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The Journal

by TheRedPencil

Warning: This work has been rated 16+.

Can someone truly choose to love another? Choose to give another parts of your soul in return for parts of theirs? Can you choose to do that? Are there gods that pick and choose for us? Does some unseen force in the universe decide for us? Whichever it is, whether or not he chose this, it is me that he loves and he who I love. Who I will always love.

I love him.

I adore him.


The worn page of the journal was velvety soft beneath his fingertip as he dragged his index finger lovingly down the lined page. His finger paused over the words ‘I love him’ and after a minute he sighed and tapped the words three times.

Don’t you remember this? We love each other.”

He reached for the pale, limp hand resting on her lap and laced his fingers with hers. He squeezed her hand gently hoping, praying, she would squeeze back, but her fingers never curled around his. Not even so much as a twitch. He wrenched his hand from hers. Scrubbed it down his face. Pushed off from the wall they were both sitting against and threw down the journal.

The loud clap it made as it hit the cold concrete floor seemed to echo infinitely in the silence between them. He stalked across the room his footsteps silent, almost predatory. His hand scrubbed down his face again. Then once more. Still no reaction from her. He turned to face the mirror in the corner. The one with the cracks going down the sides. With the pictures stuck in the frame. So many that only glimpses of the edges were visible, only impressions through the windows the glossy photographs created. These impressions were shattered, creeping, broken images that tore his face into a thousand pieces.

Even in a thousand pieces he was a rather beautiful creature. She had, of course, noticed that immediately, but something about it seemed cruel.


Almost sadistic in a way.

Like he used his beauty as a weapon.

Like his dark, satiny skin and light blue eyes were just another dagger to be sharpened and put to use.

He walked slowly on his way back to her. Stalked his way back to her. He stopped next to her and bent to swiftly pick up the leather journal from under her hand.

Do you remember how in love we were when you wrote this? Do you remember that?”

He looked to the mirror again. Caught a glimpse of the spattering of freckles across her nose he loved so much. He smiled softly and paused to gaze at her in a way he hoped she knew was loving. She continued to ignore his attempts to apologize. To close the gap that grew wider between them. His smile faltered slightly before growing wider as he met her eyes through the mirror. He loved everything about her even with her splotchy forehead and her tear streaked cheeks and her soft grey eyes. Even with her silence. Her distance.

Do you remember how we met?”

He thrummed through the musty pages by instinct until he found the entry he was searching for.

June 17th

I saw him today. He came into my store. Just for five minutes and then he was gone. A breath exhaled on a frosty morning. A cloud of infinite shapes there one minute and then gone like a whisper in the night the next. That breath was enough.

I’ve never believed in love at first sight. I still don’t, but I think I’m starting to understand how someone can feel something so deeply for another after such a short amount of time. He came in looking for a hammer and nails. For his baby cousin’s new crib he said. While I helped him find them he continuously cracked puns. Horrible, horrible jokes that I couldn’t help but laugh at. Before he left, new hammer and nails in a paper bag clenched in his hand, he promised to come back. If he needed anything else for his project he knew who his girl was.

His girl.

I swear my heart skipped a beat.’

He glanced back at her hopefully, but turned away without waiting for a response.

I remember this day. You were the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.”

He reached his hand across the emptiness between them and smoothed a silky brown curl towards her ear. It fell forward again as he pulled away his fingers and ended its journey caught on the crest of her nose, but neither made a motion to remove it. A tear rolled slowly down his cheek. He made no move to brush it away and it slipped into the crease of his lips. The salt stung as it rolled across the weeping split that cut through his bottom lip and the teardrop that rolled down his chin and dripped onto the dusty floor was tinted red.

The way that you glowed when you explained to me the difference between a claw hammer and a ball pein was magical. The way that your laugh seemed to hang in the air and surround us when I asked you why I couldn’t just hammer in a screw. The way that your fingers danced across the rows as you walked me down the aisles to the cash register. That’s why I fell in love with you, but there are so many more reasons for why I still love you.”

He collapsed against the wall next to her. The sharp rock pressing into his back hardly registered against his grief.

I’m so, so sorry.”

More red tinged tears fell to scatter the grey dust that covered the ground.

I just wanted you to love me back.”

Shaking, he placed the leather journal with the words he had penned onto her lap. Folded her cold hands over it. Wiped another streak of blood that wept from the hole punched in the center of her forehead.

Picked up the metal gun from the floor next to him.

Put it to his head.

And pulled the trigger.

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228 Reviews

Points: 20604
Reviews: 228

Sat Jul 24, 2021 2:42 pm
RandomTalks wrote a review...

Hello RandomTalks here with a short review!

Actually, a "very short review", because honestly I just read this story and I don't think I have found my words yet. This was such a beautiful and yet haunting piece. It made me stop short for a while and process all the emotions that your story instilled in me. You certainly have a way with your words and you know just how to make the reader feel. I was a little confused because I could not understand why the woman was not saying anything or even reacting. And you wrote your dialogues in a way that I couldn't actually be sure of who was speaking. But then in the end, when it became clear that the narrator was the one who had "penned" the words in the journal, I grew even more surprised. Then, of course, I had the shock of my life when I realized that the woman was actually dead, that the narrator had shot her. I really liked how you slowly unveiled the scene, how you made us go from sympathizing with the narrator to actually being afraid of him.

One suggestion I have is to write the words in the journal in italics. I think the effect would work well with your story.

That's all! Have a great day and thanks for sharing such a great story!

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7 Reviews

Points: 918
Reviews: 7

Sun Jan 26, 2020 2:35 am
ServalX wrote a review...

Hey there! This is ServalX with a review! I hope your having a good day or night what ever the case may be.
.I noticed that you used dialogue to describe how they met etc and etc. There's nothing wrong with using dialoque for that purpose however I think this would have felt more real to me, if you had used flash backs to describe their story.
.Throughout the novel the woman hardly speaks at all. I feel like that's a problem. The man is supposed to be convincing her to love him, and we don't get to see her reaction in any shape or form. I want this conversation to be a little more heated.
That's it from me!

TheRedPencil says...

Hi ServalX,

Firstly, thank you for the review!

I'll address each point you made separately.

The reason that I had any past scenes described through dialogue is because the main character, the man, is reading these snippets from a journal. Flashbacks could have been an impactful way to also show how they met and fell in love however the journal is the most important plot point in the short story. That's why I titled it "The Journal". The reason I had the man reading from the journal was to create an illusion that they were very in love and that this was her journal. At the end you (the reader) find out that the man has been stalking her and is actually the author if the journal. This same effect, leading the reader in one direction while hinting at another, couldn't have been achieved with flashbacks.

As you pointed out, this is a very one sided conversation; The woman never speaks, not even once. While a double sided conversation would have been interesting, it is not possible in this short. Simply put, the woman is dead. The man shot her before the story starts.

The short story chronicles the short amount of time that passes from the man shooting the woman to him becoming overwhelmed with grief and shooting himself. It tells the story of a stalker (the man) realizing he has killed the object of his affections in a fit of rage and choosing to end his own suffering with the gun that ended the woman's life.

I hope my explanations made the story clearer!

The Red Pencil

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Points: 80
Reviews: 4

Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:19 am
CassieList says...

This is really good! I cant even comprehend your level of excellency! I loved all of it yet need more detail on what the situation is. Good job making me feel like i was with them too!

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Points: 80
Reviews: 4

Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:16 am
CassieList says...

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121 Reviews

Points: 1732
Reviews: 121

Fri Nov 29, 2019 2:48 pm
looseleaf wrote a review...

I loved this story. It was fantastic and the wording was incredible. You are very good at adding detail and action to short stories; it really shows. The ending was shocking, the murder and suicide. It really caught me as a shock, but when I reread it I noticed you had foreshadowed it: "He reached for the pale, limp hand resting on her lap and laced his fingers with hers." It's really good to know how to foreshadow without it being obvious (a skill I don't have), and that's great.

TL;DR The story was great, the ending was a shock, you know how to foreshadow well.

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Points: 41
Reviews: 3

Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:27 pm
hannaaullmann says...

I really liked this. It was extremely intriguing and thrilling and sad at the same time. You're very good at detail. Thank you!

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