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Lonesome Spirits


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#1 Offline Takuaka: Toa of Time

Takuaka: Toa of Time
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Posted Jan 15 2013 - 07:14 PM

My second BZPower-posted short-story. :) I just wrote this today, actually. An idea suddenly popped into my head, and grew, and I decided to write about it. It's funny, though, I actually envisioned the ending and part of the middle before anything else.

 

 

 

 

Lonesome Spirits

 

 

 

How could this have happened...? One minute she was there, and the next... She was gone.

 

I walked along the old trail through the forest. I remembered how the sun once shone upon everything, from the rocks to the trees to the dirt, giving it a splendor so lustrous I couldn't have found words to properly describe it if my life had depended upon it.

 

She'd been with me then, and the whole world had been a happy, wonderful place. She'd lit my way through a darker time, before I'd met her.

 

Now as I moved along the path, and though the shun shone brightly, the world looked to me like the darkest of nights. No, darker even. Funny how that works. The light reflecting off the leaves wet with dew reminded me of the eyes that would peer at you from the dark. The shade under an overhang looked like the cave of some monstrous beast.

 

I paused under a tree, seeing the old impressions still left in the grass from two wanderers stopping for a rest. A tear ran down my cheek and I moved on.

 

I passed the brook, once bubbling and gurgling with laughter and song. Now it drummed along like a death march.

 

Each step I trod was heavy with bright remembrances, now lost to a shadowy void. The dark shadows of the sunlit forest path closed in around me. How could I go on...? How could this dark world ever brighten again, when the sun itself had died?

 

 

 

* * *

 

 

 

As I stumbled along in my bleak ruminations, a strange sound met my ears. At first I didn't even notice it, but then I heard it. At first I recognized it as the sound of the anguish in my own spirit, so strong it affected my ears. But after a moment I realized that didn't make a lot of actual sense.

 

Someone was crying. The sound of sobs were clear now to my desolate ears. Might as well take a look...

 

As I followed the sound, my mind churned. What if...? But no, she was gone. But I couldn't help but imagine finding that beautiful face again, looking up at me as I stumbled upon it in the woods. But no, she was lost to me forever.

 

Finally I turned a corner in the path, and under a willow I saw a figure. Instantly my knowledge that my desperate hope would be dashed by cold reality was confirmed. This wasn't her, but a child. A small child, a toddler.

 

I moved closer, to see that she'd ceased her crying. She now stared hard at the ground, as if fascinated by some bug. I stopped beside her, and she looked up with what I assumed was careless curiosity.

 

Not another child that needs me... I thought. This one couldn't be the same as the one still awaiting my return at home. I knew that. I could tell this one was different. This one wouldn't have a lilting laugh, this one wouldn't gaze at me with the light of the moon when I saw her. This one couldn't brighten my life. She was too quiet.

 

Nevertheless, I found myself reaching out to her. She watched my arm approach, then shoved it off with an angry cry. She looked at me with a look of rage, then returned her gaze to the ground.

 

Well! Fine then, be that way! I couldn't help but think angrily. I stared hard at her for a moment, with every intention of grabbing her roughly and dragging her back to the village. But then, suddenly, I decided against anger, and my pain came surging back. I turned from her and walked a few steps. I didn't know what I was doing.

 

Dizzy with emotion, I lost my desire to stand. I sat hard on the ground, and stared bleakly at the ground. I was utterly spent. The tears wouldn't even come. Why...? Why can such a thing happen to a man?

 

I looked back at the child. She'd stopped paying attention to me. Now she was gazing at the sky. In her self-absorption, I could now read her emotions. She was staring into space with... What was that expression, anyway?

 

The it hit me. Hopelessness. Pain. Loss. I looked down beside me into a puddle, and saw the same expression on my own features.

 

I turned to the girl, who was now staring at the ground again. There was no bug. She was lost in her own pain, I realized.

 

Slowly, ever so slowly, I moved toward her. She glanced at me. Her features distorted into rage for a moment, then to be replaced by bleak indifference. She looked at the ground again.

 

I moved a little closer. Now I could reach out and touch her arm. Slowly, I did. She moved her arm away from mine with a whine, and I withdrew. She sat still again. I watched her, reading in her everything I'd been feeling. Her sun had died, too, hadn't it?

 

We both sat there awhile, lost in our own ruminations. She may have glanced at me a few times in that space, I know not. I didn't notice if she did. I glanced at her a couple times, to find her facing the ground.

 

After a while, though, I reached out to her again, this time lightly touching her hand as it sat upon the ground. "You've lost someone too, haven't you?"

 

Slowly she looked up at me, and I let her read my emotions. Then she muttered something I couldn't understand, and returned her gaze sadly to the ground.

 

"I know. It hurts, doesn't it? Something awful..." I sighed and stared at the ground myself.

 

She glanced at me again with her bleak expresion, and then something came over her. For a moment she focused on a point past me, her eyes lighting up, only to darken again, as if she thought she'd seen something, or someone, only to realize she hadn't.

 

Then her eyes watered and little streams ran down her face, sobs gushing forth once more. Her cries were louder this time, echoing through the forest. What a little pair of lungs, I thought. Her cries stung my ears, and I wouldn't have been surprised if the village had come running to find the source of the racket.

 

They didn't. We just sat there as she cried and cried. Soon my eyes and face were wet, too. Then sobs were escaping the both of us.

 

What a sight we must make, a man and a toddler, alone in the woods and crying our eyes out.

 

 

 

* * *

 

 

 

After a time, I don't know how long, we were both spent. We sat quietly. Then, suddenly, she glanced at me. Reaching out with her little arm, she touched my hand as it rested on the ground. I glanced at her, and saw a look of understanding in her little face. She spoke again, and though I couldn't understand the words, I replied, "Yes, I know. Seems pretty hopeless for both of us, doesn't it?"

 

She replied in her cooing, gurgling voice. She stood up and put her hands on my upright knee, then looked thoughtful. I looked up at her, pain blurring my vision once more as memories pounded in my head.

 

She stood there a moment, then slowly, ever so slowly, moved around my knee and closer to my body. I wiped my eyes and watched her gently. Finally, she gently settled in my lap. She looked up at me, and I looked down at her. Her face still bore the bleak expression of before. I knew mine must as well. I wasn't the person she wanted. She wasn't the person I wanted. But we forgave each other for the fact.

 

She looked sadly down, and settled into a restful position. I leaned back against the tree. Dusk was gathering around us and we began to feel sleepy. I thought of the little girl at home. But she had others to take care of her, she'd be fine this night. Besides, my family had gotten used to my spending more time away than usual of late.

 

There we sat, alone in the gathering darkness. We sat together in our pain, two lonesome spirits in a dark world that seemed only to be getting darker. We had each other, and that wasn't really good enough. Still, it was all we had for that moment.

 

We were both left to wonder, would the sun ever shine again?

 


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Timaka: Toa of Time


I have very neat hand-writing.


#2 Offline Velox

Velox
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Posted May 17 2013 - 11:48 PM

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Hey there, Tahuaka! I'm here to provide you with a free review, courtesy of the SSCC. ^_^[/color][/font]

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]I'll start with a few nitpicks and then move on to more general things:[/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]She'd been with me then, and the whole world had been a happy, wonderful place. [/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]His world, or the world in general? And if the latter, how so? [/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]and though the shun shone brightly,[/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]*sun[/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]As I stumbled along in my bleak ruminations, a strange sound met my ears. At first I didn't even notice it, but then I heard it. [/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]It's funny because I recently wrote something very similar, but then had to back-track--I'm not sure how big of a deal it is, but it stood out to me so I'll mention it. It's, a sound reaches his ears (he hears), but he doesn't notice at first, and then he hears it. It's probably just me, but I'd consider changing that to something like "I didn't notice it at first, but when I did it sounded like the anguish of my own spirit." bringing the two sentences together, as well. Which, on that note:[/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]But after a moment I realized that didn't make a lot of actual sense.[/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]"didn't make a lot of actual sense" just sounds too...plain? you could say. I think maybe "realized that wasn't possible" or something would be a bit better. I mention this because, as I'll mention below, I really like the writing of this piece, but this sentence stood out to me as not fitting with the others. [/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]But no, she was gone. But I couldn't help but imagine finding that beautiful face again, looking up at me as I stumbled upon it in the woods. But no, she was lost to me forever.[/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Repetition of "but".[/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Instantly my knowledge that my desperate hope would be dashed by cold reality was confirmed. [/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]This sentence was a little jarring--consider rewording. [/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]This wasn't her, but a child. A small child, a toddler.[/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Children are, by definition, small. So this could be "...but a child; a toddler." [/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Nevertheless, I found myself reaching out to her. [/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Personal preference here entirely, but I'm a big fan of how words sound together--the large word "nevertheless" (four syllables) just seems off with the short phrases/sentences right before this ("This one, This one"). Here, I would recommend, the use of "but" or some other shorter word. [/color][/font]

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]She watched my arm approach, then shoved it off with an angry cry. She looked at me with a look of rage, then returned her gaze to the ground.[/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Repetition of "then this, then that"--I'd make it "...with a look of rage before turning her gaze to the ground again." or something.[/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Well! Fine then, be that way! I couldn't help but think angrily. [/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]I'm not sure this was intended, but to me, this sounded like a teenager (or younger). If the character is in fact a teenager, then ignore this. =P[/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]I sat hard on the ground, and stared bleakly at the ground. [/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Repetition of "ground"[/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]She'd stopped paying attention to me. Now she was gazing at the sky. [/color][/font]

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]In her self-absorption, I could now read her emotions.[/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]I'd combine these: "...to me, her gaze now at the sky." or something. And also the repetition of "now" so close together.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]----[/color][/font]

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]With those out of the way, I really enjoyed this story. It was sweet, emotion-filled, and with some great descriptions. In fact, that's really something I must commend you for--your writing style was very enjoyable, and I liked reading all of the descriptions you gave. It's definitely one of the things that drove the story on, as I was able to become engrossed in the setting and story. While the diction was, for the most part, very enjoyable, there  were a couple of times when you repeated a few things--mostly just single words (a few of which I pointed out), but also sometimes a few phrases at different parts of the story. Not the biggest issue, but just something to watch out for. [/color][/font]

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]There's not really much for me to critique here. I would've liked, perhaps, to have seen more of the narrator's loved one's death through the use of more internal dialogue (his thoughts and everything), but I'm not sure exactly how necessary that is. Perhaps you could have him see flashes of her dead, and how she died--just a thought. This story works well in several ways, as you bring up this seemingly fantasy story, yet without any need to really go into detail of the world. And you have this instantly likable narrator (or at least, instantly sympathetic towards him), who the reader feels for but also grows in respect for with how he treats and wants to comfort the little girl. [/color][/font]

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Overall, this was definitely a well-written story, and I look forward to reading more from you. One final note, though, I'd suggest not centering the story--it makes it easier to read when left-justified. Keep writing![/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Posted Image[/color][/font]


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





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