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"A Boy's Fear" by Chris Keaton ~ Honorable Mention

Rewrite: 1/13/2009 12:00 AM

Logline: A terrified boy must face a very personal fear.

Genre: Crime - Drama - Family - Horror - Mystery - Thriller

Cast Size: 2

Production Status: Available (Please contact the author to negotiate the rights)

Contest: Less is More (Nov. 2008)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent

Comments Made During the Contest

Adrienne Jorgensen (Level 4)

I like the twist ending. I was a little tense at the beginning, bracing myself for something dark. The suspense was handled nicely. I want to have more to write about this one, but I can't think of anything else...

Ammar Salmi (Level 5)

Identical title for a wonderful story. But I think it would be better if that was a dentist, like this the blood stains will be explained lol.

Audrey Webb (Level 5)

I loved the description of Billy at the beginning. The fear, the surroundings...all really nicely done.

It's the ending that needs a little something. We all knew Billy was going to be swimming, so that's not the twist. So that means the twist is that the burly man is his grandpa? That doesn't really make much of an impact for me. I'm not sure how the "burly man" was terribly threatening...unless you were insinuating that some physical harm was about to be done to Billy...which isn't a terribly appealing concept.

I think if you brainstorm a while longer, dig around for a bit, you'll find a great ending to what would be a beautiful short.

Austin Bennett (Level 4)

For such a large one pager, nothing much happens. A lot of description, sure, but not a lot of action. No conflict. Billy should try harder not to leave, but he's too willing to go.

Increase your stakes. What is Billy's fear? Drowning? or just getting wet? It seems to me, that it's the getting wet part. If Billy's fear is drowning, he wouldn't want to leave the locker room. He'd grab hold of a bench to save his life.

Bill Delehanty (Level 4)

I liked the little twist on the setup you provide, but you make too strong of an impression that he has been kidnapped. And that reduced the joyful ending you were going for. You have talent when it comes to misleading an audience though.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

This was pretty good but why was the kid waiting in a concrete cell that showed years of abuse if he was just going for a swim with his grandpa? And why were there several other cells on the way to the pool? Don't most people usually get changed in a locker room of some sort? I enjoyed the story, but I wish some signal would have been given to the reader that the kid's imagination was making things seem worse than they actually were. As it reads now, it seems like the kid's in some sort of prison and then grampa shows up to take him for a swim. I understood what you were trying to do, but I think it could be more clear. Nice work.

Bryan Mora (Level 4)

I know what you were going for...But for some reason i think it could've been executed better. The first few images are the boys POV and his fear. I liked how you used the scene.

I originally thought this was some pedofile experience but glad it wasn't. The story seems more genuine with the pool bit.

I think you did a good job and i'm curious actually to see who wrote it.

Calvin Peat (Level 4)

This is an effectively-told story with a decent twist. It's well-written, with an effective sense of atmosphere.

The twist is kind of obvious at the beginning, but then the script makes the reader think it might be something more sinister, before going back to the twist. The written could perhaps try to make twists less predictable in future, while still having them make sense, as this one does.

On the title page, "A BOYS FEAR" should be "A BOY'S FEAR".

Near the end of the script, "a dimly lit concrete hallway" should be "a dimly-lit concrete hallway", and "It's for your own good" should be "It's for your own good."

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

I'm afraid I guessed this story from the start. I think it was the Speedo. (Is the phrase 'A speedo'? I would say 'a pair of Speedos') - and the fact that he was clearly in a changing room.

One phrase - 'The bare room shows years of human abuse' - I thought 'What does this mean? How can this be shown?'I couldn't answer. It felt like misrepresentation.

If you wanted to convey that Vincent was somehow evil you needed to describe him differently. He seemed like a nice, friendly guy who evoked no terror at all, which made the premise of your story lose a great deal of impact.

It wouldn't take much to make this more suspenseful.

Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus)

Excellently done. Looks like the kid is in a "Saw"-type situation but ends (as I had hoped) with the "fear" being that of the water.
The only suggestion I would make is for it not to be his grandfather but maybe his coach. Would just make his fear when he enters seem a bit more realistic.
Great job, really liked the creativity in this one-pager.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

I think you do a fantastic job of conveying this boy's fear visually. You turn that classic shower room into an imaginary torture chamber. I truly felt his apprehension.

The twist is nice (that grandpa is going to teach him to swim), but I can't help wishing there was a bit more to this story. It's well told, but I wonder if it isn't a little too simple (even for a one page short).

Still, your craft is very good and I did enjoy this.

Dan Lennox (Level 5)

I liked this one. I thought we were heading somewhere dark with this one, but was surprised at the ending. Nice twist and a very good job as bringing this story to a great conclusion. Not much else to say on this one.

David Birch (Level 5)

very a fault...might have taken up space that could have been better used for dialogue (or voice-overs)...touches on a common phobia (fear of swimming/drowning)...makes an emotional connection which is played upon well from the author...good going...

David D. DeBord (Level 5)

I like the tension of the scene though the surprising ending was not so much a surprise. The detail of the stain I thought was a highlight of the writing.

I think too some editing would improve what I think already is a pretty good script. The opening paragraph is an example of where I might make some editing changes. Just to shorten and add more snap to the read.

Somehow saying “the frightened boy” and stating that he is “10” (particularly in the order of the sentence) seems unnecessary. Yes this is a very picky comment but one or the other of the comments tells me all I need to know. Especially a frightened boy.

The second and third sentence can be combined. “He sits (squats, huddles, quivers?) on a wooden bench bolted to a concrete floor …)” seems a bit quicker and more precise. Again adding to the mood of the piece. And I’ll repeat that this may seem very picky but it is these little script details that will make what you’ve written zing with those script readers you want to impress. It’s like taking the time to do that last minor detail that pays off in a top of your craft product.

Still, I like the script. Very good work, writer.

Elias Farnum (Level 5)

That was strange. I'm sure you will fool everyone with this. From the dark tenor to relief that he was just scared about learning how to swim. Clever, or in bad taste? I don't know.

The writing was fairly crisp, and the visuals certainly were forboding. Good effort.

Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)

Excellent. Just the right amount of dialogue for a short piece. Vivid descriptions. Keep writing!

Jane Beckwith (Level 4)

I think the Action/Description could have used a bit more action. The "turn" at the end did not work that well for me. I thought the locations was a swim room locker room image atfirst, then I caught the serial killer vibe, and then was not very "surprised" that my first feeling was correct. I'm not sure that "years of human abuse" would have been easy to represent on the screen. The idea is a good one, although I would try to avoid the "on the nose" title when possible.

Javier Torregrosa (Level 4)

This was okay. It was good that it had me thinking the worst but as it turned out, the kid was just scared of swimming. I don't know, the way you described the place, it sounded alot less like a leisure centre or a public swimming pool, but like someone's bathroom in their home. It read well and was quick and I notice no spelling errors. So was okay all round. 3/5.

All the best.

Jeff Ferry (Level 5)

I enjoyed your story thoroughly. I thought from the start that it was a bait and switch, but I started to wonder halfway through if it was really going to conclude in a horror fashion. The way it was written I believe it could have gone either way. I thought maybe one more ambigious line from the Vincent could have been added to lengthen the tension, but I realize that space was limited. A very good read.

Jim Brown (Level 3)

After reading so many scripts that take place in a world filled with darkness, it's good to read a story that turns out brighter than expected.
Wonderful use of relevant details.
One correction: "sounds" should be singular.

Joel Davis (Level 5)

I can see what you were going for but the "Concrete room" didn't feel threatening enough and I kind of guessed where this was heading. Instead of trying to fake us out, why not play this scene straight, I think a short about watching a boy overcome his fear of swimming would be good dramatic material.

John Brooke (Level 5)

A genuine sigh of relief escaped as I read down to the end of this gotcha script. Nicely done. You smoothly hooked my indoctrinated horror swamped brain into slithering into the all too familiar slime. Hey! Then you pulled a fast one and uplifted my spirits into the higher levels of human affection. Beautiful emotionally twisty short film.

John Ward (Level 3)

I felt this was nicely paced and visual. I would have liked a little more insight into the boy and the grandfather's relationship. Instinctively I would expect the boy's parents to teach him to swim. The fact that it is the grandfather suggests they are not around. Did they drown? Is this another reason why the boy is afraid? He is ten, which seems a little late to be learning to swim otherwise. Of course, it's hard to put this much background into a one-page effort, but perhaps this could be expanded and turned into a nice short or scene. Good stuff.

Jon Hill (Level 4)

After all the doom and gloom, the ending was a pleasant surprise twist that I didn’t see coming. My only criticism is I would tidy up the descriptive paragraphs to be a little more concise, but that’s me being picky.

Good stuff.

Jose Batista (Level 5)

You did a great job of building the tension in the beginning. The descriptions were very vivid and well written. Dialogue was sparse, but exactly the right words were said. The script's ending was a contrast to the mood that was set in the beginning and was a good twist. Title was apt, and the whole experience began with it. Excellently well done!

Kathy Thomas (Level 3)

This story was well written. I loved your descriptions, painted quite a vivid picture esp. of the room. I liked your build up and the suspense. I just have one question, maybe I'm slow but why was he in a concrete room. My dressing rooms at my pool aren't concrete. Although it does add to what we believe is happening. Good job.

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)

Your title is unforgivably incorrect on the title page. It ought to be "A Boy's Fear". The lack of punctuation casts a pall on your script already, and I haven't even read it yet. You'll want to be careful about that. OK, I'm clearing my mind. Now I'll read it.

Opening slugline: What's a "Concrete Room"? I have no point of reference for that. Can't picture it. Is there any other way you could say what you mean (other than your references in the following action lines)?

Ah! So many scripts this month are really beating on the children, and here you give us a happy ending! Oooo, you get an extra bonus point from me.

Let's back up a tad. You said the room showed "years of human abuse". That's a great way to distract the reader, but that wouldn't necessarily come across to the viewer. Remember, only write what we can show (yeah, I have that problem, too). That line you used is better suited in a short story as a distractor, not in a screenplay. Just delete it and be content with showing us the dark stain.

And you did give it away really early. You said he was wearing a Speedo. That's so brand-specific, the only place he could be is in a shower room. Why in the world would anyone who wants to torture a kid put him in an expensive and faddish piece of specific swimwear? It didn't make sense. If you'd said old swim trunks or brightly colored shorts or something like that, it would have counter-intuitively obscured the truth better. I think. Anywhooo, Very Good!

Lewayne White (Level 4)

Points on for the fake-out. Not sure that there's much story, but you'll at least keep the audience's attention.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

I love being lead down the wrong path and surprised when a story takes an unexpected turn like this. Nice work. The formatting is good. The beginning creates tension and a forboding atmosphere that doesn't let up until the very end. I liked this one a lot.

very good work.

Marla Brecheen (Level 4)

This story is written in the feelings of Billy's fear -- excellent. I really enjoyed the visuals and pacing which also is right on. This is the second story that I felt like had a beginning, middle, and end. Great job.

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)

This story didn't work for me because of this line, "The bare room shows years of human abuse, especially where a dark stain bleeds across the floor into a rusty metal drain."

How does that fit in when the twist at the end is revealed? I know you wanted us to get the feeling of something dark and sinister then have it turn out to be something innocent...but you did it with a lie. "Years of human abuse"?? I'd change that description.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)


I liked the total reversal of tone in such a short space of time. Very expertly done.

Although I know several run-down swimming pools that could very easily double for torture stations, having it concrete is pushing it a bit. I would expect it to be more like changing rooms, or a lounge area, that might more realistically be near or a part of a leisure centre. The bench, shower heads, etc. that are present in the scene I just can't picture being in a concrete room.

Otherwise it was good.

Martin Lancaster (Level 4)

Good writing, very effective misdirection. I thought you could have played it up a little more with the boy’s trepidation and Vincent’s creepiness to give the reveal ending more punch.

Matt Johnson (Level 3)

I kind of dreaded reading this when I first began. I assumed it was going to be a simple story about a boy's fear, but it turned out to be a lot better than that. I loved how the story turned from what you think is a kidnapping drama to an overcoming tale of fear. Whether you meant for it to sound like that or not, I'm not sure, but the dark stain made me think it was blood that the kid was going to die or something. I don't know it may just be me and my goofy imagination.

On the downside, I think you should proof read your script just a couple of times so you can catch the small errors. There were quite a few that if you had proof read, would have easily caught.

Melissa Mitchell (Level 4)

Thank you for offering us 3 acts and Billy's problem. You work very hard to mislead your reader/audience, and I can't help but feel that you didn't quite play fair because of it. Why does Billy have to be alone instead of changing with Grandpa? Wouldn't a caring grandfather recognize and try to alleviate Billy's fear? You offer a lot of detail in the description at the beginning that is ultimately static. What would you have happen if you were only allowed one paragraph of description for Billy in the shower room? You don't say what Vincent is wearing, but wouldn't he also have a suit on? Would saying that give away your ending? The title should say "Boy's Fear."

MJ Hermanny (Level 5)

I really liked this. The way you mislead the audience with a huge sense of menace is very well done. It totally conveys how a child's mind can turn something they are terrified of into a big monster.

I really fell for the horror approach and chuckled to myself when the 'reality' was revealed.

Your descriptions are excellent and your word choices really gave the piece its horror feel. These words in particular: slab, juts, naked, abuse, dark stain, bleeds, buries, cold.

The title is strong although an apostrophe is required - boy's fear

Loved it, well done.

Neal Barringer (Level 0)

since you focused on Billy's apparel - especially naming the brand of swimwear - I expect the story to be about water, in some way. then a showerhead. the story must be about water. and, a drain. I am in total suspense about the water aspect of this story. I was very disappointed with the ending. All the setup you put into it and the tone of the piece made me expect something sinister. you have to deliver an ending that satisfies while not being expected. this ending didn't satisfy me. overall, you wrote well.

Nick Miranda (Level 4)

I was very impressed with this. Very detailed and well-structured. The plot twist was worthy and not at all expected. I honestly thought it was about the fear of showering in a public place like camp or school after gym. Nice.

Paul Williams (Level 5)

Hey Chris, I read and reviewed this a few months back on another site and I think this is a very good rewrite of that draft. I don't know if you did this specifically for this month's one-page restrictions, but it works well. The overall writing is much better.

I only reiterate my previous comment about the conflict in the story.

For the record, I gave this a Very Good.

Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)

This is not bad but I'm not getting a clear view in my mind of how this would actually work visually as intended. Obviously you are setting up the trick with the scary changing room but how could a changing room look scary enough and yet still be such that someone would look at it again afterward and say "Oh I see it now, it was a changing room all along."? The result is that the story doesn't ring true for me.

You've done some interesting stuff near the beginning with setting up the room. Showing the details step by step works well. I wonder if having the boy revealed after some of the elements in the room might add to the mystery?

"A BOYS FEAR" - Title is missing apostrophe.

Pia Cook (Level 5)

I'm not so sure what to think about this one.
I felt that your set-up did not work for the ending at all. Almost like they were two separate stories. You start out with a sort of dark theme. Letting us believe something bad is about to happen to poor Billy. As if he's been captured by a child molester or something and then it turns out it's just his grandpa and Billy is afraid of learning how to swim. I don't know, somehow it just didn't work for me. My feelings towards the story changed from one end of the spectrum to the other in just one page. Too big a swing in emotions for such a short story, but that's just me and I'm nobody.

Raymond Belair (Level 3)

This was well written, and presented vivid visuals. However, and I hate to say this, I honestly had no real reaction to it. I can't really put my finger on why. I know that the exaggerated buildup was likely how this experience was being perceived by the boy, but I couldn't identify with the dramatic tension in contrast to the resolution. I guess since I always loved the water, I have a hard time connecting with it being presented in a "death row" fashion. As George Costanza would say, "It's not you, it's me." Good luck.

Rich Keel (Level 4)

Nice way of making the reader think the worst. Even though your script was mostly descriptive you did it in the way that made it enjoyable to read and the story moved so quickly. Nice work all around.

Rick Hansberry (Moderator)

Well done. You masterfully built up the drama and led the reader toward what we anticipated to be a horrible act, yet turned everything on its ear and made it wonderfully sweet at the end. One small suggestion, I would change 'Speedo' to something less obvious. Maybe 'small black shorts' or something less indicative that there's going to be a pool. Nicely paced with good dialogue. This is the best I've read thus far. Great work.

Rob Gross (Level 4)

okay, I admit it, you had me going. I thought this was another "torture/molest the kid" story. well done- the speedo was awesome. You couldn't have hit me over the head harder with that clue. Also liked the stain going down the drain. The end was a good twist, and a happy end. Well done.

Rustom Irani (Moderator)

The set-up is too long for a single page plot. I like the atmosphere you create and the pacing is excellent.

I wish he did something more to curb his fear or plan an escape, rather than just be paralyzed.

Once Vincent enters perhaps he could've tried to run out of the room or pleaded. Since he doesn't put up much of a resistance we think the fate is horrible but the twist at least works for you and the ending came as a pleasant surprise.

This has quite a potential to work as a very short, short.

You could perhaps flesh it out a bit more and reveal more about the characters.

The title is apt.

Your five pagers should be a great read.

Script on!

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

OOOOh very nicely done. What can I say? I was thinking this was going a whole different way and I was dreading it. And then it was like exhaling after a scary scene in a movie when the good guys get away.

Good writing and really nice tight action lines, with lots of quick visuals. This would make a really great short film.

I enjoyed it very much. I hope to see more from you.

Sasha Clancy (Level 4)

A fun story. I like the way you build suspense and then deflate in in the end with the twist. Good use of descriptions. An interesting relationship between Billy and Vincent that Billy is so terrified and Vincent doesn't seem to notice or care. Or, is he really afraid of Vincent? I think in a longer story, the uncertainty would work better for me. However, the way you have written it, it begs for closure.

Scott Merrow (Level 5)

Well done. Nice twist, although at first, I felt cheated. Your narrative descriptions are written in a very misleading way -- "the bare room shows years of human abuse," "a dark stain bleeds across the floor," -- all designed to paint an ominous picture, suggesting a terrified child imprisoned by a child molester. But after a second reading, I realized that the words are accurate, and you could easily film it that way, with the same effect. And that's the point of a screenplay, right? Nice job.

Shane Shearer (Level 4)

What kind of place is that to take your grandson swimming at?

Great story, excellent way to build up the suspense. I was utterly impressed with what you've done here. Just really astounding work.

Stephen Brown (Level 5)

I was thinking "Oh no! Not another child abuse story" but then you twisted it and I thought this was great.

It is a scary thing for a kid, to learn to swim. I think you did really good with this, really nice twist and good writing. No complaints.

Stephenie Ruffin (Level 4)

Your writing is very well done. The descriptions written, I could visually see the images in my head very clearly, like I was there. I felt the tension build and build, then I got to the end. Maybe it's me, but I was like, that's it. I guess I was looking for the wow factor in the end with the tension from the beginning. None the less, it was a cute story. (Good)

Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)

Nice twist. I enjoyed how this created a sinister feel and turned into something else entirely. It needs a stronger last two lines; like more protest or panic and reassurance from Grandpa, Billy gives in a little too easily.

T. James DeStein (Level 5)

Seemed very ambiguous. I dunno if you meant it that way or not. The over-the-top concrete rooms and all made it seem extremely twisted, but then you're left thinking it's just harmless ol Gramps? YOu kinda cheated the twist for me. I dunno what to make of the story. The writing was very good, though.

Teo Gonzalez (Level 4)

I find your story to be good but a little predictable.

Tim Westland (Moderator)

Well done. You do an excellent job of leading us down one path of terror and ending at a totally different one.

I do think you provided far too much description of the room at the beginning... written more like a novel it a script... but it does it's job very well.

A great job, though. Thanks for writing it.

Tom Peterson (Level 4)

Very nice. Some of the scene description of the shower room is possibly too detailed.

Vincent’s first line seems a little out of place, perhaps because it is passive voice. How about, “Billy, I’m waiting. Let’s go.” A minor, minor complaint.

Overall, Excellent.

Tony Oldham (Level 4)

Very good descriptive writing that keeps you wanting to know more. Not sure I get the plot, but otherwise well written.

The visuals are very good.

Wes Worthing (Level 5)

Absolutely the truth here: My heart rate increased upon each new description. I was thinking, as you intended, that this was some sort of organized pediphile hideaway; I even pictured my ten year old in the film and I was getting ready to jump through the computer to rescue him and then WHAMMO, I'm back to reality, saying "you son-of-a-bitch, you got me!" You may not evoke this emotion out of everybody, but your descriptives and story pace had me hook, line, and sinker. FYI: One of your sentences doesn't end with a punctuation and your titlepage is missing the apostrophe. I can't imagine that this won't get produced.

William Coleman (Level 5)

While this is a vignette of a reality that all of us experience, I find that it lacks enough drama, enough alternates as to what Billy fears, and enough surprise at what he fears and who is going to help him. This is a slice of reality, but somehow it doesn't quite work. I am having a hard time defining that, so that may be what you need to look at as a writer. You take great care and a lot of space describing the locale. Billy wearing a Speedo gives away that he is about to swim. I first thought it was a school competition, not learning to swim. Then Vincent appeared, and I wondered if he was some sort of child molester. Perhaps that comes from all the gimmicky plots I've been running into. Your piece is about a frightened little boy, not a setting.

I'd say less time on description of setting and more on character. However, your description of the place is quite vivid.

I also suspect you lowered your font from a 12 to get your piece into one-page.

William D. Prystauk (Level 5)

The fear factor is definitely present and the setup is great, but what the heck just happened? If Billy is afraid to swim, why the blood stain and the identical doors in the corridor? This doesn't resemble anything I'm familiar with (like a YMCA or swimming facility), so I just don't understand what's taking place. If this is supposed to be an indoor pool, we need to see this at the end to fully grasp that Billy isn't being held captive. This will give us the "A-ha" moment at the end when we realize he's phobic.

You write really well and use dialogue to your advantage, but the end just doesn't bring it together.

William Dunbar (Level 5)

This was good as a little sketch, and would probably work well on film. The main problem I see is your description of the changing/shower room. I've never seen a pool with rooms like that. I think you could make it sound a little less like a torture chamber and still keep the creepiness. I don't like the title much. Good job overall.

William Flink (Level 3)

hey, nice! I liked this one, it starts off as something threatening and unknown. And then it turns out Vincent is Billy's grandpa and I begin to feel the warmer atmosphere, the echo of children laughing.

Your script is also very easy to read and it flows well, there's tension, I want to know what's going on. I like the setting and I think you describe it clear enough for me to imagine how it looks like.

The title is good and doesn't reveal anything except the fact that the boy fears something.

Comments Made After the Contest

Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 1/1/2009 1:31 AM

I was sure this was going to place! I loved this and it's something I will remember a long time.

Wes Worthing (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2009 9:21 AM

Chris, as you can tell from my review, this one stayed with me too. Congrats!

William Flink (Level 3) ~ 1/1/2009 10:09 AM

I liked this one a lot.


Chris Keaton (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2009 10:24 AM

Thanks everyone. I was sure this was going to place. :) But really this was a 4 minute short that had added tension, but when I trimmed it I think it became sharper and still had the right tone. Maybe, not enough at one page, but eh. Thanks again for everyone's comments.

Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus) ~ 1/1/2009 12:04 PM

Great work, looking forward to reading more of yours.

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 1/1/2009 12:30 PM

Congratulations on the Honorable Mention. This is a great first entry and I'm looking forward to reading more of your work.

Abdulaziz Lamlum (Level 0) ~ 5/18/2010 11:52 AM

awesome, but what do you mean human abuse?

Chris Keaton (Level 5) ~ 5/18/2010 1:25 PM

'human abuse' is to serve two purposes to show 'human use-or overuse' and put 'abuse' in your mind. I know it's flighty, but shorts are where we can try things out to see if they work.

Teo Gonzalez (Level 4) ~ 5/19/2010 4:32 PM

Chris, I'm sorry for the sorry-ass review that I wrote back in the day. At least, I gave you a very good by which I stand even after all this time.

I see you rewrote the script.

Actually, I like better the submission piece.
The rewrite, the way I see it, only adds time to the story. I understand that you want to keep the suspense for as long as you can, but I really think that you got timing in its right measure in the first version.

Only two thinng I would change:

1- "He sits on a wooden bench. The bench is bolted to a concrete floor at the end of the rectangular concrete block room." I would write that as a single sentence -- just my taste.

2- Second scene, you write "concrete hallway" in the heading and in the action. I believe you can do with only one of them.

I think that "The sounds of children laughing echoes down the hallway" sums up better the meaning of the story and surpasses the impact of the second scene in the rewrite.

Hope it hepls.

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