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Seven Sheep

by YouTranslated

Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

5 years earlier
I peered through the dusty maroon curtains on my bedroom window, the men in big white trucks were here again. They carried all different boxes in to the house next door, tall ones, short ones, white ones and brown ones. But today, something was different. After the big burley men, a little blonde boy that looked just my age popped out of the aging white truck's rusty cab. I slammed the curtains shut and rushed downstairs to get a closer look.
I let just my eyes poke above the windowsill, being very careful not to be seen, but the little boy looked back at the window and smiled. His mother ran over to scold him for running off and took him forcefully by the hand to the other side of their lawn.
I let out a deep breath and started my defeated march back upstairs when, from the corner of my eye, I saw him wave. He had walked all the way on to my lawn and was now only a few feet from the window, his big blue eyes boring into the glass. He waved again and pointed towards my door with a sly little grin.
I, ever so carefully, walked towards the door and turned the knob, praying my parents wouldn't hear. The air was crisp and cold, making me wish I had grabbed my fuzzy blue coat still waiting on the other side of the room.
Once I was outside, the little boy skipped foreword to ask me a question.
"What's your name?" The little blonde boy asked, his big blue eyes widening. He noticed my silence and stuck out a hand "I'm Jake."
I giggled "I've never seen a fourth grader shake hands before."
He smiled "I must seem weird compared to your friends, I don't mind."
I blushed and looked down at the scuffed toes of my rain boots, "I don't really have any friends."
His smile widened and he walked a few steps closer, "Perfect, you can be my first friend here."
I smiled too, "And you can be my first friend."
Chapter One
Another car drove through my quiet suburban street, disrupting the erie peace for only the third time in the past hour. This particular car belonged to my neighbor who left for work at exactly7:17each morning; it meant that I needed to tear my eyes away from the practically visible breeze in the gently swaying trees outside, and go downstairs.
I bounded down the stairs to the kitchen pulling my coppery waves out of a ponytail while, simultaneously, slipping in to my sweater and buttoning my jeans. It was just as quiet downstairs as it was outside, my mom was long gone at work and my dad, who liked doing things last minute and didn't need to be at work until nine, was soundly asleep.
I grabbed my messy stack of notebooks and folders and dropped them in my bag with one hand while reaching for a banana with the other.I flew down the driveway, books in hand and breathed in the smell of summer leaving, something that was both sad and promising.Sometime in the middle of intently watching a squirrel have a stare down witha acorn, a pair of handsslapped down on my shoulders.
"You scared the living crap out of me, Mags!" I yelled.
"Not to point out the obvious, but that was sort of the point." Maggie said with a smile, dancing around my and to my side.
"Touché." I paused, "I didn't see you all summer, how was it?"
Maggie looked sideways and bit her lip as I spoke. After a few seconds, she grinned and refocused her gaze on me as if she had been smiling the whole time, "Nothing much, family stuff, I hung out with Jake a bit." She tried to change the subject, "I swear, you grew three feet since I saw you in June!"
"Thanks Grandma, and you don't look a day over 85." I retorted. "I'm only 5"10', if I had grown three feet I would have been 2'10 before, not even Ana's that short."
"Damn close, though." Maggie giggled.
'Yeah' I thought to myself, 'Damn close.' For as much as Ana complained about her height aloud, I knew she loved it. She had amassed a small army of even smaller admirers who loved her with all their tiny, little, Freshman boy hearts, and if AnaMaria Greco loved one thing, it was attention.
As if summoned by the very mention of her name, a bouncy, brown ponytail trailed behind its owner down the driveway and towards us. "Did I miss something?" she asked, stopping and noticing Maggie's muffled laughter. "Actually, never mind. I'll leave my imagination to this one."
"My dear AnaMaria, your brain will probably come up with something wildly more creative than what we were actually discussing in reality. Oh well, have your fun." Maggie replied, twirling a lock of jet black hair.
Ana snorted as she started walking again, "'Discussing' is your verb of of choice?" She asked incredulously, bending over to mess with the contents of her backpack.
"Details" Maggie insisted, staring off somewhere in the distance.
"Where's Jake?" Ana asked, looking around at the still empty block.
"Running late, as usual." Maggie informed her, sounding both frustrated with Jake for his absence and with Ana for expecting more of him.
"Maggie, he lives next door to you, can't you just drag him out of his house on your way to mine?" Ana asked with that sickly sweet smile that usually worked so well.
"Are you kidding, it's Jake, he can't just be dragged-" Maggie was cut of by the conversation's subject approaching.
"Miss me, ladies?" Asked the new addition to the group as he switched his back pack to a different ironic-band-sweatshirt clad shoulder.
"Trying to be slick, are we? Please continue, it's quite amusing coming from someone you've seen sing along with the score of The Sound of Music in their boxer shorts." I smirked.
Jake's more likely less-clever comeback was interrupted by girlish squeals of joy somewhere to his left.
I led out a long sigh and turned to face the source of the commotion and attempted to silence the beast, "The 12th doctor's a ginger, Sherlock season 3 is airing tomorrow, J K Rowling decided to write Hogwarts: Next Generation?"
"Nope" she replied shaking her little blonde and pink curl topped head.
I tried again, "You have Steven Moffat locked in your basement, you met Benedict Cumberbatch on a plane once and he told you you were pretty, Augustus Waters is a real person?"
She shook her head, "Shh, I'm basking in this moment."
"Said 'real Augustus Waters' is locked in your basement?" I offered.
"Oh, please he'd be locked in my bedroom." she clarified.
I crossed my arms and gave her my best I'm-done-with-you're-bullshit face, "Fine then, Markey. What is it?" I demanded.
Markey smiled, "Oh, I just found out my brother is visiting next week."
"That does not justify the decibel you were squeaking at." I insisted, dropping my arms and silently cursing myself for expecting better.
"He doesn't visit often. Besides, justification is a relative thing." she replied.
"Sew your seeds of hippie bullshit elsewhere, Markey." Jake interjected.
"Isn't this just a LOVING environment!" Markey huffed.
"Yes, yes it is. Jake,Is Ben behind you" I asked peering around his shoulders and over his head. "He's usually worshiping at Ana's feet at this hour."
Jake walked me away from the group, "He appears to be skipping morning prayers today, but his far more interesting replacement is here." he boasted.
"Interesting has nothing to do with it. Trust me." I sighed, staring at Ana.
As if on queue, Ben rounded the corner, eyes trained on Ana like a lovelorn puppy.
I walked up behind him silently, he was much to distracted by his Plain Jane goddess to notice. I inched close and whispered "Are you trying to make her float or explode."
"Shit! You scared me!" he stammered, jumping a bit, "What are you talking about?"
"Well your staring at my friend here quite intently and it seemed like something Telekinesis-y. So, are you trying to make her float or explode?"
"Oh," he laughed "Neither, it's nothing, just- well- " his ramblings, luckily, were cut short by Ana getting impatient.
"Let's go!" she yelled as she, personally, grabbed each of us by the arm and flung us foreword.
We walked the last block to the school together in noisy silence. We yammered on about this and that. Never once saying anything of substance or consequence, we were too nervous or exited, no one could tell which. As we trekked across the final ten feet of perfectly flat sidewalk to the entrance, no one said a word. We held our breath and looked over at one and other as we paused before the big, oak doors.
Chapter 2
"Mags! Hey, Mags!" Ilona shouted with increasing volume, until I snapped out of my reverie.
"Hi, sorry." I stumbled "What did you want?" I gathered my books and placed them in my bag one by one as I stood and faced Ilona.
"Well, I want lots of things, world peace, widespread democracy, a boyfriend, but mostly for us not to be late to first period on the first day of school, which is not going to happen if you continue to contemplate the meaning of life in the middle of the hallway."
"Right," I shook my head trying to comeback to the present. School. Ilona. Hallway. People. Lots of people. I shakily stood up as Ilona eyed me worriedly.
"Are you okay? You look like my Uncle Oskár after 3 war stories and 6 drinks." she asked.
"I'm fine." I assured her with a forced smile, "Let's go we're going to be late."

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1313 Reviews

Points: 23286
Reviews: 1313

Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:12 pm
Hannah wrote a review...

I'll second that your synopsis is immediately intriguing, so AWESOME job on that. haha.
I'm now going to give you my thoughts as I read through the first time.

You have to think carefully about everything you do in your writing. Maybe you don't have to think about this now, as it's maybe your first draft and your first time airing your writing, but in the future, ask yourself: is what I'm writing right now absolutely essential to the growth and blossoming of this story? Do I need to open with a description of the weather and dead leaves to introduce my characters?

a pair of hands slapped themselves down on my shoulders.

I get the sentiment of not wanting to say I again, because I used to hate the first person narrative for the simple reason that too many sentences started with the word "I", but giving hands a life of their own comes off as ridiculous, and the only sensible way to say this is that you felt the hands slap down on your shoulders.

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! Do the new people never end? This is way too many new characters all at once. I get the idea that they are friends and would obviously be together on the first day of school, but for your readers' sake, you have to give us more gradual introductions. None of the characters have defining enough characteristics for me to remember a single name right now. I know these kids participate in rehearsed-sounding banter and seem to have an innate amount of interest in literary-education-based jabs at one another, and I want to sink into the deliciousness of that ideal world with them, but I feel like that world's not real and it throws me off of this piece.

So, though this is an introductory section, this is ultimately our first glimpse at what's supposed to be Ilona. Give me her. Don't give me the parade of characters. Give me characters in vital moments where she interacts with them, so I can know that this person is the important person that spilled juice on her but helped her go clean it off in the bathroom even though it was awkward to wash a shirt in public, etc. etc. Specific events and moments so I can keep these people straight. Don't give me them all at once.

And ask yourself what makes characters seem real. Have you read your dialogue aloud? Of course dialogue won't sound exactly like real speech, but it shouldn't sound like a scripted sitcom either. If that's what tickles you, you should research how to get into that career!

Anywhoo, PM or wall-post me if you have any questions or comments about my review or post up another section. Good luck and keep writing!

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641 Reviews

Points: 46598
Reviews: 641

Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:00 am
Panikos wrote a review...

Hiya, YouTranslated. :)

Now, I'll plunge right into this review. When I read your little synopsis, I must admit I was intrigued. The idea of telling the story from so many points of view seemed interesting, and I really like that idea. I'm not sure how the plot's going to go, but the raw theme of the story has a great deal of potential, and I'm looking forwards to seeing what you will do with it.

However, in terms of this chapter, I have one, hefty problem to raise - there is just too much speech. This is a novel, right? It read a lot like a script to me! I could only count about two somewhat substantial paragraphs in the whole thing, and all the gaps in between were just crammed with layer upon layer of speech, to the point at which I couldn't differentiate between the characters, had no idea what the point of their conversation was, and generally was wondering how it could all tie into the plot. You don't need this much; dialogue is one of those things that needs to be used sparingly, edited and placed so that it bares some kind of weight and meaning. It's not often that you get long-winded conversations in novels, because, in truth, they just aren't that interesting to read, especially when there's nothing else going on in the chapter.

Also - how many characters!? Slow down, m'dear. There were so many people in this chapter that I couldn't tell the difference between any of them, and, aside from that, I think you really need to give the reader a feel for who the narrator is before you start chucking in the other characters. The MC must always, always feel separate from those around them, and, particularly when writing in first-person, you need to expand on their inner thoughts and feelings so that we can sink easily into their mind and become a part of the story. This piece felt, to me, like you'd written it in third person but then swapped protagonist's name for 'I' later, because aside from that, there's no inner thoughts, no personal expansion, nothing that makes me associate it to the style and merits of first person. If you're going to be writing from lots of viewpoints, you're going to have to develop a tone of voice in your writing so that the narrators feel individual. Think ahead a little. :)

Either way, my raving, lunatic fangirl side adored this:

"The 12th doctor's a ginger, Sherlock season 3 is airing tomorrow, J K Rowling decided to write Hogwarts: Next Generation?"

It's like you're looking right into my mind. Are you? XD

Anyway, I hope this review helped, and that I wasn't too harsh. Don't hesitate to PM me if you have any questions; I'll be happy to help.

Keep writing! :D


Thank you for pointing out the exscessive dialogue, I'm still in script writing mode from my school's young playwrites festival and I wouldn't have caught it myself. I'll make sure to have more of the internal thoughts of the narrarator instead. In the second draft of this chapter (coming soon...), I'll wait to indtroduce most of the characters.As for the Fangirl bit, "you write what you know" so at least one of my characters has to be as nerdy as me.
Thank you so much!

Panikos says...

You're welcome. Glad to have helped! :D

The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.
— Samuel Johnson