View Full Version : Two Faced

K. Altan
March 22nd, 2015, 05:14 AM
This is really rough. I'm not sure if I want to make anything out of this. I don't even know what to name the main character, so some thoughts would be really helpful. Thanks. :)

If I say any more scary things, they’d send me back to the bad place. They tell me that the scary things aren’t real, but I can’t tell if they’re the real ones or the other people are. If you’re reading this, please stop. I don’t want you to put me in the bad place. I’m only writing this cause I can’t keep the scary things all bottled up inside.

When I fall asleep, I go to another place, but I’m not alone in that place. I have a big brother named Carter who takes care of me there. When I talk to Mommy about Carter, she used to tell me to stop talking about people that don’t exist, but after going to the bad place, she doesn’t do that anymore. When I’m with Carter, he asks me to tell him about this place. I try to explain to him that it’s not all that good, but he doesn’t understand. He claims that any place is better than that place, so I cut out the bad things and talk about the nice things. He likes that stuff.

Yesterday, Mommy took me to the park. I like to play in the bushes. Mommy always tells me to play on the jungle gym. I used to say that it was too out in the open and that they could shoot me there, but then I learned that that was one of the scary things that would make them want to send me back to the bad place. I decided that it made her happy when I played on the jungle gym, especially when I played with other kids, so yesterday I played with a kid named Tony. Tony was nice, but he kept wanting to play war. I don’t like that game. It makes me think of the other place. I don’t think Tony really understands the meaning behind the game, but if I told him, they’d send me back to the bad place, so I played along to make him happy.

While we were playing, I suddenly fell asleep and woke up in the other place.

Carter was shaking my shoulder yelling at me to get up. It was really loud and we ran for almost forever. When we got far enough away that we couldn’t hear anything any more, Carter said we could walk, but we should keep moving and find a safe place. We found a good safe place with a bunch of other kids, so Carter said I could get some sleep while he and some of the other big kids watched. I was so tired, that I didn’t argue and instantly dozed off.

I woke up to find Mommy wiping my forehead with a damp cloth. I was back in my room. Mommy must have carried me back home from the park.

“Hey, buddy,” she said. “How are you feeling?”

“Thirsty,” I said. She handed me a Gatorade and I began to chug. I stopped and sighed. No matter how much I eat and drink here, I’m still always hungry and thirsty there.
I felt bad about what happened. Mommy’s always so worried when I fall asleep during the day. The first time, they took me to the bad place. They said they wanted to run tests to make sure something wasn’t wrong with me. I guess there was, because Mommy got really sad after that.

I asked Mommy if she could read to me. I was still shaken up from what happened in the other place and wanted to hear some nice things, but she told me that I’d had a long day and should get some rest. It didn’t make much sense to me. Hadn’t I just been sleeping? And I didn’t want to go back to the other place. As much as I loved Carter, that place is not a fun place to be anymore, so I pleaded with Mommy until she finally said okay.

I was about pick out a book when Daddy came home. He does a lot of business, so he doesn’t come home a lot. I like it when he comes home because he always brings more Hot Wheels. We add to the track that goes all over my room every time he comes home. Mommy always complains that she wouldn’t have any room to walk soon, but since Daddy doesn’t come home often, it would take a really long time until that happened.

I ripped open the new car and we tested it out on some of the track. It was really fancy looking, but some of the fancy stuff was so big that it got stuck on some of the skinnier track. I got really sad, but Daddy said that it could be a “show car” instead and put it up on a shelf. I didn’t really like the “show cars.” I couldn’t do anything with them.

I asked Daddy if we could start construkshun, but Daddy complained that it was really late and way past my bedtime, so he and Mommy tucked me in and told me to sleep. Mommy must have forgotten about reading to me, but I decided to just let it be. She looked really tired.

When I fell asleep and woke up back in the other place, Carter was still awake with the older kids. I told him to sleep, too, but he shook his head and said that he wanted to get some food. When we stepped out of the safe place, we snuck around and tried to stay hidden until we saw a woman with some kids. Big Brother motioned to me and I knew what to do.
I ran up to the woman, cupped my hands in front of me, and said, “Please.”

She looked really sorry for me and handed me some change. I raced back to Carter who patted me on the back and then we looked for a market. We drank water from somebody’s hose, bought some food from a vendor and then sat down on the side of the road to eat.
Big Brother reached into his backpack and pulled out a map of the world that he borrowed from somebody. He went to school before things got really bad, so he tries to exercise his brain a lot. When we hide with adults, he asks them to teach him stuff, but they never know much more than he does. He flipped the map over and wrote out the ABCs and then we practiced. He told me that Mommy and Daddy (the Mommy and Daddy in that place aren’t the same Mommy and Daddy that I have at home) told him that it was important. He doesn’t know why, but it’s important.

We walked around the market a little more and then decided to look for the next safe place because it gets really bad at night.

After a while my tummy started grumbling, so we tried to find another woman, but couldn’t. We found some stuff behind a restaurant instead. Big Brother calls it gourmet eating; I call it eating trash.

We found a place that was safe enough where we could both sleep at once which is good because I don’t think Big Brother sleeps a lot. We fell asleep really fast and then I went back to this place.

When I woke up, I took a notebook from Daddy’s desk and am writing this now. I still need to take my medicine, so I guess I should stop for now. I think we’re having waffles for breakfast.

March 23rd, 2015, 12:07 AM
I was really confused at this story at first, and couldn't make out a genre for it either. But after reading it a third time, I started to grasp the picture of where this was and where this was going. However, it was still quite difficult for me to see through the child's eye. Here are some things I would like you to consider:

When I fell asleep, Big Brother was still awake with the older kids.
-If the MC (the narrator) fell asleep, he/she wouldn't be able to do anything else. Unless Big Brother is in a dream? You should try removing that "When I fell asleep," part.

-Is there a reason "Big Brother" is capitalized? If the reason is because he is another unnamed MC, then I understand.

-Asking you to make the story more clear would be asking too much, and it can even subject to change of the whole writing. So I will not.

The reader's thoughts (correct me if I'm wrong):

- The "bad place", also known as "the other place" you mentioned in this story, I think they are some sort of hospitals. I could be wrong, but this story seems like a dystopian fiction. If I'm correct, then the "bad place" operates as psychological facilities that root out bad thoughts, or "scary things". That's just my thought, I could be wrong though. You, the author, would know the truth. I don't have clear picture of this story yet.

- If I read right, the "bad place" also contains "safe place". Safe place is where the MCs parents are. At the same time, I was confused when I read the part "(I don’t remember them, but it’s confusing to have two Mommys and Daddys anyway so I don’t mind)". Maybe the MC is referring the present, at the time the MC is writing this, or maybe I am confused about that part, because I can't yet grasp the whole picture & genre of this story. Perhaps the MC and their Big Brother lost their parents when they moved to a different safe place, and were unable to find them again/were adopted by a different couple.

- "before things got really bad", begging for money, and eating out of restaurant's garbage...etc. But why? They have parents to support them. At first, that's what I thought... But as I read carefully again, I found these clues:

“Thirsty,” I said. She handed me a Gatorade and I began to chug. I stopped and sighed. No matter how much I eat and drink here, I’m still always hungry and thirsty there.

After a while my tummy started grumbling again
People in this particular society must succumb to hunger and thirst pretty fast. And because they were in different safe place, away from their parents, they had no choice but to do this.

We walked around the market a little more and then decided to look for the next safe place because it gets really bad at night.
When they found the "next safe place", it sounds like they were cut off from their parents. When night comes, they can't move around? In order for them to get to a safe place, they have to pass a bad place, where things get really bad during the night?

The reader's conclusion:

- The only satisfying "reveal" about this story was the last paragraph, where the MC reveals that he/she is writing this story in a notebook they got from their dad's desk. It is regrettable to me that I found this story interesting, but had to end when the truths were about to reveal itself.

Overall, this is a good writing. I wish I can read more, if it can be revealed that is.

K. Altan
March 23rd, 2015, 12:56 AM
Yeah, I definitely see your confusion. I got the idea when I found an old journal of mine from when I was really little. I had the idea of using a young child with an extreme case of schizophrenia where whenever he falls asleep, he enters the delusional world of a society at war. Knowing how young he is, I knew it would be tough for him to comprehend everything, so I kept it ambiguous and confusing. Looking back at it from the perspective of the reader, it makes absolutely no sense, so thank you. I needed that to be pointed out to me. Also, I wasn't exactly sure what genre this was going to be, so I sort of guessed as to where to put it. Maybe I should move it to general fiction?

To answer your questions, yes Big Brother is in his delusion, and I have not figured out a name for him (I can't help thinking of 1984 whenever I write that down)

Yes, the "bad place" is the psych ward of a hospital and they are trying to help him with his schizophrenia. They think that the "scary things" that he says (ie talking about war) are connected to his delusions. The "safe place" is more like a safe place to hide from militarists who become more active at night.

For the confusion about the parents: the MC apparently had a set of parents in his delusional world but they were killed in the war, so his older brother is the only one left to protect him.

I was going to write more where the MC keeps writing in the notebook and as he becomes older and his writing more refined, everything starts to make sense, but I'm thinking I should put in a little more distinction between the dream world and the real world. Thank you so much for your comments. They're really helpful.

March 23rd, 2015, 01:30 AM
I am very glad I could be of some help. :positive:

I got the idea when I found an old journal of mine from when I was really little.
That's very sweet.

After reading what you've said, it makes perfect sense to me, now that I've got some explanations from you.
As to the genre, it could be general fiction, unless this MC could project some fantasy-related things with his "delusions", just as MC projects the big brother as only protector. It could even be an adventure, the hospital being his "playground" that MC ventures around with the brother or parents.

I was going to write more where the MC keeps writing in the notebook and as he becomes older and his writing more refined, everything starts to make sense,

This is a very unique style of writing. I would like to TELL you that you should definitely stick to this idea. Don't let any critiques hinder you away from this concept. It's very unique and I think you should really apply this.

but I'm thinking I should put in a little more distinction between the dream world and the real world.
Depending on how you pull this off, could define the genre this story belongs to. As I mentioned before, if the dream world would be adventurous, then this could be one of the most heart-warming adventure story of this MC. It could also well be "Mystery" or thriller. There are many possibilities of how this story will unfold.

Please please please keep at it. I know that readers may find it confusing, but this is a very unique concept. I will say that again and again. I know that the hook could be heavily affected from the confusion, but believe it or not, I believe that you've successfully pulled it off when you revealed that the MC has been writing this story on his notebook all along. The very fact that it has a confusing beginning means the readers would like to find out more, just as I have found out as I read on to the end.