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Diaries Of Ten Years

It's the first letter I've received from Tom since he left.

It's short: Mom, There's no need to feel sorry for me. I cannot be much better here.

Remember to bring my diaries next time you come to visit me here. They are in a black box under my bed. And I don't mind if you want to read it. - Tom

Not until I find them do I know that Tom kept diaries.

 

Not until I read them do I know that there were so many things he's never talked to me. Sitting on his bed, I spent a whole night on reading themthe past ten years of my boy's life, which now look so unfamiliar to me: Monday April 21st, 1995 Today, again, I feel tired, as I always do recentlythere are so many things I have to do, especially in the mornings and evenings.

This morning, Mom got angry with me. You know, I never meant to anger her. I just wanted to make sure that I did everything exactly right so the rest of today would go well. I felt rather pressured when I had to wash my hands and check my schoolbag again and again and again while Mom was waiting for me outside. Then, she yelled at me! I felt wronged, but I should not cry, because I should not be an annoying boy.

Friday May 14th, 1997 I think I must be a little bit crazy. I'm aware that my thoughts and behaviors are always different than that of my friends and I feel stressful because I have to typically try very hard to conceal those differences I don't want to get ridiculed.

Wednesday May 19th, 2002
Today is a long day for me. Really sucked! Bad lucks played a joke with me in math class. At beginning of the class, everything went smoothly. Then something weird happened. I noticed that there was a spot on Mr. Webber's shirt! So I told David, my friend who sat in front of me. But he said he didn't see anything and even he did he would not care about it; he told me to listen carefully and remember Mr. Webber is a tough teacher. Yeah! I know that! But still, I can't, I just can't move my eyes away from the spot! There is a spot on Mr. Webber's shirt! It's tiny. Nobody notices it except me. Why is it there? Mr. Webber will never put up with a spot! Everybody knows that he is always perfect and decent. Maybe I should listen carefully now. But why the hell there's a spot on Mr. Webber's shirt? Damn it! Then I watched it, watched it, watched it and watched it. And I began to guess every possible reason for the spot to be there. Mr. Webber noticed that I was absent-minded, however, he hinted at me several times, trying to drive my mind back. But it didn't work.

 

There must be something wrong!

Suddenly, something occurs to me. May it be that a spot, appearing groundlessly foreshadows that something really bad will happen? It must be, though I have no idea where and to whom it will happen. Anyhow, I am responsible for stopping it since I am the only one knows it!

I feel I am going to blast! I'm filled with so many strange thoughts and sounds that I cannot get rid of. I fidget, and twist with doubt and anxiety. Am I crazy? I guess I am. But if I am not, bad things will happen because I do not do anything now! That will be my fault! I will feel guilty in the rest of my life!

I will and should STOP it! What happened next was the most crazy and unforgettable thing I have ever done so far I rushed onto the platform and wiped the spot using every ounce of my strength. Everyone was shocked. Then Mr. Webber's snarl shocked me. I stopped and stood still there, speechless and helpless, not just because of the embarrassment I was aware that I was wild and out of control!

Saturday Sep. 23rd, 2003
Tension developed between Mom and me recently. I felt extremely angry with her constantly because she said she could not comply with my weird, bizarre demands. And she thought I did displease her on purpose!

Maybe it's my fault. I'm totally not myself these days. I count how many people I have touched everyday so I can decide how many minutes I should shower for. I insist that my clothes should be washed numerous times or in a particular way to make sure that they are clean enough no germs on them, I mean. I stay up late into the night to sort my books, and arrange everything on my table time and time again until they look perfect before I go to bed. And I'm exhausted the following day, of course. I feel compelled to finish all of these compulsive rituals. But again, I CAN'T STOP IT! I CAN'T! I CAN'T! I CAN'T! Yeah, Mom is surprised that I have to repeat some words three times when I talk to her. I am surprised, too! But who knows what the hell is wrong with me!

Tuesday Jun. 7th, 2005
Today, David told me something horrible. He and his family are gonna move into a new house right on the next street this Sunday. It doesn't matter; moving into a new house is good, however. The matter is the house number: it's 333! Oh, damn! I can almost hear their screams when the disaster comes once David told me the number. 333! 333! 333! My head hurt. "No! " I said to David decidedly, "You can't move into the house, go back and tell your parents. Trust me this time. Something terrible is gonna happen the first night you move into."

He could not understand no matter how I tried. He would not listen and he said he felt sick about what I said and how I acted. He said I have been completely mad. After all, he said as a best friend, he would invite me to their housewarming party on Sunday evening, as long as I forget about everything I've said. To the hell with the damn housewarming party! I won't stop just for a party! I'll save my best friend's life, I swear. You won't make it!

Saturday Jun. 11th, 2005 It's 3 o' clock now. So quiet it is, inside and outside. So is my heart. I feel relaxed now. No guilt at all. I can hear the alarm of the fire engines. Now I can't stop chuckling to myself. I've said you can't make it. See, I prevail! It's 4:30 now. People in the town were waked up early, by the smoke and tumult. It's 5 o'clock now. So quiet again, it seems that everything returns to normal. At dawn, I sat here between the darkness of night and light of sunshine. It's 6 o'clock now. The news in the radio still loops: A horrible fire hazard killed at least 3 people last night on the St.. Everything looks radiant in the morning sun. I guess I have to go now Not until I finish these diaries do I realize that things could happen in this way as time slides by, unawares. Now I think I know that nothing is predetermined in life, that not only did I forget to tell Tom that David had called the previous day the party would shift to Saturday evening, but also I forgot to be a good participant in my son's life for the past ten years.

Postscript:
Obviously, it's a tragedy in the end of the storyTom sent a fire to the new house, by which he thought, could protect his friend. It can be inferred that Tom surrendered to the police when he knew that he killed his best friend and his family without intention. As standers-by, we know that the disaster was Tom's obsession, just an unreasonable compulsive fantasy all by himself. Apparently, Tom's friend's and family's carelessness and misunderstanding were one of the reasons that his illness got severer. Nevertheless, there are no judgments and no one to be blame for in this story. For people with O.C.D or other mental illness, what they really and badly need is understanding and any possible efforts to help them out, or at the very least, DON'T LET IT BE.

Some information:
O.C.D is a kind of mental illness like this: People with O.C.D compel themselves to do many rituals repeatedly even they know that the things they do are nonsensical/ meaningless. It can make daily life very difficult and stressful for the patients, especially for children, because O.C.D symptoms often take up a great deal of time and energy, and always lead to embarrassment. Compared with some other mental illness, people with O.C.D are aware that they are "crazy" by themselves.

Contributing Story Teller   Yun Su, a senior student in Xiamen University, China. I am interested in English literature so I try to write short stories. susu.chn@gmail.com

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