Valentine Horror

by Marianne Su

The train screeched along the tracks through the narrow tunnel. Headlights beamed across the grey walls of the station. I took tentative steps across the platform, clenching my fists the way I always do. I walked through the crowd of passengers, my hollow form invisible to them. No one noticed me that day either, not until the train’s brakes screamed in alarm.

My toes curled over the edge. The billboard was gone but its ghostly imprint lay on the dusty tiles across the tracks. Its message was still clear in my mind, with pink hearts and curly lettering. To most it had been harmless and frivolous without the taunting undertones that screamed to me.

Rumbling echoes grew louder. I leaned forward but the moment was never right, not like it was that first time. There were no frantic brakes or horrified screams, just a reminder that since that day when everything changed, some things stayed the same.


When to Dump a Book…

We’ve all been there. You’re reading a book that’s not grabbing you. Your mind is wandering while your eyes scan the words. Do you read or do you close? The answer for me is easy. Keep going. I never give up on a book but at the moment, I’m tempted.

A friend lent me a book, no a series, that I’m not into. While I read, I can’t help but think of the long to-be-read list on my kindle. Then there’s my own book I’m writing. Why waste time reading a book I don’t want to read?

Options:

  1. Tell friend thanks but no thanks.
  2. Google book and read synopsis in case friend wants to discuss (I admit this was a possibility)
  3. Read on.

I will read on. I just can’t give up on the writer, the person who slaved over the book, got it published and presumably loves their novel. Or maybe I’ll discover a new genre I thought wasn’t for me. Besides, I’ve had books surprise me and become great. Hopefully this happens within the first half of the book.

I know I’m probably more patient than most readers because we all hear about how important it is to grab a reader early on. I’m sure this book I’m reading must have grabbed some agent and publisher, just not me. And while I know people who will stop reading after the first chapter if they don’t like it, that sounds harsh to me.

I just know that I’d want someone who started a book of mine to give it a good chance. Hopefully they won’t be mentally making their grocery list while reading it. So I’ll plough through the book but my generosity stops on the last page. Don’t sell it to me and I won’t feel obliged to read book two. I think that’s fair.

Do you stick with a book or do you have a cut-off point where you’ll put yourself out of your misery?