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Purgatory [Edited]

by Codayy

Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

"I got a knife, and I'm not afraid to use it," a low, southern voice threatened. "The best thing that you can do is scurry yourself out my house, or, whop! A stab in the thigh."

That's not something Silas wanted to hear waking up. The voice wasn't from his mom because the voice was masculine and Silas's dad left years ago. The teen body shaking uncontrollably and didn't seem to stop as it was fueled by fear. He opened his eyes and he knew he was still in his house. As quietly as possible, he shifted his head to see his alarm clock. The time was a little past eight. He was late for school, but that was the least of his concerns.

Silas' abrupt, awakened slumber didn't give him to time to truly process the words the man spoke until then. "My house" echoed in his head.

He stripped the blanket that covered him, got up in a haste, and strode into the hallway that connected his room. He turned to where the source of the voice came from, which he directed him to the right side of the hallway. Nobody was there. Aside from some clutter in the hallway, the only thing visible was a door connecting to his mom's bedroom.

"Now you listen here," Silas warned. He tried to establish some authority but he could hear quivers in his voice. "This my house! You need to get out. I swear if you did anything to my family, you are getting a stab in the thigh."

Laughter ensued from the other side of the bedroom door. It wasn't an evil, psychotic one that was expected, but it was more like a chuckle when somebody knows something that you don't. With every second that passed by, the more and more it pissed Silas off. An awkward minute progressed and Silas passed his tipping point. He stormed blindly (and rather imprudently) and turned the knob of the door. His shoulders crashed into the wooden door and the door broke from the hinges.

"Wher-" Silas started, but the setting made him distracted. His mom's room had a certain layout: the bed to the right of the door, the TV to the northeastern part of the room, and the clothing drawers were at the northwestern part of the room. Everything shifted. Everything in the room had its set place before, but has now been moved and rotated to make the room have a completely new layout.

Sila's eyes glanced to the man sitting on the bed. He was in his mid-twenties, had chestnut brown, Ivy League hair and steel gray eyes. He was clothed in khaki pants and a short-sleeved button up shirt that had white and sky blue stripes.

The well prepped and smart appearance looked off-putting to his actions. He was playing with a drawled out switchblade. His hands casually chucked the knife two or three feet in the air (spinning, of course), and yet it danced back in his hand without a scratch every time. The young man didn't emphasize much on the switchblade. It was like his equivalent to twiddling thumbs: a mindless activity.

"My mom!" Silas flared. Neither did Silas or the man approached, despite Silas being on edge. "Where'd she go? What did you do?"

The man flung the knife and caught it once again. "I'm not sure what you're spitting out, kid. I've lived in this house for sixty years. Fifty in the real world, and ten in Purgatory."

"Why are calling me a kid?" Silas called out. "And Pur- No, stop it. I've lived here for seven years. I know my house. Just quit messing with me here, and get out of my fucking house!"

"Huh," Silas' invader said under his own breath. "You must take Flares well if you had guts to drop that word, kid."

Silas raised a brow, but that was all he could manage before he felt something tingly and warm inside of him. The heat steadily and quickly increased in temperature by the second. The flaming inferno within him made Silas scream out in pain. Once he exhaled, he saw charcoal smoke appear from his mouth. Silas tried to inhale using his mouth but found himself swallowing the smoke. The coughing and heat were almost unbearable, which in result made Silas collapse to the ground.

After a minute or so, the pain reached its peak, and he figured out that he could still breathe through his nose, but the fire inside him did not die down. He saw the man walk out of the room, but could not read his expression as Silas was blurry-eyed and constantly cringing from the agony he was enduring. Silas heard him rummaging through something, but could not pinpoint the location due to the lack of focus.

"Make it stop!" Silas exclaimed, and smoke came out immediately afterward. He turned his nose away to avoid the smoke.

"Thirty seconds should do it, boy," the man yelled across the hallway. "Maybe less."

Silas faded in and out of consciousness during the final stretch. In the end, however, he was able to bear the pain from the fire, and the fire quickly died. While his insides felt like it was burnt to a crisp, it felt much better than enduring the heat. Silas was healing himself at a fairly rapid pace, and soon the temperature became a faint remnant of earlier, letting Silas stand back up.

The man walked back into the room, with an object clasped in his hands. It was a picture of Silas two years ago in his basketball uniform. "You this kid?" the man asked, pointing to a rather tall boy with short, blonde hair, and forest green eyes.

Silas decided to shut up. He didn't want to experience any more torture to his body. He awkwardly nodded.

"Wow," the man muttered. "What are you, sixteen now? Oh dear, you died really early."

"What? There's no way I-"

"Don't," the shotback, not letting ramble on."Now... Where do I start? Um, okay. Let me start with this: The Christian god is real, and that hell you just dealt with can only happen in the world of Purgatory. For every sin you commit, like saying a curse word, for example, you feel that scorching pain. And this world of Purgatory that we're in can only be entered when you die, but aren't quite good enough for Heaven or Hell. You have to earn yourself Heaven or Hell, or you'll stay here forever."

"I'm dead," Silas thought. The truth was sinking in for Silas, but the facts were too much. He was trying to absorb as much information as possible like a sponge, but a lot leaked out

The man continued on while playing with the picture frame. "I'm Robert by the way. Remember that old couple that died before your family moved in? Yeah, I was one of those people. I aged younger for physical purposes. My guess at least."

Robert's voice was canceled out, however, as Silas' emotions swallowed him.

"I'm... Dead." Silas tried for reality to pass through. The muttering was his first thought coping mechanism. It worked. Then the thoughts sunk in. He would never be able to hear his sister or his mom again. Tears started to drip onto the floor. Then a thought popped up in his head.

"You know what?" The question wasn't directed towards Robert, but Silas let him hear. "I'm going to earn my ticket into heaven! There's no way I won't!" Any emotional stability broke as he soon formed into a fetal position with the tears not stopping any time soon, but he let his goal be heard.


AN: I didn't feel like doing any poetry but I wanted to use some points. This was the result. However, this probably won't be continued but it held its ground as time went on so who knows.

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225 Reviews

Points: 15531
Reviews: 225

Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:54 pm
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rosette wrote a review...

Um, okay...this was quite an interesting story to read! I have to say, I love the storyline - being the happy little God-fearing person I am. :) As usual the first flaws I noticed in this were the grammar errors and such.

The teen body shaking uncontrollably and didn't seem to stop as it was fueled by fear.

This is one example of many I noticed. Did you mean this or maybe something more like "The teen's body was shaking uncontrollably and didn't seem to stop as it was fueled by fear." Either way, I think the sentence was awkwardly placed where it was at.
In another example you used:
"Don't", the shotback, not letting ramble on.

For a second, this confused me, until I saw what you meant. It could use some fixing-up, though, if you know what I mean. And in this case, I'm not sure if 'ramble' is the word to use...
Then, in the beginning of this story the man is threatening Silas as if he's in the same room with him. "I'll stab you in the thigh!" etc., etc. But he was across the hall from Silas - with the door closed!
How did he even know Silas woke up? Does the Purgatory give a person superpowers or anything like that?
Another thing I found questionable was in the phrase 'Christian god' you didn't capitalize God. If god is real, it would make him a capital 'G', rather than a lowercase 'g', right?
Anyway, I found it all rather fascinating and come on, you got to write a second part, dude!
Good luck!

Codayy says...

Thank you for the review! I will fix the carious mechanics mistakes sooner or later as long I don't get lazy (like the last draft lol). I think the question of how Robert heard would be answered in the make-believe next chapter where he heard him shuffle in his bed. The world mechanics are sort of weird and pretty original but the best I can explain is that the same world as living humans expect they are inhabited by people in Purgatory. He was transported into this world in the night so that explains why Robert heard in the morning and why Silas didn't know. I might write a second part but I'm still debating ;).

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Points: 325
Reviews: 1

Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:46 pm
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HarlotOHara wrote a review...


Good story you've got here! I did notice a handful of typos and other small, technical errors that require another read-through to catch them all, but nothing too bad. Anyway, to start with, here's what I liked:

This is an interesting concept. A teenaged boy in purgatory, trying to figure things out and move onto heaven. I haven't read anything quite like it and, speaking as a fiend for originality, that's very important to me. The guide you've set up for Silas, the fellow purgatory-trapped man, seems like an intriguing character thus far as well. One thing I wish is that we could've gotten more of a sense of Silas's character, but I realize that's hard to accomplish with just the first part of a short story.

I really, really enjoyed your descriptions. The "Ivy League hair" was great, and the way you compared the man's handling of his switchblade to twiddling his thumbs was very well done. All the imagery here was to the point and clever—I'm usually not a fan of when a writer describes a character as soon as they arrive on the scene, as you did with the man in this story, but you managed to describe him shortly and well enough that it didn't annoy me.

Now, onto some constructive (and very light!) criticism:

I would've preferred it if you'd maybe altered the pace of the story and manner of writing to reflect the situation, which is to say, you start out with a very tense beginning—a man's in Silas's house, threatening him—but the way it's written doesn't really convey the requisite fear and frenzy. I think if you used shorter sentences punctuated with Silas's worried thoughts, and slowed down the pace a bit to elongate the suspense, it would work better. At this point, I'm not really getting the feeling I should be nervous for Silas or that this likely intruder is such a big deal. Also, on the topic of the beginning, I think you should shorten the opening line. It's a great way to kick off the story—I love, love, love opening lines that are surprising or suspenseful, that get straight to the point—but the fact that it's as long as it is kind of takes away some of the bite. I'd try shortening it to something like:
"I got a knife and I'm not afraid to use it," a low, southern voice threatened. "Leave—unless you want a stab in the thigh."
That's a bit rough but it's one example, and I think, by removing a few words, it's a bit more intense.

I'd also remove this line:
"The voice wasn't from his mom because the voice was masculine and Silas's dad left years ago."
It's really not necessary to say it wasn't his mother—why would his mother be threatening to stab him?—and the bit about his father having left years ago feels like clunky exposition. If his father leaving is relevant to the story, save that information for later, when it comes up; dropping it in right at the story's start feels unnecessary and weak.

Another thing: I feel like, when Silas is told he's dead and in purgatory, his reaction is a bit... off. He seems to come around to believing this rather quickly, but wouldn't most of us be in a state of utter disbelief and shock and denial for quite some time? Even if the truth is right in front of him, I have to think he'd refuse to believe it, and you're asking a lot of your readers to buy the fact that he, well, buys this so soon. If you added a section of him coming to terms with it slowly, reluctantly, I think that would make the whole story feel more realistic. (Yep—I demand realism even from a short story about purgatory. What can I say?)

So, for my final thoughts, I think overall, you're off to a nice start here. It's an interesting premise, and I do hope you continue writing it because I think you'd be able to pull off a great piece. I want to know more about your version of purgatory, and more about Silas. There's a lot of cool places you could take this.

Codayy says...

Thank you for the review! I meant to reply to this earlier but I got really lazy for reason :P. Anywho, I'll fix all the easy mistakes sooner or later because they are pretty easy. And about the reaction. I don't think I did it wrong about the direction of the reaction. He's meant to be headstrong and goal determined. If you see my rougher draft, I made him take a more optimistic take of it. What I did wrong I think is that I am not showing Silas' character well enough to show that he's able to take emotional blows like that better than others. If I try this working on this again, perhaps I could add... Something. I don't it's stumping even a year later.

Who knows. I may continue this but novels in YWS receive the worst activity aside from maybe articles. Also they cost a lot of points. Although this is a fun premise so it could happen.

You cannot have an opponent if you keep saying yes.
— Richard Siken