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Moment Of Fragile Courage

A Short Story

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#1 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Oct 14 2011 - 02:36 AM

Moment of Fragile Courageby: Grant-SudWhen the pounding of heavy steps on the front porch awoke her in the middle of the night, she was slightly worried. Brought out from the slumber she had been in, her eyes blinked in the dark bedroom and she tried to recall what she had just heard. She was lying on her back in a twin bed. Parallel to her, on the other side of the small room, was another identical bed with a young girl in it, snoring just a little. Her friend stirred slightly at the noise, but remained lost in her warm sheets.When the front door’s bolt lock clicked into place a moment later however, Dawn nodded to herself, knowing it was her friend’s father coming home from work. And that was when Andrea sat upright, instantly awake, sharply turning her head with her shouldered length hair whipping into her face, to the small table against the wall which separated the two beds. The digital clock set there revealed it was two in the morning.“It’s your dad,” Dawn muttered. Reflexively she stretched in the bed a bit, her elbow lightly bumping into the wall on her left. Ignoring the irritation, she wrapped herself back into the covers with a yawn.“Yeah …” Andrea responded softly as her eyes shifted to the door. She didn’t lie down.“Andrea?”Her friend lifted a finger to her mouth for silence.Outside the window next to Andrea’s bed, the open ended sky seemed enormous, and the moon’s reflective light broke through the handful of clouds. The rays glazed the girl’s skin, making it look creamier in color. Dawn wished to have that bed. It was a beautiful night for a full moon.The two twin beds were against the upper left and right side of wall, with a night stand in the middle. At the end of the room, a brown dresser with no ornaments on it stood looming. Her bedroom was barren, white wall coloring and very impersonal. The carpeting was old and shaggy; the kind that gathers hair, dust and mold at the edge of the wall and floor. Even though the family had moved in only weeks before, noticeable dirt had built up over the years, left unattended. A few unpacked boxes remained at Andrea’s mattress, taped up and likewise, untouched.The younger girl, Dawn, coughed lightly, to which her friend turned to her with a stare that sent the message of irritation.Dawn blinked.Spending the night over at her friend’s house had been exciting, even for Andrea who was two years older. They had played a few games, watched a movie and ordered pizza. After Andrea’s mother had told them it was time for bed, the two girls had stayed up till midnight anyway.Andrea's family had moved in only a short month ago. The house they had chosen was one floor high and contained three bedrooms for the family of five.“Andrea?” Dawn questioned again.“What?” Andrea turned away with an exasperated expression, “It’s nothing, just wondering if the dogs are going to bark at all the noise he’s making.”There hadn’t been any noise. She squirmed in the bed and tried closing her eyes anyway. Tiredness was getting to her.Something outside the room had fallen or broken. It sounded like glass.Andrea flinched and continued to stare at the door, listening like a cat would for danger, ears perched and eyes intent.“What’s going on? What’s he doing?” Dawn slowly rose from her covers, sitting half up. She shifted her gaze from Andrea to the doorway.Her friend groaned in disgust, placing a hand to her forehead. “I think he’s hammered.”Dawn blinked in the darkness. It took her a moment to remember what that meant. “How did he get drunk?”“Alcohol.”After a few more moments the two young girls of twelve and fourteen quietly listened as the man moved through the fridge, throwing some stuff in the trash causing a racket. The dogs in the backyard started barking. The three english shepherds were wonderful dogs of his, Andrea had told her once.“Are you going to do something for your dad?”She looked over at Dawn, eyes hidden somewhat hidden in the dark room. “No. He can do what he wants.”That first day when they met, Andrea had poured out of the backseat with her younger brother and older sister. She never forgot about it, because immediately the middle child had abandoned her family while they unpacked and began journeying about the neighborhood searching for fun. It had taken however long for Dawn’s mother to agree for her to go outside and meet the new girl. She had been stubborn about it. There was something about the new family she didn’t partake to. And Dawn could see it. It was the way her mother looked at them with distracted eyes.She did seem to like Andrea though.Andrea and Dawn had met late in the day when the sun was setting. She boldly explained her entire story while they sat on Dawn’s front porch, swapping Pokemon cards which for the younger girl was a thrill. No one she knew liked those anymore.She learned from Andrea that her new father, Peter, and her mother had gotten married only two months before (that being three months now). Determined to find a bigger house for the new family, they had moved into Dawn’s neighborhood. They were lucky in Dawn’s opinion. She had always loved the sight of the house across the cul-de-sac.The home had a nice porch, a small drive-through leading into a garage and spacious front yard with covering trees to the right side of the lawn. One tree in particular, was the largest weeping willow Dawn had ever laid eyes on. It was majestic in every sense of the word, its drooping leaves swaying over the house and shading the green grass from the glaring sun on the hot summer days. Andrea as well, admired that fragile, yet stable tree. The two girls had gotten to know each other a little more. They climbed it often.It was only the backyard that poured ugliness to the home. It was blocked off from view by its wooden, perfectly aligned fence, and only had one way to get in, through the back door of the house. She’d never personally stepped into the hidden yard, but through the windows you could see weeds, ant hills and old furniture.Another broken bottle could be heard as it was thrown into the trashcan.Slowly, Andrea slipped out of the covers, her feet brushing and pressing against the carpet as she slowly slid off the bed as silently as possible to avoid the noise made by the springs in the mattress. Lightly taking her steps across the room, she wrapped a hand around the doorknob and locked it with a gentle click.She barely glanced at Dawn. “In case,” she whispered.“Why is he doing that?” Dawn asked uneasily.What would happen if he came in?“He must have gone out with his friends.” Andrea pushed herself back into the bed and pillow. “I don’t know Dawn, you ask him tomorrow.”Andrea was never nervous about anything. Well, Dawn had never seen her nervous before. She always seemed so sure of herself, talking about how her older sister was already out of the house, and how she told her mom – not the other way around – that Dawn could come over for the night.She had picked out the movie they had watched, chosen the game of barricading her bedroom door so Mark, her little brother, couldn’t get in. With Dawn’s asking she had even ordered pizza, called it herself, given the money to the pizza boy herself.Andrea’s mother could be heard walking out into the living room, murmuring to her spouse. Well, just a little too loud to call it that. Dawn didn’t want to hear it, feeling suddenly embarrassed, intruding on personal matters. Andrea just kept her eyes open.“Do they do this a lot?”Her eyes glinted a little in anger when she looked over at her friend, but then they softened ever so slightly in reply.“Yeah. You wouldn’t really know it any other time.” She genuinely laughed. “I was hoping this wouldn’t happen tonight, though. Sorry.”Dawn turned back toward the window that’s light was shining on Andrea and her bed; that bright moon with its white light, illuminating the covers. Something so peaceful covering them, should allow people to sleep comfortably. And was it her imagination, or did Andrea look … a little angelic under that light?She could hear them arguing a little louder this time. The words still weren’t clear, voices muffled by the walls and door. Dawn flinched in surprise as one of the dogs from the backyard brought its snout up to Andrea’s window with a clatter as its claws tapped the window, whimpering softly.“I open the window and pet him sometimes,” she commented undisturbed. Andrea didn’t even glance toward the dog.I didn’t know they fought all the time, Andrea, she wanted to say aloud. That first time she had entered their house, the only thing anyone had been talking about was the wedding. Andrea smiled while her mother showed some pictures, in the back her father – or long time boyfriend Peter – added details while unpacking another box.They had both ended up in the willow tree. The breeze had caught every flowing leaf and branch, and it danced around them as they climbed it. When they reached as high as they could go, Andrea started talking about her older sister, the one who hadn’t been around lately.“My sister moved in with her boyfriend last week. I got some more space in the bedroom now, perfect for you to come over. Do you want to see my room?”Dawn didn’t see her room that day, and Andrea twirled her fingers through those long slim leaves. She smiled at it, on that bright and breezy afternoon.“Just ignore them.” Andrea turned away from Dawn and the door, and wrapped herself in the covers. Being the middle of the summer, it was too warm in the room.Thirty minutes later, even though the two adults had moved into the back bedroom long ago. Every once in a while someone would walk out, move something or grab something, speak or even cry.Dawn bit her lip before asking the question. The crickets in the backyard were making it difficult to sleep as well.“Andrea? Do you want me to go home? I can if you’d li-”The girl was fully awake as well, and turned on her back to stare at her in slight anger, but not directed at her. “No! You’re my guest. You’re staying here until morning. You shouldn’t have to leave because of them!”Quiet.Slowly the night began to weigh on the younger girl’s eyes. The moon’s light had dulled a little. She felt a new wave of tiredness wash over her as she stared out that window. It made the noise become softer and softer.Her eyelids slowly began to shut, and her muscles relaxed-“It wasn’t always like this.”Her eyes opened though her body didn’t move, and she stared at the girl. Andrea was looking at the ceiling, lying on her back, wide eyed twining her fingers through her bangs. She was talking easily, not awkwardly or in an angered tone. Her eyes we drooping a little.Dawn couldn’t tell if she was speaking directly to her, or just out loud. Her mom used to say sometimes when people talk to themselves, they mean to speak to God.“I remember when he first came by. Mom had met him in a restaurant she was working at. He sat at mom’s table by accident they said, because the other server wanted off early. The two ended up talking forever. That first time she brought Peter home, he seemed different from the last few. A nice guy, you know?”She suddenly turned to look at Dawn, asking for her approval, as though it meant the world to her.Somewhat uncomfortable, realizing she had been speaking to Dawn, the younger girl nodded, “Yeah.”Andrea brought her arms up and behind her head, using them as a pillow. “Yeah,” she breathed half a sigh of relief. Then her mood changed with her eyes, which narrowed and turned sharp. It was like she was thinking hard about something; thinking about everything.“Man, he sure did like Mark; treated me nice, all the time. And mom looked different … I don’t know, she smiled a lot. She just seemed happier. And I thought, you know, maybe this time it’d work out.”Dawn felt small on her side with her head on the pillow, watching her. But she didn’t dare turn away.“And my real dad left last year,” she continued, quieter.“They had been divorced years before, but he always came by, at least to see me and Mark. And ... I don’t really know why." A small pause. "He just, stopped coming around. And now that Peter’s here…”In the background, the argument was dwindling, barely audible. And for a moment, Andrea was the only person in the house speaking.“And Peter wanted a new house, a fresh start he said. He got a new job unloading shipments at the dock and other stuff. You can see his eyes when he gets up in the mornings. He'd look horrible. And at first it wasn’t a big a deal, see.” She’s turned on her side, staring back at Dawn with big eyes, a child’s eyes that were a sharp blue. “No matter how much my mom asked him to find other work, he said he could handle it and we needed that job. ‘How long was he going to have to work?’, ‘When are we going to see him more?’ we would wonder and ask and mom didn’t like answering that. He got his days off like once a week and those days were at first really fun... But then it wasn’t as fun. Then, Rebecca left with some stupid boy, and my mom got angry and sad over the whole thing. Rebecca didn’t like our new 'intruder'. Peter started coming home later, going out some place to get some food and, yeah, something to drink. It was only every once in a while…” Her voice started to deepen.“He needed something more than us, I guess, I don't know. Mom’s never been good with keeping dads anyway.”Then she quieted down, and they stared at each other for a long moment. It was just ... them. Andrea and Dawn watched one another, seeing the pain and sympathy in their eyes. The frown didn’t last too long, and the older girl kinda smiled.It was a lot like the house they lived in, Dawn thought. The front yard had beautiful trees … covering what was developing in the backyard.Dawn suddenly had a new, darker thought.“Does he ever hurt you?”She shook her head, serious. “He doesn’t do anything like that. Not even to mom, and I would know.”Dawn smiled, a little lopsided. “But why did you lock the door?”Andrea tried to contain a laugh. “I locked the door because sometimes he’ll come in and fall asleep in our bed by accident. That would have been horrible if that had happened."A slight pause."The worst he did was break a window once.”“A window?”“I don’t remember why he did it. He broke the small kitchen window. It was funny that next morning," she snickered. "He tried to explain himself and made this big show of some weird guy in the back yard trying to get in.”She lifted her arms up demonstrating a large man, and the two girls laughed lightly.“He’s funny that way, he really is.”Andrea sighed deeply and rested on her back again.“I think it’s Mark that bothers me the most. He comes in here to sleep in your bed or sometimes, even with me. He did it even more when we were living at our apartment.” She grunted in annoyance, thinking of her little brother. Dawn questioned once again if she was speaking to her anymore. “He’s been doing that less, ever since we moved here. And I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.”“Hey, sorry about that. Listen, I don’t let it bother me too much … and I never talk about this with Mark,” her friend added suddenly. She then looked over, giving her a stare that said ‘don’t say a word to him, he’s just a kid’, before leaving the subject. Quietly she shifted deeper into her bed. She stared at Dawn again and spoke softly, a thoughtful look on her face, “Mom says my name means ‘courage’, see. My dad says that means I have a reputation to live up to.” It seemed more like a fact then a memory. Pride was in her words.Dawn nodded, brushing her head and hair against the pillow.Andrea slowly shut her eyes. She looked tired, falling into her sleep. It wasn’t easy for her. Having to lay like this, every night, Dawn wondered how many times Mark would come into the room and sleep in the same bed with his sister. How many times did Andrea want to stay with Rebecca when she was younger? Or, did her older sister care about that? Dawn’s older brother used to let her do that when she was scared. Surely she must have as well.She felt her heart beat faster, thinking of all the times Andrea would lay awake on these nights, the time alone, wondering what tomorrow’s going to bring. What would she think about? That things would get better? Things would get worse? Did she cry? Did she frown? Would she always care?Dawn prayed there was something she could do. She prayed people would notice the moon, full on nights like this. She wished people would stop worrying; look toward something grand and not live in fear. She wished she could take Andrea to the willow tree and climb it for a long time, just to tell her to stay the way she is, the good person she is.But, none of those things were possible then.So instead, she asked that Andrea would keep her courage, just for the moment, and maybe the moment after, holding on, until it all passed.Reluctantly her eyes slowly shut, and she fell back to sleep in the middle of the night, worried.

***

Well this is my latest CoT Story, Moment of Fragile Courage, and I really want to say I love the plot and have wanted to do something like this for a while. Unfortunately I have no idea if I succeeded at it. I really hope I got the emotions right, hope it wasn't too cheesy and instead realistic. And it wasn't too ... much. I honestly think I added in the sentences there too heavily.A few things to note, I redrafted and rewrote this story four times, and finally once I felt like I had it right, I had a couple people tell me the ending wasn't fitting enough, (something I agreed with. It did feel off) so I also changed it again. (You read my newest version) Also the story was originally about two boys, but changed it early on because I feel like writing about girls is more of a challenge for me.Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed it at the very least, please leave a little criticism as that would be most appreciated and thanks for reading. ^^

Edited by The Great Grant in the Sky, Apr 07 2012 - 11:41 AM.

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#2 Offline Zox Tomana

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Posted Oct 19 2011 - 12:37 AM

This was weird for me to read. I have friends who live in broken homes, lived with step-fathers that put a lot of stress in their lives... I would like to speak for them and say that you did a good job with this one. I really admire your writing ability, and while I think it would be more poignant with a boy actually trusting someone enough to speak his frustration and history with someone else, you did quite well with the girls. Thank you for the story Cise, it is always a pleasure to read what you bring to the discussion. </cryptic literature concept reference>
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#3 Offline Chols

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Posted Oct 21 2011 - 12:44 AM

I enjoyed reading this, Grant. Your sense of atmosphere is great. Imagining the run-down house was easy, and it really set a perfect atmosphere for the rest of the story. One thing I'm still a little unsure about is the ending. I wasn't expecting any real climax due to the character's situation, but I feel it could have been a bit more conclusive. Perhaps this could be solved if readers could be have been assured in some way that Andrea would continue to be courageous. I dunno, maybe it is better left open-ended after all. All in all I liked it =)
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#4 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Oct 22 2011 - 11:46 PM

@Tomana: thanks a lot my friend. Yeah well the theme of a "broken home" was what I was shooting for so hopefully I really got that realistic enough. I also was hoping to set blame on all the family members really for their condition, the dad, mom and even oldest sister. I'm really glad you liked it. ^^ @Cholie: Hey thank you so much for reading, glad you liked it and it's awesome to read I got the atmosphere right. The ending, again, I had a little trouble with it, and I decided to go with an open-ended ending in the end, but I'll check out the points mentioned. It could be better. Thanks again though. : D
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#5 Offline ~Mat~

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Posted Oct 30 2011 - 01:25 AM

Interesting Story mate, as Choles said, a good sense of atmosphere was imbued into this. Although I did find it a bit hard to keep track of who is who, but It may just be me. :B
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#6 Offline danwojo913

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Posted Oct 31 2011 - 08:18 PM

Definitely liked where it was going, though to be honest, like Cholie said, it never seemed to really get there. :/ Also, a bit of input on the initial setting, if Andrea knew of the possibility that he would get like that, I doubt she would have taken the chance of inviting Dawn over, just "hoping" that it wouldn't happen. Most people I know would have just avoided the possibility. Still a nice story, and though the wording got a bit repetitive at times (her friend, her friend's dad, etc.), it was a good read. :)
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hey there


#7 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Nov 01 2011 - 10:21 AM

Interesting Story mate, as Choles said, a good sense of atmosphere was imbued into this. Although I did find it a bit hard to keep track of who is who, but It may just be me. :B

Thanks MI. ^^ I was finding it hard to keep using the same names to reference the girls and as Dan pointed out below it did get a little repetitive at times.

Definitely liked where it was going, though to be honest, like Cholie said, it never seemed to really get there. :/ Also, a bit of input on the initial setting, if Andrea knew of the possibility that he would get like that, I doubt she would have taken the chance of inviting Dawn over, just "hoping" that it wouldn't happen. Most people I know would have just avoided the possibility. Still a nice story, and though the wording got a bit repetitive at times (her friend, her friend's dad, etc.), it was a good read. :)

Thank you very much for reading bro. And unfortunately I think I left the story a little too open ended, or I didn't give it enough resolution as a few people have said. :/ I also guess I was thinking Andrea wanted to seem "normal" by just inviting a friend over, but even then, you make a good point lol. Again, thanks for reading and I'll take those points for next time, glad you enjoyed it. =)

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#8 Offline Peach 00

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Posted Nov 01 2011 - 01:41 PM

Wow. Just...wow. Grant, this was beyond marvelous, beyond anything I could ever write. It touched me, reaching out to me in a way no other story I have read has ever done before. I don't know why that feels that way when I read this, but it really is amazing. It's a very nicely laid out piece, with each word seeming to speak to the reader. It is very touching and a heartfelt piece. Dawn appeared to me as an innocent friend who didn't really suspect the things that were going on in the household, and didn't expect to hear the things Andrea poured out when Dawn spent the night. Andrea, to me, was a person who was trapped and couldn't find a way to express her feelings, but finally let it all out. She can't say anything because if she were to say anything, the outcome wouldn't be what she would want. But all of the story was sad and touching, something that really spoke to me. Although it is just a story, it seemed like a reality to me, a very realistic situation. Here's to you, Grant, for really making a story come alive, and for an awesome reading experience. :)
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On the day the wall came down / They threw the locks onto the ground
And with glasses high / We raised a cry / For freedom had arrived
 
On the day the wall came down / The ship of fools had finally run aground
Promises lit up the night / Like paper doves in flight
 
I dreamed you had left my side / No warmth, not even pride remained
And even though you needed me / It was clear that I could not do a thing for you
 
Now life devalues day by day / As friends and neighbors turn away
And there's a change that even with regret / Cannot be undone
 
Now frontiers shift like desert sands / While nations wash their bloodied hands
Of loyalty, of history / In shades of grey
 
I woke to the sound of drums / The music played, the morning sun streamed in
I turned and I looked at you / And all but the bitter residues slipped away
 
slipped away...
 




#9 Offline zacharyd97

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Posted Nov 07 2011 - 02:58 PM

very great work grant, and im almost done with my redo like i said i would be doing. :)
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#10 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Nov 10 2011 - 12:23 PM

Wow.Just...wow.Grant, this was beyond marvelous, beyond anything I could ever write. It touched me, reaching out to me in a way no other story I have read has ever done before. I don't know why that feels that way when I read this, but it really is amazing. It's a very nicely laid out piece, with each word seeming to speak to the reader. It is very touching and a heartfelt piece.Dawn appeared to me as an innocent friend who didn't really suspect the things that were going on in the household, and didn't expect to hear the things Andrea poured out when Dawn spent the night. Andrea, to me, was a person who was trapped and couldn't find a way to express her feelings, but finally let it all out. She can't say anything because if she were to say anything, the outcome wouldn't be what she would want.But all of the story was sad and touching, something that really spoke to me. Although it is just a story, it seemed like a reality to me, a very realistic situation. Here's to you, Grant, for really making a story come alive, and for an awesome reading experience. :)

Hey thank you very much, for reading, for the review and everything. I'm really glad you liked it! ^_^

very great work grant, and im almost done with my redo like i said i would be doing. :)

Lol thanks Zacharyd. Glad you enjoyed.

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#11 Offline Ezorov

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Posted Feb 22 2012 - 01:12 PM

When I saw that you said this story was cheesy, I came into it with that mindset, but wow, not at all! I kind of don't even have the words. This was very well done(amazing) and I liked how easily I could put myself into the situation; to feel like I was actually there, feeling what they felt, saw, etc.I don't really have any critiques that weren't already said, but I would like to agree with ~Matorolgnika~, that it did seem a little confusing at times who was who. But then, it could have been simply because I was trying to read faster than I should have.Anyways, once again, good job!Also, this is not an official review (as you could probably guess from the lack of "professional" in this^^). Just wanted to compliment you an amazing story ^_^ Keep up the good writing!
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#12 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Feb 26 2012 - 03:02 AM

Aw man, thanks a lot. I honestly feel like I've messed up a few things in this short story, specifically the unneededness (that's a word, maybe) in my detail and dialogue. lol I do like it overall though. I'm glad you liked it and thank you very very much for leaving a comment. ^_^
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#13 Offline Velox

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Posted Mar 02 2012 - 03:20 AM

Official SSCC Review here. Let me start off with mentioning the title; I really liked it. I know it can be hard to think of a title that fits or sounds good, but you chose this one well. It definitely captures the reader at a glance, immediately causing them to question "what is that moment of fragile courage?" Which is great, because that's exactly what you want; you want the reader to come into your story wanting to know -- to read -- more. I also like how the title came from the end of the story. Sure, you alluded to it earlier and it was easily guessed early on that the courage you are referring to is Andrea having courage through her family problems, but it still fit well. I've been taught before that, when writing a story, you should write it first, then go to the last bit of your story/essay/etc. and create a title from that, and I think it's a good idea -- it's cool to see the title tied in at the end of the story (alluded to before, sure, but again, fully "manifested" [can't think of a better word] at the end of the story). Anyway, I'm rambling, and I apologize (tl;dr: title fit the story very well, and I enjoyed seeing it linked to at the end). Another thing I liked about this story were the descriptions; they were all quite well done, especially with the moon and light shinning on them and whatnot. Your writing style as a whole was enjoyable, flowing nicely and keeping me interested just from the writing itself -- you can have the best idea, but if it's not written well then the idea doesn't matter. Of course, you did write it well (sure, there were a few grammar mistakes and whatnot, but I'll get to those), and as such made for an enjoyable read. The dialogue was also very well done. It can be hard to create realistic dialogue, especially with the opposite sex (simply because guys and girls do act differently), but I think you did very well here.You mentioned how you thought this was corny. Personally, I didn't think it was -- there were a couple sentences that seemed a little corny (which I will point out), but the story as a whole was quite well done and not corny at all. Similarly to you, I love the plot idea. It's sad and moving and really gets you to feel with the characters, which was another thing that I thought was done pretty well, especially the characterization of Andrea. I would've liked to see more of Dawn, but I realize the main focus was on Andrea and, this being a short story, I then do not consider that criticism (in fact I'd probably criticise you for doing it if you had =P). But still, I am interested, and if this were a novel I would definitely expect to see more of Dawn even if Andrea is the main character. But anyway. It was slightly confusing as to who was who at some points, as others have said...perhaps just a couple words of descriptions here and there to refresh our memories would be good (e.g. "her brother Mark" [is it Mark? sorry, I'm writing this part after I had written the rest of this review and it's late so I forget =P -- but you get my point])Some things I wanted to point out (and I specifically tried to find anything that sounded even slightly corny):

was another identical bed with its own sleeping person, snoring just a little. Her friend stirred slightly at the noise, but remained lost in her warm sheets.

"with it's own sleeping person" sounded a little corny, but you made up for it with the excellent description in the next sentence. If you can change it to something else I would, but, because of the following sentence, it wasn't that bad.

And that was when Andrea sat upright, sharply turning her head with her shouldered length hair whipping into her face, to the small table against the wall which separated the two beds.

She's sleeping just before this, yes? The way it's written, you make it sound as if she instantly went from horizontally sleeping to sitting upright and wide awake. I'd suggest making it something like "...when Andrea began sitting upright..."

“Yeah …” Andrea responded softly as her eyes shifted to the door. She didn’t lie down.

There technically shouldn't be a space between "yeah" and the ellipsis, but it doesn't really matter that much since I've seen plenty of novels were they space out their ellipses.

The rays glazed the girl’s skin, making it look creamer in color.

"Creamer" is something you put in coffee. =P I think you mean "creamier."

Again, Dawn wished to have that bed.

You say "again" yet you didn't mention her wanting that bed before.

The small room held two twin beds against the upper left and right side of wall, with a night stand in the middle.

This was just slightly repetitive, since you had already mentioned the room having two twin beds...perhaps just start the sentence saying "The two twin beds were against the...."?

At the end of the room, a brown dresser with no ornaments stood looming.

Might just be me, but I think making it "...with no ornaments on it (or "adorning it" depending on your preference) stood looming." would sound better.

After Andrea’s mother had told them it was time for bed, the two girls had stayed up till midnight anyway.Dawn’s neighbors had moved in only a short month ago. The house they had chosen was one floor high and contained three bedrooms for the family of five.

The way this is transitioned, it's not clear that Dawn's neighbors are Andrea. I'd just change "Dawn's neighbors" to "Andrea's family." By that it's clear that it's Andrea's family.

Something outside the room had fallen or broke.

I believe it should be "broken."

Andrea flinched and continued to stare at the door, listening like a cat with its ears up.

"...listening like a cat with its ears up" sounds slightly corny. I like the simile of the cat, but the way it's written it almost sounds as if Andrea has her ears up. =P I know what you're trying to say, though. Maybe make it what the cat is listening to ("...listening like a cat would for a mouse, ears perched and eyes intent" or something). I don't know.

The three shepherds were wonderful dogs of his, Andrea had told her once.

You make me curious as to what kind of shepherds those dogs are. I'd mention the specific type of shepherd, personally. I wouldn't go into any more detail with the dogs, as that would distract from the main storyline, but just adding the specific type would be nice.

She looked over at Dawn. “No. He can do what he wants.”That first day the car had appeared across the street, Andrea had poured out of the backseat with her younger brother and older sister.

Again the transition is a little weird. I wonder if perhaps just breaking up the lines more (starting a new "section" of the story, if you will) would fix this. But there were several times when I had to stop and remember that these were flashbacks. Very well written and some very good characterization, but just not transitioned well which distracted from the story.

She learned from Andrea that her new father, Peter, and her mother had gotten married only two months before, (that being three months now).

The comma after "before" is unnecessary.

It was a single story home with a nice porch, a small drive-through leading into a garage and spacious front yard with covering trees to the right side of the lawn.

Again this is a little repetitive; you already mention it being a single story house before this.

It was blocked off from view by its brown wooden, perfectly aligned fence, and only had one way to get in, through the back door of the house.

The "brown wooden" threw me off. I think there should be a comma between those, but either way I don't think "brown" is necessarily needed. Wood is, by definition, brown. Yes, it can be painted, but unless that is specified it should be assumed that the wood is brown.

She’d never personally stepped into the hidden yard, but through the windows you could see the weeds, ant hills and the old furniture.

"The" seemed kinda weird when referring to the weeds and furniture...you make it seem important or as if you mentioned it before, but to my recollection you didn't. I'd just make it "...see weeds, ant hills and old furniture" unless you're referring to some specific weeds and furniture that I missed.

“He must have gone out with his friends,” Andrea pushed herself back into the bed and pillow. “I don’t know Dawn, you ask him tomorrow.”

Here the comma should be a period -- since "Andrew pushed..." isn't a variation of "she said" and is purely description, not dialogue description, it would be by itself as its own sentence.

Her eyes kind of glinted a little in anger when she looked over at her friend, but then they softened ever so slightly in reply.

The "kind of" should be removed, IMO.

She genuinely laughed. “I was hoping this wouldn’t happen tonight though. Sorry.”

There should be a comma after "tonight"

She could hear them arguing a little louder this time. The words weren’t clear, low shouting all the same.

Not quite sure what you meant by "low shouting all the same." Perhaps make it "The words still weren't clear, their voices muffled by the walls and door."?

I didn’t know they fought all the time Andrea, she wanted to say aloud.

There should be a comma after "time."

“My sister moved out with her boyfriend last week. I got some more space in the bedroom now, perfect for you to come over, want to see my room?”

"Moved out with her boyfriend" makes it sound as if she and her boyfriend were living in this house together and moved out together. Unless that's the case, I'd just make it "...sister moved in with her boyfriend..." I'd also make the comma after "over" a period, beginning a new sentence with "Want to see..."

She’s turned on her side, staring back at Dawn with big eyes, a child’s eyes that were a sharp blue. She whispered to her friend and it was a secret whisper, the kind you should never tell anyone.

This I found to be kind of corny...the whole "secret whisper you should never tell anyone" thing.

Rebecca didn’t like our new “intruder”.

Should be replaced with single quotation marks ('), as it's a quote within a quote, as it were.

“I don’t remember why he did it. He broke the small kitchen window. It was funny that next morning when he," she snickered and repeated, "He tried to explain himself and made this big show of some weird guy in the back yard trying to get in.”

I'd make it: "....she snickered. "He tried..." The "and repeated" threw me off (I assume you were talking about her repeating the word "he"?) -- it seemed like you meant the following sentence she repeated, but yet you didn't have her say that before. (it wouldn't let me quote two more things, so they're italicized instead):Dawn questioned once again if she was speaking to her anymore, “He’s been doing that less, ever since we moved here. And I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.”Should be a period instead of comma after "any more"Thing would get worse?Should be "things"I know that's a lot of nitpicks, but to be completely honest it was only because I really did enjoy this story especially the plot and idea as a whole, and as such, I just want it to be the best it can be; some of those things might be fine but again, not necessarily the very best, in my opinion, which is what I want them to be. Anyway, great job again; as I said I enjoyed it, and I definitely look forward to reading more of your stories. Keep writing!Posted Image

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"As a writer you ask yourself to dream while awake." ~ Aimee Bender


#14 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Apr 07 2012 - 12:10 PM

Hey Velox, sorry this took me a little time to reply too. But I just wanted to say I really, really appreciate the time it took for you to write out that review and add in all those sentences (which I have corrected and thanks for that again) and of course for reading it.The idea which I did really enjoy, I'm glad I was able to write it out realistically though I still feel like it could be a little better. I didn't want it to be overdramatic, but at the same time write about common problems among families and it's kinda dedicated to them. I'm really glad you enjoyed this, and were able to correct me on a few areas. Descriptions are a plus and yeah, I wanted Dawn to be more of an observer and Andrea to be the one it's centered around. I had a ton of ideas for an ending, but all of them seemed a little unrealistic, depressing, too happy, so I left it open ended.Anyway again thank you so much, and hopefully when you do catch a few of my stories, I'll be able to get similar opinions of them. ^_^
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#15 Offline Naina

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Posted Jun 12 2012 - 03:28 PM

I think I liked it better when you ended it with that for once, Andrea had had someone to talk to and Dawn was glad to have been there.You know my views on the story as a whole, we've talked this story over a few times in Gmail. (Why do we seem to talk about stories about broken families so much? :P)
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When darkness comes

And pain is all around

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#16 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Jun 14 2012 - 10:31 AM

It's good drama material maybe. Thanks for the read KH, glad you enjoyed it, again. lol
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#17 Offline The Lord Of Wednesday

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Posted Nov 08 2012 - 06:03 PM

This is the SSCC Charity Review of Moment Of Fragile Courage by Quote (Mr. Traveler) (Review by Samhain). This review will be brief as Velox has already made an official review, and I would like to avoid beating a dead horse on certain subjects, like grammar, as I personally believe he is better at examining that then I am.The detail was good, though in some cases it felt too long, this is subjective however. As for the story, I can sort of sympathize with the characters though not on their level as I do not consider my household broken, though I am not sure I need to elaborate on how you would expect one to feel when your parents argue, assuming you like them of course. You did you a very good job giving them believable dialogue and with conveying their emotions.Sorry this is short, I feel drained to say the least, but anyway it was very good.
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