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At The End


nine naked men

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The street was utterly silent, except for the rhythmic creaking of a single rocking chair. The sound came from the porch of a rather run-down dwelling. It squatted in the middle of the length of houses, ridiculously out-of-place amongst the crisp, clean suburban copycats on either side. Much of the paint had long since cracked and peeled away, leaving the house a faded gray. The two windows at the front of the house had been shattered recently, fragments of the glass sparkling amongst the grass of the withered lawn.

 

The lawn itself was littered with remnants of a past life. A broken down lawnmower, sitting derelict in the shade of the house. The blackened stump of a once majestic tree, whose branches had spread over the entire yard, long ago. An old mailbox, simply a wooden stake driven into the ground with a tin box attached. It had almost been completely swallowed by the weeds that sprung up everywhere in haphazard clumps.

 

Creak, creak. On the porch, there were two rocking chairs, one empty, one full. The empty one was beautiful, easily the magnum opus of its craftsman. It had been constructed of a rich, dark wood, with ornate scrolling and decoration carved into every inch. By comparison, the chair opposite was an old, worn wreck, not dissimilar to its inhabitant. He rocked back and forth tiredly, hands loosely clenched on the arms of the chair. He wore an old, dusty suit, the best he had. He had been married in this suit. A rose hung limply from his lapel, seeming faded in the weak morning sun.

 

On the small table beside him, there sat three items. An old photograph, a small glass of liquid, and a gun. The man in the chair cast his eyes over the drink, the pistol, finally coming to rest on the photo, longing in his look. He closed his eyes, squeezing his lids shut in an effort to repress the memories that crashed through his mind. Opening them again, he turned his gaze towards the street, examining the small stretch of road where he had spent the majority of his life.

 

The houses to either side of his were immaculate. It was almost as if they were part of some kind of museum exhibit. The old man knew that every house was empty. If you entered one, you would find it totally devoid of life. No children playing, or adults talking in the sitting room. No television, blaring advertisements throughout the house. Not even the quiet murmur of a refrigerator, creating a comforting susurrus of noise. Just the dead silence of a home deserted.

 

Unnerved by the sight of those blank, staring windows, he grabbed for the glass, and swallowed the liquid inside in one long draught. He felt the familiar burn as it rolled down into his stomach, leaving behind lingering warmth. He coughed, smiling weakly. The drink was his only companion now. A depressing notion, he thought bitterly, letting the delicate glass slip from his fingers, watching the shards scatter across the uneven planks of wood with a small amount of satisfaction.

 

The old man looked at the photograph on the table through rheumy eyes, and picked it up with shaking hands. It was creased and worn, as if it had spent a long time in someones wallet. In the picture, a woman stood in front of an old house, hands by her side. She wore a plain dress, the shades of black and white indicating that the dress might have been yellow, or white. Her dark hair framed a pair of thoughtful eyes and a brilliant, dazzling smile. Even within the confines of a faded square of paper, she was beautiful, he thought sadly. The sun was rising higher, bathing the front yard in light.

 

They had met at sunrise, he recalled, staring at his wife. Just two people, seeking the company of another. They had taken to each other immediately, spending almost every waking minute together. They were in love. They married, and moved into this very house. It was filled with love and laughter for years. And then and then his train of thought derailed, tears spilling down his face to rest in his unkempt beard.

 

And then she was gone. He had awaked one morning to find himself in an empty bed. An empty town. An empty life. He roamed the state, staying in lavish mansions, luxurious hotels, all utterly deserted. But, even with the entire world there for the taking, he was always drawn back to his little, rundown house. After months of solitude, he had found the pistol. He took it, and one bullet. Just in case. He missed her terribly, and would give anything to see her again.

 

The line of fire crept slowly across the porch, bathing the exquisite chair in light. The old man sighed, gazing at the rocking chair wistfully. He let the photograph slip from his fingers, and it drifted ponderously to the floor, as if caught by an imaginary breeze. He closed his eyes, and grabbed the pistol off the table beside him. Strange, how such a small thing could cause so much pain, how it could erase a person entirely from the world. But, today, such a thing would be welcomed.

 

The suns light reached his scuffed leather shoes, and the man seemed to reach a decision. He placed the pistol under his chin. No more loneliness. He pulled the trigger. The gunshot rang out throughout the empty town, and then all fell silent. Except for the rhythmic creaking of two rocking chairs.

 

 

DON'T MIND ME JUST PAINTING THE WALLS WITH WANGST.

 

I'm not sure if anyone actually reads VL anymore, but what the hell. Read, and enjoy (hopefully).

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sleep like dead men

wake up like dead men

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  • 2 weeks later...

What's the point of a subforum if it's full of threads with no replies? Anyways, I hope you don't mind if I sort of take this apart.

 

I will begin by saying I truly enjoyed it. The concept is beautiful and haunting, and it's quite well written. That said, here are a few things I noticed.

 

General-

-You tend to use passive writing (had been, forms of to be, etc). Try to avoid this.

-A couple of unnecessary sentence fragments which could be easily corrected

-Overall grammar is decent. Vocab is excellent.

-Choose your narrator. You narrate the story as an outside looker-on and then move into the thoughts of the old man, which I think is fine, but you occasionally mess it up.

-When writing the old man's thoughts, use italics.

 

Random Stuffs-

"had been shattered recently"-Notice "had been". I don't like the "recently", I feel there would be no way of knowing at this point in the narration.

"A broken down lawnmower, sitting derelict in the shade of the house. The blackened stump of a once majestic tree, whose branches had spread over the entire yard, long ago. An old mailbox, simply a wooden stake driven into the ground with a tin box attached."-Fragments - get rid of them, they're not doing you any good here, although it isn't awful.

"one full"-I would use "occupied" or something, but that's just a preference'

"He had been married in this suit"-Too early in the narration to give a detail from his mind. The reader is still an on-looker here.

"An old photograph, a small glass of liquid, and a gun"-Fragment. No good.

"The man in the chair cast his eyes over the drink, the pistol, finally coming to rest on the photo, longing in his look. "-Run on-ish. Perhaps try "...the drink and the pistol, then finally came to rest on the photo".

"longing in his look"-I would say "in his eyes", but I supposed that's my preference.

"The houses to either side of his were immaculate, almost as if they were part of some kind of museum exhibit." Fix'd

"If you entered one, you would "-Don't use "you". If you must, use "one".

"No children playing, or adults talking in the sitting room. No television, blaring advertisements throughout the house. Not even the quiet murmur of a refrigerator, creating a comforting susurrus of noise. Just the dead silence of a home deserted."-More fragments.

"He had awaked "-"had". "awaked".

"No more loneliness."-Effective fragment. It is his thought, which makes it grammatically alright, and it is emotionally powerful.

"The gunshot rang out throughout the empty town, and then all fell silent. Except for the rhythmic creaking of two rocking chairs."-Gah. Ended on a fragment. Why not "all fell silent, except for the rhythmic creaking of two rocking chairs." Perhaps instead of "except" you could use "but".

 

 

Overall, as I said, well done.

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