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Madylen's letter from the Orchard.
A piece of an in-progress story which likely won't appear in the story itself in full. Madylen Brunn is a young woman (13 or so) who has recently departed her home town in order to stay a summer with her uncle on his newly-purchased orchard and decide whether she will attend a prestigious, if somewhat remote, academy for girls in the area. This letter is to her close childhood friend, Curtis Harrel.

I wrote it as my entry for the brigits_flame August contest, week one, under the prompt 'coast'. It's fiction, rated E for Everybody (though this story hopes to be rated C for eff'n creepy), and a sound 445 words long. Enjoy.

Dear Curtis,

I write you after having arrived at the orchard. As always, Uncle Roland receives me like some bejeweled foreign dignitary, but this time there is a pride in his eyes that I have not seen. The estate he purchased is both beautiful and expansive. Not only the growing land, but the whole tract that runs down to the coast, as well. Several miles of sea shore; he has not told me how much yet. He says we'll drive its length as soon as he has an opportunity to check the road that goes up it.

I did go down to the water, though. How could I not? Standing there in the twilight, I felt like all the silence and stillness of this empty place was focused to a point, right where I lingered. I thought it would sound like the river in Gill, because I could not imagine what more water sounded like all together, but it is much different.

The orchards smell like fruit, even though it's too early to harvest. We have black pear, rohel, more kinds of apple than I've counted, and a beautiful old plum tree off in a field that hasn't been very well tended. I think there might be more, but the ground there needs to be cleared. There's also a vegetable garden behind the house and beds overflowing with wild florals. I'm sure they were kept once, but I'm inclined to ask my uncle if we can leave them as they are.

I was most startled by the contrast between the upper grounds, where the orchard proper is, and the tract leading down to the strand. There is a sharp division between the flora in the richer soil of the plateau and the seaside plant life that clings to the rocky ground below. Roland showed me tide lines carved out of the bluffs in succession, and sweeping lines of seaweed that remind me of the miles of marsh grass chains you and I used to make. The tide began to come in while we were walking, and I had this dizzying feeling that the whole estate was merely sinking down into the sea.

In a fortnight, I will go to interview at Tal Frost Academy – even writing out its name gives me a knot in my stomach. The opportunity to study so close to where so much of our history occurred excites me more, however. Roland says there are ruins on the north part of the property that bear markings dating them well into times of Gineran prosperity.

I cannot wait for you to visit. Please tell me it will be soon.

Yours sincerely,


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There is some beautiful imagery in this piece; I feel I can see the lanscape through your description.

I think the letter format really gives this entry wings! I could almost hear the narrator's voice, and I want to know what happens next.

Good luck this week! Look forward to reading more from you.
BF Week One entry: "Clothes and all"

Hello, I’m your week one editor. Below are my suggestions and comments on your piece; I hope you’ll find them helpful.

-First, the language in this letter is very mature for someone who is thirteen years old. Because of it, I would assume that she’s been well educated and comes from an upper class family, though we don’t really learn much of her past. If this isn’t the case, then the language might be a little too mature.

“He says we'll drive its length as soon as he has an opportunity to check the road that goes up it.”
-“up it” sounds a little awkward compared to the rest of the sentence. It’s just not as refined. Maybe it could be changed to “up to it”?

“Standing there in the twilight, I felt like all the silence and stillness of this empty place was focused to a point, right where I lingered.”
-This is a beautiful sentence, probably my favorite of the piece. It’s very poetic, yet not self-consciously so. I don’t think I’ve ever heard something like that, “focused to a point, right where I lingered”.... Absolutely fantastic.

“and I had this dizzying feeling that the whole estate was merely sinking down into the sea.”
-I love the creepiness here that isn’t overdone. It gives me the feeling that the land has an existence of its own, that its years of neglect have made it silently wild. Even though he owns the land now, it’s as if Uncle Roland and Madylen are just visitors there. That’s my first impression anyway.

I have to say, I really loved this piece. There’s a beauty in Madelyn’s words, but also a sense of foreboding that subtly underlines everything. The descriptions are so rich that I feel like I could reach out and touch the wild flowers and breathe in the sweet smell of the orchards. Amazing work!

Will you be posting more of this story? I would really be interested in finding out what happens next and of course more about the mysterious orchard.

Thanks for the suggestions! Madylen's voice is a little sophisticated for a young girl, and that is primarily intentional... she's a strange thing, and my hope is that she comes off outside of her normal group (I've written a little about it elsewhere but not gotten a chance to go into it very far). She is well educated- Tal Frost is a pretty high-end facility for academically minded young ladies of 'exceptional intellect'.

The rest of what is written up to this point is posted to this journal; it's just f-locked as that 'I might look into publishing this if it gets finished' best practice. If you'd like to read it I'll gladly add you.

Sorry for the late reply. Yes, that would be awesome! I would definitely enjoy reading more.

Haha, I suck! Sorry I didn't get back to you until now >.< Sometimes, when emails come to my phone that require further non-phone action, I drop the ball. :x

BUT I ADDED YOU. The post with more of this story is the one directly after this one, under the working title Fare Thee Well.


Cool, thank you!

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