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Beautiful Things

by TheMulticoloredCyr


If one were to watch the sunset the night before Nina’s life changed, they’d have seen the most beautiful sunset ever to grace the earth. Warm rays of fading light filtered through clouds of soft violet, gold and red.

She didn’t get to see that sunset.

She was fiddling with her necklace when the words first touched her ears, seeming to dance around them unregistered. The vibrations of the chain as she dragged the charm along it filled them instead.

“I’m sorry?”

A breeze blew the sheer white curtains, now yellow with sunlight, inside.

The words were repeated.

“That’s not possible.”

More words. New words. Too many words.

“No. No, that’s not right.”

“I’m sorry.”

And then there were no more words.

A bird chirped from somewhere outside. The sound was accompanied by another breeze that shook the trees outside and blew the curtains. Nina didn’t move. She stood by the closed door as if it were open. As if she were there to talk to someone. She was meeting someone at the door.

Had she seen the sunset? Not Nina, the other girl. The girl who wasn’t gone. Had she seen the sunset?

A minute passed and Nina wasn’t meeting anyone at the door. Now she was at the table. A clock chimed to mark the hour. She took a sip of tea. Her hands weren’t shaking. She wasn’t gone. The other girl wasn’t gone.

She didn’t know how she found herself in front of a mirror, but there she was. She is perfect. The other girl always said says she’s perfect. Dark skin emanated the warmth of glowing coals. The other girl said says that. Even darker eyes hid adventures, not secrets. The other girl didn’t doesn’t like secrets.

The sun set tonight was beautiful. Nina resented that. Nothing should be beautiful now. Beauty shouldn’t show though tear-blurred eyes. Beauty shouldn’t exist where she didn’t. The other girl was supposed to be the one making it beautiful.

Nina. Old, greying Nina, shouldn’t have to look at the gorgeous things the other girl made so special. Nina shouldn’t still find them to be so very special.

She fell asleep with the blinds drawn. 


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108 Reviews


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Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:21 pm
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Asith wrote a review...



Hello! You've already gotten a number of reviews for this piece, but I liked it so much that I had to give my two cents!

Firstly, about the vagueness. On one hand, I love the vagueness. Keeping the reader in the dark about the exact relationship between Nina and the girl was a great idea. It really promotes mystery; it draws the reader in creating a sort of pseudo-immersion to the story.
On the other hand, however, the vagueness is also a weakness. Not the vagueness about their relationship -- that's still gold -- but the vagueness of everything else. It's not a bad idea to be specific in some areas. The setting, for example. I really didn't know where to imagine anything was happening. The sunsets were described, but that was it. It's fun to let the reader's imagination run wild, but as a story teller, it's usually better to give them some hints. Give them something for their imagination to work with!

As great as the ending was, I'd suggest preceding it with some foreshadowing (I think another reviewer mentioned this already). The bit with the blinds could be really powerful if it didn't feel like it was out of nowhere. Did Nina used to look through the open blinds? Since we don't know for sure, the scene loses a little bit of its heaviness.

That being said, this is one of the best shorts I've read recently. It's really cool to see a story built out of nothing but vague description; it's a plot without a plot! Very well done :)




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Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:53 pm
itsCate says...



Cate is here to give a review.

So this is not my genre of books but I enjoyed this. I am sad that Nina never saw the sunset, I miss seeing the sunset. Anyway I really liked this. Good job I have nothing else to say about this because Che already came in and did the check but I liked it. Good Job!






Thanks!



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Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:35 pm
4revgreen wrote a review...



Hey, Che here for a review :-)

I'll start by pointing out some areas I think could do with a little improvement.

She was fiddling with her necklace when the words first touched her ears, seeming to dance around them unregistered.

I would have put a comma after "them"

The sound was accompanied by another breeze that shook the trees outside and blew the curtains.

To make this sentence sound better, I would change it to "...another breeze; one that shook the trees outside and blew the curtains in."

The sun set tonight was beautiful

I assume you meant "sunset" without the space

Beauty shouldn’t exist where she didn’t. The other girl was supposed to be the one making it beautiful.

Because the sentences before these ones are short and declarative as well, I would change it so that instead of the stop after "didn't" it was a semi-colon to link the sentences together.

Right, I'm done being pedantic now :-)

I loved this story, and I wish I could read more! It was so mysterious and I would love to know what happened. You left a lot up to the reader, and that's what I like in a story. It makes it more tense when you have no idea what is truly going on.

You had some great description in there, but I would have liked more. More about Nina's emotions, as well.

Keep writing!

Regards, Che :-)






Thanks! I'll keep this in mind in future works.



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Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:00 pm
JabberHut wrote a review...



Hello!

So I actually really adored this piece!

The emotion was so strong. Actually, I have to admit, I pictured it like a Studio Ghibli short. It just really fit perfectly the style of storytelling Ghibli uses for its movies. They aim for the dramatic, they draw out the tension, they dig deep into the emotions. You just simply can't help but taste the air and feel the sunlight in the picture you see. This was how I pictured the first half of the piece when she heard the news, when her world seemingly stopped all around her. That's precisely how it feels when you hear heartbreaking news. Everything just stops.

I'm not so sure about saying "the other girl," 'cause just feels like Nina didn't have such a strong attachment to her. Nina clearly did care for her -- deeply cared for her -- yet referring to her as "the other girl" seems almost disrespectful to such a memory, if that makes sense. I imagine your goal was to hide the details like she was a lover, a sister, a daughter, or avoiding to reveal her real name and keep anonymity. You can instead just use sweet nicknames or code words to identify her as someone far closer and special. That or show me why "the other girl" is precisely that -- an endearing nickname.

The ending was so sad. I'm particularly worried about what happened after she slept. Like, the fact that she could sleep through her grief is a great sign. And yet, I hope this isn't the dead kind of sleep. ;.;

I WOULD, however, like to see a reference or foreshadowing to the blinds. I think curtains were mentioned earlier in passing, but it would really tie in that last sentence if you referenced open blinds to admire the sunset. Then you closed the piece with this line with the blinds already drawn and hiding the sunset, never to be admired again. It also would help with how random the "falling asleep" sentence seems.

Reason being is in my head, Nina was standing outside admiring the sunset. My brain had a passage of time through this piece of more than a day, let's just say. I didn't think it all happened in such a short span of time. (Of course, you had that excellent part in the middle with the clock. That whole part was nicely done. Minutes legitimately feel like years when it comes to grief.)

So basically, I'd say work on closing this piece out with a little more oomf. Make it a little more goosebumpy. (Can I be any less descriptive here? Goodness.)

I like what you have though. I really and truly think you did very well. There are improvements that can be made to give this more kick. You expressed grief so freaking well, I really believe you can shape this up with some adjustments.

Keep writing!

Jabber, the One and Only!






Thanks for the tips! I'll keep these in mind when I go back and edit this piece.



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Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:37 pm
kostia wrote a review...



Hello there TheMulticoloredCyr

This is Kostia and I am here to give you a review along with my honnest opinion on your work.

So let's get to it.

First of all I was very confused while reading this. Even though the atmospere was nicely set and your discriptions are powerful, it felt like you were describing some sort of dream. In general the whole thing was blur and inconclusive. I didn't get to know your main character and the costant back and forth from nina to this othe girl was tiring even if it was fairly written.

This looks very abstract to me and I believe it needs some work in order to turn into something. I understand that this is a failed attempt to put symbolismin this peace. In order to achieve this and turn this piece into something meaningful I would advise you to expand and become a bit more discriptive for the reader's understanding.

Also:

"The other girl said says that. Even darker eyes hid adventures, not secrets. The other girl didn’t doesn’t like secrets."

I understand using both past and present tense is symbolic in some way for you, but again the reader fails to understand it entirely. I encourage you to change that. I don't usually comment on grammar or spelling mistakes since I am not anative speaker myself, but this was too obvious for me to overlook.

Other than that you have a solid prose and you are very talented in discriptions and imagery. I would suggest you to focus on that aspect and maybe add some dialogue to make this better. I am sorry to say but even though I enjoyed reading this, it doesn't really make any sense in the end. At first I believed that the confusion would pay off or be explained in the end but it didn't.

Moreover I wouldn't call this a short story. I believe you should put it under the "other" category. If you end up editing this feel free to let me know. I would love to read the edited version and give you a review on it.

I believe you have some potential but you have to expand a bit on the details.

Keep writing!

Best regards

Kostia






Thanks for your honesty! I'll keep all of this in mind when I go back to edit this and in future works.



kostia says...


I personally liked it and kind of understood it too. I write like that too sometimes so trust me I know the feeling. Try to draw your inspiration from it and build up a story. Looking forward to reading more from you!




In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her.
— Kate Chopin, The Awakening