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Old 12-16-2010, 07:37 PM
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Default Special Hell


When was the last the time she had been in a church? The girl drove through the parking lot to find a suitable space. Cursing at the atrocious layout she thought about the spontaneous call she had received from a high school friend, Elizabeth, to come join her to watch their mutual friend, Rebecca, play in the orchestra for a Friday Easter service. Work early the next morning prevented her from going out so instead she decided to join Elizabeth. It would be good to see them again and catch up. Recently she had gotten back in contact with them and no surprise came when none of them had really changed.


She felt self conscious dressed in work clothes consisting of all black. Maybe she could say she was mourning the death of Jesus? She would be going to hell based solely on her inner monologue. Not that Jesus really cared, probably. With a hesitant hand she pushed the doors open into the chilly chapel. Waiting for a reply text from Elizabeth to know where to go the church goers in oxfords and dresses made her feel even more self conscious. At least she hadn’t burst in flames when she entered. That was a start right? The girl fiddled with her phone then placed her anxieties on messing with the colourful scarf she’d grabbed from her car. It semi spruced up the black top from Wal-Mart and scrub bottoms.



After what felt like ages of standing and awkward glances at the floral carpeting her text was answered. ‘Second to last door. Last pew. Middle row.’ As she walked the length of the hall that seemed to never end the smiles from church members made her feel even more like an outcast. ‘I shouldn’t be here’ played over and over in her head like a scratched CD. Rebecca, Elizabeth, and she had attended a small nondenominational Christian school but she was far from religious. Thankfully none of her friends were radical or devout to the point of ostracizing her.


Elizabeth was sitting right where she said she would be in a pretty, patchwork dress. They hugged and caught up while waiting for the orchestra to start playing and choir to start singing. This would be Rebecca’s final performance in the church orchestra much to her conductor’s dismay. There was a lot of bad blood between her and her ex who was also in the orchestra.


They talked and waved to their friend on stage. The room was cold and somewhat sterile looking. Elizabeth texted her boyfriend while the girl tried to remember what had changed about the chapel. She’d been here once before for an Easter pageant that Rebecca had also played violin in. There were flags on walls of all the countries that they had mission to. A sign on a blank flag read ‘Where to next…’ and the girl’s father immediately popped into her head saying ‘to hell if we don’t change our ways.’ It was a phrase he has used often when she was growing up. More people filtered in. She kept her attention on the blacked out stage with rows of stands that were meant for the choir and the microphones that hung low from the ceiling. On one side of the stage was a replica of Peter’s boat on rocks and fishing net hung over the side of the boat, on the other side was a replica of Jesus’ tomb that was used for Easter pageants. The taupe tiles faded into beige walls with a large projections screen that had projected on it ‘Welcome to Church of God’s Easter Services’ in large white letters. Bordering the black background was the projection of abstract trees that looked like they were on fire. The camera man made a gesture to his partner trying to communicate while the orchestra warmed up. It was amazing how much production and cost when into church services now and days. Honestly she could count the times she’d been to church on two hands. A grand totally of nine or ten times in her twenty years of life and that didn’t include the weddings held at churches which only would have taken the number up to fourteen.



The pews were only half filled when the lights were dimmed and doors shut. Having been here once before she remembered that they took communion but would she take it? A youth and college minister walked on stage before she had time to think about communion and gave a few scriptures and said some things that the girl took no note of. They stood and sung a few songs. A few were familiar to her from her school days but it felt wrong to sing about a god she didn’t worship. Yes she believed Jesus existed but choose to not worship him. When she had learned about the bible and someone said ‘God’ it had always meant Old Testament God to her not Jesus. Maybe it was her father’s Jewish blood or that in elementary and middle school they’d focused much more on the Old Testament. She wondered if she could ever really worship a god full heartily like these people. Though her life hadn’t been particularly hard parts of it hadn’t been particularly easy. In her times of need she felt like Jesus or God or anyone had not been there for her. Maybe the gods knew she would never have been able to truly worship them or be able to abandon all else so instead they abandoned her?



The singing stopped and the minister started up his sermon. It was on the old laws that God had given the Jews and the new ones Jesus had given his followers. She’d been to temple before but again a grand total of three or four times but she had felt more of a connection to God then, then at a church. When the young man spoke of the new laws she felt somewhat insulted and didn’t really know why. After a short prayer they started to take communion and the question arose again. Would she take it?


Reasons, excuses, and jokes flew into her head to give as why she would not take it. Was it more insulting to take communion of a god she did not worship or more insulting to not take it? Surely people had refused it before? If anyone asked she could tell them she was Jewish. That had seemed to get people to stop evangelizing to her before and it could work now. Then of course there was the joke she’d heard a million times before. The idea of taking a cracker and it representing the body of Christ and the wine his blood was a bit like cannibalism. That’s when her father shouting ‘Happy Zombie Jesus Day’ rang in her head. Yeah, she was going to hell for that one too.
Relieved to hear that Elizabeth was a horrible germaphobe and didn’t like the idea of eating a cracked from the same dish everyone had been grabbing one from they sat at the pew and didn’t go to the front to receive communion. When everyone was done there were more songs from the choir and more music from the orchestra. Elizabeth excused herself to go find her boyfriend and left the girl sitting in the cold room. Again the feeling of not belonging returned.



When the service had ended and the choir and orchestra broken down they filtered out with the rest of the church goers. They went to eat afterwards talking about their futures and praising Rebecca on her last performance. When they had finished and gone their separate ways she couldn’t get the feeling that it had been an awkward time for her. Getting onto her computer she updated her status on Facebook to ‘Going to the special hell’ and she was fine with that.

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  #2  
Old 12-16-2010, 09:45 PM
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I really like where this could go but I think it needs more work. There are a few things which stuck out to me as odd, like Elizabeth not taking part in communion even though she seems to be really religous seemed far fetched. Also I think you could have gone much deeper into this, and said much more. Maybe I read into it as it is something that I have faced personally, but I feel like with a bit more work this piece could make a strong statement. To be more specific I felt it really wrapped up much to quickly. Keep going with this and good work.
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Old 12-17-2010, 04:30 AM
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Thank you. I should put in there that Elizabeth is a Christian but not very religious. She doesn't attend church regularly and her family is also Baptist and not Church of God so she has never taken communion.
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Old 12-20-2010, 04:40 AM
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Excellent prose!
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Old 12-25-2010, 10:56 PM
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scribin'
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Old 12-26-2010, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Epictetus View Post
scribin'

What the hell is "scribin'?"
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Old 12-26-2010, 09:33 PM
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You have a talent for knitting words together into smooth sentences and that goes well-appreciated. So often, you see people who cannot choose the right form of words to make their sentences sound smoother. They instead go on their first instinct which may or may not be for the best. I can tell you didn't right this in one sitting. This was a piece that you thought out and really put your heart and mind into.

That being said, I felt like you kept returning to the whole guilt/'special hell' subject too often. And not in the means of making it the theme of your story (that's a necessary thing to achieve) but that you literally kept using the terms to describe it ("awkward", "guilt", etc.). Being synonymous never hurt.

Thank you for the read. Just absolutely wonderful.
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  #8  
Old 12-28-2010, 08:03 PM
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Scribin' is short for Subscribing. It's one of the site features, of which I'm sure you are aware.
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:07 PM
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Although I do agree with Tux, that you do have a way with words. I feel I must contradict him on certain other points. This was a good piece of work. It did not however, flow too well for me. There were smooth parts, but there were also rough parts. Another thing I noticed, is how towards the end you started to let your writing slip. SPaG error began to show up more frequently and the overall smoothness of the sentances began to fall apart. Structure-wise, the story was great. You could tell that it was well thought out. After a once over or two, this story would be perfect.
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Old 12-29-2010, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Epictetus View Post
Scribin' is short for Subscribing. It's one of the site features, of which I'm sure you are aware.
Actually I did not know that. I am horrible at reading instructions and such.

Thank you for your comments this was my second draft so much work needed. It's actually going into one of my books in another form.
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:03 PM
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Hi Silphie,

This is my first critiquing post, so apologies if I break any rules.

I agree with TuxedoBoonee that there is a nice flowing motion to your words, though in a few places I could feel some errant words or stilted sentences - but nothing major.

Just a few other specific bits:

didn’t like the idea of eating a cracked from the same dish everyone
I think this should be "eating a cracker"

When they had finished and gone their separate ways she couldn’t get the feeling that it had been an awkward time for her.
Presumably you meant "couldn't get OVER the" or similar?

Hope this helps.
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Last edited by Koac; 12-29-2010 at 01:14 PM..
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  #12  
Old 12-31-2010, 05:40 PM
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I do agree with the others that you have a way with words, I will disagree about her thoughts going back too much though. I thought it seemed like what could run through someone's mind (if you would like to know, I've had similar thoughts in church in the past. )

It was kind of short, so I'm not sure what more I could add, other than I think it could go somewhere interesting, and wouldn't mind seeing what this would lead up to or worked in to. Could make for a pretty scathing satire or something, and I mean that in a good way. Nothing much to add in the way of negatives, except perhaps whats already been mentioned (some SPaG, etc.)
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Old 12-31-2010, 06:02 PM
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In retrospect I meant to point this out earlier, since I believe it could add a potential comedy element to the story. I usually find myself fantasizing about sex whilst in churches. You could throw in something about how she starts daydreaming about the preacher in a tiger skin speedo or something...
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