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Longing of a Maiden Rose: Ch. IV: The Town in No Mans Land 3

by MailicedeNamedy


The pain came back.

The mental wounds were accompanied by bruised knees and torn hands. Several times yesterday Claire fell on the floor. Her dress was lying over the edge of the bed. When her aunt knocked on the door that night, she did not answer. Cowering in her bed, she did not sleep.

As the sun shone through the window, Claire realised what she had done. Her breathing became faster. Claire felt the aggression rising inside her. The dirty bed, the scarred hands, the unwearable dress. In her bitterness, Claire couldn't even cry anymore. She wanted to shed tears. So much so that she struggled to grieve. Sobbing, she welled up her bile against her Father. Seething, burning anger destroyed her body. The more she thought about it, the worse her temper became.

There was no other way. She had to hate him. For everything he had done. For all the letters he had ever written. Even for her dream of moving out of Regenschloss. She hated him for that too.

Claire escaped Waltraud's wise words and stayed in her room. She threw the dress into a corner, made her bed, and during one of her rare moments of apathy remembered Emma. Emma and Léonard. She, the naïve fool and he, the conniving liar.

They were her last hope.

***

Running down the hill was easier than getting to the top. While her hair dried in the wind, she sprinted down in her new forget-me-blue blouse.

The fresh air gave her new strength. Motivation flooded her head. Several times she knocked on Emma's front door.

"I heard it the first time. What's wrong?" Emma asked. "What do your hands look like!? When did you hurt yourself?"

"Never mind," interjected Claire, hiding her hands, "What about Léonard?"

"I haven't seen him since he took us to the Great Plain."

"Let's go to him! Now!" she ordered.

"Did he move into a room under his name?"

"Off to the post office!" Claire said.

Claire´s intuition was right. His black car was parked in front of the building. Next to the priest and a lady, he waited at the counter. He stood by a young postman who was learning to telegraph. His nervous posture meant he was constantly making mistakes. Léonard shooed the girls outside after he noticed them.

"What's the matter? You look restless." Emma asked when he finally arrived, "You've been gone for days."

"I have to go. The telegram has arrived."

"WHAT?" they both shouted at the same time.

"I'm sorry. It's all a bit rushed. An hour ago, I didn't even know where I was going. I'm about to leave."

"Where are you going? Home?"

"No."

"Does it have to do with this book?” Emma asked.

"Yes."

He was already sitting in the car. Léonard realised how hasty he was and stepped in front of the girls.

"We will meet again, don't worry. I thank you for being so kind. I'll be in touch again eventually."

"Eventually?" squeaked Emma, "This could take forever!"

"Don't worry. I won't forget you."

He looked at Claire.

"So, calm? Are you glad to be rid of me?" he joked.

She received a blow in the pit of her stomach. The last hope sank into the sea of melancholy. She said nothing. He laughed at her indifferent expression and offered her a cigarette. She shook her head.

"Where are you going?" Emma asked.

In her desperation, Emma almost jumped on him.

"To some friends."

He hugged her one last time and drove away from the post office.

***

Claire's mood followed the course of the river.

The moment at the post office appeared in beautiful weather. Summer had officially begun. Tomorrow the novena began. They were alone. Exciting, thrilling holidays turned into a moping disaster of thought and rapid speculation.

His departure was unexpected and unwanted. Emma knew this feeling when Léonard said goodbye to Sehlingen.

At home, Claire immediately retreated to her room. She had not spoken to her aunt since the evening in the restaurant. The fact of being isolated once again made the young creature despair. She viewed her life in shadowy flashbacks.

The end of the holidays was the beginning of a new life. Her father would not take No for an answer. Her belief that she was spiralling deeper into the underworld frightened her. Claire instinctively wished not to receive a phone call. During the arranged appointments, she flinched at the slightest sound.

When Emma knocked on the door one foggy morning, Claire didn't let her in. She stared at her from upstairs. She wanted to stay alone. At the same time, she missed contact with her.

An argument with Auntie was not reciprocated. The violin was silent when Waltraud asked about it. It lasted for two or three nights. Claire had given up trying to run away.

The mentality had changed abruptly. In the darkness, Claire was in her dreams, living solely to immerse herself in a painless world. She woke up to fall asleep in the evening. With eyes cold with emotion, she read the daily newspaper. War. Deaths. Attacks. Father did not call. Housewives' school. Léonard...

At one point her conscience mentioned that she should be happy and proud of what she was. It would be worse if she fell down the stairs and broke her neck. Gratitude to her Father for his care. And Léonard should be forgotten.

It was more important to think about the future. Something she was afraid of. Of this unknown place she never wanted to reach.

In swirling memories, the question arose whether she had not imagined him. She was not crazy, and yet at night she tugged at her hair and bit her arms to feel something.

In this turmoil, Claire indulged in cigarettes more often. Her room stank of burnt tobacco. She was disgusted by it herself, yet she couldn't keep her hands off it. The stench was bypassed with the shower. Then the vicious circle continued.

***

Auntie had to be thrown out of bed to gain admittance after Emma had knocked with violent blows on the door.

"Where have you been all this time?" she asked anxiously as Claire was forced to step outside the door.

"At home," she murmured with a sombre expression.

"Let's go for a walk."

"Don't feel like it."

"Something's wrong with you!" Emma said quickly and pulled her outside.

Claire took the supporting role in this apathetic walk. They walked down the street. It was strange weather. Children were playing around everywhere; the novena was in progress and the country was paying homage to the Muses and the Goddess. Between the cloudy sky and the brief drops that fell, the sun broke through now and then. It seemed wrong, Claire thought as she looked around. The joy of the residents, the many shades of grey above her and the fishbowl on top of her. She resisted hearing and feeling anything. She crackled inside, like a flame wanting to be lit. The outburst did not morph into a new kind of freedom, it was a new imprisonment, a new chain that she now wore around her neck.

"What have you been doing all this time?"

The main road was abandoned. The choice of paths in Regenschloss was limited. On the way, they met the mayor. He greeted them with great eagerness and eyed them even when they were far away.

"Nothing," Claire replied.

Emma shook her head.

"I helped out at the factory once. I also found out how to get to Petrichor."

She spoke in a whisper that Claire rarely knew from her friend.

"Why?"

"Because Léonard is there."

"How do you know?"

"Where else would he be?" replied Emma. "He might even be from there."

"He specifically said that the residents cannot leave this place."

"This is a legend!"

"Petrichor has also been a legend. It really exists."

"But that doesn't have to be true!" returned Emma optimistically. "I know he's there! He didn't show it to us and tell us about it for nothing."

Claire rolled her eyes. Emma's pure delusion of reality was unacceptable. She couldn't understand how anyone could be stupid and optimistic at the same time. She felt the hateful slime on her Father pass over to Emma. She was weak and naïve. She was poor and cheap Claire´s head said.

"Léonard has no reason to travel there," Claire said coldly.

"But-"

"EMMA YOU STUPID COW! LÉONARD IS GONE. NOT TO PETRICHOR. SOMEWHERE WE CAN'T GET TO! FORGET HIM! HE'S PROBABLY AN OUTLAW ON THE RUN! YOU'RE GETTING THINGS INTO YOUR HEAD THAT CAN'T BE TRUE! HE'S A LIAR WHO CAN'T DO ANYTHING BETTER WITH HIMSELF IN LIFE! " Claire screamed at her friend, "YOU ARE TO BLAME FOR EVERYTHING. I'D BE BETTER OFF WITHOUT YOU!"

Claire stopped. The passers-by stopped. Before Emma could say anything in reply, Claire ran back home. A cold shiver ran down her spine.

"CLAIRE!"

But she did not hear. She hated herself. She hated herself because Emma believed in the impossible. Couldn't she see how pointless everything was? Immediately after her scream, the voice in her head no longer spoke. At the same time, there was the shame that ate her.

Claire did not know what was right. Her organs burned in a firepot while her voice praised her. She felt strange.

***

Yesterday it happened.

Claire had needed a scapegoat.

Emma still tried to catch up with her and could not. Claire couldn't blame Emma if she wanted nothing more to do with her. She had never been so ashamed in her life as she was at that moment. In public in front of all the others.

The shame did not disappear at dawn.

It had deformed. Deformed into a stinking, regurgitated antipathy towards her Father. He was to blame for all this. Claire had written a long letter to him. In the night it was torn as the words became monstrous waves. Ink stuck to the table and her fingers. Pierced paper covered the floor. Thrown out of the window, more sheets became victims of her oppression.

The unexpected breaking of the protective shield gave her a new attack surface. The transfer of anger to her flesh and blood gave her the self-esteem she needed.

She no longer thought about her Father's call.

On the fourth day after the novena began, the phone rang.

Her hatred grew with every second.

She had been waiting. She planned to throw everything she had written down at his head. He was to blame for everything, for destroying her life, for ending a long friendship, for killing her hope.

She picked up the receiver carefully. The closer it came to her ear, the fuzzier her words became. But now her voice was failing in her head.

" Silberlilie," she spoke harshly.

"Good afternoon, Claire."

It was not her Father.

It was Léonard.

An ice-cold shiver made even the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She turned to stone. Excited tingling in her belly, the increased pulse rate and shallow breathing woke her to life. He was grinning, she knew it.

"Léonard? How are you?"

"I'm not complaining. Sorry I had to leave so soon. I had my reasons. That's why I apologise."

"There's nothing wrong with that."

"I've been doing that a lot lately."

"What?"

"Apologizing," Léonard said.

"I didn't notice. You didn't incriminate us or anything," Claire huffed sternly.

"Thank you for your words. I am calling you because I want to make a gift to both you and Emma. I wanted you to come to Weymouth."

"Weymouth? Where is that? Why?"

"Right near Pfalzburg. It's a kind of gift for the inconvenience on my part," Léonard explained.

"Yes, but... aren't you in Petrichor?"

"Who tells such things?"

"Nobody."

"No. I´m in Weymouth. Come and see me, I'll pick you up at Pfalzburg main station if you come by the evening train. Shall we say in two days? Is that all right with you?"

Claire stopped for a moment.

"Can I trust you?"

Léonard was silent for a few seconds.

"What do you mean?"

"You aren´t looking for this Codex Mortuo. That's a lie, isn't it?"

She already thought he had hung up when he answered in his croaky voice.

"No, I'm not looking for it."

Claire felt her legs turn to jelly.

"What then?"

"It doesn't matter, Claire. I won't bother you with it anymore. I just want to make you happy. Will you accept the offer?"

Claire looked at the phone. Her head gave her a different perspective. She cleared her throat to indicate her answer.

"Of course. I will inform Emma. Until then!"

She was just putting the phone back when he shouted something after her.

"Wait! If I am not present, look out for Karoline and Stephan du Murnaux. They are friends of mine with whom we are staying. “

"All right. “

"See you soon."

END OF CHAPTER IV

To Chapter V


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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Okay...I find myself a little more on the fence about this chapter. It advances the plot somewhat nicely, but there are quite a few issues that I see here and there...at least the way I see it.

Anyway let's get right to it,

The pain came back.

The mental wounds were accompanied by bruised knees and torn hands. Several times yesterday Claire fell on the floor. Her dress was lying over the edge of the bed. When her aunt knocked on the door that night, she did not answer. Cowering in her bed, she did not sleep.

As the sun shone through the window, Claire realised what she had done. Her breathing became faster. Claire felt the aggression rising inside her. The dirty bed, the scarred hands, the unwearable dress. In her bitterness, Claire couldn't even cry anymore. She wanted to shed tears. So much so that she struggled to grieve. Sobbing, she welled up her bile against her Father. Seething, burning anger destroyed her body. The more she thought about it, the worse her temper became.


Well that escalated rather quickly into a very dark place there. It looks like in all her anger and sadness she just simply let herself go for a minute there judging by the state that everything is in. Phew...well its a powerful image to get things started on at any rate.

There was no other way. She had to hate him. For everything he had done. For all the letters he had ever written. Even for her dream of moving out of Regenschloss. She hated him for that too.

Claire escaped Waltraud's wise words and stayed in her room. She threw the dress into a corner, made her bed, and during one of her rare moments of apathy remembered Emma. Emma and Léonard. She, the naïve fool and he, the conniving liar.

They were her last hope.


Okayy....well I'm guessing that this building situation there is going to eventually blow up somewhat, so far she hasn't really lashed outwards at anyone and only suffered herself, but I think that's going to naturally explode outwards at a point.

Running down the hill was easier than getting to the top. While her hair dried in the wind, she sprinted down in her new forget-me-blue blouse.

The fresh air gave her new strength. Motivation flooded her head. Several times she knocked on Emma's front door.

"I heard it the first time. What's wrong?" Emma asked. "What do your hands look like!? When did you hurt yourself?"

"Never mind," interjected Claire, hiding her hands, "What about Léonard?"

"I haven't seen him since he took us to the Great Plain."

"Let's go to him! Now!" she ordered.

"Did he move into a room under his name?"

"Off to the post office!" Claire said.

Claire´s intuition was right. His black car was parked in front of the building. Next to the priest and a lady, he waited at the counter. He stood by a young postman who was learning to telegraph. His nervous posture meant he was constantly making mistakes. Léonard shooed the girls outside after he noticed them.


Uhh...that's a bit unrealistic? Like the first idea that comes to mind is the post office and he's hanging out there the moment they arrive? Does he live in the post office? Did the girls know that? Did they guess it based on the time people usually go to check for telegrams? This all happen a little too quickly. We need a better sort of breakdown of how they track him down literal minutes after deciding they want to do so.

"What's the matter? You look restless." Emma asked when he finally arrived, "You've been gone for days."

"I have to go. The telegram has arrived."

"WHAT?" they both shouted at the same time.

"I'm sorry. It's all a bit rushed. An hour ago, I didn't even know where I was going. I'm about to leave."

"Where are you going? Home?"

"No."

"Does it have to do with this book?” Emma asked.

"Yes."

He was already sitting in the car. Léonard realised how hasty he was and stepped in front of the girls.

"We will meet again, don't worry. I thank you for being so kind. I'll be in touch again eventually."

"Eventually?" squeaked Emma, "This could take forever!"

"Don't worry. I won't forget you."

He looked at Claire.

"So, calm? Are you glad to be rid of me?" he joked.

She received a blow in the pit of her stomach. The last hope sank into the sea of melancholy. She said nothing. He laughed at her indifferent expression and offered her a cigarette. She shook her head.

"Where are you going?" Emma asked.

In her desperation, Emma almost jumped on him.

"To some friends."

He hugged her one last time and drove away from the post office.


Well I'd say good riddance but we all know that's not the last of him that the two girls will be seeing, he still has more manipulation to do. Claire's non reaction is a bit surprising, I was expecting her to at least call him out on something, if only to see what sort of lies he uses to cover his lies but they all just randomly watch him leave. All in all, this whole part ends out a little rushed and seems like its missing something.

Claire's mood followed the course of the river.

The moment at the post office appeared in beautiful weather. Summer had officially begun. Tomorrow the novena began. They were alone. Exciting, thrilling holidays turned into a moping disaster of thought and rapid speculation.

His departure was unexpected and unwanted. Emma knew this feeling when Léonard said goodbye to Sehlingen.

At home, Claire immediately retreated to her room. She had not spoken to her aunt since the evening in the restaurant. The fact of being isolated once again made the young creature despair. She viewed her life in shadowy flashbacks.


And we're right back to wallowing about the whole father situation...okay...this is starting to get maybe a tiny bit repetitive without too much happening. I feel like by now we've established enough about her emotions to start seeing some consequences or they're going to continue to become repetitive here.

The end of the holidays was the beginning of a new life. Her father would not take No for an answer. Her belief that she was spiralling deeper into the underworld frightened her. Claire instinctively wished not to receive a phone call. During the arranged appointments, she flinched at the slightest sound.

When Emma knocked on the door one foggy morning, Claire didn't let her in. She stared at her from upstairs. She wanted to stay alone. At the same time, she missed contact with her.

An argument with Auntie was not reciprocated. The violin was silent when Waltraud asked about it. It lasted for two or three nights. Claire had given up trying to run away.

The mentality had changed abruptly. In the darkness, Claire was in her dreams, living solely to immerse herself in a painless world. She woke up to fall asleep in the evening. With eyes cold with emotion, she read the daily newspaper. War. Deaths. Attacks. Father did not call. Housewives' school. Léonard...


Okay I'm getting a little confused here. From what I can gather, this is all part of some sort of dream sequence and maybe you're trying to tell us something through all these scattered images here, but I feel like its a little bit too much on the chaotic side at least for me to try and make sense of.

In this turmoil, Claire indulged in cigarettes more often. Her room stank of burnt tobacco. She was disgusted by it herself, yet she couldn't keep her hands off it. The stench was bypassed with the shower. Then the vicious circle continued.


So...she's spiralling quite hard there...here at least the cigarette situation makes a little more sense and it portrays what she's currently going through. If you're gonna continue to go down that path, this could be interesting in a different direction, but then if is resolved a bit too quickly, this is going to end up looking odd.

Auntie had to be thrown out of bed to gain admittance after Emma had knocked with violent blows on the door.

"Where have you been all this time?" she asked anxiously as Claire was forced to step outside the door.

"At home," she murmured with a sombre expression.

"Let's go for a walk."

"Don't feel like it."

"Something's wrong with you!" Emma said quickly and pulled her outside.


AHh the timescales are sometimes just a bit too much here. The story frequently breaks into parts where several days go by in a single paragraph or two and then its just a jarring bouncy feel and the flow just gets thrown out the window. This sort of sequence doesn't quite work with stories all that well, in movies with visuals, it makes sense, but this style that's going on here just ends up being slightly disorienting in a story.

Claire took the supporting role in this apathetic walk. They walked down the street. It was strange weather. Children were playing around everywhere; the novena was in progress and the country was paying homage to the Muses and the Goddess. Between the cloudy sky and the brief drops that fell, the sun broke through now and then. It seemed wrong, Claire thought as she looked around. The joy of the residents, the many shades of grey above her and the fishbowl on top of her. She resisted hearing and feeling anything. She crackled inside, like a flame wanting to be lit. The outburst did not morph into a new kind of freedom, it was a new imprisonment, a new chain that she now wore around her neck.

"What have you been doing all this time?"

The main road was abandoned. The choice of paths in Regenschloss was limited. On the way, they met the mayor. He greeted them with great eagerness and eyed them even when they were far away.


Okay...some description breaking things up there, although this time I think maybe you intended it to come off as Claire kind of wandering off in her own head unable to think of what to say. That's a nice little touch.

"Nothing," Claire replied.

Emma shook her head.

"I helped out at the factory once. I also found out how to get to Petrichor."

She spoke in a whisper that Claire rarely knew from her friend.

"Why?"

"Because Léonard is there."

"How do you know?"

"Where else would he be?" replied Emma. "He might even be from there."

"He specifically said that the residents cannot leave this place."

"This is a legend!"

"Petrichor has also been a legend. It really exists."

"But that doesn't have to be true!" returned Emma optimistically. "I know he's there! He didn't show it to us and tell us about it for nothing."


Well Emma's gonna probably end up being that moment where Claire properly snaps here with her continued blind trust in Léonard. Its a little sad to see how Emma manages to be quite that naive in a situation like this.

Claire rolled her eyes. Emma's pure delusion of reality was unacceptable. She couldn't understand how anyone could be stupid and optimistic at the same time. She felt the hateful slime on her Father pass over to Emma. She was weak and naïve. She was poor and cheap Claire´s head said.

"Léonard has no reason to travel there," Claire said coldly.

"But-"


Well finally she's being direct at least, that's probably going to do her some good, although I suppose now Emma is going to end up getting blasted by the power of all the hate the Claire has directed towards her father on top of the hate for Emma and Léonard.

"EMMA YOU STUPID COW! LÉONARD IS GONE. NOT TO PETRICHOR. SOMEWHERE WE CAN'T GET TO! FORGET HIM! HE'S PROBABLY AN OUTLAW ON THE RUN! YOU'RE GETTING THINGS INTO YOUR HEAD THAT CAN'T BE TRUE! HE'S A LIAR WHO CAN'T DO ANYTHING BETTER WITH HIMSELF IN LIFE! " Claire screamed at her friend, "YOU ARE TO BLAME FOR EVERYTHING. I'D BE BETTER OFF WITHOUT YOU!"

Claire stopped. The passers-by stopped. Before Emma could say anything in reply, Claire ran back home. A cold shiver ran down her spine.

"CLAIRE!"

But she did not hear. She hated herself. She hated herself because Emma believed in the impossible. Couldn't she see how pointless everything was? Immediately after her scream, the voice in her head no longer spoke. At the same time, there was the shame that ate her.

Claire did not know what was right. Her organs burned in a firepot while her voice praised her. She felt strange.


Well...about time that happened, it was certainly a long time coming, and I feel like Emma maybe understood where Claire was coming from and didn't really retaliate or defend herself at all or maybe she was just really shocked I suppose, I wouldn't expect her to be able to really understand considering how naive she's been about other things. This is going to drive a bit of a wedge here though.


Yesterday it happened.

Claire had needed a scapegoat.

Emma still tried to catch up with her and could not. Claire couldn't blame Emma if she wanted nothing more to do with her. She had never been so ashamed in her life as she was at that moment. In public in front of all the others.

The shame did not disappear at dawn.

It had deformed. Deformed into a stinking, regurgitated antipathy towards her Father. He was to blame for all this. Claire had written a long letter to him. In the night it was torn as the words became monstrous waves. Ink stuck to the table and her fingers. Pierced paper covered the floor. Thrown out of the window, more sheets became victims of her oppression.


Well...Claire's spiral continues there...this is really going places with the psychological here. Claire seems like she needs a bit of help at this point and its quite sad to see that there's no one around to really understand what she's going through at the moment and help out.

The unexpected breaking of the protective shield gave her a new attack surface. The transfer of anger to her flesh and blood gave her the self-esteem she needed.

She no longer thought about her Father's call.

On the fourth day after the novena began, the phone rang.

Her hatred grew with every second.

She had been waiting. She planned to throw everything she had written down at his head. He was to blame for everything, for destroying her life, for ending a long friendship, for killing her hope.

She picked up the receiver carefully. The closer it came to her ear, the fuzzier her words became. But now her voice was failing in her head.


Well...I suppose she's building up to possibly yell at her father much like she did earlier with Emma only now here anger and hatred have built up to be even worse than what it was when that confrontation happened.

" Silberlilie," she spoke harshly.

"Good afternoon, Claire."

It was not her Father.

It was Léonard.

An ice-cold shiver made even the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She turned to stone. Excited tingling in her belly, the increased pulse rate and shallow breathing woke her to life. He was grinning, she knew it.


Despite everything that's happened she's excited to receive a call? This seems to indicate that she's happy to receive this call and maybe feeling better as a part of it. It seems just very off compared to where she was mentally only moments ago. She should've maybe been apprehensive at the very least if she actually doesn't believe. She should know the only reason he'd be calling is because he needs to manipulate them some more for help down the line. He must have an ulterior motive in making friends with all of these girls after all. Maybe he needs a cover story for being in a town somewhere like that silly cousin act he pulled earlier.

"
Léonard? How are you?"

"I'm not complaining. Sorry I had to leave so soon. I had my reasons. That's why I apologise."

"There's nothing wrong with that."

"I've been doing that a lot lately."

"What?"

"Apologizing," Léonard said.

"I didn't notice. You didn't incriminate us or anything," Claire huffed sternly.

"Thank you for your words. I am calling you because I want to make a gift to both you and Emma. I wanted you to come to Weymouth."

"Weymouth? Where is that? Why?"

"Right near Pfalzburg. It's a kind of gift for the inconvenience on my part," Léonard explained.


I'm not sure how he's going to pass that off as a gift. At this point he's reading from the brainwashing 101 textbook with what he's doing here and as a reader you really want something horrible to happen to him cause he hasn't really shown any reasons why anyone should be rooting for him.

"Yes, but... aren't you in Petrichor?"

"Who tells such things?"

"Nobody."

"No. I´m in Weymouth. Come and see me, I'll pick you up at Pfalzburg main station if you come by the evening train. Shall we say in two days? Is that all right with you?"

Claire stopped for a moment.

"Can I trust you?"

Léonard was silent for a few seconds.

"What do you mean?"


Well Claire now goes back to the part where she doesn't trust him. I feel like that took entirely too long to happen given the extreme mood that she was in when the call came in. It just doesn't quite seem plausible, but at the very least she's finally calling him out so that's great.

"You aren´t looking for this Codex Mortuo. That's a lie, isn't it?"

She already thought he had hung up when he answered in his croaky voice.

"No, I'm not looking for it."

Claire felt her legs turn to jelly.

"What then?"

"It doesn't matter, Claire. I won't bother you with it anymore. I just want to make you happy. Will you accept the offer?"


If you really wanted to do that Léonard, you'd stop lying and using them as a means to your own twisted end. I mean if that isn't the most cliche line used by every person trying to manipulate with intention to later guilt trip someone, then I'm a parrot.

Claire looked at the phone. Her head gave her a different perspective. She cleared her throat to indicate her answer.

"Of course. I will inform Emma. Until then!"

She was just putting the phone back when he shouted something after her.

"Wait! If I am not present, look out for Karoline and Stephan du Murnaux. They are friends of mine with whom we are staying. “

"All right. “

"See you soon."


Because of course he's lied to them also...well at least we'll get to know more about these siblings in detail, so maybe that will actually be a bit fun.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, this is perhaps not the best part of this chapter, the first two were much better, but this still moves the plot forward in what I think will be an interesting direction. Let's see. This plot really isn't clear at the moment. So many things are happening and from so many angles that its quite hard to fully try to map out what is going where and try to understand where this might want to end. The good thing is I think all the motivations for the characters are clear so we know why they do what they do, which is mostly what makes me keep reading so good points and bad points there. :D

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry






Thank you very much for your review! :D



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!!



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Liminality wrote a review...



Hiya again Mailice! So this was an interesting chapter. It feels like a lot happened, in a psychological sense. I like that we’re getting such complex emotions from Claire that nonetheless feel very realistic. Her tendency towards anger that’s stronger than either Emma or Martha makes her a very interesting contrast to those other two characters. I think it might be because we’ve been spending so much time with her in these recent chapters, but it almost feels like she’s the protagonist for now.

Reading her inner thoughts was very ominous. And once again, like Emma just before she left for Regenschloss, Léonard seems to mysteriously appear when the girl is feeling most hopeless. <.<

The fact that the du Murnaux are getting involved is really exciting. I get the sense that they’ll have an interesting dynamic with Léonard and Claire.

Characters

The focus in this chapter seems to be more on Claire and Léonard. Emma seems to be more of a background character, as the scene where Claire yells at her is told entirely from Claire’s perspective and Claire doesn’t talk to her again after that, but instead speaks to Léonard. Once again, I get the sense that their involvement with Léonard is going to make the two girls have more conflict with one another.

The dirty bed, the scarred hands, the unwearable dress. In her bitterness, Claire couldn't even cry anymore. She wanted to shed tears. So much so that she struggled to grieve. Sobbing, she welled up her bile against her Father.

Claire seems to brood more and more intensely compared to the other characters and her emotions are also described with a lot more gritty imagery. “dirty”, “scarred”, “bitterness” and “bile” are all very gritty, visceral descriptions, and that combined with the kind of fragmented syntax in this passage make her emotions seem very raw.

There was no other way. She had to hate him. For everything he had done. For all the letters he had ever written. Even for her dream of moving out of Regenschloss. She hated him for that too.

I like the complexity in how Claire’s feelings towards her father change over the story. At first, when he’s ‘far’ away, he’s just an afterthought, a controlling presence that she chafes against, but doesn’t seem to feel too strongly either way. Then the incident with him promising to attend and then missing her birthday shows more vulnerability on her part, as it reveals she – does – care whether her father loves her or not and the disappointment starts off a sharp downturn in her relationship with him, until this point where she feels he’s become irredeemable.

"It doesn't matter, Claire. I won't bother you with it anymore. I just want to make you happy. Will you accept the offer?"

In the chapters where Léonard doesn’t do obviously creepy things like mock others or go on and on about the “nameless” people, he must seem very normal, even ‘nice’ to Claire and Emma, which I guess is why he’s able to manipulate them. The line “I just want to make you happy” is very unrelated to the topics Claire was asking about, but eerily relates to her present internal misery and offers her a way out. This is a pretty clever way to show that he is a manipulative person, I think, if that was the intention?

"Wait! If I am not present, look out for Karoline and Stephan du Murnaux. They are friends of mine with whom we are staying. “

So they are ‘friends’? I had the earlier impression they were enemies, so this was surprising to me. My guess is either he is lying, or that they are friends who aren’t very conventionally friendly with each other.

Style

I thought the style in the first scene with Claire in her room was fragmented. Not in a bad way, but the rhythm of the words feels very jagged, maybe reflecting her mental state. Like starting with “The pain came back.”, this short sentence that doesn’t establish a context feels very sudden. Then the next line is written in a passive voice, and talks about “wounds”, “bruised knees”, “torn hands”, a lot of concrete images that recall physical injury (even if they also refer to psychological injury).

Running down the hill was easier than getting to the top.

This line was really great to begin the next scene. I like how this establishes her urgency and the setting of the scene very concisely.

What do your hands look like!? When did you hurt yourself?"

I think maybe ‘What happened to your hands?’ might be more appropriate there?

It seemed wrong, Claire thought as she looked around. The joy of the residents, the many shades of grey above her and the fishbowl on top of her.

I’m not sure what is meant by “fishbowl” here? It might be an idiom or figurative expression, or it’s just a novena tradition to wear fishbowls on your head.

I like how different the last scene is from the first one. The fact that it’s mostly dialogue, with each character’s lines being very short and conversational, seems to give off a different, quieter mood than the very intense opener. At the same time, because it’s so quiet, I find myself anticipating something big to happen, which I suppose will be the case, since he’s asking them to come to Weymouth.

Overall

This was a good way to ‘close off’ the part of the story in Regenschloss, I think. There seems to be a rhythm established in the story by now, as they go from one location to the next. It definitely leaves me eager to see what happens next, and I like that Claire had this focus throughout the Regenschloss chapters. I think that even if the next chapter shifts the point of view away from her, I’ll still have her character arc in the back of my mind.

Keep writing!
-Lim
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Thank you for your review and interpretations, Lim! :D



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Sat Sep 11, 2021 10:39 am
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ForeverYoung299 wrote a review...



Hey!! Forever herr with a review!

I feel pity for Claire. She seems to be in a desperate condition. She can't accept the fact and above all, she can't accept what her father. You did a good job portraying the desperate nature of Claire to get rid of all these things. She is literally herself to do something...And also cigarette...If she by any chance goes to her dad, he will be disappointed but I guess she doesn't care.

I like the emotional arch of this part. It started with a desperate nature. Then it went to hope, again hopeless and finally back to hope mixed with a bit of disbelief.

The fresh air gave her new strength. Motivation flooded her head. Several times she knocked on Emma's front door.

"I heard it the first time. What's wrong?" Emma asked. "What do your hands look like!? When did you hurt yourself?"

This portion has a gap in it. I mean between the knocking on the door and the dialogue. It feels sudden and also that 5 or ten minutes have been wiped off. Just describe opening the door and letting her in. Or if they talk standing at the door, then write that. I guess that will give a better sense of the setting.

This chapter actually concluded something and that is... Leonard's words shouldn't be taken as absolute. This is the second time. First with the mystery and second with the maiden rose. I really wonder what Leonard's true aim is or if he even has an aim. I will get to the next chapter soon. :)

Keep Writing!!

~Forever






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Mon Sep 06, 2021 4:32 pm
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RandomTalks wrote a review...



Hey Mailice!

Back with my last review for the day!

I really loved how you portrayed Claire's emotion in this chapter. From the beginning till the end, you pulled us into Claire's mind, making us walk in her shoes, and feel what she feels. The entire chapter flowed really well, and it was honestly so expressive. I loved how it was mostly based around Claire's mental state, and how the mood of the chapter and it's pace rose and fell with the simultaneous rise of Claire's hope and the eventual disappointment of that same hope as it got crushed once again.

Claire seemed to step out of the shy insecure girl in the first chapter when we got introduced to her. She was sad and angry and she showed it very well to the world. I do wish that she had somehow stepped up to her father, but I get that it is impossible for her in this scenario and in those times. Still, I loved that part where she snapped and shouted at Emma. It was very obvious that she had reached her breaking point in that moment and honestly, Emma's continuous ramble about Leonard is bound to irritate anyone. Maybe it was not a bit fair towards Emma, but I feel like sometimes she really needs to wake up from the fantasy and adventure she has created inside her head. I like the fact that Claire sees her for who she is and does not gloss over this fact just because she is her friend. She is straightforward and honest, and i really like that about her.

I did not get how she thought Leonard would be able to help her. She considered him her last hope and I feel like I do not understand why. Aside from that, I really enjoyed their conversation on the phone. Actually I love all their conversations because they feel real and interesting unlike Leonard and Emma's that often just feels one-sided to me and a bit repetitive. I was a bit surprised that Leonard had called Claire instead of Emma, and especially his line, "I just want to make you happy." I feel like he did not need to say it but he still went ahead and did, because he is Leonard and he enjoys being confusing and messing with people.

One thing I really like about his character is how he seems to pull everyone in. I do not know if it is his charisma, or his energy or his danger or the web of mysteries always surrounding him. One by one, every person in the story who initially doubted him or were suspicious of him still came around to him. Even Claire is curios about him. I think understand the girls' curiosity, they have led sheltered and safe lives; people like Leonard are bound to excite them with their danger and mystery. I remember Claire once said that 'he leaves a lasting impression,' and maybe that is a part of it too. But I like how Claire recognizes his lies for what they are and straight out calls him out on it. I think Leonard himself was surprised when she bluntly asked him if she could trust him. The dialogue in that part was really awesome and you managed to build this anticipating bubble of tension around the characters who were not even in the same place together, but simply just talking over the phone. I think that was very impressive.

The mention of the du Murnaux siblings was surprising and at the same time it wasn't. I knew they had some role, and I guess we are approaching that role now. I wonder why Leonard has called them now.

One tiny nitpick:

Excited tingling in her belly,

I think this part will be better written as "Excitement tingling in her belly".

Overall the chapter was really gripping even though it mostly just dealt with Claire's emotions. You created something strong and powerful here, and I enjoyed reading it.

Until next time!




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Sat May 22, 2021 4:02 pm
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TheWordsOfWolf wrote a review...



Hello, hi, greetings, salutations, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight. As well as many other pleasant things that we do not have time for today, tomorrow, or yesterday as I am here to review this!
Oh my goodness, your opening paragraph is so beautiful. I'm amazed by how perfectly it conveys what you seem to be trying to say. It is simple yet so beautiful and so impactful. To me at least. and oh goodness I'm just through the first paragraph what more is in store.
You're dialogue is quite good and rarely becomes slow paced or boring I especially enjoy your use of dialogue tags, with the lively verbs. That is a nice addition that most people seem to think should go without but I happen to disagree on a very deep level.
Your story is very interesting and leaves me wanting to know more and come back time and time again to see what happens next. You're rather good at making it suspenseful without is being torture or feeling cut off too soon. I look forward to reading more. keep writing.
As always,
Wolf






Thank you for your review! :D



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Fri Apr 23, 2021 11:11 pm
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quitecontrary wrote a review...



Hi Mailice!

"So, calm? Are you glad to be rid of me?" he joked.
The first question doesn't make sense to me because I'm not sure if he's asking if she is calm. "Feeling better?" is a little more clear.
The mentality had changed abruptly. In the darkness, Claire was in her dreams, living solely to immerse herself in a painless world. She woke up to fall asleep in the evening. With eyes cold with emotion, she read the daily newspaper. War. Deaths. Attacks. Father did not call. Housewives' school. Léonard...
"Her mentality changed abruptly over those few days..."
Auntie had to be thrown out of bed to gaingive admittance after Emma had knocked with violent blows on the door.

Claire took the supporting role in this apathetic walk.

By "supporting" do you mean emotionally supporting or physically supporting(as in Emma holding onto her arm?)
The joy of the residents, the many shades of grey above her and the fishbowl on top of her.
Aha, that sounds like a reference to another story you wrote... ;)
She was poor and cheap Claire´s head said.
"Claire's head told her she was..."
She cleared her throat to indicate her answer.
"Indicate" isn't the right word here because then it would seem like the throat clearing was her answer. "To give" works better in this context.

Overall, you did a very solid job of portraying Claire's emotions, and her feelings flowed naturally throughout this chapter. I really like where you are taking the plot arc; portraying Léonard as a liar and then as Claire's "only hope" has a very backwards feel to it, but since Claire's whole life has been turned backwards it makes sense that her sanity is resting on solving this mystery. It feels like she's hanging onto the last string she has, and her ability to see through Léonard and know when he's lying makes her character seem even more mature against Emma's hopeful optimism. This is a very transitional chapter, and clearly we are entering the next stage in the story, although where Claire goes from here is a mystery to me. I feel like I've read the name "du Murnaux" in an earlier part of your story, where you introduced the two guys who were talking about Léonard, and I'm wondering if this is the brother-sister pair who were working with Léonard.
It's very interesting that Léonard would drop the "I just want to make you happy" line, and I feel like that's not really in character. Is he lying, or does he really care about Claire's happiness??
That's all for now! I hope you have a great day/night :D





Remember: the plot is nothing more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.
— Ray Bradbury