I Never Knew – Submit Your Eighth Short Story For 2018 Today


We have posted eight stories. We only have four left for 2018. It is insane how fast this year is going. Well done, writers. 

Submission process: 

I will accept and approve posts for I never knew… (Word count: 1800 words) from 8 August 2018, 8:00 (Johannesburg time | GMT +2:00), until 9 August 2018, 8:00 (Johannesburg time | GMT +2:00) on 12shortstories.com.  Please ask Google to figure out what time that will be in your part of the world. 

Please use the correct format:

In the post title bar:              Story Title by Author Name.

Just above the story:             Prompt: XXXXXX | Word count: XXXXXX | Genre: XXXXXX

Warning: Please add a warning if your story is not appropriate for sensitive or younger readers.

Can I still join?

You can join the 12 Short Story Challenge in any month. So, if you start in June, that will be month one for you and then May 2019 will be month 12.

Here is the procedure:

  1. Read today’s post.
  2. Post your story on 12 Short Stories.
  3. Read and comment on at least four other stories. Please spread the love. Look for stories that haven’t been read, instead of everyone reading and commenting on the same stories. If you want tips on how to comment, read this post: The Complete Guide To Evaluating Your Short Story.
  4. This is an exercise in discipline. The comments are a bonus. There is no prize because I want you to focus on writing for yourself and to try and take more risks.
  5. Be kind when you comment. Start with a positive comment, suggest an improvement, and end with something positive. We are here to learn.
  6. Our next prompt is at the end of this post.

A few more points:

  1. I will try to read as many posts as possible, but I do have a day job that I would like to keep.
  2. NO hate speech. None. If you see something nasty that I should be made aware of, please send me a message.
  3. Be careful of profanity.
  4. I need to approve every post. Please be patient with me. I am teaching during the day and I will approve them as quickly as I can. They will all go up.

Here is my short story:

Truth or truth by Mia Botha

Prompt: I never knew… | Word count: 1800 words exactly | Genre: Action

Warning: Evil people doing horrible, evil things.  


With a gasp her eyes fly open. She blinks in the darkness as her eyes adjust to the night.

“You’re dreaming.” The bed sinks with Drew’s weight. The door between their rooms is ajar, allowing a slither of light to creep into the room behind him.

She moves up on to her elbow, pushing his hands away. She tries to focus, but dreams force their way into her reality. Her heart hammers and she breathes, again and again, to still her fears.

He holds up a glass, she takes it and gulps down the cool water.

“I don’t dream.” She pushes the bedding back and climbs out of the bed. 

“Then what was that?” Drew frowns.

“A reminder.” She walks down the passage, flicking on the lights as she goes.

“A reminder of what?” He follows her to the kitchen.

“That I am not done. I have to finish this. Josè won’t stop.” She tugs the light cord and the kitchen brightens.

She sinks down onto the frail chair next to the table and leans on her elbows. The naked bulb sways with vengeance, shadows dance around the room, light fighting dark.

Drew opens the fridge and digs around inside. He re-emerges with two beers. The bottles clink and he grins, “I’d offer to make you a sandwich, but we’re little a short on groceries.”

She snorts. “I’ve been meaning to pop round to the store all week.”

Drew smiles as he slides into the seat opposite her. “It’s been a busy couple of weeks.” He runs a hand over his face, stifling a yawn.

“Insane. It has been insane.” She traces shapes in the condensation on the bottle with her thumb.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Drew asks from under an arched brow.

She freezes him with her glare.

“Ok, then how about a game?” he asks.

“Seriously?” It’s her turn to arch a brow.

“Yes, like Truth or Dare, but we’ll call it Truth and Truth.” He leans back, smiling at her, very impressed with his suggestion.

“I’d prefer Truth or Dare.”

“Of course, you would, but then we’d never get to the truth.”

“The truth is overrated.”

“But it still makes for a good game.”

“It’s not like I have anything better to do.” She says and takes a swig of her beer.

“Ok, you start.” He says.

Joy’s head pops up and she looks him in the eye. “How long have you been married?”

“Whoa, go straight for the big ones. I thought we’d ease into this. First mission, first kiss kind of stuff…”

She raises a brow again.

“What makes you think I’m married?” He sits up in his chair. Wary.

“You wipe your feet before you walk through the door. You put your dishes in the sink and you keep asking if I want to talk about my feelings.”

“What can I say? Lots of couples’ therapy.” The bravado takes over again.

“What do cheating DEA bastards need couples’ therapy for? Aren’t you exempt because of your work? Adultery in the line of duty.”

“ Jeez, judge much?”

“It’s called Truth or Truth, isn’t it?”

“I haven’t seen my wife in seven years.”

“So?”

“We weren’t exactly talking when I left. Part of the reason I took this job, was because our marriage was over.”

“But not over enough to get a divorce?”

“Admin’s not exactly my strong suit.”

She rolls her eyes. “Poor excuse.”

“I haven’t really had a reason to get divorced. It’s not like I’m dating anyone.”

“Way to make a girl feel special.”

“One night does not a relationship make?” he tries.

“That’s really bad.”

“I know. I’m really bad at this. I don’t even know what this is.” He waves a dismissive had around the grimy kitchen. “Truth: what is this?”

“This is nothing and that was stupid.”

“Way to make a guy feel special.”

“Let’s just say the timing sucks.”

“That’s the only thing holding you back?”

“And my psycho drug lord father, my more psycho step brother and my tendency to get people I care about killed, oh, and you’re married.” She holds up her beer to cheers.  “Welcome to my pity party.”

His bottle meets hers with a soft chink. “That all? Trust me to find the only drug dealer’s daughter with morals.” He grins and stretches, “Anyway, it’s my turn to ask a question.”

“Ask away.”

“What are you going to do about Miguel?”

She stares at the wall, following the cracks to the ceiling. “He is hurt. He is broken. His body will heal, not so sure about his mind. Miguel, my Miguel is gone.”

“The police questioned him when he regained consciousness. Nothing was even coherent.”

“Could they get anything useful from Padre?” Joy turns back to Drew.

“Not much. He was blindfolded. Kids were scared. Nothing we didn’t expect. The authorities believe we should raid as soon as possible.”

Joy slumps a little lower in her chair. Exhaustion taking the place of a constant adrenalin high.

“You don’t have to be here, you know? Miguel is out, he’s safe.”

“I’m not going anywhere. Josè is mine.”

Drew walks to the window and looks at the sleeping town. His silhouette is outlined by a soft moon and tiny twinkling lights below.

She traces the lines of his face. Trying to see a lie. “Whenever they decide to raid, it has to be complete. They’ll have to hit all his targets at once. The compound, the factory. All of it.” Joy says.

Drew nods, but doesn’t look at her.

“Truth?” she asks. “Why me? Why not Lupe or one of Josè’s honcho’s?”

He sighs and turns around, leaning against the sill, “You’re prettier?” he grins and ducks as the beer bottle smashes against the wall where his head had just been. “Kidding!” He holds up his hand in mock surrender. “We heard you and Josè had a disagreement. We never thought you’d part ways with him, because everyone told us how close you were. We were looking for someone to approach and then you broke ranks, but and because it’s Truth and Truth, I have been tracking you for years.” 

Their eyes meet. Joy struggles to read his expression. He seems earnest but lying is too easy for him.

“You don’t believe me?”

“You are a liar.”

“But this is Truth and Truth.”

Joy pushes back her chair and gets up to leave.

“Miguel convinced me.” He says. “I’d been hanging around with Padre for weeks,  fishing for clues, when Miguel crawled out of the jungle. Literally.”

Joy closes her eyes, trying to block out the image.

“He was in bad shape, you know this, but I helped Padre patch him up. I sat with him for hours while he got better. He told me about you. The ‘real you’ he called it. Not the one you pretended to be for Josè. Not the one you pretended to be for the world. He convinced me that you were the only one strong enough to take Josè down.”

Drew takes a step closer and then another. She watches him. He reaches for her, but she sits down. Out of reach.

“Truth or Truth: did you tell your boss about Carlos and our visit?”

He is quiet for a moment. “I told my boss you have a distraction planned for during the raid, but I did not mention that it was a competing drug cartel.”

Joy says nothing.

“I had to give him something.”

“Truth: tell me about the human trafficking?” he says.    

She pauses, searching for words. “I’m not sure when it started. At first, I thought it was a competing cartel and a war for territory. That’s average, but I never knew what they were fighting over.” She shudders. “I only found out later that it’s what happens to the older kids from the orphanage. What would have happened to me if Josè hadn’t picked me that day.” 

“Does Padre know?”

“He didn’t, but when I told him he went ballistic. That’s why he helped me get away.”

“Why didn’t you tell the police this? During the interrogation?”

“The police are more corrupt than the cartels. They would have told Josè that I know and then he would have killed everyone at the holding facility.”

“That’s why you need Carlos’s crew? So that they can keep Josè busy while you, the one-person army, saves everyone.”

“I was hoping it’d be a two-person army.” She looks up, mimicking his sheepish grin.

“Of course, it’ going to be a two-person army. What kind of question is that?”

“Thank you.” She says, her voice small.

“Where is the facility?”

“Further south. Along the road where we stopped the bus.”

“The bus was going to the facility?”

She watches him as realisation sets in.

“Some of those kids weren’t even ten?” Panic makes his voice pitch.

Joy squeezes her eyes shut. “They’re safe now. We stopped them.”

He slumps down on the chair. “Sick bastard.”

“Josè’s idea of a warning. They need to move the raid forward. As soon as possible, but you can’t say anything about the facility.”

He looks at her. It’s like he wants to say something, but he turns away instead.

“And we need to figure out who is sabotaging his drugs.” Joy adds before he has a chance to change his mind..

“What makes you think it’s sabotage?”

“You don’t become the richest, most powerful drug lord by selling inferior product. It’s sabotage. The question is, who would have the guts to go up against him?”

“Truth?”

“Yes.”

“You?” he smiles, but it turns into a yawn. “We’re not going to solve anything tonight.” He runs a hand through his hair. “We’ve got the debrief in the morning and then we’ll put a timeline in place.” He throws his empty bottle into the trash.

“He’ll be freaking out because of the drugs. It’ll be a good time.”

He takes step towards her. She runs her eyes over his face, the strong jaw, his lean arms. He’s just the right height, that if she wanted too, she could rest her head against his shoulder. It scared her, how much she wanted to. He wrapped his arms around her and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. His lips rested on her temple and it felt perfect. His slow kisses trailed down her cheek and his lips touched hers. She sighed as he slipped a hand behind her neck.

She pulled back and looked at him. A soft smile stating his intent. She shrugged out of his embrace.

“Go call your wife.”

She tugs the electrical cord of the light, plunging the room into blackness and walks back to her bedroom.

The chair scrapes as Drew sits back down in the dark.     

Here is the ninth prompt for the 2018 challenge:

 by Mia Botha

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