z
  • Home

Young Writers Society


16+

LMS VI: Let Me Live Tonight 1.8

by winterwolf0100


Warning: This work has been rated 16+.

When we were seven, she stopped wanting to play house. We were in kindergarten by then, in school most days, our playtime limited in a way that was completely unfamiliar to both of us. Most days, she was already sitting under the tree when we pulled up to our house and I climbed out after school. I didn't know how she did that; we were in the same class, but she always seemed like she'd been waiting hours by the time we showed up.

She rolled her eyes dramatically and stood with her hands on her hips as I climbed out of the car. "C'mon! Let's play school!"

I groaned. "I thought we were gonna play tag!"

"Felix is sick," she said, scaling the tree and swinging from one of the bottom branches as she tried to pull herself up all the way.

"What about Orlando or Nox or Robin?" I asked.

Her butt wiggled back and forth, her feet trying to find leverage on the tree, and she grunted with the effort of pulling herself up as she forced out, "I asked, but nobody can. Orlando's out of town. Nox isn't home yet, and Robin's mom said no. So--" she pulled herself all the way onto the branch and hugged it before letting herself slide so she was hanging on upside-down, hair sticking out everywhere. She grinned at me. "--it's just us!"

"But we just got out of real school," I complained.

"So?"

"So I don't wanna pretend to be in school right after we just got done with real school."

"School is fun though!" She said, swinging herself back up. "I like school. So I'll be Miss Wilson, the teacher. And you're a student!" Her frizzed hair stuck to her face with sweat.

It was a year after I'd complained about playing house, and the seasons had cycled through once again, though it was closer to winter that time. A thin layer of frost lay on the piles of leaves, giving them an extra crunch. We liked to jump on them and see who could make the most noise.

"Fine," I consented. "I need to put my backpack up first."

"Hurry up!" She called, swinging her body down so her legs were dangling before letting go and falling to the ground.

I ran inside to put my backpack away. "I'm going to play with Dessie," I called. I could smell the dinner my mother was making, something warm and spiced. "I'll be back later!"

"I'll call you in for dinner before long," she responded. "Oh, Clayton, it's cold outside! Go put on a coat."

"But I don't feel cold!" I protested.

"Coat, Clayton," she repeated. I groaned and went to grab one, pulling it on quickly before running out the door.

"Love you, bye!" I called as I slammed the door shut behind me. I hurried back to the tree where Dessie stood, hands on her hips.

"C'mon!" She skipped towards her backyard, pausing only to jump in a large puddle, trying to splash us both. The water was freezing, and I yelped, stumbling backwards in a hasty attempt to avoid most of it. "Dessie!"

She giggled and said in a drawn-out tone, "What?" She continued on to her backyard and I followed, walking in a broad circle around the puddle.

The leaves on the ground had begun to lose their color, and the grass has bleached to a dull brown with the cold beginning to set in. Dessie was the only colorful thing in her backyard, and the contrast was so dazzling it felt unreal. Her pale face flushed with red from the chill stood out starkly against the dying scenery surrounding her. She wore no coat, just a yellow button-up shirt and a blue skirt, though this time she had leggings on under it. She wore a jacket, but it was thin. She stared at me with excited brown eyes, then rolled them and giggled. "What're you doing?"

I shrugged and walked into her backyard after her, heading for the swingset and sitting down. "I dunno."

She grinned, like it was the perfect segway. "Well--" she said exaggeratedly, "this is the perfect place for learning! I am Miss Wilson, your teacher. I am very happy to have you in my class this year! What's your name?"

"Clayton."

"No, you can't give me your real name!" She exclaimed. "You have to make one up!"

I paused and said, "Felix?"

She giggled. "No, you gotta make one up!"

I thought on it for a moment, then said very seriously, "Fayton."

She exploded in laughter, though she crossed her arms and tried to contain it. "Clay! You've gotta make one up, I'm serious!"

"That is a made-up name!" I protested.

"Fine," she huffed. "I am very happy to have you in my class, Fayton. We are going to have a lot of fun this year!"

"What are we going to learn?" I asked helpfully.

"So glad you asked!" She grinned. "First, we're gonna learn about the alphabet. And then we're gonna learn about shapes. And then we're gonna learn about math!"

I raised my hand. "Miss Wilson?"

"Yes?"

"I already know the alphabet. A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H--" I sped, trying to force as many letters out as possible before she could interrupt me.

"You're so hopeless," she groaned, sighing dramatically as she crossed her arms and sat down on the ground. "It's no fun when you don't actually play," she muttered.

I felt like I was getting vertigo, but slid off the swing-set and joined her on the ground anyway. The grass was wet with the tips of frost, and I sat hugging my knees to my chest.

"Sorry," I mumbled. "I was just trying to be funny."

She stayed quiet for a long moment, then said, "It's fine. It was boring anyway."

We sat in silence for a while before she said suddenly, "I think I wanna be a teacher when I grow up."

I frowned and watched her. "I thought you wanted to be a mom."

"Yeah... I dunno anymore. I think I might like being a teacher better."

I nodded, and she continued, "And Miss Rogers is a really nice teacher, and she has kids, so maybe I can do both."

"My mom's an accountant," I stated helpfully.

"I don't know what that is," she said.

"I think it's something with math."

She scrunched her face up. "Eww."

"Yeah," I agreed. We sat in silence for several minutes before I heard my mom yell, "Clayton! Time for dinner!"

I stood slowly, brushing off the back of my pants like that could wipe away the wetness. "I gotta go."

"Yep," she said, standing.

"See you tomorrow," I said.

"See ya!" She skipped up to her back door and disappeared into her house as I walked up the pathway back to her front yard before crossing into mine.

"Did you have a fun time?" My mom asked.

"It wasn't very long."

"Well, the food was ready. You'll see Dessie tomorrow in class."

"Yeah." I frowned and pulled off my coat. Only once I was inside in the heat did I realize I was shivering from the cold.

"Did you still have fun?" My mom asked as she took my coat and hung it up.

"We played school," I said.

"Oh yeah? How was that?" My mom asked as she moved to the kitchen and began to pour soup into a bowl for me.

"It was fine," I said, following her. "Where's dad?"

An unpleased look flashed across her face before disappearing. "He's still at work. They asked him to stay late tonight."

"Oh," I said, taking my bowl from her so she could begin to scoop her own.

"So you and Dessie played school?" She asked, clearly wanting to move past the topic.

"Yeah. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up."

"That's great," my mom smiled. We took our bowls and sat at the kitchen table, quietly eating our soup. I stared out the window at the fall-turned-winter, and a thought occurred to me suddenly as I stared at the cold and drank in the heat. "Felix is sick," I stated. "Dessie said that's why he couldn't play today."

"Aww, that's too bad," my mom frowned, eating another spoonful before pausing thoughtfully and saying, "I'll send him some soup." And we lapsed into silence once more. 

~~~

1398 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!


Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
33 Reviews

Points: 5175
Reviews: 33

Donate
Stickied -- Fri Feb 10, 2023 4:00 pm
winterwolf0100 says...



Heyyo, thank you for reading! ^^ This is a gentle reminder that this chapter is part of a larger novel, and I would ask that you please don't review it until you have reviewed and/or read the previous parts! You can start here, at the prologue. Thank you! :]




User avatar
4346 Reviews

Points: 304732
Reviews: 4346

Donate
Fri Dec 23, 2022 7:52 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!! Ahh we've made it past halfway, honestly with the momentum I have at the momentum I could see myself making it quite close to the end of all the parts so far posted, unless this one really throws a massive curveball.

First Impression: This was an interesting one. It connects to the collection of bittersweet memories as I have taken to calling it now and adds another powerful reason for us to feel the affect of that death but it also introduces a bit more about these parental problems that seem to have plagued Clay so badly.

Anyway let's get right to it,

When we were seven, she stopped wanting to play house. We were in kindergarten by then, in school most days, our playtime limited in a way that was completely unfamiliar to both of us. Most days, she was already sitting under the tree when we pulled up to our house and I climbed out after school. I didn't know how she did that; we were in the same class, but she always seemed like she'd been waiting hours by the time we showed up.

She rolled her eyes dramatically and stood with her hands on her hips as I climbed out of the car. "C'mon! Let's play school!"

I groaned. "I thought we were gonna play tag!"

"Felix is sick," she said, scaling the tree and swinging from one of the bottom branches as she tried to pull herself up all the way.

"What about Orlando or Nox or Robin?" I asked.


Hmm well this is starting on a different note, we've gone back to an older time again and this seems different immediately in a way that wasn't quite there in the eight year old one. Well well, let's see what paranoia this one manages to inflict upon us.

Her butt wiggled back and forth, her feet trying to find leverage on the tree, and she grunted with the effort of pulling herself up as she forced out, "I asked, but nobody can. Orlando's out of town. Nox isn't home yet, and Robin's mom said no. So--" she pulled herself all the way onto the branch and hugged it before letting herself slide so she was hanging on upside-down, hair sticking out everywhere. She grinned at me. "--it's just us!"

"But we just got out of real school," I complained.

"So?"

"So I don't wanna pretend to be in school right after we just got done with real school."


Welp this one is about to head down a similar path to six year old one it seems although the fact this is happening much faster is making me think that just maybe there's going to be a bit more to it than simply just that all over again.

I ran inside to put my backpack away. "I'm going to play with Dessie," I called. I could smell the dinner my mother was making, something warm and spiced. "I'll be back later!"

"I'll call you in for dinner before long," she responded. "Oh, Clayton, it's cold outside! Go put on a coat."

"But I don't feel cold!" I protested.

"Coat, Clayton," she repeated. I groaned and went to grab one, pulling it on quickly before running out the door.

"Love you, bye!" I called as I slammed the door shut behind me. I hurried back to the tree where Dessie stood, hands on her hips.


Ahh love this little scene. As much as the power in this story stems from the tragic moments and powerful reflections, it can't be understand how much these simple moments resonating so vividly helps out too.

The leaves on the ground had begun to lose their color, and the grass has bleached to a dull brown with the cold beginning to set in. Dessie was the only colorful thing in her backyard, and the contrast was so dazzling it felt unreal. Her pale face flushed with red from the chill stood out starkly against the dying scenery surrounding her. She wore no coat, just a yellow button-up shirt and a blue skirt, though this time she had leggings on under it. She wore a jacket, but it was thin. She stared at me with excited brown eyes, then rolled them and giggled. "What're you doing?"

I shrugged and walked into her backyard after her, heading for the swingset and sitting down. "I dunno."

She grinned, like it was the perfect segway. "Well--" she said exaggeratedly, "this is the perfect place for learning! I am Miss Wilson, your teacher. I am very happy to have you in my class this year! What's your name?"


Well this is going along well once again, and surprisingly we aren't escalating towards the arguments from earlier, naturally that's only making me more paranoid about what might happen because the details with the brown and the slightly dangerous outside conditions just don't seem to bode too well here.

"So glad you asked!" She grinned. "First, we're gonna learn about the alphabet. And then we're gonna learn about shapes. And then we're gonna learn about math!"

I raised my hand. "Miss Wilson?"

"Yes?"

"I already know the alphabet. A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H--" I sped, trying to force as many letters out as possible before she could interrupt me.

"You're so hopeless," she groaned, sighing dramatically as she crossed her arms and sat down on the ground. "It's no fun when you don't actually play," she muttered.


Well this went better than playing house at the very least and we get more beautiful wholesome memories to properly haunt us in all the times to come. Somehow I still haven't detected where the catch could be either so we're getting ourselves a lovely extra dose and tension and anticipation too.

We sat in silence for a while before she said suddenly, "I think I wanna be a teacher when I grow up."

I frowned and watched her. "I thought you wanted to be a mom."

"Yeah... I dunno anymore. I think I might like being a teacher better."

I nodded, and she continued, "And Miss Rogers is a really nice teacher, and she has kids, so maybe I can do both."

"My mom's an accountant," I stated helpfully.

"I don't know what that is," she said.

"I think it's something with math."

She scrunched her face up. "Eww."


Oooh well this is a powerful moment. Even if we don't get much else going on, just this moment of them able to sit down together and discuss their future is a lovely touch I think because there's nothing quite like a dream that was never allowed to be realized to have (at least me) basically bawling my eyes out.

"Did you have a fun time?" My mom asked.

"It wasn't very long."

"Well, the food was ready. You'll see Dessie tomorrow in class."

"Yeah." I frowned and pulled off my coat. Only once I was inside in the heat did I realize I was shivering from the cold.

"Did you still have fun?" My mom asked as she took my coat and hung it up.

"We played school," I said.

"Oh yeah? How was that?" My mom asked as she moved to the kitchen and began to pour soup into a bowl for me.


I am LOVING the detail with the cold there how being with Dessie and thinking of her made Clay not even notice anything despite being actually shivering out there. Its a beautiful touch amidst the other things going on in this memory.

"It was fine," I said, following her. "Where's dad?"

An unpleased look flashed across her face before disappearing. "He's still at work. They asked him to stay late tonight."

"Oh," I said, taking my bowl from her so she could begin to scoop her own.


Ooooooh well that's a hint towards what we saw earlier. I was waiting to see this honestly. You've so far been quite consistent about building things forward despite jumping back and forth in time and this detail explaining more of the situation and tension in the earlier chapter is another instance of that.

"Aww, that's too bad," my mom frowned, eating another spoonful before pausing thoughtfully and saying, "I'll send him some soup." And we lapsed into silence once more.


Hmm this is arguably the flattest of the endings we've had on a chapter so far, and yet it makes perfect sense given what we see happening here. The awkwardness building in the scene just sort of has this fizzle out much like the conversation did in the scene itself.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, I think you're probably getting tired of seeing me say similar things over and over again, but once again its a lovely addition, it moves the story forward just about perfectly and well...off I go to the next one.

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

Stay Safe
Harry




User avatar
138 Reviews

Points: 3825
Reviews: 138

Donate
Sun Dec 18, 2022 1:04 am
View Likes
SilverNight wrote a review...



Hey! Looks like I’m here once more, credit to you for writing a story that I can get very invested in XD

This chapter has a sort of— haunting feel to it because it’s more subtle? Like there’s not a whole lot happening but I can tell something’s at work here? I get the feeling that both Dessie and Clay’s mom have more to say than they are— not completely secrets, exactly, but that they’re keeping things to themselves that are eventually going to come out. We’ll see if I’m right >.>

When we were seven, she stopped wanting to play house. We were in kindergarten by then, in school most days, our playtime limited in a way that was completely unfamiliar to both of us.


I thought the typical kindergarten age is 5 by the start, 6 by the end? This might not be true everywhere and I know there are also exceptions to this kind of thing, but they seem like they should be in second or at least first grade with that age.

"Felix is sick," she said, scaling the tree and swinging from one of the bottom branches as she tried to pull herself up all the way.

"What about Orlando or Nox or Robin?" I asked.

Her butt wiggled back and forth, her feet trying to find leverage on the tree, and she grunted with the effort of pulling herself up as she forced out, "I asked, but nobody can. Orlando's out of town. Nox isn't home yet, and Robin's mom said no.


This many of their friends being busy feels like a bit of a stretch— but perhaps that’s intentional? It feels like Dessie is making up excuses for them, since she presumably couldn’t really have asked everybody and also gotten to the tree first before Clay did. Maybe she doesn’t want to play with any of the others, or is hoping to just be alone with Clay? Both? I might be reading too much into this, and I’m not sure how I’d get confirmation that she is making it up, but I’m wondering about it anyway.

"I'll call you in for dinner before long," she responded. "Oh, Clayton, it's cold outside! Go put on a coat."

"But I don't feel cold!" I protested.

"Coat, Clayton," she repeated. I groaned and went to grab one, pulling it on quickly before running out the door.


Universal mom things XD

"C'mon!" She skipped towards her backyard, pausing only to jump in a large puddle, trying to splash us both. The water was freezing, and I yelped, stumbling backwards in a hasty attempt to avoid most of it. "Dessie!"


Oh I love a good literary parallel. I can remember basically this exact same thing happening for the game of House in 1.4, just in a warmer season with mud from rain, and I have the feeling this game of School is going to go rather similarly XD

The leaves on the ground had begun to lose their color, and the grass has bleached to a dull brown with the cold beginning to set in. Dessie was the only colorful thing in her backyard, and the contrast was so dazzling it felt unreal.


In 1.4 I commented “tell me it's that late September-early October period without telling me it's that late September-early October period, achieved” on a passage similar to this one, so— tell me it's that late November-early December period without telling me it's that late November-early December period, achieved XD

She giggled. "No, you gotta make one up!"

I thought on it for a moment, then said very seriously, "Fayton."


Omg the sass, I love it :’)

"You're so hopeless," she groaned, sighing dramatically as she crossed her arms and sat down on the ground. "It's no fun when you don't actually play," she muttered.

I felt like I was getting vertigo, but slid off the swing-set and joined her on the ground anyway. The grass was wet with the tips of frost, and I sat hugging my knees to my chest.


Man I love being right about where things are going XD

This scene is definitely paralleling 1.4 more and more, so the questions I had when first reading this were, are we going to learn more or something new by the end? Is it going to have a different ending than that chapter? I was pretty curious reading this.

We sat in silence for a while before she said suddenly, "I think I wanna be a teacher when I grow up."

I frowned and watched her. "I thought you wanted to be a mom."

"Yeah... I dunno anymore. I think I might like being a teacher better."


Ooh so we did learn something new. I wonder what it means though, in light of what happens to Dessie in about a year. Perhaps unachieved ambition and Clay’s guilt? I could see that happening.

"Where's dad?"

An unpleased look flashed across her face before disappearing. "He's still at work. They asked him to stay late tonight."

"Oh," I said, taking my bowl from her so she could begin to scoop her own.


This part makes sense to readers after the last chapter since I can pick up what it’s about, but since this chapter is about six years before that one, it doesn’t quite work as foreshadowing. Is Clay actually going to have this issue of a marriage problem hanging over his head for the next few years? It feels like he’d know what was happening (and going to happen) by the time he’s thirteen if there have always been hints like this.

"Felix is sick," I stated. "Dessie said that's why he couldn't play today."

"Aww, that's too bad," my mom frowned, eating another spoonful before pausing thoughtfully and saying, "I'll send him some soup." And we lapsed into silence once more.


Okay, so I’m reading this as Clay’s mom knowing that Felix isn’t actually sick, so Dessie made that up, and his mom is guessing at it and helping to cover it up? I think there’s something like that happening for an implied secret, but I don’t know if I’m getting it right.

~

Alright! This is probably all the reviews I’ll do for this weekend, but I’ll probably do at least one next week with my break. You’re doing a great job with LMS so far, and I wish you the best of luck for it later on!

-silv <3





We are all broken. That's how the light gets in.
— Ernest Hemingway