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16+ Language

Frieda Aflister - Chapter Two

by Hijinks


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

I stared at him, perplexed.

"Due to unforeseen circumstances, I've been instructed to let you go," he repeated with a little more confidence.

"No, I heard you the first time, it's just..." At a loss for words, I let out a breath of air. Unforeseen circumstances? What in the name of Arapalia had I done? "I--well, then I'll just--just--" I rubbed my face in my hands and moaned quietly. "I guess I'll just get my things and go, then."

"Of course we'll give you a recommendation scroll to present to a new employer, and I'm sure you'll have no difficulty resuming your apprenticeship at another location..."

As what was happening sank in, I felt like I was drowning in a raging sea of panic; I couldn't breathe, I couldn't move, I couldn't speak, I couldn't think. How the hell was I going to pay for groceries? For rent? For clothes? I was already working extra jobs on the weekends and in the evening, and I couldn't fathom how I was going to manage without a dependable (if meagre) source of income.

Get a grip! I yelled at myself over the torrent of hysterical thoughts. Mastering the paralysis threatening to overcome me, I sidestepped M. Ilviny and approached my small desk. Through a nightmarish daze, I saw a pile of ancient tomes waiting to be translated, looming above me. Next to it on the desk was my Old Jadian to New Jadian dictionary, opened to an entry on 'kistyllwol'. It read, "Kistylwoll (kissed-till-wole), adj., describing something wishful and inaccurate or impossible. Alternate spellings: kistylwoel, kistylwolle." Sounded unnervingly like the plan I had had, just yesterday, to graduate my apprenticeship and become a librarian.

I turned to M. Ilviny, who was still rambling about recommendation scrolls. He was twisting the corner of his grey vest, eyeing me anxiously. "You'll be alright, dear, won't you?"

"Yes, of course," I said, fabricating a smile that felt like a grimace. "If you could just get me something to put my belongings in?"

He fetched me a wicker basket and I loaded my dictionary and a few other things into it. Noticing that he was still gazing at me with a concerned look in his eyes, I quickly glanced away, hiding the impending tears of rage and desperation that were gathering in my eyes. "I hope you'll be alright without an assistant?"

"Of course, dear. You're so sweet." He smiled at me, burrowing deep creases in his cheeks. "Goodbye, I suppose."

"Goodbye, M. Ilviny." I turned and walked away before I could start sobbing.

When I stepped out onto the street, a fierce slew of rain was pouring from the slaty sky with a vengeance. "Dejemari!" I swore. At least it hid the tears that were now streaming hopelessly down my cheeks. My feeble umbrella was no match for the storm, and I was too broken to put any effort into a spell to keep dry. Dejected, I scanned the street, not sure what I was looking for. Bakeries, corner stores, and clothing boutiques, all scared me away with their jauntiness and optimism; I wasn't capable of smiling, much less maintaining pleasant small talk with strangers. My eyes finally landed on the broom renter's business. "Cheap transportation for the middle-class magician!" a sign in the window yelled. Well, that was me, though it seemed that I was rapidly becoming an impoverished lower-class.

Clutching the wicker basket to my chest, I rushed out into the frenzied traffic, indifferent to the yells of angry drivers. On both sides, bicycles splashed through puddles, covered carriages rattled against the cobblestones, and a few fearless Jades rode their domesticated dragons.

Somehow I reached the other side of the street unharmed. As I stood, one foot still in the grimy gutter, I felt something brush my waist. Turning around, I saw a child dashing away into the chaotic street. "Hell!" I wailed in frustration, feeling for my wallet to no avail. "Of all the damned days, today?" A couple of people looked at me curiously, but I was past caring. Heck, I was past feeling.

I didn't really remember how I got back to the apartment; all I could recall was relentless rain slamming into me, and the wind howling into my ears and invading my mind. But I must have followed the streets home, for I arrived at the wands shop below my apartment and started pounding at the door. In my distress, it did not occur to me to use the back door to get into the apartment, nor to try opening a door with its handle instead of assaulting it with rage. The sturdy oak door barely trembled beneath my desperate wrath, and giving up, I leaned against it helplessly.

"Dejin' idiot! Who in hell's realm is banging at my door like a maniac?" the shop owner grumbled as he tugged open the door. I stumbled back, taken by surprise. "Ms. Aflister? Why, what in the world has happened?" I frowned at him silently, tears still trickling down my face. "I--come in, I guess," he muttered, running his hand through his wild red hair. It spiked upward like flames--flames that would soon be put out by the rain, just as my soul had been recently extinguished--

I shook myself out of my reverie, finally registering where I was. I stared blankly at the shop owner, struggling to recall his name. "Flynn...Phil...Finnian!" I mumbled to myself, probably giving the mildly accurate impression that I had gone crazy. "Uh, sorry, Finnian, I believe I was confused. I won't bother you any longer," I said, slowly backing away. "I'll, uh, see you later." I definitely sounded like an idiot. But I really didn't care. I just needed to shut myself in the privacy of my room and have a freak-out session, the sooner the better.

Composing myself, I said, painfully aware that it might be the last time I was saying it, "And, I'll--have this month's rent in to you by Friday." Then I turned and made as graceful an exit as I could, leaving the safety of the awning and returning to the deluge of rain. I quickly followed the damp brick wall around the corner and to the door leading to my apartment. I mounted the narrow staircase, frustration and despair echoing in every footstep.

"Frieda! That you? You're home early!" Petra inquired loudly from her room.

"Shut up," I muttered.

"Aw, don't be an ass."

"Shut up!" I repeated, louder, frustration seeping into my voice. I regretted my tone the moment I spoke, but made no attempt to apologize. As I reached the landing, Petra opened her door and peaked out. "What's up, darling?"

"I don't want to talk about it," I mumbled, directing my gaze at the ratty beige carpet that ineffectively cloaked the floor. Faded camels trotted dolefully around the perimeter, tails tucked and heads bowed.

"C'mon," she coaxed, opening her door further. "I won't say anything."

"Like hell."

"Well, maybe I will." Smiling gently, she stepped into the hall and took my hand, tenderly guiding me into her room. I made no effort to resist. As I looked at her wavy ebony hair that rolled off her back like a breeze at midnight, an unfamiliar part of me felt comforted by the feel of her palm against mine.

1,222 words


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Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:39 pm
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mythh wrote a review...



I felt like I was drowning in a raging sea of panic; I couldn't breathe, I couldn't move, I couldn't speak, I couldn't think.


What can I say, apart from "this is one of the most animated moments I have ever read in a book. Seriously, the combination of a simple metaphor and raw emotion; nothing beats that! If you were reading this for the first time - assuming that you didn't write this - you'd be shocked at how unfathomable this panic really is until you are hit with all those [/i]couldn'ts[/i] like shock waves.

I'm sorry about starting the review without any warning at all. You may breathe now. I'll be going over a few things and I won't be going over a few things. The things I'll look at are the portrayal of emotions and how alive your characters feel, the building of your story so far, and how you end the chapter. The things I won't go over are the themes and character development as I feel that it's too early for that.

Let's go over your characters' emotions. Are they perhaps, slightly artificial?

torrent of hysterical thoughts


Oh, dear. Everything is so storm-related, it's shocking. It suits the mood, the lighting of the story. It sets the weather. It was only in the last chapter that it was raining. I have to say that this is an insane detail in your pacing and it is worth much more than just mere acknowledgements. A potential reference to the calm before a storm? Is this foreshadowing, or is it just me with my silly theories?

It's quite clear that you've put in some effort to vivify the thoughts running through our characters from some of the very first lines. It may also be a sign that I'm a lousy critic and you should make me comment on the rest of the instances as well.

Your character development is remarkable as well. I know I said earlier that I won't be addressing this, but it is truly a job well done. You haven't rushed Frieda's character. She is by far a human being with feelings and a life. A relatable life (of course, I'm not talking about the supernatural stuff when I say this, considering that this is a fantasy novel).

Moving on, I'd now like to comment on how you ended the chapter.

Wow, I feel bad about how I chose to start this part of the review. That ending is just sweet and beautiful. That's really all I have to say.

Thanks for the good read. Keep it up : )

Yours sincerely,
Myth <3




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Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:22 am
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KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world)

And back for chapter 2,

First Impression: And an equally amazing second chapter. {Meanwhile in the brain - Assemble the Nitpick Crew!! Or we shall not find any errors!!)

"Due to unforeseen circumstances, I've been instructed to let you go," he repeated with a little more confidence.


I like the way you protray Mr. In..whatchamacallit uh.. I can't pronounce that.(wink) He seems to be genuinely concern for Frieda and that makes him much more likable.

"Of course we'll give you a recommendation scroll to present to a new employer, and I'm sure you'll have no difficulty resuming your apprenticeship at another location..."


And I love the way you make him ramble on about these things. Does a really good job of showing his nervousness.

As what was happening sank in, I felt like I was drowning in a raging sea of panic; I couldn't breathe, I couldn't move, I couldn't speak, I couldn't think. How the hell was I going to pay for groceries? For rent? For clothes? I was already working extra jobs on the weekends and in the evening, and I couldn't fathom how I was going to manage without a dependable (if meagre) source of income.


And the emotion you capture is amazing. I can feel her anguish. I'm not invested in her character yet but I still feel sad for her after reading this which is amazing considering this is still the second chapter.

Next to it on the desk was my Old Jadian to New Jadian dictionary, opened to an entry on 'kistyllwol'. It read, "Kistylwoll (kissed-till-wole), adj., describing something wishful and inaccurate or impossible. Alternate spellings: kistylwoel, kistylwolle." Sounded unnervingly like the plan I had had, just yesterday, to graduate my apprenticeship and become a librarian.


That kistyll..watchamacallit(I promise that's the last time I'll pull that joke) seems a tad overused here. It shows he being in a daze but it's just a lot of unpronounceable words in a short amount of time.

Somehow I reached the other side of the street unharmed. As I stood, one foot still in the grimy gutter, I felt something brush my waist. Turning around, I saw a child dashing away into the chaotic street. "Hell!" I wailed in frustration, feeling for my wallet to no avail. "Of all the damned days, today?" A couple of people looked at me curiously, but I was past caring. Heck, I was past feeling.


Oh dear. Can her day get any worse?

I didn't really remember how I got back to the apartment; all I could recall was relentless rain slamming into me, and the wind howling into my ears and invading my mind. But I must have followed the streets home, for I arrived at the wands shop below my apartment and started pounding at the door. In my distress, it did not occur to me to use the back door to get into the apartment, nor to try opening a door with its handle instead of assaulting it with rage. The sturdy oak door barely trembled beneath my desperate wrath, and giving up, I leaned against it helplessly.


The emotion that you convey is just unnaturally good.(You can see that I'm running out of synonyms for amazing).

"Frieda! That you? You're home early!" Petra inquired loudly from her room.

"Shut up," I muttered.

"Aw, don't be an ass."

"Shut up!" I repeated, louder, frustration seeping into my voice. I regretted my tone the moment I spoke, but made no attempt to apologize. As I reached the landing, Petra opened her door and peaked out. "What's up, darling?"


Well this shows a really nice friendship between the two.

"Well, maybe I will." Smiling gently, she stepped into the hall and took my hand, tenderly guiding me into her room. I made no effort to resist. As I looked at her wavy ebony hair that rolled off her back like a breeze at midnight, an unfamiliar part of me felt comforted by the feel of her palm against mine.


*coughs violently* *scrolls up to double check the genre* Well no idea why that happened.

And that's it for this review.

Overall: Great chapter. Again I fail to find anything wrong. I should've known that someone who can spot all those hidden errors in my stuff is not going to leave any errors in theirs. That being said, some great character development and just astounding (I found a word. Yaay!!) emotion there. It felt so real.

And of course remember to take what you think is helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




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Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:04 pm
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Vita wrote a review...



Hi!
Another great chapter! I loved how we could really see and feel Frieda's anguish and panic over losing her job. You can tell how much this means to her and how scared sh is for the future. Another great piece of character building was showing how she tried to keep it together for the sake of her mentor. She clearly didn't want him to worry about her, which was really sweet.
I also liked how kept sneaking in bits of world building and other background information without interrupting the story. For example, when you talked about her dictionary, and how part of her job including translating. You conveyed the information by showing, not telling, which is great. Keep it up.
You also had some really cool imagery throughout the chapter as well. My favorite was "It spiked upward like flames--flames that would soon be put out by the rain, just as my soul had been recently extinguished--". I'm a sucker for cool metaphors and word choice, so this made me really happy to read.
Also, did I sense something romantic at the end there? I hope so, I love to see a story with LGBT representation.
As always, KEEP WRITING!




Hijinks says...


Thank you so much! You may have indeed sensed something romantic at the end XD



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Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:04 pm
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Elinor wrote a review...



Hi again whatchamacallit!

Long time no talk. Elinor here, back again from Slytherin house to knock this second chapter of your novel out of the Green Room.

I will echo my comments from the previous chapter and say that I really enjoyed your writing style. I'm not sure what your writing goals are but I think that you would be really successful at writing middle grade fiction. It's difficult to do but you have the voice for it, and to create stories that will be meaningful for young readers.

Frieda's had quite the day. I can certainly relate. My one question is that I don't know if an employer would say "fire" and then "lay off". If they like her, they might even try to use gentler language and say "we're letting you go." I'm curious as to why she was fired, if it was a layoff or if it was actually something that she did. Though I suppose we'll find more about that in the future chapters.

I also wanted to echo EternalRain's comments about Frieda potentially having romantic feelings for Petra based off the description of her. If that's correct, I'm definitely intrigued, but if not, like Rain suggested I would consider omitting or neutralizing that description. I'm also curious as to how long Frieda has been gone, it seems like an hour, maybe two at the most. Overall, not so much felt like it happened this chapter, so I'm curious as to where things are going to go from here.

Hope this helps! Keep writing and slither on! As I mentioned previously, if you post future chapters of this on YWS, please feel free to tag me! I would love to follow along and see where Frieda's journey leads her.

All the best,
Elinor

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Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:11 am
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EternalRain wrote a review...



Hi whatcha!

Whew, that was a tough chapter for Frieda. Being laid off and having to trudge home in the rain PLUS her wallet gets stolen by a child thief?! Ugh. I feel for her. And I think you really did well expressing Frieda’s defeat. The fact that she struggled to even remember her landlord’s name really shows what a mess her mind is in.

The last part of the chapter felt a bit off to me - once Frieda gets home. My first thought is, how long has Frieda been out? Petra asks her how her day at work was - but I didn’t get the impression that Frieda was out for very long (or maybe she was in the streets for a long time). Maybe something better would be her asking “why back so early?”

Petra’s character is really interesting to me. It’s still chapter 2, and we haven’t seen much of her, but I’m excited to get to know her more. She and Frieda almost seem to have a sibling relationship in the fact that they seem to care about each other, but yell at each other at the same time.

As I looked at her wavy ebony hair that rolled off her back like a breeze at midnight, an unfamiliar part of me felt comforted by the feel of her palm against mine.


I love the description of Petra’s hair. This is definitely giving me vibes that Frieda may like Petra in a romantic way, just because of the inclusion of the gorgeous hair combined with the comforting hand. If so, omg, I’m super excited about that. It feels a *little* sudden even, just because we haven’t had mych interaction with Petra’s character, but it’s not too big of a deal. If this is not a romantic thing at all, maybe consider omitting the description of her hair?

I am seriously loving this world. So we know now that Frieda has magic abilities, but obviously they take energy to use (re: sad floppy umbrella). I seriously love the camels. That’s a really unique little piece that spices up the world!

That’s it for this review! :)
Peace,
~ EternalRain




Hijinks says...


Thank you so much! Your suggestion about the dialogue near the end makes sense, I'll change that. And yes, there might be a little something between them (:



EternalRain says...


Woohoo :D




I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
— Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest