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  • Ah, I see, I did wonder… I think something really simple, like an allusion to the colour would give it a really sinister twist without losing the excellent writing and subtlety you already have… Hope you’re continuing next year?

  • You really captured a sense of loneliness, compounded by being a new mother and in lockdown. I can only imagine how difficult that might be. As always your style and tone carry the story, this time the tone felt wistful to me and carried the desperation too. Strangely, there was one bit that jarred for me, at one point there is a numeral for the…[Read more]

  • Hi Seyi,

    Haven’t read one of yours for a while- sorry about that! Glad to find your stories again though, I thought you handled the action scenes here superbly and with great skill. I loved how you interlaced the action with his past and his teaching, the opening line in particular was really engaging and drew me in. There were a few lines that…[Read more]

  • Thanks so much for reading- you’re spot on, in my head the program was trying to incorporate the attack into the simulation so made it seem like the volcano was erupting. I have no shame in admitting the entire story was based on my lame little play on words ‘holoday = holiday’- sometimes you gotta go with what you get I suppose! Thanks for the…[Read more]

  • I loved how this ended, when I realised it was dragons I started to wonder why they might be behaving differently, and it being her first day etc… but the line about princess and towers is great payoff. I was hooked right away, with a nice amount of detail to make it understandable, and having a familiar context (air traffic control, first woman…[Read more]

  • The ground shook. On the peninsula, a sulphurous cloud belched into the sky.

    Sonja paused mid-serve and eyed the volcano. ‘That was a big one.’

    ‘Stop stalling,’ Mack yelled, running to the back of the court, […]

    • Nice one – holo-deck and all. I kind of caught on when they spoke about access by the bar. I wonder if the simulation inside used the volcano to ‘explain’ the attack on the ship or what. The panels falling off was a great touch especially when the screen featured missing spots on the captain face. It was also nice idea to just project the captain into the holo-deck.
      Nice job, you started this so casually with the beach volleyball game. Then started adding the science fiction bits as you went along. Made it feel very normal.
      Epic job!
      The only thing I wondered about was someone biting their lip so much it bleeds – perhaps when a tremor / surge / eruption happened she accidentally bit it is what I thought.
      I’m glad I read this.

      • Thanks so much for reading- you’re spot on, in my head the program was trying to incorporate the attack into the simulation so made it seem like the volcano was erupting. I have no shame in admitting the entire story was based on my lame little play on words ‘holoday = holiday’- sometimes you gotta go with what you get I suppose! Thanks for the comment about the lip, totally agreed!

    • Hey Melissa and how goes it? Great setup with this tale, the easy friendship on display during beach volleyball match made me think of everything except a sci-fi-based outcome. I agree that the ‘bitten lip till it bleeds’ reference didn’t quite work. Similarly, the sentence ‘An earth shattering quake shuddered through them’ was initially a bit unclear as I thought it referred to the group individually expr=erirncing the shakes. These minor editorial needs aside, I really liked the imagination and execution that this story took. The group dynamic is great and you allowed them all to carry the story (not always easy.) I also enjoyed the solution you crafted to the volcano problem and the setup from Mack’s ‘jobsworth’ reference is really cool. Hope you’re enjoying the wind-down to the end of the year and all the best for next year. Seyi

  • Loved the plot twist at the end, great surprise. Wondering what was in the bags now! You had some great descriptions, the big hardback book like a wall- definitely tried that tactic and the spider analogy really helped set the scene. For me, this line seemed out of place: “I’ve often been staggered by how much people are ready to share.” mainly b…[Read more]

  • Thank you for your lovely comment 🙂

  • Aw, thank you so much for your comments. This was a last minute o clock idea, I wrote something completely different then the setting sort of appeared in my mind and it grew from there… I think ‘guttering’ is odd too, but I’d already used flickering, I will think about it and see if I can find something different. 🙂

  • Thank you!

  • I think this is your first story on here? Welcome! One of my favourite things about this site is seeing stories from around the world and from different experiences and I thought you tackled a really delicate issue here. Depression is still so stigmatised, almost everywhere globally, and your story delved into that and conveyed how it could…[Read more]

  • A really tough topic, which I think you handled well- sensitively and also with honesty. I really liked that you shared your inspiration as well.

    I imagined she was wearing something low cut, maybe with a dropped back so they could see his name tattooed? It didn’t detract, but may have helped to have some description of her clothes as I think…[Read more]

  • Ooo, nice! I like how this builds from innocuous in the beginning to deadly (potentially) towards the end. I think it’s a good flow of consciousness style with a building urgency throughout, and the use of line spacing slows it down just when it needs it. I think my only comment would be that the line: “If all of this bothers you, don’t worry t…[Read more]

  • Thank you for your insight, I can see exactly what you mean! I didn’t plan for it to seem like she knew all along so I definitely need to change that ending! I also like the idea of foreshadowing at the beginning- thank you so much!

  • The carnival was new to town. Canvas tents lined the central thoroughfare where kids touted for business for everything from shoot the can to palmistry. Liz waggled her eyebrows at Jess. ‘Want to go in the h […]

    • Loved it, The end was so unexpected. I like the way you kept us guessing. Well done

    • Hi Melissa, thanks for the read. Good stuff. Lots of anticipation and narrowed in at the twist ending. I wonder if you can’t pepper a few hints of the accident at the very beginning–either Jess’ mental state (melancholy), or aversion to cars, or something to just give a hint of flavor at the beginning. I find the last line reveals that Jess knew that Liz killed her brother all along, so if that’s the case, maybe we can get a hint of her animosity toward her friend from the beginning? Something cold, just to set the reader on edge subconsciously. So that when we get the two twists at the end — 1) Liz killed her brother, 2) Jess made the wish knowing that Liz killed her brother –– it has even more satisfaction. Idk just a suggestion.

      • Thank you for your insight, I can see exactly what you mean! I didn’t plan for it to seem like she knew all along so I definitely need to change that ending! I also like the idea of foreshadowing at the beginning- thank you so much!

        • I enjoyed the story but if she did know about it then she wouldn’t have answered truthfully and her wish would not have been granted. Perhaps you just need to tighten the end of the story in its current format so we don’t think she knew before. Perhaps also make it clearer that the giggle is her brother returned.

          Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you!

    • Okay, that was fantastic. The old man’s dialog had such—not sure if it’s the right word—economy to it, that he came across as extremely cunning. And sinister as well. The only thing that tripped me up, was the meaning of “guttering light” and couldn’t google it. That’s possibly just a me-problem. Great writing, and an excellent ending. Take care.

      • Aw, thank you so much for your comments. This was a last minute o clock idea, I wrote something completely different then the setting sort of appeared in my mind and it grew from there… I think ‘guttering’ is odd too, but I’d already used flickering, I will think about it and see if I can find something different. 🙂

    • Whoa! this was thrilling and intriguing. The unexpected ending came as a complete surprise. Well Done!

    • Hey Melissa, this was a swift cross-over to the dark side with that last line. I enjoyed the buildup, especially as I did not see that coming. This was partly because I thought a condition for Jess’ wish to come true was for her to reply truthfully to the man’s query She shook her head, indicating she did not know who killed her brother, I thought? I also wonder what was the source of the ‘familiar giggle’ at the end, but I am guessing it was the spirit of Jess’s brother? A very cool storyline and well done with keeping the suspense going. Regards Seyi

    • Hi Melissa,

      I loved your stroll on the dark side of the street.
      It is exactly what a short story should be, a kiss in the dark from a stranger.
      Well done.

      Cheers,
      Paul

  • Thank you so much- I might revisit this one!

  • I’m always nervous when I leave long comments, I know it’s sometimes too much but I really do think this story has something special. I loved the double meaning at the end, it worked really well for me 🙂 In your comment at the top you mentioned about it potentially being ‘mechanical’ but I didn’t think so at all. It had a great flow and was…[Read more]

  • Thank you for reading, and I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

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Melissa P

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@melissa-p

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