Monday, April 15, 2013

1st 5 Pages April Workshop - Westbrook Rev 1

Pasha Westbrook
YA Dark Contemporary

friday, october 31st
arizona is more than a desert. it is hell. just like my life.

i’ve seen demons. i know what they can do. i’ve been possessed by them. i have been their possession. they cast you in an invisible spell. they blind the eyes of people around you so people don’t see them in the same unfiltered light as you. but you know their light well; their aged, over ripe, cheesecloth light filled with ancient screams. the minute it touches you, it shrouds you 4ever.


Mother safety pinned a butterfly bookmark to this journal. it’s her way of saying she speaks my language - that she’s on my level (i wear safety pins in everything) - but i have a secret for you Mother dear. you’ll never speak my language. and i’ll never speak yours.

god. this blood’s getting everywhere.


i am her childhood doll. i crinkle to life when her blood spills. i move in red and breath.she doesn’t see me and she doesn’t know that i see. i have seen since we first found each other. she was four. that was twelve years ago. i’ve been around a lot longer. i don’t know how long. i only remember the smell of smoke and turpentine, the taste of oiled cinnamon, the feel of hard straw and needle pinch as it sewed on each stitch of mouth and coarse yarn hair. i didn’t have to see to know it flamed red. it was a long and painful process. creation always is. the nimble strength and rough tenderness in my creator’s hands taught me everything i needed to know about button eyes were sewn on last. i saw my maker. old and weathered, battered by time, her skin dark chocolate and her eyes rheumatic. she saw me smile and smiled in return, patting my stuffed arms and legs.
she’ll need you, she whispered in a voice i recognized as my own. i travelled great distances, through many hands and lives, none of them right for me, to find the girl who needs me most, the one my creator created me for.

it’s hallows eve. my birthday. how’s that 4 blessed, huh? you know you’re bound to a twisted life when you’re born on the day meant 4 celebrating death.

born 2 die.

this journal is a gift from Mother. 4 your poetry, she said with her sad voice and sadder smile. of course it’s the wrong color. pink (her favorite color) with some inspirational quote engraved on it that’s supposed to enlighten me. instead it sickens me. not the effect the unknown author was going 4 i’m sure. the moment i saw the journal i knew i wanted nothing to do with it. i almost tossed it when a queer idea struck me. i wrapped it in crushed black velvet and trimmed it with crimson ribbon, like a bloody vein. the pink has been vanquished.

never fear, diary dear, the hallowed eve’s girl is here!

i immediately took care of you. and now i claim you. you are not allowed to touch another’s hands or look into their eyes. if you do, i will wilt. like a poisoned flower, i shall die. and if the day comes that you look upon another, i know that i am no longer alive. just a haunt of a girl, haunting and haunted. we are bound now. promise me this, and i promise 2 tell you everything. we bond in blood, it’s just a pinprick, on the first page here, see? i’ve marked you with the only part of me i know how to freely give. my blood. so if another touches you, close your eyes, do not let them see. but if you must open them, please choose wisely. be my protector.

if you dare.

well isn’t this cute? trick-or-treaters are outside my bedroom window ringing the doorbell. i hear Mother’s faint voice complimenting them, smoothing them with her spawn honey. i hear their giggles and the wonder in their tones at her soft approach. she has a way of doing that to people, convincing them she’s warm as sun, sweet as sugar, harmless as a skittish deer. i marvel at it. her technique i didn’t inherit. why don’t they see? why don’t people ever see that’s she’s as vicious as a pack of hungry wolves, cold as frostbite on a century’s winter lawn, dark as death.

me? i don’t trick-or-treat anymore. i play with ouija boards and get buzzed off alcohol. cigarettes are my candy.

monday, november 3rd
lexi wants to do it 2nite. dye her hair. she doesn’t want to wait a minute longer. it’s 9pm now. Mother doesn’t know i’m going, and even if she did, she could care less. don’t worry, diary dearest, i’m bringing you with me. it’s a mile to the small apartment where lexi and her blob mother live. a mile of walking in a town stretched across dry lands peppered with chalky sidewalks and bitter oleanders. a mile past stucco fenced suburbs, lit-windowed houses and long people’s shadows on closed blinds. a different life happening inside each one - happy ones maybe - disturbed ones more likely. everyone’s hiding something. i don’t care how normal they seem.

lexi needs me as much as i need her.demonic-touched girls horde together. it’s up to us to rid ourselves of the evil’s heavy-laden, unasked 4 touch.

if we can.

1 a.m.
well, we did it diary dearest. lexi’s sunflower blonde hair is now abyss black, deep-dark as a well, like mine. i helped her dye it a few hours ago. she held onto the bathroom sink and cried about her demon, the brother in prison who did things to her a brother never should while the other brother turned away. i kissed her pale forehead, cool damp from water, and whispered in her ear, we have each other now. i moved her strands of hair (i’d move heaven and earth) from her line of sight, we’ll pull each other thru this hell and we won’t look back. aren’t we now bonded by our hair and eyes, black and blue? when she looked in the mirror she saw my words were true.

oh dearest diary, i took the silver dagger from my bag, the one i ordered thru wiccan stars, my ultimate fave catalog and told her 2 follow me. holding hands, we ran outside, our black hair flying under the deep canopy of night like witches brooms. the orange groves were dusky dark, every tree’s bark slathered in white paint. much like my tinted skin is painted white. we stopped in a clearing dusted by moonlight. black shadowed leaves, dipped in ink, moved on the soil beneath us.

it was decadent and dark. the way life should always be.

our feet were bare, hers the clear pale light of moon, mine the dim grey shadows of dirt. a perfect moment it seemed. but nothing is perfect. she stretched out her arm 2 me, so trusting, and i clasped her wrist, my fingernails glossy black against her snowy skin. with the dagger, i pierced the inside of her wrist, very near to the vein that runs very near to her heart. she cried out and bit her bottom lip. her teeth drew blood. i wiped it away with my fingertip and placed it in my mouth.

no one can say we don’t belong to each other now.


  1. You did an awesome job clearing up my confusion in the opening. You kept the voice, the setting, and the mood. Great job!

  2. Hi Pasha,
    Excellent revision! Adding the bold font is perfect. Your changes in content clarify the story and add tension!

  3. Very nice. I love the language you use and the imagery you paint with your words. Very dark. I like. :D I do have an issue with it labeled as contemporary when it seems you have at least some paranormal element to it. I hope that's not just to avoid the "paranormal" label. How about w/elements of paranormal? IDK. I'd be willing to forgo that but the ragdoll makes me think otherwise.

    The first sentence throws me off btw. I feel like that and the following paragraph are two separate stories being introduced. I think you need to eliminate the AZ. Show us where she is some other way or a bit later. I'm more drawn to the demons imagery.

    That's all I've got.

    1. Thank you and good suggestion! It is Contemp for a valid reason. One which is crucial to the story. =)

  4. I like the mood you've created. The darkness, which always draws me in, is crafted well. You have great imagery, but I agree with Lisa--show us arizona.
    I would think of this as a paranormal especially with the demons and the doll. I want more of the demons too. It does make me want to know what they are doing to her or is it just in her head as if there is something mentally wrong. But I think for that I would have to read on. :)

    1. Thank you Christine! It's definitely Contemp. I know originally I said w/ paranormal elements to illustrate the darkness. It was a mistake. =)

  5. WOW! I'm blown away with your anger, sensory descriptions and the magnitude of darkness. Does she have a split personality? I don't usually read dark stories, but you do have me intrigued.

    I wonder if you left out the first two lines at the beginning and just go to i've been possessed by demons...The first two line seem redundant. And using contractions all the way through seems more natural in a journal.

    This revision is much tighter and clearer to me...Good job!!

    1. Thank you! Using contractions does seem more natural, doesn't it? And she largely does throughout entire book but she is a little loopy. =)

  6. I like what you've done to ground the story. I would move the arizona line down a little. Maybe to the paragraph the starts "it's hallows eve."

    The way you expanded her musings on her mother really worked for me.

    You made a good decision to introduce the second doll later.

    If there are demons and dolls that can see, then it's paranormal, I believe.

    I love the first paragraph. The use of "it" in the last sentence jarred me a little, though. By it, you mean the demons, right? Maybe change to "the minute you are touched by one, it shrouds you 4ever."

    You have a chilling start, yet you've made the MC sympathetic. I have questions, but not so many that I feel confused. I want to keep reading.

  7. Thank you Lauren!

    It's definitely Contemp. I know originally I said w/ paranormal elements to illustrate the darkness. It was a mistake. =)

    "It" is referring to the demonic light.