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An imposter among us

by Tazim

An Imposter Among Us

College days are nightmares. For some oddballs though, it’s quite a fab. No limit whatsoever when it comes to asking cagey questions. The students had their tails up knowing that they needed to endure this tiresome lecture for less than five minutes. An enthusiastic head popped out. Richie asked, “Why don’t we use normality scale instead of morality?” Katy muttered, “Ugh! Marry him, will you!” Mr. John dragged his attention to Katy. He chuckled and said, “Maybe Mrs. Katy knows the answer”. He went towards her. She stood up and remained silent. Mr. John said, “Your looks may help you date seven boys in a week, but it doesn’t help you in your exams. Thus, you end up as a docile object for people to enjoy”. Chris stood up banging the desk hard. “Shame on a teacher who treats his students in this manner!” Mr. John looked at Chris. “You, his new janitor, boy!” The bell rang. Mr. John stared at him and said, “Class dismissed”. Richie was rushing towards Mr. John. Chris shoved him on his way. But Richie kept his ground. Richie was fuming. “Cheap dogs like you run after cheap…”. Chris pulled his collar. “Don’t even think about it!”. A fight was about to brew. Mr. John handled the situation. He said, “Mr. Chris, you’re suspended for seven days''. He lightly chuckled as he took Richie out of Chris’s sight. Chris was bold in his attitude. He always had his own incisive way to do things. Critics kept him unwavering. People cherished high hopes on him as he came up with something exceptional. Seven days felt like ages given that he only had two or three friends. Still three days to go, he was brainstorming looking at the vivid blue sky with his pen wriggling around his mouth. Joey called him. “Son, can you give me a hand here”. Chris made no delay. “What are you up to?” He was busy sorting out the newspapers and the magazines. “Oh! Yeah, do one thing. Um, arrange those old newspapers''. Chris started as commanded. He was going through the papers. Suddenly, a news caught his eye. It was on the front page. The headline stated, “The Killing spree goes on and on”. But the words below looked very jumbled and hazy making it hard to read. He asked Joey about the news. “The famous serial killer. He spread havoc in the north of Sydney.”. He said in a sibylline fashion. Chris asked, “Did he kill innocent people?” “Oh, no! He used to kill the rapists”. “So, he never got caught?” Chris further enquired. Joey displaced a bundle of magazines and said, “No, I suppose. You better finish your part or the witch’s going to curse you”. Chris smiled lightly. “Wait till mom hears it!” Joey felt amused too. “Yeah if you want to be summoned by the wizard, kid”. They sure had a chirpy afternoon. His suspension was over and he was late for his college, so was he absent on that day too. He didn’t care too much about it. It was early morning and Sydney never altered. But he was not alone. Katy was there sitting on the bench amidst the toddlers in the park. Chris joined her. Katy said, “Didn’t expect you here!” Chris was still smooching his right eye. Suddenly, a football hit him to get him out of his dreamland. The kid apologized instantly. Chris was feeling the effects. He said, “Next time, keep your eyes open”. Katy took the cold water bottle out of her bag, dressed it with her red handkerchief. She gently applied it on his cheek. “This will make you feel better”. Chris thanked her. After a while, Chris said, “Let’s go to the garden. It’s crowded out here”. Katy decided to join him. “Katy, may I ask you something?” Katy didn’t mind. “Why are you like this? So isolated!” Katy gazed at him for a bit. “Look, no need to act like this. If you want a date with me, just ask for it”. Chris looked a bit disturbed. “Katy, I know, it’s not the real you. Our past doesn’t define our future. You might have a wrecked past, but get out of it. Snap out!”. Katy replied, “What if your past never lets you go? Who are you going to fight for when you have no one?” They entered the garden. It was an aesthetic place for the flower lovers. Chris stopped her. “Katy, I know it’s a little awkward, but ever since you came here, I felt bad for you seeing you like this. They are always treating you like a slave to fulfill their lust”. Chris looked downwards. “I don’t want you like this. I want you to be respected, to be who you are”. Katy held his sweaty hands as she was sobering a bit with joy. “You know, Chris. Nobody ever respected as much as you do ever since I joined college. You are my only best friend left!”. The summer breeze uplifted their mood. They lied beside the river on the fresh green grass keeping their bags under their head. Katy took a photo out from her pocket. She caressed the old fading photo. It was her mom and dad together. “So many years, I haven’t seen them”. Chris said, “What happened to them?” She put the photo back in her pocket and started. “I hardly saw my dad as he was a detective. It was November, 2007. Dad was on his way after two long years. The whole house was bedecked, so was my mom. She looked ravishing. All of a sudden, someone was at the door. But it was not him. A group of men groped her. She told me to leave the house repeatedly. I was running in the dark sinister night. I only heard her scream but could do nothing”. She was trying to keep herself stable. “I’m sorry to hear that. But what did you do after that?” She wiped her tears. “I ended up here. Started working as a waiter. Managed to get admitted here”. Chris said, “Huh, you are my older sister, then!”. Katy laughed out loud. “Don’t expose my age, would you!”. “Your secrets are safe with me”. That day, he was feeling bothered. He went home and asked Joey, “Where are the papers? You sold them?” Joey replied, “Yes, why?” “No, just wanted to know”. He went to his room and called Michael, “Michael, your brother works in the morning herald?” Michael replied, “Yes”. “Look, man. I need to meet him right now”. “Alright. Come to my house, then. Hey! That’s cheating, man”. Chris said, “You guys are playing FIFA! Wait, I’m coming”. “Bring your console, dude”, Michael said. Chris went right away. Michael’s mom greeted Chris. His dad was watching them play. “Pass the ball! Damn, kid! 23 yards. Good job!” They shared a fist bump. “Oh! Chris. Sit down, boy! Nice to see you”. Michael’s brother, Mikael asked him, “You wanted to talk with me?” Chris said, “Yes”. They headed towards his room. “Mikael, I want all the news from the morning herald of 2007”. “Ok, but why?” Chris said, “I want to know about the serial killer who used to kill the rapists”. Mikael thought for a bit. “Oh, guess what! It was my first journal. I wrote the reports. But the detective never knew their identity”. “Their?” Mikael said, “Yes. Dan claimed that it was a group” “Who’s Dan?” Mikael showed a picture of them together on his phone. “He worked with me on that case. Then, you can say we’re best bros”. Chris asked, “Can I meet him?” Mikael said, “Yes, you can come here tomorrow after your class. He is free too”. “Thanks, man. It’s a lot”. “My pleasure!” Next day, Dan did arrive. He was chilling in the garden, eating chips and working on his laptop. He recognized Chris. “You must be Chris. Nice to know you”. Chris looked around. “Where is Mikael?” “Oh! He’s shopping with his fiancé”. Chris said, “So, I wanted to know about the serial killers”. Dan asked, “First, may I ask why?” Chris stammered a bit. “It’s for a competition. Getting the first prize isn’t easy”. Dan starred suspiciously. Then he gave a big wide smile. “I was just messing with your head. So, what do you want to know?” Chris asked, “Um. Did you ever find the reason behind that?” Dan said, “We did suspect the Mills family. The killings occurred after they were missing”. Chris asked, “You didn’t find anything in their house?” Dan showed a picture. “Look at the picture. Someone set the house ablaze. It was probably them. They didn’t leave any evidence by which we can trace the Mills family. Besides, we found three male corpses. They were stabbed brutally. Afterwards, the case was closed on 2015 as rape cases came down drastically, so were the killings”. Chris noted down all the information. “Last one. Can you tell me the names?” Dan replied, “I can’t do that. Confidential! But yes, the man was a detective like me. That might add some spice to your article”. Chris was happy to get what he wanted. Still, a piece of the puzzle was missing. He was alone in his room at night. His mind was telling him something. He jumped off his bed and started rummaging his college bag. He managed to find his math book. He opened the last page. It was written like this. “Katy Mills- 01111358525”. He was baffled for a bit. All of the bizarre thoughts started to fill his head. Somehow, he slept at dawn. He went to college. As usual, Katy greeted him. Chris asked, “What’s your father’s name?” Katy replied, “Jonathan Mills, but why?” Chris couldn’t find a reason behind that. It’s like he had to know. Chris said, “No, my father was talking about a friend of his from university named Brain Mills”. So, he trumped up. “Oh! My father was a talented lad. Mom used to speak about him. He used to read at the University of Sydney. Later on, he changed his line”. “So, he is still out there”, Chris added. Katy couldn’t agree more. It was a cloudy noon. Chris was still finding answers about those killers. The bell rang but he was lost in his thoughts. Katy gave him a jerk. “You alright?” Chris got up in a hurry. “I’ll see you later”. He was walking in the street. He called Matt. “Hey, can I visit you, right now?” Matt answered, “Yes, but why?” “I’ll explain once I get there”. Chris reached his house. He directly went to Matt. Matt lived alone. Chris said, “Matt, I need you to hack”. Matt got a little bit of shock. “Woah! Say, what!” “Last time, you hacked into the college database”. Matt replied sarcastically, “That was for fun”. Chris grappled his two elbows tightly. “Listen, man. I need to see the details of Prof. John''. “Ok, man. But why?” “I’ll explain later. Just do it”. At last, he had to do that. Matt’s techniques always worked. Matt found the details. Chris scrolled down like a dotty person. There he saw Prof. John passed from University of Sydney. The equation was getting simpler as he learnt other information about him. He started to mutter. “That’s it. The case was closed in 2015. He joined in the month of December of 2016. His name!” He scrolled up. It was Johnathan Mills. He was shell shocked. He couldn’t believe his eyes. He gave Matt a goodbye and left his house for good. It was crystal clear. He thought about all of this, the whole night. “Could it be the Mills family I’m looking for? Katy left her home in November, 2007. The killings started from the last week of that month. The three dead bodies! Did Prof. John kill them for assaulting Mrs. Mills and then burnt the house?” he asked himself. Thinking about all this, he went to sleep. He woke up early that day. Joey exclaimed, “Huh, never seen him get so excited for college!” Chris found Katy sitting in the college ground. He asked, “Where is Prof. John?” Katy gave a yawn and said, “He left. Good for him!” Chris felt like it came out of the blue. “What do you mean?” Katy pointed towards the notice board. “Go, see it yourself”. Chris read the notice. Yes, he really left the college. He was walking towards Katy. A man pushed him accidentally. He fell down. He recognized it was Prof. John. Professor helped him get up. He patted on his shoulder and said, “Ah, Mr. Chris. Looks like, you solved the unsolved!” Chris was just listening to him like he was hypnotized. Professor started walking towards the gate. He waved his hand saying, “Goodbye. Take care of my daughter!” He got out of college. Chris without further due started to scream, “Professor, Professor. John. Wait!” When he got out of the college gate, he was nowhere to be found. Chris found a piece of paper on the ground. He unfolded the paper. It was written, “I’ll always be watching you two”. Katy sneaked behind him. “Let’s go or we’ll be late. What’s that in your hand?” Chris threw that paper away. “Nah, nothing. Hey, you know, Australia are leading by 194 runs and it’s the last day!”. Katy said, “We got this series in the bag”. Chris gave a high five and said, “Absolutely!”

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22 Reviews

Points: 1946
Reviews: 22

Sun Jan 31, 2021 9:01 am
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raindrops wrote a review...

Hi! raindrops here to leave a review.

I see that you're new here in YWS, so I welcome you with hopes you continue writing.

So what I like about this short story is the surprise plot of the relation between the Professor and Katy, and that ending part where the Professor had to leave then left a note to Chris. Wherein Chris didn't bother telling Katy what it contains, for it seems he cares for her wellbeing. Although as to why, we only know that Katy, supposedly, is a pretty girl, and because they had spent a friendly-affectionate afternoon.

I usually quote paragraphs when I review, as that is how I've seen people doing here in YWS too, but you're layout makes it hard to do that. Navigation through your work was hard because its continuous and there's no spaces - that is obvious. But don't worry, this is something editable and not really the content of you're writing. But it needs to be point out, because some readers might get discouraged to read your work if it's not orderly. It's important to put them in paragraphs.

In terms of grammar, I see no problem there - although I'm not really an expert. I did notice, I think, at least one misspelled words, and other nitpick but those are generally good. Now let's focus on your sentence structure and writing style.

You're story telling is told more on the dialogues between the character rather than through a narration, and that's a good characteristic of your writing. I also commend how well thought you think of each succeeding episodes to make a mystery and reach a conclusion in one whole short story. However, there were parts that were really unrealistic or cliché. I know that this is a fiction story, but it is important that when we build a character they become real on the readers' POV.

What I'm pointing out here is the friend who hacked in the school data base - This is so used, and am not a fan of it. Especially that the information he gathered from doing that was also obtained after asking Katy, so why include a character who's a hacker? He's role became useless once Chris asked Kathy - I know this could mean that he's only confirming this to Katy, however, the redundancy of information gathering - when you know it's already true, made it looked like that it's only a technique to lengthen the story.

Furthermore, since you write in way of dialogues, you're narration are short and limited. They were only action words like, asked, turned, look, etc. Well, I don't know how to elaborate this - but Spirited Wolfe already pointed these out.

So, Overall, this story is good. I liked it. You certainly have strengths and weaknesses. Plotwise, it has a lot. However the way you story-tell the stories immediately by use of dialogues the mystery became predictable and hence, there were little suspense. You can add more mystery if you included some red herring first, to add color to the story. In the genre of mystery stories, it's always better to have multiple suspects, rather than catching the right one at first try - this would have also better fitted your title of Among Us. So that's it from me, I hope you keep on writing.

Tazim says...

Really appreciate your review. Yes, I mean I can edit it but I'm going through a busy period and barely getting time to write. Also, I think my story needs to have more addition in it.
Things you and SpiritedWolfe mentioned are very important. I'm currently working on a novella you can say and trying to get the plot moving by actions more than dialogues. Also I have to improve on my vocabs too cause it's so important for expressing your character.
Hopefully, I'll edit this soon. Also I'm trying to be patient with my sequence of actions too this time out.
It's a learning process and I want to learn my weaknesses and hone my skills too I suppose.

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715 Reviews

Points: 21125
Reviews: 715

Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:35 am
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SpiritedWolfe wrote a review...

Hi Tazim! Welcome to YWS :)

I'll be commenting mainly on the writing of your piece, since I think you have a decently developed idea for your story. The main issues with your piece as it sits is its presentation of your ideas, which made it difficult to follow.

First of all, as Hailey mentioned, the lack of paragraphs makes this really difficult to read, for a number of reasons! Yes, it is straining on the eyes, but it also makes it difficult to figure out what information is supposed to be clumped together and when transitions between ideas are happening. There is not "correct" size of a paragraph, but if you have more than 10 or so sentences in one, you can probably find a good place to break it up. Again, the point of a paragraph is to convey a single idea through a couple of sentences, such as setting up a scene, talking about a particular feeling of a character, etc.

Also, another really important rule is that every time a new character speaks, a new paragraph should me made. Here's a really short example to illustrate:

"Hi, Jim!" Mary said. She looked at him with a smile.

"Oh, Mary," Jim replied, "I didn't see you there."

Mary chuckled. "It's good to see you too, Jim."

So each time the speaker changed, I created a new paragraph. This makes it really easy for the reader to tell who is speaking when, because otherwise it can be hard to tell if a line is someone continuing to speak or someone else answering. It also allows you to be a bit more expressive between dialogue, by adding in descriptions of the characters or what the characters are doing. Otherwise, it feels like two floating heads talking to one another, and less engaging.

Second, once you've organized your writing into paragraphs, your writing would benefit from having more descriptions. The bulk of this piece was made up of dialogue, and it felt like the plot was always being advanced through dialogue, instead of the actions of the character. I didn't know where the characters were (what did Michael's house look like when he asked Chris to come over? what did the classroom look like -- was it big or small? a big building or a small one?), and I didn't know what any of the characters even looked like. Putting more information into the prose is much more interesting for the reader, and also helps them follow the story more. This includes descriptions, character thoughts, emotions, actions, etc. These are all tools that will help you convey your story better!

The final general thing I want to talk about the fact is that characters are typically name dropped without a lot of context around them. For instance, who is Richie in the beginning and why should we care about him? Then later on, Chris calls (gets a call from?) Michael, and we've never heard of him at all before. I also still don't know who Matt is. When you have a lot of characters, it's important to give more context around each of them, and give them each a unique personality so they feel like real people. It's not only more engaging for the reader (so the character doesn't feel like JUST a plot device), but it's also easier for the character to remember who is who when they show up again.

These are the big ideas of things that you can work on, and it's okay because all of these can be difficult to do well, and we're always work on them! But by trying to include these concepts into your next draft, I can see a huge improvement, and then your really cool ideas can shine through!

Let me know if you have any questions, and I'd be happy to help out :) Happy writing!
~ Wolfe

Tazim says...

Thanks for your valuable advices. I started writing last year. So, I'm still learning a lot of things. And you're right I must be more patient regarding my characters so that the readers indulge themselves into characters. Yes, thanks again. I needed this to improve. Appreciate it! Frankly, I also felt like the story is looking like an unfinished puzzle. It needs to have more in it. This was the base structure of a novel, I thought. But later on I just forgot and thought ok let's post it and see what happens. Patience is the name of the game, I think.

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37 Reviews

Points: 1625
Reviews: 37

Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:42 pm
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Haileyg21 wrote a review...

HIYO! Hailey here for a review on this amazing piece. So all together I loved this. Its really well written but hard to read as its put. In this you made only one paragraph and Its hard for some people to read. I personally Had a hard time with all of it like this because of my Dyslexia but that's a different thing. Other than it being hard to read because of the one paragraph thing its really good. Its a lovely piece but its a little hard to get into. I personally didn't find spelling errors but I'm not very good at that. I promise there's no hate on this. I loved it so much and I think if you keep writing you'll be really good in the future. But Honestly this is super good and thank you for showing this to this community!

Tazim says...

Thank you so very much! And I'll make more paragraphs next time around. Again appreciate it!

Haileyg21 says...

no problem. its really good.

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Points: 0
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Mon Jan 25, 2021 11:27 am
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Tazim says...

This is my first short story I posted here. Pardon me for my mistakes and let your opinions know.

The brain is wider than the sky.
— Emily Dickenson