Tsavo Pride (A Short Story)

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Sharon, thanks for sharing your first page with us! Marcy Hatch has a critique of this same page up on her site Mainewords, and you can say hello to Sharon at her blog. But here I am. There are no alternatives. I take the keys from Jeremy and dash toward his Subaru. The earthy smell of water soaking into the dirt and pavement rises around us. Jeremy ducks down as if his little exercise is a way to walk between the raindrops, as if he will live forever within their spaces. Get some rest.

But I want to take care of him.

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He had so much to drink. I fire up the engine and crank the heat.

Maneless lion

Before taking off, I eye him briefly: his brown bangs hanging limply in his face as he tugs his plastered shirt from his chest. He pushes his head into the back of the headrest and closes his eyes. As our song plays, Jeremy lifts his lids and reaches out to finger the ends of my hair. His eyes mingle with mine for a moment, then he grabs my hand. I turn on the wipers and try hard to focus on the wet and blurry road ahead of me.

My hands choke the wheel.

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I hate driving in the rain—at night. But I promised I would, which is why Jeremy drank at the party, then drank some more. I wind my way along the county roads, twisting and turning. The vehicles that pass in the opposite direction douse my windshield in a blinding spray. I sit all the way forward in the seat, feeling the muscles in my neck tighten and the tendons in my fingers strain. This is a promising beginning.

I can feel the tension — the drunken but affectionate boyfriend, the rain, the darkness, and the nervousness of the driver. My feedback mainly focuses on individual sentences. This was my first hang-up. I am guessing this is meant to describe Jeremy drunkenly dodging between the raindrops — and possibly to foreshadow what happens to Jeremy next.

But his actual movement needs rephrasing for clarity. I want her to say something else here. Hailey will drive more timidly, so I would choose a phrase that reflects this. I also want to know why their song automatically comes on. Did Jeremy have it queued up? Was that something he did all the time?

Other than that, I think this is a great beginning. Readers, your thoughts?

The Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo

Susan, thanks for sharing your first page with us! Maybe that NaNo project, hmmm? Happy December, everyone! Our first submission for First Impressions this month comes from Christine Danek. The eyes I sketch on my notebook send chills up my spine. Those eyes are the only thing I remember from my sleepless nights.

I glance down at my mangled arm. The hideous bruise and cuts are souvenirs from last night. I rub my elbow and pain shoots up to my shoulder. Thanks to my ex-boyfriend, Graham, these nightmares have invaded my life for the past three months. I wince as I pull my hair up in a loose knot and crack the window. Everything is quiet except for a lone cricket and an owl. My bed creaks as I sit on the edge.

A large stack of papers topped with a yellow Post-It stare back me from my nightstand. Go through these applications and think about a major. We need to visit more schools when I return.

Your father and I want to see what you got on your English exam. I set up a tutoring session on Saturday at I pick up the large pile of college applications and drop them on the floor, rustling up a ton of hidden dust. The pressure to pick a major is annoying. I have no idea what I want to do. Of course, my brother knew he wanted to be a doctor, like my dad, since he was five. Of course he got into Yale for undergrad. Of course he got accepted to USC for medical school. This weekend was for me to breathe. No parents to drill into my head how worthless I am.

Nothing like adding more pressure—a study session with probably some nerd. And the threat of boarding school. Double crap. My relaxing weekend has turned into anxiety hell. I loved the line about him paving the way and Sadie being a pothole. Although — I think the note is a little long to be on a post-it unless her mom has very tiny handwriting.

The first paragraph tells me too many things at once — and too little about each thing. Sketching eyes on her notebook. Disturbing dreams. A mangled arm. Then weave in some of those details from the first paragraph.

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Her arm hurts when she reaches for the stack of papers. Underneath the stack of college applications, Sadie sees the eyes she sketched on a notebook from the last time she had a sleepless night. That heaven for Roger and his practical solutions. This site uses cookies to improve your experience, to enhance site security and to show you personalised advertising. Click here to learn more or control your settings.


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