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Steps into the Mirror (Breaking in the Glass) - 3/3

by mephistophelesangel

5. You’re getting sadder, getting sadder, and I don’t understand, and I don’t understand

Around the time when Teal stops his attempts to hide from Gale and run down the mountain, the trees are dancing in their brightest shades of gold and red, the ground layered with fallen leaves. It is when Gale is sitting under a tree with a tattered yellow leaf that Teal finds him, breathing harshly with a flushed face.

Without saying a word, Teal tears the leaf out of Gale’s fingers and crushes it under a foot. Slowly, Gale lowers his hands onto the ground and gazes at Teal with a quiet smile.

“I hate these colors,” Teal seethes, and stomps on the leaf one last time with a soft crunch. “They’re too loud. They burn my eyes.”

Gale’s smile falters for only the smallest fraction of a moment, then brightens once again. “It’ll be okay.”

As soon as the world brightens the next day, Gale walks deep into the surrounding trees. He scoops up an armful of leaves and buries his nose in their warm scent, sliding his eyes shut.

The wind whispers through his hair and he feels the leaves crumbling into fractured ice at his feet. Around him, his world heaves a cold sigh and the crimson ground drowns in a flurry of snow crystals. In a second the sky has melted gray and the air is biting and accusing against his face. Slumping onto the softened ground, Gale digs his fingers into the snow and allows winter to tear into his throbbing veins.

Later he sees that the world has shifted too quickly for anything else but himself when he finds the furry bodies within a grave of ice. For days, the sky never stops pouring frozen tears until he smashes his hand into a bloody smear with a stone, managing to focus instead on the red spreading through the ground.

Gale finds Teal frozen to death an hour after and the world explodes into its first blizzard. As Teal’s body is beginning to lose its pale blue coloring, Gale silently screams at the wind to seep into everything there is and infect the mountain with the iciest winter that no living thing has ever seen before.

It is the last time Gale tells Teal that it’ll be okay.


6. Don’t resent me, and when you’re feeling empty, keep me in your memory, leave out all the rest

Teal opens his eyes with a rattling cough only when the storm of ice dies down outside, his back cracking as he pulls himself up partway. He cringes in the cold air, each one of his gasps a faint plume of white.

He glances at Gale, who had been sitting like a part of the cave ever since Teal’s fingers began twitching. Nonrecognition glitters like shattered ice shards in Teal’s eyes, and the sharp ends pierce Gale’s chest with hardly any resistance.

Before Teal can utter a word, Gale reaches forward and snaps his neck.

The setting sun finds Gale gently turning Teal onto his side from where he was sprawled lifelessly, eyes lingering blankly on the other’s. Then, with the snow melting outside, Gale hugs his knees to his chest and spends the days leading up to summer ripping his eyes out again and again.

Days after the trees flourish green, men climb the mountain in search of animals and roots. It isn’t long until they stumble across the slumbering man in a cave that is queerly devoid of all other life.

And, hushing even the wind itself, Gale crouches behind a tree and lets them take Teal away.

(Later, digging his fingertips into the rough tree bark, he hangs his head to weep through the silence.)

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1130 Reviews

Points: 49480
Reviews: 1130

Sun Sep 27, 2015 1:36 pm
Carlito wrote a review...

Hello again! :)

Part 5 - again, the descriptions here are really very lovely and I thought this was the best section yet. One thing I'm confused about is why Teal dies so often. I still don't know if it's metaphorical dying or literal dying, and if it's literal I don't understand how he's coming back to life all the time. I'd like a little more description or explanation about that.

What I'd like to talk about here is the character development. That was one thing you mentioned in your original request. I'm not sure how to feel about either of the characters and I'm not sure how the characters feel about one another. There is so much description throughout this piece (it's pretty much all description) that I haven't really gotten to know the characters. I think in those places where I mentioned you could slow down, one of the things you could do is add more dialogue between these characters. I want a sense of their personalities and how they interact with one another because that will help your reader get to know them.

At the beginning of this scene, Teal mentioned how he's trying to get away from Gale. I don't remember that happening before or why he would feel that way. I thought Gale was helping him? Does Teal want to get away from Gale? If so, why? What does Gale want from Teal? What does Teal want from Gale? I think that type of information will help us get to know them and understand them better.

Part 6 - hmmm interesting ending! Overall, I liked this whole part the best out of the three. I think some of the things I've already said (like slowing down and showing more) would be beneficial here as well.

Overall, this is an interesting piece. It reminds me of The Giver in a weird way - the one guy showing the other guy stuff and sort of using him. (haha that's a horrible description of The Giver :p). Anyway, the one big thing I think you can do to improve the piece (just to sum it all up) is to slow down and show more. I think that would take this to the next level :)

Let me know if you have any questions, need me to elaborate on anything, or if anything I said was confusing!!

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359 Reviews

Points: 455
Reviews: 359

Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:12 pm
steampowered wrote a review...

Hello, steampowered here for a review!

Awww, this is the end. No more Teal dying, no more Gale constantly trying to please his creation and getting frustrated when it doesn’t work (I have this mental picture of Gale as some kind of puppy who’s doing everything he can to please his human and getting kicks when he expects biscuits but never losing hope!) Anyway, onto reviewing:

While this was a somewhat sad ending, I didn’t feel like it was over-the-top depressing. I mean, I felt really sorry for Gale because he’s lost his companion, and maybe he’s always going to be alone. But I felt kind of happy for Teal, because Gale didn’t just give up and leave him dead. He left him asleep in a place where other humans could find him. Whatever happened to Teal afterwards the reader can only guess at, but my own theory is that he was taken in by the tribe and was around his own people. I mean, we could also assume that the humans killed him (poor Teal, doesn’t exactly get along well with others) but it’s left open to the reader’s interpretation. So it could equally well be a bittersweet ending as a tragic one.

“I hate these colors,” Teal seethes, and stomps on the leaf one last time with a soft crunch. “They’re too loud. They burn my eyes.”

Aww, tantrums. Poor Gale, you’ve created a diva. (Hmm, I have a few thoughts. Firstly, does Teal have the same traits as Gale? I know they have the same appearance, so are they identical? And if Teal is Gale’s reflection, do either men now have a reflection?)

Then, with the snow melting outside, Gale hugs his knees to his chest and spends the days leading up to summer ripping his eyes out again and again.

Whoa, hang on. Whose eyes? Is this sentence meant to be taken literally? I feel slightly thrown by this…

Um, I didn’t really find anything else wrong with this. Overall, it was a really awesome story but on reflection I think it’s best left as a short story (unless you can find a way to turn it into a novel, of course) Great characterisation, brilliant play on the reader’s emotions (yes, you’re a total meanie to Gale and Teal but I’ll forgive you because the rest of it was so good) and some really interesting concepts! It was a wonderful (and oddly satisfying) ending, and I’d love to read more of your future work! :D

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325 Reviews

Points: 689
Reviews: 325

Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:04 pm
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SunsetTree wrote a review...

hahaha, Gales like that kid who keeps putting his broken toys back together, then after it breaks too many times he just tears it apart. I love how a story that seems to take itself so seriously still has this satirical edge to it, but then you flip the table to depressing with the last line. You're really good at playing with a reader's emotions ._.

Gale finds Teal frozen to death an hour after and the world explodes into its first blizzard.

Would it really have taken him an hour to find him? As far as I could tell before, they were always together.

I don't know if you'd call this series of shorts a black comedy, maybe it's just my twisted sense of humor finding it a little bit funny. But either way, the mixture of emotions is really well done, I can't help but giggle at Teal constantly dying, but also feel sad at how tragic a father/son relationship ends. Maybe elaborating more on Gale's powers at one point would alleviate the idea of why he had to just keep reviving Teal and couldn't do more to protect him. As far as I remember, you were pretty vague on Gale's exact powers.

That's about all I have to comment on, good job again.

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158 Reviews

Points: 425
Reviews: 158

Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:39 pm
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Payne wrote a review...

“I hate these colors,” Teal seethes, and stomps on the leaf one last time with a soft crunch. “They’re too loud. They burn my eyes.”

I love this line. So much. For one thing "seethes" is such a rarely used word. xD So bonus points for that. I have to applaud you for this ending. I was half expecting some "and they all lived happily ever after" ending. That would have been disappointing. I love how you showed Gale's unwavering concern and devotion to Teal (despite Teal's frustrating lack of knowledge and sometimes contempt for Gale) and after so much of it Gale...quite literally snaps. As messed up as this might sound, I love it as an ending to this story.

You did well showing us that Gale is going insane, instead of just telling us. Again, I love your description and imagery throughout.

I'm still a little confused as to why Gale didn't use his power more to take better care of Teal, though. I think a previous reviewer pointed this out. Why didn't he just annihilate all the other humans, or remove the obstacles from Teal's path?

Overall, this was a great read.

Hey, Payne! (I'll just reply here for all of your previous reviews.)

Your reviews pointed out things that I had not noticed the first time I read over the writing. So, therefore, thank you so much. I will of course look at all the sections you pointed out and attempt to make them better.

And lastly, I'm so glad that you liked the ending! I was worried about it, because it might have been too depressing and people might not be entirely happy with it. But you did like it and now I'm starting to think that this was one of the better endings I thought of after all!

Thank you so much for your reviews, again.


Payne says...

No problem and I'm happy to be of help. Sometimes it's not a bad thing to deviate from the cheerful ending :)

Time is not your best friend - unless you use it wisely.
— Marco Pierre White