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Thread: Fatherhood [785 Words] [Language]

  1. #1

    Fatherhood [785 Words] [Language]

    The graveyard wasn't empty.

    In the high grass, standing amongst forgotten tombstones half-buried out of the infertile earth were figures standing in ritual.

    They stood two apart. There were eight of the robed ones making a circle around a stained stone altar. An altar where a man lay naked, bare.

    He was chained. The metal links were cold, and he tried to struggle out of the clasps that gripped his wrists and ankles like a dog's maw. He struggled, but it was fruitless.

    "Let me go! Oh, god, let me go!" He cried out.

    But no one seemed to listen to him.

    No, no one did. The figures only watched him through masks that showed twisted, sinister faces that were a far mimicry of what once were birds, their long, gross beaks pointed toward him as they stared. They were watching him. All of them, except one.

    Joel wouldn't be considered abnormal by any means. Joel would be considered very normal looking. He had a sharp jaw, with a rough, tired face, like that of a farmer. He had the look of a father. One would not guess he was standing with a sacrificial cult.

    If one could see his features under the twisted bird mask, one would see a face of intense concentration. One would see a face of fear.

    He didn't watch the man at the altar. He was staring into the eyes of the little girl looking up at him. The girl no one else could see.

    "Come on, Daddy. Let's go see the roses."

    She took his hand, and they walked together in a field of red roses. The sun beat a happy glow upon their backs, and she looked up and smiled at him. He smiled back. It was warm there.

    The stormclouds rolled in. It began to rain. The field of roses twisted and spiraled in a torturing dance, then dripped with blood and died. The ground was stained red, and the high grass spat through the cracks and cobbles to reclaim the field. And her smile, it turned to a tombstone.

    He looked up, and saw the man at the altar.

    The man struggled against his chains again. "You! You there! I know you can hear me! Help!"

    But Joel didn't hear him. No, Joel hardly even saw the man at the altar at all. Joel was looking at the girl who stood next to the man, stood right next to the altar.

    "Come on, Daddy. Let's see the roses."

    Joel stepped forward. The other members of the ritual in their twisted bird masks stepped back, and one set a dagger in Joel's hand.
    Joel held the dagger, and approached the girl. They watched him.

    "Come on, Daddy. I want a rose."

    She smiled up at him. Innocence. He smiled back. The world melted around them in a flurry of red roses as they walked down a field of flowers.

    "Don't get near me with that thing!"

    The girl ran ahead, her orange sundress buffeting on the light lapping of wind. That was her favorite dress. Joel followed her. She stopped by a lone willow at a crossroads of the field. The sun was shining, the field red with roses.

    "I want this one, Daddy."

    She had a yellow rose cupped in her hands. It grew from the roots of the willow tree. Joel raised the knife, and bent down.

    "No! Don't fucking do it! Get the fuck away from me!"

    The dagger stood just over the stem of the rose, its point shining in the light as he stood poised.


    Joel slammed the knife down, and cut through the stem of the rose. A whoosh resounded through the field as the rose breathed its last breath. Crows lifted to the air and cried out, and the sun set on the horizon.

    Joel smiled. The two were there, appreciating the last summer's light underneath a willow, surrounded by a field of roses as red as blood.

    He took her hands in his. So fragile, so small. He set the rose in her palm.

    He looked up to her face, smiling. But the girl wasn't there.

    He looked down to the rose, laying on the blood-soaked ground. As he reached out for it, the rose withered, wilting as it blackened, then crumbled to ash. And from that ash, lay a heart; beating,



    As Joel looked up, he didn't see the face of the girl, nor the twisted masks of the other. He saw no one. Only the half-buried tombstones, and the high grass that whistled in the midnight breeze.

    And as Joel looked down upon the stained altar table, he saw that he was truly alone.

  2. #2
    Member lucario719's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Florida, USA
    hello, here are the suggestions i have for this piece:
    "But no one seemed to listen to him....
    No, no one did." seems kind of redundant. You don't need to repeat information that the reader can infer.

    it seems like this is a piece of a story rather than a full narrative in of itself. we see what happens to characters but the reader does not really get a sense of motivation for any actions they take. Is the main character a man who lost his daughter and murders people because of his traumatically induced hallucinations? that's my reading of it.
    the plot doesn't really have places where it surprises the reader, there are only details that are unexpected. the cult isn't real and that's new info the reader learns, but at the beginning of the story we thinking that the guy is going to get killed and he does. the whole reminiscing of the protagonist doesn't tell us why he's motivated to kill, and the person being sacrificed doesn't seem to struggle in a meaningful way for it to carry the narrative, hence why i said this feels like part of a story rather than a story in itself.

    i hope this is helpful, and if you want to talk to me to be more elaborate on my points feel free to message me.

  3. #3
    I had a character I used to draw that was based created with a 'special' type of rose. I could see it coming to fruition from this as an introduction.

    It needs tidying up of course, but there are parts I like about it.
    If we surround ourselves with 'yes' people, how can we grow.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by lucario719 View Post
    it seems like this is a piece of a story rather than a full narrative in of itself.
    I completely understand what you mean. I don't know what the hell's wrong with me, but for some reason I post my experimental stories on here, rather than my complete short fictions. I don't know why I do that. Most of what I post here is me trying to experiment with different emotions, or trying to capture a certain mood or setting. They're almost always meant to fail so I can see how to fix it. Not a very good thing to post for critique!

    Thanks for your help.

  5. #5
    Member lucario719's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Florida, USA
    just make sure you go about completing them while the idea is still fresh and compelling in your head! i know I've let good ideas slip from me because I didn't work on them enough while I was entranced by them.

  6. #6
    Interesting idea. Could use some development and refining but I think there is the light of a real chilling good tale in here.

    Just my two cents! Thanks for sharing.
    Carpe Diem.


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