Peer Review by Ash (United States)

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By: Kat Sparks

PROMPT: Open Prompt

She sprawled there, still and quiet, save for her deep breathing from the cigarette in her hand. In, two, three; out, two, one. Her legs were stretched out to the world but her chest was shielded by her arms, hands holding tight to their opposite elbow. Her hair, as bright and yet dark in its fire shade with the ashes mixed in, was loose and lank. Not in the best condition ever. Just like the rest of her. Just like her surroundings, as well.
The broken-up, age old stairs she had plopped herself on were crumbling, so worn down by the elements they were. The iron handrails, spiralling, twisting, curling, reached above her head on either side, just like trees would. You know, if there were trees of the right size anywhere in Brooklyn at this time. This industrial area, once a pretty place. Now replaced.
A pretty prison, then, as her world crumbled below her. After all, doesn't everyone deserve a little hospitality, a little comfort, even if it's just a pretty sight, before they go?
But she could go another way. That is, "go" as in "leave". The gate, door, whichever, rght in front of her lay wide open and free for the crossing. Same for the door behind her at the top of her crumbling world. Stairway to Heaven or Gate to Reality? They may or may not have both been locked, who knows? Let's assume that heaven was locked at the moment; filled to capacity or shut for cleaning. After all, most would aim for that location in the first place.
Maybe there was a metaphorical lock keeping her in that shattering dimension, ones that even she was unable to see. Locks without keys were like that. Easier to ignore. So secretive and indestructible.
Perhaps she did have a door, there, able to open on one side only; with her on the wrong side.
What was she waiting for then? If she knew that she couldn't open it up, she could force it open. Or even call out for help. Seek it out with a large voice to fill that rapidly growing void she was inside.
Breathe. Stay calm. Yell for assistance. In, two, three. Out, two, one.
But maybe, just maybe, she couldn't. Voice box torn out, vocal chords ripped up, mouth sewn shut around her cigarette. Only communication available: her eyes.
And boy, were her eyes screaming out for help. Crying, even. Pleading, calling, beckoning all those who passed to her side in front of her invisible gate, taunting her even.
Spider to the fly? Prisoner to jailor? Desperate to desperate? None of the above?
Option Number 4.
Dreamer to her wishes.
Dreamer to her last hopes, unaware of what she was trying to beckon them into. Her doom, her destruction, her prison cell. But her wishes knew. And so they did not bend and follow her greatest wish.
Let out the smoke to blind you from the broken dreams.
In, two, three. Out, two, one.
Blind the world to you, just as broken as those dreams.
In, two, three. Out, two, one.
She wanted help; she didn't care. She was crying; she was stoic. It didn't matter either way. They were all the same.
She wasn't blinding the world like she may have thought she was, filling its view with smoke to hide and be seen.
In, two, three.
"Hey, girly. Wanna talk about it?"
Eyes connect.
Bright eyes, unlike everything else in this decimated world. Brighter than her burnt out hair,instead being their precursor. Flames, sacrificial and renewing, not damaging. Regal, loving, hurt. (After all, does the fire really want to burn down everything in its path?) Images of long forgotten times mixing into a siren's call. A want to return to the watering hole. The hearth.
Home, even.
A crooked smile, stitches cutting open magically, the cigarette hanging out one corner.
"Sure thing, Hermes. Sounds good."

Peer Review

A girl reflecting on her world.

It's very vivid. Your description is always there for a reason, either leading into the next line or helping the reader get a sense of the main character.

I'd like to know where exactly she is. We know the place is falling apart but beyond that the location could be anywhere from an apartment complex to a mental institution. Also, I really love the ending, but I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say. I understand you're making reference to her smoking methodology, but beyond that I'm lost. Is she serious about wanting to talk or is it more of her just going through the motions?

Reviewer Comments

I really liked this piece. There weren't that many errors, but you need to pay attention to what exactly you're trying to convey to your readers. Your descriptions are beautiful, but be aware that lengthy descriptions can sometimes end up confusing the readers instead of helping them. That being said, I really loved your story!