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Message to Readers
I usually write poems, but I really enjoyed writing this piece. Hope you enjoyed!
I loved the title of this piece - it piqued my curiosity, and the first sentence grabbed my attention right away. I love the idea of a lethal, oxygen-poisoning gas slowly diffusing through the air, and killing everyone who inhales it. It's morbid, thrilling, and frightening, and your ending with the couple's last encounter alive was especially poignant. If I'm correct, this piece relates to serious air pollution in cities throughout the world, and while such pollution may not be so extreme, it still decreases quality of life and health for citizens, which is even more worrying.
The beginning of this piece was eye-catching, and I'd love to know a little more back-story. I understand the 300-word limit, but it would be great if you could squeeze in a few lines of context. For instance, what is the "complex machine" described here? Why are people gathering to watch its timer stop? What does the gas look like? Is it visible? Does it have any color? Any perceptible odor? That's up to you to explore!
This might be what you intended to write, but I found the transition from the couple running to them reaching their house a little abrupt. Until the dialogue explained "this is our home", I wasn't quite sure where the couple had run to. If possible, I think it would be awesome if you could pan the verbal camera up from the dialogue and add in a little description of the characters' surroundings. Did the gas change the color or appearance or texture of the atmosphere yet? Are there any dead people lying around, having succumbed to the gas? How do the buildings/houses around look like? You don't have to go in super magnified detail, but I would suggest adding just a few lines to clarify.
Keep writing! I think it's awesome that you enjoyed writing this piece, even if it's not something you'd usually write. That's the fun of writing! I'd love to read more from you, and if you choose to revise this piece again, I'm down to re-read it! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me in the Comments section below. I'll be happy to help!