Hostages, my short story by TheSleepyBookNerd

Hello fellow BookNerds.  I have written a story for a short story competition and would really like some really constructive criticism. I mean don’t be afraid to say anything about it, I welcome change for my story. Have fun criticizing!


I sit down at my dresser and stare into the mirror. I smile, slip on my heels, adjust my glasses and rush downstairs. My mum sees me and exclaims in joy “You look amazing” she smiles and then stops talking, just eyeing me up and down. I stand there awkwardly for a second, “I have to go now, I love you mum” I rush, and fly out the door, my dress flailing behind me. If I had known that might have been the last time I said “I love you” I would have said it so much more meaningfully, I would have kissed her and hugged her and cry “I love you!” every time she let go.

Asher my date gives me a ride there. As we pull up at the school I can already hear the school band playing an ancient Beatles Song. We get out of the car and walk up to the school’s entrance. We are ushered inside, to the main school hall, where bunting floats down from the ceiling, and punch and food is set out an tables. Couples are waltzing onto the dance floor. The evening flies by and I’m asked to dance a couple of times, I pig out on the doughnuts at the dessert table and chat with my friends. Suddenly something in the air changes and a cold shiver runs down my back. I just forget about it, but now I wish I hadn’t I wish I had gone home. Asher creeps up behind me and hugs me from behind, making me jump. “Well, hello there Miss Tuft, would you care for this dance? He asks bowing before me and taking my hand and kissing it extravagantly. Everyone then turns their attention to us and I blush and pull my hand away. “Yes, you may Mr. Sullivan” and he leads me to the dance floor. A gun shot then rings out and I see Asher sink to the floor, the light leaves his eyes, his face becomes pale as the blood pool spreads on the floor. My first instinct is to sweep Asher into an embrace and bring him back to life, like in a fairytale. But instead I stand there mortified as I stare at Asher’s body. More gunshots ring out and people fall to the floor like odd dominoes that can’t stand upright. I see every one else running and then I start running, my heart pounds, my feet slam against the floor.

As I get to the hallway I try to decide where to go. My brain is fuzzy as I hear more people screaming, “Where to go, where to go!” I desperately run in the direction of the girls toilets but there’s already people in there. I stop for a second and decide to head for the P.E lockers. I skid down the hallway towards the changing rooms. I burst in the room and look for a locker. There’s one in the corner that just about looks like I can fit into. I squash myself in there, it reeks of sweaty socks and body odor but I couldn’t really care less. I cry and pray to God, it feels weird for me to talk to a God who I don’t think is real but I try to bargain with him and spare my life. I ask him to let me live but I’m interrupted by the sound of the bang on the locker. Somebody’s trying to see if the locker is hollow or not. I hope it’s the police or a fellow classmate, but as the door is yanked open I see it’s not, it’s the man himself, a gun in his hand and alcohol on his breath.

He pulls me out and sits me down on the bench. I begin to cry, my mascara runs down my cheeks, I put my hands in my lap and look at him. He has olive skin and dark curly hair, one piercing green eye and a dark brown one. “My daughter went missing years ago” he spits, his voice choking up “She was bullied and didn’t want to be here any more. She came to this school and now we can’t find her she’s missing, my little girl…” He begins to sob “I’m gonna make sure that girls like you know what you did to her!”
He holds the gun to my head as I burst out into hysterical tears. I pray in my brain, I scream to god that I will be a better person, that I will become his follower. The man fingers the trigger, he strokes it. Suddenly a gun rings out and my life is all hazy, I’m not sure if I’m dead or not.

As things become a little clearer I see the man on the floor, he gives me a flashback of what happened to Asher and I begin to shake. The police had got to him and shot him but the bullet ricocheted and hit me in the shoulder. I see the policewoman at the door beckoning me out, there’s lots of shouting and running around. The policewoman puts a blanket round my shoulders and leads me out through the main school hall. I see bodies all over the floor, being bagged up and taken for autopsies. I run over to Asher as they’re about to bag him up and bat them away. I stroke his tie and take his wallet, phone and corsage and plant a kiss on his lips before they wheel him away. As I’m lifted into the ambulance I see the other hostages, some have injuries and some are guilt-ridden but I’m sure that being alive is something they owe to god even if they don’t know it. I know one thing now, that nobody kills for the right reason and that God spared my life, but took away Asher’s and the thirty three other students  for a good reason. And I am thankful.





16 thoughts on “Hostages, my short story by TheSleepyBookNerd

  1. It’s good! I love it, and I can’t wait to read more of your stories ^.^ The plot was good, so was the writing, but with a little more detail it will be even more awesome than it already is 😀 I LOVED it!

  2. I loved this short story, totally gripping, like nirvnaamja says it needs a bit more detail but otherwise its amazing. It would be interesting to see this develop into either a novel or a collection of short stories that intertwine with other stories, if that makes in any sense. Love your work and would love to read more.

  3. It’s good. But if you don’t mind my saying, it just needs a little cohesion. The plot’s well thought up, but the plot reveal could have been a little more strategic. And there are a few missing punctuation marks. But all in all, it was a good read and you should write more. I’ll be eager to read them. 🙂

  4. First of all, congratulations on completing a short story! This is a really compelling subject, with possibility for all kinds of gripping tension.
    Depending on how many words you’re allowed with the contest, I would suggest pinpointing one or two scenes/ideas and making them the focal point. Is it the girl’s relationship with her mum, with god?
    I wasn’t quite following the scene in the locker room when the killer is confessing why he’s gone on his rampage-specifically the timing with when his daughter went missing. It would make sense if the protagonist had known his daughter, but I didn’t get that impression.
    Someone told me once they thought writing a short story was harder than writing a novel because the author has a very short time to both build a world and their characters. With some fine tuning and sharper details (and yes, watch punctuation), your story will shine!

  5. Hi there! 🙂 Thanks for the invite to read your story. Always good to interact with other writers. Just my two cents:

    (i) Tenses – maybe stick to one tense instead of switching between past and present throughout the story? I think past tense would work very well with your plot (except of course in quoted conversations).

    (ii) I like that you’ve got the whole plot thoughtfully thought out. However you may like to pick out one or two events central to your storyline and weave in more details. E.g. since your title is “Hostages” I would say the events leading to the main character being taken hostage (such as the shootout) would be good places to begin beefing up the plot with details and emotions.

    (iii) In line with point (ii), don’t let your visual images slip away without catching hold of them and describing them in more detail. It will give more depth to each scene. I personally like to describe instead of state; I find that telling people “what I see” draws readers in better than me just telling people “I see this”. E.g. the part about Asher getting shot:

    “Yes, you may Mr. Sullivan” and he leads me to the dance floor. A gun shot then rings out and I see Asher sink to the floor, the light leaves his eyes, his face becomes pale as the blood pool spreads on the floor.

    How about lingering a while here? Here’s my interpretation:

    Yes you may, Mr. Sullivan,” I said, smiling as he grinned and led me to the dance floor. Suddenly without warning, loud gunshots rang out in the air and everyone screamed. The scene was one of chaotic confusion as people ran, some falling as they were hit.

    I turned in horror as Asher’s eyes glazed. He crumbled to the floor like a rag doll, the light leaving his eyes, and the blood began to seep though his crisp white shirt.

    As I mentioned, I’m just a wordsmith and always still learning from everyone else too, so my comments are purely drawn from my own experience in writing. I am really glad there are young, passionate writers like you springing up all over the world, and I hope the suggestions can help you. Keep writing! 🙂

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