Short Story: A Secret Revealed for Leaving Cert English #625Lab

"Write a short story in which a closely guarded secret is gradually revealed"

#625Lab

How to improve a story? 

Memorable, defined characters. 

Make the wife another little bit more smug and annoying. Add a slight bit more introspection as to how the narrator feels around her. 

Here is a similar, better written story Write a short story that centres on two characters and a car journey. 

You may also like: Complete Guide to Leaving Cert English (€)

Title: Directions of Marriage

I slouched down in the cold, damp car. (Excellent first sentence. The verbs you use make or break your sentences.) I waited for directions in the carpark of a run down petrol station, somewhere off the M9. Rain fell in giant globules like carelessly discarded marbles, it nearly penetrated my windscreen at times. My face pressed against the window as I dived into my thoughts, I attempted to find the directions to my own question. I stared at my ring, twiddled and fidgeted with it until I was disrupted. (Great language.)

Short Story A Secret Revealed for Leaving Cert English

"I bought some maps, the reception here is awful! There goes Google Maps", she said with a touch of resentment and anger whilst slamming the door. As she reached for her seatbelt which was out of reach, her hands raced through her drenched mahogany red hair in an attempt to rescue it.
"Are you gonna help me or what Bryan? I can't go to the Style Awards like THIS!" she snapped quicker than an alligator.
"Sorry honey, I should've fixed that for you before you came back, take my jacket to get warm." After I handed over my light red winter jacket and the seatbelt adjusted, I turned the ignition and commenced our journey once more.
"So what's the next road we take?" I gentily asked.
"Ummmm, if you go left according to this we will drive into a river", she said in a dazed manner. "There's a big blue line next to us." Whilst squinting at the minuscule map.
I glanced over in confusion, until realising, "Actually honey the blue line is the M9, a motorway, not a river", I proudly pointed out.
"No. It's a river." She said in a condescending tone. "I was washing out Jane's roots last week and she teaches Geography. She told me whenever she reads a map in class and there's a blue line, it's either a river or lake." Throughout her dreadful explanation her hand rustled through the bottomless debris of magazines, tucked below her six-inch high gloss sapphire red heel. As I undid my seatbelt to help my wife recover yet another magazine, our efforts screeched to a halt. Our eyes met with sorrow and anxiety. I stared into her deep lush green eyes as I tried to calm her down until a clanking sound could be heard from the sky. Curiosity got the better of us as we looked over the window screen at a now dark grey sky, which looked fit to collapse on us. The sky erupted a spree of hailstones. My heart nearly leaped out of my chest, my wife's high heel penetrated through a brown envelope.

My face turned bare white at this discovery, she wrestled the document out of her heel. After a sharp thug I snatched it out of her hands.
"What. Was. That Bryan?" she threatened. I stammered and paused until I figured out an answer
"Uh, um, you see I go-got you posters, for tonight to display at the awards."
"Really!" She squealled "Can I can I pleasssse-"
"No, I'm kidding. It's really a surprise, but the only hint I'll give you is that this will impact our future'." She crossed her right arm over her left, tapped her fingers in signs of annoyance of not knowing the "surprise". After a couple of moments had surpassed passed we resumed our navigational troubles. We opened and folded out the map until it had covered the entire area of the dashboard. We scoured the map for what seemed like a few minutes until my wife launched her forefinger and pressed her new white painted nail on a star.
"I was always brilliant at spotting things," she boasted with modesty. "When I was inside I saw a bigger version of this and I drew a star on our map, it's to help us to find our way out." Just as she did a little red star hovered over the name "Moone". I peaked over and tried to map out a route, we were located on a strange orange path, about to diverge into two.
"So are ready again?"she asked kindly.
"Yep, we just need to go left-"
"I knew it! I told you to avoid that river", in pure sass.
"It's always you who's right, isn't it?" I muttered under my breath, until another round of hailstones lashed upon us.

I glanced my eyes at a now covered dashboard, I lifted up the map to read the time, "18:11" it read, leaving us with one hour and nineteen minutes. I turned on the wipers as they screeched in their attempts of removing the rain. After I put the car in gear we gently rolled down the saturated (?!) hill to find our exit. My wife turned on the radio as it landed on her favourite song,
"Honey, it's 'Only Girl in the World', remember dancing to this at Sandra's wedding?" 
I searched my mind for an answer, but luckily she was too distracted rolling her lush hair to the tune, whilst singing the occasional lyric. My time ran out, unfortunately.
"Yeah", I reassured her. "You looked stunning that night." 
When the song finished she leaned forward, with her chin over delicate hands in anticipation of celebrity gossip.
"Liam Payne and girlfriend Cheryl has named their son Bear!", shirrled the female presenter. "They both are very happy and-." She pondered for a minute, her silence was broken when she posed a question, "Bryann, I've been thinking, I want us to be more like a couple, one that's young and in love like Cheryl and Liam. Why can't we be a couple like that?" 
Her eyes were filled with hope and optimism as she waited for my husky voice to respond.
"Yeah, I want us to be more like a couple like-"
"Really? Oh Bryann I knew we would be brilliant together." 
Her voice was filled with glee and excitement. "Don't tell me who, I want to see if I can guess it before we arrive."
"Yeah sure, bet you can't guess it." I chuckled to myself knowing the shock in store for her. (The character seems like a nice guy. Why does he want to mess up her life? Doesn't make sense.)

Write a short story in which a closely guarded secret is gradually revealed


We reached at last our turning point. Two roads branched off, one the left was accompanied by tall, strong oak trees, the right road had single thorn bushes dotted on the side. After one last consult with the map we were finally on our way to the Awards. The road was extremely hard to navigate, even with full fog lights. I squinted before my eyes and leaned as far I could go. Colours flashed before me, in a blur, rushing reds, galloping greens and yielding yellows. My wife pulled on my muscular arm, altering my attention.
"Bryann pull over, this isn't safe" she pleaded
"What is it now?!" I barked. "I'm trying really hard here to get us to that stupid Awards thing."
"I love you Bryann, please don't hurt yourself. The awards aren't worth it if I can't have you by my side. I know I get mad easily, and I'm really sorry about earlier, but please stop this car," she roared against a flood of tears. I ripped the gear stick and slammed my foot on the break, the car was sent through a forward jerk motion, like there's a force punching us back on Earth. I gasped for air sharply as I attempted to make sense of what just happened. My wife started hyperventilating at the horrific sight. A trickle of blood flowed from my fore head.

In a burst of energy she shredded her glossy magazines to hold back the river of blood from my head. Her hand dashed towards the phone and frantically dials 999. A vague terror seized my sight. Between moments of worry she hoped to triumph the forces gathering against me in this new vague world. I drifted off to sleep against the angelic cries of my wife. I thought of why she locked herself in my heart; yet I tried to escape my own.

I slowly opened my eyes to the sight of sirens and a thousands voices in my mind. Her head nestled on my shoulder with generous tears in her eyes, I knew there she truly loved me. She whispers a sigh of relief.
"Thank you so much." As the paramedics race to towards us I decided it was time for my secret to be announced. I, sorrowful, told her, "Look's like we reached a dead end." 
She looked at me with complete confusion, "What do you mean?, Bryann you're hurt, we're going to the hospital."
"I mean..... in our marriage, I can't be with someone I don't love fully, it's not you, it's me," I said with upset. The door opened and the two paramedics snagged me out of the car. As a sea of people engulfed me, my wife slammed her way through the paramedics to see me. I ventured off in the ambulance before one last wave to my wife; the one who saved me. Her wounded screams and cries and intensified by the thunder of rain around us. My last memory was seeing her, kneeling on the ground roaring for justice.

As I lay there, defenceless and distraught, I learned a valuable lesson, when you spot going the wrong way, say it quick before it's too late, it might destroy both of you. (This last bit is confusing. He sees that she loves him and dumps her then. Did she really have it coming? Nah, she was just condescending and unpleasant. The narrator looks like a sadist, so I would change the ending a bit.)

Here is an archived copy of the Irish Independent commentary on this short story.

Leaving Cert English Notes

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