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1. Strangers

by Soulfulwriter


Warning: This work has been rated 16+.

Throughout everything she'd been through beatings, torments, bullying, dark skin 28 year old Ronna McCall finally finds love and friendship despite the way she looks, I end my short story with a hum of a melody. Though all of my short stories are the same, a dark skin teenager or adult who is accepted by their friends, family, and finds love. I secretly wish the characters I write about were I. Being loved by all, respected, accepted.

I put my pencil down and swivel my desk chair to my bed that is an organized chaos of a mix between college applications and homework.

I stroke the nape of my neck and climb onto my bed, just as I am about to get back at the usual studying, my stomach grumbles with stubbornness. I pat it then survey the mess; I know what I has to be done before a certain amount of time. On top of the homework and college applications, I also have a ton of advice articles to answer for the school's newspaper. My section of the paper is called Passionate Vibes, the love, family, and friendships advice column. No one knows I run that column along with the comic strip part either. My stomach growls a little louder and I grunt while scooting to the edge of the bed and walk down the first flight of stairs.

The house is silent with my two younger brothers out, mom at work, and my sister out with her boyfriend, it's just me and my dad. He is sitting at the kitchen table with an old blue towel covering the table and small car parts on the towel. He works as a mechanic in the military and often brings his work home with him.

"Sirrah-bearah." He greets wiping his hands on a rag that hangs from his front pocket. "You've emerged from your dungeon of darkness."

I giggle at his dramatic flair, "I got hungry."

"Well, what do you want to eat?" He goes into the kitchen.

I know mom would have a fit if she found out he is in her kitchen with his dirty, oily hands. I cover my mouth with my hands, "Dad, get out of the kitchen with your filthy hands before mom catches you."

He spins around in the kitchen, "She's not here, she won't know," he stops and faces me, "unless you tell her."

"No, I wouldn't. But, I do want to eat."

"Okay. McDonald's." He grabs the keys off the key hook by the door and we exit the house.

Getting into my dad's red Pontiac, he cranks it up and carefully backs out of the driveway.

We park in the McDonald's parking lot by the entrance.

"I'll only be a minute." I assure my father. He nods and puts the car in park and begins to look for his cell phone charger. That's been missing for a few days now. My money is that my older sister stole it and never put it back.

I get out of the car and stare at the golden arch that represents the McDonald's symbol. I know what awaits me when I go in there. I look at my father whom is still frantically looking for his charger. I contemplate telling him I want to go home and wait until mom comes home to cook. However, the growling of my stomach forces me to enter the McDonald's.

When I enter, the chatter that ran throughout the place comes to a screeching halt and I can feel everyone's' eyes shift to me as I amble to the line and look at the menu. While I try to figure out what I want, I can feel the customer's eyes burning holes through my soul. I begin to chew on my fingernails knowing I don't have anything on my face or clothes since I checked before I got out the car. Which means they are only staring at one thing: my charcoal sable skin complexion.

Heading towards the evening with seven of us left. We silently speak to each other, if were too loud we'd get spankings form the headmistress who is now tired of us and wants to go into retirement. Within five minutes, we dwindle to just three. The room that used to be alive with children running, laughing, and playing is now bathed in an eerie silence as we glance around the room at each other and the bare walls where positive posters used to hang.

Just as the clock struck six pm, a family with a little girl about my age leading the way with her hands behind her back. I hear her parents introduce themselves to the headmistress and explain their business at the orphanage. Also apologized for sowing up later than their appointment was supposed to be. The Winters.

The little girl with her tony pigtails on each side of her head hobbled over to the other children and hums, as she looks them over. She then made her way over to me. I am crammed between a large oak bookshelf and the wall. She stares into my smoke gray eyes and I stare into her nut-brown eyes. Her eyes sparkled or so my five-year-old mind thought, I gasped at the sparkle.

The way she smiled at me told me that this was my day. I was finally going to be adopted into a loving family. She took my hand, helped me up, and ambled towards the front door near her parents.

"I found her, mama. I found Sirrah." The little girl jumps up and down while still holding my hand.

That was the first time I genuinely smiled.

I continue to chew my already chewed down nails, on the outside I hold my head up and ignore the whispers I hear behind me. But, on the inside, I am a beaten little girl, crumbling and wanting to crawl under a rock and hide. I move on to my middle fingernail and begin chewing on it. I dare not make eye contact with any of the customers for fear they will laugh in my face. I never want anyone to know just how sensitive I am about my skin tone, which will give him or her ammunition to continue to rag on me.

I would love to be treated with respect and accepted just like everyone who isn't dark skin. Just like the girls in my stories are. But, deep down I know that's not going to happen anytime soon.

"Next!" The female cashier calls nonchalantly while popping bubble gum. She cuts her eyes from me to her cell phone that's 'secretly' stashed below the register.

My turn to finally order, I step up to the register and take my hand away from my mouth to order.

"I would like a bacon ranch salad with a large sweet tea." My favorite things to eat here next to the chicken nuggets since the burgers here make my tummy hurt.

She rings up my order, "5.69."

I take my bank of America card out, swipe it, and accepted flashes across the small monitor in big bold letters. She hands me a large cup and calls the next customer. I offer a smile to the cashier in hopes of brightening up her day, but she ignores it. I make my way to the fountain drink area.

"I think something escaped from the zoo." A female's voice sounds through the establishment.

"Ignore the ignorance." I repeat to myself, nibbling on my fingernails as I get my sweet tea.

That Motto has been with me for a long time. "Ignore the ignorance," I repeat it like a mantra when I get in situations such as this one. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. It works majority of the time while the other times it just adds to my depressive state of mind.

"Ignore the ignorance," I repeat as I sup the tea to check if it's sweet enough. Satisfied, I continue to fill it up to the rim. I've been craving this tea all morning but never got a chance to get it due to the homework and college applications corrupting my day.

"Naw, girl. That's a human being, I believe. But, she does look like that ape looking animal I saw at the fair last night." Someone else jeers attracting the chuckles of the other customers. "Po' thing was chained up."

I chew on my fingernails more as I stand to the side and wait for my order number to be called. Usually the insults are directed at me being adopted however the more I 'ignore the ignorance' the more I begin to realize they are speaking of my complexion. Not me being adopted.

"Oh my Gawd! It's escaped! Run for your lives!" A male bellows. Half the customers burst into an uproar of laughter. Some of them actually start running around in circles, flailing their arms about.

My eyes mist with tears as I look to the cashiers and the manager to do something about this uproar. But, to my horror they continue working as if none of this is going on right now. Of course, they do nothing. I am a dirty, black girl. I am what they would consider trash.

"Number 245. Bacon ranch salad?" A male McDonald's employee calls my order while shaking the bag.

"Sirrah?" My father enters the establishment and ambles over to me.

All of the racial slurs and running around like fools fades as their eyes shift to follow my father. His blue eyes, blonde hair, broad shoulders and a cream beige complexion with light freckles on his face.

"Is everything okay, Sirrah?

"Yes, sir. I am just getting my food now. I will be out as soon as I refill my drink."

He looks around the establishment at the mouths that are gaped open, he shrugs his shoulders, "What? Can't a man talk to his daughter in peace?"

They quit staring, he chuckles causing me to shake my head. "I'll be in the car, then." He leaves.

"Wow! Someone had an affair with the milkman." A joke comes from the back of the establishment.

Titters rise from behind the counter now. I nibble on my nails while I quickly refill my cup but the tea is diminishing and slowly pouring out the spout.

"Or the milkmaid." Another adds.

More titters rise when someone else says, "No, they adopted the wrong color child and now they can't take her back."

Finally, with my cup full, I take my food, drink, and dart out of McDonald's before the tears start cascading down my face. Before anyone can see the sensitivity shining bright.

I get in my father's car and he looks relieved. I look down to see him charging his phone, but his facial expression changes when he notes the slight look of despair on my face.

"Sirrah, what's wrong?" He eyes me.

I click my seat belt, steady the bag, place my cup in the holder, and look at my father.

"Did something happen in there that I need to know about? Because if something did, I can go in there and scope out who is military and whose rank I need to pull."

My eyes flash a glint of embarrassment because I know he would do it to. "Nothing is wrong, father. That is not a necessary thing to do." I look out the window and begin to grind my teeth together. I know once I start putting my fingers in my mouth that, my father will pop me, my mother does the same thing.

I can feel his eyes on me for a few seconds, he sighs and backs out of the parking lot and drives home. He doesn't try to push for anymore answers as we ride home in silence, he does make small talk about the weather and what he thinks mom is going to make for dinner.

My father Roy Aston Winters is the command sergeant major in the military. He always has this bout of confidence about him and he demands respect wherever he goes. I wish...I could ooze confidence, be able to walk tall and strong. But, that's hard to display when there is endless gossip about me being adopted into a privileged white family by mistake. Along with the racial sluts that come as a side down. It gets difficult daily to display that confidence. Even though, it's 2001 there is still racism currently.

I, Sirrah Keyarra Toriella Winters do not demand respect or ooze confidence. However, I want what my characters in my stories have, the acceptance, the love, the respect, and the friendships. I want to be seen beyond the color of my skin, I want people to see how smart, loyal, generous, and talented I am.


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405 Reviews


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Sun Jun 26, 2016 3:39 am
Eros wrote a review...



Hello, Soulfulwriter!!

Here I am with a review for you!!

Okay...so here I got to have a clear-clear idea of what was going on exactly. The first one was just a preface or something like that.
Here , I come to know even more disinctly about the problem and the sufferings of Sirrah. She is discriminated or rather shunned by the society for her black, charcoal-like skin tone colour. But, this is really bad. We should not treat anyone like this for such a silly reason. We are matured enough and so, we shuld treat everyone like humans.

Anyways. The theme is really wonderful. It has a little emotional break throughs in between the story. This is what I like the most about the chapter.

There is no flaw as such in this chapter. I liked every thing, the setting of the plot, the various kinds of words, the dialogues are spread like spices.
Overall a Great work!!
Keep writing...
Never cease...
HAPPY REVIEW DAY!




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Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:25 pm
CaptainJack wrote a review...



Hey there Soulfulwriter. It's just lizzy dropping by as requested, so without a further ado, let the reviewing begin.

The story itself is actually very good but the way you word certain things, makes the story unappealing to the reader. I think most of my review is probably going to be based around that seeing as everything made sense and they were no major grammatical errors. The story though saddening doesn't have a very realistic feeling to it. My explanation for that is below. I mean some parts are realistic but what is the time setting for this. I'm guessing more of the modern decades than the past. I wasn't aware that their was that much social ridicule still existing in the amounts you described. It must be because of different locations.

I am standing outside of the McDonald's. I have not eaten all day due to a bunch of studying and putting in college applications. I do not want to go in there because I know what awaits me. As I look back at my father who is frantically looking for something in the car, my stomach grumbles with stubbornness. I look at the golden arch of the McDonald's sign and with a sigh of frustration, I enter the establishment.


1. The tone of these sentences is very formal where you want to be looking for informal. The lack of contractions sort of points this right out to the reader as, not realistic. Also by calling McDonalds an "establishment" you are further skewing a good image for the piece.

2. The second sentence needs to be re-worded in a casual way to correct the tone. You are using a sentence and explanation that would be good for say an English essay. But when you're writing a teen fiction, you want the readers to be able to connect to it in some way.
I have not eaten all day due to a bunch of studying and putting in college applications.

Maybe it would be better as something like this.
I didn't have a chance all day because college applications and studying consumed all of my time. Consumed like the lunch I wanted to look forward to.

See how the tone changes with just switching around a couple of words.

3. Yeah you definitely have to change "establishment". Go with restaurant if you still want the sophisticated sound which is what I guess you were going for. I'm not exactly sure but it needs to go. If I had been reading this and not reviewing it, that first set of sentences would have turned me away. The first impression of the piece matters so make it a good one.

As I am looking at the menu, I can still feel everyone's eyes on me, burning holes in my cheeks and the back of my head; I know I do not have anything on my clothes or my face.

1. Use contractions instead of keeping the words separated. This is another thing that needs to be done to even out the tone and mood of the piece.

"Really? O-M-G! It has escaped! Run for your lives!"

Here instead of using (OMG) I would just spell it out as (Oh My God). Otherwise it sort of ruins the perfectly set stage.

"Nothing, I am okay. No, dad."

The wording on this is also a bit off. Here's a reworded version. I added a couple of words and moved everything around to have a better flow.
No Dad, nothing happened. I'm okay.


My father; is a high-ranking official in the military.

This needs a comma instead of a semi-colon. The comma really isn't even necessary, the sentence sounds fine without it.

Once we hit high school together, I began to realize that Alchemy was being accepted into more and more clubs and being befriended by lots more teens than I was. I would try to make friends but they would never accept me for whatever reason. Once I asked and someone told me that I was a mistake and that I don’t belong here. I am not sure what he meant by ‘here’, but I was hoping he meant at the school. After that, I felt like nobody actually liked me. Excluded. Dirty. I had to remind myself that I still had Alchemy. I smile.

1. I feel like the ending is a bit off, like you should have put one word before "I smile". I would have personally gone with "And I smile" because it eases into it in a gentler way. You rushed right into her reaction right off of all of this strong negative emotion. There needs to be a median in between the two thoughts.

There are a couple of spots where the dialogue is a bit shaky but I'm not really the best with dialogue. I'd look through the review forums for someone that makes dialogue based reviews or has more experience with it.
"Uh, I think something escaped from the zoo." Someone shouts out.

This is one of the spots I'm talking about. I believe that should be a comma instead of a period considering it wasn't like a completely separate thought. You need to associate the one thing with the other by comma.
There were no major grammatical mistakes but I did notice a small recurring one that's really a typo. In lots of spot there are no spaces in between words. Please just correct them to avoid confusion.

Well that's about all I have for this review. Sorry if I couldn't offer anymore comments/words of advice, that is depending on how you take them. I'll probably have the next chapter reviewed by tomorrow but it will more likely be done on Saturday.
Have a nice day.
Lizzy
Queen of the Book Clubs




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Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:51 am
RubyRed wrote a review...



Hello, Soulfulwriter. I really liked this. I never really understood how hard it was to be in a society of white people as a darker skinned person. The things they said to Sirrah really upset me. I want to know more about what happens to her. But let's get into tips and such. :D

As I am looking at the menu, I can still feel everyone's eyes on me, burning holes in my cheeks and the back of my head; I know I do not have anything on my clothes or my face. They are staring at my skin color, which is a charcoal black tone.


I would reword this a bit. You don't have to go with my idea but maybe something like this:

"While I look at the menu, I feel everyone's eyes staring at me and burning holes through my body. I know I don't have anything on my clothes or my face. Which led me to believe, they were staring at my charcoal black skin color."

That way it makes things more simplified and easier to follow.

"Uh, I think something escaped from the zoo." Someone shouts out.


Comma after "zoo" instead of a period and lowercase "Someone".

"Try to ignore the ignorance".


This doesn't really have a punch to it. I'd suggest changing it so it really has an impact on the reader so they easily remember it.

I take the cup and make my way to the fountain drink area. I get the sweet tea I have been craving since this morning.


"I take my cup to the drink fountain and fill it with the sweet tea I've been craving all morning."

"Naw, that's a human being, I think. However, she does look like that thing I saw at the fair last night. It was all chained up." Someone else jeers causing some of the customers in the fast food restaurant to chuckle.


Comma after "up" instead of a period and lowercase "Someone".

Tears swell up in my eyes, not understanding how people are so cruel to someone they do not know and why the cruelty continues to spread to someone they do not know.


To correct this just put the phrase at the beginning: "Not understanding how people could be so cruel to someone they don't know, tears begin to swell up in my eyes."

"Really? O-M-G! It has escaped! Run for your lives!" Someone else says.


This part made me cry. :( Lowercase "Someone".

"Bacon ranch salad?" A McDonald's employee calls out my order while waving the bag.


Lowercase "A".

“Sirrah?” My father calls entering the establishment and walking over to me. All of the racial slurs abruptly stop as heads turn and eyes follow my father to where I am standing. “Is everything okay?”


Lowercase "My". Comma after "standing" instead of a comma or you can just put "he asks" outside of quotations after his question.

“Yes, daddy. I am just getting my food now. I will be out soon.”


Comma after "daddy" instead of a period since "daddy" is direct address.

“Wow, someone had an affair with the milkman,” A joke comes from the back of the restaurant.

“Or the milkmaid.” Another adds.


Lowercase "A". Comma after "milkmaid" instead of a period and lowercase "Another".

"Nothing, I am okay. No, dad." I lie to my father and look out the window, not wanting to speak about what just happened.


I'd change what she says to : "No, it's nothing. I'm okay, dad," I lie to my father and look out the window not wanting to speak about what just happened.

I did ask the history behind Alchemy's name, such as why her mother named her that. However, Alchemy would never say why her mother named her that; I just left that alone not wanting to get on Alchemy's bad side. Alchemy and I have been excellent friends since middle school, always hanging out and wanting to be accepted into our line of peers.


You use Alchemy a lot here. I'd used the pronoun she more often in this paragraph.

I smile.


This isn't a very strong way to end a chapter. Say why she smiled for instance: Even though I feel beaten down inside, I smile thinking of her kindness.

Last comment I have is: I would use contractions more often that way your writing isn't so choppy. You could also pick up some old books and check dialog and such there. It will help you a bunch! Anyways, I hope my review was helpful to you and not too long. Keep writing so I can keep reviewing!

~Keepwriting :D






I do appreciate the review. I am trying to stay within a certain word count.



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Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:01 am
Sujana wrote a review...



Chapter One:

You’ll hear from everyone in the universe who knows anything about writing repeating the same phrase monosyllabically, like the zombies of old B movies—show, don’t tell. I assure you, once you get really into writing, you’ll want to rip that phrase into two. Still, trying to say show, don’t tell isn’t true is like saying water is dry. It’s one of the most essential rules you need to learn once you’ve gotten past the grammar and structural mumbo jumbo, and I think you could use more of it in this chapter.

For one, you start it out in McDonalds. You tell us the narrator is hungry. You tell us she needs to eat. Well, that makes sense, but why would she need to eat? Has she delayed on her lunch? Was she busy doing something else? Or has she forgotten that she’s a human being that may or may not require food every once and a while? These little details may not seem important to you, but it’s the little things that lure in the readers. You must convince us that the main character is not simply a pile of words on paper. You must lie to us, make us believe that this person truly is human, by showing most human traits—and yes, that suggests that you must explain at least a little bit about why she’s hungry.

Your introduction of Sirrah’s dad, of course, is almost impossible to replace with a show, don’t tell sort of thing. You must recognize when to use show don’t tell and when telling is allowed. The readers won’t mind you telling us that Sirrah’s dad is a high ranking officer, but we will get bored when you sum the story up as “Sirrah gets bullied a lot because of her skin color”. Not as fun as the bullying scene you had, is it? It’s all a matter of differentiating what the readers should feel and what the readers should know.

On a lighter note, I’m interested to see what you do with this Alchemy figure. I’ll try to pull out a review for you tomorrow as well, but I may be busy in the following days.

Good luck and good job so far,

--EM.





You are all the colours in one, at full brightness.
— Jennifer Niven, 'All the Bright Places'