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View Full Version : Weakness is a Strength - Short Story



Burroughs
February 3rd, 2017, 06:55 PM
Hello everyone, this is my first post in a while, but I hope to be posting more regular again. I wrote this short story today and would love any honest feedback/views. Thank you.

Sitting in a dark, damp room, feet tucked under a warn blanket for warmth, I canít tell if I shiver from the morning temperature or my own fear. The sofa in which I inhabit feels as small as the coffin Iíll one-day rest in. Blinds kept shut, I canít bear to look out into the world. Everything makes me feel sick. My skin crawls as my mind thinks.

Footsteps outside my apartment travel and fade into the distance. He is off to work. My hands are shaking as I pour another drink, the substance not important. Anger takes over my trailing mind and I re-live movements that I want to forget. I canít stop them playing over and over, I am a star in my own Broadway show that wonít ever be cancelled. I sip the drink at first, but as the images get clearer I forcefully swallow and feel the burn of the liquid entering my body.

The drink helps. My mind becomes fuzzy, and with that, so do the memories. A moment of peace surrounds me; my mind is no longer in block 4, apartment 33. Flashing back Iím walking down Richmond Park, autumn trees create a walkway, colours and sweet flowery aromas fill my sensors as I grip tight to my Fatherís hand. He stops, kneels down and stares straight into my eyes.

His beautiful withered face is as clear as when I last saw him. With three simple words spoken I feel like the centre of the universe, his universe anyway. And although the divine feeling of being safe is only for a brief moment, in my mind it feels like an eternity.

A slight smile forms and for the first time in a very long time I simply forget. The problem with forgetting however is that your brain is programmed to remember, and the harder you try to forget, the more vivid the pictures become.




With the room still dark Iím now stood. Iím angrier than I have ever been. I donít like feeling like this, but I rather it to the cold sweats of terror I have been feeling. Drinking helps the time fade and the day has gone fast. Iím pacing back and forth, thinking, always thinking.

Voices of hate fill the room, whispering about punishment and revenge; part of me enjoys the company. I wish I could go back to Richmond Park and feel the breeze on my ageing skin. If I was surrounded by the trees, the laughter from the children, I know I could feel differently about my situation.

Perhaps I should go? Whatís stopping me? I sit back down. Mumble to myself, ďdonít get ahead of yourself, you arenít worthy of being happy yetĒ.

I havenít been in the bedroom since it happened three weeks ago. His smell still haunts the room, never leaving no matter how much I clean and scrub. The first few days after it happened I couldnít stop scrubbing the apartment, and my body.

My skin was no longer my own, it was like a substance that was clinging to my body, I had to wash it off, desperately I tried, but nothing worked. Iíd sit on the bathroom floor scrutinising my hands and rubbing my thumb and forefinger together, over and over. Nothing is my own, even the air I breathe is still shared by him.





Later on slumped in the same place as I was in the morning, and like the morning when his footsteps faded away, his footsteps now draw closer. Louder and louder, echoing inside my fragile mind. A key enters a lock. Not my lock, but the lock across the hall.

The hall has faded red paint lining itís walls, flickering bulbs that should have been changed months ago and muddy foot prints from people rushing in and out of their busy lives. I hear the door open, and with a few seconds of delay, it closes.

My last clear thought; the door never locked.

Thereís a drawer next to me and I reach for it. I think to myself that it is time and that I am ready. Iím not ready, but with the drawer open I pick up what is laying inside. I hold it gently, scared of the power that I hold in my hands.

Standing up I breath, in and out, slowly, concentrating on nothing else, like a baby born into the world taking in the sensation of oxygen flowing into itís lungs for the first time.

Strangely this is the first time that my mind has been clear, confirmation that what Iím about to do is right. I open my apartment door, it was already unlocked and I try to think how long it must have been left like that. Oh well it doesnít matter now.

When I step out into the hall I feel like Iíve just stepped from behind a theatre curtain onstage in front of everyone. There isnít another single soul in the hallway, but to me there are thousands of eyes staring at me, waiting for me to start my performance.

My chest gets tight, Iím struggling to breathe, but I know I need to be strong, right now for the first time in my life. I whisper, ďI didnít ask for thisĒ, a phrase repeated many a time in the past few weeks. My mantra.




Time skips like someone has just pressed fast forward on a remote. He is now knelt in front of me with an alarming look in his eyes. A look that seems like fear, but could also be hate. His apartment looks nicer than mine. The perfectly painted walls and soft colourful rugs jump out.

Everything has itís place and there are pictures on his wall. I stare for a second and wonder who they might be. Friends? Family? Can someone like this really have friends? Clearing my thoughts I stutter, with anger in my voice ďMy world is no longer a happy place; there is no joy in my soul or love in my heart. You have taken that all away from me, so why should you get to be free and blissful in your life?Ē.

Iím not sure if I want an answer to that. He gazes up at me with a smile that looks like one of a man with not a care in the world. He whispers the three words that my farther said. With more anger I scream ďyouíre not worthy to say those words to me, only he isĒ and just before I squeeze the cold metal trigger of the pistol that is in my hand, I see in His eyes, for the first time, real regret and panic. Regret of what he has done to me. A few tears drips from my face. I donít regret what I do to him.



Time skips once again and I am now back in my apartment, sat on the sofa that has now become my coffin.

Olly Buckle
February 3rd, 2017, 09:23 PM
You wrote it and posted? Looks like it could do with going over again to me. Not that there is anything awful, but I am sure you could do some fine tuning.

Look at this, of course it is only what I would do, but...

"My hands are shaking as I pour another drink, the substance not important. Anger takes over my trailing mind and I re-live movements that I want to forget. I can’t stop them playing over and over, I am a star in my own Broadway show that won’t ever be cancelled. I sip the drink at first, but as the images get clearer I forcefully swallow and feel the burn of the liquid entering my body."

"My hands shake, I pour another drink without noting what. Anger takes over my trailing mind and I re-live movements I want to forget. They play over and over, I star in my own Broadway show that runs and runs. I sip the drink at first, but as the images get clearer I swallow and feel the liquid burn."

'Substance' seemed wrong. There might be a better word, rather than a re-phrase. 'Movements/Moments to forget? 'Cancelled' seemed wrong. Otherwise I have deleted things like 'that'; which don't alter the meaning, or descriptive words people could probably figure out, like 'forcefully'. Of course you might wish to keep some parts, or substitute something else, your decisions to make, but my feeling is that the more direct and immediate you make things the better generally.

Bard_Daniel
February 9th, 2017, 09:13 PM
I would agree with Olly that this could use a little more fine tuning to make it sparkle.

Just my two cents!

malone76
February 11th, 2017, 10:43 AM
I enjoyed your writing style, but maybe it needs a little fine tuning. It's a good first draft though.

Burroughs
February 20th, 2017, 11:24 PM
Thanks for the feedback. Very much appreciated. I never like re-reading my writings, but now might be a good time to start ;)

Olly Buckle
February 22nd, 2017, 02:24 AM
I never like re-reading my writings, but now might be a good time to start ;)

I can't imagine not going over anything at least a couple of times. If I think of it as important, I will often finish by reading it aloud, it is the places where I catch for a second of hesitation that need attention. Even this post has been revised.

bdcharles
February 27th, 2017, 09:23 AM
Hi,

I think this is a pretty powerful read. Your descriptions are well-placed and flowing, without too much exposition, working physical features in among the doings; eg. your first line:

"Sitting in a dark, damp room, feet tucked under a warn[<- "warm"?] blanket for warmth, I can’t tell if I shiver from the morning temperature or my own fear."

Right there, I get both a sense of the person and the setting, without excessive verbiage, so well done for that.

The general message - the event - of the piece is fairly clear without being overstated, so it lurks in the narrator-I's voice like a threat. My understanding is that the neighbur has raped the I, who presumably is a woman?

There are a couple of very minor bits of clunk and repetition, eg:

"With the room still dark I’m now stood. I’m angrier than I have ever been. I don’t like feeling like this, but I rather it to the cold sweats of terror I have been feeling."

"feel" repeated here and it is one of those words that, if it can be excised, it should be, because not only is fiction littered with the corpses of expired acts of feeling, but also there are many other stronger ways of expressing the fact of the emotion. Sometimes less is more. So it could become:

"With the room still dark I’m now stood. I’m angrier than I have ever been. I don’t like feeling like this, but I rather it to the cold sweats of terror of late."

With this:
"Everything has it’s place"
- no apostrophe needed. You have this in a couple of spots.


With this:
"Flashing back I’m walking down Richmond Park, autumn trees create a walkway, colours and sweet flowery aromas fill my sensors as I grip tight to my Father’s hand."
-> the comma splice could work, because the tone here is quite whimsical, or you could have "autum trees creating a walkway" and "sweet flowery aromas filling"; it depends on what flow and beat you want. Just something to be mindful of. Also - did you mean "sensors" or "senses"? Either works, but senses is more real-world, more normal, whereas sensors suggests the I is some kind of automaton. Maybe they are, I dunno, but if they are, make it a thing. That could be quite strong, I think, a sentient house-robot reflecting on having been beaten.

Lastly, I would say that "The sofa in which I inhabit" should lose the "in" because it is implicit in "inhabit":
"The sofa which I inhabit"

Apart from that, not too much else to do. Good work :)