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How Was Your Day? - Chapter 17.2

by Que


"You haven't told them yet? What you are?" Mr. Vaughn asked quietly.

Monica's eyes fell to the floor and her voice was more subdued this time. "I... no. I haven't. Do you know what it's like? It's so hard, coming back like this."

Mr. Vaughn nodded, and when he came forward and put a hand on Monica's shoulder, she didn't flinch away. "I've heard it's hard. But it's only going to get worse the longer you stay."

While the two were talking, Finnley and Mia were staring at them, bug-eyed. Finnley couldn't really make sense of their exchange, and Mia was getting a really weird gleam in her eye. "Okay, cut the mystery," she said, stepping forward. "There's no way we are going to judge you any more than we already have so can you please just tell us what you are?"

Mr. Vaughn cleared his throat awkwardly. "You see, your friend here is-"

"Let me tell them." Monica looked dead ahead at Finnley and Mia, no tremor in her voice or her hands. "I'm dead."

Finnley blinked hard. Of everything he had prepared himself to hear, that wasn't it. "E-excuse me?" He stammered. Mia noticed her mouth was slightly ajar and promptly shut it.

Monica sighed, as if this had been exactly the reaction she had been expecting. "I'm a ghost. I died several months ago and just ended up here recently. I don't even go to your school, I just... pop in sometimes."

Finnley didn't know what he could safely ask. How did you die? Too morbid, probably personal too. How does being a ghost even work? He wasn't sure if Monica even knew that herself. While Finnley was standing there, flummoxed, Mia took action.

"Oh my goodness!" she cried, hugging Monica tight. "I could never hate you for that! Sure, it's totally unexpected and more than a little creepy, but if you can't count on friends for that what can you count on them for? I think it's pretty cool."

"Really?" Monica said smiling tentatively. Finnley realized that he should've just said something normal instead of overthinking things. Why couldn't he act right in any situation.

"I'm with Mia," Finnley said after a moment. He wasn't very good at slapping a smile on his face, but he hoped that she could see the truth in his eyes. It was a poetic thought, at the very least. "It's... it's different, but that doesn't mean it's bad, does it?"

Monica smiled again, this time with relief, but Mr. Vaughn had a stern look in his eye. "Monica, we should talk for a minute, alone," he said. "I'm old, and it's quite likely that I know more about being a ghost than you do- there are some things I should warn you about, at any rate." He gestured for her to go upstairs with him, and Finnley was left alone with Mia.

"Woah," he said when Mr. Vaughn and Monica were out of sight. He sunk slowly into an old armchair. He was feeling a little faint.

"Woah is right," Mia agreed. She was crossing and uncrossing her arms and looking rather unsuccessfully for a place to sit herself. At last she settled into a creaky wooden rocking chair. "She's a really sweet girl, and I totally want to support her... but I get why she wanted to feel normal now. Wow."

Finnley nodded. "It makes so much sense, too. How she always seemed to appear or disappear- she literally disappeared into thin air." He let out a short laugh.

"I'm mostly just sad," Mia mused. "I mean, she's dead, and at such a young age! What- what must that even be like?"

"I don't know," Finnley admitted. "It must be really, really hard. But why come here, though? She said there was something she needed to do. Do you think that's why she's a ghost in the first place? Because there's something 'unfinished'? That's what the stories say."

"I don't know." The two were silent then, and they listened to the sounds of Mr. Vaughn's and Monica's voices drifting down from above, creating a murmured harmony to the half-dozen antique clocks scattered around the room. This, Finnley thought, was the definition of waiting.

Eventually, the two of them creaked back down the stairs. Monica's shoulders seemed to have sunk- they weren't scrunched around her neck like they were before, and Finnley took it to be a good thing.

"And you promise to tell him?" Mr. Vaughn was saying, staring intently at Monica. "You'll fulfill your purpose?"

"I promise," Monica said. "I will."

"Good. And then you'll leave?"

"Yes," she whispered in a single breath, the hiss of the 's' through her teeth echoing around the room.

"Okay. You be careful, alright? Come back if you need any help. Remember the things that I told you. Don't break any of the rules," Mr. Vaughn instructed her. "Finnley, I'll give you some more time to think over my offer of apprenticeship. I'll see you back here tomorrow afternoon." With that, Mr. Vaughn turned towards the back of his shop, softly humming a song from the seventies. Monica, Mia, and Finnley stepped quickly out into the shadows of late afternoon.

"You guys are really okay with it?" Monica asked, eyes flitting between the two of them.

"Sort of freaked out," Finnley shrugged.

"It's kind of crazy in a good way?" Mia suggested.

"It's actually pretty cool," Finnley added. Monica just smiled.

"So, you got any awesome powers?" Mia asked with a grin.

"Nope. Only I know some things I shouldn't and can pretty much appear and disappear at will," Monica said, seeming pleased that she could share this with them."

"Oh! I know, I know! Finn and I should dress up as the ghostbusters for Halloween," Mia declared. The three of them laughed, and in that moment, everything went back to normal. So their friend wasn't really alive. So what? It was a huge deal, and yet it changed nothing about their relationships. It was just who she was- admittedly, a really strange, supernatural and dead part of who she was- but it was who she was nonetheless. Finnley hadn't thought less of her the day before and he wouldn't think less of her now. It seemed that their friendships had only grown stronger from this. 


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Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:11 pm
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Panikos wrote a review...



Guess who's back, back again~

"Let me tell them." Monica looked dead ahead at Finnley and Mia, no tremor in her voice or her hands. "I'm dead."


Aha. Called it. If I'm being honest, this isn't really the shock it could've been, because Moncia's spookiness has been preeeettty obvious for a long time. Definitely tone down the hints earlier on. It'd be great if we went through a sustained period of normality with us not really thinking anything was odd about Monica and then BAM, we find out that she's a ghost.

I'm going to guess that you've read The Raven Boys, because I'm sure I remember you mentioning Maggie Stiefvater on your wall before, but just in case you haven't (and in case any random peeps who haven't read it are scanning this review) I'll stick this in a spoiler:

Spoiler! :
Monica kind of reminds me of Noah (precious child), and I feel like it would be good if the revelation about Monica's ghostliness was somewhat like how it is for Noah in The Raven Boys. If only because it was a massive WHAM moment for me, probably my favourite memory of the whole series, and an example of brilliant foreshadowing that still didn't give the game away.

It's obviously under somewhat different circumstances, but I'd love to see the same kind of slow build-up and misdirection with Monica. As it stands, about the only explanation I could think of for her strangeness was something supernatural. What I liked so much about Noah's arc was that the biggest giveaway - the fact that he didn't like to eat - was only ever mentioned in very casual passing by the other characters, and I kind of wrote it off as just an odd aspect of his personality. It would be good if you took some of Monica's behaviours - changing her clothes a lot, or maybe just her habit of randomly disappearing off without saying anything - and made them just seem like personality quirks. Really, I'm just repeating what I've already said: you could do with subtler foreshadowing. I just wanted an excuse to talk about Noah because in our house we love and support Noah Czerny.


If it turns out you haven't read The Raven Boys, go read it! Then check the spoiler.

He stammered. Mia noticed her mouth was slightly ajar and promptly shut it.


Just watch out for head-hopping. It feels weird for us to be told what Mia noticed because the story is usually aligned with Finnley's point of view.

Finnley didn't know what he could safely ask. How did you die? Too morbid, probably personal too. How does being a ghost even work? He wasn't sure if Monica even knew that herself.


I literally love how awkward Finnley is. Like he's just found out that his friend is a ghost and he's just sweatin' because he can't figure out what the 'right' thing to say is. So relatable, honestly.

"And you promise to tell him?" Mr. Vaughn was saying, staring intently at Monica. "You'll fulfill your purpose?"

"I promise," Monica said. "I will."

"Good. And then you'll leave?"


I feel like it's strange that they had the tail end of this conversation right in front of Finnley and Mia. It still feels very private, and thus like it's only there to create Deliberate Intrigue. I think it would be more realistic if you cut this bit and just went straight to Mr Vaughn saying his thing about not breaking any rules.

So their friend wasn't really alive. So what? It was a huge deal, and yet it changed nothing about their relationships. It was just who she was- admittedly, a really strange, supernatural and dead part of who she was- but it was who she was nonetheless. Finnley hadn't thought less of her the day before and he wouldn't think less of her now. It seemed that their friendships had only grown stronger from this.


I do quite like the upbeat tone of this ending, but it's maybe a little on the sentimental side for me. I'm not sure I fully buy that they'd be completely okay with it so quickly. I'm not saying it would create a massive conflict in the friendship, but I can imagine Finnley needing a few days to acclimatise and come to terms with things. It's a little on the convenient side, and perhaps a bit too optimistic for my cynical soul.

Still, a pretty good chapter. Even though I saw the reveal coming, it does open up a lot of interesting questions about who Monica really is, how she died, why she's back, and what the dangers are of her having come back as a ghost. I'm looking forward to finding out more about her situation, because I still find her to be the most interesting character.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




Que says...


The Raven Boys is actually the best. <3 (and Noah)
Okay the weirdest thing is that I'm chapters ahead when I'm getting things, trying to change things in my current writing and sort of dying when I see myself making the same mistakes over and over again in the past. But your reviews are so thourough and really helpful with the things I often miss. :)



Panikos says...


I'm glad they're helpful! I'm looking forward to being up to speed with it all and getting each chapter hot off the press, though



Panikos says...


I'm glad they're helpful! I'm looking forward to being up to speed with it all and getting each chapter hot off the press, though



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Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:00 pm
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zaminami wrote a review...



Hello, Querencia! It’s Kara here for a (hopefully) quick review!

Give me your soul.

With that aside...

STOP! Grammar time!



I'm just going to mark the ones I can with red because I'm too lazy to write explanations.

"I'm old, and it's quite likely that I know more about being a ghost than you do - there are some things I should warn you about, at any rate."


I've noticed in past chapters that you have trouble with em dashes. Check out this article for some help. I won't point this out again.

"Oh! I know, I know! Finn and I should dress up as the Ghostbusters for Halloween," Mia declared.


Suggestions:



No suggestions :D

Confusing things:



Nothing confusing :D

Other comments, reactions, and fangirling:



"Oh! I know, I know! Finn and I should dress up as the Ghostbusters for Halloween," Mia declared.


Pfft this made me laugh.

Overall:



Overall, I liked, but the fact that Monica was a ghost didn't really hit me hard. In the few chapters that I've read, I've suspected that Monica was a supernatural being or a spirit, so you could work on that. Otherwise, keep up the great work! :D

Give me your soul --

Kara

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This review courtesy of
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Que says...


Tbh I%u2019m way too lazy to fix my dashes, I swear this has been going on for years now. XD



zaminami says...


lol just for the future



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Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:15 pm
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BluesClues wrote a review...



Gosh I don't even know if I have anymore to say about this, other than the dozen spoilers I left in response to your original post! I love the different reactions Mia, Finn, and Mr. Vaughn had to the news (well, Mr. Vaughn obviously already knew, but whatever) - you did a great job making the characters distinct in their reactions based on what we already know about them. I also thought there was a decent balance between dialogue and narration, although I think you probably could build the tension a little more by describing the silence (or non-silence) of the shop as they wait for Monica to tell them the truth.

I'm also curious because I'm 90% sure when we first met her she was one of Sylvie's girls? So I don't know if she really was in life, or if she really wasn't but lied, or if she really wasn't but you didn't know where you were going with her yet.

I can't wait to see where we go from here - we've still got demons, monsters in the forest, Uncle Fred, and now we have Finn probably becoming a magician's apprentice (I can't imagine that won't happen), and Monica being a ghost. I like that each one of our three characters has something, like - okay, like you know in Harry Potter (and most stories), Harry is the only one who has something special going on, and Ron and Hermione help but they're really just along for the ride? But I like that here you've got each of the trio has something special to do with them: Finn has this magic thing about to happen, Mia's got the family legacy of monster-hunting, and Monica's a ghost. I really like that.

Image




Que says...


Haha I saw all the notify and wow! That was the best. XD I%u2019m glad it was worth the wait. (Did you find the puns yet?)
A little bit I wasn%u2019t sure where Monica was going yet, but I kind of wanted Finnley to assume she was just like Sylvie anyway. (Because she totally isn%u2019t!)
I%u2019m glad you liked it. :) I totally had the most fun making the three have their awesome weird things hehe.



BluesClues says...


I haven't read through those three chapters yet, but I'm definitely going to!




I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
— Leonardo da Vinci