Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Short Story » Dramatic

16+ Mature Content

Little Turtledove (3)

by Elinor


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for mature content.

As they disappeared down the trail, Jay turned to me. He smiled widely.

“Your husband was a fool to let you go,” he said.

“He didn’t exactly let me go. I left.”

“Why did you leave?” I noticed that as we talked, Jay’s eyes never turned away from me. I realized that I didn’t know many people who gave someone their full, undivided attention when they spoke.

I hesitated. There was a part of me that wanted to tell him, but I was afraid. “It’s a long story.”

“We’ve got time.”

I took a deep breath. “Last summer I was pregnant. And I miscarried. It was the worst day of my life,” I managed. “And he blamed for it.”

Jay simply continued to look at me. “That’s a shame,” he said. “But there’s more to it than that, isn’t there?”

I nodded. “It wasn’t a single thing. He became my whole world. I didn’t have any identity outside of being his wife.”

“And you left to find it?”

I nodded. I was acutely aware of everything that was happening around us in that moment. The soft rustle of the leaves, the crickets. The starry night sky. It was like something out of Van Gogh. I had no idea where we were and I liked it that way. I never would have done anything like this with Simon. There were times when we talked about driving down to Yosemite but there was always an excuse as to why it couldn’t happen. And even then, we would have stayed in a hotel. Not under the stars like this. I could hear his excuses now. It’s cold. It could rain. It’s dirty. I don’t want insects crawling on me at night.

He led me over to the fire pit, where we sat. “I’m asking because I know a little bit of what it’s like,” Jay told me. He laughed ruefully. “I was married once.”

“What happened?”

“She left me.” He looked away, and I saw his whole body become tense. “But that doesn’t matter. It’s no use dwelling on the past. The only thing that matters is right now.”

“I like that.” Before he could respond, we saw Alex, carrying a load of firewood, appear out of nowhere. Jay didn’t seem happy to see her. “What are you doing back?” he demanded.

“I came to drop off the firewood,” she said.

“I can see that.” Alex stood there limply. She set the firewood in pit and sat next to us. “Where’s Sasha?”

“She’s still out.” We sat there, the three of us, in awkward silence.

“Alexandra,” he said. “We’re having a private conversation.”

“That’s not…”

“Go find Sasha. Now.”

Still, she stayed.

Then, Jay started to yell, and it scared me. “How am I supposed to do anything if you’re always hanging around me? You’re not going to die if we’re apart for a few minutes. My god.” With that, she stood up and disappeared down the trail. Jay must have realized that I was unnerved. “I’m sorry about that.”

For a moment, I didn’t respond. “You know, my husband used to yell at me like that.”

Jay bit his lip. I’ve often wondered if there was any part of me that got through to him in that moment. “She needs to learn not be so attached.”

“She’s in love with you,” I said. “I can tell.”

Jay pursed his lips. “The fact remains. She needs to learn to share her love.” Then, he smiled. “Where were we?”

“Time, I think.” His eyes then moved to my watch, and he told me that I didn’t need any more. That long ago, there was no time. That long ago our ancestors woke when the sun rose and ate when they were hungry, and no one had to be anywhere at any specific point. That they’d been living like this for months now, and there was no going back. Then, he took off my watch. It was a small thing, but it felt freeing. “Helen,” he said then. “Why don’t we go on a walk?”

“Sure.”

He stood up and offered his hand to help me. I stood beside him just as Sasha and Alex came back with more firewood.

“Start the fire,” he said. “We’ll be back.” They nodded without another word and he led me down the trail. As we walked, it was just us, the trail, and the moonlight. I started wondering about Simon. My note had been vague, but I told him not to look for me. Still, he must be worried sick. My family must all being worried sick. As taken as I was with Jay, I wondered if I’d made a mistake.

“I’m sorry that I yelled in front of you. I don’t usually do that,” Jay said. It took me a moment to process what he’d said, but it brought me back.

“It’s okay,” I responded. We walked for another moment in silence. “Jay?” I asked. “Do you ever miss your wife?”

“Why would you ask a thing like that?”

“I just wondered, is all. I’m just wondering if I made the right choice.” He was silent for a long time, by which point we came to a grassy field at the edge of the lake. I was about to apologize for asking when he told me, “No. No I don’t. Everything with her… it was like a haze. And then, when she abandoned me, it all came clear. I would hope you feel the same.”

I listened, taking in everything he was saying.

“All that matters is right now.”

He kissed me then. “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. And I want to give you what he couldn’t.” I’d definitely never felt this way with Simon. This was something entirely different. He put his hand on the zipper of my dress. 

“What about Alex?” I asked, as if it would have made a difference.

“Don’t worry about her.”

And we made love. I could be barely believe what was happening, and how ridiculous this entire day had been. But in that moment, nothing else mattered. For the first time in a long time, I was happy. I could live like this. With them. I had a feeling I could get the girls to like me, if only we had more of a chance to talk.

Alex and Sasha were waiting by the fire. Logs were already placed in the pit. It was clear they knew exactly what had happened but they said nothing. “We started building it,” Alex said. Sasha had the lighter fluid beside her, and they got it going. We all sat, comforted by its warmth.

“Helen’s a part of us now,” Jay said. The girls both smiled at me. Jay talked to us for a while, now about Tabula Rasa. The philosophy that at birth we’re a blank slate, and the world is what corrupts us. That we’d start over with a clean slate, and anyone who was open to the truth would be able to be a part of the world we’d create. It all sounded very nice. Then, he told us that he was tired and excused himself to his tent.

It was just the three of us now. They both fidgeted around me, even though Alex was clearly more uncomfortable.

“Can I talk to you?” I asked.

“Sure,” she said, without looking at me.

“I don’t want to cause any trouble.”

“Yeah,” Alex said, still not looking at me.

“You know,” she muttered. I only barely heard her. “I’m sure you’ve never had any problem getting guys in your life.”

It was only partly true. Still, I said nothing. Then, Sasha spoke. “You know. We all have things we left. What’s good is that we found each other. And that Jay could bring us all together.”

“Right,” I said. “I think it’s like he said, we have a chance to start over, and not worry about anything that happened before.”

Alex turned to face us now. “I can tell he cares about you,” I said. 

“I know he does,” said Alex. “It’s just, I had nothing before. And he saved me.”

This made me smile. “He seems like a great person,” I responded. “And I don’t know about you, but you both seem pretty cool. I want us to be friends. I definitely don’t want to go back to San Francisco." I laughed. "You know, I went through most of my life with most people not caring about what I had to say because they were so absorbed in themselves. So absorbed in what’s going to happen tomorrow. Being here with you guys, I feel more whole than I have in a long time.”

They both smiled. “We love you, Helen,” said Sasha.

“What was it like, being married?” Alex asked after a while. 

“It wasn’t all that.”

We all laughed, and talked well into the night. That was my first night with them.

And of course, you know the rest. 


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?


  

Comments



User avatar
469 Reviews


Points: 1280
Reviews: 469

Donate
Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:51 am
View Likes
Magestorrow wrote a review...



Hello again!

Small Comments

“Your husband was a fool to let you go,” he said.


I love how he's trying to win her over more - he really is a charming character.

“Why did you leave?” I noticed that as we talked, Jay’s eyes never turned away from me. I realized that I didn’t know many people who gave someone their full, undivided attention when they spoke.


I know I keep saying I love different parts of this story, but I really do love how you keep throwing in comments like this - it shows just how much Jay intrigues Helen, and how much he already has her wrapped around his finger.

I hesitated. There was a part of me that wanted to tell him, but I was afraid. “It’s a long story.”

“We’ve got time.”

I took a deep breath. “Last summer I was pregnant. And I miscarried. It was the worst day of my life,” I managed. “And he blamed for it.”


She already trusts him and they haven't even known each other for more than a day. :)

I nodded. “It wasn’t a single thing. He became my whole world. I didn’t have any identity outside of being his wife.”


There's definitely some irony here, considering that Helen's eventually going to be known as just a member of Jay's cult.

For a moment, I didn’t respond. “You know, my husband used to yell at me like that.”


I wish Helen would act on the warning signs. :(

Jay bit his lip. I’ve often wondered if there was any part of me that got through to him in that moment. “She needs to learn not be so attached.”


I'm guessing that's a no - Jay only listens to people when he wants to, and he's definitely not in the mood for listening at this point. (Or, at least, that's my interpretation of this moment.)

“What about Alex?” I asked, as if it would have made a difference.

“Don’t worry about her.”


I feel like Alex's jealously is going to result in something horrible, but I can't help but feel really bad for her in this moment. It's clear that Alex cares deeply about Jay, just like Helen and Sasha do, but her love sees to be the next step up - and Jay seems to completely ignore her feelings.

They both smiled. “We love you, Helen,” said Sasha.


I'm all for female friendships, but this line definitely has a cultish vibe to it - I love it.

We all laughed, and talked well into the night. That was my first night with them.

And of course, you know the rest.


I love how ominous and foreboding this ending is - I couldn't see this story ending any other way.

Overall Comments

I think you can already predict this, but I don't have any critiques for this part. :P It was a strong piece overall, and all of the things I've mentioned loving in the previous parts were present in this one too. It was also cool getting to see the conversation with the girls at the very end of the piece. Jay's obviously supposed to be the focus because he's the leader, but I also love how you touched on the sense of a community that a cult provides.

Plus, this part highlighted a side of Jay that wasn't present in the previous parts - his flaws. If the reader didn't already have warning bells going off in their head, seeing Jay yell at Alex and then have Helen compare Jay to how her husband acted would have made them realize that something was really wrong with this group.

I really enjoyed reading this piece, and I'm very excited about Eagle Rock coming out!




User avatar
1132 Reviews


Points: 44270
Reviews: 1132

Donate
Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:33 pm
View Likes
JabberHut wrote a review...



OMG THIS IS A PRELUDE TO EAGLE ROCK, ISN'T IT ??

I've been extremely excited to see Eagle Rock after hearing so much about it, and I had it in the back of my mind as I was reading this short story, but now I wonder if they're tied together somehow?!? I DON'T KNOW THE REST, HELEN. I DON'T KNOW THE REST. //SOB

I thought it was a little strange that Jay would yell at Alex so bad about going away only for them to up and leave. Maybe that's just Jay's wacko brain though.

It's so... It's written so well because you just don't KNOW if Jay's stories are true, but it doesn't matter because he's so believable. He's so charismatic that even I'm like oh yes, maybe a future is possible. And then I'm iMMEDIATELY like NO HELEN NO DON'T DO THIS NOOOO.

It's also jsut so iNTERESTING that the girls were so quick to admit they love her. They literally met her only a couple hours ago, so it makes you wonder if they were programmed to say that to those who are willing to join their family? Like it's important to make everyone feel loved despite the unfortunate circumstances they find themselves in? Sasha HAS to be the original girl here because she was the one who said she loved Helen. But you wrote her so well because we could see her uneasiness around Jay this whole time, yet she still throws out this phrase so quickly and immediately after Helen and Jay did the whoozits out back. Like she KNOWS what to do and how to keep the peace. She's also still unsure, but she must have also had nothing or some moment of darkness that Jay took advantage of? And unfortunately for Sasha, Jay must not have HAD another girl with her. So Sasha might feel even more heartache than Alex.

And Alex is just so... raw. The reader can see Alex as Helen's future once Jay finds another woman somewhere. It's like a scary foreshadowing. And the reader just can't help but feel so sorry for Alex because she seems so young. Not necessarily ignorant, but she's just so very loyal to those she loves as opposed to Sasha who has a little more... not suspicion. I just can't think of the word I want.

BASICALLY THOUGH. Considering their seemingly minor roles in all this, their personalities shown equally bright as Jay's and Helen's.

I really really love this story you have. It's such a beautiful and horrific insight to the idea of a cult and how they obtain followers. It's always that one charismatic guy that knows how to win the hearts of a certain few, and the army simply grows from that point. And I also just enjoy immensely how this is purely from Helen's perspective, like the philosophy behind Jay's ideals doesn't even matter because JUST ENOUGH shines through that makes the reader realize wait... something isn't right.

Beautiful piece. Well done. <3

Jabber, the One and Only!




Elinor says...


Ahhh thank you so much! So Alex and Sasha are both 18. Alex is about seven months older than Sasha, so she would be almost 19 whereas Sasha would have just turned 18. They're definitely not preteens. Still too young for Jay (who is in his 30s) but. But Helen is 21, almost 22. I wanted to highlight their age/experience gap since she's lived a whole life before all of this. Alex especially is a bit immature because she's been sheltered her whole life before she ran away with Jay.

And Alex is actually the first! The idea is that she's in love with Jay and because there were no other girls at the time so she thought she was signing up for something different. Sasha loves Jay not in exactly the same way. She's revered by him but is a little bit more open to sharing him.

I'm glad you really enjoyed it! And yes, this is a part of Eagle Rock. I'll be posting more in the near future so stay tuned <3



User avatar
36 Reviews


Points: 639
Reviews: 36

Donate
Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:05 am
View Likes
demoncat wrote a review...



Hello this is demoncat here to review.


I really enjoyed this story. It's a good one to get swept up in. I really wish I knew more about how this story came to be though. I have so many questions. For example...
.who is this Jay and why is he gathering these people in the woods?
.why doesn't she know where she is?
.how did they all get here?
.who are all of them?
.why is there only one guy?
.what does nay look like?
.and what were the chain of events that led her to wherever this is?
I really liked it but it's got me wondering soooo much. I really wanna know how the characters came into this plot. It's so amazing. And it would be wonderful if I could read more. Other that that I noticed afew typos and grammar mistakes. But it's amazing! Keep it up! Puhlease. Because I really wanna read more of your work. Because it's purrfect.




Elinor says...


Hey Demon! Maybe you're confused because this is the third part of the story.

Check out parts 1 and 2 here. :)

Little Turtledove (1)
Little Turtledove (2)




The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.
— Amelia Earhart