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Emily Jones & The Woods - A Short Story

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Old 12-03-2012, 04:05 AM
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Default Emily Jones & The Woods - A Short Story


Emily Jones and the Woods

Rain poured down the streets of Rockwell, making them look like water channels. It has started two days ago, yet it roared like as if it’s just starting. The whole town was more or less drenched, nearly impossible for anyone to enter or leave. The fire department had evacuated most of the region, except for few stubborn old timers who wished to stay back, apparently not bothered with their lives anyone. The time allotted for evacuation was less, and the storm had hit quickly and strongly, not giving any chance to take security measures. The downtown areas were the most affected; it appeared as though it was a long lost underwater city.

Emily Jones stepped down from the bus, raising a bag over her head, breathing quickly, her eyes searching for a nearby shelter for quick rest.

“This is the closest I can get you near Rockwell Miss. But you sure you want to go in this rain? I mean the town is still a couple of miles away and in this god awful weather; I’d rather not take chances.” The bus driver warned her for a hundredth time. He had been trying to convince her not to go out in these conditions and had even offered to arrange for her to stay in a moderately good motel close by. He had argued her to spend the night there and continue tomorrow morning.

“It’s ok John,” she said, calling out his name, feeling glad for his concern. “I was born here. There is nothing to worry about.” She answered smiling.

John looked disappointed for hearing the same answer she had been giving him throughout the journey. Sensing there isn’t much he can do to change her mind; he gave her a final wave, and gunned the engine quickly towards the bordering highway. This woman is crazy, he thought. Why else someone would want to walk two miles in this storm?

Emily glanced at her waterproof edition Titan time piece, 11:40 it read. Not good, she thought. Not good at all. Taking a moment to calculate the time needed to get to her grandmother’s house, she felt exited to be surprising her on her eightieth birthday. She knew she couldn’t miss this special occasion, not in a million years. It was because of her grandma, she had become the person she is today. After her mother passed away, Katherine took her in and nursed her with utter bliss. Emily’s father didn’t waste anytime in marrying his hot twenty something secretary, with whom he had a long affair. Nothing Emily or her mother didn’t know of. He was pleased she was out of his house. Emily had seen the look on his father’s bitch when the two had briefly met before she had gone to her grandma’s house, out of the newly wed couple’s sight forever. There was nothing but pure wickedness in those looks, completely opposite to her mother’s virtuous and kind looks.

A loud thunder cut short her journey to the past reminding of the situation. She knew about the weather before leaving her apartment in London but decided to come anyway. There are some things, obsessions which others didn’t understand. Putting a smile on her grandma’s face topped her list.

The town was still a good three miles away, and at this hour she was pretty sure no one was around, let alone a cab or any sort of transportation. Why couldn’t Katherine come and live with her in London, she said to herself. She had tried to persuade her many times in the past only to fail all the time. Her grandmother had a very strong will, probably picked up from her two decade service in the Irish army. There was no way anyone could make her do something against her will, seemingly not even her beloved grand daughter.

This time I am taking her with me back to London, she assured herself. Even if it takes to tie her up, toss her into a plane and holding the pilot at gun-point. The thought made her laugh. Hostage Grandma!

The puddle filled path to Rockwell stretched out before her, a rusty sign marking the way. Taking a deep breathe she turned around and started to move away from the road, in the opposite direction. Dark, thickly grown woods appeared in a short distance. There was no doubt the woods wouldn’t be any better, actually it would be worse. But it was also the quickest way to get to Rockwell. Through the woods it was just over a mile. Removing a lighter from her pocket, she lighted it and scanned the surroundings. The dim light illumined nothing more than few yards, but that’ll do, Emily nodded. The whole environment was dark, shadowy and muffled voices echoed somewhere deep inside.

This was not new to her; she had traversed this path many times since her childhood. But of course it was during the day and definitely not under circumstances like this. Watching her step carefully, she slowly walked, avoiding stepping into puddles, slippery mosses or tricky terrain.

Most people would call what she was doing insane, but not Emily. She was as adventurous as they came. She liked being in places like this, gaining new experiences, and exploring different dimensions of life. Not many got a chance to do things the way she did, she knew that and never backed out when asked to stand up against a challenge. Something she had picked up from her iron willed grandmother.

She was confident and brave, but nothing stood a chance against nature. It had its own ways of handling things, no questions asked. She had walked only a short stretch when he stopped; instantly she knew she had done a mistake, a very bad one. She was now standing in waist height water, steadily rising, with her legs struck in the mire. Her lighter, now exposed to the rain, flickered a few times and went out. Instantly she was surrounded with nothing but darkness, creepy darkness. She tried to move but it only made her feet dig deep into the soil and bury itself tight. The quietness in the air was annoying.

A sharp sound beside her made her jump. A lightening struck the sky and lighted up the whole region for a second. Emily tried to see what had caused the sound in that moment; a black figure passing by the trees caught her eye. Turning slowly, she scanned the surrounding. Something moved swiftly behind her again. She could not see what it was but even in the darkness, it was unmistakable. Something was there in the nearby bushes, circling her for god knows what reason. Her heart skipped a beat. The forest didn’t have any wild beasts but it did have a few hunting foxes, known for their ingenuity to lay traps and lure their preys into them. Emily was sure she had walked into one. When their prey was struck, it didn’t matter how big they were, the foxes would close in and kill their victim. And Emily’s slender figure stood no chance against them.

She kept her ears open, straining to listen. It was useless amidst the loud clasps of thunder and heavy downing of the shower above. There was an air of incredible ghostliness about this place, she couldn’t tell why but the sensation was clear. As though reading her thoughts, a large shadow fell upon her. Holding a hand over her forehead to save her eyes from rain, she saw a figure loom into view from behind a small mound, its fiery eyes starting at her.

Her immediate reaction was to scream, but she was too proud for that. Her hands reached her bag and ripped out a dual sided army knife, her grandmother’s war artifact gifted to her on her twentieth birthday.

“Emily?” the figure called out.

Instead of feeling relaxed for it was someone who knew her, her body trembled with fear, a solid uneasiness rising inside her.

“For the lover of god relax!” the man now came into full view, his face shining in the light of the lantern she had mistaken for some creature’s eye of fire. “It’s just me, Max.” he said looking apologetic to have startled her.

It took a moment or two for Emily to register the voice and recognize his face. Max! Of course, he was her childhood friend, how could she forget him. They had grown up together in this very town, exploring these forests, climbing nearby hills and visiting places around the town rumored to be haunted. It was their favorite past time when they were kids and both of them had so similar interests in sports, movies and books, it was not long before they were young adults and closest of friends. Max was one person other than Katherine who had made her life livable following her mother’s death. He had promised her that he would be there when she needed him and apparently he was keeping his promise now. She was glad he was here.

“Sorry I scared you, but I was just trying to get your attention.” He said.

“Yeah, well, you know what you could have tried this ancient method of getting people’s attention called Calling, like by their name. Also I will be happy to slap you for that if you can get me out of this mess.” She said smiling for the first time since she had stepped out of the bus.

Max grinned widely and stretched out his hand towards her. Pocketing the knife, she took it and held firmly as he started to pull her out. Emily sensed her legs getting out of the muddy waters. Slowly she felt her legs break free. Holding the nearby tree for support, Max heaved her up. She was now standing beside him who still held her hand, panting. She noticed even he was trembling in the cold but there was something different about him today. His face was peculiarly pale and his entire body felt as though it was made of ice.

“You look like crap. What is the matter with you?” he frowned at her “Can’t you just listen to someone for a change?”

“What the hell is wrong with you?” she fired back “You look like you were living in the Himalayas and decided to come down today.”

“You should keep in touch with you friends often Em,” he said calling her by her nick, “helps you know them better.”

“I’ll remember it next time, now can we please get going, I don’t want to miss wishing Katherine after all that has happened so far.” She cut him short of one of his prolonged speeches. She would be happy to listen to him later tomorrow, but now, she had to get to her house first, where another speech awaited her, from her grandmother.

‘I knew you would do something stupid like this. Katherine told she warned you not to come, but I know you, stubborn then, and stubborn now. “He raised his hand and hit softly on his forehead as if tired of her obstinate attitude.

“Don’t you think you have given yourself enough credit already?” Emily replied with her usual hint of sarcasm.

Max laughed out loud at her remark. Same old Emily, he thought. Not ready to accept a moment of weakness no matter what.

Passing the lantern to her, Max reached for his pocket and took out a torch. Switching it on, he led the way. The bright beams lit up the dark track ahead of them few yards at a time

Both walked silently savoring the company of each other. Even though they didn’t admit it, both knew they were attracted to each other in more ways than one. After moving to London, she had sent atleast a dozen of job offers to him, trying to make him come to London. But just like her grandmother he had insisted to stay in this town and look after his father’s poultry farm. Emily wondered what it is with these people. Why can’t they move on when there is promise for a better life? There is so much more they can do, so much they can offer to the society, yet they preferred to live locked up in their own little havens. She had even asked Max about it once and he had mouthed the exact words Katherine had told, you wouldn’t understand.

The rain started to slow down a bit and she felt comfortable with the environs. Max kept a tiger eye around watching out for anything suspicious. She laughed at his anxiety. He was being over cautious, then again even she had freaked out for while standing in the waist high water, legs struck in the muddy puddle. Who wouldn’t?
A mile long walk seemed too short when the two were together. They reached the intersection of the town where their houses were located in adjoining streets. Emily could see her grandma’s house from here and Max’s house in the next street just around the corner.

Patting her shoulder, Max said “Go on, I’ll meet you tomorrow.”

Surprised she replied “Don’t you want to come home and wish Katherine? She would be happy to see you.”

“Naah, I’ll wish her tomorrow. It’s already too late and I’m terribly tired, thanks to you by the way.” He said, taunting playfully.

“I didn’t asked you to come, I could have gotten home just as fine.” She said sounding insipid.

“Yeah, says the lady who was holding a knife while struck in a pool of water she couldn’t get out of.” Max japed loudly as he waved her forward and crossed the street towards his house.

Emily stood there watching him leave, her eyes lit up in excitement. He never missed amusing her, this time I am taking him back to London too, she said firmly. Take one hostage or two, jail time is same right?

Sighing heavily she turned and walked sluggishly towards her house. Her grandma would be rejoiced to see her tonight. Even though Katherine had explicitly told her not to come, she probably knew she was coming. Seeing the lights still up in the house, Emily smiled. Of course she knows I’m coming.

She stepped onto the porch and knocked the door. Katherine Jones opened the door quickly as though expecting it from a long time.

“Surprise, Surprise!” Emily yelled gleefully “Happy birthday to the best grand mother one could ever have.” She opened the bag and handed her a bunch of red tulips carefully picked and wrapped, her grandmother’s favorite.

Katherine’s eyes shone looking at her loving child. They both shared a special bond, Katherine knew it too. They were two inseparable entities tied together in different bodies. Seeing her grand daughter drenched and shivering, she immediately echoed her concern.

“Thanks but come inside already.” She said and swept her inside, holding her hand.

Once they were in, Katherine brought a blanket and wrapped it around Emily. Then, taking a large towel, she began to dry her hair.

“It’s so good to see you dear, but how did you reach here by the way. Don’t tell me you walked through those damned woods.” Katherine said, although she already knew the answer to it.

Ignoring her grandmother’s false anger, she said “Relax grandma, I wasn’t alone; Max came to pick me up.” She knew she had won the argument. When it came to Max, he was more reliable than her. She always hated her grandmother’s attitude for this, but now it came in handy.

“Max?” Katherine asked puzzled.

Emily felt surprised to see her grandmother trying to remember Max. She knew Max alright, he was close to Katherine as close he was to Emily. Katherine had watched both of them grow together.

“Yeah Max. What’s the matter Kat? You don’t seem relieved.” There was something seriously wrong; why else her grandma would take so much time to remember Max.

“Wait a minute, are you telling me, for the love of god I hope not, is that Maxwell Locker picked you up from the bus station?” she looked horrified, her hands shaking strongly. She looked as though she would burst out any moment.

“Yeah the same, but what’s wrong?”

“Maxwell and her mother died in a car crash yesterday. I tried to raise you, but the telecom lines were out. I decided it was best to tell when you got here so you wouldn’t be upset during the journey. But now you are saying he picked you up? Jesus Christ!” she took out the cross from the folds of her clothes and held in her hand, saying a silent prayer of peace.

Emily sat on the couch, totally blanked out, her eyes staring in disbelief. “But that’s…. that’s not possible.”

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Old 12-03-2012, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by native3 View Post
Emily Jones and the Woods

Rain poured down the streets of Rockwell, making them look like water channels. It has started two days ago, yet it roared like as if it’s just starting. The whole town was more or less drenched, nearly impossible for anyone to enter or leave. The fire department had evacuated most of the region, except for few stubborn old timers who wished to stay back, apparently not bothered with their lives anyone. The time allotted for evacuation was less, and the storm had hit quickly and strongly, not giving any chance to take security measures. The downtown areas were the most affected; it appeared as though it was a long lost underwater city.

Emily Jones stepped down from the bus, raising a bag over her head, breathing quickly, her eyes searching for a nearby shelter for quick rest.

“This is the closest I can get you near Rockwell Miss. But you sure you want to go in this rain? I mean the town is still a couple of miles away and in this god awful weather; I’d rather not take chances.” The bus driver warned her for a hundredth time. He had been trying to convince her not to go out in these conditions and had even offered to arrange for her to stay in a moderately good motel close by. He had argued her to spend the night there and continue tomorrow morning.

“It’s ok John,” she said, calling out his name, feeling glad for his concern. “I was born here. There is nothing to worry about.” She answered smiling.

John looked disappointed for hearing the same answer she had been giving him throughout the journey. Sensing there isn’t much he can do to change her mind; he gave her a final wave, and gunned the engine quickly towards the bordering highway. This woman is crazy, he thought. Why else someone would want to walk two miles in this storm?

Emily glanced at her waterproof edition Titan time piece, 11:40 it read. Not good, she thought. Not good at all. Taking a moment to calculate the time needed to get to her grandmother’s house, she felt exited to be surprising her on her eightieth birthday. She knew she couldn’t miss this special occasion, not in a million years. It was because of her grandma, she had become the person she is today. After her mother passed away, Katherine took her in and nursed her with utter bliss. Emily’s father didn’t waste anytime in marrying his hot twenty something secretary, with whom he had a long affair. Nothing Emily or her mother didn’t know of. He was pleased she was out of his house. Emily had seen the look on his father’s bitch when the two had briefly met before she had gone to her grandma’s house, out of the newly wed couple’s sight forever. There was nothing but pure wickedness in those looks, completely opposite to her mother’s virtuous and kind looks.

I would start a new paragraph with "Emily's father".

"his father’s bitch" sounds awkward in that sentance. Also, change the "his" to "her".

"He was pleased she was out of his house." So her dad left HIS house? Or HER house? Or THEIR house? It just sounds a bit awkward. He, she, his.



A loud thunder cut short her journey to the past reminding of the situation. She knew about the weather before leaving her apartment in London but decided to come anyway. There are some things, obsessions which others didn’t understand. Putting a smile on her grandma’s face topped her list.

The town was still a good three miles away, and at this hour she was pretty sure no one was around, let alone a cab or any sort of transportation. Why couldn’t Katherine come and live with her in London, she said to herself. She had tried to persuadeher many times in the past only to fail all the time. Her grandmother had a very strong will, probably picked up from her two decade service in the Irish army. There was no way anyone could make her do something against her will, seemingly not even her beloved grand daughter.

I would add "grandmother" after the "her". Makes it sound a bit more smooth.

two decades of service

This time I am taking her with me back to London, she assured herself. Even if it takes to tie her up, toss her into a plane and holding the pilot at gun-point. The thought made her laugh. Hostage Grandma!

Sounds awkward. Suggestion: Even if it takes tieing her up, tossing her onto a plane and holding the pilot at gun-point.

The puddle filled path to Rockwell stretched out before her, a rusty sign marking the way. Taking a deep breathe she turned around and started to move away from the road, in the opposite direction. Dark, thickly grown woods appeared in a short distance. There was no doubt the woods wouldn’t be any better, actually it would be worse. But it was also the quickest way to get to Rockwell. Through the woods it was just over a mile. Removing a lighter from her pocket, she lighted it and scanned the surroundings. The dim light illumined nothing more than few yards, but that’ll do, Emily nodded. The whole environment was dark, shadowy and muffled voices echoed somewhere deep inside.

Dark, thickly grown woods appeared a short distance away.

Also, if it is storming and raining, how is the lighter staying lit?

This was not new to her; she had traversed this path many times since her childhood. But of course it was during the day and definitely not under circumstances like this. Watching her step carefully, she slowly walked, avoiding stepping into puddles, slippery mosses or tricky terrain.

Most people would call what she was doing insane, but not Emily. She was as adventurous as they came. She liked being in places like this, gaining new experiences, and exploring different dimensions of life. Not many got a chance to do things the way she did, she knew that and never backed out when asked to stand up against a challenge. Something she had picked up from her iron willed grandmother.

She was confident and brave, but nothing stood a chance against nature. It had its own ways of handling things, no questions asked. She had walked only a short stretch when he stopped; instantly she knew she had done a mistake, a very bad one. She was now standing in waist height water, steadily rising, with her legs struck in the mire. Her lighter, now exposed to the rain, flickered a few times and went out. Instantly she was surrounded with nothing but darkness, creepy darkness. She tried to move but it only made her feet dig deep into the soil and bury itself tight. The quietness in the air was annoying.

Change "height" to "deep".

Change "struck" to "stuck"?

A sharp sound beside her made her jump. A lightening struck the sky and lighted up the whole region for a second. Emily tried to see what had caused the sound in that moment; a black figure passing by the trees caught her eye. Turning slowly, she scanned the surrounding. Something moved swiftly behind her again. She could not see what it was but even in the darkness, it was unmistakable. Something was there in the nearby bushes, circling her for god knows what reason. Her heart skipped a beat. The forest didn’t have any wild beasts but it did have a few hunting foxes, known for their ingenuity to lay traps and lure their preys into them. Emily was sure she had walked into one. When their prey was struck, it didn’t matter how big they were, the foxes would close in and kill their victim. And Emily’s slender figure stood no chance against them.

She kept her ears open, straining to listen. It was useless amidst the loud clasps of thunder and heavy downing of the shower above. There was an air of incredible ghostliness about this place, she couldn’t tell why but the sensation was clear. As though reading her thoughts, a large shadow fell upon her. Holding a hand over her forehead to save her eyes from rain, she saw a figure loom into view from behind a small mound, its fiery eyes starting at her.

Her immediate reaction was to scream, but she was too proud for that. Her hands reached her bag and ripped out a dual sided army knife, her grandmother’s war artifact gifted to her on her twentieth birthday.

“Emily?” the figure called out.

Instead of feeling relaxed for it was someone who knew her, her body trembled with fear, a solid uneasiness rising inside her.

“For the lover of god relax!” the man now came into full view, his face shining in the light of the lantern she had mistaken for some creature’s eye of fire. “It’s just me, Max.” he said looking apologetic to have startled her.

Change the "." to a ",".

It took a moment or two for Emily to register the voice and recognize his face. Max! Of course, he was her childhood friend, how could she forget him. They had grown up together in this very town, exploring these forests, climbing nearby hills and visiting places around the town rumored to be haunted. It was their favorite past time when they were kids and both of them had so similar interests in sports, movies and books, it was not long before they were young adults and closest of friends. Max was one person other than Katherine who had made her life livable following her mother’s death. He had promised her that he would be there when she needed him and apparently he was keeping his promise now. She was glad he was here.

“Sorry I scared you, but I was just trying to get your attention.” He said.

Change "." to ",".

“Yeah, well, you know what you could have tried this ancient method of getting people’s attention called Calling, like by their name. Also I will be happy to slap you for that if you can get me out of this mess.She said smiling for the first time since she had stepped out of the bus.

Change "." to ",". Lower case the "She".

Max grinned widely and stretched out his hand towards her. Pocketing the knife, she took it and held firmly as he started to pull her out. Emily sensed her legs getting out of the muddy waters. Slowly she felt her legs break free. Holding the nearby tree for support, Max heaved her up. She was now standing beside him who still held her hand, panting. She noticed even he was trembling in the cold but there was something different about him today. His face was peculiarly pale and his entire body felt as though it was made of ice.

“You look like crap. What is the matter with you?” he frowned at her, “Can’t you just listen to someone for a change?”

Added the "," above.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” she fired back, “You look like you were living in the Himalayas and decided to come down today.”

Added the "," above.

“You should keep in touch with you friends often Em,” he said calling her by her nickname, “It helps you know them better.”

See changes. Also, the "helps you know them better.” makes little sense in this situation.

“I’ll remember it next time. Now can we please get going, I don’t want to miss wishing Katherine after all that has happened so far.She cut him short of one of his prolonged speeches. She would be happy to listen to him later tomorrow, but now, she had to get to her house first, where another speech awaited her, from her grandmother.

Note changes. Change Katherine to grandma's. Change "." to ",". Lowercase "s" in "She". Remove the "," between "her" and "from. Remove "her".

"I knew you would do something stupid like this. Katherine told me she warned you not to come, but I know you - stubborn then, and stubborn now." Max raised his hand and hit softly on his forehead as if tired of her obstinate attitude.

Note changes above.

“Don’t you think you have given yourself enough credit already?” Emily replied with her usual hint of sarcasm.

Max laughed out loud at her remark. Same old Emily, he thought. Not ready to accept a moment of weakness - no matter what.

Note changes above.

Passing the lantern to her, Max reached for his pocket and took out a torch. Switching it on, he led the way. The bright beams lit up the dark track ahead of them few yards at a time

Both walked silently - savoring the company of each other. Even though they didn’t admit it, both knew they were attracted to each other in more ways than one. After moving to London, she had sent at least a dozen of job offers to him, trying to make him come to London. But just like her grandmother he had insisted to stay in this town and look after his father’s poultry farm. Emily wondered what it is with these people. Why can’t they move on when there is promise for a better life? There is so much more they can do, so much they can offer to the society, yet they preferred to live locked up in their own little havens. She had even asked Max about it once and he had mouthed the exact words Katherine had told, you wouldn’t understand.

The rain started to slow down a bit and she felt comfortable with the environs. Max kept a tiger eye around watching out for anything suspicious. She laughed at his anxiety. He was being over cautious - then again even she had freaked out for while standing in the waist high water, legs struck in the muddy puddle. Who wouldn’t?
A mile long walk seemed too short when the two were together. They reached the intersection of the town where their houses were located in adjoining streets. Emily could see her grandma’s house from here and Max’s house in the next street just around the corner.

Patting her shoulder, Max said, “Go on, I’ll meet you tomorrow.”

Note changes above.

Surprised, she replied, “Don’t you want to come home and wish Katherine a happy birthday? She would be happy to see you.”

Note changes above.

“Naah, I’ll wish her tomorrow. It’s already too late and I’m terribly tired, thanks to you by the way,he said, taunting playfully.

Note changes above.

“I didn’t asked you to come, I could have gotten home just as fine,she said sounding insipid.

Note changes above.

“Yeah, says the lady who was holding a knife while struck in a pool of water she couldn’t get out of.” Max japed loudly as he waved her forward and crossed the street towards his house.

The second time I have seen this. Is "struck: used in UK as stuck?

As Emily stood there watching him leave, her eyes lit up in excitement. He never missed amusing her. "This time I am taking him back to London too," she said firmly. Take one hostage or two, jail time is same right?

Changes above.

Sighing heavily she turned and walked sluggishly towards her house. Her grandma would be rejoiced to see her tonight. Even though Katherine had explicitly told her not to come, she probably knew she was coming. Seeing the lights still up in the house, Emily smiled. Of course she knows I’m coming.

She stepped onto the porch and knocked the door. Katherine Jones opened the door quickly as though expecting it from a long time.

“Surprise, Surprise!” Emily yelled gleefully “Happy birthday to the best grand mother one could ever have.” She opened the bag and handed her a bunch of red tulips carefully picked and wrapped, her grandmother’s favorite.

Katherine’s eyes shone looking at her loving child. They both shared a special bond, Katherine knew it too. They were two inseparable entities tied together in different bodies. Seeing her grand daughter drenched and shivering, she immediately echoed her concern.

“Thanks but come inside already,she said and swept Emily inside, holding her hand.

Changes above.

Once they were in, Katherine brought a blanket and wrapped it around Emily. Then, taking a large towel, she began to dry her hair.

Who is drying who's hair?

“It’s so good to see you dear, but how did you reach here in this dreadful storm? Don’t tell me you walked through those damned woods,” Katherine said, although she already knew the answer to it.

Ignoring her grandmother’s false anger, she said, “Relax grandma, I wasn’t alone; Max came to pick me up.”

She knew she had won the argument. When it came to Max, he was more reliable than her. She always hated her grandmother’s attitude for this, but now it came in handy.

“Max?” Katherine asked puzzled.

Emily felt surprised to see her grandmother trying to remember Max. She knew Max alright, he was close to Katherine as close he was to Emily. Katherine had watched both of them grow together.

“Yeah Max. What’s the matter Kat? You don’t seem relieved.” There was something seriously wrong; why else her grandma would take so much time to remember Max.

“Wait a minute, are you telling me, for the love of god I hope not, is that Maxwell Locker picked you up from the bus station?” She looked horrified, her hands shaking strongly. She looked as though she would burst out any moment.

“Yeah the same, but what’s wrong?”

“Maxwell and her mother died in a car crash yesterday. I tried to raise you, but the telecom lines were out. I decided it was best to tell when you got here so you wouldn’t be upset during the journey. But now you are saying he picked you up? Jesus Christ!” She took out the cross from the folds of her clothes and held in her hand, saying a silent prayer of peace.

Emily sat on the couch, totally blanked out, her eyes staring in disbelief. “But that’s…. that’s not possible.”
I made a few changes. Overall, I knew that he was dead when he was picking her out of the mud. I guess it was because it has been done may times before.

You setup a good story, but if you could strech it out a little more (Espcially meeting with her grandmother), then it would be unique on it's own. Create a bit more of a teaser. Like when she got off the bus she stepped in broken glass, or there was a broken tree (From the car crash).

Another twist was that grandma could have said Max's body was almost badly mutilated, that it had been nearly impossible to identify. It adds more questions, and can open the story up a little longer with a minor mystery.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:51 PM
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I agree with the last post, for the most part. I think calling Dad's secretary "his bitch" shows Emily's dislike and anger, fitting for her strong personality. The second line in the story could be revised. Sometimes the words skip from past to present tense and it can be a bit confusing. You create wonderful descriptions of the environment. You described this quietness as "annoying", but I would have thought it more disquieting or unnerving.
All in all, a good short story! (I'm not very good at writing shorts myself, but I enjoy them)
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:08 AM
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It's a good story, though there are some grammar mistakes. There are some "er"s missing at the end of some words. You might also want to check your tenses, as it skipped from present to past quite often. However, i liked the ending of the piece, makes people wonder.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:17 AM
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You contradict yourself saying there are no wild beasts in the woods, then saying there are foxes. Just because its not the size of a lion, that doesn't mean its not wild or a beast. Also, foxes don't usually hunt prey as big as a grown woman, though they would scavange the dead body of one.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:14 AM
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Rain poured down the streets of Rockwell, making them look like water channels
'...turning them into water channels' might be more appropriate, as that is clearly what they had become.

It has started two days ago, yet it roared like as if it’s just starting.
'...as if it was just starting' would be correct, as the rest is past tense.

The whole town was more or less drenched,
I don't see the need for 'more or less'. '...absolutely drenched' sounds right, from what you've said before.

it was nearly impossible for anyone to enter or leave.
Due to flooding? If so, you need to see-or else we don't know if the difficulty in leaving or entering is unconnected with the weather-say, due to martial law, or something else.

The fire department had evacuated most of the region, except for few stubborn old timers who wished to stay back, apparently not bothered with their lives anyone.

The time allotted for evacuation was less
'....was lessening', unless you mean 'less than in other such torrential rainstorms, due to the greater severity of this one,' in which case, you need to say that.

the storm had hit quickly and strongly, not giving any chance to take security measures
You don't need 'strongly' as everything said makes clear its a strong rain.

The downtown areas were the most affected; it appeared as though it was a long lost underwater city
Sounds a bit hyperbolic, even in the situation described. If what you'd said was true, rooftops would be underwater.

Emily Jones stepped down from the bus, raising a bag over her head, breathing quickly, her eyes searching for a nearby shelter for quick rest.
Perhaps describing the person is better, then using her name, once we have a picture of her. Is she old or young? What does she look like.

“This is the closest I can get you near Rockwell Miss.
Comma needed after 'Rockwell'.


He had argued her to spend the night there and continue tomorrow morning.
'....had argued for her' or 'argued that she should'. Also, you should say, 'and then continue with her journey' or else it could mean she continues to stay at the hotel.

“It’s ok John,” she said
Comma after 'ok' and before 'John'.

John looked disappointed for hearing the same answer
'....at hearing the same answer...'

Sensing there isn’t much he can do to change her mind
'...wasn't much he could do...'

he gave her a final wave, and gunned the engine quickly towards the bordering highway.
She gets off before he goes, yes? You need to say that.

This woman is crazy, he thought
'That woman was crazy...' if she's off the bus, surely.

Emily glanced at her waterproof edition Titan time piece

Why not just say 'watch'-unless the make of watch is relevant to the plot.


she felt exited
'...excited...'

to be surprising her on her eightieth birthday. She knew she couldn’t miss this special occasion, not in a million years. It was because of her grandma, she had become the person she is today. After her mother passed away, Katherine took her in and nursed her with utter bliss
Katherine is the grandma? Given we are still in Emily's mind, it seems inappropriate to call her that, instead of 'grandma'.


Emily had seen the look on his father’s bitch when the two had briefly met
.

'...had seen the look of her..'-what she looked like-or, 'seen the look on her face'-as in, a particular facial expression. If the latter, you need to say '..had seen the look on her (not 'his' if it's Emily!) bitch of a girlfriend's face'.

A loud thunder cut short her journey to the past reminding of the situation.
'A loud burst of thunder cut short her journey of memory' or '..cut short her memories of the past' both sound less clumsy.

She knew about the weather before leaving her apartment in London but decided to come anyway
Are we still in London, or somewhere else? You should say.

There are some things, obsessions which others didn’t understand. Putting a smile on her grandma’s face topped her list
Why wouldn't others understand wanting to please one's grandparent?


This time I am taking her with me back to London, she assured herself. Even if it takes to tie her up, toss her into a plane and holding the pilot at gun-point
'...even if what it takes...' although 'Even if I have to tie her up, etc...' sounds less clumsy.

Dark, thickly grown woods appeared in a short distance.

'..thickly grown' sounds clumsy. '...dense..' is better. Also, where did the woods appear? At the edge of town?

here was no doubt the woods wouldn’t be any better, actually it would be worse. But it was also the quickest way to get to Rockwell. Through the woods it was just over a mile. Removing a lighter from her pocket, she lighted it and scanned the surroundings. The dim light illumined nothing more than few yards, but that’ll do, Emily nodded. The whole environment was dark, shadowy and muffled voices echoed somewhere deep inside
So, she's stepped into the woods now? You should say.

she knew that and never backed out when asked to stand up against a challenge
'...never shirked a challenge' or 'backed off from a challenge..' sounds less awkward.

She had walked only a short stretch when he stopped
'...when she stopped'-there's no man with her, is there?

she knew she had done a mistake
'...made a mistake...'

She was now standing in waist height water, steadily rising, with her legs struck in the mire.
So, you describe the aftermath of her falling, but not the actual fall: her cry of shock, etc.

A lightening struck the sky
'Lightning lit up the sky'.

Something was there in the nearby bushes, circling her for god knows what reason.
'God' has capital 'G'. Also, you should describe the foliage surrounding her all around, and hearing the creature in different places, if it is a land based creature circling her.

Her heart skipped a beat. The forest didn’t have any wild beasts but it did have a few hunting foxes
I would have thought a fox was a wild beast.

When their prey was struck

Do you mean 'fatally wounded?'


useless amidst the loud clasps of thunder and heavy downing of the shower

'..heavy rainfall' sounds better.

There was an air of incredible ghostliness about this place, she couldn’t tell why but the sensation was clear.
Something like 'the atmosphere was eerie and frightening' would be more pithy phrasing.

dual sided army knife
'two-edged'?

her grandmother’s war artifact gifted to her on her twentieth birthday
.

'artefact' not 'artifact'.

“Emily?” the figure called out.

It took a moment or two for Emily to register the voice and recognize his face. Max! Of course, he was her childhood friend, how could she forget him
She hadn't forgotten him, though; just not recognised him for a moment, in the dark.

you know what you could have tried this ancient method of getting people’s attention called Calling, like by their name
Why the capital initial for 'calling'? It's not a proper name, nor start of sentence.

She cut him short of one of his prolonged speeches.
'She cut him off before he started one of his prolonged speeches' or just 'she cut him short' sounds less awkward.

She would be happy to listen to him later tomorrow
'later today' would work, without other punctuation, but it should be 'later-tomorrow' (it could be a colon/semi-colon, instead of dash).

but now, she had to get to her house first, where another speech awaited her, from her grandmother
'her grandmother's house' surely?


even she had freaked out for while standing in the waist high water
'...even she had freaked out when falling waist high into water..'


e stepped onto the porch and knocked the door. Katherine Jones opened the door quickly as though expecting it from a long time
Using her name, Katherine Jones, rather than her title, Grandma. Again, inappropriate, given we're in Emily's viewpoint.


She looked as though she would burst out any moment.
'...burst out crying' or '...burst out screaming'.

“Maxwell and her mother died in a car crash yesterday
'Maxwell and his mother'.
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