62 comments

Jan 20, 2021

Adventure Fiction Mystery

Author’s note: Personally, I feel this story would have been better with a few thousand more words, but that’s the word count limit for you. 

Everything here is completely fictional! And PLEASEEE critique it (I don’t mind how harsh or to-the-point it is, as long as it is constructive)


The coldness of the snow stung my feet as I plodded through the icy ground. My feet sunk into the soft snow of the once green hinterlands of Tasmania. Chilling wind bit against my cheeks, blowing with full force. A coat of dense fog clouded the landscape ahead, and I could see very little. 

I tried to ignore the increasingly freezing temperatures and darkening skies. If my estimates were right, I would reach my destination in about ten or twelve minutes. I was grateful I knew this route so well, or I would surely have lost my way.

I was all alone for several miles. How long had it been since I had last had some time to myself? Ten years? More than that?

The light from my torch started blinkering, and I sighed. Pretty soon, it was going to conk out and I would truly be stranded in the dark. Why hadn’t I thought of bringing batteries before? Or at least my phone?

But how was I supposed to be thinking about batteries when I needed to come here as fast as possible? 

After a few seconds, the torch gave out completely, and I had only darkness for company. The wind blew faster all around, showing signs of an impending snowstorm. My blood turned cold. No matter how hard I squinted and tried to make out my surroundings, I couldn’t discern anything but hazy shapes. The wind howled in my ears.

Like a person.

I clapped my hands over my ears and began running. Though it had been more than a decade since I had last run, I covered enough distance without falling headfirst into the snow.

Terror gripped me. What if someone saw me? What if someone had followed me all the way? Oh no, I couldn’t afford to be seen, not now! They would surely take me back where I had come from, and that was the last place I wanted to go. 

You can call me anything. 

Just don’t ever tell anyone about me or where I was.

Because I was on the run, and I was running for my life.

* * *  

I found my place of recluse after a while. Nothing looked more welcoming than catching a glimpse of the winter cabin standing amid the mist, concealed by frozen trees and snow. 

It had a truckload of snow piled on the roof, and was probably infested with a horde of termites, but those weren’t the things that bothered me right then. I shoved the door open, collapsing on the iced-over wooden floor of the cabin, weary with exhaustion. I reminded myself to pull the door shut lest someone did happen to walk across this area.

The moon had come out from behind the stormy clouds, filtering through the window and falling into the cabin. The light it provided was minimal, but good enough for me to make out whatever was around me.

I scooted over to the nearest wall and sat against it, pondering my next action.

No internet. No electricity. No form of communication at all.’ These were the words that rang in my mind, repeating over and over. Well, I didn’t need the internet that much: All I saw there these days was embellished news and the big stink people made whenever even the tiniest things happened.

Electricity. Now, I always had an ample amount of everything I could ask for, maybe even more than necessary. I dare say living in this tumbledown cabin was going to be a challenge, but I had to pull through until things cleared. At least I hoped I could. 

No communication. Oh well, it was better to be isolated for a while. No one knowing where I was was probably the best bet on my part.

By telling the position of the moon, I could make out that it was late in the evening. It was no use trying to do anything today. I wasn’t even hungry,

* * *

I woke up the next morning with my feet and arms aching all over. I was still in the same position I had been last night, and not a mote of dust lay out of its place, which was fortunate. Yet, no surprise ‘roughing it down’ had made me feel so wretched.

The sky was clear and a deep blue outside, the sun shining in through one of the windows. I must have been missed hours ago, but I distracted myself from that thought by moving over to the supply of food and amenities stacked up against the furthest wall.

I congratulated myself on having arranged all this weeks ago. This food would surely last me a month without rotting. It was not easy bringing everything here, of course. I had to take several trips from my house to this place, and it wasn’t an easy feat, considering I lived over a hundred miles away. 

I looked at the worn down front door. There was no reason at all for me to fear anyone coming to hunt me down because I was several miles away from the nearest houses.

Unless any trekkers or people looking for adventures in the wild stumbled across this clearing, I was completely shadowed from the peering eyes of the world.

I fixed myself a bowl of something to eat. The food was tasteless and raw compared to all the food I had been accustomed to, but I had to make do. 

By the time I had sorted through my gathered belongings, the sun was fairly up in the sky. The snow was too thick to melt, and I realized that the snow from the roof of the cabin had caved in the front door, and there was no way out but to climb out using the window.

Now, don’t ask me how I did that. I had to remove the window panes before testing the windowsill gingerly if it could bear my weight. Moving through the gap, I landed on the smooth snow with a dull thump and spent the next couple of hours shoveling the snow using a spade that had been standing against the wall. I created a path that wound from the door to the forest trail a few feet away. My arms were aching after all this hard work, but I was glad I had gotten it done. 

The day passed a little slowly, the sun refusing to move down the horizon in the sky and let way for darkness to set in. The more hours went by, the more accomplished and independent I felt. Freedom took on a whole new form with a different meaning. 

I spent each morning shoveling the area in front of the door and trying to make myself useful. Every night, blizzards and hailstorms tormented the land, and the winter cabin held up against the force. Temperatures dropped to below minus, and I cowered under layers of warm blankets and sweaters.

However, as the days passed, I acclimatized to living this way. It felt long ago, when I had a whole house to myself, loaded with every luxury I could ask for. I hadn't seen another soul for a long time now.

No one strayed too far into the clearing where I was staying, which was fortunate. Yet, I was too afraid to step further than a few feet of my winter cabin. I couldn’t risk being careless if I had to make it through these four weeks. 

Though at first I felt liberated, living all alone was new to me. Even from my childhood, people had always surrounded me. Here, there was nothing other than the wind wailing like a lost soul and the snow drifting to the ground. When it got too silent and forlorn, my ears rang with emptiness, and moving around felt daunting. 

* * *

Late in the afternoon, a week after I had come to this cabin, I heard the rustling of snow outside, as if someone were shuffling their feet on the ground. I pounced and made a dash for the empty crevasse behind the heap of belongings I had stored at the back of the room. I stood there, waiting with bated breath, my heart pounding, but there was nothing more to be heard. After what felt like an eternity, I gathered enough courage to creep to the window.

All I saw was a fresh sleet of snow. 

A marred sheet of glossy paper was blowing around, carried by the wind. I watched it hover in the air in crazy circles and land against the front door outside with a crackle.

I couldn’t resist the urge to walk outside and pick it up.

It was a poster of a celebrity singing. She was Tracey Evans and she was one of the most profound stars in our era. I knew her all too well. I used to hum her songs to myself when I was all alone. She had been the talk of the town, and nearly every person in the entire world knew who she was. 

I wondered how this poster had landed up here. It was barely holding up. And it wasn’t likely that the wind had carried it over several miles from the nearest town. Perhaps some trekker had come and dropped it nearby.

These contemplations made me feel uncomfortable. People shouldn’t be walking around here, or they’d find me.

Seeing this poster revoked deep inside me, a feeling of sadness and sorrow. Tracey looked so naïve, so believing that the world would do everything to support her dreams. Little had she known that the same people who had sung songs of praise on her performances were the ones capable of utterly destroying her career.

The same people who had swarmed around her for autographs had trampled this poster of hers as if it was invisible. Did this show their true loyalty? 

Taking a swift glance around to make sure no one was there, I folded the poster and pocketed it. I didn’t know what made me do that. Probably it was intuition, or probably it was nothing at all.

* * *

In mid-July, terrible blizzards rocked the sky. The gale roared around so hard that I feared the cabin would get ripped to pieces. I did not shovel the sidewalk every single day. What use was it? Every night, the snowstorms, blizzards and hail came, and they put my hard work to shame. It was better anyway, to stay caved in and let any wanderers think that this was an abandoned shack where no one lived. 

Ever since I had seen that poster, I had learned to be more careful. It was imperative I didn’t step out or make an incessant racket every day. I was certain someone had been prowling about near the cabin. 

I spent my time looking at the poster, studying it. My days here were long drawn and bland. I wanted to give up. I nearly convinced myself that perhaps I could just go back to where I came from. I had to remind myself that there was no going back to ordinary life.

A few more days, I told myself, gritting my teeth, and the government will most probably give up searching for you. You can get out of this place then.

The ‘most probably’ didn’t seem to be very reassuring.

Even if the government quit being at my tail, was I supposed to disguise myself? Live under a fake identity for the rest of my life?

A crashing sound outside disturbed my thoughts, and I jumped out of my skin. The moments that followed were ridden with silence. I could hear molecules of energy vibrating about, but nothing else. 

What could that have been? The sound had come from hardly a few feet away. Had something fallen down? Whatever it was had to be enormous because it had made a deafening noise even after the snow had absorbed most of it.

A little more cautious than before, I slunk towards the window and peered out.

A tree, frozen from top to bottom, had collapsed on the winter cabin, blocking out sunlight. The walls of the cabin were straining to hold against the dead tree’s weight, and I was certain that unless the bark was removed, the walls of the winter cabin were going to collapse on me and bury me alive. The wood was creaking already, nearly splintered.

Filled with a sense of panic, I leaped out through the window and started pushing against the bark, to no avail. I knew what I was doing was really stupid, that my strength was nothing at all compared to the hefty load the tree presented on my cabin, but I was desperate. I didn’t have any tools, either.

My eyes moved to the base of the tree, and I stopped in my tracks, horrified.

The tree hadn’t fallen on its own because of any natural causes. Someone had sawed it near the base. I could see the part where they had cut it with an ax. Shudders ran up my spine. Who could it be? And all this while they were doing it, how could I NOT have seen them? 

There were footprints in the snow.

“No.” I whispered to myself, my voice faint and feeble, “This can’t be happening.”

Someone had been here.

Someone had been watching me all this while.

“Hands up!” I heard from behind me, “I’m armed.”

I swiveled to locate the source of the sound, not even dimly aware of what was happening. My surroundings felt dim and spun around me in circles. A few feet away, I saw a blurred shape - an officer - standing poised, armed. 

He took a double-take when he saw my face.

“Go on, arrest me,” I said, my hands held up defenselessly. Saying those words made me cringe, but I went on “I deserve it.”

The officer’s jaw had dropped to the ground. He whipped out a poster from his pocket, a poster of the celebrity, Tracey Evans, similar to the one I had pocketed. Bold words had been etched on to the paper:

“MISSING”

“You?” He said, “You’re Tracey Evans?”

“Yes,” I said, “I am.”

“But you’re supposed to be dead!”










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62 comments

07:55 Jan 20, 2021

Hi everyone! Okay, now this story is definitely something new. It would have been better if I had got a few more thousand words to add in details, but I didn't want to bore anyone. And there's the word count to think of. Pleeasee critique it!! I'll take any constructive criticism because its kinda related to something I'm working on long term, and I really need all the help and suggestions I can get! :) Should I remove this story? I'm not sure. Or should I let it be? What do you say?

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Roger Crane
22:51 Feb 03, 2021

Akshaya, please understand that I called you Nainika at the end of my review only because I had just critiqued one of her stories a few minutes ago. A quick slip of the finger!

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15:40 Mar 03, 2021

Sure, no problem! That happens!

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Roger Crane
22:49 Feb 03, 2021

Akshaya, despite your great response to my first critique of the other story, I hesitate to do so again--in fact, to critique much of the writing here on Reedsy. This is the reason, that so many people gush over with praise and reviews that don't do you any favors. It seems to be more important to make writers feel good than to tell the truth (or they simply don't know enough about good writing). That's our society today. Yet, you are practically begging for honest and relevant critiques (which is very good). And I believe that a true writer...

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15:39 Mar 03, 2021

Hi Roger! Thank you so much for stopping by once again! And I'm very sorry I did not respond to this comment earlier, because I had finals at school, and I wasn't allowed on Reedsy till now. Yes, I agree with what you say. Praise is good, but not very much if it's given out in excess. Critique will always help a writer (or anybody else) improve (like you said) because it points out places where the writer could have done better, and they can realize this and start working towards improving that. I am from India, and I'm still in school, so ...

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Roger Crane
20:25 Mar 03, 2021

A wonderful attitude you display, Akshaya! I have a few writers here that I have been following, including you around my schedule, and I will read more of your stories, probably today if you have something recent. There are two types of things I do not critique: collaborative writing; and "stories" in serial form. I like it to be start to finish in one setting--that's just me. Using a dictionary, synonym, or any other resource needn't make your writing stilted or artificial sounding. It's like this: you should always know more about your c...

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06:36 Mar 04, 2021

Thank you, Roger! I'm always willing to learn from other authors (and possibly help them if I can) and I'm glad to receive your critiques! Till recently, I used to think it was more important to use hard words and complicated sentences than the main idea itself, but I realize it is the opposite. It can get tedious to read, and not everyone will be willing to spend their time if it goes down that way (in general fiction) Thank you, sure, I will remember that. (the example you gave about characters really does sound more natural than an automa...

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Hey Akshaya! Check out my bio!

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11:13 Jan 30, 2021

Sure!

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Masha Kurbatova
17:03 Jan 22, 2021

beautiful descriptions, love the imagery here. i would suggest not using the phrase “a dozen minutes though,” just say twelve instead — otherwise it’s awkward phrasing. great job!

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17:14 Jan 22, 2021

Sure, thank you so much! :) I will make those changes now!

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✰ jennie ✰
15:49 Jan 20, 2021

YAAAS i love your name queen! damn... "but you're supposed to be dead!" oh wow cliffhanger

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07:37 Jan 21, 2021

THANK YOU!! :DDD Heehee I wanted to add one because it's been a long time since I wrote a cliffhanger! :) I love your name, Cherry Camille, too! :D

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Cookie Carla🍪
20:28 Mar 09, 2021

I absolutely love your vocabulary and all of your imagery. You had me hooked from the first line. This was another amazing story of yours. And I LOVED the cliffhanger at the end!! Absolutely amazing!!!

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16:20 Mar 26, 2021

Thank you so much Cookie!! :DD I'm so glad you liked reading my story!! And I'm awfully sorry I didn't respond to this comment earlier! It didn't show up on my notifs for some reason and I just saw it today while scrolling through my old stories! Please don't think I was ignoring you or something like that! :(

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Cookie Carla🍪
17:07 Mar 26, 2021

No no no you're fine!!! I do that all the time with my stories😂😂

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08:30 Apr 08, 2021

Lol I think many people do XDD

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Hey Akshaya! Finally got the time to log onto Reedsy and finish your story (in the second sitting, haha! XD) Thankfully, it's only 2 week more until we're FREEEE! Wow, this story was amazing! You had the suspense built up right until the end - who is our (for a while) nameless narrator? Why is she running from the government? Where does she live? And how everything was shrouded in the mist of mystery, it was awesome! I personally think this story was fine in the word limit! Granted, you can write a sequel (which I would very much like to re...

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16:18 Mar 04, 2021

Hi, Sythe!! Yeah, lol XD We're free now! Thank you so much! (I'm glad it made sense because I was worried it wouldn't) and sure, I might do a back story if the suitable prompt comes out! Really? Thank you! :)))

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Heya! XD Np! Sure, you should! I would love to read it uwu Yes! Also, you mentioned double couldn’t talk on Discord, so now we’ll have to go back to the archaic Reedsy threads 🤣🤣🤣

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09:54 Mar 12, 2021

Lol! XD Yeah, I was comfortable with discord but I was told to talk on Reedsy for some reason 😖😂

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XD fast reply, huh? You were on?

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09:55 Mar 12, 2021

Lol I just opened Reedsy and saw the notifs XD

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09:02 Jan 31, 2021

Hey Akshaya! This was an awesome piece, seriously, the detail was amazing. I loved the ending, (oOoH sUsPeNsEfUl) and I'm really looking forward to the next part. Keep it up! :D

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06:20 Feb 03, 2021

Hi Jasey! Thank you so much! I wanted to write a cliffhanger after a long while! Sure! I'll do a part 2 or backstory when the right prompt comes! :D

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08:35 Feb 03, 2021

Awesome, I can’t wait! :D

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08:42 Feb 03, 2021

Thanks! :D

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08:42 Feb 03, 2021

No problem! :)

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The cold Ice
05:07 Jan 26, 2021

This story is wonderful. Would you mind reading my story “Leaf me alone” thanks?

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11:10 Jan 30, 2021

Thank you! Sure, I will do that! But could you tell me if there was anything I could have improved in this story? Thanks!

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The cold Ice
13:35 Jan 31, 2021

Oh there is no mistakes in this story. Wonderful

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06:06 Feb 03, 2021

Thanks so much!

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The cold Ice
06:33 Feb 03, 2021

Welcome

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Janey Finch
22:18 Jan 23, 2021

Hi there! So wow! I really liked that story. It was such a twist at the ending and it made me rethink everything! It was written sooo well! One critique is this sentence, "The snow was too thick to melt, and I realized that the snow from the roof of the cabin had caved in the front door, and there was no way out but to climb out using the window." You use the word snow and out twice. Maybe you could write it like this, "The snow was too thick to melt, and I realized that it had fallen off the roof to cave in the front door. There was no way ...

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11:13 Jan 30, 2021

Hi Janey! Thank you so much! :DD I will keep that in mind, but I can't change it now as the story has been approved already. Thank you! I try to limit repetitions too, and I guess this must have slipped out somehow. Sure! I would be glad to do that! :)

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Janey Finch
15:20 Jan 30, 2021

Awww, wow, I didn't know you couldn't edit after a story's approved! Also haha, don't worry, there are always little nitpicks that slip out uncaught, as you just saw from my stories!

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06:12 Feb 03, 2021

There's the editing option, but I'm not sure what happens if we do try to edit it after the story's been approved (will it get un-approved? Is that even a word? I don't know) Yup! No problem! :)

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Alina Manha
23:50 Jan 22, 2021

Hi !👋 Love the story. You have written it really nicely. It's really interesting and fun to read. However,I found some mistakes which can be corrected. 1)But how was I supposed to be thinking (about) batteries when I needed to come here as fast as possible? Not But how was I supposed to be thinking (of )batteries when I needed to come here as fast as possible? 2) I was still in the same position I had been last night, and not a mote of dust (layout of its) place, which was fortunate. Yet, no surprise ‘roughing it down’ had made me ...

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03:36 Jan 23, 2021

Hi Alina! Thank you very much for finding those errors. I will definitely change it now! :) You really helped me out! Yes, it helps a lot! Thank you once again! 😊

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Alina Manha
03:47 Jan 23, 2021

Hello! Nice to see you online. 😄 Anytime! You don't have to thank me. You are my friend and it's my duty to help you out as a friend and a fellow writer. 😊 Awww, I am happy that I could help you in any way. 😁

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14:17 Jan 23, 2021

Hi!! Thank you so much! 😄 You're a really nice friend and fellow writer, that's for sure! Did you know that you were the first writer I saw in Reedsy and your story 'A Haunted Prank' was the first one I read here? 😃

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Alina Manha
18:31 Jan 23, 2021

Hello, Awww, you're welcome! Thank you!! You are a really good author and a friend too. O. M. G!! I didn't know that. I am sooo........ (idk what to say. I am speechless)

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11:09 Jan 30, 2021

Thank you! :D

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Hi Akshaya!!!! OMG!!!! This is my favorite story from you!!! The details were so detailed... amazing... breathtaking... I can keep going on...😃 Loved the suspense in the ending!!!! Your the mystery story queen 👑 Loved it!!! 💖💖💖

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14:39 Jan 22, 2021

Aww Thank you so so much, Varsha! :DDDD I'm glad you liked it! Really? Thank you so much!! 💖💖

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Of course!!!!💖💖💖💖💖💖 YUP!!!

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Sarah 💜🌸
00:13 Jan 21, 2021

I knew it! The MC WAS Tracey Evans! Also, what does that dude mean she's supposed to be dead?! I really can't wait to learn about Tracey's fall from grace (I'm assuming you're gonna be nice nd write a part 2 for this story eventually).

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07:34 Jan 21, 2021

Thank you so much, Sarah! :D That's actually a mystery, and sure! If I do get the right prompt, I might do a backstory or a part two! :)

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Maya Emerson
16:33 Jan 20, 2021

I’m doing a science-fiction themed reedsy-cast story and I would like to put you in it if you want. If you want to be in the story, there are just a few questions that I need you to answer. Questions: Alien’s Name (either your name or it could be different): Alien’s size: Alien’s color (can be any color or combination of colors): Alien’s special features (horns, tail, wings, tentacles, fur, scales, fins, etc.): Any other details about their physical appearance: Personality: Alien’s Planet of Origin (can be real or fictional): Any special ab...

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07:53 Jan 21, 2021

Hi Maya! That sounds great! :) Alien’s Name (either your name or it could be different): Alayna Martin Alien’s size: 5’6” Alien’s color (can be any color or combination of colors): Can change her color whenever she wants, but she usually keeps it the same as a hummanbeing. Alien’s special features (horns, tail, wings, tentacles, fur, scales, fins, etc.): Wings that can appear or disappear at will when she’s in human form. A pattern unique to her that appears on her palm which is used for identification in her planet (sort of like an ID-card)...

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Maya Emerson
13:48 Jan 21, 2021

Thanks so much! Your alien is so creative. :)

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14:36 Jan 22, 2021

Thank you! :D

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Maya Emerson
14:37 Jan 22, 2021

No problem! :)

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Kylie Rudolf
17:13 Jan 28, 2021

Wow the ending! Chef's Kiss! 👌

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11:09 Jan 30, 2021

Thank you Kylie! :D

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Kylie Rudolf
17:20 Jan 30, 2021

No problem! 🤍

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06:11 Feb 03, 2021

<3

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