What If....

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What If....

Postby SierraLea » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:13 pm

Here's an Idea. Someone comes up with a story premis based off an animme or manga, and the next three people to post have to tell a story from that premis. Here's the first one, and you can write an answer for your own.

What if Naruto found out he had a big sister?
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:05 pm

I'm changing this thread to a thread for my personal works. This is a story I wrote for an experiment. I tried to take out all emotion.
A Capital Catastrophe
It was a cloudless summer day, and numerous tourists walked up the marble steps of the domed capitol building of Olympia WA. A young man was waiting in the marble-coated lobby. One of the volunteer tour guides, he waited for the next group to show up. When it was time to start, his crowd was still relatively small. One family, an elderly couple, and a few teens milled around nearby. He called for their attention, explained that he was their tour guide, and began his lecture.
“The capitol building has been rebuilt many times. It has survived earthquakes and fires, and still stands today as the highest of all the domed capitol buildings in the United States.” He explained the meaning of the pictures engraved on the bronze doors, and the significance of the two statues.
He turned their attention to the ceiling, especially the flowers there. “These are modeled after the rhododendron, which is our state flower. Now, if you’ll follow me, we’ll continue further into the building.”
They walked up the first flight of stairs, and onto the floor with the seal of their state embedded in the marble. It was roped off so no one would step on it, and directly underneath the biggest chandelier in the building. The tour guide started to explain how the seal had been created when he felt a shiver in the earth beneath him.
One of the tourists, a girl in her late teens, shouted “Earthquake!” and dove on top of the little girl next to her. Quickly, the force of the tremble increased until it knocked the rest of the group off their feet. The marble floor split along its seams, pulling away from the inlaid seal. A roar sounded as the shake continued to grow in intensity.
There were loud cracking sounds coming from the ceiling. The tour guide looked up to see huge cracks forming. They spiraled out from a central point, directly above where the older girl was sheltering the younger. He watched as a piece of plaster the size of a bed split off from the ceiling and headed downward toward the two victims.
He threw himself forward and knocked the two girls into a skid that took them several feet. The plaster fell in the exact spot where the two girls had been, missing his foot by mere inches. He looked back at the ceiling. There were still cracks running through the plastered dome. “Quick!” he shouted to the rest of his group. “Everyone under one of the balconies!” He picked up the little girl next to him and ran for the nearest balcony, almost falling from the force of the shake.
They stayed underneath the balcony until the quake stopped. Once he could stand up again, the tour guide turned to the group of tourists. “Is anyone hurt?”
There was a chorus of “No” and “We’re all right.”
He said “We should get out of the building before an aftershock hits. The doors are this way.” He led them out into the surrounding park, taking them to the fountain where there weren’t any buildings to fall on them. He had them sit on the ground so they wouldn’t fall, then sat himself.
Someone scooted over next to him. “You saved my life. Thank you.” It was the girl he had knocked down. “That plaster would’ve squashed my sister and me flatter than two pieces of paper.”
He laughed. “It’s fine. I only had to save you because you were so focused on protecting your sister.”
She smiled, showing white teeth. “You’re still a hero.”
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:21 pm

Here's a story I had to write for one of my college classes. Please feel free to critique!

Contrary Companions
Donna K. Aran lugged her packed suitcase up the stairs to her new dorm room. I hope I brought enough outfits. She thought I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the same thing twice. She freed one of her hands to open the door, and noticed that someone was already in the room. A girl was sitting on the bed on the right side of the room with a book open in her lap. The girl looked up, nodded, and looked back down.
Donna took one look at the desk overflowing with books, the neatly closed drawers and closet, and the girl’s outfit of a T-shirt and jeans, and immediately had her measure. This girl was obviously not a party animal. Then, she heard her parents coming up behind her. “Donna, where do you want us to put all of this?” She turned around and saw them standing in the doorway, loaded with her boxes of clothes. As they came into the room, they saw the girl on the bed. “Hi, we’re Donna’s parents. Are you her roommate?”
The girl smiled “Yes, I’m Juliet. You can put those anywhere, I don’t mind.” She then returned to the depths of her book. Donna could see that this was not going to be as much fun as she had hoped.

It was two months later, halfway through the first semester, and Donna was heading out. One of the commuting boys from her English class was having a party at his house while his parents were in Hawaii, and Donna wasn’t going to miss it. She was already dressed in her favorite party outfit of a black miniskirt, a hot pink top that magnified her sex appeal, and big golden hoop earrings. Juliet looked up a bit at the sound of all her bracelets clanking. “Don’t you think that’s a little much? It’s just a party.”
Donna looked at her in astonishment and irritation. “Why don’t you come with me for once and see what ‘just a party’ is like?” Juliet quickly lowered her head. Donna was used to this by now. She’d grudgingly invited the girl to no fewer than twenty parties and campus events, only to be turned down again and again. “Any girl of flesh and blood would have gone out at least once, but not you. You’re only full of the words you read. I swear ink flows through your veins instead of blood.” And she slammed the door.
Juliet stared at the door for a while. “That’s not true. Pinch me. Am I made of paper?” She said, in a voice no louder than a whisper.

Three weeks afterwards, Donna stood in front of her overflowing closet, panicking. She’d already worn every possible combination of her clothes, and she desperately needed something new to wear. She’d tried shopping around, but nothing really caught her eye. Juliet slowly opened the door, saw Donna, and said hesitantly, “Can I come in?”
Donna brushed her off. “Whatever. Do you know any good stores around here?”
“No, but there’s some pretty cool places where I used to live. We could go down there and check them out.”
Donna turned and stared. Juliet was giving her a hesitant smile. “I used to live in Portland, and I was going down there this weekend for my little sister’s birthday. You can come if you like, and maybe we could go shopping together.”
Well you could have knocked her over with a feather! Shy, bookish Juliet was asking to go shopping? “I thought I could show you some of the fountains, and there’s the biggest bookstore in the world there. They have a mall with three stories, and there are plenty of hotels in case you didn’t want to stay with me and my family. I asked them, and they said it would be fine either way.”
Donna had been planning to go to the late night movie on Friday, but this sounded even more interesting. “How long would we be staying?”
Juliet went over to her closet and started to take out clothes. “Just one night. My sister wanted me to be at her birthday party on Saturday, so we could drive down on Friday and see the sights. It’s an interesting city.”
Donna went over to her. “I guess, but you have to let me pick something out for you while we’re there. You dress like a boy.” And for the first time, Juliet laughed.

Juliet hadn’t been kidding when she said the city was interesting. There were sculptures, fountains, and murals everywhere. Just driving down the streets felt like a lesson in modern art, with Juliet’s constant narration for the teacher. Donna turned to Juliet. She’d been glowing ever since they arrived. “How do I get to the mall?”
Juliet pointed down the street. “See where that huge line of people is? That’s Voodoo Donuts, one of the most famous places in the city. We’ll turn left about a block from there.”
The mall didn’t look like anything special from the street, but it was a fabulous fashion display on the inside, with the promised three floors lit and bustling with shoppers. Donna was in heaven. She quickly found the map of the mall and ran off to find the nearest designer store with Juliet in pursuit.
When they got to the store Donna had been after, they found a more generic one right next door to it. Juliet looked at her companion. “Don’t you think the other store would have better prices? Brand name stuff can be pretty expensive.”
Donna looked at her as if she was crazy. “That’s the whole point! Brand names are prestigious and attract attention.”
She laughed a little. “What’s in a name? That which we call a Dior by any other name would wear as well.” Juliet took her hand and led her into the cheaper store, where she bought five tops for the price of what one would have cost in the other store.
After shopping for Donna for a solid hour, the two girls stopped in the food court for a coffee. She had to admit, this mall was in a different class than the ones by the college. It had every brand name store she’d heard of and a few that she hadn’t. But it was time to shift gears. “It’s time to shop for you. Where do you want to try first?”
Juliet nearly choked on her coffee. “What?”
“I told you, I’d only come if I got to pick out an outfit for you. So what do you want to shop for first?”
“I guess we could go to JCPenny’s to look for a skirt, but that’s it.”
Donna laughed. “What are you talking about? We have to shop for shoes, skirts, jewelry, even perfume. You are not leaving this mall without a party dress, my friend.” And she dragged Juliet off to the nearest shoe shop, protesting profusely.
Fifteen minutes later, Juliet was standing in a dressing room, staring at her reflection. Donna had picked out a light green dress with a reasonably high neckline and a ruffled skirt that went past her knees. She had to admit, the dress did look good, especially with the white flats they’d compromised on earlier. Donna had wanted heels, but comfort was more important to Juliet. She was calling to her, asking her to come out so she could see. Juliet slowly emerged from the small room.
“Wow. I guess you really can’t judge a book by its cover.” Who knew her bookish friend was hiding such a pretty figure under her baggy T-shirts?
Juliet looked down shyly. “Is it too tight?”
“No, it fits great. That color looks good on you.” Juliet blushed deep red. “I think you should wear it to your sister’s party tomorrow. Let’s go buy it and then look at some makeup.”
Once Donna was somewhat satisfied with her friend’s new wardrobe, Juliet turned the conversation towards bookstores. “There’s this one place I want to show you,” she said, her cheeks flushing a little with excitement. “It’s called Powell’s Books and it’s the biggest bookstore in the world. It has books that no one else does, and a room for every genre. You’ve got to see it.” And for once, it was Juliet who was dragging Donna behind her.

By the time they pulled in to a parking lot a few blocks away from Powell’s, Juliet’s excitement had infected Donna as well. Bookstores were usually pretty boring to her, but this one seemed to be special. Juliet was practically flying down the sidewalk towards the store. Like the mall, it was deceptively ordinary-looking on the outside, but when she took the first step in, she saw just how different it was from the other stores.
It was boring. There was nothing but books from ceiling to floor, and not very lively ones either. Some were so old they looked like they were just on reading away from falling apart altogether. It was as if a library and bookstore had been hashed together until they exuded an air of boredom and drudgery. Juliet, however, was practically dancing with impatience. “So which room do you want to visit first?” She was pointing to what looked like a giant map’s legend. “The Rose Room is for kid’s books, and the Green room is for books about science…” On and on she talked. “Oh! I know, we’ll go and look at their Black Room. That room has the latest in art, photography, and fashion.” And she tore off into the bookstore.
Donna didn’t have very high hopes for this Black Room, but her boredom ceased when she saw the first bookshelf. It had stack after stack of her favorite fashion magazines! “Will you be alright here?” Juliet asked. Donna picked out the first edition of Cosmopolitan she saw. “I could probably stay here for at least a year. I’ll be by the cash register in an hour, so come find me. We’ll decide what to do after that. Juliet raced off, probably to find a novel or something. After she’d read at least twenty magazines, she turned to the books, exploring them. She’d never really paid attention to the stuff before, but there were some really fascinating titles lining the wall. After she had finished looking through a book on photography and modeling, she ventured downstairs into the next room.
The walls of this room were painted bright purple, and the shelves were stocked with history books. One that caught her eye was a book on the history of fashion. She took it out and started flipping through it. This is actually pretty interesting. And then it hit her. Juliet wasn’t a boring person who buried herself in books to escape the world. She did it to enter a different one. All the parties and events hadn’t interested her because they couldn’t compare to the thrill of an adventure or romance that was waiting between the covers of a book. All Donna needed to do was make the world outside of the pages just as interesting as the one inside them, to lure her out into the real world.
But just as she was thinking of how best to open a new world for Juliet, another one was slowly unfolding for her. Donna K. Aran had just opened the door to the world of words, and it would never completely close.
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Re: What If....

Postby Davidizer13 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:58 pm

Let's take a poke at this second story, shall we?

The first thing that jumps out at me is your prose - it's really, really dry. There's no emotion to it, it doesn't feel like it's flowing anywhere, it's just a series of disjointed things and places. It's like you're narrating over a vacation slideshow. (Or a fashion one, based on how much words you spend describing clothes.) Likewise, your dialogue doesn't feel real, it feels more like something someone would write rather than what they'd say. Like this little bit here:

“Any girl of flesh and blood would have gone out at least once, but not you. You’re only full of the words you read. I swear ink flows through your veins instead of blood.” And she slammed the door.
Juliet stared at the door for a while. “That’s not true. Pinch me. Am I made of paper?” She said, in a voice no louder than a whisper.


...Yeah, I doubt many sorority gals speak in stilted poetic metaphor like that. (Unless they're both freshman theater majors lol)

That epiphany at the end feels sudden. It's like, there was hardly any buildup to it, it was like, oops, we're out of words, story's gotta end somehow, so let's just say Donna just gets struck down by a bolt from the blue by the goddess of literacy, and Juliet gets completely vindicated! READ A BOOK, KIDS! And then there's this:
And she dragged Juliet off to the nearest shoe shop, protesting profusely.


Who's protesting profusely here? Watch where you're going with those modifiers, otherwise things get tangled up.

Anyway, I think you do an all right job of showing what's going on instead of telling, except that you go back right after you show us and tell us anyway. Work on that. So far, you've got a middling first draft here, but it's going to need a lot of polishing and working over before it's ready for the prime time.
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:34 pm

Here's three new poems I wrote in a break between classes. Enjoy!
Washington Weather
The greenery, we pay in rain
To grace our flowerbeds again.
But sunny summers here will take
The colors spring and winter make.
Some like outside to eat their food
But I prefer the wet, green wood.

Stage Fright
Nervous jitters climb the stair
To Spotlight's unforgiving glare
Which proudly shows each small mistake
And Confidence Intimidates.
But after hour's half she stands
To meet the stage's stern demands.
What strength she hides beneath the veil
Of her appearance, thin and frail.

Beginning
The pen begs for a clicking, the page begs to be filled.
A poem is waiting in the wings, longing for the skilled
Intellect of one who has the will to write the words
That could call forth the vicious shark or optimistic birds.
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:37 pm

Some friends of the family recently lost twins from a miscarriage. I wrote this poem for them.

Crystal Floor

In Heaven there exists a room that’s paved with crystal tiles
Where those who never saw the world can gaze across the miles.
It also has a doorway leading to the throne of gold.
To His feet they take their pleas for both the young and old.
Two more now walk the crystal floor and search for family dear,
Once, family found, they hop a cloud, and ride ‘till they’re right here.
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Re: What If....

Postby FreddyCast » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:33 pm

SierraLea wrote:Some friends of the family recently lost twins from a miscarriage. I wrote this poem for them.

Crystal Floor

In Heaven there exists a room that’s paved with crystal tiles
Where those who never saw the world can gaze across the miles.
It also has a doorway leading to the throne of gold.
To His feet they take their pleas for both the young and old.
Two more now walk the crystal floor and search for family dear,
Once, family found, they hop a cloud, and ride ‘till they’re right here.

That was a lovely poem. I'm sorry for their loss. My mother had two miscarriages. I never got to see my two unborn brothers, but I know I'll meet them in God's Wondrous Presence all grown up. I love you guys, I'll see you soon. *sniff*
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:50 am

FreddyCast wrote:That was a lovely poem. I'm sorry for their loss. My mother had two miscarriages. I never got to see my two unborn brothers, but I know I'll meet them in God's Wondrous Presence all grown up. I love you guys, I'll see you soon. *sniff*

I actually have a brother there too, so I think about this a lot. His name is Jedediah. Do your brothers have names?
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Re: What If....

Postby FreddyCast » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:41 am

SierraLea wrote:
FreddyCast wrote:That was a lovely poem. I'm sorry for their loss. My mother had two miscarriages. I never got to see my two unborn brothers, but I know I'll meet them in God's Wondrous Presence all grown up. I love you guys, I'll see you soon. *sniff*

I actually have a brother there too, so I think about this a lot. His name is Jedediah. Do your brothers have names?

My mother wanted to call my first brother Jesse and my second brother James. She was into the Wild West and Cowboy shows and she liked the name Jesse James. LOL So that's what she wanted to name my unborn brothers. I know Jesse and James are waiting for us. I'll be so happy to see them in Heaven welcoming us.
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:48 pm

Here's another poem, about one of my favorite subjects.

Confidence

“Just” is a word without
Confidence,
As in “just my opinion,” not
Certain.
Fake modesty abounds, but not
Confidence.
No one thinks they deserve the
Credit.
You’re not that great? Have
Confidence.
It will give others the right to have
Confidence
In themselves.
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:13 pm

Writing news! My college is running a literary magazine that students can submit to, and one of my teachers told me that I should submit some of my poetry! I am totally doing that!
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:34 pm

I recently wrote this for one of my classes, and thought I should share it with you. Enjoy!
The Battlefield

The clouds on the high ground blast cannons of hail
To strike through the cedars, but to no avail.
The evergreens steadfast in winter and fall
With persistant green needles to form the siege wall
Protect the recruits on the ground far below.
The trees stand their tallest and dare Wind to blow.
The cold front invaders do not bat an eye
and fire their riffles of rain from the sky.

But clouds are deserters and cowards to boot.
They run from the spring while the seedlings take root.
In the bootcamp called "greenhouse" they train for the task.
Grow taller! Grow stronger! Get ready to bask.
Soon they brandish their banners of purple and red
The tough armour of seedhusks they've finally shed.
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:48 pm

If poetry is meant as self expression, this is mine.

Monster

I wound those closest to me,
Offend those whom I love.
Cruelty surrounds me,
A tight fitting glove
Cutting me off from
The joys of the world,
And as I grow older
The madness unfurls.
I see how my sentences
Cut to the quick.
Make others uncomfortable,
Unsettled, even sick.
I spread my incompetent
Nastiness much.
I hate how I’m blooming,
How I flower as such.
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Re: What If....

Postby Panda4christ:3 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:28 pm

I love these, you're really good at this ^.^

Hate to say i relate to that last one
"People need fear, we experience it so we can grow stronger"-Maka Albarn
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:36 am

I think most of us could relate to the last one. "Earth spins on a tilted axis, just doing the best it can."
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:58 pm

YYYYEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!! One of my poems, Stage Fright, made it into the literary magazine from my college!
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Re: What If....

Postby Cheetah » Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:16 am

Congratulations!!
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:04 pm

I was bored waiting for one of my classes so i wrote this in the margins of my planner.

You're immature and kiddish, so they say.
Grow up and take responsibility.
Now work and studying fill up the day
Instead of endless possibility.

The grown up world is strictly black and white,
No room for silly pink or wild red.
And laughter's yellow, radient and bright,
A color young and rampant, now is dead.

Is dignity worth so much human joy
That giggling has now become taboo?
We trade an earnest face for guile and ploys,
Forgetting we were once innocent too.

Yet in the quiet of our hearts we long
To cast it off to join the child's song.
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:46 pm

I wrote this for today, Good Friday. It's also posted on my facebook.

Good Friday

I'm
hanging
on a cross
holes in my hands
a sword in my side
a back torn and bleeding
a heart that stops its beating
Don't you dare think you weren't worth it.
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:14 pm

In case you can't tell, I was crying when I wrote this.
Wet Teachers

Tears of sorrow, tears of hate,
tears unlock frustration's gate.
Tears expose emotions deep
and into other's hearts they seep.
Teach that one to watch her voice.
Causing tears is one's own choice.
Teach another careful tread
so others see but do not dread.
Teach the one who, silent, cries.
When others hear, Compassion tries.
Teach the ones to tease in fun.
That laugh was not for everyone.
These tears teach others, but me too.
I'm glad the classes are few.
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:20 am

Here is another self expression poem. It might take a while for some to understand.
Understand

If you think you know it all, it’s probably all wrong.
Prejudice and classifiers don’t last very long.
You think you know that person? I beg you to look hard
And what you thought was certain will be shattered into shards.
Time and time again we see the guy who’s got it all.
Expose his torn up inner self, and painfully he falls.
But tabloids aren’t the limit for exposing others’ pain.
You find exquisite torture in the different-wired brain.
Even if she testifies that different is good,
The fact she’s weird is agony. She’d change it if she could.
This difference is like a wound where others rub in salt.
They say “You’re beautiful, not odd. Your difference, not your fault.”
“Everyone is different.” But in difference, not the same.
You’re just classifying her, you’re not playing her game.
“The agony is in your head.” So what? It does still hurt.
To understand this foreign pain, you take it and insert.
After you’ve experienced the pain she holds inside,
Only then will you reveal the thing she tries to hide.
The thing that makes her cry at night and sob in no one’s arms
Is not a bone break or a break up, not those simple harms.
But it can be annihilated by accepting hands
Because the pain stems from the fact that no one understands.
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Re: What If....

Postby Panda4christ:3 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:05 am

Sierra, I don't know you personally so this is hard. From what i can tell, you feel like no one understands you, no one knows your pain, which isn't true.
Alot of people know your pain, as human beings we tend to care too much what other people think. You've mentioned being overly sensitive in some of your other posts, I'll warn you though, if you let it control you nothing will get better, but if you get past it and learn to cope with your problems they can make you stronger. God doesn't just give you things you can't handle, he literally never gives you more than you can handle, so however overwhelmed you feel, it's okay you'll be fine just be strong, okay? ^.^
If I'm not helping feel free to ignore this post, i just hate seeing you so down *Panda hugs*
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:08 am

This one is kind of funny.
Falling in Love

“Falling in love” is
A strange way to put it.
Do you fall into love
Or within it?
When you do it with someone,
Are they falling too?
Do they sit on the bottom
And just wait for you?
But “Fallen in love”
Doesn’t sound very sweet.
“Fallen” means “losing”.
Is love then defeat?
Or maybe it means that
You’re lost in the love
And the one who had caused
Your defeat is above.
Our language is strange
And intriguing at best.
Especially in midst of a
“Falling love” fest.
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SierraLea
 
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:00 am

I'm trying to write a murder mystery for one of my classes, but it's hard to come up with some of the crime and clue specifics. Case Closed madke it look so easy, but now I'm really appreciating how creative that author must be!
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:21 pm

Remember that story that got published in my school's magazine? I got a copy of the thing today and my poem was the first thing on the first page! I am so happy!
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Re: What If....

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:27 am

Voodoo Donuts? Powells? I hear Portland's a happening place.

Voodoo has some interesting donuts. Anatomical donuts, haha.
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:20 am

You've got me confused. Which of my pieces here are you talking about?

Anyway, I wrote my first mystery novel. Anyone want me to post it here?
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Re: What If....

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:26 am

The one where your characters visit Powells and Voodoo Donuts?
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Re: What If....

Postby Panda4christ:3 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:54 am

SierraLea wrote:Anyway, I wrote my first mystery novel. Anyone want me to post it here?


I do! :D
"People need fear, we experience it so we can grow stronger"-Maka Albarn
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Re: What If....

Postby SierraLea » Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:34 pm

Telltale Straw
Elyod Green walked into Jeff’s Java for breakfast. She walked through the empty restaurant up to the counter. The Starbucks down the road may have had more options, but she’d been coming here since the day she started working for the force. Besides, Ann was here, and Elyod needed to talk to her.
Jeff, the owner of the joint was manning the front, and grinned when he saw Elyod. “So what’ll it be this time? English muffin with a side of arrest?”
She raised one eyebrow. “Is that any way to talk to a detective?” Then, in lowered tones, “Do you know when Ann’s next break is?”
Jeff opened his mouth to answer, but was halted by a grunt. A burly man was standing right behind Elyod. He was standing so close to her that she could smell the cigarette smoke on his clothes. Jeff reacted quickly. “I’ll be right with you, sir.” Then he mumbled under his breath, “Go sit down. Her shift ends in two minutes, so you can talk then.”
Elyod went and sat at a corner booth where another employee was mopping up a spilled drink. It was Emma, but she was shaking. “Emma, are you alright?” The girl turned towards her, revealing red eyes and a shiny face.
“I’m fine, just tired.” She mumbled, before finishing the mopping and racing back into the kitchen. She passed Ann on her way back, who went over to Elyod and sat next to her.
Elyod nodded towards the retreating back. “What’s wrong with Emma? She seems down today.”
Ann frowned. “She’s been like that a lot lately. But every time I ask her about it, she just says she’s fine and runs off. Maybe it’s something to do with that play she’s helping out with. Anyway, Luke is coming over before work. Maybe he can cheer her up.” Elyod nodded. Luke and Emma had been going steady for about a year now, so he was probably the one with the best chances.
Elyod dropped her smile. “And speaking of boyfriends, I wanted to talk to you about that guy you brought home last night. You know what part of town he’s from, right? I bust guys from that neighborhood weekly. He’s not good boyfriend material.” She lowered her voice conspiratorially. “Look. Richard, one of my coworkers is free this Saturday, and he seemed really interested in you. Why not give him a shot, maybe a lunch date?”
Ann frowned at Elyod. “Sis, you talked to Brad for like, five minutes. And don’t judge someone based on where they come from, that’s just mean. And forget Richard. I don’t want to date a cop, it’s bad enough having one for a sister.” She started to get up.
Elyod grabbed her wrist, and Ann halted. “Okay, I admit I don’t know, uh…”
“Brad”
“Yeah, Brad. I may not know him that well but I do know Richard. He’s just a better fit.” Ann shook off Elyod’s hand. “Please, Ann! I’m only thinking of what’s best for you!”
The bell over the restaurant entrance rang just as Ann retreated back behind the counter. Luke walked in and up to Jeff.
“Hey Jeff.” Luke scanned the tables. “Is Emma around?”
“Man, first Elyod, now you. Isn’t anyone glad to see me?” But he was smiling, so Luke knew he was joking. Jeff pointed behind the counter. “She’s in the back. I’ll tell her you’re here.”
“That’s fine, just send her to the front. I actually came for something to eat before work.” He smiled, but he didn’t look very happy. What’s wrong with everyone today? Thought Elyod.
Emma came to the front and started to take Luke’s order. “I’ll take a latte and a breakfast sandwich.” Then he looked closer at Emma. “Hey, sweetheart, you okay?”
She nodded without looking up from the cash register. “I’ll go and get your order.” She grabbed a sandwich from the stack and shouted for someone to make the drink.
After finishing off her sandwich, Elyod headed to the front to say goodbye to her sister and to try to change her mind about Saturday. Just as she reached the counter, Emma put the coffee and sandwich on the table. Her hands are shaking so badly she’s almost spilling that. Something must really be wrong. Luke grabbed the items and kissed her. “I’ll see you after work tonight.” Then he grabbed a straw, slipped it into the cup of java, and ran outside to his car, sipping his still-hot coffee.
Elyod leaned on the counter to get a glimpse of Ann, and her hand nudged something. It was Luke’s car keys. Guess I should go give these to him. She headed out the door. There sat his midnight blue Honda. She had to admit, the guy had good taste in cars. She didn’t see Luke, so she walked to the right side of the car in case he was already inside.
She almost stepped on him. Luke was lying on the ground. Elyod bent down and shook his shoulder. “Come on Luke, this isn’t funny.” When he didn’t respond, her stomach dropped. She grabbed his wrist. No pulse. Luke was dead.
She ran for her Sedan on the other side of the parking lot. All her equipment was already in the car. She grabbed her cell, hit the speed dial for her office, and was relieved when her secretary picked up after the first ring. She didn’t bother with greetings. “This is Detective Green. There’s been an accident of some sort. I’m at Jeff’s Java on 6th street, near Alpine Ave. Do you know it?”
“Yes.” Said the voice on the other end. “We’ll send Inspector Edison and a team over as quickly as possible.”
Elyod hung up, grabbed her tape recorder, and headed back into the restaurant. She’d have to start getting statements from everyone inside.
About 3 hours later she was finished getting the statements of Jeff, Ann, and the other employees. It had taken a while to coax Emma out of the bathroom, where she had probably been having a good cry. Elyod had almost finished examining the corpse of her friend. She turned and looked back at Inspector Edison. “It’s a poisoning, probably a neurotoxin based on the symptoms and time of death. Did you have the drink and sandwich I sent in earlier checked for traces?”
The inspector nodded. “The sandwich came up clean but they found traces of poison on the drink. It looks like the employee who prepared the drink is responsible. We’re going to take her downtown for questioning.”
The person who’d prepared the coffee was Ann! No, there had to be some mistake. Cool down. Think. “Where was the poison found on the cup?”
Inspector Edison turned towards one of the other officers. He came forward. “We didn’t actually find the poison on the cup or lid. It was only on the top of the drinking straw.”
That’s it! The poison must have already been on his lips, and that’s how it got on the straw. But why would the perpetrator want to get it on his lips? She looked closer at Luke’s face. His lips were badly chapped. Then she saw a glint of red. Blood! His lip was split! If someone put the poison on Luke’s lips, it would have almost immediately entered the bloodstream and started working. But how could someone get it there without looking suspicious? She went over in her head what Luke had done while he was in the restaurant. He’d opened the door and walked up to the counter, where Jeff had greeted him. But Jeff and Luke had never touched, and Jeff hadn’t given him anything. One suspect ruled out.
Thinking back on it, Ann and Luke hadn’t even looked at each other once during the whole time Luke was inside the diner. There was no way she could have done it.
What about Emma? He’d talked with her, she’d handed him the food, and then he’d left. Wait. Luke had kissed Emma before leaving. If she had somehow managed to get the poison onto her face and then had Luke kiss her, she could have done it. But how? A toxin strong enough to kill Luke in a matter of minutes could have hurt her, even if she didn’t have an open wound. And the interrogation team had checked everyone thoroughly. If Emma had been covered in poison, they would have seen it.
But what if she had gotten the poison off before the cops showed up? She must have washed it off in the bathroom! Hadn’t the police practically dragged her out of there for questioning? She could have been in there getting the poison off her face. Come to think of it, Emma’s face had been very shiny earlier. Elyod had thought it was just tears, based on the girl’s eyes, but now it seemed more unnatural. And when she had come out of the bathroom, her face had been much duller, and perfectly dry. Maybe she left something behind, something that would prove her guilt. She ran through the restaurant doors and into the bathroom.
If Emma wiped off the poison in here, there should be something left, like paper towels or even a trace of the toxin in the sink. She started digging through the trash can and pulling out the paper towels. Some of them were just bunched up wads, or so wet they tore at the lightest tug. It was actually pretty disgusting, putting her hand in there with who knows…what? Her hand brushed against something different. I hope it’s not a diaper. But it felt rubbery, not mushy. She pulled it out. It was something like a rubber rag. She pushed aside a bunch of paper towels and stretched it out on the floor. It was a face mask, but not the type you use for beauty treatment. This looked more like something actors would use to cover their faces so they could completely change their skin without fear of smudging. Or to protect yourself from a lethal poison.
She heard a ruckus outside in the restaurant. “Look, I didn’t do it! I had no reason to!” It was Ann. They were already taking her down to the station!
Elyod grabbed the mask off the floor and ran out of the hallway just in time to get between the Inspector and the door. “Inspector Edison, Ann’s not the culprit. Emma is and I can prove it!”
When Ann, Emma, Elyod, and the inspector were all seated in one of the large corner booths, Elyod started to explain. “The first thing I asked was about where the poison had been found on the cup. If it was indeed in the cup where the coffee had been, I would have admitted that Ann was a possible suspect. But it wasn’t. Instead, it was found only on the straw. At Jeff’s Java, customers pick out and put in their own straws. There was no way for the culprit to know which straw Luke would pick, so she couldn’t poison it ahead of time. That means that the poison had to come from Luke, his lips in particular. I was here the whole time Luke was, so I know what he touched with his mouth before taking a sip from the straw, and the only thing he touched with his lips was…” She paused for dramatic effect. “Emma’s face! He kissed her on the cheek after she handed him the food. He then left, sipping the coffee as he went.”
The inspector wasn’t sold. “She couldn’t have kept that strong of a poison on her skin. It would have hurt her. Besides, a poison like that can’t kill unless it goes directly into the bloodstream.”
Elyod looked at him. “That is true, but the poison did have direct access to Luke’s bloodstream. When looking at the body earlier, I noticed his lip was split, all the way down to the blood vessels. This cut allowed the poison to penetrate directly to the victim’s bloodstream, thus killing him as effectively as if it had been injected into him.”
The inspector was nodding. “Okay, I get that part, but you still haven’t explained to me how the poison didn’t hurt the girl. Even if it’s only lethal in the bloodstream, we would have seen some signs of harm.”
“That’s because Emma never let it come in contact with her skin. When I came in earlier today, Emma’s face was shiny. I thought it might have been tears, but it was actually the poison glistening off this.” Elyod handed him the mask. “I found it in the trash of the women’s bathroom where the suspect was hiding. It’s a mask that professional special effects makeup artists use on actors when they have to cover the actor’s entire face and don’t want to worry about smudges. Emma works as such a cosmetics person at the local theater, so a simple mask like this was easy for her. After Luke kissed her and was poisoned, she went into the bathroom to take off the mask and throw it away. That’s where we found her after the crime. But she made the mistake of leaving the evidence where anyone could find it. Luke was killed by his own girlfriend. I don’t know why, though.”
Ann gave the girl a sad look. “Yeah, why would you do a thing like that? Until today you guys were getting along fine. I thought you’d get engaged soon.”
Emma broke down. “He didn’t have time to ask me. He was dying!” She started to sob even harder.
Elyod gave her a minute to calm down, and then asked “What do you mean, dying?”
Emma looked up from the wet tissues balled up in her hands. “Luke had pancreatic cancer. It’s nearly untreatable, and he doesn’t have the money to cover those kinds of medical bills. He told me about a week ago, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Since he couldn’t afford the treatments, he was always in pain, and didn’t know when he was going to die. He even told me that he would rather have been dead than in that kind of pain. So I killed him so he wouldn’t have to feel that anymore. I did what was best for him!”
Elyod felt bad for Luke. What a twisted kind of love. But then she thought about the conversation she’d had with Ann. She’d said those exact same words. Really, she and Emma weren’t all that different. And that was scary.
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