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Life, and the aggregation of small pleasures [3000 words]

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Old 09-17-2012, 11:46 AM
salgoud (Offline)
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Default Life, and the aggregation of small pleasures [3000 words]


I know this is a long one, but would very much appreciate all and any feedback. This is the first non-academic thing I've written in a good old while, so don't hesitate to rip it to shreds if you don't like it!

-----------


By the time you have finished reading this short story of mine, I suspect you may find me a rather unsavoury character. This is an unfortunate but, as anyone with even the most rudimentary understanding of human psychology could explain, entirely understandable reaction. That is why I would ask that you let me take a just a moment to explain my actions. It is my hope that by doing so, at least a portion of you may see that what I did was not out of evil, nor was it fuelled by some twisted perversion. Rather, I gave a fellow human being a deeper insight into the very essence of life’s beauty; for any believer reading this, one might say that I gave her a glimpse of our Lord’s most precious and wondrous gift. I removed the grime that for so long had distorted her vision, and I would like to do the same for you, dear reader. I ask of you only that you would read my story with an open mind; that you let me show you the gift of life.

Too long ago for a particular date to be of relevance, it occurred to me that people do, in general, not appreciate their lives. That may not be what you would call a mind-blowing realisation, but bear with me. People are too busy indulging in self-pity over the smallest of things to take a step back and look at the infamous “big picture”. Unrequited love, an unsatisfying career, a stubbed toe, money, a particularly stubborn cold, boredom, the length of this and the girth of that – the sheer number of utterly underwhelming “evils” that people insist on obsessing over to the detriment of their own happiness is astounding. If you think about it, eventually you will find that all of these issues boil down to one fundamental problem that appears to lie at the very heart of human nature: greed. People constantly seek for new ways of inducing artificial happiness - be it through alcohol, drugs (legal or otherwise), new gadgets, fancy clothes, or entering the increasingly popular race to become the first person to outweigh a football team.

Everyone goes about it differently, but at the end of the day they are all looking for the same shallow sense of deluded satisfaction. The underlying logic seems to be that if a little is good, it must naturally follow that more is better. That, dear reader, is not only a fallacy, but the very definition of greed, would you not agree? If, for instance, they are lucky enough to find that most precious of things – pure, mutual, unquestioning love – regardless of how long it lasts, people are never satisfied. It is generally the way that one person falls out of said love; the other left hurt. We have grown to accept this hurt as an inexplicable but undeniable consequence of being left by one we cherish, and we speak of our hearts being broken.

I put it to you that this is not the case; what you are really experiencing is the ugly consequence of greed. Take the very same example but replace love with money, status, or power. Imagine having a seemingly endless supply of it which suddenly runs dry. Would you not experience a very similar set of emotions? Is it not fair, then, to take a slightly wider view of causation and point to their common denominator? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t pursue material goods, money, power and certainly not love. These are all important pieces of the proverbial puzzle, but, if you will allow me to throw one last cliché in your direction, variety is the spice of life. Everything that brings us pleasure, so long as it is legal (yes, I am aware of the irony), can only be a good thing. Unfortunately this is a concept beyond the understanding of your average person. What, in a rather verbose way, I am trying to get at here, is that the key to happiness is the aggregation of small pleasures. A simple concept on the surface, but one that is difficult to understand in earnest. Once you do, however, you, too, will have touched upon the essence of God’s grace.

*

At this point in time I expect most of you will be familiar with the basic premise of my story. I have myself witnessed the vulturous, not to mention biased and inaccurate, media coverage which unfortunately precedes this article. As such I will not go into too much detail on the events preceding the culmination of the event in question. Instead, my focus shall be largely upon the parts of the story which by their very nature are unknown to anyone but Stephanie and I. In the interest of preserving context for anyone who might read this in the future, however, I will ever so briefly summarise what you are presently being bombarded by in the papers, on the Internet, and through your radios and TVs. Those of you already familiar with Stephanie’s background may wish to skip the following section.

*

Stephanie was, for as long as I knew her, a 28 year old woman. For a host of trivial reasons on which I do not wish to waste any of this unfortunately limited space – suffice to say that it was essentially a tediously clichéd jumble of female predicaments; expanding thighs, a shrinking friendship group, an unfulfilling career, and a lonely heart – she was depressed. Not in the true sense, mind, but in the sense of popular psychology, where self-pity is tenuously equalled to depression. As I understand it she had been in this state for quite some time, and the proverbial last straw was when her boyfriend – who she admitted, in confidence, to not actually having truly loved anymore – left her. This is what led her to me. Not long after he had left her, having metaphorically bathed in an overflowing bathtub of previously mentioned self-pity, she turned to strangers on the internet for advice. As it is not in my interest to tarnish the name of innocent third parties I shan’t use the real name of the website on which she posted. Let’s call it rubberbush. Rubberbush is a large classifieds website, and Stephanie used one of its more open categories to ask the quite blatantly attention-seeking question (and I quote):

How should I kill myself? Should I jump in front of a train, cut my wrists, or overdose on paracetamol? Don’t bother telling me not to do it, I’ve had enough and my mind is made up. Just vote, thanks.

Quite melodramatic, isn’t it? I personally thought it was a bit over the top, but who am I to judge. I got in touch with her and said that I was in the same position, but didn’t want to go it alone. I said I had tried before but always chickened out before causing myself any serious harm, and was looking for someone with whom to enter a suicide pact. She got back to me pretty quickly and sounded positive to the idea; we decided to meet the very next day in the middle of the Meadows, a park in central Edinburgh, where we both live. Not to take our lives, mind, but to discuss the practicalities of our arrangement.

*

This is the point from which what is said in the news diverges from the truth, and I welcome back any reader who opted to skip past the preceding section. It is also the point at which this story takes a rather more macabre tone, and I do advise readers who find themselves in a particularly fragile state of mind to consider deferring their reading until a later date. While I recognize that it may seem a bizarre or even morbid gesture, I would also like to extend my sincere condolences to any friends or family of Stephanie. You, in particular, may wish to reconsider your continued reading.

*

I met Stephanie at the appointed time. She told me what had finally driven her to this decision, and I fabricated a story to the same end. I have always had a flair for making up stories, and never found it difficult to keep a straight face when lying. She held nothing back. She told me about her job, her upbringing, her friends, family, everything; we “clicked”. We decided to meet again a week later, as we both needed time to put out affairs in order. We would then overdose on a combination of sleeping pills, to which I claimed to have ample access, and paracetamol, just to be sure. I walked her home.

In reality, of course, I had absolutely no intention to take my own life. I enjoy it far too much, which is the very reason that I did what I did. I want others to enjoy their lives to the extent that I enjoy mine, and this is the only way I could see to open your eyes. I spent the next few days following her, mapping her life, praying to the good Lord that she wouldn’t notice me. It came as no big surprise when, a mere couple of days into the week, she sent me an e-mail explaining how seeing her family had made her doubt her decision. Maybe she had something to live for, after all. That awful word: maybe. I asked her to meet me still, so that we could at least talk, and she obliged. It stands testament to a good upbringing that she had too warm a heart to leave me out in the cold, on my own.

The second time we met, once again in the Meadows, I sat across from her and after exchanging the usual pleasantries I extended to her an envelope. I told her not to open it now, to leave it until she got home, but that it would confirm that I was serious, that the path we were about to walk down could not be changed. A look of worry quite naturally spread across her face, and I found myself filled with – and I see how this might seem repulsive, but the truth should be told – sheer excitement. I was about to remove the grime from her vision, to show her the true beauty of life! The feeling of sharing that with another person cannot be described in words. I looked into her eyes, took a deep breath, shaky with exhilaration, and told her that in seven days, I was going to take her life.

She stared at me in silence, her fists tightly clenched around the envelope. I told her that she wouldn’t be able to change my mind, nor would I do so on my own accord, and the envelope would make it clear why she could not escape. I explained that she could choose how I would do it, and I would do my best to accommodate her wishes. At this point she tried to get up and run, and I grabbed onto her wrist so as to leave her with a few final words. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but in essence I stressed the importance of the envelope, and urged her to read it the moment she got back.

The envelope, as the more mentally agile reader will doubtless have guessed, contained pictures of her walking into her parents’ home, visiting her sister, seeing her friends. Along with the pictures I had placed a note explaining that I had been following her, that I knew where some of her dear ones lived, and that any attempt to contact the police or otherwise escape would result in some rather unfortunate consequences for them. I would like to make it clear at this point that I had no intention of hurting innocent bystanders. Had she run away, I would have let her. Between my not having the slightest idea of how to track someone and my total respect for life, I would have been unable to find her, and unwilling to hurt her family. Unlike her, they had never, to my knowing, disrespected life by wishing for death.

*

Stephanie accepted her fate with remarkable grace. After an initial e-mail pleading for me to reconsider, to which I responded by quite sternly letting her know that any further attempts to manipulate me would result in the direct deterioration of her situation, she asked to be shot. What happened over the next few days was the most beautiful transformation I have ever witnessed.

I once again followed her around, miraculously managing to stay unnoticed (to the best of my knowledge), and from a distance saw her saying her farewells. Her loved ones, of course, were unaware of her predicament, which made it all the more moving. Every time she left one of them it was entirely obvious that she had been enjoying every second in their company; her walk a curious cross of joyous skipping and fearful dragging. She had finally learned to appreciate the small things, and they were aggregating before her to make this week the best of her life! There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is true.

One of my most striking memories of her is when was walking down the street, eating a chocolate bar. Anyone who has seen a woman depraved of chocolate tuck into a bar of Cadbury’s will have seen how much pleasure it can give. Imagine that times a hundred – imagine it being their last ever bar of chocolate, and they know it. I doubt whether you, or I, could ever fathom the pleasure she derived from it. How beautiful life seemed to her then, as she walked down the street towards her sister’s house, birds singing, sun in the sky, munching her favourite sweet treat. If there is a more blissful image I am yet to see it - and to think that I gave this to her! I took from her nothing but self-imposed pain and suffering, and I gave her the gift of life!

Granted, it was only for a short while, and I’m sure that if I had let her live she would have continued to appreciate it. Trust me when I say that I wanted nothing less than to take her life, seeing how much she was now enjoying it. It was the most difficult decision I have ever made, but equally the most important. For the only way to show you the gift of life was through her, and it is my only wish that her death was not in vain.

*

We are now about to embark upon the very last stretch of the metaphorical journey that was Stephanie’s life. There really is very little need for most of you to read this. For those of you who choose to do so, I suspect it will be particularly difficult to keep that open mind that I asked of you earlier. To this end I ask that you remember how much she loved her last days, remember the gift I gave her, and try to embrace it within yourselves. Try to understand it. Try to live by it – for the only reason this last section had to exist is so that I may give that same gift to you. Reading this with a closed mind will cost me nothing, the punishment I will receive remains unchanged; all it would accomplish is take from her death some of its meaning.

*

It was Wednesday evening, the day I had told her would be her last. I knocked on her door and could hear her moving around inside, trying to gather the nerve to face the end of her existence. It must have been very hard. I held a photo of her sister up to the peephole to remind her of the situation she was in. I knocked again and, finally, tentatively, she opened the door. Her face was red and she was crying violently, her whole body shaking, her breathing uneven and strained between suppressed wails of fear. Her lips moved to form the word please. The show she put on for me made the situation all the more surreal; it took on the flavour of parody.

As I raised the gun to her head she strained to look me in the eye, her lips seemingly taking on a life of their own, trying to escape from her face in opposing directions, leaving her teeth defenceless. I fired, bang, and into her screaming face unravelled a piece of cloth, aptly adorned with the word “bang”. She fainted, and I pulled her fully inside the flat before placing the toy gun and another letter next to her and taking my leave. The letter explained that I had wanted her to see the beauty of life; to open her eyes to the aggregation of small pleasures.

In truth I had wanted to give her one last night of euphoric happiness, relief, and love of life in its purest form. I hope that is what she experienced. As she left her house the next morning I stepped out from around the corner and shot her, from behind, in the head. I want you to know that she died immediately, and that she did not, at her time of death, feel any fear, anxiety or pain. She was in a state of bliss, prolonged for eternity.

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Last edited by salgoud; 09-26-2013 at 11:42 AM..
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  #2  
Old 09-18-2012, 01:37 PM
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Hi

This story was eerily creepy, perhaps even morbid as to what is happening.

There is no doubt that you know how to write. It seems technically well done and the fact that I found it creepy may be an indication of good writing.

Small mistakes here:
Those of you already familiar with the Stephanie’s background may skip wish to skip the following section.
I don't see any reason to rip it to shreds at all

Garviel
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Old 09-18-2012, 04:13 PM
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Everyone has demons. Appreciating the little things helps but is not a cure all. Just my opinion. People are caught up with jobs, marriage, child raising, etc. I think happy people are happy when their eyes pop open in the morning. The reverse works the opposite.

Well written. I think some economy of words might be helpful, but that's just me.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by salgoud View Post

By the time you have finished reading this short story of mine, I suspect you may find me a rather unsavoury character. Being too hard on yourself, sir. This is an unfortunate but, as anyone with even the most rudimentary understanding of human psychology could explain, entirely understandable reaction. That is why I would ask that you let me take a just a moment to explain my actions. It is my hope that by doing so, at least a portion of you may see that what I did was not out of evil, nor was it fuelled by some twisted perversion. Rather, I gave a fellow human being a deeper insight into the very essence of life’s beauty; for any believer reading this, one might say that I gave her a glimpse of our Lord’s most precious and wondrous gift. I removed the grime that for so long had distorted her vision, and I would like to do the same for you, dear reader. I ask of you only that you would read my story with an open mind; that you let me show you the gift of life.
Kind of creeped out by the narrator but I have to say, strong writing. definently a real person you've created here.
Too long ago for a particular date to be of relevance, it occurred to me that people do, in general, not appreciate their lives. That may not be what you would call a mind-blowing realisation, but bear with me. People are too busy indulging in self-pity over the smallest of things to take a step back and look at the infamous “big picture”. Unrequited love, an unsatisfying career, a stubbed toe, money, a particularly stubborn cold, boredom, the length of this and the girth of that – the sheer number of utterly underwhelming “evils” that people insist on obsessing over to the detriment of their own happiness is astounding. If you think about it, eventually you will find that all of these issues boil down to one fundamental problem that appears to lie at the very heart of human nature: greed. People constantly seek for new ways of inducing artificial happiness - be it through alcohol, drugs (legal or otherwise), new gadgets, fancy clothes, or entering the increasingly popular race to become the first person to outweigh a football team.
I call that ambition. And stub toes really do hurt.

Who want's to outweigh a football team?


*


Stephanie was, for as long as I knew her, a 28 year old woman. For a host of trivial reasons on which I do not wish to waste any of this unfortunately limited space – suffice to say that it was essentially a tediously clichéd jumble of female predicaments; expanding thighs, a shrinking friendship group, an unfulfilling career, and a lonely heart – she was depressed. Not in the true sense, mind, but in the sense of popular psychology, where self-pity is tenuously equalled to depression. As I understand it she had been in this state for quite some time, and the proverbial last straw was when her boyfriend – who she admitted, in confidence, to not actually having truly loved anymore – left her. This is what led her to me. Not long after he had left her, having metaphorically bathed in an overflowing bathtub of previously mentioned self-pity, she turned to strangers on the internet for advice. As it is not in my interest to tarnish the name of innocent third parties I shan’t use the real name of the website on which she posted. Let’s call it rubberbush. Sounds Dirty! Rubberbush is a large classifieds website, and Stephanie used one of its more open categories to ask the quite blatantly attention-seeking question (and I quote):

How should I kill myself? Should I jump in front of a train, cut my wrists, or overdose on paracetamol? Don’t bother telling me not to do it, I’ve had enough and my mind is made up. Just vote, thanks.
REally good storytelling here.
Quite melodramatic, isn’t it? I personally thought it was a bit over the top, but who am I to judge. I got in touch with her and said that I was in the same position, but didn’t want to go it alone. I said I had tried before but always chickened out before causing myself any serious harm, and was looking for someone with whom to enter a suicide pact. Note to self: remember to flesh out new social media idea, "Youcide." She got back to me pretty quickly and sounded positive to the idea; we decided to meet the very next day in the middle of the Meadows, a park in central Edinburgh, where we both live. Not to take our lives, mind, but to discuss the practicalities of our arrangement.
Not sure if "sounded positive to the idea" works.
*




The envelope, as the more mentally agile reader will doubtless have guessed, contained pictures of her walking into her parents’ home, visiting her sister, seeing her friends. Yes, of course, saw it coming from a mile away ... Along with the pictures I had placed a note explaining that I had been following her, that I knew where some of her dear ones lived, and that any attempt to contact the police or otherwise escape would result in some rather unfortunate consequences for them. I would like to make it clear at this point that I had no intention of hurting innocent bystanders. Had she run away, I would have let her. Between my not having the slightest idea of how to track someone and my total respect for life, I would have been unable to find her, and unwilling to hurt her family. Unlike her, they had never, to my knowing, disrespected life by wishing for death.


I once again followed her around, miraculously managing to stay unnoticed (to the best of my knowledge), and from a distance saw her saying her farewells. Her loved ones, of course, were unaware of her predicament, which made it all the more moving. Every time she left one of them it was entirely obvious that she had been enjoying every second in their company; her walk a curious cross of joyous skipping and fearful dragging. She had finally learned to appreciate the small things, and they were aggregating before her to make this week the best of her life! There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is true.
This is like a psychological version of saw. Didn't spell that right, I'm sure.




It was Wednesday evening, the day I had told her would be her last. I knocked on her door and could hear her moving around inside, trying to gather the nerve to face the end of her existence. It must have been very hard. I held a photo of her sister up to the peephole to remind her of the situation she was in. I knocked again and, finally, tentatively, she opened the door. Her face was red and she was crying violently, her whole body shaking, her breathing uneven and strained between suppressed wails of fear. Her lips moved to form the word please. The show she put on for me made the situation all the more surreal; it took on the flavour of parody.
You think she would have called the cops ...
.
Alright, alright ...

first of all this is not too long. You told the story from begining to end, well thought out and a lot of work put into it.

this a five star piece, no question.

Characters were great, Steph and the narrator.

Question though, why did he do what he did? At the end he says something about the happiness lasting forever. I don't get that.

She's dead, therefore the happiness is over. I'm trying to get into the killers head, trying to think like him. He admits that it would have lasted, her appreciation of life.

Is there some religious reason why he thinks killing her was for the best?

Looking foward to reading more of your work, especially if this character is in it...

Really strong!
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  #5  
Old 09-19-2012, 12:26 AM
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I liked your story. Everyone is right, it is so creepy! Creepy guy. It can really happen. So, well done on creeping us all out.

Instead, my focus shall be largely upon the parts of the story which by their very nature are unknown to anyone but Stephanie and me.
If you have a good reason to want it like that it's fine, I just think that the rest of your language usage is so spot-on, it might be better to have the correct Stephanie and I.

It is also the point at which this story takes a rather more macabre tone, and I do advice readers who find themselves in a particularly fragile state of mind to consider deferring their reading until a later date. While I recognize that it may seem a bizarre or even morbid gesture, I would also like to extend my sincere condolences to any friends of family of Stephanie.
advise
or

Your piece is well polished and the writing is strong.


Blessings
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:16 AM
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First of all, so I don't have to repeat the same thing four times; thank you all So much for reading this and giving me your honest feedback and opinions. It is greatly appreciated! I will do my best to repay the favour to all of you.

Originally Posted by garviel View Post
Hi

This story was eerily creepy, perhaps even morbid as to what is happening.

There is no doubt that you know how to write. It seems technically well done and the fact that I found it creepy may be an indication of good writing.

Small mistakes here:
I don't see any reason to rip it to shreds at all

Garviel
I intended this to be a creepy and morbid piece, told from the viewpoint of a madman, so I'm very glad to hear that's how you found it! Thanks for pointing out those mistakes - I have corrected them!

Originally Posted by fishbait View Post
Everyone has demons. Appreciating the little things helps but is not a cure all. Just my opinion. People are caught up with jobs, marriage, child raising, etc. I think happy people are happy when their eyes pop open in the morning. The reverse works the opposite.

Well written. I think some economy of words might be helpful, but that's just me.
I definitely agree with what you're saying - the thoughts and ideas of the narrator do not reflect my own, I'm glad to say! I've always had a tendency towards fluffy writing, so I'll try to go over it again and see if I can make it less so.


Originally Posted by Rooster Smith View Post
Alright, alright ...

first of all this is not too long. You told the story from begining to end, well thought out and a lot of work put into it.

this a five star piece, no question.

Characters were great, Steph and the narrator.

Question though, why did he do what he did? At the end he says something about the happiness lasting forever. I don't get that.

She's dead, therefore the happiness is over. I'm trying to get into the killers head, trying to think like him. He admits that it would have lasted, her appreciation of life.

Is there some religious reason why he thinks killing her was for the best?

Looking foward to reading more of your work, especially if this character is in it...

Really strong!
Thank you very much once again. This, as I believe I said in my first post, is the longest piece I've written and it has, by far, taken the longest to write as well.

As for why he did it, that's a good question. I wanted to create a madman character who thought he could change the world and the way people view it, make it a better place by highlighting that people obsess too much over small annoyances and don't appreciate small pleasures enough. Whether he's fuelled by religion or not, well, I wanted that to be a bit ambiguous - he uses the lords name a couple of times, but I didn't want it to be an obvious underlying rationale for his actions.

The reason he actually did kill her in the end is simple - by letting her live, he would have changed only one life. Killing her made it possible for him to write the above piece, and have it read by millions - in a way, that particular piece of logic (it strikes me as I write this) is quite similar to that of Breivik, the Norwegian mass-murderer.

As a fellow writer I'm sure you'll understand when I say that the character really intrigues me and, as pretentious as this is going to sound, I'd like to get to know him a bit better, too. So there will most likely be more pieces with him as a central figure.


Originally Posted by Judith View Post
I liked your story. Everyone is right, it is so creepy! Creepy guy. It can really happen. So, well done on creeping us all out.


If you have a good reason to want it like that it's fine, I just think that the rest of your language usage is so spot-on, it might be better to have the correct Stephanie and I.


advise
or

Your piece is well polished and the writing is strong.


Blessings
Thank you! I'm so glad to hear you all seem to have felt and thought what I was hoping to convey. If you could see my face right now, you'd notice that it has turned a peculiar shade of pink - I can't believe I missed the errors you highlighted, thank you very much for doing so! I will edit it right away.
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by salgoud View Post




Thank you very much once again. This, as I believe I said in my first post, is the longest piece I've written and it has, by far, taken the longest to write as well.

As for why he did it, that's a good question. I wanted to create a madman character who thought he could change the world and the way people view it, make it a better place by highlighting that people obsess too much over small annoyances and don't appreciate small pleasures enough. Whether he's fuelled by religion or not, well, I wanted that to be a bit ambiguous - he uses the lords name a couple of times, but I didn't want it to be an obvious underlying rationale for his actions.

The reason he actually did kill her in the end is simple - by letting her live, he would have changed only one life. Killing her made it possible for him to write the above piece, and have it read by millions - in a way, that particular piece of logic (it strikes me as I write this) is quite similar to that of Breivik, the Norwegian mass-murderer.

As a fellow writer I'm sure you'll understand when I say that the character really intrigues me and, as pretentious as this is going to sound, I'd like to get to know him a bit better, too. So there will most likely be more pieces with him as a central figure.



That's cool man, so she's like his example to the world. I could dig that.

yeah, it would be great to see this character again.

I don't know if you'd agree with me, but the vision I have of this guy is Buffalo bill from silence of the lambs.

I'd just imagine this guy as a real freak. Awesome.
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:27 PM
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Don't worry about it, Pink Cheeks. I used to proofread at the newspapers, so my eyes are somewhat trained.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:01 AM
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Salgoud,
Interestingly enough, I believe that I appreciated your story more after some quiet reflection, a picking of the teeth after a literary meal if you will.

This is what I got out of your piece.

The narrator's self-musings, sometimes on seemingly insignificant minutia, add to the effect of portraying the killer's dementia, like a homicidal OCD.
The hint of some religious foundation for his motivation is a good call, and being vague assures that his belief should not be confused with the real thing.
By mentioning it, you set up his self-constructed justification at the end since his actions are based on the well established premise of conventional belief that our condition at death is what we bring to the table of eternity.
If that was your intention: It was brilliantly crafted!

On a lighter note, your phrase depicting obesity as a life's goal, a precious gem!

Great work Sal, I'm looking forward to more!
Abdula
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:30 AM
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I really enjoyed this story. I don’t really have much to add. I agree that you could probably lose a phrase or two but I am a minimalist and abdula has a good point that the details make the character. I also like the ambiguity of the narrator lets me fill in the pieces for myself which I enjoy.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:49 PM
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As soon as you warned me of morbid words to come, I stopped reading. But I enjoyed what I read. Your writing style, rather matter of fact, drew me in, even though I didn't agree with all your arguments about 'greed.' I ignored that, afterall you are entitled to your opinion, because it was easy to read and understand.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:15 PM
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Gorgeous!
I love the fact he is mentally torturing her while believing he is 'freeing' her- even though the main character's voice struck me as more of a slightly obsessive psychiatrist than a madman. He seemed a little too restrained for someone really off the edge- but that's all I can really find to nitpick about.xD Fantastic work.
Extremely enjoyable- although I couldn't help thinking it would be neat if you didn't reveal the fact the protagonist was not going to kill her and instead left it until the last moment- Perhaps if it seemed he was really intent on killing her?
But that's just another way you could approach this brilliant story. Really great overall. Good work!~
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:47 PM
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This is hillarious! Funny and dry like Conan Doyle or Stevenson... The over-melodramatic Dr. Watson writing style works perfectly, and the ending was clever without being cloying. Great!
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:47 AM
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Salgoud, I'm so happy to see you've posted another story – it's been a while, and I enjoyed your previous work so much.

You have a real knack for creating suspense and foreboding in your details and in the way you unfold a story, but also in your gothic style of writing. It borders on being overwrought but it never crosses that line, rather it lends to the creepy sense of displacement that underscores the narrator's insanity. I also like how the style feels old-fashioned and contrasts with contemporary references, such as email. That also adds to the story's creepy, disorienting atmosphere.

I have to admit though, I didn't really sympathize much with Stephanie – I think part of the what makes the narrator such an enticing villain is that his description of Stephanie is really pathetic, and at that point in the story the reader has no reason not to trust his judgment. In that way, the ending really came as kind of a surprise to me – I didn't want him to be a villain!
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:40 PM
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Typically I read about the killed, not the killers. This was very interesting and I loved how you touched on the 'villain' in the main character..Such a lovely piece..
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:10 AM
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First of all, I'm sorry for taking so long to reply to all of this! Life has been rather hectic of late, so I haven't had a chance to come on here.. Also, this message is all just thank you messages - so while this will add to its repetitive nature, thank you all so much for taking the time to read and comment on my little story. I appreciate all of your words greatly.

Originally Posted by AbdulaOblongata View Post
Salgoud,
Interestingly enough, I believe that I appreciated your story more after some quiet reflection, a picking of the teeth after a literary meal if you will.

This is what I got out of your piece.

The narrator's self-musings, sometimes on seemingly insignificant minutia, add to the effect of portraying the killer's dementia, like a homicidal OCD.
The hint of some religious foundation for his motivation is a good call, and being vague assures that his belief should not be confused with the real thing.
By mentioning it, you set up his self-constructed justification at the end since his actions are based on the well established premise of conventional belief that our condition at death is what we bring to the table of eternity.
If that was your intention: It was brilliantly crafted!

On a lighter note, your phrase depicting obesity as a life's goal, a precious gem!

Great work Sal, I'm looking forward to more!
Abdula
Sounds to me like you got from the story precisely what I was trying to convey. I'm also incredibly flattered by your comment. Thanks!

Originally Posted by logan.sutnin View Post
I really enjoyed this story. I don’t really have much to add. I agree that you could probably lose a phrase or two but I am a minimalist and abdula has a good point that the details make the character. I also like the ambiguity of the narrator lets me fill in the pieces for myself which I enjoy.
Thank you! Really glad you enjoyed it.

Originally Posted by Agatha Christie View Post
As soon as you warned me of morbid words to come, I stopped reading. But I enjoyed what I read. Your writing style, rather matter of fact, drew me in, even though I didn't agree with all your arguments about 'greed.' I ignored that, afterall you are entitled to your opinion, because it was easy to read and understand.
Ah, I don't think it gets too morbid - but I certainly won't force you to read further than you did. I'm glad you liked what you read, though! Also, I feel I should add that I don't agree with the sentiments regarding greed myself, either.

Originally Posted by Pickomonix View Post
Gorgeous!
I love the fact he is mentally torturing her while believing he is 'freeing' her- even though the main character's voice struck me as more of a slightly obsessive psychiatrist than a madman. He seemed a little too restrained for someone really off the edge- but that's all I can really find to nitpick about.xD Fantastic work.
Extremely enjoyable- although I couldn't help thinking it would be neat if you didn't reveal the fact the protagonist was not going to kill her and instead left it until the last moment- Perhaps if it seemed he was really intent on killing her?
But that's just another way you could approach this brilliant story. Really great overall. Good work!~
Thank you very much for your kind words! Love how you've summarised the character; I actually wanted him to come across as slightly too restrained to be a likely madman.

Originally Posted by WilliamS. View Post
This is hillarious! Funny and dry like Conan Doyle or Stevenson... The over-melodramatic Dr. Watson writing style works perfectly, and the ending was clever without being cloying. Great!
Thank you!

Originally Posted by courtney_autumn View Post
Salgoud, I'm so happy to see you've posted another story – it's been a while, and I enjoyed your previous work so much.

You have a real knack for creating suspense and foreboding in your details and in the way you unfold a story, but also in your gothic style of writing. It borders on being overwrought but it never crosses that line, rather it lends to the creepy sense of displacement that underscores the narrator's insanity. I also like how the style feels old-fashioned and contrasts with contemporary references, such as email. That also adds to the story's creepy, disorienting atmosphere.

I have to admit though, I didn't really sympathize much with Stephanie – I think part of the what makes the narrator such an enticing villain is that his description of Stephanie is really pathetic, and at that point in the story the reader has no reason not to trust his judgment. In that way, the ending really came as kind of a surprise to me – I didn't want him to be a villain!
Aw, thanks a whole bunch! Flattered beyond words that you remember me from my previous stories! This comment made me happier than you can imagine. Thank you again for your very kind words, and I'm so glad I didn't let you down!

Originally Posted by Vieira View Post
Typically I read about the killed, not the killers. This was very interesting and I loved how you touched on the 'villain' in the main character..Such a lovely piece..
Thanks a whole bunch!
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:54 AM
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You write well, and kept me engaged almost the entire time. When I say almost, I only mean that there are a couple of paragraphs in the beginning that I find and overload of information that you could remove completely in order to get the story flowing in the beginning. It might look something like this:

"By the time you have finished reading this, I suspect you may find me a rather unsavoury character. This is an unfortunate but, as anyone with even the most rudimentary understanding of human psychology could explain, entirely understandable reaction. That is why I would ask that you let me take a just a moment to explain my actions. It is my hope that by doing so, at least a portion of you may see that what I did was not out of evil, nor was it fuelled by some twisted perversion. Rather, I gave a fellow human being a deeper insight into the very essence of life’s beauty; for any believer reading this, one might say that I gave her a glimpse of our Lord’s most precious and wondrous gift. I removed the grime that for so long had distorted her vision, and I would like to do the same for you, dear reader. I ask of you only that you would read my story with an open mind; that you let me show you the gift of life.

*
I have witnessed the vulturous, not to mention biased and inaccurate, media coverage which unfortunately precedes this article. As such I will not go into too much detail on the events preceding the culmination of the event in question. Instead, my focus shall be largely upon the parts of the story which by their very nature are unknown to anyone but Stephanie and I. In the interest of preserving context for anyone who might read this in the future, however, I will ever so briefly summarise what you are presently being bombarded by in the papers, on the Internet, and through your radios and TVs. Those of you already familiar with Stephanie’s background may wish to skip the following section.


*


Stephanie was, for as long as I knew her, a 28 year old woman. For a host of trivial reasons on which I do not wish to waste any of this unfortunately limited space – suffice to say that it was essentially a tediously clichéd jumble of female predicaments; expanding thighs, a shrinking friendship group, an unfulfilling career, and a lonely heart – she was depressed. Not in the true sense, mind, but in the sense of popular psychology, where self-pity is tenuously equalled to depression. As I understand it she had been in this state for quite some time, and the proverbial last straw was when her boyfriend – who she admitted, in confidence, to not actually having truly loved anymore – left her. This is what led her to me. Not long after he had left her, having metaphorically bathed in an overflowing bathtub of previously mentioned self-pity, she turned to strangers on the internet for advice. As it is not in my interest to tarnish the name of innocent third parties I shan’t use the real name of the website on which she posted. Let’s call it rubberbush. Rubberbush is a large classifieds website, and Stephanie used one of its more open categories to ask the quite blatantly attention-seeking question (and I quote..."

Now, I have obviously suggeted you cut out a lot, here. And the only reason I suggest this is that I enjoy your writing style and the overall story so much, but those few paragraphs after the first felt dragging to me. I skimmed over some of it, becuase it felt like more of the same of the first paragraph. The story intro, however, and the paragraph that I cut to really got me involved in the story.

I didn't like the ending, but only because it haunted and disturbed me so. Which means your doing great! And I would seriously consider revising and submitting for publication. I can see myself reading this short on one of many online or print magazines. I'd love to read more of your stuff!
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:31 AM
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uh, actually guys, I think it might actually be 'Stephanie and me'.

Instead, my focus shall be largely upon the parts of the story which by their very nature are unknown to anyone but Stephanie and me.
If you were to cut out 'Stephanie and' the end of the sentence would read:
'...which by their very nature are unknown to anyone but me.'
You wouldn't write:
'...which by their very nature are unknown to anyone but I.'

You only need to say 'XYZ and I' if you would have used 'I' there in the first place. The 'XYZ and' is simply an addition to the sentence, an addition that does not force you to change your grammar at all.
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:27 PM
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I like the way it ended. It is creepy. She wakes up to realise she was not really shot, walking about happily and then bang she is dead.
Now that is a mad killer and that is scary. You think you escaped but you have not, or have but for a few hours.
Lovely piece. I admit I skipped over a few lines, but it is such a brilliant work, and a real twist.
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