“The funeral was very painful. The whole town showed up. The man whose car had collided with the Powers family was in prison. They claimed his blood alcohol level had been at .29 from drinking all day at the local tavern and watching the football game. The deafening pain had followed for weeks. The woman had been unable to leave the house; it protected her and shielded her from the town’s sympathy. Now, she was all alone. She had had to sell the home because she could not afford to keep it maintained by herself. Every Last shred of Lacey was gone except this cold hard stone in the middle of the other rocks. She lay down around it as she did every night and drifted off to sleep.”
The main character was deeply affected by the loss of her younger sister. She seemed to have a fear of being alone and is, now that her sister is dead and her house had to be sold. The idea of someone having the fear of being alone is common, but I liked how she wrote the story and had the main character so deeply connected spiritually and emotionally, creating a strong familiar bond many of us can relate too.
The story is character-driven but come across as being “flat” due to the same state of feeling throughout. I could tell from the motions of the old woman in the first paragraph that these memories of her sister were not going to lead to a happy ending.
The setting was well developed due to a good sense of scenery but needed a stronger character development. This led to the difficulty in picturing your characters in these places. I could see the lake vividly in my mind, but because the characters were not described more I could not picture what they looked like. I am not sure of your intentions, but it did allow me to create the old woman and her sister in my head. This could be both good and bad, since each reader could view the characters differently.
Your usage of metaphors was excellent. The metaphor of childhood innocence was seen through a scared adult. The house became a safe place for the woman, while the lake was not. Similes were found throughout your story, but one stuck in my mind as being well written and if you were to think about it in your head the sun’s warmth can be just as comforting as a pat on the back. “She sat down slowly on the wooden steps and covered her tear streaked face as the warm drops fell lightly onto her back, soothing her like a hand, rhythmically patting her back for comfort and support.” There was a good usage of personification. The house did more than protect her physically. It protected her emotionally.
There were times when sentences did not feel complete or too wordy and lacked transition. Then a few sentences later there would be a well-written sentence to almost make up for it. “When her fragile sibling complained of the cold, the two tired children would race each other into the inviting house, peeling off their winter layers at the door to avoid creating puddles of melted snow throughout their beautiful house.” This could be rearranged to add transition. For example: When her fragile sibling complained of the cold, the two would race each other to the house that seemed inviting. Winter clothes were peeled off in layers to avoid creating puddles of melted snow inside the beautiful warm house. Imagery was good. There were some sentences that were excellent. “She showed the child how to slowly roll the balls of cold snow along the top layer of the white blanket to form a firm even circle.” You also used such words like hot and sticky to describe the day in the next paragraph. They are good descriptions, but what else could you have said to help me with my five senses. The usage of past and present tenses became confusing. There were times where it appeared that the author used the incorrect tense, which confused me as the reader.
There could have been some places that would have improved with the usage of dialogue between the two sisters or toward the end between the town and the older woman. This might have changed the tone and add to the development.
I enjoyed the ending due to the use of irony. She had to lose both of her safe place and person leaving her alone- the character’s main flaw (she feared being alone). She lost her sister in an uncontrollable way: struck dead by a drunk driver with her family in their car. She is left alone to maintain her house, but cannot afford the upkeep. The conclusion was excellent. We learned that the whole town showed up at the funeral to pay their last respects. This shows sister had friends and acquaintances that would also be effected by the death. The drunk driver was sentenced to prison. He too was effected and his life would never be the same. The story left me wondering what would this woman be like without anything. How would she act or think? How would she live her life differently?
Overall this was a good story to read. I could feel pity and sorrow for the old woman and her losses. It was sad that she had to lose the two things that she felt safe because of.