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Her

by RandomTalks


A/N : I got the idea for this story a little while back. There are still some issues with this, but let me know if this is something worth working on.

                                            xx

He felt the sun on his face before he saw it.

It was morning then. He thought that maybe if he didn't open his eyes, it would go back wherever it was it hid during the night and he would have a couple of more hours before it was his turn to go back. He pondered about it as the rest of his sensations began to return. He could now feel the cold hardness of the bench below him and the way it made his back ache. He could hear the horns of a few passing cars and wondered why they had to be so loud. Then he thought about the darkness of his own little home at the corner of a slum that was way too crowded and suffocating. He sighed.

Yes, not going back was an appealing idea that tricked him into falling asleep at strange benches around the town every night. But then a voice echoed in his ears and a face appeared in front of his eyes and he sighed.

No, he could not leave his little sister in that place to grow up like that. He opened his eyes to the life all around him and sat up.

Ever since he had been aware of his own existence, he had also been aware of the poverty and hardships that surrounded it. When he was small and ignorant, he liked to believe that it was all a mistake; that he was born at the wrong place and at the wrong time and, some day very soon someone was going to realize that and take him away from all that. But he could never guess where they would leave him, because poverty was all that he knew. He just refused to believe that this was all there was for him.

And then, when he was seven years old, his sister came along. When her cries first echoed around their home, he had no idea that his dark little life had found a new meaning. In fact, it was two days later, when he saw her for the first time in her broken crib, with her face so serene and innocent that he felt like he couldn't look at it. But ever since that day, when an entire of her tiny fist had curled around a finger of his, he had known - he had known that, it was the purpose of his life to make sure that the world never got to lay a finger on her. She was to stay that way, pure and innocent, and it was his duty to make that happen.

Over the next six years, he had not done a good job of it. But it was the thought of her that made him get up that morning and every other morning of his life.

He stood on his feet and slung the bag of waste he had managed to collect that night around his shoulder. Selling all that plastic did not make their house run but it was enough to keep his step mom happy and save himself from her wrath. She depended on it, and he knew that. After all his father had been useless ever since he took to drinking all those years ago. Now he pretty much just existed and that was enough.

He sighed and passed by a garden. There was a tree there and in it's branches hung some deliciously ripe mangoes. He knew the owner of the garden and he knew it was a risk but he still could not stop himself as he drew closer to it. He had not eaten anything since the previous morning and he knew for a fact that his sister loved mangoes. He sized up the tree with his eyes before he began too climb it. His heart was beating wildly in his chest and even the sound of his breathing sounded too loud to his ears. One, two , three; he got four of them in his arms when he heard the scream.

"Thief! Thief! How dare you? You little bastard! Just wait -" but he didn't wait to see who or what she went to get. He jumped down the tree and hit the ground. Everything fell from his arms and all that he had managed to collect the previous night spilled across the soil. He could hear footsteps behind him. He ignored the pain in his limbs, clutched a single mango to his chest and ran without looking back. He ran until he was out of the neighborhood and on the outskirts of his slum. It was only then that he collapsed to the ground and started fighting to catch his breath.

                                             xx

"What do you mean you lost it?" his step mother bellowed. He knew what this was going to lead to.

"A guard was after me. I tripped and the bag fell. I couldn't get it back, I am sorry." He said it slowly and carefully even though he knew it wouldn't matter.

"Oh, you are sorry now are you?" she threw the words out there like it was poison and took a step towards him, "Well you will be sorry now, that's for sure."

After having that hand slap across his skin for years, he thought it would come to hurt less some day. But no. It still sung the same. He faced it the same way he had faced everything in life - silently. And when it was over and the red marks on his body merged with all the old ones, he took a few deep breaths. He wanted to be angry but he could not find the emotion in him anymore. He could blame his mother for dying and leaving them alone all those years ago. He could blame his father for marrying his step mom and turning into a cowardly drunkard who was unconscious for the better part of the day. He could blame his step mom for being who she was and doing this to them. He could blame his little sister for being the one reason that didn't let him escape from all this.

                                            xx

She was asleep when he switched on the little bulb in the room but stirred when he sat down by her. She slowly opened one eye and a wide smile spread across her face.

"You are back!" she exclaimed and jumped up. He smiled at her excitement. Sometimes he could not understand how she could live in the same house and not let all of it turn her into someone he never wanted her to be, but he was thankful for it. She had seen the same kind of dark days as him but it had yet to crush her spirit.

"Of course, I am," he said, tucking her hair behind her ears, "And look what I brought you." he brought out the mango he had managed to get out of the garden.

"Where did you get that?" she hissed.

"Never mind that." But her little fingers traced the red imprint on his arm. She looked up at him with sad eyes and then looked at the mango.

"I don't want it."

"Don't be stupid." He shook his head and then said more softly, "Look, I have already had mine. Now you can eat it and play superman with me or you can go to bed hungry. It's your choice."

He knew she didn't believe him but she took it from him anyways. He watched her eat, watched the smile that crept up on her face without her knowing and decided that it was worth what happened that morning.

She had this small action figure of Superman he had got her when she was little, and she carried it almost everywhere she went. It was always there tucked inside her clothes and the love she had for that excuse of a doll prevented him from telling her that he had found it lying alone by the roadside. But he didn't believe that revelation would amount much to her as he watched her make the thing do double flips in the air. After she decided that she was done with the toy and wanted the real thing, she hopped onto his back as she did most days and he ran around the little room, bumping into here and there several times. But she never minded and only laughed. He did that until her laughter died and her head started spinning too fast for her liking. Then he laid her back on the bed and held her small hand in his until she fell asleep and dropped back into her world of dreams.

A single scar peaked out of the length of her short sleeve and he traced the angry line on her arm wondering how she had managed to keep it a secret from him all day. She flinched a little under his touch and anger flared inside him at the thought of what she might have done to her this time. He took a couple of deep breaths. No, he couldn't always protect her. But he could very well try.

He watched her sleep for a while and wondered what she saw when she closed her eyes and  if they were any similar to what other children her age dreamt about. Of course, he was curious. He had never had the chance to know. 

She had dreams. Colorful ones.

He had none. 

That's why he had to make sure that grey never had the chance to steal into the brightness of her world. It was to remain the way it was. 

And that's why he couldn't leave. That's why he couldn't run away and escape to any corner of the world where he could be better off. That's why he could not give up.

For her.

                                                           


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Fri Sep 10, 2021 4:35 pm
ForeverYoung299 wrote a review...



Hey RandomTalks, why do you talk random? I am quite eager to know :)

Now to the review. I really liked the idea of the story. How simple the idea is yet how great the story is.

First of all with the setting. I think you could work more on the setting. Like when "he" entered his sister's room, you could describe the room more than just saying he turned on the dim light. That can help to flesh out the setting a bit more.

Something more which I suggest is about the "she" of the woman who chased him or at least who noticed him. I think it's better to refer to her as a woman rather than she. You will not start calling a person as she the moment you see her. I mean first a person is introduced by their name. Now as "he" doesn't know her name, regarding her as a woman seems to be better.

I really like how you used the anonymous he and she throughout the story rather than adding names. That added to the feeling of the story and also these he and she made me think the story as a representation of the situation of many Indian slums. The story describes the pains and sufferings of them and actually poor people in general. You did a great job representing the little things in the story. This story also shows love. It's his love and care towards his sister that prevented him from leaving and going to a better place. It also shows how parents sometimes become cruel. You see, I couldn't understand the reason behind her cruelness towards them. Obviously there is a typical representation of a stepmom as an evil character but I wonder if it had to do with poverty.

Overall, I really enjoy your stories. This was a sad story.

Keep Writing!!

~Forever




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Mon Jul 12, 2021 2:36 pm
MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi RandomTalks,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

That was an emotional and sad story you wrote. I liked how you managed to put a theme down in a story without it being cheesy or pitiful. You told it in a simple tone and got the most impact you could give the reader.

I liked the storytelling and structure of the story, although I thought you switched too quickly at times with the major section changes. It felt to me like you tried to tell a lot more there, but then cut it out for the sequel. I would at least try to rewrite that a little bit to make it smoother transitions.

Your first paragraph has a few sentences that often start with "Hey". Since this is repetition that doesn't read so well (especially when the sentences are a bit longer), I would recommend rewriting this section a bit, perhaps in the passive voice.

I liked how much the boy sacrificed for his sister and also how you presented his life before she was born. In this short paragraph that doesn't get much information, you still manage to describe a lot. So the boy always saw that there was a difference between him and the others. I like that you also described this reflection that he thought he was mixed up / out of place. It gives this feeling that he blames himself and his parents before he realises at an older age that it is more society in general that causes poverty and cannot change it.

Some other points that caught my eye:

He thought that maybe if he didn't open his eyes, it would go back wherever it was hid during the night and he would have a couple of more hours before it was his turn to go back.

You actually get off to a very good start, but this sentence has a certain length that leads to the reader not knowing at the end what happened at the beginning. I think you explain yourself very awkwardly here and I think if you split it smaller you can get more out of it. :D

Ever since he had been aware of his own existence, he had also been aware of the poverty and hardships that surrounded it.

I like your formulation here. It sounds simple at first glance, but when you realise at what age a person / child starts to become aware of himself as his own being / existence, you realise that he has been quite poor since his youngest childhood and only knows this image.

She had dreams. Colourful ones.
He had none.

That's a very impactful sentence you've created. I like how you tell the hopelessness in the boy and how he is really only alive because of his sister and how he tries to give her everything possible to give her a reasonably pleasant childhood.

It was a really sad but beautifully told story from you.

Have fun writing!

Mailice




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Fri Jul 09, 2021 12:01 am
Soccer23 wrote a review...



First off, this is definitely something worth working on. I have a few minor suggestions & questions, but other than that, this is great. I hope my ugly list format works :D

QUESTIONS 🤔
- Have you considered writing a sequel?
-

COMPLIMENTS 🤩
Ahh okayyy where to start!
- Super great storyline
- Really well written
- Lots of emotion draws the reader (aka me 😂) in
- Verb tense is consistent, which is impressive, given that it’s usually a difficult thing when writing
- Characters well detailed (the mean stepmom is bomb hahaha)
- I actually have like, a million more compliments, but as this is a review, I have to try to find improvement areas, and this is going to be hard, because my amazement for this piece was what motivated me to write it, not the improvement areas sooo…)
- Yeah, and I love the end.

SUGGESTIONS 🧐
- Okay, so the first (and most emphasized) suggestion is literally YOU SHOULD SO DO A SEQUEL! You had a great hook, and it’s one of those pieces that you read, and immediately scroll to the top, and see if the story continues. I’m serious.
- Second suggestion is if/when you post a sequel, consider PM’ing me - I’d love to read it, and review it, if you’d like. (Yes, I’m dropping a hint that I’ve been left in suspense, and would like to discontinue such suspense hahahahaha)
~ Just on a proofreading front, there were a few sentences that didn’t make sense, which was most likely my fault, but I’ll still add them. I’d do BBcode, but I stink at BBcode, so I’d have to take a crash course. (Which, of course, I should do.) ~
- “Then he laid her back on the bed and held her small in his until she fell asleep and dropped back into her world of dreams.” “Her small” seems like it may be incorrect, but I’m not sure if that’s a typo, or I just should read a dictionary.
- Also, maybe consider using contractions, like don’t, rather than do not. Sometimes the full words are great for effect, but sometimes they sound off.

OTHER THAN THAT, this story is great! Keep at it, and let me know if my suggestions were helpful!

Keep Writing!!
-Soc




RandomTalks says...


Thank you so much for the review! It was really helpful. And also I will definitely PM you in case I continue (which I hopefully will).



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Thu Jul 08, 2021 11:55 pm
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Rosewood wrote a review...



Hey, Rosewood here! 🌹

First of all, I absolutely adore this! I love the colorful ways you express your main character's thoughts and emotions and how seamlessly that turns into action. I can perfectly imagine this character's mind torn between a life he despises and the one thing strong enough to keep him grounded- his sister. To answer your question, this is totally worth continuing, and so far, it seems like something I'd love to read going forward! But enough of my rambling, I'll move on to my actual review!

It was morning then. He thought that maybe if he didn't open his eyes, it would go back wherever it was it hid during the night and he would have a couple of more hours before it was his turn to go back. He pondered about it as the rest of his sensations began to return. He could now feel the cold hardness of the bench below him and the way it made his back ache. He could hear the horns of a few passing cars and wondered why they had to be so loud. Then he thought about the darkness of his own little home at the corner of a slum that was way too crowded and suffocating. He sighed.


Firstly, I'd like to say that this passage is beautifully written. As a detail-oriented person, you expressly showed me, the reader, this character's thought-process waking to a world he finds little comfort in. Maybe it's just my love of underdogs, but I can't help wanting to find out the redeeming quality these kinds of intros lead to that give the main character a purpose, and thus, story.

And then, when he was seven years old, his sister came along. When her cries first echoed around their home, he had no idea that his dark little life had found a new meaning. In fact, it was two days later, when he saw her for the first time in her broken crib, with her face so serene and innocent that he felt like he couldn't look at it. But ever since that day, when an entire of her tiny fist had curled around a finger of his, he had known - he had known that, it was the purpose of his life to make sure that the world never got to lay a finger on her. She was to stay that way, pure and innocent, and it was his duty to make that happen.

Over the next six years, he had not done a good job of it. But it was the thought of her that made him get up that morning and every other morning of his life.


No words- this is just so perfect!

One, two , three; he got four of them in his arms when he heard the scream.


I could be wrong, but I think 'had' would better replace 'got'.

"Thief! Thief! How dare you? You little bastard! Just wait -" but he didn't wait to see who or what she went to get.


Only two small things. The first is that you might want to mark this as 16+ for 'bastard' and the other scene with the step mother. And the second being that mentioning the part where she went to get someone or something doesn't really line up with what she said, (in my opinion). You might want to try...

"Thief! Thief! How dare you? You little bastard! Just wait -" but he didn't wait to see what she would do to stop him.


Just a suggestion though!

"A guard was after me. I tripped and the bag fell. I couldn't get it back, I am sorry." He said it slowly and carefully even though he knew it wouldn't matter.


Oh, the lady was a guard?

"You are back!" she exclaimed and jumped up. He smiled at her excitement. Sometimes he could not understand how she could live in the same house and not let all of it turn her into someone he never wanted her to be, but he was thankful for it. She had seen the same kind of dark days as him but it had yet to crush her spirit.


Something about the last few lines really spoke to me. I really like how you portray the main character genuinely loving his sister for characteristics he probably instilled in her. That kind of love is brought out so well in that character!

Nit-picky warning!
➡️(If you don't want to hear that kind of feedback, you can just skip this!)

he brought out the mango he had managed to get out of the garden.


The 'h' should be capitalized.

"Never mind that." But her little fingers traced the red imprint on his arm. She looked up at him with sad eyes and then looked at the mango.


Instead of 'looked' again, I suggest 'glanced back'!

"Don't be stupid." He shook his head and then said more softly, "Look, I have already had mine. Now you can eat it and play superman with me or you co go to bed hungry. It's your choice."


I'm pretty sure you meant 'can' instead of 'co'.

A single scar peaked out of the length of her short sleeve and he traced the angry line on her arm wondering how she had managed to keep it a secret from him all day.


Just a personal opinion, but I think instead of 'a scar', using 'what soon would be a scar' would help clarify it was a recent thing.

Okay, nit-pickiness section done!

Again, I hope you don't mind the rambling, but I honestly and thoroughly enjoyed this! If you don't mind, (and choose to continue this), I'd love for you to tag me in the next part! Whether it turns out to be this dystopian tale or a tragic(?) realistic-fiction, I can't wait to see...!

Good luck and as always...

Keep writing!




RandomTalks says...


Thanks so much for the review!. And your nitpicks helped actually, there were an awful lot of typos in the story. I will definitely tag you if I continue with this!




By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach.
— Winston Churchill