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Handcuffs

by Ilium417


Do you know how it feels to watch a burning world while handcuffed? And the key lies just a foot away, just out of your reach, but you can't unlock it because you haven't waited enough time? And those who have waited enough, whose hands are free, are watering the world with flamethrowers and blame those in handcuffs for using them? 

Can you imagine how it would feel to be told that your only way to stop the fires from spreading is your voice? To know that you must sit still and look pretty, can't show the world your problems, hide your fears and pains behind a mask of positivity, advocate good will and solutions that can't be heard over the roar of the flames? To try to put the pen to the page, in the hopes that someone will listen, but you can't hold the pen through your handcuffs, and the page is burned as you try to write? 

Can you see it now as the flames lick your heels and you plead for help, but those with flamethrowers are too busy pointing their guns at each other to notice? And can you feel the fire burn you slowly from below, and you try to blow it away? But your voice is tired from screaming, begging those with flamethrowers to listen, to put away the flames. And you cannot scream any longer- they will not hear. 

And you are promised that in a few years, just a few years, that key will be in your hands, and you will finally be free. But do you know that by that point, you'll have lost the will to put that key in the lock and twist it? Do you know that you will have given up on being free, given up on being healed, given up on trying to run from the flames? They are everywhere. Everyone is bound. Everything is being burned. The only thing you can hold with your cuffed hands is a flamethrower. 

Can you imagine picking one up? Can you imagine seeing the world and pulling the trigger? Can you hear the soft ripple of flames pour out of the muzzle of a gun with no kick, with no recoil, with no affect anymore on the soul? And can you hear the words pouring like that fire from your mouth, blaming those that kept you bound for making you use your flamethrower? Your words will be louder than the fires you are baptizing the world in and louder than the strained, hoarse voices of those you are burning. 

Do you think you can see now someone, some one person, walking toward you, unafraid of the fires, undaunted by the words you call truth, holding a key? The one you dropped in favor of a flamethrower? They walk softly to you, saying nothing, having no weapon but the threat of freedom and a smile, and you feel threatened. You try to pour flames on them, to stamp them out, but they don't care about the flames. And you realize that that was the secret all along. 

Do you see them reaching for you, taking your worn, swollen hands in theirs, and inserting the key in the cuffs that hold you? Can you hear those empty cuffs colliding with the fires on the ground, burning up, having no purpose now? Can you feel the freedom? Can you feel the freedom?

Can you see your handcuffs on the ground? Can you imagine them scorched, broken, defeated? You are freed from your burden now. You let go of your flamethrower, and it too is absorbed in the flames. But around you, the flames cool down and peacefully simmer out. Can you imagine that? 

Once more, remember the forgotten dreams of your youth and your bondage. Before you had a key. Before you were freed. Take those and form them once more in your mind; give them shape. Give them purpose. Give them hope. 

That is your key. 

Free others. 


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Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:40 pm
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



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

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!!

First Impression: Well this was a really interesting read. There was certainly a lot of interesting things going on here and the message that's there at the end was also really nice to see. It was definitely a good read. Well more details down below....

Anyway let's get right to it,

Do you know how it feels to watch a burning world while handcuffed? And the key lies just a foot away, just out of your reach, but you can't unlock it because you haven't waited enough time? And those who have waited enough, whose hands are free, are watering the world with flamethrowers and blame those in handcuffs for using them?


Wow..that is quite the picture you're starting off with. Definitely a truly horrible situation to be in, that's for certain. Well this paragraph certainly does its job getting the attention of a reader with that kind of start....so great job there.

Can you imagine how it would feel to be told that your only way to stop the fires from spreading is your voice? To know that you must sit still and look pretty, can't show the world your problems, hide your fears and pains behind a mask of positivity, advocate good will and solutions that can't be heard over the roar of the flames? To try to put the pen to the page, in the hopes that someone will listen, but you can't hold the pen through your handcuffs, and the page is burned as you try to write?


Wow these images continue to get even worse...the situation for our hypothetical person here is getting worse. I'm definitely interested to see where this whole series of unfortunate circumstances is going to end up taking us.

Can you see it now as the flames lick your heels and you plead for help, but those with flamethrowers are too busy pointing their guns at each other to notice? And can you feel the fire burn you slowly from below, and you try to blow it away? But your voice is tired from screaming, begging those with flamethrowers to listen, to put away the flames. And you cannot scream any longer- they will not hear.


Oh wow, you're building up the hopelessness level here really nicely here. I'm loving this slow progression of the situation being described in increasingly worse detail...wow...this is going downhill.

And you are promised that in a few years, just a few years, that key will be in your hands, and you will finally be free. But do you know that by that point, you'll have lost the will to put that key in the lock and twist it? Do you know that you will have given up on being free, given up on being healed, given up on trying to run from the flames? They are everywhere. Everyone is bound. Everything is being burned. The only thing you can hold with your cuffed hands is a flamethrower.


Ooof...well...that went from hopeless to impossible really quickly...oh dear....this is not getting any better is it?

Can you imagine picking one up? Can you imagine seeing the world and pulling the trigger? Can you hear the soft ripple of flames pour out of the muzzle of a gun with no kick, with no recoil, with no affect anymore on the soul? And can you hear the words pouring like that fire from your mouth, blaming those that kept you bound for making you use your flamethrower? Your words will be louder than the fires you are baptizing the world in and louder than the strained, hoarse voices of those you are burning.


Well that is definitely an intense moment to imagine there....

Do you think you can see now someone, some one person, walking toward you, unafraid of the fires, undaunted by the words you call truth, holding a key? The one you dropped in favor of a flamethrower? They walk softly to you, saying nothing, having no weapon but the threat of freedom and a smile, and you feel threatened. You try to pour flames on them, to stamp them out, but they don't care about the flames. And you realize that that was the secret all along.


Okay...I sense there's some sort of twist coming along here...I can feel it...let's see...this is the first interesting development here.

Do you see them reaching for you, taking your worn, swollen hands in theirs, and inserting the key in the cuffs that hold you? Can you hear those empty cuffs colliding with the fires on the ground, burning up, having no purpose now? Can you feel the freedom? Can you feel the freedom?


This is definitely a twist...

Can you see your handcuffs on the ground? Can you imagine them scorched, broken, defeated? You are freed from your burden now. You let go of your flamethrower, and it too is absorbed in the flames. But around you, the flames cool down and peacefully simmer out. Can you imagine that?


Ohh that is definitely something that we'd all be glad to imagine after the experience from before...

Once more, remember the forgotten dreams of your youth and your bondage. Before you had a key. Before you were freed. Take those and form them once more in your mind; give them shape. Give them purpose. Give them hope.

That is your key.

Free others.


Well that was a nice little ending...definitely tapered down to quite a nice little message there.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall I think this was quite a nice little story to read. Great message there, the descriptions really work well to create the atmosphere in the story and its just pretty well written in general.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




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Wed Apr 21, 2021 3:47 am
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KassandraRose wrote a review...



This work is so amazing! I love all the metaphors and the symbolism that you add. I especially love the symbolism of the handcuffs, and how people feel that they are stuck. It brings up a lot of emotions and is very interesting. From the very beginning I was interested and I wanted to read more.
Another thing I really liked about it was how it starts off with a very dark turn, and then became more hopeful as the story progressed. And while it doesn't necessarily have a happy ending, it has a hope for a "brighter future".
The other thing that was very interesting was the word choice. I liked how many times you repeated certain words to bring about different emotions. Also, the use of second person was very interesting. It really made me feel like I was in the story, and that all of these events you described were happening to me. I thought the use of your word choice was incredible.
Overall, you did an amazing job. It addresses some of the more deeper problems of the world. Keep up the good work, and I hope to read more!




Ilium417 says...


Thanks for the review!! :D



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Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:35 pm
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TheClosetWriter wrote a review...



I can't begin to express how incredible this piece is. The notion of being limited by youth in a suffering world is such an original idea to write about. Additionally, the metaphor of handcuffs and fire brings out frustrations and anxieties so many young people feel as they watch some wreak havoc on their future. Thus, when it comes down to editing, there isn't a lot to change; only more to add.

Secondary Themes

As this story really pushes for change, it appears that paragraphs are organized around different secondary themes. Although there are many emotional themes explored, I also feel that you can delve into different sectors of activism through metaphor and key word choice. For instance, in the following lines, I was reminded of feminism:

"To know that you must sit still and look pretty, can't show the world your problems, hide your fears and pains behind a mask of positivity, advocate good will and solutions that can't be heard over the roar of the flames?"

If you wanted to expand your writing, you could thus look at different conflicts in society. Flamethrowers quiet women, destroy the environment, oppress minority groups, and more.

Description

Another addition you can make to enhance this short is more description. There is a lot of imagery surrounding fire and menacing heat. Perhaps, when freedom does come, rain can follow. You can describe other aspects of the setting; debris, the sky's color, and more. Create a greater contrast between being imprisoned and being free.

Clarification

Throughout the piece, there was only one point at which I was slightly confused or struggling to interpret what the author was trying to convey:

"Do you think you can see now someone, some one person, walking toward you, unafraid of the fires, undaunted by the words you call truth, holding a key? The one you dropped in favor of a flamethrower? They walk softly to you, saying nothing, having no weapon but the threat of freedom and a smile, and you feel threatened. You try to pour flames on them, to stamp them out, but they don't care about the flames. And you realize that that was the secret all along."

This is actually one of my favorite paragraphs within the text. With second person point of view, it feels as if liberation is coming. I also adore the idea that freedom could be a threat. Nonetheless, I think it would help to have some elaboration around who this stranger is. Young people aren't immediately able to utilize their voices for the common good. Is this figure a trusted adult who offers inspiration?

Poetic Syntax and Font

Lastly, my only recommendation surrounding how to improve this piece is through poetic language. Already, you are in a poetic direction. Following it all the way through can do quite a lot for this text. Consider playing with bold and italics to draw emphasis to words like "can you feel the freedom" and other key phrases. Even experiment with spacing if you can to isolate certain ideas.

Whether you chose to make any changes or not, this is one of the most psychologically stimulating pieces I have read in a long time. It is very impressive and I hope to see more works like it.




Ilium417 says...


Bro, thanks so much for the review! That really helps!
(I wrote it with like no preparation, so that was basically my emotion doing the writing XDD)




Love is not an emotion. Love is a promise.
— 12th Doctor