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6b. schatz
7Darkshine Raven
10how do i live ..
8Kitten Courna
8Zachary Martin ..

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The angry warbling coming from the forgotten phone in her hand jarred Miranda from her daze. She had completely zoned out from the conversation she was having and stood
transfixed by the monocular glare of the pawn shop television that dominated one wall of her shoddy walk-up apartment living room.

“Sorry Mom. I zoned out didn’t I? It’s just been a really long day. I think I’ll have a sandwich and a shower then head to bed. Call you tomorrow?” she explained quickly excusing both her
lapse and herself to her unsuspecting mother.

She’d always been able to pull the wool over on her mother. Edna Garrity would never suspect her sweet Miranda Jane of keeping secrets from her. That was almost enough to make Miranda smile, but by then the damn commercial was on again.

Colin Delgado. She hadn’t thought of him in years. Yet, here he was on the flickering picture tube of her old Magnet-box in a suit that probably cost more money than a month of her rent here in Cedars Flats. Attorney at Law, she could hardly believe it. He’d probably forgotten about her, and she had every intention to make him regret it. Of making him pay. Dearly.

She turned off the TV, afraid she would go in a maniac fit, and made her way towards the kitchen. Despite what she had said to her mother, she had no intention of going to bed anytime soon. There were things that needed to be done first. She poured herself some coffee, and looked back at the dark TV screen. She dreaded it. She couldn’t decide if she was to turn it on again, or avoid it altogether. She walked up to it, and pushed the button.
Colin was gone, and now it only showed static. But he would be back. She knew he would be back.
“It always comes back” she said aloud, and then lowered her voice, not wanting to wake her brother sleeping in the other room. “And it won’t let me forget what must be done.”
She lied back at her favorite chair, and stared blankly at the screen. She was thinking about him, and what he has done, and what she was going to do. She sharpened her hate against her memories. Seven hours till morning.

She had fallen asleep some time after dawn break. Right when the anthem was playing on the screen. The sun penetrating her drapes brought her back from her dream world, and she hated him for it. Everything was better in dreams, but sooner or later, you had to wake up in the cold reality. This unwritten rule, had governed her life. It took away her happiness, and left desolation and hate. Hate fueled her life, made her go on each day. She didn’t like it, but she couldn’t let it go. She drank the remains of her cup, and prepared for the long day ahead. She felt like a nine-year old ready to leave on a school trip. Anticipation mixed with a pinch of dread was welling up in her stomach. She enjoyed the feeling. It made her feel alive again. When she was ready, she checked in on her brother. He was still sleeping. He had been sick these past days, and he looked horrible, but he looked better than yesterday. She gave him a kiss, ripped the phone cord so it wouldn’t wake him, and took off.

She went to work first. She hoped it wouldn’t ruin her mood. Her co-workers shunned her, and her boss was a dimwit. She hated her job. Avoiding the staring eyes of her colleagues, she went straight to her boss’s office.
She explained how her brother was sick and she needed the next few days off. He gave her a hard time, but agreed in the end. He even pretended he was worried about her. Bastard.
She left the office, and went on to do her shopping. Some food for home, a little present for her brother, and everything she would need in the days to come. Then, she started for home. Cedars Flats.

“Honey…You have to eat something! Otherwise you’ll never get better” She was trying to coax him. She could tell it was bad tonight. Her present lay discarded in the bed table. She was holding up a spoon, the soup on her other hand. Finally, she gave up. She took the bowl of soup back to the kitchen, and lied down on the couch. It had been a trying day. The TV was still on. And he was on again. She looked at his face. Trying to picture him in her nightmares. She remembered him. And how much he’d hurt her. All the pain she suffered because of him. He was responsible for everything. And now, he was on TV, he was a big shot lawyer, swimming in a sea of hundred dollar bills. But he has something coming. And not his money, his expensive suit, or his charming smile can save him.

She slipped into an uneasy sleep, haunted with nightmares distorted faces that resembled her father and Delgado at the same time. The sound from the TV-set brought her back to reality.
The news was on, and as usual, it was more like a gossip fest than anything else. Until he came on screen again. His work, his new girlfriend, their upcoming marriage, and his birthday. She couldn’t understand what place those things had in the news, but she would make the most of it. Feeling tired, but somewhat satisfied, she went to bed. She cuddled up to her brother, and fell asleep.

In the morning, she had to meet someone. It was raining outside. She went out. Hopefully she didn’t have to walk long. Just over to the next block. She stood in the rain and waited.A car pulled up. The window came down, just a notch.
“You have to kill him. And get his girlfriend as well.” An envelope protruded from the window crack. She took it, and ran off into the rain

She had been waiting in the alley for hours now. She was tired, and had started to doubt the information she was given. She walked out of the alley, and checked the address again. It matched the one written on the paper she was holding. He was supposed to pass this way after his fancy birthday party. Along with his girlfriend. She slipped back into the shadows, hoping her prey will arrive soon. She wasn’t disappointed.

They came walking around the corner. His arm over her shoulders, both laughing hard. She seemed to had a couple of drinks too many. He was holding up a little better. She prepared herself for their confrontation, and stepped out of the darkness. She was holding a baseball bat.

“Hello Colin” she said. “It’s been a while.” She tried to fix her lips into a smile.
He looked at her questioningly. He didn’t seem to recognize her. That made her all that madder. His girlfriend was giggling. “Who is this Colin? Your ex?” She giggled again.
“Look Miss, here have some money to get something to eat.” He held out some paper bills.
She couldn’t restrain her rage any longer. How dare he treat her like this? She didn’t want his money.
“You don’t remember me Colin? Well I do. I never forgot.” She swung the baseball bat, hitting his girlfriend squarely on the head. It made a wet dull sound. She slumped to her feet.
Colin stood looking at her girlfriend, then to Jane, then at his girlfriend again. The alcohol in his blood didn’t allow him to react in time. The baseball bat came down once again, plunging him into darkness.

She had drawn them both into the dark alley. She discarded the bat and Colin’s girlfriend. She wouldn’t need them anymore. He approached Colin where she had thrown him by a dumpster.
He seemed to be coming to. She held a big, razor-sharp kitchen knife on his throat.
“Hello Colin. It’s been a while” She said, and this time, she did smile. “It’s time for you to pay for what you’ve done to me. To Miranda Jane Garrity. You destroyed my family. My life. Now you pay”
Colin didn’t seem to be listening to her. He was trying to focus his eyes. “I don’t know you” he croaked. “Please”
“Don’t beg. Don’t you dare.” She pushed the knife downwards, slicing his chest. He screamed. ’’Don’t you fucking dare. I begged too. But he didn’t listen. I begged every single time.’’
“What? Who didn’t listen?”
“You know who. You paid him to hurt me. You made him hurt me. All these nights…” She was carving him up now. He was thrashing and screaming.
“No! No. I didn’t do anything. Please.” He started crying. The pain was excruciating.
She pushed the knife halfway in his stomach. “Don’t say that. You did it. You did so much. You made my father rape me. You made my mother lie to the jury about it. You made my brother sick. You made my father die. You did it all. But it ends here.” He pushed the knife all the way in, and twisted. She got up, looked at him grasping at the knife handle, and walked away satisfied.

The walk back to her apartment did her good. She felt better now. She walked up her stairs, and pushed the door to her apartment open. The smell had gotten bad again. She had to air the rooms. But she could do all that later. She washed the blood of her hands and clothes, checked in on her brother (soundly asleep) and picked up the phone. She dialed her mother’s number.
“Hi mom. Yes everything is all right. Your son hasn’t eaten for a few days, but I think he is doing better. I’m fine too.” She looked at the TV screen. He was on again. She stared at it blankly for a while. Then she noticed the phone on her hands.

“Sorry mom. Yeah I was thinking about something. I’m gonna fix something to eat and go to bed. He’s bad again tonight. Have to take care of him. Yeah I love you too. Bye.”

George Steiner. She hadn’t thought of him in years. He probably didn’t even remember her. But he was about to regret that.

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The following comments are for "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
by northerain

I liked this story better than your opponent's, although there were times when I was downright confused. Is she a hitwoman, too? What was the deal with the end? Does she see men on t.v. and think they did her wrong? Too many questions left unanswered for me.

Because of the mistakes here, I'm giving the slight edge to Spudley.

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )

a bit haphazard

First of all thanks for jumping in the hotseat yet again. I will preface my comments by saying that I can see an improvement in your writing over previous attempts at the Write Off. This piece is tighter than your usual work ut is still a little haphazard and leaves me without too many of the answers to crucial questions of plot. I will admit your twist if I have it figured out is decidedly original, and that although I've given Spudley a higher score it was by no means a route. It was a close call and an excellent effort. I look forward to more.


( Posted by: Bartleby [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )

I watched a movie not too long ago...some indy horror-flick about a young woman who slices people up and makes a new person from them. I liked the movie because of the acting and directing but I thought the plot was contrived.

That's similar to how I feel about your piece. The plot felt very mechanical and it seemed like it was sloppily put together (not that I can really preach). I liked some of your passages talking about the young woman's insanity....basically where you highlighted her break from reality. Unfortunately, I saw the plot twist coming (I guess I'm the only one) and that let me down.

In any case...I think if you cleaned up the rough edges I'd love this piece purely for it's writing style. So...cultivate that and you've definitely got a place to grow from, and that's one of the best things a writer can have! =D

( Posted by: Darkshine Raven [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )

Hello!Thank you all for your nice posts, I appreciate it.As many have pinpointed, the story is indeed somewhat messy.I was really pressed for time, with the time difference and everything. Some points in the story should be made more clear.As you have guessed, the lady was insane, probably from all the bad things that have happened to her.Her brother beeing dead and all.In any case, the part where she gets information about the lawyer is largely unexplained, and was added as an afterthought, and its something i picked up from a concept album by queensryche.The thing is, someone is using her troubled state to reach his own ends.Finally, the whole premise of this story was inspired by the true story of a woman who is now sitting on death row(or is already dead).And Raven, i loved that movie.And i agree that the twist is not so original,something i pointed out ina note in my first submission(was outdated).But i thought that the different setting and style would cover up for it.And thats all from me.My thanks in advance to any future commentors.Tada!

( Posted by: northerain [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )

It's ok...
You know what, I think I'm going to give you the win on this one, but only because I found Spudly's story to be a bit weak.

I was rather confused at times, but you did more with your starter sentence than your oponent, so I'll give it an 9/10

( Posted by: Farror [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )

Oops, there's an added bonus for you, I accidently put in a 10!

( Posted by: Farror [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )

Finally got around to reading and rating these two stories. I agree with Bart - you have been improving! The plot was a bit jerky, but I liked your twist at the end. I'm going to give Spud the win this round, but you are becoming a force to be reckoned with. Look forward to seeing what else you churn out.


( Posted by: strangedaze [Member] On: February 23, 2004 )

The Plot
Was great in this story Notrherain; I scored you a 9/10 as well as your opponent.
Love to see you in more of the write offs.



( Posted by: JEANNIE45 [Member] On: February 25, 2004 )

If you had cleaned this one up a little bit, it would've definitely been the winner. I thought the twist was very original, but a few things got me. The mysterious pay-off should've had even a little explanation, I was never clear whether or not her brother was alive, and for one section he and she were completely interchangeable. Lastly; "She sharpened her hate against her memories." This line and the others which described her blooming hatred sounded forced to me. While some others found that these had little effect on their impressions of the story, I became hung up on them. So, I'd give you the win, but for some minor errors. 9/10. (Winner = 10, 2nd = 9)

( Posted by: Washer [Member] On: February 25, 2004 )

a little confusing
Even though at times I had to go back and re-read because I was confused over a few points, this is a good story. To me, it lagged at the beginning but picked up at the end with a rush. However, I feel that your opponent's story was more cohensive and will have to get the nod from me.

( Posted by: amethyst [Member] On: February 26, 2004 )

Hah. Well, here goes.

I liked the stronger voice in this one. The narrative connected well to me, the transistion from starter to actual story was fairly smooth. The only real problem I had (and it could be a result of me making assumptions) was the oddity of it. I'm up for a good, strange, thrilling kind of story, but for some reason, this seemed a little too...unreal? The brutality seemed out of place, though it did lend a strange uneasiness to the end of the piece. The motivations, though, were hard to piece together. The organization required in her being payed for a vengeful hit job, while being as unbalanced as she was, made it difficult to believe. You managed to take this in an original direction, though you did go Tarantino on us; but hey, baby, it's art. Though the plot was a tad messy, I'll nod to you this time for more alluring narrative style.


( Posted by: Kitten Courna [Member] On: February 26, 2004 )

This made me smile, which means there was something good about it that nicked me in the right areas. However, I was a litle confused about a few things.

Miranda hadn't thought of Delgardo in years, which gave me the impression that his visage on screen had ignited bloodlust in her...yet she is paid by another to terminate he and his girl.

Her use of a baseball bat, such a clumsy and conspicuous item to carry for a hit, disappointed me.

"In the morning, she had to meet someone. It was raining outside. She went out. Hopefully she didn’t have to walk long. Just over to the next block. She stood in the rain and waited.A car pulled up. The window came down, just a notch."

This puzzled me: there was a planned meet, but the emboldened line suggests she didn't know where.

The twist where we discover she's obsessing on someone else was pretty cool, although the reason for her prior knowledge of these antagonists is vague. Do her superiors somehow control her mind, forcing her hand with telepathic images and false knowledge? I do enjoy ambiguity in a story, making the reader think. But a problem with such a story is losing your audience. I fell into that category, I'm afraid.

However, I do not think the story is at fault; I think we might just need nudging this way and that now and again, in order to help us glide smoothly through the tale.

This story reminded me of something from Alfred Hitcock Presents, which I used to watch so many years ago. This was pretty good.

Now I gotta go read Spudley's story.

( Posted by: jbicko [Member] On: February 26, 2004 )

Well met, my valiant opponent!
Northerain, Well done on a very close-run contest.

The general consensus from the comments on both stories seems to be that my writing was good, but your actual plot beat mine quite comfortably. And with that I agree: your story was a good one, and I thought your ending was excellent.

I have to agree with the people who said that the writing was a bit awkward in places. The time limit was probably a factor in that though, as it was with my own story.

The one thing I did struggle with though was the whole thing with her brother. One of the other comments asked if he was dead, and I also found it a bit hard to follow (we know what she was telling her mother, but we can't exactly rely on her to tell the truth there). I do think it was an important part of the story; it was a major part in building the character, but I think it would have helped if you'd clarified exactly what was going on with the brother.

Anyway, well done. You're definitely improving as a writer. We'll have to do this again some time. :)

( Posted by: Spudley [Member] On: February 26, 2004 )

thanks for your comments.The deal behind the man who gave her info was that she was beeing used by a party that would profit from the murder.She has actually cut all her ties with her mother, and the part where she talks in the phone, is probably how she takes her orders.Her brother is indeed dead, his corpse occupying her bedroom.The story was indeed confusing, but as Spud pointed out, i was very pressed for time.

( Posted by: northerain [Member] On: February 26, 2004 )

english department minimum standard of correctness
I found the plot to be a little weak. It was hard for me to judge that due to the grammatical errors. Cleaning up the punctuation would definately have made the story flow better.

She is a great possessive pronoun, but there are others available as well. Vary word choice up, and the story will read a lot easier. Variety is indeed the spice of life.

One mark off for punctuation, one for limited word choice, one for grammar, and finally one for plot issues.

( Posted by: Capulet [Member] On: February 27, 2004 )

It was good...
...and I probably couldn't do any better (obviously my confidence isn't the greatest), but it was missing something. The situation was interesting, but it seemed a bit disjointed.

Just my thoughts.

( Posted by: b. schatz [Member] On: February 28, 2004 )

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