lizbadiz

United States of America

See that girl kneeling next to the bookshelf in the library? She's whispering the book titles to herself. That's me. Back away slowly, and then run.

Published Work

Glass House

When you said glass house I thought you meant that some parts of it are glass but 
I guess not I mean here it is and it's made entirely of glass
You're right, it is pretty. Just so shiny!
I wasn't being sarcastic I just mean
Well it's kind of blinding me because of the light glinting off it
No, that's ok
Keep your sunglasses
Just...wow.
I guess we'll never have any secrets with the neighbors since everyone can see inside.
No, I'm glad you were able to find it
I mean in this economy it's a wonder we were able to find any house at all that we could afford
Guess we had better be careful to not throw things.

Novel Writing Competition 2019

(found at bottom of rubble heap)

    When I woke up today, there was a hole in the ceiling. 
    Not a very big hole, of course, about the width of my smallest finger. But there was light coming through it. It was so bright and it hurt my eyes.
    "Is that sunlight?" I asked.
    Jo scoffed. "Of course it's sunlight."
    I squint up at it. "Do we have any tape left?"
    She points. "There's some over there, by the cash register."
    I go over, stepping over several piles of books that I made the other day in an effort to organize them all again. I've already organized them by color, size, title, author, most interesting plot lines, and now I am in the midst of organizing them by the year they were published.
    Under the books is the big Oriental rug. I can almost remember back when it was soft and plush. I think Mama might have put me down on it sometimes. And I think she...

Novel Writing Competition 2019

(found at bottom of rubble heap)

When I woke up today, there was a hole in the ceiling. 
Not a very big hole, of course, about the width of my smallest finger. But there was light coming through it. It was so bright and it hurt my eyes.
"Is that sunlight?" I asked.
Jo scoffed. "Of course it's sunlight."
I squint up at it. "Do we have any tape left?"
She points. "There's some over there, by the cash register."
I go over, stepping over several piles of books that I made the other day in an effort to organize them all again. I've already organized them by color, size, title, author, most interesting plot lines, and now I am in the midst of organizing them by the year they were published.
Under the books is the big Oriental rug. I can almost remember back when it was soft and plush. I think Mama might have put me down on it sometimes. And I think she...

Tokyo

She worked on a piece for Spanish on the city of Tokyo. They were supposed to pick a city to write about. She had chosen Tokyo, remembering the dreamy pastels and insane high fashions of the Harajuku district she had seen photos of in Rookie. For the final paragraph, she wrote about the cherry blossoms. She had never been out of her country, but her home was filled with cherry blossoms every spring, and she associated them with happy memories of both her birthday and Easter. And so she rhapsodized in this foreign tongue about the beauty of the blossoms, how frothy and pink they were, how perfect, how exquisite, and how thousands of people traveled to Japan every year in order to see them.

Bird Story

    Birds are stupid. What is there to say about birds? 
    Every day I sit next to Grandma and do my homework at the nursing home. My mom envisioned this as a sort of intergenerational     bonding time, but it feels more like punishment, especially since it’s about a hundred degrees in here all the time. Plus, Grandma’s gone a little funny in the head, and all she wants to talk about is birds.
    I’ll be sitting there, doing my algebra or whatever, and she’ll hit my arm and screech, “BIRD.” And then I’ll look up and there’ll be some stupid boring little brown bird. 
    When I complained about the bruise on my arm to my mom, she said I should discuss birds with Grandma. “You can’t discuss things with Grandma,” I said. “She’s loopy.” But my mom only handed me a book with the title Guide to Birding
    The next day, when Grandma whacked my arm and announced the...

Scene From the Garden #3

    They set up a badminton net on the Rose Terrace Lawn. Swinging her racquet, Elle said, “Reggie, you’re on my team.” Regina ducked under the net and joined her as the other two glanced at each other and shared a sigh.
    Elle smiled and said kindly, “You can serve first.”
    Pearl threw up the birdie. It hovered in the brilliant blue sky for half a second before a brisk pop sent it hurtling over the net. 
    They played three rounds, each won by Regina and Elle. Finally, Pearl waved her racquet and declared, “All right, you win. Can’t we sit down?”
    Perching on the stiff green chairs, the other girls wiped away the faint dew that had materialized on their foreheads. Elle brushed grass off of her spotless white skirt and glanced about the garden.

Dialogue #2

    “Put the milk on the table.” Ben obeyed and then began to walk out of the room.
    “Stay.”
    He turned around slowly.“I have to get back to work-”
    “Oh, work can wait. Just for five minutes?”
    He hesitated for only a fraction of a second. “All right.”
    “Sit, sit, sit.” She patted the chair next to hers.
    He hovered over the chair. “Is Mr. DeLand not here today?”
    “No, Dad’s at the club, playing golf. He told me to tell you he wouldn’t need you today.”
    “Oh-” Ben stepped away from the chair."Then I suppose I should-”
    “He also said that you’d still get paid for the day.”
    He released a tiny sigh. 
    “And I told him that you didn’t care about that, but he said I had to tell you, so there it is. Don’t go yet, please.”
     It was the please, Ben...

Dialogue #2

    “Put the milk on the table.” Ben obeyed and then began to walk out of the room.
    “Stay.” He turned around slowly.
    “I have to get back to work-”
    “Oh, work can wait. Just for five minutes?”
    It was hardly a difficult decision, but he tried to deliberate for as long as possible before giving in. “All right.”
    “Sit, sit, sit.” She patted the chair next to hers.
    He hovered over the chair. “Is Mr. DeLand not here today?”
    “No, Dad’s at the club, playing golf. He told me to tell you he wouldn’t be needing you today.”
    “Oh-” Ben stepped away from the chair. “Then I suppose I should-”
    Elle talked on. “He also said that you’d still get paid for the day.”
    He released a tiny sigh. 
    “And I told him that you didn’t care about that, but he said I had to tell you, so...

Dialogue #1

    “Put the milk on the table.” The voice came from behind a large unfolded newspaper.
    She put the glass bottle down and glanced at the headline. “Oh, no.”
    Wryly, “Oh, yes.”
    Sitting down, she fingered her fork. “What’s wrong with your hands?”
    He lowered the newspaper. “What do you mean, what’s wrong with my hands?”
    “They’re shaking.”
    “They are not.” He picked up the newspaper again, but now the shaking was stronger. He sighed and put it down. “Pass the bacon?”
    She handed it to him.
    “Is there-”
    He looked up. “Yes?”
    “Never mind.”
    “No,” he insisted, “What were you going to say?”
    “It’s just that...do you think...Henry?”
    “I suppose it’s too soon to say.” 
    He picked up the milk. They both watched as he poured it into the glass.
    “I’m going out.” Her chair screeched against the floor as she pushed it back. She stepped out...

Moon

The moon is a happier star


The moon is comfortable literature


The moon is an infectious criminal


The moon is an empty abdomen


The moon is a calm shadow
 

Scraps of Summer

bluegrass playing
we return from the pool
Windows are down and the smell of vietnamese food floats in
The sun laps the horizon like a tired dog
some kind of sweet nostalgic February longing for the summer
the pop of a sprite can
Flip flops smacking against hot pavement
people drinking and talking and little children playing some game
Chalk on the sidewalk
My hair smells like chlorine
Drips of chocolate ice cream on her white shirt
spread out on the twister board 
the approaching storm silences the world 
and we gasp out through the water
it's so hot
grocery store parking lot and waiting for the car to open
then waiting for the inside to cool down
running into the pool-forget the lifeguard-jumping in 
that floating feeling
that latest hit blares over shrieking and talking
a single breath and they dive in
SWIM
fireworks over the lake
lying in bed and feeling the waves still washing over me
The...

Scraps of Summer

bluegrass playing
we return from the pool
Windows are down and the smell of vietnamese food floats in
My hair smells like chlorine
The sun laps the horizon like a tired dog
some kind of sweet nostalgic February longing for the summer
the pop of a sprite can
Flip flops smacking against hot pavement
people drinking and talking and little children playing some game
Chalk on the sidewalk
Drips of chocolate ice cream on her white shirt
spread out on the twister board 
the approaching storm silences the world 
and we gasp out through the water
it's so hot
grocery store parking lot and waiting for the car to open
then waiting for the inside to cool down
running into the pool-forget the lifeguard-jumping in 
that floating feeling
that latest hit blares over shrieking and talking
pause for a moment while the buzzer goes off and they dive in
fireworks over the lake
lying in bed and feeling the waves...

Scraps of Summer

avett brothers
we return from the pool
Windows are down and the smell of vietnamese food floats in
My hair smells like chlorine
The sun laps the horizon like a tired dog
some kind of sweet nostalgic February longing for the summer
the pop of a sprite can
Flip flops smacking against hot pavement
people drinking and talking and little children playing some game
Chalk on the sidewalk
Drips of chocolate ice cream on her white shirt
spread out on the twister board 
the approaching storm silences the world 
and we gasp out through the water
it's so hot
grocery store parking lot and waiting for the car to open
then waiting for the inside to cool down
running into the pool-forget the lifeguard-jumping in 
that floating feeling
that latest hit blares over shrieking and talking
pause for a moment while the buzzer goes off and they dive in
fireworks over the lake
lying in bed and feeling the waves...

8 AM, June 25...Please Review!

    Stepping outside my apartment, I realize I forgot my phone inside. Sighing, I turn around.
    Then I scream and fall over. My coffee drops from my hand and spills all over the floor. I don’t even register the puddle I’m kneeling in as I gape. 
    Someone-some awful, messed up person-has nailed a cat to the door of my apartment. Its dead eyes stare at me. The eyes are yellow, I note, and then gag as a drop of blood falls on the door handle. 
    I keep gagging, standing up now, thinking only of getting out and out and away from it, stumbling down the hallway, out and out and out and I run into somebody coming out of their apartment and knock them over.
    I throw my hands out to catch myself and find them pressing onto the poor person’s face. I quickly remove them and find myself looking into the glaring face of a man...

8 AM, June 25...Please Review!

    I step out of my apartment, coffee in hand, and close the door behind me. Then, realizing I had forgotten my purse, I turn around again. And scream. And drop my coffee all over my (new!) white blouse.
    There is. A dead cat. Nailed. To my door. 
    I let the coffee drip down my shirt and onto my leg as I gape at it. Blood oozes from its paws and onto the doorknob, and I can feel bile rise in my throat.  
    Swallowing, I glance down the hallway. Empty. No, wait, there's a door opening down towards the end. A man in a dark suit steps out.
    "Please-" I call, and he turns, stares at me. Sighing, I take a step towards him. "Could you-"
    But he whips around, turns the corner, and is gone.
    Okay, so no help from him. I brace myself and look at the cat. How am I going to get it...

8 AM, June 25...Please Review!

    I step out of my apartment, coffee in hand, and close the door behind me. Then, realizing I had forgotten my purse, I turn around again. And scream. And drop my coffee all over my (new!) white blouse.
    There is. A dead cat. Nailed. To my door. 
    I glance down the hallway. Empty. No, wait, there's a door opening down towards the end. A man in a dark suit steps out.
    "Please-" I call, and he turns, stares at me. Sighing, I take a step towards him. "Could you-"
    But he whips around, turns the corner, and is gone.
    Okay, so no help from him. I brace myself and look at the cat. How am I going to get it off my door? Part of me wants to leave for work and let someone else deal with it while I’m gone. For a moment, I imagine calling my landlady, Mrs. Smythe. This thought sends me into a brief bout of...

8 AM, June 25...Please Review!

    I step out of my apartment, coffee in hand, and close the door behind me. Then, realizing I had forgotten my purse, I turn around again. And scream. And drop my coffee all over my (new!) white blouse.
    There is. A dead cat. Nailed. To my door. 
    I glance down the hallway. Empty. No, wait, there's a door opening down towards the end. A man in a dark suit steps out.
    "Please-" I call, and he turns, stares at me. Sighing, I take a step towards him. "Could you-"
    But he whips around, turns the corner, and is gone.
    Okay, so no help from him. I brace myself and look at the cat. How am I going to get it off my door? Part of me wants to leave for work and let someone else deal with it while I’m gone. For a moment, I imagine calling my landlady, Mrs. Smythe. This thought sends me into a brief bout of...

Flash Fiction Competition 2019

8 AM, June 25

    I step out of my apartment, coffee in hand, and close the door behind me. Then, realizing I had forgotten my purse, I turn around again. And scream. And drop my coffee all over my (new!) white blouse.
    There is. A dead cat. Nailed. To my door. 
    I glance down the hallway. Empty. No, wait, there's a door opening down towards the end. A man in a dark suit steps out.
    "Please-" I call, and he turns, stares at me. Sighing, I take a step towards him. "Could you-"
    But he whirls around, turns the corner, and is gone.
    
 

Scenes From the Garden (1)

    The ladies sipped their tea and stared out at the skyline. 
    "I must say, Clara, Elle's quite the young lady now." Madame Fannoula took a lump of sugar and added it to her tea. "And so pretty!"
    Genevieve took a sip. "I've noticed she chases that secretary of John's around like mad." 
    Mrs. Rogers straightened. "My daughter does not chase men." Looking down her nose, she watched Genevieve shrink before her. 
    Madison chortled. "He doesn't seem her usual type, does he?"
    "Nor her class." Madame pursed her lips.
    "When Elle is ready, she will marry someone suitable." Mrs. Rogers' tone suggested an end to that conversation, and the ladies all peered at their tea as though they had never seen it before.

Fantasy Writing Competition 2019

All May Park

    Pull into the parking space. Stop the car. Take out the keys. Her keychain-no. Don't think about her now. Open the door, and walk over to the parking meter.
    Insert credit card, press the buttons, and wait.
    His eyes glance down-
    All May Park, and All Must Pay.
    -reads the sign, and he smiles at that, just a little.
    The slip prints out. Take it, glance at the tiny letters.
    "All may park," says a voice.
    He turns around. "Excuse me?"
    It's a girl-no, a woman. She flickers between forms, a little girl, a teenager, a woman, and an aged crone. "And all must pay." The flickering of forms stops, and she is an old woman. "What will you pay?"
    Gesture at the machine. "I already paid."
    "What will you pay?" She is very close. He can see the hairs on her upper lip, thin and wispy and grey. "Your firstborn?"
    “Who are you?”
    “Your lover?”
    He takes...

Fantasy Writing Competition 2019

All May Park

    Pull into the parking space. Stop the car. Take out the keys. Her keychain-don’t think about her now. Open the door, and walk over to the parking meter.
    Insert credit card, press the buttons, and wait.
    His eyes glance down-
    All May Park, and All Must Pay.
    -reads the sign, and he smiles at that, just a little.
    The slip prints out. Take it, glance at the tiny letters.
    "All may park," says a voice.
    He turns around. "Excuse me?"
    It's a girl-no, a woman. She flickers between being, a little girl, a teenager, a woman, and an aged crone. "And all must pay." The flickering of forms stops, and she is an old woman. "What will you pay?"
    Gesture at the machine. "I already paid."
    "What will you pay?" She is very close. He can see the hairs on her upper lip, thin and wispy and grey. "Your firstborn?"
    “Who are you?”
    “Your lover?”
    He takes a step...

Cat Lady (part 3)

    Sylvia unlocked the door. Almost immediately, a black cat darted forward. Lightning-quick, she reached out and grabbed Link before he could escape. “Silly cat,” she said, thanking her good reflexes. “Why’re you trying to escape?” He hissed as she closed the door, leaping down from her arms and dashing out of sight.
    She put down her keys and strode into the kitchen, where the big bag of cat food was right where it had been previously. Reaching for the stack of bowls, she lined them up in a neat line and poured a cup of food in all but Richard’s, which received about half a cup.
    The rattle of bowls brought most of the cats into the kitchen. She stepped back as they rushed towards the food, feeling a little overwhelmed. They mewed at each other in a way she’d never seen in cats. Almost, she thought, as if they were talking to each other.
    In her mind, she began...

Cat Lady (part 2)

Sylvia looked at the cat, and caught her breath.
“His eyes…” One bright blue, one amber, Link squinted at her from his resting place. Sylvia noticed how tense he appeared to be, even in his relaxed position.
The old woman’s mouth twitched upwards. “Handsome, isn’t he?”
Sylvia nodded. “Yeah, he’s cute.” She looked at the woman and realized something. “Wait-what did you say your name was?”
“Imogene.” She brushed cat hair off the lavender pantsuit. “Imogene Hanks-Smith. Would you like some tea, then?” With a speed and agility not often seen in octogenarians, she hurdled another cat, this one grey, and sped into the kitchen.
Sylvia followed her, calling “Sure.” She entered the kitchen and leaned against the red-and-yellow tiled counters. Feeling around for some subject of conversation, she landed on the pictures. “You’ve got a lot of pictures in there.” Imogene dropped a tea bag into the kettle and nodded imperceptibly. “You a photographer or something?”
“I have many...

The Cat Lady (Part One)

    It was a cat who answered the doorbell. Long, orange, with white whiskers imitating a mustache over its mouth, it slunk around Sylvia’s legs.
    “Is that the girl, Mikey?”
    Sylvia leaned forward, glancing around. The house, small and squat from the exterior, was a chaos of cat condos, ragged toys, and scratching posts on the inside. “It’s me! Can I come in?”
    An old woman in a lavender pantsuit appeared around the corner. “Aah-Sylvia, yes? Yes!” She pumped Sylvia’s hand up and down. For a woman approaching eighty, she had a terrifyingly strong grip. Reaching back, she adjusted her glasses, and Sylvia caught sight of a pair of watery blue eyes.
    “So...is this the cat, then?” Sylvia knelt down and reached her hand out towards the orange cat. He pawed forward and wrapped himself around her legs.
    “Michael!” The old woman swatted the cat. “Don’t do that!”
    “Oh, it’s fine.” She began to pet the cat. “He’s cute.” He purred. ...

Notice: Peer Review

I'm doing peer reviews this week, so if you want me to review your piece, comment down below and I'll review it. 
No poetry or non-fiction, please! 

Thief

    She clutched at the absence of the mica necklace as they threw her in. Her fingers grasped nothing but air, and she landed hard on the cold ground. The door slammed shut with a clang, and she was lost in the darkness. Were her eyes closed or open? She made an attempt at both but could tell no difference.
    “Who’s there?” A hoarse voice cried out. It had come from her right.
    She began to crawl towards the voice, calling back, “Just a thief!” Her hand touched cold, solid wall. Putting her hands out, she felt a corner of wall and turned herself around.
    “A Thief? Not The Thief? Is this a celebrity prison?” The voice laughed before dying off into a hacking cough. She crawled toward the sound of the voice, an itch of familiarity nagging at her all the while. Somewhere, somehow, she had heard this voice before. Male, hoarse, much deeper than the...

The Violinist

Every day, Paganini’s mother would repeat it. “Nicoló,” she said, handing him his very first violin, “You will be the greatest violinist in the world.”
           “Nicoló!” She screeched when he forgot to practice, “How is it you are to be the greatest violinist in the world with this indulgence!”
           “Nicoló…” she sighed when he came home drunk. The party he'd been at was the first and only one he attended as a guest. “You will be the greatest violinist the world has ever seen. This is disgraceful.” And then she made him practice for five hours straight.
           After that party, Paganini vowed to devote himself to the violin. it became his life, music coming out of his hands, ears, mouth. He put away all other pursuits of happiness or love. All he did was stand in his room, sawing away at his violin. Concertos, sonatas, caprices, he played through it all. And when there was nothing left to play, he...

Rosaline's Story

    Romeo. Egad, what a fool. He comes round my house sighing and begging for my hand, and when I sent a servant out to tell him to go away, what does he do? Come back the next day, of course, and every day afterwards. I couldn’t turn around without him standing there.
    “Mistress Rosaline, you do wrong in denying me this,” he’d whine. “Without a smile from you I shall surely perish.”
“And I would gladly help you,” I would respond before slamming my window shut. Of course, he refused to leave even after that, and so I was forced to sit in the house until he went on his way.
    My mind was set. What I had seen of marriage had set me against the very thought. My parents argued sunrise to sunset. My sisters had both been handed over to the first man who asked. The day that Livia died in labor was the day that I decided ...

Rosaline's Story

Romeo. Egad, what a fool. He comes round my house sighing and begging for my hand, and when I sent a servant out to tell him to go away, what does he do? Come back the next day, of course, and every day afterwards. I couldn’t turn around without him standing there.
“Mistress Rosaline, you do wrong in denying me this,” he’d whine. “Without a smile from you I shall surely perish.”
“And I would gladly help you,” I would respond before slamming my window shut. Of course, he refused to leave even after that, and so I was forced to sit in the house until he went on his way.
My mind was set. What I had seen of marriage had set me against the very thought. My parents argued sunrise to sunset. My sisters had both been handed over to the first man who asked. The day that Livia died in labor was the day that I decided ...

Rosaline's Story

What had I just seen? Did this mean that Romeo had moved on to another? I’d have not chosen Juliet, but my relief at my release from him was too overwhelming to do anything but offer up a prayer of thanks.
    And to me that seemed to be that. I did wonder how it would turn out, the only children of two brawling houses falling in love. I didn’t spare it much thought until the hot afternoon when word came that Tybalt had been killed by Romeo. The fight had gotten out of hand this time, they said. Romeo himself was nowhere to be seen, and the Prince was rumored to have banished him. God’s teeth, I thought. What has he done?
    At Tybalt’s funeral, I made my way over to Juliet. She gripped my hands and we both wept for some time. After a while, I wiped my eyes and braced myself to whisper, “Where...

That Boy

 Almost every day he walks past my house, this boy. He wears dark clothing, but his hair looks like it's making some attempt to be cheerful, the only part of him that is. His face is permanently set in a grim expression.
      He's nearly always alone. The one exception is when I saw him with another boy-this one all gangly and tall-both with unhappy faces, neither one talking to the other.
     I didn't pay any attention to him-he was just there, like the constant ticking of my clock or the feel of the braided rug turning into hardwood floor under my feet-until my mom remarked, “I don't know about that boy. I wonder if he comes from an unhappy home. He's always walking around by himself.”
      And just like that, I couldn't not notice him. I longed to talk to him, ask him where he was going. He was so close-only a glass window and a screen kept me from...

Tiny Love Story

The Haiku Love Society

1
Boy, that smile of yours
Thrills me right down to my bones
Can you feel it too?

2
Blue sky set against
(My heart plays hallelujah)
The cherry blossoms

3
Stars shine from the
Ceiling. Sister, tell to me
All your secrets

4
Bus rattles along
You turn wondering to us
About aliens

5
A dab of paint in
Your hair. Same nineties music
Forever playing

6
Up at dawn, scarcely
Returns at dusk. Who is he?
I watch him go by-

7
Can you smell the salt?
We just got here, but I don’t
Ever want to leave








Library Magic

Presenting: Life within the Library

    I have two homes. One is my house. The other is the library. 
    Somewhere in my head there is a memory of going to the library when I was about six years old. In one of the Raleigh libraries, an enormous cupcake sat in alone in room at the very center. I would walk around the thing silently, clutching my books and wondering if I was allowed to climb on it. I also remember seeing a poster of Roald Dahl's characters and wondering who they were. I would not meet most of them for about another year, beginning with Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But for the next few years, I read my way through many books, especially The Chronicles of Narnia.
    When we moved to Minnesota, the dark, dungeon-like library became a hideaway. I would scan the books, trying to guess which ones my parents would allow me to check out....