Short Story The Fence

Discussion in 'Writer's Cafe' started by ScaryHobo, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. ScaryHobo

    ScaryHobo Harem Master

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    This is a short story that I had to write for school. I was shown a picture of a man grabbing a fence, and he was looking at whatever was on the other side of the fence. I was told to write a short story based on that picture, so I did. I really like it. I think I'm really proud at writing this. I managed to put parts of myself into this story, so hopefully my english professor and all of you will be able to see that. I hope you like it :).

    There is a fence that stands around the jail where my dad is imprisoned. The fence reminds me of this forest in my backyard. And in my backyard, there is a beautiful green forest, yet it has a dark feeling to it that seems to permeate our yard. Either way, I can’t help but remember the forest when I see the fence around the jail.

    The forest occults the world from me. I don’t know what the other side is, and when I try to get to the other side, I always get hurt. When I was in second grade, I went into the forest to look for these red salamanders. Every time I went, I would find one ruby red salamander. But one day, I didn’t find any. When I was walking back, there was this young doe that was camouflaged by the brush. I guess I startled it, and it kicked me in the head and knocked me out unconscious. And I’ve been afraid to go to the forest ever since.

    I guess the fence is the same way. Every time I see it, I remember the doe kicking me in the head. Sometimes, I remember my dad when I see the fence and how he always told me how much he loved me. I hate that fence-it terrifies me.

    But what terrifies me more than anything is when the fence makes me forget about my dad. Remembering my dad hurts, so I forget. It’s easy to forget. It’s easy to forget all the times my dad took me out to dinner. It’s easy to forget all the times we played baseball together. It’s easy to forget our similarities. But it’s hard to forget the police officer. It’s so hard. I can’t forget the moment when the police officer handcuffed my dad. I will never forget that.

    But since then, my friends always tell me how I’m lucky that my dad was close to me before he was arrested. It wasn’t common for a black kid to have a dad. It was even more uncommon for that dad to care. I don’t know if that’s the way things are, or if things will always be this way, but I do know my dad was different. My dad was a lawyer for the ACLU. He was active in the Democratic party in our town, and he really cared about the black community. To be honest, it made me jealous. I wanted him to love me that much. But I guess he did, and I was just deluded by my own cruel fantasy.

    The fence isn’t that tall. It’s solid grey, and it encases the jail in a square. Well actually, the fence only goes a little over my head. I feel like the fence is telling me to just try to jump it. As if it’s saying, “see what happens if you jump the fence, I dare you”. But the fence is misleading. It has sharp points on top of it. So if you try to jump the fence, you’ll be cut by the sharp aluminum.

    It’s currently autumn right now in Michigan – late October. It’s already starting to get cold. But for some reason, I want to touch the fence. I reached out, and I wrapped my fingers around the cold aluminum. I took my hand back almost immediately. I can’t even touch the fence, let alone jump it. I want to get over the fence. I want to run past it. But I’m scared of the fence. I always will be.

    I decided to go running at that moment. The brisk air was telling me to move. So I started running in my heavy jacket and ski pants. I looked like an idiot, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to clear my mind for a while. The streets were so cold on my feet that it felt like I didn’t even have shoes. The air was piercing with cold onto my face, making it hard to breathe. But I kept running for a while. It was nice to run away. Our problems don’t go away, but they seem to be smaller afterwards. The fence was farther away from me, but it will always be there. It will always be the same height with its sharp points on top. But I don’t care. Maybe, just maybe, that fence will be smaller when I go back. I think it will be smaller. Maybe not by much, but it will be smaller.

    After running for a while, I went back to my apartment. I’m in 8th grade, and I live alone. My mom died when I was born from the pregnancy, and my dad was imprisoned in 4th grade. But to be honest, I’m actually pretty well off from my mom’s life insurance. My dad also did pretty well, but he always acted like we were much poorer to fit in with the Black community. Like my father, I do the same thing. I act like I’m poor, but I even have a college fund. But I don’t think the fund means anything if I can’t even pass grade school. I have bad grade in all my classes except English. I really like reading. I don’t like grammar and writing necessarily, but reading a good book that makes you think is really something. My dad would always give me books to read when I was younger. He told me to read Moby Dick when I was in 3rd grade! Of course, I read it in 3 days. I read it nonstop till he would give me another book from the library. I think after Moby Dick he gave me White Fang and Call of the Wild by Jack London. I loved both of them dearly. Jack London is really something with his nature. It made me hate inner city Michigan, but my dad always said he would take me out to Montana or Alaska one of these days. He never did.

    The last book my dad gave me wasn’t from the library. It was a book he actually bought for me. It was To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. But to be honest with you, I thought it was boring. I didn’t understand why he gave me it. Was it because we were black? I don’t know. My dad was so prideful of being black. I didn’t think it really mattered. I just wanted to be an American – whatever that even means. He would always talk about American figures like Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He would always tell me that they are American heroes. That we should be so happy that they fought for us. But did they really fight for me? Weren’t they just fighting for themselves? I don’t know. I don’t think Dr. King was so great. All he did was sit down to protest. I think Malcolm X was even worse. He wanted to do the same thing, but with violence. And Muhammad Ali? What a joke. He used the childish sport of boxing to protest. I don’t think they were so great. They were just famous people who felt the same way as every other black person in America. They didn’t jump fences – they ignored them. They didn’t solve any problems – they just pointed them out. If they were such heroes, then why do we face the same problems? We just don’t have any visible fences anymore. There are still fences in society. I get looks from everyone when I go to the white church. I still get questioned by police officers for no good reason when I walk down the street. I’m not really welcomed by anyone at the private school I go to. It’s a fake welcoming. They all look at me and smile, but when they all hang out, I’m alone. I don’t understand what’s so great about being black; I don’t understand what my dad saw. I see fences all around me, but my dad didn’t.

    Maybe that makes me a pessimist, I don’t know. I’m just so tired of that fence. It makes me so angry. I feel so shut out. I feel so alone. I feel so lost. I don’t know what I want to do with my life. That stupid fence will be there no matter what I decide. If I want to be a lawyer like my dad, teachers will tell me how bad my grades are. If I want to be an author, they tell me how I wouldn’t make any money. It’s always the same. That fence will always be there, and it makes me so angry. I want to jump it so bad, but it terrifies me.

    I decided to sit down on the couch for a second. I needed to relax. The living room felt so empty while sitting there. Then, a heavy guilt seemed to enter the room. The guilt of not seeing my dad since he was imprisoned was haunting me. It was laughing at me. I just sat there, accepting it. I slowly started to cry on the couch.

    Then, another kind of guilt started to slip into the room slowly, like a poisonous gas that was leaking from a pipe into a room. It was the guilt of not being good enough. I remembered the fence. I remembered the police officer arresting my dad. The guilt rested on my shoulders with so much weight that I felt like I was being crushed to death. I couldn’t breathe. Oxygen was leaving me, and I was coughing violently. I gasped for air, trying to get it. I tried to climb over the fence, but I couldn’t. I kept coughing, gasping for air. Then, I passed out in my living room, with tears on my face.

    **********

    When I woke up in my living room, I still had tears on my face. I started to laugh. I don’t know why, but I think sometimes when all you can do is cry, is when you can’t help but laugh. Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea. I smiled with determination.

    I grabbed a fire axe that was in my closet for emergencies. I put on my heavy snow jacket and my ski pants, and I went outside. It was dark outside, probably around midnight or so. I probably looked like a murderer with a fire axe and a suspicious heavy jacket. It made me smile. I started to run. I didn’t know where I was going, but my feet knew where to go. Every step had a purpose. I was going towards the thing that always came back to me. It was always telling me I wasn’t good enough. It was always telling me I couldn’t be somebody because of who I was, because of the color of my skin. It was telling me I couldn’t be with my dad. It was telling me my dad didn’t love me. But I’m tired of it. I’m so tired of it. I’m still terrified, but I think I need to face my fear.

    I continued to run till eventually I got to the jail. The fence was right in front of me. My heart started to speed up. I felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. I started to sweat profusely standing there in front of the fence. But I took a deep breath and smiled. I had determination. I had gusto. I had love. I had a future. I’m worth something. And I think most importantly, I love my dad. So, I took up the axe, and I destroyed the fence.
     
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  2. Chloe

    Chloe [adult swim]

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    It read like a visual novel, felt good. Nice job. :D
     
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  3. ScaryHobo

    ScaryHobo Harem Master

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    Thank you so much!
     
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  4. ScaryHobo

    ScaryHobo Harem Master

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    I did a revision of this story for my english class. This is the final product. I got rid of the shitty anecdote at the beginning and I messed with the ending a little bit. Feel free to read it, hopefully my English teacher likes it. thank you to everybody who read it in the first place!
    There is a fence that stands around the jail where my dad is imprisoned. It’s grey, aluminum, and cold. It has these sharp points, and it only goes to my neck. It wouldn’t be that hard for me to climb over it. But for some reason, I can’t. I love my dad, and all I have to do is just climb over. Honestly, I’m afraid. I don’t think I’ll know what to do after I climb the fence. I don’t know. Maybe the ignorance is what scares me the most.

    But what terrifies me more than anything is when the fence makes me forget about my dad. Remembering my dad hurts, so I forget. It’s easy to forget. It’s easy to forget all the times my dad took me out to dinner. It’s easy to forget all the times we played baseball together. It’s easy to forget our similarities. But it’s hard to forget the police officer. It’s so hard. I can’t forget the moment when the police officer handcuffed my dad. I will never forget that.

    But since then, my friends always tell me how I’m lucky that my dad was close to me before he was arrested. It wasn’t common for a black kid to have a dad. It was even more uncommon for that dad to care. I don’t know if that’s the way things are, or if things will always be this way, but I do know my dad was different. My dad was a lawyer for the ACLU. He was active in the Democratic party in our town, and he really cared about the black community. To be honest, it made me jealous. I wanted him to love me that much. But I guess he did, and I was just deluded by my own cruel fantasy.

    The fence isn’t that tall. It’s solid grey, and it encases the jail in a square. But the fence only goes a little over my head – it’s not that tall. I feel like the fence is telling me to just try to jump it. As if it’s saying, “see what happens if you jump the fence, I dare you”. But the fence is misleading. The Fence will cut me with its sharp points if I try to climb over. I can imagine the aluminum cutting into my skin like butter. I can imagine my dad laughing. I can see him disappointed in me as if he only expected me to fail.

    It’s currently autumn right now in Michigan – late October. It’s already starting to get cold. But for some reason, I want to touch the fence. I reached out, and I wrapped my fingers around the cold aluminum. I took my hand back almost immediately. I can’t even touch the fence, let alone jump it. I want to get over the fence. I want to run past it. But I’m scared of the fence. I always will be.

    I decided to go running at that moment. The brisk air was telling me to move. So I started running in my heavy jacket and ski pants. I looked like an idiot, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to clear my mind for a while. The streets were so cold on my feet that it felt like I didn’t even have shoes. The asphalt felt like lava with every stride. Pain would shoot up my leg with every step. The air was piercingly cold, making it hard to breathe. But I kept running for a while. It was nice to run away. Our problems don’t go away, but they seem to be smaller afterwards. The fence was farther away from me, but it will always be there. It will always be the same height with its sharp points on top. But I don’t care. Maybe, just maybe, that fence will be smaller when I go back. I think it will be smaller. Maybe not by much, but it will be smaller.

    After running for a while, I went back to my apartment. I’m in 8th grade, and I live alone. My mom died when I was born from the pregnancy, and my dad was imprisoned in 4th grade. But to be honest, I’m actually pretty well off from my mom’s life insurance. My dad also did pretty well, but he always acted like we were much poorer to fit in with the Black community. Like my father, I do the same thing. I act like I’m poor, but I even have a college fund. But I don’t think the fund means anything if I can’t even pass grade school. I have bad grades in all my classes except English. I really like reading. I don’t like grammar and writing necessarily, but reading a good book that makes you think is really something. My dad would always give me books to read when I was younger. He told me to read Moby Dick when I was in 3rd grade! Of course, I read it in 3 days. I read it nonstop till he would give me another book from the library. After Moby Dick, he gave me White Fang and Call of the Wild by Jack London. I loved both of them dearly. Jack London is really something with his nature. I wish I could go out to the country and see what he saw. It made me hate inner city Michigan, but my dad always said he would take me out to Montana or Alaska one of these days. He never did.

    The last book my dad gave me wasn’t from the library. It was a book he actually bought for me. It was To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. But to be honest with you, I thought it was boring. I didn’t understand why he gave me it. Was it because we were black? I don’t know. My dad was so prideful of being black. I didn’t think it really mattered. I just wanted to be an American – whatever that even means. He would always talk about American figures like Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He would always tell me that they are American heroes. That we should just be so happy that they fought for us. But did they really fight for me? Weren’t they just fighting for themselves? I don’t think they were so great. They were just famous people who felt the same way as every other black person in America. They didn’t jump fences – they ignored them. They didn’t solve any problems – they just pointed them out. If they were such heroes, then why do we face the same problems? We just don’t have any visible fences anymore. There are still fences in society. I get looks from everyone when I go to the white church. The police officers never smile at me like they do to the white kids. I’m not really welcomed by anyone at the private school I go to. It’s a fake welcoming. They all look at me and smile, but when they all hang out, I’m alone. I don’t understand what’s so great about being black; I don’t understand what my dad saw. I see fences all around me, but my dad didn’t.

    Maybe that makes me a pessimist, I don’t know. I’m just so tired of that fence. It makes me so angry. I feel so shut out. I feel so alone. I feel so lost. I don’t know what I want to do with my life. That stupid fence will be there no matter what I decide. If I want to be a lawyer like my dad, teachers will tell me how bad my grades are. If I want to be an author, they tell me how I wouldn’t make any money. It’s always the same. That fence will always be there, and it makes me so angry. I want to jump it so bad, but it terrifies me.

    I decided to sit down on the couch for a second. I needed to relax. The living room felt so empty while sitting there. Then, a heavy guilt seemed to enter the room. The guilt of not seeing my dad since he was imprisoned was haunting me. It was laughing at me. I just sat there, accepting it. I slowly started to cry on the couch, and I let my sadness encase me – maybe because it was all I had.

    Then, another kind of guilt started to slip into the room slowly, like a poisonous gas that was leaking from a pipe into a room. It was the guilt of not being good enough. I remembered the fence. I remembered the police officer arresting my dad. The guilt rested on my shoulders with so much weight that I felt like I was being crushed to death. I couldn’t breathe. Oxygen was leaving me, and I was coughing violently. I gasped for air, trying to grasp the oxygen as if I were reaching for my dad. I remembered the aluminum of the fence cutting into my skin, and this felt no different. I kept coughing, gasping for air. Then, I passed out in my living room, with tears on my face. The loneliness had finally caught up with me.

    **********

    I was sitting in a white room. My dad was sitting in a chair across from me. He looked at me and said, “Perspective.” I don’t know what he meant by that, but then he continued with, “It’s just a fence.” I still didn’t understand what he was saying. He smiled, “Nobody can take away your identity. They can make fun of you. They can point out your shortcomings. They can push you away from society. But they will never be able to take away your identity. I named you Roger because I knew you would fight back at life. Always remember your identity.” Then he disappeared, leaving me alone in the white room.

    **********


    When I woke up in my living room, I still had tears on my face. I started to laugh. I don’t know why, but I think sometimes when all you can do is cry, is when you can’t help but laugh. Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea. I smiled with determination.

    I grabbed a fire axe that was in my closet for emergencies. I put on my heavy snow jacket and my ski pants, and I went outside. It was dark outside, probably around midnight or so. I probably looked like a murderer with a fire axe and a suspicious heavy jacket. It made me smile. I started to run. I didn’t know where I was going, but my feet knew where to go. Every step had a purpose. I was going towards the thing that always came back to me. It was always telling me I wasn’t good enough. It was always telling me I couldn’t be somebody because of who I was, because of the color of my skin. It was telling me I couldn’t be with my dad. It was telling me my dad didn’t love me. But I’m tired of it. I’m so tired of it. I’m still terrified, but I need to face my fear.

    I continued to run till eventually I got to the jail. The fence was right in front of me. My heart started to speed up. I felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. I started to sweat everywhere. I was shaking all over. But I took a deep breath and smiled. I have determination. I have gusto. I have love. I have a future. I’m worth something. But most importantly, I love my dad, and I think he loves me. So, I took up the axe, and I destroyed the fence.

    **********

    A week later, the fence was back. I don’t think that fence can be destroyed completely. I think it will always be there. But I think my dad was right. It’s all about how you perceive things. I’m so afraid of being the person I’m meant to be. I’m so afraid of failure. I’m so afraid of seeing my dad again. I’m so afraid of the judgement. But I think, more than anything, I’m afraid of inadequacy. That if I were to break the fence again, my dad would just look at me with contempt. He wouldn’t be any different than the teachers who tell me that I’m not smart enough. I think now I’ve realized that life isn’t about becoming a movie star, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a famous author. Maybe it’s ok that I’m not as good as everyone else. Maybe I’ll find my path later. Or maybe I’ll become something that no one will ever expect. It’s like I’m a caterpillar, and maybe one day, I’ll become a butterfly. Then, I’ll fly over the fence, and the fence will still be there, but I’ll use my identity to get over it. I won’t worry about impressing my father. I’ll just be me because that’s all I can do. Then maybe, just maybe, that fence will be a little smaller afterwards.
     

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