Home Forums Fiction Writing Critiques Short Story Critiques Ellen [Short Story]

This topic contains 17 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  AbigailRose 11 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    • Rank: Charismatic Rebel
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    Hello Everyone! I just finished this short story (1000 words) after a long period of not having time to write anything creatively (due to college) , and I would love to get any feedback that you are willing to give. My main goal of this short story was for emotion, so I hope that I managed to convey that.

    I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback! Be as harsh as you would like. 😉

    For His Glory,

    ~ Ellen ~

    I draw in a deep breath, raising my hand to knock. But I lower it, then press my fingers into my palms, letting out a long gust of air through my lips.
    The wood feels cold beneath my calloused knuckles as I try again. This isn’t where we’re supposed to be— not here. Not now.
    I force a smile onto my trembling lips and peak my head through the door. Inside, white hospital walls surround a white bed, on a white floor, but all that disappears as my gaze settles upon her. She lays pale, her dark eyelashes a stark contrast against the white of her skin. A wisp of honey color hair has fallen over her face, falling and rising with each of her slow, but steady breaths.
    I tiptoe over to her, but my boots scuffle across the floor like a snoring tractor. I peal shoe off my foot, then the other and continue creeping across the floor in the socks that her delicate fingers knitted for me. I look down and wiggle my toes to see the red and black yarn ripple. Her fingers touched every single strand.
    My stomach twists as I let my gaze travel to her hands. I flip a chair backwards and sit upon it, and slip my hand over hers as gently as possible. But even now it seems it will shatter in my hands. Just like this evening shattered before me.
    The IV in her hand creates a cold barrier between her cool skin and my callouses. So cold.
    Drawing in a shuddering breath, I trace my thumb over each knuckle, until something cool and metal rests underneath it. She never gave me an answer.

    Her hands are so cold. My chest tightens. This is not how I planned this day would go. Not at all. This was not the large rock on the shore of the lake. This was not her favorite place. We were supposed to talk about the future— our future together. The high pitched beat of the heart monitor and the ticking of the clock is the only thing that makes a sound in this cold, dark place.
    Ellen’s hand squeezes mine. My chest clenches with hope and I look up, settling my gaze on her hazel eyes staring into my own. So shining— so pure. I find it hard to catch my breath— as always. Her gaze always does that to me.
    “Andrew,” my name slips from her tongue, a smile playing across her pale lips. Just one word, but it melted my heart. Not Drew, as everyone calls me. Not Xander, as my buddies called me my last name. Not even Bones, the name that when she heard it for the first time she laughed for five minutes straight. Andrew: her name just for me. Only she could speak it in the way that, it felt that my name didn’t even deserve the tenderness that she poured into it.
    “How are you feeling?” I ask, trying my best to keep my voice at a whisper, but I cringe as it more crackles more deeply.
    “Well…” she pauses, pain flickering in her eyes. “I’m happy to see you,” she offers.
    I swallow hard. In know she’s in pain, but too strong to admit it. For someone so small, her strength blows my mind all the time. Somedays, I wish I could have the strength that Ellen has.
    “Sorry it took so long. It took hours to convince Doc to let let me see you,” my jaw twitches as I try to settle my anger.
    “Hard to wait, was it?” Her lips parted in a smile.
    I smirked. “You know it.”
    “Ah yes, I can picture you pacing the halls, twisting your baseball cap in your hands,” she pauses to catch her breath, but her smile does not break. “Just like when you called Dad.”
    “Wait, you saw that?” I ask, my jaw dropping.
    Eyes dancing, her fingers interlock with mine, the ring pressing against my hand. Such a wonderful feeling. But why? Why is there such pain lying behind those eyes? Such desperation in her grip?
    “Ellen?” I ask, my voice thick. It’s the only question that I can form that may be able to answer the millions of questions storming my mind.
    “Four weeks,” she whispers, her voice cracking.
    My eyebrows push together, not quite understanding what she is saying. “You want to get married in four weeks?”
    She shook her head slowly. “Until I go home,” she says simply.
    I swallow hard. No… no it can’t be.
    “Andrew,” she stares deep into my eyes. “I’m dying.”
    Dying. Those words create a chill in the air, settling deep into my soul. One word screams at me. Over and over again it cries NO.
    “But— treatment?” I ask, my voice quaking in desperation.
    I lick my lips and taste saltiness, I realize then that I am crying. Ellen reaches up with a trembling hand, and her cold fingers brush against my cheek. Her hazel eyes do not look away, but a deep determination settles in them. “My body has been refusing it for the past year.”
    I hang my head, more tears overflowing. Why didn’t she tell me? I would have been there for her. I could have helped her more! Why? Why?
    She traces her finger down the side of my face and outlines my jaw. I lean into her hand, and rest my hand over hers. What ever happened to ‘happily ever after’ or ‘as long as I live’? I thought God wanted us to be together for life. For sure, I knew that is what He wanted me to do. Why God? Why?
    In life… the words sound above the steady beep of the heart monitor. In death, comes the solid words, resounding deep within my heart.
    I lift my gaze, letting it rest in Ellen’s. Still holding her hand, I slide off the chair and bend down until one knee touches the cold floor.
    Her eyebrows arch in confusion, her gaze penetrating with questions.
    “Ellen,” my voice cracks, but I fold both my hands over her own. “Every moment spent with you is a lifetime of joy— forty years, four weeks, four days… four seconds,” I kiss her fingers, my tears spilling over them.
    Since the moment I met her, I knew we were meant to be together. I knew that our lives together would glorify God more then it would if we were apart.The length of time did not matter, but only that they were spent with her.
    “Ellen,” I say again, this time my voice stronger and more sure. I had never been more sure of anything in my life.
    “Will you marry me?”


    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @abigail-blomberg Thank you very much, now I’m going to go cry.

    *ahem* Well. You sought to convey emotion, and GOODNESS. You succeeded. I noticed some typos, but they were few and far between. Other than that… *sobs* yeah. Good job. 🙂



    Jenni Grace W.
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @abigail-blomberg Zikers…I think I’m crying! Wow, you succeeded with the emotions thing for sure. Good job! I don’t have anything new to really add as far as critique goes…
    Oh, I noticed some of the sentences almost seemed to rhyme. It’s pretty neat and I’m just curious if was intentional? I think it adds a unique flow. Again, good work! 🙂 Btw, my sister’s name is Abigail Rose too. 😊

    *is probably geeking out about something*


    • Rank: Loyal Sidekick
    • Total Posts: 169

    I think I might actually be speechless, as rare as that is.

    This is quite beautiful and tear-provoking. I love it. Wonderful job!


    • Rank: Eccentric Mentor
    • Total Posts: 1460

    Oh gosh there goes my heart strings. Hanging out with writers truly does cause emotional trauma. 🙂 Your story is beautiful. At first I assumed the guy was an older person because of the callouses, but I figured out he wasn’t. I love how you revealed things slowly instead of just saying “Ellen was supposed to marry me” or something like that. Fabulous job.


    • Rank: Chosen One
    • Total Posts: 4138

    @abigail-blomberg This is truly excellent. Pretty much everything I ever point out to people when I’m editing you did right. There were like two little things I thought maybe you could improve that I’ve now forgotten, but they weren’t a big deal.



    Christine Eaton
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 303

    @abigail-blomberg FEELINGS! I actually really enjoyed reading this and it was so good I’ll forgive you for breaking my heart. 😀 Good job on this one.

    Theater kid. Currently depressed because I can't stop listening to sad musicals.


    Kate Flournoy
    • Rank: Chosen One
    • Total Posts: 3927

    *spends several moments choking and gulping and wiping her eyes*
    This is superb. Just… everything. You had some typos, especially a lot in the first part, (and one grammar problem— ‘lays’ instead of ‘lay’ or ‘lies’) but everything else was amazing. I was also struck with how well you characterized Ellen— the quiet, sweet characters can be so difficult to pull off dynamically, but you nailed it. Excellent work.

    Anne Swiftblade
    • Rank: Wise Jester
    • Total Posts: 84

    *sobs* It’s *more tears* Beautiful! Excuse me while I have feelings in the corner. *Curls up with computer and reads again*
    *and cries some more*


    Emma Flournoy
    • Rank: Eccentric Mentor
    • Total Posts: 1290

    This is doing a weird thing that seems to be happening a lot lately…I replied, had to edit my reply, and when I posted again it didn’t show up. *sigh*
    I’ll see if I can post it again later.


    Emma Flournoy
    • Rank: Eccentric Mentor
    • Total Posts: 1290

    @abigail-blomberg Wow. What everyone else said. :’o You got emotion in there all right.
    I copied some sentences that have errors in them, besides the ‘lays’ Kate pointed out—I pasted them here, and you can probably figure out what the error is, but if I should point it out go ahead and ask me to. 🙂
    But good job!!!

    I peal shoe off my foot

    Only she could speak it in the way that, it felt that my name didn’t even deserve the tenderness that she poured into it.

    but I cringe as it more crackles more deeply.

    It took hours to convince Doc to let let me see you,” my jaw twitches as I try to settle my anger. [with this one—and there were several places like that, I just got one for an example—he says something, and then where there should be a period, I think, after his words, before he goes on to do what he does, there’s a comma. I think it should be a period, for several places I saw, but I could be wrong.]

    I lick my lips and taste saltiness, I realize then that I am crying.

    In death, comes the solid words,

    more then it would if we were apart.


    • Rank: Charismatic Rebel
    • Total Posts: 19

    I rhymed? That was completely unintentional! That’s cool that you picked up on that, because I am obviously oblivious to it. Where did I end up rhyming? 🙂
    Oh! That’s sweet that she has the same name! 🙂

    Thank you! I was hoping I didn’t reveal things too quickly, so that is in encouraging to hear.

    @christi-eaton Thank you for forgiving me. 😉


    • Rank: Charismatic Rebel
    • Total Posts: 19

    Oops, Gabrielle, it didn’t tag you right that I responded. I’ll try again @winter-rose


    • Rank: Charismatic Rebel
    • Total Posts: 19

    @daeus Thank you! Your reply was very encouraging! If you ever think of those things that you think I could improve on, let me know! 🙂 I always would like to know how I could improve.

    @kate-flournoy Thank you so much! It is encouraging to hear that I was able to portray Ellen’s character well. I was wondering if her character was underdeveloped, so your reply was very helpful.

    @emma-flournoy Thank you for pointing out the typos. That is incredibly helpful!

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by  AbigailRose.

    • Rank: Charismatic Rebel
    • Total Posts: 19

    oops, let me try that again. Sorry, I’m still getting used to how tagging people works:
    @emma-flournoy @kate-flournoy

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by  AbigailRose.
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