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Narrative Therapy

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Elyse ambled down the silent street, lost in reverie of the earlier night/morning. Her heels clicked on the cobblestones. Her red dress brushed against her legs. Her hair stuck to the back of her sweaty neck. It had been the perfect party. The right music played. The right people came. The right food was served. Everything was right. Even the weather was just right. A soft breeze brushed Elyse’s hair off her neck.

She stumbled. She heard a scream. Maybe it was the Schnapps talking…but no. There it was again. The horrible desperate scream of the dying. The sound echoed in Elyse’s pounding head. Without even thinking she ran into the dark alley, kicking off her fashionable but impractical heels as she went. Her bare feet pounded on the road. Her red dress tore as she raced around trash cans. Her hair whipped through the air.

"Faster," she thought. "I have to go faster. I have to get there." The screams grew louder. More desperate. Then, with a gurgled shriek, they silenced. Elyse skidded to a halt, rounding the final corner. A woman sat against a brick wall. Pajamas were torn away to reveal still bleeding cuts and half-healed bruises. Fingerprints encircled her neck. Her eyes were unfocused, unseeing, and still wet from her final tears.

Elyse fell to her knees before the prone figure…



Elly throws her pen at the wall. A notebook soon follows. “How the heck is this supposed to help me?” she screams at a bearded man in a suit. He sits calmly behind a desk, as though he sees this every day. Then again, as a shrink in New York City, he probably does. Elly continues to shout. “What is even the point of this exercise? Reliving my own memory isn’t bad enough? Some fictitious character has to deal with it to? I have to twist it and warp it and write about it? Just remembering it every day of my life is bad enough. I don’t need you tell me to think about it and get over it. I will never get over it. I could live to be 102 and still remember February 12, 2011 as the WORST FREAKING DAY OF MY LIFE!”

Elly throws a few more things then storms out of the room, slamming the heavy wooden door behind her. The bearded man simply straightens his glasses and calmly begins to write.

Elly isn’t quite so calm. She enters a silent waiting room. No one even notices her. The secretary also probably sees this kind of behavior every day and the other patients are too jaded by their own problems to even care. Elly dashes past her parents and down a dozen flights of stairs. She pushes open a door and emerges onto a busy street. She stumbles past the man begging for change, the tourist holding a map upside-down, and the business woman striding purposefully by. Somehow, Elly makes it to an alley several blocks away. No one comes here. Not anymore.

Elly slides down the brick wall. Pulling her knees close, she begins to cry. First one tear, then another, then full-out waterworks, complete with sobbing.

What was I supposed to do that night? What could I have done? I got there as fast as I could. But I was too late. I should have called the cops. Why didn’t I call the cops? But that wouldn’t have helped either. Between the 911 call and getting a hold of a cop car and them actually getting over there, it would have been too late. There’s nothing I could have possibly done. If I had gotten there earlier I wouldn’t have saved anyone’s life. I’d have probably ended up dead as well. But if I did nothing wrong, why do I feel so guilty?



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This article has 11 comments. Post your own!

paige14 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm:
It was supposed to be italicized, but the formatting didn't come through when it got posted
 
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TheWordSmith said...
Apr. 5, 2012 at 6:02 pm:
Well-written and haunting! I liked it a lot. The only comment I would have is that when Elly starts talking about herself in the final paragraph, the transition was a little confusing. I would say something such as, "Elly thought..." and then lead into that paragraph. Other than that, excellent work!
 
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TheWordSmith said...
Apr. 5, 2012 at 6:02 pm:
Well-written and haunting! I liked it a lot. The only comment I would have is that when Elly starts talking about herself in the final paragraph, the transition was a little confusing. I would say something such as, "Elly thought..." and then lead into that paragraph. Other than that, excellent work!
 
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EtherealThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm:
It was a little confusing near the transition from the past to the present, but other than that it was very well written and deep- I understood most of it and I especially liked the first paragraph
 
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Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 2, 2011 at 1:11 am:
This was really good, although I do think it's a bit confusing at certain parts. I think I'd like to know more about what happened--it would probably give me a better picture of what's going on in the entire story. Other than that, great work!
 
Emiri replied...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 3:37 pm :
Oooo! Heh heh, I like this. I really like this. It is a little bit vague as to what happened after you introduce teh dead woman, but I don't find that a problem. Nice work!
 
paige14 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm :
Basically Elly witnessed a murder and had to visit a shrink, who had her write a fictitious version of the event (the part about Elyse). I can see how that could be kinda confusing, but does that make more sense?
 
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JoPepperThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Sept. 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm:
I thought it was very good but some parts seemed confusing.  She came from a party suddenly in a therapists office then she's guilty.  But what about?  But I loved the description!!! :)
 
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DaughterofEvil said...
Sept. 28, 2011 at 7:02 pm:
I agree with Alex on his/her point that you should be mindful of your tenses. I understand that your character feels guilt and in a therapist's office, but why is there a secretary in there...? Anyway, 4/5. It's just a small quibble. Also, I didn't get any backstory on the woman. How did she get into her situation? A bit of her perspective would have been good too.
 
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alex198 said...
Aug. 25, 2011 at 11:26 am:
I thought your descriptions in this piece were quite good however they were were made seem quite choppy and didn't flow very well because of the short sentences you used. Short sentences are a great device to build tension but I think you over used them a bit in this piece. I also think you need to be careful of your tense. You started off in the past tense and moved into the present. Hope that's helpful! :)
 
Anyagirl replied...
Aug. 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm :
I really like this, it has aver powerfull effect. You should keep writing!
 
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