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Pluralized
September 21st, 2014, 05:20 AM
Wrote this piece for the LM a few months back, and it's one of those stories I just want to share here in the public section. Hope someone likes it.

Hank's Old Dad - 650w

Here I am again staring at the milky-dull ceiling. Lying here, listening and breathing. Straining to hear each word I’ll incessantly repeat in my head for hours to come. They think I can’t understand them. They think I’m stupid because I’m three.

“Hank, he’s just a little kid. You expect too much,” my mother’s voice trills like a piccolo. “Give him another couple years”
“When I was his age, I’d already killed me a raccoon,” Father booms. “My old dad took me trapping up Whitefish and didn’t give a damn whether I was old enough or not. Family had to eat, see.”
“Yes, but he’s still falling down and shitting his pants,” Mother tweets.

I’m catching every other word, filling in the gaps. Shitting?

Father’s getting irritated. “Come sunup, me and that boy are going hunting. If he can’t pull his weight in this family, he’s no use.”

My heart’s beating fast and there’s no way I’ll sleep anytime soon. How does he expect me to carry a gun with these weak little arms?

Mother’s voice is hard to hear. “Just be careful with my boy, Hank.” In a whisper, which I can barely make out, “Remember how you insisted with Grimpy, and he’s gone. Dead.” She sniffs and exhales heavily. “Don’t think I can ever forgive you if we lose another one.”

Father shouts at her, “That boy didn’t have an ounce of kill in him, woman. No use to me.”

I have to calm myself. I’m hyperventilating.

The next morning, Father’s in my room early, muttering to himself. It’s barely light out. “Wake up, boy.” I’m sitting up already, but maybe he doesn’t see me. He lights a lantern and throws me some pants. “Get dressed.”

I’d ridden with him before, but usually had Mother to lean against. We clop down the path toward the woods, me holding onto his shirt to keep from falling off the horse. Father’s got complete control over the old nag, guiding her with soft tugs of the reins and curt barks when she slows. The horse responds, adjusting her line, keeping her speed. I’m struggling to hold on. It feels with every bounce like I’m going to backflip off the horse and land on my head. I pinch my legs tight to the horse and she seems to feel it and smooths her gait. “Boy, I hope you’ve brought your balls today,” Father shouts out the side of his mouth. We stop in a flat-bottom section of woods along the river. We climb down from the horse.

Father gets his rifle and hands me a long, tarnished knife. We stand there for a moment watching bugs swarm in the shafts of sunlight through the trees. Silence owns the woods, pierced by the occasional cry of a hawk. “Let’s go,” he says. Branches slap my face as father tromps ahead of me down the path. The knife feels heavy, like its dread is as thick as mine. We cross the river on smooth stones and climb a ridge, off the path at this point. Father goes to one knee, and I stop, breathing through my mouth. The crack of the rifle’s fire splits the air and my ears are ringing.

We kneel over the boar. Eyes glassy like a calm lake, barely breathing. When Father jabs it with the rifle, it squeals and tries to get up, but its lungs are filling with blood. Father takes the knife out of my hand and plunges it into the animal’s side. He works at it, grunting with his mouth open, and soon has the heart carved out. He lifts it into the air, turns toward me with a grin. He takes a big, manly bite, and hands the warm heart to me. I look at the rifle and think about what mother said, and take my bite with ravenous abandon.

End

Plasticweld
September 21st, 2014, 04:13 PM
Nice story... only goes to show you that it does not pay to be Grimpy, but to tackle life with ravenous abandon.

The dialog is nicely done...Bob

hvysmker
September 21st, 2014, 10:40 PM
Here I am again staring at the milky-dull ceiling.
*** I'd use a comma after "again" to put more emphasis on the staring?

Lying here, listening and breathing. Straining to hear each word I’ll incessantly repeat in my head for hours to come.
*** Sentence fragments. Not in themselves wrong, but you shouldn't use too many of them. I'd alter it to say "Lying here, listening and breathing, I'm straining to hear each word I’ll incessantly repeat in my head for hours to come."? In this version, "I'm" adds a subject.

“Hank, he’s just a little kid. You expect too much,” my mother’s voice trills like a piccolo.
*** I like that comparison.

“When I was his age, I’d already killed me a raccoon,” Father booms.
*** *Sob!* Brings back a sad memory of a raccoon that found its way into my house. I was made aware when I looked across the room and saw its head extending around the side of a couch. I had to call an exterminator. Those things can be vicious when cornered and kill small pets like my ratties and cats. We trapped it and I thought he'd release it outside. Never happen. Looking out a window, I saw him hit the critter with a mallet, killing it. I've seen my share of death and blood among humans, but still have a soft spot for little innocent critters.

Father’s getting irritated. “Come sunup, me and that boy are going hunting. If he can’t pull his weight in this family, he’s no use.”
*** Sounds familiar, he-he.

My heart’s beating fast and there’s no way I’ll sleep anytime soon. How does he expect me to carry a gun with these weak little arms?
*** At the age of three? Ohhhh, noooooo. I do believe in firearm savvy kids, but not at Threeee. Very good writing ... so far. I haven't seen any errors. Keep it up.

We kneel over the boar.
*** I don't like that transition. I'd have liked to have read something about the hunt and how the character took it.

He takes a big, manly bite, and hands the warm heart to me.
*** Bet that was a shock. Oh, and I'd like to know what happened to Grimpy? I was thinking that throughout the story. It's a loose end that should be addressed.

Good work, Pluralized. Kept me interested throughout.

Charlie

sloonzz
September 22nd, 2014, 02:19 PM
I particularly like how you kept the dialogue real but interesting.
Also, your brief but detailed descriptions had me reading everything in one go.
You're very good.

Vendetta5885
September 25th, 2014, 09:52 PM
That was great. Interesting, fluid, an all around good read.

-Colin

Firemajic
September 29th, 2014, 08:07 PM
No crits here, I was looking for something cool to read and found it. What an intriguing storyline,thanks for the read. Peace...Jul

Jean Bathurst
September 30th, 2014, 03:37 PM
This is a great piece; I really enjoyed it. Love the description. Not too much, not too little. Captivating right away. Primal themes. Scared kid, overbearing dad, worried mom. We get all the characters right off the bat. The dead brother adding stakes. And all very economically done.

Wasn't sure about 'tweets' and might suggest changing 'she sniffs and exhales heavily' to just 'she exhales heavily'. Sniffing... maybe it's just me but it seems to lessen the impact of the melancholy exhale.

Only other thing would be to break up the last paragraphs a bit more for easy reading on the web. It goes from easy bite sized chunks to (comparatively) heavier paragraphs. In print, that's nothing, but I find on the web it's so much easier to take it in when there's lots of white space. Maybe that's just me tho...

Great work!

fpak
December 14th, 2014, 02:04 PM
Holy shit. I know Im late here but I have to say this is really good!

Apex
December 14th, 2014, 07:14 PM
The writing is good...the plot is screwed up. This is about a three year old?
The basics of a plot are simple. A golden rule: A conflict must seem real to the writer. There is no conflict between adults, and a three year old. A three year old can not do what you have it doing.
The writing is good, I would even say great; the plot stinks. I do understand you are saying something? I would suggest you search your past memories, and see if you can pull it out. If you do this, and transfer those memories to your character you will have something. A writer must put all fears aside, and write with their own blood.
A writer who has secretes will fail. A writer who is all over their work will bleed truth into a story. By the end of the story, a character must come to understand; what others did to them, was not their fault, and only then can they learn to train others how to treat them.

ChrisChandler00
December 31st, 2014, 01:29 PM
Really good read. Interesting, kept me engaged. Would like to know what happened to Grimpy!

Burroughs
January 5th, 2015, 04:54 PM
I enjoyed reading this. Flowed very nicely. I felt sorry for the son (along with the farther too)