It began with a story. Followed by another. Soon pages fluttered like wings of eagles, heralding the rebellion of a thousand voices. One story at a time that it how it begins.
What is rebellion, exactly? Who rebels and why? These are questions writers faced this week as they looked to history, family dynamics and unexpected sources for inspiration. Rebellion is resistance of control.
The following stories are based on the January 6, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a rebellion.
Kinder Mass Trespass, 1932 by Anne Goodwin
We came by train and charabanc, in patched tweeds and hobnailed boots. Shouldering canvas knapsacks, we processed up the clough. Lungs exchanging city smog for peat-scented air, we heaved and gasped and sang our defiance to the top. We raised a cheer as, across the plateau, the flat caps of our northern comrades came into view. A grouse cackled a welcome; these moors would not remain a rich man’s playground.
Suddenly, a gaggle of gamekeepers, as if from the mist. We pitted our case against the barrels of their guns. Yet only we faced arrest.
Youthful Rebellion by Christina Rose
“I’M LEAVING!” she screamed.
“Okay, honey,” her mother replied, not evening looking up from her book. “We will see you soon.”
“No! I’m leaving FOREVER!” stomping her foot, furious they didn’t care.
Slamming the door, she stormed out of the house and up the street.
She made it one block before turning back; fear overpowering rage at not being allowed to go to the sleepover.
“I’m sorry,” she cried, enveloped in her mother’s arms
Rebellion by Pat Cummings
All his life, Karl fought his nature.
Born with a keen eye and genes for long bones and plenty of muscle, he avoided sports and opted instead for dance classes. Blessed with a mind hungry for mathematics and science, he spent any free time writing poetry and crafting beautiful watercolors and pen-and-ink drawings of abstract forms. A charming extrovert, he traveled to places where he would be isolated by language and customs from those around him.
Happy in his rebellion, at peace with the world and himself, now he does as he pleases. His battle is over. Karl won!
Chloe by Pete Fanning
Miss Shelby had the nerve to take me out of class. Of all days.
“Chloe, I know you’re going through a rough time, but I need you to keep your phone off during class.”
Rough time. I could’ve smacked her crooked face. Mom was at the doctor’s office with that lump and she was worried about the effing phone. I set my jaw. Sent a muted stare into her sunken eyes, eyes that widened in retreat. She mumbled, nodded, then hobbled back to class.
I returned to my seat, only then noticing the scissors digging into my clenched fist.
A Matter of Conscience by Roger Shipp
Dad was as patriotic as they come. July 4th was as important as Christmas and Easter. Memorial Day found us with ten flags and ten wreaths visiting different rural cemeteries to lay them beside of a veteran’s headstone that might not receive his appropriate recognition.
I sat there as nervous as a clairvoyant frog in a pan of steaming water. My college grant had been rejected because I had chosen not to register. I wasn’t anti-gun. I was just anti-killing humans.
“Dad, I have decided that I have to be a conscientious objector. There is no way that I…”
The Granny by Ruchira Khanna
“No one loves me!” Liz screamed as she banged her door while shutting herself in.
Sobs could be heard loud and clear.
After a few minutes, the door opened, and she was apologizing to her Granny, who was knitting while swaying herself to calmness in a rocking chair.
“I love you” replied the Granny while hugging her tight and explaining her rebel behavior in school that got her into trouble.
Liz tried to clarify, and the Granny gave her space by keeping mum. Towards the end of the analysis, Liz realized her lunatic conduct and blushed out of embarrassment.
Rebel…With a Cause by Jules Paige.
Rhoda was the rebel, southern born. But she actually grew
up to be fairly responsible. That was a shocker to most of the
family, who thought she was mentally lacking. Being a scrappy
fighter kept her alive and well. But the siblings were jealous.
They wanted no part of her, except for her assistance in caring
for their elder parents. Something they didn’t want to do.
Rhoda and her husband were there for her parents especially
when they asked, which was hard for them to do. But she’d
had enough. It was their turn now.
Palmetto Trees by Larry LaForge
“What saved them?” The park ranger paused, waiting to see if anyone knew. His shiny badge glittered in the bright sun.
“Shallow water and palmetto trees,” Ed finally offered to break the silence.
Ed knew the story of Fort Sullivan frontwards and backwards. Now he was standing in awe on the historic fort grounds.
Spongy palmetto logs thwarted cannon balls fired from distant British ships, sending the frustrated fleet away from Charleston, SC only days before Congress declared independence.
Ed grasped Edna’s hand as he imagined the terror of those caught up in a rebellion that changed the world.
Tobacco. by Bill Bennett
You are a selfish bitch. You took over 25 years of my life.
My lip at times seemed to be rotting off. You stole my soul at only five years of age. I hate you.
I rebelled against you and won at age 30.
You no longer have any control over me. I own you, you are my slave now. You crept back into my life after a twelve years of hiatus. I killed you for the second time a year and a half ago. You hold no power over me now. This time the rebellion will win.
You’re Not the Boss of Me! by Norah Colvin
Eyes blazed defiance, daring a struggle which could end only in tears and frustration, or a standoff with no real winner. She was ready to flee the moment there was a hint of movement. Our eyes met. I contemplated my options. Did we have to do this now?
Again the challenge: “You’re not the boss of me!”
I pretended to read.
Another volley, quieter: “You’re not the boss of me.”
Soon she was snuggling beside, pointing to pictures.
I read aloud.
We laughed at the antics.
As I closed the book I said, “Ready? Let’s do this.”
We Don’t Like Your Kind Here by Deborah Lee
Jane Doe pulls the bills from her pocket and counts out the correct number, handing them over. The cashier’s stare seems as weighty as the backpack Jane wears. Now she sees the tight line of the mouth, eyes hard and glittering as diamonds. She accepts the change thrust at her.
“Go on now, “ says the cashier shortly, jutting her chin toward the door. Why so rude? Then Jane remembers her backpack, the bedroll screaming, “Street person!”
“I said move along,” the cashier snaps.
Jane straightens. “I forgot something, “ she says coolly, and turns back toward the shelves.
The Firmament #2 by Sacha Black
The residents of Nova drank in the president’s words. They believed him. Believed we were safe in this dome.
I pawed at my neck, trying to rub away the rising heat.
I’d seen the dome, touched it. I knew we were trapped; knew someone had trapped us.
I glared at the president. He found me in the crowd. His jaw set, and mouth curved. I saw the lie behind his eyes.
“You buying this, Luke?” I whispered.
“Not a word.”
Something hard stirred in my chest. Defiance. Rebellion.
“We have to fight. We have to find a way out.”
Family Division by Charli Mills
I fell in love with your mother among wildflowers …
Cobb read the letter to Mary by light of an oil lamp while the children slept.
“Go on,” she said.
“You know, Da, poetics. Not much else.” Cobb set the parchment aside.
“Cobb McCanles I may not know my letters, but I know it doesn’t look like one of his poems. What does he say?”
Cobb shook his head. “Da wants to come west finally, leave his beloved North Carolina.”
“It can’t be that bad?”
Cobb tightened his jaw. “Your brothers were among the rebels who burned him out.”
Rebellion Labyrinth by Tom Ellis
Sam Wood’s disgust at slavery made him a rebellious teen in his Ohio village. A few years later the Kansas and Nebraska Territories opened. The question of whether those states would enter the Union as slave or free inflamed Sam’s passion for freedom propelling him to the Kansas Territory for the fight. Willing to help runaway slaves, Sam was charged with treason by a Sheriff who abused the law. Sam escaped being arrested and campaigned for abolition across the Midwest. Lincoln won the election. A bloody civil war erupted and millions fought and died some led by Sam himself.
Budding Discontent by J.T.E.
“This is crazy you guys…you know me, I’m a patriot!”
Jay’s heart raced.
“Jules, Franky, you’ve got to believe me, c’mon guys”
“The prisoner will remain quiet,” Franklin said in a cold monotone.
“Julian, please. Please help, this is insane!”
Franklin secured the prisoner to the pole. “For your crimes against the State-”
“This isn’t happening, this can’t be real…”
“-you are to be sentenced to death.”
A voice suddenly came over the loudspeaker as Julian untied his friend’s corpse.
“Release the President’s Guard. The cigar cutter was found in a side table.”
The stale smoke made Julian sick.
Rebellion Averted by Ann Edall-Robson
Travel brochures were scattered across the table.
“I vote beach.” Came from the oldest sibling.
The ruckus of voices trying to outdo the person who last spoke continued on.
“I want to go camping.” Interjected the youngest. “Camping! Camping! Camping!”
“You are not going to get a vote if you keep acting out. Why are you being so rebellious?” Admonished the middle child.
“If it takes a riot for someone to hear me and take me seriously, I can do that!” Retorted the youngest.
“Children, we are discussing our vacation. No one needs to rebel. Everyone gets a say.”
Rebel Heart by Geoff Le Pard
The café was quiet; Mary took the mug from Hansa. ‘Mum would be horrified.’
Hansa wiped the table. ‘Why Mary?’
‘A mug not a cup, milk in second.’
‘Mine hates me working. Quite the rebels, aren’t we?’
‘We fought constantly,’ Mary sighed. ‘It’ll be different with Penny.’
‘Don’t you think the fights toughened you?’
‘I suppose. I just wish she could have admitted she was wrong once in a while.’
‘I wonder what Penny will say.’
Mary smiled, ‘Oh she already thinks I’m wrong all the time. At least, when I make mistakes with Penny, they’ll be different ones.’
Declaration of Independence by Sarrah J Woods
I may be small, but I am free.
I am no one but myself.
I do not bend my opinions to yours just because you are bigger.
You can limit my options, but you can’t control my actions or read my secret thoughts.
Be unkind to me, and I will take the first opportunity to leave you in the dust. Love and be good to me, and I will thank you and very possibly return the favor.
But I will never be your slave. I refuse to be anything other than an autonomous individual.
Because I’m a cat.
Rebellion by Anthony Amore
“No way,” her son pouts.
“You have to.”
“Because, I say so. You ordered it; you eat it. That’s the rule.”
“It looks gross.”
“It’s not gross,” she points at her husband’s burrito, “That’s gross.”
Her husband smirks, “Yours looks different but it’s like a grilled cheese.”
“Being like a grilled cheese,” he retorts, “doesn’t make it a grilled cheese.”
“Fine, don’t.” She waves off the waiter carrying more tortilla chips and salsa, “But you’re not eating anything else.”
He relents, bites, chews. “It’s OK.”
Thus, she thinks, the Mexican Revolt is quashed.
An Immune Rebellion by Kate Spencer“Doc, tell it to me straight,” said Tracy, seriously annoyed that her doctor had made her come in the office to convey the test results.
“Okay. Here goes. You have polymyositis and you’re going to need to slow down.”
“No, that’s not possible. I’m in the middle of a corporate takeover.”
“Then make time Tracy. What you’ve got on your hands is a rebellion. Your immune system’s attacking your muscle cells.”
“Well, you just need to quash it Doc. That’s your job, right? You fight disease.”
“Obliteration is not an option. You are going to need to change.”
Lauren Bacall by Sherri Matthews
Thank god for his Brut aftershave. She reeked of it after an hour of snogging him at the party; no way would her mother smell cigarette smoke now.
Chin jutted, she smiled at her boyfriend as she inhaled a long drag of menthol from the slim, white cigarette. So cool, so – what’s that word? – sophisticated.
Like Lauren Bacall.
One look at her mother’s face back home told her that the Brut hadn’t worked.
She bolted upstairs, tears streaming in rage, vowing never to stop smoking, even if it killed her.
Then her stupid mother would be sorry.
Ignorance by Marigold Deidre Dicer“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
He said it so casually, for such an inconsequential thing. David stared at his brother.
“What?” Scott grunted, barely looking up from his laptop (too busy spamming job applications).
“You don’t even know where that phrase comes from.” Not a question.
Scott grimaced. “But you’re about to tell me…”
“Guy Fawkes said that.”
David gave up with a melodramatic gesture towards his brother. It was Scott’s ignorance that caused him to get sacked from his last job, inadvertently offending his boss’s family. He had to learn some social awareness sometime… surely?
Rebellion by Irene Waters“Nancy, clean your room.”
“Nancy, I said clean your room. The cleaner’s coming.”
“Well let her clean.”
“Nancy, go and do your homework.”
“Nancy will you please go and wipe up the dishes.”
“Nancy will you go to the butcher’s shop for me?”
“I’ll give you a shilling extra pocket money.”
“Don’t want an extra shilling.”
“Where’s my dinner?” Nancy asked
“Mum, I want my dinner.”
“Get it yourself.”
“Mum, my room’s filthy. Where’s the cleaner?
“Mum, help me.”
“Go help yourself. Do what you want.”
So Nancy, and her mother,did nothing.
Crack Shots by Jeanne Lombardo
In the spring they came. From Florida and Minnesota, New York and Texas. A great gentle army streaming from the four corners of a common patrimony—the land. Along the Pacific Flyway they massed, their pickets like pistons, rising and falling with their footfalls. The first yellow warbler flashing topaz against the sky heralded their arrival.
Sharp angles marked the buildings of the Malheur Wildlife Preserve. Sunlight glinted off gun barrels from beyond the entrance. The marchers halted. They readied their arms. Focused their targets in their sites. And let loose a volley of shutter-clicks.
The Birders had returned.