1 thought on “Critiquing Services

  1. Hello. This is based on the car crash scene template. Would you think about critiquing it? This scene is part of a short story. Anne is in the army and had just been kidnapped by three soldiers who are driving her into the middle of the forest. The scene is 1351 words long.

    “Stop the car,” she said.
    “Make me,” Greyson said.
    “Okay.” Anne thrusted both legs against the back of Greyson’s seat. “Stop. The. Car.” She kicked again.
    She gasped as the car swerved, but Greyson steadied it. She kicked him over and over.
    “Cut that out,” he said.
    Jamie and Cooper each tried to control her. Anne yanked her arm out of Cooper’s grip and elbowed him in the throat. He clutched it and wheezed. She used her free fist to punch Jamie in the crotch.
    “Stop! We’re far enough, stop the—”
    Panic flew through Anne’s body as the headlights reflected in the eyes of a fawn, approaching her at break-neck speed. Greyson yelped. He might have panicked because instead of slamming the breaks, he cranked the steering wheel and tried to swerve around it. It was too late. Anne squeezed her eyes shut and braced herself.
    The animal crashed through the front windshield, shower them in glass pellets. It flew through the passenger seat and slammed straight into Cooper.
    He didn’t scream.
    Or maybe he did, but she couldn’t hear it over her own screams. The carcass’s rear end smashed into her arm, sending a wildfire of pain up her crushed bones.
    The airbag popped out, blowing dust into Anne’s lungs. She coughed as if she had inhaled a fire ball. Something smashed the headlights, leaving her in darkness. They crashed into a tree on Jamie’s side, stopping the car from spinning out any further.
    And then there was silence.
    No more crashes, no more popping or shattering. Just the puttering engine and Greyson’s labored breathing.
    Her obliterated arm dangled at her side. Her torso ached from being thrown against the seatbelt. She would scream if her throat wasn’t so raw.
    Cooper was gone. She didn’t have to look in his direction to know that. On her other side lay an empty seat. She searched the floor, but Jamie was nowhere to be seen. The airbag had pinned Greyson to his seat. He was still alive, but the way he gasped and gurgled made her think he wouldn’t be much longer.
    “Greyson,” she croaked.
    “Anne… I’m so sorry, Anne.” His voice sounded even weaker than hers.
    For a moment, she wondered if this was Greyson she was talking to. Greyson, who would call her anything but her name.
    “They said… they weren’t… going to hurt you. They were just going to scare you… I didn’t want it to end like this.”
    He was dying. He had to be dying if he was talking like that.
    Hot blood gushed down Anne’s soaked sleeve. She gasped. She was ready to close her eyes, ready to accept the end of her pain. But she wasn’t ready to go. She swallowed back tears.
    “I’m not ready,” she said.
    “I know… Anne.”
    The breathing stopped.
    “Greyson.”
    No answer. She was alone.
    The next person who entered the forest would be the lucky one who would discover her corpse. She shuddered. How would she be remembered?
    Roxanne Aurora Schneider: Well respected, but never well-loved.
    She thought of Emory, and how she wished she could go back and tell him something more.
    She remembered Coraline’s blank stare when she slammed the door in her face for the last time. Heather was wrong. Coraline didn’t cheat because she was lonely, but because Anne was a shitty girlfriend and a shitty person. Always angry, always too absorbed in her own problems to listen to anyone else’s. It took being kidnapped and dying in a car crash to break through her arrogance and make her realize that.
    She tilted her head back to stop the tears, and she caught a patch of sky through the cracked sunroof. With no light to distract her, it looked like a galaxy she could only dream of seeing in a painting. Each star was a different color and brightness. Some of them even flickered. She had never bothered stargazing before; she’d always thought it was overrated. But this time, she would look at the stars.
    Anne stargazed until headlights shone in the distance. The car stopped, and two people climbed out.
    “Admit it. We’re lost,” a young boy said.
    “Lost is a strong word. We’re… exploring,” an older man replied.
    “We’ve been exploring for ten hours.”
    “Well, you can go now, or you can hold it until we find our way out of here.”
    The kid groaned and turned on his flashlight. “Fine.”
    The light approached her. She sat up straight. This was her chance.
    “I knew this was a terrible idea,” he mumbled.
    “Hey!” she said.
    The footsteps caught on something, and the kid tripped. He grunted and sticks broke under him. For a second he stopped, but he sprinted in the opposite direction. He must have thought her voice was just in his imagination.
    “Dad!” He started hyperventilating.
    “What? What is it?”
    “W-w-we got to drive away. There’s… um… there’s uh…”
    “It’s alright, I’m sure it’s just an animal.”
    The kid mumbled something unintelligible.
    The dad sighed. “I’ll tell you what, why don’t I go over there and take a look.”
    “No—”
    The dad ventured onward, and the kid trailed.
    They stopped at the same point that the kid tripped. “Holy… Glen, call the police.”
    “I-I-I can’t. There’s no cell service.”
    “Um… I could use some help over here.” She tried again.
    They rushed to the passenger door and peered at Anne through the shattered window. Glen recoiled. He looked 15-ish, with sticks in his long hair. The dad swung the door open.
    “Come on out now,” he whispered.
    Glen ran behind a tree and vomited.
    “Excuse my son.” He undid her seatbelt. “I’m Jeremy. And that’s Glen.”
    “Anne.” She climbed over the seat with her three usable limbs.
    When he finished puking, Glen stood next to Jeremy, still red-faced from the shock.
    She thought she might be able to stand, but she was dizzy from all the pain and blood loss. She stepped out of the car and immediately collapsed. Glen jumped out of the way. Another surge of pain ripped through her as she hit the ground.
    “I-I-I’m sorry, ma’am.” He helped her back up.
    The dad shook his head. “Stop being sorry and calm down. You’re scaring her.”
    Jeremy led her to their car, with Glen trying not to gag. Anne worried that if his face grew any redder, he would pass out. She could barely stand, and Jeremy had to steady her the whole way there. What were a few steps felt like many miles.
    She craned her neck to see what Glen had tripped on, but Jeremy used his arm to block her view.
    “Don’t look,” he said.
    When they reached the car, he tossed the keys to Glen. “You drive. I’ll sit next to her.”
    Glen caught them and fumbled to keep them from tumbling into the dirt. He climbed into the driver’s seat without a word.
    She pointed at a pair of tire tracks hidden behind two trees. “Follow those.”
    Anne and Jeremy climbed into the back as Glen started the car.
    Everything blurred together. The pain, the blood dripping on the seat, Glen’s shaking hands on the steering wheel. It was all a fuzzy jumble of nonsense. Glen said something, but it faded into the background.
    “Anne?” Jeremy said. “Miss?”
    The world jostled around; he was shaking her.
    “Drive faster, Glen.”
    #
    She awoke on her back, staring at a spotless white ceiling and a blinding white light. If it weren’t for the intrusive tubes in her left arm, she might have wondered if she had woken up from a nightmare. She reached with her other arm to yank the tubes out. Only, she had nothing to reach with. She turned her head to observe the damage done. No wrist, no elbow, no nothing. Just a sad little stump.
    “Shit!” What else could she say?
    All the memories flooded her. The heart rate monitor wailed, and the peaks resembled Mount Everest.
    “Oh!” A nurse rushed to the side of her bed. “Sh… It’s okay. You’re safe. Take a few deep breaths for me.”

    Thank you for reading.

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