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Thread: This is my first draft, feedback is appreciated :)

  1. #1
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    Feb 2016

    This is my first draft, feedback is appreciated :)

    “All this happened, more or less.”
    “Are you sure, Grandpa?” I yawned. No reply. I looked up at him with drowsy eyes and a weary expression on my face, only to observe him quietly drifting off into a state of sleepiness himself. I saw his head lean towards the ground before bouncing back up to its original position for minutes before it became apparent that he had completely dozed off.
    “Grandpa,” I whispered, “You’re tired.” He began to steadily raise his head another time, this time providing a light chuckle along with it.
    “Yes, Christopher,” he replied, “I suppose I am.” He had an aged, but soft, look to his face, with faded-blue eyes that sulked over wrinkled skin, and thin, pursed lips that delicately exhaled in short, repetitive breaths. “However,” he continued, “It appears as though I’m not the only one.” He picked me up and placed me on top of his shoulders, leaving our makeshift sitting area, of folding chairs near the living room window, for the guest room. Before I knew it, I was tightly mummified, from the neck down, into three layers of blankets. It was not the most comfortable of setups, but warm enough to withstand the coolness brought into the room by a cold Wisconsin night. My grandfather had already proceeded to carry out the remaining of our nightly rituals; in which the room had been tidied, prayer had been given, the light switch had been turned off, and the door was slowly creaking shut. All was quiet and calm, and then I remembered the question I posed earlier, and became ruffled at the thought of it being unanswered.
    “Grandpa!” I shouted at the tops of my lungs. No reply. Sighing, I unraveled myself from the blankets, made my way to the door, stepped out into the hallway, and traveled towards the end of the hall to my grandfather’s bedroom. While doing so, I found personal joy in examining the finer details of the corridor around me. Upon the orange and yellow pinstriped walls were a scattering of photographs, all of which were contained in frames of various shapes and sizes. In such images were unrecognizable people and places, and I made it a mental note of mine to ask my grandfather, one day, of each face and site to learn their story.
    As I got closer to my grandfather’s room, the walls became less cluttered with images and more littered with various artifacts. I recognized most of the items, for my grandfather regularly used them as focus points for the stories he told me every night. There was the 20 pound largemouth bass, hooked on top of an oval-shaped plaque, that my grandfather proclaimed to have been the local river ‘monster’ he and his brother had hunted down when he was of a younger age. Then there was the half-bitten handle of an ax that my grandfather had explained to be the remains of an encounter with a black bear. In addition, there was the piece he had used tonight as the centerpiece for one of his stories. It was considerably larger than the rest of the objects hanging on the wall, and was almost shaped like half a circle. It was composed of an assortment of sheets, carpets, blankets, and other covers; all of which vividly expressed a multitude of colors and patterns.
    “What is it?” I had asked earlier.
    “A quilt.” replied my grandfather. He laid it out over the living room floor. “You see,” he continued, “As a young boy, I was always adventurous. I don’t know why, maybe it was the adrenaline I received from being in an adventure or the curiosity that caused me to embark on them, but I was. A lot of my time was spent roaming these very backwoods, and I did so whenever I found an opportunity to. This meant after school, after church, after work, whenever. In fact, I would go as far to say that I explored these woods so much that they basically became my home away from home.” He took a moment to stare out the living window towards an outline of shaded figures overlooking a small area of flat land. “So believe me Christopher,” he said, now refocusing his attention towards me, “When I tell you how surprised I was to realize I didn’t know these woods as good as I believed.”
    “What do you mean Grandpa?” I asked.
    “Well,” he answered, “On one particular day, when I had decided it to be a fine idea to spend some time in the woods, the local forecast had predicted it to rain. Now, on this day, I didn’t see a single cloud in the sky, and stubbornly decided, against my family’s wishes I might add, to go out into the wilderness anyway. Of course, my trip started out as any other, with me traversing through the woods on the same path I always took; and me attentively observing the details within the trees, shrubs, flowers, and any other article of nature I could lay my eyes upon. However, as the day progressed, clouds did begin to fill the sky and rain did eventually fall. Unfortunately for me, the path I was traveling on was composed of dirt, and as I attempted to return home, it turned into mud; which made it difficult to travel through. Eventually, nightfall came, and I was seemingly trapped within the woods. Not being able to see where I was going, I feasibly became lost and, unknowingly at the time, wondered off my path. The only reason why I proclaim I was off the known path was because I began blindly roaming a more tougher, rigid terrain. The next thing I know, I’m aimlessly walking upon air before becoming unconscious.” My grandfather pointed towards the quilt on the floor. “When I awoke, I was laying within a tent made of this. I tried to stand up and leave, but my right leg was in immense pain and I simply couldn’t. I then tried to call out for help, but to no reply. I didn’t remember being in any tent, and figured someone had to have placed me in one; so I continued to call out into the darkness until a light shined through the quilt. I expected a camper or EMT or even somebody from my family who had found me knocked out to be entering; but instead came face to face with a little old man who had no apparent name, but repeatedly kept referring to himself as the ‘Doctor’. He brought with him an array of herbs and rubbed them over my hurt leg. He then took out a small bowl of raspberries and crushed them into a liquified state, handing them to me to drink. This activity would continue for what seemed like forever, before I was able to stand and somewhat walk properly. When I was able to do so, the ‘Doctor’ took me out of the tent, covered me with the quilt, and led me to a ridge in the woods. When I took off the quilt, the ‘Doctor’ was gone. I climbed back up the ridge and eventually found my way back to the path. From there, I eventually returned home. I was gone for about three months.”
    “Wow.” I uttered.
    “Yeah,” my grandfather responded. “While I couldn’t see anything clearly through the quilt, I did hear other voices; a group of ‘Doctors’ I supposed. However, when I returned the ridge and searched for the person who healed me, and the group he belonged to, I couldn’t find anybody.”
    “Did this really happen Grandpa?” I questioned.
    “All this happened, more or less.”
    “Are you sure, Grandpa?” I yawned. No reply.
    I finally arrived to my grandfather’s room to discover him sleeping peacefully in his bed. I tiptoed over to his body and whispered within his ear, “Grandpa?” No reply. I whispered within his ear again; however, this time a little louder. His body shook for a brief moment before his eyes stared into mine.
    “Yes Christopher?” he asked quietly.
    “Are you sure, Grandpa?”
    “Sure of what, Christopher?”
    “Of the story, Grandpa.”
    “What story, Christopher?”
    “The one you told me earlier. The one with the quilt.”
    “Oh,” he replied, slowly rising out bed. “Yes, Christopher, I’m sure.” My grandfather let out a yawn before picking my back up on his shoulders. “Now,” he stated, “Let’s get you back to bed.”

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Oct 2010
    A rural part of Sweden, southern Norrland
    I never met my grandparents, but the story flows well.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2016
    I'm sorry to hear that Dreamwoven, but thank you for your feedback.

  4. #4
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Beyond nowhere
    I enjoyed the story too.
    One small substitution I would like to suggest: "any other article of nature"
    The word "article" doesn´t sound so natural in this context. Maybe "aspects".
    And, of course the typo "I wandered off"
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 05-15-2016 at 11:46 AM.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  5. #5
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    Feb 2016
    Thank you for the feedback Danik 2016! The changes have been made.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2016
    Okay, this is the follow-up to the short story posted in this thread. Similarly to before, please give any feedback.

    Ever since my grandfather had told me the story regarding the ‘Doctors’ he encountered in the woods, I had begun to believe they were everywhere I happened to be. When I looked out of the living room window, over towards the skyline of the woods surrounding my grandfather’s house, I thought I could make out tiny dark silhouettes standing in between the shadows of the trees. When I was outside of the house, I was under the impression that I was being watched from all directions; in addition to always hearing footsteps when I swore I was alone.
    “You’re just paranoid.” my grandfather would rationalize, but I knew what I sensed and I soon became aware that I could not spend the rest of my time here, at my grandfather’s house, obsessed at the possibility of being followed by individuals who may had or had not even existed. So, I took it upon myself, one day, to journey into the woods and verify whether I was just paranoid or my suspicions were well-grounded.
    Although, there was a problem with my personal expedition. I did not know how to find people who apparently did not want to be found. I began to think of the possible methods that could be used to spot such persons. I would have to set up some sort of trap, something that would attract their attention. I thought back to my grandfather’s story. The only reason he encountered his ‘Doctor’ was because he was injured. I would have to do the same. Not genuinely hurt myself though, just fake it until one of the ‘Doctors’ approached me. That, right there, would be all the evidence I needed to prove I wasn't paranoid. I mean, if they did not come to heal my injury, then I could just laugh off the thought of ever being observed by such a group of individuals, right? However, if my plan did succeed, and I were to find a ‘Doctor’ approaching me; I decided to get away as fast as possible to avoid being captured. A ‘full-proof plan’ I thought to myself.
    I decided to carry out this little adventure of mine on a day similar to when my grandfather had his meeting with a ‘Doctor’; meaning I needed to pick a day when it was going to rain. My reasoning behind this was to attempt to replicate my grandfather’s experience to the best of my ability, for doing so would potentially improve my chances of encountering a ‘Doctor’ of my own. This also meant I was to fake my injury near the same ridge my grandfather fell off, a task that could have been problematic considering the ridge was so well hidden within the woods. Thus, I considered it a good idea to probably find where I would be carrying out my plan before anything else.
    The following day, I asked my grandfather to accompany me into the woods. “In case the ‘Doctors’ come to get me.” I reasoned.
    “Alright, Christopher,” he replied, “I’ll come with you.”
    Together, we made an excursion into the woods, traveling along a path both of us had traversed over numerous times before. Periodically, our walk would be interrupted by my grandfather as he took the time to point out, to me, as much survival tips as he could; an activity he had done so many times beforehand with me. Though, he appeared to have fun doing it, which was why I never reminded him that he had already taught me that a single thorn and a string could be used to create an improvised fishing pole or that in wet conditions, timber could be feasibly acquired by stipping off the inner bark of logs and twigs.
    Yet, before I knew it, the sky began to darken, and it registered, in my mind, that I had only a limited time frame left to find out where the ridge was located. Therefore, I had to interject one of my grandfather’s lessons.
    “As you can see Christopher-”
    “Grandpa, can you show where the ridge you fell off is?”
    “Oh?” My grandfather scanned the landscape around him. “Of course. We could go there right now.” He proceeded to guide me along the trail until the sky was completely black, except for a few spots occupied by stars. Eventually, we reached a field of tall grass cut in half by the trail. “Take my hand.” my grandfather said as he brought me off the path into the right side of the field. From there, we moved through a tangled patch of trees and shrubs before entering a rocky clearing pointed towards the sky. “Here it is,” spoke my grandfather, “as you requested.”
    “Thank you Grandpa.”
    “Anytime, Christopher.”
    That night I reviewed the weather forecast for the next predicted rain day, which turned out to be tomorrow. Perfect. Hence, the next day I set off back into the woods to find the ridge and begin my attempt to rediscover the ‘Doctors’ my grandfather had encountered.
    The downpour that had been predicted came early in the morning with a resounding thump upon the house, which personally benefited me by allowing me to sneak out the house without awaking my grandfather from his bedroom. I had brought nothing with me outside, only myself as that was all I needed to conduct this trap. I made my way to the woods and on the path my grandfather and I always traveled upon. Eventually, I made my way towards the open field I had observed a day earlier. Moving off the path and onto the right side of the field, the ground became instantly slushy with mud; and felt as though it was trying to pull me towards the Earth’s surface. Yet, I was able to stay afloat as I sought to remember how my grandfather got through the entangled arrangement of trees and shrubs past the open field. Somehow, I was able to get through the jumble and found my way to the rocky ridge that pointed towards the sky. I immediately went to set up my trap, wasting no more time than I already did. I let out a yelp that echoed throughout the wilderness and fell down onto the ridge, deciding to hold onto one my legs.
    I waited, for what seemed like forever, on top of the ridge waiting for a ‘Doctor’ to appear to me. I passed the time by listening to the rain pelt down on trees, ground, and even me. Eventually, though, the rain stopped and I was forced to transfer my attention towards the clouds on the sky; and specifically, watch how they dispersed from one cluster to reveal a wonderful sunset. Beautiful, I thought. When the sunset faded and a nighttime sky, lit up with a hundred stars, was displayed, I determined it a good time to go back to my grandfather’s house. Maybe I was just really paranoid.
    I got back up, soaked from the rain, and returned back to the open field and onto the path. Walking back to the house, a little defeated but relieved, I tried to reflect back on my day spent on the ridge, contemplating on whether it was worth it or not. I decided it was, for even though a part of me knew I was just paranoid, I felt as though I needed to make sure I was not being watched by the characters of my grandfather’s story. Thus, content at how my day was spent, I continued through the woods to ultimately return home.
    I made my way through the entrance of the path and began to head back to the house when I heard it; a rather faint sound, but loud enough for me to hear. It was a snap, probably a twig or branch that happened to be laid on the path. The reason why I believed this was because the noise came from there, the woods, behind me. I did nothing but smile, and continued my way towards my grandfather’s house.

  7. #7
    Registered User Welcheren's Avatar
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    Jun 2016
    South Africa
    Hi Thomas

    Thanks for the story. I enjoyed it. I was a little confused by the ending though. It struck as a little strange that a extremely curious, independent and active character such as the narrator would consider his curiosity sated by the crack of a branch. If anything, I thought the lack of certainty would frustrate Christopher, to the extent that after a few days he feels compelled to repeat his experiment, possibly with some variation to more effective draw out the Doctor/s.

    I like the open ending. This was the only point that I thought could do with some tweaking: anything that would sate this type of character more fully.
    And as I pass through the first gate, I know that the better part of my soul will remain behind - forever.

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