Submission for a class - The Mesmer's Song


Psy Zombie

Original poster
Right. So.

Orson Scott Card, the guy who wrote the Ender's Game series among many other books, is teaching a class here at my university.

I want to get into said class.

Said class requires an application, including the submission of the first five hundred words of a short story for Mr. Card to review, and he will apparently select the students who get into his class based on these submissions.


I only have one short story at the moment that I'd feel even remotely comfortable turning in. Constructive criticism badly needed. (Among other things, like, idk, sleep, god classes are killing me...)

So. Yeah. Have at it.

She remembered the screaming.

Horses screaming as they trampled down a snow-covered path only to halt at their door, their shrill whinnying cutting the cold air like a knife. She hid in the cupboard, a young woman, but still small enough to barely fit; her father pressed a cold kiss to her cheek before shutting her in, and went to answer the pounding on the door of the soldiers demanding entry.

She remembered the crash of splintering wood, and peering into the thinnest sliver of light that entered her tiny hiding place to see the king's men shoving their way inside, the leader carrying an axe. Her father demanded an explanation. The soldiers demanded the girl.

Her father answered with violence. He was a farmer, yet he fought with the skill of a knight, bringing the leader down with a powerful blow. The two others rushed him, and he fended them off with a brutal counter-attack. She remembered hope.

She remembered anguish.

One of the downed soldiers attacked him from behind, running him through with his sword. Then there was a flash of light, and her father had been thrown, striking the far wall where she could not see him. He did not return to view as the mage entered the room, the king's mage, ordering the remaining soldiers to search the house. She remembered curling up in the corner of the cupboard as they began shoving aside furniture, lifting the table, breaking the doors to the bedroom and closet. Finally, someone threw open the cupboards, and--heedless of her frightened cry--grabbed her and pulled her out into the open.

She remembered being held there, a soldier at each arm, as the mage extended his hand towards her a muttered a spell beneath his breath and a jewel hanging from his hand. When the jewel began to glow, he had smiled.

She is a Mesmer, he declared, and the soldiers had dragged her outside.

She remembered her father, limp and bleeding. She remembered the soldiers laughing. She remembered her home burning. She remembered the screaming.

She remembered screaming.

Do you know why you are here?

The question mocked her, hanging in the air like an open insult. She sat, hands and feet bound, in the soft, plush chair, a guest in the king's palace. A prisoner.

The king stood in front of her, and smiled.

The children pay for the crimes of their parents, he had declared. So would she pay for the crimes of hers. He did not heed her angry denials, her insistence that they had done nothing wrong—only threw back his head and laughed.

Fifteen years ago, her mother and father had fought as thieves and bandits, traitors to the land, plotting to overthrow their king. She shook her head and shouted at him but a knife-blade at her throat made her silent; fifteen years ago, her mother and father had been defeated, and in disgrace, ran and hid, neck-deep in the squalor of common farmers and beggars. And oh, how he was such a good king, he whispered, drawing the cold metal against her skin until the knife's kiss drew the smallest drop of blood—how he was such a merciful king, who had allowed them to run, who had not hunted them down with his army and destroyed them like they deserved. How he had allowed them to bear a child and live in peace...
Um, I like it but as also thinking that ... okay dont hate me but here is what I was chewing on. I just threw in some words to give it some bite. I love words.

She remembered (violent-savage-painful)the screaming.

Horses (frothing at the mouth snorting with contored expressions as they packed the sodded earth.

Maybe use the word petite or mouse like (like a church mouse in the pantry)

Can you add more to the 'She remembered screaming parts' or does it have to be just those words? Cuz I was thinking of adding like blood stained snow, ragged breathing, racing hearts, cold hands, freezing air things like that to make you feel like the reader is right there with her. Being yanked out into the cold and maybe going to be raped or killed.

Oh and the king he sounds like a monster. Can you add more to him too? Like something about his eyes or his stance. Something to make him even more bastard like. Like thick fingers or calused hands. Scheming eyes or faulse hearted tone. Anyway.. those are just my thoughts. I love details and words. Oh words.. I swoon. anyway hope this helps if not Im sorry. Just dont hit me. *offers cookies* and leaves.