Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

The End

Written by Vanessa Grillone on November 20, 2014 

As I typed THE END to another short story, that would more than likely get rejected, I exhaled fire. My hands stopped typing and rested just above the keys, trying to keep afloat. I looked up from my laptop to a wall filled with photos, newspaper snippets, goals, and dreams. A photo of my niece smiling tugs at my heartstrings, she’s standing by the oven, posing like she doesn’t have a care in the world. A printout from the Globe & Mail gawks at me, writers living in poverty is the topic, it was sent to me by a friend. Two subway tokens mock me, taunt me. They tell me that I’ll never be that downtown girl I thought I could be. Movie stubs and receipts from date-nights are the only thing on the wall that make me smile, make me feel okay.

I stare at the wall so long that my sight turns fuzzy and I feel out-of-place. Suddenly I don’t remember where I’m sitting or how I got there. I feel disoriented and lost, I don’t know if I should be sitting or standing, if I should be coming or going. I look at my dry hands with perfectly shaped nails at the tips, they’re still hovering above the keyboard. I blink and get my sight back again. I remember what I was doing, the story I was writing about love and acceptance. I remember exactly who I was going to send it in to and what I hoped would come from it. I let myself relish in the thought of winning that writing contest. I see my name in lights, or online at least, along with a photo taken from my Facebook page. I see my parents telling the family that I won, that they’re proud of me, that they knew all along something wonderful would happen. My heart bleeds for their approval.

The scent of coffee shakes me, literally. I’ve completely awoken from my daydream but an uneasiness lurks inside me. It’s as though I’m sitting where I shouldn’t be, I’m in a chair that doesn’t belong to me, a parking spot that doesn’t say VANESSA. Somewhere else is calling my name but it’s so muffled by space and time I can’t quite hear it. I can’t sense which direction it’s coming from — North, East, South, West.
I’ve never been good with directions 

so I stay,

in someone else’s chair,

writing someone else’s story.

– Vanessa

*The End is a work of fiction*

The Songbird [A NARRATIVE]


* This narrative is dedicated to my cousin Amanda. Thank you for always challenging my writing and inspiring me to write more, be more, be better. Enjoy! *


The Songbird 

Written by Vanessa Grillone on October 31, 2014

It is a dead songbird that I nearly run over with my car on Hallows’ Eve. When I notice it, I assume it’s a dirty old sock that fell out of my brother’s car. I’ll make him pick it up when he gets home. I collect the empty water bottles thrown around my car, a mountain of plastic polluting the earth. With my hands full I somehow manage to grab my purse and swing the car door open. Incessant chirping floods my ears while goosebumps prickle the back of my neck. I thrust my booted feet out of the car and watch my phone sail away, it hits the ground face-first.


I run to my phone, throwing the water bottles without care. My heart pounds as I flip it over. The screen is cracked in the shape of a lightning bolt. I press the home button in panic. It works. I cannot afford a new phone right now. I caress my fractured phone then stow it in my pocket and stand up. The clouds are dark and dreary even though it’s one in the afternoon. The cold runs through my bones, brain freeze strikes all of my limbs. The trees are fading around me, the bright fiery red leaves disappearing into a copper-orange and brown the shade of bark. The wind whispers, winter is coming.

The chirping gets louder. I look around and then up. I see thirty robins sitting in a tree, their shrill voices aren’t singing — they’re screaming. Squawking, judging, and belittling me. Oh fuck off you nasty animals and stop shitting on my car! They get louder, where is my stupid dog when I need him? 

I think about running inside, but I remember my brother’s sock and the water bottles that are now at the end of my driveway. One by one I pick them up and whip them into our dank garage. Next I walk around to the passenger’s side of my car, ignoring the party of robins hovering above my head. The sock is not a sock, but a dead robin. I step backwards slowly, trying not to show fear. I want to walk inside, to feel the warmth and comfort of my house, but I’m frozen where I stand.

He looks peaceful, sleeping with eyes open.

He’s almost beautiful with a deep orange breast, soft brown feathers, and a perfect tiny beak.

I hope he got to the end of his very last song.

– Vanessa

*The Songbird is a work of fiction*