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Tutelary Spirit

Short Story Romance

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#1 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
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Posted Nov 28 2012 - 09:13 PM

Tutelary Spirit

"Gone." This was the first word she uttered as I walked through her door. "Gone. No--no--it's--He can't be dead!"She gaped at her mother in horror. I could feel the emotions developing within her; fear gave way to astonishment and incredulity, while her heart slowly crumbled beneath the weight of growing grief. And there was something else. Something that pained me to see her bear, as much as it pained her to bear it: guilt.Her mother murmured, "He never opened his eyes after the ambulance took him. He was dead before they got to the hospital.""That's impossible! He can't--no, he can't be!" She was fighting to keep her voice level, but it was fluctuating dangerously."I don't know what I can say, Gwen. But it's true. He's gone."The tears began to flow freely now. For a moment she could only reiterate the word, "No. No, no, no . . ." Then her face fell into her hands and the first sob shook her.Her mother sat by her side and put her arms around her small shoulders. I seated myself on her other side and did the same, but neither paid me any heed."It's wrong," she gasped. "It's impossible. He--if he hadn't--If he hadn't pushed me out of the way--the car would have hit me. I--I should have been the one--I should have been lying there--looking up at him--but because of m-me--"She broke down completely. "I loved him!" she wailed. "He can't be gone!" Her voice shattered. Her body convulsed as weeping overtook her.I leaned closer, wrapping my arms more tightly around her. "I loved you too," I whispered. "You know I did. And I still do."Her head turned sharply, searching the room for the source of the voice. It brought a twisting strain to my chest. Could she really not see me beside her?I felt my throat choking with sorrow, but I forced out the words: "I'm sorry I had to leave you, Gwen. But you can't blame yourself. I don't regret what I did. It was my choice, and I'd do it again, for you.""It--it can't be," she said, half to herself. "He's dead!"Her mother misinterpreted. "Yes, he is. But he's not exactly gone. You know that, don't you? He's somewhere still, and if I know him half as well as you, I'm sure he's waiting for you."Gwen nodded. "I'm sure he is. And if he can do that--I--I can wait for him."I rose sharply, unsteadily, to my feet. Somehow, that hurt more than anything. I couldn't allow her to throw away her life for me; even if I had, mine for hers. I was dead. I couldn't let her live as if she were, too.I drifted through the wall into the next room and to the telephone. I didn't bother picking it up; I didn't think I could anyway. I just walked straight into it.It was effortless. I felt my mind flying to where I willed it. The phone only rang twice before a young man answered it."Hello?"I pushed down the old acrimonies rising within me. This was the only option. No more were we rivals in love, but two men with one in common; and only one of us had the beating heart to give it.I said, "Hi, Lance. Did you hear about Gwen?""N-no. What about her?""Well, not her exactly. Her friend, Arthur."His voice became cold. "No, I haven't heard anything about him.""He's dead." I paused, letting the astonishing words sink in with a cruel satisfaction. "He got hit by a car. He saved her life.""My--God! Is--is she okay?"I said, "She's not hurt. Well, not physically. But her heart's taken a bruising."His tone wavered. "Yeah, I--yeah, I know how she felt about him.""But what she needs right now is a friend, Lance. Maybe--something more than that?""I don't know if--""Go to her, Lance."There was silence. Finally he said, "Okay. I will.""She needs you.""I'll go right now. Goodb--Hold on. Who is this, anyway?"I merely answered, "That doesn't matter. Just go to her."I withdrew. If words can describe what I did, I evanesced, remolding in her room. She was in her mother's arms, crying vehemently, exactly as I had left her.I called to my mind the moment. Perhaps I really did go back to it, as physically, at least, as I stood beside her now. I saw the car coming, as clearly as I had that night. I saw her standing there, frozen like a deer. I heard the screeching of wheels, I felt my legs move as they had never moved before and never would again, I felt her in my arms as I lifted her and flung her to the side. And then I felt the pain all over again, exploding throughout my body.The next thing I knew she was by my side. I heard her speak as if from far away, almost as I can only hear her now. "No--Arthur, no! Are you all right?"It was an irrational question, and we both knew it. I gave an answer we both knew to be false. "Yeah--yeah, I'll be fine." The weak groan belied my words."You have to be," she pleaded. "You can't--Don't--Please, you have to be all right!""Don't worry," I said. I fixed my gaze on her face, absorbing for one more time every portion of her aspect. "I'll always be here for you. I promise." And then I had closed my eyes for the last time. The last feeling I remember was of her lips against mine, of her tears rolling down my face, and of her arms around me.I had always known I couldn't live without her. I wouldn't have to, now; but no matter what I felt, I couldn't let her live without someone.What really surprised me, though, was how easily tears could flow from eyes that would never open. A heart that no longer beats can still be broken.For a moment longer my eyes lingered on her gracile form. Even wacked as it was with woe, even with her face hidden, her beauty was peerless. It shattered me.My voice quaked as I said, "I'll always be here for you." I turned away. "For both of you."And then I evanesced into the night, leaving nothing left of myself in the world but a tear dropped on a young woman's floor. Nothing but that . . . and a promise.

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


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#2 Offline SkyLandOceAnna

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Posted Dec 03 2012 - 02:42 AM

This was a nice story. I've never seen anyone allow a ghost to make a call as you did. It definitely gave it an original feeling and a new perspective. Thank you!


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Wordsmith <3


#3 Offline Kragghle

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Posted Dec 03 2012 - 01:57 PM

:kaukau: [color=#0000ff;]I am glad that you didn't go overboard with this as you did with that abominable Incredible Hulk fanfic.  However, I still have my qualms with your style, and in particular your overemphasis on word choice near the beginning.  It got better as the story went along, but at the beginning it was still quite jarring, with your forced, melodramatic descriptions of how people said things.  Pehaps simple hyperbole would have been fine instead of precise descriptions that made that gave exact measurements of how people said things.  If you had used hyperbole, then it would have been up to the reader to determine how much goes into each expression made by the characters, which would have made for a better, more universal story.  Besides, I tend to realize that precise descriptions of character interaction should only be necessary when they have an established but ongoing characterization within the story that makes their way of saying and doing things unique.  However, in a short story such as this, you say nothing so as to make me feel the need to think of their uniqueness, but rather the emphasis is on the brief function each has within the story.  I'm presuming that you noticed this, of course, since we all notice our own faults, especially when you have used this particular critique of characterization with regards to my own story, to which I say that there's no problem with lack of characterization with a short story and it's certainly not a problem here.  It's nice if you can have it, but often times it can be unnecessary and clutter a story a little too much, especially with tales like these where the main character has a vibe of anonymity.[/color]

 

[color=#0000ff;]The phone call, meanwhile, didn't seem to be handled right.  Would Lance be so slow to ask who the caller was?  Did the narrator have his own voice?  There are too many questionable thing here for me to forgive this.  Had it had a very surrealist sense of narrative, then the problem would be solved, but this is clearly romantic writing in the triangle of romanticism/realism/impressionism.  The conversation could have had a lot more power, but it didn't.  It also wasn't until then that I realized that the narrator was Gwen's boyfriend, not her father, which is a pity, because beforehand I thought that he was her father, which would have made for a more interesting story, in my tastes.  Parent-to-child relationships are given far too little attention in literature compared to the blinding sun that is the output of romance literature.[/color]

 

[color=#0000ff;]This is a separate rant altogether, but why is it that people always say that when their life flashes before their eyes and they think they'er going to die, "the last thing I thought of was you," when by the second person singular they meant some particular romantic interest.  It's usually a guy who says it, too.  Why doesn't anyone ever think of their parents?  My sister brought this up once and I thought it was a legitimate question and truly took a common thought process in a more profound direction.  What I see here are emotions that seem much weaker and don't contribute growth in the reader's sense of beauty.  Rather, it's almost a sort of wish fulfillment, even if it's bittersweet.  The message of giving someone up to someone else out of selflessness, while valid, seems half-hearted here and doesn't really fly.  I still would have preferred something about how the main character thought about his parents.  After all, wouldn't they be morning, too?  I recall Clark Kent back in the fifth season of Smallville where he temporarily died and had an out-of-body experience, where the most important thing in that moment was for him to meet his recently deceased father.  That was powerful, and that defined the character more than anything.  The complexity and the humanity of the situation, however, is lost here with the single-minded focus on romance for what I can only assume are undeveloped, teenage lovers.[/color]

 

[color=#0000ff;]What I can say about this whole pointless drama about teenage lovers is that at least it makes sense that Gwen would be so out of control.  When I first assumed that it was her father that died, I thought that her constant, weird stuttering and irrational conclusions was out of place and unrealistic.  A person would be more solemn in the case of a family member, from my experience.  Knowing intuitively how I would react if a girlfriend died, however, I know that I would feel guilty as well.  It's within our natures to feel responsible for each other and for love to not come at the expense of the wrong sort of drama.  We want that attention and that love, but we don't want others to hurt because of it.  So therefore, later on in the story I came to forgive you for your annoying opening dialogue.  A bit of advice here would be to establish earlier on that he was her boyfriend.  Otherwise it caused me to shake my head later on as I saw how the beginning did not match the end.[/color]

 

[color=#0000ff;]It's still better than Romeo and Juliet, though.[/color]

 

[color=#0000ff;]And surprise, I have no problem with the use of the word "evanesced".  While my compute's putting a squiggly red line under it and saying that it's not a word, the use was right, and the word sounded right for the situation and not out of place.  Way to go.[/color]

 

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