Won't you dance? - (567 words)


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  1. #1

    Won't you dance? - (567 words)

    Hello everyone, it's been a good while since I've submitted something. I wrote this earlier today. It's quite bare and naked as it is but i am hoping to add to it. I'm not sure what format to do it in yet. This could be the first chapter, anyway. Hope someone enjoys.

    Won’t You Dance?

    ‘John,’

    ‘What?’

    ‘Not saying anything isn't going to get results, is it?’

    ‘What’s the deal, then?’

    ‘Your son will be here tomorrow, no questions asked, just as he was one month ago.’

    ‘How do I know you’re not lying?’

    ‘John, you have my undying word. I promise.’

    ‘And what’s the negative to this deal?’

    ‘Well, it won’t be a negative to you, per se. If I give you your son back there will be a sort of deficit. There’s a take one, give one kind of policy, you see.’

    ‘You want me?’

    ‘Don’t be absurd. You’re one of the most boring men I've ever met. At 8:00 tonight sit down at the pier, someone will approach you and ask you for the time. It will be this person. It could be a man, it could be a woman, or it could be a child. I don’t know. All you must do is spend twenty-four hours with them. At the end of the twenty-four hours I will ask you what you wish to do. If you ask for your son, I will give him to you, if you don’t, I won’t and the person gets on with their life. Entirely up to you. No strings attached…I found that last part really difficult to say, you know. This is a lovely deal you’re being offered.’

    ‘I’m not so sure. What if I don’t want to do this?’

    ‘Ah, well you have to. Oh! There it is! Turns out there’s a string after all. I do love strings. If you don’t, my time has been somewhat wasted and time is all I have, you see.’

    ‘I feel this has been a mistake.’

    ‘I feel it has been a massive success. My optimism has negated your pessimism. All is well in the world once more.'

    ‘Tell me truthfully, will I regret ever meeting you?’

    ‘John, I’m not a bad person any more than God is a good person. Think of me as a chance, and just with all chances, it’s up to you to make the most of it. The outcome is determined by you alone. You are Jehovah, you are Lucifer. You are the man.’

    ‘Okay.’

    ‘I need you to be sure. Are you sure?’

    ‘Positive.’

    ‘Good. Pier at 8:00 tonight, don’t forget. I will be watching.’

    Just as instantaneous as his arrival, he had vanished.

    7:15. John grabs his coat and heads out to the pier.

    7:26. John pulls out his wallet and caresses the photo of his son inside, desperately trying to feel his skin once more. What have I done? What will I do? He asks the photo of his son. I don’t know his son says back. John looks around the busy pier. It’s dark now and the amusement arcades are acting as a lighthouse for drifters with time to kill. He stares out to sea and listens intently for the crashing of the waves.

    7:43. Nerves are taking precedent in John’s body. His heart is matching the rate of his racing mind and his twitching leg is beating them both.

    7:57. Whoever it is, they would do the same. I’m sure of it he thinks. The crashing of the waves becomes inaudible as the tide recedes, leaving a dark blank beach in its stead.

    ‘Excuse me. I don’t suppose you have the time?’

    ‘I imagine it’s 8:00.’

    ‘Are you sure?’

    ‘Positive.’

  2. #2
    Very interesting piece of writing. I read it through more than once, I suppose the title threw me off a bit. This would most definitely fit as an introductory chapter for a short novella, or you could expand on it in several different ways. I understand that these lines are more of a foundation, but they do suggest a great deal of storyline. Is there a reason it's set near the water? Why exactly does this 'opportunity' occur once per month? For something written off the cuff, I thought it was well done, I would be interested in reading the next chapter. Thanks for sharing.

    I realize it is quite open-ended at this point, but what is the title suggesting? Being that this piece is so short as is, it is difficult (if not impossible) to tell at this point.

    R

  3. #3
    Hi roscoe, thank you for your time and feedback, they are very much appreciated.

    The water (which will be advanced on later on) is symbolism reflecting how alone he is in this situation and his state of mind. The month has no great significance, It's just it was a month ago since his son died. Thank you, I plan to write the next part soon and will post it up.

    The title refers to the phrase "dance with the Devil" although I'm thinking now that "Will You Dance?" might have been a better title.

  4. #4
    I appreciate the information, I feel like I understand this first chapter better now. Looking forward to the next piece...

    R

  5. #5
    I got lost reading, having to go back several times to re-read to see how it all fit together. I maybe slower than most but I had a hard time following you. Not much help here I am sorry, I can only offer that maybe more context will make the dialog make more sense
    God hates a coward Revelation 21:8

    “Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”

    Hidden Content ,

    To encourage and facilitate "me"

  6. #6
    Hello Plastic,

    That's a fair enough point, it is perhaps done a bit hastily and so could do with some cleaning up to limit confusion to readers. Interesting both of you had to read through more than once. That can't be a good sign.

    Thank you for your time and feedback, I appreciate it.
    Apple Ice

  7. #7
    Member Ari's Avatar
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    Hm!
    It is quite different to anything I've read before. Because the beginning is all speech, I feel like I've hacked into a telephone conversation, or maybe picked up a script by mistake. It's intriguing.
    You say you know it's bare so I wont point that out.
    I'll tell you something else instead.

    ‘Not saying anything isn't going to get results, is it?’ - to me, this seems a very odd phrase. I had to frown and read it twice, which is never a good thing.
    ‘Ah, well you have to. Oh! There it is! Turns out there’s a string after all." - liked this! It made me grin.
    And, "Time is all I have." He says.
    Wow.
    Interesting idea. Time is all I have. Time is all I have. So nothing else, not his clothes nor his shoes nor his ideas with strings belong to him. He's not the big man, because there's someone who almost owns him. Backed up by the fact that he doesn't know who will come asking John the time. Yes? No? Sometimes I read too much into a thing.

    And, last point. I'm guessing this guy John has had his son stolen or swapped or something, and now is his chance to get him back. Yet he doesn't seem all that emotional. He feels... detached. As if he's been told the kid is his son but has never actually met him. (But then, you wouldn't write 'get him back.')

    Dude, can you write more? This one has really caught my imagination! (:

  8. #8
    Hello Ari, firstly thank you for your time and feedback, it's always nice to have someone comment.

    Certainly one of the more eccentric critiques I've had haha. I will tweak the sentence. As for the actual story the deal broker is the Devil. John's son is dead and the Devil is offering to give him back for an exchange. The Devil is very much in control of his own actions, though. As for the time thing, if you're immortal then time is the one thing you have.

    John is calculated and reflective of his thoughts and is not one for outward emotion, which is probably why he comes across as detached.

    As for the last part, I wish I could. I've hit a bit of a dead end with it recently. I am determined to finish it, though. I'll let you know know when I post the next chapter. Thanks again, Ari.
    Last edited by Apple Ice; March 29th, 2014 at 12:19 AM.
    Apple Ice

  9. #9
    WF Veteran ShadowEyes's Avatar
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    Hey Apple. Thanks for writing this. This'll be my first thing I've read of yours and that makes me happy. I like short things. I'm kind of a perfectionist, so I like to make sure I can get everything right. Cheers!

    Stipulation: "You have to. ... Time is all I have, you see." Great motive. It makes perfect sense that the Devil ought to only have time. I hope you put it to use somehow. Maybe some moral about time or how we're given what we're due. Like The Twilight Zone's "Escape Clause" episode. I think, when dealing with the Devil in these kind of stories, he has to win somehow. Or else it would be like a reverse Deus ex Machina. Why would he bother if the Devil couldn't win? The reader has to get some sort of pay-off from the main character: some "deficit," you said, in morals, personality, chance encounter, one's soul... So, maybe you'll want to expand the story. Maybe not. Maybe it's just a nice writing exercise.

    One thing that's cool with me is that you /don't/ have to go into the son's backstory. Just knowing that a man wants to save his son (for whatever reason; maybe he's the reason the son died), is enough. The story isn't about the son; it isn't about the Devil; it's about the man, and the choices he makes. The deal is the magical event. The resolution, in this case, the man's reluctance to talk to the person, is the effect. But it might be nice to see how everything plays out, to see if, in bringing back his son, he's really happier. Speaking of emotions, I would like to see more emotional language in the dialogue section. Just a suggestion.

  10. #10
    Member Ari's Avatar
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    Was it eccentric? I am sorry. I didn't mean it to be.
    Ohh... I understand now. Sometimes I read too much into a thing. Thanks for saying you'll tell me if you write more! I'd like that.
    And thanks for critiquing mine! It was nice of you (:
    "I guess that's that. I'm all out of rhetorical flourishes." - The Lies of Locke Lamora

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