Jennifer Eaton of http://jennifermeaton.com/sunday-snippets/ has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Post the first 250 words of a work in progress, check out the rules and join us. Other submissions are at the bottom of this post.
I appreciate everyone’s input. This particular short story is something new for me, in that the weather is a ‘character’ because it is so present. I have not included the edited version but Part 1 is here if you wish to see the beginning.
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The laboured breathing stopped and started. Julia ran forward a step then returned to the bed wringing her hands, legs wooden. She lingered a moment to touch the face of her brother’s heavily pregnant wife. The storm’s steady darkness prompted her to turn on the small lamp on the bedside table. Shadows danced on the walls. Even in the bad light there was no mistaking the damp sheen on the walls and on Rosa’s face. In spite of the heat from the woodstove in the kitchen, cold air forced its way inside.
Julia forced a deep breath and threw her shoulders back. In the kitchen, she grabbed her coat off the hook by the door. Help won’t come by itself.
A squall caught the door when Julia opened it at the bottom of the stairs. In an instant she found herself tossed to the ground from three steps up. Disbelief crossed her face. Prego Dio. Icicles tinkled in the wind like glass wind chimes on a better day. No longer playful, two long spikes stabbed the snow beside her. She struggled on hands and knees through foot-deep whipping snow around to the front door. With already numb fists, she hammered on the door, eyes streaming. Mrs. Horwatt, the landlady, yanked the door open. “Need medico. Rosa not good. Please go Mrs. Schmitt telephone medico.”
Mrs. Horwatt turned and yelled for Jackie to grab her coat. “Tell Mrs.Schmitt phone doctor for Mrs. D’Angelo.”
Julia was gone before the lanky nine-year-old girl raced for the door. “Wait,” her mother grabbed her arm.
~ * ~
Click on over to these great writers to check out and critique what they’ve posted!
April 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm
Excellent scene description and portrayal of the weather. I want to know what’s going to happen.
April 29, 2013 at 8:45 pm
Me too. I hope everything works out. I so hate winter storms even if I did grow up in them.
April 29, 2013 at 1:40 am
This chilled me to the bone. Not JUST because of the weathere imagery you’ve created but also because of the cut off point. You could be saying that the landlady won’t send her daughter to the phone and so doesn’t help.
April 29, 2013 at 8:44 pm
By George, I could but that wouldn’t be neighbourly, would it, even in that storm? Or it’s not worth the anxiety of sending her daughter out, or…
Thank you, Gilly, for commenting.
April 29, 2013 at 2:37 am
Scary and desperate – now I’m wanting to see the rest Tess 😉
April 29, 2013 at 8:42 pm
Storms are scary to me. Glad I have your curiosity worked up. Thanks, Ghia.
April 29, 2013 at 6:47 am
Excellent Tess. Perfect build up, perfect cut off point.
April 29, 2013 at 8:41 pm
Thank you, Valentine. The cut off was more for word count but I am pleased at this stroke of luck (the cut off).
April 29, 2013 at 2:21 pm
“The laboured breathing stopped and started. Julia ran forward a step then returned to the bed wringing her hands, legs wooden.”
I’m not sure the chain of events here, or the exact setting. I’m picturing Julia running for the door to get help, hearing her sister-in-law stop breathing for a moment, and returning to the bed to check on her. That’s more a guess than what I read, though, if that makes sense.
I’m getting quite frightened of the storm–the way it tosses her and the stabby icicles are nice details.
The her’s in ““Wait,” her mother grabbed her arm.” confused me for a second, too, because the first sentence begins with ‘Julia.’ The ‘her’ is Jackie, right? Maybe you could swap her name for one of the pronouns?
April 29, 2013 at 8:40 pm
Thank you, Caitlin. I see what you mean but you did have the right idea about Jackie. I’ll work on making this more clear. Good points and eagle eyes. Thanks.
May 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm
I must have missed the first part, so two instalments in one :-).
I confess I hate cliffhangers, I want to know how it goes on!
One technical suggestion: Think of a tag, like a title, for the story, and tag only posts for this story with this tag Then you can create a read / catch up link where people can read forwards (not in reverse order) with:
http:// letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/tag/ your tag /?order=ASC (no blanks)
May 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm
Thank you for the suggestion, Delft, but I’m afraid I don’t understand. If you have the time, might you try again please?
May 5, 2013 at 6:01 am
Is it possible to run forward a single step? The implication of the word suggests quite fast movement that you can’t insert into a just one step.
I like the alliteration in ‘storm’s steady darkness;’ I enjoy that.
When you say ‘forced a deep breath’ is that in or out? In my mind’s eye I see her forcing it out.
I think ‘in an instant’ has the same effect as ‘suddenly’ in writing. It is a matter of some debate, but using either of these is less sudden or instantaneous as the event simply happening.
‘foot-deep whipping snow’ feels a little awkward. The snow on the ground would be foot deep, but the whipping snow would be in the air? Is it possible to separate these out a little?
‘already numb fists’ jars a little too. Is there another way to phrase this?
Right at the end, I know ‘her mother’ is actually Jackie’s mother, but for a moment it reads as though it’s Julia’s. Also, she can’t be gone before anything if Mrs Horwatt is able to grab her arm.
Great segment, lots of action and play with the senses here. It’s so possible to feel that cold and you’re right; it is a character here. It makes a great antagonist. Fab work!
Sorry it’s so late.
May 6, 2013 at 12:13 pm
You make good points, Ileandra, I must open my eyes wider or get more sleep before I attempt posting. Thank you for your time to make suggestions. Thank you.
May 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm
Lol, happy to do it. 🙂
May 9, 2013 at 1:15 pm