The Playground: Random Word Generator Short Story Challenge
Getting Back to The Short Stories
It has been so long since I've written a short story. Over the last several months, I've been working on long form content so I thought it would be fun to come back to my roots and write a short story.
Instead of using a random generator to form my story, I thought I would flip the script. After thinking of a story idea, I thought it would be fun to try and fit random words from the generator into my plot. Sticking with past word generated stories I figured I would pick two words to slip in.
Words: Magnetic and Meaning
"Ahhhh," Caden yelled tossing his Lego man on the floor. The pieces upon hitting the hard wood scattering, an arm falling into a vent, a leg flying into the kitchen. "I don't want to go."
"You say that every time, now please go grab your shoes while I grab your brother," I told him avoiding rolling my eyes in frustration. Eye rolling wasn't a bad habit Caden needed to add to his ever-growing list. "Hmmp," he frowned, arms crossing over his chest. Caden turned toward the closet containing his favorite pair of Spiderman shoes in the hallway. With him preoccupied for a few minutes, I made my way to the kitchen where Joel was mashing bits of pear into his mouth.
"Alright Joel, time to head to the park," I said reaching for the washcloth on the counter and wiping his juicy hands. "You would like that wouldn't you."
Joel grumbled, arms flopping ecstatically in the air. Taking him out of the highchair, I brought him to my hip, taking a step back. "Motherfucker!" I screeched lifting my foot to find Caden's Lego man imprinted in my foot. Peeling the Lego back I glanced up, eyes still furrowed. "Motherfucker," Caden who was now wearing his light up Spidey shoes, repeated in the doorway.
We had somehow made it out of the house after another half an hour, Caden repeating 'motherfucker' two more times after being told not to. His parents were going to really love that one.
Before leaving, I had left a note on the fridge. PARK! They couldn't miss it as the note was being held in place by a large magnetic monstrosity of popsicle sticks, feathers, and misaligned googly eyes Caden crafted while at preschool. Not that it really mattered, they never joined them even if they arrived home early from work.
"Natalie, watch me," Caden called from the playset. He jumped from one plank to another than spun in a circle before tumbling into another child. "Be careful Caden," I called out. Why were children so oblivious to others around them? It didn't seem to matter though as the two kids took off running down a bouncy bridge together, laughing following close behind them. I turned my attention to Joel, who was peacefully playing in the sand a few feet in front of me. Last week, he had dumped a shovelful into his eyes, but today he seemed to learn his lesson and only shoveled it to the sides of him.
There were a good handful of children at the park, their busy bodies and shrieks of excitement blending together. Parents or other nannies roamed the edges. Most of them watched the children play while others scrolled through their phones aimlessly unbothered if their kid was causing a ruckus. Most, I had seen here before, sometimes catching a name or the occasional we should have a playdate. But most often times, I stuck to myself with Joel and Caden close by my side. I scanned the faces seeing if there were any I knew, but as my gaze feel from one face to the next I realized a man staring back at me.
Hidden behind others, his hands rested in his pockets, his face mostly tucked under a hood besides his eyes which felt as if they were boring into my skin. My sunglasses covered my gaze, but I stiffed my weight uneasy with the sudden knowledge someone was staring at me. But when I looked back, he was no longer staring at me, but the children. Following his line of sight, they rested on Caden and the young boy he had run into earlier. Was that his son? But now that I thought about it, didn't that little boy show up with the women who was scrolling through her phone a few feet away?
Instinctively I rose, dusting any dirt off on my jeans. We hadn't been there long, but I think it was time to leave. "Joel, can I have that sweetheart?" I bent down grabbing the slobber and sand covered shovel in my hand, then lifted him into the stroller. Peering up, my eyes flew to the spot the man had been standing. He was gone.
My eyes darted from face to face once more. Where did he go? Again, I glanced to Caden who was running in my direction. He was safe. I let out a sigh of relief. I had been meaning to take Caden to the ice cream shop down the street which had opened a few weeks ago. Maybe this would let Caden down easy because now that we where here he wouldn't want to leave.
The ice cream trick seemed to work, as he said goodbye waving to the kids still on the playset. I had Caden 'help' push the stroller through the sand, the wheel catching zero traction as we huffed our way onto the trail back to the car. "Caden can you tell Joel what animal you are holding while I put the stroller in the back?" Somehow Caden had found a teddy bear wedged between the seats while strapping them into their car seats.
Not only was the stroller hard to push through the sand, but it was incredibly difficult to fold down to fit back in the trunk. It always felt like a workout to unlatch the handle which collapsed the entire apparatus. After a few shakes, a few gruntled huffs, and maybe another motherfucker here and there, I finally was able to get the stroller into the trunk. Caden and Joel's faint bear roars could be heard on the other side. "Rawr," I called out scratching on the back of the trunk. Giggles erupted with another bout of roars. I laughed under my breath. Even though taking care of kids was tough work, it was always moments like this I enjoyed and would remember. Pushing myself out I fumbled for the trunk handle, pulling it down with a loud thump. Raising both of my hands on top to secure the lid, everything went black the fresh air suffocated in fabric. "Hi Natalie," a male's voice whispered in my ear as I struggled to take the cloth sack off my head. But it didn't matter because before I could make a scene or fight back, the man wrapped his arms around my waist clamping both my arms. He lifted my weight, feet swinging toward the road. Instead of asphalt, my body collided into cold metal. It was then I began screaming. It wasn't for long as something large and heavy connected with the back of my head leaving me speechless. "Hurry the hell up man." I heard through the ringing in my ears.
"Let's go," The man who whispered my name in my ear shouted.
"What about the kids?"
"We don't need them, we got the girl." I heard the slamming of a door then the car lurch forward speeding away from Caden and Joel still playing in the backseat. I hoped today would be the day, their parents finally decided to come to the park.
I thought of this idea while at work. You always think you have to watch the kids at the park when in reality you need to make sure your safety is also a priority.
This was another fun one to write and didn't take me long once I knew the direction it was heading. Even though the random words seemed easy at first, it was more difficult fitting them into the story since I came up with the concept first.
What type of story would you have written with the words given? Tell me in the comments below. You can also check out my last few short story challenges here: