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E - Everyone

Chapter 2: Behind Closed Doors

by Sillia


"There should be no yelling in the home unless there's a fire." - David O. McKay

Her bare feet echoed off of the stairs as she pattered down. Three months had passed since Leo left; three months since since she'd watched her brother board the steps onto the rickety bus that took him away.

"He's going on an adventure." Momma had told her. "He get's to see all of Europe! "

"Then why was he upset?" Confusion light her eyes.

"Oh, baby he wasn't upset." Momma brushed the hair out of her eyes. "He was so happy."

Darkness enveloped Jean's vision as she descended deeper into the empty room, her feet crashing against the oak. The sleek black rail trailed across her fingertips as she made her way, bumps and ridges along the wood scrapping against her skin. Shadows jumped out at her, her breathing quickening as she hesitated on the last step. The door creaked and she turned, half expecting Momma to be standing in the archway, a broad smile on her smooth face. But it was just the wind. The fragile light of sun fluttered down, highlighting half of her face. Her skin shone pale under the glare, her blue eyes flashing grey for a heartbeat. She turned back around, her feet colliding with the cold stone floor. A small white puff escaped her mouth, grasping at her cheeks as she moved forward. She paused a few footsteps away from the last step, taking a second to look around.

White light filtered through a window that was set into the wall high above her head, pushing back some of the darkness as it highlighted the dust particles that filtered through the air. Thick wooden pillars braced the house against the ground, run through with concrete. She pushed a thick curl out of her face, tucking it behind her ear with a slender hand. The screaming voices above her head grew louder as the seconds slid by.

Jean's face twisted and she tried to block out the anger with her gloved hands.

"Momma when will Leo be back?"

"don't know baby. The President has very important mission for him. " she continued to brush Jean's hair.

"I want him home." Jean said quietly.

She pushed herself forward as the icy cold gripped her skin. Goosebumps ran up her skin, sending shivers down her spine. In the corner boxes were piled almost up to the window, stiff with cold. They'd been stacked in a way that wasn't natural for storage. Thick white sheets had been thrown over the tops, frozen to the touch and chunky flakes of dust fluttering away when she touched it.

She stood there, the cold seeping into the thick soles of her feet. Jean couldn't make out their words but she knew what they were fighting about. She could almost hear the slurred voices that escaped her fathers mouth. The door of her room hadn't been able to hide it, and concrete floor that separated her from the world above barley dulled the words. This place used to be her nightmare. With it's deep shadows and chiseled stone walls; she'd often imagined it to be a dungeon of some sort. The kind that Momma used to read to in the fairy-tails. Leo had told her a story once of a man who had died here, once upon a time. He had robbed a bank, killing a man and a women and henceforth was hiding from the police. Her lovely brother had informed her that he died down here but that no one had found his body. A shudder ran down her spine as she thought of a grimy hand reaching toward her; maybe still gripping remnants of cash that he'd acquired.

Jean glanced back up through the wood railing that scattered trails of light through the room. The dark hovel was now her salvation. It's where she escaped the incessant fighting that was destroying the fragile fabric of her family.

When Leo left; Papa had come home, wild-eyed and a beer clutched in his hands. Rain streamed from his wild brown hair, dying it black like Leo's had been three months prior. He screamed about the in-justness of it; that his son was forced to go to Europe.

"But Momma said this was good." Jean looked up in shock from where she'd been obediently completing her math homework.

"Carla!" He'd roared. "What lies are you feeding my daughter?!"

Momma had instructed her to go to her room; and that's when the fighting had begun.

A thin tear stream down Jean's face. She couldn't go outside; because the neighbors gave her that pitying look. The little brown house with the white picket fence and roses that lined the windows; a perfection that in itself was a lie. People walked their dogs and their children on the other side of the street, no one admitting that they could hear the disputes that floated through the usually open windows. Her friends didn't walk with her to school anymore and Blair's parent's said she wasn't allowed over; but Jean was always welcome in their hose. Thirteen years old and she wanted her brother. Thirteen years old and she clutched a ratted stuffed pink bunny in her hand.

She knelt down, the white of her dress pressing against the grimy floor. She lifted up the canvas cloth that concealed a small opening and pushed herself inside. Ratted blankets and pillows were stacked in the corners, a small pile of books and paper scattered across the floor. Jean slid inside, the top of her head brushing against the cloth. For a second, she paused, looking out at the world in front of her. Then, she released the flap, and plunged herself into darkness. 


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Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:54 pm
Craz wrote a review...



Heyo, this is Craz with a review:

Tidbits:

"Her bare feet echoed off of the stairs as she pattered down."

Suggestion: Reword to "Her bare feet pattered down the stairs, echoing off of the papered walls."


"Confusion light lit her eyes."


"Thick white sheets had been thrown over the their tops, frozen to the touch, and chunky flakes of dust fluttering fluttered away when she touched it them."


"She could almost hear the slurred voices that escaped her father's mouth."


"The door of her room hadn't been able to hide it, and concrete floor that separated her from the world above barley barely dulled the words."


"With it's its deep shadows and chiseled stone walls; - she'd often imagined it to be a dungeon of some sort."


Again, love your description. I can clearly picture the house, the cold and frosted floor, all of it. While your style is always good, I feel that there is a bit of a disconnect from the beginning of the chapter to the end. You start off by stating that Leo has been gone to war for three months, yet the way you structure the chapter, it seems as if her mother and father had been arguing for the entirety of that time to the present (since you also state that as soon as Leo left, her father arrived). I like the use of the quote, but I don't see a deeper meaning in it outside of irony (which is fine - I'm just not sure if it had one or not). I like your use of flashbacks as well.

Also, with her parents arguing, the way Jean's neighbors and friends respond to that suggests that her father has been gone for a while. Or at least gone long enough that Jean and her family (her brother and mother) were treated differently at one point than they are now. It makes me wonder about the forbidden stigma her father's study had in the first chapter.

Another point is that the house itself is confusing to me. In the first chapter, her house seemed grand and lively, their clothes finer, her mother able to afford luxuries. In here, it seems to have become nearly the opposite, with them now unable to afford to keep a fire burning and their house with seemingly no insulation at all, and Jean herself having to keep warm with raggedy blankets. Is it because Leo left, or because her father arrived? Was it intentional or not? Is it another layer to the lie of the "perfection" of the outside of Jean's home?

Let me know when the next chapter is out!

~Craz




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Sun Nov 27, 2016 1:20 pm
Kaylaa wrote a review...



This is Kaos here for a review!

Jumping right into this chapter but I'll see what I can do. The start of the chapter is quite confusing and I wanted to ask why all the dialogue was in italics. From what I understand, someone is gone in the story and the child is wondering why. I'm thinking it may be a father-figure or something of that sort. I wanted to touch on the imagery in this chapter. It's not really there in the beginning but it starts to grow and grow as the story goes on and I appreciated the sensory details you gave us in the end of the chapter.

Something that I found to be more of a weakness was the dialogue here which wasn't really my style. I can't really get into the child in the story because of their dialogue and it's harder to believe for me. The mother however, is something that I think is better done? It was a mixed bag here, but there wasn't really a lot to go off of.

This is an odd perspective to show the story because the person in the story is gone having more of an important and exciting plot rather than the daughter and mother, but I want to see how this plays out. This could potentially turn into something more interesting. Something that I didn't like was the missing person from the story, or at least I didn't really like how it was executed. I wanted to see more of an emotional impact than there was here.

I hope I helped and have a great day!




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Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:42 am
Casanova wrote a review...



Hello, Sillia! Casanova here to do a review for you! Let's get to it.

The first ting I would like to mention is this- the dialogue pieces. Why are they all in italics? I can see it if it was a flash back to a different conversation, or if it was something like a phone call, but not when it's regular conversation as well. I don't see why you would add this, and it drew my attention.
The next thing I would like to mention is also in the dialogue. You mash up words in one part of them. Like this-

"MommawhenwillLeobeback?"

"Idon'tknowbaby. ThePresidenthasaveryimportantmissionforhim. " shecontinuedtobrushJeanshair.

"I want him home." Jean said quietly.


I might be able to see you doing this if the pace was rushed or something like that. But this is a more soothing note, I don't see why. Since the mom seems to be brushing Jean's hair, it doesn't make sense that her pace would be rushed. I suggest making the words spaced like they're supposed to be, but hey that's your decision and author's intention does matter, no matter what I say. It's your work, you write you. Anyway, on to the next thing.

A thin tear stream down Jean's face. She couldn't go outside; because the neighbors gave her that pitying look. The little brown house with the white picket fence and roses that lined the windows; a perfection that in itself was a lie. People walked their dogs and their children on the other side of the street, no one admitting that they could hear the disputes that floated through the usually open windows. Her friends didn't walk with her to school anymore and Blair's parent's said she wasn't allowed over; but Jean was always welcome in their hose. Thirteen years old and she wanted her brother. Thirteen years old and she clutched a ratted stuffed pink bunny in her hand.


You switch ideas in towards the end of the paragraph, I would suggest a paragraph break. Here's what I mean-

"A thin tear stream down Jean's face. She couldn't go outside; because the neighbors gave her that pitying look. The little brown house with the white picket fence and roses that lined the windows; a perfection that in itself was a lie. People walked their dogs and their children on the other side of the street, no one admitting that they could hear the disputes that floated through the usually open windows.
Her friends didn't walk with her to school anymore and Blair's parent's said she wasn't allowed over; but Jean was always welcome in their hose. Thirteen years old and she wanted her brother. Thirteen years old and she clutched a ratted stuffed pink bunny in her hand."
That practically chops the paragraph in half, as well, making it smaller and neater.

Anyway, I think that's all I have to say on this one. I hope it helped, at least a bit.

Keep on doing what you're doing, and keep on keeping on.

Sincerely, Matthew Casanova Aaron.




Sillia says...


OMG THE MASHED WORDS WERE NOT A THINNNGGG




I think that was when I began to realize that reputation isn't everything. I should focus less about how others perceive me and more about what makes me happy. Because, in the end, I have to live with myself.
— Seraphina