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Antiochian Orthodox Christian
Music major
Former homeschooler
Voice teacher
The world, the flesh, and father smith

Message to Readers

I chose this section for the novel competition because it has a lot of different components: description, dialogue, inner character reflection, character personality. It might be a little confusing because it's part of like the third chapter, but let me know what you think! While I appreciate likes, they're not helpful with me figuring out the weaknesses and strengths of this piece.

What You Make It

November 18, 2019

    By four-thirty, I was exhausted of people and feared I couldn’t handle another enthusiastic introduction with anyone. How do they smile so much, I thought. It’s like they only know one emotion. Everything was so perfect that it felt superficial. Either that, or these people lived in their own little world without pain or toils, and I wasn’t sure which was more exasperating. On the right edge of town, I noticed a hidden path leading into what the locals called the Nidderdale Woods. I must have been staring because Mrs. Holme told me to take a walk through the woods and explore, as long as I was back at the house and ready for dinner by six-thirty.

    The moment I started walking, the air became lighter, passing right through me. The noise of the town was drowned out by a lullaby the wind sang to the trees. There were no sudden movements or sounds, save for a few butterflies and the rustling leaves. The path was worn down but still clear. I imagined countless generations, before and after me, strolling through these same woods, sharing the same tracks. The trees, tied up in knots, were sparse enough to see ahead clearly. Here and there I saw some Burford Holly trees. Moss grew all over, on trees, large rocks, fallen branches, and even the path. Being the middle of summer, everything was rich green and healthy. There were trails of blooming violets and lavenders, patches of colorful mushrooms, and a sea of Irish moss with its budding white flowers. The diversity was so unique that it was strangely uniformed like a painting. It wasn't just the colors or sounds or smells; it was what they created together. The sun peeped through the branches creating rays of light as if trying to draw my attention to a specific plant. One ray fingered a single white tree; I’m not sure why, but I found myself reluctant to leave it. So I found a rock blanketed with moss and sat down. 

    One might expect that it was heavenly, quietly sitting in those beautiful woods, but it wasn’t. I tapped my foot, stretched my arms, cleared my throat. It was just silence. No, not silence. It was worse than silence; it was emptiness. Within a minute, my eyes were scanning, searching my surroundings for some distraction, but there was nothing, so I turned inward. I had been surrounded by people for the past four days, but finally I could allow myself to truly think... Nothing—the word repeated in my mind. I could not find a single prompt or thread in myself to follow. My thumbs started to twiddle. Nothing. My mind was a blank canvas I had abandoned because it would not paint itself. Something in me, an energy, was bouncing around. Its urgency grew. I felt a heat start in my chest and spread to my arms, back, stomach, legs. Nothing. I directed the energy towards biting my lip. My breathing altered from quick pants to stretched, deep gasps. I felt a suffocation like a wave crashing over me, stopping my heart and clogging my lungs. I wanted to cry out for mercy. Nothing, nothing, nothing. All at once the words pulled out a scream, or at least I think I screamed.

    Up ahead, a young girl, wearing an ocean blue dress with a blood red covering draped around her shoulders, strolled towards me. She seemed to float down the path, and the plants she passed by reached out to touch her garment as if to call her back. In her right hand was a basket full of shiny lilies which she gently swung back and forth as she glided. Speckled rays of golden sun formed an areole around her entire body, focused at her head, and for a moment, my eyes were forced to avoid the glow. Hoping to dodge a confrontation, I turned away, but like everyone else in Nidderdale, whether she wanted to talk or just felt the need to say hello, I couldn’t say. Nevertheless, she stopped in front of me and smiled.
    “May I join you?” Not waiting for an invitation and taking a seat on a fallen tree, she introduced herself as Elizabeth Crawford, and we soon discovered that we were second cousins.
    “What a surprise,” I said with a fake smile, meaning to sound humorous but actually feeling annoyed. Somehow I could never escape this family.
    “I know,” she replied, reading my mind, “There are a lot of us. It takes everyone a while to get used to. I wanted to offer my condolences.”
    “Thank you.” Was that all? She didn’t need go through the trouble of sitting down to tell me that. I picked at the hem of my sleeve. She tilted her head back with closed eyes and let out a deep sigh.
    “Do you enjoy flowers?” she suddenly asked. “I’ve got more here than I need.”
    “Why did you pick so many if you don’t need them all? Seems like a waste.”
    “Oh, don’t worry; I always find a use for them. I just like collecting them I suppose." She leaned forward. "There’s a part of these woods that is covered with flowers of all different kinds, but I’m the only one who comes to enjoy them, which is a shame. I always tell mum that the kids should take more walks.”
    “That’s a beautiful pendant.”
    “This?” Her hand instinctively laid on her chest. “My mum gave it to me. I’ve always had a special enchantment for pearls.” Fingering the single pearl around her neck and looking at me like she was surveying a newly discovered plant, she asked, “Do you like to read?”
    “Actually, I do quite a bit of reading these days.”
    “Lovely!” She immediately stood up. “I have a book here called The Little Lamb. I’ve just finished it; let me know what you think.” Not even asking, she plopped it into my lap and excused herself for dinner. 


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  • November 18, 2019 - 9:32pm (Now Viewing)

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