Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Historical Fiction


Homecoming 1.3

by Elinor

The tears came quickly. The quiet of her room was overwhelming, but it didn’t last long. There was a loud knock at her door. “Yes?”

Her brother spoke. “It’s me.”

“Come in.”

Sean’s face, masked by the shadows, was tight. Rosalie sat up as he approached her bed. “What was that about?” He demanded.

Rosalie shrugged.

“You embarrassed me,” he said. He breathed out. He was clearly angry, and Rosalie found herself afraid for what he might do. But after a moment, he seemed to calm down, and he sat on the bed next to his sister. Looked at her. “Aren’t you happy?”

For a moment, Rosalie looked down at the floor. Yes, she supposed she wanted Sean to be happy. Even if she and Laura didn’t connect, she supposed that if they were happy, if they were sure that getting married was the right thing, that was the most important thing. Still, she asked, “are you sure she’s the one?”

“I’m sure,” Sean responded.

“Then you have my blessing.”

Sean was less tense now, and he looked at Rosalie in such a way that she thought that they might hug. She realized that she didn’t remember the last time that they had. But he simply stood up, pursed his lips, and hesitated at the doorway. “Good night, Rosalie,” he said before he left.

It was only about seven thirty at night, not nearly time for bed and Rosalie wasn’t the slightest bit tired. But Sean and Laura went out, for milkshakes and to a movie, ignoring Alison’s advice that if they were going to to get married and move into their own home they needed to be more careful about how they spent their money. Shortly afterward Alison summoned Rosalie into the kitchen to do the dishes. Alison sat on the couch, knitting a new scarf for the winter, even though it was July.

She scanned through the channels before she heard Walt Disney’s voice, and stopped. He was being interviewed about the recent success of Cinderella, a film she had yet to see, and the production the upcoming Alice in Wonderland. It was due to come out the following summer. Rosalie would be seventeen by then, which seemed so far away.

“Didn’t you say you read Alice in Wonderland?” Rosalie asked.

There was no response.


Alison looked up from her knitting.

“Didn’t you say you read Alice in Wonderland growing up?”

“Oh, yes, my mother had it the house.”

“Disney’s doing a film,” Rosalie said. Even though it was clear her mother was not interested, she was trying desperately to keep the conversation going.

“That’s nice,” Alison responded. Then it was silent again. Rosalie sighed, and changed the channel on the radio again. This time, to music. By chance it was Bing Crosby, her mother’s favorite artist. While Alison did continue to knit, Rosalie noticed her mother smile slightly.

After what seemed like a long time, Alison spoke. “So, what do you think?”“About what?”

“Sean and Laura.”

Rosalie had no idea how to respond. She didn’t want to talk about it, not now, and especially not with her mother. So she merely shrugged.

“I don’t think he’s ready.”

“Weren’t you his age when you married Dad?”

Alison got defensive. “Yes, but that was different. We all had it hard back then. We know what it meant to really work for something. To make sacrifices.”

Rosalie said nothing, and before long she’d changed into her pajamas and retreated into her room for the night.

She laid awake for what felt like an eternity. At some point she heard Sean come back, but she stayed in bed, not feeling very much like talking. They’d been a happy family once, but that was a long time ago. She tried to think of where it all had gone wrong.

December would mark eight years since their father had been gone. On their last perfect day together, all the way back in 1942, Jim Hastings had taken his children, then eight and ten, sledding. Alison had stayed home, not wanting to go out in the cold. It was late afternoon, nearing dusk, and there had recently been a fresh snowfall that had transformed the nearby public park into a winter wonderland.

It was half her life ago, but Rosalie could still make out her father’s form at the bottom of the hill. His wide blue eyes watching. The warmth that radiated from him as he called out to tell her that she could do it. As Rosalie stood at the top, shaking beside her sled, Sean was beside their father, squirmy and impatient. Jim turned to Sean. Said something that Rosalie couldn’t quite make out, but it seemed to calm him down.

“Rosalie?” Jim called.

Rosalie was frozen still. The hill seemed so steep, her father so distant. The sun had gone down, and it was beginning to grow dark. Soon it would be black and cold. She started to cry.

“Oh, Rosalie,” muttered Jim before he climbed up the hill. He got on his knee so he was eye to eye with his daughter. “What’s the matter?”

“I’m scared,” she responded.

“Why are you scared?” He responded calmly.

“It’s so high,” she said.

Jim looked down at the hill, managed a smile. “Well, you’ve never done it by yourself before, right? It’ll be just like when I went down with you.”

Rosalie shook her head.

“New things are scary. But you know what?” He looked at her lovingly. “They get less scary after you do it.”

Rosalie listened.

“Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry and I’m sure mommy’s got a tasty dinner cooking at home,” he said. “But, if you don’t want to go, we can let your brother go down one more time and then we can go home.” He waited for Rosalie’s response.

“I want to go.”

Jim smiled widely. “I was hoping you’d say that. Want me to give you a push?”

Rosalie nodded. She climbed onto the sled, still scared but a little excited. Jim counted down. He pushed and ran down to meet his daughter, who leapt into his arms with a smile on her face at the bottom. Laughing. “Was that fun?”

Rosalie nodded. They turned to Sean, and Jim gave him a nod. He darted up the hill and went down himself, and once they were all the bottom Jim turned to his two children and hugged them tightly.

It was on lonely nights like this that Rosalie thought she could still feel the warmth of his grasp, something she longed to feel again. 

Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.

Is this a review?



User avatar
157 Reviews

Points: 13973
Reviews: 157

Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:34 am
soundofmind wrote a review...

Seeing how lonely Rosalie is pains me!! AAAGh. I'm just gonna leave a baby review here since you've got a few awesome reviewers stacked up here adhlaskjdlhg but I just wanted to say:

The tears came quickly. The quiet of her room was overwhelming, but it didn’t last long. There was a loud knock at her door. “Yes?”

OKAY SO I KNOW at the end of the last part, you like, kind of build up to the tears with the last two or three paragraphs but I guess I still felt a little surprised? MAYBE it's JUST because it's split like this aGH IDK! But like, idk if she has these words for it yet, but I feel like this basically feels like the nail in the coffin for her relationship with her brother? Like, she feels like she's losing him, but now that he's getting married it's like there's no hope for them to be close ever again - which is suffering another loss in itself on top of the grief of their father. So I can imagine how all of this would magnify her loneliness up in her face.

Idk it's just sO SAD ELINOR OKAY

“That’s nice,” Alison responded. Then it was silent again. Rosalie sighed, and changed the channel on the radio again.

This moment pained me!!!! WHY U GOTTA DO THAT ELINOR!! Rosalie is just trying to hard to keep the conversation going, and trying so hard to reach out for connection and interaction and everyone's just giving her nothing. I know this pain all to well LOL which is why I think it really hits home for me, but this is real.

Rosalie nodded. She climbed onto the sled, still scared but a little excited. Jim counted down. He pushed and ran down to meet his daughter, who leapt into his arms with a smile on her face at the bottom. Laughing. “Was that fun?”



-sound <3

User avatar
541 Reviews

Points: 370
Reviews: 541

Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:25 am
View Likes
Lauren2010 wrote a review...

Hello again, my dear!

I remember this flashback! It's such a sweet memory for Rosalie, and I can see why she's been holding onto it for so long. <3

I do wonder, though, about Rosalie's relationship with her father. She's nearly 10 years younger in this memory than she is now, right? Ten years is an enormously long time to still be dwelling this deeply on something. I know that Rosalie's father left shortly after this and her whole family has been left reeling by this loss, but it's been ten years. It seems believable that Allison would still be this deeply in grief, but Rosalie seems equally as hung up. I don't remember how she lost her father, if he died or if he left them, but she was a child and is now a teenager. Hasn't she ever felt angry? Hasn't she come to the point where she has stamped it down and tried to ignore it? I believe still being unconsciously hung up on this loss, but to be so clearly distraught over it (and self-aware that this is what is weighing on her) seems a bit unrealistic?

tl;dr trauma can last a lifetime, but it seems unusual that both Allison and Rosalie are this torn up over this 10-years-old loss and haven't experienced any change in their emotional or mental state. Sean has moved on; why haven't they?

Otherwise, the flashback feels like a revelation for Rosalie. This is fantastic, and a good use of the scene, but it seems to come entirely too early. I'm assuming that Rosalie's big problem is she's afraid and unable to embrace change (based on what we've seen so far), so this sort of thing feels like it ought to come much later in her story after she's faced a challenge or two. It seems like something she would need to be reminded of. Because, if she thinks of this that often, why should this time be any different? Why should this occasion of remembering her father inspire her toward change?

Another lovely chapter <3 I adore the sad, lonely quality of this story and I absolutely can't wait to read more! Thanks so much for sharing, and keep writing!


Elinor says...

Sean hasn't moved on. He only thinks he has. ;)

I think, for Rosalie, she's around her mom so much, and the story somewhat hinges around the fact that she can't move on. I think the family's been broken ever since he died and so she's come to idealize/romanticize him in a way, as well as lament that she never really got a chance to know him.

The story in my opinion should be about Rosalie growing up, and becoming her own person who looks toward the future and not the past. So any way I can best convey that. ;)

User avatar
1125 Reviews

Points: 53415
Reviews: 1125

Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:47 pm
View Likes
StellaThomas wrote a review...

Hey Ellie! Sorry I'm a little bit late with my review, life has gotten on top of me this week!

I really liked the last two thirds of this segment, with Rosalie talking to her mum and remembering her dad. But, I think that the opening needs work. It's a weird thing for her to do to storm off like that, and it's weird that this conversation between her and Sean is so stilted. And I know that you want to write a story about the two of them being connected and maybe this stilted portion of their relationship is important later on to see how they develop. But then, I'd love to see some acknowledgement of that. I want Rosalie to think how weird it is when Sean doesn't hug her, or when he just leaves the room. Or even spend longer on what she wishes would happen instead. As it stands currently, it just felt a bit weird and the scene felt cut short.

I find it so sad really that they didn't have a big family celebration, even if the ladies aren't particular fans of Laura's. I just thought it was sad that they made their engagement announcement and went to a movie. Again, maybe that's what you were looking for, to explain what a dysfunctional family unit they are. Doesn't mean I didn't find it sad xD

The Alice in Wonderland allusion was nice, but I'd like to see it used a little bit - even some cheesy metaphor or something about feeling like her mother had fallen through the looking glass and never come back or something like that. Sorry, I realise it's super lame. It just felt under-utilised.

I liked the flashback a lot, it was heartfelt and lovely and raw and good job on that.

Looking forward to the next part!

- Stella x

User avatar
760 Reviews

Points: 31996
Reviews: 760

Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:34 pm
ExOmelas wrote a review...

Hey, just the one nit-pick this time, then I'll get onto plot and stuff:

After what seemed like a long time, Alison spoke. “So, what do you think?”“About what?”

Missed new line.


While I am glad to get a look back and the past, and especially what her father was like, because it makes him more than just a name, I was kind of expecting to get some sort of explanation of what happened here. I won't go on about this again, but not filling in the blank of "what happened" after alluding to it so many times is starting to make it feel more like a plot device to affect the family badly rather than an event that naturally happened in these people's lives.

I'm a little bit confused by Sean. He tends to sort of move around from position to position like a chess piece, with his emotions and intents fairly difficult to discern. I think out of all the characters I know him least. Does he actually resent his sister? It seems like he does with how cold he is, but then again he was trying to take her out for a good time in the last chapter, suggesting that he wants to close this distance. So all in all I'm confused by Sean.

The parents are much better done. Both of them, even in the limited amount of knowledge we have of Sean. I can really easily imagine how Alison became who she is, and I can really easily feel how horrible it must be to no longer have Jim. My guess now is maybe he got conscripted? If it's just that I'm not sure it's dramatic enough to have warranted this much suspense.

Oh, also, I'm not sure you've really made enough use of your setting yet. You don't see a lot of fifties stuff. Usually people focus on either one of the world wars or the period in between. It's actually interesting that you've focused on the period that's essentially the fallout and recovery, since that seems to be thematically what your story is about too. I'd really like some more specific description, maybe when they're out in town, of what the fifties are like. Cinemas must be different, right? And shopping too - there'd be these brand new shiny things called malls. I would love to be immersed in that period if possible.

Hope this helps,
Biscuits :)

Elinor says...

Hey Biscuits! Thanks so much for your reviews, I really appreciate them! :D

The idea with Sean is that he is a little bit scattered. He's an eighteen year old boy who's had to try to do a lot of growing up without anyone to guide him, she doesn't really know what he wants or how he feels. I wonder if there's a way I can clarify that that is the intention rather than it seeming like his characterization is off.

ExOmelas says...

Maybe like a lot of hesitation or confused, pained looks? Something to show that he%u2019s stuck between different courses of action perhaps

User avatar
16 Reviews

Points: 503
Reviews: 16

Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:48 am
Youngwriter724 says...

Alright i'm back. but now i have read all three parts of this story. and i apologize, because other than a missing word here or there or awkward phrasing i couldn't really find anything wrong. though its because i was so drawn into the story lol. there is no setting description what so ever, nor is there any real character descriptions either. yet some how the story is still done quite well, i think it something that could only be done with this type of story. A girl coming of age suffering from a tragic loss of her father, yet at the same time she is also reeling from the loss of her family as her mother is in pain, ghosting around alone in her own suffering and seemingly ignorant to the pains of her children. and the brother dealing with it by attaching himself to the girlfriend and pulling away from his family. will she meet a guy, or a best friend that will bring her back to life and giver her the energy to bring her family back together? I really want to know where this goes. good work. is there a way i can like click somewhere and be notified when the next piece comes out ?

Elinor says...

I can add you to the tag list when I post new chapters!

that would be awesome.

User avatar
16 Reviews

Points: 503
Reviews: 16

Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:16 am
View Likes
Youngwriter724 wrote a review...

Starting off i haven't read the rest of your story, as i believe reading the entirety of ones work pulls me into focusing on the story and distracts me from being able to make a proper review. That being said i was drawn into your story none the less, i have only read this short entry, yet i feel some what connected to these people you have created. and thus have nothing constructive to add, other than the fact that i loved this story. Well done, your dialogue was done well as well as that touching flash back. you never described the characters, (which was no doubt done in the previous parts of this story) yet i could still somehow see them clearly in my minds eye. anyway i am rambling now, great work (:

Follow your passion. Stay true to yourself. Never follow someone else's path unless you're in the woods and you're lost and you see a path. By all means, you should follow that.
— Ellen DeGeneres