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Old 08-16-2005, 08:25 PM   #1
Isis
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Default Setting Velvet

Well, this is something I've never gotten feedback on. It's total "kamikaze" writing - but I'd appreciate if you looked at it like something complete and really picked. I need to know what works right away for me and what needs the extra attention.
Warning for being slightly disturbing. [death, blood] And, sort of emo, now that I think about it.


Setting Velvet

A setting sky graced the velvet shoulders of a small girl sitting alone on a chalked-up city curb. She swung her feet, kicking the miniature lewd graffiti with scuffed boots and coming away with some of it's dusty color against worn black. She looked strangely old, her chin resting on her hands, and her hair somewhere in limbo – that length acceptable for either boy, girl, or old lady. She brushed a strand of it with her thumb, strumming nervously along with barely audible music coming from the street beyond.

Peace hung in the air, swirling with the dust particles dancing in a beam of dying sun.

Kassa wasn't quite used to peace, and decided after a moment she liked it. It was a relieving change from everything else she knew – there definitely wasn't this oblivious quiet around her home, when she'd had one. Though it was loud enough – music, cars, people shouting – it wasn't directed at her. She was caught up in nothing, just like the dust.

She kicked again. Her feet just seemed to move of their own accord after all this time. She wished they wouldn't, for a moment, but liked what the movement gave her. Not a purpose – she had that from other things, maybe, if she felt lucky that day and others felt she was lucky too. It was fascination. Her feet would move, and she didn’t have to think about it; she could marvel at the sights she ran past without worry of what was ahead or behind.

'It's odd what you notice,' she thought, as a long-haired skateboard kid almost ran her feet flat, 'when for a long time you didn't notice anything at all'. Kassa thought that after time on the road she'd love everything big, everything drenched in light and excitement and sugar, but she'd found more love in quiet. The expressions of mannequins in window displays, the mix of languages on the street (familiar, foreign, and foul) and the way the light moved around chain link fences on cooling afternoons – that held her attention as long as she let it.

But now the sun was setting, and the shadows were growing deeper no matter how much light glinted off high windows in protest. She got up, slowly, smoothing her rumpled dress with tiny hands. She only wore it because there was nothing else to wear; otherwise she'd have loved to get rid of the heavy crimson garment. It wasn't comfortable on her shoulders or her mind; the weight of the cloth almost as bad as the weight of unpleasant memories.

She really would have to get out of this habit. There was nothing constructive in it, not really, but it was so thrilling. Maybe she'd find someone with good clothes – something to fit a little girl. She knew she was little, and her feet did the walking as she paid attention to the patches on a tall girl's backpack. No. This other girl was the wrong one…but then there was another. She looked pinched; too thin, her face collapsing towards pursed lips. This one was perfect, Kassa knew; she had the clothes, for one, and she was just beyond innocent.

Kassa followed, comparing the girl's sparkling pumps to her own worn-out boots, not drawing attention to herself in a city full of people alike and different enough to make even the strangest thing commonplace. She slipped around a group of people sitting on the middle of the sidewalk on a blanket, keeping just the right distance between herself and the girl. A few mincing blocks, and the girl turned, going into a brick apartment and closing the door too slowly.

Kassa was in. She put a hand to her boot, glancing around. The girl had gone up a Victorian staircase, and the older ornate touches of the apartment were intermingled with the girl's more modern taste. Kassa could feel herself breathing faster and faster, but she was quiet and calm; she was in her mental home and this small moment of power was all that she ever needed. She scaled the steps silently; years of practice told her that surprise was key.

The girl was half-swallowed by her closet, and Kassa's knife was out of her boot and into the older girl's chest before she could ask who was there, behind her. Kassa hardly registered the girl's gurgled attempts at a scream; she pulled the knife out, wiped it expertly, and helped herself to new garments. The boots stayed, they were valuable; but the ratty dress she slipped over too-thin shoulders and onto the floor, letting cold AirConditioned air wash over her body before finding a well-fitting (if long) pair of jeans and a light blue shirt that would cover the scar on her collarbone.

She slipped into sleep on the bed much the way she had slipped out of her dress; with silence, ease, and relief.

When she woke it was completely dark, and Kassa was disoriented. She didn't know where she was, why she was somewhere almost comfortable and not sleeping on the streets. The smell of death wasn't new to her, so it took her extra time to notice that. But notice she did, with a wrinkle of her nose only for the messiness of it, and not the idea of killing itself. It had been a few hours of peace well won.

The moon wasn't there outside; or if it was it was obscured by haze and tall buildings and the city lights that never went out. Though there were signs, and streetlights, and traffic becons, it seemed darker than it had been. Kassa shivered; she should have stolen something with long sleeves, knowing she'd be back on the streets in no time flat. She couldn't be caught, and didn't want to spend time with the dead girl anyway.

She walked down streets she didn't know, streets she vowed to learn about when daylight came. She'd walk down them like they were a museum gallery, with the riches of the world for her to observe. In fact, she liked the idea, and put her head back and her hands clasped behind her.

When there was something in her way, she didn't see it, and fell.

Someone left their garbage, or some scooter out in the street, she thought, and bent down to see what it was. It was a man, just lying there on his stomach like he was unconcious, or asleep, or dead.

With a prod she turned him over and saw that his face was still and bloated. There was no blood, no anger, no joy in absorbing life. Just sadness. She stood there, staring, feeling small and frail and cold, and thought that the man must be cold, too. Only he couldn't feel cold any more, or any other thing.

For a second, the girl from before was this man, dead somewhere and forgotten. Kassa stumbled, her eyes stinging, and didn't stop moving until she reached the corner. There, at least, was a bus stop bench to rest on, and she rested there until the images of sadness faded and the first sobs in years waned, then stopped.
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Old 08-16-2005, 08:54 PM   #2
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Here is my feedback:

1. I like the sentence "she was caught up in nothing, just like the dust."
2. I don't like the sentence "Her feet just seemed to move of their own accord after all this time." Maybe change of to on?
3. You don't talk to much about her killing the girl, I had to find out later that she died.
4. You were right this story was a little desturbing.
5. I don't understand this: in the 7th paragraph you say maybe she would see someone with good clothes on today, does she kill other people?
6. The details are fine, but I am not sure I want to read all the details...a little grusome.
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Old 08-16-2005, 10:13 PM   #3
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First of all: Disturbing* and Gruesome* Sorry. I don't want to sound catty when I do that...

Isis. I like it, I don't think it's all that good, but it's not bad. There were a lot of really good lines and I think the story had a lot of potential. But parts of it were kind of weak, like when she killed the girl, and when she found the bum and in my own opinion [which may not be yours] I thought those parts needed more emotion.

Oh you spelled beacons wrong and is AirConditioning really one word?

I really liked the ideas you had with it though, and did a way better job than I could've!
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Old 08-16-2005, 10:54 PM   #4
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No, you don't. I owe my life to spell-check, and you can see what happens when I decide to go without it.

Thanks for the feedback: and now that you say it, JEM, I realize that I didn't elaborate on how this girl lives - as a killer. And you are write* about the emotions in there. Thank you very much, for the help.



*Something in me wanted to make a bad pun, as that is how I typed it out at first.
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Old 08-17-2005, 01:17 AM   #5
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Isis
I thought this was a really great story. I really, really like the imagery. And I thought the descriptions of the city were very vivid. I could really picture it, for example -

"...everything big, everything drenched in light and excitement and sugar... The expressions of mannequins in window displays, the mix of languages on the street (familiar, foreign, and foul) and the way the light moved around chain link fences on cooling afternoons "
I really loved this part.

I also liked how I got to understand the character through her reactions to being in the apartment with the dead body and to finding the dead man, but that I never really know anything about the characters past. I liked the vagueness as to what Kassa is doing and why.

My favorite parts of the whole story are when you compare her to the dust and when you compare her dress to her memories.
This story really captured my attention and really held onto it through out the whole thing.
The only thing I didn't entirely understand was does she kill people often for clothes? And in the begining of the story is she wearing the clothes of someone she killed in the past?

Also I didn't really like this sentence
"When there was something in her way, she didn't see it, and fell."

And if any of this makes no sense what so ever it's probably because I'm really tired. Anyway- Awesome story.

Last edited by Sempron101 : 08-17-2005 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 08-17-2005, 12:02 PM   #6
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Oh thank god Isis, I thought you were going to beat me over the head with something. I always feel awkward criticizing people's writing, like I don't want to offend them or anything.
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