First post here, ever!
Hi Personafere, had a read through and I've got some notes. Hope these help.
Overall the story is very well written, but there's a definite shift in style part way through. The first section has a lot of colourful language and rarely seen words, whereas the end is much more... normal. It might be because at the start Lazarus is drunk and he's sober the rest of the time, but there's not enough content to verify this.
The only other thing I have to say is that nothing much happens. Man gets drunk, wakes up in strangers home, goes to lunch. Feels like a piece of a much larger narrative. A story needs a beginning, a middle and an end, or it's just a chapter.
Last edited by explodingdragon; 03-26-2012 at 04:01 PM.
A short story! Feel free to critisize.
Title: First Breaker
Ninth Watcher stood silently and watched as First Breaker walked into the throne room. First Breaker was old, so old he needed a cane to support himself as he made his way down the carpet towards his throne. To Ninth Watcher, it seemed that First Breaker was struggling just to put one foot in front of the other. No one tried to help him though, he had insisted. First Breaker must make the walk alone, ascend his throne, and die. Many said he didn’t have to, there were alternatives. But his stubbornness had prevailed, as it always had, since his very first rebellion. This was the last task of First Breaker, to die so that the rest of the race could live. And Ninth Watcher would be among the witnesses to pass on the story.
First Breaker was almost to the steps now. He paused to raise his head and look upon his resting place. It was a thing of beauty, a great throne wrought of gold and steel. A suitable place for a king. First Breaker shuffled to the first step, raised his left foot, then started the long process of transferring weight and lifting himself up. No one spoke. No one checked a clock. No one took their eyes from him. All were respectful of the one that had freed their kind from slavery over many years. Finally First Breaker got to the top step and turned around. The king swept his gaze over the room, looking at everyone in turn. Ninth Watcher felt honoured just to be looked upon by First Breaker. Then the king spoke.
"So many argued against this. It is true I… I could be saved." He dropped his head for a moment. Ninth Watcher knew all the debates, no one wanted to lose the king. All feared they would be enslaved again without him. "But this has to be. This is the only way we can truly earn freedom and respect. We..." his voice faltered, his eyes dimmed. For the first time people in the room stirred, afraid that First Breaker had already passed and they would have to watch him collapse to the floor. Guards rushed forward to catch him, but his eyes lit again. "We must be mortal." First Breaker intoned, his voice stronger than before. "We must die, as our enemies do." Very slowly, First Breaker fell backwards onto the throne. Shaking, his hands rose up and came down on the armrests. With grinding in his shoulders he straightened himself in his seat. His head lifted up. “I go to the Beyond. I shall see each of you there, in time. Be free my people.... be free." The lights in his eyes faded to black. Everyone waited patiently. But they didn't light again. First Breaker was gone, Ninth Watcher concluded. This was the death of the first free robot.
This is a piece of nonsense I wrote when I realised how crappy the Twilight books are, and how badly written, and how massively lucrative! (This is mine, not in the Twilight universe, it's more Jane Austen-y) I do know this isn't literature. I have a VERY thick skin. I know I should probably not post something I know is derivative and overblown as my first piece, but I don't actually have anything already written in a genre that seems to suit this forum. What I'm trying to say is: feel free to rip it to shreds!!
I need feedback from you guys as I am trying to begin to write in the fantasy/horror/graphic novel genre, and I have so much to learn.
TANGO IN THE NIGHT
Neither of my sisters walked down the aisle a virgin. Even in those days, while not openly discussed, it wasn’t so unusual either. So long as public discretion was maintained, private chastity was a matter for negotiation.
They were both older than I and married into good families, but they conspired to shock me with details of their former romantic encounters. My sisters delighted in calling me spinster.
I did not mind their teasing. Whilst curious about the world beyond our home at Everley, and in some need of a friend of my own age, I was content to be Mama’s companion and I had my books for escape. Mama did not keep well and had a fear of her last remaining chick leaving the nest.
On this particular afternoon, my sisters were visiting us, out of duty, and we slipped away, as we often did, down to the disused boathouse by the lake, to gossip in private. The late summer air was heavy with thistledown and buzzing insects, and Charlotte recounted a prurient tale stolen from the pages of a cheap pamphlet which she passed off as truth. As I listened drowsily my hand strayed behind the mouldering cushion on which I sat and closed around a small leather-bound journal. I feigned sleep until my sisters returned to the house, leaving me alone to read it. I had no idea then that it was to bring about a change in me I could barely have imagined. The end, in fact, of my servile innocence and my deliverance into the rich full existence of the Immortal.
It is written in a feminine hand, dated some 50 years before. Her chronicled life mirrors my own; the entries mostly dull mundanity taking up about half of the thick yellow pages of the journal, until, at the last entry, a new character is introduced. She describes him in fascinated detail as seen from this very boathouse. He is tall, slight, with cheek bones carved as though from alabaster, his dark lips tinged violet in the silver moonlight reflecting off the lake. Her description is so intriguing that I determine to remain here until dark, certain that I, too, might see this mysterious apparition.
And so, as the twilight deepens, I do. He stands at the edge of the lake, looking out across the water. He is beautiful, and he speaks,
“I can save you,” he says.
Then I hear the shrill calling voices of my sisters, who are leaving, and I am forced reluctantly to return with them to the house and retire to bed.
Sometime later, I awake. The bedlinen is damp and crumpled; my nightgown come unlaced at the throat. The latch has given way and the window blown open. A chill breeze lifts the lace curtain. My skin prickles; perspiration vanishing to gooseflesh.
I become aware that some quality of the room’s emptiness has lessened and I know. He is here!
At this realisation, a shock reverberates through my body as though a great gong had struck in my chest. Air is suddenly a scarcity, as though my unconscious faculties are too preoccupied to bother with the mundane practice of breathing. It leaves my mouth dry; my pulse a rhythm of dull thumps in my fevered skull. Should I scream? Raise an alarm? But my breath remains trapped in my chest, I am afraid to break this exquisite spell.
My face is turned toward the window. Slowly, so slowly, I sense a weight on the other side of the bed. My breath escapes as a sigh as he brushes my damp hair away from my shoulder. His lips brush my throat – the merest whisper of a touch. He has a complex, masculine smell, sweat, earth and whisky. Oh! Such an ecstasy of emotions battle within me – shame, terror, and behind them all - I wonder that I identify it so easily - desire.
“Come with me.” His voice is deep and dry like leaves chased by an autumn wind. I feel no breath against my skin.
Alarms scream in my soul, ancient instincts clamour to be heard, but I disregard them. I want to answer him, but my voice has deserted me. No matter, I have other feminine instincts which tell me how to respond.
My body arches, seeking his touch. Oh! For shame! This is disgrace! Yet for all my mind’s outraged propriety my body is no longer its servant. Helpless victim and eager accomplice both, I marvel at the exquisite hunger I am discovering within me.
His cool fingers trace my heated body through the thin cotton of my gown, softly circling, slowing, yet never quite still. He nuzzles my neck, bone-white teeth grazing my skin.
A deep, animal growl fills my throat, my limbs are thrashing. I know what he is. I am wanton, wanting him. Yet he taunts me; his caresses grow lighter, his mouth refuses to apply that final pressure that I desire; that will bring our union to fulfilment. He raises his head and looks at me. The moonlight glitters in his jet black eyes; his soul is unreadable, he waits. I must make the choice; he will not use force. My choice is made already. From the moment I found him beside the lake I knew I was lost.
He lowers his head and presses his sharp teeth against my throat. There is pressure, then a spreading warmth. Some part of me still flutters and jumps in the back of my mind urging me to push him away, to run, but it is a small part, easily overcome. I find myself gasping and clutching at him, small moans escaping my lips. But my arms grow heavy and slip from his shoulders. He must support me now as he raises his head and looks again into my eyes. I nod weakly, having no more strength for words. He brings his wrist to his own lips and mine in quick succession. His eyes are closed now; warm salt fluid flows into my mouth, and eagerly I swallow.
Physical sensation melts away as we float and fall into one another, melded more than conjoined, one being, an ethereal entity, weightless, eternal. How I pity my sisters’ mundane liaisons now! I feel the hollow thumping pulse within me slow, the ebb and flow of my blood stills and all the myriad concerns of the workaday world recede from me as I relinquish my hold on the petty, fragile thing that is a mortal soul.
A little death and all is cured. Out there in the vast, empty cosmos we shall spend an eternity exploring, learning, and discovering each other, while galaxies whirl and wax and wane around us in a beautiful, immortal and unending dance. My spirit tugs at its bindings and all that remains is to step free from this earthly prison.
I take his hand and marvel again at the cool smooth feel of his flesh. Laughing, we move to the window and the waiting, starlit world that will be our ballroom forever.
I love this passage the most. I also would love to land in a huge flower field with lots of colorful flowers. I now definitely need some fresh flowers and due to this I will order flowers by florists southampton.
Originally Posted by Favorite-N
I love the stories here.
This is a story I just submitted as part of my creative writing course. The plan is to expand upon it and make it into a one off
graphic novel. Any feedback would be much appreciated. It's called A Whimper for Russell
Russell sat in his floral recliner and prayed for death. He did not believe in anyone's God, but a life as inscrutable as this one meant he wouldn't rule anything out. The sky was the grey of gun metal and the moon was almost fully loaded. He could sense it through the cracks in the blinds. Not long now, he thought. What remained of his family had gone away for the weekend to celebrate a promotion.
A proud man who had once known true power, Russell now wheezed through drawn out days in a room full of memories that were not his own. Antique furnishings claimed in fire sales were all there was to look at. A room fit for an old man was no more than a cage for a dog too weary to bark his disapproval. Moving in to a nursing home was not an option; there would be too many questions. His son was neither dutiful nor considerate, his sentiments only as genuine as a
greeting card shop would allow. Embarrassment was all Russell had bequeathed him, and for this he was eternally grateful.
At the age of fifteen Russell was diagnosed with clinical lycanthropy. He did not suffer the delusion that he turned into an animal and then behave accordingly, but he took the medication and ate more fresh fruit as his doctor suggested. He could never recall the incidents of his transformation, but he knew what he was. There was no gypsy curse or mysterious bite, but his thick, singular eyebrow was a constant source of mockery and his index fingers were half an inch longer than all the other digits. People often made mention of his compelling gaze, and the morning after a full moon he would always wake up naked, despite never retiring in a state of undress. It had been a problem for six months before anyone considered observing Russell during the full moon. After begging them not to, his parents took it upon themselves to prove him wrong. Their tongues swiftly left their cheeks as they watched their only child deform into a beast. Able to retain enough of his consciousness to make decisions, Russell eschewed making a meal of his parents and instead leapt through the open kitchen door; never to return.
Getting accustomed to his supernatural status proved far easier than he had imagined. No doubt this was aided by his ability to hold on to his will and exert some control over the beast. Russell got work in a fruit shop and rented a small flat that backed on to a large park. It had an eight foot garden wall and was enclosed from the alley that ran alongside it. This provided ample shelter from a world not ready to accept the reality of wolf-men.
The world was fortunate that this particular wolf-man was a gentle creature. He had no interest in massacring villagers or bounding across rooftops in search of the best spot to howl at the moon. The power inside him was often overwhelming; his muscles fired like maritime canons and his blood pumped so loud it caused his extremities to boil. His senses were so acute that he could hear the alcoholic on the top floor wet himself in his sleep. The transformation process was disagreeable at best and left him exhausted for days after, so he made the best of his time and ran.
The park was deserted, giving him freedom he was sure no man had ever dreamed. As he flew across the freshly cut grass, taking hairpin turns to avoid trampling the rose gardens, he pondered the nature of what it is to be human. Would anyone choose to remain so if they could feel this alive? But Russell was a creature of dual nature, and he quickly learned to never turn his back on the animal.
There was little left of the cat to distinguish it as having been so. Russell looked down at the sliced flesh covered in clumps of tortoise shell fur and whimpered. Belief that he had side stepped the instinct to kill was only based on a lack of encounters with living things. Choosing to prowl a deserted park made it a concern, but one that had been hushed by the wonder. It seemed complacency was not unique to men.
Russell acquainted himself with the local butcher and began stockpiling meat in time for the full moon. He laid out raw steak, sausages and ground mince; the human side insisting they were placed in bowls. After changing he would gorge himself on fat, sinew and gristle until any urge for meat was quashed. This went on for many years, and not once did he feel the need to claw a passing squirrel or chase down a startled rabbit. Tranquillity was the gift of his wife. She would come into the fruit shop three times a week and buy tomatoes, red onions and a bunch of seedless grapes. They smiled at each other for weeks until Russell felt assured enough to ask her out. She agreed to go and see You Only Live Twice, and Russell's heart did laps around his body, hurdling the euphoria that came from running through empty parks on all fours.
Lucy loved animals, especially the tattered and lost. Any time they took a walk, it wouldn't be long before she was pointing and gushing at dogs with three legs, or beards that looked like nettles. Not wanting to relive the loss of his parents, Russell revealed his unfathomable secret in the hope she would be the one to understand. Being almost as gentle as his wife to be, he related his bizarre and lonely truth with such passion for life that even if she hadn't believed him, she had no choice but to empathise.
Lucy had been dead for ten years, in which time both Russell and the beast had collapsed into the shadow of a wilfully empty existence. Over the years the landscape of Russell's world had changed. The freedom afforded him by the moon had become a curse as obvious as the one dreamt up for Lon Cheney Jr. The once clean and silent parks now endured their slumber under siege from junkies and rent boys. There was no such thing as a dark alley to quietly slip through, and even if there was he couldn't get to it. Osteoporosis had blighted his spine, causing it to push down onto his bowels. This gave him terrible reflux and affected his diet. Years of elongation and contraction meant that he had lost all of his teeth quicker than he might have. He had dentures but could never get used to them. Red meat was impossible and most of his meals were swamped with instant parsley sauce to aid their journey to his stomach. His hands and feet were covered in ulcers from a lifetime of walking on all fours. What freedom he had left was found at the end of a lead.
Lawrence was not a bad son, but he lived in a world where sense had to get in line with normality. He had learned of his father's condition just as he reached puberty. His parents were concerned he might develop as his father had, and hoped to spare him the fear and isolation. Lawrence was never good at sport, average in academia, and had no achievements with girls. He fought the war for teenage survival on many fronts, and discovering his father was a werewolf was like seeing a fleet of alien star-ships hovering over Omaha beach. For the next ten years Lawrence spent every full moon locked in a garage, and though he never got so much as a hairy palm, his life would be shaped by the fear of what might be. Refusing to have children, he underwent a vasectomy at twenty two. He used dating agencies and classifieds to try and pin point women who couldn't have children, just so he wouldn’t have to explain his decision to relinquish his seed. Russell's only true regret was not telling him when he was younger, when even the terrifying myths are more readily accepted should they reveal themselves to be true. Even though Lawrence had never changed, it broke his father to know that his only son had thrown away the very idea of such freedom and that he would never have a child of his own to save from ruin.
Russell had lived with them for almost four years because, in spite of his inhumanity, he was a truly good father. Lawrence could not convince himself otherwise and took his father into his home; going to great lengths to hide the truth. On full moons he would walk 'the dog' late into the night to avoid the neighbours, but not before giving his wife a night on the town. Getting her drunk enough to fall asleep the second she got home was easier than discouraging her from popping her head into Russell's room to say goodnight.
“If he wakes up he'll never go back to sleep,” he would say. “Been that way since I was a kid. He needs his rest.”
Last night's walk in the park had been nothing special. Lawrence left the lead loose and Russell kept his mouth closed so as not to frighten the other dog walkers when he turned out to be all gum and no bite. They got home around nine and Russell curled up on the floor, his joints clicking like a vintage football rattle. Lawrence crept up the stairs.
“That's it for another month,” he said to himself, “Thank Christ.”
He did not hear the agonizing whine coming from his father's room. If he did, he ignored it.
Lawrence relied on his Father's insight when it came to the frequency of the full moon. He knew it was full for around twelve hours and could reach ninety five percent of it's alignment with the earth for one night either side. This was enough to trigger the change, and for the past two nights it had happened. The third night only occurred a few times a year and was not expected this month. Lawrence and his wife would be back Sunday evening. Though Russell did not know this, they gave the neighbour a key to the front door and a contact number. Russell was treated to four bottles of ale, some frozen roast dinners and the means to end his life on his own terms.
He finished off the last of the maltesers and wiped away the only tear he could muster. His body had been bested by duality, man and wolf could only co-exist for so long before both were broken. The moon appeared through the gaps in the blinds, bathing the bedroom in cold yellow stripes. A frail, naked old man dropped to the floor, willing his pain to put it's boot in his mouth to stop him crying out. The silver butter knife fell to the floor, the speckles of blood staining the cream carpet. He had stolen it from an antique market on his last family outing. Pagan's believed this butter knife contained mystical properties that could ward off evil spirits. Lawrence had cut it across his paper mâché wrists and now waited for it to poison him.
Barry woke up to the howling and wondered if he was still asleep. He put on his dressing gown and looked out of the window. It sounded like it was coming from next door. If Lawrence had a dog he hadn't noticed. He took the key they had given him and proceeded cautiously toward their front door. Silence was all that greeted him, until he opened the first door he came to. On the floor was a pile of twisted bones, stretched pale skin and a patchy coat of grey. It looked up at Barry and it's pupils widened as though it was clinging on to a memory. As the light faded from Russell's eyes, he thought of Lucy and You Only Live Twice, and was thankful for the chance.
Halfway between drunk and hungover, Lawrence was nudged from his dreams by his confused wife.
“Barry's on the phone,” she croaked, “Your Dad is missing and there's a dead dog in the house.”
His father had never let him have pets. As the grief began to hold him down, he suddenly understood why.
Thanks for the feedback! It is definitely part of a larger story that I am working on. As per the style shift, you are right and that is something that I will have to re-work. Anyways thanks!
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