1071 comments

Fiction Crime

SHOUTOUT TO COCO LONGSTAFF SHE'S AMAZING!!!! CHECK HER OUT AT https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/coco-longstaff/


When James woke up in the morning, he did not speak to his fellow Workers. No one spoke, because to speak your mind is to sin. James tried to keep his mind as blank as he could but the unspoken sins kept rising up to meet him.


There were 100 people in the room, their beds lined up in columns. James' was on the column closest to the right wall, so he saw the beds of everyone else. He wanted to tell them to go back to bed, that it was too early, but it was already ten minutes into their breakfast time.


James lifted his legs to the side of the bed and straightened his back as he had always done. He put on his shoes and let his shirt fall onto his back. James used to hate those clothes, with their disgusting off-white colors. At first, he'd tried to wear his own, but then by some change of heart, he found that he loved them. He still didn't know why. His best guess was that the Leaders didn't think he needed the information.


All the men walked in a line out of the bedroom to the dining hall while James thought about his unspoken sins. Your hair is too long, he thought about the man to his left, I don't like your face, he thought about another. None of the men could hear his crimes, but he tried to make them known of his distaste.


It's dark today. Do we have to go out when it's dark? James knew it was a horrible crime to wish not to work, not to contribute to the Workforce, but who could punish him for his thoughts??


"You're too stinky, I don't like your eyes, your nose is disgusting, All of you look horrible and ugly." Everyone looked at him with shock, but James kept spooning green beans onto his platter. Only when he turned around did he realize he'd committed his last sin for all to see.


Don't speak of it, James said with his eyes. That was the only way the Workers communicated, and a very effective one at that. The other Workers turned away and continued to eat their beans.


At 5:00 in the morning, all the men filed out to the streets and began their work. It was a tedious task, the one assigned to them., keeping the streets clean. There was a shed at each intersection with brooms and blowers, and every day the Workers took their tools from there. The streets had wide sidewalks so there was more space to clean but they got up early so they could finish before dinner.


James worked on the 260th quadrant of town, where the leaves were gray and shriveled. They crumbled whenever he tried to sweep them up, which was a pain, but he made do. Through all of his years as a Worker, he had learned the correct way to hold a broom, with your lower hand pressing down and your upper pressing up. It made work a little more bearable.


James liked to think of the other Workers as shrimp, dancing across the stones in the sidewalk. It was a curse, his brain, his damned creativity, but it was funny. He had to stifle a laugh every now and then so as not to become a Pupil at the Reeducation Institute. If you spoke out of line, it was simply ration cuts. For a laugh, you got pain.


The first time that a laugh drifted into James' ears was a long time ago, he couldn't tell how long. It had been business as usual and James' head wasn't crowded with the sins it was today. He had gone to his corner with a broom, prepared for a hard day of work. Back then, he had a partner. It was a stout man, with a rough beard. Few Workers had beards. The man had committed a heinous crime, one that even James dared not to commit: He had whistled. It was a horrible treachery but James couldn't help himself. He opened his ears to the man's whistling and let it warm him up.


A few weeks after the man's offense, James had come upon his corner one day to find that he was alone. There was no partner, no musical lilt in the air. It had been long enough, and they reeducated him. James couldn't cry, no, because he hadn't really known the man, but he did feel sick to his stomach. He refused his extra portions and even starved himself.


In the darkness, as James lay in bed trying to fall asleep, a voice came to him. It wasn't any voice that he'd heard before, but a deep voice. The words rang out in front of him, the stops and fricatives rolling into his ears. Who are you? He pondered over the voice, then found himself at a sudden halt. His words weren't their own, no, but the voice spoke them.


James wanted to scream, to rip the voice from his brain, but then a warmth settled over him. It was an odd feeling, something entirely new to him but not unknown. He settled into the voice, realizing its entirety. The deep tones had felt odd in his mind, but he now felt a kinship to them. The voice was not any voice but James' voice. It was the first time James had heard a voice.


You have a deep voice... I... I have a deep voice. James felt the word 'I', the new meaning shocking his brain. He had never thought of himself in the individual before. Did his thoughts echo through the minds of others? I like cheese. I don't like your hair. I really hate mice. James tested it out, thought all horrible things about all manners of people, but they never responded or even glanced at him. He was free in his mind, free to speak and to insult and to prefer and to love and to cherish and to hate. It was his own, the mind, and he found that he loved it. There was nothing that could make him separate from it.

January 11, 2021 17:19

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

1071 comments

15:44 Jan 21, 2021

It is a great story. I look forward to what you write next.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Grace Kejo
17:52 Jan 19, 2021

I want this to ba a novel, it's so fun and sweet, I hope you win :)

Reply

. .
17:59 Jan 19, 2021

Awwwww thanks!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
20:21 Jan 15, 2021

Here's my short notes: 1. I've never read George Orwell, so I cannot judge the style. 2. I really like the way you wrote this. It's abrupt and reserved and very different from what I usually see. 3. The main character is a bit underdeveloped. I feel like we'd need a longer novel or novella to truly capture this story. As it is, the resolution feels like it comes too quickly, with a lack of tension and character development. 4. As it is, we read this because it's interesting. The world is interesting, the man is interesting, all of it is ...

Reply

. .
20:52 Jan 15, 2021

Thanks so much, Leo!! I’ll keep those in mind

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Mira Caplan
23:28 Jan 14, 2021

Hellooooo! Ok. Upvote/downvote thing. Marshmallows. We aren't disbanding, not all of us agreed. Airen and I don't want to end the group, at least.

Reply

. .
23:32 Jan 14, 2021

We’re not ending the group just the upvoting part.

Reply

Mira Caplan
23:32 Jan 14, 2021

But why?

Reply

. .
23:33 Jan 14, 2021

I explained this to you already, remember??

Reply

Mira Caplan
23:33 Jan 14, 2021

Explain it again

Reply

. .
23:37 Jan 14, 2021

We think that Reedsy has become more about the points for recognition than good writing, so we want to not prioritize points over writing. We don't want people to be more popular based on clicks of upvotes.

Reply

Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Riddhi Shedge
23:08 Jan 14, 2021

Hey!! I'm going to be more active on this account :) Hope we can continue chatting lol :DD

Reply

. .
23:17 Jan 14, 2021

Ofc we can!!

Reply

Riddhi Shedge
23:17 Jan 14, 2021

Yayyyyy!!!

Reply

. .
23:18 Jan 14, 2021

Can you explain to the others why we’re no longer an upvote group?

Reply

Riddhi Shedge
23:18 Jan 14, 2021

Ooh, sure! (I'm really sorry about that btw :( I feel really bad) Also, who do you mean by "others"?

Reply

. .
23:19 Jan 14, 2021

Other mallows

Reply

Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Nainika Gupta
23:00 Jan 14, 2021

hey! just took your writing quiz :D:D:D:D

Reply

Show 0 replies

Hello would you mind helping me out with a prophecy?

Reply

. .
20:29 Jan 14, 2021

Ofc!! What is it about?

Reply

well, its for my story aiden bennett and the reality shifters, which is about a bunch of people who have the powers to manipulate reality. It's gotta mention going to new york, and treachery. Thanks! Need any more info?

Reply

. .
21:03 Jan 14, 2021

No, I think that's good. How about this: The threads of the world be overthrown The pains recalling a somber tone The ivory tower above the rest the city where shall live the blessed A fish out of water, a flame out of air The souls of the enemies shall soon be bare The heat of the evil burning above In the land of the lions flies the dove

Reply

OH MY GOSH its perfect! Thank you so much!

Reply

. .
21:19 Jan 14, 2021

No problem!! I love making them.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Nainika Gupta
20:15 Jan 14, 2021

PART 5 IS OUT

Reply

Show 0 replies
Megan Sutherland
19:02 Jan 14, 2021

Luke are you ready to play Among Us??

Reply

Show 0 replies
Up Voter
17:09 Jan 14, 2021

I need help...https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/proveme-wrong/ Check their comments!

Reply

. .
17:17 Jan 14, 2021

I will... its horrible that there are so many of theseeeeeee

Reply

Up Voter
17:19 Jan 14, 2021

Ugh...I know :( I guess people are really upset about upvoting. I mean they kinda do make sense in their comments but idk.

Reply

. .
17:20 Jan 14, 2021

I really think that they don't deserve to criticize usssss bc they haven't even posted

Reply

Up Voter
17:26 Jan 14, 2021

Yea, that's trueee

Reply

. .
17:27 Jan 14, 2021

Why are all of these popping up now??

Reply

Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Mira Caplan
17:02 Jan 14, 2021

yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! probably that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (My Good Luke Charm, right?????????????)

Reply

. .
17:02 Jan 14, 2021

OMG YASSSSSS IM YOUR GOOD LUKE CHARM!!!! AND YOU'RE MY SELF CRITIQUE!!!

Reply

Mira Caplan
17:03 Jan 14, 2021

YEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are SUCH besties........ if there's, like, an award for that, it's ours no question

Reply

. .
17:04 Jan 14, 2021

YAS!!!! THERE SHOULD BEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Reply

Mira Caplan
17:05 Jan 14, 2021

TOTALLYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

Reply

Show 0 replies
Mira Caplan
17:05 Jan 14, 2021

TOTALLYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

Reply

. .
17:08 Jan 14, 2021

:DDDDDDDDDDDD

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 2 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Ari Berri
16:04 Jan 14, 2021

Thanks for putting me in your bio!

Reply

. .
16:05 Jan 14, 2021

ESCUSE OF COURSE!!!

Reply

Ari Berri
16:08 Jan 14, 2021

:D

Reply

. .
16:08 Jan 14, 2021

:DDD

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Nainika Gupta
12:36 Jan 14, 2021

you uh didn't change it ..... (your puzzle)

Reply

. .
12:46 Jan 14, 2021

I willllllllllll

Reply

Nainika Gupta
13:15 Jan 14, 2021

yay!! brain...smart....person fountain... is that a...city???

Reply

. .
13:16 Jan 14, 2021

It's a skyscraperrrrrr

Reply

Nainika Gupta
13:18 Jan 14, 2021

:D ok....classic or non-classic

Reply

. .
13:21 Jan 14, 2021

Could be considered a classic

Reply

Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
05:12 Jan 14, 2021

Hey Litlover! (Can I call you Lit?) This is such a beautiful story, and I loved your phenomenal writing, and I'm glad I came across your profile ;) The ending was super-amazing too, and I'm left speechless! Also, I'd like to join the Marshmallows! I'm very supportive of authors that get downvoted, and want this toxic chain to end. I read your bio, and I'd love to hear about your story TOV! I'm very much into different worlds, and I'm sure it's great. (Is the emoji puzzle related to Taming of the Shrew?) Lots of love, Sythe

Reply

. .
12:54 Jan 14, 2021

You can call me Luke!! Thanks so much!! I really loved writing this. Awwwwwww, you're so sweet!! Basically TOV stands for Tapestry of Varnala, Varnala being the mother goddess of Kuremor the land where the story takes place. She weaves together the threads of being into a tapestry which creates the world. Basically, it's about six strands that were stolen from her tapestry and brought to Kuremor in the form of swords, each with a different power. Now Varnala is asking for them back, and an Ashin (Like monkey people) and her friends have to b...

Reply

15:20 Jan 14, 2021

Well then, Luke :) (I've been binging Star Wars recently so your name reminds me of Luke Skywalker XD) It was my pleasure :) Wow, what a cool story! Sounds like a great ploy, and I'm sure I'd love to read the book someday! I LOVE a complicated plot with twists, and world-building, so...!

Reply

. .
15:23 Jan 14, 2021

Ha I have a really funny story about that, my dad named me after Luke Skywalker XD. Yeah, TOV is reallllllllll complicated and I want it to be as intricate as Lotr, but I'm not going to be mainly a fantasy writer, bc I like contemporary and emotional stories. I'm glad you enjoyed the idea!!

Reply

01:01 Jan 15, 2021

No way, that's like, parenting level hipster! Woah, best of luck! Well, whatever you choose, I'm sure you'd be great at it :) I guess I'm into fanatasy, but prefer to write paranormal instead because my heart is in the modern world and era, and honestly, I just love contemporary. And emotional, that's my favourite genre to read!

Reply

. .
01:02 Jan 15, 2021

Yeah :) Thanks a ton, Sythe, back at you.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
02:22 Jan 14, 2021

Litlover, just so you know, 4 Agatha Christie series are Ms. Marple, Tommy and Tuppence, Hercule Poirot, and I think stand alones, tho I'm not sure:) I adore Agatha Christie!!! And for a shot at the characters in And Then There Were None, I can't remember them all, but there are Vera Claythorne someone named Armstrong, Dr. Justice Wargrave, Emiluy Brent, and prob other people but I can't remember them:)

Reply

. .
12:57 Jan 14, 2021

OMG YASSSS!!! I think that Superintendent Battle is another one. YASSS I LOVE AGATHA CHRISTIE SO MUCH!!!! The ten and then there were none peeps, I have memorized them, are Lawrence Wargrave, Emily Brent, General Macarthur, Dr. Armstrong, Vera Claythorne, Philip Lombard, Detective Blore, Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, and Anthony Marston. SO HAPPY TO FIND ANOTHER SUPERFAN!!!

Reply

14:57 Jan 14, 2021

Yes!!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
14:57 Jan 14, 2021

Yes!!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
14:57 Jan 14, 2021

Yes!!!

Reply

. .
14:59 Jan 14, 2021

I love Agatha Christie soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much.

Reply

15:29 Jan 14, 2021

I know! Oops... I accidentally sent that yes three times :)

Reply

. .
15:33 Jan 14, 2021

That's okay, it happens all the time.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 4 replies
Show 1 reply
Amany Sayed
01:26 Jan 14, 2021

Queen of poetry! I'm so flattered, thank you! :D

Reply

. .
12:45 Jan 14, 2021

YOU DESERVE IT!!!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
. .
23:51 Jan 13, 2021

What??

Reply

This: https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/stop-upvoting/

Reply

. .
23:58 Jan 13, 2021

I knowwwww I told upvoter 20 min agooooo it sucks

Reply

. .
00:02 Jan 14, 2021

I knowwwwwwww what should we do?

Reply

Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Shae Greyfeather
21:44 Jan 13, 2021

Woah. That was good.

Reply

. .
21:55 Jan 13, 2021

Thanks Iris!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Veronica Pena
17:02 Jan 13, 2021

bro you got a long bio about yourself danngggggggg

Reply

. .
17:02 Jan 13, 2021

I dooooooo that's true

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Nainika Gupta
14:46 Jan 13, 2021

oooh the Agatha christie one (about the fifth line right??) we just had a book study about it.... it was the five little soldier boys going in for law, one got into chancery and then there were four....RIGHT???

Reply

. .
14:47 Jan 13, 2021

Yepppppppppp fineeeeee you get only one shoutout tho I LOVE AND THEN THERE WERE NONE SO MUCH

Reply

Nainika Gupta
14:49 Jan 13, 2021

yess (sorry one shout out is fine...i just wanted to say it BC i justtttttttt did that study AND MEE TOOO ITS ONE OF MY FAV BOOKS BY HER MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS IS MY ALL TIME FAV THOUGH....

Reply

. .
14:51 Jan 13, 2021

WHAT????? I ADORE THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD!!!!

Reply

Nainika Gupta
14:53 Jan 13, 2021

Well, mkay that’s amazing....

Reply

. .
14:53 Jan 13, 2021

IT ISSSSSSSS

Reply

Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Nainika Gupta
14:51 Jan 13, 2021

ok, so your emoji puzzle is a a girl that hates the person she eventually falls in love with...right?? romance obviiiiiii hmmm thinking

Reply

. .
14:51 Jan 13, 2021

XDDDDDDD

Reply

Nainika Gupta
14:52 Jan 13, 2021

Ghaaa was that a correct guess???!

Reply

. .
14:53 Jan 13, 2021

Maybeeeee

Reply

Show 2 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 2 replies
Show 1 reply