The World of Before

—— Author’s Note ——

Thanks for checking out this page. So, what you need to know: “The World of Before,” is a short story I wrote. I wanted to share it with all of you. If you have any feedback, something you really liked or thought could be better, feel free to share in the comments. I’m always looking for feedback. Thank you again for reading. I hope you enjoy it.

                                                                                                                                               – Maggie

 

THE WORLD OF BEFORE

I would not cry.

Not again.

Except my crushed heart wanted to push the tears out of my eyes. It wouldn’t do any good, it never did.

“Colton.” Mom pushed open the door. I didn’t even acknowledge her presence. There was no way I was going to look into her green eyes and remember. Instead, I buried my head under my pillow. 

“Supper’s ready,” Mom said.

The mattress shifted as Mom sat on my bed. Why wouldn’t she leave me alone? She always wanted to talk. Not me. The way I saw it, not talking, not thinking, about it meant I could push all that pain and anguish deep down until all I felt was numbness. Until all I felt was nothing.

“Not hungry,” I grumbled, the pillow muffling everything.

“Colton…”

“Leave me alone!” I shot up, locking eyes with her. That was a huge mistake. Her eyes took me through time back to when life made sense. Back to before my world crumbled around me.

Slowly, she stood. She was almost gone…I was almost rid of my memories.

Then she abruptly turned around. “How much longer are you going to be like this?” Her voice cracked, and I would’ve felt myself crack, too, if I hadn’t driven myself into feeling nothing. “This isn’t going to bring him back.”

There was nothing I could say, so I just turned to face one of the dull-colored walls. The sun peeked through the blinds covering the lone window, spotlighting the photo. It was the one thing on my cluttered desk standing up.

Mom sighed, knowing nothing she’d say would change me. Hopefully, this would be her last try. “If you get hungry, there’s pizza downstairs.”

My bedroom door closed again, which gave me the freedom to crawl out of bed and walk over to that desk. To that picture. Each step closer was like a step out of reality and into the World of Before. That’s why every step broke the ice frozen around my heart.

I grabbed the photo. My dad was carrying me on his shoulders, a huge grin covering his dirt-stained face. We had just hiked a steep trail, and you could see the victory we felt shining through our eyes. My heart pounded; we would never take another hike again. I slammed my eyes shut, but it didn’t push away the desire to just have one more day together.

I would give anything for Dad to open my door and tell me the heart attack never happened. That it was all just a terrible nightmare.

I even turned to the door. Waiting. But I knew he wasn’t coming. My hands tightened around the picture’s frame as my eyes forced me to stare at that photo and remember. I could almost feel the grass beneath my bare feet and the sun shining on that perfect day….

No!

I screamed and hurled the frame across the room as hard as I could. Glass shattered, but it was nothing compared to the shattering of my heart. I was just as broken and unfixable.

Mom rushed in, but I wasn’t staying. Pushing past her, I hurried down the steps, breaking into a full run once I made it outside.

***

Smoke stung my nose. Flames from a campfire off in the distance rose into the night, dancing their way around the midnight blue sky. A bunch of teens were gathered around that fire. Their laughter pierced my ears, and their joy stung my heart. Before Dad’s death that would’ve been me out there. I would’ve been talking with my friends and eating as many s’mores as I could grab. 

Josh, a friend of mine, was sitting on a log close to the campfire, constantly checking his phone for recent texts as usual. Weston was close by, and Nate stood off to the side, far away from the laughter emitting off the teens. He was probably oblivious to the world around him, engrossed into whatever words shone from his book beneath his flashlight’s gaze.

I crouched behind a bush, watching. How many of my friends were waiting for me to show up? What if I did? Would they just look at me with pity hiding in the depths of their eyes?

“Are you hiding?” someone whispered.

I jerked around, almost losing my balance. A girl hovered over me with hands on her hips and a carefree grin. She looked like a girl who knew exactly where she was going in life. Was I that way three months ago? Life before Dad died was a blurr sometimes. Like my mind didn’t start working until the day I came home from school to face that crushing news.

“I’m not hiding.” I stood up.

“Looks like it to me,” the girl remarked.

I pushed past her. This was a horrible decision, coming here. What was I even thinking?

“Colton?” someone yelled, disturbing the night’s peaceful air. I whipped around and pushed down my instinct to run. Nate raced up to me. “Colton, what’s up? I didn’t expect to see you here.” 

That’s because I wasn’t supposed to bring myself here. “I was actually just leaving.”

“How…how are you doing?” Nate ran to catch up to me as I began walking away. Whoever that girl was, she was gone now. How could I make Nate disappear with her? Or at least leave me alone? If I had wanted to talk, I would’ve been at that party.

“Fine.”

“I haven’t seen you around lately. Outside of school, that is.” And this was how the rest of the hour went. Nate tried to talk, and I just went into an easy game of ignoring him. When he finally took the cue and left, air came rushing back to me. I was free. I could breathe now, without having to worry about keeping the act up that everything was alright. Nothing would ever be okay again.

***

The moon was high in the sky, and I needed to get home before Mom got too worried. But my feet were stuck to the forest’s floor, and my mind was trapped in the endless cycle of the last day I had with Dad. It all happened too suddenly, and I was left empty, desperate to just see him smile once more.

“Colton, right?”

That girl was back with that same joyous smile and those same gleaming eyes.

“What do you want?” I snapped.

The girl looked off to the moon hanging above us. “I’m Eva.” Turning back, she locked eyes with me. Her smile faded slowly. “I overheard what had happened.”

She didn’t need to say anymore, for I knew exactly what she was talking about. Quickly, I turned around and started the hike back home.

“Wait,” she called, but there was no way I was going to stick around. She grabbed my arm, and everything inside me screamed for me to push away. Instead, I turned around to face her again. There wasn’t a hint of that smile.

“I get what it’s like to lose someone. My sis died two years ago in a car accident.”

I slid to the cold ground. What cure did she have that gave her back her smile? Eva sat down next to me, but her gaze was off to a distant thought. A distant world. The World of Before.

“How can…” I stopped, knowing my question sounded crazy.

“It will get better.” Eva slowly tore her eyes away from the sky to find me. “But you’ll never forget the one lost. You just can’t get lost in this world, too. You can’t trap yourself in the life before.”

Tree frogs cricketed in the distance, but my every thought was wrapped tightly around her words. 

“Keep the pain inside you, and it will only get worse. Break through it and cry out. And never forget there is hope, and there is love that can heal. Let love heal you.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Think about it. You’ll find it makes perfect sense.” Eva stood up, gave her joyful smile, and walked away.

For an hour, I did think about all that had happened and all the people who were constantly there. They loved me, but maybe I had too many walls that prevented their love from breaking through. Eventually, my thoughts faded as my feet broke into a run. There was no thinking anymore, I just let my feet move me. 

The house stood on the hill, with only one light shining through a window. Of course my mom would wait for me to find my way home.

As I reached the door, Mom threw it open. She must’ve seen me running to the house. I threw my arms around her, letting tears pour down my face in a constant downpour. Mom didn’t say a word, she just drew me closer to her.

It was odd, but I could almost feel a piece of my brokenness find its way back into place.

30 Comments

  • Flower Girl

    I liked your short story. I liked how you can put together word after word to create and describe every moment. It’s a rare talent to formulate words to form a scene or picture. And to give the reader the same thing and to make them see and feel it. Keep up the good work and never give up.

    • Maggie

      YAAAAYY!!!! First comment on my short story! You should get an award for that. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU soooooo much for that. I really needed that bit of encouragement. I’m so glad you enjoyed the story. It always puts a smile on a writer’s face to know that they have given a reader some enjoyment. And thanks a bunch for commenting.

  • Ally M.J.

    I really liked that! It actually reminded me of a couple of lines in my favorite song. “Tryna make the moments pass… holding on to the past…” I wonder want happened after that night.
    You’re such a talented writer! I’ve never been able to make short stories. I feel the need to add every single little detail, and my characters have long and complicated backstories that I need to explain, and when I finish, (or, more likely, move to a different project) I have 30 pages to deal with.

    • Maggie

      Aw, THANKS A BUNCH!!!! Huh, those lyrics actually do remind me of my story. You know, I’ve never really thought much about what happened with Colton afterwards. I do know that a few months later, Eva and him started dating, but that’s kind of it. AW, THANK YOU!!!!!!! Ha, I totally get that. When I write short stories they’re normally for a magazine or contest to submit to and I ALWAYS go waaaayyy past my word count and have to cut A TON. I’m the SAME WAY. My characters always have so much more backstory than I’m able to share. 😂. THANK YOU SOOO MUCH AGAIN. You’re amazing!!!!

  • EmmaDJ

    Hi, Maggie! This is Emma from over at Allie’s blog! 😉

    I love your short story, wow! 99% of the times I try to write short stories… it doesn’t end up short xD I always add so much detail!! I LOVE all the emotion and the good morals! So much depth in so small a space 😉 The “goin’ deep” style is definitely one of my favorite types of stories to read!! Great title too <3 Great job, girl!!!

    • Maggie

      ‘Sup, Emma!!! 😃 YAY, I’m soooo happy you commented and read my story!!!!

      THANK YOU like a billion times over!!!! Short stories are really hard for me, too, I always end up having to cut a ton to bring the word count down. DETAIL, it kills us sometimes 😉 YES, I’m SOOOOO HAPPY. Really? I was like so worried that there wasn’t enough space to go into a lot of depth. ME TOO!!!!! I love when a story can draw me in emotionally. THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!!

      • EmmaDJ

        Yes, you did great!! You took advantage of the limited space, and dove deep into the spots where you could! 😉 Of course you can’t cover every detail of Colton’s journey in a short story, BUT you set him firmly on his first step to healing.

        Bravo!! *throws roses and candy*

  • Trixie

    Wow that was ……
    Amazing
    Heartfelt
    Sad
    A mix of emotions it would take forever to list, all them resulting in a wonderful story ( this one of course )
    That was really good Maggie!
    You are an amazing writer hope I can write like you someday !

    • Maggie

      Aw, THANK YOU SO MUCH, TRIXIE!!!! Your comment is just making my day. 🥰 Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m just SUPER happy you enjoyed my story.

      Aw, thank you again. I believe you’re an AWESOME writer, too!!!!! Just keep writing, and one of these days, I don’t have a single doubt you’ll be able to do whatever you wish for your writing to do. And then I’ll be the one telling YOU how I wanna write like you. Thank you for reading and commenting. Keep Writing!!! 😁

  • Anna

    This is SOOOOOO good!!!! I am trying to write a book, but I can definitely not write as well as you can!!! I love how you are able to capture the emotions that the characters are feeling, and paint word pictures of what they are seeing!!! I wish you luck on any future projects!!!

    • Maggie

      Aw, THANK YOU LIKE A TRILLION TIMES OVER, GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am ABSOLUTELY certain that is NOT true!!! You are a MUCH BETTER writer than you think. You have SOOO GOT THIS WRITING THING!!!!!!!! I am rooting for you!!!! *waving pom poms* But if you have any writerly questions or need any tips or tricks DO NOT hesitate to ask!!!!!!! I’d be MORE THAN HAPPY to help!!!! Aw, really? You think so? THANK YOU!!!!!!!! Honestly, I had always felt like this short story didn’t turn out very good. Actually, this is something I sent to an online magazine for teens that was rejected. But I am SOOO HAPPY to hear you enjoyed it!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!! I wish you the BEST OF LUCK as well!!!!!!!

      THANK YOU for commenting and for joining Teen Writers’ Nook!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <33

  • LittleNovelist36

    Wow… Just… WOW. You made me realize that I sometimes dwell in the World of Before too… For different reasons, but… I’m going to try to “let love heal (me)” now. Thank you so much for this!

    • Maggie

      THANK YOU!!!!!! Oh, WOW!!! I’m soooo glad my story was able to speak to you in a way. I understand! Yes, Love, especially God’s Love, is the only thing that can heal any of us. I know this from personal experience. Aw, you’re welcome! THANK YOU for reading and commenting!!!!!!! God bless you!!! <33 <33 <33 Also, I just feel like God's telling me to pray for you, so just to let you know, you will be in my prayers!!

      • LittleNovelist36

        Thank you so much for the story and your prayers!!! I literally just teared up reading that. I hardly know you… it means a lot that there are amazing sisters in Christ who would pray for me. My year’s been kind of rough and just… Thank you so so so much!

        • Maggie

          Aw, you’re so VERY welcome!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness!!!!! Really? I’m glad to hear my story was that moving!!!! Yes!! It’s AWESOME when you find another sister in Christ like that!! And, though, we don’t really know each other a LOT, that doesn’t matter much in prayers. I’ll even pray for people I don’t even know their names to. ‘Cause, though, I don’t know, God does, and that’s all that matters! So, yes, you’re in my prayers!!!!!!!!! I’m SOOO SORRY to hear that. I hope things get better!!!!! Aw, Girl, ANYTIME!!!!! Our journeys in life, shouldn’t be walked alone!!!!!!! <33 <33

          • LittleNovelist36

            THANK YOU!!!!! I’m so glad to be part of something so great that total strangers can pray for each other, aren’t you? I appreciate the prayers so much and it’s always amazing to know someone’s there. And I have no clue if I’ve told you, but I’m Kaley.

            • Maggie

              Aw, you’re sooo welcome, girl!!!!!!!! YES, ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!!!!!!! It really reminds you that we’re not alone!!!!!! YES! I feel the SAME WAY! It’s great to know other people have your back through things we face! You didn’t tell me, but HI!! It’s VERY nice to meet you, Kaley! Such a BEAUTIFUL name, BTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <33 My real name is Issabelle. And, yes, those two Ss are supposed to be there. My name's just different. 😉

  • Ashlyn

    Hi Maggie! (Issabelle?-let me know what you want to be called)

    I’m kind of new to this site….and I have never commented on something before but, well, I couldn’t help it this time! I LOVE your story. It meant a lot to me. And it was absolutely beautiful! I am a follower of Christ as well, and I am so happy I found this site.
    Your story-The World of Before-really inspired me to keep working on my Work In Progress. I’ll admit, writing has been hard for me, this year. But this site is helping, I love exploring it! I know another commenter already mentioned it, but, the quote from your story: “Let love heal you” really moved me. Honestly, it was the BEST, reading that! Thank you so much! You’re a gifted and skillful writer!!!

    • Issabelle

      HEEEEELLLLLLOOOOOOO, ASHLYN!!!!! (BEAUTIFUL name, BTW!!! I almost named one of my fictional characters Ashlyn, once!) I’m TOTALLY cool with whatever!!! Both names are awesome!!! But if you end up choosing to call me Issabelle, then you can come up with a nickname like Is or Izzy, ’cause my name’s pretty long. XD

      Well, WELCOME TO TWN!!!!!! *waves dramatically* It’s AWESOME to get to meet you!!!!!! You seem like a REALLY COOL person!!! Also, I’m kind of trying to expand TWN, so if you wanna share how you found this little blog that’d be AWESOME, but if not that’s TOTALLY COOL too!!!!!!!!!!! Well, I’m SUPER HAPPY you chose to comment on this story!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE being able to hear readers’ thoughts! My readers are one of the big reasons I blog! Aw, girl, THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!! I’m SOOO OVERLY HAPPY TO HEAR THIS!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!! That’s just I N C R E D I B L E!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s nice to meet fellow sisters in Christ, amiright! I’m REALLY HAPPY you found this site as well!!!

      OH MY GOODNESS, GIRL, THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s always some of the best news to hear that I inspired someone to write! I’m SOOO SORRY to hear that! I’ll pray that God gives you the inspiration, creativity, and motivation that you need to keep writing! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!!!!! *waving pom poms* THAT’S SUPER AWESOME TO HEAR!!!!!!!!!! Aw, THANK YOU AGAIN SOOOO MUCH!!!!!! That part was actually inspired from a Christian song I had been listening to. It was perfect for Colton’s story!!! Aw, girl, you’re TOO SWEET!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU for reading and commenting!!!!! This comment has just made my day!!!!! Aw, girl, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! <33

    • Katherine

      Hello, Ashlyn!!!!! Beautiful name. Welcome welcome welcome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so very much for commenting and coming to Teen Writers’ Nook!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We’re truly happy to have you here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s amazing! It is so nice to meet you!!!!!!😃

      I know how you feel about writing being hard, but don’t give up. You can do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We’re cheering you on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Ashlyn

      Thanks so much for responding!! I was seriously smiling all the way through reading your comments! THAT made my day. I think what you guys have started (this whole website) is so incredibly AWESOME, helpful, and VERY inspiring to teen writers (like me!!!!!! ;)) I found this website through another blog that had a link to it in the comments! So that’s how I got here!! Boy am I glad I clicked on the link! Oh and I think I’ll probably go with Maggie, because my device auto corrects the other one with the two Ss. (BUT, Issabelle is a very pretty name!) Thank you SOOOOOO MUCH for praying. Seriously it means a LOT to me. I’ve always had big dreams of being an author, and I am slowly working toward it, but, it is definitely challenging! Really, THANK YOU!

      • Issabelle

        Of course!!!!!!!! I ALWAYS respond ’cause I ALWAYS LOVE talking and getting to know TWN’s readers!!!!!!!!! Aw, really? That just makes me SUPER HAPPY!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!! It always means THE WORLD to me to hear that from our readers!!!!!!!! Oooh, that’s SUPER COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!! WELL WELCOME, WELCOME!!!!!!!!!!! Me too!!!! I’m REALLY HAPPY you clicked that link!!!!! Hahaha, that’s TOTALLY OKAY!!!!!!!!! That auto-correct thing actually bugs me, so I’m cool with you going with Maggie to save you from that. XD (Aw, THANK YOU!) Of course, girl, ANY TIME!!!!!!!!!! I COMPLETELY understand that!!!!!!!! I have those same big dreams…though I feel like I’m further from accomplishing them than you! 😂 I feel ya, there, girl. It’s SERIOUSLY challenging!!!!! TOTALLY!!!!!!!! You’re welcome! THANK YOU for coming to TWN!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Katherine

        Aww! Thank you so very much!!!!!!!!!!😀 I am so glad you clicked the link too!!!!!! Keep going and don’t give up on your dreams!!! I just know you will be a published author one day!!! I’m cheering you on! *waves pom poms*

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