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Old 12-22-2015, 03:58 PM View Post #1 (Link) Those Humanity Left Behind Partner
OddLittleContraption (Offline)
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Texas
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They sat at the table in his quiet kitchen, facing each other, silently chewing on the peanut butter sandwiches he had made. She wouldn’t look at him, but he watched her as she ate- her eyes were red and swollen, and on her cheeks the dried streaks of ghost tears still caught the light filtering through the blinds from time to time. She was the image of despair- worn down, broken hearted, and sapped of the energy he had always seen in her when he used to glance at her from his living room with mild amusement as she entertained the neighborhood kids with somersaults and bike tricks. His eyes wandered to his front door as his mind recalled the three graves just across the street, laying desolately in her front yard. Remembering suddenly the feel of the three cold, stiff bodies, he dropped his sandwich half eaten onto his plate and paced a few steps away from the table, standing pensively over the sink, hands gripping the rim tightly as the memories nauseated him. The world had become an awful place of late, and having been holed up in his house since his grandfather had gone away, he had managed to remain ignorant of that fact. But now he knew. Now it was all crashing down on him like the heavens crashing down onto Atlas’ shoulders.

“Emma we have to leave here,” he said suddenly, resolutely. His back was to her, so her reaction remained unknown. She didn’t answer.

“We have to get out of the city,” he continued, “we have to get far away from all of this.”

A long silence, then finally: “Luke…your grandfather…”
At the mention of his grandfather, a tremor traced its way from the base of his skull, down his spine, and into his toes. Without thinking, his reply was falling out of his mouth in short, quick words before he really had time to contemplate what they meant.
“He’s dead, I know he’s dead. He went to the hospital two weeks ago and he had the sickness and he hasn’t called at all. And he’s dead. And I can’t stay here any longer.”
Along with the thousand other realizations he’d had that day, the reality that his grandfather was dead hit him straight in the gut. He rocked forward, gripping the sink rim harder and clenching his eyes shut.

When she answered, he could tell from the way that she spoke in a tiny, quiet voice that she was crying again, or very near to it. “But where can we go?”

The question hung in the silence between them, unanswered. Pushing off the sink and turning back to her, he returned to the table and slid into his seat again, one hand touching the corner of his sandwich with mixed intent, but ultimately leaving it be. She was sitting straight up, sandwich also unfinished, rubbing away the few tears that were seeping out of her tired eyes with mild embarrassment. He didn’t see what she had to be embarrassed about; she had cried much harder and in a much more humiliating way earlier when she’d clung to him like an infant. Still, she scrubbed, and watched him for his answer. He drummed his fingers on the table.

“What about up north? I heard it was safe up there, a few weeks ago.”

“I heard it wasn’t safe anywhere. I heard that the sickness in every town and city and place in the world. And anyway….the riots….the war….”

He looked at her grudgingly. Why couldn’t she just let him have his hope? Of course she was right- but why couldn’t they pretend? Couldn’t they kindle between them some tiny flame of the naiveté they’d possessed before? Even if it was all based on a lie…

“Why don’t we just start by getting out of the city? I can’t stand to stay here anymore.”

She absently began pulling off the crust of her remaining sandwich chunk, slowly and aimlessly. There were no more tears, just the past look of complete despair.

“We’ll need to pack supplies, won’t we? Like food and water and clothes,” she asked, eyes focused on her crust tearing work.

“As much as we can fit in my truck. I don’t want to ever come back here.” He began to tug at his crust too. Neither of them looked at each other.

Her reply was a long time in coming, but when it did, her fingers halted at their work and her eyes began to look into some far off distance. Her voice had become tiny again.
“I don’t…I don’t think I can go back over to my house. I don’t want to see-” She trailed off, but he knew what she meant. Her wound was still too fresh.

“That’s all right. I can go over for you.” He offered, but she shifted uncomfortably at his suggestion, and he backtracked. “Or…you could wear some of my old clothes. Just T-shirts and stuff.”

Fingers back at work, she replied in her tiny voice, “Ok”

He lifted the sandwich back up to his lips, crust completely pulled away, and paused just before taking a bite to look questioningly at her and confirm her intent. “Really? You’ll go with me?”
She raised her eyes to his and nodded, the despair in her giving way momentarily to the old spark of life she’d had before. That made him hopeful- that things could one day be normal again, that she could heal from all her hurts- and, hunger returned, he began to eat, and so did she, and they sat in the again quiet kitchen, staring at each other, renewed with the burden of a purpose and awash in a sea of uncertainty.
  
						Last edited by OddLittleContraption; 12-22-2015 at 04:00 PM.
					
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Old 01-10-2016, 03:15 AM View Post #2 (Link)
FC Victor (Offline)
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When it first starts in the initial paragraph, it doesn't mention much about the characters as far as names and such. I like the way you did it, but it was a little confusing at first. You might want to consider tweaking this a little bit.

They sat at the table in his quiet kitchen, facing each other, silently chewing on the peanut butter sandwiches he had made. She wouldn’t look at him, but he watched her as she ate- her eyes were red and swollen, and on her cheeks the dried streaks of ghost tears still caught the light filtering through the blinds from time to time. She was the image of despair- worn down, broken hearted, and sapped of the energy he had always seen in her when he used to glance at her from his living room with mild amusement as she entertained the neighborhood kids with somersaults and bike tricks. His eyes wandered to his front door as his mind recalled the three graves just across the street, laying desolately in her front yard. Remembering suddenly the feel of the three cold, stiff bodies, he dropped his sandwich half eaten onto his plate and paced a few steps away from the table, standing pensively over the sink, hands gripping the rim tightly as the memories nauseated him. The world had become an awful place of late, and having been holed up in his house since his grandfather had gone away, he had managed to remain ignorant of that fact. But now he knew. Now it was all crashing down on him like the heavens crashing down onto Atlas’ shoulders.
This paragraph seems a bit bulky. Maybe split it between the past descriptions of him watching her and suddenly dropping his sandwich so the second paragraph would start with "Remembering suddenly the feel..."

Remembering suddenly the feel of the three cold, stiff bodies, he dropped his sandwich half eaten onto his plate and paced a few steps away from the table, standing pensively over the sink, hands gripping the rim tightly as the memories nauseated him
This sentence could be split up. Maybe at "standing" to something like, "Standing pensively over the sink, his hands gripped the rim tightly as the memories nauseated him." Since if you did the tense would have to change to make it flow better.

But now he knew. Now it was all crashing down on him like the heavens crashing down onto Atlas’ shoulders.
This is a powerful smilie that really helps capture the character's feelings. Amazing!

His back was to her, so her reaction remained unknown.
From the other parts of the story it seemed like it was third person omniscient so this seemed a little out of place. I can see the effect you were going for, but it just doesn't seem to fit quite right.

Emma, we have to leave here
about; she
This should be fine with a regular comma.

“What about up north? I heard it was safe up there, a few weeks ago.”
Is he saying that he heard a few weeks ago that it was safe there, or that he heard recently that it was safe in that place a few weeks ago, but unsure if it still is now?"

“I don’t…I don’t think I can go back over to my house. I don’t want to see,” she trailed off, but he knew what she meant. Her wound was still too fresh.
Fingers back at work, she replied in her tiny voice, “Ok.
She raised her eyes to his and nodded, the despair in her giving way momentarily to the old spark of life she’d had before. That made him hopeful- that things could one day be normal again, that she could heal from all her hurts- and, hunger returned, he began to eat, and so did she, and they sat in the again quiet kitchen, staring at each other, renewed with the burden of a purpose and awash in a sea of uncertainty.
Very captivating ending. Draws me in, wanting to read more. Keep it up! I hope this helps.

~FC Victor
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