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

Message to Readers

This is a rough draft, so I'm more looking for feedback on the big picture stuff. How do I do with showing, not telling? Is Jane's interaction with Elizabeth believable? What is the mood?

Nidderdale Woods (rewritten)

December 24, 2018



    The moment I started down the path, I felt like I had stepped into a different world. The noise of the town gradually faded, and I entered an atmosphere of peaceful existence. There were no sudden movements or sounds, save for a few butterflies and the wind rustling the trees. 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, knotty but also skinny and tall, were sparse enough to see ahead clearly. Here and there I saw some Burford Holly trees, which were more like shrubs. 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 blossoming violets and lavenders, patches of colorful mushrooms, and a sea of Irish moss with its budding white flowers. 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 large rock covered in moss and sat down. One might expect that it was heavenly, sitting in those beautiful woods in peace, 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. Nothing. I directed the energy towards chewing my lip. My breathing altered from quick pants to extended, deep gasps. I felt a suffocation like a wave had crashed 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. To this day, I’m not sure if it was aloud or in my mind.
    Up ahead, a young girl, wearing a blue dress with a red covering tied around her neck, 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 lilies which she gently swung back and forth as she walked. 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 elude 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?” 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.” This made me nervous; why did everyone assume my visit would be lengthy? “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, closed her eyes, and let out a long 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. There’s a part of these woods that is covered in flowers with all different colors and shapes and sizes, 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 delight 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 as if awakened. “I have a book here called New Little Bird. 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. On my way back through the town, I stopped at a bakery to pick up some scones for Mrs. Holme. The baker’s wife, a plump but stocky woman, was arranging some lilies on the front counter. Another woman complimented how beautiful they looked.
“Why thank you,” the baker’s wife replied. “Elizabeth dropped them off a few minutes ago and I thought they would be a nice addition.”
“Elizabeth Crawford? Are you sure that’s a good idea?” The woman had suddenly lowered her voice. The baker’s wife raised a single slim eyebrow and tightened her lips.
“Why do you say that?”
“Well you’ve heard the gossip. She has some dirt to her name. I don’t think having affiliations with her will be good for business.”
“That’s why it’s called gossip Jenell; it isn’t true! Now maybe instead of telling me how to do my job, you should start doing yours. My husband hasn’t got a single bag of flour this week, and they were supposed to arrive four days ago.” 
This is a scene from my novel. 


See History

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  • Juliana

    Thank you so much!! @Quille

    8 months ago
  • Quille

    Totally working on a review :D

    8 months ago
  • Juliana

    @Dmoral13 Thank you!!

    10 months ago
  • Dmoral13

    Peer review has been submitted!!

    10 months ago