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Juliet Playing With Knives

by Liz


I light a cigarette. I'm standing on my balcony in my rainbow-striped strappy top, light, turquoise cotton shorts and huge fluffy purple Grosby slippers. It's almost seven on a Friday morning in the middle of October. The cool, lemony air sits on my shoulders and a smooth breeze carrying a fresh minty scent runs its long, pale fingers through my chestnut hair which hangs freely.

I look across the series of bushes which seperates my property from next door's. Mr Turner is watering that same damn weedy tree that he is always watering. Talk about wasting water. Sure, he uses a hand-held hose, but does a spindly little tree such as that really deserve water twenty-four seven? I could be having a minute longer shower in the morning with that h2o. And at least I grow with my water. That so-called tree seems to be stunted. At least I do my bit for the community: cutting down my shower time, frowning at water-wasters. But now that I think about it...that extra minute of hot running water all over my skin has made me crazy. Maybe later on I'll go down and see Mr Turner and ask him politely to...no, that wouldn't work. Perhaps the shock approach would be more effective.

"Oh Mr Turner, I've read that you shouldn't water plants so much. Here, look, you're absolutely drowning it. Poor thing. I'd stop right away. Give it a bit of time to dehydrate."

I look like a nice, sensible, believeable girl. Why wouldn't he think I'd been studying gardening in my spare time or something? It's possible.

I sigh and focus my eyes back on Mr Turner again. Oh God...he's glaring at me. Maybe he heard my thoughts, my evil plots against him. I scoff. More likely he's just worried about his poor baby's pores from the awful, contaminating smoke I'm breathing out onto the air. But it's kind of freaky. His porridge-grey eyes bore into me. Old people scare me occassionally. People of my generation think they don't know anything, but really, they probably know everything.

I shudder and turn away. Taking a long drag on my cigarette, I close my eyes, feeling the sifting breeze vibrating past my skin.

"Hey!"

I open my eyes, startled.

"Yeah?" I yell back, looking around me to see who I am answering.

"Down here, purple slippers!"

It's a guy's voice, alive with hidden laughter and early morning freshness.

I laugh and look directly downwards, to the unkempt layer of grass beneath my balcony.

It's a guy alright. A guy with a knife.

I gasp and feel a silky sweat breaking out all over my body. My heart jerks rapidly in my chest, threatening to explode. I feel as though all of my body's reactions are working in fast-motion. Everything whirls in the mockingly calm morning light.

"What are you waiting for? Come down here!"

"Are you kidding?" I manage to choke out.

I look around me wildly. I could run back into my bedroom and hide under the covers, but I would feel unbearably vulnerable. I could never just lie down and wait for a storm to pass over.

"Juliet! Let me in!"

I frown in confusion. He looks like a nice guy. His voice sounds like the voice of a nice guy. Hell, even that knife looks kind of nice.

I turn from the balcony and saunter down the stairs, my hand on the rail. Calm waves of cold, soothing strokes slide down me, inside and out. My heart is coaxed back into a relaxed rhythm and my skin regains its contented, sun-kissed look. I glide across the creamy carpet and open the door to the level of reality.

He stands there, clashing beautifully with the serene pastel tones of the morning. His skin is a fleshy ochre which reveals pink mechanisms working beneath it. Under his eyes are soft feather strokes of charcoal and his eyes themselves are intense, meaty balls of sea-spray and coffee dregs. His hair is a deep, deep burnt chestnut and he has intriguing sprouts of hair on his chin, on top of his lip and along the sides of his face. His lips are thin and somehow a natural shade of mauve. I can see the fine lines stroked along them. He is wearing a black t-shirt and loose jeans. And he is absolutely drenched.

"Juliet?"

I nodd slowly, still adjusting to this confidently carved figure on my doorstep. His outline stands out boldly in the weak light. He is still dripping. So his his knife. Droplets of water slide off the glinting, silvery blade of it.

He sees me staring at it and whips it up to our eye level. It slashes through the air in an arc as his bulging arms lift it in a flash.

Instinctively I draw in a sharp breath and take a step backwards. He laughs.

"You don't have to be afraid," he says softly.

Although I first heard his voice as a shout, the hidden laughter and early morning freshness that thrived are still present, even when he speaks to me in barely more than a whisper.

"Give that to me," he says, a smile playing on his lips.

He reaches for my fingers while never breaking our ardent eye contact. Then I feel him sliding the cigarette out from between my index and middle fingers. I'd forgotten I hadn't finished it.

He stabs it on his t-shirt and it sizzles out from the wetness.

His eyes flicker all over my body in one swift movement. I concentrate my eyes on the knife which is still being held steadily in front of our faces. I see him look at it lovingly.

All of a sudden it's against my neck, the cold, wet flat surface pressed hard against my throat. He smiles kindly at me, and his eyes are suddenly pricked, overflowing with salty-sweet emotion that I can taste. I smile back at him.

Our mouths melt together and he holds the knife between us. I feel its unforgiving metal rammed against my voicebox. I wouldn't be surprised if I can no longer talk when we break apart. I entwine my fingers in his, my hot, dry skin thirsty for his cold, dripping skin. It sucks it up with eager gratefulness.

I can feel his soaked clothes merging with mine and leaving them damp. I can feel the freezing knife against my throat, a constant, steady feeling which protects my vulnerability from unknown horrors. He never removes it, it's always pressed intensely against me so I can never forget. I love the feeling of taking a risk, for I know that any moment he could flick his wrist with smooth ease and the cutting blade will be at my throat.

written: Friday 5th November 2004, 10:43pm.


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Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:33 am
thehotinpsychotic wrote a review...



So, I really like this piece. I love the line where you describe his voice as having hidden laughter, especially because voices can be so hard to describe intelligently and originally. My only problem is that it seemed, like, really weird when you described his eyes as "meaty balls". Analogies aside, I thought this was great.




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Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:44 pm
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summergrl13 wrote a review...



This is a great piece! I mean, wow, it just blows my mind when I read it! I love it! I don't think that you need to change anything about this; it's absolutely perfect. Amazing and spectacular! Woohoo! You got some serious talent girly! :wink: It rocks! 0(o.o)0




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Thu Mar 17, 2005 6:34 pm
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Lollipop says...



What a talented person you are. It's not fair*sulks away in a huff* :roll:




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Fri Mar 11, 2005 1:22 am
Elizabeth says...



THis made me laugh very much in a very good way... Such talent tsk tsk tsk.




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Wed Mar 09, 2005 8:12 pm
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Zephyr wrote a review...



It's unique and well written, with a good premise, but I feel like your description (while excellent, by the way) sometimes seems too forced and overly elaborate. It's good to know what she's wearing, but sometimes your story morphs into a character sketch, which isn't always a bad thing, but since it's short you may want to rethink some of it so that it flows more naturally. I like the fact that we learn everything we need to know about Juliet through her interactions in the last three paragraphs- her character is developed suddenly and very nicely. Good job.




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Fri Feb 04, 2005 4:40 pm
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Emma wrote a review...



Oh yer, I read this story but I forgot to comment.

Its great because you have managed to get me addicted to the story. Which is like very unusal. Unless you make me. You described everything! It was like I knew what everything looked like. I think you have a talent of a excellent writer and you could be the next J.K. Rowling. Though I didnt like the titel.




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Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:39 pm
Harley wrote a review...



I think your story was really good but you seem to use a lot of complex words which you have to read twice in order to understand them. I like how you started with the girl in her pyjamas; it is very realistic.

The cool, lemony air sits on my shoulders and a smooth breeze carrying a fresh minty scent runs its long, pale fingers through my chestnut hair which hangs freely.


Why don't you try...

"The cool, lemony hair sits onmy shoulders and a minty breeze runs it's long pale fingers through my chestnut hair, which hangs freely, not yet tamed for going out." or something like that. A really great story which I loved :wink:




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Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:19 pm
justadreamer says...



I liked this story because you could feel her desire even if she showed her passion in a strange way. Good story!




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Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:23 am
Liz says...



:( You know what I mean.

I really liked this is there anymore to it or is it just a short story kind of thing?

Yeah, it's an allegory. Basically it demonstrates the high flash of new love, the recklessness with which lust (mainly physical) is plunged into. The particular guy holds a knife - symbolisng the dangerous power girls let men have over then, simply for physical attraction and the appeal of the new. It's not the stereotypical moral and message of feminism though; the narrator has complete control of herself and is independent with strong thoughts. She has the feeling of being vulnerable and at risk though; the knife could be flicked blad-against-throat at any moment.
Enough dissecting . Thanks, guys.




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Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:21 am
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Liz says...



I really liked this is there anymore to it or is it just a short story kind of thing?
Yeah, it's an allegory. Basically it demonstrates the high flash of new love, the recklessness with which lust (mainly physical) is plunged into. The particular guy holds a knife - symbolisng the dangerous power girls let men have over then, simply for physical attraction and the appeal of the new. It's not the stereotypical moral and message of feminism though; the narrator has complete control of herself and is independent with strong thoughts. She has the feeling of being vulnerable and at risk though; the knife could be flicked blad-against-throat at any moment.
Enough dissecting :) . Thanks, guys.




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Tue Jan 11, 2005 8:08 pm
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Firestarter wrote a review...



I thought it was okay, although it wasn't to my taste. Not to say it wasn't written, it's just not my favourite type of romance (you can ignore me today, I'm not being very eloquent).

I agree with dreaming_mouse's crit.

He stands there, clashing beautifully with the serene pastel tones of the morning. His skin is a fleshy ochre which reveals pink mechanisms working beneath it. Under his eyes are soft feather strokes of charcoal and his eyes themselves are intense, meaty balls of sea-spray and coffee dregs.


Eugh, didn't like this. Sorry, but too much description. Sometimes it's great if people are forced to use their imagination, but this was going too far. Put in some more simple words in there (I know, I hate dumbing down too) and it will improve that part.

Sorry, not much of a critique. I'm in a bit of a rush, but I think if you did a few changes to the dialogue and some description it could become a lot better.




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Sun Jan 09, 2005 5:45 pm
dreaming_mouse wrote a review...



I thought it was great and it kept me hooked but there were some parts that were a bit too over described or forced.

The cool, lemony air sits on my shoulders and a smooth breeze carrying a fresh minty scent runs its long, pale fingers through my chestnut hair which hangs freely.


I think the description was okay but to me it just seemed busy, I was trying to focus on too many things at once and the way you ended it was a bit of a let down "hair which hangs freely". I thought that was more of an essay term than a story term.

Calm waves of cold, soothing strokes slide down me, inside and out.


This sentence was a bit hard to read, maybe you should read it out loud to yourself to see if it is hard to read or if it's just me. (Sorry if it is just me!)

His skin is a fleshy ochre which reveals pink mechanisms working beneath it. Under his eyes are soft feather strokes of charcoal and his eyes themselves are intense, meaty balls of sea-spray and coffee dregs.


This was a bit too technical for a description, I found myself having to concentrate on it and I couldn't picture his eyes clearly. I don't understand the whole meaty eye balls and I was having trouble picturing sea-spray/coffee dreg coloured eyes.

I think when you describe them kissing you could put a bit more into this like what is Juliet feeling? She's kissing a guy with a knife at her throat, wouldn't she be a little bit frightened even if he is really attractive?

Anyway that's my crit, hope it helped. I really liked this is there anymore to it or is it just a short story kind of thing?




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Sat Jan 08, 2005 5:54 am
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Sam says...



to agree with nate...yeah, the dialogue needs some work but other than that, you've got a cool story going here. If you've got any more, I really want to read it! (no crit obviously!)




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Sat Jan 08, 2005 5:43 am
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Liz says...



Thanks for the comments :)
:D Her outfit is my pajamas, and yeah she's meant to be unique. The whole thing is basically symbollic and a comment on human nature so no, she probably wouldn't kiss him so suddenly, but it's just saying how some girls rush into things without knowing the guy. And it doesn't really have anything to do with "Romeo and Juliet", I just called her that because of the whole idea that she's every girl, and that's the ideal name for a girl in love :)
Okay, thanks again.




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Thu Jan 06, 2005 10:21 pm
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Nate wrote a review...



Incredible story. It's unsettling, it's funny, and it's captivating. Your descriptions are great, the opening grabbed my attention, and you move the plot forward with ease and grace.

The dialogue, though, needs to be improved. It sounds forced and rather stale right now. Avoid using descriptions afterwards such as:
" "Give that to me," he says, a smile playing on his lips. "
The 'smile playing on his lips' should be cut out and inserted somewhere else.

Overall, nicely done.




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Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:12 pm
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SilverWright wrote a review...



Interesting to say the least. The first two lines made me laugh.

I light a cigarette. I'm standing on my balcony in my rainbow-striped strappy top, light, turquoise cotton shorts and huge fluffy purple Grosby slippers.

She smoking a cigarette in that outfit? Either you did this on purpose or she's a very unique girl. And, I don't think you need that comma after light if that word is describing the shorts.
I liked it overall but one thing bothers me. Why did she suddenly kiss him? I don't really understand how you got to that. I could see Juliet developing a romantic relationship with this guy but not when he's holding that knife. Also, were you trying to make some sort of a parallel to Romeo and Juliet? I hope I'm offending you at all.





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