And here’s an exercise for all of you. As much as I love praise (bring it on! just kidding. okay maybe not), give me some criticism on this one. What do you hate? Come on. It will be fun. :D
* * * * *
I watch the raindrop crawl down his forehead, roll around his eyebrow and down the side of his nose. He exhales hard, then looks past my shoulder. She is standing there. That woman.
“What do you want me to do?” he asks.
“You know I can’t do that.”
How can he continue being the good one? After all she’s done to him. To us.
He leans toward me and looks into my eyes. “She’s my flesh and blood. In this world, after all we’ve lost, it’s the one thing you should never forget.”
It would be wrong of me to tell him, to load that weight on him, when he carries around so much already. I can’t tell him. “She killed your flesh and blood.” I cover my mouth with both hands. This sleep deprivation has stolen my restraint. This violence around us has silenced my good judgment. The rain penetrates the defenses of my suit, sliding down my back like tiny icy fingers.
He pulls his gun. It hovers in the air next to my ear, gleaming silver on black, aimed behind me. Everything about him stills, except for the rain running clean tracks through the dirt on his face.
She laughs, a sound that morphs the icy fingers on my back into razor blades. “Jason, I-”
His empty hand covers my ear as he fires.
Oh gosh, I’m not sure I could find anything to criticize! I really want to know more of the background on this story, and I wish it was longer, but that’s more curiosity than critique.
Wishing it was longer – that’s both criticism and praise, so thank you! I wish I had more time to spend on these…
Oh I wish so too! But then I would spend my whole day writing mine and reading yours and never get anything done. =)
I’m only doing this because you asked so nicely!
I thought the start of this story was great – short, sharp and decisive, “What do you want me to do?” “Kill her.” He obviously couldn’t , “How can he continue being the good one?” I was hooked.
It also finished well from “He pulls his gun…” and I loved the last line, “His empty hand covers my ears as he fires.”
I thought it got a little lost in the middle – what made him change his mind? What did she say or do that made him pull that trigger?
I hope this is OK and helpful – if not, just delete me!
Mike, this is great. I see the trouble paragraph now, and I know how to fix it. The dialogue is lost inside that block of internal monologue. Because it’s the POV character’s response to him that changes his mind – the “She killed your flesh and blood” is the POV character telling him something she doesn’t want to tell him but she blurts it out anyway. And now that he knows, he has to kill the woman.
So so helpful. Thanks Mike.
That is really good! I am so very impressed. I agree that it starts of really strong.
If I found one little tiny thing, it was that I was confused about where she was standing at the end and why the gun was behind her back (It sounded like he was going to shoot her instead).
But still so very very awesome!
Ah! Good point. I think I know how to fix that:
She is standing there, behind me. That woman.
Love it. Love it so much, I had to really LOOK for something that bothered me;
“This sleep deprivation has stolen my restraint. This violence around us has silenced my good judgment.”
I like that this hints at more of the story, but it feels a little awkward and vague. I would get a TINY bit more specific and conversational, like “three days without sleep and too many bodies to count, and I had no more restraint.” Not that, but ish?
I love “The rain penetrates the defenses of my suit, sliding down my back like tiny icy fingers.” – it could have been cliched, but you saved it by adding the word “tiny,” and it really works. But the icy fingers turning into razor blades seems a bit melodramatic for a story that otherwise feels so real. Maybe chills, or the hairs on her neck standing on end (but worded much more poetically).
That’s it! Fantastic work.
Very interesting. I think I’m afraid to be too specific in flash fiction. I don’t know why that is. Maybe because I don’t want a high word count? That’s something I’ll have to work on.
I was so afraid the icy fingers would be cliche. I’m glad you think I saved it. I can see how the razor blades could be melodramatic. And that one gets me – I hate melodrama. Now that I’m looking, I think the hands covering the mouth part is a bit melodramatic too.
I might have to be kind and rewrite this as a new post. :)
Kay – your writing is so good, I could never even begin to critique it. I learn each and every time from you. Words come hard to me, and ideas, even harder. When I read your work I always see smoothness, clear thought patterns, and much much more.
Clear thought patterns? Where? :)
You are too kind.
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I tripped on the word “can”…
“You know I can’t do that.”
…….“You know I won’t do that.”“You know I’ll refuse.”“You know I can’t permit that.”“You know I quit doing that.”“You know I prohibit that.”
I think this is a place where a single word will raise the stakes and add to the backstory.
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