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theonethatswims

“Constructive” Criticism 

Hey guys. I don’t really want to call people out, but I might end up doing it just without using names. We were editing my short story as a class today using google drive. I realized that this would result in a few strange comments here and there and was prepared for that. I was not, however, prepared for the people that don’t seem to understand the constructive part of constructive criticism. I get it, my “short story” isn’t that short. But that shouldn’t give anyone the excuse to say “let’s just scrap it and start over”. Especially if this is said straight to my face. You can’t get mad at me for threatening to fling a ponytail holder at you if you openly tell me that the thing that I worked my ass off on is crap. I don’t know what’s worse about that; the fact that it was said to my face, or the fact that it was said by someone that I thought was a friend. Also, people who just highlighted a part of a paragraph and wrote “bad”, umm what did you expect to accomplish there? Seriously. Maybe realize that the author has some emotions also. If you don’t like it, the just tell me what’s wrong with it so I can fix it. Just saying “bad” isn’t going to make anything better for either of us. Then there’s the kid who told someone else that they were being “too nice with the criticism”. News flash: that’s the point. You’re supposed to help the author out. You aren’t supposed to make them feel like shit. That’s the whole constructive part of constructive criticism. Maybe next time, you should realize that the author has emotions and is probably fairly proud of their work. I totally get it if it’s not your genre, but you don’t have to make me feel like shit for it. Just help me out. I know my writing isn’t perfect. That part is completely obvious. So please, instead of telling me that my writing is bad or that I should scrap it, help me fix it. 

To those who actually helped and gave insightful comments, thank you so much. Your comments are the things that actually help me improve my writing. I was actually really happy when I saw someone being polite about it rather than just telling me outright that you don’t like it. 

I’m very sorry for my rant, but I had to get that out. 

Thanks for reading. 

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I am incredibly excited

Hey guys!

I got my prom dress from my cousin over the weekend, and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I honestly feel like a princess in this dress, and that makes me incredibly happy. It’s a corset back, which is good, since it is strapless. Other than making sure the dress doesn’t fall down, the corset back part of it makes it so I have very good posture (since it’s near impossible to slouch in it). Also, breathing isn’t the easiest in it, but as long as I don’t try to run, it should work just fine. I really can’t wait for the dance now that I have my dress. The only thing left to do before the dance is figure out how to walk in heels. 

Thanks for reading!

Ouch

Hey guys!

I’m in aerospace engineering in my high school. It’s been pretty fun, but it’s been difficult. We are making a flying wing and covering parts of it in carbon fiber. Of course, we have to sand the carbon fiber, so there’s little bits of carbon fiber dust flying around. I put my arm in it, so I now have little bits of carbon fiber stuck in my arm. Ouch. It’s mostly itchy unless anything touches it. Then it hurts. 

So yay. Let’s deal with that now! 

Thanks for reading!

This is pretty cheesy, but…

This was a few years ago before a school dance. I’ve decided that it sums up my relationship with my boyfriend pretty well. By the time that this is posted, he and I will have been dating for 4 years (started at the end of 8th grade). He doesn’t know anything about this, but I’ve decided to basically compile a list of things that he does that remind me why I’m dating him and why he’s an amazing person, so here goes. By the way, I’m starting this near the end of January, so who knows how much I’ll end up with.

  • He is one of the few people who can calm me down no matter how much or how badly I’m freaking out.
  • He never fails to make me laugh.
  • He would go to the ends of the earth to help his friends.
  • He’s not afraid to speak his mind.
  • Even though he doesn’t like to do it very much in pictures, he has an amazing smile that never fails to make me smile when I see it.
  • He will randomly come and meet me after swim practice to drive me to my car so I don’t get cold.
  • His idea of a date doesn’t have to involve getting dressed up and going somewhere nice, he’s perfectly happy just staying at his house and watching Fight Club (yes, we have done this.  Yes, it was fun).
  • If there’s somewhere I want to go with him, he’ll try his hardest to be there to do it.
  • Since freshman year, he has been to almost every home meet of mine and some of the more important meets too.
  • No matter what time it is, I can text or call and he’ll be there to listen and help if he can.
  • If he doesn’t know something or if he doesn’t know what to do to help someone, he will go and look it up for them so that they can know and so he can know how to help.
  • While he will go out of his way for me, he won’t drop everything just because I asked him if he wanted to do something. I like how he wants to be there, but he won’t drop everything because it shows that he’s actually human and has other stuff to do.
  • I love the look he gets on his face when he is taking about something he is passionate about.
  • He doesn’t care at all what other people think of him; he’s going to be himself, and if someone doesn’t like it, they can just deal with it.
  • He walks me to class whenever we have classes close to each other.
  • He has introduced me to a lot of what is now some of my favorite music.
  • I can text him something as simple as, “hey, say something to calm me down” and he’ll reply almost immediately asking what’s wrong so he can come up with the right thing to say to help (sometimes it is as simple as “I love you”).
  • He makes an effort to know what’s going on in my family
  • He wants me to meet and hang out with his family and wants to meet and get to know all of my family.
  • If he knows I’m having trouble, he will try to help me out as best he can.
  • He helps me understand some of the stuff he’s interested in; the way he does it makes it so that I become more interested in it too.
  • He is willing to and excited to talk about our future together. Not just yeah we are going to stay together, but what kind of house we will have, what we both want to do for jobs, how many kids we want, how many dogs we want. Everything.
  • He is amazing and I wouldn’t trade him for the world.
  • When my anxiety is acting up, he will do anything in his power to help me.
  • He never fails to make me smile, I can never thank him enough for that.
  • If he feels like something is wrong, he won’t stop bothering me about it until I give up and tell him.  When that happens, he tries to make things better.
  • He makes me feel beautiful even when I’m most definitely not looking my best.
  • He does whatever he can to make me happy. 

If he somehow sees this, thank you for an amazing four years and hopefully for many more. 

    Chapter 6

    Chapter 6 (Alis)

    Kye and I woke up to the smell of a home-made breakfast, which was a little strange, since we were basically stuck in a box who knows how far underground.  Somehow, Kira could cook in the bunker without it being obvious to anyone outside.  We dined on some pancake type thing with peaches.  Kira even remembered that my absolute favorite fruit is pineapple, so she had some set out for me.  We were told that we should take our time eating, since we had a whole lot of work to do as soon as we were done.  Once we finished eating, we got down to work.  Since neither Kye nor I had any experience with fighting, other than the ambush back at what was our house, we had a lot of work to do.  Kira decided to start us off by having us build our strength.  Little by little, I noticed that I was getting stronger.  I realized that the stronger I got, the more confident I felt.  My strength was increasing almost as quickly as I was getting sore day after day.  As time went on, I realized just how strong Kye was.  As his body became more defined, I kept catching myself staring at him.  I always turned away, my face burning, when I caught myself.  

    By the time the soreness stopped, Kira began the bulk of our training.  At this point, we were learning how to defend ourselves along with how to fight back.  We were learning how to use both actual weapons and how to make our own bodies into weapons.  My confidence began to soar once I realized that I wasn’t useless and weak.  I could feel my power rushing cold through my veins.  I was able to push myself further than ever before.  I developed and fine-tuned my powers until I was able to freeze anything.  It didn’t matter how big or small, how fast or slow, or how erratic the person or object was; I could make it stop.  That sphere of protection from before during the ambush became much stronger.  I could protect things and people that were not directly next to me.  I could send out almost an orb of protection to encapsulate anything.  I finally felt truly useful.

    Kye’s powers developed almost as much as his body.  He found that, with practice, he could teleport.  He didn’t have to go back in time; he could just jump through and appear.  The one time he brought me with him, I almost puked, so I decided that I’d leave the teleportation up to him unless it’s really an emergency.  I loved watching Kye practice.  I loved seeing his powers grow while watching his mind and body work to manipulate time itself.  The time and effort that Kye put into his skills always impressed me.  Before all of this, Kye was my shy, awkward best friend.  While he still was his sensitive self, Kye showed a determination that I never thought was possible.  He was growing and changing into a new person; it happened so gradually that I didn’t even realize until it was all over.  The boy in front of me was no longer the socially awkward, lanky teenager that he had been just a few months ago.  Kye had become the strong, confident person that he had dreamed of being.
    The three of us trained, slept, and ate in that bunker for about three months.  We were getting used to living there.  Maybe we were getting too comfortable.  One day, we thought we heard a knocking sound, but we couldn’t have actually heard that.  We were so far underground, who would even think to look for us here?  I wish we hadn’t opened that door to check what was out there.  I wish we had just left it alone.  Maybe we would have been able to prepare instead of blindly opening that door to what should have never been in this universe.

    Chapter 5

    CHAPTER 5 (Kira)

    Alright, my turn.  I do not plan to do this often, but because Alis and Kye had to hear this from me, I will say it on my own.  

    “I am an angel,” I said, “an actual, legitimate angel; that is why I am not still dead.”

    Somehow, Alis was very ready to accept this, while Kye just stood there with his mouth hanging open.  I had to tell them everything I knew; it was the only way I could prepare them, and the long elevator trip seemed like as good a time as any to spill everything.  

    “Okay, here is all I know about our whole situation,” I said.

    “I know someone wanted you two, but I did not know exactly why.  I now believe it is because of the powers you have unlocked within yourselves.  Whoever took me tried to torture me to get information about the two of you.  Do not worry, I told them nothing.”

    “Wait, how are we so important?  I really don’t get it.  Before all of this, we were just some weird loner teenagers.  How could anyone have known anything about us?” Alis asked.

    “Just wait, I am trying to explain as best I can,” I said, “I know there were two beings.  Neither being is pure human.  There was one male and one female.  I am not sure of their identities, but I do know that they wanted, and probably still do want, you both.”

    As the ride continued, I told Alis and Kye all that I knew.  At this point, I know a lot more, but that did not happen until much later.  We landed with a bump, and the elevator doors opened.  The look on Alis and Kye’s faces was priceless.  Everything was just as I remembered; it was a fully stocked underground bunker standing, waiting in front of us.  I had kept this a secret from both Kye and Alis, hoping to never need it, but there we were.  I told them we had everything here that we would need to survive and to prepare for everything that we had to come.  By the time I showed them to their rooms, both Alis and Kye were finally tired enough to sleep.  While they were asleep, I busied myself with preparing for our meals the next day and preparing the training I had in mind.  Alis and Kye had a lot to take in, so I decided that just today, I would let them sleep as long as they needed to in order to regain their strength.  I do not believe Alis knew the true power that she held.  If only I could have gotten through to her earlier to awaken it.  Kye, on the other hand, was stronger than he could have imagined.  In making my plans, I thought on each of their strengths.  Alis, with her compassion for others.  Kye, with his protective nature.  They made an amazing team; I just hoped I could get them ready in time.  It really was only a matter of time before those beings managed to track us down.  While Kye and Alis were asleep, I set about casting protection around our new home.  It would not last forever, but it was good enough for now.  I was not sure what else I could do to keep these two safe.  These two humans were the closest I ever had to friends since Cinder fell from heaven.  Cinder was not the best influence, but she was passionate.  That is what got her thrown down in the first place: her passionate love for a demon of hell.  When I first heard the news, I could not believe it; my friend, the one I trusted completely, was taken from me by her own foolish desires.  If I could have gone back, I would have pleaded with her to stay, not just for me, but for herself also.  I had not heard from her since she was cast out, and I did not know what I would say to her if we met again face to face.

    Chapter four

    Chapter four (Kye)

    Just getting to see the joy on Alis’ face when she realized that her plan had worked was amazing, but to see it fully in action… well, I’m not sure if I can describe it.  I suppose I have to try at least because her new talent came at just the right time.  Alis was laughing out of pure excitement and Kira was beaming at her with pride when out of nowhere, several men came around the house and out of the nearby forest.  I remember Kira telling Alis to keep the shield up while she tried to talk to the men and figure out what they wanted.  That’s when the bullets started.  There were gunshots ringing all around us.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Alis fold to the ground like she did when we were getting to know each other whenever she got too scared in social situations.  I’m not sure how, but she kept the shield up, and trust me, it was incredible.  Nothing that those guys threw at it could break through.  I couldn’t understand what was going on with all of the bullets flying through the air.

    “Who the hell are these people and what the hell are they doing and why the hell are they doing it?” I asked to no one in particular.  One of the men replied,

    “Hey kid, you should know all of this by now, or has that little slut refused to tell you.  Hell, you should know who we are, I mean, we know who you are, Kyle.”

    “Don’t call me that,” I said, “and never, ever call anyone that I love a slut.  You’ve said too much for me to look back on that, so now you won’t say anything again.”

    I heard Alis scream at me to stop just before I disappeared into time itself.

    “No one,” I thought, “no one calls my friends anything bad.  No one calls me Kyle without my permission.  These bastards don’t know me half as well as they think.”  As I stepped out of the continuum, I saw the guy who had insulted my friends searching for me.  I’m sure the last thing he saw was my fist flying toward his dumb face before he blacked out.  Don’t worry, we didn’t kill him.  We simply left him on that same road that Kira had been so unceremoniously shoved out of the car into.  We called the police and left a little note describing what he had done and what we had done.  Last I heard, he was taken to the hospital for a broken jaw and then was thrown in jail for his crimes.

    By the time Alis and I returned home, Kira told us we needed to pack our stuff and get out that night.  Not knowing her motives but seeing the fear in her eyes, Alis and I obliged, packing what little we had into some big duffel bags and meeting Kira downstairs.  Thankfully, Kira thought to pack some food in a backpack that she now had slung across her back.  

    “We’re going somewhere safe,” Kira told us, “It’s somewhere no one other than me knows about.”

    “Wait, what do you mean?  Please explain a bit here.” Alis asked.

    “I’ll explain when we are safe.  Right now, I need the two of you to do what I say.” Kira said. “I need both of you to act like there’s nothing out of the ordinary.  Act like we are all staying here.  They’re still watching.  We need to wait until night when it’ll be safer to travel.”

    “Woah, wait, who is this ‘they’ you keep talking about? Is it those thugs who tried to kill us earlier?” I asked.

    “I’m sorry, Kye.  I’ll explain everything later, I promise.  Please, for now, just trust me.  I’ll stay here the whole time to keep watch for our best chance to leave.  Right now, I just need you two to stay safe and alive.”

    Fast-forward to that night around midnight.  Neither Alis nor I could sleep, so we were up talking about the events of the day when Kira walked in.  She was expecting to have to wake the two of us up, but she was pretty happy she wouldn’t have to worry about that.  Kira told us to follow her as quickly and quietly as we could.  She quietly explained that we were going to her safe house since our house was no longer safe enough.  We quickly grabbed all of our things and ran out after her.  By the time we were about half a mile away, we heard an unearthly shriek and an explosion.  I didn’t need to turn around to see what had happened.  I couldn’t see Kira’s face since she had her back to me, but by her voice when she told us not to turn around, I knew that she was crying.  I knew that the only home we had was gone.  I felt Alis move a bit closer to me, and when I looked down at her face, I could make out the tears glistening in the moonlight.

    “I know it’s hard, but it’s only about two more miles until we are there.” Kira said.  

    From that point on, the three of us walked in silence for what seemed like 100 miles, although it was, in reality, only two.  When we finally stopped, Kira bent down and firmly pressed her hand into the dirt and brush.  I heard a faint clicking sound, as if someone was slowly turning a crank in the ground beneath us.  I nervously glanced around as the clicking got louder and I quickly realized that we were sinking into a deepening hole in the ground.  I began to panic, but a glance from Kira told me that this was meant to happen, and I should stop freaking out.  The rest of our trip was shut into darkness as the hole closed above us as we continued down.

    Chapter three

    Chapter three (Alis)

    Hey, I’m back.  As Kye said, we were seeing Kira everywhere we went.  She started showing up more and more and closer and closer to our house until we came in one day and she was just sitting at the table.  It looked like it should have the day she went missing, but she was actually there… at least in a sense.  Neither of us really knew what to do, so we stood there staring until Kira explained.

    “Hey guys, I can’t stay for long.  I’m working on passing through and staying longer, but you two need to work on those powers that you discovered,” she said.

    “Wait, how are you doing this?  I… no, we, watched you die.  What’s going on here?” I asked.

    “I can’t explain yet, I’m sorry” Kira said “But I’ll help you with the powers.  We don’t have much time to waste, so let’s get to it.”

    Now, if this were a movie instead of a book, there would probably be some intense training montage here with some hard rock music in the background.  But this is not a movie; it is a book, so it’s up to me to describe that training montage.  In all honesty, it started out with Kye and I just trying our best.  Kye was trying to shoot back in time a little bit and pop up behind me.  Basically, he was trying to teleport using time instead of space.  My training, on the other hand, involved Kye and sometimes Kira throwing stuff either at me or up in the air while I tried to freeze it in time without freezing everything else along with it.  Kira was working on coming into our (the living) realm for longer periods of time.  When she was here, she would help us out, but when she wasn’t, it was all up to us.

    By the end of a week of seemingly endless training, Kye could go back up to ten minutes and was starting to work on going forward.  At this point he could go up to 30 seconds forward.  Kye could pretty much teleport to wherever he wanted to given that he could walk or run there, so short distances only.

    Kira could stay in the living realm nearly as long as she wanted to.  Also, she was solid.  I realize that sounds strange, but we could touch her, we could hug her again without falling through.  Kira wasn’t exactly a ghost, but I didn’t know what to call her.  She also picked up this strange almost mind reading thing.  She couldn’t read thoughts so much as she could read intentions.

    As for me, I had worked just as hard as everyone else, but I could only kind of stop small objects in the air.  It would suffice to say that my confidence was at a low point.  It wasn’t until Kira sat me down and told me that whenever I tried to freeze something, my eyes turned from their normal stormy gray to an icy blue.  She told me to stop trying to direct my power with my hands and envision what I needed to freeze in time.  Lo and behold, Kira’s suggestion worked.  I could somehow freeze time for practically anything.

    The last day of our training, I asked Kira and Kye to stop what they were doing and stand behind me.  They were both a bit confused, but I could tell that they trusted me.  I closed my eyes and imagined a bubble of frozen time around the three of us.  When I opened my eyes, I saw that it had worked.  I finally succeeded in making a sort of shell around us.  I made my own sphere of protection.  Oh god, did I really just say that.  Seriously, that sounds more like some crappy anime move.  Anyways, it was incredible, I could keep my friends safe.  Finally, I felt useful to everyone.  Finally, I could help.

    Chapter two

    Chapter 2: Kye
    Well, I guess I’m supposed to pick up here. I should probably start with my name; I’m Kye. My real name’s Kyle, but I like Kye more, so we’ll go with it. Alright, here goes. While Alis saw Kira as a mother figure, I saw her more as an older sister. The three of us aren’t actually related; now that I think about it, Kira is the one who brought Alis and I together. It’s like she had something planned for us, but some bastard took her from us before she got the chance to tell us. I never really was sure why Kira took a liking to Alis and I. Well, Alis I understand; she’s really shy and quiet at first, but as soon as you get to know her, she explodes into a firecracker of passion and energy. Me on the other hand? Well, I have no idea what she saw in me, but there had to be something, I just have to figure out what it was. I suppose I should say is instead of was, but it’s still kind of hard to think in the present tense with her. I mean, the two of us, Alis and I, were nothing special. Yes, I said were. Things have changed for Alis and I.

    When we found Kira, I was the first to point out the fact that no one was moving. They just stared at the three of us. While I thought it was kind of strange, I soon realized that Alis had somehow managed to freeze time itself. I’m not going to pretend to understand it, but it happened. Maybe that’s why Kira smiled in the end, maybe she knew what Alis did even before the two of us did. Now, what about me? With Kira dying in my arms, I couldn’t think of anything but “no god, let me go back, let me save her,” but I guess I just wasn’t that strong. It kills me that I wasn’t strong enough to go back far enough. Right, time went back, like, rewind a bit and plop me down. It wasn’t far enough. All I managed to see was someone or something shove my bleeding friend out of a car and speed away. I tried to save her, I really did, but it was too late. That monster, be it human or not kept her until she was mere minutes from death then shoved her out, only a mile or so from our home. As it turns out, that phone call that the police couldn’t trace was from me. Kira made Alis and I both give her our phones so she could put something on them so they couldn’t be traced back to us. Don’t ask me why this was so important to Kira, but it was, so Alis and I have left it alone, granted, neither of us really know how to get rid of it, but we say it’s for Kira, which, in a way it is.

    No 19-year-old kid should have to go through the aftermath of the murder of their closest friend, but here Alis and I were. Neither of us really knew what to do with ourselves. We were both too young to remember clearly when our parents died, so of course we were scared. Even with all of the fear and sadness, Alis and I had to go to work, I mean, how else were we going to make it without Kira? Somehow, I kept seeing Kira everywhere I went. I thought it was just wishful thinking, but then Alis told me she was seeing her too. I never expected anything to happen; I knew Alis and I were “different”, but I didn’t know just how different.

    The two of us started getting these little notes shoved under our door. We couldn’t ever find any way someone could have put them there, but the notes really sparked our interest. 

    “I know about Kira”

    “I know what happened”

    “Wanna know? Find me to find out”

    Alis was the first to voice our shared opinion: we needed to find whoever wrote this; we had to know what happened. Neither of us knew how we could find them, we didn’t even know if they were a boy, a girl, an alien… okay, so maybe I got a bit carried away there. They’re probably not an alien. I can’t even think of someone who could do this, much less someone who would want to. Whoever it is would have to be pretty strong; Kira was many things throughout her life, but weak was never one of them. Kira also wasn’t someone to ever give up, so I don’t know how whoever it was broke her. No, I can’t think this way. I can’t regress back to this. I have to stay strong for Alis. I need to help. I need to know what happened.

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