Stand Still

Submitted into Contest #76 in response to: Write a story told exclusively through dialogue.... view prompt


Sad Contemporary Friendship

“They’re beautiful, the stars.”

“I don’t know.”

“Why not?”

“They’re just. They would kill us if we could get close enough.”

“We couldn’t anyways, even if we wanted to.”

“If we could.”

“Anything could.”

“Could what?”

“Kill us.”

“Why do you sound amazed by that?”

“If an asteroid came down from the sky right now and hit us head on there’d be nothing left of us. I think, at least.”

“Yeah, that sounds terrifying.”

“No one would even know we were dead. They’d think we were missing, but would never be able to find us. We would end up being claimed as dead, but there’d always be a maybe. ‘Maybe they’re still out there scared and suffering. Maybe they’re waiting for us to find them but we’re not looking anymore, no one is looking for them.’”

“Why are you talking like that? I don’t want to hear you talk like that.”

“You’re the one who brought it up. Death. If you didn’t want to hear it you never should have brought it up!”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, don’t get mad.”

“I didn’t mean to.”

“I know. I just can’t help thinking about it. It plagues my mind. Every day, every second. When I wake up, when I go to bed, when I’m alone it’s the worst. Everything is vivid in my mind like a horrible movie, but it’s not a movie and I’m still living it.

“Images, sounds, tastes, smells, touch, they all feel stronger in my memories. I’m not really sitting here with you, I’m there, that’s where all my senses are. The stars aren’t beautiful because I can’t see them. I can’t feel or smell the grass we’re lying on. Your voice and mine are hazy. This feels more like a memory, in my head is reality. A nightmare of reality.”

“I’m cold.”

“Should we go in the car?”

“No, it makes me feel trapped because the doors lock on their own. I don’t like it, feeling like I can’t get out. I can’t get away, Matthew.”

“Then would you like my jacket?”

“What about you?”

“I don’t want you to be cold. It feels wrong. When someone is cold, it’s wrong. Humans are meant to be warm.”



“Come closer.”


“What about lions, wolves, and, uh, and gorillas?”

“They’re animals?”

“No, I mean they’re dangerous.”

“Are gorillas?”

“I don’t know, they could be.”

“I don’t think about animals because they’re not right there, you know.”

“Closer than stars.”

“But they’re right in front of my face.”

“I like them because there’s so few. There’s billions but you can only see a few. It’s like there were billions but something happened and only these are the ones who made it through. They’re survivors, so I like them.”


“What? Who who?

“You said ‘the ones who’.”

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes you did.”


“It’s like birds.”

“What’s like birds?”

“They’re survivors. They survived the extinction of dinosaurs.” 

“What exactly do birds have to do with dinosaurs?”

“They’re dinosaurs, birds. Or related to them.”

“No? Really?”

“Yeah, it’s crazy, look it up.”

“Hmm…. Oh? Oh, you’re right. That’s wild. Well, I can see it when I think of swans. Massive, beautiful, monsters. I wonder if dinosaurs were eloquent and beautiful too. I imagine their babies are fluffy and soft, covered in down feathers. Now I want a bird so I can say I have a pet dinosaur.”

“You shouldn’t. Birds are free, they can go anywhere they want, escape any dangers. You shouldn’t take that away from them.”

“Not chickens.”


“Chickens aren’t free on farms.”

“There’s free range.”

“But in the end they’re going to end up on someone’s dinner table. Someone’s going to come among those chickens that think they’re free and safe.”


“They’re going to grab whichever one they feel like. It doesn’t matter. Then they’re going to take them away from their friends and parents. They won’t even be able to say goodbye to their mom or dad.”

“Stop it, Kath!”

“Then they’ll be slaughtered. All on the whim of one man. They’re going to be slaughtered, their blood will splatter. Everywhere. Blood everywhere.”

“Shut up, Katherine!”

“S-sorry, I did it again.”

“No, no. That’s not… I didn’t mean- I wasn’t talking about that. Just, what if I can’t eat chicken anymore?”

“Your laugh sounds fake.”

“You’re not supposed to say anything about that.”

“I can’t help it. You said that your senses have dulled but mine have become painfully greater. Every time I hear the sound of footsteps on hardfloor, the sound of pacing, I go on high alert. My body, from head to toe, tingles with the rush of blood. My head whips in the direction of the sound. Even when it’s someone I know, I can’t know if I’m safe yet.

“Every time I hear anyone say the word dance, every time I see someone dancing, I shake and shiver. I was looking at the poster for the school dance, I was so excited for it. I was going to wear a pink dress with sequins around the waist and white flats. I threw those out and you know what, my parents said nothing about it. It was empowering. Imagine that, throwing out clothes I’ve never worn felt empowering.”

“I die inside every time I walk past my brother’s room. He was struggling with making friends. So, tell me why the HELL did his classmates act like they gave a damn!”

“He’s just one of the many faces that the media, that our school, act like they care about. They prattle on and on about what they thought about them. How they were cool and brave. The names of those faces fly off their tongues like spit. While the rest of us sorry fools that actually loved them, really loved them… really… really… can’t even say their names at all.”

“I want to go for a walk. Walk with me?”



“But it’s so dark, we won’t be able to see anything. What’s the point?”

“Is that what you see as the only point of going for a walk?”

“I guess. What is it to you?”

“It just feels good. I want to move. If I stay still for too long my thoughts start to seep in and dig at my brain. If I move maybe I can walk away from them for just a bit at least.”

“Alright, we can. There’s a path up there that goes by the water.”

“Watch out, there’s poop right in front of you.”

“Oh, oh, oops. Almost fell in it.”

“I would have laughed.”

“You nearly are.”

“You looked like a flamingo stumbling around on one leg.”

“Geez, thanks.”

“No, but you managed to miss it last minute. That’s pretty cool.”

“A story to tell my grandchildren. The salty air is so strong. Ah, breathe it in, Matty.  Come on, open your arms like me, close your eyes, and take in the scent of the ocean.”

“I don’t really like the smell.”

“Ugh, you're so boring.”

“I was born like this, don’t blame me.”

“You know, you can’t run away from the thoughts in your head. Someday we’ll have to let the memories go and get on with our lives.”

“You want me to forget? I can’t forget! My brother, my friends were murdered. Don’t tell me to forget about them. Damn you!”

“I didn’t mean that and you know it! Damn me? I wish, I wish, if it could be me instead of anyone else! Instead of your brother.”

“Kath, wait, wait, don’t leave, please. I’m sorry. Come here, that’s right, I’ll hold you.”

“You’re warm.”

“I’m scared of being alone so don’t leave me. Don’t say you wish it could’ve been you. Don’t say that again. I’ll cry.”

“You already are.”

“Of course I am.”

“I’m sorry, I’ll stay, I won’t leave you. The water is beautiful, it looks like it’s glittering.”

“There’s another moon, on the surface of the waves.”

“Maybe because the moon in the sky didn’t want to be alone either. Or maybe it wanted someone to protect so it created a new one in the sea.”

January 09, 2021 04:14

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Crouton 828
21:42 Jan 21, 2021

Hi Luna! I'm here from the critique circle. Your story was quite beautiful; however, some of your punctuation made it difficult to read/understand what your characters were saying. For example, your fourth quote down, you say, "They're just. They would kill us if we could get close enough." That 'they're just' makes it read as an incomplete sentence. It might be better if you did something like, "They're just... They could kill us if we could get close enough," or "They're just--they could kills us if we could get close enough." Using one of...


Luna G
16:10 Jan 22, 2021

Thanks for the suggestion. Sorry I didn’t make it clear enough. I was trying to write a story about teens contemplating death and trying to move on after surviving a school shooting. It bounced around on purpose because that happens a lot when people talk and everything they were talking about kept bringing them back to what they were trying not to think about. I guess I didn’t do it well enough, it was very experimental, I never wrote anything like this before lol


Crouton 828
20:23 Jan 23, 2021

It's fine! Keep writing, and pretty soon it will come naturally! That's what experiments are for: you write them, learn from them, and keep writing. You'll get there!


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