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Night Of Living Hell
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Night Of Living Hell
This is a story I wrote a couple of years ago about a girl who is waiting outside the cinema for her date, and wondering if he is ever going to turn up.
[1,227 words]
Paula M Shackleford
I am 21 years old and have just graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University with an honours degree in Marketing and Communication. What I really want to do though is write, that has been my lifelong dream. I am the kind of person who could happily spend my entire life sitting at a computer, writing story after story - of course, that doesn't mean they'll be any good, but practice makes perfect. . .supposedly. I would appreciate any feedback and criticism regarding this story, its not as if I'm going to see any of you face to face!
[July 2001]
A Sinner (Short Stories) Janey feels smothered by the man in her life. Will He ever relinquish His hold on her? [1,432 words]
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Cyn (Short Stories) Is Cynthia really cheating on Jerry? And, if she is, what is he going to do about it? [2,479 words]
Don't Bank On It (Short Stories) This is the story of how a petty argument can develop into a full-scale war, when it comes to couples living together! And then this silly squabble is put into perspective when the couple involved fin... [3,766 words]
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Smothered (Short Stories) The story of a girl who drives away men without meaning to. Will she ever find true love? [3,970 words] [Romance]
Splitting (Short Stories) When Anna's boyfriend decides to break up with her, Anna is the one who ends up laughing. [1,001 words]
Night Of Living Hell
Paula M Shackleford

Saturday night.
Allow me to set the scene. It is an icy January night. Extremely icy and I know that first hand. I only had to walk 100 yards along this street, my mum had dropped me off, and in that 100 yards I slipped and fell. With a lot of witnesses around to see it. I also have had several near misses where my arms flailed around as I tried to regain my balance, while people passing in cars laughed at my crazy antics. Anyway, now I'm outside the mulitplex cinema, a relatively new feature to the town I live in. I'm shivering violently. My clothese were carefully chosen for their attractiveness, not for their ability to keep out the cold. The damp air seems to be making my hair frizz up - I have to keep running my ice block hands through it in a vain attempt to smooth it down.
One thought keeps running through my head, over and over. A tortuous mantra.
I've been stood up. I've been stood up. I've been stood up.
He's late.
I always knew this was gonna happen. From the minute he asked me out. I knew it was wrong to be lulled into a false sense of security, that he was just like every other guy on the planet, just waiting for the chance to give a girl shit and humiliate her. But part of me always hoped that I was wrong. I was being pessimisticonly so it didn't appear that I was getting my hopes up, trying to trick my life into going right for a change. And, as usual, it didn't work. Not that I should be surprised - nothing every seems to fall into place in my life.
"Caitlin!" Martina Dixon approaches me, accompanied by a giggling group of her sycophant chums. "What a surprise!"
Surprise? Hah! She's been standing ten feet to the left of me for the last twenty minutes, looking over in my direction every so often and then whispering and sniggering. She obviously knows that something is up, and she's determined to find out what.
"Martina," I say weakly. "Hi, what are you doing here?"
"Going to see a movie of course." She eyes me as if I am an escaped metal patient, rolling her big violet eyes. "Doh!" The amazing eyes narrow. "Who are you waiting for?"
Its important not to let her know. She's had a massive crush on Chris since primary school. And, while I wouldn't mind her knowing if he was actually here, I don't want her to know he has stood me up. The bastard!
"Um - just my date. I'm a little early," I lie. I can feel my face flaming crimson with embarrassment. She's eyeing me calculatingly but for once she chooses not to comment further.
"Okay then, if you say so." She tosees her platinum hair and nods to her cronies, as if to say TIME TO GO. She makes her way to the entrance, wiggling her pert little bottom as she does so, but she pauses just before she reaches the door and turns back to face me. "Well, if your date doesn't show, you can always come and watch Cruel Intentions with us." She flashes me an extremely winning (and unbelievably insincere) smile, then flounces inside.
What a little bitch. Anyway, I've already seen Cruel Intentions - and Martina is clearly trying out her Sarah Michelle Gellar impression. I console myself with the fact that it is a lousy impersonation - and the only thing worse than a superbitch is a wannabe superbitch. Okay, thinking butchy thoughts about Martina has killed some time - approximately 30 seconds. Panic sets in once more as I glance up and down the street, prayng he'll magically appear in frotn of my nose.
I close my eyes. I'll count to 100 before I open them, I decide. And when I do open them, he'll either be standing right in front pof me, watching me as if I'm mad, or he'll at least be halfway along the street.
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
God, this is stupid! Maybe I should just take a little peek . . .
No! That defeats the purpose of what I am trying to do. I concentrate hard, squeeze my eyes more tightly shut and try to send out "Please turn up" vibes.
35 - 36 - 37
Oh shit! I bet people are wondering what I am playing at, standing in the middle of the street with my eyes closed. Sleeping? they'll be wondering through their sniggers. Meditating? Summonign evil spirits? Maybe I shopuld just open my eyes for a second, prove I am normal after all.
I take a quick peek to reassure myself that no one thinks I'm mental. Nope there's no one around. At all. Including Chris.
And I was so looking forward to this.
 Chris is breathtakingly gorgeous. Not that looks matter or anything, I know that its what's on the inside that really ocunts, but realistically looks are what we see first - if we like what we see then we may delve deeper into the personality. Chris doesn't disappoint on that score. He may be popular but it hasn't made him conceited. Sure, he's confident, but not overly so. He's a generous genuine guy - and I haven't net a lot of them.
Well, I THOUGHT he was different. I THOUGHT he was genuine. I guess I was sadly mistaken.
I hear a high pitched giggle behind me, whirl around and catch a glimpse of a white-blonde mane of hair as its owner zips back inside - Martina of course. Witness to my humiliation. Her and her - her HENCHGIRLS are lying in wait, spying on me. I won't even be able to slink off with my dignity still intact, they'll be laughing every step of the way. I bite back the tears.
But what is the point in prolonging this agony any further? Is Chris worth this? I thought so, but clearly I was wrong. Maybe it was just one big set-up, maybe Martina was a part of it. Better to give up and go now than to look like an even bigger, more gullible fool than I already appear.
Yeah, I'm going to go.
Right now.
I hear pounding footsteps behind me and I turn around just as Chris grinds to a breathless halt beside me.
He's here!
I suddenly feel really guilty that I ever doubted him.
I hear a gasp behind me and I know that its Martina. The smile on my face increases in width until it almost stretches from one ear to the other.
"God, Caitling, I am so sorry I'm late," he gasps between breaths, "My watch battery went dead and I didn't realise the time. I tried to call you on your mobile but it just rang out."
I grimace apologetically, wishing I wasn't always so forgetful. "Sorry about that, I left it at home by accident."
"Anyway, I'm really sorry. Have you been wiating long?"
"Nope, not long at all," I lie as he leads me out of the cold and into the warmth of the cinema foyer. It wasn't his fault my mum dropped me off half an hour early because she needed to get to her yoga class.
And he WAS only five minutes late.
I can hardly hold that against him, can I?



"Hi there Paula, I know the difficulty in receiving critism, any kind of criticism, so I've taken the time not only to read it, but to also criticize it in a hopefully constructive way, and that's because I'm really a nice guy. I'll only do a little tweaking on grammer so you don't shoot me. Since you have other stories I'll critique upon the stories themselves. First thing first, Saturday Night is not a full sentence, it is just a noun, and has no verb thus it can not be a sentence. I can't be 100% certain so you may wish to check this out, but I think it would work much better if you started Saturday night... and then tack on your next sentence to it. Next point that I should make is that whenever your reflecting on the past you must always use "was" not "is", otherwise you'll kill your story for lack of coherence. One last thing I'll dare to say, and that is the word "mum" jumped out at me. I don't know if you're English or your character is, or it was just a typo, I'll check even more closely to find hints of British, but if neither you or I find any and it sounds perfectly American and you sell it to an American audience I would suggest changing it to mom or mother, or some other American equivalent. God, I hope this helps you, rather than annoys you." -- EC Allen.
"Hi again Paula. I still can't figure out where you or your character are from, but I can tell you this, if you are trying to use the present tense in your story, it doesn't work, switch to the past tense and you'll save yourself some grief. Also check, check, and recheck your spelling, it may be that they are just typos, but typos are like a torpedo, you'll never see it coming but it will sink your ship all the same. For example in your story I'll point out two examples: 1. She looked at me as if I were an escaped "metal" patient (Sorry but I get images of a robot leaping off the operating table) 2. "butchy" was Martini (Be sure to change that, I hope you meant bitchy, the way it looks now means that Martini is a lesbian. Good luck in your corrections if you choose to take my advice." -- EC Allen.
"Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate that you took the time to give me it. I'm Scottish, as is my character, hence the use of the word "mum". Thanks again." -- Paula.
"Hi Paula - This is a cute story! I liked the internal monologue in the character's voice. I agree about the tense - make sure you choose just one and stick with it." -- Jennifer Nobile Raymond.
"The story is entertaining, but there are a couple of errors. There are some spelling errors as well as grammatical errors." -- B.J. Kreml, Normal, Il, U.S..
"i didn't read the story, just that EC ALLEN writes big reviews huh? i found it funny." -- sunny, DC.
"It always makes me laugh when people critiquing grammar have grammatical/spelling errors out the wazoo in their reviews. "When your using past tense-" Ha....ha....ha." -- Tyrant.
"not bad. not an earth shattering topic, but atleast it was honest enough and direct to the point. the ending was sort of a letdown wished something more dramatic had happened." -- sunny, dc.


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© 2000 Paula M Shackleford
July 2000

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