57 comments

Sad Drama

(Content Warning: Language, Suicide, Abuse.)

The world is too small for every dream to come true.

A pretty odd thing to say when you think about it, but that’s what Kevin’s dad, Earl, told his son growing up. It’s not hard to ruin a child’s youth, all it takes is a little nudge in the wrong direction, and Earl knew all the right places to push. A light slap to the face, a belt snap to the back, or maybe some thick bruises above the shirt line just to make sure no one noticed. The worst kind of abuse is invisible.

Back then, the phrase child abuse was rarely used. Proper punishment was a more justified thing to say. Growing up in that kind of negative environment was harsh, and most children didn’t know what the other side looked like. Candy canes, lollipops, and money to buy whatever a kid wanted was a fanciful farce that existed only in fairytales or dreams. In the real world, cruel words cut like a knife.

Indeed, some people were born lucky, while others had to face the harsh reality of the cold hard world. Abused children knew the truth well, for there was no such thing as luck. Kevin knew that more than most. His mother had died during childbirth, and every time his father looked into his son’s eyes, there was nothing there but anger. How could a dad hold so much hatred for their own son?

When Kevin was younger, most people thought he had learning disabilities because he didn’t say much, but they were wrong. He just didn’t talk a whole lot for fear of saying the wrong words. For all Kevin knew, everyone had a mean backhand like his father. The normalization of institutional pain was easy to live with because that was the only thing he knew.

Kevin’s only refuge was his vivid imagination and love of stories. He would pass the time by secretly writing tales of woe and wonder and hid them underneath his mattress, so his father wouldn’t find them. Keep your head out of those fairytales and be a real man, he would say.

Earl couldn’t possibly understand his son’s desire for creativity. It was his refuge. A safe place to hide from the demons of the world. Deep within Kevin’s soul, a small flicker of radiant light glowed like a distant star in the universe. A small glimmer of hope and a promise for a brighter tomorrow. Kevin wrote hundreds of short stories and wished he could disappear into those worlds.

When Kevin turned sixteen, Earl got his only son a job at the Wilson Lumber Mill, which was about five miles from their rundown home on Factory Street. It was hard work, but Kevin quickly asserted himself and became a prized employee. Earl wouldn’t let Kevin spend a dime. He made him put every penny in the bank, so he could move out when he turned eighteen.

It so happened that Kevin had the same idea, and for once, a father and son had something they could agree on. Kevin worked hard at the mill and even harder in school. He made good grades and excelled in every class, and yet, he still managed to find time to write his stories.

One day, Kevin’s friend, Billy, got to read one of those stories. He was rummaging around in Kevin’s backpack trying to hide a pack of smokes from Mrs. Turner and came upon the story by accident. The tale was only three pages long and was about a group of renegade pirates searching for their lost treasure, but Billy loved it. He told Kevin that he should enter some writing contests, and that’s what he did.

For the past two years, without his father’s knowledge, Kevin paid a weekly fee of ten dollars to an online writing contest called Sleazy. The grand prize was five hundred dollars, and winners were drawn weekly. Only the best stories won, and Kevin was on cloud nine, knowing he had found his calling.

Every Saturday morning, he would check the winner’s list with high hopes, only to discover that he wasn’t the lucky winner. Most people in his position would hang their heads low and give up, but Kevin was different. Losing gave him the motivation to try harder, and so he did.

Week after week, Kevin tried his hardest to win the writing contest, and week after week, he lost. He was determined to win, but his drive was deterred when his father discovered that his son was wasting money on a fool’s dream.

Writing is for losers!

You’ll never be good at anything! 

You can’t win because, in the eyes of your peers, you’re a failure!!

Kevin took his father’s words to heart. Some things can’t be forgiven or forgotten. Time went by, but those wounds never healed. Kevin made a big decision to move out, and this caused more arguments that raged like a burning fire. The flames were so hot that Kevin filled a trash bag full of clothes, grabbed his laptop, and moved in with his best friend, Billy.

Billy’s family welcomed Kevin with loving arms, but the open wounds created by his father wouldn’t heal. He withdrew from everyone and cast himself into his created worlds. He wrote story after story only to fail every week, just like his father said he would. Billy remained steadfast in his dedication and devotion and urged Kevin to keep moving forward. Despite not being an avid reader, Billy enjoyed Kevin’s stories and believed he had a special gift. 

In all the turmoil, Kevin lost his job at the Lumber Mill, quit school, and, aside from Billy, isolated himself from the outside world. Kevin hated his father but was glad that he made him save every penny from his work. If it wasn’t for that, Kevin wouldn’t be able to pay Sleazy the contest entry fee.

It was Friday once again, and Kevin had just finished another story. He spent the week hammering out a fantasy adventure about dragons and beautiful maidens that needed rescuing. He uploaded his manuscript, entered his payment information, and hit the submit button. After five minutes of watching a loading circle dancing on his screen, an error message appeared in big, bold red letters.

Payment failed due to insufficient funds. Please reenter your payment information or try another card. 

“What the fuck?!” Kevin shouted.

Billy was in the next room playing Mortal Kombat when he heard Kevin’s outrage. He threw the controller down, ran into the next room, and blurted, “What happened?”

Kevin shook his head. “I keep entering my payment information, and it won’t go through!”

“That’s weird,” said Billy. “I thought you had plenty of money saved up?”

“I do. Five thousand dollars, to be exact!”

Billy scrunched his lips and wiggled his nose—a trademark reaction that Kevin knew all too well. “I have an idea,” shot Billy. “There’s an ATM across the street at the Quickie Mart. We could check your balance if you want.”

“Yeah,” agreed Kevin. “It might be quicker because the internet is really slow today.”

The boys strolled over to the Quickie Mart, and Kevin wasted little time entering his information into the ATM. As soon as he pushed the enter button, Kevin almost fainted because he was surprised at the balance. The green computer screen lit up, showing all zeros.

Billy narrowed his eyes and peered over Kevin’s shoulder. “What the hell, dude? It says you have nothing left.”

“I can see that!” Kevin snapped.

He pressed the transaction button with a trembling finger and discovered that all his savings had been withdrawn two days ago.

“That son-of-a-bitch!”

“Don’t tell me,” Billy gasped. “Your father took all that money, didn’t he?”

“He did!”

“Awe, man. You should have never created a joint checking account with that sleazeball!”

Kevin wrinkled his forehead and roared, “I know that, but I had no choice at the time!”

Billy didn’t know what to say. He knew his words would fall short, so he grabbed Kevin’s arm and walked him back home. After hearing Kevin sob for hours in the solitude of his room, Billy knew he had to do something.

“Hey, Kevin,” Billy whispered behind a closed door. “I know you’re upset, but it’s not the end of the world.”

The door suddenly swung open, and Kevin stood firm with bloodshot eyes. “Yes, it is. There’s no way I can enter that contest now. My life is a complete disaster.”

“No, it’s not! Everyone goes through a bad phase in life. You just have to figure some things out, conquer your demons and pull yourself together.”

“I’m trying,” Kevin sobbed. “I don’t know how much more I can take.”

Billy nodded. “Listen, my friend. I read your story, and I think it’s great. I’m going to pay the entry fee for you because I believe you will win.”

Kevin wiped away a tear and mumbled, “No. I won’t let you do that. I know I’m depressed and have some problems. You’re right. Everything you said was right. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not an idiot. I won’t allow you to do this just because I’m upset.”

“Well, it’s not up to you. Friends don’t do because they have to. They do things because they want to.”

“I appreciate that Billy, but I’m like a shard of broken glass ready to shatter into a million pieces.”

“It’s alright,” Billy said with a warm smile. “Now, let’s go win that contest.”

It took a little more convincing before Kevin would allow Billy to pay the entry fee. He didn’t want the pity of his selfish behavior to spill over to his friend. Billy had already offered so much. A place to live, someone to talk to, and above all else—an unending supply of support. In the end, it was an argument that resulted in Billy doing what he wanted to do. He paid the entry fee for Kevin.

The following morning Kevin awoke to a thunderous pounding on his bedroom door. “Hey, Kevin! Wake up. It’s time to find out who won the contest!”

Oh, shit, I can’t believe I overslept!

Kevin opened the door, fired up his laptop, and logged into Sleazy. The boys looked at each other, took a deep breath, and clicked on the winner’s list. After a brief loading screen, the winner was The Self-destruction of Princess Needs A Lot, by Tiffany Masuku.

Billy gasped as Kevin hung his head low. “Don’t worry about it, man. You’ll get it next week.”

“No,” Billy said. “I’m done. I can’t keep doing this to myself.”

Billy patted Kevin’s shoulder and said, “That’s no way to talk. Listen, those judges are full of shit, and I believe if you’re not in their inner circle, you won’t win. Your stories are amazing, and you shouldn’t just quit. You’ve already done that, and look where it got you. I say, keep going! You have a gift, and you’re robbing the world of something special if you don’t continue.”  

“Ugh…” moaned Kevin. “I guess you’re right. For me, it’s not about winning the money. It’s about getting that recognition from my peers. I just want to belong. Maybe I will try one more time.”

“That’s the spirit,” Billy yelled. “Sometimes, you just gotta shout out those frustrations. Fuck you Sleazy!”

Kevin was slightly startled at the outburst and let a slight chuckle escape his lips.

“Come on, say it with me…” Billy urged.

Together the boys screamed at the top of their lungs. “Fuck you Sleazy!!”

With a newfound determination, Kevin locked himself away in his bedroom and wrote day and night. He wanted to create something wonderous and magical that he would be proud of. And that was the difference. He no longer cared if he won the writing contest. Creating something from his heart was all that mattered, and he was sure his peers would recognize his efforts in time.

Friday afternoon, Kevin finished writing and had Billy read it. His stomach was churning, and his heart raced like a frightened mouse being chased by a cat. He wondered what Billy was thinking.

“What do you think?” Kevin asked.

“It’s a poem.”

“Yeah. Stop foolin’, man. What do you think?!”

“Is this even allowed?”

“Of course, it is,” exclaimed Kevin. “The writing contest specifically states that all short stories AND poems are allowed. There are no minimum word limits.”

Billy nodded and read the poem again.  

Oh, cruel world

I see your graceful hands

But I don’t want them

Though my life isn’t perfect

I can still stand unflinching, unblinking

On my own

Forever and a day is all I can give

So, don’t take my words for granted

Because every breath is a precious gift

I stand here defiant in the face of fear, to say

Not yet, not yet

Billy’s eyes welled up with tears. “It’s perfect. I think this is one of your best works.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Now, let’s go get this thing submitted.”

After Billy paid the contest fee, Kevin wrapped his arms around his friend and gave him the biggest hug he had ever given. “Thank you, Billy. I can’t thank you enough for being there and supporting me. I love you very much.”

“I love you too,” Billy uttered. “Enough of this mushy stuff. You should get some sleep; tomorrow is the big day!”  

The night was calm and quiet as Billy went to sleep. He kept thinking about Kevin’s poem and how beautiful it was.

He deserves to win. He deserves to win…

Saturday morning came quickly, and Billy was eager to wake Kevin, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that something big had happened. He wanted to prepare himself before the big reveal, so he logged into Sleazy on his phone and checked the winner’s list.

The winning entry was Not yet, by Kevin Marlow.

“YES!” Billy shouted. He couldn’t believe his eyes, so he took another look, and sure enough, they were not fooling him. Billy danced around the room like his insides were ready to explode. He raced down the hallway and banged on Kevin’s door.

“Hey, man. Wake up. It’s time to check the winner’s list!”

There was no answer.

“Wake up, Kevin. Don’t leave my hangin’. We need to check that list!”

Still no answer.

“Shit, man, wake up already!!”

Billy turned the doorknob, but it was locked. He kicked and pounded more. “Wake the fuck up, Kevin! You won, you won!!” 

“What’s going on?” A loud booming voice called out. It was Billy’s dad, Lewis.

“I-I don’t know, dad,” Billy stuttered. “I can’t get Kevin up. I wonder if he’s okay?”

Lewis tried turning the doorknob with no luck. “Alright, stand back, son. Kevin, I’m coming in!”

Billy’s dad drew his leg back and kicked in the door to reveal a horrifying scene. Somehow through the night, Kevin had tied his bedsheets to the ceiling fan and hung himself. His body was twirling around, and his flesh was forever stained purple. Billy fell to his knees and screamed…  

Kevin’s funeral was a day of sadness for everyone who came to it. Beautiful flowers were placed all along the cemetery, and more than half the town came to pay their respects. Kevin would have been surprised to see how much he was loved.

Billy was shocked that Kevin’s dad didn’t have the balls to show up for his own son’s burial. Maybe it was for the best because Billy had a small pocket knife hidden in his back pocket that was hungry for blood. The way that man treated Kevin was barbaric, and he deserved a torturous death for what he did.

After everyone left and Kevin was laid to rest, Billy knelt by his friend’s grave and placed his hand on the fresh soil. “I’m sorry, Kevin,” he sobbed. “You were a bright soul and left behind a massive body of work that should be praised. I promise you that I will not rest until I publish every last story and poem you have ever written.”

He paused to wipe away his tears. “Your story isn’t over yet. Not yet… Not yet.” 

August 13, 2022 21:35

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57 comments

05:59 Aug 14, 2022

A good entry into the new genre of meta reedsy fiction! I relate to a lot of the angst in throwing stories into the void week after week, and eventually just settle of being satisfied in writing for fun.

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Daniel R. Hayes
06:19 Aug 14, 2022

Hi Scott. I feel your pain... I came up with this story from reading a ton of tweets on Twitter and some comments here on Reedsy. There are a lot of great writer's like yourself who deserve to shine. I didn't know there was a meta Reedsy fiction category, that's awesome...lol :)

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07:43 Aug 14, 2022

haha yeah, they need to add a topic code for that, these are the one i recall recently, in the Fictional story competition entries set inside fictional art competitions: A Scandal in the Lapland Art Contest https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/jajrot/ Yellow Dot Fever https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/u0mcjb/

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Daniel R. Hayes
16:47 Aug 14, 2022

That's awesome, I'll have to check those out. Thanks again! :)

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Tommy Goround
09:16 Aug 19, 2022

Hi Kevin, Daniel, et al. Excellent flow. The competition is.. half "open" unlike the _submit & Wait_ style. Perhaps it adds dopamine? Like active savings account that you look at, like a small chemical dependency like... You capture the essence of the community very well. Very good decision-making in the story telling -- you just "felt" like writing it? Great. Those are the best stories.

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Daniel R. Hayes
15:49 Aug 19, 2022

Thanks Tommy! I'm so glad you liked this one! :)

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Michał Przywara
22:58 Aug 14, 2022

This is a good story, although I think horror might still apply. Not the supernatural or slasher kind, but more the "this is a horrible event that didn't need to happen, and unfortunately it does happen in the real world" kind of horror. I like the relationship between the father and son. I mean, it's horrible, but it's believable, and it leaves a deep scar. Even later in life, where Billy clearly has his back, Kevin can't quite believe it. The abuse has run too deep and he hasn't had enough time to work past it, and so the ending is tragic...

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Daniel R. Hayes
23:29 Aug 14, 2022

Thank you so much! I think you're right, maybe this is a horror story but on a different level. I didn't really see it that way when I wrote it. Although I wrote this really quick it was a little hard to write because of the subject matter. I don't really like stories like this, but the idea was so good I felt compelled to write it. I never realized there was so much angst against writing contests. Twitter is full of comments and Reedsy is to for that matter. That's where this whole thing came from. I was going to write another fun horror st...

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Daniel R. Hayes
21:57 Aug 13, 2022

Author's Note: This story is dedicated to everyone who has ever been shaded by creative art or writing competitions including this one. These contests do not define who we are and only makes us stronger. I stand with you. I got the idea for this story from reading tons of tweets on Twitter and yes even some here on Reedsy about how unfair writing competitions and creative contests are. I think a lot of talented people deserve to be showcased and often times, get overlooked which makes them feel worthless over time. However, with that sai...

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Dina Castwell
18:21 Aug 21, 2022

amazing story . definitely relatable. resonated with this because i’ve been on reedsy since last month and i still don’t have the guts to enter any of the stories i wrote for the prompts. I didn’t even finish some of them thinking they were just not good enough. kevin’s death is already sad, but throw in the fact that he was an abused, probably depressed self doubting guy, who died just when he hit jackpot, it’s even more heart wrenching to think about. great read! and the quotes are just profound!

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Daniel R. Hayes
18:49 Aug 21, 2022

Thank you so much Dina! I really appreciate those wonderful comments. I think you should try because you never know unless you do. I've seen some people who have won with their very first stories. So, I would give a shot. I'll read some of your work later and let you know what I think :) Thanks again.

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Dina Castwell
13:24 Aug 22, 2022

of course :) I think you’re right. I’m actually yet to post any stories at all, even for free. their on the drafts in my laptop haha. but i hope to post one for this week’s prompts by friday and would love your feedback! thanks.

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Daniel R. Hayes
16:51 Aug 22, 2022

Yeah, I saw that. I really do think you should post one. You don't have to submit to the contest if you don't feel comfortable, but I would love to read it. Let me know when you post it. :)

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Mike Panasitti
23:37 Sep 10, 2022

Daniel, sometimes there's no better medicine than a well-deserved hiatus. I agree with Tommy Goround when he says the writing blog experience hooks you into a reward-dependent dopamine circuit. Winning a contest isn't really the goal for me any longer. I pay the submission fee for purposes of getting a few more likes than I would otherwise, reading comments and the interactivity I get in return. I hope publishing Tales has bought you bragging rights that many of the writers on Reedsy still don't have ; ) Take care. I hope you're well...

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Daniel R. Hayes
22:49 Sep 13, 2022

Thank you Mike! I really appreciate the kind words. I agree with them, and I honestly never wanted to win the contest, but at the same time, I always thought there was a chance, so I said, "Why not." Publishing "Tales," has been an amazing experience. The book is selling well, and has opened my writing to a lot more people. I'm working on my next novel right now, and hope to put out a story every now and again on here. I hope you're doing well also. Thank you for the kind words!! :)

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Keya Jadav
14:32 Aug 31, 2022

Hello Daniel!! How are you?? I am sorry, I've not been able to read your stories for quite a while but I saw you published your book! Congratulationss!!! I can't wait to get around reading it! Though I already bet it's a five star. So happy for you! CONGRATS AGAIN 🥂

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Daniel R. Hayes
16:35 Aug 31, 2022

Hi Keya, no need to apologize. It's all good. The book is doing good and so far the reviews have been awesome. How have you been?

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Keya Jadav
09:19 Sep 02, 2022

That's amazing! I have been great. Although, not quite active on Reedsy. Lately, I've been busy writing the first draft of a book. Not a novel though, just a collection of my poems I'd like to publish. So I am quite eager for that. But surely, I'm excited to read one of your outstanding gory stories. Any particular recommendations?

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Daniel R. Hayes
16:23 Sep 02, 2022

I'm so glad to hear that you're writing a book. I'd buy a copy for sure!! As far as recommendations, I would say, Something under our bed or Chasing Dreams. I'm taking a hiatus from Reedsy for a while to work on my second novel. I might write a story here and there, but I will no longer submit them to the contest unless some major changes are made. I love the community here, but there are some major flaws in the contest that really turn my stomach upside down.

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Keya Jadav
03:10 Sep 03, 2022

Thanks a lot! And ooh, second novel. WOW! I strongly agree, ever since Reedsy has brought these changes; most writers with financial setback have completely lost any chance to win or be recognized. I too, don't submit major of my stories unless I'm sure of it. Although, little breaks are necessary (as I am on a huge one); the community would be here whenever you come back! :)

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:54 Sep 03, 2022

Awe... thank you so much Keya, I really appreciate that. The next novel is based on my first real series Hot Head, so I'm excited for that :)

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Francis Daisy
16:09 Aug 26, 2022

Daniel, We all have a story to tell and a story to share. Yours are always so well written and a pleasure to sit back and read. I've been away from Reedsy for quite some time. It's nice to find my way back and see you are still writing and writing your amazing stories. Be well, Francis

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Daniel R. Hayes
16:15 Aug 26, 2022

Hi Francis! Welcome back. It's so wonderful to hear from you. I'm still writing and I put out my first book. I try to write stories here on Reedsy that people will like and I'm glad you liked this one. :)

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Francis Daisy
16:16 Aug 26, 2022

Congratulations on your first book!!! (flipping cartwheels and sending high fives and fist bumps!)

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Daniel R. Hayes
16:34 Aug 26, 2022

Hahaha, thank you so much. It was a monumental task, but I'm so proud I was able to do that. I wanted to get my stories out to a larger audience beyond Reedsy, and to my surprise people are loving it. :)

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12:41 Aug 26, 2022

This one certainly got to my emotional side. Kevin's shoes must've been a nightmare to walk a mile in. Great story Daniel 👏👏

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Daniel R. Hayes
15:52 Aug 26, 2022

Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked that story :)

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18:34 Aug 26, 2022

My pleasure

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Susan Williams
02:35 Aug 25, 2022

Great writing Daniel. So tragic. You had me cheering for Kevin to the bitter end. We all need friends like Billy.

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:16 Aug 25, 2022

Hi Susan! Thank you so much. I agree, Billy is a great person to have as a friend. I'm glad you liked the story :)

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Riel Rosehill
21:36 Aug 24, 2022

Hi Daniel! I've been super busy (writing like a maniac) so I just got to your story - sorry for the delay! First things first, what an opening statement. "The world is too small for every dream to come true." is a perfect, and I mean PERFECT first line. Great hook. "Kevin wrote hundreds of short stories and wished he could disappear into those worlds." - YES. I adored the wholesomeness of Billy and Kevin's relationship - it was a REAL bad gut punch Kevin commited suicide before he knew he achieved his dream... Damn. And I felt so sorry f...

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Daniel R. Hayes
22:56 Aug 24, 2022

Thank you so much Riel. Writing like a maniac is never a bad thing, so no need to apologize. I was very hesitant to write this story, because of the subject matter, but it was something I felt I needed to do. I think it was recommended this week, but it was cut. There's no way a story like this would have won because it draws to much comparison to real life and thousands of writers who never get recognized by their peers. After reading hundreds of tweets from Twitter and here on Reedsy, I'm glad I wrote it because maybe it will give thos...

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Feuer Wasser
18:25 Aug 24, 2022

wow. this hit hard. well done. thank you.

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Daniel R. Hayes
18:34 Aug 24, 2022

Thank you, I'm so glad you liked it! :)

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Feuer Wasser
21:28 Aug 24, 2022

:)

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Darya Silman
19:08 Aug 23, 2022

I so wanted for Kevin to win, for something to brighten his day ;( his path resembles the path of many authors who quitted too early. I stopped writing at 22 because of criticism: I was told my poems were complicated and unnatural. It took a divine intervention to start believing in myself again.

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Daniel R. Hayes
00:36 Aug 24, 2022

Hi Darya! I'm so glad you found writing again and I'm sorry for what happened to you. The price of expressing our creativity can often bring unwarranted criticism from people who misinterpret what we are trying to express. I always say believe in yourself because no one else will and once you have that power, you will be unstoppable! Keep writing, my friend! :)

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15:37 Aug 21, 2022

Where do you get the emotional depth to conjure up these worlds? And this is one of your most horrifying (in its verisimilitude). Visceral. Heartrending... So many GREAT LINES. "a small pocket knife hidden in his back pocket that was hungry for blood" "The worst kind of abuse is invisible." And this is infinitely quotable: "The world is too small for every dream to come true." Hayes at his finest!

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Daniel R. Hayes
17:43 Aug 21, 2022

Thanks Deidra! I actually didn't see this a horror story when I wrote it, but I guess maybe it is on some level. I had a completely different idea for a story this week, but decided to write this one instead. The idea came from seeing a bunch of tweets and comments from people saying that they feel worthless because their creative art (whatever that may be) never gets recognized. I'm new to social media and I was surprised by this, so I took what I knew which was the way this competition works and came up with this story. I think it has...

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Brendan Prince
06:15 Aug 21, 2022

Beautiful story, man. Loved how you created something that could actually happen in real life. I also found it entertaining how you explained Reedsy as if it was in a parallel universe 😂. Great read.

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Daniel R. Hayes
17:35 Aug 21, 2022

Thanks Brendan. I'm so glad you liked the story. The idea came from seeing a bunch of tweets and comments from people saying that they feel worthless because their creative art (whatever that may be) never gets recognized. I decided to write a story about that. Thanks again. :)

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Liv Whitt
17:53 Aug 20, 2022

You've got me going through so many emotions right now T-T. Thank you for sharing this story even if it made me cry (Billy was amazing at making me smile though.). Kevin was wonderful and I understand why he wanted to win the competitions each week so badly because then he could be seen and recognised by others. The same person telling you constantly how amazing you are is nice, but the reminder that it's just them is draining. Also an element of wanting to prove his dad wrong. (I don't know if that's how you wanted it to come across but I h...

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Daniel R. Hayes
04:39 Aug 21, 2022

Thank you so much Liv! You were absolutely correct about understanding the story. That is exactly as I saw it when I wrote this. Also, sorry if it made you cry. I thought it was an important story to tell and to be honest I even had some emotions writing it. I guess in a way this had a lot of layers and I'm so happy you got it! Stories are often open to interpretation as you know, but you nailed everything I wanted to get out. I also echo your thunderous roar: FY EARL, YOU MALICIOUS MF!

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Aeris Walker
09:50 Aug 18, 2022

The terrible childhood abuse aside, I think you touched on another really deeply painful subject; creators who write/paint/compose amazing works, and live and die without believing in themselves, or ever having their talent recognized. Powerful story! These were some of my favorite lines: "Deep within Kevin’s soul, a small flicker of radiant light glowed like a distant star in the universe. A small glimmer of hope and a promise for a brighter tomorrow. Kevin wrote hundreds of short stories and wished he could disappear into those worlds."-...

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Daniel R. Hayes
23:06 Aug 18, 2022

Hi Aeris, thank you so much for those wonderful comments. Made my day! The friend sentence is something I always tell my friends and thought it was cool to add that line in this story. You're right there are a lot of talented people in all art forms who never get recognized for their hard work, and I think that needs to change.

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Aesha Amin
15:32 Aug 16, 2022

Heya! I thought the story resonated with a lot of writers (or even artists) whose parents are less supportive or straight up against the idea of their kid pursuing arts. These three lines were especially heart breaking: The worst kind of abuse is invisible. In the real world, cruel words cut like a knife. For all Kevin knew, everyone had a mean backhand like his father.

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Daniel R. Hayes
16:12 Aug 16, 2022

Hi Aesha, that's very true. The world is not a nice place and I know that kind of abuse happens all the time. I'm so glad you liked the story. Thanks for those wonderful comments, I really appreciate them. :)

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Kevin Marlow
03:49 Aug 16, 2022

I literally laughed all the way through the moment when he offed himself. Kudos. I guess everyone has a pal named Billy as well. 'Don't leave me hangin' is a funny line for someone dangling off a ceiling fan.

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:45 Aug 16, 2022

Thanks Kevin, I guess that's just some of my weird humor coming through. I'm glad you liked the story. :)

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S. Closson
07:51 Aug 15, 2022

Not yet, Kevin... I think you did a great job with this story, it had a lot of weight. When I get more time I'm totally looking forward to reading some of your horror stories!

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Daniel R. Hayes
16:07 Aug 15, 2022

Thanks a lot, that means a lot. The subject matter in this story was really hard for me to write, but I thought it was a good idea for a story. :)

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T.S.A. Maiven
02:21 Aug 15, 2022

This story is so sad. Poor Kevin. He just couldn't hang in there. And how could he when he experienced nothing but heartbreak. Excellent writing, just very sad story. My heart aches for the children who have to live these lives.

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Daniel R. Hayes
04:32 Aug 15, 2022

My heart breaks as well. So many kids have to deal with abuse and it can sometimes feel like the cycle follows them wherever they go. It's for that reason I found writing this story challenging to say the least. The subject matter is not one I like to delve into. Thanks for reading and the wonderful comments, I really appreciate it. :)

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