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All I see Is Red

by BorderBound 

Posted: 07 May 2005
Word Count: 713
Summary: Total redraft... I began to feel like my writing became pretentious when it didn't have to be. Still not finished! But I thought I should put 'something' Up.

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His breathe was heavy. His voice half broken, he was just a teenager. I must have seemed calm... because he swore at me.
But I wasn't calm... I was terrified, I didn't understand and I was alone. I felt his breathe on my neck, he spat on me. I felt the spit trickle down towards my back. I didn't move. I didn't understand. Mum told me this would happen. She told me to be careful. But he was just a teenager.
He hit me. I smelt blood. I felt it. It was itchy. I almost cried but then I remember mums voice again.
"Never cry. Don't ever let them see, don't ever let them know..."


Kuda, she's my sister. She's the oldest and she looks after me. I have accepted that I am not quite like other people. I don't think its fair, but lifes not fair. At least thats what Kuda tells me.
Kuda doesn't stay in as much as she used to though... she's out most of the time. Mum says thats normal, a girl of her age wants to be out with her boyfriend and not with her little brother.
"Is your boyfriend nice?"
"He's so fit!"
"What makes someone beautiful?"
"Um, good features... nice eyes, a nice smile..."
"Am I beautiful?"
"You're gorgeous..."
"Do I have nice eyes?"
"The best!"
"What do they look like?"


He mumbled curses under his breath and gritted his teath. I heard each whisper that his young voice made, and each of those whispers ehoed in my head, slowly knawing at my sense of security. What was I doing here?


My Mum always told me but I never listened.
"Whether I can give you a reason or not, whether you understand it or not, you must know and accept that people will always hate you"
I did know, not straight away... but I learnt. I never accepted it though, how could I?


He had taken me from the street. I was that vunerable. He offered to help me cross the road. I was that naive. Mum always said that was biggest weakness. Trusting people. Now his breath was heavy and his grip tight, I needed my mum, or Kuda. I needed someone in my group


Mum was always that gentle voice in my life, Kuda was more bold. "Its because they think your dirty"
"Yeah - dirty, they think your dirty, I'm dirty, mum, pa, all of us"
"Do they think your boyfriend is dirty"
"Is he?"
"Hunny, he looks just like you"
"Am I dirty?"
"No... no hunny, you're beautiful just the way you are"
"Then why?"
"I wish I could explain it to you... in life, people will hate you and you won't ever fully understand why"
"Because I'm dirty"
"Because your black"
"Whats black?"


He pushed me to the floor. Maybe he'd leave me here. Kuda said they wouldnt have the guts to do anything more.
"You know what you are you stupid shit? Your filthy..."


My school is special. We went to the gallery. A special one that has a voice that explains everything. My teacher told me that a colour is a different shade of light. There are lots of colours. Pink, Blue, Green. I wish I could see them.


Kuda was wrong. He beat me so hard and I didn't know where to move to. I didn't know where I was. I screamed but not for help, I screamed out of pain. I knew that wherever he had taken me, it wouldn't have any of my group. He took me where he thought was clean. If I screamed I'd only attract white people. I don't know what white people look like. My teacher says that white is clearest colour there is. I asked her if that meant it was the cleanest. She shouted at me. Black is the darkest colour there is.
He shouted at me, I turned to the direction of the voice but saw nothing. I closed my eyes and saw nothing. They say that you see a light before you die. I was bleeding. Blood was red. I knew when there was blood. I smelt it.

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Comments by other Members

choille at 21:38 on 07 May 2005  Report this post
I found this difficult to read and contradictory in some parts- this could be me and my misunderstanding of the piece.

The narrator states 'I don't think...I digest...'
Is this not one and the same?

'When I challenged....' For one to challenge does one not have to think first? Well probably not going by what goes on in the pubs round here of a weekend.( a weak joke)
But this statement 'I don't think.' I find hard to believe.
To pose a question such as 'why' one must first think surely? To pose any question there has first to be thought of the question
The sentence'When I challenged her should say that...[I think a typo here, should 'should' be 'she'd'?
Can you follow the points I'm trying to make or do I ramble?

It sounds like an interesting and provoking piece. Good luck.

BorderBound at 10:25 on 08 May 2005  Report this post
:) I was hoping people would be slightly confused,
I promise that its the type of confusion that dies down and ends in sense.

Border x

choille at 10:55 on 08 May 2005  Report this post
Hi again,
'All I See Is Red' the title, I think works very well- If it's going the way I think it's going. Oh you've got me all intriqued now. Want to know more soon.

Joel at 19:49 on 08 May 2005  Report this post
Hi BB,

I had to reread this a couple of times. Its interesting, but difficult to grasp. The internal dialogue in the first paragraph in my opinion is a little bit self indulgent.

Perhaps it would be easier on the reader if you started the story with "When I was young...." and the followed with a less convoluted piece of internal dialogue.

Just read Choille comments and I agree with her and your reply. I personally think it's a risky strategy to aim for confusion in your reader. A lot people will think screw this, it's too difficult to understand and not bother continuing on to the bit that makes sense.

I really like the title though and I'm interested to find out what the narrator is babbling on about.

Hope this makes sense.



BorderBound at 23:11 on 08 May 2005  Report this post
nice doing it this way.. keeps you all gripped,

No Joel, I TOTALLY understand what you mean!
It is a risk, but one that i'm willing to take, and a perk of posting my work bit by bit is that I will know EXACTLY when people go,
sorry, no - i'm lost.

If it doesnt work, i'll re-write.. but I'm pretty confident that I know where i'm going.

Anyway I'm going to shut up now as its only making it sound way more exciting then it actually is.

Love xx

scoops at 09:01 on 09 May 2005  Report this post
Hi BB: This is an interesting premise but it needs to be developed before it can be judged as a narrative. I suspect you're being deliberately contradictory with your first sentence, but go carefully because the narrator's deliberate lack of introspection and thought is at odds with his mantra about asking and receiving, and you risk alienating readers who'll assume he's either obtuse or unpleasant and abandon the story early on. Even wicked narrators have to have something attractive about them - something we can hook onto - to keep us reading. It's a good idea however:-) Shyama


BB have just read the others' comments. It's not a good idea to confuse the reader because it suggest the writer isn't confident about what they're saying and therefore cannot state it more clearly. By all means intrigue, unsettle and bemuse - but do that by controlling the narrative, not by letting it go all over the place.


'scuse typos. in a hurry:-(

Beadle at 09:53 on 09 May 2005  Report this post

I liked the tone of voice and was not confused - except for "When I challenged her should say that just because there was no good enough answer she could give me, it didnít mean that there wasnít a reason" where I think there is maybe something missing after 'her' or should is supposed to be she'd?

The internal dialogue was intriguing and I wanted to se where it was going, although I think there is a danger that I would lose patience if it carried on in this tone without some kind of plot or content.

The final two quotes - beyond my confusion over the text that went before them - were a little too weak for me.

It's hard to judge from this short section and I wanted more to get a feel for the writing, story, charcters etc.

I think the strategy of putting up short pieces at a time might back fire on you because people might not be drawn in enough to view the next small section, or see what changes you've made.

From my point of view I look at people's work as a reader first and comment from that point of view rather than as a fellow writer. So on that basis, I would prefer to comment on a lengthy piece rather than be a guinea pig for you to see when, from a number of postings, I lose interest.


BorderBound at 10:34 on 09 May 2005  Report this post
Too true, to all of you.
Still, I think i've gained a lot of valuable insight to how poeple deal with a piece of work that doesn't immediately make sense.
As a reader, I prefer that type of work, the 'what?' and then 'oh..!'
So its just about me realising that my target audience/readers, ARENT going to read it that way..

Scoops, agree with yours and everyones comments that it is risky, I guess I didn't realise that it made as little sense as it obviously does, will consider revision

Hope to put rest on by Friday.


Border x

Dreamer at 17:41 on 09 May 2005  Report this post
My life is a long string of words that I have spoken, not hidden. My mind, if full of anything, is full of questions that are queued. I will ask them all out loud one day. [quote/]

Is this not supper contradictory?

I like the repetition of this, ĎI ask, I receive, I digest, I learní.

The second part of this hooked me. The first part seemed to scramble my brain.

Oh yes, I liked the new summary better than the first one!


Myrtle at 21:16 on 09 May 2005  Report this post
You've got me hooked. I'm not too bothered about the nitty-gritty because I feel like you're taking me somewhere I'll want to go, so go on...

BorderBound at 19:17 on 10 May 2005  Report this post

What I meant in that line was that I do not KEEP the questions inside, i don't hide them (well not ME personally, the guy...) I wanted to make a point that I am not afraid to ask.. without being blunt.

Will take everything into consideration..

anyway I'm going to have to carry on writting it now if I want it up here by friday!

shinykate at 21:43 on 12 May 2005  Report this post
Hi, BB -

I have one brief thought about this. I think my problem with the piece is that I found myself very immediately plunged into some deep philosophy, without knowing anything at all about the narrator to contextualise it. The double negative in the first sentence really threw me. Realistically, I think if I opened a short story and this was the first line, I wouldn't necessarily read on - it would depend how much of a challenge I wanted!

It would really help me if there was a bit more context to this piece, a bit more humanity earlier on. But then, I'm a junkie for humanity. What I'm saying is that I'm not convinced this is a passage to start with... It's not that I didn't like it, but it didn't pull me in. You might get away with the first paragraph if there was a bit more personality in the second.

I'm interested, though, and I look forward to reading more.


BorderBound at 22:13 on 12 May 2005  Report this post
Ah kate... when I first read your comment I thought ?? Double negative.

that was a typo!

Have ammended!

shinykate at 22:45 on 12 May 2005  Report this post
Great! Actually, when I first read the piece I didn't notice it, then I went back and looked in more detail and thought 'oops, i didn't read it properly, but now I'm confused...'

Glad that's cleared up!

Felmagre at 10:53 on 28 May 2005  Report this post
Sorry, I am confused. At first I thought it was a girl being hurt, raped. But then when I read the bit about not wanting to look after her little brother I thought he was being beaten up, bullied. Now I am unsure what to think. Strange, evocative piece.

gigergal at 18:19 on 05 September 2005  Report this post
This piece has a kind of suspense to it that makes it an interesting read. I realised the issue was about colour but there was something more, an aspect you didn't reveal until further on, although you alluded to it when writing about the colour of eyes. Then it becomes clear, the subject is blind and cannot relate to colour at all. This is nicely contrasted with his obvious heightened sense of smell.

There are some glitches in grammar, where you've omitted apostrophes for contractions and possession:

mums voice = mum's voice
but lifes not fair. At least thats what Kuda tells me = but life's not fair. At least that's what Kuda tells me

Knawing = Gnawing - it's one of those strange English language words that have a useless, unsounded 'g' at the beginning.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this piece that certainly has an important message, cleverly written suspense, where the reader isn't quite sure; at one point I actually thought the subject and his family might even be an animal but there's no telling what my mind tells me sometimes. It's also a piece that could be expanded...does the subject die or not?

Well done


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