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Infusion

by vkshravi88


I don’t really remember the first time we met. Those kinds of memories blur and cease to matter when they lie dormant long enough without recall; at least, until you recall them.

A man had walked in with the usual five minute warning four minutes ago so I was preparing to leave the locker room, double-checking to make sure I had everything. Neon white Nike shoes, Jockey pants, a thin black leather jacket unzipped to reveal a blood-color plain shirt, and a bouree-like striped hat I had worn since the beginning of the tournament; a kind of signature look I had adopted on stage.

Costume check complete.

Five minutes was up.

“Hey, you mind if I play too?” A 6 year-old boy curiously turned towards the foreign voice, a new voice. A new voice meant a new friend. Smiling, the boy exclaimed, “Sure!” and passed the basketball down the driveway to the other boy. He was 7 years old and in 2nd grade. One of the older kids! There couldn’t have been anything cooler than having a 2ND GRADER ask to play basketball with you…..

“Alright, you’re up.”

I straightened my “bouree” and begin walking through the hallway, tuning my ears to the iron beat in my soul.

“Your turn!” exclaimed an obviously overjoyed Shane as he placed a trap card face down. Yu-Gi-Oh was VERY fun especially when he got to play with Derek. Even though he was a year older, you never really knew who would win and wouldn’t win, and beating a 4th grader brought LOADS of joy to Shane. It was convenient really. As Shane prided himself with using such a big boy word, “convenient”, Derek played his own master move. Thoroughly happy, he proclaimed “Well you’ve just activated MY trap card” and took all of Shane’s life points with a direct hit! Shane frowned to himself then started laughing. “Rematch?”

Flashing lights and roaring cheers greeted me as I made my way up to the match. The stage, the stadium, and the sky darkened to introduce my opponent to the sounds of Childish Gambino. The iron beat in my soul grew, and I lost myself in the soothing flow of water droplets that eroded the stadium rooftop.

The rain was pounding the house as Derek and Shane ran inside. The storm had hit acutely, dictating a very unwelcome response from the two now drenched boys. Shane shivered while Kyle went to get them both towels. They had been playing together for three years now, and Kyle had become a senior of Brazos Bend Elementary. Kyle brought back the towels and as Shane wiped himself down, he decided to tell Derek about the strange thoughts in his mind all week. “Hey man, I have to tell you something.” Derek glanced up, nonchalant and half-listening. “I think….. I think I have a crush on Haley too.” His eyes narrowed, unmoving, his poise resembling that of one inhospitable. Shane shivered again, but not this time from the cold. It was the first time that he had done far more damage than a punch to the face could bring.

I was now just able to make out Derek’s MOB dance crew hat and a hoodie with athletic shorts. He strode with an air of pride.

I had to smile to myself. He had become exactly what he had dreamed himself to be; an all-star. To be in his presence would’ve been intimidating were I a stranger. But I saw the same person I remembered from the good old days.

“Stop, Stop, STOP!!!” Kim screamed as she pushed Derek and Shane apart. They were both livid, bruises in multiple areas. “What did I do, huh?! You’re the one that got so messed up not me!” Shane just took in the words, knowing they were true but not wanting to acknowledge it. Derek didn’t need to know the depth of the jealousy, of how Shane wished he was as popular as Derek. Middle school had changed everything. “I just needed you to listen to me…. But you can’t even do that.” Derek widened his eyes at this accusation. “All I’ve been doing is listening to you. It’s not my fault if you don’t know how to be happy anymore.” Shane’s breathing grew heavier. “You’ve been acting suicidal, and pretending to be depressed all the time and acting as if no one cares about you. Well I’m done caring. So get out of my house.” Shane gasped, shocked. “GET OUT!”

Calming my mind, I left everything to impulse, watching and waiting for Derek to begin. The muffled voice of the announcer quieted the crowd and DJ Storm ascended his designated stand over the MoveBox.

3……2……1……

It was amazing.

Pop, pop, spin, lock. Twirl and jump, pipe and sweep. Every move fit and was leading effortlessly into the next as if he was planning the choreography in his head and letting it flow simultaneously. He started switching styles without falter and used his MOB cap as supplement. The audience, the DJ, even the stage had become awestruck at the visible beauty of the dance.

“5,4,3,2,1, DONE!” The announcer and the DJ cut off and Derek landed gracefully on his feet, curled and twisted with his hands in the air.

Applause and screams shattered the millisecond of silence.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

3…..2…….1…..

Shane ran home crying, knowing that Derek was right but it was too late to change anything about it. He couldn’t let anyone see the emotion he was letting loose. They would call him so many names….

I landed the flip and started a popping session in rhythm.

I went robotic with the beat, making my entire body stiff and moving with the bass of the song instead of the lyrical melody…..

He had to get away. He had screwed up not just with Derek but with everyone who was once his friend. 8th grade year was going to be over soon and Shane had just made it worse for himself. The jealousy had become too much and he needed to find a way to calm his mind, to rid himself of the atrocities……

Only a minute left. Pop with one hand, pop with the other, wave with the fists. The clock was slowly ticking away and I was starting to feel the sweat on my brow……

Shane stared at himself at the mirror, sweating from head to toe. It was hard, learning these steps, but he needed this. It was the only way he had found to calm his mind, and it helped knowing that he was going to move to a new house in a couple of months. It was almost laughable, the irony of learning what his ex-best friend was so great at now. Almost three years had passed…..

Twenty seconds. I begin moving faster and faster, exerting the last of my energy, knowing full-well that by the time I was done I’d barely be able to stand……..

The letter came back from the high school. He had officially made it into the academy! He was going to be able to start over, to leave it all behind and maybe make something of himself this time….

“5,4,3,2,1. DONE!”

I stopped, exhausted, and stumbled back over to the edge of the stage.

Derek had seen me. He was noticing the change in my disposition, the alteration of my mood and the control I now exerted over my morality. He had seen everything I wanted him to see in me, but it didn’t make much of a difference.

I got off stage and turned around to see the judges raise a green flag….Derek’s color. Smiling, I tried fixing my bouree. I let the joy of the opportunity entrance me and guide me back to the locker room as the roars emitting from behind me got fainter and fainter.

Shane laughed as he sat at the dinner table. It was junior year and his senior friend, Karyn, was about to graduate and go to college, something that definitely needed a surprise party. It was the most fun he had had in a long time. He was dancing with his friends on the floor and they were all caught up in the moment, as teenagers tend to be at dances. It was amazing and he figured that maybe he’d show off a bit……


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347 Reviews


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Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:16 pm
OliveDreams wrote a review...



Good Evening! I have been digging around for something to review on this fine review day and your piece of work has caught my interest! This is a great start!

I really like your short story! I thought the way you flitted between the past and the present was a really effective way to grab the readers attention the entire way through. I never knew how long each part of my reading was going to last!

“Neon white Nike shoes, Jockey pants, a thin black leather jacket unzipped to reveal a blood-color plain shirt, and a bouree-like striped hat I had worn since the beginning of the tournament; a kind of signature look I had adopted on stage.” - I think that maybe you could just describe the t-shirt as blood-red.

“His eyes narrowed, unmoving, his poise resembling that of one inhospitable” - The word, 'inhospitable' sounds a little forced to me. Almost as if you were searching the thesaurus for a fancy word. Simple works just fine.

I'm excited to read more of your work! Good Luck!

HAPPY REVIEW DAY!

Olive <3




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Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:33 am
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dreamwalkeramrita wrote a review...



Hey! I enjoyed this story..it was interesting. I liked how you interspersed flashbacks with the present.

I did have a few qualms with the writing in places..but overall I think it was an inventive and engaging story.

There is just one thing.
"Five minutes was up."
It should probably be "Five minutes WERE up."

Anyway, nice story...Good luck!




skorlir says...


I think that subject-verb pair could be written either way... The argument can be made that "five minutes" is a singular block of time. And it could also be dismissed as a colloquial mistake, as the style of the writing suits it. Personally, I was not tripped up by it.

Like I said, either way.

~Skorlir



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Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:38 am
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skorlir wrote a review...



Take with salt; mind the edges.

This is not the genre of work I typically read or review, but I find myself interested anyway.

I will pluck lines from your work which could use improving or are simply wrong and highlight them here. I'll try to intersperse general comments lightly, and sum up at the end.

Those kinds of memories blur and cease to matter when they lie dormant long enough without recall; at least, until you recall them.


"long enough without recall". This entire bit is unnecessary, and deleting it saves from the redundancy of repeating recall so soon.

A man had walked in with the usual five minute warning four minutes ago so I was preparing to leave the locker room, double-checking to make sure I had everything.


Run-on structure. Consider using a dash to indicate the rush - e.g; "...usual five minute warning - four minutes ago. So..."

...a blood-color plain shirt, and a bouree-like striped hat I had worn since the beginning of the tournament;


"Blood-color plain shirt." Consider rewording to be more clear: "plain, blood-red shirt." Blood-color just doesn't feel like a good word; it reads poorly.

I think by "bouree" you mean "beret." A bouree is a dance; a beret is a hat.

a kind of signature look I had adopted on stage.


This particular clause doesn't do much for me. I think you can be more subtle by simply mentioning the tournament, and removing this sentence entirely. That way you do not distract from the "costume check" before stating "complete."

The first flashback is capably worded, capably executed. No qualms.

I straightened my “bouree” and begin walking through the hallway, tuning my ears to the iron beat in my soul.


Again, I don't think "bouree" means what you want it to. Also, "I straightened... and begin." Tense disagreement. Change "straightened" to "straighten."

Then the last clause happens, and I have no idea where it came from. Out of the blue, you are tuning your ears to this distinctive, particular "iron beat" which emanates from your soul. The descriptor "iron" does not work. And, while I like the idea of "tuning your ears," it doesn't seem to fit.
The beating is something which grows within you, which pounds against your senses; apparently it emanates from your soul. It seems as though it should not be described as an action, but as unconscious, autonomic. Rather than you tuning in, it just comes in.

“Your turn!” exclaimed an obviously overjoyed Shane exclaimed as he placed a trap card face down. Yu-Gi-Oh was VERY fun*,* especially when he got to play with Derek. Even though he was a year older, you never really knew who would winand wouldn’t win, and beating a 4th grader brought LOADS of joy to Shane. It was convenient really. As Shane prided himself with using such a big boy word, “convenient”, Derek played his own master move. Thoroughly happy, he proclaimed “Well you’ve just activated MY trap card” and took all of Shane’s life points with a direct hit! Shane frowned to himself then started laughing. “Rematch?”


Something in red is moved to its later copy in blue; something stuck out I suggest you delete; asterisks denote insertions for grammar and what-have-you.

Rather than capitalization, consider changing from italics to undecorated font when you want to emphasize something. That's common form.

Remove "obviously overjoyed," because it is, as you say, obvious. Also, it often helps to clarify an action if the subject comes first and is thereby closely connected - hence why I moved "exclaimed" after "Shane."

"Even though he was a year older, you never really knew who would win and wouldn’t win, and beating a 4th grader brought LOADS of joy to Shane." This line, and several others, have been what I often call egregious. Which means there are words you do not need; chaff to be culled from your descriptions. If every sentence revised to be less egregious is not better, sharper, clearer - then I am wrong. But I'm not. For instance, "and wouldn't win" is entirely unnecessary. It seems to follow that if one wins, another loses.

"Even though he." "He" does not have a clear antecedent. Replace with either "Shane" or "Derek." If the reader has to wonder, for even an instant, what a pronoun refers to... you have broken the flow, and possibly forced said reader to backtrack.

You address the reader directly in the second clause. Don't do that. There's no need for it here, and you have contained yourself quite well up until this point. Acknowledging the reader can be good; it can create interesting and powerful prose. But, in this instance, it is just muddles.

This flashback was not so well worded and tightly structured as the last. Consider each line carefully, and remove any words which are unnecessary or egregious, restructuring your sentences to bring together subject-verb pairs and to clarify any uncertainties.

Flashing lights and roaring cheers greeted me as I made my way up to the match. The stage, the stadium, and the sky darkened to introduce my opponent to the sounds of Childish Gambino. The iron beat in my soul grew, and I lost myself in the soothing flow of water droplets that eroded the stadium rooftop.


You have shifted to past tense, where before the present situation was present tense. I think this was unconscious, but it weakens the line between your flashbacks and the present. Shift back.

"to introduce my opponent to the sounds of Childish Gambino." Is your opponent being introduced to the sounds of Childish Gambino? There is subject confusion here. I think you mean to say Childish Gambino plays in the background. Clarify.
Perhaps "...darkened as lines by Childish Gambino h(e)arken my opponent's entry." Something like that. Harken can be spelled with or without an 'e,' so that's just confusing.

Also, the iron beat is back. "Iron." I just cannot follow that descriptor. Either elaborate on it earlier, when it is first introduced, or delete it entirely.

And is the stadium roof actually eroding? Your language suggests so, and I am surprised at it. This is not proper figurative language, if you mean it to be. Consider your diction here. (And elsewhere of course. Always try to choose the best word.)

The storm had hit acutely, dictating


Consider word choice on "acutely" and "dictating." What you are actually saying: "The storm hit hard, spurring an unwelcome..." etc. Your word choice is just off a bit; it is confusing, not a perfect fit.

two now drenched boys.


Delete "now."

Kyle went to get them both towels


Delete "both."

...years now, and Kyle had...


Remove the "and;" replace the comma with a semicolon. Punctuation can help to cut down one egregiousness.

a senior of Brazos Bend Elementary.


This does not make sense. Elementary schools do not have seniors - they have numbered grade levels. The Fresh-Soph-Jr.-Sr. class names do not typically apply until High School.

Kyle brought back the towels and as Shane wiped himself down


Remove "and;" end the first sentence. As follows: "Kyle brought back the towels. As Shane wiped himself down,..."

his poise resembling that of one inhospitable.


GAH! This description has "that of one" in it. All unnecessary, egregious words. "His poise inhospitable" is all you need. Maybe, if you prefer, "his poise was inhospitable." But that many words at most.

It was the first time that he had done far more damage than a punch to the face could bring.


Awkward wording.

I was now just able to make out Derek’s MOB dance crew hat and a hoodie with athletic shorts.


Try to add punctuation to this sentence. For clarification.

the good old days.


Platitude. To me, this just sounds insincere.

bruises in multiple areas.


Just say "bruised." In this flashback, there are places missing punctuation. In particular, commas. I leave you to find them for yourself.
On the whole, this flashback is the least well written of them all. There is egregiousness to remove, missing punctuation, and unclear structure - and I think this flashback is rather important, as it demarks a turning point in the relationship, so quality is especially important.

as if he was simultaneously planning the choreography in his head and letting it flow simultaneously.


This sentence does not particularly make sense, even after moving "simultaneously" to clarify the action. He is at once planning and flowing? I think you mean to say that his choreography flows; his thoughts simply become dance. This does not quite come across.

and used his MOB cap as supplement.


How so? Explain.

had become awestruck at the visible beauty of the dance.


Change "had become" to "was," or even "gaped" or some such. And remove "at the visible beauty of the dance." I understand already why they are awestruck. This is just redundant.

"5,4,3,2,1, DONE!” The announcer and the DJ cut off and Derek landed gracefully on his feet, curled and twisted with his hands in the air.

Applause and screams shattered the millisecond of silence.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

3…..2…….1…..


This passage is extraordinary. Tap into this suspense, apt diction, and curt style while revising the rest.

He had to get away. He had screwed up not just with Derek but with everyone who was once his friend. 8th grade year was going to be over soon and Shane had just made it worse for himself. The jealousy had become too much and he needed to find a way to calm his mind, to rid himself of the atrocities……


I don't feel the world melting. This is important; a painful, difficult emotional scene. But it just reads blandly. Try making it more active voice, using more verbs in a more forceful, curt structure. "had become" can often be changed to "was," and can be here, too.

Shane stared at himself at the mirror, sweating from head to toe. It was hard, learning these steps, but he needed this. It was the only way he had found to calm his mind, and it helped knowing that he was going to move to a new house in a couple of months. It was almost laughable, the irony of learning what his ex-best friend was so great at now. Almost three years had passed…..


Why do you do this to me? This flashback reads just perfectly. I don't stumble anywhere; you never give me pause. Attempt to recreate the flow of these words elsewhere.

Twenty seconds. I begin moving faster and faster, exerting the last of my energy, knowing full-well that by the time I was done I’d barely be able to stand……..


You are back to present tense again. And make all your ellipses three periods. It bothers me when someone messes with ellipses; they are a punctuation mark - use them the way they are meant to be used, and as they are meant to look.

“5,4,3,2,1. DONE!”


Your countdown could benefit from ellipses, to draw out the suspense.

I stopped, exhausted, and stumbled back over to the edge of the stage.


And it's back to past tense. :/

Derek had seen me. He was noticing the change in my disposition, the alteration of my mood and the control I now exerted over my morality. He had seen everything I wanted him to see in me, but it didn’t make much of a difference.


Past perfect; present; past; past perfect; past; present... I am simply confused. Your tenses, in many cases, do not agree at all. If Derek "had seen" the protagonist, then why is why only now "noticing" all these things? If he "had seen," then he "had noticed." If he "sees," then it is okay for him to be "noticing."
Tense agreement is important. It helps me sustain my sanity.

And how is Derek noticing these changes in disposition, mood, and morality just from a dance? That does not follow. If these two characters have not interacted, Derek should not be able to tell these things. One's dancing does not reveal one's personality so deeply. I do not buy it.

Smiling, I tried fixing my bouree.


Again, I think you mean "beret."

I let the joy of the opportunity entrance me and guide me back to the locker room as the roars emitting from behind me got fainter and fainter.


Awkward wording. Especially the very first part of the sentence. And the whole thing is somewhat of a run-on.

Shane laughed as he sat at the dinner table. It was junior year and his senior friend, Karyn, was about to graduate and go to college, something that definitely needed a surprise party. It was the most fun he had had in a long time. He was dancing with his friends on the floor and they were all caught up in the moment, as teenagers tend to be at dances. It was amazing and he figured that maybe he’d show off a bit……


Is this flashback supposed to reveal the scene I just read, or suggestively cut off the back story? If the former, that does not follow. If the latter, I like the idea. Tighten this ending, though, applying the various suggestions I have made above.

Altogether, this is a good piece. Dramatic, but interesting. The shifting time and location can be confusing, but with tighter language, it should fall into place. It provides a unique pull to the story, and subtly improves it in many ways. You show a rather good grasp of storytelling, and, as I have said before, it is the story, not the writing, which is hard.

Be forever hortatory,

~Skorlir




vkshravi88 says...


This is extremely thorough and really helpful. Thank you so much for this! Definitely gonna go back over it with these edits :D as for the flashback at the end its the latter :) thanks again




I say Wolf, for all wolves are not of the same sort; there is one kind with an amenable disposition – neither noisy, nor hateful, nor angry, but tame, obliging and gentle, following the young maids in the streets, even into their homes. Alas! Who does not know that these gentle wolves are of all such creatures the most dangerous!
— Charles Perrault