Al(m)as, Part 1

“C’mon, Nells,” Patrick insisted. “We have to go home before it gets dark.”

“I don’t wanna,” Nellie sang out as she started up the ladder to the slide for the twentieth time.

Patrick sighed and started walking in the direction of the play structure toward the incorrigible four year old. “Nellie, I’m counting! One…two…thr — ”

“WAIT!” Nellie yelled from the top of the slide, waving her arms and shaking her blonde curls furiously. “What are you counting to?”

Patrick rolled his eyes. “Five. I’m counting to five. Three…four…”

Nellie shrieked and hopped onto the slide, flying down the metal chute and only just getting her feet beneath her in time to spring to her brother’s side.

“Five!” Patrick barked, trying his best to smother a grin. “You made it. Barely.” She grabbed his hand and looked up at him, a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eye. Her blue eyes stared into his brown ones, wide and trusting, and she retorted, “Course I did. I’m an angel, aren’t I?”

“Yeah, and angels can — ” Patrick began — “FLY!” they both cried in unison as Patrick scooped up his little sister around the middle, balanced her on his shoulder, and began to run. Nellie giggled in delight and spread her arms wide, her limbs bouncing up and down wildly with each step.

They arrived back home giddy and breathless just as the sun set behind the forested hills.

Continue to Part 2.

2 thoughts on “Al(m)as, Part 1

  1. Starting from part 1, and will comment on each one as a thanks for the detailed feedback you gave me. 🙂

    Firstly, I love their relationship – Patrick seems to be a strict older brother, but he’s also very lenient, and Nellie quite obviously has him wrapped around her little finger. At first, due to the way they react to each other, I guessed that Patrick was the father – I don’t know if that was your intention, or if it’s a good or bad assumption, but I was surprised when the word “brother” was mentioned. Either way, I want to see more of their relationship. It’s obvious they’re really close!

    One problem is that I couldn’t really figure out how old they are. Is Patrick an adult, or a teenager, or a pre-teen? It’s obvious that Nellie is younger than him, but just how much younger? Her speech seems very accurate for someone that small, but then again, I don’t have the most experience with young children, so I wouldn’t know where to begin writing dialogue for one!

    Next, although it’s a really nice little scene, it doesn’t *really* grip me in. It’s just a scene, and if I didn’t know already that there’s a part 2 through 7, I probably would have expected it to be a standalone story. Not much happens, not much is explained, and it’s all portrayed as being quite mundane. But, then, one advantage of this is that I have no idea what’s going to happen next. It’ll be something I’m not expecting, all right, as I’m not expecting anything right now!

    And finally, your prose is wonderful – near the end of the story is my favourite line:

    ‘Nellie giggled in delight and spread her arms wide, her limbs bouncing up and down wildly with each step.’

    That is just such a gorgeous image. Very nicely done. 🙂

    I’ll continue to part 2 when I can!

    • Wow! Thank you so much! This is wonderful.

      Patrick’s age is something I fumbled a bit. I don’t think you end up finding it out until part 3 or so, so I hope it doesn’t contradict your image of him when you get there.

      Nellie’s speech. Yes. I try to keep my four year old niece in mind when I write anything about how she acts. I’m constantly impressed by my niece’s vocabulary and grasp of language, so made Nellie a pretty smart cookie. Hopefully not unbelievably so.

      And I know. It’s really not a big hook. At the time I wrote it purely for its own beauty, knowing that I wanted to expand but not sure exactly how. I’ll keep that in mind when I finish and go back to revise the whole thing — maybe add some sort of teaser hinting at what’s to come.

      Thanks so very much and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about the rest!

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