A New Adventure

The sci-fi story has just been finished. 🙂 Yay!

I need to give it a proofread and a bit of an edit, so I thought I’d post this story now. It’s a short story I wrote a few months ago for an online writing course I did.

It’s an early attempt at the short story form. Any feedback, as always, welcome.

A New Adventure

I stared at her in disbelief.

She stared back at me, her eyes kaleidoscopes of colour that constantly shifted. She looked perplexed – why?

I had just witnessed the impossible. The remnants of the sparkling powder still danced in the air around us.

She had a delicate beauty – a heart-shaped face, framed by wispy hair. the exact colour concealed by the night. Her dress was tied at the waist by a rope-belt, the pouch holding her powder hanging from it.

She was entrancing.

And on bare feet, she ran.

I ran after her. “Wait!” I called.

I couldn’t let this rare flower go.

She led me down the deserted streets, then darted down a small alley. I grabbed the wall as I spun around the corner after her.

Another amazing sight greeted me. A bright blue, swirling circle of light hovered in the air, spanning one wall to the other and reaching about a foot above my head.

I glimpsed her disappearing into it.

I jumped in after her.

A blinding white flash swallowed me, just for an instant.

The instant after I saw a vision I’ve never forgotten.

I saw myself, a beautiful baby girl in my arms. I was a mother – I knew deep in my soul this was a glimpse of the future.

Another blinding flash lit up the vision. And then I was stood in a meadow, stars shining clearly above me in a way they never did in the city. The air was fresh and clear.

Several trees were dotted around me, and the girl was ahead, still running.

I started after her, determined not to lose her now.

It seemed that city lights glowed from the clump of trees we were racing toward. She disappeared into them. I kept following, but my head started to swim, my vision wavering. The grass and stars blurred together and I hit the ground.

The world blurred back into focus, a mix of greens and browns that became trees. Figures came into focus. All dressed in the same way as the girl.

She stood among them. I met her gaze but she looked away. Ashamed? Was she in trouble?

An old woman crouched down before me, as nimble as a woman half her age. She land a hand on my forehead, and her touch had a calming effect on my racing heart. Even though I didn’t know where I was or what was happening, I felt safe.

She said something in another language. It didn’t sound human. Which fit with these people’s appearance. Was I dreaming?

The old woman got up and stood back. I got to me feet. They were all watching me, but all I could see was the girl. She walked up to me, and looked into my eyes. “They say you are a good person,” she said. Her voice was musical somehow. “You can be trusted.”

I felt relieved, but what was I being trusted with?

“Come.” The girl took my hand in hers.

I let her lead me from the gathering. She took me to a tree, and up a rope ladder into a house that had been built in harmony with the tree. Small lights hung from branches, doors, windows, and roofs. I couldn’t work out what they were. I thought of fireflies in glass jars.

She sat me down on a cushion, then brought me a wonderful-smelling tea. It was calming. She told me her name was Lily and I told her mine was Holly. She told me many things about her world that night, and showed me many things that I had never dreamed could exist.

I started to fall for her. She was beautiful, and funny, and graceful. When she told me I would be leaving in the morning, and that I wouldn’t remember anything of this place, my heart broke.

We were by the river as the sky started to fade into light. The water flowed past us, winding its way through the beautiful landscape, the reflections of the remaining stars sparkling in its depths.

I had one hand in hers, my heart aching.

Her next words were soft. “Stay here.”

Hope lifted my heart. Could I?

To be forever in such a place, to really fall for this amazing woman I’d found…the idea pulled me in.

But my life, my family, my job – everything was back in my world.

My heart heavy, I said, “I can’t just leave everything.” The alternative sprang up in my mind. “Why don’t you come back with me?”

Her kaleidoscope eyes widened. “I…”

“You said many of your people live there – why can’t you?”

“No reason, but, I’ve never had a reason to…before now, I suppose.”

Hope surged. “It wouldn’t hurt to try, right?” It was impulsive, but I didn’t care.

She smiled, and we kissed. Her lips were soft, and my stomach fluttered with hope and desire.

The next morning when I stood before the portal, Lily stood with me, her kaleidoscope eyes as excited as my heart.

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8 thoughts on “A New Adventure

  1. really nice and fun to read. my favorite part is, “i couldn’t let this rare flower go.” i’m asking myself, does she smell like a particular flower and as she runs ,is there a whiff of ‘flowers’ trailing in the air leading the character to her. the use of nature throughout the story really connects everything too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the magical overtone/undertone here; stories with an element of the uncanny always hook me. I wanted to know more about Lily and her people. You use some lovely images; Holly’s disorientation and surprise come across well, and I especially like the allusion to fireflies in jars providing the treehouse’s lighting.

    This feels like the middle of a story, rather than a whole story. The narrator has just witnessed the impossible, but the reader never learns what the impossible was, or what the sparkling powder was about. We’re always told to start the story as late as possible — as close to the initiating event as possible — but I think you started after the initiating event, here. If you revise this piece, you might want to show the reader what happens to cause the narrator to stare in amazement at Lily, so we can share her wonder and delight. This will also give the reader a chance to get anchored in the story, oriented to time, place, and character, before we set off running.

    Overall, I think this piece emphasizes different things than what I was really interested in learning about. You describe the journey from the mundane world into the magical one in great sensory detail, but once we’re there, the important stuff (to me) — the beginning of a relationship — is summarised in two short paragraphs. Holly and Lily talk for hours, but the only dialogue the reader hears is the prosaic discussion about whether Holly will stay or go, and if Lily will go with her. How did Holly fall for Lily? What did they talk about, through that long night? Was there more going on than talking? Why couldn’t Holly stay in Lily’s world? Why couldn’t she just leave everything? Whose world would be destroyed if Holly never came back? Could this be true love if she never even considers giving up everything? And perhaps most importantly, how is Holly different at the end of the story than she was at the beginning, apart from being halfway in love with Lily?

    (Also, what’s the allusion to the future motherhood about? That doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story, somehow.)

    To “show, not tell”, look at your use of the verb “to be”, and swap it out for a more active verb. (e.g., instead of “the tea was calming”, perhaps “I relaxed with every sip of Lily’s special brew.” Rather than “she was beautiful, funny, and graceful”, show her demonstrating those qualities). Also be aware of characters “starting” or “beginning” to do something, rather than just doing the thing; it’s usually the doing, not the starting to do, that’s important. Same with characters seeing or feeling things happen; usually it’s the happening that’s important, not the witnessing of it.

    Was that more feedback than you were expecting?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that’s amazing! Thank you!

      The reason it seems so cramped and kind of incomplete is because it was done with a word limit, and I wasn’t very good at short stories then. (I still need more practice.)

      I do plan on working this into a longer story at some point. The idea really sparked with me when I first thought of it, and there are one or two other snippets I’ve jotted down that belong with it (but I don’t think are really very good at the moment).

      The technical feedback at the bottom is very helpful, just the kind of advice I love to get (I love to get all kinds of advice, but that is a rarer thing, in my experience).

      Again, thank you for the feedback, and for reading. Lots of suggestions for me to work through.

      Like

      1. I wondered if you were working within a word limit; I recognize the symptoms, because I just did the same thing with a story, and discovered that the story needs to be longer than that word limit allowed. Writing short stories is a skillset I am still working on, too. The tightest I’ve ever got a short piece is about 3000 words, and even then I felt more comfortable between 3500-4000. Fewer words doesn’t always mean a better (or even a good) story, unfortunately.

        Some of the technical feedback I gave you is stuff that I learned myself, just this year, so I’m delighted it’s of use to you!

        Keep writing! Keep posting!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful story and magical. I loved the vision part, the one with the baby in the arms, it was intriguing, and that single alone let me wonder of might happen next. I hope there is a second part or something like that 🙂 The writing was very well executed and I loved the description of that magical world. Very well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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