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16+ Violence

Friday (For Contest due on 31st)

by zaminami


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

Cecilia only glanced up when the banshee’s scream of the bus wheels on rain puddles found its way to her headphone-covered ears. Rain splatters made a home on her mud-covered sneakers, soaking through them into her age-tinted socks. Cecilia trudged towards the bus, kicking the wet gravel as she went. With an ominous hiss, the bus doors opened to a darkened school bus and the always-optimistic bus driver that Cecilia hated.

“Hi, Cecilia!” Samael said with his always cheerful tone, a twinkle in his left eye. “It’s a lovely morning, isn’t it? Looking forward to school?”

Instead of answering, Cecilia grunted. Samael sighed and faced himself towards the front window. “No one seems to want to answer me today,” he muttered to himself.

Cecilia looked over the shaded seats and breathed in three, slow intakes of stale air as she chose an empty place to sit. She walked over to a seat behind the bus driver with a faded sign that said ‘10’ above it and sat down, sighing as her butt sank into the old seating. After swinging her black backpack over her shoulder with the grace of someone who had done the motion many times, she attempted to zip it open. Cecilia uttered a curse as she realized that the cursed zipper was stuck, for the third time that week.

“It’s Friday,” she grumbled to herself as she fixed the zipper. She pulled on it, opening the bag fully and grabbing a book: It, by Stephen King. Its classic cover was torn and nearly incomprehensible, with a brown, circular stain on the top right hand corner. “I should be happier. It shouldn’t be raining. My zipper shouldn’t flipping get stuck.”

She zipped it back up and dropped it in her skirt-covered lap, opening up the book to right after halfway. Cecilia relished in the old book smell that had shoved the disgusting bus air in her nose away. She directed her eyes to the words at the top of the page.

“-doorways.”

Cecilia stared at the orange and green streamers decorating the white doorway, head shaking side-to-side in disgust. “Who would choose these colors to be together?” she wondered out loud, to herself more than her sister next to her. “It’s not Sunday in Los Angeles. It’s Friday in a small town.”

I shrugged, as horrified at the color choice as she was. I wiped at my long forest green dress and messed with my waves while I spoke: “Why don’t we leave now, don’t get in trouble with our parents and police, and ditch the color scheme?” My tone sounded a bit too hopeful, I guessed, but I really didn’t want to be there.

“If you want to chicken out, you can,” Cecilia laughed. “But I’m going in. This is probably our only chance to be something more than the twin losers, ya know? Going to this party will mean so much to our popularity.”

“Popularity isn’t going to get you anywhere in life, you know,” I pointed out. “All it helps is in high school, when you can go to parties and drink and smoke cigarettes all you want without being discriminated. If you work hard, it doesn’t matter if you’re popular or not. You’re going to be their boss someday, ya know? Just be a little patient.”

“Blah blah blah! Do you even realize how nerdy you sound right now, Evangeline?” Cecilia teased. She fixed her dark brown hair, which had been put up in a braided updo with extensions that matched the homecoming-esque red dress that she decided to wear. “‘Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t blah blah blah,’” she mocked, opening the red door. “You dressed up too, don’t forget. Besides, you need to remember about why we’re not popular. This could mean everything for us.”

Cecilia read fast; she was already at the third chapter of the third part. Staring at the number, her chocolate brown eyes glanced at the first word of the chapter:

“If-”

Red and blue lights flashed in and out of the house, one after another: red, dark. Blue, dark. Over and over in a pattern that indicated trouble. A sharp rapping sounded in the air over the sirens. “Hello? Anybody home?”

We all kept still like cornered rabbits, watching in horror as the brass doorknob began a slow rotation as the policeman tried the knob. It turned fully; the police officer stepped in. 

Complete chaos.

Cecilia was the first who made it out, ripping her dress the oaken handrail of the porch stairs. Another girl had tripped and bashed her face on the old orange-and-brown shag carpet, shattering her glasses and turning the floor precarious to walk in my bare feet. She got up, scrambling towards the door. She was the last to make it out. I tried to step around it, but some glass got stuck in my foot. The pain was enough to trip me, me banging my head on the hardwood floor. The last thing that I heard was-

The gunshot echoed inside of Cecilia’s head, inducing shivers running down her back. She looked across the aisle at her reflection on the glass in the other seat. She brushed her face, hating herself and her sister for having such dark skin. Putting her book down, she looked to her left at her seatmate. For some reason, the seatmate only came on such days like this: rainy, gloomy days. But on those days, her seatmate sat still and stared into space, as if paralyzed. Today, on the 13th of Friday, the seatmate was moving. Cecilia recognized her now, and smiled.

I grabbed Cecilia’s hand and moved my mouth to speak. “It’s good to see you again.”


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Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:05 am
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alliyah wrote a review...



I SEE IT IS/WAS YOUR BIRTHDAY SO I MUST REVIEW THIS.

Also I like your writing, so let's see what this is! :)

Right off the bat, I'm happy to see some of your fabulous characterization that you always have in your writing. Seriously, you're good at incorporating unique little personality bits about each of your characters that makes them distinctive, interesting, and clear. I love it!

This is what I'm talking about:

"Instead of answering, Cecilia grunted. Samael sighed and faced himself towards the front window. “No one seems to want to answer me today,” he muttered to himself"

That little interaction gives me a lot of insight into Samael versus Cecilia's characters - Samael tries to be optimistic, wants to interact, but is a bit awkward doing so, Cecilia wants to get through what she's doing and is more of a realist. Neat!

So something I noticed in this piece, is that you have a bit of a tendency to stack descriptions a bit. Sometimes that's good at getting a thorough picture in, but other times it get's repetitive, hard to follow, and slows down the pace of the writing. I'd suggest using details more sparingly if they can be implied, and varying your sentences a bit (ie. long detailed sentence, short sentence, long sentence, short sentence etc) that way the reader doesn't get bored or tire or overwhelmed.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

Cecilia only glanced up when the banshee’s scream of the bus wheels on rain puddles found its way to her headphone-covered ears. Rain splatters made a home on her mud-covered sneakers, soaking through them into her age-tinted socks. Cecilia trudged towards the bus, kicking the wet gravel as she went. With an ominous hiss, the bus doors opened to a darkened school bus and the always-optimistic bus driver that Cecilia hated.

- the describing words are in blue. Now there's nothing wrong with using descriptors, but it's almost like a line break in poetry - you should use them when they count and avoid redundancy with them. Like in that paragraph how many of the details are about rain? Give the reader a bit of credit to make the connections themselves. :) I'm actually going to suggest you read the portion of my article on Specificity about when Specificity gets "too specific" because I think that'd help a lot here! Specificity

I like the bits of symbolism you worked in - like having Cecilia reading "It" by Steven King, and then it being rainy and dreary. That gave a spooky vibe to the piece too.

I'm lost at this: "“It’s not Sunday in Los Angeles. It’s Friday in a small town.”" Why would the colors make sense in LA on a Sunday? Is this a sports reference? Seems very random.

It also totally through me off when the "I" speaker/narrator came into the story - like woah there! And who is this? It was dramatic, because there wasn't an I voice in the first few paragraphs - but it was also a tad confusing - in fact I wasn't really sure if the "I" was Celcilia's sister or a whole other person.

I thought the "doorway" transition worked because it was a setting that worked into the next sentence. However it might have worked a bit smoother if you'd given a longer passage than just "doorway" like "through a darkened doorway" or something more intriguing.

The "If" transition wasn't as clean - because I couldn't figure out how that word connected to the story that came afterwards.

I have to admit, I don't understand the ending of this piece. The last paragraph kept up the creep factor - but I didn't feel like it was fleshed out enough. Maybe if there was more reference to the "seatmate" earlier. Also It felt like Samuel, Evangeline, the seatmate, and the "I" character didn't end up having much importance to the story - but were a bit prop-like.

My understanding of the last paragraph is that Cecilia has some sort of imaginary friend or demon who speaks to her who is maybe the same person as the sister/"I" voice - so is a bit like a conscience that takes her on these journeys like the ones she goes on when she reads books? I'm not really sure. Wasn't sure if the gun shot really happened at the end or if that was part of the alternate reality.

It was a very trippy piece - which is good in that it was creepy and unsettling, but not as good in that I didn't really follow what was happening or why.

Overall, it is certainly original, I will give you that! :)

I hope that made sense!

Good luck in the contest!

~alliyah

Happy Review Day from Team Hocus



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zaminami says...


So with the transitions, I used the actual book to give myself them so it'll be more accurate lmao

But thank you!



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Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:53 am
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EternalRain wrote a review...



Hey zaminami! Hopefully this review is helpful to you as you make any small edits for your contest. Or you can totally disregard my feedback haha. :P

Cecilia stared at the orange and green streamers decorating the white doorway, head shaking side-to-side in disgust. “Who would choose these colors to be together?” she wondered out loud, to herself more than her sister next to her. “It’s not Sunday in Los Angeles. It’s Friday in a small town.”

I shrugged, as horrified at the color choice as she was.


This flashback is set up as if it's third person POV and we get Cecilia's thoughts - but then it quickly shifts to first person - which was interesting and I love, but felt kind of awkward. I think if the situation was just tweaked a little so it felt like the "I" was narrating + observing Cecilia rather than it being more 3rd person (mentions her sister, "she wondered out loud" is something another person wouldn't really say). I talk about this a bit more later.

The pain was enough to trip me, me banging my head on the hardwood floor.


Grammar issue here - comma splice it seems like (or just some awkward wording that needs fixing).

One thing I noticed - and it's not a bad thing, more of an observation that I found interesting - is the agency used here. Other things are often doing the actions (her eyes [as opposed to her] glanced, the bus wheels screaming).

Anyway, this observation now leads me on to this change in perspective we sort of have going on here between Cecilia and Evangeline ("I"). I was fine with this change we had when we went back in time and the narrator changed to Evangeline and I thought that was really interesting - it added to creepiness, at least for me, and another layer to the story. I'm not sure how I feel about the change at the end (in addition to the one I mentioned above). It's a bit awkward and doesn't feel right. I get that it adds to the creep factor, but having a paragraph in third person POV and describing Cecilia and then switching to "I grabbed Cecilia's hand" doesn't really work out for me.

Okay, so story/plot wise. If I'm being totally honest with you, I'm not completely sure what happened. Evangeline and Cecilia go to a party and then all of a sudden police are coming and girls are scrambling outside. There was also a gunshot (I'm pretty sure Evangeline was the one who died, and she's coming back as a ghost to Cecilia). But I'm not clear on why the police came or why there was a gunshot? Maybe I'm just missing something/not connecting something together lol (Are Cecilia and Evangeline supposed to be evil?). Or maybe that's how you intended the story to be - a bit unclear on what happened.

I can definitely feel the gloom here, though. It's great spooky/Halloween/creepy story and the descriptions of the rain and gloominess really added to the feel of the story.

I hope this helps you out! And good luck to you on the contest - let me know how it goes!!

~ EternalRain




zaminami says...


Thank you!



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Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:02 pm
zaminami says...



Hi!

It's Kara!

This is a short story meant to be horrifying and/or creepy (the theme this month is horror, creep factor, and ghosts). I'm writing this for a monthly contest for my high school and I intend to win it again.

Please tear this into pieces.

This isn't nearly as good as the other one, Frazil, since I had serious writer's block while writing this and was rambling at the end. It would probably be good enough, but I would really appreciate reviews on this as fast as possible, it being due on the 31st.

Thanks!

zaminami, everyone's not-so-favorite demon goddess.





Why do we only rest in peace? Why don't we live in peace too?
— Alison Billet