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Young Writers Society
Review Contest - Closed
Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:42 am
In this contest you will be reviewing a work and PMing me the review. The contest will go on until the end of September, RevMo, and your challenge is to write the best review you can.
Reviews will be judged for their quality, not their quantity. The judges will look at:
A) Helpfulness of the review
B) Structure of the review
C) Development of ideas
D) Explanation of problems
E) Solutions to problem
F) Praise of work
You will be reviewing either a poem or a short story provided in this post.
1st Place: 2,100 points or 5 reviews
2nd Place: 800 points or 2 reviews
3rd Place: 400 points or 1 review
1) All submissions must be PMs to Aley
2) You must review either "Welcome Home" or "Lonely Nights"
3) The review must be PMed
before the close of September 30th
Works to Review
I walk inside and there stood nothing,
nothing but the silence, my cold feet
and the landing, bare as a black hole.
This was not an empty nothing,
it was engulfing like a thunderstorm
growling at night, the flickering lightening
strobing through closed eyes, a rollercoaster fall.
That was when I realized it must have been love
because this nothing, this parasitic nothing
used to be full.
A love so tender that in absence, we are aching,
ill, and furious like a road rage in traffic at 4.
This black nothing hole eats our intestines,
and hides like a single McDonald's onion in a car.
It must have been love strong enough
to Fiberize this stench away.
It must have been my deep devotion to Him
that made my day better, no matter how it started.
When I came home and He would welcome me,
come see me at the door, my day was perfect.
It must have been love that made me feel safe
and love that gave me an excuse to understand
all the groans of this haunted house,
or is it only haunted now without Him?
I came home and stood like ice in the doorway
The house groaning like a monster, trying to greet me
but failing as petrification seeped into my bones,
I knew we needed an antibiotic for this parasite,
carful surgery to implant a life.
And that's how we got our dog.
He's loud like a firecracker and walks like a bull.
He hugs you if you get too cold, but after losing Him,
he's perfect for scaring out the ghosts.
Authors Note: This is a fanfiction and that means a little itty bitty bit of fandom knowledge is required. Torrent is a water-based armor, and Wildfire is a fire-based armor, and there’s an empathetic connection between them.
Everything was always louder when Cye left. Each creak of the house, each gust of wind. The churning of the Naruto Strait whirlpool under the bridge and the clanging of Kayura throwing Torrent’s yari as a trophy. The same plea on his lips every time.
Ryo hid it from the connection. Cye felt guilty enough, leaving. He was dealing with life and death, some days. He didn’t need a distraction. Ryo could hold in the ghosts until he returned, and once Cye was back in bed the ghosts melted away, anyway.
The clock read 0200. Another seven hours, when commute time was added on. Twenty-seven hours since Cye had left the bed to get ready for his shift as an EMT. At least this time it was the weekend, so he could be there when Cye arrived. Sometimes they didn’t see each other until after Ryo was back from work.
Ryo exhaled and curled up with Cye’s pillow against his chest, breathing in the smell of salt that permeated everything Cye touched no matter how long he’d been away from the ocean. Torrent’s influence, no doubt. Wildfire still felt on the verge of extinguishing at the memories of trying to find him under water, with Sekhmet’s venom poisoning the ocean. Pure luck saved them both, and Ryo didn’t even remember getting on land.
Cye was always off saving somebody. That made Ryo smile as the after-effects of their fight with Sekhmet played through his mind. He kept wondering if he loved Cye then, had some inklings of a crush, but he couldn’t find it. He had gone to even greater lengths for Rowen, after all. Similar lengths for Sage.
Thank the gods they all lived in the same house. Whenever one of them was away…
He knew this was PTSD. Memories of the past were too clear for it to be anything but. His desire to protect had been tempered, over the years, and he hadn’t expected it to come back with such force. Not from just sleeping beside somebody he had tried to protect. Had failed to protect…
A gentle shake of his shoulder woke him. Ryo blinked and stirred, a vaguely Cye-shaped blur above him.
“I’m going to need that.”
A few more blinks and Ryo realized he was still cuddling Cye’s pillow. He groggily pushed it back where it belonged, flopping onto his back as Cye took his uniform off and crawled into bed.
Ryo wrapped himself around his boyfriend, pulling Cye close and cradling him. As much as Cye had expressed wonder at having a relationship, Ryo felt sometimes he was in the same boat. A relationship with a man, no less, after a lifetime of loving women. Now he had found his best friend and lover in the same person.
He wanted to be beside him every night, but with Cye going to study medicine, that was likely to never happen.
Instead of just falling asleep, Cye held him back. “Rough night?”
Ryo hesitated before nodding. “I’m okay now you’re here.”
Cye kissed his cheek— sloppily, from tiredness. “We can take about it once I’m awake…”
Ryo just nodded again, rubbing Cye’s bare back as he slipped away to a well-earned rest. Now it was a case of counting how long he would be asleep. A quick peek at Cye’s phone on the nightstand showed the alarm was set for 1800, an hour before Ryo normally got home. He’d noticed how the timing was perfect, Cye just getting dinner off by the time he walked in the door. He hadn’t realized just how purposeful it was. Even though Cye got up at about the same time on weekends, if only because that was about the time Ryo started going nuts.
Cye was more than he deserved, and everything he dreamed of.
His terrible sleep of the previous night caught up with him. With Cye in his arms he barely left the bed, alternating between sleep and content lucidity. His nightmares melted away, replaced by scenes of the past few years where all five of them had gotten closer.
When all five of them had been safe, despite what trauma made them feel.
The alarm was a piercing gull cry and ocean waves, different from the early alarm. Cye stirred as Ryo turned off the alarm, which simply woke him up instead of sending him back to sleep.
Ryo put the phone back down and settled back beside Cye. “Thought I’d stay.”
Cye let out a breathy laugh. “I hope you weren’t bored watching me sleep.”
“I caught a few naps, myself,” he replied.
Leave it to mother hen, medically trained Cye to pick up on the undertones in that statement. “Did you sleep?”
Ryo paused, glancing at Cye’s face and noticing the smallest frown lines. “Not… really…”
Cye pulled himself up to kiss Ryo’s forehead. “Has it… gotten any easier?”
Now, Ryo could only shrug. “I… know what it is, now?”
The kiss on his lips was breathtaking. “I always want to come back to you, my love.”
Ryo kept their foreheads leaned together. “My turn to make you dinner.”
He didn’t think anything of their conversation for the next couple of weeks. His heart ached at how Cye had been called to work on his birthday, citing too few staff to guarantee requested time off, and they spent time planning the next possible date closest to that, barring Cye’s schedule.
The blaringly loud alarm Cye used to wake up in the morning got Ryo awake, too. He groaned and rolled over, letting Cye get up before balling up the still-warm covers and holding them against his chest. As painful as it was, this routine was getting familiar. Now that they had been sleeping beside each other longer, the sheets smelled more like salt and less like new fabric. It was a waiting game of Cye in the bathroom, then going through his closet for a clean uniform, then a kiss to Ryo’s temple before he was alone.
Cye’s closet rustling sounded different, this time. Ryo forced his eyes open to see what was going on, only to be greeted with a large teddy bear.
Cye placed it down beside him and kissed his temple. “Happy birthday, love.”
Ryo looked up at Cye before down at the bear; it was just about the perfect size for Cye’s torso. He squished it and breathed in Cye’s scent, with Torrent lingering momentarily to confirm he’d kept it hidden in his closet for that specific reason.
Ryo pushed himself up to catch Cye’s collar and pull him down for a proper kiss.
“Is that why you like my uniform so much?” he said with a laugh.
Ryo just grinned.
Cye kissed his forehead one last time before leaving the room, almost but not quite late for work.
Ryo curled up around the bear and his heart was finally able to relax. It wasn’t Cye, but it was something. It was an acknowledgement Ryo was scared, and some reassurance Cye wanted to be there with him so he had found the next best thing.
[Knights of the Green Room]
"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together."
— Bishop Desmond Tutu
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