The Garden of Eden by Peggy Rockey

A father is reunited with his runaway daughter

This content is for 12 Short Stories in 12 Months members only.
Log In Register
36 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Georgiana Nelsen
Member
28 days ago

I missed this one last month, but read your comments and wanted to know what happened. So sad πŸ™ I hope George can find Gigi!

Mark
Member
1 month ago

Peggy,
Well done. Your portrayal of the frightened daughter and military dad is stunning. I particularly liked the descriptions of the under highway accommodation, you had the smell rank in my nose. A great coherent tale well structured. There were a couple of adverbs that you could eliminate but that is minor.
I didn’t read it with the music playing , but as soon as I read the music reference it immediately played in my head. One of my favourite rock pieces.

Charles R.
Member
1 month ago

This was a well-done tear-jerker, Peggy. Your story flowed well and I loved how you included the back story of the MC’s relationship with his daughter. I know death of a character in a story is a powerful way to end it, but I think you could have left her demise more ambiguous to the reader. Leaving us to wonder if she survived or passed on.

Michael
Member
1 month ago

This was wrenching. God, I’ve got a daughter so it hit a spot – I’ve just been very lucky. This was sad, hopeless, then a little goodness and hope appeared and then it was snuffed out. Felt like a grim fairground ride. You did an amazing job with this. I don’t think 1500 words as ever flown past so fast.

del richards
Member
1 month ago

Oh wow. what a story this is. You really pulled this off! The descriptions were so realistic. The characterisation was excellent. I really cannot praise this enough.
WOW – seems to sum it up though! Well done. Great title and prompt well and truly nailed. I think this is the best story I’ve read from you – and that is no mean feat!

SM Prasad
Member
1 month ago

Peggy, this was so very moving. And you covered so much ground for this word count! This line was particularly vivid in describing the scene and made me grimace while reading it: Diaper-less babies lay on dirty blankets, while scraggly children ran about in wild abandon, heedless of the poverty and the filth that surrounded them.
And using “schooled” as a verb here was a brilliant choice: “Instead, he schooled his expression to keep the distaste from showing on his face,”
Your skill at moving from an aerial view to linger on a tiny intimate detail really packs punches in this story. For example, you described the homeless camp in the underpass, and then the argument with Allie and then you go right to his deceased wife Mandy, dancing to In A Gadda Da Vida.
Another very emotional example is this one: “He remembered the way she’d smelled that day, of green-apple hair detangler and Heaven Scent perfume. “
It works very well to call back warm, emotional details in the middle of these squalid conditions.
The short sentences in dialogue worked very well and stayed true to his character as a military man.

The ending was heart-wrenching. When you mentioned Allie’s last breath and never taking his hand, I had to re read it because it was just so unfair that he found her as she was dying.
This was really masterfully written and was a phenomenally good read!

Jan
Member
Jan
1 month ago

Hi Peggy,
What a beautiful sad story – beautiful because he got to see his daughter again, and sad that he had to lose her just as soon.
Bravo on your outstanding descriptions here – several times I read a sentence two, three times to let the impact sink in, like the conditions of the camp, the square cut of the dad and his daughter when he finds her. The imagery was horribly vivid which made the story so much more engaging.
Well done and thank you for sharing!

Paul J P Slater
1 month ago

Hi Peggy,

Sadly you have described an all too common situation where a “child” is forced to chose and might be – like Allie – forced into a decision taking her in the wrong direction.

You weave the tale so well, it’s heartbreaking.

It’s imaginative to include the track, which I played as I read. Eerie.

I wonder if the baby had been there, would “dad” get a second chance at bringing up his grandchild or is the quest reserved for another submission. Maybe, just maybe?

Thank you for sharing such a thought provoking story.

Keep writing.

Cheers,
Paul

Seyi
Member
1 month ago

Hey Peggy and howzit? This was my intro to Iron Butterfly and I know I will always think about this story whenever I hear the track ‘In A Gadda Da Vida’ again. Stellar writing, as always, and I think I appreciate your descriptions of George’s gunnery sergeant personna, as well as the semi-conscious Allie (tough as it was to read), the most. Well done with the prompt and best regards, Seyi

Seyi
Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Peggy

All good here Peggy, but eish, I’m still waiting for inspiration for the ‘Area 52’ submission. Maybe one of those last minute desperation fueled sessions of writing will sort this one out πŸ˜€ Regards

Angelique Pacheco
Member
1 month ago

What a haunting tale. There is so much emotion in this piece. Lovely descriptive piece. Well done. 😘

Susan O'Neal
Member
1 month ago

Hi Peggy, I agree with all your other reviewers – you hit the bullseye with this one – believable character in the father and his motivations, terrific description of the camp and grim living conditions. You paid out the tension so well too – my favourite was ‘He spoke quietly, hoping it would ease the tension, though he was anything but calm, this close to the possibility of finding his Allie.’ Beautiful.

June Hunter
Member
1 month ago

Hi Peggy. I always did wonder what that song title meant. Thanks for enlightening me. As to your story … Excellent writing, as usual. Although I did wonder whether you should have made more of the reason she ran away. Her father’s words and her predicament just didn’t seem harsh enough, to me, to cause her to disappear so well that it took him two years to find her. Having said that, your descriptions and sounds really took me right into that awful place. Well done and thank you for sharing.

June Hunter
Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Peggy

Ooooh. Looking forward to that. :0

Catherine Garden
Member
1 month ago

Hi Peggy. A very sad, emotive piece and you created the atmosphere perfectly. The music is a nice touch and adds an extra layer. Terrible that a few simple words could have altered the outcome and sadly regret will be his as long as he lives. The next question, will he find the baby?

Stevie
Member
1 month ago

Love the new pic! I realised I was looking for your old one hehe.

To the story. So very sad and emotional, yet a true representation of what could happen and did happen. Nice story – I like how you interspersed the song to add a personal touch of the MC. What a tragedy. Thanks for sharing

Jane
Member
1 month ago

Hi Peggy. I hate to say it but you made me tear up at the end. So bittersweet. And I played the song in background and it did add an extra layer.
The huge if only running through this story. If only her mother was still alive to soothe her after her father yelled at her. If only he had tried to find her sooner. If only he had forgiven her indiscretion and worked out what they could do about it together. So many if only’s. Heart-breaking to say the least.
Well done on writing a very powerful story – with imagery one could almost smell.

Amrita Sarkar
Member
1 month ago

Hi Peggy,
This was such a sad story…I felt a lump in my chest towards the end. Sometimes relationships can be complicated. One never realises what is gone until it’s gone. Your images just moves one and one cannot help but ponder how Allie managed to live in such a squalid place in her condition. I especially loved your camp images. They were so real and poignant. A great read! Thank you for sharing!

Amrita Sarkar
Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Peggy

Hi Peggy,
Please develop it. It will be a heart-wrenching read…I mean that in a good way.

Jessica
Member
1 month ago

Hi.
Such a sad and emotional story you written. I like this sentence you wrote best, “It had a relaxed, party atmosphere about it, though it was dank and dark here under the highway overpass.” I like a lot of you descriptions, but this one won me over. I also liked the MC profession you gave him. I’m not saying any parent would be upset at their daughter for being pregnant at a young age, but him being a sergeant really drove it home. I also like how his pet peeves came in every now and then. Overall it’s a great read and you did great at capturing emotions. πŸ™‚