Step Two

September 18th, 2022

Four Page Draft

Short Story #1 Draft – Step Two


The mighty ocean waves crashed against the rocks with beautiful, yet fearful vigor, the salt water splashing straight into the air and beginning the dive bomb back towards the ground, right on me and Winter. She laughed and I mumbled a few obscenities, obviously pissed off from being completely drenched with sea water filled with decomposing sea plants and fish and whatever else is in that stuff. 

“Ha-ha,” I said, still annoyed. While Winter didn’t bother to wipe the salt water droplets off her face, the taste of it on my lips made my face scrunch up and my stomach turn. I never liked the ocean, too powerful and too unpredictable.

People have described me as something like a storm cloud, angrily drifting from one place to the next. If that is true, which I don’t doubt, I would describe Winter as a partly sunny day. There is a cloud there, but the sun is always peaking through so you never pay attention to the cloud part. Like everyone else, she calls me angry. Rather than anger, I see it as frustration. I’m frustrated with the world and all of its shittiness and how everybody ignores it and moves through life pretending to be okay in order to survive in that false constructed reality. To have a true sight of reality is to be sadder, because reality is sad. When Winter came into my life I found someone who made things a little less shitty because she views the world on the same plane as I do, except she seems to handle it much better than I can.

The ocean continues to beat against the rocks. It’s nearly high tide, and Winter steps a little further out than I’m comfortable with. It’s not my place to say anything, so I don’t. I watch her walk out, admirably calm on the increasingly slippery rocks. I stay behind and watch as the water splashes up and around her. I don’t understand how someone can be so confident in such a chaotic place. If I even tried calling her back now, she wouldn’t be able to hear me over the noise. Yet she continues to walk unphased along the rocks, closer to the madness.

She’s 16, a year younger than me. Her black hair is cut at shoulder-length and her eyes  an illuminating blue, bright like ice but not so cold. She originally lived in New York City where her parents made a living through creating art. Her father was an Impressionist painter, her mother a prolific writer. They moved to my small town called Mystic, Connecticut, because her mother had gotten very ill and wanted to live in a peaceful place for her final days. She passed away only a few months after their arrival here, and I was unable to meet her. She has never opened up to me about the pain she endures because of it. I leave it that way because I know she does not want me to know. She seems happy enough, so I don’t worry. 

She loved the salt air and would likely do anything to have the water splash on her face and have that gross salty water fall on her lips, the very water I cringed at. But that is not my weight to carry, so I repress the guilt. Just because she liked the ocean does not mean I have to, and just because Winter keeps walking closer to danger does not mean I have to follow. Does she expect me to follow her into the madness? 

I continued to watch Winter from a distance. Worried now that she has walked out of sight, I begin to call for her. First calm, then a little more desperate: “Winter? Winter, where are you? Hey! WIN-TER! This is not funny!” The rocks were dangerous and I was afraid to move forward, but I couldn’t stand losing sight of her. It was probably all part of her plan. She knew I would follow her, even if I didn’t know. But I wasn’t as confident in the chaos as she was. I was afraid I would break at the first wave that was a little too strong. I treaded slowly, looking in all directions at the nightmare ahead. Hesitantly, I moved forward.


I kept moving further along the rocks, thankful that I didn’t have to return home for a little while longer to the isolation of my room and my severely depressed father. He hasn’t been the same since mom died. While her death changed me, it basically stole my father’s soul. When I talk to him it’s like he’s no longer there, almost catatonic. The only way that I can help him is by being strong and acting like things will get better. It’s much easier to ignore my problems than it is for me to confess that I’m hopelessly breaking. 

Devyn keeps me sane because his mind operates so differently than mine, and I am curious to know why. When his mind isn’t on fire, his thought process is fascinating. We are two existential humans who cope differently with the reality of living, and it is interesting to hear his line of reasoning for his persistent anger at the world. 

I keep walking forward. The tide seems to be overtaking the rocks ahead of me. My skin starts to go numb due to its repetitive exposure to the freezing cold water breaking all around me. I walk forward with confidence, without really knowing why. It’s as though I’ve been momentarily desensitized to the danger by the numbness of my body. I take a seat on one of the rocks and curl my knees to my chest.


I could never figure her out, but I enjoyed talking to her. However, sometimes it’s difficult. While she seems okay, there are times where it’s difficult to communicate with her. I call, no answer. Text, she doesn’t even read it. Knock on her door, no answer. When she does eventually get back to me, she acts as though nothing happened. It was like I almost had a reason to pry further into how she was really doing, but I was afraid of overstepping boundaries. Whenever she was around me, she seemed fine. I was the one who was vocal about even the most minor inconveniences, and she always made sure that I returned back to an even keel. She was supportive, but didn’t seem like she needed support from me. 

The harshness of the salt water stings my eyes and the wind threatens to throw me into the unforgiving depths of the feisty sea below. I feel helpless, then angry. Why would she willingly decide to keep walking forward? What was her motive? Was this to teach me to be calm, a test of my ability to control my frustrations? A large wave widens my perspective back to the reality of my situation. I continue to call for her, beginning to truly panic now. Panic is a lot like anger, except it involves fear. While fear may be the cause of the anger, the two are much different than one another. I have no control over this situation.  Then, the waves stop. The sky remains gray and cloudy, a daunting reminder that at any moment it has the power to start up again. I take a moment to wipe my eyes and gather my surroundings. I know that at any moment she’ll come up behind me and scare me or something. After all, it’s Winter. She wouldn’t just do something so stupid unless there was something motivating her, or if she for somehow felt helpless. That was a thought that sent me into another panic. What if she was helpless?

Why I Chose This Story

I chose to stick with my original story for several reasons. The two other story-starts that I had originally written were a bit too fictional for me and did not capture what I intended them to. However, the story above encompasses some concepts that I have lived through myself. The whole concept is based on a metaphor that I have frequently thought about, and that I’ve even had recurring nightmares about. 

Specifically, it focuses on the ocean as a representation of emotions and mental illness. I chose this because I believe it hits on all of the points that I wanted my other two stories to hit, but in a way that relates to the audience on a deeper level and makes the audience think. The ocean can be seen as beautiful, however, it is also powerful and unpredictable. You can make assumptions about the ocean from afar, but it isn’t once you are a little too close that you realize the reality of its danger. Winter’s mind is represented by the ocean, and Devyn did not realize her reality until he was on those rocks. 

With this story, I know exactly where I want to take it now. Even though I didn’t really have an exact route that I knew I was going to take when I started it, I knew that it had the most potential and represented my creative voice the best out of the three story starts. It felt the most moldable to me, so I decided to run with this one.