Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Short Story » Dramatic

E - Everyone

Atravesar

by Smuggg


“Where are you from?”

Always the weirdest question to answer, maybe because you never really know how to explain your town, or maybe you do, but you’re just afraid. Everyone has stories from their hometown, whether it be about the people, certain places, or the atmosphere itself. So, I’m finally going to answer that question, but were going to have to go on an adventure, you might have fun, you might be miserable, or you might not know how to feel. Either is okay, I promise.

Ever heard of a small place, at the very, very top of the highest mountain. Probably not, because rarely does anyone leave and when they do, they don’t come back. This small, secluded town, home to more feral animals than it does people is called Atravesar. Atravesar is a peculiar town, home to many equally peculiar people. It doesn’t offer much, I mean speaking as if you want to do more than work at the local store. Housing less than 800 people, there is one school for grades K-12, two gas stations, one of them you can even use a debit or credit card because, well, we will get to that, a post office, a grocery store which is known as the, ‘Shop N’ Get Out,’ and of course a police station. Mcdonalds, Dairy Queen, Dominos, you ask?

That’s rich. Drive about 40 miles and maybe you’ll hit one eventually.

I’ve never really sat down and explained to someone how unique this town was, because it’s kind of embarrassing to tell people you’re from a place where credit card machines are a luxury, but there are some interesting, eye opening aspects of this town that I think really need to be explored, or at least made known.

I have very few memories from this place but the ones I do, wowza, I could write a novel.

But the first memory, huh, what an interesting concept. Have you ever really say down and thought about what your first memory is and the details? There is this sort of strange but intriguing phenomenon known as childhood amnesia. Kids can remember events before the age of three, but by the time they are older those autobiographical memories are lost. So, how are we to truly know what our first real memory is, or even if it’s accurate? Good question, we don’t.

Anyway, enough of my tangents, even though, it will probably happen again. Back to the story.

So, my first memory of this rugged, almost abandoned town is when I was just a small bean at the age of seven

We live out in the boonies as some would say. No street lights, and dirt roads with a creek that chases the curvy road all the way into the heard of trees that swallow the houses residing. One day, Sunday if I remember correctly, yes Sunday because my parents always dropped me off after church and went to get the groceries for the week. They would never allow me to go because I would get quite antsy and they prefer me to stay home and let the dogs out. I had strict orders, as my parents were very, ‘by the book’, as some would say.

“Go straight inside. Let the dogs out the backdoor. Let them in when they are done, and then feed them. You are not to leave the house or go anywhere until we get home.”

I had to be back by dark, and even then, when I did go outside, I wasn’t allowed to go far.

I don’t know why they were so afraid. Maybe they just didn’t want me to run away, because believe me, at that time, if I could, I would have.

The trip into town took around 15 minutes, after a week or two I figured out that they would be at the grocery store for around an hour, leaving me alone for an hour a half.

I would sit around and just gaze at the freedom I had for that short time and think of all the things I could do, but I never did anything, until that one day. My parents dropped me off and immediately I sprinted into the house and grabbed my backpack, I packed a few bottles of water, some crackers and a bag of sour cherry’s. I stood on my back porch, amazed at tree line that not only glared at me, but spoke to me. The wind whispered telling me to leap for it. To engage in nature and discover what the world really has to offer. So I did. I took a sturdy stick, batted my way into some uncovered bush and created a path with every step I took. I made myself to a small area, looked as if it had seen life at one point. I called this place, ‘Forevergreen’ because no matter how it looked then and how it will look in the future it will be forever green in my heart and mind. I started to wack through bushes, pick up dead logs and cleared out rocks. I stood in the middle of a space that was silent and empty, filled with nothing but the eager conversations between the elements. I trekked my way home, with a smile on my face and ideas in my brain.

That was the very first memory I can truly remember.

I tell you this story because, Atraversar is a minute town, that really only exist if you allow it to exist.

You have to create a life for yourself, and allow the interaction with the town to flow from your mind. I would ride the school bus every day, for an hour, and count the wooden poles on the left side of the road.

56 wooden poles from my house to the school.

On the way home, I would count the mailboxes on the right side of the road.

12 mailboxes from my house to the school.

This town wasn’t built to entertain, so you entertain yourself.

This town wasn’t built to have a life, so you create your own life, you create your own connections.

I didn’t have many friends, but to be fair, there weren’t many kids my age. There weren’t many kids at all actually, many of the people in town were in their mid-twenty’s at least. My graduating class, a whopping 26.

With 21 years of living in this town, I can tell you every red flowered bush, cross walk, slanted hill covered in freshly mowed grass, and even every single stop light. I say that laughingly because we only have two. But I can also tell you about the stars, and the atmosphere that surrounds. With no main lights blocking the night sky, I often found myself meandering to Forevergreen at odd hours and just admiring. Admiring the beautiful dark sky that housed a billion stars. I would lay for what seemed like hours and would create pictures and wondered to myself if anything or anyone existed out there. Listening to the gossip of the crickets I would close my eyes and let my mind wander.

Atravesar is aged.

Atravesar is meager.

But ..

Atravesar is home. 


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
159 Reviews


Points: 4700
Reviews: 159

Donate
Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:52 am
Honora wrote a review...



Hey Smuggg! Just thought I’d check this out so here I am!
I am going to start by saying that it is a bit hard to follow. I had to reread quite a few times to understand what you were trying to get across. There were some paragraphs that were fine but others I had a hard time with. You were trying to “talk” to your readers too much that it really disrupted the flow. It’s good to put some of that into your story but too much is overwhelming.
Overall, it was good! I like it a lot...especially since I can relate to the town a bit. Lol. My town is considerably smaller though. ;)




User avatar
87 Reviews


Points: 674
Reviews: 87

Donate
Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:06 pm
TheMulticoloredCyr wrote a review...



Hello, I'm Mae, here to review this work. Forgive any arrors I make, it's been a while since I've written anything of substance, so take my words with a grain of salt. That said, I'll be using my usual format and going through paragaph by paragraph and giving you all of my opionions on the details, then I'll give my general tips and opinions at the end. With no further ado, let's begin.

"Always the weirdest question to answer, maybe because you never really know how to explain your town, or maybe you do, but you’re just afraid. Everyone has stories from their hometown, whether it be about the people, certain places, or the atmosphere itself. So, I’m finally going to answer that question, but were going to have to go on an adventure, you might have fun, you might be miserable, or you might not know how to feel. Either is okay, I promise."

I can't say I agree with your decision to address the reader specifically here. It muddles up whether you're using first or second person, and most poeple, myself included, absolutely despise second person (save for in the choose your own adventure books that I collected as a kid and, thus, they have a sentimental value). You risk loosing readers, is what I'm saying. Another thing here is this, you tell the readers that they will either have fun, be miserable, or not know how to feel. That sugguests that you have something ominous planned for later in the story and that the readers will probably have mixed emoions about it. Seeing as there's no actual payoff for that, maybe it would be best to drop the air of mystery.

Moving on.

"Ever heard of a small place, at the very, very top of the highest mountain. Probably not, because rarely does anyone leave and when they do, they don’t come back. This small, secluded town, home to more feral animals than it does people is called Atravesar. Atravesar is a peculiar town, home to many equally peculiar people. It doesn’t offer much, I mean speaking as if you want to do more than work at the local store. Housing less than 800 people, there is one school for grades K-12, two gas stations, one of them you can even use a debit or credit card because, well, we will get to that, a post office, a grocery store which is known as the, ‘Shop N’ Get Out,’ and of course a police station. Mcdonalds, Dairy Queen, Dominos, you ask?"

That first sentence should have a question mark. Other than that, you continue to have this little air of mystery. Like, yes, i know how small towns work, nad that it is indeed true that most of the time, when someone leaves, they don't return, but most readers won't just settle for that. You listed this as dramatic, and you were very dramatic, for your part, but without something going on behind the scenes, it feels like you were like that for no reason. And believe me, no reader wants to read a pointlessly dramatic story.

In addition to that, your emphasis on the credit or debit card macine only coming out as, "oh, well, it's a small town, so it's a luxury" is very disipointing, not to mention a little unrealistic. As someone who goes on an hour bus ride to a school in one of the smallest towns in Minnisota, and as someone who is, herself, from a fairly small town which I still visit from time to time (if I have to), I can tell you that nowadays, there isn't a store in any town that would have wooden poles, mailboxes, and a bus, even a school bus, that would also have the ability to use credit or debit as a luxury of any kind. It just wouldn't work anymore. In a small town, it's just like living in a big town, except everyone knows everyone, dating is risky because they're probably your second cousin or something, and also there's cows. (*awkward jazz hands*)

Okay, let's continue.

"That’s rich. Drive about 40 miles and maybe you’ll hit one eventually."

Maybe not a full 40 miles, but yeah, that's true.

"I’ve never really sat down and explained to someone how unique this town was, because it’s kind of embarrassing to tell people you’re from a place where credit card machines are a luxury, but there are some interesting, eye opening aspects of this town that I think really need to be explored, or at least made known."

You don't sit down and say how unique this town is here. It's not like there are wereworlves, or a cult, or some other mystirous thing going on that you hint at the whole time. There isn't even some kind of big fude between the members of the town, which is realistic (not that I'm speaking from experence. On an unrelated note, don't talk to any two members of my extended family whom you have not already seen make friendly conversation, together. Just don't. Trust me.)

And on to the next paragraph.

"I have very few memories from this place but the ones I do, wowza, I could write a novel."

Could you now? I'm having trouble believing that for some reason, maybe you could explain to why you didn't include one of those rivoting memories in this story?

Okay, I can't promise to be done with the sarcasm, but I'll try. Maybe. Moving on.

"But the first memory, huh, what an interesting concept. Have you ever really say down and thought about what your first memory is and the details? There is this sort of strange but intriguing phenomenon known as childhood amnesia. Kids can remember events before the age of three, but by the time they are older those autobiographical memories are lost. So, how are we to truly know what our first real memory is, or even if it’s accurate? Good question, we don’t."

I know that you agknowladge that this is a tangent in the next paragraph, but that's not an excuse. Please, this adds nothing to the story and is pretty boring on it's own. Kinda like reading a high school essay. I'm pretty sure you can tell I don't mean that in a good way.

And onward we plunge!

"We live out in the boonies as some would say. No street lights, and dirt roads with a creek that chases the curvy road all the way into the heard of trees that swallow the houses residing. One day, Sunday if I remember correctly, yes Sunday because my parents always dropped me off after church and went to get the groceries for the week. They would never allow me to go because I would get quite antsy and they prefer me to stay home and let the dogs out. I had strict orders, as my parents were very, ‘by the book’, as some would say."

You should probably work on your comma and period placements. It was noticeably awkward throughour the story. That said, this bit is so very vivid for that one sentence that I had to stop for a moment to revel in the nastalgic memories of two diffrent grandparents houses. And then I had to stop because i was having flashbacks of my nana's pet racoon, Roxy, chasing me around her basement. You have not known true fear until you've been chased around a basement by a snarling raccoon. Unfortunately, after that, it wasn't super interesting.

Next.

"I had to be back by dark, and even then, when I did go outside, I wasn’t allowed to go far."

Realistic, onimous, bait for a moment that will never come. This would have been so perfect if you revealed that, I don't know, the parents were part of an evengelical cult or something. You would be very good at suspence if only you would pick an actual story, all you really do here is describe a setting for a little while, drop a few hints that things are not as they seem, then just end.

Okay, I'll try to save the rest of my ranitng for the end, for now, more details.

"I don’t know why they were so afraid. Maybe they just didn’t want me to run away, because believe me, at that time, if I could, I would have."

WHY? Why would your MC have run away if they could have? There is no point in telling us, the readers, this if you don't plan on making it relevant, which it is not. You refernce it for two or three sentences, then never again. To give you the benefit of the doubt, I'll assume that you want the readers to infer something from this, but for the life of me I can't figure out what. From what I can tell, your Main Character (MC) rather enjoys thier life in this little town, at least, they never say otherwise. Or maybe you're trying to get us to infer that most kids around that age want to run away. That it's just a normal little thing. Hate to break it to you, but it's actually not, and if you don't ellaborate, you're baiting something, once again, without following thorugh.

"I would sit around and just gaze at the freedom I had for that short time and think of all the things I could do, but I never did anything, until that one day. My parents dropped me off and immediately I sprinted into the house and grabbed my backpack, I packed a few bottles of water, some crackers and a bag of sour cherry’s. I stood on my back porch, amazed at tree line that not only glared at me, but spoke to me. The wind whispered telling me to leap for it. To engage in nature and discover what the world really has to offer. So I did. I took a sturdy stick, batted my way into some uncovered bush and created a path with every step I took. I made myself to a small area, looked as if it had seen life at one point. I called this place, ‘Forevergreen’ because no matter how it looked then and how it will look in the future it will be forever green in my heart and mind. I started to wack through bushes, pick up dead logs and cleared out rocks. I stood in the middle of a space that was silent and empty, filled with nothing but the eager conversations between the elements. I trekked my way home, with a smile on my face and ideas in my brain."

This part is where I thought the story was finally starting. Then nothng happened and you just wrote this off, literally, as your MC having a private little area where they go to be alone and such. That would be a great thing to have if you were writing an actual story, rather than a long description for a place your readers have no reason to care about.

"That was the very first memory I can truly remember."

You may want to play around with the wording of this sentence, it sounds pretty awkward as is.

"I tell you this story because, Atraversar is a minute town, that really only exist if you allow it to exist."

I really like that last part of this line. That said, the part before it takes away any enjoyment I had for it because it claims to tell us why you wrote the story, then preceeds to just give a really good flowery line that absolutely does not explain why you wrote this story. One could argue that you wrote it to ensure that this town "exists" in the minds of the readers, but if that was your goal, maybe you could explain why we, the readers would care about that? So far, you've done next to nothing with the town, not even a little family squabble happens in the durration of the story, so we have no reason to be invested.

"Atravesar is home. "

Is this really all there was? Is this the only reason for the story? I'll just skip to my general notes here and tell you this, if you want to write a story, it had better have a point. What was I supposed to gain from this? What message were you trying to convey to me?

I'm not saying you need to have a big, deep phylisophical message behind every story you write. Heck, I once wrote a very dramatic story purely because I wanted to tell the readers about how absoutely horrifying it would be to try to fight merpeople. Something has to happen to change something from the begining of the story to the end, and the thing that changed has to be directly related to your message. In the aformentioned story I wrote, it ended with the ship I had set it on sinking and every one of the sailors dead at the webbed hands of the merfolk. You don't have that. From the begining when you introduce us to the town to the very last sentence, not a single thing about it changes. Such a stagnant story is not an interesting read. A sentence I never thought I'd have to write.

Okay, those were my thoughts, the only tips I can really offer are to go take a class in writing, and to work on your puntuation. There are literal thousands of YouTube videos on the subject if you're interested, I'd give you a link but I'm at home as I write this and therefore, offline. Anyway, good luck, I really do think you'd be pretty good at a Tolkien-esk suspense-type writing where everything seems fine for a while with just a slight hint of trouble, and suddenly your MC is climbing mount Doom with the One Ring and everything is so much worse than your readers thought.




User avatar
562 Reviews


Points: 14535
Reviews: 562

Donate
Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:14 am
View Likes
FlamingPhoenix wrote a review...



Hello, FlamingPhoenix here on this lovely day to help get your work out the green room.

Okay so I think this is a really amazing story you have here. I think you have a really great plot here, and if I was going to be honest I think you could make an amazing story out of this, I think it would be really interesting to find out more of this village. From what I can tell, there is so much more you can tell us.
I also really like how you started this story, it got me hooked right away. I mean this line may be shorts but it is powerful words.

“Where are you from?”

I mean this is such a simple line, but after seeing this I couldn't stop reading.
I think the name you chose for you village is a really good one it's quit catchy. It's stuck in my head now.
Again I think you have done an amazing job, and I can't wait to see more of your works come out on YWS. I hope you will never stop writing and have a great day/night.

Your friend
FlamingPhoenix. :D
Reviewing with a fiery passion.




Smuggg says...


Wow. Thank you so much. Your review was extremely sweet and encouraging! I am so glad you enjoyed it and hope you stay tuned for more :)





If you don't mind I would love to be tagged next time you post, so I don't miss anything.
I'm also glad I made you smile. :)




I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
— Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom