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The Stranger - new short story love edits

 
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unimportant



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:42 pm    Post subject: The Stranger - new short story love edits Reply with quote

Hey all, I wrote this up for a literature class. It was inspired by a poem we read a little bit, but then again a little not. I hope you enjoy it, it's about two pages in microsoft word, thanks for giving me your time!

2008©Fable Hill and all that stuff

~

I dropped the apron on a hook and left the mocha scented building at four every day, except Sundays.

It was a Monday, nothing special. I opened the door and the wind bit a little, like it was looking for something. So I shrugged my coat up higher and took off to show just what I thought of that. A few steps and I joined my human race, winter shells of windbreaker and fleece all grey and brown as the light set. I bumped one man hard in the shoulder, and I thought about dinner. Better just heat something up, maybe noodles, I
decided. An old woman’s boot skidded and knocked against mine, and she rummaged through her purse with a shaking hand, her face irritated. On
we went.

The setting sun turned the sky steadily darker shades of grey, the glow of the red hand brilliant as I looked at the stop lights and saw my thoughts
instead. What was on TV? I wasn’t fond of the winter seasons so far, and tried to remember if there was an unfinished book tucked away somewhere I had forgotten. Hell, I could just go to sleep when the sun went down. Might as well, really. The red hand disappeared, the little man appeared and I stepped off the curb as two shopping bags rustled and collided with my leg. I can’t remember what their owners looked like as they forged ahead, arms linked, cell phones out. Walking strong they knocked their bags into him, kept going, typing away.

We met half way across the street, the counter flashing fifteen seconds… fourteen… thirteen…

This guy walked funny. His boots slid on dry patches; his hands hung chapped, free of coat pockets. My feet tread a wider circle as I wondered if I had any milk left in the fridge. The wind had doubled back on its search pattern, gusting with purpose, and something red flicked in the corner of my eye. A scarf, sailing like an airborne snake towards the ground. His shoe caught the end of it, skidded, moved on.

I could always stop somewhere on the way, I thought as my boots faltered. It’s a hassle carrying a whole half gallon home, I guess, but that one place’s less than two blocks. The counter flashed ten…nine…eight… does he know he lost that?

I saw the cars poised impatiently with a sudden clarity. My fingers caught in my pocket lining as I yanked them out of hiding, purse sliding awkwardly down as I bent over, and closed them on the fluttering scarf, freshly wet and muddy in spots. The wind pulled petulantly as I heard the motors hum, and I felt the knitted fabric beneath my thumb for a moment. The man stumbled on, gaining the sidewalk. Dumb drunk probably. Dumb homeless drunk, probably. Six…five…

“S-sir?”

Some driver, nervous I might be planning on standing there a bit too long, played a loud note in the grey air. Four…

“Sir! Um, sir!”

I had a meal to make and maybe some milk to buy and important things to do, and on he went as if he didn’t care. Stumbling and awkward, long dark coat unbuttoned, flapping behind him, he moved away as if deaf. Dumb homeless flaked-out drunk, I decided… the sidewalk salt crunched as I moved back the way I’d come. “Sir, wait please! You dropped this!”
Three… the scarf whipped a bit as I hurried after, irate. I was nearly at the curb and (two…) he was moving so slow, I’d get him in a second. Hand over the (one) dumb thing and go home, railing against insensitive, self-absorbed types.

“Hey, wait!”

I tapped his shoulder as the light changed, the honker peeling out into the street to speed into a parking ramp across the way. Other cars followed in a rush behind me, and then he turned.

Maybe thirty eight, maybe forty? His hair was oily and clean cut, fair and shoved in sticky strings away from his pale face. Grooves on his nose were the footprints of the glasses in his shirt pocket, his lips chapped as they hung slightly parted.

And his eyes. Puffed and swollen, bright circles of color on a faded face that glistened with wet tracks rolling down from them, dripping away from his unshaven chin. As we stood there, time frozen, he let out a great shudder, the act of breathing deeply shaking him as our eyes met . Birds hung motionless in flight, cars blurred, momentarily unmoving, people transformed to pretty two-dimensional posters. My voice seemed unbearably loud and harsh.

“You dropped your scarf.”

Our stare broke, life resumed its pace as he observed the thing I held with an awkward newness, like it were foreign. A tear dropped to leave a wine colored spot on the red fabric. Then, his stiff fingers reached forward, the knuckles ethereally translucent and blue with cold. I will give him my gloves, I thought desperately as he lifted his scarf back to his neck, but no, they’d be too small.

Then I say something, I thought, as a truck roared past and drenched me and him in dry dirty smoke. Say something… wise words. Poetic, powerful phrases rushed through my head without stopping, words of comfort or sympathy all protesting that they didn’t fit if they didn’t know what to comfort. I had nothing to say, as his cracked lips moved soundlessly a moment, his eyes watering further as he stared at the scarf in his hands. Then something like a voice, hoarse and husky issued forth.

"Thanks." he said.

“It’s nothing.” I answered quickly, shifting my purse strap higher and looking away. He shuddered once more, and with a wobbly, rocking footstep turned himself about and trudged away. I thought about stopping him, calling out or offering help. In my head I asked him what was wrong, and in reality I blinked fiercely and turned back the way I’d come, cars still whizzing through the crosswalk.

I turned my head once, but he just staggered on, scarf whipping in his grasp. When the walk signal returned, I walked, making my way homeward and feeling hyper aware. Now, I heard the world around me, saw the people, and wished, subconsciously, for someone – anyone – to knock into me, so I could say something.
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Allicat



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. Just. Wow. That was chilling and beautiful and sad all at the same time. I've got chills from the imagery and I can feel that wind as I read it. Wow.
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to second Alli's words here and say that the piece was...amazingly vivid. I normally don't comment on writing, but I felt I had to. I guess I had to bump into someone, so I would have something to say? Wink

Very powerful, definitely worth reading. Two thumbs up!
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unimportant



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Location: Right behind you.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, so much guys, for reading it.

I think I might start trying to scratch a mark somewhere in the writing world with this, I don't know, send to some literary magazine or something. But I can't tell you how much I appreciate the positive feedback. Thank you!
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Tamir



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooh, I like this. Particularly your unusual wordings, the clear setting and the excellent mixture of descriptions and thoughts. How come I never see you in the WGs?

....oh, what counter was she talking about? Confused I didn't get that.
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unimportant



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, see, I was concerned not everyone would get that. In a lot of major cities in the US, street lights now have counters that tell you how many seconds you have left to get across that darn street. Just at major intersections, the first time I saw them was in Washington D.C. I don't know if anywhere else has picked them up yet.

thank you so much for reading!
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theBSDude



Joined: 09 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They got 'em in my town, and they had 'em on the Oregon Coast, so I think they're fairly standard (in the US), even if new.
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are mostly standard in the US from what I know. Even my state's major cities have them, and my state is (in)famous for being ten years behind the rest of the country, at least.
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"If by chance some day you're not feeling well, and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done, and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled."
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Tamir



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eheheh. We don't even have street lights, much less counters, in my city. And while many cities do have lights, I've never seen a counter. ^^;;
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unimportant



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

XD sorry for the semi-obscure reference then. It's supposed to aid in symbolism, or some nonsense like that...
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