View Full Version : Happy and Carefree

Warmaster Horus
April 6th, 2014, 02:54 AM
Feel free to read this story and share your thoughts.

He remembered when he was young, and what his father did to him. Every time he did something wrong, his father would make him say ďI did it. Iím sorry.Ē No longer. He drowned his father in the bathtub. With a natural looking death, there was no investigation. The will was read, and he inherited his fatherís mansion.
In the mansion were several paintings. His father was an art collector, who collected mostly portraits. He loved the mansion, and lived the good life. He spent money by the bucketful, and after a while, he began to explore the mansionís many rooms.
In one room, full of dust and cobwebs, hung a painting. It was of a child, smiling. The child seemed care-free and happy. He loved the painting so much; he brought it out, and hung it in the bedroom. A couple of days later, he noticed something odd.
The child no longer smiled. Its face was emotionless. Nonsense, he thought. Over the next few days, the child began to frown. My imagination is playing tricks on me, he thought. I must not get paranoid.
But he did. After a few days, the child began to scowl. He panicked. He ran throughout the mansion. All throughout the mansion, the portraits were scowling. In the dining room, he looked in the mirror. What he saw shocked him. The reflection was no longer of a human being. It was a monster. A devil.
He couldnít take it anymore. He ran into his bedroom, and shut the door. The police found his body. He was hanging in front of the portrait of a child, happy and care-free. In his hand, they found a note. It read, ďI did it, Iím sorry.Ē

Jake Creamer
April 6th, 2014, 03:43 AM
I like the plot, very Poe.
I feel, however, that your writing is a bit abrupt. Perhaps instead of saying things like "he panicked", you might describe his actions and let the reader decide how to define the emotion? Right away, the phrase "...and what his father did to him" seems to speak of abusiveness or molestation as opposed to a parent simply making a child take responsibility for his actions. If you took the story in that direction, maybe the kid wouldn't seem so much like a caricature of a sociopath.

Warmaster Horus
April 6th, 2014, 04:20 AM
Thank you for your honest feedback. This actually was inspired by "the Tell-Tale Heart", and I'm quite glad you see the influence.

April 6th, 2014, 04:42 AM
It's like The Tell-Tale Heart meets The Picture of Dorian Gray in reverse. I kinda wish you could add more details, thoughts, feelings, etc as a way of fleshing out the story.

April 6th, 2014, 05:28 AM
This is like a single brush-stroke of a story. It's like a picture painted on glass. You can see what's there but you can also see right through it. There's no substance, no depth.
I think the word is translucent.

He remembered when he was young, and what his father did to him.
- You know what I'd do, if this was my story...? I'd leave this open. Followed by his father making him admit that he'd done wrong and apologise, well. That just made me laugh. That's not awful; that's a piece of parenting.
All that impact in the first sentence, and you just through it all away. I think... I think that it'll be more powerful if you never say what his father did. I think the reader's imagination will take them there. Some things are stronger if they're left unsaid.

Other'n that, I'd just ask for more. More description, more depth... Yep.
That's all I have to say ^_^
Thanks for sharing.

April 7th, 2014, 03:41 AM
This is an interesting short story.

I’m just a novice in writing, and I am still struggling to write my first novel so let me share my thoughts from that point of view:

I have a very bad habit of skimming through words, and in my first reading, I believed that the boy was being abused by his father, and that he was driven to murder. And, then his conscience bothered him like it would any normal person, and he incorrectly decided that he was evil and took his own life.

My next reading: the father was not evil. He was just trying to teach the boy. And, I then somehow decided that the father had painted different portraits of his son as he was growing up, and those showed the boy how he had changed over the years. And, that realization of what he had now become, drove him to suicide.

Oops. My last reading just now. There is only one portrait, and that is not of the boy in question. And, this keeps changing.

To summarize : I liked the story, and I think its shortness makes it easy to absorb. I just don’t know why I misread it so many times. Sorry.

April 7th, 2014, 10:22 PM
The depth of emotion in the boy could be elaborated upon a bit more. However, it's great and really stirred up some emotions.

April 7th, 2014, 11:25 PM
I would loved to see this fleshed out and expanded into a full-length story. The plot sounds really interesting, like patsywriter said it's Poe's Tell-Tale Heart meets Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.

April 8th, 2014, 02:48 AM
It's like The Tell-Tale Heart meets The Picture of Dorian Gray in reverse. I kinda wish you could add more details, thoughts, feelings, etc as a way of fleshing out the story.

I agree 100%
i don't have much experience with murder but if you drowned someone in a bathtub would it be that easy to make it look natural?
I loved the way you brought the story around with what the note read. Nice touch.

Warmaster Horus
April 8th, 2014, 10:37 AM
Thank you for your comments, people. Also, how do I un lol and unlike this post, because I accidentally did and it makes me look stupid.

April 14th, 2014, 02:04 AM
I think there is an interesting story here. I think it might be better if you expanded out as others suggested. I think you might want to consider expanding on his motivation for killing his father. The idea that he killed his father just for making him say he was sorry seems a little unbelievable. It could just be that the main character is crazy, but even that could be expanded on.

April 19th, 2014, 06:56 PM
I really liked what happened in the end. I'd like to hear maybe a bit more about how is life was good between killing his father and hanging the painting. I know he spent money, did this make him happy? Did he marry? have kids? I'd like him to build a superficial foundation of a happy life after the murder only to have it shaken to bits when the reprisal of the murder comes through the painting. A kind of 'however hard you try you can't run away from the past' type thing.

Basically I got the impression he was happy because the title says so and you say he loved the mansion. I don't really get feel of the happiness though.

April 21st, 2014, 07:25 PM
I really liked your short story. I have to agree with the other critiques about the first sentence "what his father did to him". It implies that the father did something wrong or bad. But all in all I liked it, short and to the point.

April 21st, 2014, 09:23 PM
You could make this story a lot longer, more detailed, and still keep the creepy Poe-esque feeling you wanted to convey. Try looking deeply into your character, develop him: his childhood life, his relationship with his father, his motives for killing his father, his adult life, his personality. Does he have a mental illness? Is it all in his head? Since this story is focused on the main character, much like A Tell-Tale Heart :) , the writer needs to know that character inside and out. It's a good concept for a story and I wish you luck in developing it!

April 28th, 2014, 01:17 PM
I think Jake Creamer hit the nail right on the head here: this is all tell and no show. What's great about Poe is that he messes with your mind. His stories are as much about psychological terror as they are about physical pain and torture. Each of them makes us reflect on ourselves because it slowly pulls us down into the pit, straps us to a table and makes us watch our own doom swing back and forth from the ceiling (or it walls us up in the basement to die). How does he do it? Well, for one, his language is very succinct but also descriptive. He never overcomplicates his prose with unnecessary words realizing that simplicity is the duke of horror, and that words like panicked just aren't going to cut it. His brow sweats, his eyes twitch, his fingers rap against this thighs as he's made to sit at a precession, all the while staring into the face of the scowling child. Even the scene about the father drowning needs to have more emotion to it. Draw it out, pull us through the thorns so that we jerk and twitch and jump and shake. You've got to dig into the feeling of it all. That'll make this sweet short story into a horrifying thriller.

May 11th, 2014, 06:08 PM
The plot seems good but I think the short length of it has led it to have a very disjointed feel. It would benefit from an expansion of the sentences, giving more detail. Rather than 'lived the good life' give details on the life he lived; friends, family, job etc.. Also, attempt to avoid too much repetition, a lot of your sentences start in the same way that the previous one ended eg. 'He ran throughout the mansion. All throughout the mansion'

May 14th, 2014, 02:38 AM
This is an opening or scene that interests me. I think I would want to read more. The thing that might deter me from reading further ,and I think others have already said this, is the telling versus showing. You mention the protagonists father being an art collector. I would say show the main character walking through the house and looking at the paintings, seeing them, thinking about them, even talking about them. Let the reader infer that the father was an art collector. Even the death of the father could be expressed through action or dialogue. I think if you did that, it would leave a little more mystery to the actual death.