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Familiar Taste of Poison

by KnightTeen


AN: Requested by HighTop. I'm not novelizing the music video.

Drink the wine, my darling, you said

Take your time, consume all of it

"Come on Connie! It's just one drink, it won't hurt. Just take a sip. Don't be hasty." I looked into the eyes of my beloved twin sister Catherine. We were identical in everything but our manner of dress and speech. She always did prefer to speak more quickly and with a modern tone that I dared not use. It may be the 1920's but that is no reason to act like a common flapper. She was attempting to hand me a glass in the middle of our pantry, which she had dragged me into minutes earlier.

"I could not possibly! Why, the discovery of Dr. Sullivan suggests that the consumption of alcohol during a pregnancy can harm, or even kill the baby while he or she is still in development! Richard and I have been attempting to have a child for so long, I dare not do anything to risk losing what might possibly be our only chance. We've had such a bad time lately, and I think that the baby will turn it all around."

"Oh, Con! Don't be such a prude! One sip isn't going to do you any harm. The good Doctor made one little discovery among prison inmates. Your constitution is much stronger then theirs, no doubt. Besides, your announcing you news to everyone, including your wayward husband in only a few minutes. I see you shaking in your shoes. This will help calm you down." She smiled at me in a such a reassuring way that I found myself agreeing with her.

"One sip, then." Her eyes widened in glee, and she handed me the goblet.

But the roses were only to drain my inspiration

The promises were spoiled before they left your lips and...

"It almost smells like rose water." I murmured as I raised the drink to my lips, sipping slowly. "I still haven't decided when I'm going to tell them, I................."

I felt myself trail off into silence as I dropped the goblet. It struck the floor and shattered into millions of tiny crystals. "Cathy," I whimpered as I felt a sudden, blinding pain shoot across my abdomen. "What is wrong with me?"

She stood next to me and framed my face with her hands. Kissing me softly, she leaned over to hiss in my ear.

"Richard will never love you. He loves me. But I can't have him, because he married you. So you don't get to have a quick fix baby. You don't get to have what I should have. That creates a problem. A problem that, thanks to me, no longer exists. "

I felt my knees buckle and I hit the floor with a resounding thud. She stepped over me, and without a glance back calmly stated, "What I slipped into your drink wasn't exactly legal. In about two minutes, you are going to pass out. And when you wake up, you will have no remembrance of the past twenty-four hours. Everything will be as it should be"

She shut off the light, and closed the door behind her as she exited. I began to sob as I felt the life flowing out of me and the darkness approaching, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not fight it.

It closed over me.

I breathe you in again just to feel you

Underneath my skin, holding on to

The sweet escape is always laced with a familiar taste of poison

"Connie, you must stop this at once. You're making a scene. Put down the drink. Confound it Connie, put it down!"

I think that my husband is screaming at me again, but I'm already to far gone to care. I lost the one thing that could have saved me and Richard. It won't be long now until I lose him to. Drink is the only way that the pain goes away, and so now you never find me without a bottle of the stuff that I once regarded as poison in my hand. The taste is so familiar now, and I miss the burn that it used to give me.

"Connie! We are going home now. I don't know why I thought that I could bring you out tonight."

He bustled me out into the hall, shoved my cape onto my bare shoulders, and practically carried me into the car.

"Le' me guessssss." I slurred, "If ya had jus' listed to yer mother an married a nisssse, Cath~o~lic gurl, you wouldn't be the laughingstock o' the city? Is' alright, Richie. I hat...te ya to."

The rest of the drive was made in silence.

I tell myself that you're no good for me

I wish you well, but desire never leaves

I could fight this til the end

But maybe I don't want to win

I can't take it anymore. The disgusted looks, the whispers on the street, hell! The whispers in my own house. She's crazy, that girl. Killed her own baby. Good-for-nothing drunken wench.

It's too much. I keep going to the bottle. I thought that I could stop, but I can't. Not for my husband or my sister, or even myself. They're right, I'm crazy. Maybe I did try to kill my baby. I don't care anymore. I'm done.

I don't wanna be saved, I don't wanna be sober

I want you on my mind, in my dreams behind these eyes

And I won't wake up, no not this time.

I'm sorry, Cathy, Richard. For everything.

I folded the note in half and laid it on the bureau. I had visited a local apothecary earlier, making a rather illegal purchase. By the time the authorities traced anything back to me it would be to late. I'd be dead.

I withdrew the vial from my handbag, and reached for my favorite scotch from the liquor cabinet. Pouring myself a glass, I mixed the contents of the vial with the liquid. The powder dissolved instantly, like the man said it would. Quick and painless was what I had asked for. I prayed he hadn't lied.

Here's to you, baby. Momma's so sorry.

I downed the shot.

A familiar taste of poison


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18 Reviews


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Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:00 pm
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cmueser wrote a review...



WOW, Great job. It is a very powerful story with lots of emotions. I know the 1920s was a tricky time. With lots of rebellion and times of changes. I can understand the girls struggle, I have had family members deal with alcohol. So I can connect with this story, I felt the anguish of the girl. It really impacted me. This would make a great novel :D Nice job!




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Sat Nov 02, 2013 5:19 pm
EloquentDragon wrote a review...



So please don’t take any of this the wrong way. It wasn’t my intention to sound “harsh,” but I have read some of the stuff you’ve wrote and I know what you’re capable of. That being said, by no means am I going easy on you. ;)

Nitpicks below:

Spoiler! :
"Come on Connie! It's just one drink, it won't hurt. Just take a sip. Don't be hasty."

If she’s urging her to take a drink, then it makes no sense for her to say “don’t be hasty.” Just pointing out.

I looked into the eyes of my beloved twin sister Catherine. We were identical in everything but our manner of dress and speech. She always did prefer to speak more quickly and with a modern tone that I dared not use. It may be the 1920's but that is no reason to act like a common flapper.


This is rather heavy on the exposition here. I realize that this is a short, but still. Is there a way that you could more cleverly convey the fact that they’re twins? That this is the 20’s? Keep in mind that you’re writing in 1st POV, it doesn’t make sense that she would pause here and take time to explain this… well, to herself really.

"I could not possibly! Why, the discovery of Dr. Sullivan suggests that the consumption of alcohol during a pregnancy can harm, or even kill the baby while he or she is still in development! Richard and I have been attempting to have a child for so long, I dare not do anything to risk losing what might possibly be our only chance. We've had such a bad time lately, and I think that the baby will turn it all around."


Same thing here. Heavy, clunky, and obvious. You need to hint, not bluntly state. Show, don’t tell. Also, for some reason, I’m reading her accent as more “Victorian” than “20’s.” Just because they aren’t a “flapper” doesn’t mean they have to speak in perfect, long, and grammatically immaculate sentences. It sucks the life out of your dialogue, and the reader senses that you are sort of “cheating” as a writer.

Besides, your announcing you news to everyone, including your wayward husband in only a few minutes.


Again, please, please, please do NOT use dialogue as exposition! It’s just a bad idea… who speaks like this in real life? “As you know, Bob, our mother died yesterday.” It isn’t realistic, and it doesn’t work well in any circumstance.

I................."


VERY distracting. Only use three periods or use the dash (–). A “……” is incorrect and, as I said, distracting.

So you don't get to have a quick fix baby. You don't get to have what I should have. That creates a problem. A problem that, thanks to me, no longer exists.


This could do with some clarification and, I think, less overtness.

without a glance back calmly stated, "What I slipped into your drink wasn't exactly legal. In about two minutes, you are going to pass out. And when you wake up, you will have no remembrance of the past twenty-four hours. Everything will be as it should be"


Again, awkward, wordy, and in need of rephrasing. Also… what sort of substance causes amnesia? And how will that serve Cathy’s purpose? This makes no sense here.

but I'm already to far gone to care. I lost the one thing that could have saved me and Richard. It won't be long now until I lose him to.


“Too” and “too,” not “to.”

Drink is the only way that the pain goes away, and so now you never find me


You are breaking the third wall here, try not to address the reader directly. You can say “Now I can’t be found without a drink in my hand” or whatever. Although I must ask—what kind of alcohol gets a person addicted to it after their first drink? You need to do some research here.

"Connie!


Don’t overuse character names in dialogue. Instead use tags. (“He said,” “she said.”) It flows better and won’t seem as contrived.

He bustled me out of the room.


“Hustle” is what you were looking for, I think.

"Le' me guessssss." I slurred, "If ya had jus' listed to yer mother an married a nisssse, Cath~o~lic gurl, you wouldn't be the laughingstock o' the city? Is' alright, Richie. I hat...te ya to."


Again, incredibly distracting. Try to be more reserved in punctuation use, and HINT at how she speaks while drunk rather than spelling everything out phonetically. “Le’ me guess,” I slurred. “If ya had jus’ listened to your mother, an married a nice Cath– Cath– Catholic girl, you wouldn’t be the laughingstock o’ the city? It’s alright Richie, I… I… hate you too.”

The rest of the drive was made in silence.


How does one “make” a drive? “Spent,” I believe.

street, hell! The whispers in my own house.


“Hell!” at the end of that there seems out of place. Add a colon (:) after “house.”

I'm sorry, Cathy, Richard. For everything.


Why is this in bold? Maybe it’s YWS formatting. This should be italicized and centered.
Also, she’s not going to completely change her character after forgetting one day. That’s a bit unrealistic. She’s still going to remember everything else. One day isn’t going to drive her to murder and suicide. It’s only ONE day, after all.

local apothecary earlier, making a rather illegal purchase. By the time the authorities traced anything back to me it would be to late. I'd be dead.


Local apothecaries? In the 20’s? Uh... no.

“a rather illegal purchase,” well, yes… that’s obvious. Maybe mention the difficulty in getting it instead. “Too” needs to be used there, again. And why would the authorities be tracing anything back to her? They would find her dead, and THEN track down what poison she used… not the other way around. A legal “apothecary” would NOT be selling “illegal products.”

favorite scotch from the liquor cabinet.


Scotch is a rather “soft” liquor, actually. Maybe not her best choice.


So overall, I think that what you were trying to do here was to come across as “tragic.” However, “trying” to be tragic defeats the purpose of being tragic to start with, I think. It feels contrived, and lacks emotional depth. It’s bulky and awkward in places. You need to work with this. Do some more research, make it more realistic. You need to establish a reader connection. What is it that makes us care about this character? Why should we care? You need to give us that… show, don’t tell.

This has a lot of promise, but you need to work with it.
~ED




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Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:24 pm
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GoldFlame wrote a review...



Hey, Flame here with some quick thoughts!

I confess that I didn't read through the whole thing (don't worry, I'll try to get back to it), but I love your writing overall. Just a few nitpicks...

The thought in italics ("It may be the 1920s...") is a bit awkward in there, so maybe switch it to narrative perspective and join it with the previous sentence with a semicolon. And I know that you're trying to make the narrator (Connie) sound old-fashioned when speaking, but is it really necessary to cram in that many words to convey a single thought? Hope I don't sound rude or anything, but it's unrealistic--even in the 1920s--to have the narrator speak so professionally. It kinda masks the emotion behind the words.

And now that I've taken the time to read the whole piece:

Three periods instead of ten at the end of a phrase can still have the intended effect; bring it down a little :). I noted a few other grammatical mistakes, but you can fix them easily. Skipping ahead now, I would suggest "the life drained out of me" instead of "the life flowed out of me." Also be sure to maintain one tense throughout!

Sorry for being hard on you; understand that I think your writing is amazing!!!! Can't wait to hear more from you!

Flame




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Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:36 am
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marykatty says...



Hi, my name is Mary. I would love to review your story. Well for one thing it is captivating, I do love the theme of betrayal and yet her(connie) unconsciousness of the ever unfolding events. Well I love your presentation and delivery. This is a very nice piece and I do hope to see more of your work.





I exist as I am, that is enough
— Walt Whitman