I just hit 10,000 words of the story I've been working on, that I'm planning on expanding for a while. I don't really know how long it'll be, I'm one of those it's-done-when-it-ends kinda writers lol.
Anyway, my story is about a schizophrenic who was abused by his father as his child and I haven't figured out the whole plot yet but he has a twin brother who comes to his group home after years of ignoring him, and after that he starts to think about his life and why/how his mental illness developed. I haven't written it yet but he eventually has a schizophrenic episode and runs away from the group home, where he finds himself on the streets unable to distinguish between his thoughts and reality.
I have two possible first scenes and wanted feedback on what seems to be the best way to start it. One is more vague and comes from a spot of hindsight(the story jumps around timelines a bit), and the other starts with his twin brother coming in.
The first one:
Hindsight is a dangerous lens; like a camera, it brings into focus what seems most prominent, most important. But life isn’t your most important moments – it is the one’s you’d gloss over in a photo book. It’s the moments of boredom and stagnation that propel us to the opposite, but it is these moments that are often more important than their outcomes. I’d had many motivations in my life, many of them drawn by depression and guilt, and very simply, if asked, I would not be sure if I would consider myself a good person. And it also felt much too late to make myself otherwise.
People said I was a good artist, so I supposed I’d contributed that to the world. But I couldn’t contain the sensation that if in comparison to the world, I was good, then the world itself must be bad. And I held, despite my particular experiences throughout life, the conviction that the world is good, and therefore by this comparison I could not see myself as so. And it felt entirely too late to change this about myself with how infrequently I even felt like myself lately, how little I could say if told to define who I was. I hadn’t felt in this essence like a good person since I was ten, and what had I contributed then? If your contributions are linked to their motivations, what had I done? I’d acted out of anger, and sadness, and self-pity. Disease as well, but couldn’t that be the same thing?
And the second:
Today had been mandatory ‘social hour’ and group therapy sessions, and by the end of it I was exhausted. I resigned myself to my bed, quietly returning the biddings of ‘goodnight’ and ‘sleep well!’ from my more well-adjusted peers in the center, then taking a small white pill and a larger yellow one while my nurse, Chris, watched from the door and then quietly left. Sarah, who’d arrived around the same time and had been assigned the room next to mine, was bipolar, but disliked taking her medications, and her family had put her here because they couldn’t(or wouldn’t) deal with her erratic mood swings. I didn’t blame her – I’d taken some of the same medications she had, and they were less then pleasant, and did less of a job at fixing any disjointed mental processes and emotions than they did at numbing them completely, even the good ones. Here, she was forced to take them at bedtime. She’d seemed chipper when she waved goodbye, but now through the thin walls I could hear her fighting the nurse who was trying to get the pills down her throat.
Struggling to find some peace and ignore the small but imperative noises coming from the wall – not her, anymore, not anything, probably, but there was a violent thumping coming from behind my bed that frightened me. I was too scared of whatever it was bursting through the wall and onto my pillow to fall asleep, so lying awake and glancing at the clock every so often – 7:00, 7:19, 7:32 – I heard another thump, but this time from the doorway. I jumped up and grabbed whatever was nearest to me – a lamp, which I supposed would make a decent weapon if need be – and carefully walked around my bed to face the door. The knocking continued, and I shook in my feet, sure that the thing in the walls was surely, finally coming from me. It grew louder, and then stopped, when I could hear an audible sigh and keys jingling, and my nurse walked through the doorway.
“Hey, hey, it’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you, please put down the lamp,” she coaxed.
I looked at her suspiciously for a moment or two, but decided that she was not lying and didn’t pose any immediate threat other than giving me more meds, which I’d resigned myself to taking after months of being here. I put down the lamp and sat down, expecting her to bring me water and the cute little cup of medicine that was supposed to make me feel better about killing myself without actually dying, but she hesitated this time.
“You, um, you have a visitor. I’m sorry for the short notice, but he really wanted to see you.”
This surprised me – usually visiting hours are only during the day for anybody who isn’t immediate family. Which turned out to make sense, because she turned around and brought somebody into the room that looked almost like my mirror image, except that he was in a suit and I was in sweats and a dirty t-shirt. I hadn’t seen my twin brother since my father’s funeral, and was under the impression that that was his conscious decision.
“Hey, brother.” He attempted a small smile but it wavered quickly.
I was shocked, didn’t know how to reply. “I… wow, um, hello.”
“I know it’s been a while,” he said, “and I’m sorry about that. I should’ve come…”
“You didn’t, though,” was all I could say. I’d grown too accustomed to the few people who were obligated to care about me, well, not caring.
“Like I said, I’m sorry. If it means anything, you look better.”
“I’m sorry. I know it’s hard for you here, but we thought it was best for you. You know I just got promoted at work?”
“Thank you. I, um, well I guess I should get to why I’m here. I’m going to have more money, now, and if you want I could afford to put you in private care. I wanted to come and talk to you about that.”
The news was jarring – private care? But what would be the difference? What would be the point? I’d still be forced to take medication, except I’d be alone except for the only person in my life who wanted to care for me. And despite my distaste for social settings, I had friends here, or if not that at the very least people who understood what it was like to not be in control of your own life, to feel helpless, to feel hurt and misunderstood by everyone else. And it was only in his best interest, in the interest of his conscience, to help out his sick brother so he could feel good about himself. He really had no idea what my best interest was, and I had no desire to spend more time with him. He hadn’t been there for me in our younger years when I quarreled with our dad, and I doubted much had changed. I was angry at him, to say the least, and the lamp was still by my side, on its side on the ground. Speechless, I picked it up, and he smiled thinking it was a show of solidarity and orderliness. It wasn’t; I stood up slowly, then at the command of whatever other voice was inside my head – maybe it was me, really – hit him across the side of his face with it.
The nurse cried out in surprise as he staggered back a few steps and looked up, bleeding at his lip. “I just want to help,” he said, but I lashed forward again and the nurse quickly escorted him out of the room, instructing him to wait outside and calling for the other staff. She tried to sit me down, and I was sure she was going to hurt me for doing the same to my brother, and I resisted, and so the other staff came in and put a needle in my arm and then I was asleep.
Feel free to give general feedback on my writing as well, I'd appreciate it!