• Jabe Stafford

Sleeps Beneath The Schoolhouse

A whole world on a single page!

The short story morsels of One Page Worlds are flash fiction adventures of all flavors. Every Wednesday will feature a complete story in one page, or the first page of what could be a novel or novelette.

Sharing the fun and geekery is the best part of writing! Please tweet or comment with your guesses on what genre, character, and job is central to each tale. Enjoy touring new universes each week with One Page Worlds!

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“Sand giants cain’t come this far down the mountain,” said Gabe, accent thick as churned butter. He snapped his suspenders like an adult. “No caves fer sleepin’ in. They’d get sunburn.”

Mary-Beth sifted palmfuls of coarse grains between her fingers. They cascaded into the sinkhole; no one got closer to sinkholes than Mary-Beth. “I hear they breathe sand and that’s how you get these.” She pointed to the pit with a dusty finger, then used the hand to block out the sun when it chased off the clouds. Her school dress snapped with the desert wind.

Teach’s voice tumbled on the breeze. “You urchins lookin’ to fall in? Get back with the class.”

The dunes beneath their shoes juddered and shook.

“See? It’s breathing,” Mary-Beth squealed. “Look down there at that mouth. Eyes are—”

Deep rumbling ripped the air. Tremors shifted the sand all the way back to the schoolhouse where Teach was flailing at them. She shook her musket and yelled the way a panicked bearcat did. “Get your butts over here now. That’s a earthquake.”

Gabe’s feet tangled him. His face plunged to the sand, but Mary-Beth grabbed him up by the hair and suspenders. Grit got in her teeth and she crunched on it while she ran them away from the sand giant. It was going to rock its head up out of that pit any second, and she wanted to be safe with Teach when it did.

Grassy scrub scratched at their legs when they made it back to the schoolhouse yard. Teach’s frazzy hair whipped out of its tie when she sighted down her musket. Straight at the sand giant’s head.

Only there was no head.

Mary-Beth and Gabe froze, staring along with their classmates.

Then Gabe put on his See?-I-was-right face and Teach said, “Just an earthquake.”

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