Young Writers Society

The January 2023 Review Day Begins In...

[ Click here for more info ]


16+

LMS VI: Let Me Live Tonight 1.6

by winterwolf0100


Warning: This work has been rated 16+.

It’s funny, isn’t it?

How our brains can capture a memory so vividly that every time you look at something, you think of it, crystalized in violet?

The tree that connected our yards stood tall and proud, elongated and elegant. Its branches stretched out towards the sky, our very own beanstalk to climb. Its roots dug under the sidewalk and split it open with lightning. We leaned against it and scrambled up it and swung from it, seeing which of us could reach the highest branch.

When we were eight, I laid underneath the tree, staring up at the clouds. Dessie sat on a branch, her legs dangling, hair frizzed, smile wide. It was months before the game of chicken, years before the migraines. It was beautiful.

"If you had a weapon--" she said, swinging her legs back and forth as she stared down at me from far above, "--what type would it be?"

I watched her. "What do you mean?"

"Like in all those adventure books," she said, reaching her arms up and grabbing the branch above her. She pulled herself up to stand on the branch she was on, balancing easily with a bored expression on her face. "What type would you have? Like a sword, or a bow, or an ax or something."

"I dunno," I replied. "I'd probably have a gun."

She made a face at me. "You're no fun," she complained.

"I'd always win," I pointed out.

"The storm troopers had guns and they always lost," she argued back. She balanced on her tiptoes as she walked around the tree to step onto a higher branch, perching like a bird mid-flight.

"Yeah, but the Jedi had lightsabers, that's different."

"Lightsabers are just swords that glow!" She said incredulously, then let go of the branch to mimic swinging a lightsaber, making a bad imitation of the noise to go along with it.

"No, the lightsabers have the force!" I argued, sitting up and cocking my head upwards to keep watching her.

"No they didn't! The Jedi had the force to help them with the lightsabers! The lightsabers could be used by anybody, stupid! So," she continued, holding herself up like a child on monkey bars and swinging her legs through the air in boredom, "you would choose a sword."

"I would choose a gun," I repeated.

"That's not an option!"

"You said any weapon!"

She groaned in exasperation and said, "Well obviously I didn't mean, like, any weapon!"

I smiled a little. When she saw it, she rolled her eyes and was about to make a retort when something snapped. She plummeted to the ground, the broken-off tree branch still clutched in her hand. She landed hard on her arm and immediately cried out.

I shot to my feet. "Are you okay?"

She was crying hard and clutching her arm. She couldn't seem to push words out. I ran to her front door and banged on it. "Ms. Wilson?" I called out desperately.

Her mother answered the door. "Clayton, is everything--"

"Dessie fell out of the tree," I said, and she hurried past me, gasping when she saw Dessie on the ground. She pulled out her phone and dialed 911.

The ambulance got there in less than five minutes. The siren hurt my ears. They loaded her up quickly. By that time, her dad was outside too, and my parents were ushering me back inside our house.

"Is she gonna be okay?" I asked.

"She'll be fine, honey," my mom said worriedly. "Let's just go inside now, alright?"

Dessie broke her arm that day. And when she was in the hospital, her grandma brought her lots of candy, and her grandpa bought her a toy lightsaber--

"One that really glows!" She exclaimed giddily when she proudly showed it off, swishing it around with one arm, the other in a cast. I was in her hospital room, alone with her. Our parents had gone to get coffee.

"See? HIYA!" She pretended to stab me, and I yelled out, then fell backwards, pretending to be dead. She giggled as I stood up again, putting the lightsaber down. "Do you want any chocolate?" She asked, reaching her good arm over to grab a candy bar. "My grandma got me tons! You know, this whole hospital thing really isn't that bad!"

She tore open the candy bar and took a big chomp out of it, talking through a mouthful. "I's really gud achully!"

I reached for a candy bar and she said, "No!" She swallowed a big bite of chocolate and said, "You didn't break your arm!"

"You just said I could have some!" I said.

"No, I asked if you wanted any," she laughed, before taking another big bite out of the chocolate bar. "Bi' diffwence," she declared loudly. The door to the room opened as her parents began walking in. She held her good arm out, hand clawed like she was trying to use the force as she narrowed her eyes in concentration. "Boom!" She yelled loudly, and her mom jumped.

"Desdemona!" Her mom complained, "You nearly made me spill my coffee!"

"Do you know what that was?" Dessie declared, staring at me triumphantly as she lowered her voice and said gleefully, "I just blew your brains up."

"Dessie!" Her mom scolded, "don't be so gross."

"I thought we said no more chocolate," her dad sighed, walking forward and pulling the bar away from her. She reached her hand out after it, chasing it vainly.

"Aww, come on!" She complained. "It was just one more bite."

He held the bar up and looked at her with his eyebrows raised. "You ate half the bar."

She grinned bashfully. "Oops." But she looked back at me, and I could see that gleam in her eyes, and I knew. And she knew. And we both knew together.

My brain has captured that memory so vividly that every time I look at that tree, I think of that moment, crystalized in violet. I think of that fall, the ambulance, the loud siren. I think of the giggles and words around mouthfuls of chocolate. Swishing noises as the lightsaber cut through the air-- hand outstretched to blow my brains up.

I can't drive down that street without seeing her there, sitting in those branches, watching me with bright gleaming eyes. That sly grin. And when I pass it, I know. And I hope that out there somewhere, she knows too. I hope that we both know together.

It’s funny, isn’t it?

~~~



1088 words

I appreciate all feedback, and would love to hear it all, but I especially love hearing about how the piece makes you feel, your theories on what it means and its implications for the story, and your opinions. Thank you for reading!


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
3830 Reviews


Points: 207716
Reviews: 3830

Donate
Fri Dec 23, 2022 6:49 am
View Likes
KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!! And somehow we're almost at the halfway mark here out of everything you've released so far. Wooo....and surprisingly I am still good so onwards it is...

First Impression: This was a fun little change of pace from the more gloomy chapters. I think its a good choice there to have a little bit more than one type of general feeling, well there already is multiple types of bad feelings but having at least one little tiny moment of good feelings balances the idea a lot more I think.

Anyway let's get right to it,

It’s funny, isn’t it?

How our brains can capture a memory so vividly that every time you look at something, you think of it, crystalized in violet?

The tree that connected our yards stood tall and proud, elongated and elegant. Its branches stretched out towards the sky, our very own beanstalk to climb. Its roots dug under the sidewalk and split it open with lightning. We leaned against it and scrambled up it and swung from it, seeing which of us could reach the highest branch.

When we were eight, I laid underneath the tree, staring up at the clouds. Dessie sat on a branch, her legs dangling, hair frizzed, smile wide. It was months before the game of chicken, years before the migraines. It was beautiful.


Oooh so we're back on track with Dessie. It seems like its also much later in life compared to whenever that earlier issue happened so this is quite the turn. Now I'm having to look at this with an entirely different kind of paranoia about just what we're going to end up having this tell us here.

"If you had a weapon--" she said, swinging her legs back and forth as she stared down at me from far above, "--what type would it be?"

I watched her. "What do you mean?"

"Like in all those adventure books," she said, reaching her arms up and grabbing the branch above her. She pulled herself up to stand on the branch she was on, balancing easily with a bored expression on her face. "What type would you have? Like a sword, or a bow, or an ax or something."

"I dunno," I replied. "I'd probably have a gun."


Well that's quite an interesting questions and an even more interesting answer there. Not too often you'd see someone at that age going for the gun right away, assuming of course that Clay has read similar stories to what Dessie seems to have read.

She made a face at me. "You're no fun," she complained.

"I'd always win," I pointed out.

"The storm troopers had guns and they always lost," she argued back. She balanced on her tiptoes as she walked around the tree to step onto a higher branch, perching like a bird mid-flight.

"Yeah, but the Jedi had lightsabers, that's different."

"Lightsabers are just swords that glow!" She said incredulously, then let go of the branch to mimic swinging a lightsaber, making a bad imitation of the noise to go along with it.


Ahh I sense the beginning of a beautiful little argument here. Its funny how this is very much capable of being what it exactly appears which is a mostly nonsensical argument between two pretty young kids, but at the same time everything that's come before us practically forces us to see more within these seemingly innocent words. (This is a great thing by the way)

She groaned in exasperation and said, "Well obviously I didn't mean, like, any weapon!"

I smiled a little. When she saw it, she rolled her eyes and was about to make a retort when something snapped. She plummeted to the ground, the broken-off tree branch still clutched in her hand. She landed hard on her arm and immediately cried out.


Oh wow, wow wow. You actually caught me off guard there. I was so focused on overanalyzing this playful argument I completely forget to see the obvious possibly danger there. This definitely gives us a lot more to work with in terms of imagining why this memory is important to this journey of horrors.

I shot to my feet. "Are you okay?"

She was crying hard and clutching her arm. She couldn't seem to push words out. I ran to her front door and banged on it. "Ms. Wilson?" I called out desperately.

Her mother answered the door. "Clayton, is everything--"

"Dessie fell out of the tree," I said, and she hurried past me, gasping when she saw Dessie on the ground. She pulled out her phone and dialed 911.

The ambulance got there in less than five minutes. The siren hurt my ears. They loaded her up quickly. By that time, her dad was outside too, and my parents were ushering me back inside our house.


Well this is going surprisingly well here. Given the kind of indicators we got earlier I was really expecting the parents to do something here to scary Clayton a little bit but instead this seems like a rather normal mature way to handle everything, honestly even a little bit more mature that some parents can sometimes be.

Dessie broke her arm that day. And when she was in the hospital, her grandma brought her lots of candy, and her grandpa bought her a toy lightsaber--

"One that really glows!" She exclaimed giddily when she proudly showed it off, swishing it around with one arm, the other in a cast. I was in her hospital room, alone with her. Our parents had gone to get coffee.

"See? HIYA!" She pretended to stab me, and I yelled out, then fell backwards, pretending to be dead. She giggled as I stood up again, putting the lightsaber down. "Do you want any chocolate?" She asked, reaching her good arm over to grab a candy bar. "My grandma got me tons! You know, this whole hospital thing really isn't that bad!"

She tore open the candy bar and took a big chomp out of it, talking through a mouthful. "I's really gud achully!"


Ahh well we're just right back to another wholesome (and very painful) memory here. It seems like for a change we have in fact got things progressing along in a somewhat happy way for the moment. I still haven't managed to spot anything that seems like it could be constituted as bad. I guess maybe its cause of the whole idea of violet. If I am remembering correctly that was the one color in there that seemed nicer. (Or at least I remember there being at least one good color and this has so far not had anything bad so...)

I reached for a candy bar and she said, "No!" She swallowed a big bite of chocolate and said, "You didn't break your arm!"

"You just said I could have some!" I said.

"No, I asked if you wanted any," she laughed, before taking another big bite out of the chocolate bar. "Bi' diffwence," she declared loudly. The door to the room opened as her parents began walking in. She held her good arm out, hand clawed like she was trying to use the force as she narrowed her eyes in concentration. "Boom!" She yelled loudly, and her mom jumped.

"Desdemona!" Her mom complained, "You nearly made me spill my coffee!"

"Do you know what that was?" Dessie declared, staring at me triumphantly as she lowered her voice and said gleefully, "I just blew your brains up."


Arguably the one and only time I have genuinely burst out laughing reading this story and that's wonderful although the laugh immediately caused another twinge at pain at remember wait a minute, this one doesn't end well.

My brain has captured that memory so vividly that every time I look at that tree, I think of that moment, crystalized in violet. I think of that fall, the ambulance, the loud siren. I think of the giggles and words around mouthfuls of chocolate. Swishing noises as the lightsaber cut through the air-- hand outstretched to blow my brains up.

I can't drive down that street without seeing her there, sitting in those branches, watching me with bright gleaming eyes. That sly grin. And when I pass it, I know. And I hope that out there somewhere, she knows too. I hope that we both know together.

It’s funny, isn’t it?


Well that is funny. A powerful message of a different kind to end on right here. I think its an excellent direction to take though, to showcase there is a little more to these emotions that seem to plague Clay, it gives it more than a simple one note atmosphere and that is usually a good idea.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, another strong addition to things, I think a welcome change of pace that ultimately serves this story rather well. And on that note off I march towards the next one and the halfway point wooo...

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




User avatar
113 Reviews


Points: 8765
Reviews: 113

Donate
Sat Dec 17, 2022 8:54 pm
View Likes
SilverNight wrote a review...



Heyyyyyy winter! It’s silver, back at it again with the slow, slow reviews XD

This is an interesting and sweet chapter part! I’m struggling a little with figuring out the implications of it, and its place in the larger story, since the stakes of the situation seem a lot lower than everything else we’ve seen so far. It didn’t end with the usual heavy sadness that Clay deals with a lot, so I’m wondering why that’s different too. However, I love seeing more of Clay and Dessie, so I was really happy with that!

And now onwards >.>

How our brains can capture a memory so vividly that every time you look at something, you think of it, crystalized in violet?


I think this is the third time I’ve seen a reference to violet/purple and crystals, the first time being the prologue, and I love repeating imagery as a recurring motif in a longer work :eyes: I like adding a reference to earlier writing later on in a book and I always get excited when I see it being done elsewhere too.

The tree that connected our yards stood tall and proud, elongated and elegant. Its branches stretched out towards the sky, our very own beanstalk to climb. Its roots dug under the sidewalk and split it open with lightning. We leaned against it and scrambled up it and swung from it, seeing which of us could reach the highest branch.


Very nice description of the tree! You often open your chapters with a poetic paragraph of the setting (which is ever-changing after all) and I’m really loving it. It has an especially nice feel in the childhood stories.

We leaned against it and scrambled up it and swung from it, seeing which of us could reach the highest branch.

When we were eight, I laid underneath the tree, staring up at the clouds. Dessie sat on a branch, her legs dangling, hair frizzed, smile wide.


It’s a little bit confusing that just before Clay was talking about what they did with this tree, how they’d both climb it, and then describes them as doing something different without introducing that it’s different (like using “this time, we…”). Not a big deal and I don’t think most people are going to find fault with it, but it is a little contradictory :’)

It was months before the game of chicken, years before the migraines. It was beautiful.


Now I feel like I was definitely onto something with the migraines >.>

"I dunno," I replied. "I'd probably have a gun."

She made a face at me. "You're no fun," she complained.


Sorry Clay, but I have to go with Dessie on this one, that was a boring choice of weapon XD

then let go of the branch to mimic swinging a lightsaber, making a bad imitation of the noise to go along with it.


AHHHHHHH DESSIE IS SO CUTE.

I smiled a little. When she saw it, she rolled her eyes and was about to make a retort when something snapped. She plummeted to the ground, the broken-off tree branch still clutched in her hand. She landed hard on her arm and immediately cried out.


Ack okay this action all in one paragraph is a little sudden and there’s too much of a shift for it to all belong together I think. One way to space this out could be a bit like a record scratch/freeze frame type of thing? Clay does tend to sort of pause in the middle of action/something bad happening, a moment before disaster, and it would also leave space for internal monologue and reactions.

She pulled out her phone and dialed 911.


Ooh, okay, I thought the present Clay is in is roughly the same time as our real world, with about the same advancements and technology, since it’s realistic fiction, but— is it not? If Clay’s 38 and I make the assumption that the present in the story is now or not long ago, he was probably born in the 1980s and this story would be in that decade too, where there weren’t phones in people’s pockets and Dessie’s mom would have had to go back in the house to place a 911 call. If that’s not the case however and this story is in a time period where people have pocket-sized, non-landline phones, then Clay’s present is what we’d consider our future. This part has me confused to which it is.

I looked up the release date for the first Star Wars movie, which was in 1977, so this is also the difference between a movie that Clay and Dessie watched as kids and didn’t grow up hearing about, or they watched it because it’s a classic that their parents showed them or something, and all I know is that this scene shouldn’t be earlier than ‘85-86. That’s around the time when I imagined Clay would be growing up, but the first clamshell or flip phone design that didn’t need to be plugged into a landline seems to have been invented in 1996 from my research, which is a lot later and would probably place this chapter at the turn of the century or later— which, when you add Clay’s current age to, places us well out past 2022.

It’s entirely possible you also just put this detail in here without really considering what it implied for the timeframe this is taking place in (such as you forgot that this was taking place several decades ago along a historical timeline as just as Clay’s personal timeline), which is a normal thing to slip up on being Gen Z/in the digital age where of course it’s a smartphone or a flipphone, that’s what phones mean to us. If it was this kind of error, there’s no shame in that, and if this pocket-sized phone does belong in this time in the story, we might need to see a bit more of the present and have you confirm that it’s “the future” for it to seem fitting to our minds XD

She pretended to stab me, and I yelled out, then fell backwards, pretending to be dead. She giggled as I stood up again, putting the lightsaber down.


hjkdfsfjds these two are SO CUTE.

It’s funny, isn’t it?


Yesssss ending the chapter with the first line. I will never get bored of it.

~

Awesome job with this part of the chapter! Hopefully I will slowly but surely catch up to you XD

-silv <3





You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.
— Joyce Meyer