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The Robot Accomplice [Storytime Blog Hop]

The Storytime Blog Hop is a quarterly event that provides readers with short fiction by a variety of different authors. There are links to the other participants at the end of this post. I hope to be a regular participant in this event moving forward, and I hope to begin posting here weekly once more.

Now, without further ado, please enjoy “The Robot Accomplice.”


Janie woke up and stretched. The sun was shining in below her curtains, and she could hear sounds of people talking in the back yard.

“Mommy!” she called.

No answer.

“Mommy?”

Nothing.

She stood up and braced her hands on the crib railing. Using her stuffed animals to gain height, she inched her right foot onto the railing and slipped over the top.

Once on the floor, she padded over to the door. It was closed.

She knocked three times. “Pee-vah!” she called.

The door opened and a four-foot tall black and chrome wheeled device rolled into the room. It looked kind of like a domed garbage bin like at the mall, only with long arms that looked like vacuum cleaner hoses and hands that looked like the claw clip Mommy wore in her hair. “Yes, Janie?” asked a metallic monotone.

“Hung-ee!” announced the toddler, running out the open door and down the hall to the kitchen.

Pee-vah followed, its three-fingered hands waving in the air as it went.

“Janie, may I assist?” it asked when it caught up to the child.

Janie looked down from her perch atop the cupboards next to the fridge.

“Mick!” she said, grabbing the fridge door handle and pushing.

Pee-vah took hold of the handle and opened the door once Janie had let go.

Janie scrambled down from the counter. She nearly fell a couple of times, but Pee-vah caught her.

Janie pointed at her red milk cup, set on a shelf just out of her reach. “Mick cup!” she said.

“Cup?” asked Pee-vah. “I do not know what you want.”

“Mick cup, mick cup!” said Janie, pointing at her cup. Finally she stomped her foot and said, “RED cup!”

Pee-vah retrieved the cup for its young charge. Janie turned to the fruit drawer and opened it, grabbing an apple.

“All done!” she announced as she moved away from the fridge. “Cose door!”

Pee-vah closed the drawer and then the fridge, and followed Janie into the living room. Janie set about building some elaborate block towers, so Pee-vah shut down.

After a while, an adult came into the room. “Hi there, Janie!”

“Mommy!” The toddler got up and ran to her mother, who gathered her into her arms.

“How did you get out of your room?” she asked.

Janie pointed. “Pee-vah open a door.”

Mommy looked dubiously at the remote control robot. “And I guess Pee-vah got your milk and an apple, too?”

“Yes!” Janie said gleefully.

“I see. Well, let’s go change your diaper and then we can go find Daddy at the party out back, and I can talk to him about locks and stuff.”

Mommy settled Janie on her hip and turned to walk to Janie’s room.

Janie looked back at Pee-vah. Its operating light blinked on, and it moved one arm to wave at her.

The controls were sitting, unattended, on the kitchen table.


This story is copyright 2019 Janna Willard. You may link it for others to read, but you may not copy it elsewhere. This may not be the final draft of this story. Any questions? Please ask!

Janie’s behaviour and speech in this story was inspired by my son’s behaviour and speech as a toddler. I just gave her a unique partner in crime.


Want to read other stories in this month’s blog hop? Here they are!

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Progress August 18, 2017

This week has been really busy! I’ve been working on a fun short story that I started a while ago and dusted off last Saturday. It’s about a 10-year-old boy who has to stay with his aunt while his parents are overseas working, and then his aunt gets called to Brazil on an archaeological mission.

I’ve also begun working on another “big piece”: a clarinet-viola duet that explores movement and hesitation, sound and silence. I’m attempting a different approach this time. See below: your excerpt this week is a page of my sketch for this piece!

006

Progress August 11, 2017

I haven’t had a lot of time to write this week; there’s been a lot going on and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, to be honest. But I am hoping to make some headway on my next YA novel soon, so you can expect some news and excerpts from that over the next little while!

This week’s excerpt is from a flash fiction I wrote last week called “Ellie’s Date.” I hope you are intrigued!

Ellie was running late. She didn’t have time to get her bike tire filled at the shop. She sighed, scribbled a note for her brother on a bright blue Post-It, and left it on the fridge. She grabbed her purse, made sure she had her phone, and began the five-block walk to work.

She arrived at the Francis Xavier Teahouse and Dinner Theatre and unlocked the door, working through her usual opening routine for the teahouse. The first pot of water had just begun to boil when Paul, her early morning regular, arrived.

“Just in time,” she said with a smile. “I’ll have your Earl Grey ready for you in a few minutes.” Paul accepted one of the free ginger snaps Jake, the chef, had left the night before for the morning crowd, and took a seat nearby.

Ellie continued through her morning on auto-pilot and only realized that Jennifer hadn’t shown up for her shift when the lunch crowd began to trickle in and Jake arrived to handle the cooking end of things. Her boss, Lu Yu, came up to the kitchen and watched her handling the crowd. During a lull, he spoke.

“Jennifer is ill,” he said softly. His calming voice held very little trace of his Chinese heritage.

Ellie turned and nearly spilled the hot water she was holding. “Sick? Today?”

“Yes, will you be okay?” he asked.

“I can handle the rush and all no problem. But I have a date tonight.”

Will Ellie make her date? Hm. I guess you’ll have to wait and see what else happens in this story.

By the way, I’m hoping to get my next flash fiction collection out very soon, so keep an eye out for that announcement.

Snow White (a flash story)

I know how the last queen died. It’s hard to cover up an assassination, even if it’s done through magic. The king doesn’t rule his own country anymore; he has been enspelled, and perhaps it’s worse because he loves her.

I wanted a mother-daughter relationship, but that couldn’t happen with her. She’s too in love with the power she wields.

I skitter past her room at night when she’s talking to the mirror. “Who’s the fairest of them all?” she asks, and I dread the day that the response is my name.

That day has come; I sense it in the air. I have befriended a huntsman. I am certain he will help me.

He doesn’t.

I must protect myself from retaliation. I flee to the forest, find safety among the seven little people who keep the poachers at bay.

She learns where I am.

I don a disguise and poison an apple. One bite will render her immobile.

I pack a knife at the bottom of my basket.

After all, the only way to eliminate a witch is to cut her still-beating heart from her chest.


This story is copyright 2017 Janna Willard. You may link it for others to read, but you may not copy it elsewhere. This may not be the final draft of this story. Any questions? Please ask!

I’ve been writing music and stories lately, though not as quickly as I’d like. However, I am slowly getting into a groove and that is what I need! I’ll be posting every Friday again starting today, and on the first Friday of the month I’ll offer you a complete flash fiction for you to enjoy, as I have tonight. The rest of the month you’ll get little teaser excerpts and updates on my progress, like usual.

The Surprise Has Arrived!

I hope you will forgive me for being a little late in posting this weekend, but I wanted to make sure I had everything squared away before I did my little reveal.

And here it is:

Elevator Buttons Cover v3 Yes, that’s right… I have published a collection of flash fiction!

Not sure if you want to try it? Have a look at the copy:

Everybody’s looking for something: transportation, safety, revenge, independence, connection, relationship…

Sometimes what you find is what you want; sometimes it’s what you need… sometimes it’s neither.

In these six flash fiction stories you’ll read about Shock, disaster, death, and desire, not necessarily in that order. If you’re after a quick read, this collection is for you!

For sale here:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/th…other-stories/id1254985919?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo=4

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-vengeful-elevator-and-other-stories

Inktera: http://www.inktera.com/store/title/440d9739-8492-4697-90d5-6e317a2c278f

I hope you enjoy!