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16+ Violence Mature Content

Celia meets the magician!

by vampricone6783


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

*This is the origin of a character from my “Elsdale Circus” stories. This story will be under my folder titled “Elsdale Circus”. Gacha Club character designs are on my wall. Enjoy!*



Introduction

MRS. MARGOT’S HOUSE OF HEALING-ROOM 177

Celia looked out of the hole in the wall, watching the rain droop lazily down. She remembered their parents’ terrified faces when the white light had taken them, how their bodies twisted with blood and bones…

No, she shouldn’t think about it. It was too horrible to lie in her mind.

Her twin sister, Delia, lay next to her in the ruins of an orphanage. The dilapidated walls echoed their sad singing voices. They used to sing with their mother before…before it happened.

Celia closed her eyes. It was going to be a long night.

Best to get some sleep.

Chapter One

The sun shone benignly on the girls, but Celia didn’t feel its warmth. She nudged Delia awake.

“Come now. Off to the outside.” Celia said.

Delia rubbed her eyes. She didn’t want to get up, but knew that she had to.

They had to sing for their lives.

Chapter Two

FLASHBACK

Mom sat on the edge of Celia and Delia’s bed. Dad was downstairs, watching the news in their little TV.

Mom sang softly to them:

“Home, we found a place to stay

Never will we leave

This home behind

This wonderful, beautiful home of ours.”

“Home is whatever you make of it. It doesn’t have to be here, it can be anywhere that feels right and good in your heart.” Mom said.

“But we like it here!” Delia said.

Mom smiled and kissed their foreheads.

“I’m glad that you feel loved here.” Mom said.

Chapter Three

Celia and Delia walked outside, huddled close together as if to keep away from the passerby. Celia knew that singing would make them listen.

So, she found a place to stand and set the hat on the ground and sang the song Mom used to sing, their high voices rising through the still air. Few coins were plinked into the hat, people had places to be.

At night, Delia asked her if they would ever find a place to stay. Celia believed it so and let her know.

Was their thin flesh rotting at their brittle bones? It was. To walk made Celia want to scream, but she couldn’t. She had to sing so they could get money and live somewhere. Wasn’t that how it worked?

“Scram, rats!” A raspy voice yelled.

Chapter Four

Celia and Delia only caught a glimpse of who yelled before they made a run for it.

A woman in makeup and pearls, dressed in a colorful fabrics that seemed to fly as she walked. A picturesque Princess, what the girls could only dream to be.

The wealthy did not like their small voices with hints of tiredness in them. They wanted them to run back to the slums they crawled from.

Hand in hand, the little children ran.

Chapter Five

FLASHBACK

Mom was just about to get off the bed, when, suddenly, with a loud clap, there was a blinding blue light that shot from the window to Mom.

Celia sat up, heart racing.

The light disappeared. So did Mom. Where she was knocked onto the ground was a black spot, smoke rolling to the ceiling.

“No…no…” Celia said. No other words would come out of her choked throat, her eyes welled with tears. What was the light and the spot? Why was it so loud? What…what happened?

Delia threw back the covers and jumped out of bed, running out the door.

“Delia, wait!” Celia said, pushing away the blankets.

Chapter Six

After running for what seemed like hours, they stopped. Cold rain pattered on their skin. Dad used to say that they’d get sick if they didn’t dress appropriately in the rain.

Their tattered nightgowns did little to protect them. With rain-soaked eye lids, Celia saw a small brick building with a wooden sign on the wall that read: “CASPIAN’S OFFICE.”

Celia never saw the building until that moment, but nowhere else would take them.

“This way!” Celia cried out.

As she always did, she took hold of Delia’s hand and ran.

Chapter Seven

Celia walked up to the front door and pushed it open. The room had a single dim light. There was a young man sitting on a chair in front of a desk. She could only see his blond hair and his crisp white cloak.

“Come in. Sit wherever you like.” The man said softly.

So he was letting them in? He wasn’t shooing them away? That was a first.

Delia hesitated at the front door.

“Are you sure that we can trust him?” Delia asked.

Celia nodded. They had to trust him, they had no choice.

Chapter Eight

FLASHBACK

Delia hesitated at the end of the hallway that led to an opening to the living room, seeming to look with frightened eyes.

“What’s wrong?” Celia asked.

Delia didn’t reply. She only froze, staring into the living room.

Celia stepped closer. Why was Delia so scared? Why wasn’t she saying anything? What was going on?

Celia screamed when she saw it.

Dad was on the floor, eyes petrified in helplessness, limbs twisted like a forgotten doll’s. The fading gray specks of smoke circled around his body.

In their bedroom, the only thing left of Mom was a burning spot.

Could it be that the light got to Dad?

Chapter Nine

Celia and Delia sat on the patient’s bed, both watching the man closely. He hadn’t done a single thing except let them in. Their parents had told them long ago not to go near strangers, but it no longer applied after their demise.

“What brings you here?” The man asked. He seemed sweet, like he cared. Celia wanted to believe that he was good, but fear was eating at the corners of her heart.

“A storm. That’s what. We can’t go anywhere else.” Celia said. She hoped that she wasn’t making a mistake, that Delia would be okay.

“Ah. I see.” The man said. He stood up from his chair and turned to face the girls.

His eyes were shining blue, full of love and light. He smiled at them softly, much like Dad did.

“Would you like to see a magic trick?” The man asked.

“A magic trick?” Delia asked. She couldn’t quite believe that he wanted to show them a magic trick, but Celia nodded vigorously.

Of course she wanted to see magic, who wouldn’t?

Chapter Ten

From the man’s face there came the blooming of flowers. Flowers bloomed on his face. Both girl watched with wide eyes, for they had never seen anything like it in their lives.

“I’m a witch, my name is Caspian.” The man said with a soft smile.

Chapter Eleven

FLASHBACK

It had been days after what had happened. The girls were shooed away by people who wanted to “fix the house”.

Celia and Delia stood at the streets, singing like the rest of the dirty children. It worried Celia that there were so many. She didn’t realize how many lost kids were out there.

Celia clasped Delia’s hand tighter, as if to protect her from the outside world.

Chapter Twelve

“You’re a witch? Witches are real?” Celia asked. Her parents told her that witches were monsters made to frighten them and they need not worry.

But if Caspian was a witch…

“You don’t need to be scared. I won’t hurt you, I promise.” Caspian said with a grin.

Chapter Thirteen

“You promise?” Celia asked. Promises could not be broken, that much she knew.

“I promise.” Caspian said.

“If magic is real, then that means you’ll believe us, right?” Celia asked. It had occurred to her that she could tell him what happened, that he wouldn’t shoo them away, because he himself was a witch!

“Certainly. What is it that you want to say?” Caspian asked.

Celia and Delia looked at each other. Never before had they been able to tell the truth without someone shouting horrid words at them, making them both feel like insignificant, scuttling rats.

But Caspian was different. He would understand. He had magical powers and he promised, there was not a thing to worry about!

Chapter Fourteen

“Our house exploded with a blast of light and then our parents died.” Celia said. It sounded so ridiculous when it was said out loud, like she had made it all up.

“You’ve been living in the outside, haven’t you?” Caspian asked.

“Yes.” Celia said. Delia was silent, taking it all in.

“You can stay as long as you want.“ Caspian said.

“Really?” Celia asked with a cracked voice. She tried not to cry, but the tears fell anyway.

“Yes.” Caspian said softly.

Chapter Fifteen

The girls had spent hours playing away in his office, never wanting to leave. They would have to, soon, for there were people waiting for them.

“Why’d you become a doctor?” Delia asked. Celia never thought to ask, but Delia must have been curious.

“I wanted to help people.” Caspian said. It sounded like a normal answer, but Celia caught a certain sadness in his eyes.

Chapter Sixteen

FLASHBACK

Where could they go? They were all alone after what happened to their parents.

Celia spotted a line of children in front of a laundromat. Now, why were they there? What was so great about it?

Celia ran up to them, still clutching Delia’s hand, curious as ever.

“What are you guys doing?” Celia asked.

“Waiting to work.” A boy replied. He seemed tired, like he hadn’t slept in years.

“Kids work?” Delia asked.

“Well, we do!” The boy snapped. Delia buried her head in Celia’s shoulder, her hand was shaking slightly.

Though they were both the same age, Celia was older than her by a few minutes, and she felt the sorrow and love that an older sibling would feel for their younger one.

“Don’t yell at my sister.” Celia said calmly. She didn’t want to get into a fight, but she thought that he should know.

“Yell? What do you mean, she asked a stupid question!” The boy cried out. Celia knew that he was in pain, she could see it from how his hands were dirty, hear from how his voice cracked.

But she ignored him and headed to the back of the line, make sure she didn’t let go of Delia.

“What are you doing?” Delia asked.

“We’re going to work. It’s going to be fine, because I’m here. It’s a place to stay, so it’s worth it.” Celia said.

“What if it’s too much?” Delia asked fearfully.

“Then we’ll leave.”

They would steal if they had to. Anything to keep Delia alive.

Chapter Seventeen

“We’ve got to go now. Goodbye.” Celia said.

Caspian raised an eyebrow.

“Already? But it’s only the afternoon. Where are you going?”

“Somewhere.” Celia said. She tried grabbing Delia’s hand, but Delia yanked away from her.

“I want to stay!” Delia cried out.

“I’m sorry, but we have to go! Remember?” Celia asked. She hated to frighten her sister, but it was the only thing to make her leave.

Delia’s eyes went wide with fear. She took Celia’s hand and out they ran into the world beyond.

Chapter Eighteen

As they ran to the factory, Celia’s eyes caught a distant glow.

A million strings of light were shining through the fogged rain. A sight that Celia had never seen, but couldn’t stay long to watch.

They were waiting.

Chapter Nineteen

“About time! Get to work!” The man shouted. They couldn’t see him in the factory, through all of the machinery, but they could hear his voice, clear with frustration.

Celia got to the thread machine and began with threading the textiles. She promised Delia that they would leave, but they were pulled back, locked away.

Still, the lights shined.

Chapter Twenty

IN THE NIGHT



A day of work had passed. The kids either slept in the factory or out in the streets. Delia was asleep on the cement ground of the factory, but Celia was still awake, staring at the lights that still shined.

How fascinating, that the lights shined through the darkest of night. They were brighter than any stars that Celia had seen. Music did a jaunty jig from the place of lights, a song her Mom used to play on the piano before…before it happened.

Was the place of lights a place to stay?

Chapter Twenty-One

Morning had come. Celia was frantically shaking Delia awake, needing her to open her eyes.

“W…what?” Delia asked, tiredness still in her voice.

“We’re leaving! Hurry!” Celia said. Everyone was working, the man hadn’t seen them yet.

With a grin on her face, Delia got up and took Celia’s hand.

Running again, but right then and there, to safety.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Celia and Delia were running to Caspian’s office, the little brown brick building waiting for them.

If they were to go into the land of lights, then Caspian should come as well.

It was only fair.

Chapter Twenty-Three

Time had passed since the girls have arrived in Caspian’s office. They were talking to each other in eagerness, the two sisters.

But then, Celia remembered why they came in the first place and asked Caspian:

“What is that?”

“What is what?” Caspian asked. He blinked his eyes, but why?

“Over there!” Celia said, pointing to the window.

He was an adult and adults knew everything.

“It’s Elsdale circus. They travel around town with different shows. There are people who do things that you can’t do. Kind of like me. The way I heal you, most people can’t do that.”

He healed their scars on days the man got really mad and decided to hit them.

They were lucky the other day. Celia wasn’t so sure they would be lucky ever again.

“Really?” Celia asked, wide-eyed.

“Yes, really. There are people who can do extraordinary things. Sometimes, they have animals. Not all circuses have animals, but I think that this one does.”

“They have animals?” Delia asked. Delia loved animals. She used to always ask Mom and Dad for a pet, but they always said it was too much work.

Celia rolled her eyes. Animals were stupid and dirty, why did Delia want one so much?

“Yes, they do.” Caspian said.

The lights were quite pretty from where Caspian was looking. Celia and Delia got up from the bed, taking a hand of his.

They had to get up close and personal to the show.

“Do the animals and people live in the circus?” Delia asked.

Ugh, again with the animals! There were more important things to talk about!

“Sometimes. Depends on what the circus is. If it travels, like this one, then I think they do. If it stays in one place, they live in their own houses. It also depends on the situation of the performers. If they can afford their own place, they have their own homes. If not, they live in the circus. I don’t know everything, you would have to ask the ringmaster.”

“What’s a ringmaster?” Celia asked, furrowing her brows. She had never heard of such a term before. Were ringmasters Masters with lots of rings?

“The man who leads the circus. He’s the leader. The ringmaster. The entire act of a circus usually takes place in one big ring. It is the center of the circus, just as the ringmaster is the leader of the circus.”

“Can we join the circus?” Celia asked.

Despite all of the disgusting animals, a circus sounded like a much more wonderful place to stay than the factory.

“Yes, can we? Can we all go live in the circus? It sounds wonderful!” Delia agreed.

“No. The circus is not as wonderful as it seems. I lived there. I know it.” Caspian said.

“You lived there? Tell us everything!” Celia said. She wanted to know what it was like, what kind of people he met, what kind of friends he made!

“It’s not important. Now, what games do you and Delia like to play?” Caspian asked.

Delia began to tell Caspian of the games they played, but Celia looked out the window, staring at the magical lights.

It wasn’t fair. Why did Caspian say no? They were told no all the time by mean adults. Caspian wasn’t mean, so why would he say that?

All three of them had to live there one day. Celia couldn’t endure another moment wearing ratty shoes that felt the burning floor of the factory…

Chapter Twenty-Four

EIGHT HOURS LATER

The sun was just beginning to set. Celia took a deep breath, holding the hand of Delia’s extra tightly.

“You’re hurting me!” Delia cried out, yanking her hand away from Celia’s.

“S-sorry.” Celia stuttered.

Right in front of them was the looming factory, black clouds of smoke rising into the fogged sky.

They had been in Caspian’s office for a long time. Celia almost forgot that they had to get back to the factory, but when she saw that the sky was getting slightly dimmer, she knew that they had to leave.

Perhaps the man wouldn’t notice that they were out for too long.

Celia stepped into the factory, Delia following close behind.

……………………………………………………

The other children took no notice to their arrival, so focused in the world of work. The man wasn’t around, it was completely quiet, save for the machines and the screams from injured kids.

“You’re out late, aren’t you?” A familiar, jagged voice said behind them.

Celia swallowed hard, her eyes went wide. She didn’t want to turn around, didn’t want to face the man.

But the man roughly grabbed Celia’s arm and turned her to face him.

“You will listen to what I say! I control your future! I am the adult! You’re just children, so you’ll respect me!” He yelled.

Everyone looked up.

Sure, the man raised his voice, but he never shouted before. Celia squeezed her eyes shut, knowing what would come next.

A fine-structured hand struck across her left cheek. Celia’s left cheek burned with the hot, fiery red blow of the smack. She held back her tears, though. It was the last straw.

“No!” Celia yelled, opening her eyes. They were a tad blurry from her tears, but she could still see perfectly well.

Celia grabbed Delia’s hand, running away from the whispers of the children and the man who chased them.

He wouldn’t get very far. They’d turn a corner down a dark alley and he’d think them too weak to survive.

The time to wait was over. The circus was waiting. Caspian was waiting.

Life in the factory was done.

Chapter Twenty-Five

BACK AT CASPIAN’S OFFICE

The girls sat on the patient bed, going over what to say. All of their thoughts were racing, colliding together.

Caspian didn’t like the circus, so how would it be brought up?

“Say, what if we did leave for the circus? Right now?” Caspian asked.

Caspian wanted to go to the circus?

“Do you mean it?” Celia asked, just to be sure

“Yes, I do. Do you want to leave?” Caspian asked.

Celia and Delia exchanged smiles and then joined him at the window.

“Yes!” They said in unison.

Happiness was possible after all!

Chapter Twenty-Six

A FEW MINUTES LATER

Celia stared at the many people attending the circus. There were happy, clean children holding cotton candy or lollipop sticks in their hands, unlike the skeletal-faced children they worked with.

The air was filled with laughter, high and sweet. Everyone seemed to be having one big celebration, caring not for what the world thought.

Though there were no animals and a small amount of performers, there was a single ballerina on the wooden stage. She spun in a perfect circle, just like Celia’s old music box.

Just like her music box…

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Celia’s eyes caught on the ballerina on the wooden stage, twirling in her iridescent pink tutu, her blue eyes sparkling brightly.

She tugged on Caspian’s hand, pointing to the ballerina.

“Do you want to watch her?” Caspian asked.

Both girls nodded simultaneously.

“Alright then. Let’s go.” Caspian said in a voice that sounded detached from his body.

He took their hands and led them to the dancing, shining ballerina.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Why was Caspian so scared? There was nothing to be afraid of at the circus!

As Celia watched the ballerina twirl in sparkling majesty, she couldn’t imagine a better place than the circus.

Maybe he just needed some time.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

After what seemed like a hundred centuries, the ballerina’s performance had ended. Celia didn’t want to return to the hell outside, but would they even be accepted? It was a thought that had not surfaced in her mind until then.

“Caspian! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” A booming, excited voice said behind them.

Celia and Delia turned around.

The voice had belonged to a brown-haired man in a black velvet suit, like what had adorned the chairs of their home, smiling from ear to ear.

“You should stay the night, Caspian.” The man said.

Both girls, synced with each other since birth, jumped up and down with pure elation.

They would stay! They were wanted!

They were going to be circus performers!

Chapter Thirty

The man had introduced himself to them as Mr. Shapcott. Apparently, he knew Caspian!

At the moment, Celia, Delia, and Caspian were locked in a trailer for protection. They would begin performing the next day.

At least we’re safe. Celia thought happily.

Safety was all she wanted, all she asked for, and all she ever needed.

Epilogue

The circus was not what Celia expected it to be. Sometimes, it felt like she and Delia were dying.

But it was a million times better than the factory, even though their hearts stopped briefly, their vision would often get blurred, and their throats went sore from holding a note too long at the demands of Mr. Shapcott.

A million times better…


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Sun Mar 17, 2024 3:03 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello Again, My Friend!

It's me, Raven, and I'd like to review the next short story in this great collection! As always, I will be using my Familiar method today. Let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh…

What The Black Eyes See...

I loved this story as a way to elaborate on the dynamic between the twins! Like the last few, I find it tying into past moments of the Elsdale Circus stories and explaining a lot of things, which is always nice. Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

I have no corrections or recommendations to make! Good writing job ~

Why The Grin Widened...

So, right off the bat, we get to see the relationship between Celia and Delia under a microscope. It was easy to see that they were very close in past stories, but this confirmed that the reason is that they literally had no one else to go to, and they had to rely on each other. It also shows that Celia is more like the leader and protector for the pair, with her practical plans to find work and ways to keep them afloat, whereas Delia seems like a more sensitive and empathetic type, especially with notes like her love of animals.

The circumstances behind their parents' deaths sound so mysterious. The light makes me think of what happened in the orphanage, and the contortion you described for their dad's body was a good bite of horror:

Dad was on the floor, eyes petrified in helplessness, limbs twisted like a forgotten doll’s. The fading gray specks of smoke circled around his body.


You nailed the environment of the factory, how it feels so lifeless and hopeless. The screams of the injured show the risk they face by working there, contrasted by the desperation shown in the kids and the twins themselves. It's such a tragic place, but again, you did great in writing it.

I also loved the elaboration on their bond with Caspian from their perspective. It was a really sweet moment in such a grim story, and you captured it well;

His eyes were shining blue, full of love and light. He smiled at them softly, much like Dad did.

“Would you like to see a magic trick?” The man asked.


It was interesting seeing their experience at the circus; where Caspian was on edge and focused on the misery, especially in Prudence, Celia seems completely captivated by that "circus magic." The comparison of Prudence to their old music box added a personal factor to help it as well.

On that note, the ending is somber in tone, bittersweet at best, but it explains a lot. Especially from the last story, where the twins were so eager to stay against all the warnings they were getting. And the fact that even dying repeatedly to Shapcott is "a million times better" than where they were is so sad and sobering. It's a great way to remind the reader that many of the people who have stayed with Shapcott thus far have not stayed there because they enjoyed it, but because they have no other choice.

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, this story was an incredible way to give us more from the twins, and I enjoyed it a lot! Nicely done! :)

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Sat Mar 02, 2024 12:09 am
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PKMichelle wrote a review...



Hello, friend!!
This review is brought to you by review team Potato!

Get ready... Get set...
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Keep Your Eyes Peeled - My Interpretation

Hey, hey, hey! Another stellar origin story that I am, as always, so excited to dive into! From what I can tell, you've outdone yourself this time!

Brief Summary: Celia and Delia witness their parents disappear into a bright light and are forced to live on their own. However, it's not all bad, as they're able to get a job at a factory, and they meet Caspian as well, who is incredibly nice to them. This life is still terrible for them, though, so they plan to live at the circus, the Elsdale Circus. Where they are still abused, but it's far nicer than anything else they've yet to experience.

An over-the-top interesting plot, as per usual! You can't seem to go wrong!!


It's The Tot That Counts - Some Advice

There wasn't really anything wrong here! I loved all that I read and had a great time! But there was one small mispelling/typo thing that happened in Chapter Six when the girls were running away. You said,

After running for what seemed like girls, they stopped.


I honestly have no idea what you intended to put here, if it was "hours" or something else, but I got a little giggle out of this little mistake, so it's not all bad! I would still fix it, nonetheless!

But, obviously, this is just a suggestion, and it's always up to the writer, so please take this criticism lightly and know that I mean nothing negative by it—only trying to provide a somewhat useful critique.


That's Absolutely Mashing - My Favorites

As with every origin story you post, there were many great things taking place! Some things I have to mention are smaller than others, but all are really cool and genuinely enjoyed!

The first thing that I liked about this story was the subtle rhymes and slant rhymes that occur randomly throughout the story. They were so much fun, whether they were intentional or not! A couple examples are when you said,

Celia believed it so and let her know.


AND...

Hand in hand, the little children ran.


There's nothing much to it, really... My brain just loves to see rhyming in stories that aren't really poems or prose! And for that reason, I loved this!

The next thing that stood out to me was the way you showed the naivety of the girls, specifically Celia, in Chapter Thirteen! It's what sets in motion the rest of their fairly foolish decisions. You said,

“You promise?” Celia asked. Promises could not be broken, that much she knew.


This was a very creative way to show how young and unknowing the girls were! It was also slightly comical in a sense, as we know that Celia's wrong... Which makes it an even better line on top of everything I've already mentioned, so kudos to you for writing that!

The final thing that seemed to catch my eye in this story made its appearance in the epilogue! After all of the torture and pain we witnessed the girls go through, they have to experience more... You said,

But it was a million times better than the factory, even though their hearts stopped briefly, their vision would often get blurred, and their throats went sore from holding a note too long at the demands of Mr. Shapcott.

A million times better…


And not only are they still experiencing that torment, but from other stories, we know it's pretty bad... But somehow they'd prefer that to the life they were living previously, which really puts into perspective how terrible everything was for them. The final few sentences of this story put a lot of new things into perspective, and it was really well done! So, good job there!

I also really enjoyed how the story alternated between flashbacks and the present time throughout the text! It felt like I was learning so much more in a shorter amount of time, and I really liked the way I was learning about past things as they were becoming important to the present. It made this an easier read overall, and I really appreciate that!


Time Fries When You're Having Fun - Final Words

You did great work here! I really enjoyed this one! I look forward to more fun, but eerie origin stories from you in the future!

Chip, chip, hooray!! Thank you for taking the time to write and post this, and I hope this review is of some use to you!


I'll see you tater! I hope you have a magnificent day (or night) wherever you are!




vampricone6783 says...


Thanks for reading! I%u2019m glad you liked this.

And thank you for pointing that mistake out to me. %u201CAfter running for what seemed like girls.%u201D Made me laugh. :>



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Fri Mar 01, 2024 11:32 pm
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Mint wrote a review...



Hi! I’m still figuring out the best way to write my reviews so please bare with me! This will be mostly in chronological order, addressing other things when it’s relevant.
As always take what you want and leave the rest!

“She remembered their parents’ terrified faces when the white light had taken them, how their bodies twisted with blood and bones…”
Later in the story when we see the flashback, we hear that the flash came before she knew it, her father was in a different room and she never saw her moms face.

“The light disappeared. So did Mom. Where she was knocked onto the ground was a black spot, smoke rolling to the ceiling.”

Personally I think, especially if you’re going for a darker grittier tone, I like the idea of them seeing the parents last moments. Since it seems like they were burned/obliterated by the light I would focus on hearing them scream, hearing the skin sizzle away, maybe a fear that the house would catch on fire.
“Dad was on the floor, eyes petrified in helplessness, limbs twisted like a forgotten doll’s. The fading gray specks of smoke circled around his body.”
I think this is a better description than the burnt spot where their mother died. I am curious if there’s an in-story reason why their bodies were left differently.
I would like a focus on the eyes, if it was a burn that killed them I would really appreciate a focus on the effects it had on their bodies. His eyes were brighter than they should have been because the flesh that was once his eyelids had been melted away. Something like that.

“Her twin sister, Delia, lay next to her in the ruins of an orphanage.”
I know this is part of a larger story, but do we hear about the orphanage again? Do we hear how they get there or really why they left? I think this would have more impact if they were on the streets outside the factory or maybe hidden away in a room in the factory that’s been ravaged by weather. Or they could be in a cold alley near where they sing.

I’m curious why this specifically is going to be a long night. It seems like all their nights are long and there’s nothing particularly special about this one. This could be more effective if it were something like “she needed all the rest she could get if she were going to make it another day”, something that shows the banality of their fight for survival.

Oh! Also it could be made clear what makes her think about her parents death. It seems like it’s looking out the hole in the wall. It would be good to make the connection that her mother had been looking at the window to a similar rain when the flash came.

“The sun shone benignly on the girls, but Celia didn’t feel its warmth. She nudged Delia awake.
“Come now. Off to the outside.” Celia said.”

To say the sun shone benignly could make sense but I don’t think it does here. If anything the fact that she didn’t feel the warmth would make sense with it being benign so I don’t under stand the “but”. It might make more sense to say the suns light hit the girls but they felt no warmth.
Off to the outside sounds weird, as if “the outside” is a specific place which it doesn’t seem to be given the context.

“Delia rubbed her eyes. She didn’t want to get up, but knew that she had to.”
This is a very small critique but it could help improve the readability. The voice seems to oscillate between third person limited and third person omniscient. Since we are following a young girl and we often have narration that shows us her innocence, I think it would be worth the effort to keep the story in third person limited, as in limited to what Celia knows and can see.
She doesn’t necessarily know that Delia doesn’t want to get up but knows she has to. A good fix could be “Delia rubbed her eyes and yawned. Celia knew she would be slow to rise, but she had no other choice. They had to sing for their lives.”

In the next flashback it sounds contradictory that the mom sings a song where they say they’ll never leave their home behind before quickly following it up with home is where ever you want it to be. I understand the idea, the thoughts don’t necessarily have to exclude one another. She could be singing a song and then take a moment to disagree with it, making sure her daughters know home isn’t just a single place. I do think that would need a little bit more work to be clear to the reader.

“Celia knew that singing would make them listen… Few coins were plinked into the hat, people had places to be.” I would remove the line about singing making them listen, or maybe change it to she always hoped the singing would make them listen, something about the important things they had to say that were ignored by adults because they were beggars and orphans.

“Celia and Delia only caught a glimpse of who yelled before they made a run for it.”
I think this would be a good opportunity to add some action to the scene. Tell us about how Celia quickly grabbed their hat of coins, or her hat holding but 54 cents, something like that, before catching a glimpse of the woman in pearls scowling in their direction.

The raspy voice telling these starving orphans, as well as the description of her being that she had pearls and make up doesn’t make me think or a picturesque princess, and it certainly doesn’t make me think of anyone the girls would dream about being. It makes me think of Esme from the emperors new groove but like tropical colored clothes.

“Celia never saw the building until that moment, but nowhere else would take them.”
To say she never saw it “until” is a strange way to describe it. Especially since the building had always been there right? Like it’s not magical and just showed up when they needed it? I would omit the fact that she had never seen it because why would she, or if it is important then that needs to be made clearer.

I’m also confused as to why nowhere else would take them. Was the light on? Was everywhere else locked and they had yet to try this door? How could they be so sure it would even take them? And does this building have anything to do with the opening header “MRS. MARGOT’S HOUSE OF HEALING-ROOM 177” because I’m confused what the header has to do with the story.

““Are you sure that we can trust him?” Delia asked.
Celia nodded. They had to trust him, they had no choice.”

I think it’s strange that Celia would compromise her sisters safety by saying she was SURE that they could trust this person they just met. I’m not sure why Delia would ask if she’s sure. Of course she’s not they have literally no idea who this is. They don’t have no choice but to trust him. This would be a good place to show that the girls are getting wise to life on the streets. Of course they don’t trust him but maybe being here is what they need to do to survive another day.

“Celia stepped closer. Why was Delia so scared? Why wasn’t she saying anything? What was going on?”
It makes sense for her to be scared. Their mom just got obliterated.
It may make more sense to ask why she’s reacting a certain way rather than why she’s scared.

If the description of the dad is hinting that he wasn’t killed by the light then proceed. If he was killed by the light I really need a reason why it didn’t completely obliterate him.

From the initial description of Caspian’s office I was really confused by what was happening after the intermediate flashback. It should be established sooner that it looks like a doctors office with a bed and seats for check ups. And why does the building open directly into his office? Why is it lit by a single bulb? Why is he still there? I have a lot of questions and maybe they’re answered in the wider story so my bad if so!


I’ve been really picky so sorry! A lot of my critiques are the same thing.
There are times when there is an opportunity for action and you should stretch that out, give me some more details.
There are times when the girls say things that don’t really make sense or aren’t clear to the reader why they’re saying or doing those things.
There are times when I know in your mind it makes perfect sense what’s happening, but it’s unclear to the reader and needs more explanation, like when Caspian’s face blooms with flowers. That’s not a normal thing to happen in the real world that we can easily imagine so we need a lot more explanation of what is like *actually* happening. Those moments of wonder and magic would also be good points to tell us more about the girls. What do they think how do they differ? Is one of them scared? Are the both amazed? Does one of them want to be a witch too?

Caspian’s suddenly changing his mind about the circus is weird and doesn’t feel like it was explained well. Also they just stopped singing and only worked at the factory. And the passage of time isn’t clear. How long. Have they known Caspian when they finally go to the circus? Are they still in their tattered nightgowns?

Caspian suddenly agreeing makes me think he has something bad planned for the girls and he suddenly agreed because he has to.

My last critique is perhaps my most meaningful one. There are too many chapters. Not just for my liking not just for pacing. There are too many. Some chapters are two sentences long or break up a single moment of dialogue with a chapter. I would challenge yourself to only break with a chapter when time is passing or the setting changes.

There’s a lot of good stuff here and I’m really curious about the wider story! I want to know if my questions are answered. Keep writing! As always with every review, take what is helpful and discard the rest.




vampricone6783 says...


I wrote %u201Coff to the outside%u201D for poetic reasons.

The light is magic that killed both the parents, but that will be explained more in the next story. Caspian%u2019s point of view is in my story %u201CCaspian%u2019s magic does wonders!%u201D and is under my folder titled %u201CElsdale Circus%u201D.

Caspian growing flowers on his face is part of his magic.

Thank you for reading!



vampricone6783 says...


Also, the orphanage they%u2019re in is abandoned. You can see it in action in my story %u201CPrudence%u2019s story%u201D in my folder %u201CElsdale Circus%u201D.




Il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux (One must imagine Sisyphus happy).
— Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus