One-Upping

This past Monday, I laid my kitty to rest. Needless to say, heart sickness has since rendered my pen inactive. This being said, today I feel almost human, and the desire to write has returned. Since my brain is functioning about as well as a toasted marshmallow, I decided to turn to newsoftheweird.com for short story ideas. Below is the result.


      Lacy, Tracy's senior by one year, was driven by the need to constantly out-do her younger sister. However, always up for a challenge, Tracy responded to Lacy's competitiveness by aspiring to new heights in studies, sports, crafts, or any other activity attempted by her ten-year-old sibling. 

      One summer Sunday, the duo endeavored to fashion dueling lemonade stands. As they crafted their stands out of old cardboard moving boxes, the two decided the winner would be the girl with the heaviest pockets by the day's end. The loser would forfeit her earnings to the victor.

      With vendor booths assembled, the girls stood on opposite corners of the sidewalk adjacent their U-shaped driveway. Each girl professed to have the best lemonade on the block, each with her own secret recipe. By mid-afternoon, coins lined the bottom of Lacy's tip jar. To make her lemonade more enticing, Tracy marked down the price of her lemonade by a nickel. A bidding war ensued, and soon Lacy abandoned her stand to confront her little sister.

      "Stop marking down your lemonade," said Lacy.

      "If you can do it, I can do it."

      The pair bickered back and forth until, face reddened, Lacy kicked the bottom out from under her sister's makeshift countertop. Tracy's glass lemonade pitcher slammed to the ground, shattering shards in all directions. A plastic pitcher toppled onto its side, dousing the cardboard with water, and at least a dozen lemons, plucked from a tree in their back yard, bounced off the sidewalk and into the road. A ceramic bowl of sugar clanked to the ground, wobbling and jangling on its ringed bottom until it came to rest with a final thud.

      Shocked, Tracy stared first at the mess and then to her sister, whose face, eyes squinted and mouth forming a pinched little "O," still radiated ill intent. Before Tracy could react, a feeble voice rose from the middle of the street.

      "Help," said the voice.

      The girls craned. In the middle of the street lay one of the neighborhood kids, Pete Murphy. His bike sat on its side. He clutched his neck.

      The girls rushed in for a better look. Blood oozed between the fingers covering his neck.

      Lacy noticed it first. "Is that what I think it is?" she asked.

      Tracy nodded. The knife she had used to cut lemons was now lodged in the boy's throat. "Go get Dad."

      Lacy ran to the house and returned with her father in what felt like an eternity to Tracy. She had stood, watching the rise and fall of Pete's chest. But by the time her sister returned, Pete's chest was still. Tears welled in Tracy's eyes.

      The girls' father ushered them back to the house, ordering them inside. They watched from the front window, as Pete was loaded into an ambulance. A police officer shoved the bicycle into his trunk and sped off towards Pete's house, which was two blocks away. As their father turned toward the house, the girls moved away from the window. With the click of a latch, their father entered, the door slamming shut behind him.

      "The officer will be coming back here after he's done at the Murphys' house. Now, why don't you two tell me what happened."

      Lacy asked, "Is Pete okay?"

      Their father shook his head. "I'm afraid not."

      A crab apple-sized lump formed in the back of Tracy's throat. She and her sister had killed a boy. Then and there, she decided she would never compete with her sister again.