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E - Everyone

Double-two, Double-two

by MissPhoenix


 When I woke, it was as though I was waking back into my dream. I looked around and wondered where the dark had gone. It had been just seconds ago that I blinked into the black light. Once more, it seemed, the cycle began. I was tired, as I was every morning, although it was not the exhaustion that came from lack of sleep but instead a feeling growing from the mycelium of my depression. I spread my fingers out in front of me, feeling the air to be sure all the dimensions were truly there. Ill light spluttered through the room in grey patches and I felt inclined to leave before I caught the bad mood. When the soft skin of my feet came in contact with the matted carpet, it was almost as though I could feel it; feel my surroundings in my memory when memories can only be visual. I went through the corridor and down the stairs slowly, some anticipation growing as I took each step until... I saw her.

My mother stood at the bottom of the stairs and for a second I believed the lie and my heart was put on pause- there were other, real humans... then I would realise it was a self-induced deception. As my heart returned to its regular speed, I sat at the breakfast table and waited for the show to take place. It took a minute to kick-start- my mother stood abnormally still for a moment or so before moving. In those seconds my stomach yanked on my throat, tightening it, and tears veiled my eyes. But then she moved, smiling at the stairs in the place where I should be; she carried some plates to the kitchen table and set them in front of me. I watched her with slight amusement as she glided around the kitchen, occasionally tripping over a chair leg like she always would. Then she sat by me, smiled to me and stopped. That was it. My time with my simulated, although very real, mother. I yearned to see her warm smile again- the sort of expression personalised for me, not the wall behind. There was no meaning in her eyes. I stared back at her still, poised body and then gently touched her, my hand going straight through where her neck should be.

So I carried on. After eating toast under my mother's watch, I left the door and chuckled at my brother and sister as they played on the porch. I still haven't deciphered their game after however many years of replaying the memory. My last memory. The last memory I had before I fell into this depression and they put me under sedation. I admit- they were convincing. All you do, they said, was take an injection and then your therapy begins. You go to the "special place" inside your mind and connect with other depressees. It was a valid idea to those with good mental health but when you were inside the simulation you realised that a double negative in this realm does not make a positive.

After calling my brother twice and my sister three times to no response, I left them. The route was simple, I would meander down the forest path speckled with spring leaves and cross by the river. The rush of sound began to pour through into my thoughts- every voice the river carried sounded so real I would often turn back and try and look for the voice's host. One time, on one of the first viewings of the memory,, my mind gnawed away at itself for so long that there was nothing left. I couldn't remember who I was, just like in the real world, and my personality had been degraded to a sick girl watching her family moving on. I had ran to the river and hoped drowning was an escape route. The following day, I had woken up back in bed. I was dying in a dream and forever living in a memory. On this day, however, I ignored the whispers and chants and jogged upstream until I reached the stepping stones. Almost there, I thought. I crossed the stream and took the steps down to the railway.

The rails were a murky, brown colour with rust pouring over the tracks. No trains ever passed, although I wish they did and I would jump straight on and ride away from this nightmare. I saw the tunnel just ahead. My mind seemed to have contained my negative thoughts as I approached the tunnel, entering its ominous archway to be immediately met with a cool shade.

Inside, grey gravel filled the tunnel like a fishtank, swelling up around the tracks as though they were slowly sinking. The only other objects were two single blue chairs placed perfectly in the centre of the tunnel, facing opposite each other. I made my way to the chair nearest myself and sat down, feeding my back into the curve of the seat. Everything was quiet. The wind was lulled into a dreamy state and I felt like falling to sleep on the chair.

But then the noise came. Slowly, but a rhythm I quickly picked up on. The crescendo of sound began to flood the tunnel, the chanting of a train chugging along. I heard every wheel turn and the steam foam from the top but I saw nothing. Every second the sound got faster and faster, speeding along until I heard it enter the tunnel and surge towards me until I closed my eyes and-

I opened my eyes. I was alive. Still in the train tunnel. But facing me was a person, someone staring at me with black eyes. They had chose to use the avatar everyone uses- the Voldemort as I liked to call him. His body was pure white and had no features, just a round silhouette saturated with white.

"Hello," I murmured, my disappointment already spilling into my voice.

"Hello," it answered back, no mouth appearing as it spoke in its dull, monotonous voice.

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Anonymous," It answered.

Why did I bother? It was another depressed user who had to have been asleep or something- they refused to reveal their face or even their name. Even a fake person would do for me- just someone to talk to. It was more depressing than the depression I had been through when your therapist did not want to show themselves to you.

"Okay Anonymous," I forced a smile, "What's your problem?"

It stared at me silently for a moment and for a split second I wondered if it had thought of a response. Then Anonymous vanished, leaving an empty chair. I took a breath in and let it slowly hiss out of my mouth in a prolonged sigh. I stood up, my irritation leading me to leave and return home to my bed. Restart the cycle. But I didn't. I found myself sitting back down and covering my face with my palms. Waiting for a train to come, when it never did.

This had been the sum total of my life in therapy- calling out every day to talk to someone about my inner nothingness and, in response, I received even more nothingness. I could not die inside my mind nor could I run away with there being a mental barrier around the circumference of the memory. I had tried to contact the state, the government, anyone but my response was always silence. Maybe the outside world had fallen into chaos or maybe they just weren't prepared to let me leave until I was cured. I wanted answers. Better still, I wanted to wake up.

When I unfolded my palms from my face, I heard it again- the whoosh of wind and pulsating of the tracks as though a train were coming. I sat perfectly still as my chair rocked and vibrated and the gravel below me crackled. The sound grew and grew and I heard it enter the tunnel and blast past the chair and-

I flinched once more. Opened my eyes. God, I felt sick of doing this. The sound still rang in my head and my brain ached. Where was my therapist, my saviour to wake me back up so I could return home to my family?

"Hello," I heard the voice say. I looked up with dull eyes and stared at the body. Stared at the face. It was...

"Hey," The voice prompted, a smile peeking through those thin, pink lips. "You alright there?"

I stared again. He was human.

My prayers had been answered.

*************************************************************************************

Hey- this is part of a story I've been thinking about for a while, don't know if its any good/ the concept makes sense, etc. I'd really appreciate it if you shared your thoughts, even criticism will do. Thanks! x :D

Hi again- this is my redone draft of the story. Hope you enjoy, please leave a response :) x


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Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:41 pm
HolographicLadybug wrote a review...



Hi! I, Holographic Ladybug, am here to review you!



I find your writing style nice, but I find myself very confused by all of this. I don't know if it's just me, but keep in mind that I could be very wrong.
First off, I don't really understand why the main character was walking (through a forest?) in the first place. I don't think that you really explained why...?
I also don't really understand why you're sometimes talking about therapy. I also find that you're jumping around a bit with time, especially in the same paragraph which should be fixed. (Unless this is just me being crazy and on the verge of losing it! :) Otherwise, you can ignore me.)
Finally, I really don't understand why you're in a train tunnel with this 'Voldemort' persona. This is probably just me, of course.



On another note, there is one thing that I thought I should mention to you:

'"Hey," The voice prompted, a smile peeking through those thin, pink lips. "You alright there?"'
'The' should be a lowercase word.


If I was being too harsh, I really don't mean to be that way. I am just trying to help. :) However, if nothing that I am saying makes sense or that the confusion parts are just me, you can also ignore me then.
I really hope that I was helpful! :)


~Holographic Ladybug




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Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:19 pm
unluminescent wrote a review...



Hey MissPhoenix. I was drawn into this short story by the title... so, here's my two cents:

I'm writing this part before I even finished reading because I just want to comment on how much I like this line:

I was tired, as I was every morning, although it was not the exhaustion that came from lack of sleep but instead a feeling growing from the roots of my depression.

It's relatable, and said so flawlessly.

Okay, now that I have read the whole thing let's start reviewing.

You have an amazing concept here, and one that I personally have never read of before! I love how, in the beginning, I had zero clue what was going on, but by the end, I was feeling the character's pain and was basically in the story with him/her.

You also have great imagery throughout the piece.
Inside, grey gravel filled the tunnel like a fishtank, swelling up around the tracks as though they were slowly sinking. The only other objects were two single blue chairs placed perfectly in the centre of the tunnel, facing opposite each other. I made my way to the chair nearest myself and sat down, feeding my back into the curve of the seat. Everything was quiet. The wind was still lulled into a dreamy state and I felt like falling to sleep on the chair.

Right here, I felt like I was literally with the main character in that train tunnel. I also like the simile you have in the first line: "grey gravel filled the tunnel like a fish tank." In the last line, "The wind was still lulled into a dreamy state," I think you should take out "still;" it seems out of place in the sentence.

His body was pure white and had no features, just a round silhouette saturated with white.

Here, I feel like you just repeated yourself, but used different words. Perhaps just say the first part, or just say the second part. It feels unnecessarily repetitive.

I like how you hint at a central conflict throughout the piece.
It was more depressing than the depression I had been through when your therapist did not want to show themselves to you.

In this excerpt, I get the feeling that there is some type of issue with the character's therapist, but you never directly say so, which works great. Maybe try to mention a little bit more about the therapist, but subtly like you did here. :)

This had been the sum total of my life in therapy- calling out every day to talk to someone about my inner nothingness and, in response, I received even more nothingness. I could not die inside my mind nor could I run away with there being a mental barrier around the circumference of the memory. I had tried to contact the state, the government, anyone but my response was always silence. Maybe the outside world had fallen into chaos or maybe they just weren't prepared to let me leave until I was cured. I wanted answers. Better still, I wanted to wake up.

This is probably my favorite paragraph in this short story. It's so full of feelings and emotions. I love the first line, "to talk to someone about my inner nothingness and, in response, I received even more nothingness." That's so cleverly phrased and expresses a lot of emotion. The last line of the paragraph also reinforces that idea of a central conflict, this one being between the main character and the "treatment" he/she is going through.

I really like what you've written, and I think you're headed the right way into a great story. I can't wait to read more!

-unluminescent




MissPhoenix says...


Thank you for your response- this was so great for me to read! I'll have another go at the parts I messed up but thank you also for your support since I wasn't sure if this story was any good or not. :)





no, it's great! definitely don't worry about that :)



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Sat Oct 24, 2015 9:54 pm
Pompadour wrote a review...



Hello. I'll make this quick.

Welcome to YWS!

I think you could work on the pacing: the beginning was too fast and I couldn't really sink my teeth into it; it was also largely confusing. Perhaps the confusion was intentional, to give the reader more of an empathetic link to what the narrator is experiencing--but it doesn't work out. The narrator lists things down as they happen; there's a lot of lack of emotion and listlessness dominating the first paragraph and too much is happening for the reader to keep track of. The overall story, I think, could be more intriguing if you spaced it out a bit, included some sensory description and more backstory (because you just slip the science-fiction-y stuff in a little and that really throws the reader off nearing the end). The ambiguity is overwhelming.

Also, the narrator mentions several times that they were depressed before they were put under sedation and I'm curious as to what kind of life they led, who they were before this, why sedation is suddenly the best way to deal with depression. I've dealt with depression myself, and I think it's different for each human being, and you can't generalise it as a feeling of just sadness--it's despair, it's ... it's hard to define, I guess? I feel like the narrator hasn't explored this feeling thoroughly; the apathy is tangible, but there's more to it, isn't there? The narrator wishes for a lot of stuff--they use the word 'depression' and 'depressing' a lot, but they never delve into it. It doesn't come through to the reader.

In short: try less narration and more scene. This article might help~

I think, by and large, the monotony that exists in some parts of the piece isn't because of a rigid syntax or a boring plot or sparse description. There's just not enough internal thought. Also, there are several instances of that devilish demon (look, redundancy to emphasise XD) called the passive voice. Another wonderful thingamjiggy article-thingy on the topic might help!

Overall, I think there's potential in this, Phoenix! Nearing the end, I found I was more engaged with what was going on in the story than I was nearing the beginning, although I feel like the ending was a bit abrupt and there was no true resolution. You could build up on this, I'm sure, and add some 'meh' to it. I'd like to see what you do with this, and I'd like to see more of your work, too! It's nice to see sci-fi on here that doesn't focus on the same, formulaic plot; it's like a breath of fresh air.

Great stuff! Keep writing! Keep up the awesome work~

Hope this helped. PM me if you have any questions!

Cheers.

~Pomp c:




MissPhoenix says...


Hey thank you so much for such a long response- everything you said made sense and it was really nice to hear things I could improve on (i've no idea myself!) I'll try and change the parts of the story that didn't work and the ending too. Thank you again- your review was really helpful! :)



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Sat Oct 24, 2015 3:42 am
PerfectWeapon wrote a review...



PerfectWeapon here,

So just real quick, in the beginning you started a sentence with "and," I don't recommend that.
Soon after that, you started a sentence with "But," this created the same effect as before, a very short choppy, unneeded sentence.

In the third paragraph, you say you were satisfied. Do you mean it in the way that you understood, or realize? I don't get the use of that word in this place. You also said, "Did my head in." What is that supposed to mean?

In the fourht paragraph, you said "No train every passed." Do you mean "ever?" You also said you would jump on one and ride into the sunset, what would that accomplish. This is just a memory, how would you know what you would see? Is this just saying that in the real world you would have?

In the fifth paragraph, I enjoyed this paragraph. This was well placed, and well detailed.

I also enjoyed the use of the musical term "crescendo," I myself play music, and enjoy it when it is incorporated into writings. I also liked the cut off, great job!

I like the added Voldemort definition, I also enjoy Harry Potter.

At this point, I have lost count of the paragraphs, and don't know if I should include the dialogue, so here is the line I am talking about. " heard it enter the tunnel and blast pas the chair and-" You simply misspelled past.

I loved the ending sooooo much! I don't want you to get irritated by my review, so I hope you enjoyed! This was in no way supposed to be rude, just helpful. I really, really, REALLY, enjoyed this. I can't wait to see if you write another part! If you do decide to, let me know please.

~PerfectWeapon




MissPhoenix says...


Thank you so much! This was really helpful and I have made some amendments. I might do something else with it but I'm not sure yet... thanks again :D




Poetry is my cheap means of transportation. By the end of the poem the reader should be in a different place from where he started. I would like him to be slightly disoriented at the end, like I drove him outside of town at night and dropped him off in a cornfield.
— Billy Collins