I will never truly escape this place will I? Not that I want to! After who knows how long of inactivity, I got a new idea that I wanted to share with you guys! Please read it over and be as tough and fair as I remember you guys being.
“Just another Monday morning,” I mumble to myself in annoyance as I stop the car and join the long line of vehicles traversing the interstate. The morning rush had completely clogged up the roads, again, yet city officials kept insisting that the roads were just fine. No problems whatsoever. They of course, didn’t have to drive through it every morning, taking an hour and a half across a distance that should only take a half hour at most. I grumble curses under my breath and turn up the radio to let the music numb my emotions on the matter, at least temporarily. Settling back in my seat, I notice the headlights of the rapidly approaching truck behind me. My throat clenches up and my heart freezes up in fear as the vehicle fails to come to a stop. My car jerks forward as the truck barrels into it and the sound of screeching metal fills my ears before darkness envelops me.
Awareness slowly returns. My body feels numb. Heavy. My senses don’t fare much better but I can hear a soft, steady beeping coming from somewhere far away. I force myself to open my eyes and look around. The effort involved makes me feel as though I was trying to lift several hundreds of pounds, but I manage. Bleary eyed I stare at the white that surrounds me. An endless sea of white. I can feel my heart begin to frantically beat in my throat. The steady beeping from before becomes louder, in tune with my heart. My hazy brain manages to produce one word; hospital. Sure enough, my sight begins to come into focus, and I can make out the ceiling and where it meets the wall. A head pops into my vision before I can take in the rest of the room, a concerned look on her face. Nurse. I relax and let the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding escape slowly. This seems to please the nurse as she smiles in relief, nods, and says something my clouded brain struggles to comprehend. One words seeps through the muck however, and I can feel myself smiling at the warmth that a simple word brings. Parents. With straining muscles I pushed my heavy body up to a more seated position and turn my head in the direction the nurse had gone to greet my folks. The people that stepped into my room however, were two complete strangers.
Tears of happiness streamed down the face of the woman as she sat down at my bedside without my permission. The man was more stoic, but even in my barely able to think state I could see the joy in his eyes. A waterfall of words falls upon me and I can only stare at the woman in mute bewilderment. The room begins to spin around me and I feel bile rise in my throat. I close my eyes tightly. I will not throw up in front of a bunch of strangers. She begins to talk again, slower now and my brain actually gives the words meaning now.
“Alex, are you…are you okay? How are you feeling?”
How on earth could they be mistaking me? Do I look like their child perhaps? This must be some mix-up, I am not Alex. I have to set this right, now. I open my mouth and in a hoarse voice manage to croak out my name.
The man and woman look at each other for a moment before she speaks again.
“I…don’t think….” She sighs. “The young miss will be buried in a few days. You’re not going to be strong enough to attend.”
I can practically feel the blood drain from my face at those words, and again I can feel my heart thumping loudly in my throat, constricting it. The woman notices and rests a motherly hand on my shoulder, squeezing slightly.
“Your new heart needs to settle first. We’ll visit your donor’s grave when you’ve recovered.”
So since you've now read it, here's a few bits that I want to change / make stronger in the story but don't know how to:
- I feel like there is to much clutter that might detract from the story rather than add to the scene building.
- I want to have the main character's thought process and observations to feel slow while also keeping the narrative flowing. I think I can improve on this but I need a few suggestions on how to do this, or maybe a different direction entirely that I hadn't thought of yet.
- I want to really strongly portray the happiness that the main character feels upon hearing her parents are here to then get crushed in confusion as two other people walk in (the parents of the body she's in). I want to also increase the contrast between the parents who are overjoyed their son got a new heart, and the terror and confusion of Josephine as she realizes that she's now in a different body due to the heart transfer and that everyone thinks she's dead and now Alex.
"I feel like there is to much clutter that might detract from the story rather than add to the scene building.":
I don't really see too much issue with the problem as it's a relatively short story and the traffic scene builds up to the accident.
"I want to have the main character's thought process and observations to feel slow while also keeping the narrative flowing. I think I can improve on this but I need a few suggestions on how to do this, or maybe a different direction entirely that I hadn't thought of yet.":
I would try to build on their physical state in the hospital. You focus on their groggy consciousness, but maybe adding some aches and pains may help convey the severity of the accident.
"I want to really strongly portray the happiness that the main character feels upon hearing her parents are here to then get crushed in confusion as two other people walk in (the parents of the body she's in)."
I would try to create a greater sense of the protagonist needing comforting/a familiar face. I think this scene: "Parents. With straining muscles I pushed my heavy body up to a more seated position and turn my head in the direction the nurse had gone to greet my folks. The people that stepped into my room however, were two complete strangers." might be more in keeping with what you're looking for if you have the protagonist talk about how her parents have always been there for her or why she feels like she needs their support (after a traumatic accident) currently so when it turns out to not be the people she's looking for, it feels more disorienting.
All in all, it's a quick tale that gets its point across effectively and reminds me a little of All the Papers Lied Tonight. I can only think of those ways to add onto it without making it feel more bloated. Hope that helps.
I've read that story ages ago! Really nice one. It may have been a subconscious inspiration, as I'd completely forgotten about it until you mentioned it and I can see why my story reminds you of it. Thanks for listing it, re-reading it was nice.
I'll keep your tips in mind and rewrite/add the bits. Thank you for taking the time to read it!