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Sarah

by Penlorde


I wonder if she saw it, the scar on my arm. The one that I kept hidden from the world. The one that haunted me for years on end. It is evidence that I was - I am - weak. A long incision stretching from my wrist to middle of my forearm. Made with nervous, furiously shaking hands, and one movement. I knew next to nothing about the human body, let alone what to do to make the most damage. Blood loss was going to kill me anyway. 

Her thin fingers traced up and down the pink paler flesh.

                 "Why do you hide it?" She asked slowly, lacing her fingers with mine.

Her eyes searched longingly for mine. I looked at her. By God, she was beautiful. When she stood, she stood tall. There was always confidence in her smile, a bounce in her step, and a twinkle in her eye. That's why I fell madly in love with her. With short chestnut curls, and a bit of extra flesh on her bones. She wasn't't chubby, no, she was perfect. Even right now, with concern twirling in her eyes, she is beautiful. 

                "I want nothing to do with it." I said. 

Nothing to do with it. I am running away. Chasing clouds, because I am afraid. I was in a dark place, shadows embraced me when the only light was scary. They told me things about me I didn't know, things I didn't think were true, but they sold it. Men in white. They told me that I was different, that I could be helped, that I could change.

I shoved my hand in my pocket. I felt something. My fingers curled around it, cautiously pulling it out. A singular blue-and-white pill and a little yellow piece of paper. I slowly unfold the paper, careful not to tear it. Crayon sprawled across the page. Stick figures of a man and a little girl holding hands next to a house. Flowers decorated the page. On the bottom, written with blue crayon, was 'Grandma's nice but I miss you daddy, Get well soon! - Sarah'. The 'r' was written the other way round.

             "Are you going to drink that?" The beautiful brunette asked slowly and quietly, like a whisper, strong with emotion.

Tears welled up in my eyes. I recognised the handwriting and the name. My hands stroke the paper. Lift it up to my face, I could still smell her. Sarah. Images flashed in my mind. Sarah's first steps, her birthdays, her laugh, her smile. I can remember the first time I held her in my arms. I turn to the woman next to me. I see Sarah's nose, Sarah's smile, Sarah's mischievous green eyes. Then I see the woman who sat on the hospital bed with a proud grin on her face, 'It's a girl Mark!', and the woman who left me to the care of a six-year-old girl.

            "Sarah needs me, Our daughter needs me." I said, releasing her hand. I caress her cheek and give her a final kiss. 

"I love you, but I can't stay." I whispered.

"I know."

And with a gulp the pill went through my body. Commanding my brain, pulling me back. Wake up! Everything around me fades. I feel a heavy weight on me. I pull on my shirt, push out what felt like closing walls. I gasp and scream. 

My eyes snapped open. My senses are alive, my heart is beating loud. Men in white surround me, their mouths covered, pulling me, and tugging me. Their eyes filled with hope and wonder, "You made it Mark". A white bright light shines in my face, but this time, I am not afraid.

                 


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73 Reviews


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Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:38 am
Authorian wrote a review...



I read a few of the other reviews and a few people said you lost them...
You didn't lose me. I could understand the story perfectly... and I must say... well done. It's sad, well written, and in the few words, I know more about this man than I do some of my friends.
I am in awe with your wonder writing and must urge you to never stop writing!! Your story is beautiful, sad, and understandable. I can feel the sadness of the father, the understanding of the mother, and the loss of there little girl.

Thank you for making an imprint on my heart that I shall never forget.




Penlorde says...


Thank you so much for this. It's so encouraging to hear things like this. Thank you, thank you, thank you.



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Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:26 pm
Anabelle wrote a review...



Hi there! :)

Okay, there a few things I am confused on, but I get the gist of the story which is good. You didn't completely lose me! So far, what I can see is that the main character was/is suicidal because he lost someone. His daughter? His wife? I don't know. I saw that you put one of the genres as fantasy, so I'm guessing that he was communicating with the deceased in some way or another. Is that why you classified this as fantasy?

I thought the description you used was great and I really liked how you opened the story up with the two characters discussing the scar. It was very interesting and got my attention right away.

As for having a "Mary Sue" character, I honestly didn't really see that. I'm not sure who the perfect woman is supposed to be, so I can't say whether she should have been perfect or not. If she was the man's deceased wife or daughter, it would make sense for her to be perfect. At least in his eyes - this is from his point of view after all.

This was a great story overall! You may need to edit this and drop a few more hints to make it a little easier for us to understand. Whether that is our fault or yours, I do not know. Anyways, job well done and, as always, I thoroughly enjoyed your work. Keep doing what you're doing.

XOXO
Anabelle




Penlorde says...


Heyyy :) Thanks. I'll clear it up. Eventually..



Penlorde says...


I tried to fix it, any better?


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Anabelle says...


Yeah, I think I got it now. His wife is dead and when he takes that pill he can communicate with her? If I'm wrong, don't get discouraged... I can be very stupid sometimes! hahaha



Penlorde says...


Well, you got a part of it. The pill he took, to symbolise that he wants to live. Sort of like an anti-suicide pill. He was dying and he saw his wife, he realised how much he needed to live and created a pill to bring him back. Does that make any sense?


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Anabelle says...


Ohhhh, yeah! See, it was my fault. It's all making sense now. haha



Penlorde says...


The men in white are supposed to be doctors... But I'm glad you get it now!



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Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:09 pm
Kendastic wrote a review...



This is a very interesting read. The first paragraph needs reworked, and the ending is a bit confusing, but other than that it was great! It was a simple, short story that anyone could sit down for five minutes and be drawn into. Even though it is a bit confusing, the confusion pulls the reader in more, making them want to know more. Great work.




Penlorde says...


Thank you :)



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Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:57 pm
ChristataAstera wrote a review...



This piece is really, really cool. I love the emotion and imagery used throughout the story. It definitely gave me sense of wonderment and sadness, if that makes sense. Most of the things I was going to mention were already said, but I still have a couple I noticed. First of all, you use 'them' to describe one scar in the first line. Also, your tense is extremely inconsistent. You switch in between past and present almost every other verb. Just pick one tense and leave it at that.
Although I thought this story was intriguing, it was a bit confusing. It might help if, in the future, you flesh it out a bit more so that it'll easier to understand. I know it's good to have a sense of mystery, but sometimes there's too much.
However, I really enjoyed this piece and its originality. Keep up the good work!




Penlorde says...


Thank you, i'll keep that in mind for future work.



Penlorde says...


I edited it, Is this clearer?





Yes, good job! :)



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Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:50 pm
AstralHunter wrote a review...



Salutations.

Even for a short story, this is rather short, but in a short story, everything has a purpose, and so too does the length. If this short story's especially emotional and touching subject is taken into account whilst considering the length, it can mean that you chose for it to be so exceptionally short in order to better illustrate the short duration of life.

It is not only your length which makes this short story powerful, as your other elements come together nicely. I did find certain things confusing, though.


I wonder if she saw them, the scar on my arm.

Immediately, the subject of this short story is established. That just goes to show you how powerful a single sentence can be. There is, however, one mistake which can make this effective sentence lose some of its gravity, and that is the underlined word. Why do you refer to the scar in the plural - them - when it is clearly singular? I suppose it must have been due to a momentary lapse of concentration, but remember to read through your work, keeping the possibilty of such errors in mind while doing so.

It is evidence that I was, I am weak.

I understand what you are trying to do here, but when you wish to convey such meanings, correct punctuation is essential. So, in this case, you want to add the "I am" as an afterthought. There are two ways through which that effect will be achieved the best - the first is by putting it in parenthesis either by employing commas or dashes. It should therefore look like one of these two:
~ "It is evidence that I was - I am - weak."
~ "It is evidence that I was, I am, weak."

Your second option is denying your first thought and then subsequently correcting it. That would require the use of a negative and italics, as in:
~ "It is evidence that I was, no, I am, weak."

Blood loss was going to kill me anyway, doesn't matter where.

I am moderately sure the underlined is a dangling participle, but no matter what it's called, it is incorrect. I advise adding a so it before it.

"Why do you hide it?" She asked slowly, lacing her hands with mine.

The underlined word should not be capitalised.

By God, she is beautiful. She is a queen. When she stood, she stood tall. There was always confidence in her smile, a bounce in her step, and a twinkle in her eye.

Do you notice how you change tenses in between your second and third sentences? The last two are correct, as you should write in the past tense, yet your first two are not, as they are written in the present tense. I advise changing the first two's tense to the past, so that your short story may appear more uniform. (It is very unusual and rare to encounter a short story written in the present tense anyway.)

She wasn't chubby, no, She was perfect.

The narrator might think the woman is a goddess, but that does not mean you are allowed to capitalise the pronoun referring to her when it is in the middle of a sentence.

Nothing to do with it. I was running away. Chasing clouds, because I was afraid. I was in a dark place, shadows embraced me when the only light was scary. They told me things about me I didn't know, things I didn't think were true, but they sold it.

I assume that the protagonist means they are running away from life, as later on he swallows a pill and dies; however, I may be completely mistaken, for this part of the text is rather confusing and slightly obscure.

Crayon sprawled across the page. Stick figures of a man and a little girl holding hands next to a house. Flowers decorated the page. On the bottom, written with blue crayon, was 'Grandma's nice but I miss you daddy, Come back - Sarah'. The 'r' was written the other way round.

I enjoy how you perfectly describe the way this picture was drawn. The reader now also understands the meaning of the title.

"Are you going to drink that?" The beautiful brunette said slowly and quietly, like a whisper, strong with emotion.

It seems that you regularly capitalise words unnecessarily; also, said should be asked.


Everything after that is rather perplexing. I get the feeling that the protagonist commited suicide, but I'm not sure whether it's because his daughter died or because of other reasons. Your short story is touching, but because of the confusion, it loses much of its effect and the impact on the reader is not quite what you wanted it to be. Or it is simply that way in my case. Either way, some clarification is needed. Your short story is well-written nontheless, so congratulations concerning that!

This review courtesy of
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Penlorde says...


Hey :) Thank you for the review. These were some things I completely overlooked. I'm horrible at the nitpicks but I will make the changes :D And I'll try to clear up the story.



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Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:54 am
Wisteria wrote a review...



Heyo Pen, Subtle here for a review! Before anything, I would like the say that this story did tug on my heartstrings, I found the content of this story touching as well as the way it is written in. Even though there were some confusing parts to it, I still enjoyed it.


"Why do you hide it?" She asked slowly, lacing her hands with mine.


I think you meant 'fingers' here instead of hands, lacing her hand with yours is a bit weird. *like laced hands....* No...

Her eyes searched longingly for mine. I looked at her. By God, she is beautiful. She is a queen. When she stood, she stood tall. There was always confidence in her smile, a bounce in her step, and a twinkle in her eye. With short chestnut curls, and a bit of extra flesh on her bones. She wasn't chubby, no, She was perfect. Even right now, with concern twirling in her eyes, she is beautiful.


Well alright, this sounds a bit cliché and she's sounding like a Mary Sue now. I have no faults with our MC finding her beautiful even if it is a cliché, given the given circumstances is understandable. But making her so goddess-like is a bit over the top, saying that she was perfect is also over the top and is annoying to have any character to be so perfect.

"Are you going to drink that?" The beautiful brunette said slowly and quietly, like a whisper, strong with emotion.


I know this is most probably her daughter, but those words, 'beautiful brunette' still rings the wrong way. Especially the way you wrote that sentence made her seem like some sort of lover rather than her daughter. Wouldn't he call her by her name rather than 'the beautiful brunette' that sounds a guy would say to a chick he had just picked up ten minutes ago from somewhere. When writing this type of piece, consider how the tone of the sentence might affect the character you want the readers to see.

I'm somewhat confused here about what is going on. I assume that the protagonist is alone by himself and this pill brings him back to consciousness or something like that. Yet at the same time he also seems to be communicating to himself about Sarah but somehow Sarah is replying. I'm not sure what's happening there, you might want to clear it up. Aside from the dialogue confusion, I actually quite liked this piece especially the little prose inserted between each dialogue. I like the emotions portrayed there, especially when the MCs was musing about his scars. The one part I was also confused about was the ending, what exactly was the pill? There was absolutely no clue to indicate what it might be or what it does to the MCs, and the last part about him holding Sarah's hand was even more confusing. Sarah is in the form of a photograph if I'm not mistaken, and those were mental dialogues he had with her.

Another thing is, I know Sarah is this man's daughter but even so, making her too perfect pisses the readers off. No one likes a Mary Sue.

Hope I helped, if you have any questions, shoot me a PM.

-S.s




Penlorde says...


Hello :D Thanks for the review! I'm sorry I made her too perfect, I'll fix that ish, when I'm free. Also, I live under a rock, Who's Mary Sue? but yeah. The pill is suppose to symbolise his willingness to come back to life. Also the girl was supposed to be his deceased wife. I'll see what i can do to make it more obvious. Thank you for the feedback :D



Wisteria says...


Don't be sorry for anything, I was just pointing out that she was maybe a bit too perfect. A 'Mary Sue' in literary terms is basically a girl character who is perfect at everything and anything. I thought the pill was something along those lines, oh his wife! I sort of assumed it was his daughter because you wrote 'her first steps'.



Penlorde says...


Oh okay! Thanks for educating me :)


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arsabdul says...


It was REALLY GOOD although I got a little bit confused, but is really good :D



Penlorde says...


Why thank you :)



Penlorde says...


Also I just edited the piece, what do you think?




“Rise like Lions after slumber In unvanquishable number. Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on you— Ye are many—they are few.”
— Mary Shelly