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Unnecessary Evil (2037 words)

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Old 05-11-2006, 11:11 AM
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Unnecessary Evil (2037 words)


DISCLAIMER - Mature theme.

Author's note - Comments preceding revised version may no longer apply.


Unnecessary Evil
by Warren Drake


The shadow moved across the bedroom, stalking Cheri with malevolent lust. While she lay there asleep, its ghost-like hands eased the covers back, her naked body exposed. Like most hunters, the excitement of the hunt was more of a thrill than the reality of the kill; foreplay before the climax; that brief moment before penetration. The anticipation of total control of the prey's body – molestation, abuse, violence – intoxicated.

Cheri lay on her back while the shadow was careful not to awaken her spouse. If he awoke, the psychic link between predator and prey, between it and her, would break. The shadow, as it has been called by some, thrived on fear. It marveled and delighted on the fear bred deep within dreams and nightmares, those planes of existence in the subconscious mind. This is where the shadow lived and fed.

With its victim spread naked and vulnerable, the demonic presence ran its fingers over her legs then danced them like puppets on a string over her pubic area. Her abdomen was teased with light flicks by the intruder’s phantom digits and it watched with humor when the muscles contracted. Cheri appeared to awaken, eyes opened for a moment, and then drifted into sleep once again.

Then, with great haste, it sprang upwards from beside the bed and hovered over her as she sank into the dream state. Her breath quickened and her eyes beat rapidly against the back of her lids. Farther and farther she sank into the far depths of sleep, unaware of the brutality that was seconds away.

With vengeance and fury the dark force lunged forward with its bloodless hands, grabbing the hapless woman by the throat. As her eyes shot open, the shadow squeezed harder. Air into her lungs was cut off, reactionary screams weren’t possible. Paralyzed, Cheri could not move. Every muscle of her body remained rigid and frozen. The dark mass was inches from her face, but it had no features, no facial characteristics, nothing to describe. A silhouette with small glowing red orbs that radiated like fire explored the depths of her soul; torn apart in a spiritual autopsy.

The entity continued to hold her by the neck with one invisible hand while pushing upwards under her chin with the other. Her head bent backwards; her muscles stretched. Cheri was in agony. She could not breathe nor cry for help. She was caught in the purgatorial state between sleep and wake – between heaven and hell – within the web of the demon that loathed her. It hated her. It hated this world.


------


The alarm clock buzzed and Cheri sat upright. Her arms flailed through the air as if trying to ward off a swarm of bees. She was confused. Desperate. Drenched in sweat she reached for her neck and gasped for breath. The inside of her throat ached. Attempts to swallow were difficult and painful.

She lifted her legs over the side of the bed. It was difficult for to shake the feeling of absolute dread – that sense of despair that follows fantastical dreams that forever seem real. Cheri placed her moist head into her hands and sulked, careful not to disturb her husband Brian who lay sound asleep beside her. He was a deep sleeper. Doors that slammed shut during the night by way of heavy spring breezes never fazed him. Even the occasional music and obnoxious drunken laughter of the local residents were of no nuisance. He slept through everything, almost as if he wasn’t there.

Cheri turned off the alarm clock and proceeded to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. Perhaps, she thought, the caffeine would help snap her out of the distressful feeling. She would wake Brian later; the aroma from the brewed beans was calling her now.
Persia, the long haired cat the Brenner’s found near a convenience store dumpster soon after they were first married, hid under the couch in the living room. When they found her, they thought the feline would add a touch of responsibility to their small family. They had each other, as husband and wife to care for, but no children or anything that was dependant on them. Cats often survive on their own, but she was the closest thing to a child for the near future.

She glanced at Cheri when she walked by, excited by the velvet belt that dangled from her master’s robe. But the toy didn’t grab her attention for long. She crept out from underneath the couch and followed Cheri into the kitchen, glancing over her shoulder into the bedroom where the shadow had been, where the evil lurked. Cheri noticed that Persia was preoccupied with something down the hall. “What is it, baby?” she asked while pouring her coffee, pre-occupied with the nightmare that occurred earlier. Persia shot her a quick glance and then nuzzled up against Cheri’s leg, her face pushing against the soft feel of the robe. They walked together to the couch in the living room where Persia had been a short time before.

Cheri reached for the remote and turned on the morning news. She sat there, sipped her coffee and stared in a hypnotic daze at the set in front of her.

“Good morning, darling,” Brian said in a low and masculine voice. An immediate chill went through Cheri’s spine. Cheri and Persia both jumped with fright, startled by Brian’s unexpected arrival. Coffee spilled on her robe.

“Jesus Christ, Brian!” Cheri exclaimed. Her heart raced a mile a minute and beat against her chest with a repeating thud. Her ears throbbed as her blood pressure escalated. She reached over and touched his hand while Persia returned to the comfort and security underneath the couch.

“I’m sorry,” Cheri said. “You startled me.” Brian kissed Cheri on the cheek, running his fingers through his wife’s hair.

“Do you need some more?” Brian asked. He pointed to the mug that now appeared half empty. She nodded her head and requested a paper towel to dab the coffee spots on her robe. “Please.”

When Brian returned he noticed something more to his wife’s look; her face was pale, eyes mysterious; an unsettled look. She appeared fixed in thought or preoccupied. Bothered. He gave the cup to her and again ran his fingers through her hair like a mother providing the finishing touches to a child’s appearance. “What’s bothering you?” Brian asked.

Cheri stared downwards towards the floor for a few seconds before his question registered. “What? Oh, nothing. I just didn’t sleep well. I’m still trying to wake up.” Brian knew that was a lie, but didn’t push or pry any farther. He sat by his wife for a few minutes and gazed out over the valley that he viewed through the sliding glass doors. It was still dark, but the first ray of sunlight started to appear over the Virginia horizon.

Brian was born and raised in Virginia and rarely traveled outside of the historical state’s borders. He made the occasional trip to the nation’s capitol or Baltimore, but was more comfortable at home with no desire to see many of the interesting sites and sounds America offered. Virginia was fine with him, although he witnessed a trend that disturbed him as the years went by, the quiet and peaceful hometown feel started to fade.

As the sun continued to rise, Brian could make out shapes in the backyard; the patio furniture, a few shrubs and trees, a bird feeder. And then for an instant, he thought he saw a man behind the bird feeder, partially blocked by the concrete structure. He wasn’t sure if it was a man, but a silhouette or profile of a person. It stared back at him, motionless. Its head bent downwards, the figure watched like staring over the rim of eyeglasses. Brian moved his wife’s legs that were rested on his lap and walked to the door for a better look. The glare from the few lights that were on inside the house made it difficult to focus. He slid the door open to get a better look, his breath was visible in the morning autumn air. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, it –whatever it was, if anything—was gone.

Brian chuckled. He made his way back to the couch as he tried to shake off the affects of the cool morning air. His wife stood and he gave her a hug, but her reciprocated effort was light and loveless. “I love you,” he said. She responded in kind, but lacked the inflection to convince him she meant it. Cheri let him go and went to take a shower.

In the bathroom, Cheri disrobed and fidgeted with the shower handles while the water began to approach the right temperature. She liked the water hot. Her robe fell off of her shoulders and piled onto the floor. As she walked over to the mirror at the sink, she examined the bags under her eyes, fingers pulled and prodded at the bulging layer of skin. They were worse than usual this morning.

Cheri, confident the water was just right, toed her way into the shower. The sauna like warmth enveloped her and brought new life – a prescription for frayed nerves. She stood relaxed as the water poured over her and reached over the back of her head to adjust the showerhead to pulsate. Water beat down on her shoulders in a hydrotherapeutic massage, easing the tension from the early morning dream. Surely it was a dream? Her initial panic was beyond anything she experienced while asleep before. She remembered the feeling of suffocation. Violated and raped.

With a terrycloth towel smothered in herbal liquid soap, she lathered her body. Every square inch was covered, from the crevices between her toes to behind her ears; Cheri was meticulous. The process was long and detailed. Hard to find places were rinsed with the removable showerhead until all of the soap was gone – a process she would perform again after she washed and conditioned her hair. Finally, she finished, grabbed a towel from the rack, and wrapped it just under her arms and over her breasts. Another towel was used to wrap her shoulder length hair inside a modified and feminine turban.

She lined up her makeup and various hygiene products on the counter: mascara, eyeliner, lipstick, deodorant. All of the essentials required for a working woman. Cheri looked into the mirror, her heart came to a sudden stop: red welt-like marks were visible on her neck. She leaned closer for a better look and touched the affected area, sensitive but not painful. Cheri stared in disbelief. It could not be; it’s impossible.


Last edited by xfacktor; 05-26-2006 at 05:46 AM..
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  #2  
Old 05-11-2006, 09:59 PM
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Hey, since I know you write well, I am going to save this for tomarrow so I can go through in depth on it. If I can't make it tomarrow, I will definately be here Saturday.
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Old 05-12-2006, 04:27 AM
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Okay, Wisp. I look forward to your critique. Take your time. Hopefully, you'll enjoy it.
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Old 05-14-2006, 12:03 AM
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Damn. I couldn't make it today (saturday) so I am bumping it for now. Hopefully I will get to it tomarrow!
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Old 05-16-2006, 04:29 PM
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/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Hey, I am finally here. Told you I would make it
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ \\\\\\\

================================================== =

The anticipation of taking control of the prey's body – molesting it, abusing it, violating it – was intoxicating. Yes, the blissful satisfaction created from anticipation; foreplay before the climax; the brief moment before penetration.
This is well done, very nice description. Chilling.

It proceeded slowly as it approached the bed. Flanking her, its ghost-ghost like hands eased the covers off of her
Repitition of 'it' here, that could easily be avoided. Also, delete the second ghost. Try-
It proceeded slowly approaching the bed, flanking her. Its ghost-like hands eased the covers off her...

Gently, he rolled her over onto her back while being especially careful not to awaken her spouse who slept beside her.
no need for 'while'. When you delete it, place a comma after 'back'.

If he awoke, he would break the psychic link between predator and prey, between it and her.
I think you meant 'she'.

The shadow, as it has been called by some, thrived on fear, but not the fear that exists in the consciousness.
How about as it was named, .......

No, it marveled and delighted on the fear bred deep within dreams and nightmares, those planes of existence in the subconscious mind. This is where the shadow lived and fed.
Thise two lines are really good, except the 'no' at the beginning. You don't exactly need a word there, but if you wanted you could have something like 'instead'.

With its victim spread naked and vulnerable on, the demonic presence ran fingers over
No need for 'on'.

With vengeance and fury, the dark force lunged forward with its bloodless hands, grabbing the hapless woman by the throat. As her eyes opened, the shadow squeezed harder cutting off the entrance of air into her terror-filled lungs, preventing any reactionary scream.
preventing their screaming reaction would work nicely. Reactionary dosn't seem to flow with the fast pace of the actions.

Only the silhouette of a person was visible with eyes that were not like eyes at all, not in any human sense of the term, but small glowing red orbs that radiated like fire exploring the depths of her soul; tearing through her in this spiritual autopsy.
Very nice. Especially the 'spiritual autopsy'.

The entity continued to hold her by the neck with one invisible hand while forcefully pushing upwards under her chin with the other. Her head bent backwards agonizingly; her muscles stretched. She could not breathe. She could not cry for help. Caught in the purgatorial state between sleep and wake – between heaven and hell – within the web of the demon that loathed her. It hated her. It hated this world.
Once again, very nice. Good use of repititions, it's very effective.

The inside of her throat ached and had the rough feeling many critical care patients experience after the removal of an intubation tube.
This was a little odd. I don't know if she is in critical care or what, but this comparison seemed strange, and could be better if it was something else. Many people don't feel, or have had that experience, so it is more difficult for them to imagine how it feels. However, if you said something like "the inside of her throat itched and ached, as if it was being constantly rubbed by a rugged piece of bark". That's more effective because people can relate to the texture of bark.

He was an incredibly deep sleeper. Doors that slammed shut during the night by way of heavy spring breezes blowing through the open windows never fazed him.
Good description, but needs to be shortened down. It's a little long for something suttle.

Sipping her coffee, Cheri reached for the remote and turned on the morning news. She sat there, sipping her coffee, petting her cat, and staring hypnotically at the set in front of her.
Repitition on the bolded phrase. Reword it, and you will be fine.

unexpected arrival. Coffee spilled on her robe.

“Jesus Christ, Brian!” Cheri exclaimed. Her heart was racing a mile a minute and beat against her chest with a repeating thud.
Explain the coffee's heat. She should be reacting from that too. Have her suddenly jump up from the temperature and from Brian's voice, then go into the 'Jesus Christ.." spheal.

“What’s bothering you?” Brian asked.
Since the whole paragraph was used by Brian, and was in the form of 'he', this sounds a little awkward. Just use 'he' instead of Brian here.


He sat by his wife for a few minutes, gazing out over the valley that he viewed through the sliding glass doors that lead to the fenced-in back yard.
Delete the bolded.

to the door for a better look. The glare from the few lights that were on inside the house made focusing extremely difficult. He slid the door open a little to get a better look.
Repitition on the bold phrase, just reword.


His breath visible in the morning autumn air. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, it –whatever it was, if anything—was gone.
Sounds a little awkward with the first sentence being pretty short.
Try-
His breath was visible in the morning autumn iar, as his eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness. Whatever it was, if anything, the shadowy figure was gone.


Simultaneously disrobing in the bathroom while fidgeting with the shower handles, the water began to approach the right temperature.
Almost seems like your rushing this scene. Spread all the actions into seperate sentences, because I think there are atleast three here...

She stood relaxed as the water poured over her. Reaching over the back of her head, she turned the adjustable showerhead to pulsate.
Repitition on 'over'.

A process she would perform(ed) again after washing and conditioning her hair.
After reading the following sentence, this didn't sound right because she basically dryed off with the towels. Delete 'would', and add an 'ed' at the end of 'perform'.

It was sensitive but not painful. Cheri stared in disbelief. It could not be; it’s impossible.
I don't know why, but this sounded a little dull to your writing above, almost as if you suddenly fizzled out at the end. Reword it so it's more chilling. and creepy, so that it makes the reader shiver as he/she reads the last line.

===========================================

I thought this was a very good piece. I breezed through the 2000+ words, and it was definately worth my time. Your writing is great, and it has a good way of making things sound chilling. You just need to watch out for the little things, like repitition. My only regret is that I couldn't get to this earlier

Hope to see more
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Old 05-17-2006, 02:35 AM
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Okay, I made it.

I'll start off with the few negatives:

its ghost-ghost like hands

ghost-like
spread naked and vulnerable on, the demonic

drop the on.
cutting off the entrance of air into her terror-filled

This felt a little forced. While certainly less original, 'cutting off the flow of air to...' would sound more natural. Your choice though.
She appeared transfixed in thought or preoccupied.

In this context, tranfixed in thought and proccupied have the same meaning, so this is really repetition.
her arms and over her breasts; the fold moving diagonally

This felt like unnecessary information for me, and just slowed that paragraph down.


Aside from that, you've built a great atmosphere, and an intriguing story. I really want to know what happens next. Great work.
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:25 AM
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Yes, the "ghost-ghost like" and "on" were problems from editing. That damn cut and paste feature...
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Old 05-17-2006, 09:15 AM
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Excellent work here. Other than a couple of grammar mistakes, I really enjoyed reading this. I like how you are able to flesh out the scenes without sounding boring.

One problem that I did have concerns my pet peeve of unnecessary adjective use. By this, I mean using adjectives that don't add to the imagery at all. Luckily, I didn't notice many "odd" adjectives, and that's a good thing - but there were a few.

The shadow moved stealthily across the bedroom
I was disheartened to see this (stealthily) in the beginning, thinking I was doomed to reading yet another story full of "-ly" this and "-ly" that. I've yet to see a shadow doesn't glide almost unnoticed across a dark room. "The shadow moved across the bedroom" will create the exact same imagery.

Her head bent backwards agonizingly; her muscles stretched.
Here's the other one (agonizingly) that bothered me. It doesn't do anything to create "extra" or "distinct" imagery at all, it's just there. Try to avoid that.

Other than those two, nothing else really stood out. This is a magnificent piece of work. You kept the 'impending doom' feeling the whole way through without ever saying it. Good job.

Last edited by Zermonth; 05-17-2006 at 09:17 AM..
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Old 05-18-2006, 04:32 AM
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Wisp,

Many of your suggestions are correct, and I’ll be revising (again) the Chapter I. I’m glad you took the time to read it.

Darthwader,

The “ghost-ghost” and “on” were mistakes made from cutting and pasting from the original draft to a revised copy. Like Wisp, you too had many suggestions that will be used in the latest revision.

Zermonth,

You're exactly right. In fact, in the revised copy that I have, "stealthily" and "agonizingly" are both absent. Stealthily is not an accurate description of the shadow’s movement.

I don’t mind “-ly” words or participles on occasion, it’s the overuse that irritates me.

Wisp/Darthwader/Zermonth

Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. Chapter II is complete and I’ll have it posted sometime in the near future.
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Old 05-18-2006, 06:20 AM
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Hey, I am glad I could get here and help. I'll make sure I can get to part two when it comes out.
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Old 05-19-2006, 11:15 PM
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I read both sections back to back, so I'll give a bit of reference to both as I write this one.

I liked how you set up the action, and showed how she was still a little on edge but wasn't quite sure why yet. Especially the part where the cat was looking back at the room, and her husband seeing something outside. Wicked cool.

“Good morning, darling,” Brian said in a low and masculine voice. An immediate chill went through Cheri’s spine. Cheri and Persia both jumped with fright, startled by Brian’s unexpected arrival. Coffee spilled on her robe.
This paragraph was kind of awkward for me. You explain how frightened she is, but take such a long time getting there, that it loses its purpose. If that makes sense. I think if you reworded the paragraph, and lost the section I've marked in red, then you can get a better meaning across. An example, trying to base it off your style, of how I would write it.

“Good morning, darling,” Brian said. His low, masculine voice caused Cheri to spill coffee on her robe as she and Persia to jumped in fright.

May not be a great example, but I think it says the same message, while taking less time to get there. I think you had already set the tone that she was a bit edgy, and how she stared blankly at the t.v. in a quiet room. I hope that helps.

It was difficult for to shake the feeling of absolute dread – that sense of despair that follows fantastical dreams that forever seem real.
I know it's minor, but a lot of use with the same word.

It was still dark, but the first ray of sunlight started to appear over the western Virginia horizon.
This part is odd. Is the sun rising in the west? If it is, then, as you said to me...the sun rises from the east. If it's supposed to be West Virginia, then I would make it that. Maybe you could clarify that section. The next paragraph you say he was from Virginia, so I'm a little lost.


One other thing that I noticed, based on the two posts, is that you never really described her physical features, other than shes runnin' around naked a lot. Which is fine, but what color hair, eyes, that sort of stuff is left to the readers imagination. For all we know, she could be 3'6 and weigh 500 lbs. Just a suggestion. Maybe give Brian some physical features too, other than he designs video games and doesn't leave the house.....ever. Dude's kinda wierd. Though if I could design games....I'd be lovin it too.

Good work setting up a good cliff hangar.
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Last edited by Blackhawk_t; 05-19-2006 at 11:23 PM..
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Old 05-26-2006, 10:20 PM
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You've critiqued mine, so I'll do the same, but I'm too tired now to tell you anything useful. I'll be back.
---
Alright, here I go. You're getting good in-depth advice from other readers, so I'll pull my scope back a bit.

-This piece was really thick. Things are slow to occur and take some thought to process. For example, when Brian scares Cheri and the cat, it takes three setences to get there. For a horror-thriller, this is a big threat to your realism.

-One thing that was effective for me was the strangeness of the shadow penomenon. It was just weird and creepy and defied description. It's characterized by how Cheri feels and is a constant presence in the character's actions.

-The description of the effect of the shadow violating Cheri is very vague and genearl. Use concrete terms and be very specific in the details. It's almost as if Cheri was tossing adjectives at what was ailing her and not actually being sticken by it. Use details aabout what the problem is, factual evidence of the malicious nature of the phantom, and try to tone down the surreal descriptions.

You're very factual in your analyses and in your writing, as well. Illogical things are presented logically and with calculation. What I'm slowly realizing is that reasoning should be implied and never directly stated or discussed. Show, don't tell. Overall, solid writing. PM me if you edit again; I'd love to take another look.

-FS
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:25 PM
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As I've already looked at the original posting of the first chapter I'll mainly concentrate on the second chapter.

But, I think that the line
Cheri appeared to awaken, eyes opened for a moment, and then drifted into sleep once again.
doesn't express the power that this entity obviously has. Perhaps Cheri would show some sign that something is amiss such as sweating or a furrowed brow, possibly something more eerie such as severely dilated pupils.



Drenched in sweat she reached for her neck and gasped for breath.


Like this sentence.

She lifted her legs over the side of the bed. It was difficult for to shake the feeling of absolute dread


Will assume this is a typo.

Perhaps, she thought, the caffeine would help snap her out of the distressful feeling.

Not sure about this sentence. Maybe "Perhaps, she thought, the caffeine would help snap her out of her feelings of distress". Dunno, just doesn't flow as well as the rest of the story.

Persia, the long haired cat the Brenner’s found near a convenience store dumpster soon after they were first married, hid under the couch in the living room.


Quite a long sentence. How about "Under the couch in the living room lay Persia - the long haired cat found near a dumpster shortly after their marriage."

He gave the cup to her and again ran his fingers through her hair like a mother providing the finishing touches to a child’s appearance.


I quite like this description - it conjours a familiar image.

Its head bent downwards, the figure watched like staring over the rim of eyeglasses.


Typo?

I like how this story has concluded with Cheri finding the welts on her body. Just one thing though, would Cheri have paid more attention to Brians staring out the window considering the frame of mind she was in?


Again, I like this story and am interested in knowing where you're taking it.
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Old 06-02-2006, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by xfacktor
While she lay there asleep, its ghost-like hands eased the covers back, her naked body exposed.


This sentence was a bit unwieldy for me. I can't explain it. It just seems like a verb is missing.

"While she lay there asleep, its ghost-like hands eased the covers back exposing her naked body."


Originally Posted by xfacktor
Like most hunters, the excitement of the hunt was more of a thrill than the reality of the kill;
"More of a thrill than the reality" sounds too...I don't know...young? Consider:
"the excitement of the hunt was more thrilling than the reality of the kill;"

Originally Posted by xfacktor
;foreplay before the climax; that brief moment before penetration.


Are there too many semicolons? I think maybe an ellipsis would look better or just making another short sentence. Consider:

"...foreplay before the climax...that brief moment before penetration" or "...foreplay before the climax. That brief moment before penetration."


Originally Posted by xfacktor
Cheri lay on her back while the shadow was careful not to awaken her spouse.
This sentence is kind of hard to swallow. How about:
"The Shadow took care not to awaken Cheri's sleeping spouse."

Originally Posted by xfacktor
It marveled and delighted on the fear bred deep within dreams and nightmares,
I think you could drop "marveled," and "in the fear" might sound better than "on the fear" in that instance.

Originally Posted by xfacktor
those planes of existence in the subconscious mind.


How 'bout "those planes that exist only in the subconscious mind?"


Originally Posted by xfacktor
With its victim spread naked and vulnerable, the demonic presence ran its fingers over her legs then danced them like puppets on a string
He danced his fingers or he danced her legs?

Originally Posted by xfacktor
Her abdomen was teased with light flicks by the intruder’s phantom digits and it watched with humor when the muscles contracted
"Her abdomen was teased...and it watched with humor..." Consider revising? How 'bout
"The intruder teased her abdomen with light flicks of his phantom digits, watching with humore as the muscles contracted."

Originally Posted by xfacktor
Then, with great haste, it sprang upwards from beside the bed and hovered over her as she sank into the dream state.
"It" might not be descriptive enough in the first sentence of a new paragraph. Consider: "Then with greate haste, the shadow sprang..."

Also, if Cheri was asleep and in a dream state, wouldn't she sink back into the dream state if she were for some reason forced semi-awake?


Originally Posted by xfacktor
With vengeance and fury the dark force lunged forward with its bloodless hands, grabbing the hapless woman by the throat
Hapless may be a poor choice of words unless you mean she's unfortunate. Would "helpless" work better?



Originally Posted by xfacktor
A silhouette with small glowing red orbs that radiated like fire explored the depths of her soul; torn apart in a spiritual autopsy.
Sweet sentence.

Originally Posted by xfacktor
Her head bent backwards; her muscles stretched. Cheri was in agony.
Combine these two sentences? "Her head bent backwards, her muscles stretched, Cheri was in agony?"


Originally Posted by xfacktor
She could not breathe nor cry for help.
Replace "not" with "neither?"
"She could neither breathe nor cry for help."


Originally Posted by xfacktor
She was caught in the purgatorial state between sleep and wake – between heaven and hell – within the web of the demon that loathed her. It hated her. It hated this world.
I dig this, too.


My two copper.
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Old 06-05-2006, 04:58 PM
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While she lay there asleep, its ghost-like hands eased the covers back, her naked body exposed.


This one confused me for a little while. I think it's because you confuse your characters here: it sounds like "its" is the one whose back is being exposed, though you use "her" for the pronoun. Idea for rewriting: "
While she lay there asleep, its ghost-like hands eased the covers back, exposing her naked body."

Also, this first paragraph seems a bit overdone. The last two sentences repeat each other a bit, and while repetition is important to raise drama, going too far just seems almost corny.

Cheri lay on her back while the shadow was careful not to awaken her spouse.


This could be broken up better. This might even work if you break it into two sentences, with some descriptor adjectives.

the psychic link between predator and prey, between it and her,


This repetition was a bit shallow. I don't think it was really necessary.

The shadow, as it has been called by some, thrived on fear.


The use of "has" here sort of disjointed the narrative. Keep the tenses similar.

It marveled and delighted on the fear bred deep within dreams and nightmares, those planes of existence in the subconscious mind.


I'd advise removing the "those," just to help the flow a bit.

With its victim spread naked and vulnerable, the demonic presence ran its fingers over her legs then danced them like puppets on a string over her pubic area.


This is rather hurried. The quick switch in subjects make things a bit murky. I'd advise at least using a few commas to break this up a bit better.

Her abdomen was teased with light flicks by the intruder’s phantom digits and it watched with humor when the muscles contracted.


Same thing as I said above: try and break it up a bit.

The dark mass was inches from her face, but it had no features, no facial characteristics, nothing to describe


Perhaps breaking off "noting to describe" a bit harsher would work better as a summary. I'd say a semicolon, but lots of different things could help break this up a bit.

I can't finish my review right now, but I really liked this story. Sorry I'm so anal at times during this review- I can't help it. ^_^ I'll finish reviewing this at some later time.
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Old 06-09-2006, 10:27 AM
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Like most hunters, the excitement of the hunt was more of a thrill than the reality of the kill foreplay before the climax that brief moment before penetration. The anticipation of total control of the prey's body molestation, abuse, violence intoxicated.

Okay, in the beginning, where there were semi-colons, those, as I was taught, should be commas. Otherwise, the second semi-colon was grammatically incorrect, and changing it to a comma, or colon, would result in a fragment, which would mean you have to fix the first one. Secondly, and you can ask Titania, Dephere, or any other WF's vet ~ I hate dashes. I know what they are used for, but I do not except them in manuscript, other than when used in speech, as interuption. Otherwise, to me, it shows me that you were lazy with the sentence. You could easily use other forms of punctuation to express your ideas in that sentence and word it differently. Now, as for the dashes, that is my opinion, so please do not take it as bad, just an opinion, and either way, it's all up to you.
Farther and farther she sank into the far depths of sleep, unaware of the brutality that was seconds away.

You need a comma after these transition words.
With vengeance and fury the dark force lunged forward with its bloodless hands, grabbing the hapless woman by the throat.

Comma after these transitions.
Paralyzed, Cheri could not move

This whole sentence is pointless. Paralyzed means you can't move. So, the second part of this whole sentence was irrelivant to the story.
A silhouette with small glowing red orbs that radiated like fire explored the depths of her soul torn apart in a spiritual autopsy.

A semi-colon connects two complete statements, usually. You can have a comma there.
She was caught in the purgatorial state between sleep and wake between heaven and hell within the web of the demon that loathed her.

Must I say more? Don't take this the wrong way, but ~ Don't be lazy!
It was difficult for to shake the feeling of absolute dread that sense of despair that follows fantastical dreams that forever seem real.

Now, two things here. The DASH!....and this sentence is very wordy. You can probably just make, at the dash, two sentences because this sentence was very word and was a little bit of an overkill.
Persia, the long haired cat the Brenner’s found near a convenience store dumpster soon after they were first married, hid under the couch in the living room.

This "CAN" be one word - longhaired.
But the toy didn’t grab her attention for long.

Just preferance, but this is a simple mistake. You can use but, and, or and several other conjunctions as the beginning of the sentence, but I think that you would have been better off using, However, or Nevertheless,
Cheri noticed that Persia was preoccupied with something down the hall.

“What is it, baby?” she asked while pouring her coffee, pre-occupied with the nightmare that occurred earlier.
This is grammatical and for readability. It's better to start a new paragraph for speech and thought statements.
She sat there, sipped her coffee and stared in a hypnotic daze at the set in front of her.

Comma after coffee.
He pointed to the mug that now appeared half empty.

Can be half-empty. Although, just an opinion, I think half-full is better
And then for an instant, he thought he saw a man behind the bird feeder, partially blocked by the concrete structure.

Those two words aren't really needed. As I said before, you could easily use other words, instead of the conjunctions. Actually, just get rid of those two first words and say, "For an instant, he..."
He slid the door open to get a better look; his breath was visible in the morning autumn air. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, it whatever it was, if anythingwas gone.

The comma in the beginning should be a semi-colon, it connects two complete statements. And the dashes again, but actually, this is something I noticed. If you are going to use dashes, use the same spacing as you had for ones above.
Her robe fell off of her shoulders and piled onto the floor.

Omit of. Not needed, and flows just as good, if not better.
Surely it was a dream?

I believe a comma should be there. Make sure that this statement is on its own line. It's a thought. Just my opinion.
Hard to find places were rinsed with the removable showerhead until all of the soap was gone a process she would perform again after she washed and conditioned her hair.

DASH!
She lined up her makeup and various hygiene products on the counter: mascara, eyeliner, lipstick, and deodorant.

Add and to that statement. It's not needed, but it looks better.
Cheri looked into the mirror; her heart came to a sudden stop: red welt-like marks were visible on her neck.

Semi-colon. Two complete statements.
Cheri stared in disbelief.

It could not be; it’s impossible.
Thought, so give it its own line.

_________


Otherwise, a very nice start to the story, and very captivating. You definitly have a talent. Good work X, I'm very impressed.
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