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Silent Sakura - Chapter 1

by smokeyyyy


Wind rustled the sakura trees into a swaying serenade, depositing petals of cherry that drifted down ever so softly to take their place floating delicately in the softly bedded fountain beside me. I pressed my back gingerly into the coarse stone beside the fountain, my left hand slumping down into the fountain and tenderly swirling the liquid around. Watching the sakura blossoms swirl around in the bed of liquid, floating in unison all about in the fluidity - I can only describe this feeling as raw and unfiltered serenity. The soft whistling of a cool, mid-day breeze filled my ears once again and summoned a seemingly endless line of drifting blossoms, sailing down from the sky in a leisurely hovering state. One particular blossom glided down beside my pale, polished toes, slipped loosely inside those splintered oak sandals, just beside my small tea pot and the edge of the fountain. My fingers floated over to the blossom, carefully fluttering along each individual velveteen, plushy blossom. The moment seemed infinite, boundless, limitless - it seemed to extend measurelessly, in a state I can only describe as cosmic and endless bliss. Pure bliss.

Suddenly, soft clicked crashed on through my universe, destroying my lonesome moment, my endless serenity, seemingly the only peace in my life. Snapping my vision upward only brought the morose expression of my master to my attention, her sharp eyebrows creased closely along her eyelids, followed by the wrinkles of her forehead just above, and the evidence of a forming jeer furrowed at the bridge of her nose. To my surprise, my reflexes got the best of my own abilities. I released a squeaky gasp, jolting my leg forward and knocking my cup into the fountain bed. I watched regretfully as my pot glugged downward to the bottom of the fountain, presumably to never again come back to my palms.

"You stupid girl!"

It was only then that my glance was brought forth to the muttering of insane profanities I do not wish to list here, emitting from my master. There I was, once again, caught lacking on my shift. My abilities as a maid were purchased to clean this estate, top to bottom, on the daily, and of course, to serve the inhabitants. It seemed as though I was even incapable at performing such simple tasks asked of me - but perhaps it was due to my developing hatred of the slave work I had caught myself into. I only have myself to blame for my current situation, but then again I cannot blame myself at all. I was merely a young, stupid girl before the whole ordeal even began. But I was lively, and maybe I had something to live for. Getting in rough with the wrong men was my ultimate wrongdoing, and of course they required some form of payment for my debts. That wasn’t my mistake, anyhow, it was my father’s. His weakness seemed to be his failures, in the end. Unable to pay his debts in any other form, they simply took his daughter and called it even. Being a working maid on a large estate of wealthy yakuza was not ‘the big dream’ for me; it wasn’t what I pictured to say the least.

Gripped at the wrist with fingernails digging their way deep into my skin, I was yanked forth and up to my feet, only to be faced with the sheer strength of the matriarch of the estate. It seemed the only fit punishment for me was lashings of some sort, which my master was no stranger to performing on us maids. After all, we are not people. We are mere slaves.

My splintered sandals skidded along the cut cobbled stone beneath my feet, etching shards of oak into my toes and heel as I staggered about. Practically hauled into the estate, I was merely tossed to the floor, almost as if I was some sort of toy she could just use at her leisure - which, now that I think of it, is essentially what I was - kicked down to the fine, speckless wooden forth beneath her feet. But little did I know, I am not alone in this room. The cluttering of opening and shutting sliding bamboo shutters cascaded to my senses, perking my head back to the direction of the sounds. Cue the entry of the patriarch of a powerful yakuza in the area, ultimately my boss of which I had never met. And beside him stood another man, noticeably striking and young, waltzing along the stainless floors to greet her. It seemed as though both of my masters jeered at me in disgust, before attempting at what I can only presume as an attempt to play off the situation to our guest. Dumbfounded, my ankles rested on the floor as I coaxed a strand of hair to my left ear, not even thinking to bring myself back to my feet. My elderly boss sauntered over to his wife, both masters now greeting formally with a bow as an introduction to the guest. The matriarch, otherwise known as the estate manager, eagerly nodded and gathered up a cheery yet phony smirk, but her frustrations were not at all subtle; in fact, bursting veins and layered wrinkles at her forehead of thinning hair resided as a tell to her true exasperations. The rather attractive young man promptly finished formalities with the estate manager and instead turned to greet me, whereas the elderly man simply wandered about as he wished to begin blustering and boasting about his massive estate. He offered a smooth palm with a cognizant smirk rising up to his visage, nodding gently from side to side, indicating such a mistake I had made. Scatterbrained and indecisive, I brought my trembling fingers up to his palm, taking soft grasp as I was carefully lifted to my feet with a slight swaying motion to my hips. I do admit I am guilty of perhaps holding his hand for a painfully long moment without a word in the awkward silence, before the calls of the elderly man began to clearly irritate the young one, and thus released my hand with a shake. His charming complexion was simply too much for my naive eyes to handle. Everything about him - a soft whirling eyebrow to indicate a perplexed manner, subtle movements at the lips, speaking something in soft tones that I could not even comprehend from within my daze, and that piercing gaze of his… With nothing other than a simple nod to me, I all too obviously sunk my teeth down sharply into my quivering lip as he turned away. Quite literally fragile at that moment, I began to feel my knees buckle at the bases down to my feet below me. Catching myself on the bamboo framing, I pressed myself up against the walls and huffed ceaselessly. My master simply shrugged my off with an acute exhale, waving a hand and ambling off at the peak of her raging vex.

Slumping down to the flooring below, I rested my sweaty palms along my knees shakily as I panted softly. I, Sakurai Rei, am in love.


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Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:09 pm
Lionhero333 wrote a review...



First I just want to say say that the title is very coool

Your opening is really great. I felt it might've slightly dragged but honestly its perfect.

Your descriptions are very strong and vivid which is always important in getting someone to understand the world their entering. A few run on sentences if I had to be technical (which I dont)

I really dont have anymore than that. I really enjoyed reading this. I look forward to more

Keep writing🤙




smokeyyyy says...


Thank you very much! I appreciate any suggestions I can get.
Thanks for the support!



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Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:58 pm
4revgreen wrote a review...



Hi there! You can call me Green, and I'm here to review this first chapter of your story :-)

Wind rustled the sakura trees into a swaying serenade, depositing petals of cherry that drifted down ever so softly to take their place floating delicately in the softly bedded fountain beside me.


This is a beautiful opening, but perhaps a little too long? Maybe just stop after serenade and have the rest as a separate sentence? It is really beautiful imagery and a really strong opening :-)

I pressed my back gingerly into the coarse stone beside the fountain, my left hand slumping down into the fountain and tenderly swirling the liquid around.


The repetition of 'fountain' within this sentence breaks the flow a little bit.

Snapping my vision upward only brought the morose expression of my master to my attention, her sharp eyebrows creased closely along her eyelids, followed by the wrinkles of her forehead just above, and the evidence of a forming jeer furrowed at the bridge of her nose. To my surprise, my reflexes got the best of my own abilities.


This is a really great description of a person, it made me chuckle a little.

The second to last paragraph is reaaalllly long and i feel as though you could break it up a little to make it easier to read.

Okay, so, my one criticism is the same as the previous reviewer mentioned. You use a lot of adverbs and long winded descriptions. Whilst this paints a beautiful picture of the scene, it makes it quite hard to read and stay interested in the topic. You don't need to describe every single little detail (although you do it beautiful) and don't be afraid to include more action and speech to break up the description. It didn't really feel like an opening chapter because of this, more like an excerpt from part of a chapter. Perhaps a little more dynamic between Sakura and the other characters would help set the overall scene for the rest of the story, and would introduce us to other characters in the story.

Overall, though, this was beautifully written and I can tell you put so much effort into this. You've nailed descriptive writing, and you're very talented at it! Maybe you could just work on weaving in some speech/action into this chapter? (Or, feel free to ignore my suggestions, since this is your work and at the end of the day it's whether you're happy with it that counts)

Keep writing :-) i look forward to reading more

-4revgreen




smokeyyyy says...


Thank you very much for the review!
- The more I look over this work, the more I realize how much of a mouthful some of the sentences are. This is partially due to the fact that I didn't even proofread this. If I did, I likely would have broke up the sentences and paragraphs much more, and likely remove a bunch of things that were just unnecessary. I feel like I kind of just rambled and vomited on the page, which really isn't a bad thing for a writing exercise, but it definitely needs to be edited after that.
- Reading it now I also realize that most of the story feels like a sideline to the description, and it's hard to keep up with the developments of the story. I noticed also that I'm pretty bad at moving plots along in stories, or just making plots because I like to write on the spot and just throw it out there, so I definitely need to take my time on forming plots that make sense and have connecting points to move along.

Thanks so much for your review! I really appreciate all the support you've given, and the suggestions ALWAYS help. :)



4revgreen says...


You're welcome! it was a beautiful piece, my old english teacher would have loved you aha, she very much liked descriptive writing which is probably why i used to do the same thing aha



smokeyyyy says...


haha thanks :)



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Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:38 pm
MissGangamash wrote a review...



'I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.' - Stephen King.

This quote is the first thing I thought of when reading this. Especially the first paragraph. 'Softly. Delicately. Softly. Gingerly. Tenderly.' That's just from the first two sentences. Overusing adverbs makes them redundant, and also makes a tiring read.

You also use a lot of long, run-on sentences that makes the whole tone of this piece quite passive. The narrator feels like an observer and not actually in the action. She also seems separate by the way the characters are talking but we don't get their dialogue.

You also need to condense these paragraphs or split them up. Especially the second to last one, it is far too long and makes it difficult to read.

As for the story itself, it seems like you've got a good idea and I can tell you have a good grasp of the setting.

Hope this helps!




smokeyyyy says...


Thank you very much for the feedback!
- Sorry about the paragraph formatting, I'll fix it with my next addition to the series. In fear of losing my progress, I did most of the work in a google document and then copy pasted it over, so there must've been some issues with breaking up the text there.
- I'm aware of my long-running sentences, but I've never really paid attention to the damage that they can do. Yeah, most of my paragraphs are like 2 sentences that are just really long so that's definitely a problem.
- I sorta have a thing with constantly trying to use new and different words to add layers to my writing, but I realize that it's likely more overwhelming than anything instead of having my desired effect. Instead of setting the atmosphere, it just makes it more difficult to read.
- I intentionally tried to separate dialogue to make it seems as if the narrator is on a separate level entirely than her masters, which I now realize is kind of redundant as well as it obstructs the plot.
Not sure if I'm going to continue on this series for a long while, but it's just what I was inspired to write yesterday.
Thanks for the opinion! It helped a lot!



Magebird says...


I haven't read the work, but I just wanted to pop in quickly and say that you can actually edit this work to fix the formatting if you want to! You can find the edit option underneath the "share this" box on the right side of the page. :)




You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.
— Anne Lamott