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Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011

Bad openings are lame but a story can be salvageable once the writer stops clearing their throat. By the end of the story you've forgotten about the opening but the ending is the last thing you read. Particularly bad openings still get validly criticized. What you quoted were just bland, which is better than godawful. So lol read more poo poo nerd.


Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011

In for new judge mental collapse.

Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011

910 words

They killed hope when they shot the Saint. I reached him first and saw the blood blooming across his chest, seeping to the ground where he'd fallen behind his apple crate podium. I gathered him in my arms, felt his pulse fade, heard his breath whistle from a punctured lung. I laid my cheek against his to hear him whisper, "Lauren, remember--Love them. Until their shields break. Until they lay down their weapons. Love them. Remember."

His eyes closed peacefully. Like he'd fallen back to rest. Like the blood soaking his robes was only paint in some artist's portrayal: rose blooms to convey the beauty of his personality. He'd drawn so many to him. To his last breath, he thought it would end. Thought they could listen. Thought that anyone gave a drat.

Five of his followers died in the panic. The guards claimed that someone there shot first; I'd only heard the bullet that killed the Saint. The council deemed burial too costly, so they dumped the bodies into the canyon. Then they tossed in his flowers, some buckets of pitch, and torches. The industrial district smelled burning meat for a week.

Those flowers. Roses, hibiscus, cornflower--anything we could find, we brought him. I wore the crown he made me until it wilted. Just imagine it: an adult, walking around with a crown of flowers. He gave us the only beauty we had in his being, in the flowers he loved. He spoke like each one of us was dear to him. He taught me to sing properly, and we sang the goofiest songs we could find together so we had something to laugh about. I loved him. I loved all he meant to us.

And I tried to love the guards and the council anyway, as I'd been trying for the two years since the Saint began preaching. I tried to understand them, as heíd told us to: they were scared of what was different, they had families to care for too, they would see in time that we wanted nothing but what we deserved as humans.

But he'd said all that before they shot him in cold blood, when no one carried a weapon. When he didnít have a violent bone in his body. The only times Iíd ever seen him angry, heíd erased the emotion like he was wiping off a slate, just so he wouldnít worry anyone. Iíd tried to get him to open up about it, but he laughed it off; he said we were already angered enough without him adding to it. Heíd treated our minor injuries. Even animals he found on the street.

I finally knew, after they burned the bodies like bad wheat, that they didn't care. They weren't scared; they wanted to be feared. They didn't care about our families, so why should we care about theirs? We were animals to them. Roadkill. We were nothing.

Realize: The Saint was what kept us together. One look at his smile, and we could believe when he told us that things would work out. He believed things would improve. He believed in his cause. In us. All of us. All of them. Everyone in this damned world. He loving believed...

I led the march down Third Avenue with the ones that agreed with me. When they showed up and drew guns without even warning us, we did nothing. I thought it might be the last chance: prove that we didnít want to fight even without the Saint, maybe theyíd finally get the message.

Ansom must have seen them before the rest of us did. He jumped in front of Becca, but they both went down. He was screaming at us to run, so we did. I was the only one that drew my gun, but I didnít hit anyone. They left their bodies for hours. We got back to them before they got dumped in the canyon, buried them ourselves. Theyíd shot Ansom four more times for good measure. The wounds didnít have much blood around them, so heíd already been dead.

Could a farmer love the weasel that slaughtered his henhouse--not out of hunger, but for the fun of it? I begged the Saint to forgive me, if his spirit was still out there somewhere; but we couldn't love monsters.

So I got guns too.

Some of us still want to hold to his teachings, but itís pointless. He'd been wrong the whole time. Blinded by idealism. Or just willfully holding onto it because the alternative was giving up, and he wouldn't give up when he wouldn't let us give up. The greatest man Iíve ever known, trying to protect us from our own anger, with nothing to fall back on but his reassuring smile.

Thatís gone now. We'll never see it again. Nothingís going to get better. I warned the ones that donít agree with this, but the Saint was in my arms when he died, and I buried Ansom and Becca when they did. I canít hold any more corpses.

Iím leaving this for whoever cares, or for the court, if it comes to that: This isnít starting anything. It isnít going to end anything. There isnít an end until weíre dead or they are, and we donít have armor.

So Iím sorry, to everyone whoís going to suffer the fallout. But Iím no loving saint.

Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011

flerp posted:

offering five line by lines for any story

first come first serve one per customer newbies more than welcome

How about while I'm still thinking of editing it?

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