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Time Heals Most Wounds · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
A Long Came A Spider
This is my punishment.

In life I was powerful. But the circle of Avarice can't be bought off, because they invented the damn sin, you can't negotiate with Pride and you damned well well can't reason with Wrath.

In life I was surrounded by people. When they say “What a wicked web we weave when we seek to deceive”? When you seek it, it's useful to sit in the center of that large web. To feel the plucking of every string as it reverbrates through the silk wires.

Pluck. Pluck. Pluck.

Another caught in the sticky web, formed between nodes of men and women united, willing or unwilling or knowing or unknowing, trying to do harm to the spider they will never see in the circle. Caught and struggling and-

Pluck. Pluck. Twang.

-struggling against a web that is felt and known but never seen.

Left to digest in my own time.

Now I have too much time, and all the wrong things to digest.

The center of a vast political engine, the former head of a union bouyed up from crime connections. The illegal in one hand, the judicial in another, and the means of production in a third, for what wicked web weaver was I if I were limited to just two arms?

This was my punishment, then. The web removed from me and I found myself nailed to the sky. Neither falling nor rising, no longer between trees but… if one were to look up at a spider in a web from directly below on a moonless night, it would look like I do now. Suspended in nothing.

I was sentenced to sit here and think about what I had done.

I thought it had been a joke for the first thirty minutes. But then I lost concept of time, and still I remained.

Every journalist I had buried. Every truth I had buried. Every war on crime I had orchestrated so that my own faction would remain in power and keep me there in kind. Every opponent who had an unfortunate accident before an election.

I hadn't cared before.

I had a lot of time to learn.

The ends justify the means, certainly, but now I was deprived of the ends and left only with the burden of the means and now I had meaning taken from me as I sat here.


In eternity.

It's been… I don't sleep or feel hunger. I have no biological process to moniter the passing of time. I can only guess, but I can't do that either. Nothing to interrupt my thoughts, my reflections, and regrets.

There is one thing, then, that I have learned from my meditations:

Time heals most wounds. The others it inflicts.
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#1 · 2
· · >>MrNumbers
Reviewing this story was difficult for me, mainly because I didn't feel any connection. While I usually try to discount such criticism in stories shorter than a thousand words that try to convey some idea, in this case it is a primary requirement for it to work.

I can't say anything about the technical side of the writing. As far as I know it's well written and there aren't any hiccups that break the flow.

I have been thinking for a few hours about what you could have changed to make it connect with me in some way, and I came up only with the idea to have it as a longer story where we can see how and why the MC rose to power, how he lost, if he ever had, any empathy and how his life evolved from there, all intermingled with his current knowledge. But that would have been a completely different story, and I'm not here to tell you how to write.

At the end, it may simply be that I'm not the right audience for it.
#2 · 1
· · >>MrNumbers
What a wicked web we weave when we seek to deceive

I heard this as: "What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

...sorry, moving on.


Another story without much real arc to it.

Not only that, it's really hard to even begin grasping at the character here. The story seems very caught up in describing their circumstances and actions, but we really don't know much about them, except that they did some bad things, and they're being punished for it.

It all seems built up for that last line. And... I mean... it's not a bad line, but I don't think it's nearly enough to justify the weight of words assigned to it, even with the meager wordcount we're allotted. I'd have liked to see something more ambitious, I think, even if it was executed less well.
#3 ·
· · >>horizon
This story was briefly talked about in the chat, and changelin|mposter said that he thought the typo in the title was intentional, I think just on the basis of the rest of the story not having any glaring errors. But if it was intentional, I can't figure out why.

And the rest of the story seems similarly incomprehensible to me. It appears to be about someone stuck in their own personal Hell, with plenty of spider metaphors thrown in for good measure. But that's about all I got out of it.

Also, that comma splice in the first line was really distracting.
#4 ·
Some nice metaphors and imagery here, and it was eloquent and thoughtful. There were a few mechanical errors that others have noted, but nothing an editing pass wouldn't fix.

The larger issue I'm having is that, although eloquent, it reads as very generic, impersonal. I'm not given any concrete details about the character or the life that they've lived, so it's hard for me to relate to them, and my reaction to their current situation is muted.

There's a decent skeleton here, but I think it needs some flashbacks or concrete anecdotes for the reader to really latch on to.
#5 ·
· · >>MrNumbers
I'm relatively favorably inclined to this one. I like the core concept, and it's got about as much story as you're going to be able to cram into a minific, which just gets back to my eternal complaint about 750 words being too constrictive a limit, especially for original fiction. I do like the twist on the prompt, which rescues this from the prompt drop that would otherwise be a no-no for me. That said, this could use a little more concrete grounding. "I regret the people I murdered in life" doesn't pluck at the heartstrings the way "I regret John Doe's pre-election accident that secured my rise to power" does. A death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. That's the reason the citations of the circles of Hell up front are powerful: concrete detail. Do that throughout. Low Strong, or high Almost There

Huey Long? Though I'm not sure the parallels are exact.
#6 · 2
· · >>Orbiting_kettle >>Not_A_Hat >>horizon
>>horizon >>Orbiting_kettle >>Not_A_Hat

My usual writing style consists of having several ideas, discarding all but the strongest, and editing it down three times as long as initially getting it on the page.

This one I wrote in its entirety in fifteen minutes, without a single editing pass, knowing it was a terrible execution of a lacklustre idea, because I was very mentally unwell and became a being composed almost entirely of self-spite, the day I wrote my entries. It was an intentional decision at the time, because a lot of my close friends call me a perfectionist and that I don't enjoy writing for the sake of writing, so I went Ah Ha! I'll show them what happens when I do that! I'll show them all!

And forgot I was actually kind of sort of showing a lot more people than I intended with that declaration.

But you guys I super respect and now I made you go ahead and read this ill-conceived experiment, so I'll leave you with this instead, if you haven't heard me say it already.

This writeoff was, for me, the literary equivalent of waking up with a hangover and discovering you had cooked drunk the night before, baked inebriated and sauteed while sozzled. You do not know how the eggs got up on the ceiling, you do not know why you thought combining Italian food and Mexican was a good idea at the time, and then, and then, after finally surveying the mess that is the kitchen, you turn around and find immaculate dinnerware set up, and realize you had planned on entertaining.

The idea that some people actually showed up is as of yet inconceivable. That two attempts made the finals is equal measures baffling and mortifying.
#7 · 1
While I can't obviously do nothing for your own perception of your work, let me at least reiterate something I think is quite important. You don't waste our time, you don't have to be sorry or be mortified. The story had weak points and, as I said, wasn't really satisfying. But it was far from pointless. And if you write that in 15 minutes without editing then I'm envious.
#8 ·
That's a very eloquent analogy. And it's exactly how I felt about the last story I entered in the writeoffs. So I know that feel.

Still, people read and review for their own pleasure, so don't feel too bad about what you've wrote; you're not actually coercing anyone into anything here, (which is something I had to keep reminding myself of) and if people voted your stories into finals, they genuinely enjoyed them! So that's a good thing, even if it's hard to accept. Believe me, I get it.
#9 ·
· · >>Trick_Question
What Hat and Kettle said. Though I'm still curious where "A Long" came from. <.<
#10 ·