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Rated PG for some violent content.

The room was eerily quiet but the December winds blew the curtains away from the window. The crimson drapes clashed with the white of the shimmering snow. The only noise that could be heard was the rocking of the chair in the corner of the room. The chair was old and near an obvious point of retirement. The faded wood had been long since cracked and the pillow was almost down to the single piece of material that it started out as. Each time that it went backwards and came back, it looked as if it was ready to retreat to the floor.

Daniella Linden, the wife of the beloved Walter Linden, sat calmly on the rotting chair. She looked as beautiful as a picture with her slick black hair tied in a tight bun on the back of her head. Her beady eyes studied the room eloquently. She was sitting in the middle of her husband’s library, surrounded by endless amounts of books. Each bookshelf stood proudly, perfectly parallel with the one next to it. The line of colorful books caused a rainbow illusion to the naked eye. Sadly, all she could see was a line of black and white.

She wiped a tear off of the milky white of her aging face. Time traveled too fast for her. She stood up from the rocking chair but it continued making the noise of a child’s cry behind her. She set her bony fingers on the desk that sat in front of her. She let out a groan of annoyance as she looked at her now dusty fingers.

“Blasted man,” she thought to herself, “If Gus would pay half as much attention to doing thoroughly at his job as he does to eating and sleeping, Walter and I would live much happier and much cleaner.”

She shook her head and wiped the dust off on her gray skirt. The dust danced down her thigh and rested on her shaky knee. She walked towards one of the bookshelves that stood on the other side of the room. She looked through it, studying the spine of each novel. She smiled and stopped as she pulled out a book of navy blue. It was Walter’s favorite one. It displayed stories of romance and endless fantasy. She rubbed the cover of it up and down. She lifted it to her thin cranberry lips and kissed it. She happily strolled over to the fireplace and lit it. The flames bounced up into a fit of red and orange.

She was nearly opening the book when she closed her eyes to smell a glorious scent. It crept in the seemingly cold room from the kitchen. Walter was baking Daniella’s favorite treat, banana bread. Daniella could hardly take the heavenly scent but she resisted the urge to go to the kitchen. She wouldn’t want to spoil it if Walter meant for it to be a surprise for her. She shook her head happily and walked back to her rocking chair. She sat down and opened the book to the cover page. On the side, there was a brief note that caught her eye. The note was written in beautiful cursive writing with a calligraphic ink pen. The ink was a little smeared in the corner as if it had walked through the rain.

The note read, “Dearest Walter, stay beautiful. I look forward to when we meet again. Yours always, Carmen.”

Daniella let out and angry moan and threw the book to the ivy carpet. She got up and started stomping on it with her thin heel. Her heel broke off of the bottom of her shoe and she stumbled to the ground. She picked the book up and started to rip out the pages. She threw them around her and they landed on the floor in a giant heap of white. The page with the letter in it landed beside her, along with many other pages of the once beautiful novel.

From the corner of her watery eyes, she saw the door slide open. She quickly turned her head and glared as she saw Walter standing at the door, a look of concern spread across his face. She looked at him for only a second before bursting into a fit of tears.

Walter walked towards her, “Daniella, what’s wrong? Do you need something?”

“Get away! Don’t come near me!” She exclaimed.

“Daniella, my darling, what has happened?” He offered her his hand.

She scampered backwards, trying to catch her breath, “I mean it, Walter! Don’t come near me! Who is she? Who is Carmen?!”

“D-Daniella, I don’t know anybody named Carmen,” he stuttered.

Daniella backed herself into the desk on the other side of the room. She held her back for a minute as a large bronze candlestick holder shook and tumbled over. The white wax of the candle rolled onto the rug and cracked in half. Daniella was now panting heavily and her fragile legs were shaking. Walter looked nervously at the fireplace crackling next to him. The flame of the fireplace, however, wasn’t half as hot as the burning fire in Daniella’s glare.

Walter looked down at the tattered book and dropped to his knees to grab the ripped pages. He grabbed the pages frantically as he realized that his favorite book was now ruined. He looked at the scraps helplessly as he jumped back up to his feeble feet. As he once again stood tall, she snared at him and tightly gripped the neck of the candle holder. She began to slide across the rug, nearing him. He just stared at her without moving a bone in his body.

“Why, Walter? Why?” She kept repeating under her breath.

Walter spotted the candle holder and began to inch backwards towards the large wooden door. Daniella continued towards him as he continued back.

“Calm down, Daniella, put that down,” Walter pleaded.

“WHY?!” She exclaimed, now standing directly in front of him.

“Just let me explain!” He screamed.

“No! I loved you, Walter, I loved you! Wasn’t that enough? WHY, Walter Linden, WHY?!” She cried to him.

Walter stepped back but Daniella pivoted forward and slammed the door closed. She started to smell something coming from the kitchen but she ignored it. Walter began to sniff something as well and a look of terror grew in his wrinkled eyes.

“Daniella, the banana bread is burning! We need to turn the oven off!” Walter said fearfully.

One last tear drop fell from her eyes and she stepped forward and knocked him over the head with the candlestick holder. He looked up at her like a lost puppy and keeled over, his body crumbling to the floor. He rolled around on the carpet and she once again slammed the candlestick holder against his head. Blood trickled out of his forehead and Daniella let out a slight gasp. She hit him again and his eyes rolled into his skull. She jumped up and threw the candlestick to the floor. It made a loud thud which threw Daniella to her feet.

There was a thundering pop in the kitchen and she could hear the furniture bursting into flames. The room began to grow smoky and she had to think quickly. She looked down at her prone husband and quickly turned away. She slid to the door and twisted the burning handle until the door gave in. She slammed it quickly and ran across the tile and to the back door. She ran out the back door and around the fenced yard until she reached the front of her mansion. She looked around the secluded area and watched her home as it began to burn to ashes.

When the house was no longer even recognizable, a car pulled into the driveway. Daniella stood on the other side of the street. She watched as Gus climbed out of his car and grew frantic. Daniella started to bang on a mailbox so that he’d notice her. Gus quickly ran across the street to her side.

“Madam, what has happened? Where’s Walter?!” Gus panicked.

“Oh, Gus! I came home from a long walk to the house burning. Walter is inside! I didn’t know what to do!” Daniella cried.

“Okay, oh my. Don’t panic, don’t panic!” Gus grew even more frantic.

“WALTER! MY WALTER! SOMEONE HELP HIM! WALTER!” She banged on the mailbox with all of her might, her hands grew into a deep red color.

“Calm down!” Gus yelled.

She continued to slam onto the metal, repeating herself, “WHERE IS HE?! WALTER! WALTER!”

The small door swung open and psychiatric doctor, Herald Reed, quickly ran into the comfortably sized room. A couple of men ran behind him and he grabbed onto the shaking woman in the corner of the room.

“WALTER! WALTER!” She screamed as she banged on the wall.

Dr. Reed grabbed onto her arms and she unconsciously struggled to get free of his grasp. She was very unsuccessful as her stuck her arm with a shot to calm her down.

“Ever since the accident,” he whispered to his men, “She lost it. She just lost it.”

Daniella continued to shake and she drowsily looked up at the disturbed looking Dr. Reed. He kissed her pale forehead. Even he had tears in his eyes. He looked down at her pathetic looking expression with a sympathetic look on his face.

“Where is Walter? Is he okay? Is he still bleeding?” She whimpered.

“Daniella, your husband died four years ago in a terrible fire. He isn’t in anymore pain. It was only your imagination. Everything is okay,” Dr. Reed held her in his arms.

Daniella stared up at him and whispered, “No, look in the novel, look in that book!”

She pointed to what looked like it was once a book. It lied sprawled in pieces on the floor. Dr. Reed crawled over to it. He picked it up, causing more ripped pages to fall out. He flipped through what was left of the pages and looked at his partner’s with a sad look in his eyes.

He finally set it down and rubbed his temples, “This is just her unused journal, it’s completely empty.”


The following comments are for "Linden's Library"
by MenPrefrBrunets

Brunette Preferences...
...not bad at all. Sometimes I think you were a bit too descriptive, especially in the first little bit, but once the action picked up your writing went more smoothly. This sentence seemed a bit awkward:

“If Gus would pay half as much attention to doing thoroughly at his job as he does to eating and sleeping, Walter and I would live much happier and much cleaner.”

Your ending could have been a bit sensationalistic (lol - look at my vocababulary), but you did a good job of not forcing the reader to *gasp*. As a 'twist' your ending would have seemed like a bit of a cop-out, but as it is it's more emotional and subtle. Good work.

Also, some of your paragraphs follow the 'she said, she did, he said, it did, etc.' pattern, where you lead with the subject. Try mixing it up a bit to make your sentences seem less formulaic. Take this one:

' looked down at the tattered book and dropped to his knees to grab the ripped pages. grabbed the pages frantically as he realized that his favorite book was now ruined. HE looked at the scraps helplessly as he jumped back up to his feeble feet. As once again stood tall, she snared at him and tightly gripped the neck of the candle holder. began to slide across the rug, nearing him. just stared at her without moving a bone in his body.'

You could maybe rework some of it - 'Dropping to his knees, Walter swept his arms across the tattered remnants of what had been his favorite novel and franctically pulled the torn pages to his chest...etc...

Or whatever. The content is there, just mix-up your sentences a bit.

Otherwise this was very well written. I don't usually go over things with a fine-comb, but the son even shines on a dog's ass somedays, and my rear has been pointed skyward for hours.

I look forward to reading more of your stuff.


( Posted by: strangedaze [Member] On: January 27, 2005 )

many times when i open a submission to read, it's mainly a simple scanning-over of their work, but yours instantly caught my attention and i soaked up every bit of it. the startling, and brutal murdering of walter is undoubtedly a plot to stand in 'pure mystery'! with a little editing, this is publishable material...keep up the good work!

( Posted by: findley [Member] On: November 3, 2005 )

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