Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company! discussion

Your Writing! > Sofia's Writing & Ramblings

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I write. A lot. If you're remotely interested in what I write you're probably not but whatever then you can check here! Critique is appreciated!

message 2: by M (new)

M | 11263 comments Sofia, I hope you don’t mind, but I moved this to the folder it’s supposed to be in.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh thanks M! I totally forgot about putting it in the folders. *puts on sheepish face*

message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 13, 2014 02:00PM) (new)

A short story I was working on.
The Burden of a Wing

“There’s a beast roaming the villages,
It’s eating all the sheep,
Terrorizing villagers
And choosing ones to keep.”
—Children’s song

I’ve memorized every pointed, snide, or just plain curious look people have given me because of it. I don’t know what it is, just that it is wrapped around my torso and won’t let go. It drags me down, it stops me from running like a child, from enjoying childish pleasures and delights like carnivals and circuses, because when they introduce those odd little human beings doing tricks, all I can think of is the horror they must go through, the looks they must receive, and how that could be me. Except it would be worse—I do not have a trick to do, so they would showcase me in all of my grotesque glory, and sell tomatoes so they could throw them at me, and laugh.
Once I heard a little girl singing a song while skipping down the street. She was singing about a beast terrorizing the villagers. She walked past me, stared, and ran in fear.
I was a beast to her. I was a monster to her. And I am probably a monster to everyone else.
It amazes me how people can excuse rapists and pedophiles and domestic abusers, true monsters to me, because they are good-looking, but they call an innocent sixteen-year-old girl a beast because she looks like one.
Trust me, I have gone to doctors. They have given me pills and medications, to no avail. Nothing works. I try dieting. Vigorous exercise. Yoga. It does nothing but make me look and feel foolish as I look back at the thing around me.
The thing. It is something dark and intangible, like a shadow. It is circled around my torso and drags back. You cannot touch it, you cannot feel it, and therefore, you cannot remove it. The only tangible part of it are these tiny white feathers, floating seemingly in midair, the occasional one falling off.
I do not go to school, because I could never travel from class to class. I am homeschooled by my mother. She loves me, but I know she suffers because of me.
I do not have friends. No one would be friends with a freak.
I do not have a boyfriend. No one would date a freak.
No, this freak is unto herself, completely and utterly.

I’m listening to music when my mother shuffles in, carrying stacks of paper and talking on the phone. She does the occasional “Mmm-hmm,” but otherwise her conversation is mostly one-sided. I try to move my chair in but the thing only clutches the floor and makes me lean back. I let out a frightened yelp not loud enough for my mother to hear.
“Dr. Samir calls,” she says, after a moment. “He’s reached a conclusion that this…this…this thing…he cannot remove it. He does not think it is possible. The good news is, he believes that it is not harmful.”
He cannot remove it. The words sting me and hurt me and scare me and frighten me and excite me, all at the same time. Emotions run through me like they are part of my blood, liquid flowing in veins and arteries to my head and heart and legs and arms, rushing like a cool waterfall.
“Madeleine, I know you’re upset, but we’ll go through this together. You and I, forever and ever.” My mother ruffles my hair, hugs me and kisses me, and then sets down a worksheet on the table. “I am working on teaching you the French Revolution. I find it quite fascinating.” She smiles a big grin.
I try to smile back, but the words keep playing back in my head. He cannot remove it. He cannot remove. They become twisted and muffled, as if I am underwater. He cannot remove it. He cannot remove it. He cannot remove bit. He cannot reboot bit. He why not reboot sit.
My mother sits down at the table and begins to talk about the French Revolution, and Bastille Day, but I’m not listening. I’m lost in thought, drowning in an ocean of wonders.
He cannot remove it.
He cannot remove it.
He cannot remove it.
I knew what that meant as soon as my mother said, but for some reason only know I truly know what it means, only know has the impact gutted me.
I will live like this forever.

“We’re going to Aunt Kaitlin’s house!” My mother squeals in glee. I try to smile. I like Aunt Kaitlin, but we have never truly had a connection, mostly because Aunt Kaitlin only ever pays attention to me when my mother is around.
“Why?” I ask, trying not to sound like I’m dreading it.
“It’s Tommy’ birthday party,” my mother says. “He’s turning eight. Isn’t that exciting?”
“No,” I say. “Tommy hates me.” Tommy, Kaitlin’s son, hates me. He thinks I’m a devil sent from hell, a monster, and always avoids me or insults me in every chance he gets. So he’s eight. He’s little, so I guess he can’t help his unfiltered mind and thoughts, but still, it hurts.
“We are going,” my mother says adamantly. “We have to connect with the family.” And once she says that, I know that that is that.

“EW! It’s the WEIRDO!” One of Tommy’s friends shouts when I arrive.
“My granddaddy says that she’s dangerous,” one calls out.
“My mommy says that she has a disease,” another comments.
“She looks ugly!” It’s Tommy.
Kaitlin looks down at Tommy. “Tommy, she’s your cousin,” she murmurs softly, and looks at me apologetically. “You know he doesn’t mean it,” she says.
Then why would he say it? This is the thought that runs through my mind, but instead, I force a smile. “It’s okay.”
Kaitlin smiles back. “Yeah,” she says, her voice distant.

After twenty minutes of watching little kids play—and having your heart ache because you couldn’t do that when you were that age—I begin to wander around. I head inside the house because I hear they have guacamole, but there is none left. Adults—friends of Aunt Kaitlin and her husband, Uncle Mike, are talking, but they all sort of hush when they see me. I give a shy wave, grab a chip, and leave.
I decide I’m going to sit in the car when I’m stopped.
It’s an old woman. Crazy gray hair going all over the place. She’s wearing a blue robe covered in shiny stars.
“I see you have a fallen angel wing,” the woman says, pointing to my torso.
“Yes, I—wait, what? A fallen angel wing?”
“A fallen angel wing,” smiles the woman gently. “After an angel falls from grace, their wings fall to earth into intangible shadows and latch onto humans. Those white feathers are the last remaining reminders of how it was once a glorified angel wing. Ordinary doctors cannot remove them, but I know how.”
All I can manage is a, “Who are you?”
“I am one of dear Tommy’s friend’s grandmother,” says the woman.
“Not like that—,” I sputter. “But are you—a—a—a—a—,”
“A witch,” confirms the woman. “Although I doubt you believe me. But don’t you want a little hope, a hope that the wing can be removed?”
I nod. “Um, okay,” I say.
She beckons me, where, I don’t know. “Come with me then, child.”
She leads me to a tent that reads ELLA MIRVIN’S MAGIC BOOTH in big, bold letters. “I volunteered,” she explains, when I look at the sign questioningly. She motions me inside, and when I am in, she closes the tent flap doors.
“Sit down, my dear,” she says, motioning to a small plastic fold-up chair. I dwarf the chair but still remain sitting on it. “This will hurt a little.”
I suddenly feel a small tugging sensation, and then a sharp pain as the woman—Ella—takes the wing off me. I suddenly feel as if weight has been lifted off me. I feel…free.
“All right,” Ella says. “Now it is gone. And now you can truly be Madeleine Winters, unburdened from everything, held down by nothing.”
I nod. “Yes,” I whisper, and I start to feel a crazy thrill of excitement rushing through me. Now I can run, go to school, make friends. Get a boyfriend. The possibilities are endless. I could go on rescue missions, go traveling, climb a mountain, swim, scuba dive. I can be who Madeleine Winters would be if a wing hadn’t stopped her.
Finally, after sixteen long, painstaking years, I am free.

message 5: by Gerardo (new)

Gerardo | 222 comments Hi Sofia,

Nice story. I feel that if you show a little more of the struggle that her malformation provides her in simple daily living things i.e. how does it affect her running or getting dressed or something along those lines it would get the reader to develop deeper care and understanding of her plight.

The end is nice and tidy. It's positive which is good. But if you maybe leave it as a bit more of a heavier choice or end it leaving the reader wondering about what is a better decision for her, that could pack a punch and allow the reader to come to their own conclusion in a way, similar to a cliffhanger, maybe.

Idk, just a thought. You had some good metaphors and the struggle is definitely there.

back to top