Post Reply Short Story - Sugar Magnolias
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32 / M / PA
Posted 1/28/08 , edited 2/23/08
sadly, you didn't highlight your chemistry reference, so we can't accept this as an entry for the competition, sadly... ~Duster

Its a long story, sorry...but if you make it through I would really apperciate some feed back. The thing i am most worried about is if the dialouge is too mature for a 12 year old. I dont do fantasy, so sorry if thats your thing.....Anyway thank you in advance if you reply.

We were driving down a road that was utterly suppressed by trees. Above us, between the thick layers of leaves the sky laid stretched out in a mangled azure. Seasick green moss had conquered most of the ground and trunks of the trees, it hung still and damp in the humid air of the south. The smell of the swamps crept into the car from the cracks of the window, that wet cardboard and fresh rain smell that seems to rise from everything like steam. My mother was taking me to visit a client of hers who wanted to try and sell her house. She said that I was being taken along so that I could meet her client’s daughter, who happened to be my age. I was completely dreading meeting another child, for even when I myself was only twelve I found kids to be what I hated most of all, bothersome. I would much rather run freely and unencumbered. I loved to collect beautiful things, from feathers, flowers and leaves, to pictures out of magazines and pieces of trash. Really it was anything that caught my young and questioning eyes.
The car pulled onto a dirt road that led woundingly up to the front of a beautiful southern home. It was the kind you see in the movies, a wide wrap around porch with tall ample windows and magnolia trees blooming sweetly on either side of the house, hiding it slightly behind their deep layers of petals. After parking the car we were greeted warmly at the door by my mom’s client. She was a blonde woman with a deep southern
accent, slow words and long drawn out vows. She hugged my mom and thanked her for coming all this way. I was looking at the stunning Cherokee Roses in bloom on her porch when she rubbed my head, giving me comments on my cute face and curious looking eyes, she smelt like fresh made cornbread, buttery and sweet. I followed them inside into the lounge where we sat down on a parlor sofa and were served iced tea and slices of pie. The tea was sweet and cooled my throat while the pie was warm and comforting. They went about talking while I gazed around the room. Pictures hung on the faded yellow wall and various flowers lay potted in the corners with large ferns hanging from the ceiling. I had no idea why anyone would want to sell such a beautiful home, maybe they were longing for the city and found the sparse population too peaceful.
“Your son must be bored. My daughter was down here when I got up to greet you, but I guess she wandered off.” She called for her and with out even hearing footsteps a girl appeared in the doorway.
“Dear, come say hello to Mrs. Wheat’s son.” The girl walked in and stood next to her mom silently. “Belle, this is my son Sebastian.” She curtsied to me, but I could only manage to raise my hand in a meek, distraught hello. “Why don’t you two go out and play, we will be done here in a little bit.” I slowly nodded and followed Belle out the back door with a sigh. The yard was massive; a tire swing hung from a gnarled cypress next to a small murky pond that lay boiling in front of the forest, holding its image on its mirrored surface. I found myself getting anxious as I stared at the vast southern jungle in front of me; I wanted to plunge head first into its inviting mystery, leaving Belle behind to fend for herself as I lay with the flowers and breath with the trees.
“So what do you want to do?” She asked suddenly.
“I usually just explore the forest; I like to look for pretty things.” I answered shrugging and she smiled.
“You like pretty things?” Her voice was sleepy and the slight accent smoothed her words as they came out in a softly spreading tone.
“Do you think I am pretty?” She held up her skirt and twirled around, the ribbons danced on her white dress like blue satin people waltzing through lace and cotton. I thought she was more than pretty. Her hair was such a deep and rich black that in the light it seemed to gleam a dark blue, a gloomy midnight hue. She had a face that now reminds me of summer, freckles swept about her small nose and round cheeks underneath eyes that were the color of cherry oak.
“I do.” I answered while quickly looking away. She smiled again, a small coy smile and ran ahead of me into the forest. I followed of course, feeling an anxious stir in the hollows of my stomach.

The path we walked was mossy and thick with the smell of earth. Much like the road it was suffocated by trees. I passed my hands through the pillars of light that fell through, trying to grab hold of them. Yet all I felt was their empty warmth.
“Where are we going Belle?” I called out to her and she only answered by seizing my hand with hers, pulling me closer as we continued down the path. Her hand, much like the beams of light was warm, but instead of a ghostly heat I could feel the depth of her flesh. We soon reached a clearing that was swollen from the intense sun pouring into it.
In the middle there laid a dead log half covered by bushes and moss. When we sat down I hesitated to speak. I felt like we were in some sort of church, a cathedral of dirt and
wood, with stained glass leaves and flowers illuminating everything in an almost divine
“Have you ever been in love Sebastian?” She asked me in a whisper, looking at me with a guiltless gaze, her voice stirring in the warm dusty air.
“I don’t even think I know what love is.” I said wistfully and she seemed disappointed, turning her head away, her long hair brushed my arms and face, leaving a tepid smell lingering in my nostrils.
“Well I have, it was last year.” She sighed and hunched her elbows onto her knees, her face in her hands. “He was older, tall and handsome with long hair down to his shoulders, blonde and curly. He said I was the most gorgeous girl he had ever seen. When he took my hand it felt like my heart was going to fall down into the pit of my stomach” She stopped and looked at me, waiting for a response, but I offered nothing.. “He kissed me once, it was the most amazing thing I have felt, his lips were so soft, his hands holding onto my arms firmly.” She swooned a little but her smile was deviously crooked to one side. “Have you ever been kissed?” I shook my head slowly. “I figured.” My ears rang slightly from the harsh pretentious tone of her voice. “You don’t seem like the sort of person who would care for such things.” Her lips turned into a full smug grin, waiting for my face to contort with sadness. “Rather, I don’t think any girl would love you. You’re not much to look at, with your simple face and sad looking eyes. No girl wants to deal with sadness when all she wants is love.”
She sounded matter of fact, as if she knew of everything, about me and of the world.
“I don’t believe you.” I said calmly.
“About what? That you’re cursed with such things?”
“No, that you were once in love.” This caught her off guard and I will admit I enjoyed the
look of exasperation that sparked across her face. Yet she smiled again, her hand grabbing mine.
“It’s true, it was a lie.” I thought I saw tears creep up in the corner of her eyes, but it must have just been wishful thinking.
“Why did you lie?”
“I guess I wanted to make you jealous, but when I saw that you weren’t, I grew angry. How did you know I was lying?” She stood and pulled me with her, leading me away form the log we had been sitting on.
“Your expression never really changed when you talked about it.” Belle stopped and turned to look at me, her face was streaked with the falling shadows of leaves above. A genuine dimpled smile spread across her face.
“I think I found one of your good points.” She clenched my hand and we continued deeper into the forest.

“Do you want to see something beautiful?” She asked as we came upon a cluster of large fanned ferns. I nodded my head questionably as she pull back a few of the glossy leaves to reveal a dead rabbit.
“There’s nothing more remarkable than what is inside of a once living creature.” She picked up a stick and pushed it onto its back. The belly was gashed open in a disemboweled mess. The fur was crusted over and stiff, piles of pulsing white maggots contrasted greatly with the thick black blood that coated the withered entrails.
“It looks like some sort of bloomed flower.” I said and crouched down close to it. Its small forest face was frozen in a ghastly gape that mirrored what must have been the last screeching breath to escape its tiny lungs. It’s bulging doll eyes stared straight at me vacantly.
“Isn’t it amazing? We have pretty much the same things inside of us; it’s humbling to see up so close.” She said standing next to me as I prodded the animal’s body with the stick, lifting up the tender, squelching pieces of flesh, the smell of decay heavy in my nose.
“Have you ever wanted to see the inside of a human? All of those muscles, veins, and organs pumping and flowing, creating what we are. That’s true source of our life, not some power we can’t see.” Belle’s voice was clear and had a hint of fondness, as if she was reciting her favorite lines of poetry. I stood up and wiped my hands on my pants.
“Let’s bury it, give it a funeral.” I fond the nearest tree I could. It was a deceased titan that was cracked down the center; its insides much like the rabbit’s were blooming in a muddle of rot and death. It was there under the dead colossus of a tree that I began to dig my first grave.
“Why do you want to do that? It’s not like anyone is going to miss it, no one loved it.” I didn’t answer; I only dug, pulling away clumps of damp earth, feeling it under my nails
and between my fingers. Belle watched me silently until the hole was deep enough. I ripped off a piece of bark from a fallen tree and slid it under the rabbit’s corpse, then carried if over like a lone pallbearer and dumped it into its grave. I decide to bury it on its stomach so that its sick bloom could not be seen. While filling the hole I noticed that Belle was not standing by the grave, but I could hear her rustling in the background. I patted the dirt into a small mound, now all I needed were some flowers to lie in its behalf, a make shift tombstone.
“Here, I got these for it.” Belle had returned holding a few magnolias in her hand. She leaned over and placed them on the grave. The flowers were sugary, sweetly dappled in pollen that nature itself had created, an epitaph unadulterated with passion.
“I’m glad you did this Sebastian.” She whispered over the funeral like silence that had
fallen over us.
“Why did you change your mind?” I asked.
“I don’t know why I talked about love; it has nothing to do with some rabbit carcass in the middle of the woods. I mean what’s it matter, even if you didn’t bury it, it would have just decayed naturally like anything else.” She bent down and ran her fingers through the fresh dirt. “But I guess when I saw how you looked at the rabbit despite the plain ordinariness of it; I just sort of wanted to see you do it. I wanted to see you dig the hole, place it in its grave and look so mournfully at it like you did.” We both stood up and looked at each other with a slight intensity between us. The back of my head tightened and tingled as if I was looking down a deep hole, its depth much like her eyes, both freighting and tempting me to heave myself into them.
“It was so beautiful it seemed like a shame to stop. The way you look at things must be so different from me.”
“I could show you, if you want.” I told her, my fingers curling into an anxious fist. She only shook her head, her eyes closed tight and her teeth pulling at her bottom lip.
“No, I’m fine just watching you live them.”
A familiar smell floated through the air, I wasn’t sure from where, but it smelled like honeysuckle, a timid scent that seemed to hesitate in the crevasses of the air. Everything seemed to go out of focus; the colures of the forest seemed to infuse into each other in
sweeps of bold daylight green and waves of lush earthen brown. Small tangled ribbons of light gleamed in long glistening arches that flowed from radiant shapes of bursting colors. I only saw Belle’s face softening as we stared at each other, her eyes waning into two half moons of a smooth dark lacquered red. I bent forward and kissed her. We watched each other’s eyes close.
It wasn’t some lustful lock of the lips; no it was more of an innocent embrace. My whole body seemed to beat with my heart, as if it was sending its pulse through all my veins and nerves in a hollow echoing thump. The smell I once caught a faint, cautious hint of was now more potent and clean, it was Belle. When we broke our kiss we looked at each other through the veil of secret, unknown dreams that had fallen silently past our quivering eyes. Her face was flushed and I could feel my own burning. She reached out and placed a hand over my heart, and I did the same to her. I could feel it beating; it pounded just as hard as mine.
We walked back to her house with our tiny hands held perfectly together like chips in a can, no one pulling or leading, just together. We were quiet for most of the way, just smiling at each other and to our selves. Above us the suns arms were stretched across the sky in smeared limbs of orange and pink. The night was slowly prying each sherbet finger loose as tiny rebel stars punctured into the darkness with outstretched hands of their own. The moon was patiently waiting somewhere behind us, sulking on another side of the world, eager to get to the next.
“Do you think well ever see each other again?” She asked and I didn’t want to answer.
“Who knows, we might be able to.” That seemed like a lie, and we both knew it.
“Can I give you something to remember me by?” We had stopped at her back door.
“I’d like you to.” I answered and she ran inside, telling me to stay where I was.
She returned with one closed fist and an excited smile. She held open her hand and in it laid two tiny vials and a sewing needle. I put two and two together; she wanted to shed blood for each other.
“Will you do it Sebastian?” Her cheeks were still dusted with a slight blush and here eyes shone in anxious elation.
I didn’t even hesitate, I did it. I squeezed drops of my very essence into that minute old perfume vial gave it to her, and in return I was given hers. She went first, sticking the needle into her thumb, quick and deep. The blood instantly appeared in a scarlet raindrop, as if she unintentionally caught it falling from the sky. I held the bottle as she squeezed till it was full, it didn’t take much. I did the same, puncturing my thumb in a quick slightly painful motion and filled up her vial.
“Now we have something very precious of each other.” She connected her vial to a silver necklace and put it on. It lay on her chest like a pendant, crimson on her skin.
We said our goodbye, a soft tearless kiss, and a painful smile. I went inside alone. My mother was already saying her own goodbye to Belle’s mom.
“Ready to leave?” She asked me smiling and I just nodded my head. We left the same way we entered, out the front door, down the steps, into the car and down the dirt snake of a road.
Looking back upon this event I could say it was my first experience with love. The words we spoke, the actions we did, they were only timid shots into the darkness of that transitional age. We had more to say than what our mouths could form, our tongues were tangled in the slowly evolving mind of our adolescence. I left that secluded piece of Georgia with warm confusion falling from my eyes. I was not sure as to what transpired between us, had we given each other not only our essence, but also our hearts? The words Belle spoke to me sounded ancient, she seemed a creature born from books and dreams a being of fleeting remembrance. Yet as I traveled silently through the glowering world I clutched the macabre vial in my hand; I knew then that it contained the most beautiful thing I ever hoped to see.

The End
Posted 1/28/08 , edited 1/29/08
That was really beautiful. I can honestly say the best amateur work I've read in quite a long time.
You really brought the scenery alive. All the different sight and smells, really enriched the plot.
This is absolutely superb, but I feel can be turned into a much longer and worthwhile story.
I love how simple the theme was. Something sweet and innocent happening between two children
Very great work. I hope to read more from you. XD
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29 / F / Sydney, Australia
Posted 1/28/08 , edited 1/29/08
Haha 3k is not a long story..

Very nicely written. I can almost smell that wet cardboard mixed with fresh rain.

Anyways, it seems to me like a recount of the past, rather than it happening then and there. They must be 2 very smart 12 year olds thou lol
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32 / M / PA
Posted 1/29/08 , edited 1/29/08
Yeah, i added the last paragraph to try and show taht its someone remembering the events, and like with most memories of when youre that young..things seems more vivid, words seem more signifigant....i just tried to capture a memory in all of its glory
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34 / M / Florida
Posted 1/30/08 , edited 1/31/08
Very good use of adjectives and adverbs, I love that you described things well without going nuts with them. Some people tend to overuse them, but you used just enough to draw the reader and and draw a neat picture in my head.

One thing... spacing... ah its like one long paragraph, it tends to make people cross-eyed Like I've told others, if you hit enter once, might as well hit it again. It's kind of like a courtesy flush on toilets, you should always hit it twice just to be nice
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