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16+ Language Violence

Jackson was back at school. (The Ringly's ch. 7)

by TheMulticoloredCyr


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and violence.

(This one's a bit long, I know, and I'm sorry but it wasn't worth splitting at any descent spot to do so, so I just left it)

Jackson was back at school.

Jackson was back at school with friends.

Jackson was back at school, and sitting at a new table.

Briar sat at her table, listening to the pity in the voices of the kids who didn’t know Jackson existed before he got hurt. Before he got hurt because of her. Because she missed something. A phone. A phone.

She wasn’t paying much attention as she sketched. When her eyes truly focused on the page, she saw the same face, over and over, twisted in pain. In fear. In fear of her.

She put the book away, wiping phantom blood off her hands.

The bell rang.

Jackson sat down in his desk. He wouldn’t look at her.

Does he know?

No, he didn’t. He couldn’t.

She took out a piece of paper and wrote out a note.

I gave the sketch to the police. She signed it and slipped it into his bag. He didn’t notice.

Class ended quickly. Suddenly, Briar was in the hall with her bag on her shoulder, and then she wasn’t.

The person who had pulled her into the girl's bathroom, predictably Queenie, was looking rather unpredictable distressed.

“Yes?” Briar asked, at a loss for what else to say to the unfamiliar person before her.

“Because I know you’re the only person on this planet who can actually keep a secret, I need to ask you something. Just, pretend you have emotions for a minute.”

Queenie hadn’t shifted that stray curl from her face.

“What do you want?”

Queenie groaned in frustration, “Again with the monotone! Would you just be normal for, like, one minute so I can have this damn conversation-”

“What do you need?” Briar revised, interrupting.

Queenie huffed, “Fine. I’ve got gym next, and I’m definitely skipping that, so you’re gonna have to skip home-ec-”

Briar put her bag down on the counter next to the sinks, “What do you need?” she repeated once more.

Queenie hesitated, looking Briar up and down. Finding nothing out of the ordinary, she finally stopped stalling.

Like a dam breaking, her words came in a rush, “So I was thinking and I realized that I never had a crush on a guy before and I thought that was weird because all the girls I hang out with all have crushes on someone or other, you know? But then I was at the manor with Rory and she was really close and I was thinking about how she smells kinda nice and I started wishing that she might try to kiss me or whatever and then I was like, what? And I guess I couldn’t really tell any of my friends, and there was no way I was going to tell Rory about this, but I couldn’t just tell nobody so…” she gestured vaguely at Briar, perhaps for the first time at a loss for what to say.

Briar, meanwhile, suffered the same ailment. Her mouth opened and closed. There were words, and then there wasn’t.

“I...Is there a question?” she said, finally.

It was the wrong thing to say.

Queenie’s fist hit the counter with a bang! “Dammit Briar!” she let out a shaky huff through clenched teeth, “Why did I think this would work? Why did I think you would be at all helpful-”

She looked up to see Briar had backed up a step, her hand in her backpack where they both knew a gun was concealed in a hidden pocket.

“Oh, so now you think I’m gonna attack you,” she stepped toward Briar, who stood her ground, her grip on the gun tightening.

“No,” Briar wasn’t sure if she was lying, “Lower your voice.”

“Oh, sure,” Queenie mock-whispered, “Boss me around.”

Then she lunged.

Briar’s head hit the counter, but she managed to keep it from hitting the floor. If the safety hadn’t been on, the gun would have fired as well.

On the ground now with one on Queenie’s hands on her neck, the other reaching for the gun. Ignoring the pain in her gut from Queenie’s knee, Briar used her free hand to wrench Queenie’s off her neck and flip them over so now it was her knee on Queenie’s chest, her hand restraining hers, and her gun under her chin.

“You know what father says about-”

“Screw what father says!” Queenie spat.

Briar blinked, then got up. She calmly returned her gun to its place and turned back to Queenie.

She was still on the ground.

“Get up,” Briar said softly, slinging her bag on her shoulder.

“Giving order doesn’t suit you, you know,” Queenie stated as she got up.

Briar stayed silent.

“Come on? A normal person would have something to say about what just happened.”

“You said yourself that I am not normal.”

Briar didn’t stick around to hear the response. Her teacher hardly noticed her tardiness.

~

Carlson was waiting when the girls arrived home.

“Eleanor,” Queenie stepped out of the line of fire, going to lean against the wall next to a stand holding a probably-ancient crown, “Would you like to explain where you went on Friday night?”

She stared up at him.

“Would you like to answer my questions?”

“Not this again, Eleanor-”

“Answer mine, I’ll answer yours.”

ELEANOR!” Both girls flinched.

Carlson sighed, “I am your father, I suggest you treat me as such. Now, if you won’t tell me where you went, you will go downstairs and practice your drills.

“I have-”

“You can complete your homework later. I told you to go downstairs.”

With clenched fists, she nodded her head respectfully, “Yes, father.”

He gave a curt nod, turned on his heel, and strode off into the manor.

Once he was out of sight, Queenie snickered. With Briar’s glare burning into her, the queen took the crown from its stand and placed it on her head. She then turned with a flourish and walked away identically to her father.

Briar watched her leave. She stood alone in the foyer, silently fighting the anger that blurred her vision and whitened her knuckles. She lost the fight. She turned to the last direction that had not been traversed and walked briskly down the winding halls. She stopped suddenly before a bookcase in a dark corner of the east wing. The old tomes were protected by a pristine glass door. The case hadn’t a fingerprint or speck of dust on it.

Briar adjusted the straps of her backpack, then pressed her thumb against the corner of the glass. There was a click and the bookcase swung away from the wall. The now-visible space behind it was no bigger than a small broom closet, with no floor to be seen.

Working quickly, Briar reached up to the ceiling of the small space, having to stretch up to the tips of her toes to do so, and pulled a near-invisible latch. Immediately, she stepped back just in time to avoid being smacked in the head by the falling chain that unfurled into the dark. She then re-checked the straps of her bag, got a grip on the chain and climbed down.

The lights clicked on as soon as her feet hit the ground. Her movements were quick and sharp, even as her energy drained. Bullets tore through targets and knives slashed up dummies until the sun had traced its course back to the east side of the sky.

The next day, her English teacher became the first to write an “F” on Briar’s work. 


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Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:44 pm
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Heyo Cyr,

I'm back at tackling the Green Room for Review Day, and I enjoyed your story so much I figured I'd come back to start on it again.

Jackson was back at school.

Jackson was back at school with friends.

Jackson was back at school, and sitting at a new table.

Briar sat at her table, listening to the pity in the voices of the kids who didn’t know Jackson existed before he got hurt. Before he got hurt because of her. Because she missed something. A phone. A phone.

She wasn’t paying much attention as she sketched. When her eyes truly focused on the page, she saw the same face, over and over, twisted in pain. In fear. In fear of her.


Okay, so, there was a lot of repetition in the opening part of your chapter. And I suspect it was intentional but to be perfectly honest, I'm not exactly loving it. I assume it's meant to drive home how much this is upsetting her internally, but it just kind of makes the reading choppy and repetitive. I'd take another look at this when you edit.

You could even do something like "Jackson was back at school -- with his new friends, sitting at a new table" or something? Like condense it so that it doesn't feel repetitive, but still drive home that it stings a bit that he's not sitting with Briar anymore. Something like that.

“Eleanor,” Queenie stepped out of the line of fire, going to lean against the wall next to a stand holding a probably-ancient crown, “Would you like to explain where you went on Friday night?”


So the way this is written is a bit confusing. Is this Carlson speaking? If so that definitely needs to be made clearer. Usually when you have no dialogue tag and then an action then whoever is doing that action (in this case, Queenie stepping aside) is also the one speaking. And it doesn't seem like that's what's happening here, so maybe make it a bit clearer who is talking?

“Would you like to answer my questions?”

“Not this again, Eleanor-”

“Answer mine, I’ll answer yours.”

“ELEANOR!” Both girls flinched.


So dialogue tags definitely aren't needed on every piece of dialogue, but I do think they would benefit you here. I originally thought that Carlson was being pushy and asking her if she'd like to answer his questions, and then it appeared that it was actually Briar saying that and that her father was getting exasperated. So it might be good to just have a tag on that first one saying that it's Briar speaking to clear up that confusion.

The next day, her English teacher became the first to write an “F” on Briar’s work.


Hmm... honestly this isn't quite as compelling of an ending as you could have made it? Like it just seem... random? She's training and being all tough and amazing, and then you have a completely disconnected sentence saying she got an F on an English assignment. I think maybe it would work better if you transition it a bit softer. Like when I first read over the "back to the east side of the sky" my brain didn't immediately process that she'd trained all night -- so maybe you could have a paragraph or two about her showering or eating breakfast etc. and not having time to do the homework, so that the connection about her getting an F makes a bit more sense?

~ ~ ~

Okay! I don't think I have a lot to say overall on this chapter. It was another strong addition to your story, and a highly enjoyable read. It is a nice little intermission after all the action in the last chapter, and kinda feels like it's probably setting up some more conflict with her school work suffering. I'm excited to see where you take this!

Keep writing!

~Shady 8)




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Sun May 26, 2019 5:48 pm
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hiraeth wrote a review...



Hi Cyr! I was just going through the green room and saw that this still needed a review, so here I am. I'm just going to go from top to bottom, and comment on anything i think is good or needs improvement, so here goes.

The opening is great; it draws in your readers and builds up the emotion right from the start. Good job there.

However, I find that successive events in the chapter aren't connected properly. For example,

"The bell rang.

Jackson sat down in his desk. He wouldn’t look at her."


The reader here has to assume that from the cafeteria(where briar was sketching and jackson was at a new table?) they were suddenly inside a classroom? there's no in between, like, "she made her way to class," or, "When she got to class...." As a writer, you need to make sure your readers are completely inside your created world.

(tiny nitpick)
also, in the same line, i think 'Jackson sat down at his desk,' sounds better than 'in his desk.'

(again, nitpick)
"....was looking rather unpredictable distressed."

The highlighted part should be 'unpredictably distressed,' i think, and it would sound much better if the 'rather' was removed from the sentence.

Briar blinked, then got up. She calmly returned her gun to its place and turned back to Queenie.

So, just saying, Briar's kinda starting to creep me out. Like, they just had a fight and the next second, she's all calm and yeah, all in a day's work. Your consistency with briar's characterization is great; she's staying true to herself. I always find it amazing how people do that, because when i write a story with too many characters, all of them tend to become the same person with no varying qualities whatsoever.

Like your opening, the ending's wonderful too; it concludes the chapter very nicely. Again, good job there :)

Thanks for the excellent read, and i'm now going to head on to review chapter 8 :) nothing like review day to get me to do a few reviews.
Keep writing!






Thanks! (Briar's kinda freaking me out too, to be honest)(it's intentional, but still)



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Thu May 09, 2019 5:40 pm
Liberty says...



Wow. Cyr, you've left me speechless here! O_O I am shocked. Flat out shocked. Lol. That last paragraph's description was a scary one! Holey cheese! Anyways, I didn't see anything to point out or whatever, so you're good to go. No spelling, punctuation, grammar errors. So, great job with that! Keep up the great work and I can't wait to see more from you soon. :D :mrgreen:

:elephant:






Thanks! I'm nearly done with chapter 8, I just have to get some reviews in to get my points up since I've been slacking a bit there.

I'll tag ya when that comes out.



Liberty says...


Thanks and your welcome! If you need points, I'm full of 'em so... You can ask me for some when you need 'em.




To succeed, you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you.
— Tony Dorsett