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E - Everyone

Early Retirement

by EthanHoover

     Gerard wiped sweat from his wrinkled old brow as he poured yet another bag of raw grain into his mill. It was drudgery work, but old men like himself didn't have much choice in their occupation. In fact, most old men like himself weren't even working anymore. 

     It was quite a boring job, too.  Doing the same thing over and over, he did wish he could retire.  But he had to be sure he could support himself through the rest of his years, the number of which he was certain diminished every day. 

     A knock came on the door. Very good, another customer. "Come in," Gerard grunted. A young man stumbled through the door. He was wearing traveler's clothes, and upon his shoulder he bore the High King's seal. This must be that hero from Analar that everyone was talking about. "Oh dear, oh dear, come in, come in. You must be the King's man searching for the lost jewel of Liador?"

     "Indeed, I am. Or rather I was, for I have found the fabled gem. I am on my way to return it to the High King. But today I am merely searching for some food and shelter for the night. Do you have an open room? I have plenty of gold." The old man's eyes suddenly took on a gleam at the word 'gold.' With enough of it, he could sell this old mill and retire...

     "Yes, I think I could find a room for you. Does, ah... ten gold pieces sound fair to you?" The young man arched his eyebrow. The price of three horses was not indeed fair. In spite of this, the young man complied

     "Quite fair, thank you. Could you show me to the room?" The old man nodded and motioned for the younger man to follow. When they reached the room, the man of Analar tossed Gerard a sack of gold. "Keep the change," he said as he shut the door to his room. 

     Gerard returned to the counter. He poured the golden coinage onto the flat wooden surface. There were at least fifty pieces in total. He rejoiced as he ran his fingers through his pile of wealth. In no time at all he could get out of this place. 

     A knock on the door. Gerard froze. Another knock. He opened a drawer and pulled his gold into the small box, the horde almost overflowing out of it as he slammed it shut. "Come in," said Gerard. 

     An old woman dressed in all black with a pointed hat, probably a witch, entered in through the door, giving me a rotten yellow grin.  Her face was covered in horrid boils and scars, making him think of the plauge. "I'm looking for a young man," The witch said in a voice like a dungeon door in desperate need of oil.  "He wears traveler's clothes and bears the seal of the High King. I'm willing to pay in gold for information on his whereabouts." A sudden gleam entered the old man's eyes when she spoke the word 'gold.'

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146 Reviews

Points: 17572
Reviews: 146

Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:45 am
MooCowPoop wrote a review...

Hello EthanHoover!

Great to be reviewing this piece here. You've got something really great here! I am excited to see where it goes. It truly feels like the beginning of a fantasy story and Gerard has got a bit of a mysterious nature about him that I am interested in learning more.

I noticed a few things that I would like to bring up about this story. First:

- I think that it is a great build up to something bigger, if that is your intention. It truly orients the reader into the specifics of where and what. That said, however, I do believe that the questions of who, when, why, and how, may need a little answering so that the reader can be oriented a little better into the build up of this story. However, I am acknowledging that this is a piece of short fiction, so I do not want to impose my expectations of longer stories onto this well-crafted work!

- I wish there were a few more visual details in the piece. For instance, you start the story describing what a piece of Gerard looks like, however, I feel that most details after that are lackluster. I would like to know what truly sets Gerard apart from the rest. I am getting the sense that he is a quirky old man, not only because he works whereas others his age are well beyond retired, but because he has a certain fondness of a valuable item. Could there be more to him though? Could you perhaps make his appearance more anamoulous (adverb version of 'anamoly'?) to his character? I'm presuming he is poor...maybe spinning that around and doing something like, he's an extremely poor man, but he dresses rich. OR he only shaves on holidays. Or better yet--he doesn't wear clothes. Something shocking or something that the reader wouldn't expect might bring more the more humorous and detailed aspects out of your piece.

- Also, I noticed that this story is set in the 'Humor' category. In my experience, it would be nice to have a little more personal dialogue or something that seems innately deadpan in leading up to Gerard's alleged obsession with gold. More explicitly, are there non-financial reasons Gerard is interested in gold? Perhaps he uses it as a secret ingredient for a soup that he claims people from all lands will find delicious (the comical ending being that he is completely wrong and it instead turns everyone into gold zombies). Could this be what you are building up to?

This is where I am now as far as reviewing. You totally do not have to take anything I say into consderation. It is your choice. Your writing is phenomenal and you have a keen ability to write in an engaging way. Thank you for this! Please update me!

EthanHoover says...

Hey, thanks for the reveiw! I'll think about your suggestions, but I think I'll wait to change anything until I hear back from Silver Blade magazine before changing anything, so I can change it if they reject it(or keep it now it is if I get some validation!) As always, thanks again!

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23 Reviews

Points: 980
Reviews: 23

Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:48 pm
Lumos wrote a review...

Hi EthanHoover, Lumos dropping by for a quick review!

I'm a huge fan of short fiction - it can be great practice and a lot of fun to read and write. I think you have a great start here, and I like the concept. Most stories follow the hero, and you never see a story from this point of view, so very cool concept!

My main problem with this piece is that Gerard's goal is accomplished too easily and it literally falls in his lap, which is not very satisfying to read as a reader. I want to see him have to do something and almost fail to achieve his goal. I want to be on the edge of my seat, rooting for the main character. But when the hero walks in and doesn't even object to paying way overpriced for a room, it leaves the story flat and uninteresting.

It doesn't have to be a huge quest that your main character has to go through, he doesn't have to go off killing people and dragons. Perhaps Gerard just needs to solve a riddle or to fetch an object that's not easy to get for the hero.

Overall, I really think you have a really great concept and just need to focus on spicing up the plot, add some more conflict and you will have a solid story.

I hope this helped and feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

Keep writing!

EthanHoover says...

Hey, thanks for the review! Originally, Gerrard gets a bit too greedy in his dealings with the witch, whom kills him. I had this in until I was about to hit the submit button, when I decided to remove the end. It just felt right. As for the hero, his generosity was meant to show that he was a kind man, not worthy of betrayal. I hope that clarifies the story a bit. Thanks again!

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Points: 339
Reviews: 4

Sat Jun 09, 2018 5:58 pm
Solan wrote a review...

I rather enjoyed this story. I found it to be quite funny and a lot of thought was put into it. I do however feel that you could be more descriptive with your sentences. They are descriptive but you could make them so descriptive that the scene plays out smoothly in the readers head.

For example: ' It was quite a boring job, too, and he did wish he could retire'
What about the job was boring?- If it's the repetitiveness it would help to mention it.
What did he want to do when he retired? What were his dreams?

Another example: 'An old woman dressed in all black with a pointed hat,'
You could have said something like; An old woman dressed in all black with a pointed hat, probably a witch, entered in through the door, her face was covered in warts and scars. Most likely from battles against wizards. She grinned at me, revealing rows of yellow rotten teeth.'

You could develop it further from there

Overall good story, continue writing

EthanHoover says...

Thank you so much for the review, and I'll work on the description. Have a good day!

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.
— Ann Landers