Can Henry Come to the Wedding Too, a short story by Curious Que. Date added: 2012-06-15. Times viewed: 1334.
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Recently, I sent twelve of my best short stories to a critique service hoping to learn where I'd gone wrong and how to fix it. The editor pointed out many of my faults but didn't suggest how to fix them. Here is one of those short stories. I will begin with the first comment the editor made which is what I want to address first with this story. The editor wrote: 'The stories have an incomplete feel and are not yet strong enough to stand on their own. the stories could be strengthened with more content that provides context, atmosphere and characterisation.' Where and how could I add more context, atmosphere and characterisation in this story?
Can Henry Come to the Wedding Too?
"Mum, can Henry come to the wedding too?" six year old Toby pleaded.
Rosemary's look of shock quickly turned to annoyance. "No, he can't."
"But he's part of our family."
"Go and comb your hair and don't get your suit dirty. We're leaving in half an hour."
Toby rushed from the room full of anger. Then he had an idea.
The crowd was getting agitated in their seats, complaining about the sweltering heat.
"Mum, I need to go to the toilet," toby whined.
Rosemary frowned. "You should have gone before."
"But I didn't need it then."
"Hurry up. don't you dare spoil your sister's wedding, or else."
Or else what? He didn't dare ask and rushed home, glad they lived next door to the church. A wide grin spread across his face as soon as he was outside.
Twisting her fingers together, Rosemary grumbled to herself, "Where's that wretched boy?"
Someone at the back of the church announced, "The bride's arrived."
Turning her head, rosemary whispered to the people in the row behind her, "I thought the bride was supposed to be the last to arrive."
The organist began playing as Katy started down the aisle. Every head turned.
The priest began the ceremony, but the sound of running shoes on wooden floorboardssuddenly drowned his voice. Toby skidded to a sudden half beside the pew where Rosemary sat glaring at him. She pulled him by the arm and pushed him hard onto the seat beside her. "Sit there and shut up."
The priest continud.
Rosemary started to relax as the priest declared, "You may now kiss the bride."
Everyone applauded, but there was one voice louder than all the rest and everyone turned to see Henry arrive. "Cock-a-doodle-doo."
Katy's father, John chased Henry out, while a mixture of amused and horrified faces watched. People commented in loud whispers.
Rosemary thumped Toby with her elbow. "How did he get in here?"
Toby shrugged his shoulders and tried to look innocent. One look at Katy's flashing eyes told him he was in double trouble now, but he didn't know how much until they arrived at the reception.
A bottle of champagne lay on the floor. Henry left his footprints on the wedding cake and knocked the statue onto the table. He pecked all the corn out of the salad and scattered a few limp lettuce leaves, smeared in mayonnaise across the white tablecloth.
Rosemary complained, "I'll never get those beetroot stains out."
Henry tipped some of the cardboard plates upside down.
Staring at the floor John added, "And it looks like whoever iced the cup cakes, let the icing drip from the poon onto the floor."
Rosemary pulled a face in disgust. "This isn't the kitchen John and that isn't chocolate."
Someone else in the gathering complained. "It smells more like a market garden than a wedding feast."
Rosemary twisted Toby's ear and hauled him back to the house.
She returned carrying some newspaper, a bucket and a mop to start cleaning the floor while everyone else rallied round to salvage what they could and gather more food in from their surrounding homes.
"Where's that little monster?" Kate asked. "I want to kill him."
"In bed," Rosemary replied.
No one was very hungry that evening except Toby who ate alone in his room.
For the next month, he wouldn't be allowed to watch his favourite television show, 'Thomas The Tank Engine', but the worst punishment was to come.
As the family sat around the table that evening talking, Toby overheard the conversation.
"Henry will make a good Christmas dinner this year."
Toby buried his face in his pillow and cried himself to sleep.
It wasn't fair. It wasn't Henry's fault.
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