they would be able to handle it for some time. But then, would they ever laugh again, with this sudden responsibility? Would they be able to sing and dance like they are doing now? The music for them would stop as soon as she stopped breathing. And yet, she couldn't hold on any longer...

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