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At the End of the Day, Part 1

by Tawsif

I've already submitted this piece for a magazine (not just the part 1, all of it). Let me know my chances of publication and please point out the mistakes. 

Mom’s cheeks are in flames. Her chest is pounding, a horrific sound escaping her nostrils every second. Beads of sweat are all over her face. Her hands are tied behind her with the chair she’s sitting on. Just now, she’s started shivering.

I have the steel-made scale in my right hand. Grasping it tight, I beat it on my left palm. The sound this produces stirs the deepest parts of my insides, waking the hidden demons from deep inside. I burst into a peal of wicked laughter.

When I start making for the chair, the memories flash in my mind, faded and fragmented pictures taking shape.

I had some cold that day. Not the kind which turns your voice croaky and your nose red-hot, but a rather soft one. The moment I’d opened the front door, mom shouted in her typical loud—ear-piercing, head-splitting, exasperating, and all-the-negative-adjectives-in-the-world— voice. “Tawsiiiiif!”

It gave me a shudder, mom’s call. The front door was so close, yet I had to retreat.

“Where are you going?” Mom had the look on her face.

I knew straightaway mom wasn’t going to let me go out, that this conversation will end with my absolute defeat. Still, I tried to negotiate. “I’m going out to play of course.”

And there and then mom erupted into one of her shrieks that almost gave me a heart attack. “NO! Don’t even think of that.”

The faintest hope I had was shattered now. Grief filling my heart, I said, “Please, mom! I want to play!”

There was no sign of sympathy in reply, neither in her face nor her voice. “No. If you play today, you’ll sweat. And then you’ll have a fever.”

The grief changed into anger now. “What fever, mom? I don’t even an actual cold.”

She shook her. “Tawsif, a no is a no. You can’t play today. Go back to your room and have a sleep.”

This turned me furious, shattering all the control I had on myself for the last few seconds. Tears misting my eyes, I punched into the air and screamed, “Why are you doing this to me? You’re my mother for god’s sake! Why can’t you let me do what I want? You are not doing this for my good. I know that for sure! You just don’t me to go out and play! But WHY? What’s wro—”

Mom slapped me hard before I could finish.

My lazy hand ran the brush up and down my teeth; brushing’s something I’ve hated all my life. I could see mom in the mirror, wiping the dining table behind me.

When she was finished, she turned around and looked at me. Her impassive face soon took on an annoyed expression. “Is this any way to brush your teeth?”

She walked to me and snatched the brush from my hand. A spasm climbed up my spine, my guts smelling something ominous.

Grasping me on the right shoulder, she thrust the brush onto my teeth and hurried it along my teeth. This hurt my teeth severely, making me want to scream. But all the toothpaste in my mouth turned the attempted scream into muffled groans. Why are you brushing me from side to side? You’re supposed to do it up and down! I tried to say, and helplessly fell to groaning again.

Hearing my protests, she gave my shoulder a tight squeeze and said, “Don’t move. Or you’ll have a lot more than this.”

She continued with the brushing, though it was just forcing the brush along my teeth and causing me an agonizing pain.

When my mouth brimmed with toothpaste, she clutched my neck and lowered me. I spit the paste out.

I was supposed to see only the white foams of paste, but there were red speckles on the basin now, which I realized with a thud of my heart were of blood. Mom had exerted so much pressure on my teeth that they were bleeding.

“See,” mom said, her voice victorious. “Your teeth are so weak now because of your lazy brushing.”

I managed to speak now that the paste was out. “What! I’m bleeding, and you’re saying it’s happening ‘cause my teeth are weak!”

“Just shut up and keep still.” She squeezed my shoulder again.

The torment continued for at least five more minutes. Every time she made me spit out bloodstained toothpaste, there was a glow in her eyes, as if she were doing justice to my teeth.

She kept doing this to me three days in a row, without the least bit of hesitation. She didn’t pay any heed to my groans and the blood that came out with every spit. Not even once.

And on the fourth day, she stopped, letting me brush on my own.

I never got to know why there was a sudden seal on this new way of brushing she’d invented. Maybe she’d just grown tired of it. Or, perhaps she’d realized what she’d been doing was wrong. Even if not then, she must’ve had the realization at some point because I’d seen her brushing her own teeth up and down. Regardless, she never bothered to make an apology. To say sorry for the terrible way she’d treated her son.   

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User avatar
23 Reviews

Points: 1567
Reviews: 23

Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:27 am
Pomeroy wrote a review...

Hi Tawsif! Review Day has brought me to your story here. I hope my review can be helpful.

It's definitely an intriguing start, leaving me with lots of questions. Your opening scene definitely hooks the reader in and keeps them reading to find some kind of answer for how the mother got where she is now.

I'll do my best not to repeat what others have already said, but I do agree with MeherazulAzim16 that the transitions from scene to scene were confusing. Specifically the one that Sheadun references, when it goes from Tawsif being slapped, to him brushing his teeth. Which brings me to another point: I honestly thought Tawsif was a girl to begin with. I would suggest adding some descriptions of the characters a bit at the beginning. You don't have to write an extensive description of either of them, but enough to kind of give your readers an image of the characters they're going to be investing in.

I'm going to point out a couple of nitpicks now! Just typos or awkward sentences.

"I had some cold that day." I would replace "some" with "a". It's a bit confusing how it is now.

"Mom had the look on her face." Explain what "the look" is. You can take this opportunity to tell the reader a bit about other instances where Tawsif might have received this look, and talk a bit more about why Tawsif might dislike her mom?

You forgot "head" at the end of "She shook her."

"Go back to your room and have a sleep.” This statement seems a little weird. I would suggest replacing it with something more like, "Go back to your room and rest."

"My lazy hand ran the brush up and down my teeth" I would just suggest replacing "the brush" with "my toothbrush." Just to give a better concrete image of what Tawsif is doing. Originally, I thought hairbrush, until I read "teeth" at the end of the sentence. So it was a bit of a rollarcoaster, haha.

"...causing me an agonizing pain." No need for the "an" there!

Those are all the nitpicks I can see. Again, a very intriguing story! I hope this review was at least a little helpful. Happy writing!!

- Pom

Tawsif says...

Thanks a lot.

User avatar
35 Reviews

Points: 654
Reviews: 35

Sun May 26, 2019 1:06 am
Sheadun wrote a review...

Hey Tawsif!

Just here to leave a short review! I hope I don’t offend, it is never my intention.

First of all, this hooked me from the beginning! The narration is interesting, and I wanted to continue reading. It was a little shocking, and that’s a good thing! The two characters’ fight is so different.

Now some small comments:

The grief changed into anger now. “What fever, mom? I don’t even an actual cold.”

I think you meant *i don’t even HAVE an actual cold.*. Just a small little typo!

Another thing I noticed was that I don’t know what the characters look like at all. It’s much easier to picture the situation if I could clearly see them in my mind. Also, try using a spacer to know when part of the story is over! Example:

WHY? What’s wro—”

Mom slapped me hard before I could finish.


My lazy hand ran the brush up and down my teeth; brushing’s something I’ve hated all my life. I could see mom in the mirror, wiping the dining table behind me.

Overall, this is interesting and I’m sure lots of others will come to read! You have a great shot in the contest! Let us know how it goes! I am interested in reading the other section or sections.

Great job and keep writing!


Tawsif says...

Thanks for the review.
I'm sorry, but what does spacer mean?

User avatar
12 Reviews

Points: 227
Reviews: 12

Sat May 25, 2019 4:23 am
MeherazulAzim16 wrote a review...

Great writing :D The descriptions were cool. I liked the narration.

It's a sad little tale. The beginning makes it clear that the ending is not going to be a happy one. The chapter leaves me with a lot of questions, e.g. why would the mother do those things to her son? I suppose the rest of the story would answer that.

On my first read, I faced a tiny issue. The transitions from scene to scene were a bit confusing for me. But I may be nitpicking here.

You have an interesting setting. It can go anywhere from here. I hope your submission gets accepted. But either way—

Keep on writing!


Tawsif says...

Thanks, mate.

*cries into coffee*
— LadyLizz