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The storm thundered overhead, shaking the manor to it's cold stone floors. The rain beat frantically on the shutters as if rapping on her door. Her portrait, merely beautiful by day, took life from the night and all her features sprang from cold to warm. She licked her lips as she sat up. She had slept for too long and now she longed to taste life. Stood slowly, surely and with grace, despite her long slumber. Even in the pitch of night she was radiant and beautiful.

She walked through the hall of her home and into the kitchen. No one had lived here in many years, but she paid good money for her servents to keep it up as though she had never left. On the table stood a single candle and a note. The smell of him on the note was strong, she could even smell him in the air still. His prescense woke her from her dreams, dreams she held for him. He had been here and she felt it.

She struggled with her thoughts, her mind fluttering with anticipation. She wanted to let her heart race, but that was beyond her now so she let her memory of meeting him for the first time crawl over her, making her skin tingle. Another step and she could reach out and pick up the note. Just another step and all her questions would be answered. She felt herself biting her lip 'till blood trailed down her lip. She shivered and balled her hand into a fist and forced herself to take the last step.

She picked up the note and staired at in her hands. She let her fingers trace the edges of the note, the broken lines on the partchment, finding their way to the fold in the middle. She slid her long fingernail under the fold releasing the words inside. She unfolded the note and held it near the candle.

She read the letter slowly, Her bright blue eyes didn't need the dim light of the candle any more, but old habits linger. She read each word with a deliberate attention to each, as she knew he would have done while writing it. He had such passion and would pour his sould into every detail, even the writing of a simple note. It wasn't just the message itself, but each word was carefully chosen and told it's own story.

She soaked in the words before dipping the edge of the note in the candle letting the flames lick the paper until they consumed it whole. She was filled with excitement now as she stood there in her kitchen with but his words to comfort her now. Her eyes seemed to fix on the cubbys where spiders wandered by day, but now were highlighted in the shadows cast by sporadic lightning. Should thought that if she squinted just right that she could make out the shape of a box inside and the present he had left her. She smiled.

Chrispian H. Burks
Lit.Org Owner / Founder
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The following comments are for "The Note"
by Chrispian

re: spelling
Claire, Thanks for the nice words. I really enjoyed this write off. Hopefully I'll get to do them more often!

Penelope, my spelling is horrific at best. And I thought I ran it through a spell checker bud sadly, I forgot. ;) I was in a dreadful hurry yesterday and should have polished this up more. I won't cheat and fix it now, but once this is over I'll polish that up for my own archive.

For the rest, I appreciate the feedback. I still feel pretty good about what I did here. Unless I got my wires crossed, this was to be a flash fiction piece. I couldn't go over 500 words and flash fiction, at least to me, should not be a complete story, just a scene from a story to fire up your imagination and thats what I tried to do.

And so far no one has picked up on my favorite part of this story. I'll wait patiently and see.

( Posted by: Chrispian [Admin] On: July 7, 2004 )

Great stuff
I very much enjoyed reading all the entries for this write off. Your piece was extremely well written, and I must say, I very much loved the line: "She soaked in the words before dipping the edge of the note in the candle letting the flames lick the paper until they consumed it whole."
Great stuff! Thank you.

( Posted by: EverybodyElsesGirl [Member] On: July 7, 2004 )

Eternal love
OK, OK, we've covered spelling...that always bugs me but I read your reasons!! I like the different direction you took as stated above.
Very nice.

( Posted by: arc [Member] On: July 8, 2004 )

this was super
I REALLY like the story line and the way you wrote about the note burning. This was super!


( Posted by: simone183 [Member] On: July 8, 2004 )

I particularly love the warm atmosphere set as a a perfect backdrop to this story. Strangely, with the right words all wisely crafted, you can see, hear, and even smell the drama unfolding as the crease of paper burns to a resolve.

Except for some slight detours on typos, that was one well-thought piece you got, Sire. Full speed ahead!

( Posted by: Idomis [Member] On: July 8, 2004 )

Different from the others.

What most struck me about your story here was how different it was from the others. The other three (my own included) had a fairly dark horror theme, whereas yours seemed more melancholic than dark. To me, it almost felt Dickensian in tone. It was a good take on the starter sentences.

I think it must have been the spellings that have been mentioned in the comments that lost you points in the votes, because your actual story was every bit as good as the others.

Your story left a lot more lose ends than the others; you dropped plenty of hints about your character being dead, but you never really told us whether she was a ghost or a vampire or some other sort of undead being. And the box at the end was also wonderfully mysterious. The lose ends really didn't matter here, because it was the mood of the piece that was important, and you achieved that with applomb. Very well done.

This was a really enjoyable write off. Thank you.

( Posted by: Spudley [Member] On: July 10, 2004 )

The Note
Good job!
Finally to read a senseable note that is not covered in blood for murder.

( Posted by: Judi1 [Member] On: July 10, 2004 )

What present? aaggh! Okay, reading the comments for this write off has educated me about the exact requirements of flash fiction (which means the one I just submitted is Wrong, wrong, wrong, ), just an excerpt and all that, but what present? Where did that come from and what is in it? Great story crowe and I'm left hanging .... regards huni.

Ps I didn't vote or comment on everyone else, since I just only got this write off gig. I will try to participate next time. Promise. h.

( Posted by: Huni [Member] On: July 11, 2004 )

Tales from the crypt!
Chris...the impressionistic work that comes to mind as I read this is...ethereal. I sense that she's already dead...and forgive me...that the box her left her (coffin?) holds his heart!
How's that for being macabre! (What do you expect from an undertakers daughter!)

Very suttle, but chilling nontheless...Good Job!

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: July 11, 2004 )

A great prelude
I had to read this again to discover. The woman reads the note, but that is all we know, unless I missed something the second time. I would call this a great prelude, since resolution of the note's contents is essential to the whole piece. Don't blame us readers: that is where you took us! I could imagine this turning into a great mystery, where we never really find out what he wrote, but by indirect inference. Prior to that omission, this was well-done and interesting.

( Posted by: brickhouse [Member] On: July 11, 2004 )

Left me wanting to know more
this love story was a welcome and unexpected twist from the others in the set. I didn't get what the gift might be, and wished there had been stronger hints; there may have been but I didn't get it. What I liked most about this one is the way I can sympathise with the character. Reminded me of Ann Rice and her approach to the whole vampire theme. Creatures of the night are people too. Good job.

( Posted by: malthis [Member] On: July 11, 2004 )

re: the note
Thanks for all the comments! This is why I love doing the write off so much. It's always a blast.

Even if I had a 5,000 word limit, I would have never included the contents of the note. They had nothing to do with the story and served only as a foil to explore the feelings the main character is having. Anything I could possibly write for contents of that note would have been a let down after the way I built it up. Now, instead, you can imagine the tender, well thought words her lover might have left. It was about her anticpation and longing, not about a piece of paper and a trinket left for her to find. It was the finding that was important.

My understanding of flash seems to differ from those commenting too, who seem to want the whole story. Flash is not supposed to have a beginning or an end. It's a still, a snap shot of a larger story.

But I can understand wanting more details. My wife has read the first part of my book and she always asks for more information on stuff that I never suspect people will even care about. She would probably agree with everyone here ;) I tend to leave out more than I put in. Every writer that I love does that to me. For me, it's not always way you show readers, but what you let them see on their own.

Thanks for the kind words!

( Posted by: Chrispian [Admin] On: July 13, 2004 )

Late Critique: Crowe
"She had slept for too long and now she longed to taste life. Stood slowly, surely and with grace despite her long hunger."

"She felt herself biting her lip until blood ran down her lip."

"long/long/long" and "lip/lip" -- these are just a few of the repetitous phrases that irked me as I was reading. I understand that the Write-Off has a time limit and that the pressure of getting the work done within this constraint can make it difficult to edit and re-write as much as an author would normally like. However, your attempt to create a simple flash of mood makes the phrasing of your language even more significant than it would be if your piece had followed a more traditional path of narrative structure. I like what you have going, here, but I felt too aware of where you were taking me as the piece wended to it's conclusion.

"The smell of him on the note was strong, she could even smell him in the air, still. His presence woke her from her dreams, dreams she held for him. He had been here and she felt it."

This strikes as extroardinarily choppy language flow. You have the makings of a sensually-charged description and yet it hits me eyes like a laundry list. What does she smell? him. Where does she smell him? In the air and on the note. What does his smell do? wake her from dreams. What dreams? dreams she held for him. What does this mean? He'd been here. This passage needs to pull the reader with as great a sensual charge as the scent and the note pull at your main character. The lock-step rythm of a check-list, however, makes this difficult.

I think that by looking very closely for unnecesary repetition and replacing certain words with synonyms or simply deleting redundant phrases and re-working certain passages with an eye toward making them flow, you'd have a truly phenomenal piece. As it stands, it's a salient beginning.

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: July 13, 2004 )

she's a....
vampress?!? :)I like how it is left up to the reader... a diguised horror.

I really enjoyed the read! It's a tough call between all the stories.

( Posted by: Cynical_Scribe [Member] On: July 14, 2004 )

speaking of spelling;)

( Posted by: Cynical_Scribe [Member] On: July 14, 2004 )

Ok- I know I'm posting a lot
but- is this a spin off from Jessica's story?

"Her portrait, merely beautiful by day, took life from the night and all her features sprang from cold to warm."

It seems that you refer to the story from the perspective of the model.
Is this the favorite part of the story you were speaking of, or am I reading something that's not there?!?

( Posted by: Cynical_Scribe [Member] On: July 14, 2004 )

Note to the Editor!

Now its been validated in the poetry section, I think I am safe to post it here as a comment on the staff and your influence upon the minds of all us up and coming poets and authors:

Lit Org's a place that shapes the mind,
Of people just like me.
And so we trust our 'very thoughts',
With all the staff, you see.

When placed in competition,
To give the best they had.
I'm sure their presentations,
Give a broad hint they're all mad.

Now Spud he wrote a story,
About vampires seeking blood,
And Jessica, an artist strange,
Who mixed his oils with blood.

Bart he took a liking,
To a voyeur sent from hell.
While Crowe, our Lord and Master,
Dreamt up walking dead as well.

I suppose the only blessing,
Is that Crowe kept right on course,
He analysed the bloody note,
As she wept in remorse!

So think again, my fearless friends,
Is this the place to be.
Entrusted to 'Four of a Kind'.
You'll end up mad like me.

Thank you all for an entertaining insight into your minds,


( Posted by: ivordavies [Member] On: July 14, 2004 )
I like dthe imagery a lot. It felt silky smooth and the words seemed to drip from the pages. Interesting writing. Simple yet complex. I liked it!*_*

( Posted by: snuffystuff [Member] On: July 14, 2004 )

This Did It For Me...
I liked everything about it...

The story line, the descriptions the and the great way you worked the lines in...

That cubby line was a real eyesore for everyone...
But I gave yours a ten because I think you done the best job of imbedding it...

I thouroughly enjoyed yours...

( Posted by: daprdan [Member] On: July 14, 2004 )

I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with Pen on this one, really. This one just didn't do it for me, Chris. It just didn't have the kind of flow I crave, I suppose. Sorry.

( Posted by: the Co.konspirator [Member] On: July 22, 2004 )

Hi, I am a new writer, only in my teens, and I am proud to say that I am working on completing my first novel. While of course I will have to do some editing and the works on it afterwords, I would still appreciate it if you could read some of my works posted and tell me what you think. The Extended piece thingy is the prologue to my larger story. I would really appreciate it if you could take some time to breeze through my writings. Thanks again and thanks for the hard work you put into this site.

( Posted by: Fantasycrafter [Member] On: July 24, 2004 )

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