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Rufus

by Areida


Jack - No need to critique this one. I have far more sadistic plans for you, my friend. :twisted:

**

“Darling, come and look at your new baby brother.”

Lucia Valerius looked up from playing with her dolls. “But Mama, I was just—“

“The dolls will wait. Listen to your mother.”

Lucia scowled, but did as her father said. He was reclining on the couch where her mother sat holding the child.

“Isn’t he beautiful, Lucia?” Her mother smiled down at the baby.

Lucia wrinkled up her nose. He was ugly. His hair was too dark and his face was red in all the wrong spots.

“Lucia? Answer your mother.”

Lucia glanced at her father. His light brown beard was a bit shorter than usual; it made him more handsome. “He’s…small.”

Her mother laughed. “Oh, Septimus, she’s gotten it from you.”

“Gotten what?” her father asked, tenderly reaching up to touch his wife’s cheek.

“Your ability to say something that will please your audience but won’t betray what you actually feel.”

“Why do you say that?”

Lucia’s mother shook her head, still smiling. “Isn’t it obvious?” She looked to Lucia, shifting the babe so she could reach out and pull her daughter closer. “Look at him again, Lucia. Now tell me truthfully what you see.”

Lucia was skeptical, but her mother gave her a nod of encouragement, and she saw no reproach in her father’s eyes.

She looked back at the baby, who was still asleep at her mother’s breast. “He’s…” She cocked her head to one side, fiddling with the fabric of her tunic. “Well, he’s…” She adjusted the belt that was hooked about her small hips. “I suppose he’s all right.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“What?” Lucia looked up, frowning. She didn’t understand why her mother was asking these questions. All she wanted to do was sit on the floor and play with her dolls. They were much prettier than this baby that had everyone so excited.

Her mother sat up straighter, shifting the child and raising him. “Tell me what you think of your baby brother.”

“He smells.”

“And?”

“His hair is always mussed.”

“What else?”

“He can’t do anything interesting or useful.”

“Go on.”

“Well…” She plopped her hands onto her hips and sighed. “Well, Mama, he’s rather ugly. I’m sorry.”

Her father roared with laughter, falling back onto the couch.

Lucia frowned. “What’s funny?” She waited for him to stop and answer her, but his howling woke the baby.

Lucia winced, waiting for the inevitable screams to begin, but instead of releasing a shrill, piercing wail, the baby merely stirred and opened his eyes, gurgling something incomprehensible.

“Sit, Lucia,” her mother commanded over her father’s laughter.

Lucia did as she was told, lowering herself to the marble floor below. Her mother leaned down and eased the child into her arms.

“There you are. Support his head, darling.”

Lucia, wide-eyed, cocked her elbow so the little boy had a place to rest his head. He looked up at her. She stared back. The room went still.

“Hello,” Lucia said tentatively.

He didn’t answer.

She frowned. “You ought to speak. Staring dumbly…that doesn’t make any sense.”

“He can’t speak yet, Lucia,” her mother said softly.

Lucia’s frown deepened as she studied the baby. He was soft and a little too big for her arms, but he was so warm that Lucia found herself rather liking the way his slight bulk pressed against her.

“I’ll teach you, then.”

The baby broke into a toothless smile and Lucia looked up at her mother. “When will we name him?”

Her mother glanced at her father. “Septimus?”

He straightened, leaning against his knees. “I believe we’ve waited an acceptable amount of time. He is nearly five months old.”

“Rufus then,” Lucia said.

“Oh? You’ve already chosen a name?”

“Yes,” Lucia replied. “Rufus Antonius Valerius.”

“Antonius?”

“Yes, for Mama. I’m done holding him now. I’ll begin teaching him to speak tomorrow.”

“Very well, darling,” Her mother leaned down and gathered the baby into her arms again.

“Goodbye, Rufus.” Lucia rose with great dignity and straightened her tunic. She hesitated, then kissed his head and returned to playing with her dolls, never seeing the smile that passed between her parents or the one on the mouth of her new baby brother.


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Mon Jan 01, 2007 11:21 am
Swires wrote a review...



Some of this may have been said, I skimmed the other feedbacks.

You use "spots" in Lucia's speech. I think "places" or other word would sound better.

Also "dumbly" is used in her speech and to me it doesn't sound right, replace it.

Overall it was simple, easy to read and I didn't get bored. I was interested even though I am out of my comfort zone of dark fantasy.

You also seem to portray most emotions through speech, which is good although it may be nice to get some emotions and thoughts into the narrative as well.

Good work.




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Sun Dec 31, 2006 9:40 pm
Shriek wrote a review...



OH MAN. That was cute.

... But, really, that's all it was: cute. As a matter of fact, you are a pro at cutesy. You've mastered the art of all things fluff and candy-coated. If I ever need someone to tell me a bedtime story laced with princesses and romance and happy endings, I will come to you.

I want more.

Obviously you are very talented, and you don't need me to tell you that. Your descriptions in this piece are beautiful, and you continue to improve dramatically in your word use. But I feel like all I've seen from you is Disney fairytales and now this little story.

I would like to see something different. I am not suggesting that you develop a dark side or become edgy -- we all have our boundaries and genres that we would be completely incapable of writing for. I would just like to see something ... more. Something saturated in depth and meaning and rich language. Something I could come away from and not say, "Gee, that was cute," but rather, "Gosh, that made me think/cry/feel." Something more along the lines of that piece "Jump" you did awhile back. "Fear will destroy you, saftey is an illusion, there is nothing for you here!" Remember?

I'm sorry that this review isn't really helpful, or on topic. I have absolutely nothing to critique on this story. It was well done -- you do the cutesy thing SO well.

But again, I would like to see you take a chance. Step outside the box. Jump.




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Fri Dec 22, 2006 6:25 am
bubblewrapped wrote a review...



OMG! So sweet!

... um. Yes.

Fortunately, I am notoriously cruel, so I am still able to critique L:DL

Lucia wrinkled up her nose. He was ugly. His hair was too dark and his face was red in all the wrong spots.

I wouldnt use the word "spots" -- it seems out of place somehow. "Places" might be better (yes, I'm nit-picking ^_^)

Her mother laughed. “Oh, Septimus, she’s gotten it from you.”

“Gotten what?” her father asked, tenderly reaching up to touch his wife’s cheek.

“Your ability to say something that will please your audience but won’t betray what you actually feel.”

“Why do you say that?”


This bit of dialogue seems a bit awkward, if you ask me. I'm not sure why? So maybe just a bit of tweaking throughout.

She frowned. “You ought to speak. Staring dumbly…that doesn’t make any sense.”

I dont think "staring dumbly" fits here somehow. Too modern, perhaps?

Lucia’s frown deepened as she studied the baby. He was soft and a little too big for her arms, but he was so warm that Lucia found herself rather liking the way his slight bulk pressed against her.


Slight bulk is a bit...contradictory.

“Rufus then,” Lucia said.

“Oh? You’ve already chosen a name?”

“Yes,” Lucia replied. “Rufus Antonius Valerius.”

“Antonius?”

“Yes, for Mama. I’m done holding him now. I’ll begin teaching him to speak tomorrow.”


Mm. Sweet, but (assuming this is in Ancient Rome?) Romans named their children after their fathers (e.g. Septimus, and Lucia would be Septima, etc.), and they have to have a specific clan name, and such. So she probably wouldnt be allowed to name him Rufus, except as a nickname. Of course, you could have them as being alternative kind of people, and I dont even know that this is in Ancient Rome anyway...but yeah. You might want to look that up if you're going for authenticity.

If that's the ending of the story, you might want to polish it so it has a bit more of a conclusive feel; but if you're planning on making it part of a larger story, just ignore me ;)

Overall, its adorable. I love the way you developed Lucia's character :)

Cheers,
~bubbles




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Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:47 am
Areida says...



Hehe. I guess I should just keep making my stuff so sappy that people don't have the heart to rip it to shreds. Except then... I'd stink. So um. Yes.

Yay Snoink and Myth!




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Wed Nov 29, 2006 12:48 pm
Myth wrote a review...



Poor Rufus.

Ari, you got the character of Lucia out with the dialogue even though there was not much to describe what she actually felt towards her baby brother. And I don't have the heart to tear it apart. :P




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Wed Nov 29, 2006 5:22 am
Snoink wrote a review...



Hahaha... poor baby. :P

I know my cousin just had her first baby and her mother told her that the baby was ugly. Which was... not cool. It's good that this mommy is nicer. :)





Perfect kindness acts without thinking of kindness.
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