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EXCERPT: “Things That Burn”

June 30, 2020 in Patreon, Writing
Things That Burn by Rebecca Jones-Howe

Most of June passed before I managed to pen my Patreon story. But it’s out now. It’s called “Things That Burn” and once again I’m offering a little excerpt for you non-Patrons.

Patreon subscribers can access the full story on the website or via Patreon.

If you’re not a subscriber, you can read more and get access to all of my Patreon Stories by joining my Patreon at the $5 Short Stories tier.


When Grad 2020 is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a shy young man meets up with his high school love interest Olivia, a budding socialist who aids in his introduction to the world they’re both about to set foot in.

We meet on the old paved pathway tucked behind the 7-11. The path leads down to the hiking trails that once dominated the hillside before the suburbs crept in. People still use the trails but the paved path hasn’t exactly held to the test of time. The cement’s filled with cracks and weeds, neglected by the city to better things, modern things like water park or the baseball diamonds or the recreation centre where I spent most of my high school years drinking behind.

Every time I told my parents I was taking the dog for a walk, it’s where I’ve gone.

Now, Badgley pulls me along. He’s excited, his tail wagging, his gait quick. He sniffs at the cracks in the pavement, dragging me toward the graffiti-covered bench in the clearing. He treads into a mass of dandelions. The white seeds scatter in the breeze and I pull my phone from my pocket to check the time.

I haven’t seen Olivia since school was cancelled. She felt like a ghost ever since that afternoon she crept into the dark of the computer lab while I was formatting the yearbook. Her orange nails dug into my shoulders.

“I know the school didn’t approve of my grad statement,” she whispered. “You should put it in anyway.”

Let’s start a motherfucking riot!

I told her I couldn’t but she kissed me anyway, the hum of the computers dulling the sound of our lips. We kissed until the bell rang.

Then school was cancelled. No finals. No grad. No chance to speak to her. All she had for social media was her Instagram page full of guillotine pictures and socialist memes. Her avatar was a picture of a marigold. She’d held a bouquet of them in lieu of roses for her grad photo.

It was all I could remember of her until she slid into my DMs.

Like this post? With your support, I will have the opportunity to write more fiction, plus more creative blogs like this one. Support my work on Patreon and get yourself some nifty perks.

Rebecca is a neo-noir author from Kamloops, British Columbia. Her first collection of gritty short fiction, Vile Men was published by Dark House Press in 2015. She also writes about her writer lifestyle on her blog at

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