I have a bunch of short stories, it turns out. This was the last short story I wrote for Writer's Craft (other than my exam...but they didn't let me keep that one...). I had a bunch of keywords to use, and I had to make it a happy story (because out of the four previous ones I'd written, only one was happy...) So, this is was resulted! :D Enjoy!
Closets Are Not Acceptable Endings For Treasure Hunts
Cassidy, Captain of Freedom
I stare at the door, mouth hanging open in disbelief. It's locked. Why is it locked? It's a closet. It's supposed to open from the inside. And why don't my keys work? I mean, I'm the captain! I'm supposed to be able to open everything!
I think I need a new key.
"Goddammit." I spin around, glaring at the small room. I hate life.
Okay, I know what you're thinking. How did the captain of a spaceship get locked in the janitor's closet? Well, it's simple, really. You see, I was going on a treasure hunt. (Shut up, this ship's really old, so it makes sense that there would be treasure!) Anyway, it was going really well, and I was getting so close to finding it, when I took a wrong turn and ended up in the janitor's closet…and got locked in. Yeah. Apparently the door only opens from the outside (which is really stupid since I'm sure lots of people have gotten stuck in here!) and this hallway is pretty much abandoned, so…yup. I'm stuck.
I sink down on a hard plastic crate, sighing in defeat. What a crappy way to spend my day off. Being the captain, I barely ever get any vacation time, so when I do, I try to use it to the fullest. Y'know, exploring the station or planet we've landed on, or hiding in my room and reading all day, or raiding the kitchen and eating as much junk food as possible, or in this case…going on a treasure hunt. Usually it works out pretty well, and I have a lot of fun. But today…not so much.
Scratching my head, I lean back, flinching when something sharp digs into my spine. With a frown, I twist around, fingers snagging the offending object. Yanking it toward me, I raise an eyebrow. A journal…? Who hides a journal in the janitor's closet? Unless it was the janitor, of course.
I flip the book open, landing on the first entry.
February 26th: Today, I joined the crew of Freedom…
Oh, so it's one of my crewmembers. I was actually really hoping for the janitor. I mean, what does a janitor write about? I bet it would've been interesting.
I continue reading, flipping through the entries. There's a lot of mundane stuff. This guy talks about joining my crew, then spends the next few entries rambling about trying to get used to our unconventional system of things. Well, yeah, what'd he expect? We're practically outlaws! I mean, we're not quite space pirates or anything…but we're pretty damn close.
But, anyway, I'm getting off-topic.
I shift around on my box, wincing when something pokes into my leg. Now what?
Some searching produces a pen, and I smile. I'm bored and I have someone's journal and a pen. I think I'm going to start replying to his messages.
I scan the entries, looking for something interesting. Hm…
July 14th: I think I'm falling in love, but I can't tell her my feelings.
I blink. Well, now, this looks promising.
I know she won't return my feelings, and I don't want to risk embarrassing the both of us with my juvenile infatuation.
One thing I've learned about the writer of this journal: he uses a lot of fancy words.
Seeing that this is the end of the entry, I raise my pen and start writing a reply.
I don't see how you can just assume how this girl's gonna react without even telling her how you feel. Just do it!
Satisfied, I continue my scanning. A couple more boring passages go by before I find another containing Mystery Man's confessions of love. Excellent.
July 30th: It's getting harder to keep quiet. I see her every day and I'm always by her side. Yet she doesn't seem to even realize how I feel about her! It's becoming frustrating.
Okay, this guy is the one becoming frustrating! What's the point in complaining if he's not going to do anything about it?!
Annoyed, I write my reply to his entry, pen flying across the paper.
Stop being such a coward! Confess your love already! Be a man!
Once I'm done, I start reading through the next few pages.
August 6th: It's getting worse. I find myself thinking about her all the time, even when she is off the ship. She is all that occupies my thoughts nowadays, and it is becoming distracting. I find it hard to concentrate on my job, but I just cannot confess! I do not want to create any more problems for myself.
I stick out my tongue, setting to work on my reply. My goodness, this guy is way too practical. Seriously, follow your emotions, man! Let love lead you!
My pen scratches against the paper, conveying my annoyance.
If it's getting so bad that you can't even concentrate, tell the girl you love her! It's not that difficult! At least you can stop freaking out so much if you do!
Chewing on my lip, I continue on, reading the more recent entries. Oh, look! Descriptions.
As I read through the descriptions of the woman he's in love with, my eyes widen in realization. Wait. Wait a sec…she sounds…
Holy crap! It's me!
…cool, I have a secret admirer!
Reed, Lieutenant of Freedom
I've lost the captain. I'm not quite sure how you lose the most important member of the crew, especially on such a small ship, but I have done it.
And I'm starting to panic a bit.
First of all, she is not the most…practical woman in existence. She is prone to wandering off and getting herself into trouble. Which is rather strange, considering how good she is at her job.
I sigh, turning down yet another corridor in my search for her. Normally, I would not be so concerned about finding her on her day off, but it's for that very reason I'm looking for her.
Today is the day I finally tell her I am in love with her.
I push a hand back through my dark hair in frustration. If I don't find her today, I doubt I'll have the courage to confess later. Basically, it's now or never.
Neither hearing nor seeing my captain, I head down another hallway, boots echoing against the metal walls. The ship's not in the best of condition, but it's homey, and I suppose that's enough.
This part of the ship is generally empty since nothing useful is kept here. There are a few storage rooms, and a janitor's closet, but that's about it. I highly doubt I will find the captain down here, although I myself find this area quite handy.
Just as I'm about to turn around and head the other way, I hear a loud shout.
"You idiot! Just tell me how you feel already!"
I freeze, dark eyes widening. That was definitely Cassidy's voice. I would recognize it anywhere. But how does she know I'm out here? Better yet, how does she know why I'm looking for her?
"Cassidy…?" I call hesitantly, searching the empty hallway.
I frown, stepping forward. I can hear something…it sounds like someone writing… I stop, listening carefully. The sound is coming from my left. Which leads to…the janitor's closet?
Bemused, I press the button next to the door, watching as it flies open. The light is on, and inside I see…
"Cassidy? What are you doing in here?"
The redhead looks up from whatever she's writing, her green eyes falling on me. A wide grin splits her face.
"Reed! You've found me! I've been stuck in here forever."
I raise an eyebrow. "What are you doing in here?"
Her hands flail around with her explanation. "Well, I was going on a treasure hunt, and I decided to check out this section of the ship since no one's ever here, and I walked into the closet…and got stuck."
"I…see…" My eyes fall onto the object in her lap. "What is that?"
"Oh, this?" She lifts it up for my inspection. "Someone's journal. I've been reading through it, and it turns out the guy who wrote it is in love with me! But he's too scared to tell me, which is very frustrating, so I've been writing messages in it telling him what I think." She smiles at me, eyes wide and innocent.
My blood freezes. That journal…
"Cassidy…is there a name written in that book?"
She shakes her head, setting it down.
"No. But I do know it belongs to a member of the crew."
I breathe a sigh of relief. Oh, good, she doesn't know. I mentally smack myself. What does it matter if she knows? I've come to confess my feelings!
"Cassidy…there is something I wished to speak with you about…"
Her eyebrows lift in interest. "Oh?"
My hands wind around themselves behind me as I avoid her piercing green eyes.
"I…have been harbouring some feelings for quite some time…some…romantic feelings…for…for, um…" My eyes flick up to meet hers as I force out the rest of my words before I lose my nerve. "For you."
I am expecting surprise. Revulsion. Embarrassment. Instead, I get a smile and a warm look.
I blink, caught off-guard.
"I know you're in love with me, Reed!" she laughs, standing up.
"But…how?" There is no possible way she is psychic.
She walks toward me, hands rising to rest on my shoulders.
"I read your journal. It wasn't exactly difficult to figure out it was you after I got to the end of it." She smirks. "No one else speaks so formally."
I feel a flush rushing up my neck and avert my gaze.
"Ah. I see."
She tilts her head to the side.
"So, I guess now would be the time I tell you I've had a crush on you for awhile, huh?"
Shocked, I gape at her. "What?"
She grins, shrugging. "What? You thought you were the only one with a 'juvenile infatuation'? Captains have feelings, too, you know."
I look away, embarrassed.
"Well, yes, I know that…I just…never expected for you to feel the same way…"
She winks. "Yeah, I'm full of surprises, aren't I?"
"Yes, you are."
There's a moment of silence before she makes an expectant noise. I look back at her, wary.
She raises her eyebrows. "Well?"
I frown. "Well, what?"
"Aren't you going to kiss me? You did just confess your love to me, after all."
The flush reaches my cheeks. "I, uh…I…"
She laughs, patting my cheek. "Just kidding. But I do think we at least need pet names for each other."
One eyebrow lifts. "Pet names?"
"Well, yeah. Everyone calls me 'Cassidy'. You should call me something different!"
A small smile quirks my lips. "Well, I have always thought you resembled a leprechaun…"
She glares. "Don't you dare."
"Why not? Leprechauns are cute."
"That is not a pet name."
I shrug, my smile growing. That smile quickly disappears, however, when I hear the distinct sound of the door shutting behind me. I look at Cassidy, who sighs, dropping her head against my chest.
It appears we are locked in the janitor's closet.
I wonder if there are any other journals lying around?