Monday, August 15, 2016

EEK! PUT SOME PAGES UP FOR A CRITEEEEEEK: A collection of shorts


Hey, everybody!  It's time for another installment of "Eek! Put Some Pages Up For Criteek!"  In case you don't remember the deal, you can check out Jonathan's original post including the rules. 

I have this WIP where I hope to create one large story knitted together through a collection of short stories. This Eek! is from the first story, Megan. You hereby have my permission to shred/praise/toss/tout/completely rewrite the first two pages. Happy reading. And be gentle!

~Carrie

“How can you say being invisible wouldn’t be fun? How would you know?” Noah stared at her, disbelief mixing with anger.

It wasn’t the first time they’d had the superpowers conversation. As annoying as it was, she took some comfort in knowing she wasn’t the only big sister who had to relive this particular debate over and over again. Usually, she just nodded and agreed that whatever superpower Noah was fixated on for the day would be the most awesome thing in the world.

But that particular morning she just couldn’t bring herself to agree. She didn’t mean to say what she did because she knew he wouldn’t understand. At eight the world still looked as though it could be anything he wanted it to be.  Despite his innocence, or maybe because of it, she found herself wanting to say more. She wanted to tell him that she did, in fact, know what it felt like to be invisible.

That as soon as she got out of the car she’d once again don her cloak of invisibility.

She wanted to warn him that while being invisible would allow him to move from place to place unnoticed, it also had consequences. After a while, he would start to question his own existence. The cloak of invisibility is heavy and he wouldn’t have the power to just remove it whenever he wanted. Others would have to remove it for him.

But she didn’t say any of those things because he wouldn’t understand. She’d already said too much and his innocent feelings had been hurt. Besides, she had reason to hope that this would be the day when someone would permanently lift her cloak of invisibility. Why dwell on the negatives?

“I’m just kidding with you, Noah. Of course being invisible would be awesome.” She tried to put as much enthusiasm into her voice as possible, but the look on Noah’s face told her he still didn’t trust her.

The car pulled to a stop at the front of the car line and she slowly got out, her mom calling to her before she could shut the door.

“Megan, are you sure you’re going to be all right until after your game tonight?”

She always asked, and while Megan appreciated it, she wished her mom wouldn’t. Every time her mom asked the question, Megan had to lie. She had to tell her that of course she’d be fine. Megan had to stay at school until after the game, and her mom couldn’t come because of work and Noah. Why tell her mom the truth—that she’d be miserable and alone—just to make her feel even guiltier than she already did?

“Yeah, of course I’ll be fine. I’ll see you tonight.”

Megan closed the door and turned toward the school. It loomed over her, and she immediately started to feel the weight of the cloak. She tried to shake it off with each step, but it wouldn’t budge.

She entered the building, a ghost walking unnoticed through the crowded halls. As she did every morning, she tried her best to connect. She looked at her classmates as she passed, trying to pull their eyes to hers. She gave them a slight smile or nod. Their eyes often linked with hers, but they didn’t connect. They looked through her, not at her.

She was the girl everyone knew, but no one noticed.

She had gotten used to it. She learned to accept it. She was able to find a way to be a ghost, existing only when someone removed the cloak for her. In some ways she liked it. No one bullied her. No one took advantage of her. No one expected things from her that she couldn’t deliver.

But she couldn’t hold on to those positives for very long. The loneliness and self-doubt eventually took over, nearly suffocating her.

This was the first day in a long time she felt the heaviness so early in the day. She always felt the burden from the moment she woke up, but she could usually endure until the final bell rang. Since she’d been given the hope of a different day, she thought it would feel lighter than normal. Instead, it felt heavier.

She held her breath as she turned the corner, even though she knew he wouldn’t be there. He was never there before her. But still—there was always the possibility, and she couldn’t seem to keep herself from hoping.

She released her breath slowly as her eyes fell on the empty space in front of his locker. She glanced around as she walked, not really looking for him, but looking just the same. The usual groups were all accounted for, talking over each other in frantic sentences to get in as much gossip as possible before the bell rang.

She moved forward, unnoticed.

Someone accidentally bumped her shoulder as he passed by, and for a moment her cloak shifted. She was rewarded with a polite and apologetic smile before she became invisible once again. She reached her locker and looked down the hall once more as she unpacked her bag, hoping to see Brett.

Instead, she saw the one person at school who she knew was genuinely happy about her existence. Emma was her savior in many ways, but Megan didn’t think she knew it. Sure she often told Emma she was an awesome best friend and that her life wouldn’t be the same without her, but she didn’t think Emma fully understood the truth of her words. Emma wouldn’t understand it if Megan told her she made her feel as though the cloak didn’t exist at all.

3 comments:

  1. Carrie -- thanks for posting! My first critique was that I think you need to ground the reader in place immediately. When I realized they had been in a car, it threw me off. Also, I wasn't sure at first that the invisible stuff was a metaphor or if it was an actual story about superpowers. Other than that, I'm dying to see what happens with this Brett guy.

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  2. Great stuff, Carrie! I love how you set up both Megan's feelings around school and her relationship with her brother right away. I agree with KGG about the setting--the scene needs a bit more of a sense of place (a few details about the location). While the "invisible" metaphor works well early on when Megan's talking to her brother, it drags on a bit toward the second half of the passage (it's already been established that Megan feels invisible, so the repeated references to just how she's invisible seem somewhat redundant and could be condensed--particularly since feeling invisible is a common theme in stories about teens, and most readers will already have a sense of what that means). But overall, I love how you delve into Megan's internal thoughts!

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  3. Thanks for the feedback, Kimberly and Mary!

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