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Promise Me...

by BurnblazeX


20.05.2022

“Promise me father.” A little seven year old boy started.

“What?” Replied his father sitting beside him.

“Promise me, no matter what happens. You will be by my side. By Mother’s side.”

The moonlight cast faint shadows on the wooden floors of the porch. Small insects crawled in and out of the spaces between each individual plank.

Father looked up at the wisps of clouds drifting along the sky and smiled.

“Son, as long as the stars still shine in the sky, I will be by your side whenever and wherever you need me.”

The stars themselves seemed to twinkle in response.

Beams of sunlight hit his face as Chris woke up, groggily rubbing his eyes and checking his alarm clock. 08:14 blinked on its display. Panic took hold as he threw off his covers and rushed to the bathroom. The cold water of the shower hit his back as he realized his father hadn’t woken him up for school in time, as was usually the case. No time for that he thought, he probably was still asleep himself.

In a frenzy, Chris had put on his uniform and was headed out. He went to kiss his mother goodbye but she seemed to be preoccupied on the phone. His eye briefly caught the golden light reflecting off the many trophies his father achieved throughout his career.

With no intention of being any more late than he already was, Chris ran out to catch the bus in time.

The day went by fairly quickly, and before long he had reached the end of the school day. Usually since he had extra curriculars, and often hung around for longer with his buddies, Chris wasn't able to catch even the late bus. His father drove him home.

Today, he was nowhere to be found. While waiting, all kinds of thoughts rushed through his mind. What if his father had crashed somewhere on the way here? What if he’d fallen gravely ill? Maybe he had forgotten and was simply doing something else. An hour went by and Chris was the only one still roaming around the school grounds. Nothing. Feeling abandoned and slightly betrayed he started making his way home; 4 miles, and that was being generous.

The weather slowly grew colder as he walked closer to home. Cars whizzing past became more and more infrequent. The afternoon was coming to an end and the streetlight flickered on the moment he stepped foot on his porch. The wooden floorboards creaked as dozens of tiny insects scrambled.

Chris entered his home with a very annoyed expression on his face. He went straight to the kitchen only to find it completely empty.

He ran upstairs to his parents bedroom. Mother was sitting at the windowsill. Tears streamed down her face. He went up to her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. They sat quietly as the chattering of the TV continued in the background.

Chris looked up at the night sky, tears clouding his vision, the full moon glared back at him. Not a single star to be found.


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Sat May 21, 2022 6:40 pm
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RandomTalks wrote a review...



Hello!

RandomTalks here with a short review!

This was a really beautiful story, dealing with a theme many stories have covered already. However, I liked your unique and creative take on it and I especially loved how you tied the night and the stars into the central theme of story. It gave it a more ethereal feel, like a dream that you cannot believe happened. I think that highlighted the unpredictability of life and showed how unforeseen forces often get in the way of innocent promises made under starry skies.

The moonlight cast faint shadows on the wooden floors of the porch. Small insects crawled in and out of the spaces between each individual plank.

I faced a little difficulty in visualizing the little insects crawling in and out of the planks, especially because it contrasts sharply with the otherwise beautiful and serene image you have painted here of the moonlit scene. However, this same description comes up again in the end to imply a greater and deeper significance, so I guess it works in the bigger context of the story.

“Son, as long as the stars still shine in the sky, I will be by your side whenever and wherever you need me.”

I really liked the innocence of the little boy's request to his father. It something only someone of his age could ask from a person, but for some reason, it holds a somber gravity that makes you empathize with the child because it is already very obvious where the story is going to go. I liked the reference of the stars in the sky and how all of it drenches the moment in pure emotion, especially when you read it for the second time and you are painfully aware of the significance of that short and simple moment between the father and son.

There was a little shift in tone and pacing when the scene changed and I think you could have handles that better. It came off as a little abrupt and the time skip wasn't very obvious until a few sentences into the paragraph. You need to make some kind of demarcation here to give your readers the chance to adjust to the shift. Otherwise, it disrupts the flow for a second and leaves the reader hanging until they catch up.

Chris looked up at the night sky, tears clouding his vision, the full moon glared back at him. Not a single star to be found.

I really liked how the story came about in full circle. The intentional references to the first scene was a clever touch and it contributed to the emotion of the moment, packing a heavier punch. Even though it was obvious what had happened, we still felt for Chris and the ending line carried a cruel irony that neatly tied up this story.

While, the ending was ambiguous, I am guessing his father was either in the military (the trophies) or maybe he got in an accident that was shown on the news. Either way, the main point was that he was gone and I think that single fact blurs away the details of that situation.

Overall, this was a really well-written story. It could do with a little more content to help us understand the characters and their connections better. I feel like we did not get to spend enough time with the characters to feel that deeply for them. I think if you slow the pace down a little, and include some distant references of moments spent between the father and son, it would help us understand their relationship and maybe we could empathize with Chris on a deeper level. The story is a very neat presentation of a single theme, but I feel like its missing some of the in-between-scenes.

Keep writing and have a great day!




BurnblazeX says...


Hey there!
Thank you so much for taking your time and reviewing it in so much detail. It really does put a smile on my face :D
I completely understand and agree with some of the shortcomings I had in the story. I feel like the lack of context and content was due ot the fact that I had a time and size contraint while initially writing this. I had more ideas to flesh out.
However I also feel as if making it longer makes it more difficult to keep the pacing consistent as I have seen in some of my other stories
I will try my best to patch it wherever I can
Thanks Again :D



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Sat May 21, 2022 4:36 pm
mothbroth wrote a review...



hi there!

the imagery here is really beautiful, especially the way the stars and everything in the night sky are described. it kind of balances out the family issues/whatever happened with chris and his father, because it personifies the nonliving stars into some kind of protector. i think that's a good way to set up the scene here, like with chris going through his day normally until he starts to notice some things don't line up like they did before.

“Promise me, no matter what happens. You will be by my side. By Mother’s side.”


this is already setting up the story to let readers know something will happen with dad. i feel like the sudden drift into chris waking up and realizing is too fast because of this? like with "Today, he was nowhere to be found" being only a few paragraphs behind the scene with seven year old chris and his dad. it's a little confusing to me.

is chris still seven? has there been a big jump in time? no clue.

Mother was sitting at the windowsill. Tears streamed down her face.


i am a huge fan of stories that take familial relations and just destroy them, but it also takes time to build that up. you have to be aware of the character and their family, and you have to almost bond with them about it. that is usually in stories that are taken out of bigger chapters and novels though, but i think it is the same foundation.

i'm still unsure what happened to the father; this is set up like anything could be the case. out of a short story, answers don't need to be delivered, but i feel like a little more background can be added? i feel for chris and his mom, but i also don't know the other side of the story and where his dad even went/if he died or something.

BUT YEAH the conclusion is pretty neat. i love the tie back into the introduction, along with all of the space personification. it's an emotional ending.

happy writing!
- mothbroth




BurnblazeX says...


Heya!
Thanks for the review!
Yea I see what you mean about the time jump
That was actually meant to throw off the reader and try to come up with an explanation to piece together what happened
And yea, It was meant to be a bit more fleshed out, there are some cut out bits that I had to remove when initially writing this due to some time and size restraints. I will most definitely be revisiting this when I have the time and will keep what you said in mind
Thanks again :D




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