Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Submitted into Contest #93 in response to: Write a story about a character who gets lost at a carnival or festival.... view prompt

46 comments

Contemporary Horror Fiction

CW: terrorism and PTSD


Toes

There are mantras she’s supposed to chant, collections of sounds to be repeated often enough to extract all conscious meaning. Om: I’m, safe, and, sound. This one is assigned go-to status in its effortless simplicity, a string of monosyllabic words so oblique they’re meant to slide into the realm of subconscious, calming her down. But it’s all homeopathy, she knows, because the essence of the words gets diluted in the shit she has for brains.

Her first time out in months and she’s holding onto her old work friend like a cripple, and she is a cripple, really. Om: man is a great treasure*. She knows he's in love with her and it annoys her, like a splinter under her nail. Everyone at work noticed and told her in between winks, back when she worked, before the incident, as her psychiatrists have her call it, and before all other friends fled like fleas off a dead dog. And now, he’s all she has. ‘What are they celebrating?’ she asks him.

‘You forgot? It’s the yearly town festival.’ She nods. ‘Perfect night for it, too.’

That’s right, the night is soft and warm and muggy, but she’s unsure about the festival part. There are too many candy floss stands, occupied by little children screaming for their sugar highs with beaks open like little birds, and too many merry-go-rounds, churros, and a big wheel, and a house of horrors. ‘It’s not a festival. It’s a fucking fun fair,’ she says loudly as they step into the catchment area of live music that’s anything but lively.

The candy floss vendor turns away from the children and disappears underneath the counter. Does he have a bomb?, she panics. This girl with her hair plaited so cleanly not a single hair is stray, this girl in a dress ironed out so smoothly not a single crease scars it, this girl in openwork sandals is twiddling her toes impatiently. The neon lights catch on her painted nails and reflect like daggers. She can’t be more than six. This must be the one time mummy has agreed to let her polish her nails like a grownup.

She suddenly remembers a little foot ripped off its trunk, lying on the dusty pavement like a discarded toy, and she remembers vomiting, but only inwards. Will the candy floss vendor dive back up with a belt of explosives like a beating heart of violence strapped to his chest? Om: human life is important. Human life has great importance. The other mantras are almost all a mouthful, and they require superhuman effort to think in full. They feel to her like counting black sheep jumping over a black fence on a night with new moon.

She holds onto her friend’s arm and he strokes her clawing fingers. She’s a charity gem to him, a thing abandoned by her previous owner, herself, and bought again for a song of blind admiration. He's the only person who believes that one day, she'll be functional again.

She catches a glimpse of her own face in the metal door of a caravan polished to perfection, and it splits in a smile, revealing a row of white bones growing out of her rackety skull. She brings her hand up to her mouth, but her lips are shut.

‘Let’s go on the big wheel!’ her friend shouts and drags her towards the ticket booth.






Knees

He needs a pee, like really, like otherwise, it might rain gold tonight right off the top of the ride. ‘I’ll be back, like, before it’s our turn,’ he tells her and suddenly, he’s gone, and a minute later, she’s being stuffed into the twin seats and a safety rail shuts her in like a caged animal. A bored man in the booth picking at his teeth with a Swiss army knife presses the GO button before she can protest and the cart lifts away from the ground.

Om: the knife serves to cut bread. People nourish themselves with bread. The cart yanks backwards and up and finds a steady pace. She looks down at her knees and in the warm darkness, she can see phantom scabs falling off her kneecaps. They reveal pus-filled scratches with gravel embedded underneath her skin like an earthy, nonsensical tattoo she never wanted.

She recollects how she fell to the ground in the debris and crawled around, her legs too stunned to move, so they dragged on the pavement behind her. Blood, her own, someone else’s, someone who used to be. Used to be what? Nothing, just used to be. Om: one should love man. I am learning by night and day.

She looks up for relief, but the sky hangs too close, and she feels like she could pick the stars off it, hot and runny. She closes her eyes and the muddled colours from the fair blunder on the inside of her eyelids until suddenly, they’re gone.

The lights are still off when she opens her eyes again in surprise, and she can sense that the darkness on the ground is quick, the world rearranging itself under her dangling feet. She feels like she could hear it breathing if she was only a little lower down. She stares beyond her feet, but the contours of the stalls seem to wash out and fade into black.

The lights come back all at once in their cheap neon glory and she squirms at the sudden assault. She sighs in relief before she realises she can’t hear any excited squeals or eerily repetitive melodies from the merry-go-round. She scouts the ground from the top of the big wheel, still moving at a painfully low speed, the mechanism creaking here and there. There’s nobody left down there, only shiny objects glowing with reflected light, horses with chipped paint, a carousel smelling of toddler vomit, popcorn popping shyly with the most demure of sounds. Om: the value of life surpasses the value of all objects the man has made.

She looks at the candy floss stand and realises someone is working away behind it, spinning the sticky pink onto a wooden stick. The figure steps out and walks towards the big wheel and the mechanism speeds up, the ground inching closer again. She stares at the silhouette and notices a flash of white teeth exposed in a grin before the figure tears away a piece of candy floss and stuffs it inside their mouth. It’s a woman, she realises, a woman who looks familiar in a way that feels new but not at all fresh.






Shoulders

‘Oh, fuck,’ she whispers quietly as the wheel comes to a halt and hesitates back and forth a little as if trying to lull her into calmness. The woman devouring the candy floss is herself, only prettier, less gaunt, with plumper lips and fuller hips. Yet she’s the creepy one, the wispy sugar dissolving into oblivion in her mouth almost as pink as the candy floss. Om: people nourish themselves in order to live.

The metal rail lifts by itself, but the woman doesn't move, staring wordlessly at the vision of herself, who looks healthy in an almost murderous way, like she's just devoured a human steak with a side of chips. ‘Why the cold shoulder?’ she asks and the teeth sparkle again, so shiny they're like bulbs lit up by her foreign electricity. She has a little candy floss stuck to her gums and she shows it off with no shame.

The woman can feel sweat collect on the band of her knickers under her summer dress. The creepy self throws the wooden stick, stripped almost to perfection, onto the ground. ‘Come meet me at the house of horrors,’ she says, grimacing at the last word and shaking her head. ‘We’ll take a little ride.’ She turns away and disappears behind the candy floss stand, and the woman notices that her perfect self isn’t all that perfect. One of her shoulders seems to hang lower than the other and moves almost independently to the rest of her body, dragging behind with reluctance, pulling the trigger on a memory.

Suddenly, she recalls falling on impact after the explosion and hearing a ghostly scrape, like a match lit inside her skin, burning through and revealing a sharp bone. She remembers looking at it, dust settling quickly on the ragged peak. She remembers the doctors doing everything they could, and how there’s only the faintest scar there now, and no limp at all.

The woman’s sat on the lifeless big wheel and somehow, she knows it will never move again. She knows she has to go to the house of horrors and that the dream will end there, because this must be a dream. Om: this is a man this is a tree this is bread. She can’t imagine reciting those phrases in a slumber, but ever since the incident, she nightmares in unpredictable ways, wetting the bed with any liquids her body can produce.

All the loudspeakers at the fun fair suddenly come alive with a high-pitched whine, and she half-expects a bored man’s voice to ask the guardian of the girl wearing open-toed sandals and bright nail polish to please come to the main ticket booth. But instead, she hears her own voice.

‘WE SURE HAVE A CHIP ON OUR SHOULDER TONIGHT.’ The self pauses to chuckle. The woman can’t help but imagine fresh human blood staining those teeth that must be showing now, framed by the full lips, and a shrug of the lame shoulder. ‘THAT’S RIGHT. I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING.’






Head

‘This isn’t happening,’ the woman whispers, but what comes out is a croak. The only audible sounds are vowels, lonely without their consonants. She thinks hearing her own own voice will calm her down, but it’s too real to do that. Her lips move and her vocal chords vibrate, unlike in dreams, in which sounds feel all-encompassing, popping reality like a balloon. She glances at the speaker closest to her. Om: the apple tree blossoms the blossoms fall off the fruits take form.

The house of horrors isn’t very far. ‘You’ve had nightmares before, you’ll be fine,’ she tells herself. ‘You’ll be fine.’ Why isn’t that one of the mantras? Because it’s not true, the psychiatrists know deep down it’s not true, it’s a promise they can’t keep.

She dives in through the door, leaving the world of tacky colour behind and holding her breath as if she’s going underwater. A little cart sits near the door in the darkness, the narrow hall beyond lit up by its toy headlights.

Om: this is a table I’m saying this is a table. She gets into the cart and feels the pleather seat with the tips of her fingers, a realistic amount of bouncy and disgusting and vaguely worn in the middle where most buttocks would have settled. The cart takes off with an electric hum.

‘EXHIBIT NUMBER ONE,’ the loudspeakers blast again and she shivers. She’s never heard her voice at this temperature, icy on the surface with a river of lava flowing right beneath. ‘THE MAN WITH THE HEART OF DARKNESS.’

The draped curtain behind which a person dressed as a skeleton would normally lurk, waiting for the cart to pass by before jumping out on it, lights up out of nowhere. The woman looks around for the hidden projector, but the moving images coming into focus, mute, faded, have no source she can spot. ‘LOOK AT HIM GO.’

She watches the scene she’s seen in her head so many times she knows every single frame, but this time, there’s detail to it she can’t remember. She sees the man who blew himself up right there in the crowded street, his face upturned to the blue sky, his lips pursed, his eyes flooded by sunlight. She sees the belt of explosives when he unzips his jacket. ‘I never saw him,’ she whispers.

‘OH BUT YOU DID,’ creepy self rumbles. ‘YOUR HEAD’S BEEN SO FAR UP YOUR ARSE ALL YOU CAN SEE IS SHIT.’

The man moves closer to the camera. She’s the camera. The force of the realisation pushes her to the back of the cart, away from the images. Om: what should one love? I answer man.

‘BOOM,’ the speakers announce, and the world on the curtain explodes out of order. She hears a sudden ringing in her ears she’s come to accept as part of her daily soundtrack now, permeating all other sounds in her so-called life. The camera falls on the floor lens down.

She sees the white dagger of her shoulder bone quickly turning grey as dust settles on it. She sees the little foot with a dangling tendon like a broken toy bound for the lost and found department. She knows from the jagged movements of the camera that her knees are dragging on the floor behind her while she crawls to nowhere in particular.

‘EXHIBIT NUMBER TWO. HEADS UP: IT AIN’T PRETTY.’

She’s never said ain’t in her life before, and she can’t decide whether she likes how it makes her sound: cocky, sarcastic, alive. The camera zooms out, and she’s not the camera anymore, she’s looking at her own body. The body stares blindly into the sky with its dead lenses and she knows the shutter of the eyelids will never close on them again. Are they searching for the same thing the exploding man was scouring for in there? The body doesn’t move, and the chest lies flat against the pavement.

‘What?’ she whispers, and the image fades out of focus into an even grey.

Her creepy self peeks from behind the curtain and flashes teeth again, but this time, she’s barely human, like a wounded, hungry animal. ‘You’re dead. You’ve been dead for months.’ She grabs the sleeve of her dress and pulls down on it, revealing an ugly, pink scar with jagged edges. ‘I’m the only part of you that’s still going.’ She pulls the hem up and her knees bleed, the lazy red rivers finding their estuaries between the tattered wooden floorboards.

Om: the old woman who is pulling a goat on a rope is more necessary and more precious than the seven wonders of the world. Please, thinks the woman, please. It’s time to wake up.

Whoever thinks and feels that she is not necessary he is guilty of genocide,’ the scarred woman finishes the mantra. ‘Get over yourself. Bullshit they feed you so you iron back out into society like some mowed down piece of a jigsaw puzzle.’ She tugs at her other sleeve and the dress falls to the floor, revealing a belt around her waist like the one they just saw on the silent film. ‘Boom.’


***


She’s lying in the grass, the live band playing one bad cover or another. She can’t tell the songs apart. Her friend is towering over her, and a rustling around her confirms the presence of many pairs of feet, shuffling in the grass and whispering around her limp body.

‘What?’ she asks weakly.

‘Damn, you’re awake,’ her friend says and leans in, his hand across her forehead. She notices how pale he looks. Beads of sweat sparkle in his eyebrows and trickle down the moist tracks on the sides of his nose. ‘You must have fainted on the wheel. I’m so sorry I didn’t make it in time,’ he whispers between jagged breaths.

‘I have a headache like you wouldn’t believe,’ she manages. The neon lights dance underneath her eyelids again and light up her skull with new shades of pain. ‘It ain’t pretty,’ she adds and offers a little smile that surprises him. It’s been a while since he last saw these teeth. Om: after the end of the world after my death I find myself in the middle of life I create myself construct life people animals landscapes.





*All italicised quotes come from Tadeusz Różewicz's poem, In the middle of life, commonly interpreted as a description of his struggle with the personal experience of WW2, available here: https://poezja.org/wz/R%C3%B3%C5%BCewicz_Tadeusz/1170/english_In_The_Middle_Of_Life

May 13, 2021 17:59

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46 comments

Claire Lindsey
22:53 May 13, 2021

Hi Nina, Stunning, descriptive prose. I especially loved the “hot and runny” stars, such a unique and vivid image. And the contrast of the bright, colorful fair with your narrator’s horrific memories is excellent. You navigate between the two so well, blur the line just enough to make it all real. A couple edits to consider: “One of the little girls with her hair plaited so cleanly not a single hair is stray, one of the girls in a dress ironed out so smoothly not a single crease scars it, one of the girls in openwork sandals is twiddlin...

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Nina Chyll
07:27 May 14, 2021

Hi Claire, Wow, thanks for giving this a thorough read! It’s always such a pleasure to get constructive feedback. I was wondering about the sentence with the girl. I do feel strangely emotional about it and therefore a little stubborn on the change front, but I’ll revisit and I’ll see how I could potentially make it clearer. You’re right about the friend, I did feel like I gave him the cold shoulder, too, much like the protagonist does. I’ll hint here and there, essentially to answer the questions you put forward - thanks for being so sp...

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Claire Lindsey
13:41 May 14, 2021

Good to know I’m not the only one who gets attached to sentences haha! And it was my pleasure :)

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Thom Brodkin
13:00 May 15, 2021

You have a depth to you that is almost spiritual. I've read your stories and they are more than just the accumulation of words. They are feelings and emotions and heart. I hope your writing is cathartic because there seems to be pain behind it. This particular story needs to be read over and over and over again to see all the layers, to understand all the meanings, to appreciate the beauty. Great job. Maybe you could write a bad one next week to give the rest of us a chance to win. 😊 I submitted one this week called "Thirteen Roses."...

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Nina Chyll
16:26 May 15, 2021

I think I'm probably the last person to be called spiritual by those who know me, but I am a little chuffed my writing might seem so - go figure! Thank you so much. I do tend to get emotionally invested into the stories and you do make a good point about there being an element of release. I shall go have a look soon.

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Thom Brodkin
16:34 May 15, 2021

I assure you it was meant as the highest compliment. It wasn't meant to be a religious reference, more like your writing bares your soul.

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Nina Chyll
17:08 May 15, 2021

I didn't take it as such, please don't worry!

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K. Antonio
02:26 May 15, 2021

This is why I don't ride Ferris Wheels, if that thing shakes, or I end up seeing stuff, I'll just jump off. I liked how your narrator seemed "disconnected" to reality, almost like she was hallucinating or projecting something externally through fear and anxiety. There were several moments throughout the story where I felt not scared, but a sense of suspense, even though I knew ultimately that the main character seemed to be "twisted". In a way this story kind of expresses (my loose interpretation while fighting insomnia) the "calamity or...

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Nina Chyll
17:07 May 15, 2021

I think a sense of suspense was definitely the height of what I was hoping for and I may have overshot my mark with my labelling of this story as I did, but I really itched to do that. I'm no Stephen King, that's for sure, so I'm going to do a lot more work in the department of scaring my reader, but at least I've made a shy start. While I can definitely empathise with the lasting effects of mental health issues, I would go easy on the ever-lasting prefix, K. I thought for the longest time that some of my habits and feelings that had formed...

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K. Antonio
20:33 May 15, 2021

Yes, you're right on the "ever-lasting" part. It's not, I can say that over the last few years the positivity I have encountered has many times surpassed the negativity, which is something I should always remind myself. Thanks for that!

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Twisty Girl
11:03 May 16, 2021

This is another beautiful and emotionally driven piece! I love how you give her so much depth by driving exploring her experience, making clear what is reality and what is fictional. My only comment outside of what Claire has already explained is there are moments where it is unclear which version of the woman you’re describing. It’s only really an issue during the early stage of ‘Shoulders’, but as you’re using ‘she’ a lot without assigning a name first it becomes a little difficult to follow, it maybe worth reading it through to see if y...

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Nina Chyll
21:32 May 17, 2021

Hey, sorry I somehow forgot to reply! But I actually went in and made some changes based on your comment to try and make the character distinguishing easier for the reader, so thank you very much for the constructive feedback.

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Twisty Girl
13:51 May 19, 2021

Hey, No problem, I’ve read through the changes and they flow so much better. The distinction is there now and it’s just as easy to read as the result of the piece. I’m so glad was able to help, and again, you’ve done such a fantastic job. I’m always excited to read one of yours xxx

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05:15 May 15, 2021

It's a great piece. You have cleaverly shown the mentallity of someone with PTSD as if it's palpable.

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Nina Chyll
16:31 May 15, 2021

Thank you very much for the kind feedback.

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Shea West
04:31 May 15, 2021

I cannot offer anything that would surpass the profound comments that are from your other readers, but I can tell you what I loved in the simplest of terms. Calling it candy floss felt very sophisticated to me, and every time that phrase came around I paused but in the best of ways. It allowed me to slow down. I love when I read something that makes me take my forward motion to a halt. I am quite terrified of haunted houses and things that come out in the dark in amusement parks, so this story brought that eek feeling out in me. I was stalk...

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Nina Chyll
16:57 May 15, 2021

Hi Shea! I hate the word 'blessed' because of the very shallow connotations it has been enshrined in recently, but I do feel precisely that for all the wonderful comments I get, and I love how constructive they are. I sure hope people keep telling me when something just doesn't work for them. Thank you so much for your thoughts! I said this before somewhere but I adore fun fairs, so this was a ride in someone else's seat for me. I'll check out your new story soon - I saw the comment about you taking up the challenge, yay!

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Shea West
18:49 May 15, 2021

It's not shallow in the slightest, unless we're putting a hashtag in front of it ;) I feel the same about this space, it's so uplifting to read the comments! You knocked this one out of the park, it was dark and scary!

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Alison Brewis
20:27 May 14, 2021

Fantastic writing. I love how you've managed to get the creepiness right from the beginning, which fits nicely with the PTSD idea that even normal things become suspect. The sentence about the girl - I'm not too keen on the new version! I liked the repetition of girl. Maybe "A girl with her hair plaited .., this girl ..., this girl ..."

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Nina Chyll
20:31 May 14, 2021

Yes, that is what I was going for, this overwhelming and rampant paranoia. Thank you for noticing. I do love the “girl sentence” controversy. I will have another think, but you may be right about this particular syntax being the winner!

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20:06 May 14, 2021

Nina Chyll, does it again. Magnificent! :)

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Nina Chyll
17:00 May 15, 2021

Cheers!

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H L Mc Quaid
12:03 May 14, 2021

Old amusement parks are creepy AF. I liked how she sees herself as two people, the 'normal' one and the fun-house mirror version who's twisted, bent and broken. I agree with Claire on the sentence about the the girl--it did seem like it was about three girls, so maybe there's a way to introduce it so that we know you're talking about one girl. eg. the girl sitting on the xxxxx, the one with..., the one with xxx. One very small thing, you could omit "to have done" here: "... gravel embedded underneath her skin like an earthy, nonsensical t...

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Nina Chyll
12:16 May 14, 2021

I actually already changed that since Claire's comment, but it's good to know it needs a little more work done. I am emotionally attached, honestly, some sentences just won't let me go, but I think it's important to get out of one's own a**e and listen to the reader. Yeah, I might omit that - it was a bit of a last-minute thing on the third draft or something to that effect. Thanks a lot for the compliment! I personally absolutely love fun fairs, so it was a bit of a challenge writing a character who hates them (putting aside the obvious d...

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H L Mc Quaid
12:25 May 14, 2021

Ah, I skipped over the 'one of' and focused on the plural 'little girls' here : "One of the little girls", Obviously you start with 'one of..' so it is clear that you are talking about one of them, but my brain was mapping back to 'girls' not 'girl.' Might just be a 'my brain' thing, though, and other folks might not trip over it. I like fun fairs because they are creepy. I always wonder goes on behind the scenes. And I love abandoned amusement parks. Anyway, I digress. You did a good job convincing the reader that she is not fond of fun f...

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Nina Chyll
12:27 May 14, 2021

I think you'd be disappointed to find out how very little goes on behind the scenes, but you should write a story with all kinds of wacky stuff happening when the lights are off! I actually reworded the entire thing to be much more grammatically typical now, just thought it might be easier to bypass the entire conundrum altogether.

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H L Mc Quaid
12:34 May 14, 2021

Yeah, that would make a good setting. If the animatronics from the fun house came to life. Hmm. That might be more of a horror story. ha. The new sentence is clearer, tho a tad less poetic, but I suppose that's the trade-off sometimes. I do like the way you experiment with sentence structure, even if it makes my brain work harder sometimes (which is a good thing, in small doses). ;)

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Nina Chyll
12:40 May 14, 2021

It is a pretty good idea. I've never really written horror before and I'm not entirely sure this story fits the genre but I feel like I'm inching closer towards some scares now. (God damn woman, don't make me change the sentence back. I'll think about it some more.)

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03:11 May 14, 2021

I found this very interesting with many beautiful phrases. I thought you did a great job of depicting the many different emotions that are part of PTSD, in addition to fear, guilt is one that I didn't really think about before. My only suggestion would be to reduce the complexity a little.

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Nina Chyll
07:29 May 14, 2021

Thanks a lot! Yeah guilt can sneak in anywhere, that bastard. Can you elaborate a little on the complexity advice?

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13:59 May 14, 2021

Hey, sure. You employ four different constructs in your story: the body parts construction, the flashbacks in brackets, the bits of poetry, and the use of present tense/ stream of consciousness. The question is, do you need all of these to tell your story effectively or does some of this make it overly complex? Just my two cents and these are always the author's decision of course

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Nina Chyll
14:28 May 14, 2021

Thank you very much for the clarification! I see your point now. I wasn't sure about whether to put the flashbacks in brackets or not, I'm still debating that since I think even without them I reckon it's fairly obvious what's being talked about.

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Evi T
20:58 May 17, 2021

Once again, your prose is remarkable. Personally, I believe that the PTSD part is portayed very accurately-this difficulty of the main character to connect and just be in the moment is very relatable. The latter half reads almost as paramornal and -to me personally at least- gives off a Haruki Murakami-like feeling. Great job!

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Nina Chyll
21:23 May 17, 2021

Yessss! I don't know whether it was the big wheel incident that triggered the Murakami association for you? I'm so chuffed, because essentially there's this little scene in one of his books where a woman sees herself from a big wheel and she greys instantly, and although there's no interaction and no pre-existing trauma to speak of in his story, just this strange incident, I was very obviously and unashamedly inspired by that. Made my day. Cheers!

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Evi T
22:08 May 17, 2021

I don't remember this scene very clearly to be honest. I have read a lot of his books and I love them, but some I read many years ago so they only live in my subconscious now-maybe that's what made the connection for me. Was it in Sputnic Sweetheart? Because if it was I'm a bit embarrassed as it's one of my favourites-definetely need to reread it. Also, it was little things like how you described the hallucination-self eg "‘Why the cold shoulder?’ she asks and the teeth sparkle again, so shiny they're like bulbs lit up by her foreign electr...

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Evi T
22:09 May 17, 2021

I don't remember this scene very clearly to be honest. I have read a lot of his books and I love them, but some I read many years ago so they only live in my subconscious now-maybe that's what made the connection for me. Was it in Sputnic Sweetheart? Because if it was I'm a bit embarrassed as it's one of my favourites-definetely need to reread it. Also, it was little things like how you described the hallucination-self eg "‘Why the cold shoulder?’ she asks and the teeth sparkle again, so shiny they're like bulbs lit up by her foreign electr...

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Nina Chyll
20:18 May 18, 2021

I couldn’t tell you which book that came from if I tried, either. I do love his prose, but I also find his narratives all merge into one if you haven’t refreshed yourself on them in a while. Not a bad thing, just a testimony to his ability to keep true to his presented reality. Murakami is definitely my favourite author in the reliable category. I’ve never picked up anything I hated, and I always find tidbits that stay with me for a long time. He has a way of skimming the surface that really echoes in the depths. Still so glad you spotted...

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Evi T
22:09 May 17, 2021

I don't remember this scene very clearly to be honest. I have read a lot of his books and I love them, but some I read many years ago so they only live in my subconscious now-maybe that's what made the connection for me. Was it in Sputnic Sweetheart? Because if it was I'm a bit embarrassed as it's one of my favourites-definetely need to reread it. Also, it was little things like how you described the hallucination-self eg "‘Why the cold shoulder?’ she asks and the teeth sparkle again, so shiny they're like bulbs lit up by her foreign electr...

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Lilia May
12:40 May 19, 2021

"She looks up for relief, but the sky hangs too close, and she feels like she could pick the stars off it, hot and runny" I loveeee this, and the story as a whole

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Anish Pillay
12:47 May 15, 2021

nice story ,but I think your getting repetitive, wasn"t your last story on the similar lines.

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Nina Chyll
13:41 May 15, 2021

Thanks. And nope.

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