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MMA Writer UnderGround >> Working on a short story - Double


4/12/11 9:47 AM
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Chaos in China
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 This is the first draft of a short story (or now more like a short short story) called Double. I plan to add some more to it and am hoping for some feedback. It may take me a while to finish as I have another short story that is around 7000 words that I'm working on. The idea for Double came as I was trying to finish the other story. My priority is to go through the first story and do some basic edits and then come back to add onto Double.

4/12/11 9:49 AM
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Chaos in China
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In the sleepy town of Springfield Brian lives with his mother on a quiet street of single family homes. They recently moved here after his parents divorced. It’s a mostly happy life. Brian usually considers his mother his best friend. She is always patient and understanding.

When Brian confessed his fear of ghosts his mother told him that if the spirits of the departed were still among us they posed no threat. When he thought he heard strange noises in the basement she showed him around flashlights in hand to prove that everything was as it should be. Together they conquered each new fear.

One day as they drove to school Brian asked a seemingly simple question, “Did you forget something this morning?”

“No sweetie, everything’s fine. Why do you ask?”

“Why did you go back in the house?”

“Back in the house? I didn’t. I came straight out to the car.”

“No, i went outside first. I was playing with the flowers in the yard and then you opened the door and came outside so i went to the car. You must have gone back inside because you didn’t come to the car for a little while and when i looked you weren’t outside anymore.”

This seemed odd to Brian’s mother Jenn but she was her usual reassuring self. “I am quite sure that i didn’t come outside before i met you at the car. You must have been so excited to leave that you only imagined i came outside before i did.”

4/12/11 9:50 AM
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Chaos in China
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 “Okay,” came Brian’s usual response to mom’s reasoning.

Some days later Brian shared a discovery with Jenn. “Look Mom, look at this thing i found.”

“It looks like a stick,” answered Jenn, puzzled by her son’s excitement over an ordinary object and continued washing dishes.

“Yeah, but what are these weird letters? Is it Greek?”

Jenn looked closer at the stick. “Those are runes. I don’t know what they mean but we can look them up if you want. Where did you find it?”

“In my room holding the window open.” Brian’s matter of fact tone gave Jenn a slight chill.

“Why did you use a stick to hold the window open? There’s nothing wrong with the window is there?”

“I didn’t. I told you i found the stick in the open window.”

Jenn felt a little uneasy thinking that someone could have been in the house. Still it made no sense to leave behind this rune stick. “Ok, you hold onto it and the next time we go to the library we can find a book on runes so we can read it.”

“Ok Mom.”

When the library day arrived the stick could no longer be found. Brian insisted that he left it on the window sill and it Bearshad been there for many days until it just wasn’t there anymore. Without the rune stick there was no need to find a book about runes. They went to the library and got Winnie the Pooh instead.

4/12/11 9:51 AM
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Chaos in China
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Several months passed and the stick faded from Jenn’s memory. Life returned to normal and summer approached. The two shared evenings on the porch and weekends in the park or zoo. Jenn believed playing outdoors to be an important factor in childhood development.

It was Sunday May 7th at 7am. They drove to the zoo early so they could be the first to see the new panda exhibit.

“Mom look out!” Brian’s scream snapped Jenn out of her highway hypnosis. She jumped on the brake reflexively. Her heart pounded as the car screeched to a halt.

“Brian! Don’t do that. You scared the heck out of me.” A quick look revealed no danger. Jenn pulled the car to the side of the road to discipline her son. “Driving is dangerous Brian. You can’t distract the person who is driving or you might cause an accident. Do you understand?”

“But i saw an accident. There was a big truck up there and this blue car went past us really fast and it hit the truck. It was really scary.” Brian trembled as he spoke. He had curled himself into a fetal position with his knees against his chest and his arms wrapped tightly around his legs.

Jenn seeing her son truly frightened reached over to hold him. There was the sound of metal crushing, glass breaking, and tires squealing. Jenn squeezed Brian tightly and moved her body instinctively between the windshield and her son. Looking up she saw a white big rig impaled by a blue sports car. She called 911 and went to check on the occupants. The accident scene was horrible and remarkably like Brian had explained. Looking back she saw Brian still tightly holding his legs and rocking in the front seat.

4/12/11 9:52 AM
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Chaos in China
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 She didn’t mention Brian’s premonition to the police that arrived to investigate instead telling them that he had spilled something in the car prompting her to pull over. “Guess that was a lucky thing. You could have been involved in that otherwise.” The officer chuckled but Jenn just felt more nervous. They went to the zoo anyway hoping to put the morning’s excitement behind them.

“Am i ok Mom?” Brian asked from behind his ice cream.

“Of course you are baby. These things happen. It’s nothing to worry about.” Jenn didn’t know who she wanted to reassure more.

The rest of the summer zipped by. Brian visited his grandparents and attended art camp. Then school started and the routine helped mother and son feel comfortable again.

In October Jenn got a call from the school. Something was wrong with Brian and she needed to come pick him up. She figured it must be the flu going around. She notified her boss, saved her project to a flash drive, and left the office.

Arriving at the school the school’s nurse greeted her, “I’m so glad you’re here. The poor thing just seems so frightened. He won’t say anything except ask for you.

Jenn scooped up Brian and his school bag. She kissed his forehead both to comfort him and check his temperature even though the nurse assured her that he wasn’t sick. He just buried his head into his mother’s chest and held onto her neck. He was sleeping by the time they reached the car. She strapped him in and drove home.

At home Brian never left his mother’s side. He insisted on being in the same room. Jenn layed out his books on the kitchen table so he could be busy while she prepared dinner. As she finished she told him to wash his hands and set the table.

4/12/11 9:52 AM
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Chaos in China
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 While eating he finally broke his silence. “I don’t want to go back to that school.”

“Why not honey?”

“There’s another boy there. He looks just like me. It was scary. I don’t want to see that boy again.”

“They say everyone has a twin,” Jenn smiled as she spoke hoping to lighten the mood. “Maybe you found yours. Maybe that boy just looks a lot like you.”

“He had the same clothes as me. He even had the same same scar over his eye.”

“Oh Brian. You probably just saw your reflection sweetie. There’s nothing to be scared of.”

“No Mom! I was on the playground. I went behind the handball wall because we were playing hide and seek and that boy was already hiding there. There aren’t any mirrors on the playground and his scar is over his right eye just like mine.”

“Wha… What happened next?”

“He saw me and ran around to the other side of the wall and when i looked for him he wasn’t there. I don’t wanna go back there. I don’t wanna see him again.”

“Ok sweetie. You can stay hone tomorrow and we’ll figure this out.” That night after putting Brian to sleep Jenn made some phone calls and found a child psychologist with a good reputation. She made an appointment for the following Tuesday morning, the first available.

The next two days Jenn worked from home. Brian’s teachers sent his books and homework with a neighbor child which helped him stay busy. They spent the weekend at home since Brian refused to leave the house. When Tuesday came Brian reluctantly agreed to go to the appointment.

Dr. Morgan had written several books and even appeared on national TV. After meeting with Brian and Jenn, since Brian wouldn’t let her leave the room, he explained that Brian May be suffering from a disassociative disorder. He scheduled a meeting for the following Tuesday and assured Jenn that all would be well.

Brian met with Dr. Morgan for the next eight months. He began attending another school and slowly returned to the same character as before. Jenn kept a close eye on him and decided it was best to keep up the appointments.

Tuesday evening, April 11th was a normal day. They prepared for the visit to Dr. Morgan and Brian seemed happy, happier than he had been in a while. “I’ll wait for you at the car mom,” he called as he went outside. Jenn followed about thirty seconds behind. She locked the door and walked to the driveway to find nothing. Both car and child were gone.

“BRIAN!” She screamed so loud the neighbors came running from inside their houses. They found Jenn crying hysterically in her driveway. The police responded quickly issuing an Amber Alert and dispatching a helicopter.

“You’re going the wrong way mom. You were supposed to turn on Main Street.” Brian’s mother didn’t respond. “Hey, can we have pizza for dinner tonight?” Still no answer. “Why are you so quiet mom?” He stared at his mother intently. She turned to meet his eyes only hers were pitch black. When she opened her mouth to speak there were no words only clicks and whirring sounds. Her mouth didn’t move at all. Brian clenched his knees to his chest and sobbed.

The search lasted months but Brian was never found. Jenn moved in with her parents unable to shake the guilt of losing her son or live with the whispers of her possible involvement.

4/17/11 5:28 PM
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Old Red Belt
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Well you are a good writer no doubt about that, and that is a good start at "The Great American Novel." We may title it "The Soccer Mom and the Boy."

A soccer mom who kicked out the biological father so she could be the boss, raises a disturbed boy that could really use a mans influence in his life. Of course mom is hooked by some prescription drugs, and does the same to the kid to keep a boy from driving her nuts. She is a man hater because of the adage, "Balls said the Queen if she had them she'd be king." She loves to watch MMA to see what real men look like but wouldn't want one around, as her whole life revolves around her sweet little boy. Of course the "R" word never enters either the mother or the boy's mind as responsiblity is not as important as video games, or a sale at Walley World.


In direct contrast with the classic, "The Old Man and the Boy," by Robert Ruark.....
4/17/11 9:12 PM
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Chaos in China
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 Thanks for reading and the comment. I've added a new piece:

Another day while out shopping they stopped into a craft shop. Brian was very excited to see various sculptures and jewelry. “Wow. This is so cool,” he said. “Mom, come have a look.” Brian locked onto the object, two identical dragons holding a crystal or glass ball between them. It almost seemed like they were looking at each other through the ball.

“That is pretty neat,” said Jenn.

“Can we get it Mom? Please?” Brian begged.

“Oh, I don’t know honey. It looks kinda expensive,” Jenn replied.

“Please?” Brian said with the sappiest eyes he could muster.

“Mmmnnn… Excuse me, how much is this?” she asked the shopkeeper.

“Let’s see,” the shopkeeper paused. “I don’t remember seeing that before. Let me look it up.” She went to her computer for a few minutes then returned. “I can’t find that anywhere in our inventory. Um, I’ll let you have it for forty dollars.”

“Uh, no, that’s a little much thanks,” said Jenn.

“OK, how about twenty-five dollars?” asked the shopkeeper.

“You must really wanna sell this thing,” said Jenn.

“It’s not in the computer so technically it doesn’t exist. I can give you a really good deal on it.” The shopkeeper laughed and somehow won Jenn over. Brian was elated.

“What will you do with that thing?” asked Jenn.

“I dunno, play with it. Isn’t that what I should do with it,” he answered. In fact he kept it with him at all times almost like a pet. The dragons intrigued him and rather than playing with it he was often found studying it to various degrees. He examined every detail over and over.

“Time for dinner sweetie. Put your dragons away and wash your hands,” called Jenn as she walked into the living room.

“OK mom,” said Brian. He put his dragons on the shelf near the stereo so they could watch the rest of the living room. After dinner he couldn’t find them. They searched the living room for nearly an hour. This was followed by a room to room search which turned up nothing.

“I’m sure it will turn up sweetie. Don’t be upset.” Jenn held her son tightly as she tried to comfort him.
4/19/11 5:31 PM
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zealot66
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 One thing on your dialogue is that you are adding too many tags. The conversation and language should easily identify the speaker. An occasional tag is correct but studying some dialogue techniques will help clean it up. 
4/19/11 9:40 PM
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Chaos in China
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 thanks a lot. that's one of my biggest concerns. i will do that
4/20/11 4:36 PM
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zealot66
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 Im not a big fan of hemingway but his minimalist approach is interesting to look at. He chooses words carefully to inspire the mind to see what is going on with less. When I had some of my work looked at, that was one of the first things I was told. 

On the other hand when you begin to write, overwrite and then go back and start with a chainsaw and see what you can get rid of. Im at 90k words on my novel and Ive got about 40 or so to go but I know at least 20% is going to get the ax.
4/20/11 9:44 PM
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Chaos in China
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 well, i feel kinda dumb because i actually went in and added a lot of the tags and reworked how i was doing it. now that i am going to rewrite the beginning and make some other tweaks i  will try my to find a happy medium in this too

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