Thank you for sharing your story. "Captured
I am currently completing lesson five of the Rockin’Reviewers Academy. As I searched for a suitable short story to review I came across this one, and it is fair to say it captured my heart. I hope you find my comments helpful
These comments are just one person’s opinion and are given in the hope you find something useful
The story is set in the home of the main character Drew. The first scene is a dream sequence relating to when his daughter nine-year-old Chelsea goes missing. She climbs the slide in the park but never reappears. This first chapter was what drew me to read the story in it’s entirety. It surely must be every parent’s worst nightmare to lose a child. This was a strong start to the story, and a situation I’ve personally had experience of, which thankfully was one which was resolved after thirty minutes of panic.
The setting is a place of intense unhappiness and fear. Drew describes the morning when his daughter actually was abducted. The description of the day was good. The morning light with long shadows formed by the rising sun was evocative and the reader sensed that the place was deserted save for a lonely jogger.
The story flows well. It begins when Drew is paralysed by the shock, unable to function until he has the inevitable break down in the bathroom. I particularly liked the phrases, fractured image, and, Like some schizophrenic picture, after he’d put his fist through the mirror. This event shocked him into action, waking him from his stupor. He is then able to remember the clue that will eventually lead to the discovery of his daughter’s whereabouts. The only thing I had any doubts about was that Drew said he was embarrassed to admit he couldn’t stop focusing on the fact five little girls had been murdered in the last six months. Maybe it would be more truthful to say he was “plagued by images when he thought of the five little girls.” The police resume their investigation and the story continues on to a satisfying conclusion.
Drew is tortured by the realisation he was unable to protect the ones he loved and by the guilt of not remembering the evidence he had in his possession sooner. This would have saved his child from three weeks of captivity at the hands of a psychotic killer. It would have been difficult, if not impossible, to forgive himself for not thinking of the film in his camera. However the police were also at fault for not thinking to look at the camera footage, as they would have been informed of the reason Drew and Chelsea were at the park so early in the day. He berates himself for not being able to hold on to thoughts until he at last remembered the vital piece of evidence. “this time I plucked it from my tortured mind and nurtured it until it opened like a flower” I thought that line was particularly poignant.
The main character in the story is Drew McCann. The reader is aware of his fragile emotional state throughout, this is well described as he experiences the roller coaster of emotions, shock, helplessness, extreme anger, hope and relief. There is no physical description of Drew, leaving the reader to form their own picture.
Chelsea was another character whom, although we never saw her, we heard her voice “Did you capture me Daddy?” they were the words that gave the story its title. The word, capture, became a word with two very separate meanings as Chelsea was captured from the park by an unknown assailant.
The ongoing theme was one of fear and anxiety. We shared these emotions with Drew throughout, each of us praying for a happy ending.
The story reached its climax as we waited along with Drew to find out if the film footage was going to be useful, would it actually capture the kidnapper, and even if it did, would the police be able to apprehend him in time? We didn’t discover the details of Chelsea’s rescue. The final paragraph in the psychiatrist’s office still left the reader wondering about the outcome, until it was revealed the appointment had been for Chelsea, and a year had passed since the kidnapping. The reader was able to give a sigh of relief.
I noticed you wrote Captured, ten years ago. If written today a few details would have to be changed. The camera in question may not actually have film, it would probably be digital. Drew was unable to leave his house because he was waiting for a phone call from the police. This too wouldn’t happen today as we all possess mobile phones and are in constant contact wherever we are.
However this could easily be fixed if the story had 2009 in the title.
I really enjoyed this story, the tension was real and I was along for the ride with Mr McCann. The ending was satisfying, leaving me to hope they did manage to live happily ever after.
Reviewed by Sumojo