Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drop the Needle: HIGH EMOTION #20

TITLE: Land of Ghosts
GENRE: Paranormal Young Adult

Sixteen year old Emily stands at the open graveside of her family.

The crowd begins to disperse. They are going back to my parent's house... my house, for a funeral tea. I look again at the lonely copse of trees. This is me now. Alone.

Alone except for Doctor Dyl, who stands watching me. My sentinel, dressed in black, his icy blue eyes taut with grief.

"What do you want to do Emily? Would you like to go back to the house or stay a little longer?" His voice is rough with unshed tears.

I swallow.

"Stay," I whisper, the solitary word squeezing through the numbness and the uncomfortable knot in my throat.

He nods. "I'll wait by the car. Take as long as you need." He turns and stalks towards the dark Mercedes that brought us to the city graveyard.

I stare down at the three coffins. My father's, the largest, at the bottom, then my mother's, then Billy's. It is small, and white. He was seven. My scalp prickles and dizziness sweeps over me as I realise this is my last goodbye. Sinking clumsily onto the soft dry grass I pick three roses from the nearest floral tribute and throw them one by one into the grave, whispering,

"Goodbye Daddy, Goodbye Mum, Goodbye Billy."

The protective numbness disintegrates, revealing the gaping hole of loss. It's devastating. The pain that rips through my chest is excruciating and it has nothing to do with my broken ribs. Nothing could have prepared me for this feeling, this awful, awful hollow emptiness. I gasp, struggling to breathe, as it sweeps through me and sucks me down into the soft mown grass where I lie and finally weep. Loud, gut-wrenching sobs seize me, possessing me, taking control as the dam to my grief bursts.

I should be with them. I should be with them. I should be with them.

I want to die.


  1. Wow - I thought this was great - very moving! The simple description of Billy's grave was so sad. I was totally gripped through the whole piece and it moved me. Would love to read more...

  2. I didn't see the first post until just now, but my first reaction was the same - wow!

    I think you pretty much nailed it emotion-wise. I could feel her grief and her unacceptance of the fact that she was still there and they were gone.

    The only thing I had confusion with was the description of the coffins being on top of each other? I don't think I read it right, but that's how it sounded to me.

    Great job!

  3. One nitpick: does the reader already know that Billy was seven? If they don't, then that was a beautiful and sad way to say it. But if they do, then that sentance isn't needed here.

    That's the only thing I can think to say. I usually hate descriptions of grief because they seem so cliche and similar, but you completely nailed this.

  4. No they don't know about Billy - this is the introduction to Emily's family.
    This is from the prologue to the novel.
    Thanks for the lovely comments.
    Lenna James

  5. Strong images - nicely done. Two suggestions: I'd lose the sentence "He turns and stalks toward the dark Mercede ..." I get that he is leaving her alone by his "I'll wait by the car" comment. I'd also lose the word clumsily because, well, it's a bit of a clumsy word.
    Again, well done.

  6. Aww...sad scene :(
    (mine is #8)
    Really feel the depths of sadness as she looks at the graves.
    Was disconcerted a little with the numbness vs pain. I get what you're saying, maybe needs a touch more transition.
    That's just a nitpik. Overall, nice way to show this scene.

  7. This was done very well. My only suggestion would be to move those broken ribs up closer to the beginning, because then we get a reason for the deaths (There was an accident) but we don't know what the accident was, so we have to read on.

  8. So emotional scene and so well written! I definitely want to read more of this!

    Well Done!

  9. This is fantastic! The part about the scalp tingling was really something that made my body actually react to the text. Bravo!