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by lizzieh001412

Azarel put his Bible down on his new, pottery barn, bedside table. Lena had brought it, she was always buying him things. ‘It’s a sorry present.’ She would say.

Mark 10:2-12 rang in his head, if something one read can ring in one's head. ‘What God has joined together, let no one separate.’ That’s what the pastor had told him too. He glanced at his watch; 10:02 pm, she’d be home in a half hour. He’d have to go to sleep, before she comes home. Then, hopefully, she’ll just watch some TV and go straight to bed. But that’d be impossible, he couldn’t go to sleep that quickly.

He put his wedding ring back on, if she came home early, saw it on the bedside table -- He didn’t want to think. He might as well do it now, lest he forget.

He wondered how drunk she’d be, it depends if she’d gone out with Him. He thought of Him as though He was God, with a capital H- but that was hardly the point. He, or he was ‘just a man at work’ or, ‘a guy I met down the pub’, so undefined, he could be God. Azarel supposed he should probably stop calling Him Him, start calling Him ‘just a man at work’ or, ‘a guy she met down the pub’, it’d be less dramatic. God might mistake his obsession, unholy in itself, for selfishness. ‘Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.’ 1 Corinthians 10:24.

If he told Naomi about all this, she’d say it wasn’t an obsession, he was hurt and wanted the hurt to stop. The things that came out of his 10 year old's mouth were quite extraordinary. Yes, that is exactly what she’d say.

But it was selfish, he expected, God’s omnipotant judgement would see that. Azaral shouldn’t care, he deserved the punishment he was getting and he new that, He shouldn’t matter. But He did, He made her drink more, and when she drank more, it was so much worse. At least it was always Azarel, that’s what made it better, at least it was him, not Naomi. It couldn’t be Naomi, there wasn’t a guilty bone in her body, God would not allow it.

He took another glance at his watch 10:32, 2 minutes late, she was never late, unless she was very drunk. He closed his eyes, sweat trickled down his forehead and his heart began to race. He would never go to sleep in time now, even if she was hours late.

But then the door slammed, she heard her red heels, the ones she always wore, on the wooden floor on the hallway, clicking at a irregular pace, a sound she had grown to know so well. But instead of heading down the stairs, as he was used to, to their bedroom they head up the stairs and her hoarse voice began to sing the nursery rhyme she used to sing Naomi as a child:

Three blind mice, three blind mice,

See how they run, see how they run,

They all ran after the farmer's wife,

Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,

Did you ever see such a thing in your life,

As three blind mice?

He stepped out of bed and walked to the bottom of the stairs. There was no reason for her to go upstairs. She barely did. He just saw her turn the corner at the top of the stairs and moments later he heard the opening and closing of a door, Naomi’s door. He tiptoed up the stairs, she might just be saying goodnight, but Naomi shouldn’t see her this drunk. There was nothing he could do though, if he did anything he would face the consequences.

He peaked in the keyhole and saw Lena sitting on the end of Naomi’s bed, singing to her, swaying slightly in her drunkenness. Naomi was smiling, but she looked uncomfortable. Lena came to the end of the song and smiled back.

‘Are you drunk?’ Naomi said.

‘Yes.’ Lena replied, steadying her tone.

‘I don’t like you when you’re drunk.’

‘What did you say?’ She sounded angry, but her tone remained wobbly.

‘Never mind.’

‘Ok, I love you.’

Naomi turned over and Lena walked over and raised her hand.


Naomi’s scream rang in the air. Azarel couldn’t think, his chest tightened. He ran downstairs, didn’t care for the sound he was making. And he didn’t go in to stop her, she’d only hit once, she always got enough satisfaction from one, probably because it hurt so much. He walked over to his bedside table, still light headed. ‘She would pay for this’ he thought, he picked up his bible, stared at it for a second, clenched his jaw and tossed it into the fire that was roaring at the foot of his bed. His God would not allow this. He was now taking matters into his own hands. 

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286 Reviews

Points: 16319
Reviews: 286

Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:16 pm
AstralHunter wrote a review...

Salutations, lizzie!

You have my sympathy for the trouble regarding your account; I hope the matter will be resolved soon, but if not, that it at least becomes less inconvenient. Have you asked the admins for help? I'll post on your wall with some advice after the review.

Linguistic Commentary

1. I agree with Luke that the comma splice errors are disruptive. Neither of us found it difficult to interpret your writing, but I personally feel that it alters the pace and creates the impression that I'm rushing through the text. Not only will proper formatting and punctuation make your short story seem more refined, but adding semi-colons or em dashes would provide some much needed variety.

2. You treat the dialogue tags as if they were separate from the dialogue itself. Descriptions of the dialogue or characters are formatted as regular sentences, but phrases like "he/she said/asked" – as in, "‘Yes.’ Lena replied, steadying her tone." – shouldn't be capitalised, and full stops in those instances should be commas instead.

3. "omnipotant" is spelled "omnipotent"

4. You contradicted yourself in the paragraph where Azarel reflects on Lena's lateness of arrival. Avoid using absolutes like "never" if there are frequent exceptions, since Azarel knows to anticipate worse-than-usual conditions. This is also technically a literary note, but I find it unrealistic that Lena would be punctual even while drunk. Although, the idea of her being punctual for anything seems out of character in itself.

5. The section break asterisk bothers me. The final paragraph isn't separate from the section before it, so why was it singled out? Even if it was to indicate the perspective jumping back to Azarel, it means you would have jumped from his point of view to, say, Naomi's without having used a section break in the first place. As it stands, the entire short story is told from Azarel's perspective, so there is no reason at all for the asterisk's usage.

Literary Commentary

1. Your style contrasts the theme of abuse, and not in a complementary way. It strikes me as too casual for something so serious. An example would be Azarel wondering if it's even possible for words to ring in his head; this is a somewhat dry observation, which sets a mood contrary to the one that would ideally have suited such a short story. In addition, this would be a question the narrator might ask himself, but since the character isn't aware of the story being told about him, he shouldn't be able to comment on it.

2. As a continuation of the previous point, your reasoning for Azarel to use the capitalised "Him" pronoun for his wife's extra-marital lover, though interesting, makes little sense. He uses this particular spelling his thoughts, yet I haven't encountered anyone who perceives their thoughts as visual sentences constructed in their mind. Realistically, the narrator could employ such a device, but not the character himself.

3. The theme is sombre right from the start, but the reader isn't given a reason to feel attached to the characters, so our response will be limited at best. Furthermore, the climax was sloppily executed, so it lacks the impact you would want such a twist to have. It also seemed random, which made the matter more confusing than shocking.

4. Azarel's resolve to punish his wife for hitting their child is entirely out of character. You hinted once that he might react adversely to his daughter suffering abuse, but mostly, you presented him as a man of faith. Having him throw the bible into the fire when he was previously such an ardent believer is therefore not only an unfounded action, but also dramatic beyond what the reader would presume to be his capacity (considering how timid and submissive he appears). It would have been more believable had he tried to cling to his religion, but increasingly found himself doubting in God; then, His apparent abandonment of the family when Lena hits Naomi would have been an appropriate final straw.

5. This story would benefit from having its setting defined more thoroughly. I recently republished a short story in which I received criticism for not doing this, so I understand how, as an author, you are aware of the details and forget the reader isn't. The mention of the fireplace at the very end of the story is surprising for that reason – there was no reference to it at all leading up to that point.

6. I realise Azarel, Lena, and Naomi are all Hebrew names, but Azarel's name stands out. If the intention was to liken him to the Azrael, the Archangel of Death, then I would recommend characterising him in a way that would support that association. Otherwise, it feels like you picked the name because it sounded cool, or some other arbitrary reason.

7. I wasn't going to mention at first because I thought it glaringly obvious, but this short story lacks imagery. I'm all for a simplistic yet elegant style, but this was simply bland and even a little emotionless.

I can't honestly say there was much I liked about this. It certainly has the potential to be something better, but it's too short, drab, and poorly presented to be particularly interesting. Having said that, if you ever feel the urge to revise and republish this, feel free to tag me, and I'll have a look.

Good luck with your writing, as well as your account issues!

~ Hunter

thanks so much this is really helpful

AstralHunter says...

You're welcome! I apologise if my advice seemed a bit harsh at places. If anything was too vague, do ask for clarification, and I'll be happy to oblige.

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105 Reviews

Points: 4417
Reviews: 105

Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:11 pm
Danni88 wrote a review...

Hi Lizzie! Danni here for a review!
First off, I really sympathize with Naomi. She reminds me of myself: clever, speaks her mind.
I HATE Lena for being such a witch. How can you do that to your own daughter? If I was there, I reckon I would kick her up the bum and throw her into Tartarus (that's a quirk with me) and give Naomi a massive box of chocolates.
I love the way Azarel takes matters into his own hands. He's obviously a really good dad and loves his daughter. I hope Lena gets what she deserves.
Overall, I really liked this. Very well written with no grammatical errors. Keep up the good work!
Danni x

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841 Reviews

Points: 664
Reviews: 841

Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:46 pm
Radrook says...

i remember reviewing the shorter version. This adds details and is a good improvement.

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32 Reviews

Points: 3138
Reviews: 32

Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:33 am
LukeStarkiller wrote a review...

I like this story a lot. You play Azarel's love of the Bible against Lena's drunkenness very well. The capitalization of Him was cool as well and worked well with the theme of Azarel's internal struggle. I do wonder, however, if there is a Part 2. I had a lot of questions at the end, so I certainly hope there is.

The last paragraph felt rushed to me. A lot happens in those six or seven sentences, and you could definitely lengthen it. I think it would also add to the dramatic weight of the scene. Go deeper into Azarel's belief that "his God would not allow this."

Beyond that, nothing jumped out at me. You have a lot of comma splices, but it didn't make anything confusing for me. It's just a pet peeve of mine. Overall, this is very good, and I would definitely add onto it. Keep writing!

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5 Reviews

Points: 9
Reviews: 5

Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:46 pm
Po5eidon says...

Hi Lizzie! This is a great book! There is only one thing. I didn't really understand the part at the end. What was happening to Naomi? I'm guessing she was hit by someone, but who was it? Thank you for the great read though! Also, will you make this into a short book or story, because so far it is AMAZING!

Naomi was hit by Lena, her mum and Azarels wife, I plan to clear that up I just haven't had the time yet.

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105 Reviews

Points: 4417
Reviews: 105

Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:56 pm
Danni88 says...

Hi Lizzie, you already posted this. I know cos I reviewed it. What’s going on

Danni88 says...

Did you forget ur password cos this is an entirely new account and the same review? What%u2019s happening?

This is a new account because I used the wrong email on my last one, do you mind posting your review on this because I can%u2019t find my old one? Really sorry

Danni88 says...

Sure, don%u2019t worry about it! I will do it on sunday for review day


“All stories are true," Skarpi said. "But this one really happened, if that's what you mean.”
— Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind