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spectres of autism
Feb 12, 2011


prolly gonna gently caress around and submit this to a place when its done. criticism would be cool.

where you swim, she sinks

My girlfriend hit me, but she didnít mean to. I mean, she meant to at the moment she hit me, and then had to wait through more hits, some yelling, some throwing things. Thatís how we all worked, and Iíd always let it go.

My impulse was to let it go, then I had to wait it out too.

They called it Gress. Like ďtransgress.Ē Itís a terrible name, but itís the one they thought of first, and by that time it had already taken hold, so they had to do the whole thing, write articles about it, scientific journals and newspapers, Gress, the impulse. So if you want to get what happened, you have to know that.

It wasnít in me to leave, so I stayed, because I knew she loved me, 99.9 percent of the time, and it wasnít fair to leave someone because the Gress made them into a monster. She had gray eyes, the colour of diamonds. She was into opiates, because that was an impulse too, though itís the kind thatís easy to live out. Easy to live out until the sickness starts, and then you want to hurt someone. Back then all we did was hurt each other, everyone I knew. That was the Gress hitting teenagers. Storms of love and hate.

Get me a frosty one, okay? Helps the story flow better.

I was watching wrestling when it got really bad. See, wrestling got more intense after Gress broke out. The impulse was to hurt each other bad. So we saw powerbombs on the barricades, unprotected brainbusters, blading the other guy. The commentators were filled with fear and loathing, couldn't look away for the reasons they were there in the first place. First they loved it, lusted after it, and that rooted them behind the table, and you could hear it in their voices. They wanted to leave, and part of me wanted to leave, but part of me wanted to stay. Itís the watching impulse that the Gress gets most often.

Thatís when she got mad about unwashed dishes, left in the sink because I didnít feel like doing them. She swung on me, a full roundhouse, and it nailed me in the ear, and I reached up for it. My fingers came up dripping. Then she kept swinging, and my impulse was to dodge, and I was just going with it, dodging like a light heavyweight, ducking a hurled cast iron pot that smashed the screen, splintering it into spiderwebbing cracks. Then my impulse was to get out of there, and I fell over her lunge and made it to the door, but then I pushed it instead of pulling. Happens sometimes. So Iím standing there, pushing like an idiot for half an hour. Waiting it out, because Gress makes thoughts leave your brain, flow down to your arms and legs, and stay there, no matter what else you think of. Pushing until her impulse had worn off, and she hugged me, and we stood there for another half hour, hugging each other, until it finally sunk in through the Gress that we were bored, and we went out for Vietnamese food.

So it was ďIím sorry, Iím sorry,Ē the whole way, and when someone apologizes, you wanna say itís okay, right? So Iím just like, ďitís okay, itís okay,Ē and weíre repeating that like a record grooves in. But it seemed better than what other people were dealing with, because when we got to the Vietnamese place other couples were just arguing about the most things. Actually, someone was saying ďbanalĒ wrong, and he had to stick to it because of Gress. And it should have had me laughing Ďtill my sides burst, because the Gress makes funny things really funny. But it just made me wonder about where the Gress hadnít taken hold, where people acted normal. That would be Heaven, I thought. If Heaven was a place it was where the Gress wasnít.

I had to watch. Get it? All of it, from start to finish. Thatís why Iím pulling on this so hard.

So weíre eating our pho as we leave. Youíd think that food places would shut down, because it would devolve into everyone throwing knives at each other in the back. But capitalism was the one thing that the Gress didnít change. That, and addiction. I could see it in her eyes, and I knew she cared about some things, and I was trying to bring that out, but it was a bad idea. Iíve never forgiven myself for it. When someone reminds you of something you care about, youíre also reminded of what you donít care about, and thatís when she suggested we take the subway home. We didnít need to, we walked there, and that set off klaxons in my head, but I couldnít stop her. I tried, was on my knees clutching her leg, and she kicked me off, slamming my forehead, and after the pain the impulse was just to follow and see it through.

So we get to the station, and the news ticker above the platform is saying how theyíre working on a cure for the Gress. I was twenty-eight when they cured it. You know, some scientists stuck in a lab for ten years, and they had to keep them fed and hydrated, because all they could care about was curing Gress. And Iím trying to get her to see it, but sheís focused on her Gress, and Iím crying now, and people are crowding around. They wanted to watch. They wanted to watch because it doesnít happen every day.

And the trainís pulling into the station, crawling like a caterpillar, just grinding over the rails, and she waves goodbye, and she jumps, and the last thing I see is her eyes. They were still the colour of diamonds. I remember that.

Now you can leave. I wanted to tell you the story, told it, and now want you gone. I changed my mind about wanting you here. I changed my mind. I can do that if I want. Erase and rewind it like a tape in a player. Thatís what free will is.

I always thought Heaven was a place, maybe where the Gress wasnít. Turns out itís a time. Everyone calls me a drunk, but this is the best itís ever been. I stare through the glass, and everything fractals out, distorting, getting me by the throat. I see Heaven. I see diamond gray eyes. I see nothing at all.

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Naerasa
Aug 5, 2004

Dislikes: Middle-class ideals


College Slice

The voice is solid, but I'm not really sure what the conflict is. You have a sequence of events, yeah, but your narrator doesn't actually do anything except watch those events unfold and relate them to the reader. His dispassionate tone doesn't help matters, either. Your reader can only be as invested in the story as the participants are, and right now you've got a narrator who doesn't seem invested at all.

spectres of autism
Feb 12, 2011


hmm ok thanks

Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME


The storys start is "okay, bordering on confusing". The second sentence was the hardest to understand and the rambling nature of the protagonist keeps coming up, and then suddenly ends. I had the most problem reading the story in the first 3 paragraphs.



I dunno if I like your breaking the fourth wall, where the narrator directly talks to the audience if they were there. Get some other opinions on that.



The middle part flows well, and your info dump of the world is handled well, I didn't encounter any issues. When they go to the Pho restaurant I had to slow down and it comes across as if the protagonist has Gress as well. That raises a lot of questions that you don't want asked for a story of this length.



The ending, or well I'm going to ignore the part where the narrator talks directly to the audience, is touching but might count as a sucker punch. I like the "Her eyes were the colour of diamonds, I remember that." So your world building, sudden ending scene are good.



I dislike the part where he talks about heaven at the end. It shows character development, but I don't give a poo poo about the story's protagonist and barely remember the heaven bit. You might not want to talk about free will in this story, in a story that lacks choice.



What I got: A down-on-his-luck guy talks about the past, talking about Gress. He tells us about what Gress is and how it claimed his girlfriends life. Lack of choice and low characters make the event matter a lot, and fortunately it's an interesting idea (at least to me) backed by some easy-to-read prose.

spectres of autism
Feb 12, 2011


rewriting it with crits in mind. thanks guys

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baby vassal state
Mar 29, 2018


It's really nice, op! I really liked reading this, I cant wait to see how your revisions will improve an already great piece!

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