Aelwynsal's Creative Corner
I'm not very gifted in the drawing department but writing has always had a soft spot in my heart. I've been writing for as long as I can remember and figured that I'd share some of it with you all. Constructive criticism is very much welcomed. :)
The first piece I'm about to post is something I wrote today. I had an unusual surge of inspiration and wrote a short story. I feel like the ending is a bit rushed but I had to cut it short before it got too long-winded, which I tend to do with a lot of my writing. Hope you enjoy!
Oh, and I am terrible at coming up with titles, so for now it will remain title-less.
The explosion was loud enough to be deafening and I'm almost certain the entire house shook; windows shattered, neurons were roused from their alcohol-induced slumber and into some sort of working semblance and the first thing to greet me was the taste of smoke. I couldn't see the fire yet but the waves of heat pouring into my room were enough of a clue and my first thought was to get to Mindy.
I threw the sheets off of me, half-stumbled, half-ran out of the room and made my way down the hallway as fast as I could. She was crying hysterically at the corner of her bed and her large, blue eyes were wide with fear. “It's okay, honey, momma's here.” I tried to reassure her as best as I could while I gathered her into my arms and her tiny hands instantly clutched the oversized shirt I usually slept in. Where was the fire coming from?
No amount of preparation could really have you be ready for how disorienting an ordeal like this was. The smoke seemed to grow thicker by the second and I could already see the flames on the first floor, slowly inching their way over to the staircase to try and block any easy means of an escape from this hellhole – was the front door even reachable? I had to hope. Had to hope and pray that the fire was coming from the kitchen and was far enough from the door to not trap me and my daughter inside.
I could feel my lungs straining against the smoke and the coughing began; violent coughing that seemed to shake every bone in my body and only made me press Mindy's face tighter against my chest. My vision blurred but I somehow managed to keep my footing as I rushed down the stairs and stepped into the inferno that was greedily consuming the house I had worked so hard for. Flames instantly began to lick at my skin like a parched animal taking the first drink of water and Mindy's shrieking only grew louder, but I at least had the comfort of knowing my body was shielding her from any real harm. Although it was nearly impossible to see a foot ahead of me, I knew that I was close to the door, and that thought alone made my adrenaline pump even faster. We were almost out. Mindy and I were going to be safe and surely one of the neighbors had called the Fire Department by now.
I didn't even notice the doorknob sear my palm as I pushed it open and sucked in the biggest gulp of fresh air I had ever taken. Neighbors had gathered, the sound of sirens were off somewhere in the distance, and I don't think that it had really clicked that Mindy and I were safe. People were instantly around and ushering us to move further away; someone took Mindy from me and someone else – Jen, the girl next door, I think – put a blanket around me. “Thank you, thanks but I'm fine.” At that point the adrenaline was still preventing me from feeling the full effects of the burns along my arms and legs.
That's when I remembered that I had forgotten him.
Before logic could come in and make me change my mind, I threw the blanket off and ran back inside. My heart began to perform violent, frenzied palpitations against my ribcage as I tried my best to tiptoe around the flames and get to the shelf in the living room. Please, don't be burned to ashes, I remember thinking, you can take my entire house but please just leave him alone! The shelf in which the album was had caught ablaze and my heart sank, but then I noticed that the single picture from our wedding day on the small table a few feet off had somehow remained untouched. Yanking it off the surface, I quickly pivoted around to rush back outside and felt fear's icy grip squeeze my stomach when I saw that my only exit had finally been blocked off. The house shook once again, the smoke seemed to thicken, and then suddenly everything turned black.
I don't know how long I was asleep for, but when I awoke I was in the hospital and hooked up to all sorts of machines. Wilting flowers and balloons that were losing their helium decorated the room. 'Get Well Soon!'s and 'Feel Better!'s were scribbled on a couple of cards that were around on the small desk which held the flowers. Groaning as my aching muscles struggled while I sat up, I ripped off the Ivs hooked to my arm – the bags were empty, why hadn't anyone replaced them? – and stumbled around the room in a bit of a daze. Brief recollections from the fire flashed through my mind in a jumbled mess but they all lead me back to one thing; Mindy. Where was my daughter?
“Excuse me, nurse? Have you seen my daughter?” Nothing. The woman walked right on by, her pointed nose glued to her clipboard and her heels echoing down the wing. “Nurse?” The same thing happened. Why were they ignoring me? I understood that they were likely running on a busy schedule... but would sparing a few seconds to answer a simple question really hinder their day that badly? Confusion was slowly beginning to be replaced by anger and I was preparing to reach out and grab a doctor by the shoulder when the look of a little girl caused me to stop in my tracks. She was staring at me, doe-eyes blue as Mindy's and her fingers tightly grasping the teddy-bear in her arms. The scowl that'd been smeared across my features instantly melted into a smile and I waved to her as the pain of missing my daughter became overbearing. If no one was going to take the time to answer my question, then I was simply going to leave and go to my mother's. Surely Mindy was with her.
It didn't matter that I had no change of clothes and no car, but thankfully the walk from the hospital to my mother's place wasn't that far. Every so often I would get weird looks from a pedestrian, but for the most part people chose to ignore me and go on with their business. I was numb; bandages covered the majority of my arms and legs and I could guess what was underneath, but the only thing I wanted was to get to Mindy. I just needed to see her, needed to hug her and apologize over and over again for how stupid momma had been to go back in the house.
After what felt like an eternity, I finally reached the house and heaved a tremendous sigh of relief. I actually laughed from how euphoric I suddenly was, and without further hesitation walked up the stairs leading to the front door, opened it and stepped inside.
The sound of Dora the Explorer blared on from the television in the living room. “Mindy!” I steadied myself on the wall as a strange sense of vertigo washed over me. I wasn't one to usually get too excited, but when I did it heavily affected me. “Mindy!” I called out to her again, figuring that she hadn't heard me the first time over the sound of the little black-haired girl shouting “Swiper no swiping!”
Just before I turned the corner, however... I saw something that caught my attention out of the corner of my eye and made my blood run cold. The picture – the one that had nearly cost me my life – was propped up on top of a shelf and was surrounded by a few of myself that hadn't been there before. Swallowing the lump that had formed at the back of my throat, my brows tightly drew into one another as I couldn't help but to be drawn to them. Since when had pictures of me been important enough to be crowded in one place like that?
That's when I saw it.
R.I.P Lindsay Wolfe; beloved mother and daughter. October 21, 1980 – March 20, 2012.
All of a sudden the bandages on my arms and legs began to unravel by themselves and deteriorated to ashes before they hit the ground. I gawked down at the unrecognizable flesh; I felt my knees grow weak and the spinning of the room increased tenfold. This was all just one Hell of a nightmare that I was going to wake up from soon enough. Crashing to my knees, skeletal, burned fingers clutched at what remained of my hair and I began to sob uncontrollably. I couldn't have died, I refused to believe it. I was still in the hospital and this was just a cruel prank my subconscious was playing on me.
“Vitals aren't looking too good, we need to get there ASAP!” I recognized I was in an ambulance as well as I was painfully aware of how bad every part of me seemed to hurt. A man was looking down at me and holding an oxygen mask to my face. He was saying something to me but his words all clashed and meshed into gibberish and I slipped into oblivion again.
Mindy's crying was what brought me back. I couldn't see her but I could hear her and my mother's sobbing along with the voice of a man I didn't recognize. Pain would hardly do justice to describe what I was feeling and once I became aware of such it only intensified. Machines around me began to go off and people rushed into my room, once again shouting words that I couldn't put together while they tried their best to stablize me.
I wanted to fight. I wanted to fight for Mindy, I couldn't bear to leave her without a parent... but I was exhausted. I fought for as long as I could but, in the end, I gave in to the darkness that washed over and comforted me.
That flashback was the hardest thing I ever had to come to terms with. I still refused to acknowledge I had passed away but deep down inside I knew. I knew I that my selfish desire to hold onto what tangible memories I had of my husband had cost me dearly and now Mindy was going to have to pay for that. The only comfort I found was knowing that she now had two guardian angels to watch over her instead of one, and as I began to grow more translucent by the second, the last thought I remember thinking was that I hoped to God Mindy would be able to someday forgive me.
Re: Aelwynsal's Creative Corner
This piece does an excellent job of making the reader hope against hope, at least in my case. For example, because of the good, deft pace you maintain in the piece, along with the details that increasingly hint that all is not well with Lindsay Wolfe after the accident, I found myself looking against the mounting evidence that she had been killed in the fire, hoping for an alternative. This, of course, makes the conclusion all the more poignant, especially as she gets to see Mindy in her confusion.
At some places the words seem to be used more than once. This doesn’t happen to you as often as it does to me (you should be thankful for that!), but eliminating such instances helps to keep the pace of the story intact. For example, in the last full paragraph before Lindsay sees the memorial of her passing, you write, “my brows tightly drew into one another as I couldn’t help but to be drawn to them.” Again, the repetition is minor, but changing those instances is always a good thing unless it simply can’t be avoided.
Further, the piece starts out in a great spot (the in medias res position that writers are always encouraged to begin their pieces in, “in the midst of things”), and I think that helps to maintain the interest of the reader throughout the piece, even after the accident has passed. Great story, and great job—looking forward to more.