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Didn't I Kill You?

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Old 09-01-2012, 02:55 PM
BoyHowdy (Offline)
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Default Didn't I Kill You?


I've lurked here for a while, and so far everyone seems friendly, so, despite my insecurities, I'm going to be brave and post a piece. Any comments that anyone would like to offer regarding any spelling, grammar, punctuation, or story continuity issues . . . or issues of any other kind... would be very much appreciated.

Please be honest...but classy. You won't send me away crying, or endure any backlash. Compliments (if, by some miracle, this story warrants any) might give me a big head.

Thanks.


Didn’t I Kill You?
 
A biting breeze whispered through the trees as I stepped away from the grave. I tightened my coat around me, and wondered why I had bothered to come here.

“Excuse me.”

The whistle of the wind nearly drowned the soft voice behind me. Unsure whether I’d actually heard someone speak or not, I paused and turned halfway around.

“I think I know you.” The voice belonged to a woman. Shivering, she stood with arms folded across her chest and hands sucked back inside the sleeves of her coat like frightened turtles.

“I don’t think so,” I said, irritated by the intrusion.

“I’m sure of it.” With a severe hitch in her step, she inched closer. “Your name’s Ian, right?”

I nodded. I longed for the warmth of my car, but the fact that she knew my name intrigued me. I studied her through repeated clouds of my breath. Dark hair poured over her shoulders and provided a stunning contrast to her ice-blue eyes. Something about her reached a secret, suppressed place deep within me.

“I knew it!” she blurted. “My God, this is incredible!”

Her smile suddenly seemed familiar. When I noticed the small scar that divided her left eyebrow, my hands jumped out of my pockets and I jerked backwards. Leaving a shiver in its wake, the frigid breeze that gave voice to the trees seemed to pass suddenly through my flesh.

“Kaylynn?”

“You probably think you’re seeing ghost, huh?” she asked.

“I . . . s-s-saw you f-fall,” I said, as the cold and a sudden onset of nerves played havoc with my tongue.

“I’m so sorry . . . This must be so unsettling for you,” she said as she peered into my eyes.

“Look,” I said, as I took a step backward, “I don’t know who you are, but this . . . This isn’t funny, okay, so . . .” With a shudder, I turned away.

Her soft words, “I didn’t die,” halted me. “It didn’t kill me . . . Well, obviously.” She tried to laugh, but seemed unsure of the appropriateness. I remained still. “Please, you’re all I remember,” she added.

I trembled as I slowly turned back. Could it really be her? I hadn’t seen her in . . . what? . . . fourteen years? Fourteen years, but it all started coming back. Her voice, her smile, her eyes, all so familiar. But how? How could she be standing here? I had killed her.

Well, I might as well have.

“All you remember,” I asked, involuntarily; I hadn’t wanted to speak; I wanted to run.

She nodded. “Almost everything before that day is gone, but your face has always remained vivid in my mind. That’s why I thought you looked so familiar, and when I saw the last name on the stone you were looking at . . . Well, I just couldn’t believe it.”

“How . . . ?” My voice faltered.

“It didn’t kill me. I was just –”

“You were in a coma,” I said. “The doctors said that you’d never wake up, and if you did, you’d be . . . You know, brain-damaged . . . or whatever.”

“I didn’t wake up . . . Not for five years. Almost right on my twenty-first birthday.” She apparently could see the questions swirling behind my narrowed eyes, and instantly continued. “These last nine years since I woke have been hard; not having a childhood to remember, having to relearn so many things. The doctors said it was a miracle that I could talk, that I knew language and the names of everyday things, that I knew my parents. But there was a lot that I didn’t understand.”

The more she spoke, the longer her voice filled the space between us, the more my shuddering softened.

“Well, that’s not completely true,” she continued. “I said I can’t remember my childhood, but I remember us . . . you and me.”

I did, too.

“I remember it like it was yesterday. In a lot of ways, it was for me,” she added.

“I’m sorry, I’m still having a little trouble . . . Is it really you?” I asked. My voice suddenly reminded me of the sixteen-year-old that used to feel so nervous around her.

She flashed a hesitant smile. “Yeah, it’s me . . . Remember this?” she asked and ran her finger over the scar in her eyebrow.

Not immediately aware of my own grin, I said, “The only tree on the entire street, and you flew right into it.”

She giggled. “If only bicycle handlebars had seatbelts.”

God, it’s true; she really has risen.

I knew this feeling, the same calm that used to fill me when we hung out together, when every hour felt like a lifetime of its own. I never thought that I could recapture that contented, blind-to-the-world state of mind. But, with every word she spoke, I could feel that ease returning, could feel the warmth of that August day.

The day she fell.

I wanted to ask just how much she recalled of that day, but fear of her answer weakened my tongue.

Her giggling faded, but our gazes held through the steam of our breath.

“That day –” I began.

“That day sure threw a wrench in my life,” she said. “I hope it didn’t ruin yours.”

“Things couldn‘t have gotten much worse for me than they already were.” I shoved my hands into my pockets and hugged myself through my coat.

“What d‘ya mean?”

“You don’t remember how messed up things were for me? My dad?” I asked, sniffling from the cold.

“I just remember talking about our crushes, teasing each other. We had a lot of fun.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“I remember being in love with . . .” Her voice faded. Though not a single muscle in her face moved, pain emanated from her features.

In love? With Cameron?

I hated Cameron.

“Well, you were the best thing in my life back then.” As I spoke, I tried to wipe my nose without looking gross. With nowhere to wipe my fingers, I stuffed them back into my pocket. “But you had a lot of friends. Do you remember them?”

“No . . . Just you, really,” she said.

“Cameron? What about Cameron?”

Her face wrinkled with the effort of thought. “Cameron? . . . No . . .”

I remembered.

I remembered watching her and Cameron getting dressed.

“Cameron was there that day,” I said. I tried to bite back the anger as my stomach burned with the stir of old jealousies.

“You mean the day I . . .?”

I nodded. “You two were . . . You know . . . flirting.”

The hurt in her eyes deepened. “Right in front of you?”

“Yeah. Always.”

“I didn’t know,” she said, wiping her eyes. “I only remember you, honestly.”

“Do you remember how you fell?”

“No . . . My mom told me I was being silly. She said that was my usual way.” Her smile still seemed tentative.

“You were . . . Silly, I mean.” I offered my own smile. She accepted it, briefly. “That day, you were just being you. You were talking about Cameron.”

“And I fell?”

“You were looking up at the sky – You always did that when you were talking about, you know, girl stuff – and . . .” I thought that I could repeat the lie again. It used to roll off my tongue like song lyrics. But now, with her standing here after fourteen years, I couldn’t form the words.

With small steps, limping from side to side, she tried to warm herself as she peered up at me and waited for me to continue.

As I thought about the police interviews and the expression on my father’s face, I tried to avoid eye contact with Kaylynn. I could still hear her words from that day, the words she spoke as she stared skyward with her arms splayed like angel wings and her voice like a sigh. She barely held off a giggle as she repeated her feelings for Cameron.

Then she fell.

After the brick caromed off her head.

She landed with a thud and a crack of bones.

That crack had echoed in my head for fourteen years. So how could she stand in front of me now?

“You fell.” I forced those two words out, ending the debate of how to lie again. My fists clenched inside my pockets.

“I just tripped, huh? Looking up like that?”

I nodded and reached up to wipe my nose again. I jammed my hand back into my pocket and twisted the front of my coat in an angry grip.

She sniffled from the cold and emotion. “You must’ve been so scared.”

I didn’t remember fear, only a dog-in-the-manger kind of satisfaction as I looked down at her and smiled.

The smile lingered for a few days, until I became angry at myself for destroying the only good thing I had. Over the following years, failure to control that anger led me to do things that ended with bars sliding shut behind me. I always emerged from the weeklong stints angrier, spiteful. The thirty-day stints saw me leave the cell apologetic, vowing to change, promising God.

After all that . . .

How dare she stand here in front of me!

My jaw muscles rippled and my fists tightened further.

“I rushed down to you,” I said.

She wiped her eyes again, then took time to tend delicately to her own dripping nose. “I’m so sorry.”

Sorry?

That word drew one of my hands out of its coat-pocket sheath. It dangled at my side, like a gunslinger’s drawing hand. My eyes spotted a vase of flowers next to a nearby grave. I could see a lot of them around, but mostly plastic ones. This one consisted of some kind of glass or porcelain, something heavy.

Weapon-like.

“It wasn’t your fault,” I said. I had to force my jaws to work despite my anger and the cold. “It was an accident.”

“I know, but I’m sorry you had to go through that, to see that. I mean, I kind of had the easy part. I just had to relearn how to walk.” She patted her bad leg as she giggled softly. “I did wonder what happened to you, though. My mom tried to contact you, to tell you that I had woken up. But no one knew where you were. And your parents weren’t around anymore.” With this, her gaze traveled over to the headstone that she had seen me observing when she first approached me.

My eyes followed. “Just drank his dumb ass dead one night. Passing out in the back yard in a snow storm didn’t help,” I said. I remembered spying my father’s body through the kitchen window and feeling relief when the coroner made the pronouncement of death official.

“Your mom?” she asked.

“Livin’ in Vegas. We moved there after he died. Had relatives there.”

“Are you with anyone?” she asked.

My eyes flashed over to the vase. My free hand clenched and opened, then rose as I pretended to scratch an itch on my forehead. I opened my mouth to speak, but shook my head instead.

She frowned. “You haven’t spent all this time alone, have you?”

I nodded, eyes glancing at the vase.

“Oh, no. That’s not ’cause of me and . . . well . . . everything? Is it?”

I continued to scratch my forehead, mumbling an untruthful, “No.”

“Just never found the right one?” she asked.

An all-too-familiar memory flashed through my mind. The image, from the day she fell, of a pool of blood swelling from beneath her head into nearby shadows. For an instant, I imagined blood bathing the broken pieces of a porcelain vase.

I shook the thoughts and looked into her ice-blue eyes. “I found someone,” I said, “but they wanted someone else.”

She wiped her nose again and smiled. “Their loss.”

Their loss. I told myself that once.

But, I still threw the brick.

“My mom told me how you sat next to my hospital bed for hours every day in the early going.” she said as she moved a stiff-legged step closer. She seemed to want to hug me. “According to her, no one else came around much, none of my other friends.”

“What about Cameron?” I asked.

“Mom never mentioned anyone by that name.”

She should have known that. She should have known who really cared for her. She should never have made me raise that brick. She should never have fucked Cameron.

Why did she have to do that?

Why did she have to come back?

Why did she make me want just to forget it all and embrace her?

My dangling hand returned to my pocket.

Despite the cold, my cheeks pulled my lips into a grin. “I was the only one who came by?”

“Mom told me that you held my hand for hours.” Her smile held steady now and grew in accord with mine.

“That’s hard to believe. You had so many friends.”

She shrugged. “But only one true one.”

My smile faltered into a bashful flicker.

“Could I get a hug?” she asked. Her grin sparkled and tears gleamed in the corners of her eyes. I raised my arms to invite her. As my cheek pressed against the top of her head, the smell of her hair struck my attention. It seemed so familiar, so pleasing. I squeezed her firmly.

She laughed between sobs. I understood what she felt. My knees nearly went limp with the release of my own painful emotions.

She laughed into my chest. “Alex is never gonna believe me.”

“Alex?”

“Yeah . . . I talk about you all the time.”

“You’re married?”

“Sort of.” She pulled back to look up at me while still clutching my sides. “We met in the hospital when I was rehabbing my leg.”

“I’m glad you found someone . . . after everything. I guess he’s the lucky one, though,” I said.

“Uh, no . . . You don’t remember –”

“I need to get going,” I said as angry jealousy coursed through me again.

“Oh, I’m sorry to keep you.” She squeezed me to her one last time and limped back. “I sure hope we can stay in touch. Do you live around here now?”

“Just passing through. On my way to a new job in Salt Lake City.”

“So things are going good then?” she asked.

Not wanting to think about my failures, I restlessly scratched nonexistent itches on the back of my neck. “Yeah.”

“Do you have a number where I can reach you?” she asked. “I’d really like to talk more about old times.”

I fumbled for my cell in an inside pocket of my coat. Struggling with cold fingers and small buttons, we recited our numbers to each other and entered them into our phones.

“So, do you and Alex have any kids?” I asked as I put my phone away.

“Uh, no . . . You really don’t remember, do you?”

“Sorry?”

“You were the only one who understood back then. I think it’s what made us so close,” she said.

I scrunched my eyebrows.

She wiped her eyes, then her nose. “Alex and I aren’t married . . . It’s more of a civil union kind of thing.”

I cocked my head. “You mean . . . ?”

“Remember how confused I was?”

“That’s right; you were . . .” my voice caught in my throat.

Her smile hung somewhere between pride and embarrassment.

In the piercingly cold breeze that chapped my face and stung my ears, I felt hot as memories played in my head.

Most of the kids that climbed up to the top of the press box, which towered above the bleachers at the high school football field, did so to smoke pot while skipping class. But some found it a good place to make out, or more, during the summer break.

I’d found her and Cameron there.

I watched them as they dressed after their coupling.

Then, after Cameron left, I dazed her with the brick. She stumbled and bumped into the knee-high wall and tumbled over. As she dropped, her leg twisted around the hand railing on the steps that led to the interior of the press box.

“You were so understanding, so supportive. I felt more comfortable around you than with my own family,” she said, bringing me back to the present. I could barely hear her over the raging blood in my ears. “I was so confused and scared,” she continued. I remembered her fear that her religious parents would discover her secret. “I used to flirt with boys to see if I could change myself . . . I even slept with one,” she added.

“Really?” I asked, confused. I had thought that she didn’t remember Cameron.

“I don’t know who it was, but apparently it wasn’t long before I fell, because . . . Well, heh . . .” She turned and pointed. My eyes followed her finger to a headstone, one with a porcelain vase full of flowers in front of it. The inscription read: BABY IAN.

“Wait . . . That’s . . . ?” My mouth gaped. I couldn’t believe that I’d forgotten.

She nodded. “Died at birth . . . about nine months after I fell. Mom said she named him after you, ’cause you were so sweet for sitting with me so much.”

The sickening twist in my guts returned. It had taken fourteen years to unravel it, but now it tightened worse than it had that day, the day that the aim of the school’s least athletic, most uncoordinated kid proved true.

What makes a boy so angry? So jealous? What makes a boy capable of murder? So capable of throwing a brick at the only good thing in his life?

What makes a man want to do it again?

What can stop him?

I stared at the vase. Thoughts of how much damage it could do flashed through my mind. Then my gaze shifted to the name on the gravestone as I thought of the day I watched them lower the tiny casket.

“It was Cameron,” I mumbled.

“The one I slept with?”

I nodded. “The day you fell.”

Her hand clasped her mouth as she turned her head and stared at the headstone.

For several moments, only the swirling wind whispered between us.

Finally, I cleared my throat. “We really do need to talk some more, don’t we?”

We stared at each other for another quiet moment, noses on the verge of dripping. The incessant breeze wisped our steaming breath around the sides of our faces.

“I hope it hasn’t been too disturbing for you, running into me like this,” she said.

I shook my head, eyes darting all directions. “A little surreal, yes, but . . .” I laughed softly, drawing a giggle from her. “Really, as much as I try to forget so many things from back then, I do love thinking of the fun we had.”

“Oh, I do, too,” she blurted happily. “I miss it so much. It’s the only memory I have from my youth, but at least it’s a good one.”

“The best one from my life so far,” I said.

“We had a blast, talking about who we liked and . . . Who was it that you had such a crush on? You were so obsessed; you used to swear that you ‘ached!’ Who was that?” she asked, then giggled as the old carefree feelings of youth stirred beneath stifling maturity.

My smile wilted. My gaze locked on the ground between us. My hands hardened back into fists.

She giggled a bit louder. “You had it so bad. Who was it?”

“Cameron.”

My throat barely allowed the word to escape.

“Oh, Cameron. How funny . . . Wait, you mean the same Cameron that I . . .?”

My eyes pulled away from the ground and rose to meet hers. After holding her gaze for a few long seconds, I nodded.

She clutched her chest and covered her mouth. “I’m so sorry; I can’t believe I did that to you. You must’ve hated me.”

I swallowed and forced a smile through clenched jaws. “I was pretty jealous, but, heck . . . it’s not like he was ever gonna be into me.” I sniffled and wiped my nose. A porcelain vase lurked in my peripheral vision . . .


. . . The end?

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Old 09-02-2012, 12:11 AM
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Hullo! I'm glad you decided to post your work! We are all (well, mostly) harmless and we're all here to help one another get better. I'm reading this on my phone so I'll have to come back for my crits portion. There actually weren't many I found, but then again I got completely sucked in to the story.

Really good job on this! The dialogue was great, although I did notice the repetition of " Such a great time in my youth" or "You're all I remember of my youth". It took away from it a bit but that could just be me. I loved how you built upon each part of the story, only giving away a little at a time. I didn't even completely understand all these revelations until the last para. In fact, I went back and reread parts of it which always tells me that this is gripping. The suspense was also nicely done. When he started looking at the vase I was on edge wondering if he was gonna do it or not. So overall, I loved it! If I could change one thing, though, it would be the end. So abrupt! I hope there's another part! But it was just kind of disappointing because the big reveal was terrific and then...it just ended. Even at the end of a part I probably would've just ended with the reveal. There better be more! Great stuff, I will be back

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Old 09-02-2012, 09:50 AM
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I really liked this story, BoyHowdy. You have an ability for suspense; there were moments during my reading that I was literally on the edge of my seat trying to piece everything together.
I LOVED the ending. It was very unexpected, and, in my opinion, you should try to keep it in if you make any revisions. The last sentence is perfect.
Overall, I think you did a fantastic job. I can't wait to read your future stories!

P.S. - Thanks for commenting on my story! I agree with what you said about the profanity. I was trying to make the dialogue sound authentic, but maybe I went overboard.
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:13 PM
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Thanks, Choxie, for the compliments. I'm very insecure about my writing, so hearing that some of the things i was going for came through as intended (such as building suspense with the vase) is a good feeling. I worred that so many things would be too confusing, but I didn't want to state them straight out and disrupt the flow I was hoping to achieve. I figured the ending would go over with some readers, and fail with others. Not sure how to continue the story much further while maintaining the suspense. I am considering it, however. Thanks again, choxie. It was very nice of you to take the time to comment.

Thanks to you, too, beatlborg. You proved my point; one reader will dislike the ending, and one will enjoy it. Again, hearing that the suspense came through is such a nice feeling. Gives me confidence (not that i'll ever be truly confident) in future works. As for your story, you're welcome. I know what you mean about tyring to make the dialog sound authentic. Even twelve-year-olds dont' say "awe, shucks". they say "awe, F**k". But, if targeted toward a younger audience, you simply have to corny it up a bit. Overall, though, i thought it was well written and entertaining. I often write stories for a young-adult audience, so I enjoy reading them.

Thanks to both of you for taking the time to read my story and comment. I need to start returning the favor more. I haven't commented a lot, but will try to change that.

Thank again.

BH
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Old 09-02-2012, 03:33 PM
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Can I ask you if you imagine a certain kind of audience when you write? Or are you your only audience? Or you only care what you think? Or whazzup.

Please feel free to respond. Jw
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:13 PM
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I wish i knew why you asked this question, maidahl, but I can only say that I write the story that comes to me. I figure out what audience to target it to after it's written. An author limits his/her creativity if he/she tries to force fit a story into a particular genre or age group. Just write it first, then figure out where it fits best.

I hope that answered your question well enough.

BH
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:15 PM
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yup. answered all of them
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:34 AM
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You can write suspense and as I read every word, I was hanging on every word. It was edge of the seat stuff and I wanted to know more, the women who I thought did die, however, it was a great twist.
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:04 PM
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Thank you, Andy, for the kind words, and for taking the time to read my work. I like hearing that the suspense came through; i wasn't very confident that it would. I dread the reply that tears it apart, which I know is coming...eventually.

Thanks again.

BH
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Old 09-03-2012, 07:14 PM
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“Kaylynn?”

“You probably think you’re seeing ghost, huh?” she asked.

“I . . . s-s-saw you f-fall,” I said, as the cold and a sudden onset of nerves played havoc with my tongue.
Whoa, this just got real ...


“All you remember,” question mark here. I asked, involuntarily; I hadn’t wanted to speak; I wanted to run.



“I didn’t wake up . . . Not for five years. Almost right on my twenty-first birthday.” She apparently could see the questions swirling behind my narrowed eyes, and instantly continued. “These last nine years since I woke have been hard; not having a childhood to remember, having to relearn so many things. The doctors said it was a miracle that I could talk, that I knew language and the names of everyday things, that I knew my parents. But there was a lot that I didn’t understand.”
amnesia is interesting isn't it? I've always wondered why some people remember major life lessons but not their own names.
The more she spoke, the longer her voice filled the space between us, the more my shuddering softened. I understand her voice filling the space, well written. But longer doesn't work does it? Her voice wouldn't fill the vloid longer. I would write something like:

The more she spoke, the more her voice filled the space between us. My shudderin softened.



Not immediately aware of my own grin, I said, “The only tree on the entire street, and you flew right into it.”

She giggled. “If only bicycle handlebars had seatbelts.” instead, what do you think of, "If only bicycle's had seatbelts."



“That day sure threw a wrench in my life,” she said. how does she know? “I hope it didn’t ruin yours.”

“Things couldn‘t have gotten much worse for me than they already were.” Is it me or is that kind of dick thing to say to her? I shoved my hands into my pockets and hugged myself through my coat.



With small steps, limping from side to side, she tried to warm herself as she peered up at me and waited for me to continue.
For the love of God, go someplace warmer ...


The smile lingered for a few days, until I became angry at myself for destroying the only good thing I had. Over the following years, failure to control that anger led me to do things that ended with bars sliding shut behind me. I always emerged from the weeklong stints angrier, spiteful. The thirty-day stints saw me leave the cell apologetic, vowing to change, promising God.
dude, did he push her?


“Alex?”

“Yeah . . . I talk about you all the time.”

“You’re married?”
uh oh ...


I scrunched my eyebrows.

She wiped her eyes, then her nose. “Alex and I aren’t married . . . It’s more of a civil union kind of thing.”
Well why didn't they just get married then, it doesn't make any sense ...

Oh wait ...

Oh!

Wow ...

Awesome ...



My smile wilted. My gaze locked on the ground between us. My hands hardened back into fists.

She giggled a bit louder. “You had it so bad. Who was it?”

“Cameron.”
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! It's a twist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Dude! You can't end it here! There's gonna be more of this right?

Dude! You can't go with the Pirahna 3D ending, you just can't ...

Seriously, I hate those kind of endings. I need to know what happens with this chick ...

Alright ... criticism? I don't have any. This was awesome!!! 5 stars! I lost count of the plot twists! What quality!!!

The characters are amazing. Both of them.

Who's grave was looking at? Was he looking at his sons grave or someone elses?

At one point he goes, "HOw could I have forgotten?" Was that because he forgot his sons grave was there or because he forgot that she would be there for the same reason?

Any way, again, 5 stars ...


Edit: sorry, I meant name sake, I don't know why I wrote son ...
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:01 PM
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I enjoyed this story, actually. It kept me gripped which, if you know me (I have Asperger's Syndrome) is pretty difficult.
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:57 PM
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Excellent piece, I liked the way you ended it. thanks for sharing
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:02 PM
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Thanks so much, Rooster, for taking the time to comment, and for the very nice compliments. After a hundred proofings, a writer can still miss several things; thanks for pointing them out (such as missing question mark, and sentences that need reworking), and for the helpful suggestions. I can't tell you how much it means to hear such positive feedback so far.

I'm still learning how this works, so i hope i copy and past properly here so i can try to answer some of your questions.

She giggled. “If only bicycle handlebars had seatbelts.” instead, what do you think of, "If only bicycle's had seatbelts."

Actually, I was picturing him riding the bick with Kaylynn riding sitting on the handlebars like kids do, so that's why i wrote it that way. I do now realize that a lot of readers might not get it, so perhaps i should take your suggestion here.

“That day sure threw a wrench in my life,” she said. how does she know? “I hope it didn’t ruin yours.”

I intended for her to be referring to the fall that put her in a coma, which she would know about, and know that it had disrupted her life. Again, this apparently doesn't read as i'd planned. I must rethink!

“Things couldn‘t have gotten much worse for me than they already were.” Is it me or is that kind of dick thing to say to her? I shoved my hands into my pockets and hugged myself through my coat.

Hahah, ya know, I never thought of it that way. You're right; it sounds a little awful.

Who's grave was looking at? Was he looking at his sons grave or someone elses?

He was looking at his father's grave.

But no one knew where you were. And your parents weren’t around anymore.” With this, her gaze traveled over to the headstone that she had seen me observing when she first approached me.

My eyes followed. “Just drank his dumb ass dead one night. Passing out in the back yard in a snow storm didn’t help,” I said. I remembered spying my father’s body through the kitchen window and feeling relief when the coroner made the pronouncement of death official.


I had hoped that this passaged explained it, but maybe I need to rework it so to be sure no one is confused.

At one point he goes, "HOw could I have forgotten?" Was that because he forgot his sons grave was there or because he forgot that she would be there for the same reason?

He merely forgot about her having had a baby. a few minutes later, he remembers watching them lowere the tiny baby casket, but at first he'd forgotten about the baby altogether. He had tried to block the painful memories...at least, that what's i was hoping the reader would believe. A writer's rewriting is never done!

as for the ending... I wanted to leave the reader wondering if he kills her for good this time with the vase, or not... if i continue the story, I'll have to decide what he does, and i can't make up my mind, heheh. Also, how do i keep up the suspense on that much longer? If he doesn't kill her, then what twist do i add to it to keep the suspense going and the reader reading? It so hard to know what to do? ... I am considering furthering the story, though.

Thanks again for the kind, enthusiastic words. I only hope my next piece...or the continuation of this one... isn't a let down.

BH






Thanks very much, redrobin. I love hearing that it kept the reader gripped. I have a friend with Asperger's, so i know a bit about it. Believe me, I means a lot that someone like you enjoyed my work.

Thanks again.

BH

Thank you, quetzalcoat. I appreciate people taking the time to comment. It's so funny how one person likes the hanging ending, and the next disagrees. It's actually flattering to hear the someone wants me to continue the story, though.

Thanks again.

BH

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Old 09-04-2012, 03:39 AM
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Don't think too much into my wrench comment, sometimes I'm criticing your work, sometimes I'm just being a smart Alec. The wrench thing works.

I over looked the fathers grave thing, yeah, it did do the job.

I gotta tell ya, man. Never leave the reader wondering anything. It stinks. It's one thing if it's like lord of the flies, and there is a legit question to ask the reader,

But this isn't a society thing. We really wanna know if this girl is alright. It's personal.

for me, Pirahna 3D, the first saw movie, that's just lazy storytelling.

Although this piece was better than both of them. The suspense is well thought out. Ending aside.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:59 AM
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"Never leave the reader wondering anything. It stinks."

I disagree with all my soul, strength, heart, etc.

I like when I am left wondering. It just depends on if the story is strong enough to carry it. Oh and I dislike crits where people mention "the reader" as if they are speaking for all readers as a whole. Very omniscient. I don't like "We" in "We really wanna know...". Who is we? EVERYBODY EVER to have ever read this?

I don't give if the girl is alright. I think the questions I was left with after reading was a success.

I like that you mentioned you might be a smarty-alec. Oy, Rooster. <3 Nothing personal. I just would be weirded out if you gave me a crit like this.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:56 AM
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No worries, Rooster, about me thinking too much into you're comment. I can't think too much, period...but if I thought too much about any comments, I'd probably never have the nerve to post anything here, or anywhere.

As i keep saying, one reader will like the ending, another won't. If I had resolved the story, one way or the other, those who don't like the a hanging ending would be happier, but not automatically satisfied. No musician can please all ears.

I do thank you for comments, though. I saw a comment from you on one of you're own threads (I think that's where it was) where you asked someone if he/she'd read my story, calling it "amazing". That was nice to hear/see! I am trying to finish reading all the installments of your Dragon Lover story before commenting on it. If the distractions around here would lighten, i'd be able to read more than a paragraphe a day. But, I will comment eventually. Thanks again, Rooster.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by BoyHowdy View Post
but if I thought too much about any comments, I'd probably never have the nerve to post anything here, or anywhere.
I do thank you for comments, though. That was nice to hear/see! Thanks again, Rooster.
You are g
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:06 PM
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Thank you to you again, too, Maidahl. I laughed when you said "I don't give if the girl is alright". I'm assuming you meant that you don't give a sh**. I just love that attitude.

As for Rooster's crit, I wasn't weirded out, though i can see how some might be. I appreciate and respect Rooster's honesty. Smoke-blowing is pointless. You and he seem to have a no-smoke-blowing policy. I do agree that one(in this case, a critiquer) should avoid implying that ALL readers will see something a certain way, although i give benefit of the doubt that most people when they "we" don't necessarily mean it the way it sounds.

Do you have any writings on here, Maidahl? I'd love to see something you've written. It's probably been right in front of my face...

Thanks again.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by maidahl View Post
You are g
Not sure i know what "g" means.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by maidahl View Post
"Never leave the reader wondering anything. It stinks."

I disagree with all my soul, strength, heart, etc.

I like when I am left wondering. It just depends on if the story is strong enough to carry it. Oh and I dislike crits where people mention "the reader" as if they are speaking for all readers as a whole. Very omniscient. I don't like "We" in "We really wanna know...". Who is we? EVERYBODY EVER to have ever read this?

I don't give if the girl is alright. I think the questions I was left with after reading was a success.

I like that you mentioned you might be a smarty-alec. Oy, Rooster. <3 Nothing personal. I just would be weirded out if you gave me a crit like this.
I never ment to imply that I represented all readers, "We" was a clumbsy choice of word.

but you don't care if this girl is alright? rEally? Why? Open you heart, man, this girl was struggling with her sexuallity as a teenager, got smacked in the head with a brick, woke up 15 years later and is face to face with the guy who did it to her!!!

And he might do it again!!! Have you no compassion!?

And she lost a baby!!!

Also, what questions do you think the reader is left with besides, "Is he gonna hit her with that vase?"

And why on earth would you be weirded out if I left you this critic? I could understand you not agreeing with me, but being weirded out? REally?



Originally Posted by BoyHowdy View Post
Not sure i know what "g" means.
It means your a ganster. Congrates, but remember, with great power comes great responsibility ...

Thanks for the read on Dragon Lover, man. Always appreciated.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:47 PM
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Ah, gangster... Never thought i'd be called that... but i like it!
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:48 PM
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I'm backkkk.

Originally Posted by BoyHowdy View Post
I've lurked here for a while, and so far everyone seems friendly, so, despite my insecurities, I'm going to be brave and post a piece. Any comments that anyone would like to offer regarding any spelling, grammar, punctuation, or story continuity issues . . . or issues of any other kind... would be very much appreciated.

Please be honest...but classy. You won't send me away crying, or endure any backlash. Compliments (if, by some miracle, this story warrants any) might give me a big head.

Thanks.


Didn’t I Kill You?
 
A biting breeze whispered through the trees as I stepped away from the grave. I tightened my coat around me, and wondered why I had bothered to come here.

For the last sentence I think you could make it much simpler so that it flows better. Such as - "I tightened my coat around me, wondering why I had bothered to come here."

“Excuse me.”

The whistle of the wind nearly drowned the soft voice behind me. Unsure whether I’d actually heard someone speak or not, I paused and turned halfway around.

“I think I know you.” The voice belonged to a woman. Shivering, she stood with arms folded across her chest and hands sucked back inside the sleeves of her coat like frightened turtles.

“I don’t think so,” I said, irritated by the intrusion.

“I’m sure of it.” With a severe hitch in her step, she inched closer. “Your name’s Ian, right?”

I nodded. I longed for the warmth of my car, but the fact that she knew my name intrigued me. I studied her through repeated clouds of my breath. Dark hair poured over her shoulders and provided a stunning contrast to her ice-blue eyes. Something about her reached a secret, suppressed place deep within me.

“I knew it!” she blurted. “My God, this is incredible!”

Her smile suddenly seemed familiar. When I noticed the small scar that divided her left eyebrow, my hands jumped out of my pockets and I jerked backwards. Leaving a shiver in its wake, the frigid breeze that gave voice to the trees seemed to pass suddenly through my flesh.

This is the third time you've mentioned the wind. Not that it's overused but I definitely notice the repetition. Of course, you may have did that on purpose.

“Kaylynn?”

“You probably think you’re seeing ghost, huh?” she asked.

[FONT=Book Antiqua]“I . . . s-s-saw you f-fall,” I said, as the cold and a sudden onset of nerves played havoc with my tongue.[/FONT
I think that's all I found in terms of nits. Just some stuff I noticed early on but as I got sucked into the story I couldn't find any other faults. One consistent thing that did bother me a little was your frequent use of ellipsis. The dialogue was great, but often it lagged because the words were separated so often by the ellipsis that it started to lose its meaning and some of the suspense they held. A few sprinkled in would have given a bigger effect of uncertainty, as well as abrupt sentences, perhaps.

Originally Posted by BoyHowdy View Post
“Yeah . . . I talk about you all the time.”
“Uh, no . . . You don’t remember –”
“Uh, no . . . You really don’t remember, do you?”
“Alex and I aren’t married . . . It’s more of a civil union kind of thing.”

“We had a blast, talking about who we liked and . . . Who was it that you had such a crush on? You were so obsessed; you used to swear that you ‘ached!’ Who was that?” she asked, then giggled as the old carefree feelings of youth stirred beneath stifling maturity.

“Oh, Cameron. How funny . . . Wait, you mean the same Cameron that I . . .?”

I swallowed and forced a smile through clenched jaws. “I was pretty jealous, but, heck . . . it’s not like he was ever gonna be into me.” I sniffled and wiped my nose. A porcelain vase lurked in my peripheral vision . . .
Just a few examples I found where they seemed a bit out of place. Hope this helps slash makes any sort of sense. Still love this story, I look forward to more of your stuff
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:19 AM
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Thanks very much, Choxie. I was waiting for you to come back.

I agree with you about the ellipses, at least on some of the examples, and i'm glad you brought it up. I had a lot more originally, but eliminated a ton of them. I've been wondering whether I still had too many. It's one of those bad habits that I'm having a hard time breaking. I can hear the characters talking when I write, all the little pauses and hesitations and trailing off, but a lot of things that happen in actual speach don't necessarily come through well in written dialog.

The first "nit" that you pointed out make sense; it wouldn't hurt to tighten that up. As for the repeated references to the wind, it's hard to remember whether I did that on purpose or was just describing the scene that I saw in my head, without realizing how many times I had already mentioned a certain detail. Either way, it's something to think about.

I thank you again. It was very nice of you to take the time to point some things out. And thanks for the compliments as well. Those always mean a lot to us insecure writers.

By the way, I love the wolf in your pic. I'm a big wolf guy (any dog, really.)

BH
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:44 AM
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“You probably think you’re seeing ghost, huh?” she asked.


'...seeing a ghost...'


Her soft words, “I didn’t die,” halted me. “It didn’t kill me . . . Well, obviously.” She tried to laugh, but seemed unsure of the appropriateness. I remained still. “Please, you’re all I remember,” she added.


Personally, I'd start each new passage of speech on a new line, which I think is the general practice.

She nodded. “Almost everything before that day is gone, but your face has always remained vivid in my mind. That’s why I thought you looked so familiar, and when I saw the last name on the stone you were looking at . . . Well, I just couldn’t believe it.”


I would have had 'She nodded' at end of last paragraph, then passage of speech with own new paragraph.

I did, too.


Well, that's obvious by now, so I'd say that bit's not necessary.




could feel the warmth of that August day.


The day she fell
Again, here, I don't think you need, 'The day she fell'. Those who've read from the start will know what you mean when you say, 'That August day'.

Most of the kids that climbed up to the top of the press box, which towered above the bleachers at the high school football field.


'Press box'? What's that? I believe 'bleachers' are just spectator seats, are they?

Very well written and poignant, I thought.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:05 PM
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You're so welcome! I think you're a terrific writer and have nothing to be insecure about! I get nervous posting sometimes as well but most people are just here to help you out, and the advice you get really is priceless. And thank you, I love wolves and am a total dog person as well. Hopefully someday I'll be able to study them (wolves, I mean!).
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:50 PM
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Thanks again, Choxie. I can't argue with most of your suggestions here. They are little things that one just doesn't see on one's own. Especially "I did, too" not being necessary. As you said, the advice that one recieves here is priceless.

I will say that (and I very well could be wrong) passages of speech can remain in the same paragraph as long as it's the same speaker speaking. As soon as a different character speaks, one must begin a new paragraph. There's no need to begin new paragraphs for each different sentence or thought by one character, unless a long stretch of action comes between the spoken words (if that makes any sense)... again, though, i could be wrong.

Also, I dont' know about other schools, but here (and this is a very small town) there are large bleachers on one side of the football field for the home fans, and smaller stands on the other side for fans of the visiting team. The home bleachers have a building basically built onto the back of them that towers above the highest seats. inside that structure, is where the announcers for the game sit and announce, the reperters for the local paper watch the game and the school's statisticians keep track. The cameras are usually elswhere, but sometimes are atop the building to record the game, whether still photos or video. The structure is called the press box...at least here it is referred to as such.

Sorry if I'm rambling.

Are you currently studying to be a ...well, wolf studier?...or whatever it would be called? That would be a very cool job...or hobby.

Thank you for the nice compliment about being a terrific writer. Have you any writings on here? I haven't gotten a chance to read much lately, so I haven't noticed. If so, I'd love to read your work.

BH
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:42 PM
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I think those comments were meant for Phoenix He pointed out the few things I missed.

I have a degree in Zoology so I'm slowly working my way to my field research dreams! I hope it's as amazing as I envision. And yes I have a couple up, but I usually post in the Members Only Forum so if I ever get anything published there won't be a problem. No worries if you don't find mine; I write horror which isn't everyone's cup of tea
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:18 AM
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LOVED this piece. I don't say that often so XP

Very good suspense, others have already pointed out the small things that might need tweaking but honestly, I was enraptured reading it that I didn't notice a thing. Liked the ending, but it needs a touch of work. Make it a little more concrete maybe ending it with her still babbling on and him just fixated on the vase, just thinking about it still. End it with just one period instead of "...." and it'll up the creep factor. Leave the reader wondering if he's gonna go for it or not. Amazing stand alone piece. All in all very well done!

(and thanks for the read and comment on my work)
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:13 AM
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The suspense, as everyone has pointed out, was skillfully maintained right to the end - and beyond. And that one word, 'Cameron', that reversed everything we had been thinking - brilliant.

Good show.
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Old 09-06-2012, 04:32 PM
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I have to apologize to you, Phoenix Lazarus, I had just finished responding to Choxie when I saw a new reply and thought that Choxie had added more. i feel so silly that I didnt' pay any attention to the name at the top. I thank you very much for taking the time to point those things out. I hope my response made sense, aside from the fact that i directed it at Choxie. Again, your suggestions made a lot of sense.

Back to Choxie:
"I usually post in the Members Only Forum so if I ever get anything published there won't be a problem."
Not sure what you mean. What kind of problem would you avoid regarding publishing by posting in the members only section? For the record, I love horror. That's what i usually write. I hope your dreams turn out as amazing for you as you imagine. You've selected an awesome field of study.


Thank you, Sayble. Can't tell you how good it makes me feel to hear yet another person compliment my writing on this story. I also can't describe how much I appreciate everyone taking the time to respond and offer advice. What you said about making the ending a bit more concret makes sense. I hadn't considered it before, but you bring up a good point that a reader might not realize that he's still considering hitting her with the vase with the simple statement that i made in the final sentence. I might need to make it clearer what he's thinking. Again, thank you very much.

Another thank you to you, too, Ricardo GR. I never get tired of thanking people! I feel i have to reiterate how appreciative I am for people taking the time to offer feedback. What you said about the single word "Cameron" reversing what readers had been thinking to that point, was one of the things i was worried about pulling off properly. The fact that you mentioned that in particular made my day. I hope this doesn't sound like bragging, but everyone has commented on how well I maintained the suspense, and i have to say that it wasn't a conscious thing. I didnt' make conscious decisions on how to write this, say that, etc, to build or maintain suspense. I just sort of wrote what was in my head, which is why I was so worried about how well it would come off. I do have to admit that a friend (a very good, kind friend) helped proof this piece for grammer and punctuation errors. He did a pretty good job for me, since few have pointed out any such issues.

Thanks again to everyone for the wise, helpful advice.

BH
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