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4 Seconds

by liehart

It was all red, in my dream. It’s stained my waking eyes.

Whenever I find the time to sleep, I’m home. The miles mean nothing, it’s the years that do. Months and days and hours and minutes and seconds. My father tells me dreams are rarely more than four seconds long. You never believed him. In my dream, I am not myself. I am too old, too cold. I am about to crumble into nothing. You are holding me together.

It’s the field by the river. I’ve never seen it so bright. Everyone with me has brought a torch. I keep trying to count them. I’m almost there, but I can never do it. Not enough. There is one word on their lips. I just about hear them. Goodbye.

This is my funeral, and it’s the colour of blood.

When I look up, I can’t see any of the lights. It’s black, but the more my eyes, that only want to close, adjust the bloodstains reveal themselves. I look down. It’s under my skin. None of it mine. I’m not human enough. I was once. But I am old in this dream.

It’s coming up behind me. Now that I know where I am, I have stopped caring. You are not here, does that mean I have failed you? I look. It’s made of scribbles of ink. I’d recognise the marks, only done by a shaking hand, anywhere. I’m awake already.

Ever since I can’t stop think I’ve passed the halfway point. When I used to read, I’d get so upset that I was closer to the end. I think that’s still true.

There are many types of homes. They can be arranged, one after another. The more alive, the less time we have. The closest we’ve gotten to stopping was when we the last two souls on Earth.

Our only God is our mother’s last words. The last words we remember (there is too much shame in admitting that she is disappearing).

This is the road trip. Six months, three months, six weeks, three weeks, nine days- that’s ruined the pattern- a long weekend, an overnight stay. It gets smaller, it never goes away. Some things don’t. Ever. Even after everything else is dead.

We can’t die.

What about a misstep? One word too many? One word not enough? Therefore, we count the seconds, we cannot afford to slip up-

We are unable to die. It is blasphemy. 

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364 Reviews

Points: 15980
Reviews: 364

Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:00 pm
zaminami wrote a review...

Hello, liehart! Welcome to YWS! It’s Kara here for a (hopefully) quick review!

Give me your soul.

With that aside...

STOP! Grammar time!

I'm just going to mark the ones I can with red because I'm too lazy to write explanations.

I would recognise the marks, only done by a shaking hand, anywhere. I’m awake already.

Ever since, I can’t stop think I’ve passed the halfway point.

You switch tenses here?

Six months, three months, six weeks, three weeks, nine days - that’s ruined the pattern - a long weekend, an overnight stay.

Therefore, we count the seconds, we cannot afford to slip up -



Italicize this.

Confusing things:

The overall story is pretty confusing, but beautiful nevertheless.

Other comments, reactions, and fangirling:



Oh, I loved this. It's so beautiful. I guarantee it would make me cry if I wasn't an empty void of feelings :wink:

Give me your soul --



This review courtesy of

liehart says...

Thank you, this was really helpful!"

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9 Reviews

Points: 638
Reviews: 9

Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:44 pm
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BookishBrook wrote a review...

Hi there! It's Bookish here with a review!

First of all, can I just say that I really enjoyed reading your work. I found it really deep and meaningful.

I really liked the way that your story wasn't quite at story and wasn't quite poetry but some sort of beautiful inbetween.

The repeated use of the word 'red' and similar words (e.g. blood) really helped to conjure up an atmosphere to the piece.
It’s the sort of piece that I could read over again and again and always somehow spot a deeper meaning every time.

I'm very much in awe of your writing and style. I wish I could say more to perhaps help you but (dare I say it?) It almost seems flawless.

There's just one point I might mention and that is that there are certain points where the reader might be slightly confused as to what is going on but I get the feeling that it was not written to blatantly state the obvious?

Thank you very much! I really enjoyer reading this!

liehart says...

Thank you! I've heard a lot that this is too vague and confusing, so I'm working on it.

BookishBrook says...

To be completely honest, I love the fact that it's really vague and can be interpreted in different ways!

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Points: 325
Reviews: 1

Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:15 pm
Wiggins wrote a review...

Good afternoon my dear, I'm Mr. Wiggins...I'll be giving you a full on review today.

Time: 12:29pm
Date and Day: Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Name of Reviewer: Mr. Wiggins

To begin, I'm going to point out the negatives of this work and give you suggestions and tips on how it can all be fixed. In your first paragraph, I released a small amount of repetition that mentally stopped me from going on. Repetition is the action of repeating something that has already been said or written. For example....

The boy was a good footballer, because his father was a footballer, and his grandfather was a footballer.

In your starting paragraph here...
Months and days and hours and minutes and seconds

You used the word 'And' at least four different times which takes away from the sentence since 'and' is considered an empty word. So, to fill in that void with something more fuller, i would suggest finding another connective word. Or simply add more into the sentence instead of having the reader read the same word over and over in a short phase.

What raised more questions in my mind than answers was this simple, short phrase hidden in your fourth paragraph...
You are not here, does that mean I have failed you? I look.

'I look.' You look at what? Are you looking at an empty space imagining someone there? Are you looking into the reasons as to why that person wasn't there? As a reader, i expect questions to come along with answers. 'I look.' did not come with an answer here which could be really frustrating. It confuses the reader and renders them unaware of what is going on. Either you can completely erase that from your phrase or you can add more to that phrase to make it make a little more sense. Here is a few ways...
You are not here, does that mean I have failed you? I look into my mind in search for reasons as to why you are not filling that empty void.

You are not here, does that mean I have failed you? I look into my heart and imagine you there.

Moving on to the structure of your work. I see you added one-line paragraphs in between the more filled paragraphs. A paragraph is a group of five sentences or more that serves as a building block in any piece of writing. However, since this is more of a journalistic piece of writing, a paragraph can be one sentence long. I personally go for more than a single sentence to emphasize the point. Besides that, your structure seems fitting for a journalist.

Now for the positives. I personally enjoyed the emotion displayed across this work. The sadness and the loneliness is what stuck out to me the most. For a brief moment, i felt connected to the writer for i have been lonely for quite some times and find sadness lingering in my heart because of it. As a reader, i would say your sentences flowed into each other beautifully and created an outstanding piece of art. In all my years, i haven't come across a piece so purely written from the has been a pleasure reading this. Thank you my dear, i hope to see more in the future.

Mr. Wiggins

liehart says...

Thank you for your review. I am glad you found it a pleasure to read and appreciate the criticism. I am always of the belief that the reader is right, but in this case I think you may have approached this in a different way to what I intended.
For example, the repeated use of 'and' was absolutely intentional and meant to be, well, repetitive and disrupt the sentence to represent how the character feels stuck in a cycle that they go through faster each time.
Similarly, with the line 'I look', I think the meaning is clear in the paragraph, with 'it's coming up behind me.' I apologise if it's not clear, and I agree I need to work on the paragraph so it is. It's just I intended for the piece, as you said, to pose more questions than answers. It's all very experimental, I'm just trying to see what works.
As for the paragraphs, I'm afraid I've never heard of the rule for five sentences minimum. That might make sense for academic and non fiction writing, but every book I've ever read has had at least the occasional short/one sentence paragraph. Regardless, I didn't attempt to be conventional when writing this.
Thank you,
Lie Hart

Wiggins says...

Ah, I see. So this was an experiential piece of work. Coming from a somewhat professional standpoint, i just thought i would point out the issues I saw. Thus far, your experiment left me clueless. Therefore, living to it's expectations. Mighty good job my dear. And in every book, a one sentence might be found...usually in the form of a dialogue or thought. I had my far share of those as well, but its always good to pose as a knowledgeable writer. Thank you for existing in this writing community, keep up with the breath taking experiments.
[Insert virtual pat on the back here]

Wiggins says...

Whoops. Typo...
I had my fair share of those as well...

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