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Young Writers Society



Malice

by Butterfly18


So I haven't submitted anything for a while. Let me know what you guys think of this. Brutal honestly, please and thank you.

*

It was a starless night, the night she met Harris.

Alice’s pale face was still blotched by redness from crying. One of her mother’s boyfriends was staying over that night, and she needed to find somewhere else to sleep.

Harris was on his way to a friend’s house. If he was a freak, she decided it wouldn’t be hard to find her way back to the brightly lit shopping centre where she’d planned to sleep.

So they started walking and reached a shady part of town. He didn’t say much, just asked where she was from and her favourite band; he never addressed the obvious. Alice was glad for that, and didn’t mind if he hadn’t asked because he didn’t care. She wouldn’t have known what to say even if he did ask why she was wandering aimless.

Harris climbed the steps and Alice followed, only a slight twinge of apprehension surging through her. Something about Harris eased her, but she couldn’t figure out if his blue eyes mesmerized her into thinking he was nice.

When the door opened, a blue Mohawk stuck out. Harris convinced him she wasn’t going to steal anything or burn the joint down, though he had no clue what she was capable of.

Smoke wafted from the living room, a heavy scent that satisfied the hunger her stomach growled in protest to. Dazed figures sprawled amongst one another. Music played soft in the background. The atmosphere made her want to fall asleep.

Alice didn’t know these people but somehow didn’t think it mattered.

***

Rain drummed the roof and spattered the road. When you stayed overnight at Mik’s house, he shouted you breakfast if you woke early enough.

“Coffee.” Harris handed her a mug.

“Thanks.” Alice had a sip. Mik’s Persian jumped up and strutted along the rail in front of them. She saw that cat more than her mother these days and couldn’t care less. Mik’s house was more of a home than her real home had ever felt.

“You coming back tonight?”

Alice turned. “If I’m welcome.”

Harris frowned, “You’re always welcome.”

She smiled and sipped coffee.

Mik ran up the steps onto the porch and shook off the hood. Blue dye streaked down the sides of his head. “Got plain cinnamon for you, Alice.”

She smiled at Mik, who always thought more of everyone else than himself. “Thanks.” She thought he was stupid for that.

Most of Mik and Harris’ friends were adults, and the few who were underage like her were dropouts. Alice couldn’t drop out of school. Her good grades would get her out of there, away from her whore of a mother, and her twisted boyfriends who never kept their hands to themselves.

Alice went to class, did homework in the library during lunch, and then took a bus home. Her mother usually took her morning double-dose of happy pills to get through the day and was asleep by time Alice got home.

This afternoon was different. Her voice pierced through Alice’s heart like a jagged knife, wedging itself deep within tissue and blood. She snuck in the back door and upstairs to her room. Her drawers were open and clothes strewn across the floor.

Alice dropped her bag and lifted the mattress, digging her hand inside to search for it. About a minute and a pile of stuffing later, she realized it was gone. Bitch found her stash.

She packed up a duffel bag of her essentials.

Those pills were her safety net. If she needed to do it now, what would she do? It took over a year to collect a variety of her mother’s anxiety pills, depression medication and painkillers. “Bitch,” Alice spat.

She went into her mother’s room, searched through the bathroom drawers, and shoved pill bottles inside the pockets of her hoodie.

Downstairs, she peeked into the kitchen where a friend of her mother’s sat with foil in her hair, and the pair gossiped about all the filthy men she let into her bed on a weekly basis. For a moment Alice blocked out the sound, and she imagined her mother as someone who cared. A sad but amused smirk curled her lips. Impossible.

Bitch can kill herself for all I care, Alice thought.

She found Harris at a café across from the shopping centre and pulled up a chair at his table. He smiled, sliding a cup across to her. Alice scratched her arm frustrated.

“That’s a bad habit,” said Harris.

“Itching?”

He stared at her.

Casting her eyes down, she saw the cut across her arm, red and tender and recent. Alice pulled the sleeve hem into her palm and held it there in a closed fist.

“Ally.”

A voice broke her out of the still void she always slipped into when silence ensued. Alice looked to the face, and a dry clump of razors stuck in her throat.

“You look well, darlin’. How long’s it been?”

She swallowed those razors as she stood and spat. “Go to hell, pig.”

He stepped back, wiped the saliva from his cheek, and glared. Only now he noticed Harris who stood up and grabbed Alice’s duffel from the cement.

Alice pulled on her backpack, and they started walking. Harris didn’t ask who the guy was, and it hurt her to think he didn’t care.

***

Every night, Mik’s house was a blur of laughter and sweet smelling smoke.

Getting high as a kite worked at first, but the happiness eventually turned to an empty dullness. Alice realised, the pain, memories, and fear would always haunt her.

She emptied the bottles of pills into one large pile on the frayed mat, beside the bottle of alcohol she stole from Mik’s kitchen. Goosebumps prickled over her body. Alice was glad she met him, because he helped her find the bravery to do what she was too scared to do before.

It was a stone-cold night, the night she last saw Harris.


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Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:13 pm
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turtlethatroars wrote a review...



Hey, I haven't been on in a while so I am just getting to this now. When I started reading I really couldn't stop reading. I don't think that anything should be changed. I must agree that cutting yourself is a bad habit, I should know. You should really build on this story. But that is only my opinion because it seems like it could be a prologue to a longer story. Over all I think this is a really great short story. It seems like with everything you write you always make it fluid so that it forces everyone to read it to the end.
You did a great job here, keep writing,
Tasha




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Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:18 pm
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Twinkle4ever wrote a review...



Sorry it took so long for me to reply. I've been trying to figure out where everything is on the new YWS. And your story has that special ability to get the readers reading on till the end. What I love most is the expressions you used. The description was just right, you made sure not to overdo it. It was a great story. Everytime I try to think of a decent story, I always end up making it a fantasy one. And the best part is that you didn't have to use much words to make us understand the situation in the story. Very nicely done. I just didn't understand what happened in the end. Does Alice kill herself by taking too many pills or something?




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Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:42 pm
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xXTheBlackSheepXx wrote a review...



Hey :) You've got tons of reviews already, so I'll make this short and sweet.

I liked it! You're a quality writer, for sure. I've liked all your stories.

I thought the ending was pretty good (I mean, horrible, but effective).

"Alice pulled on her backpack, and they started walking. Harris didn’t ask who the guy was, and it hurt her to think he didn’t care."

This line kind of made me feel like if Harris would've said something she wouldn't have killed herself that night. If he would've have let her alone or would've talked to her she could have made it.

Anyways, onto the nitpicks. The very beginning, I thought Alice was on her way to the mall when she ended up walking alongside this stranger. I'm wondering why she would spend the night in a house with a boy she didn't even know. I understand she could be just 'that far gone' but she doesn't seem to think it strange at all. And considering her horrible experiences with boys so far, you'd think she'd be less trusting.

On a side note, if she really trusted and liked Harris and Mik that much, it seems like maybe she would've given suicide a second thought. Like, hey, not everyone's horrible so let's see how this goes with these guys.

So her motives seem just a little strange to me, they need more explanation at this point because they aren't quite realistic.

But great job with the story, it is emotional nonetheless ^_^




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Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:16 pm
WrittenInStone wrote a review...



Hola there, Butterfly. I'll be your reviewer for the moment. (Sadly, at the moment I cannot go into too much depth due to being short on time but I will still give you a quality review.)

"It was a starless night; the night she met Harris. <I like this simple sentence. It seems to hold a lot of meaning to the story.

Alice’s pale face was still blotched by redness from crying. < this sentence sounds a little strange. You could revise it.
One of her mother’s boyfriends was staying over that night, and she needed to find somewhere else to sleep. < did she need to or did she want to?

Harris was on his way to a friend’s house. If he was a freak, she decided it wouldn’t be hard to find her way back to the brightly lit shopping centre where she’d planned to sleep.

So they started walking and reached a shady part of town. He didn’t say much, just asked where she was from and her favourite band; he never addressed the obvious. Alice was glad for that, and didn’t mind if he hadn’t asked because he didn’t care. She wouldn’t have known what to say even if he did ask why she was wandering aimless(ly). < where was she wandering aimlessly to and from?

Harris climbed the steps and Alice followed, only a slight twinge of apprehension surging through her. Something about Harris eased her, but she couldn’t figure out if his blue eyes mesmerized her into thinking he was nice." < this last sentence here sounds a little more - childish if you know what I mean. The rest of the story tells it from a woman's perspective but saying that she was mesmerized into "thinking he was nice" just sounds a little off.

Other than the beginning, the only other thing that I found that I couldn't understand was where you decided to write "Bitch found her stash" and "Bitch can die for all I care" it just sounds strange. It would read better, smoother, if you added "the" before the name.

Overall I liked it, as always. Your pieces leave me wanting more and I have to say that I am never disappointed in your work. I'll stop by more often to check on what projects you've got up.

Write on,
Wisp.




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Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:23 am
Tommybear wrote a review...



You have some quality reviews already so I won't go into too much detail. I agree that the mysterious and fast pace helped the story for the most part. I think the reader will catch on to that quickly and roll with it which is nice as an author to have an audience accept your style. But behind every style is a reason right? I'm a little curious at the reason for your style, just because I'm nosey haha. Also, I would like the character of Mik discussed more above as well as the initial interaction between Alice and Harris, where they met (more detailed) was it also awkward or did they accept each other as problemed teens who needed to just get away? Things of that nature.
I think this has promise and I hope more is written :) Good job!




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Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:29 pm
Payne wrote a review...



Hey there. Sorry it took so long to get around to this; been sort of swamped for time.

Now, as some of the previous reviewers have said, the story seems very rushed. It certainly has potential to have impact and emotion, but I didn't really get the chance to establish a feeling one way or the other about any of these characters. I understand that it was meant to be short, but the readers still need to somehow be introduced to your characters. Take your time when introducing them.

Also, I too was confused about what was going on at times...it seemed like everything was going by in a blur. One moment they're walking through a shady spot, and then they're walling up steps to some unknown place. The next moment, she appears to be best buds with Mik, who I'm assuming she has just met? There are some very crucial scenes you could really run with here; again, take your time with it.

Also, the man that confronts her in the cafe...Harris may not care who he was, but I was curious. Ex-boyfriend, mother's ex-boyfriend, etc.? His 'appearance' was abrupt, but seemed oddly insignificant.

Aside from that, this story has definite potential. Keep up the good work!




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Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:29 pm
Bronk wrote a review...



Well, first off, this is quite a good story. My personal opinion is that the mysterious quality that was given by not including some information actually helped the story, but a little bit more information on the characters and the plot may have given the story a somewhat better flow. I thought that the use of language portrayed the mood of the story wonderfully. Overall, good job.




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Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:26 pm
Skydreamer wrote a review...



Hiya!

The start of story was good, but it needs more of an introduction (how she met Harris)
“Harris climbed the steps and Alice followed, only a slight twinge of apprehension surging through her. Something about Harris eased her, but she couldn’t figure out if his blue eyes mesmerized her into thinking he was nice.”

This whole paragraph seems a bit rushed, you could have explained what their surrounding looked like as they were walking, because suddenly after walking in a shady part there are steps that he is climbing! Where are these steps? How did they arrive? Remember the reader see’s what the character see’s and if there are gaps like that it could lead to serious confusion.

Next is a tip that is utterly my opinon and does not need to be heeded, but you did say brutally honest :) so,

How you wrote it: but she couldn’t figure out if his blue eyes mesmerized her into thinking he was nice.

Another way: but she couldn’t figure out if it was just his blue eyes mesmerizing her, leading her to think he was nice.

I just think you should try different ways to write sentences, in order to allow it to flow better. (but *hands up* honestly just an opinon…)

I like how you stated a person’s name without the reader knowing who he is in order to explain it later.

I must say though that perhaps you might not want to say “He shouted you breakfast”…
Okay….I’m confused here it says: Her mother usually took her morning double-dose of happy pills to get through the day and was asleep by time Alice got home.
And then Alice gets mad: Her drawers were open and clothes strewn across the floor.

Alice dropped her bag and lifted the mattress, digging her hand inside to search for it. About a minute and a pile of stuffing later, she realized it was gone. Bitch found her stash.

So who’s the one who takes the drugs?

Other than my confusion, great job! Your writing skills are good, and I wish this could have been longer.

Keep the dream!

Thewritersdream




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Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:07 am
KilljoyRetardedFish wrote a review...



Okay, here goes my review. I liked the story, and like reason, I think this story has enormous potential. I see what you wanted to demonstrate to the audience, but the scenes were slightly confusing. I know nothing about how exactly Harris and Alice met, nor how Alice ended up tagging along with him.

"When you stayed overnight at Mik’s house, he shouted you breakfast if you woke early enough."

He shouted you? Sorry, it kinda made me forget that I was reading a story and instead concentrate on the phrasing.

Again with reason, you needed to elaborate more on the pills. Why did the mother have them? If she had bought them off someone to get high as well, I wouldn't sympathize with the mother.

At the beginning of your story, Alice knew that Harris didn't really care about her. But nearing the end, she gets really offended that he doesn't care since he doesn't ask who the man was, even if he only met her for a day. Is she really self-centered? And apart from that, there's no explanation for who the man she spit on was. Was he one of the mother's boyfriends?

Another point perplexed me. She gets good grades, so she must be smart. Yet she doesn't mention any alternatives to suicide, such as help hotlines. Even at that brink (because I've been there) people do think about alternatives.

I saw your idea, but all you really need to do is make better explanations and character developments to really push it through and wow your audience. You already have good descriptions, which is a point that many authors don't have, so just work on the mentioned points and you'll be mind-blowing!

Hope I wasn't too rough and that this helps you on your future works!




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Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:08 pm
reason wrote a review...



I believe this story can have a real punch to it, but it's held back by the fact there's too many emotions and not enough facts to validate those emotions. By raising the stakes, using an active voice, some sentence structure variety -would render the ending all that more heart wrenching.

In the overall piece, I noticed the overuse of the passive voice. In the first five lines utilized "was" which contributed to a slow pace, no action feel to the piece.

Alice’s pale face was still blotched by redness from crying.


Here's an ideal example, reading this -it sounded jarring to my ears. See her face is "pale": however it immediately contrasts the idea of having scarlet marks from sobbing at an earlier time. I would've liked to read something between the lines of her once pale complexion ruined with raw red -agitation from sobbing earlier. This particular sentence needs to give the audience a sense of urgency. Something terrible happened earlier. The protagonist is still recovering and it physically shows. Breaking out of the passive voice and adding sentence structure variety are only bonuses.

The line that followed next could’ve used more of an explanation. I understand that later you elaborate on how her mother’s boyfriends struggled “hands to themselves”, but at that very moment the audience doesn’t see how her tears and the boyfriend are related. There’s evidently a relationship since the protagonist makes it clear she could not remain there for the night.

She smiled at Mik, who always thought more of everyone else than himself.


It’s redundant to write that Mik thought of others before himself. We know the protagonist has only been in his life for a day. Yet, the young man goes out in the rain/drizzle to purchase the girl some food.

Bitch found her stash.


The rage she has towards her mother appears to the audience as misplaced. There has yet to be a reason presented. So far we know the mother has boyfriends coming and going through: “filthy men she let into her bed on a weekly basis”, but besides that we don’t know much else about the woman.

We also know the mother is nearly running a pharmacy having in her stock, “anxiety pills, depression medication and painkillers” and that our protagonist likes to steal from her mother. It makes me wonder what if the mother truly needed it? At this moment, I’m feeling more sympathy for the mother.

Harris didn’t ask who the guy was, and it hurt her to think he didn’t care.


I present this line with little commentary. No sympathy is being garnered for the protagonist.

She emptied the bottles of pills into one large pile on the frayed mat, beside the bottle of alcohol she stole from Mik’s kitchen.


She’s not making it easy on me to care. I get it, she cuts herself: however, here we go again with the theft. In fact, the protagonist is taking a step farther with being self-centered by committing suicide. Why can’t I feel sympathy? I’m not emotionally invested in her since I don’t understand her pain. She has pain, but there’s nothing there to validate it besides a single line about her mother’s boyfriends being a bit too hands on. The protagonist feels the need to cut herself –yet once more, I can’t discern the motivation behind it.

This story has the potential to shock the audience. Harris and his friends have been kind to her. The fact that this does nothing to dissuade her from ending her life may even inspire feelings of anger to sadness in the reader -if they were invested in the protagonist. I would like to see, again, more elaboration on her mental state through concrete facts and events. I wish you luck with your future endeavors, mate.




RenGrey says...


Let me tell you, this is yet again another well done piece written by you. I was intrigued as to what was going on and despite this work being out of my typical realm it rather tickled my fancy! A few things though. Where is the protagonists father figure and why isnt he in the picture? Is he the reason for the mothers disarray and various seeming illnesses? Or is the mothers disfunction what drove him away. And maybe show a little hit of the side of the mother that maybe we see. But the main character doesn't, such as an unsent letter to her daughter or maybe she is about to reveal something but she stops herself. Because we don't know much about her besides her sleeping around and pharmacy she carries around in her chest of drawers.

All in all. Another great read.




We do have funerals for the living. They're called birthday parties.
— Jill Biden (fictitiously), Hope Never Dies