'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
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Friday 25 July 2014

KBR Short Story: The Assignment

by Stacey Hill

The house is shrouded in darkness. Night has descended. Everybody is asleep....except me.

Why did I decide to leave my assignment to the last minute?

The computer screen is too bright in my otherwise dark room. It hurts my eyes. I blink. They are dry and I feel my eyelids scratch across the surface of my eyeballs. I rub them. It doesn’t help. I’m so tired, I just want to sleep!

Who cares about the lifespan of a gnat anyway? Or gnats at all for that matter. They’re just tiny flying insects. The end. How am I supposed to write about gnats in 500 words?

For the record, gnats live for about 2 to 4 months. A lot longer than my “care factor” about this assignment.

I am so bored!

Why couldn’t our assignment be about space, or dinosaurs, or knights? You know, cool stuff.

Maybe if I rest my head on my hand, I’ll be able to concentrate more.

Ah, that’s better. I am so comfy right now. It’s like lying on pillow. I feel my eyelids start to droop.

WAIT! STOP! I must not fall asleep. Maybe a snack will help?

I tiptoe to the fridge and discover a leftover piece of chocolate cake. Perfect gnat assignment writing food.

I sneak back to my bedroom and devour the cake while I click on image after image of gnats. They’re not even nice to look at.

I start to spin around in my chair. One rotation. Two rotations. Oh, let’s see how many times I can spin around in one go.

Six rotations later...

Why did I eat that chocolate cake? Ok, focus. Gnats. Did you know that gnats don’t buzz? Hmm. That’s slightly interesting. Oh, you know what’s more interesting? My latest comic book purchase. Maybe I’ll just read a couple of pages....

NO! I need to focus!

How many words have I written? Ten. Ok, well that’s not good.

Maybe listening to music might help. I turn the radio on and concentrate on the computer screen. This song has a cool beat. I start to tap my pen against the desk.

Tap, tap, tap. I grab another pen. Tap, tap, tap.

My foot begins to thump the floor. Boom, tap, boom, tap.

I wonder if my parents would let me take up drum lessons. I know what I want for Christmas now. Time to put my “drumsticks” down and concentrate.

I stare at the screen.

I hear a buzzing sound near my ear. I follow the sound as it moves towards my screen. I see a gnat. Then another. And another. Oh no! My room is full of gnats! The constant buzzing is driving me insane.

Wait a second. Gnats don’t buzz.

I slowly open my eyes. My room is too bright. I blink. My alarm buzzes. It’s morning.

I glance up at the computer screen. How many words have I written?


Uh oh.

Stacey Hill’s friends call her Stack. When she’s not writing or blogging, you can find her enjoying a cup of tea with The Wifey, playing hide and seek with their kitten, photographing her Converse hi-tops and dreaming of one day being immortalised in action figure form. Learn more about Stack at her blog SKHILLED.

KBR Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’—and to delight our KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and entries are due in the 25th of each month. Find out more here