By Kimberly Somers
Sean walked through the damp park on a Tuesday evening. She wants to talk. Yeah right, he thought. She wants to throw him to the gutter and never look back. An icy, nauseating feeling like his stomach had solidified made him stop and breathe for a second. He made his decision. He could not, would not, live without her. He wouldn’t let this relationship fall to pieces. He would accept her apology like the good boyfriend that he is, and that would be the end of the entire situation. She would never see Eric again, and that would be that.
Evelyn felt like a terrible person as she waited for Sean to meet her at their special tree in the park. This was the tree they had their first date at. It had been a sunny noontime picnic with lots of ants. She had gotten sunburned that day. Now it was absolutely freezing and she hugged her sweater closer to her body. Evelyn kept the picture of Eric’s face clear in her mind and told herself not to chicken out.
Frank cuddled with his bottle of mouthwash and pulled his newspaper blanket over his head. The bench wasn’t as cozy a place to sleep as the mossy area by the pond was, but it wasn’t as cold. Through his extremely blurred vision, Frank saw a girl standing against a tree talking to a young man. The radio in Franks head began again and he clamped his hands over his ears to drown it out.
Molly wiped at her tearstained cheeks and sat down on a swing. She hated when her daddy yelled. He always did it when he drank the stuff in the dark bottles. She liked the swing set in the park. It was up on a hill away from all the bad strangers her mommy told her not to talk to, and it was very close to her house. She went to the swing set when her daddy was yelling at her mommy at night. The metallic scraping noise the chains made when she swung just slightly was a comforting sound.
Sean saw her just 50 paces ahead. She looked radiant in the mist; almost ghostlike. He approached her and she blurted out some garble about not loving him anymore and that her true love was Eric. She said she was so sorry for the pain this was causing him and then something else about giving him back the ring. Sean couldn’t understand why she had such a grave look on her face. He told her he accepted her apology and that everything was okay now. They could be together again, like before. She pulled away with the most troubled look on her face.
Sean was now in front of Evelyn with a weird smile on his face. She could smell the whisky on his breath. She told him how incredibly sorry she was for Saturday night and she hadn’t wanted him to find out that way. She told him as nicely as she could that she was in love with Eric now, and that she hoped he didn’t hate her. Sean just gave her his usual goofy, drunken smile and said that it was all going to be okay and that she was forgiven. Evelyn was starled and bgan to slowly back away. He was acting too weird.
The explosions in Frank’s head weren’t enough to drown out the noise those two brats by the tree were making. Young kids go to the park every night to smoke their marijuana cigarettes but none of them were as talkative as these two. He hoped they would go away soon. The radio was getting louder and telling it to stop wasn’t working anymore. He burrowed into the newspaper blanket more and tried to fall asleep.
Molly stared at her pink shoes and counted the pebbles under the swing. She began to swing higher and felt happy for the first time since dinner. Down the hill by the trees she saw a guy and a girl talking. She wondered if he was yelling at her like her daddy yelled at her mommy.
Sean had to chuckle at Evelyn when she asked him if he’d been drinking or doing drugs. She was being so cute. He said that he wouldn’t allow this relationship to end. They were meant to be together, he knew it. She made accusations about him being drunk or high and this got him angry. Why didn’t she understand him? He wasn’t speaking French. She’s probably just confused and thinks that Eric is her soul mate, but she’s mistaken. He would just have to show her that she was his. She tried to leave but he wouldn’t let her turn her back on him again. He told her that she was his, not Eric’s and that they were the ones meant to be together. He tightened his grip on her wrists and told her he loved her. She looked scared and started to yell. He explained to her that yelling like that would make a big scene and that could get them both into trouble. She wouldn’t stop screaming and squirming.
Evelyn asked Sean how many drinks he had had or if he had been doing anything else. She tried not to sound like his mother but he still got incredibly angry. His face contorted into a look that told Evelyn to run. She attempted a mad dash but he grabbed her by the waist and pulled her back. He knocked the wind out of her by doing so and her knees felt weak for a moment. Was this really happening to her? She wondered. He managed a firm grip on her wrists and she was stuck. Evelyn was well aware how many hours a week Sean spent at the gym. He was too strong for her and she knew it. She tried to yell for help but all she could think was shit he’s going to kill her. The park was deserted. No one would ever hear her yell but she had to attempt it anyway.
Frank awoke from his battlefield to hear that young lady yelling at the top of her lungs. Don’t young folks have any respect for others nowadays? He was trying to sleep and she was making it very hard. He sat up and took a swig of his mouthwash. It was extremely minty and made him cough a little. The radio came back on and Frank feared he would never get any sleep tonight.
Molly saw the guy hug the girl and she smiled. She liked it when grown ups were nice to each other. She swung higher and higher and soon she felt like she was flying. Her untied shoelaces made funny patterns in the air on the way down and it made her giggle. She heard the grown ups yelling a little bit down by the trees but that’s just how grown ups are sometimes. Molly wondered if some day she could swing over the bar.
Evelyn flailed like a fish pulled out of the ocean and Sean could hardly hold onto her. Why wouldn’t she be quiet and listen to him? She was making this so much harder than it had to be. Sean felt the cool blade of the knife he kept in his pocket for emergencies. She kept screaming four letter words like help, rape, fire, shit, help and just wouldn’t stop. She bit him when he tried to kiss her and the taste of pennies filled his mouth. He told her she had to be quiet or they would come for him. He had to make her be quiet.
Evelyn yelled anything she could think of that might draw attention. She knew “rape” definitely would get a responses and she had read someplace to yell fire. The distant clang of metal chains on metal told her that someone was on the swing set on the hill. But whoever was up there didn’t stop swinging to come to her aid. He tried to kiss her and Evelyn was scared he’d try and rape her. He pulled her in for a kiss but she bit him hard on the lower lip. His blood dripped down his chin and stained her sweater.
Frank was getting fed up. He downed the rest of his mouthwash and attempted to gather the energy to sit up and tell these young folks to go away. His head hurt from the bombs and his fingers were cold. Frank was cranky tonight and all he wanted was some peace and quiet for a few hours.
Molly swung so high she thought she might get stuck up in the stars. The yelling from her house stopped and she thought about going home. If her mommy knew she was so far from the house she’d be in big trouble. She dragged her feet against the sand under the swing and hopped off to tie her shoes. The lady down by the trees seemed to be dancing with that guy. She hoped they were having fun.
Sean didn’t know what else to do. There was no reasoning with Evelyn, all she did was scream and flail. Passing cars might see them or a cop might come by soon. He has to make her be quiet. He felt the blade in his pocket once more. He promised himself he wouldn’t live without her, but he wanted Eric to live without her. She made a swing for him and caught him in the eye. He was stunned and she broke free. For just a second Sean hesitated, and then he lunged for her. The rusty blade cut through her silky skin like a butter knife through a hard-boiled egg.
Sean kept telling her to shut her mouth and that it would all be okay. She fought with every last ounce of her strength but she just could not get away. Tears stained her face. This wasn’t the Sean she knew. He let go of her right wrist for a moment and she swung hard and fast at his face. He cried out in pain and grabbed his eye. She took the opportunity to run as fast as she could. She thought she was free of him when she saw him leap at her, the blade in his hand shined in the moonlight.
Frank stood up and was about to yell at the two kids and he felt suddenly sick. His dizziness got worse with the last swig of that mouthwash and all he wanted to do was sleep. Frank sat back down on the brown park bench and saw the young boy jump on the girl right as the radio took over and he passed out.
Molly saw the guy and girl stop dancing in the park. They looked like they were playing tag now. She would have tried to join but they were strangers and she had to go home. Maybe there were cookies left. She pulled the knot on her left sneaker tight and turned toward her house. She wished she understood grown-ups.
Constructive criticism is welcome. This includes punctuation, grammar, spelling errors spell check may not have caught, or just things that don't sound quite right and may need tweaking. NOT THINGS THAT WILL DRAMATICALLY CHANGE THE STORY. I am bringing this to class tomorrow. I don't want to read it out loud though. I hate doing that :( I never do things justice with my stammering and stuttering. I may have to though. Tell me what you think please. If I read this in class and you were asked by the teacher to react to it, what would you say? I want to be prepared. Also, any ideas for a title?
[EDIT] Feedback i just recieved from a girl in my class, and my replies:
i'm quite impressed that you've already written your story in, what sounds like, one night. alright, here are my thoughts:
evelyn's fear could be presented better; she must be horrified, but you mainly focus on sean and his emotions. talk a little more about what she must be going through and the terror she is experiencing, especially in the end when she gets stabbed.
i'm not sure how believable it is that molly doesn't realize what is going on. her parents fight a lot, so she must be used to scenes like this. don't you think that she would associate the situation between sean and evelyn with the situation of her parents? maybe molly should have a different background (=intact family) in order to highlight her innocence more.
what happens to evelyn? i'm curious; does she get killed? you probably wanted to keep the reader in the dark on this, which is probably a good idea. i also think, like you've mentioned, that you should start the story with molly, so it will be more rounded. this way, the focus will lay on her a little more, and the contrast between innocence and brutality will be highlighted more as well.
one little thing: instead of talking about the 'radio' in frank's head, you might want to call it 'voices.'
besides this i think that you've done a great job with your first draft!!
"evelyn's fear could be presented better; she must be horrified, but you mainly focus on sean and his emotions. talk a little more about what she must be going through and the terror she is experiencing, especially in the end when she gets stabbed."
Yes I was trying to but it just got late and I was tired haha. I had originally written more from Sean's point of view (in my pre-rough draft writing I guess I would call it) so that's probably why there is more focus on him. This is just my first draft so I will try and concentrate on her more when I re-write it. Lots of people have been saying to concentrate on Evelyn more so I will make it my number one priority for the re-write. :-)
"i'm not sure how believable it is that molly doesn't realize what is going on. her parents fight a lot, so she must be used to scenes like this. don't you think that she would associate the situation between sean and evelyn with the situation of her parents? maybe molly should have a different background (=intact family) in order to highlight her innocence more."
hmmmm good point. I pictured her as being like...maybe 8. her house is right across the street from the park (She is allowed to cross the street because it is deserted, not that she's allowed to be out in the first place but that was my mini story behind her.) I need a reason for her to be on the swingset though. Hmmmm. I will think about that one and try to figure something out.
"one little thing: instead of talking about the 'radio' in frank's head, you might want to call it 'voices."
I thought about that but I figured it might be too cliche. Plus i have taken lots of psychology classes and lots of schizophrenic people say that what they hear is like a radio in their heads that won't shut off. So I used that idea. I can take it out but i kind of like it. I will try to clarify it more though.
Thank you so much for your reply! I will fix it up when I get home tonight. :-D
[/EDIT] Feedback on the feedback works too. Do you agree? Disagree? Any sugestions?