Amay, a very intriguing story. It’s been a long time since you wrote this. Have you returned to it?
— The intermingling of past and present is interesting.
— Whose story is this? In a few places the POV changes. The title implies it is Sara Beth’s story, yet her presence is smaller than the modern players. As a reader, I want to learn what happened to Sara Beth, what was happening on the estate, where the gunshot came from — war? murder? robbery? adultery? — and hints about why a small girl would have been trained to seek a secret place in the paneling.
— I knew Sara Beth would not exit the secret space (a secret space would allow a hider to open from inside ... why not here? At some point she would peek out?) and I want to know how Sara Beth felt, scared and alone, as she waited without end.
— I am interested in Sara Beth’s story more than in Sandra’s story.
— You characterize the story as a ghost story. Are we talking about a ghost appearing largely in dreams? The girl? The dog?
Very interesting story, and glad it showed up in my random reads. Diane
A great depiction of how inspiration sneaks up and surprises us. A fleeting image, a sound, a memory, a smell, a painting.
Dreams and images tend to be my inspirations. More than a few of my stories begin with a dream-like sequence or picture or a memory of something I saw in real life in which I asked myself “what if ...”
MoeJoe: Compelling storyline, and interesting that the child and the mother talk about Jack Daniels as another character in he story. I guess when families deal with alcohol and alcoholism, the liquor becomes another character, complete with different behaviors.
I followed the dialogue between mom and son pretty clearly, less so the interactions between mom and grandparents, that got a bit muddy. If mom and dad lent daughter money and a car, why then did she need to drive separately to New York only to meet the grandparents again. Couldn't they all have driven together? No need to answer me, but I would recommend you re-examine that part to make sure that the climax -- the saving of the boy and his mom -- is crystal clear.
Cool story, Jacky. At first I wondered where the story was going, then I saw the twist of the husband planning to blow up his wife. What a crumb! I then hoped the wife was plannng to destroy him, too (as in the movie Mr and Mrs Smith). For example, I wondered whether she had programmed the car's GPS to go off the road when the husband was driving.
HuntersMoon, this is a lovely story. The poem is gorgeous, and I loved the symmetry of him finding a message serendipitously written by his wife. I found the ending soft, and I had trouble connecting the ending stanza, particularly the part about sharing dreams, to the main character because I had seen nothing about dreams being shared. Linking the dreams in the closing stanza to dreams presented elsewhere by the main character can create a nice circle from start to finish. Thanks for sharing the story. Diane
Ooh, this is fun, Eddy100. I get the obligation that the main character feels toward Jomo, and I get the futility of Jomo's bluster as he insists that his semi-son keep delivering a thousand dollars 45 times. My take is that Jomo will die in jail within eight years, either through illness or through his semi-son having Vincent whack him.
I do like this episode. I would like to know more about why Jomo is in jail and why his semi-son is so loyal. On the other hand, the history and discussion of Migingo Island added little -- unless it is a setup for an attack (a la the movie, The Rock).
The story moves well and I am interested in what the main character will do and how he and Vincent with fare together or in competition.
Cool, Ducttape Knight. The being assumes the life of whomever he/she/it sees. I am trying to fill in the blanks of the story: are the wooden boxes coffins? Gurneys? What's inside them? Why two? What was in the basement, and ehat was it yelling?
I am puzzled how this being progressed from an old woman, to a hot young thing, to a character with a device in her temple, to a man dressed like the hot young thing. What does he do once he has absorbed or usurped Matt?
I see you wrote this story many years ago. Intriguing. Thanks, Diane
Wow, this is fantastic, BobBaker! The story zips along, and the dialogue crackles. What a dilemma for Jim: Save the child by killing his daughter. Save his child by letting her kill a child.
The character of Jim is well-drawn, we know he lost his wife and daughter and has spent little time with his remaining daughter. Lauren, however, is an unknown, imho entering the story too conveniently as a bad guy. The reasons that she takes up the white jihad seems buried in the tail end of the story, and I wish I had known more about her and her path and knew more about why and how Jim knew so little about her new allegiance.
If you return to the story, BobBaker, consider fleshing out how Jim and Lauren have become ships passing in the night and add a few Lauren-related clues that Jim missed between a minor mention of Christian camp and her full-bore white jihadist commitment.
Great job. Congratulations on winning the award. Let me know, please, if you update this. Diane
LeNosferatu: This was quite a story. I am trying to figure out whether Agnes and Sarah are connected through Eric Ferrer or whether Agnes and Sarah are the same person. If the former, then shall I imagine that Sarah's death freed up Eric to marry Agnes? If the latter, shall I imagine the Agnes will die? Can you clarify?
I enjoyed the dialogue throughout the story and I appreciated that Agnes could share her humiliation with Sarah. However, I could not figure out Eric: Was he real or a figment? alive or dead? That said, I wondered what spiritual plane I was on ... was it real or imagined, was it today or the year of the crash, was it Agnes or Sarah or both?
Note, roughly two thirds of the way through, the language and words started to get garbled and difficult to follow (example: "There was no her belongings either"). An extra proofing can help.
A peculiar conundrum: The human builder creates a robot to speak and behave like a human. When it/she does, the builder says no, you are not female and you have no emotions. I am fascinated by the likely friction between the human being and the becoming-human robot ... is there a cost to the human builder for being willing to shut down the humanoid so unceremoniously?
DeNine, good job. I felt Stella's nervousness and clumsiness, her discomfort in her dress and her feigned nonchalance at seeing Sebastian
What worked for me: the running conversation in her head; her trying to fit herself into the backyard conversation; her nervousness at Sebastian's nearness
What did not work for me: the conversation seemed older than Stella's years, too mature for middle school or high school; puzzlement about why Sebastian and Conner were at odds; needed a hint about whether Sebastian was a bad boy and why or whether Conner and he are competing for Stella's attention
The pace drew me along, and I wanted to learn more about all three -- Stella, Conner and Sebastian -- including why you characterized this story as paranormal. Please let me know if you extend this or write another chapter. Diane
The Scribe: Yes, this could be a mother's worst nightmare. Losing a child in a store can be horrifying, but then what? As a reader I was looking for suspense, bad omens, triggers, frightened thinking ... I was looking for twists, reversals and heightened danger.
The story might do well to depict a real nightmare, an anxiety dream of sorts in which the dreamer loses someone and wherever the dreamer goes to find her or him, the halls are mysteriously longer, the stores multiply, the number of children who look something like Josh increase, mother gets lost, she sees the kid but can never catch up, etc.
Details and suspense would be good: did the mother ever get woefully lost herself? Even kidnapped? Did the man who took her baby look like a pedophile? Was the mother recently reading stranger danger websites? Was the security guard in on it (he mentions that he was guarding the door, but yet the kid slips past, how?)
What a clever twist, making innocuous dust bunnies the alien army. Love the imperative treatment, "listen carefully ..." The poem adds a diffferent angle to monsters under the bed or in the closet. If the dust bunny army joins forces with old stuffed animals, let me know. Thanks, Diane
I love this, even as I listen to the cicadas outside my Connecticut home and know that soon they will be gone. The haiku made me anticipate fall, as in "crisp" temperatures, crisp leaves and crisp fall apples. Did I get your gist? Diane
Connieann, strong story, fast-paced. Interesting, isn't it, that the fast-paced stories take place int he span of seconds?
What worked for me: immediacy of the story, pace, Ronald's being drawn like a beacon to his wife and children
What didn't work for me: pouring coffee in a moving car in the black of night (?!?!), the climb back up the hill seemed too simple compared with the details of the crash, absence of cell phone or pager
Comment: I waited for something bad to happen ... such as, the final car passes before he reaches the top, or snow is falling, or he gets hit. From that perspective, I wanted greater doubt about his safety so I could believe his desire for Laura would be sufficient to pull him up from freezing water in black of night
Great job, Let me know if this helps the story telling.
Please consider reviewing my stories. Altered Trajectories 2132301 and Elinor Take 2 2131891
Hello, there, Cosine213. Slivers swept me away, the characters and the writing very animated. The girl and her brother tugged at me, and I could sense siblings with a strong connection. The colors were an interesting way of characterizing the stages of the memoir, each adding a piece to a picture of a family in decline.
My confusion came in the final section. Are the shards of glass the yellow, crimson, cobalt and gray chapter titles? Whose voice does she hear? Her god? Finally, what happens to her: is she discarding the shards to relieve herself of poor memories, or by tossing away the shards will she die?
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