53 comments

Contemporary Fiction Sad

Douglas sits down at the rickety chair in front of the rickety desk, the legs of both threatening to fall off at any moment. But he was determined to use them till the very end, to be faithful to them like they had been to him. They had been his companions and the only ones who truly cared, and he wasn’t going to let them go that easily.


He takes a sturdy sheet from the stack of papers, the smell immediately reminding him of the thumping of small feet running towards the front door when the bell rang on a Sunday, and then fighting over who gets to carry the papers to Father.


Nicholas had always won, with the argument that he was older, and he always got to inhale the smell of each envelope, something that Douglas had always been jealous of.


Douglas smirks to himself, the wrinkles on his face moving to the right with the curve of his lips, as he pictures his dear brother, now resting peacefully under the dirt, thereby leaving the living child in peace to smell his paper without being shoved or kicked at.


He takes his trusty ink pen, filling it to the brim using the inkpot open on his desk, and rubs the bluish stain from his fingers on to his brown overall, adding to the colourful state of his clothes.


Placing his elbow and arm the way he had been taught to, the way that was almost reflex to him now, he starts writing, scratching the nib the way he liked, tilting the paper so that he didn’t break the delicate bones in his neck.


With a salutation of ‘Dear Barbara’, he asks about the family and children first, as expected. He requests to send a photograph along with her reply, ignoring the sting in his heart, ignoring the fact that this communication is only one-way, ignoring the fact that his own daughter thought of her own father as an old lunatic.


He reads over it again, chiding himself for the spelling mistakes that seem to be dotted all over the page. He corrects his past self, adding arrows and more words, slashes and cuts, bleeding the ink into the page, bleeding himself into the page.


He reads it again and is mildly satisfied. Folding the page in half, he takes an envelope from the stack of envelopes lying next to the stack of papers, and carefully pushes it inside.


Bringing his tongue to the edge, he runs it down the triangular fold, tasting paper and ink and pain and blood, and smoothens the fold, sealing the envelope without leaving any unnecessary creases or bulges.


He writes Barbara’s address and name, the words appearing like magic, and puts a stamp on the right corner, hitting his fist on it, prompting a loud thud and a creak from the table.


He moves on to his next letter, this one to his son Isaac, doing all of it the same way he had been doing since the time he had learned how to write.


He knows that there are easier ways to send messages and photographs, easier ways to communicate events and emotions. He had heard about the smartphones with their emails and their cameras. He had been given a comprehensive speech about the benefits of technology from his young grandson as soon as he had returned from college.


He had only nodded his head and displayed his toothy smile, feigning interest in his passionate rant. He never mentioned to his children and grandchildren that he had a box kept under his bed, where he had safely kept all the letters his father and brother had sent to him. He never shared the fact that on the anniversary of their deaths, he would take out their letters and read them again, laugh with them again and stain the yellowed pages with his tears filled with memories. He never brought up his late wife, who he had corresponded with for almost two years before her parents had allowed him to marry her. He just smiled with the teeth he had left, swallowing his past with his words.


If Kathleen had still been with him, she would have kissed his sunken cheeks and asked him to move with time, instead of being stuck in his own time forever. She would have shaken her head when he explained that he couldn’t do that and would have corrected his lie by saying that he didn’t want to.


But she is dead, and he is alone.


The people who had understood him were long gone. The people who smelled the paper and ink, ran their fingers down the page in reverence until the ink was imprinted on their fingers, they are all dead.


He is the only one left, trying to hold on to the only thing he knows how to do, the only thing he knows to do well.


He finishes the last letter, the one to his youngest daughter Julia, and keeps it on the stack.


He is suddenly exhausted, as he is every week. Pouring his heart out in ink on paper satisfies him, but also drains him. It pulls on every thread of his heart and sometimes, he wishes he could stop. But he knows that he’s not going to, not until his final breath.


He sits on the small bed in his rooms, interlocking his fingers and closing his eyes. He prays to the Almighty and he asks for His blessings, not just for himself, but for his entire family.


Douglas then proceeds to talk to his wife, tell him about his day, and laugh about his shortcomings and his tendency to live in a different time period. When she had passed, he had sent a letter to her along with his usual ones but had soon stopped once he realized that she couldn’t write back.


Then he resorted to talking to her, and he found that she may not be able to reply, but she sure can listen. And that was enough for him. That was more than enough.


He feels the marks on his hands, the scratches and the cuts, the blood and the ink, the feel of paper still lingering. He remembers his young days, his fights with his brother, his tumultuous relationship with his wife and children, and he smiles, though there is no one to smile back.


He lies down and sleeps soundly.


There isn’t anyone to wake him the next morning.

January 23, 2021 07:55

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53 comments

Radhika Diksha
18:14 Jan 23, 2021

By the way, I have submitted a new story would love your feedback on it

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Writer Maniac
02:02 Jan 24, 2021

I'll check it out when I get the time :)

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Maggie K
16:10 Jan 24, 2021

Awwwww. So good.

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Writer Maniac
16:38 Jan 24, 2021

Thank you:)

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Maggie K
18:00 Jan 24, 2021

I just posted my first story it's not great but do you think you could check it out?

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Writer Maniac
01:40 Jan 25, 2021

I'll check it out when I get the time :)

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Yes! I am so glad you posted another story Mania, I loved it so much! :)

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Writer Maniac
02:02 Jan 24, 2021

Thank you so much, I'm so glad you liked it!

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No problem Mania!

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Izzie Chan
16:15 Jan 23, 2021

This is such a powerful story! I love how there was no dialogue; it brought more attention to Douglas’s feelings and memories. This story is one that I’m going to revisit. Great job!

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Writer Maniac
16:44 Jan 23, 2021

Thank you so much, I'm so glad you liked it! I would appreciate some feedback on two stories I'm really proud of, 'Not Worth It' and 'Game Over' :)

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Izzie Chan
17:40 Jan 26, 2021

You’re welcome! I’ll be sure to check them out :)

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Izzie Chan
01:16 Jan 27, 2021

Also, I was planning to do something similar to this with the letters. If you’re not comfortable with it, I can come up with a different storyline. Just wanted to let you know :D

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Writer Maniac
02:22 Jan 27, 2021

I won't mind, if you can think of anything else please do, if this is the only idea you can get, you can go ahead with it :)

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Izzie Chan
02:45 Jan 27, 2021

Okay, thank you so much! I’m really sorry if I can’t think of anything.

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Radhika Diksha
08:05 Jan 23, 2021

Shout out writer Ethan https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/ethan-cavacas/ Thora https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/thora-porter/ These are the writers for the week please do check put then in your free time. They work hard for their stories, they would love your comments.

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Writer Maniac
08:07 Jan 23, 2021

I'm not a member of Oasis, but I'll be sure to check them out. Please tell me what you think of my story also, since you're commenting on it :)

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Radhika Diksha
08:47 Jan 23, 2021

Yeah i know. I am just advertising. Sure.

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Radhika Diksha
15:12 Jan 29, 2021

Well written story. Even I like letter writing and always thought it a better way to convey message to our dear ones. Keep writing. Your plotline is improving day by day and your writing skills are getting better.

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Writer Maniac
15:13 Jan 29, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate your feedback!

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Radhika Diksha
06:53 Apr 08, 2021

Any problem here?

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Coco Longstaff
22:39 Jan 23, 2021

Ooo the title is really intriguing and good. It was an interesting flow of the story and the content was great. The ending made me grin. Really nice job! (P.S. what’s ur fave song from the new WDW album? Mine is Love Song)

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Writer Maniac
02:03 Jan 24, 2021

Thank you so much, I'm so glad you liked it! P.S. My favourite is Stay.

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Coco Longstaff
12:12 Jan 24, 2021

Oo nice!

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Writer Maniac
12:14 Jan 24, 2021

Hey, would you mine upvoting me a bit if you're free? I just lost about a 100 points :(

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Coco Longstaff
07:27 Jan 25, 2021

Hihi ya sure no prob! But can u pls upvote me 2 please? I lost 500 points lol

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Writer Maniac
07:31 Jan 25, 2021

Oh good lord, of course, I'll do my best :)

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Aww, this was so sad but very good. I loved seeing things through Douglass's eyes. How he perceived everything since he had gotten older. I loved this story so much.

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Writer Maniac
02:19 Feb 19, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it!

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You are so welcome. I have a few on here that I just love to read their stories. And I can say that I can't wait to see what you write next.

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Writer Maniac
02:49 Feb 19, 2021

Aww thank you!

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17:23 Feb 08, 2021

Is there anyway to contact you? Your email? People say praise publicly and criticize privately. The story is just awesome, and the way you described loneliness after your close ones have passed away is outstanding. Well done! But I have noticed something which might be wrong (I ain't sure), that's why I wanna contact you privately.

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Writer Maniac
02:28 Feb 09, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! Thank you so much for asking, my email id is: writer1.maniac1@gmail.com, I appreciate your consideration :)

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Writer Maniac
02:30 Feb 09, 2021

Could you please upvote me? I woke up today morning with almost 50 points gone :(

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15:36 Feb 04, 2021

Lovely story. I also still prefer to write things down on paper. It helps to remember things better. The whole story had a very nostalgic feel and I like how you describe the little details of writing a letter. Well done!

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Writer Maniac
15:50 Feb 04, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate the comment! I would love some feedback on a story called 'Not Worth It' which I'm really proud of :)

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13:17 Feb 05, 2021

No worries. I'd be happy to check out that story. If you have a minute I'd also love some feedback on my latest story :)

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Writer Maniac
14:26 Feb 05, 2021

I'll be sure to check it out when I get the time!

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Susan Sidell
05:14 Jan 31, 2021

Wow, beautiful, wistful, i feel like I'm watching winter come in. Amazed at your craft with just a few words.

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Writer Maniac
05:42 Jan 31, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! I would appreciate some feedback on 'Not Worth It', a story I'm quite proud of :)

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William Flautt
18:58 Jan 28, 2021

I (perhaps naively) hope that letter-writing never becomes fully replaced by technology. I really ought to do it more often, now that I've read your piece here. You described it so well. Good work!

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Writer Maniac
02:34 Jan 29, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! I believe the same thing, although I've never had any reason to write one before, maybe I should! I would love some feedback on two stories of mine called 'Not Worth It' and 'Game Over' which I'm really proud of :)

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William Flautt
03:10 Jan 29, 2021

I'd be happy to do a critical feedback exchange. Please read my bio for details!

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Writer Maniac
03:40 Jan 29, 2021

Sure, I'll check out a story of yours soon!

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Beth Connor
17:15 Jan 28, 2021

This was another great read. Bittersweet and lonely, a little haunting. My small critique would be to watch repeating words- for example: "He takes a sturdy paper from the stack of papers" could be he takes a sturdy sheet from the stack of papers" Something that helps me catch these moments when I do it is reading my writing out loud. My dogs love it, and my kids think I'm crazy...

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Writer Maniac
17:19 Jan 28, 2021

Thank you so much for the feedback, I'll change it right away, I really appreciate it!

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Maya W.
03:40 Jan 26, 2021

Hi Mania, I've been following you and reading your stories for a little while, but I haven't had the chance to comment yet. Dang it, I was planning on doing something about letter writing for this prompt, lol. All in all, a wonderful story. I love the main character's voice, and the direction you took with the prompt. Excellent job!

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Writer Maniac
03:52 Jan 26, 2021

Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it!

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Maya W.
15:03 Jan 26, 2021

You don't mind if I also write about letters, do you? It's still pretty different.

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Writer Maniac
16:01 Jan 26, 2021

I won't mind, try and think of something else if you can, if nothing else comes to mind you can go ahead with it :)

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Maya W.
16:21 Jan 26, 2021

Thanks. :)

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Maya W.
01:18 Jan 27, 2021

I just posted it, if you wanna check it out. It ended up very, very different.

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