Best short stories for reading practice by Next Step

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Magic Ingredients 

Once upon a time there was a young man named Bob who had an unusual passion for baking. He was so passionate that he decided to open up a bakery in the middle of a small town.

One day, Bob was in the middle of baking his signature cake when he realized he had run out of ingredients. He needed more butter, sugar and flour. He decided to venture out of the bakery and into the town to buy what he needed.

When he arrived in town, he stumbled across an old man who was selling all sorts of strange ingredients. Bob was intrigued and asked what the old man had. The old man said he had “magic” ingredients that would make his baking come to life.

Bob was a bit skeptical but decided to take a chance and purchased the ingredients. When he returned to the bakery, he baked his cake as usual, but was surprised to see what happened next.

The cake began to move and spin around the room. Bob was so shocked that he didn’t know what to do. He watched in amazement as the cake danced around and around the bakery.

After a few minutes, the cake finally stopped and Bob was relieved. He quickly sold the cake to a customer and the customer was so impressed that he asked Bob if he could make another one.

Bob happily obliged and made another cake with the “magic” ingredients. This time, the cake began to sing and dance. Bob was so pleased with the results that he decided to use the “magic” ingredients in all of his baking from then on.

Bob’s bakery quickly became the most popular bakery in town because of the delicious and entertaining treats he served. Everyone in town was delighted with Bob’s baking, and he was very proud of himself for taking a chance on the strange old man.

The moral of the story is that sometimes taking a risk can lead to magical results!

Once upon a time there was a young girl named Alice. Alice was a curious and adventurous little girl who loved to explore her small town. Every day she would wander around, finding new places to explore and discovering the secrets that the town held.

One day Alice was walking along the riverbank when she spotted a small boat. It was an old wooden boat, barely held together by the few nails that were left. Alice was intrigued and decided to take a closer look. As she approached the boat, she noticed an old man fishing from it.

The old man seemed friendly and told Alice that the boat was his and that he’d been fishing in the same spot for years. He invited Alice to join him and she happily accepted.

Alice and the old man talked for hours, sharing stories and secrets about the town. Alice was fascinated by everything she heard and was filled with wonder at the thought of all the history her town held.

As the afternoon turned to evening, the old man invited Alice to come back tomorrow and they could go fishing together. Alice was delighted and promised to come back.


The next day, Alice returned to the riverbank and went fishing with the old man. They talked and laughed and Alice was filled with a newfound appreciation for her town.

Alice and the old man continued to meet up every day, and soon they became the best of friends. Alice learned more and more about the town and its secrets, and the old man was always there to help guide her.

Alice eventually grew up and moved away from the town, but she never forgot her time with the old man and his boat. Whenever she thinks of her childhood, she smiles to herself, remembering all the stories the old man had shared with her.

Maggie was walking home one night when she heard a noise coming from the alleyway. She paused, her curiosity getting the best of her, and slowly stepped into the alley.

At first, she saw nothing, but then her eyes adjusted and she noticed a small figure huddled in the corner, shaking. “Hello?” she said cautiously.

It was a little girl, no more than ten years old, holding a tattered blanket around her shoulders. Maggie’s heart went out to her and she immediately went to her side. “What’s wrong sweetheart?” she asked gently.

The girl sniffled and told her that she had run away from home and was scared of being alone. Maggie nodded and offered to take her home, but the girl was adamant that she wanted to stay in the alley.

Maggie took off her coat and wrapped it around the girl, then offered to stay with her until morning. She wanted to make sure the girl was safe. The girl nodded and Maggie sat with her until the sun came up.

When morning arrived, Maggie took the girl home and talked to her parents. She explained how she had found the girl and how scared she had been. After that, Maggie kept in touch with the family and eventually became a close friend of theirs.

Maggie knew that she had done a good thing that night, and she knew that the girl would always remember it. From then on, she made it a mission to help anyone she could, no matter how small the gesture. She was determined to make a difference.

The old man looked out the window of his small, one-bedroom apartment and watched the world go by. He had been living in the same place for over thirty years, but it felt like a lifetime. He had seen so many things come and go, but he was still alone.

The old man had been married for over fifty years, but his wife had passed away a few years back. He missed her dearly, and more than anything, he wished that he could have her back. He had no children, and no other family.

He had no one to talk to, and no one to share his thoughts with. He felt so lonely and isolated. He went through each day in a daze, reliving the same routine over and over.


The old man wished he could go back in time and start over, but he knew it was too late. He was alone, and he would remain alone for the rest of his days. He sighed and turned away from the window, tears streaming down his face.

The Wooden Box

One day, Lucy found an old wooden box sitting in the corner of her bedroom. She was very excited and opened it right away. Inside, she found a beautiful golden key.

Lucy was sure the key must open something special and she decided to find out what it was. She searched all around the house, but couldn’t find anything that the key could fit.

Finally, she decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. As she was walking, she came across an old abandoned house. She walked up to the door and noticed that the key fit perfectly in the keyhole.

Lucy opened the door and walked inside to find a beautiful room filled with toys and games. She was so excited and couldn’t believe her luck. She spent the entire day playing with all the toys and soon it was time to go home.

On her way out, Lucy noticed a small piece of paper on the floor. She picked it up and read it. It said, “This house and all the toys inside belong to you, Lucy. You can come back anytime to play.”

Lucy was so happy and ran home to tell her family about her incredible discovery. From then on, Lucy visited the old house every day and spent hours playing with all the wonderful toys.

She even brought her friends over to play with her. Together, they had the best time ever.


The End.

The sun had set hours ago, and the moon hung high in the sky. A cool breeze blew through the city, carrying with it the scent of salt from the ocean. Detective Johnathan Clarke stepped out of his car and approached the towering building before him, his hand gripping the handle of his gun.


He had received an anonymous tip that something was amiss in the building, and he had been sent to investigate. The detective was no stranger to danger, having worked on countless cases that had pushed him to the brink of his limits. However, something about this assignment made him uneasy.

As he made his way inside, he noticed that the lobby was empty, and the lights were flickering. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, and he felt a sense of foreboding creeping over him.

He made his way to the elevator and hit the button for the top floor. As the elevator ascended, he mentally prepared himself for whatever awaited him. The doors opened, and he stepped out into a dimly lit hallway. He drew his gun and took a few cautious steps forward.

Suddenly, a door at the end of the hallway opened, and a man stepped out. He was tall, with dark hair and piercing blue eyes. He wore a suit and tie, and his expression was inscrutable. Detective Clarke immediately felt a chill run down his spine.

“Can I help you, officer?” the man asked, his voice smooth and confident.

“I’m here to investigate a possible disturbance,” Detective Clarke replied, his grip on his gun tightening.

“I see,” the man said, his lips curling into a smile. “Well, I’m afraid you won’t find anything here. This is a private office, and we don’t take kindly to uninvited guests.”

“I have reason to believe that there’s something going on here,” Detective Clarke said, his voice firm.

The man’s smile faded, and his eyes narrowed. “I’m afraid I can’t let you proceed any further,” he said, his hand moving towards his pocket.

Detective Clarke’s instincts kicked in, and he raised his gun. “I suggest you step aside,” he said, his voice steely.

The man hesitated for a moment, then slowly backed away, his hands raised in surrender. Detective Clarke made his way down the hallway, his gun at the ready. He could hear the sound of footsteps ahead of him, and his heart rate increased.

As he approached a door at the end of the hallway, he could see that it was slightly ajar. He pushed it open and stepped inside, gun first. The room was dark, and he could hear the sound of someone breathing heavily.

“Who’s there?” he called out, his voice echoing through the room.

There was no response, and Detective Clarke slowly made his way forward, his gun trained on the darkness. Suddenly, a figure leapt out from the shadows, and Detective Clarke fired his gun.

The figure collapsed to the ground, and Detective Clarke quickly made his way over to it. He shone his flashlight on the figure and felt his stomach drop. It was a woman, and she was bleeding heavily from a gunshot wound.

He immediately called for backup and attempted to staunch the bleeding, but it was too late. The woman died in his arms, her eyes staring up at him accusingly.

Detective Clarke knew that he had made a mistake, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off about the whole situation. He had been set up, he was sure of it.

He continued his investigation, but every lead seemed to dead-end. The man he had encountered in the hallway had vanished without a trace, and there was no evidence to link him to the crime.

Weeks turned into months,and Detective Clarke became more and more obsessed with the case. He spent countless hours pouring over files and evidence, trying to find a clue that would lead him to the truth.

Finally, a breakthrough came when a witness came forward with information that linked the man in the suit to a notorious criminal organization. Detective Clarke immediately requested a search warrant for the man’s office, and a team of officers was dispatched to carry out the search.

As they combed through the office, they discovered a hidden room behind a bookshelf. Inside, they found a cache of weapons, drugs, and stacks of cash. It was clear that the man in the suit was running a criminal operation, and he had been using the building as a front for his illegal activities.

The evidence was enough to charge the man with a litany of crimes, and he was quickly arrested. Detective Clarke felt a sense of relief wash over him as he watched the man being led away in handcuffs.

But the case still haunted him, and he couldn’t shake the feeling that he had been manipulated. He dug deeper, and eventually uncovered a connection between the man in the suit and the woman he had killed.

It turned out that the woman had been an informant, working undercover to gather evidence against the man’s criminal operation. She had been set up to be caught by Detective Clarke, in order to throw him off the trail of the man in the suit.

The realization hit Detective Clarke like a ton of bricks. He had been played, and the consequences had been deadly. He felt a wave of guilt wash over him, knowing that he had unwittingly contributed to the woman’s death.

But he wasn’t done yet. He vowed to bring the man in the suit to justice, no matter the cost. It was a personal mission now, and he wouldn’t rest until the criminal mastermind was behind bars for good.

Months turned into years, and Detective Clarke poured all of his time and energy into the case. He followed every lead, chased down every rumor, and never gave up hope. Finally, after what felt like a lifetime, the man in the suit was brought to trial.

The evidence against him was overwhelming, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Detective Clarke felt a sense of satisfaction wash over him, knowing that justice had finally been served.

But the victory was bittersweet, and he couldn’t help but think of the woman who had died at his hands. He vowed to never let something like that happen again, and to always be vigilant in his pursuit of justice.

As he walked out of the courtroom, he felt a weight lifted off his shoulders. The case was over, but he knew that the memory of it would stay with him for the rest of his life. He had seen the darkest side of humanity, but he had also witnessed the power of perseverance and determination. And that was something that he would never forget.


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Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful young woman named Isabella. She lived in a small town in Italy and worked hard to provide for her family.

One day, Isabella’s life changed when she met a handsome man named Roberto. She was instantly drawn to his kind eyes and gentle smile.

The two of them quickly grew close and began to spend as much time together as possible. They took long walks around the town, enjoyed picnics in the park, and talked for hours about their dreams and aspirations.


As Isabella and Roberto’s love blossomed, they began to dream of spending their lives together. They eventually decided to elope and move to the countryside, where they would build a new home and start their life together.

They were married in a small chapel, surrounded by the beauty of the Italian countryside. After the ceremony, they rode off into the sunset, ready to start their new life.

Isabella and Roberto shared many happy moments together. They raised a family, started a successful business, and enjoyed the simple pleasures of life.

Their love was an inspiration to all who knew them, and they spent the rest of their years in blissful harmony. Isabella and Roberto’s love story will be remembered for generations to come.

Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Emily who lived in a small village on the outskirts of a bustling city. She had always dreamed of finding true love, but had never been lucky in her search. One day, while walking through the park, she stumbled upon a man who had fallen asleep on a bench.

He was tall and handsome with dark hair and piercing blue eyes. Emily couldn’t help but stare at him in awe, and as she approached him, she noticed that he had a small notebook resting on his lap. Curious, she picked up the notebook and began to read.

It was filled with beautifully written poetry, and Emily was immediately entranced. She began to read one of the poems out loud, and the man woke up with a start. He looked up at her, and their eyes locked in a moment of intense connection.

The man introduced himself as Jack, and the two of them quickly struck up a conversation. Emily was amazed by his intelligence and creativity, and as they talked, she felt herself falling deeper and deeper in love with him.

Over the next few weeks, Jack and Emily spent all their time together, exploring the city and sharing their deepest hopes and dreams with each other. They would often spend hours talking, and Emily would listen to Jack recite his beautiful poetry.

As their relationship deepened, Jack revealed that he was a struggling artist, and that he had been living on the streets for the past few months. Emily was shocked, but she knew that she had to help him. She took him into her home, and the two of them began to build a life together.

Despite the hardships they faced, Emily and Jack were deeply in love, and their love for each other only grew stronger with each passing day. Jack continued to write poetry, and Emily became his muse, inspiring him to create some of the most beautiful and romantic works of his career.

Years passed, and Emily and Jack grew old together, their love never fading. They would often sit together on their porch, holding hands and watching the sunset, and Emily would tell Jack stories about their life together, and how they had fallen in love in the park all those years ago.

As they sat together, Emily knew that she had found her true soulmate, and that no matter what challenges they may face, they would always have each other. And with that thought, she leaned in and kissed Jack, feeling the warmth of his love envelop her once again.

Once upon a time, there was a clumsy little dog named Max who loved nothing more than to play in the park. Max was a happy-go-lucky pup who always had a smile on his face, but he had one big problem: he was incredibly clumsy.


One day, Max was playing fetch with his owner, throwing the ball and trying to catch it in mid-air. But no matter how hard he tried, Max always seemed to miss the ball or trip over his own paws. His owner laughed and shook his head, but Max was determined to get better.

The next day, Max decided to practice his catching skills by himself. He found a big stick and threw it up in the air, ready to catch it with his mouth. But just as the stick reached the peak of its arc, Max jumped up to catch it and missed, landing flat on his back.

Embarrassed, Max got up and tried again, throwing the stick higher and higher each time. But no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t seem to catch it. Eventually, Max got frustrated and decided to take a break.

As he sat on the grass, Max noticed a group of squirrels running around the park, playing tag with each other. Max thought it looked like fun, and he decided to join in. He ran after the squirrels, chasing them around the trees and bushes, but he was so clumsy that he kept tripping over his own feet.

The squirrels laughed and teased Max, calling him “clumsy” and “awkward.” But Max didn’t care, he was having too much fun to worry about what the squirrels thought. He kept chasing them, determined to catch at least one of them.


Finally, after hours of chasing, Max caught one of the squirrels by the tail. But as he was about to celebrate his victory, the squirrel turned around and bit Max on the nose. Max yelped in pain and ran back to his owner, tail between his legs.

Despite the squirrel incident, Max never lost his love for playing in the park, and he continued to chase balls, sticks, and squirrels with equal enthusiasm. And while he may have been the clumsiest dog in the park, he was also the happiest, always wagging his tail and ready to make everyone around him laugh.

John had been running for what felt like hours. His heart was pounding, it felt like it would explode out of his chest any second. He had no idea where he was or how he had gotten here. All he knew was that he had to keep running, no matter what.

It had all started earlier that day when he was at home, watching television. Suddenly, he heard a loud banging at the door. He opened it to find two men in black suits and sunglasses. They didn’t say anything, they just grabbed John and dragged him out of the house.

He was thrown into the back of a van and driven away at high speed. He couldn’t see where they were going, but he knew it wasn’t good. When the van finally stopped, he was thrown out and told to run. He didn’t know why, but he was too scared to ask questions.

He had been running ever since, through the woods and fields. He had no idea where he was or what was going on, but he knew he had to keep going. He could hear the sound of dogs barking in the distance, and he knew they were coming for him.


Suddenly, he heard a loud noise behind him. He turned and saw a helicopter hovering above the trees. It was the men in the suits, and they were coming for him. He started to run faster, pushing himself to his limits.

He had no choice but to keep running. He ran until his legs felt like jelly and his lungs were burning. He had no idea where he was going, but he was determined to keep going until he was safe.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, he saw a small cabin in the distance. He ran towards it, hoping to find shelter. He burst through the door and slammed it shut behind him. He was safe, for now.

But he knew the men in the suits would be back, and he had to find a way to get out of there before they did. He had to find out what was going on and why they were after him. He was in the middle of a real life thriller, and he was determined to make it out alive.

Once upon a time, there was a small island nestled in the middle of a vast ocean. The island was surrounded by clear blue waters and lush green forests that teemed with life. The island was home to a small community of people who had lived there for generations. Life on the island was simple but fulfilling, and the people were content with their way of life.

The islanders spent most of their days fishing, farming, and tending to their livestock. They would wake up early in the morning to catch the freshest fish from the sea, and then spend the rest of the day tending to their farms or engaging in various crafts and activities. The islanders were skilled craftsmen and women, and they created beautiful items such as baskets, pottery, and intricate carvings from the island’s natural resources.

The island was a close-knit community, and the people lived in harmony with nature. They respected the land and the sea, and only took what they needed to survive. They had a deep appreciation for the natural beauty around them and would often spend time in quiet contemplation, taking in the breathtaking views of the ocean and the forests.

Life on the island was not without its challenges, however. The islanders were vulnerable to severe weather conditions such as storms and hurricanes, which could destroy their crops and homes. Despite these challenges, the islanders were resilient and would band together to help each other during times of need.

As the years went by, the islanders continued to live their simple but fulfilling lives. They passed down their knowledge and skills from generation to generation, ensuring that their way of life would continue for years to come. They were content with their island home and had no desire to leave.

One day, a group of tourists stumbled upon the island and were amazed by its beauty and simplicity. They were welcomed with open arms by the islanders, who showed them around and shared their way of life with them. The tourists were struck by the sense of community and harmony on the island, and they left with a newfound appreciation for the simple things in life.

From that day on, the islanders continued to live their peaceful and contented lives. They knew that their island home was a special place, and they were grateful for the beauty and simplicity of island life.

The icy wind whipped across the deserted streets of New York City as Detective John Adams made his way towards the crime scene. He had been called in late at night, and as he stepped out of his car, he could see the flashing lights of police vehicles illuminating the dark alley.

Adams was a seasoned detective, having spent over two decades in the NYPD. He had seen his fair share of gruesome crimes, but something about this one felt different. He could feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end as he approached the yellow tape that cordoned off the alley.

As he ducked under the tape, he was met by the sight of a blood-soaked body lying in a pool of crimson. The victim was a young woman in her mid-twenties, with long blonde hair and striking blue eyes. Her throat had been slit, and there were several stab wounds on her body.

Adams surveyed the crime scene, taking note of every detail. There was no sign of a struggle, no fingerprints or footprints, and no murder weapon. Whoever had done this was a professional, and Adams knew that this case was going to be a tough one to crack.

Over the next few days, Adams and his team worked tirelessly to gather evidence and interview witnesses. They combed through CCTV footage, analyzed DNA samples, and followed up on every lead. But every road led to a dead end, and the case remained unsolved.

As the weeks turned into months, Adams became more and more obsessed with the case. He worked long hours, neglecting his family and friends, and became increasingly irritable and short-tempered. He knew that he was getting too close to the edge, but he couldn’t let it go. He had to solve this case, no matter what.

Then, one day, a break in the case finally came. Adams received an anonymous tip-off, directing him to a rundown apartment building on the outskirts of the city. He gathered his team and set off, his heart pounding with excitement and anticipation.

As they approached the building, Adams could feel his nerves jangling. He knew that this was it, the moment he had been waiting for. The team swept through the building, room by room, until they finally came to the top floor.

There, they found a small, dimly lit room, with a single occupant sitting in the corner. It was a young man, with a thin, gaunt face, and a wild look in his eyes. He was holding a knife, which he pointed towards the detectives as they entered the room.

Adams ordered his team to stand back, and he approached the man cautiously, his hand hovering over his gun. As he got closer, he could see the fear in the man’s eyes, and he knew that he had him.

“What’s your name?” Adams asked, trying to keep his voice calm.

The man hesitated for a moment, then whispered, “David. My name is David.”

Adams took a step closer, still keeping his distance. “David, do you know why we’re here?”

David nodded, his eyes darting around the room. “You’re here to arrest me, right? For the murders?”

Adams nodded, feeling a sense of triumph rising in his chest. “That’s right, David. We’re here to take you in.”

David looked up at him, his eyes filled with a mix of fear and defiance. “You’ll never catch me,” he said, his voice shaking. “I’m too smart for you.”

Adams smiled grimly. “We already have, David. You’re under arrest for the murder of Samantha Wilson.”

As he spoke, he watched the realization dawn on David’s face. The young man slumped back against the wall.

wall, his shoulders sagging in defeat. “How did you find me?” he asked, his voice barely above a whisper.

Adams shrugged. “We had a tip-off. Someone saw you leaving the scene of the crime that night.”

David shook his head, his eyes clouded with confusion. “I don’t remember…I don’t remember anything.”

Adams took a step closer, his voice gentle. “David, I know this has been hard for you. But you have to understand that what you did was wrong. You took a life, and that’s not something that can be taken lightly.”

David hung his head, tears streaming down his face. “I know,” he said, his voice choked with emotion. “I know I messed up. I don’t know why I did it. I just…I just couldn’t stop myself.”

Adams sighed, feeling a pang of sympathy for the young man in front of him. He had seen this before, the way that the line between good and evil could blur until it was almost impossible to tell one from the other. “It’s okay, David. We’ll get you some help. You’ll have to face the consequences of your actions, but we’ll make sure that you get the help you need.”

As he spoke, he watched as David’s expression softened, the fear and anger fading from his eyes. “Thank you,” David said, his voice barely above a whisper. “Thank you for not giving up on me.”

Adams nodded, feeling a sense of satisfaction wash over him. This was why he did what he did, why he had become a detective in the first place. It wasn’t about the glory or the recognition, but about the satisfaction of knowing that he had helped someone, that he had made a difference in the world.

As he led David out of the room, he could feel his team’s eyes on him, their expressions filled with admiration and respect. He knew that this was a moment that they would all remember for a long time to come, a moment that would remind them of why they did what they did.
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As they made their way out of the building, Adams felt a sense of relief wash over him. The case was finally over, and justice had been served. But as he looked out at the dark, empty streets of the city, he knew that there would always be more cases, more crimes to solve. That was the nature of the job, the never-ending battle between good and evil. But he was ready for it. He was a detective, and that was what he was meant to do