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Entry #3

Discussion in 'Q2 - April Flash Competition' started by Xiph0, Apr 20, 2020.

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  1. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Yoda Admin

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    Remembrances

    "History is a set of lies agreed upon."
    --Napoleon Bonaparte​

    Bilius tumbled out of the fireplace ungracefully, but didn’t let that slow him as he tossed his knapsack to the side and ran towards the kitchen.

    “Mum! Mum!” he continued to yell as he barreled into the room, finally coming to a stop in front of his mother and older sister.

    “Sweety!” She smiled gently at him. “You know I’ve told you to be careful of the Floo, I hate when you tumble in like that. But did you have a good day at school?”

    Bilius grinned, ignoring the reprimand. “The best!”

    “Ohh?” She smiled fondly, sliding across the plate of biscuits she had been preparing. “Tell us.”

    Bilius grabbed one of the sweets, gesturing wildly with it as he recounted the day. “It was amazing! Professor Carrow was telling us all about Victory Day! Did you know his father fought alongside the Dark Lord himself!?”

    His mother hid a half smile. “You might have mentioned it a time or two.”

    “Or twenty.” His sister grumbled.

    Bilius pointedly ignored her, focusing instead on his mother. “Professor Carrow was telling us all about it! He said his father even crossed wands with The-Undesirable-One!”

    His sister coughed. “Nerd!”

    Bilius made a face at her, jamming the biscuit into his mouth before continuing. “He said… he said his father was right there besides our Lord! When all wizard kind was freed! Imagine it!”

    His mother frowned slightly as Bilius sprayed crumbs everywhere. “I’m sure it was very… interesting.”

    “And then I was talking to Teddy! He says his dad… Mr. Nott… he said…” Bilius was quivering in excitement “that I could go to their manor tonight! To see the festivities!”

    His mother’s frown deepened, and she shook her head. “Darling. I’m sorry, but your father and I made plans…”

    He scowled. “But Mum! I have to go! Teddy said last year our Lord made an appearance! And that they even had a display of Muggles! Real Muggles in cages who did tricks, can you imagine? And this is the seventieth anniversary! I bet…”

    “No!” His mother’s voice cracked like a whip.

    She came over, running her hands through his hair. Red like hers. “I’m sorry darling, I know you wanted to go. And maybe next year. But tonight? Tonight we had plans…”

    Bilius wrenched his head away from her grip, feeling his eyes get hot in frustration. “I don’t care about our stupid plans! I’m ten now Mum! Not a baby. Please!?”

    She simply shook her head.

    Growling in frustration he turned away, ignoring his sister’s cough that sounded suspiciously like ‘loser.’

    ———————————————————————————————————————————

    Bilius was in his room. If he couldn’t go to Teddy’s party to celebrate Victory Day, then he wouldn’t celebrate at all. Absently he hoped his parents would feel guilty that he had such a miserable holiday.

    His musings were interrupted by his father opening the door, dressed in formal robes and looking severe. “Son. It’s time.”

    Bilius crossed his arms. “I’m not coming! You can’t make me. What do I want with a stupid boring family dinner. The Nott’s party is…”

    His father cut him off with a pointed look. “Bilius Arthur Bones. That was not a request.”

    He wanted to argue further. He bet right now Teddy was meeting the Dark Lord! Maybe hearing war stories about rebellious Blood-Traitors and Monstrous Muggles. But he knew better then to argue when his father had that look.

    Reluctantly, dragging his feet and sulking, Bilius followed.

    But they didn’t go to the dining room as Bilius had expected. Instead, his father walked him towards the study. A private and forbidden room that Bilius had only peaked into a few times.

    Even more shocking, there was a crowd waiting for them. All dressed in their finest robes. His mum of course, and his sister. But also cousin Gabi and the MacMillion twins. A dozen others. Even old uncle Seamus was there, decrepit and leaning on a large oaken staff.

    Bilius blinked, his earlier determination to be miserable forgotten at the surprisingly large gathering.

    “Son.” His father’s stern voice demanded attention. “You’re ten now. Almost a man grown.”

    Self-consciously, Bilius straightened. “What… what’s going on?”

    His mother walked up at that, resting her hand on his father’s shoulder as she leaned forwards. “It is tradition among… some…” a gesture of her head took in the group gathered around… “to meet every year on this day and remember.”

    His father nodded. “And this year? This year we judged you old enough.”

    Bilius felt his confusion growing. “Old enough for what?”

    Old Seamus grumbled. “They fill the children’s heads with so much nonsense these days.”

    Cousin Gabi shrugged. “But too soon and he might talk out of turn…”

    Bilius frowned. “Talk about *what*?”

    His mother sighed. “The truth, Bilius.”

    His father nodded. “The truth about the war.”

    “But…” Bilius felt himself stammering. “But Professor Carrow said the Blood Traitors and Mudbloods…”

    His father scowled. “Rubbish and lies. Ohh we’re Pure Blood ourselves of course…”

    “Not that it matters…” his mother murmured.

    “Not that it matters much,” His father corrected. “But there was more to the war than they teach in school."

    Mother smiled sadly. “You’re named after your great-great uncle, you know. He fought against the Dark Lord… for a time.”

    “A good man!” Seamus grumbled.

    Father met Bilius’ eyes. “And now we gather to recall our roots. To remember him

    Old Seamus growled agreement, a fierce light in his eyes. “I miss him to this day. He may have lost, but his memory is a spark of light for those of us who dare to remember.”

    “Do…” Bilius hesitated, trying to understand. “Are you talking about The-Undesirable-One?”

    Mother got down on her knees, letting her hands run through his hair and leaning forwards to whisper. “My son. My darling boy. Let me tell you a story. A story of he who fought and died for us. Let me tell you the story of Harry Potter… The Chosen One.”
     
  2. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    This is a neat idea. Young boy enamored with blood-purist propaganda is told about the truth of things.

    Unfortunately I think it falls short. There's no real conflict in young "Bilius" (shit name btw) in going from "Voldemort is the best!" to "Fuck Voldemort, Harry Potter was the best!" because you just end it before you actually confront little Bill with that. We see an opportunity for growth but the story doesn't allow Bill to either take or reject it.

    You could show Bill buying into the propaganda more subtly, I feel. Have him call people Mudbloods and not notice that his mother winces, or that his mother is horrified whenever he mentions the Dark Lord or whatever. Show that she doesn't buy into the official line and that he doesn't get why. Make Bill part of the local Voldemort Youth, if you want. Show us that the world is meaningfully worse for Voldemort's having won.

    Good idea, mediocre execution. 2/5.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2020
  3. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    If I count the quote, this comes out to 1004 words...

    I'll make a rule next time. Everything other than the title goes to word count, including starting quotes.

    This time it's fine.
     
  4. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Gotta admit, I LOL’d at “the-undesirable-one” here.

    I’m getting mixed signals on how old Bilius is. The way he ran in and the way his mum initially spoke to him made me think he was about six. Later when he’s saying things like “and this is the seventieth anniversary” though he sounds older, closer to twelve.

    I like the byplay with the sister. Feels real.

    Some of the dialogue needs a bit of work to feel more natural. A few of the mum’s lines come off as ‘long’ for dialogue without a break.

    I liked a lot of the description. “Even old uncle Seamus was there, decrepit and leaning on a large oaken staff” in particular was great.

    Bilius as a name implied to me what was going on here from the start, and by the second scene it’s starting to come together. Decent build up to that from the first scene, imo, nice.

    I’m skeptical that they “judged him old enough” for anything given how he’s spent the entire story so far acting like a spoiled brat.

    If this kid has been subjected to propaganda his entire life then he’s not going to turn it around this quickly, especially when he’s characterized as he has been so far. I don’t think it would take you much to get it to work though, but might need another 500 words or so to build things up properly. Also imply to us that the adults are going to keep an eye on him – can’t have him going off and asking the wrong questions or letting the cat out of the bag until they’ve de-programmed him.

    Great concept story though. Adding Seamus was a great touch for me and works for 70 years later. Love the idea of a kid, a descendant of canon characters, having the wool pulled from his eyes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
  5. bking4

    bking4 Second Year ⭐⭐

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    I like this one. I think it shows a decent approximation of what the future might look like for purebloods who fought on the right side of the war if they lost. You do a good job of capturing the frustration and feelings of a 10-year-old. Technically well written, a satisfying ending, believable world building. My only gripe is that I’d be surprised to find out that the purebloods would change things to let schooling start officially before 11. Then again, we’re 70 years in the future and the earlier we start the brainwashing, the more effective it is.

    4/5 – technically well written, good pacing, believable characters, well done execution on a good concept. Should do some formatting things to make italics and such work the way you want.
     
  6. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Minister of Magic DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    I really liked this epigram, particularly once I finished the story
    I may have to refer you to one of my learned colleagues for this one. I'm sure this is wrong, but I'm not what I'm about to say is right. Normally, I reckon you'll need a comma because this is a new beat, except, it's not got a said or a calling or a speech tag of any kind. So I think it needs a full stop, and then the 'that' doesn't work, capitalised or not. You'd have to add in 'He said that'. I think.

    This is my favourite so far. I am a sucker for good characterisation, and I enjoyed this. The endings wasn't super impactful for me, but I can see how it was meant to be and I think it could be for others, or for me with a little more time to grow to know them. I like that they were Seamus's get, rather than directly Weasleys which was the easier take. It gives you that implicit world building. This is bigger than 'Harry's family'.

    I enjoyed the family dynamic. I respected that you didn't try and extend it further. It would've creaked to try and make it a resistance. A memory is enough.

    So yeah. Just good, overall. Better than I could do, for sure.
     
  7. Gaius

    Gaius Fourth Year

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    Another Voldemort victorious story! I think you accidentally wrote “man grown” instead of the other way. I think you write Bilius’ exuberance pretty well, his excitement for the party. I think the “twist” That his parents are Potter sympathizers is a bit clear from his name, but it’s good you also show his mom trying to be patient with him as a clue for her politics. The remembrance bit was...nice? This feels like more of a scene than a story to me since you are using our expectations of HP to set up the emotional payoff and there isn’t much investment in Bilius’ journey.
     
  8. WierdFoodStuff

    WierdFoodStuff Sixth Year

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    Certainly not bad, I'm not sure how easy it would be to convince a brainwashed 10 year old to renounce everything he ever believed though.
    The writing is brief but decent.
    I liked the addition of cannon characters.
    “Not that it matters much,” His father corrected.
    I loved this line, opens the door to make the other side a bit more nuanced than their usual portrayal as Nazi/wizards.
    3/5
     
  9. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    This one has a lot going for it, I have to admit. Billius and his little sister had a great, true-to-life dynamic that was entertaining. The descriptions were pretty great, evocative without being too wordy. I've very little to complain about on a technical level, unfortunately, on a plot level there doesn't appear to be much there. Billius doesn't really come into a reasonable change from Voldemort good to Voldemort bad (I recommend reading the DREAM model of character changes on the writing advice thread).

    3/5
     
  10. Selethe

    Selethe normalphobe

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    I like the concept but it didn't really feel... impactful? Bilius clearly has contempt for "the losers", but story stops before we can see his reaction to finding out his family supports The Undesireable One. As it is, we're totally in the dark to his feelings. Is he understanding? Does he want to rebel and sneak out to Nott's party?

    Another thing:

    Bilius grabbed one of the sweets, gesturing wildly with it as he recounted the day. “It was amazing! Professor Carrow was telling us all about Victory Day! Did you know his father fought alongside the Dark Lord himself!?”

    His mother hid a half smile. “You might have mentioned it a time or two.”

    This makes it seem like she's #1: fine with her son attending a school taught by the Carrows. #2: finds Carrow's bragging funny instead of aggravating. Because of this, the way her displeasure ramps up in the next few sentences is jarring. I might change "his mother hid a half smile" to "his mother hid her mouth" or something.
     
  11. soczab

    soczab Groundskeeper

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    heh, this one was mine! thanks for the feedback all! I really got a kick out of reading it and reflecting on it.

    I looked around for that thread and couldnt seem to find it. Got a link?
     
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