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by Rosalind 

Posted: 22 April 2003
Word Count: 932

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I wake up in a cold sweat. I am shaking all over. My mouth is dry and I want a glass of water desperately. I move to get out of bed so I can go through to the kitchen and get my self a drink.

"Are you okay?" A voice

"No" I say. " I had that dream again

"Hush baby, its okay. I'm here with you"

I've been having the dream for as long as I can remember. I'm in the dark but I know that I have done something terrible. There is something in my hand. I drop it, and cross the room to turn on the light.

I look down at my hands and they are covered in blood. The object that I have put down is a knife and the body of a woman lies on the lino of the kitchen floor.

"oh my god" I scream "Alice". "Alice, what I have I done? "Alice forgive me".

The woman on the floor stares at me. I imagine that I can see the life draining out of her. I imagine that I am watching the last spark disappear from her eyes.

I pick the knife up of the floor and turn the blade towards myself.

At this point I always wake up. I know this dream is some sort of premonition and to be honest it has always scared the hell out of me.

Lying back down in bed again I take sips of the water that I have fetched from the kitchen.

My Girlfriend cuddles up against me and strokes my hair. "hmmm" I say "nice".

The alarm goes off. Its 8:00 and its time I got up. I head to the shower. I always have a shower in the mornings, that way I can wash my hair and shave. I get dressed for work, imagining what I will do in my lunch hour. I'm going to buy Becky a present.

Becky and I have been together for nearly a year. I love her with all my heart. maybe I'll buy her a teddy. She likes that sentimental stuff. Maybe I'll buy her some roses, she likes romantic stuff too. Or maybe I'll buy her some handcuffs, well she likes to be adventurous in the bedroom. I'm so lucky.

I sort of float through my working hours. I have a few meetings, but nothing that I really have to concentrate on. At lunch time I stop and pick up a huge pink rabbit for Becky. Then I stop by Thorntons and get her a box of continental chocolates.

I decide to leave work early. No one will notice if I slink off a little prematurly and head home to Becky.

I know something is wrong as I approach the flat. There is a strange car parked in the space that is reserved for my car. Becky doesn't have any friends round here that I know of, so who could the shiny black car belong to?

As I ponder this, the door to our flat opens and a man I have never seen before leaves. Becky is there, wearing nothing but my dressing gown. She gives the man a kiss on the cheek and because he thinks no one is around to see he puts his hand inside my dressing gown and squeezes her in places I thought that only I was allowed to squeeze. She laughs and pushes him away. She says something to him but I'm too far away to hear what it is.

Oh my god. Becky is cheating on me. My Becky, with someone else. My world spins. I can't be discovered here watching her. I drive my car round the block and wait until itís the time I would normally come home.

Back at the flat I confront Becky. She denies everything, but there is a sadness in her eyes that tells me the truth.

We argue. I pick up a knife from the kitchen worktop. Becky has been chopping onions for dinner. I wave the knife around. I don't even realise that I have it in my hand. I point it at her. she takes a step back and screams at me to put it down. I move forwards towards her. I don't even realise what I'm doing until itís to late.

Becky lunges at me at wrestles the knife out of my hand. I feel so mad at her. I hit her across her face. She looks so surprised. She hits back at me, I'm stunned. She still has the knife in her hand, and it has cut across my chest. She is pounding her hand against my chest, stabbing the knife in with every hit.

I fall, somehow I hit the light switch on my way down and the room is plunged into darkness. I hear the knife drop to the floor and Becky crosses the room to0 turn on the light.

My head is swimming now. I've lost so much blood.

Becky calls something out I strain to hear it. Itís my name she is calling.

"oh my god" screams Becky, "Alice". "Alice, what I have I done? "Alice forgive me".

As I fade away I can see her turn the knife towards herself. I try to tell her its okay. I was born to die this way. I've always known it, and I love Becky, I don't want her to die, but my mouth is dry and the words won't come out.

As I watch Becky plunge the knife into herself the world fades and everything turns into nothing.

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Comments by other Members

Shadowgirl at 14:49 on 22 April 2003  Report this post
Goodness Rosalind. What wonderful powerful writing. Is this a short story, or a full novel. You drew me in by your first sentence. Have you been published? Surely no agent/publisher could reject this. Well done - oh and welcome to our happy home. Congratulations on this and I look forward to reading more.

Rosalind at 15:03 on 22 April 2003  Report this post
Hi Shadowgirl.

This is just a short story that I wrote in my dinner hour one day at work. I'm really glad you like it.

No I have never been published. I'm actually a scientist, so technicially I shouldn't even be able to string a sentance together.

Thanks for you lovely comments and, after such a warm welcome, I look forward to contributing more.

roger at 15:14 on 22 April 2003  Report this post

Hey, Rosalind, this is the second piece of yours I've read and, again, it's really good. Dark, powerful, sharp, tight. What can I say other then echo Shadowgirl's words - well done, and welcome.

Jibunnessa at 15:23 on 22 April 2003  Report this post
Interesting story. I wasn't expecting the narrator to turn out to be the body. So, good surprise.

If you did want to do more with this, then perhaps fleshing out with a bit more detail would be a good idea.

Again, hello and welcome

Shadowgirl at 16:26 on 22 April 2003  Report this post
Hi Rosalind!

You wrote a work as amazing as this in a lunch hour! This proves my theory that the writing which pours out of us quickly, is often the most profound of all. It certainly affected me. I have a bee in my bonnet about emotions, and how to really enjoy anything (art. literature, music) it has to make me feel something. And your "Alice" made me feel. I hope that makes sense.
Oh, I went down the Scientist route too Rosalind - but that was because I was in love with my science teacher at 14 (long story) and never even considered writing or English in the equation at all.

Yes, do contribute more, you have such a talent, I look forward to it. If you have a moment read though my "Letter from England" and see what you think too - would appreciate your opinion.

Best wishes

llydstp at 23:36 on 22 April 2003  Report this post
Sorry to be the negative one, but I just do not enjoy writing that consists of a string of extremely short sentences: the result is jerky and irritating to read. The use of the phrase "A glass of water," twice in the opening paragraph is very annoying. You have nice ideas, but I feel you should develop them in a more literary way.
Best wishes

roger at 08:08 on 23 April 2003  Report this post
Problem is, we all have different tastes, and they're probably all valid - one man's meat...

Personally, I like 'short & snappy'. Long sentences with lots of subs confuse me, and I have to re-read - I'm from Derby, you see.

Tell you what, if everyone was impressed by the same piece of writing, we'd have a first.

Re: 'literary' - who's money would we rather have? Last year's Booker winner's or Jeffery Archer's?

But Steve, we need those with the bottle to 'be the negative one' to stop us getting too cocky! So congrats on the courage.

Rosalind at 08:13 on 23 April 2003  Report this post
I hadn't noticed that "a glass of water" was used twice in the first sentance but your absolutely right, and now you have pointed it out I can see that its bad, so I've altered it.

I'm sorry that you don't like my writing style. Its only my second short story so I obviously have a lot of developing to do. I am only writing for my own pleasure so I would expect it not to have universal appeal, but I am glad that you can see some promise in my ideas. As for developing my ideas in a more literary way, I'm afraid that I do not have the ability to that. I don't even know what a more literary way entails, so if you could be more specific, I would be grateful.

roger at 09:22 on 23 April 2003  Report this post
Hi Rosalind - it means writing in a way that you think's clever but that nobody else understands. Your book then becomes what's known as 'a coffee table book'...ie people buy it to put on the coffee table to show how clever they are and impress visitors, but nobody actually reads it. Okay, so that's a bit OTT, but there is a huge amount of pretentious stuff out there, which may impress the 'literary lot' but, me, I like a story that's presented in a way that makes sense...and yours was.

Now I'm going to behave myself - some literary fiction really is impressive (but a lot of it isn't!)

Shadowgirl at 11:29 on 23 April 2003  Report this post
Rosalind - just write......
And my personal opinion (although I am sure this is not considered the correct way) is that if you write for yourself, at least you will have one satisfied customer!!
I've read so many how to do it/how not to do it books (Roger has told me not to, and as so often he is correct) and really I just get so confused - they all contradict each other half the time anyway. I am grateful for anyone's feedback on my work, but really at the end of the day I think what we feel as individuals matters the most. So you just continue to GO FOR IT - ok?
Of course I am not a successful writer but this is JMHO anyway.
(yes Rog, I DO have humble opinions!)
Well done Rosalind.

llydstp at 12:28 on 23 April 2003  Report this post
Thanks for emptying one of your glasses of water, and for not doing it all over me! I was only trying to be constructive, and I still feel that expanding your ideas into longer sentences would be no bad thing. Short sentences are great to up the pace of a piece of writing - but used all of the time they make everything seem a bit too hectic (for my taste at least).
Roger, thanks for acknowledging the fact that it takes a bit of bottle to be the negative one. By the way, I don't see how longer sentences automatically translate into 'pretentious.' As for last year's Booker Prize; I would be the last person to go out and buy it. As for Jeffery Archer.......NO COMMENT. When it comes to money; I'd LOVE some.
Best wishes to all of you.

Account Closed at 16:32 on 23 April 2003  Report this post
This piece comes across to me as fairly fast paced anyway, so I'd guess that the short sentences are intentional.

This piece has two things that require short sentences in fact:

1) fast paced scenes
2) brief thoughts as they come through someone's head.

The latter can be done in short or long sentences, depending on the character involved.

If I had a criticism, it would be that the paragraphs are somewhat brief, rather than the sentences. But as mentioned earlier, it's each to their own, and as we can see above, a lot of people obviously like this just as it is.

roger at 11:32 on 25 April 2003  Report this post
Hi Steve, better not start a war here! But I Didn't say long sentences translate to pretentious, just that there is a lot of pretentious stuff out there. There's nothing wrong with long sentences as such, unless you come from Derby...then you don't understand them.

If you love money, and don't we all,you really should think of a Jeffery Archer comment. If I could do what he does, I'd do it, if only for the money!

Hope that's cleared up...and I still admire 'bottle'

Becca at 14:35 on 29 April 2003  Report this post
In this piece I really liked the line 'he puts his hand inside my dressing gown and squeezes her ...', it's very simple and very expressive. I also liked the darkness of this piece,(my particular preference). But a woman has been betrayed by her girlfriend and with, of all things, a man. Double whammy. I thought it might be possible to get more emotion into that part, without destroying the fast pace of it. More depth? The same thing I thought about the other story, Clone. Both pieces happen without much in the way of a context. Context can give a story dimension.
You said it was only your second short story. Good on you, then, keep them coming. You don't ramble on which is perfect for short story writing, but give us some more flesh.

Glimity at 13:12 on 04 May 2003  Report this post
Hi Rosalind

I'm new to fiction writing myself but I must say that I enjoyed this story. I love how the story reaches full circle - very impressive. And having read some of the other comments, to hear that you wrote this in your lunch hour is commendable.

Not having any experience myself, I can't offer any advice for improvement, only encouragement to keep writing. (I keep trying to encourage myself because I started writing a story a year ago but only had the courage to upload it yesterday.) However, I think some of the advice given previously are very good.

Actually, there was one place in the story that confused me before reading to the end. When I read, "that way I can wash my hair and shave", I assumed the subject was a man so I was very confused when I got to the end and one was called Alice and the other Becky. Then it dawned on me.
Perhaps expand "shave" to "shave my legs" so there's no ambiguity on it being a man shaving his face? Just a thought.


Becca at 14:00 on 04 May 2003  Report this post
I agree with Jennifer about the shaving (legs), I thought about it myself for a while, could be armpits of course.

Rosalind at 16:03 on 04 May 2003  Report this post
I put the shaving comment in so that people would automatically assume that it was a man, therefore they would be suprised at the end, when the character actually turned out to be a female. Writing shaving legs, would give the twist away too soon, in my humble opinon.

poemsgalore at 18:49 on 15 May 2003  Report this post
I really enjoyed reading this, very tight and suspenseful (is that a real word?). I particularly enjoyed the twist at the end - well done.

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