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(I will be updating this piece in segments)
This is a piece I have been working on for a while now, I am unsure as to how often I will be updating it, or how big the updates will be, but hopefully those updates will happen.

A few critique questions for this piece:
-How is the mood of it?
-How is the pacing?
-Are there any grammatical errors or errors with wordings?
-Do the characters seem flat or well rounded?
-Is the story stereotypical and overused?
-How is the overall writing and the overall story?
-Are the descriptions vivid or bland, or too much of either?

Anyways, thanks for reading!

 I tossed the writhing mass of worms into the pond, and watched as the fish hungrily tore into the little slimy creatures, fighting each other for the larger ones. Tossing them to the fish always made me feel better after I got in a trifle. It was never my fault, they always patronized me, but somehow I seemed to always take the fall for it. 

 The cool breeze brushed my long hair in my face, and I looked to the horizon of trees encompassing me.

 “I need a hair cut...” I murmured to myself, taking the long pale blonde strand that was flying towards my eye, and tucking in behind my ear. I have always been a tom-boy at heart, and I prefer to keep my hair relatively short instead of long flowing locks. While all the other girls were always going out with their boyfriends or shopping, I was out in the woods building stick forts or fishing for crawdads. This happened to be one of my favorite places, a small creek with several sets of rapids that emptied into a large pond, which then gave way to a small waterfall. This was my place, and only I knew about it. I always felt safe when I was there, surrounded by the tall pines and bathed in sunlight while I let my feet dangle into the clear ripples of the water. If I were to try that then, though, my feet would have been nibbled upon by fish, and the water was much too cold for that anyways. It was spring, and the waters there were being fed by melting snow, which still patched the ground in some areas. I heard voices nearby, so I dashed to become hidden among the trees.

 “What would anyone be doing near here?” I asked myself, peeping out from the needles of a fir tree. The voices cleared, although I couldn't see the sources of them, so I just listened.

 “Man, I wish it was swimming weather, don't you?” I heard one of the voices say. I shuddered as I heard the voice, it sounded like a male who was an older teenager, the worst kind of person to me. I was always picked on by teenagers older than me, and I was never quite sure why.

 “Not really, I don't like watching you primitively strip and flex your muscles,” I heard a younger voice respond, the second voice sounded about my age. I saw shapes poking above the new grass and old fallen leaves, presumably the two boys.

 “So, where are you taking me?” the younger one inquired.

 “To this really sweet creek I found a few days ago, you gotta see it,” the older one remarked in a voice that one could only condole as ignorant. My eyes grew larger as I listened. A few days ago? That must have been when I was in bed with a small cold.

 “Dammit,” I muttered under my breath, expecting my secret to become a widespread teenager meeting place. They neared my fir, and one of them noticed me, I presumed, because he stopped dead in his tracks, and began staring.

 “Hello? Is anyone there?” I heard him say. It was the younger.

 “No, no one is there you moron, we're in the middle of the woods!” the older responded.

 “No, I think I see someone in that evergreen...” he said, moving towards my fir. I realized my cover was blown, and shot out of my cover, sprinting to my greatest ability, deftly dancing around the many pine cones that were scattered around the forest floor, trying my best to avoid the infliction of pine splinters in my bare feet.

 “Hey!” the older shouted. He was chasing after me, and he was sprinting faster than I, but I knew the woods better, so in my mind, we were pretty equally matched. A fatal mistake stood ahead of me, and I didn't notice until it was too late. I felt something clamp around my calf, and a faint cry escape from my tightly pressed lips before I could stop it. I bit my lip and choked back a few tears that I felt building up in my eyes, and frantically looked to my leg.

 “Damn poachers!” I nearly shouted as the situation became clearer to me, and I realized that the pain was inflicted by a bear trap.

 “Hey... oh shit!” said the older one as he reached me. At that point, blood was flowing freely from the puncture wounds, as were a few tears flowing from my eyes. I could feel how deep the bear trap was, and I was quite sure that it had cleared the bone. As the older one approached, I began vainly trying to squirm my way out of the trap, before finally blacking out from pain.

 “Is she going to live?” I heard as I woke up.
 “Jesus, Pete, the trap caught her leg, not her neck! She'll be fine,” I presumed it was the older boy speaking. I opened my eyes to find that I was being carried by him, through the woods.

 “Where the hell are you going?” I mumbled.

 “To the town...?” the older boy said, clearly shocked that I was awake.

 “Then why didn't you turn left back there? It's a much quicker route, and you don't have to go across the fallen tree that way,” I said, blinking in exasperation.

 “Well... we didn't know that,” the older one said as he doubled back. I looked down to see my leg, and found it sloppily bandaged, with blood seeping through the bandages.

 “How did you get the bear trap open?” I asked.

 “I ripped it open,” said the older one.

 “Bullshit, that was a three-fifty pounder, with a lock,” I called his bluff. The younger boy rolled his eyes and revealed the truth.
 “I can pick a lock,” said the younger one, expressing nearly no emotion. I found that only slightly impressive, since the bear trap was an older model with an extremely simple tumbler system, and it seemed rather ill-maintained.

 “So, um... what is your name?” the older one tried to make polite conversation in our exceedingly awkward situation.

 “Generally I would tell you to shove it, but I do believe I owe you. My name is Lilian,” I said, a slightly awkward pause present.

 “Lilian... that's a very lovely name,” said the older boy.

 “Don't even try,” I said, rolling my eyes at his incredibly overused pick up line. He smirked at my remark. I heard a noise behind us, and apparently he did too, as he swung around and smacked my head into a tree nearby, knocking me unconscious again.

 I awoke the next time, on some sort of operating table.

 “Where am I?” I asked myself.

 “My home,” said a rather burly gentleman who was standing in the corner. 

 “Who are you?” I asked him, not at all shocked by his presence.

 “The town doctor,” he said, his arms motioning around him like I should have known this fact from the moment I set eyes on the place. I guess I should have. He was a large man, with rather wide set shoulders, a strong chin line, high cheek bones, and hazel eyes that accented his red hair. He was clad in some sort of suit one could refer to as scrubs, and a slightly red tinted apron that pinpointed the doctor feel. I attempted to sit up, to no avail, I had apparently lost enough blood to weaken me that much.

 “Could you contact my mother?” I asked him. His response was positive, and we went through the pain of explaining to my mother what had happened. She was busy at work, but promised to stop by as soon as possible. It all went by so quickly, I was unsure if any of it was real or not. The next thing I new, I was being told that my lower leg needed to be amputated, some complications due to tetanus and the likes.

 “Ok, close your eyes,” the doctor told me.

 “No.” I said to him,

 “No? You mean you actually want to watch?” he asked me, obviously shocked.

 “Yes. Go ahead. Do you have anything for me to bite down on?” he smirked at my response and handed my a small rag.

 “How will this do?”

 “Fine, thank you,” I said, balling up the rag and shoving it into my mouth, preparing to bite down, hard.

 “Ok, this will hurt- a lot,” he said as he flipped a switch and the circular saw hummed to life. I cringed as the doctor secured my leg, as well as my other appendages, to the table with leather straps. I watched as the teeth neared my leg, and I felt my muscles instinctively spasm as it began rolling towards my leg. I watched as the teeth grew further along their predetermined path, and ultimately began tearing my flesh. Chunks of skin and blood began flying off of my leg, and I bit down on the metal as the crude device continued its way through me. I felt a drop of blood spray into my face before feeling the saw eat through my bone. I hit my breaking point, and began screaming, a bloodcurdling howl that one could not distinguish as human. It wasn't long after the saw cleared the marrow that I blacked out.

 I awoke to the smell of freshly cooked beef. I shifted my position until I had my back resting on the bed enough to be slightly sitting up, and looked for the source of the smell. Just as I turned my head, I felt spears of pain shoot through my leg, or rather, where my leg should have been, and back down again. I looked down to the bloodstained wrappings that covered just below my knee, and at the crimson splatters beneath it. It looked as if someone had attempted to clean the mess, but hadn't done the greatest of jobs.

 “Oh! You're awake!” shouted the younger boy from the woods, nearly in my ear, as he entered the room. The bed was right next to the door, so that if someone were to have kicked the door in, my head would have been bashed in by it. He was carrying a plate of beef.

 “Yeah... not so loud...” I murmured, graciously taking the plate of beef. I looked to the scattered food and found a hearty meal of beef and mashed potatoes with green beans on the side. I ate the meal with great speed, as the pain and the expedition through the woods had left me exhausted. My arm slid to the stump below my knee. It was odd, the first senses of nothing being there were really quite frightening, but I was relatively numb at that point.

 “So, you're name is Lilian, right?” the boy asked me.

 “Yeah...” I said, rubbing my hand across my temple in the exasperation of what all had happened.

 “I'm Pete, and the hopeless perv who carried you is my brother, Joey, but he goes by Joe,” Pete told me. I nodded my head to show my understanding as I scraped the last bit of food off of the plate.

 “So about how long have I been out?” I asked, slightly nervous to hear the response.

 “Only a few hours. The doctor said your mom should be around at about five. It's four-thirty now,” Pete said to me

 “Ok, good. It feels like it has been days since I ate...” I said, setting the now clean plate down on the small nightstand next to the crude device one could call a bed. “Is there anything to drink? I'm parched,” I asked.

 “I believe so, I'll be right back,” Pete said as he dashed out of the room to collect for me some form of liquid. Before long, he was back in the room with a glass of water. I thanked him gratefully, and began chugging the deliciously tasteless liquid as fast as I could manage without chocking myself. I finished the glass in a record time for myself, and set it down next to the plate with satisfaction.

 “So what were you doing in the woods?” Pete asked me.

 “Well... I spend most of my time out there. I don't have much of a home...” was my vague response.

 “What do you mean by that?” he continued his inquiry.

 “Not much, really... I live with my mom. My dad ran off years ago in favor of some European woman... my mom hasn't been the same since then, though. I guess I haven't really been, either. We moved here years ago, I really can't remember much of my old home... I have always loved the woods here. I'm sorry, that's not a very happy subject,” I answered him.

 “No, no, it's fine. Me and Joe have lived with our grandparents since before I can remember. He says that mom and dad died when I was tiny. He barely remembers them himself. But it's not bad, they're more like parents than grandparents to us. I've never been much for the woods myself, I prefer to study. But my brother is an egotistical freak and always drags me out with him whenever he does whatever. Last it was the woods. Next thing I know he'll be sneaking me into bars,” he joked. I gave a courtesy laugh, and said nothing after. The silence was awkward and the bed was uncomfortable. I wanted to get up, but I was missing a leg.

 “Are there any crutches or anything I can use to get up with? I'm tired of just sitting here,” I asked him. There was a slightly awkward pause as he looked to my stump of a leg, and he responded.
 “I dunno, I'll go ask the doctor,” he said as he left the room. I sat for a bit, awaiting his return, and grimacing at my lack of mobility. I waited for a few minutes before Pete returned with a pair of some somewhat rudimentary looking crutches. 

 “Here, the doc said you can have these.” Pete said as he handed a pair of crutches to me.

 “Thanks,” I murmured as I positioned them in my hands for removing myself from the bed. I turned to the side of the bed and pressed the crutches onto the ground, resting my shoulders on the top of the pads, and pushed myself off of the bed. I managed to hobble my way through the room, quite determined to get myself somewhere else in the house, and maybe outside. I clacked as I moved, and I was sure the entire household was alerted by my movement. My extraneously loud steps brought the doctor to meet me as I exited the room. 

 “Where do you think you're off to?” he groaned at me.

 “Just outside for some fresh air. Why?” I asked, getting a sinking feeling that it was much later than I thought it to be.

 “I have to keep tabs on you til your mother gets here. Make sure you don't overwork yourself,” he reminded me.

 “Alright,” I continued towards the porch, Pete following me like a lost puppy. As I neared the front of the house, I was met with a challenge: the hallway between me and the front door was quite thin, and I was unsure if I could fit through it. Through much noteworthy and somewhat painful strain, I managed to allow Pete to shuffle past me and for him to open the door to allow my decampment of the home. I shuffled through the hall, tripping several times over the crutches, each time Pete rushing to try and help me, and me obstinately denying his generous presentation. I finally stumbled through the door, and onto the porch, making my rest on one of the rocking chairs. Just as I began to settle into place, I saw a blue jalopy, that of which belonged to my mother, pulling in to the drive. My mother walked up to the porch with displeasure crossing her face. She passed by me.

 “Get in the car,” she mumbled heartlessly as she passed. She entered the house, and closed the door behind her. Pete made a face at me.

 “I guess I should get to the car... this is good bye? Say thanks to your brother for me,” I said to him as I picked up the crutches and began to hobble towards the steps. I accepted Pete's help this time.

 “Will do. What's up with your mother?” he asked me.

 “I'm not sure... I've never really seen her like this, well I have, but not to me. It's not in her character,” I said, allowing him to half carry me down the steps.

 “Weird. I never asked, but what school do you go to?” he asked of me.

 “Cosway middle school. You?” I asked. His response affirmed that we went to the same school, and further small talk led to the decision that we were in the same grade, and that he would keep an eye out for me. I thanked him as I crawled into the car, and our ways were parted. My mother returned to the car with a scowl.

 “Bastard doctor wanted seventy-five bucks! Can you believe that bullshit!?” she shouted.

 “Yeah, I can. That's a very reasonable price, mom. The doctor did a lot for me... he saved my life... am I not worth seventy-five dollars?” I said, slightly hurt.

 “Shut up, nobody asked you,” she snapped at me. She started up the car and began driving out of the drive.

 “You did pay the good doctor, didn't you?” I asked her, suspicion creeping into the back of my mind. It took her several minutes to answer.
 “No... not really,” she answered, the guilt was obvious in her face before she answered.

 “Turn the car around. Now. Go pay the doctor,” I ordered her obstinately. She sighed and drove the car into a parking lot, and made the motions of turning us around, a defeated look on her face. She said nothing, but kept her defeated look until we pulled into the Doctor's drive, which, upon entering, she sighed. 

 “If you're so against paying him, I'll do it myself,” I said, pushing the car door open, not awaiting my mother's response. I readied the crutches for the painful journey, and set out, my wallet safely tucked in my pocket. I stumbled, one leg, one crutch, other crutch, leg again, first crutch, second crutch, and on and on until I finally made it up to the porch upon which I stood, catching my breath before ringing the good Doctor's door bell. I spent the several minutes it took for the Doctor to open the door to organize the last bits of my money into a calm stack of the payment.

 “Hey,” I panted, “I'm sorry about my mother, here's your money,” I said to him, holding the money out to him.

 “I'm sorry, I can't accept that,” he said, a somber expression crossing his face as he looked at me.

 “Well consider it payment for the food and crutches,” I said, holding the money ever so closer to him. He sighed and reluctantly took the money from me. The good doctor mumbled his thanks, wished me a good day, and closed the door as I began my treacherous descent back to my mom's jalopy. I only had slight trouble with the stairs, but the flat ground is what gave me the most trouble. The crutches were nice at gripping, but they were too long, my foot could barely reach the ground from them. I hobbled and stumbled to my mother's jalopy, and tripped into the passenger seat. I slid the crutches behind me into the rear seats, and then I saw that the crutches were adjustable. I felt really stupid for not noticing that earlier. My mother pulled out of the drive, and we were off. We drove eastwards home, and were about twenty minutes down the road before the silence was broken, and that was by me coughing. I felt a chill go down my spine, and let out several more gut wrenching coughs before settling back down into the seat. My mother glanced at me, and continued driving, saying nothing. After several more minutes of awkward silence while driving, we made it home. My mother moved out of the car, as did I. I slipped the crutches out from the backseat and began adjusting them to my height. The ease of which I staggered was exponentially more than I had with the crutches when they were much too long.

 It took a little bit of time, but I managed to scramble from the car-port that housed the jalopy to the house. In the house I found my mother sitting down at the table holding her head and complaining about a head ache, as well as nausea. The lit cigarette that was in her hand and the glass of brandy that sat next to her informed me to stay my ground. I staggered my way past her and into the living room where I proceeded to head towards the staircase so that I might make it to my room. The staircase gave me more trouble than it was worth, but I managed to get to my room. I slumped down on to the bed, and looked out the window at my beloved woods.

 “How will I visit you now?” I asked the trees. I stared at my stump, the feeling that this world is only half real assaulting my thoughts. I felt a tear run down my cheek. I wiped the tear away and continued to watch the birds flutter around the tops of the trees. I felt so helplessly useless. The world would move on without me, of course, like it always had. My mother would calm down and continue her work, my classmates would eventually forget about me, if they hadn't already, and Pete and Joey would continue perfectly fine without a second thought. I fell asleep wallowing in my self pity.

 I awoke to my alarm going off, like it did every morning. I rolled, hit it, and fell back asleep. I was then awoken by my mother entering my room and telling me to get ready for school. After my mother's exit I sat up and began scrounging around  my room for something to wear. I ended up in a pair of dark jeans and a black tee shirt. I hobbled downstairs on my crutches, not thinking about how I should miss school. My mother was already sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. She looked up from the newspaper.

 “Dear, you're late. Here's a breakfast bar, the bus should arrive any moment,” she said to me as I hobbled over to the kitchen table. I gratefully took the breakfast bar, grabbed my school bag, and slid a shoe on as I slipped out the front door. Thankfully our driveway is quite flat so I could actually make it to the end of the driveway to wait for the bus. I reluctantly ate the breakfast bar and waited for the bus. When the bar was gone and the wrapper tucked into my pocket, the school bus drove up and stopped. I hobbled over to it and made my way up the God forsaken steps and into the cursed bus. The stench of sweat and mold. I received cold stares as I stumbled to an empty seat. The bus driver, as always, seemed to be zoning out and offered no assistance. I made it to my seat and sat, slightly winded from the wretched crutches. My leg, or where my leg should have been, ached. I stretched out the best I could without intruding into others' personal space, and awaited the bus's arrival at the school. I felt many stares glaring at me in whatever emotions they were attempting to portray. I didn't look, I couldn't stand the thought of looking up to find all eyes drilling into my soul. The pressure of the eyes built until we finally made it into the school parking lot and everyone began to shuffle off of the bus. I followed suite on my clumsy crutches. I made it off of the bus and began my trudge towards the door of the school building.

 I entered the school and began me ascent to the second story in search of my locker and homeroom. I felt and saw several stares being drilled into me as I made it to my locker to retrieve my books. Nobody made fun of me, nobody offered me help, they all just stared like I was some kind of freak; maybe I was. 

 When I arrived in the class, I received dozens of questioning and chastising glances. I shuffled my way to my seat in the back of the room. The lesson dragged on slowly and dully, me not learning much and the class benefiting little from the teacher's vehement ramblings. It felt like forever later when the bell finally rang, signaling for the students to carry on through the day. I scooped up my crutches and began to slowly pry myself out of the chair. A boy from the class who was also in my next class came up to me.

 “Can I get your bag for you?” he asked me. I didn't see anything wrong with his request so I complied.

 “Yeah, thanks,” I said to him, allowing him to pick up my bag and follow me to my locker and then the next class.

 “So what happened?” he asked me.

 “I was in the woods... a poacher had left his trap out and it caught my leg. By the time I was carried to the doctor the wound had become infected and my leg had to be taken off,” I answered him.

 “Really? When did this happen?” he said, surprise ringing in his slightly high-pitched voice.

 “Yesterday,” I answered him honestly.

 “What are you doing in school? Shouldn't you be recovering?” he seemed on the verge of spazzing.

Submitted: April 09, 2014

© Copyright 2022 Hinrey Snakespear. All rights reserved.

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