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An Artist's Requiem[]

A great painter once said, “art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings.” What she means by this is that art conveys what we try our very best to conceal from the rest of the world. We try to hide it, but the truth always has a way of coming out.

Michael sat at his desk, the pencil in his hand spinning and seemingly dancing with his fingers as he twirled it around. In front of him lay a blank sheet of paper, the dull yet impossibly bright white staring up at him with a vacant expression.

The room smelled of old books, the lights flickering ever-so-slightly to the rhythm of Michael’s beating heart. The twirling pencil slowly danced along the paper as the heartbroken artist started his sketch.

The pencil wove a tale as it performed a lyrical dance across the paper, the black staining its holy white. His sketch held the frame of his beloved, the beauty and majesty of her form a reminder of a past life. A life in which he was truly happy; now nothing more than a memory long faded.

“You could’ve changed it,” a voice would say, taunting him with words he knew not to be true. “You could’ve prevented it,” it would continue, as the volume of its words would gradually increase. “You could’ve saved her,” it would yell, as Michael fought desperately to ignore its lies; to believe they were false.

It’s all your fault.

Michael stood up, his next sketch finished. He wiped his face, just now noticing the salty taste of tears on his tongue.

Michael muttered, “Just as beautiful as always, darling…”

The sketch showed the physique of a middle-aged woman, beautiful and slender. Her face was a forever-cemented expression of blank joy and bland happiness.

But that’s not how we remember her, is it?

Michael shuttered, his eyes filling once more with tears.

“Shut up…”

It was only a matter of time, you just couldn’t see the signs.

“Shut up.”

Now your final memory of her is her in that noose…

“Shut up!”

With the remainder of his strength now gone, Michael collapsed feeling the weight of his guilt crushing him.

You didn’t notice in time, Michael. Shouldn’t that deserve punishment?

Michael said nothing.

It’s all your fault. You know you aren’t going to be with her in the end, don’t you?

Michael tried to cry, but there was nothing left. Nothing left.

You know what you must do. You have no reason to hold yourself back now.

Michael weakly stood up, his face expressionless. He trudged out of the room, and shut the door.

Written by The Anonymous Crouton
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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Cornco- *splutters and dies* (talk) 05:00, 14 August 2022 (UTC)[]

It's certainly a lot more coherent than your other version, but I do have one question: is this a complete story or just the prologue to one? Because it feels like the latter. Unlike For John, the events of this narrative are hardly interesting enough to be able to stand up on their own. It feels like you're setting up some other story which never actually takes place.

If you're gonna have a quote at the start of your story then just have a quote and the person who said it. That's all you need. There's no reason to format it as "someone said this" and then explain the meaning behind it. It comes across like you're trying to baby the reader, who is the one who's supposed to interpret how said quote is relevant to the story (at least this time it is actually somewhat relevant).

I have a few issues with the way you describe things in this story. It's almost like sometimes you'll describe something in a way that doesn't really fit just for the purpose of making things sound more dramatic or atmospheric, or like you're trying to reach some arbitrary word count. Like, why is the piece of paper "holy" and "impossibly bright"? What about it gives it those qualities? Also with the light flickering "ever-so-slightly" and "to the rhythm of Michael's beating heart". The average BPM for an adult is between 60-100, so this light must presumably be flickering several times per second. Would that not make it harder for Michael to draw?

The exchange between Michael and the voice is fine, but again, it just feels like it's building to something that isn't there. The ending is unsatisfying, especially with the implication that Michael is going to kill himself and that'll be the end of things.

I hope you're able to expand upon this into something that works more as a story. Either that, or you can iron out the flaws in For John, because as far as I'm concerned, there was no need to abandon that story in favour for what this is.