My Writing Portfolio

You are reading reading through my collection of short stories and poetry. No portions of this content may be used or published elsewhere, in print or digitally, without without my express permission.

© I. A. Phillips



Grant turned to the rhythmic click of Zeke’s crunches. The one-legged boy was slowly approaching in the deserted school halls.

“You won’t believe it, man! The Winslow Watcher’s gone!”

“Zeke, you sure? You believe any rumor you hear.”

“This is no rumor. Deshawn and his group tagged the old hospital last night. Their posts are going viral around the school.” Zeke pulled out his phone and showed Grant. “You would know if you didn’t drop your phone in the street. Who knew a phone two decades old could break so easily”

“Ha, ha, very funny.” Grant checked the hall to make sure it was still empty. “You think this could be a job? You sure the Watchman’s gone?”

“Talked to Deshawn in fifth. He said the whole guard station was cleared out. Thinks whoever was paying him to keep us out finally ran out of money.”

“Or decided to give up. They’ve been paying that guy for nearly a decade.”

“Well, Deshawn’s organized something for tonight. Since the guard kept everyone out of the hospital, rumor says there’s still some goodies inside.”

“Ten years is a long time for anything to still be there, the hospital would have moved anything of value out.”

“You have to remember how quickly the hospital closed down, and how the replacement one is much smaller.” Zeke hobbled a few steps in front of Grant. “They had to have left something. If we’re lucky it might be drugs or surgical equipment. The rich kids would buy those up.”

“What makes you think they want to buy hospital junk?”

“Trust me, once I pitch it as expensive and rare they’ll pay whatever we want. Once we’re done you’ll be able to buy ten phones easy.”

“If it's anything like the other buildings you had me snoop around, we’ll only find rotten wood and moldy furniture. I doubt there will be anything valuable lying around.”

“You’ve got to have hope. We’ll find something to cash out on. Besides this rotten wood might make us some money. Pitch it as haunted souvenirs to the freshmen. Boom! Instant cash!”

“You have too much faith in yourself.”

“Confidence sells. Now back to the point. Deshawn and around a dozen others are going to go explore the hospital tonight.”

“Why are you telling me this Zeke? I don’t care what they do”

“Some of Deshawn’s friends get carried away easily and the others might take what we want.” Zeke leans again the nearby lockers and unzips his backpack, pulling out a GoPro, flashlight, and walkie-talkie.”Normally we’d facetime, but without your phone, I had to improvise. We need to go tonight before the others take the good stuff. I’ll be outside hanging with Deshawn, buying you time to scout. Use my car to stash anything you find.

“Anything valuable inside or not; won’t Deshawn’s group get pissy we’re looting the place right under them?”

“A bit, but I talked to Deshawn he’s fine with us being there. He just wants to make sure his group and him still have fun, so I’d just stay out of their way once they do come in. Besides, they probably won’t spend too much time far inside. C’mon, let's go earn us some cash!”


Winslow was just as Grant had remembered; large, skeleton, and cold. The exterior was beaten, and grey. The bottom floor was covered in green veins few of which stretched any further. Despite the growth, and weathered appearance Winslow was in surprisingly good condition. Deshawn’s friends were easy to spot. They were underneath the front doors adding to their graffiti which had already begun consuming the walls. Zeke was clear about how he wanted things done. He stressed that junkies or thugs could be snooping around inside, and he wanted Grant not to take any reckless risks. Zeke would communicate through the walkie-talkie while watching the private GoPro lifestream he started. Once Grant filled his backpack he was to go empty it out in Zeke’s trunk.

Zeke stepped out of the car and looked at Grant who was now wearing Zeke’s equipment.

“Remember, if anyone in there looks like they’ll fight you over something, give it to them. We’re doing this for extra cash, while I want anything you can get, I can live with losing some of it.”

Zeke pulled out his phone and showed Grant the private livestream.

“GoPro’s working, and I tested out the flashlight and walkie-talkies earlier. You should be good to go. Call if you need help with anything. I’ll check the stream every now and then to make sure you’re fine.”

“When’s the cutoff time?”

“I’ve got to get back to my house before one. I’ll call you to start coming out at midnight, so you’ve got six hours before that.
Grant nodded, turned to Deshawn’s friends, then Winslow.

As he stepped up to the front Deshanw’s friends stepped aside, and smiled as Grant disappeared inside.


The inside looked diseased. Whatever color the wallpaper once was has turned to rust, and gave off a putrid stench. Only a third of the wallpaper was still attached, anything weakened had stripped downwards or been blown into piles. The smell of it was nearly too much for Grant. He grabbed the doorway and started to gag until he was used to the stench. Luckily, the furniture was in much better condition. What was left was decaying, but not revolting. As he scanned the room he noticed more was left behind than he suspected. Counters, benches, cabinets, chairs, and ceiling fans, he had forgotten how much could be nailed to a wall. He grinned despite the odor. Maybe this would be a good haul.

He loved the calmness of scavenging. It was clear and measurable work that held the potential for surprise in every nook and cranny. With a mix of speed and precision he systematically checked under every seat, in every cupboard, and between every seat. Nothing of value came out of the search, but he wasn’t worried. Deshawn’s friends probably picked through this area before he got here. Optimistic he searched reception, with identical results. Next, he would start the first floor west wing. When he got to the double doors his walkie-talkie broke out in static.

“Krrttt...Deshawn’s friends…rush...fourth floor...west...back…best...loot there...Krrt”

Grant rolled his eyes, of course, the walkie-talkies would be useless, Zeke probably bought the cheapest he could find. Deciding he heard the important bits he looked around for the stairs. He found them slightly into the west wing, then began ascending to the fourth floor. His footsteps echoing off of the concrete steps as he jogged up. Once there, Grant easily opened the rusty double door. It seemed that Deshawn, or his friends, had already scouted the wing. Doubtful of finding anything quality now Grant slowly walked through the hallway heading for the back of the wing. The hallway shared in the same state it seemed the whole interior was in, rusty peeled paint, and sedentary, lifeless furniture. As he walked past each room Grant shone a quick light through the door window. He was surprised to see a metal bed left inside a few of the rooms, this floor must have been a patient zone. Grant’s curiosity got the better of him, and he poked around a few of the rooms, but there didn’t seem to be anything inside, probably all taken by Deshawn’s group. He slowly moved down the hallway, scanning each room through their window before he noticed that a room at the end of the hall was the only one with an open door. Certain that each room here had already been searched he rushed to the open door.


Without a doubt, it was the room Deshawn’s friends had asked him to search. A giant middle finger was painted across the wall in red spray paint. Under the red hand there was a single word, “Grant.” Pissed off he went towards the door and saw more writing, this time on the door, “Keep Searching Like A Good Dog.”

Grant's hand clenched, causing the flashlight to tremble violently. He’d been tricked and humiliated. He jerked himself towards the door, his rage stiffening his body. He began making slow steps to the door. This was Deshawn’s friends' fault. No, it was Deshawn’s, he probably put them up to it once Zeke asked… Zeke. This was Zeke’s fault. Grant started shaking. It all makes sense now. Zeke only talks to him when he wants something. Zeke wanted to tag along this time. Zeke was hanging out with Deshawn. Zeke gave him the… livestream. He was livestreaming him. The whole school was probably watching Zeke’s “private” lifestream.

Grant steadied himself on the doorway. His head started pounding. Everyone saw. Everyone saw him grubbing through trash, everyone saw him rush to the graffiti then freeze. It was bad enough being an outcast at school, but now he’d be a laughing stock. He didn’t even have a phone to defend himself with online. He grabbed his head, anger swelling inside.

Feeling the GoPro he took it off and examined it. As he looked at the screen he wondered if Zeke really did do this to him. The swirling anger quickly dissipated, and sadness filled the void. Grant leaned on the doorframe then slid down to the floor. Then he turned off the GoPro. A few moments afterward static broke the silence; it didn’t sound like Zeke. ““ ...turn work...Krtt”

They tried to say more through the static, but Grant didn’t bother to try and hear what. He stayed on the ground, looking at the GoPro. After a few minutes, Grant pulled over his backpack and began putting Zeke’s GoPro inside. After placing it in the bag he hesitated to take his hand out. He was worried about breaking it, and hurting Zeke’s feelings, after all, he wasn’t sure if Zeke was tricked or forced into this. As he was thinking, he unconsciously took the GoPro out of the bag and put it on. He shrugged, but decided to keep it there, he could claim he thought he turned it back on this way.

Grant switched the walkie-talkie off killing the static. Then he stood up, determined. He would make today worth it no matter how it ended, the others might not have searched everything. Grant walked down the hallway to the stairs, he was heading to the sixth floor, the top floor.


Grant smirked, it was as he had hoped, they hadn’t made it this far up, the double doors were still rusted together. Not wasting the opportunity to release some of his anger, Grant slammed himself into the door “unlocking” it. The rust couldn’t bear his weight and burst open. As the kicked up dust slowly settled Grant saw that this was another patient wing. He wasted no time and began “unlocking” the other doors, it was only a matter of time before the others came to drag him out. Grant quickly opened and closed all the drawers and cabinets in the patient room then gave a last look around before moving onto the next room. He did the same in three other rooms before he heard a loud slam emanating from the first floor.

Grant kept himself steadied and kept searching. Under the rhythm of slammed doors, Grant’s search began to pay off: loose change, old surgical tubing, pieces of non-rusted metal, an earring, and strangely a few paintbrushes. Each piece he collected was not only a piece he gained but a piece they were denied. The echoes of footsteps were growing louder than the systematic slamming.

Grant sprinted into the nearest room with full force, desperate to deny them anything else. The door crumbled from the sudden blow falling onto the floor with a loud bang rather than swinging open. Grant fell with the door, sprawling out onto the floor, stunned. Voices started to echo through the hall, “Here! I found him! He’s stealing our stuff!” Grant picked himself up reeling from the shock of knocking himself onto the floor. As he struggled towards the cupboards he saw a small twinkle emanate from behind. Without thinking or looking he grabbed whatever it was and shoved it into his pocket, before shooting through the cupboards.

Grant didn’t hear Deshawn enter the room, but he did feel the muscular hands that pulled him backwards. Deshawn’s eyes were piercing in anger, and he spoke through a toothy smile, “You little rat. You thought you could steal from me?”


Without any words, Deshawn’s friends hauled him out of the building. Grant hadn’t thought about what would happen when they caught him. He never considered that they’d beat him up. He didn’t stop to think his efforts to get back at them could all be stolen back. They dumped him outside the front doors, surrounded by pointed graffiti. Grant tried to fight back to keep his backpack, but he was only one person. Deshawn “graciously” let him keep his clothes and ordered him to return Zeke’s equipment.

Grant looked around outside, judging from the sky it was healthily into the night. Deshawn’s friends left behind the remains of a bonfire and various empty glasses. He wondered how much they’d remember about him the next day. After examining anything he could to buy time, Grant accepted how empty the courtyard was. He knew Zeke was inside his car waiting to get his gear back and dump him outside his home. Now there was nothing left to do other than walk up, and get in.

“I’m sure my stuff isn’t damaged?” Zeke spoke in an emotionless tone.

Grant handed over Zeke’s things, “I’m sure you saw they took everything off of me before they kicked me numb. I saw them turn the GoPro back on.” Grant spoke equally as emotionless, he was too tired to keep anger in his voice.

Zeke put the equipment in the backseat then began driving.

“It wasn’t pretty, I didn’t plan for that to happen.”

“So, you did set me up.”

“I didn’t think you'd get hurt Grant.”

“At least physically you didn’t.”

“Grant what do you want me to say.”

“An I’m sorry would be a start.”

“Well, I’m sorry they did that to you.”

“No, you did this to me. You sent me in there. This is all your fault.”

“Grant I didn’t do this I-”

“Only live streamed it to everyone in school. Oooh, Deshawn wasn’t stingy with the details of what you did. Why’d you do this?”

“We charged everyone three dollars to get into the lifestream. Me and Deshawn came up with the plan when I told him how you broke your phone. Winslow has been unguarded for nearly a month, and miraculously only Deshawn noticed. So, we had the perfect place to prank someone and the perfect subject to prank.”

“You thought that was funny Zeke? You humiliated me in front of the school. You think anyone will treat me nicely after this, the boy who digs through garbage, the boy who broke down in front of the camera, the boy beaten into submission by seniors? Do you even realize what you did to me?”

“I know this didn’t go the way I wanted, but c’mon, I’m the only friend you have. Don’t push me away.”

“Would you call what you did an act of a friend?”

“Grant! I told you this didn’t go the way I wanted!”

“Then how did you want this to go?”

“You won’t listen to me, you’re too focused on how it did turn out.”

“It’s almost like there’s no good way you can spin this. Isn’t it? How much is your cut?”

Zeke kept driving in silence. Grant was laser-focused on Zeke, missing the first other car they’ve come across on the drive home.

“Is it seventy percent for the livestream and thirty from the salvage?”

Zeke swerved in surprise.

“Deshawn’s friends were rather mouthy about cuts when they were searching through my bag. After they cut off the feed.”


“Stop it, Zeke. Speak bluntly for once in your life. I know this was your plan, you wouldn’t have the highest cut in both things otherwise.”

Zeke pulled over the car a few blocks from Grant’s house. “Get out of my car.”

“Can’t even give me this, can you?”

“I said get out of my car Grant!”

Grant slowly got out of the car, while Zeke avoided eye contact.

“You’re the worst friend I’ve ever had Grant. I try to help you get enough money for a new phone because your family’s broke, and this is the thanks I get.”

“You did this for yourself, Zeke. You didn’t care what happened to me.”

“I care Grant! Then why did you keep the stream running?”

Zeke locked eyes with Grant, furrowing his brow, before hitting the gas, before disappearing into the darkness.

Grant wasn’t worried about where Zeke dumped him, he was close enough to home to walk. Even hurt he could still make it. Grant continued to stand on the sidewalk, waiting for the adrenaline of the confrontation to fade. Once it did he patted his pocket and felt the imprint he knew he smuggled out. He slowly drew it out of his pocket and examined it in the moonlight.

It was a thin gold necklace with a golden heart as the centerpiece. On the back of the heart was an inscription that Grant struggled to read, “Friendship lead us through the best of times and pulled us out of the worst.”

Slowly Grant limped home holding the necklace tightly in one of his hands. He couldn’t ignore what happened today even if it felt like a bad dream. Winslow, Deshawn, Zeke, it all went sour, but he still managed to sneak this out. He managed to make something good out of the situation, but he couldn’t stop thinking about the inscription on the back of the necklace. He worried if Zeke was ever his friend, or solely using him as a dog. He wondered if his parents had money if Zeke wouldn't have done this to him. Maybe no friends were better than bad friends. A real friend wouldn't have done this to him. The thoughts slowly became too much to handle, and Grant started to cry as he limped home.

Continue Reading

Pen Paper Logo

© 2019-2022, I. A. Phillips, Pen Paper. All rights reserved. | Admin