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Thread: Hope

  1. #1

    Hope

    The setting sun shone through the clouds and cast blankets of light over-top the expansive forest. The intermingling colors of red and orange shrouded the countryside in splendor. The deep cast was bittersweet to the watchful eyes of the child -whom observed the skyline with curiosity, an effort to alleviate the stress afflicting his breaking heart, but the troubles of the present time hindered what little relief the sight provided.

    The child's name was Christopher, he was Native America in descent and presently a ward of Child & Family Services. He was currently under the care of the Mitchell's; a troubled family that was as conflicted among one another as they were with him. Their household sheltered four people, Shelly, David and their two sons, Tim & Mike.

    Christopher's first impression about them and their luxuries was nothing short of awe. They had many things that his biological parents could never provide. Such things included a pool, farm animals -such as horses, chickens and cows, a play-structure and even a sandbox. Because of these materialistic promises, he was easily swayed in departing from his family in search for something better.

    He couldn't be more wrong.

    The child recalled the first few weeks of living with them to be fairly conventional. The teenagers often kept to themselves -both in and out of school, while the adults were even less involved. The father focused on his work -and would often leave during the tender hours of the morning, while the mother was at least able to spend some time with Christopher, and appeared be as loving and kind as a mother could be.

    He remembered the times when he would come home from school to find various toys on the table. The endearing and memorable day of Easter, when Shelly arranged a surprise egg hunt for Chris to chase towards the promised prize; a large chocolate bunny that he found on his bed. These joyous recollections soothed an aching heart and comforted a troubled mind. However, if life had taught the child anything, it was that the better days only lasted for so long. A droplet of rain slid down the contours of the child's face and broke his train of thought. He looked up and acknowledged the rain clouds that lingered above, the first signs of a coming storm. The wind howled a sullen cry that intermingled with its unwanted chill. It cooly kissed the child's pump cheeks and encompassed every small crevice around him. There was nowhere to hide.

    He sat with his back adjacent to a wooden light pole, uncertain of what to do. He fingered a few strands of grass and plucked them from the soil. He knew that he had to find shelter somewhere, but there wasn't anywhere to hide. The coming storm would encompass the area and leave him drenched and cold. That was often the result whenever a storm passed by, especially if he lingered too long in an open area. He once tried to hide underneath the branches of the trees, but he found that the droplets of rain would slide down their sullen leaves. The ominous clouds moved overhead and bellowed deep groans that cracked the sky in two. A few pellets of rain fell, and than a few more after that. Shortly, the rain became more intense. A wall of rain moved over the yard and coated the area in moisture. The resulting storm passed over the child and chilled him to the bone. To make matters worse, he was scarcely dressed at all. The child wore nothing but his underwear, and a blanket that was folded over his hips to resemble the likes of a diaper. This embarrassing insult was a form of punishment that was enforced by the mother. It served as a purpose to belittle the child and to make him feel responsible for wetting his bed; albeit, other factors clearly came into play.

    This undesirable form of wear caused him to be quite distant from the Mitchell's, and anybody in general. He did his best to avoid associating with them and often-times, tried to keep himself busy around the yard. However, this wasn't one of those times. A storm had begun and night was approaching, and who could know if some sort of wild animal or creature would appear from the darkened woods.

    He glanced around, trying to determine if there was any shelter available. The shed was locked nowadays because they caught him sleeping in it whenever a storm had come. The farmhouse was also off-limits now because they found that he tried to pet the horses or watch the farm animals. Because of this, there weren't many options available. However, he figured that if he was able to sit, or lie underneath the slide, he would at least be rid of the storms ferocity. The play-structure was located a few hundred feet across the yard and he would have to trek through the the blistering cold just to reach it. So the child pushed himself to his feet, wrapped his arms around his body, and begun the sullen walk. Along the way, the boy asked himself how things had came to be so bad.
    'How?' He thought to himself as he plodded along the empty yard. These were questions that he couldn't answer with causes he could scarcely comprehend, but there was one event that stuck him as particularly interesting. It was the first day that Shelly had shown her true colors and decided to give him the boot from the house. The unspeakable event occurred several months ago and happened during the tender hours of the night. The child reminisced back to that foul day and recollected those terrifying moments.

    He remembered awaking in his bed. The darkness of the room obscured his vision and the quietness made the entire experience more profound. His breaths faltered as he jumped from his bed.

    'You better stop wetting your bed or you can sleep on the box spring!' Shelly had told him a few weeks ago. He did his best to heed the warning and follow through with her expectations, but he couldn't stop for some reason. Perhaps it was his unfortunate upbringing or his fear of Shelly that caused such accidents. Whatever the reason was, he couldn't be sure. What he was sure about was her warning. Because she had thrown his mattress out later that week -after another incident, and stayed true to her promise.

    Now, he cautioned another fear, the mistake of doing it again. Once Shelly found out in the morning there would certainly be a severe punishment. To make matters worse, he still had to use the washroom! But there was an alarm that was attached to his door. This alarm had been set up by the Mitchell's to prevent him from leaving his room during the night. This became a troublesome predicament for the child. One one hand, he could use the washroom whenever he needed to, but doing so would wake the entire household and everybody would hate him for it, on the other, it prevented him from using the washroom because he became to fearful of making everybody mad. Despite knowing how much they already hated him, surely they could hate him a little bit more. The alarm had also been set up to prevent him from wandering through the house during the late hours of the night. The child was not always fed, and as a result, he would often sneak through the house to find whatever scraps he could. He examined his mattress as best he could and determine that he had in fact done it again. 'Crap' He thought to himself as he realized that the urge to use the washroom was still too much.

    He had to use it.

    Christopher walked towards the path of the alarm and extended his arm. At first, the alarm didn't sound. So he pushed his arm out further and suddenly, a loud ringing sound was echoing through the entire house. The blistering noise was deafening to his ears. He hurriedly put his hands over them and immediately ran to his bed.

    He heard Shelly's footsteps as she stormed through the house. To the ears of the small child, they sounded quite intimidating. She walked through his bedroom door and began to enter the password to turn the alarm off. Once the blaring had ended she turned around and asked him what he wanted.
    "The washroom" He said softly, barely louder than a whisper. He realized that he had unknowingly pulled the blankets up to his chin in a sense of defense.
    Shelly was a few moments away from letting him pee when her attitude took an immediate change. Her nose contorted as though she had smelled something hideous.

    "Damn child!" She screamed as she lunged for him. She pulled him off his bed and flipped the mattress over. It was soaked and stained, the smell of it made it even more obvious. "How many times, how many times have I asked you not to do this?" She yelled as she grabbed his ear forcefully. "If you want to wet your bed than there is room for you outside!" She exclaimed as she started dragging him through the hallway.

    The child broke into a sudden cry and begged for forgiveness, but his pardons were quickly dismissed. He tried to pull himself away from her grasp, but the more he pulled, the more his head hurt. She held him firmly by the hair and pulled harder and harder the more he fought. When the two reached the front door, she opened it and hurriedly shoved him through.

    Immediately, a cool wind rushed around his body. It was the first time the child had experienced such cold, but it compared little to the cold heartedness of the woman who left him here. The first feeling that struck him was loneliness, due to the sheer isolation that he was faced with. The wooden light pole in the distance was the only source of light in the entire yard. Everything else was black. So black that he started to fear for his safety. The second feeling that struck him was fear. Fear of the unknown and of what may or may not linger within the black shadows of the forest. The many nights since that day were much the same. The only solace he had from these hardships were the days that he attended school. He made friends, earned good grades and had some magnificent times, but he kept the secret to himself. Nobody could have figured that something so dreadful was taking place behind closed doors. The Mitchell's would let him shower and change into clean clothes, before eating breakfast and departing for the school bus. They did this to prevent themselves from being caught. And it worked. Once again, the child was brought back to reality and his acknowledgments of the hardships of the present time. The saturating rain continued to fall, continuously pelting across the child's face. As the rain grew more intense, so did his desire for warmth or shelter. It was then that he reached the wooden play-structure. He unraveled his arms from his tiny body and placed one hand on the slide. He peered underneath it and examined the ground. It was rather uneven with pockets of grass sprouting out from the tender soil, but it was shelter. He decided to crawl underneath the cavernous slide and lie down, perhaps until his foster family remembered him, or perhaps until the storm stopped. And so as he laid his head upon the rustling glass, his eyes stared towards the stars above. And pellets of rain fell in an endless numerosity -like that of eternity, and it was within that moment that he realized one of the many virtues of strength; perseverance.

  2. #2
    Can somebody please give me some reception about this short story? Thanks!

  3. #3
    300 views and not a single response.

  4. #4
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    This is something I found on writing short stories: http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/shortstory/, it may be of interest to you.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamwoven View Post
    This is something I found on writing short stories: http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/shortstory/, it may be of interest to you.
    You probably didn't even read it. Please do not comment unless it has something to do with the short story.

  6. #6
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    I read it at least 3 times, and I think you need to take some advice about how to write short stories. You say you had 300 visits but no comments. That says it all for me.

    I won't be responding any more.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamwoven View Post
    I read it at least 3 times, and I think you need to take some advice about how to write short stories. You say you had 300 visits but no comments. That says it all for me.

    I won't be responding any more.
    Your passive aggressiveness is rather humorous to me. Furthermore, how wrong you are is also funny because there are A TON of stories that get no responses on this site. Stories that are even written by some of the more eloquent writers. Additionally, even the bad writing gets more responses than the good from time to time. Trying to determine that these responses are tailored anything but chance is sheer conjecture.

    I can take constructive criticism but what you posted was not anything of the sort. All you did was post some random link without any regard to the material above. I want criticism that is specifically tailored towards my own writing so I can build my writing skills.

    So please, do not respond. You'll end up making yourself look like a buffoon due to all the flaws within your logic.

  8. #8
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    tüsh

    I don´t think writing disagreable answers will move LitNet members to read and comment your story.
    DW wanted to help and see what he got from you!
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 01-22-2017 at 02:55 PM.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  9. #9
    He tried to act like a smart *** so I put him in his place. Do you have a problem? That's fine. Come debate me.

    Anyways, please stop with the nonsensical responses unless you wish to challenge me to a debate or you wish to show me how I can better my writing abilities.

  10. #10
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    No problem at all. But maybe we have a case of double identity here, because last year I read and commented a very similar stuff as yours posted by a guy who called himself Kriss Brass.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  11. #11
    Registered User DATo's Avatar
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    Greetings t0sh,

    I was immediately impressed with the quality of your phrasing and this inspired me to want to read more. The piece is well written and thoughtfully constructed.

    I think the story can stand on its own merits but I will venture to offer some criticism which may be of use to you. I can only speak for myself of course, but I found the dichotomy of Mrs. Mitchell's early kindness too starkly contrasted with her impatience which occurs later in the story. Since she is already a mother it would seem that she would already have some experience regarding bed-wetting by her own sons. She seems to turn from a fairy godmother to a wicked witch too suddenly and dramatically. Also, the punishment seems far too severe for someone who had taken such interest in Christopher in the opening sections of the story.

    I understand what you are trying to do and I think you succeed to a certain extent but as mentioned before the clash is too sudden, harsh and out of character with the mother's earlier display of kindness.

    Now this is just a suggestion, and I don't mean to tell you what to write, but perhaps the conflict would be more perfectly presented and more interesting if it had something to do with the ethnic differences between the child's upbringing and the foster family. Say for instance the child practices some ritual that he had seen his Native American grandfather do which included making a fire and the fire causes damage to the property of the Mitchell family. This could then be fleshed out with the family thinking he is dangerous and evil, but we, the readers, would know that he was innocently trying to perform some ritual which was actually intended to HELP the Mitchell family. This results in him being given up for foster care by the family and as the story ends the readers (and Christopher) are the only ones who know the truth. Much like the ending of Carson McCuller's, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.

    All this having been said I still enjoyed reading your story very much and hope to read more of your work. THANK YOU so much for sharing your story with us! [:- )

    EDITED TO ADD: I'm not trying to nit-pick (I hate it when people do that to me *LOL*) - only trying to help.

    1) "And so as he laid his head upon the rustling glass" ... I think you meant grass ??

    2) "The deep cast was bittersweet to the watchful eyes of the child-whom (child who) observed the skyline with curiosity, (drop the comma after "curiosity" and add "in" here) an effort to alleviate the stress afflicting his breaking heart, but the troubles of the present time hindered what little relief the sight provided.

    I thought #2 was a beautifully phrased sentence by the way. You DO have talent!
    Last edited by DATo; 01-23-2017 at 07:15 PM.

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