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Suspense Drama

“Hey. I’m Destiny.”


“Destiny? Cool name. I like it.”


“Thanks. And your's is…?”


“Amelia.”


“Nice to meet you.”


“So. Um. Do you like it here?”


“It’s…okay. I like the new house. And the high school seems pretty decent. But I––I kind of miss my friends back home.”


“Oh––right. I’m sorry. I can’t imagine what that must be like––to move right in the middle of…what school year are you again?”


“Eleventh.”


“Oh––me, too!”


“Really? Thank God. At least I'll know a familiar face once school starts.”


“I'm sorry about your friends, though.”


"It's okay. I mean, it's not, but it has to be. You know?”


“Yeah. I get it. Although...”


"What?"


"Happy to be your friend in the meantime."


“Really?”


“I mean, I do live right next door.”


“True. Deal, then. Friends?”


“Friends.”


///


“Amelia, can you set these plates on the dining table?”


“Sure, Mom.”


“I heard you chatting with someone outside. Did Katelyn stop by?”


“Oh, no, that wasn’t her; Katelyn’s at her dad’s house. I was talking to the new neighbor.”


“The new neighbor?”


“Yeah––a girl named Destiny.”


“Huh.”


“What? What’s wrong?"


“I didn’t think we were getting new neighbors. That house is so old, and that yard––atrocious, really. But I guess they'll sell anything that's still standing. Which is a nice surprise for you, sweetheart; did you like her? Destiny?”


“Yeah. She seems pretty nice. We’re already friends.”


///


“How do you climb this thing?”


“Put your foot there––that branch near your hip. No, the other one, Des!”


“Jesus. I didn’t think I was old enough to develop hip problems. I can’t reach that high!”


“Yes, you can! Use your arm if you have to.”


“I wish we had rope. Then you could pull me up.”


“C'mon, you’re almost there, Des. Here­––”


“Oof. Thanks, Ames.”


“You’re welcome.”


“Woah. This is your treehouse? It’s massive!”


“Dad built it for me when I was seven.”


“I wish my dad would build something like this for me. Well, I guess I’m too old for it. Actually, you know what? No. I’m not too old for it. I wish he’d build me a treehouse.”

“Does your house have a tree like this one? Maybe he could––”


“No, not like that. I just mean…I wish he was around more often so that he could build it. He’s always traveling now.”


“Oh. My dad's been gone for a while now, too.”


"Really?"


"Yeah. It's a shitty thing to have in common."


“Yup. Anyways...what’s there to do here?”


“Well, this is it! There are books right there, near the back window, and some games, and some jump ropes in that corner. I guess it’s kind of childish, honestly. Sorry.”


“No way. I could spend all day here.”


“Huh. That sounds good to me.”


///


“Honey, why don’t you invite Destiny to dinner tomorrow?”


“She can’t, Mom. Her dad doesn’t let her go to other people’s houses past seven.”


“Really? That’s…odd. How old is she again?”


“Seventeen. But I guess…never mind.”


“What? What is it, Amelia?”


 “I don’t know if I should say.”


“Well, you can't leave me hanging now. What is it?”


“Um, she said that her dad doesn’t want her coming over here. To our house. After seven.”


“What? Why?”


“I don’t know. She said it's really not a big deal though, Mom. Don't worry about it."

“But he allows her to go over to other houses? After seven? Just not ours? And she doesn't mind that at all?”


“Mom––”


“No, Amelia, that is not okay. I'm going to go over there first thing in the morning––”


No! Mom, you can’t––”


“––and tell both of them to stick it where the sun don’t shine––”


Mom, I said no!


“What…honey, what's going on?”


“I––I just mean that I don't want you to go over there.”


“I know you don't. But she doesn't seem very nice, sweetheart. Your friends should want to visit you, to hang out with you. I think it would be helpful for me to go talk to them.”


“She won’t want to see me anymore, Mom. Not if you start yelling at her and her dad.”


“Honey––”


“I’m going to bed.”


“I really think there's something strange going on with that girl––”


“Goodnight, Mom.”


///


“Geez. Your mom really said that?”


“I know, I know. I’m sorry for telling her.”


“No, it’s alright. I get it. I just…”


“What?”


“She really thinks there's something wrong with me? With me?”


“I think she was just angry at your dad’s rules. I don’t think she means it.”


“Maybe.”


“Des?”


“Yeah?”


“I’m not going to listen to her, you know. We’re still friends. Okay?”


“Thanks, Ames. That means a lot to me.”


“Of course. I won't let anybody get between us.”


///


“And where were you?”


“I was studying with Katelyn. At her house.”


“Please don't lie to me, Amelia.”


“I’m not!”


“You want me to get it out of the drawer?”


“Fine. I was with Destiny.”


“Honey, what did I tell you?”


“Yes, Mom, I know what you said––”


“And you thought it would be best to ignore me? Something doesn’t sound right about that girl, Amelia. I know you think I'm wrong. But something isn't right. I really, really don't want you speaking to her again. Do you understand?”


“No..."


“Honey, I’ll pull it out if I have to.”


“Fine. I understand.”


///


“What’s wrong, Des? Why are you crying?”


“I––I––”


What?”


“My d-dad said that I can’t hang out with you anymore.”


“W-What? What do you mean? Why would he say that?”


“He says that I need to grow up and be careful.”


“Wow. Your dad’s…an ass. He said that to you?”


“I know.”


“You don’t…you don’t believe him, do you?”


“I…I don’t know, Amelia. He said some…things.”


“Things? Like what? What do you mean?”


“He said that it's not safe anymore.”


“Er...what? What do you mean, 'safe'?”


“You know what I mean, Amelia.”


“I…I really don’t, Des. You're scaring me. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”


“Yes, you do.”


“Des…no, I don’t. What…what are you talking about?”


“Do you… do you really not know?”


“Know about what? Can you just tell me, please?”


“You’re…you’re…well...you’re not alive, Ames.”


///


“Ames. Ames, please talk to me.”


“I don’t talk to insane people.”


“You know I’m right. I know you know.”


“You know what I do know? That I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about."


“You know you’re dead, Ames. You must know that.”


“Shut up, Des. Why did you even come here? Move here? What do you want?”


“My dad. He’s a writer. He writes ghost and horror stories. That’s why he’s always traveling, so that he can write about whatever haunted place we end up next. And that’s why we’re here––he’s writing another ghost story."


"And what the hell does that have to do with me?"


"Ames, his story...it's you. It's about you. And your––your murder a year ago. You’re––you and your mom––you’re his story. That's why we're here.”


“What? What do you mean? Me and my mom? What does she have to do with this?”

“Ames…she––she was the one who killed you.”


“That isn’t funny, Des.”


“I’m not joking, Ames. I wish I was. But she––she––you really don’t remember?”


“This is a sick joke. I’m going home.”


“Ames! Wait! Don’t you remember?”


“Remember what?”


“How she killed you? You remember. I know you do. You might not want to. But I can see how scared you are––"


“You’re crazy––


“––it was with the belt strap. She hit you. Over and over again. Until you died.”


“I––I don’t––”


“I’m so sorry, Ames. But I want you to be happy. And to be happy, you need to remember.”


///


"It was...it was right after Dad left."


"Go on. You can do it. I know you can."


"He...he didn't come back. For months. And Mom was getting worse and worse. And angrier and angrier. And one time, when I talked back to her, she grabbed the strap from the drawer...and she kept hitting and hitting and hitting...and didn't stop...and it was so painful, and bloody, and dark...and then I woke up with no bruises or cuts or wounds and no pain at all. And she was making dinner. As if nothing had happened. So, I thought that nothing had happened. I thought it was all a dream, or a nightmare. I...I guess it wasn't."


"No. It wasn't. I'm so, so sorry Ames. I want you to know that."


"I know. Thank you, Des. I'm sorry, about before. About not believing you."


"I can understand why you didn't."


"So, what do I do now?"


"I'm not really sure, to be honest. See a light or anything?"


"I think that's only in the movies, Des."


"Well, I thought I'd take a shot. I mean, as long as you feel at peace with everybody––"


"Wait. I think I know what I have to do."


"Yeah?"


"Thanks, Des. For everything. You...you really are an amazing friend. My best friend."


"So are you, Ames. See you around?"


"Probably not."


"Thank God. It's always twenty degrees colder whenever I'm around you. I'm getting tired of wearing all my sweaters in the summer."


"You're the worst, you know that?"


"Yup. Now get outta here. Go be at peace, or whatever. Okay?"


"Okay."


///


"I forgive you, Mom."


"For what, honey?"


"For what you did."


"And...what exactly did I do? You'll have to refresh my memory, Amelia."


"I know you know what happened. I know you don't want to remember it. You don't have to. I just want to tell you that I forgive you. For doing it to me. I know you weren't...doing well. So, I forgive you. For everything."


"Honey, can you set these plates on the dining table?”


“It's okay, Mom."


“I heard you chatting with someone outside. Did Katelyn stop by?”


“You're going to be okay, too. I promise. But I have to go now. I know that you'll come with me, too, one day. Maybe when you forgive yourself. But until then...I love you, Mom. I love you."


"Honey? Can you set these plates on the dining table?"


"Honey?"

October 21, 2020 04:39

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38 comments

Rayhan Hidayat
10:30 Oct 23, 2020

Wooooowww this was incredible :O I did a dialogue-only story a while back and it's definitely not easy, but this was executed so smoothly. I was ready to ask how on earth the mother can talk to Ames if she's dead, but making her delusional was genius and a very grim final reveal. I think my only critique is to add slightly larger spacing between each line. Maybe it's just me, but my focus kept on jumping between lines :P

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Lina Ozz
17:54 Oct 23, 2020

Thank you so much for giving my story a read and for your feedback! Always appreciated. And that's a really good point; I always forget about the mechanical features of actually READING a story, so that's a brilliant edit. I'll go back and try to mess with the spacing! Thanks as always :)

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Lina Ozz
18:01 Oct 23, 2020

Okay––I tried to provide spaces between each line; hopefully, it read a little better!

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Rayhan Hidayat
10:45 Oct 24, 2020

Yep, that helps, especially with the shorter exchanges! 😙 Sorry if that was a bit of a hassle, I think I might have been the only one to have a problem with the spacing 😜

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Lina Ozz
23:48 Oct 24, 2020

No I definitely get it, and I used to space out my stories a lot but have gotten lazy 😂 Oops...

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Daniel Deschenes
16:08 Oct 26, 2020

Agreed. I loved the way that it's set up but I did have to stop and reorient my eyes once or twice. But I loved the story!

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Lina Ozz
22:28 Oct 26, 2020

Gotcha—thank you for the comment! Hopefully, it’s a little easier on the eyes now! :)

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Molly Leasure
18:31 Oct 22, 2020

This is really interesting—very dark. But I'm a fan of darkness. The twist was well executed and the subtle hints you dropped before it happened were woven so subtly. I thought, "ok, the mom has violent tendencies, but how does the dad know that?" So, you did some good leading :). I was a wee bit confused when Des says her dad is a writer and writes stories and Ames is the story. It may have just been my tired brain, but I thought she was saying Ames and her mom were from the dad's imagination. Otherwise, deliciously creepy story :). ...

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Lina Ozz
22:51 Oct 22, 2020

I, too, am a fan of darkness! Maybe a reflection of our times or generation? It's either darkness or positive nihilism for me, lol. Thank you so much for your comment, as always. And, you're right––I will clarify that section right away (or try to at least). You have a great point, and reading back, it does read awkwardly. And woohoo for the spooky spirit!! Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. Seems even more apt with 2020 and all...

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Molly Leasure
00:18 Oct 23, 2020

You might have a point there! I love darkness, grunge, psychological, but not so much horror—weirdly. Honestly, I think the sentence about her "murder a year ago" did the trick :). It makes it clear that he's writing a story of her story as opposed to him being a god, although that might have been an interesting twist xD. I live for the spooky season and Halloween. I have Halloween decorations up all year long! But I agree, it's especially needed now. We all need something more terrifying to focus on...

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Lina Ozz
03:07 Oct 23, 2020

Woooo, I'm much more the psychological thriller type. Although I suck at writing them. And yay, perfect––glad that helped to clarify!! Although you've certainly given me an idea for a future story...

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Molly Leasure
07:16 Oct 23, 2020

I suck at psychological thrillers, too. I'm more of the physical violence type, haha! I AM a provider of ideas, what can I say?! They're just not always good ones...

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Daniel Deschenes
16:09 Oct 26, 2020

I am a pretty big "dark fan" as well. I am happy to find some others! I'm new-ish. Haha.

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Ruby Galvez
12:29 Oct 22, 2020

Your dialogue is awesome! It's made the characters come alive for me.

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Lina Ozz
22:52 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you so much, Ruby! I really appreciate your comment and for giving my story a read. :)

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Yolanda Wu
05:34 Oct 22, 2020

Once again, the all dialogue story is extremely effective! Somehow you fit all of the plot and each character's personality and what they're going through into just dialogue, which is so impressive. I also love how you handled those dark themes with seemingly normal dialogue, which is also another challenge you managed to conquer. Those themes are clear without you overtly telling us, it's the characters that are expressing it through their dialogue. An amazing story, Lina!

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Lina Ozz
22:55 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you so much for your comment and for reading my stories, Yolanda! It really means a lot to me. :) And I'm glad those themes came across!

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L.A. Nolan
05:07 Oct 22, 2020

What a challenge! All dialogue without tags. Well done and congratulations for pushing the edge of the envelope. I firmly believe that is what Reesy is all about and as writers, we should use this platform to expand and seek honest critique. You've got me thinking about my next submission!

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Lina Ozz
22:56 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you so much, Lee! I really appreciate your giving my story a read and your thoughtful comment. I've always struggled with dialogue, so really trying to get a good grip on it as of late. You're totally right––that's what Reedsy is all about!

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Dalyane Deblois
17:29 Oct 21, 2020

Great story! As Alexi said, the dialogue hooks the reader's attention! It brings us closer to the story and the characters. Its reads well and is really enjoyable! Great plot and twist at the end! Good work, keep writing!:)

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Lina Ozz
18:32 Oct 21, 2020

Thank you so much for your lovely feedback and for giving my story a read! I really appreciate it :)

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Alexi Delavigne
11:11 Oct 21, 2020

Wow I really enjoyed this story! I actually didn’t even notice it was all in dialogue because I found it easy to follow and it held my attention so much. I thought it would turn out destiny was the ghost, so when it was Amelia it was a big surprise! Good job :)

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Alexi Delavigne
11:14 Oct 21, 2020

Sorry I forgot to say I think the way you wrote the mother was brilliant, at first she seems caring and then she starts getting more intense and there hints somethings not right and finally the truth is revealed! Really think you did a fantastic job with her character

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Lina Ozz
17:01 Oct 21, 2020

Thank you so much for your comments! That's exactly what I was going for, so I'm really glad it came across; I appreciate your feedback :) And thank you! I'm happy that the mother's trajectory also made sense; I tried to make her a little more complicated and eerie with each passage. Thanks so much again! :)

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Lina Ozz
04:40 Oct 21, 2020

Okay, this is a weird one. I wanted to experiment with using only dialogue again, but for a more complicated plot; I really wasn't sure how to approach this prompt. I may delete it if I come up with a better story. I have no idea if I succeeded with this one, so critiques welcome!

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L.A. Nolan
05:52 Oct 28, 2020

Don't know why the "like" didn't stick when I first read it Lina, but thats okay, I read it again lol.

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Lina Ozz
05:53 Oct 28, 2020

Thanks so much, Lee! Much appreciated. :)

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Kylie Rudolf
20:25 Oct 26, 2020

This story is unbelievable! The dialogue is perfect and is so relatable.

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Lina Ozz
22:21 Oct 26, 2020

Thank you so much for your kind comment and for giving my story a read, Kylie!! Much appreciated :)

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Daniel Deschenes
16:07 Oct 26, 2020

I love the way this is setup! I was hooked from the get-go.

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Lina Ozz
16:08 Oct 26, 2020

Thank you so much! I appreciate the read and the comment :)

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Leilani Lane
01:40 Oct 23, 2020

This is so cool!! No tags!! Well done. :) Ok, maybe you can help me out with this, because everyone keeps telling me different things. If a person is kinds of stuttering/hesitating in dialogue, is that an em dash or a hyphen? Like here: And your––your murder a year ago. You’re––you and your mom––you’re his story. That's why we're here. Is that correct, or should it be: And your–your murder a year ago. You’re––you and your mom––you’re his story. That's why we're here. I have no idea!!

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Lina Ozz
01:42 Oct 23, 2020

Okay, so from what I understand, full words would be an em dash. However, portions of words that are cut off would be a hypen. I think. I could be wrong. So: "Your--your murder a year ago." "Y-y-your murder a year ago." Does that make sense? Again, I could be completely wrong!

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Leilani Lane
01:45 Oct 23, 2020

That makes sense!! If anyone else has any other thoughts on this, please comment lol!!

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Lina Ozz
02:00 Oct 23, 2020

https://grammarpartyblog.com/2018/03/22/how-to-write-stuttering/ Ah-hah! Use hyphen for "stuttering". Use a type of pause (ellipses, em dash) for a break, I believe.

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Leilani Lane
02:46 Oct 23, 2020

You solved it!! Thank you!!

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