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[Short Story Sunday, 1] The Atlantic.


The girl looked out across the water, staring at nothing yet taking in everything.

She was young, fifteen or so. With one of those faces that were so easy to forget. Pretty, but not pretty enough. The perfect girl for Witness Protection.

She was young, and she was pretty, and she was looking out into the Atlantic Ocean with no intention of leaving that spot. At least, not for a long while.

Yes, she knew that it was completely melodramatic and unnessacary, but in that one moment, she could afford to be serious and she had a chance to pretend that she didn’t have to live up to everyone’s expectations of her.

She could stop being bubbly, ditzy Rebecca Ashbury. She could be who she once was- Amanda Dreeks. Book smart, nerdy, shy girl Amanda Dreeks.

She’d been different, ever since the “accident”, as her aunt called it. She hadn’t meant to do anything wrong. The police had always told her that the deaths of her parents weren’t her fault. But she was never sure. She couldn’t remember it very well. For Christ’s sake, she’d only been six when her parents were killed. Rebecca had never known why, and she figured that, due to her aunt’s unwillingness to talk about her sister, she would never know.

The police worried about Rebecca, but only because they didn’t want to see a little girl go into foster care and have to go through all of that alone. So they sent her off to her aunt’s and continued their investigation. A year passed by with nothing at all.

When she was attacked a year later, the police finally decided that she was in danger. She was told that she’d needed to change everything.

Amanda had always been good at taking orders. And following that one order was the lone part of Amanda that had stayed behind when she’d made the transition into another person.

And eventually, she’d become the complete opposite of who she had been, became this Rebecca person, inside and out.

But there were moments, like these, when she’d look out across that Atlantic Ocean and she’d think of herself as Amanda. Times when she’d refuse to be Rebecca. Refuse to be anything but the old her.

But she wasn’t so sure who the real Amanda even was anymore. All she knew was that she didn’t want to be the person that she’d been forced to become.

Amanda sighed and looked away from the ocean, and she became Rebecca once more. What choice did she have?

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8 comments on “[Short Story Sunday, 1] The Atlantic.

  1. Reading it through, I have some of my own critiquing points-
    In places, it does seem a bit redundant. And some sentences are choppy. And I should have expanded a bit on why her parents died… But I honestly don’t know why they died anyway. I’ll work on this peice. O_O

  2. The first two paragraphs say about the same thing. You could consolidate them into one. They don’t really need a paragraph break, though extracting what’s different in the second and combining them into one paragraph would work.

    The third and fourth paragraphs can be combined into one as well. They follow the same subject.

    Where it says “A year passed by with nothing at all” and moves to another paragraph “When she was attacked a year later,” it makes the timeline sound a bit off. You could probably chop off the “a year later” and turn the “When” to a “Then.” There’s that sentence and then another paragraph break, but you could combine paragraphs 8 and 9 again. You could bring 10 up there too.

    As far as the content goes, I like it. It shows her inner conflict fairly well. You wouldn’t have to go into detail about her parents death in this piece if you’re focusing on the conflicting feelings she has with the old her and the her the witness protection program fabricated for her. You could always write a companion piece detailing her parents death, how it pertains to her, and what put her in the system to begin with.

    Keep it up! You’re not even NEARLY as bad as you made yourself sound in that silly disclaimer the other day. =P

  3. I get the boxed in feeling that she has very strongly, wanting to be something she doesn’t have a choice in. You might have expanded on the scenery a bit more, what people look like in more detail, what the Atlantic looks like, as it’s such a big part of the story.

    I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say when you talk about how she blames the death of her parents on herself. Is she just stuck in the insecure mindset of a 6 year-old that lost her parents? Or is she really feeling guilt over something she did, or didn’t do? If so, why didn’t the knowledge that she was attacked herself help her understand this wasn’t her fault? If you expanded on their deaths this might make more sense.

    Altogether, I really felt apart of the story, and apart of the girl, who she was, who she wasn’t, and who she wished she could be. The character is placed in a situation when knowing yourself, though already hard as she is a teenager, is even more impossible. You can’t help but feel the pull right from the beginning of all of her strife.

    And, danng, does this mean I actually have to write something for my blog now? Yuck. :)

  4. Fee, you’ve convinced me, I have to write a book about someone with a secret identity. It’s official and It’s going on my list of things to do! Also, I agree with all the points that Kit made and I’d love to see more of this.

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