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Eyes of a Broken Dream; Redux

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Old 12-10-2006, 05:58 PM
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Default Eyes of a Broken Dream; Redux


I posted this when WB first started up. It was rough and I received a brutal critique for it. Took it back and reposting it with WB's newer, larger audience. I want YOUR feedback on this, not neccesarily a critique; although it would be nice.
5,300+ words

He ran.

He was running, running from something again. Some monster. Fictional monsters always bothered him. He never saw them, but just heard and felt them. He never trusted his eyes anymore. Not since he was 12 when he was playing in the back yard on the swing set. Something pushed him from the swing, he knew it. A shove in the chest is a feeling hard to mistake for a caught shoestring, as his mother had assured him as the cause for his terrible tumble.

Bastien ran farther

He had been running for hours now. His 17-year-old athletic figure was sweating itself dry; the muscles had swollen twice their size. Since it was the object of lust for many girls and probably its fair share of guys, it got a deal of attention, something he liked to keep on just his body.

His medicine cabinet was a literal pharmacy of anti-psychotics. The cocktail of Xanax and Prozac made him sick. Since he played on the Varsity football team his photographs were frequently found in the local paper. Each one showed off his tall broad shouldered, sandy blonde haired physique. He seemed the typical All-American jock.

He didn’t act like a typical jock, however. Few jocks know who Heisenberg was. Even fewer knew what the centripetal acceleration formula was, but he did. He hated talking to his teammates, they were all morons. He wanted math, science, philosophy, and anything that could keep him guessing. That’s why his mind was set on just one particular girl.

Trisha could talk. If it’s one thing that she could do, and do well, it was talk. The things that came out of her mouth were brilliant; the simple things that started revolutions. Bastien loved her, but she would never know. He had convinced himself she couldn’t ever find out.

***


Bastien was face down in a gutter.

He ran. He ran all night until he was face down in a gutter. There were a few puddles of running induced vomit nearby, speckled with bits of dinner and blood. His head rose to try and locate a person. No one was in sight.

“Good,” he muttered while shaking some muck and vomit from his face. Maybe he could get home without anyone seeing him.

He got up. Gutter water still dripping from his eyebrows, he swiped his face and felt the scabs on his forehead and nose. His undershirt was stained with the other inhabitants of his gutter.

“Now, where am I…” he said.

He looked around his newfound environment, trying to establish his whereabouts.

He groaned. His head exploded in a brilliant array of stars and colors. It throbbed like nothing he’d ever felt. No championship party had ever hurt like this. JFK had nothing on this head pain.

“Too much blood, too fast,” Bastien thought as the blood in his veins lurched to a start. It hit him like a wall of water from a broken dam. Colors flashed in front of his eyes and his legs gave way beneath him.

***

Trish sat on her black leather couch, jotting down some thoughts. The TV was on, resting on a recently stained oaken chest. The walls were beige. Neutral walls seemed best for the living room, since her family had to fake a residence in it when Jeopardy was on. One of the adjoining rooms, Trish’s, had coral pink carpet, matching the girly pink curtains and a rose colored glass mobile hanging from the ceiling.

She kept writing; her dark blonde hair kept falling in the way of her pen.

The bell of a telephone echoed through her halls, startling her.

“Who’s calling me now?” The question hung in the air as she took the phone to her ear.

“Trish?” said a voice through the earpiece, unsure.

“Is this…?” She answered her own question, “Bastien?”

“Yeah… Hey, I’m over in Asheville. Can you come get me?” Bastien asked.

“Ashville? That’s 17 miles away! How’d you get there? Why don’t you drive home?”

“I can’t. I’m too tired. I went running again….last night, I mean.”

“Oh……yeah….okay” The tone left the conversation. She understood what happened. “Let me get some clothes on, I’m in my P.J.’s. Do you need any clothes?”

“It’d be nice to have a t-shirt. Mines covered in…well…filth” he said.

“I’ll be there in half an hour.”

“I’m in the Waffle House off of 210. K? Bye”

“Bye” her voice lingered.

***

Bastien smiled wide when he saw that familiar dark Pontiac pulling into the park space. He groaned as he stood up. Everything was sore.

Trish gave a weak smile. She looked more concerned than disappointed.

“Are you alright?” she said as she climbed out of the car.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” He paused. “Got the clothes?”

“Oh!” She reached into the car and pulled out a small plastic bag and tossed it to him.

“Thanks.” Bastien said with a big grin on his face. “Whose are these anyways?” he said as he opened the bag, taking out the t-shirt and a pair of boxers.

“Hey, underwear!” he said.

“Mother knows best. Right?” she said, laughing anxiously, “But they’re my brother’s. Kevin’s, I mean”

“Ah, how is he doing, anyways?”

“Cut the crap Bastien. What the fuck are you doing out here?”

“I just went running. You know why.” He paused, concerned about attracting more attention to himself in his rival town, “I’ve told you why before. Don’t you understand?”

“No. I don’t. I really don’t Bastien. What if you got hurt?” she said, slapping her hand on the hood of her car.

“Whatever, Mom. I’m changing.”

He peeled off his shirt and Trish gasped.

“What happened to your chest!?” she said

“Huh?” he said, oblivious.

When he looked down, he saw a bruise on his chest, the size of a hand.

“Bum musta’ fought me or something” he said, “Don’t worry. No blood, nor broken bones. I’m fine” finally pulling the clean shirt over his head.

“No. You’re hurt; look at the size of that bruise. Are you sure?” The concern in her voice made Bastien’s heart wretch at his nonchalance in offending her.

“All right. I’ll get my mom to look at it. She gets off her shift at the nurse’s station at 5:45,” he said as he climbed into the passenger eat, noting her particular smell. She always smelled like mangos and hairspray. Always.

“What did you dream about Bastien?” rang into Bastien’s ears, as he snapped back from his daydream.

“I’m sorry?”

“What did you dream about?” she said, more empathetically. Bastien heard the engine revving higher.

Nothing’s worse than a pissed off woman driver. He thought

“I told you before, it’s not a dream. It’s something. Real or not, it’s got to be something.”

“Oh…what was it?” Trish said. During the numerous conversations the two had about this situation, Bastien never sensed that she understood what night terrors were.

“I’ve got no earthly idea. It just seemed big. Seemed big to me.” he replied.

“I’m sorry Bastien…” she pulled onto the shoulder and turned to him, “Are you taking the meds? You were doing so well!”

He turned his head to the window, “No, they make me sick. I can’t stand being sick like that.”

“You have to take them, you know that…” she said.

“NO!” he yelled, looking at Trish fiercely. “I told you, they make me sick. I hate being sick.”

Obviously hurt, she put the car in drive and said quietly, “Fine. But will you consider taking them…for me?”

Bastien was shocked and hurt. There was no doubt in his mind that she found out he loved her. She had to of found it out and she was exploiting it. Boy, did it hurt.

***

“Bastien….wake up…”

“Bastien…..”

“BASTIEN!!!”

He jumped. The clock flashed 2:13 a.m. in its warm crimson color. His bed was cold with sweat. Something had awakened him, but whether it was his bladder or his cat, he wasn’t coherent enough to determine.


“Bastien…come to the closet and let me out”

Rational thought had not come to his mind yet. Everything in his mind was still fumbling to gain its bearings, but he obeyed like a zombie.

“Bastien, I’m here….Let me out”

***


Trish lay in bed. She sat staring half-awake at the mirror on her dress. She had a habit of comparing herself to the angel that hung above her mirror. She noted both the angel’s hair and hers was shining in the same gold; her skin as fair as the angels. She recalled a memory, when she was 14 and coming of age, that one of the ladies at the department store said make-up would be a waste on me; that she was too beautiful to hide under foundation.

It was well past eleven when her mother came into the room, knocking softly and trying to push the door open before a discarded shoe was wedged between the door and the coral carpet.

“Trish? Are you up? Trish dear, you have to get up. Something’s wrong.” Trish’s mom said.

“…what…?” Trish said, as she turned in her bed, looking to find the source of her intrusion.

“Bastien is in the hospital. Someone broke in and stabbed him last night,” she stammered, shifting her weight from one leg to the other. She pondered the best way to tell her daughter the worst, “He’s delusional. He keeps saying it was a monster. They’re afraid he might have gone insane.”

By “hospital” Trish was fully awake and in the midst of changing. Her mom didn’t need to ask twice.

She pulled into the parking lot, her tires screeching to a halt in the first parking spot she saw. Her hair was frizzed as she entered the ER.

“Where’s Bastien?” she said hysterically to a startled receptionist.

Bastien’s father saw her and diverted her from the busy receptionist. He looked at her noticeably panicked expression and said “He’s fine. Don’t worry.” She returned his calming glance, seeing the dark wrinkles around his sharp blue eyes were now more noticeable than when she had last seen him.

“Thank you David.” She replied, perceivably calmed by the presence of Bastien’s dad.

He beckoned her to follow him into recovery. As they walked, Trisha slightly behind Bastien’s father, she saw his father as an older version of him; sharing many of the same features and gaits.

She followed Bastien’s father through the impossible-to-navigate halls of the hospital. They arrived at his recovery room, that sterile white room with the insignia 502A underlined by the disposable label reading “Bastien A. Rondwill and Jamie Furburrow”. Bastien was sleeping. She could see his figure under the sterile thin hospital sheets. The beep of the heart monitor was triumphant over Bastien’s feeble breathing. The other half of the room had its curtain drawn. The mystery person was shifting in the bed, moaning from its injuries.

The stillness was broken by a nurse coming through the door to change Bastien’s and his Mystery Man’s IV Bags.

“You want to talk to Bastien, I’m assuming. Let me wake him after I get their IVs done.” She said, gesturing to the mystery man and Bastien.

***

“Bastien”

He stirred in his sleep.

“Bastien, WAKE UP!” emanated from darkness.

Bastien jumped up in his bed. He looked around, completely awake. He wasn’t in his room. It was all black. His bed was also the pale black of his surrounding, making it impossible to distinguish where the bed ended and The Nothing started. He was lost. Everything was dark. Some weird luminance was coming from nowhere.

“Hello Bastien”

“Who are you?” he said to the voice.

“I am…..me.” The voice was becoming more localized. The voice seemed to loom just beyond the reach of the invisible light source.

“Who is ‘me’?” Bastien said.

“Me is you. I’ve watched you running.” The voice said coolly, “I’ve seen you running. Sometimes…….I’m even the reason of you running”

Bastien felt the blood run from his face into the pit of his stomach.

“Who….what?!” Bastien said. “Who are you!? SHOW YOURSELF!”

The luminescence faded. Something grabbed his hand.

His eyes opened and he was in a room filled by family and friends in a hospital room.

**

“Here we go. He’s coming around,” said the nurse, “Bastien, people are here to see you.”

“He…..hey…” he said, relieved to have come out of that nightmare.

“Are you okay?” a familiar voice said. His retinas adjusted to the light; he saw Trisha. Relief rushed over him.

“Yeah, just a little sore and my stomach hurts, but the bruise is gone.” He looked around the hospital room and saw his mother, father, and uncle in a corner speaking with the nurse. He whispered to Trish “Can you make them all just….leave? I need to talk to you alone.”

“Yeah….sure….”she said. She turned to face Bastien’s family, his mother was crying in the corner, and said “May we have a moment alone?”

David noted Trish’s expression and suggested to his brother that they try to calm down his wife outside the room. They promptly exited, but his mother’s wails still pierced the door.

“Trish, that monster stabbed me.”

“No, Bastien, the police report says breaking and entry and you were stabbed with a shard of glass!” Her hands moving so fast that Bastien thought she would fly away. She continued firmly, “They even found the guy’s blood on your broken window!”

“Fuck the police, I know what I saw!”

“Fine, what did he look like? Your monster.”

“I….I…don’t know.” He said.

“Bastien….I love you…please take your meds. I know you have this thing for me, I’ve known for a while. Just take your medications.” Her shoulders slumped and released a sigh. “What am I going to do with you, Bastien?”

“Okay…” he said, with a weak grin. He had to. She knew he loved her.

She leaned over and kissed his forehead. She put her hand on his chest and rubbed it softly. “Love you. Get better.”

With that she stood up and left as the beeping of the heart monitor rocked him back to sleep.

***

“Welcome back,” that familiar voice beckoned to Bastien. It wanted him to open his eyes.

“What is your name?” Bastien said with his eyes unopened.

“I told yo…”

“NO!” Bastien screamed, “I want YOUR name! Give me YOUR goddman name! No mind games!”

The monster seemed taken aback. It was as if didn’t know how to respond to aggression like that. As if it wasn’t used to it. Finally it said calmly, “My name…..is James….”

Bastien opened his eyes. He was back in The Nothing. He saw James though…James was sitting in a chair. Though he was only a silhouette of a man, Bastien knew he was wrong, somehow perverse. Bastien knew something was completely decadent with him.

“Why don’t you show yourself?” Bastien said as he sat up in his Black bed. He noted the light changed as he sat up. He felt some courage. He’d dealt with bullies as a kid. He told himself that this James wasn’t going to be any different.

“Why do you wish to see me?” James quipped.

“Did you attack me?”

“Yes. I needed to talk to you.”

“What? Talk to me? You’re not real.” He spoke, only to convince himself. His hands clenched the black sheets, “You’re the kind of shit I take meds to keep out of my head. Why do you think you need to talk to me? You’re a figment of my imagination!?”

“What do you think makes you sick when you take the meds? I know you don’t think that that is a natural sickness. It was me!” James said, in a ‘Ta-dah!’ tone of voice.

“So, you want to see me then, Bastien? Fine.” James said as he slowly stepped forward into the light. As soon as he saw James, he figured out what the light was. It was him. Bastien was the light source in the dark. He felt the sort of elation someone would get when they figure out how to work a paper slicer and the panic when one cuts off his own finger.

Now, James was getting closer. James was a boy; he was close to Bastien’s age. Solidly built, jet black, oily hair, and scarred hands. His eyes matched his hair. His jeans were dark denim with a brown shirt. Even his fashion seemed wrong.

“This is your monster. This is what you run from.” James said. His arms opened to embrace himself in all his glory.

Bastien was frozen. Why did this man cause him so much fear? What happened? He was frozen. His sight was fading. He was blacking out again.

“GO!” Bastien screamed, “GO AWAY!”

James only got closer.

“Now shut up. I spent a lot of time getting you here and making you listen to me, so you’re going to shut up. Nobody can even HEAR you! It’s just you…and…me.” James chuckled.

“Back in the dark, go back to wherever the fucking hell you came from!” Bastien said.

“Ouch, I tried to be civil…Bastien….You never did make a good move under pressure. Like when you threw that terrible pass”

Bastien protested.

James grabbed hold of Bastien by his sweaty undershirt.

“You are honestly going to regret this…” James said as he threw Bastien across the floor of the seemingly endless black. He felt like he was lifted effortlessly and tossed aside like a Christmas day puppy in January. His bed quickly faded from sight as he slid, as did James.

“You know, you can never die in your sleep? Yes, it’s true.” James voice thundered from everywhere. Then he walked into his view. “It looks like I can have some fun with you, then.”

James’s foot flew swiftly into Bastien’s stomach. Bastien coughed and cradled his stomach, as well as someone could cradle a stomach.

“Did that hurt?” James asked, suddenly concerned as he crouched within inches of Bastien’s face.

“Yeah….” He coughed out.

“I never did care….” James yelled. He let loose a flurry of kicks on Bastien. He swatted at the kicks, knocking one away to have another follow through and connect. He’d vomited.

”You know dreams have no correlation to time either? Fall asleep for 1 minute; I can have you for a day!” James shouted over his own grunts. He was kicking him even harder now.

Bastien cried out. “What do you want with me?”

“For you to suffer…”

“What have I done to you?” Bastien said between sobs.

“Not much…good point.” James said.

He started walking off. His footsteps clicked echoing. They were getting faint, but stopped.

“Bastien…..of all the times I’ve followed you…I’ve talked to you, even attacked you…have you ever gotten the distinct impression that I cared?”

James came running back into Bastien’s view swinging a large golf club and brought it to Bastien’s head.

Then Bastien woke, screaming.

***

Morning came and with it, the morning nurse on her rounds. She was wearing headphones and was apparently more interested in Bon Jovi than in her duties. This was the first time Bastien had actually looked at her. Her scrubs had pink puppy dogs on it. She carried a tray under her breasts, partially concealing the Doberman Pincher with cartooned sad eyes.

This is the first time I’ve looked at someone other than Trish in a while. he thought.

“Up already?” she asked, her voice breaking the monotony of the heart monitor.

“Yeah…um, I didn’t sleep well last night.” Bastien said.

“So I heard. The night shift said you were having nightmares. Want to talk about it?” She said.

“No…No, I’d rather not..” he was rather puzzled by his own stammering.

She laughed. “Too proud? Ha-ha. It’s okay. With your famous face, I wouldn’t want it to get out that you were having nightmares like a little kid.” She said laughing. Changing moods from joking back to nurse, she continued, “You want visitors? We’ve got people asking to see you. I think one is your coach.”

“No. I’ll speak to him later. Who else is out there?”

“Parents, the paper, and a girl. She says she’s your love interest and said something about Kevin’s underwear.”

“That’s Trish.” He said, “I just want to see my parents and Trish.”

“Alright honey,” She gave him a small wink and walked off, laying his breakfast tray at his bedside table.

“Wait!” he said, finally noticing he was the only person in the room. His mystery man was gone.

“Yes, dearie?” she said, her head the only part of her peering through the door.

“Where’s the dude? He was here last night.”

“Oh. He left. He was just on bed rest until he felt able. Musta’ happened late at night if you didn’t notice it. Or your nightmares were just getting to you, again.” She said as she walked away.

He was convinced she was at least 20. Was she flirting with me or was it the narcotics? Nice rack. He thought.

He ate. He was hungry from last night’s bout against James.

“Whoever thought a figment of my imagination would have such an effect on my body.” He mumbled. He stretched his arms. They hurt.

He got out of bed and walked around his room. His whole body was sore, almost inexplicably. He opened his gown to examine himself. He found it easier in a whole list of situations to wear the gown backwards, instead of wearing it as an open defiance of his nurse. His stab wound had healed some. He was going to have to stay in that sterile prison for a while yet.

He sat and read for a long time. As he read, just before the bomb went off, he was reminded of James. Looked at his bedside table, and there, his medication sat in the little plastic cup often found at Chinese restaurants for taking even more soy sauce to your table. He took his meds. James was worth a sick stomach.

***

Bastien stayed in his jail cell of a room for a week more, healing, and staying with the sick stomach, but his stomach got a little more used to the unusual cocktail and eventually the sickness would subside, he determined by his progress. His room appeared to be a revolving door for people with an obsession with privacy. Their curtains were always drawn, except for one loony old man, but Bastien didn’t count him. He found the morphine drip button, so conversation with him lasted all but 10 minutes.

***

Bastien knew he looked haggard the day he went home. During his stay at the hospital, he received infrequent sponge baths and certain parts of him were very filthy. When he came home, he relished the thought of being clean. For the first time in weeks, he could shave and shower. He was back to his old self, mostly. He had since quit the football team. Nothing was in it for him anymore.

He and Trish were dating, finally. Everything was good. It had been two months since he was attacked that night.

Bastien’s phone rang. The LCD on the front read “My Baby”. He put the receiver to his ear.

“Bastien! Where are you?” she said in her usual girly pep.

“Here, not doing too much, you want me to do something?”

“Yeah, come over here. I want to play monopoly,” She said with a tinge of seduction in her voice.

“Ha-ha. Alright, Trish. But I’m the banker.” He laughed. He loved their “code” words to use for sex. Things were really starting to go right. Senior year was becoming, he was certain, the best year of his life.

Bastien knew what was coming. He got in the car and started driving towards her house while listening to his favorite song by his favorite band.

He pulled into her driveway and walked in her house.

“BASTIEN!” Trish screamed.

He ran through her living room. The walls weren’t beige anymore. A rich red had replaced it, but he hadn’t noticed. A lot was different; the TV was bigger, the DVD rack was now wall-mounted, and the recliner her dad sat in was disposed of. When he got to her room she was sitting on her bed, topless and bound at the wrist.

“Bastien! Who is he?!?!” Trish said, her eyes running towards a man in the corner.

Bastien’s color drained at the site of James standing in the corner.

“You shouldn’t shut me out Bastien.” James said. “I stopped making you queasy because I left you Bastien. I’m real now. As real as you or….” He looked at Trish, who laid on the bed sobbing.

“Who is James, Bastien?!?! DO YOU KNOW HIM?” she pleaded.

“Yeah, I know him, he’s the thing that I used to run from…”he said.

“Bastien! What the hell are you talking about!” she wailed, she went hysterical over the statement and burst into tears.

James laughed, “Sorry Trish, It’s true.” James had changed; he had longer hair. He flicked his hair out of the way so naturally, a habit must have been formed to get it out of his conscious mind. He had a lip ring now, and his eyes were still of their eerie hue.

Bastien looked at James. “James, I want you to go away. I took my meds to shut you out. I want you gone.”

“You kept me shut up; I hate it when you do that. Now I’m going to show you what happens WHEN you do that.” He stepped towards Trish.

“Bastien!” Trish screamed. “Help ME!”

Bastien tried to move, but his legs were locked tight. He was confused, why couldn’t he control his legs?

James just laughed. His laugh was a nail to the brain. Bastien just couldn’t move, James pointed to his temple and tapped it.

“I’m still in there Bastien.” He said, “I may be standing before you, but I’m still up there.”

“Get out of my fucking head!” Bastien cried.

“Why? I like it there!” James said, grabbing Trish.

“Bastien!” Trish cried, struggling to free herself from his grip, but failing.

Something broke. In Bastien’s mind, something had gone horribly awry. All reason had left him. He was back to square one.

Kill.

He reverted to the one thing that drives all primitive carnivores. Bastien’s legs grinded to a move. He didn’t care about pain. All the nerves in his body were screaming and telling to stop him from moving, but he was past responsiveness. His coach made him play through broken fingers and ankles, so his response to pain was to go harder.

James, Bastien saw, had a look of terror in his eyes.

A primal roar emitted from Bastien’s now open mouth. He tackled James and beat him. Fist connected to jaw; knee to nose. A tribal beat of pounded flesh filled the room. Bastien very quickly got on top of James and let the melody continue to flow from his fists.

Bastien’s pent up anger and loathing of James was let loose. He beat James while Trish looked on in horror. James was bleeding from every orifice on his head, whimpering for Bastien to stop.

James gargled on his own blood. The two were entwined on the floor. Blood covered Bastien’s fists. James was missing many teeth. Bastien sat up, on top of James, with James trying to crawl away. Trish gave the impression of being frozen solid. Her boyfriend became so violent, so out of the ordinary of who he was. The only pristine pink carpeting of her bedroom was now a modern art made of ivory jewels, blood, and cartilage.

“Bastien, get out.” Trish said the color of her face and tone of her voice was long gone. “I am going to call the police, but I want you gone.”

He got up and ran. He had no aim, just to get away. He left his car at Trish’s, concerned about being followed. It was a hard decision for Bastien to leave his girlfriend back there, and now he regretted ever bringing her into his life.

His shoes were drenched in sweat. He should have stopped miles ago. His shirt had long disappeared. Hours had passed since he left Trish’s and direction was a vestige of a world his mind left when he left her house. Everything in him burned. He was shutting down. He finally collapsed and slept, unaware of where he rested.

***


He stirred in the hospital bed. The sheets tucked in tight to keep him from rolling off the bed. His jaw hurt terribly. Did he break it when he fell to sleep in the road? He had the worst luck with hospitals.

A nurse walked into the room.

“James?” She said, “Are you alright?”

“JAMES?” he screamed “Get him the FUCK AWAY FROM ME.”

The nurse was puzzled.

“What are you talking about?” she asked.

He looked around, frightened. Her nametag was Julia. She’s not James. He thought.

“Where is James?” He screamed in a frightened voice.

“Honey, you are James.” She said.

“NO. YOU’RE WRONG.” he screamed.

“I’m sorry, your name is James.” The nurse told him.

“My name is Bastien. I am Bastien, I swear. I have to be Bastien….” He said, the name becoming weaker each he said it.

“Your name is James Furburrow.” She said checking her chart, “Your ID says you live on Rome Court Road. You broke into Trisha Durham’s house, bound her and were beaten up by Bastien, her boyfriend. We cannot locate him currently.”

She continued, “You are suspect to having of assaulted Bastien two months ago. Is all of this coming as a surprised to you?”

“What?” he thought, “No, I can’t be James...I cannot be James. I am Bastien.”

The nurse looked at James concerned. “I’m taking you to psych.” She said.

“Put me to sleep, I don’t wanna be awake.” He said.

A ruckus outside his room got his attention.

“Bast…..severe dehydra…flui…..stat!” a voice said from the hall.

James climbed out of his bed. The blood that rushed to his face was blinding. His face throbbed while the nurse told him to sit. He couldn’t cohere to either her commands or his body. He was moving like he just woke from a dream.

“Just take me to psych. I’ve no energy.” he said gloomily.

The nurse noted winces on his swollen face and the wonderful compliment his black and blue hair made to his black and blue face. “Okay…”

They walked down the sterile white halls with the sterile white rooms filled with sterile white beds. They turned a corner and he saw Trish.

Her hair wasn’t as golden anymore. Her skin wasn’t as perfect or her eyes so blue. She was plain. Maybe she wasn’t wearing makeup. She never saw him. She was crying when she saw Bastien rolling into the ER.

***

“Have you located James’s Parents?” a hushed voice asked.

James sat in a padded cell with a lofty ceiling. He long since
healed. He’d undergone intense psychiatric therapy and his hair had grown out. He had blonde hair. He rarely talked anymore.

“No, Nobody. He has a fake ID. We aren’t even sure how old he is. We’ve confirmed that his name is real, however. Pyschotherapy is useful for that.” A woman’s voice said.

“Well, he was living in an illusion. He though he was Bastien and lived his life through the idea of him being Bastien. He finally brought himself into the picture when he wanted to complete his idea of a perfect life. It didn’t work quite like he thought it would when Bastien and Trish rejected him. Doesn’t surprise me, though, I’d reject anyone that bound my girlfriend and tried to fight me.” Another voice said, “I suggest he stays here.”

“Agreed.” The woman’s voice said looking through the small wired window, “Poor kid, he looks like a broken toy.”

James was disturbed by the murmur of the choir of voices from the window. He looked from his blank gaze in his book towards the figures at the window. His eyes were blank and empty. He was unshaven, his blonde beard having become patched from refusing to eat. His hair was unkempt, but everything was drawn back to those eyes. They didn’t blink or waver. They were the eyes of a broken dream.


Last edited by Underdog; 12-10-2006 at 06:11 PM.. Reason: format
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Old 12-11-2006, 08:02 AM
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Hi Underdog

Just wanted to let you know that i have picked this up and I will post up some comments when I get chance.
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Old 12-11-2006, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by starpanda View Post
Hi Underdog

Just wanted to let you know that i have picked this up and I will post up some comments when I get chance.
Cool. Thanks. Sorry for it being such a daunting read. You know how us crazy-dialouge lovers are.
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Old 12-12-2006, 02:34 AM
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Official Writer's Beat Critique by Starpanda

Hi Underdog,

Here are my comments as promised. they are honest, but hopefully not brutal...!


I like the concept of the story, where the delusional monster in a psychotic mind is actually real. This is something similar to a concept I have been playing with. (An ex was schizophrenic and I lived with four years of ‘them’ being after him…sad really because them were real to him.)

Your mechanics of the story, i.e. spelling and grammar are generally fine and again with pace and tone, nothing bad sticks out. I should point out that because the piece is lengthy I’m not going to post a line-by-line critique (however if you want I can do a private critique and email you) I’m just posting comments on things that struck me…I hope this is okay.


The dream sequences are great you have obviously worked hard to get a surreal feel to them, the only negative comment I would make is that I as a reader, I wasn’t always sure who was speaking until much later in the piece, for example:

Obviously hurt, she put the car in drive and said quietly, “Fine. But will you consider taking them…for me?”

Bastien was shocked and
hurt. There was no doubt in his mind that she found out he loved her. She had to of [have] found it out and she was exploiting it. Boy, did it hurt. [Do you have to use this word three times in such a short space? To do makes me think you haven’t really thought about your word choice enough, and I know there is nothing wrong with the size of your vocabulary!]

***

“Bastien….wake up…”

“Bastien…..”

“BASTIEN!!!”

He jumped. The clock flashed 2:13 a.m. in its warm crimson color. His bed was cold with sweat. Something had awakened him, but whether it was his bladder or his cat, he wasn’t coherent enough to determine.


“Bastien…come to the closet and let me out”


Even though this is a change in scene and the reader has detached themselves from Bastien’s conversation with Trish, it is not abundantly clear if they are still talking. Try something like: “Bastein…wake up…” A disembodied male voice drifted into his dreams. Familiar and yet terrifying to him.


Yeah, I know that is a pile of S***, but hopefully you’ll get what I mean.
I do think you are telling the reader to much, rather than showing them in places for example:

He didn’t act like a typical jock, however. Few jocks know who Heisenberg was. Even fewer knew what the centripetal acceleration formula was, but he did. He hated talking to his teammates, they were all morons. He wanted math, science, philosophy, and anything that could keep him guessing. That’s why his mind was set on just one particular girl.

Trisha could talk. If it’s one thing that she could do, and do well, it was talk. The things that came out of her mouth were brilliant; the simple things that started revolutions. Bastien loved her, but she would never know. He had convinced himself she couldn’t ever find out.


In these two paragraphs you are telling the reader about Bastien’s and Trish’s intellect and his love for her. This is not necessarily wrong, but readers like to find things out during the course of the ‘action’ and ‘dialogue’, and work it out for themselves, rather than be told. You have a great aptitude for dialogue, so you could easily do this by conversations between them.

I’ll be honest and say, structurally, I did find it confusing and I found myself re-reading it trying to figure out what of Bastien’s scenes were actually Bastien, or James, if any. I’m still not entirely sure, so maybe you need to make it a little clearer so that Ludites like me get it.

There are couple of questions on the significance of some things I want ask, such as, why did you feel it necessary for Bastien to hide his feelings for Trish? As it didn’t seem to matter at the end. Also, why is the décor change at Trish’s house significant?

I really liked the twist at the end, where James has Bastiens’ persona, although I do feel he gave up on that a bit quickly, or at least that is the way it came across.

The reader never finds out why James wanted to be Bastien, it is only hinted at and the fact that the institution he is in cannot find out anything is a little frustrating…sorry.

However, all in all, a good story with a great twist at the end. Hope this hasn’t been too painful!


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Old 12-12-2006, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by starpanda View Post

Official Writer's Beat Critique by Starpanda

Hi Underdog,

Here are my comments as promised. they are honest, but hopefully not brutal...!


I like the concept of the story, where the delusional monster in a psychotic mind is actually real. This is something similar to a concept I have been playing with. (An ex was schizophrenic and I lived with four years of ‘them’ being after him…sad really because them were real to him.)

Your mechanics of the story, i.e. spelling and grammar are generally fine and again with pace and tone, nothing bad sticks out. I should point out that because the piece is lengthy I’m not going to post a line-by-line critique (however if you want I can do a private critique and email you) I’m just posting comments on things that struck me…I hope this is okay.


The dream sequences are great you have obviously worked hard to get a surreal feel to them, the only negative comment I would make is that I as a reader, I wasn’t always sure who was speaking until much later in the piece, for example:




Even though this is a change in scene and the reader has detached themselves from Bastien’s conversation with Trish, it is not abundantly clear if they are still talking. Try something like: “Bastein…wake up…” A disembodied male voice drifted into his dreams. Familiar and yet terrifying to him.


Yeah, I know that is a pile of S***, but hopefully you’ll get what I mean.
I do think you are telling the reader to much, rather than showing them in places for example:

[/COLOR]

In these two paragraphs you are telling the reader about Bastien’s and Trish’s intellect and his love for her. This is not necessarily wrong, but readers like to find things out during the course of the ‘action’ and ‘dialogue’, and work it out for themselves, rather than be told. You have a great aptitude for dialogue, so you could easily do this by conversations between them.

I’ll be honest and say, structurally, I did find it confusing and I found myself re-reading it trying to figure out what of Bastien’s scenes were actually Bastien, or James, if any. I’m still not entirely sure, so maybe you need to make it a little clearer so that Ludites like me get it.

There are couple of questions on the significance of some things I want ask, such as, why did you feel it necessary for Bastien to hide his feelings for Trish? As it didn’t seem to matter at the end. Also, why is the décor change at Trish’s house significant?

I really liked the twist at the end, where James has Bastiens’ persona, although I do feel he gave up on that a bit quickly, or at least that is the way it came across.

The reader never finds out why James wanted to be Bastien, it is only hinted at and the fact that the institution he is in cannot find out anything is a little frustrating…sorry.

However, all in all, a good story with a great twist at the end. Hope this hasn’t been too painful!



Thank you. I understand it's very hard to understand who is who at the end of the story (pretaining to the rest of the story). It was sort of supposed to be like that, to erase the lines between sanity, and sort of I have trouble clearing it up in my own mind!

Telling? Yeah. On a quick re-read I see what you mean. I needed that to be pointed out.
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Old 04-30-2007, 01:39 AM
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Hi
Just got done reading your story, it was great,I loved your voice.
You are a very talented writer,I envy you.
There are some things I would like to point out to you though.
The plot towards the end gets a little confusing, being only a novice writer I dont know how you can fix it.
It felt like the last sentance was forced to fit in the title, I could be wrong though it is 4 28 am.
A lot could be done to make the piece a novella.
The vocabulary was excellent and it seems you did your homework on the meds and hospital situation.
The use of cliches was good as most of them were inventive and drove home the idea you were trying to portray.
Over writing as in the use of too many adjectives and verbs was something that you didn't have a problem with, so congratulations on that.
Some of the characters were a little shallow and some of their actions and dialogue , to me just didnt fit, maybe some of it need restructuring but I didnt fully believe the conversation between Trisha and Bastien when she came to pick him up. How did she figure out that he liked her?
Just some loose ends that need tighteneing up but over all found them to be shallow .
Showing and not telling the story is key to any good piece.
The plot development fascinated the crap out of me and I couldn't stop reading it, you syle reminds me of King, as in Stephen, Tell me what were you reading at the time you wrote it and what inspired the story?
The work as a whole entertained me enough to keep me awake at 4:36 in the morning, which is quite an accomplishment for a man I have never met!
Usually they have to go to more drastic measures.
Over all I loved it , My advice would be to lock it away for 6 or 7 weeks then return to it.
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