When I read this story, I said to myself, "I am missing something." It was like reading a random chapter out of the middle of a book, not understanding who the characters are or what has been going on. The first part of the story was tough enough, trying to figure out the fourth paragraph with its obscure references to other unnamed people and past events. But the second part of the story was a shocker. I went back to check the dates; how do these parts relate? I wondered if the italics meant it was a dream or a prologue; apparently not. But why is Michael digging a grave, for heaven's sake? Is the corpse someone he killed, or merely a body he is hiding? The mention of bad images permanently in his brain suggests that he at least witnessed, probably committed the murder.
I went online to check out this author's other stories, Is there a prologue there somewhere? Not that I could see. But as I scrolled down the list of titles, I noticed the title of this piece more closely: "To Kill For Her". What? Did Michael murder Anthony in an attempt to get Lisa back again? Say it isn't so!
This story is definitely not ordinary. In a few short pages it manages to be startling, even disturbing, beginning as an unremarkable though nicely-written love story and ending as what can only be called an act of madness. It reminded me of John Hinckley's assassination attack on President Reagan in an attempt to impress the actress Jodi Foster (he is still in a mental hospital).
Michael refers to himself as weak. he has lost what is most valuable to him because of his self-perceived weakness. Now he is going to be "strong", for once! Now the tragedy is complete.
I wasn't going to read this. Nothing against your stories, Hannah, which are always a joy to read (so well-written) but because it features Tracey and I'm writing her as well for the same challenge - HA! Anyway, I have started and am in two minds. I love the story, it's beautifully written and is well plotted. I also love the back story and your characterisation. The downside is that I'm now thinking 'Oh' at my own story and seething a touch with jealousy. *sigh*
The only bit of characterisation I didn;t like (and this isn;t your fault because this is your Tracey) is this line-
You never stopped loving her. I don't mind. Really, I don't. I understand. It's stupid really, but I love you enough that I'm willing to accept the scraps on the off chance that one day you might give me more.'
I'll admit that the reason I don;t like it is because it makes me feel so uncomfortable reading about a woman staying with a man who she not only knows loves another woman more, but tells him that. Has she no pride?! Again, this is your character, so it's not a fault of the story just me getting riled. See - your Tracey has got under my skin.
Oh good lord, what is happening at the end. I'm shivering as I read and re-read. Very well written. I'm creepily intrigued and an on tenterhooks to see where this is going. darn the queue snafu, I do need to read more.
Good luck in the challenge and well done with this. ~Carole~