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Long Story Short · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
Short a Long Story
Sunlight wove its way through a birch tree to paint Roy with warm gold. It rippled through his window and splashed across his face. Truly the best way to wake up—excepting the kiss of a beautiful woman.

Roy smiled. Constance might not be here this morning, but that made the memory of her more precious. There was her picture on the dresser: a photo of him, her and a pretty little girl beaming out from between the two of them.

He stretched languidly, enjoying the morning sun. He was in no hurry. His alarm hadn’t gone off, so it wasn’t a weekday; it felt like a Saturday. He couldn’t recall anything important to do.

There was a polite knock at the door. He sat up slightly, propped on one elbow, and frowned.

Unexpected… Constance wouldn’t knock, she—

The door swung slowly inwards and a young woman in white cotton and short sleeves entered. She pushed the door closed and turned to him.

“Good morning, Mister Hutchings.”

She moved into the room and dropped into an ugly plastic chair near the foot of the bed. Roy stared at her for a while. He knew her, he was sure, but something was slightly off.


She smiled softly. “It’s Rachel,” she leaned forwards a little, “Do you remember me today?”

“You’re… you’ve dyed your hair, Bea.”

She sat back and the smile flickered.

“How are you feeling this morning, Roy?”

He blinked at his older sister. “Surprised. What are you doing here? You… moved away when I was fifteen.”

“I’m here to fetch you for breakfast.”


“We’ve got pancakes this morning. I’ve found you some blueberry jam. Sound good?”

He half expected his stomach to speak for him. Blueberry was his favorite. They gave Constance heartburn. He nodded.

She stood up. “Okay then. I’ll get you some clothes.”

She went over to an ugly chest and tugged it open. Roy stuck his tongue out at her. She didn’t notice, so he protested out loud, “I can dress myself. I’m not a baby.”

“Yes, of course you can,” she said distractedly, “I’m just going to fetch you something smart.”


She paused. Turned to look back at him, as though he’d caught her stealing cookies. She was being strange today.

“You’ve got a visitor later on. Your little Julie.”

Roy gave her a blank look.

“Did you dye your hair?”

She shook her head slowly. She reached back into the drawers and fetched out two shirts, a blue and a green. She held them out for him to see and asked, “Which one do you feel like wearing?”

“You know I don’t like green, Bea.” Constance liked green, sometimes he wore it to remember her.

“Not the green one then. How about the blue? Do you like the blue?”

“Blue... Sure.” The shirt looked like an old man’s shirt. Something wasn’t right. “Beatrice, why are you here?”

She brought it over and placed it where he could reach it. “I came to fetch you for breakfast. We’re having pancakes.”

That sounded nice. “Ooh, Pancakes. Do we have blueberry jam?”

“I think we do, yes. How about you put this on, and I’ll fetch you some pants?”

“Okay…” He waited for her to turn around then began putting on the shirt. The buttons were too small and fiddly. Beatrice came back over with some beige slacks that she dumped on the chair.

“Would you like a hand with those?”

“I’ve got it. You’re being quite pushy this morning. Did you and Mom have another fight? Because you dyed your hair?”

She sat on the edge of the bed. He ignored her and finished his buttons. When he was done she stood up and he reached out to gently grab her arm. She halted and looked down, first at his hand, then at him. She briefly looked worried but it quickly passed.

“Hey, Bea, I know you and Mom don’t always see eye to eye, but can you not…” he searched for a word.


“Um. Don’t annoy her, please.”


“You should get your own place. Like me and Constance.”

She nodded.

“Where’s Constance? Is she here for breakfast?”

“No, I’m sorry, she isn’t. Julie is coming by later though. That will be nice.”

“Oh.” He thought for a second, “I don’t know a Julie. Have you met Constance?”

She shook her head.

He let go of her wrist and smiled warmly. “I think you’ll like her. Did you dye your hair?”
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#1 · 1
And that just plain hurt. I want to give Roy a hug and a plate of pancakes with blueberry jam. I don't have much to add, other than seeing a bit more of Roy's deteriorated thought process would've helped pack a stronger punch. Otherwise, excellent work.
#2 · 1
Okay, I’m going to be a bit harsh and I apologise, especially on Xmas day.

Here it is though.

It’s a very emotional fic, and it’s well written and executed but:

1. The same subject has already been tackled here (which won gold). I can’t help but compare both, and while the present story certainly holds its own, it’s not as complex and subtle as the other one;

2. The prose is fine, but in a way very simple so I can’t say there’s a big effort behind this. Similarly, I think it’s relatively easy to bring up a subject like this in minific format and tug at the heartstrings. I wouldn’t say it’s a cakewalk, but it’s definitely not the most ambitious story this round;

3. There seems to be a shifting PoV;

Subsidiarily, blueberries have a protective effect against brain degeneracy, but that’s nitpicking.

So yeah, good story, doubtlessly upper half, but maybe not top of it.
#3 · 2
Hm, hm, hm. I've thought long and hard on what to comment about on this one, but the answer is I've still come up blank. This fic is the very definition of the word fine to me. It doesn't particularly excel in any one area, but it also doesn't really fumble anything, which leaves me in a rather awkward place as a reviewer.

Like, I could agree with Mono that it is slightly low hanging fruit (we get a decent amount of Alzheimer's stories), but eh? That's not necessarily something worthy of criticism, especially if the execution is going to be fine. Can't really comment on the mental degradation accuracy because I'm not too familiar with it. Flow is generally fine. Hook presents early enough even if it is pretty mellow.

I kinda feel like i'm letting you down here, author, but I really got nothing. Its fine. It succeeds at what it wants to do. No real advice on this one. Sorry!
#4 · 1
All I can do is agree with Andrew's review.
#5 · 2
It took me a moment to get it, but when I finally realized what was going on, the story became very effective. The structure of the story really reflects the process of somebody slowly growing more confused, with all the repetitions and mixing up the character names. I also liked how the story doesn’t end with a final revelation of what’s wrong with Roy, but trusts the reader to figure out what’s happening and come to their own conclusion. Not every author trusts their readers enough to avoid spelling everything out for them, but this author managed to make things clear without holding the reader’s hand.

However, the one thing that really drags it down is the perspective being inconsistent. At times, the story is from a limited third-person POV, looking at Roy’s situation with a solemn, yet somewhat indifferent eye. But then there’s sections where it goes to Roy’s perspective, which highlights the confusion he’s feeling. It makes the story choppy, not because it’s a reflection of Roy’s mind, but because the story can’t make up its mind whether it wants to be distant or personal with Roy. I get wanting to depict Roy’s confusion in a unique way, but doing it in a manner that’s internally inconsistent makes it feel too awkward to read.

In conclusion, the story was done decently for the most part. Fix the POV issues, and I think this story can shine a little bit more.
#6 ·
Damn. I can't really add anything to Andrew's and libertydude's reviews.