72 comments

Apr 04, 2021

Coming of Age Sad Fiction

{Inspired by the life and works of Vincent van Gough as well as the song “Vincent” by Don McLean}


Moonlight peeking through the dusty window, stars twinkling in the clear night sky, my brush on the canvas. The branches of a towering olive tree cast shadows across the dusty, wooden floors. Painted irises wind up from the ground, blooming into delicate petals of royal purple. My mind lost in the depths of my thoughts as the color spreads, consuming all white.


Thoughts of The Wretched as my family calls them, of mesmerizing nights and rolling clouds. Recollections from the dreams I can never shake, always the same. A boy, me, trapped in the same twisted tower with no way to escape. The way I will never be able to escape my own mind. 


Forever imprisoned by my hopeless visions.


Three in the morning, the entire world is asleep. Except me. A vase of twelve wilting sunflowers stands out amongst the never-ending greys and blacks or my bedroom. The strokes of my brush never stop, my blankets forgotten. No voices are left to chastise me, only the whispers inside my head.


Peace at last.


*****


Hundreds of nearly identical figures weave through the cobblestone streets, their narrow minds set on completing the day’s work. Spring has taken its hold on the town, flowers are springing up everywhere and the trees all have full canopies. If I focus and walk quickly, I should be able to escape the crowds soon. Then it will be back to my window and my easel. 


Several rusted coins clink against each other in my closed fist; the money father gave me for the market to buy bread and oranges. Another few shiny coins are hidden in my pocket, saved for new paints. He would never give me the money for art, for what he considers to be a waste of my mind.


Pollen coats the sidewalk beneath me, my feet leaving empty footprints in my wake. Ashy clouds swirl together in the sky, hiding the world from the light. My bag is quickly filled with the commodities that I am expected to bring home before nightfall.


I ignore the looks of the swarms around me, their squinted eyes judging me from afar. They know nothing of my world, of my distorted reality. But that never stops their voices. 


Insane, they call me.


The far end of the street is where I find the people like me, the artists. Flowing scarves trailing down their sides, the waves of fabric lined in starlight. Their crooked smiles greet me, their dreams almost as shattered as my own.


This world is no place for the fragile of mind or heart. 


My feet carry me to the smallest shop, a ringing bell alerting people of my presence as I step inside. Painted constellations cover the ceiling; Orion wearing his infamous belt, Pegasus soaring through the stars, and Casseopia ruling over the dark. Their beauty catches my eye, making it difficult to look away.


I wander through the shelves, searching for the right shade of the richest color. Something is missing from my latest piece, I’m sure, I just can’t tell what. 


In the corner of the shop, something catches my eye. Paint the color of daffodils. Perfect for sunshine, to cast light over my landscapes of endless fields of wheat.


As I pull the coins out and set them on the counter, the clerk takes them without a word. We prefer silence.


As I head home, the jar is tucked deep inside the layers of my coat. No need for father to see. There is no chance that would end well.


*****


The less fortunate huddle in the alleyways as I walk, small piles of twigs lit to keep their hands warm. Their ragged clothes hang off their withering bodies, starving with no food in sight. 


The setting sun reflects off their angled faces, eyes cautiously watching me. All colors are devoid from their eyes. The long nights have defeated them, too.


A single loaf of bread, wrapped in crinkled brown paper, I hold it out in my hand. 


The smallest girl of the group scurries forward, her grey dress tangling around her ankles. 


I am told these people are to be ignored, never given a second glance or a nod of acknowledgment. Told they were born to stay in the shadows, alone. Like me. 


I wish I could give them a chance, a chance to live their lives without pain in their every move. To soothe their hoarse whispers and bring smiles to their weathered faces. To set them free.


When father finds out I fed The Wretched he will not be happy. Violent flashbacks dance across my eyelids and my scars suddenly start to burn. 


Please give me an escape.


*****


Another starry night, another blank canvas in front of me. A brush in hand, littered with marks from all the times I bit down on it to keep from screaming. The bruises shine bright on my skin tonight, an ongoing reminder of how helpless I am.


The spiteful voices of my parents echo through my head louder tonight, unescapable. 


A waste of life, you are.


A broken boy with a broken mind.


Silence.


This time, I paint the world outside my window under the cover of night. 


The colors spread as fast as my racing mind. Cypress trees twist up from the soil and the stars radiate high above a city. Monochromatic midnight blues churn through the sky, spiraling out of control.


Finally, the painting is finished, the painting of the world outside my window, but all I see on the canvas is death. 


For the first time in a long while, I climb into bed and pull the thick blankets over my head. Blocking out everything that suffocates me every day; the light, the sound, the voices. I will never be able to forget, the memories are forever etched into my mind.


All I can do now is let myself sleep.


If I am lucky, I will never wake.


This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.” - Vincent by Don McLean


🌷

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72 comments

W.W. Skybelle
19:06 Apr 04, 2021

Beautiful. If I had to pick one word to describe this story, it would be beautiful. Your descriptions are on point. The word choices are fantastic. This story is short (and by short, I mean short. The story itself without the note and the quote is 990 ish words), but sweet. Calming, yet sad. I loved this story a lot. Great job :D And to answer your question, I see brown/orange when I close my eyes. In the dark, it's black. Sometimes when I'm outside, I see cyan :)

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Valerie June
17:35 Apr 04, 2021

Just wow. This blew me away Maya. There were many lines throughout this story that left me thinking. I have no other words to describe how much I enjoyed this story except that it was simply beautiful.

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17:54 Apr 24, 2021

Maya? 1. Are you okay? 2. Can I borrow the bio theme?

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Maya Emerson
18:04 Apr 24, 2021

Hiii 1. Yeah, why? :) 2. Sure :))

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19:54 Apr 24, 2021

You haven’t talked to me in a while eeee- Yay!

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Maya Emerson
19:56 Apr 24, 2021

Oop sorry, I haven't been active on Reedsy much. e.e :))

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21:53 Apr 24, 2021

aah- :D

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21:54 Apr 24, 2021

bill isa she?

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Maya Emerson
22:15 Apr 24, 2021

Lol Yeah she is xD

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01:14 Apr 18, 2021

Remember me? we haven't talked in foreverrrrrrr

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Maya Emerson
01:23 Apr 18, 2021

Lol yesss :') I knowww :( How have you been? ^-^

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15:34 Apr 18, 2021

I've been pretty good! How about you?

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13:30 Apr 15, 2021

Hi Maya! I was wondering if I could join your scribbl group?

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Maya Emerson
13:36 Apr 15, 2021

Sure! I can give you the link to our group doc for chatting and stuff and you can add yourself if you would like. :)

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23:00 Apr 15, 2021

ty!

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20:13 Apr 29, 2021

What's the scribbl group

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:}} Silverstar
04:35 Apr 13, 2021

There is an intimacy and delicateness to your story that really pulled off setting a dreamlike, sorrowful disposition. And to add to that, I loved the way you captured the fleeting tone in brief, snippet sentences; to name a few, "Peace at last," "Insane, they call me," "We prefer silence" which just sprinkles that gentle flavour that brilliantly embraces the mood of it all. <3 I also enjoyed experiencing the world you've painted through an artist's lens, not to mention, a depiction of the real deal, Vincent Van Gough to go along with it! ...

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Maya Emerson
17:47 Apr 13, 2021

Thank you so much, Louisa! I really appreciate the feedback. :) That's great you've been enjoying it so far. :)) It is a great community. :) If you ever want to chat for fun, tell me. lol :) Sure, I read your story and commented, it was terrific!! I'll tell a few other people here about it so you can get more feedback since it's your first story and all. :)) Thanks! Hope you have a great day!

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:}} Silverstar
07:51 Apr 14, 2021

No problem!! I owe it to people like you for helping create such a welcoming, interactive community :3 For sure! I would love to make friends on here :D !! Thank you for the wonderful input you've had on mine, haha. That's so nice of you !!! I am indebted :}}}} You too! Thanks again.

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Maya Emerson
15:02 Apr 15, 2021

:)) You too, I can't wait to read more of your stories!! :) Yay! If you would like, you could join our group on here. We play online pictionary and have a google document for chatting lol. :) No problem, I loved reading it!! :)))

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:}} Silverstar
03:23 Apr 16, 2021

ahhggghghsks I saw the comment you posted before I deleted my one and didn't realise it would automatically remove yours (T▽T) !! !! but thank you <33 I'll see if I can work on the next prompt !! Also-- I've put up a comment on an alternate ending to the story! ( which was supposed to be the original, ehehe... but the word count was getting too close to home so I went with a shorter version (´;ω;) --though now that I think about it, I could have split it into two parts أ‿أ --hhh ). Well, anyway! You can take a look at it if you're intereste...

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Maya Emerson
04:16 Apr 16, 2021

Lol fyguhijhuj hehe yeah it does that :') Cute faces :3 Sure!! <33 Ooh cool!! Yay! Oh wow~ sounds really cool! I would love to see hehe I'll go look now~~~ Lol okie :DD

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Hello? Um... Are you okay? Feeling sad or something? Do you know anyone who is? I'm having dreams about people leaving.

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Maya Emerson
15:45 Apr 11, 2021

Yeah, I'm okay, just less active here. I think a lot of people have been overwhelmed with the downvoting stuff, and that might be why they're upset. Oh, I'm sorry. :( <3 You okay?

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I'm ok but I think I'll compile a list. When all the people on it leave, I'll leave. I'm not going anywhere until you're all gone-- hey, have you heard from Isaac? He seems like he left.

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Megan Sutherland
02:44 Apr 11, 2021

Maya!!! What happened!!! IT HAS BEEN SO LONG. TOO LONG. what happened to reedsy i am so confused its in shreds ive seen so many complaints --meg

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Maya Emerson
22:30 Apr 11, 2021

Hiiiiiii I knowww it has lol Idk, lots of points stuff... How've you been? It's so good to see you back! :)))

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Megan Sutherland
01:34 Apr 12, 2021

Gooood. My track season starts soon. :D I'm happy that I'm back, tooooo. Is Isaac offline? I saw all of his stories got deleted, unless he's not the Baby Yoda account I'm following lol

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Maya Emerson
02:42 Apr 12, 2021

Ooh fun :DD What race/ distance do you do? :)) Eep I didn't see the Baby Yoda account, he didn't tell me he had an alt account but I read the comments and it is him. lol

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Megan Sutherland
22:57 Apr 12, 2021

I'm going to do field events, so shot put, and probably short sprints. :D Do you run track?

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Maya Emerson
13:59 Apr 15, 2021

Ooh fun :))) Yeah I did before covid lol.

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Isaac Aaron
12:34 Apr 13, 2021

itssss noooottt an alt accountttttttttt its the same one

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Vrasti 🌺
20:04 Apr 07, 2021

Wow, that was an incredible and beautiful story. I don't even know what to say. It was sad and heartbreaking. Also, I see navy blue with some grayish-white when I close my eyes :P

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Michael Boquet
17:15 Apr 07, 2021

Hey! Welcome back! It's cool to see a historical fiction take on a fairy tale. You do a great job of putting the reader in Van Gogh's head. The quote at the end is a nice touch too. Great story.

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04:43 Apr 05, 2021

found your emojis, great idea btw :) as for the story, it's amazing. It thoroughly describes how he might have been feeling, the hidden side of an artist. Very well done, super neat job!

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01:39 Apr 05, 2021

This was sad :’( beautiful <3 and calming :) The descriptions were so good, giving it a peaceful vibe to it and it just...was so...CALMING The quote at the end was a perfect finish, and I loved it Grate job Maya 🧀🧀🧀 :) one of my favourites - Amethyst P.s. there’s no exclamation marks here because I don’t want to ruin the aura going on here

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Maya Emerson
17:54 Apr 06, 2021

Thanks, Ame <3 And sorry I haven't responded, Saph said you thought I was mad but I just haven't been active very much at all. I'm sorry e.e

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22:30 Apr 06, 2021

np oh okay .-. Bill's back??? :O

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Maya Emerson
22:47 Apr 06, 2021

Eep sorry missed you :)) Yeah she's back :DDDD

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23:24 Apr 06, 2021

me too :) :DD I like your pfppp

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Maya Emerson
19:11 Apr 09, 2021

Thanks! Yours too! :DD

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11:47 Apr 04, 2021

Oh wow, this is so beautiful and sad and heartfelt. The quote just broke my heart and put it back together again :) Loved this story. It is one of my favorites of yours.

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03:10 Apr 04, 2021

Awww wow this was beautiful! Great job Maya! It literally felt like a bedtime story, calm and peaceful (or maybe I'm just saying that cuz I'm in bed while writing this lol).

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This story is amazing. I don't even think I have any words to describe it. Can you please check out this story of mine? It would be really appreciated. https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing prompts/contests/95/submissions/68977/#comments

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Danny ~
14:11 May 14, 2021

I was doing some things and may or may not have ended up reedsy stalking you, oop~ but turns out I still haven't read this yet and I'm sooo sorry :( Wonderful story, Maya! You told me once about this story and I think that was it, I don't think you realize how beautiful this is. The quote at the end pretty much sums this up. You've kept the theme of the story intact from the start until the end and the chronology was very organized. But it's so much more than that, you've turned thoughts and emotions into words, that's very impressive. Gr...

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Maya Emerson
03:42 May 16, 2021

Hehe shanks so much <3

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Daniel Hayes
00:20 May 06, 2021

Hi Maya, this story was incredible!!! I loved that you included painting in this story. Writers can stare at a blank screen or piece of paper, and a painter can stare at a blank canvas until a spark ignites our imaginations and we create magic. That's what this story was pure MAGIC! Usually I like to list some of my favorite lines in the story, but almost every paragraph here is packed full of beautiful sentences and words :) This story was amazing, thank you for sharing it. I absolutely loved it! :)

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Bill Cara
08:49 May 05, 2021

Like Annabelle said, ths story was just absolutely beautiful. It was so poetic and each sentence flowed one after the other. I wanted to keep reading this, and for it to go on, but I like how it ended, simple. You caught so many emotions but you kept them subtle. I could really feel the monotonous life of Van Gough. You did such a great job on this, be proud <3

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Philip Clayberg
23:56 May 03, 2021

A beautiful story. Almost like being inside one of Van Gogh's paintings and looking around at what he saw. Thank you so much for writing it. My only regret? That it wasn't even longer than it was. You could've made it twice as long and I would've been even happier to read it. I'm not sure if you're a Doctor Who fan or not, but I highly recommend the episode, "Vincent". I really think you'd enjoy watching it. Editing comment: Casseopia ruling over the dark. ["Casseopia" should be "Cassiopeia" (I looked it up on the internet, since I...

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https://www.notebookcast.com/en/board/86fe6tpeb32b#

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