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Thread: Here is the other half to my story A Darkened Fall

  1. #1
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    Nov 2012

    Post Here is the other half to my story A Darkened Fall

    “Who are you? Why have you followed me to my home?” Saying the questions over in my mind and aloud, not even knowing if this was truly the same man that stood at the end of the path a few hours before. The man did not answer, “Who are you!” Still no answer came from his cold, emotionless lips, only a smile arouse out of this stranger.
    “Evelen…” came from his mouth and I could feel anger arise from my heart
    “How do you know that name?” I screamed at him taking small steps closer and closer to him. “How dare you speak her name, you have no right. Now tell me who you are!” but only he didn’t; he continued to smile at me and his hat covered his eyes but I knew he was staring right at me. I could feel a pair of eyes staring right into my very being; slowly mapping out my feelings and see all the pain I was suffering. I could feel the anger grow in my mind and I quickened my steps towards him and I stumbled, trying to throw a punch out of anger at this stranger, but I fell; hitting nothing I hit the ground. I looked up to find that there was nothing; not a soul was in my apartment and I was left alone and angered at myself and at this figure that had appeared to me and spoke a name that only few knew about, but all knew what had happened on the fateful night at this same time. The screams began; ringing through my head I began to cry and covered my ears thinking I could drown out this notice that raced through my head. I was alone and was at my last whim. The darkness overtook me and my mind went black as I drifted off into my nightmares that I had suffered through every night before.
    I awoke at the usual time, my mind clouded and my head beaten as though someone with a mallet was letting loose on the inside trying to break free. I lifted myself from the floor stiff and sensitive to the sounds and lights of my reality. I stumbled to the window that looked out over the city. I looked down to see cars drive by and then up to see that dark ominous sky that for some reason comforted me. At that moment I remembered what had happened, though I didn’t know if it was a dream or a figment of my drunken imagination that was projected into reality. I walked over to the end of the table; the chair was still tipped over on its back, rocking back and forth on the curve of the floor. I picked it up and looked into the dark corner which accommodated the figure when he had emerged. The dark corner shielded his body and face, letting his pail white mouth shine through. I walked over but stopped in my delicate tracks to find that there were a set of shoe prints stained into my floor. They were big, much bigger then my own, and where of boots when I only wore tight loafers. I began to shake in fear that someone was actually here and someone had followed him to his own house. I looked up at the clock, half past noon, I had to leave the publishing company wanted to see me, they needed my book to be finished, but it wasn’t ready and despite my disappointment in myself I gathered the yellowing pages off my dusty desk and left, but I stopped at the door and looked back at the spot to where the figure had shown himself to me and a chill ran up my spine; I shut the door and walked away not letting this ruin my nerves for the day.
    I stormed through my door some hours later; “How dare they say I am a dead beat writer! I gave them thousands of stories and books that made them rich!” I shout out to an audience that was not present in my apartment. I stumbled through the house over to my desk and looked down. In the dim light of the neon sign that glowed outside my window. I saw my type writer that sat in the middle of the table. Gulping the last sip of the small bottle I threw it over corner of the room and lifted the type writer up. It was heavy and very cold; I could remember when my grandfather first showed me how to use it. I growled at a presence that wasn’t there, “This means nothing to me…” And with my words starting to mumble off I threw the type writer into the glass window and with a crash I could hear it slowly fall to the ground and being crushed by the force of gravity which kept me attached to this miserable existence . I looked over at the kitchen, the light dangled, swaying back and forth from the wind that was blowing through the broken window. Stumbling I made my way over to the small wooden table and sat. I stared over to the corner where the figure had once stood and I looked over at the small cabinet that held all my poisons. Opening the cabinet I reached in and grabbed the only bottle which had been full, but as I turned to looked up and find a glass I was startled by IT. The figure which had stood there the night before; my heart raced at the sight of this thing that stood in my kitchen. The swaying light moved towards him so that I could slowly begin to see his entire figure. He was tall and slender his hands, almost being swallowed by his sleeves where white and with light stood out against the black trench he was wearing. I looked to find his smile meet mine, it was unchanged from the night before. I sat back and took a deep breath to regain the wits I had left my mind. I was calm and I sat staring at the man “Sir I bid you goodnight; as you see I am in no condition to speak with a fan or to sign autographs at this time. Now I do hope you come back tomorrow and find me for I will be a new man of the morning, now again I bid you goodnight and I hope you show yourself out safely.” I smiled at him and went on with pouring the darkened brandy into a small glass, unaware of the man that was still standing there unfazed by my statement. I looked up at him; I could feel the anger rise inside me as the night before had permitted. I lost the last of my wits and slammed my hand on the hard table, the sound echoed through my small apartment. I looked at the man with stern eyes and yelled, “What do you want!” My breathing increased as I saw his smirk widen and that’s when it happened a shock flew up my spine and slowly my apartment to darken.
    I was night time, the rain had picked up and I could hear it over the car radio. I was driving to a new play that I had heard about it from my editor. I looked over to the passenger seat and there she was, Evelyn, the love of my life. She looked back at me and smiled; her golden brown eyes glowed as the street lights shinned. She didn’t need to talk for me to know she would love me forever and she had the same idea for me. I followed her smile that spread across her face disappearing in her long curly red hair. I could never think being with anyone else. She started laughing when I came out of my own happiness; Jack our best friend had just told a joke that she loved. I looked in the rearview mirror to see him; smiling as usual as he continued to tell the joke. His voice though was muffled I couldn’t hear him. It was almost as like there where hands over my eyes, and I heard someone scream echoed through my head “Look!” I turned my head to find a pair of big glowing light heading straight towards us. I turned the wheel as fast as I could but it was too late the truck had clipped my back side sending the car in a violent spin. My door was ripped off and I was flung from my seat as the buckle had snapped. I could see the ground under me pass by as I lay flat in the air and then like running into a brick wall my face hit the pavement. It was enough forces to knock me out, but only for a second. When I awoke, I woke up to screams, these screams where of bone chilling death as I looked towards a light that was flickering but I soon realized that this light was a fire and the screams where of my beloved Evelyn and my best friend Jack. I looked in horror frozen as they burned alive. I summoned all the strength I had in me and tried to stand. Pain shot through my leg as I looked down to find that the bone was protruding from my torn flesh. I cried out in agony as I continued to try and lift myself up. At some point I had the strength to lift myself up to my right leg and I quickly limped over to burning car. I could see Evelyn struggling to get out. Her body incased in the fire that consumed her. I looked to the back and found the Jack was laying there in the seat. He didn’t move even when his arm began to burn he didn’t flinch or cry out to me, he was dead. I looked back as I heard Evelyn’s screams begin to fade. I tried to open the door but it wouldn’t move and I remembered the door on the driver’s side was still gone. I rushed over and pulled her out; the heavy rain put the fire that had covered her body out and I knelt there with her in my arms. I looked down crying and calling out to her, wanting her to answer my peace. I looked down and saw as he slowly lifted up her burnt had and touched my cheek. He touch was cold and I could see her eyes shine in the fire. I looked down and saw that she was smiling. I cried and said “I love you so much.” She looked at me and tried to speak but nothing came from her mouth. She began to close her eyes and when they were closed I knew; I knew that I could never see her again. I screamed as I held her body in my arms and that when the pain returned. My scream was chocked and gargled and my vision darkened until there was nothing; nothing but the darkness that had consumed my life.
    I dropped to the floor and spat up the brandy I had drank. I looked around; I was back in my apartment. There was no rain and no car crash; it was all a dream or was I really there, I didn’t know but I realized that the figure could still be standing there. I shot my head up and nothing. The room was dark; the light had blown and I was kneeling there in the dark. “What do you want!” there was no answer; Why did you show me that, I know what happened that night!” I got no reply; I sat there and cried till the darkness had consumed me for another hellish night of sleep that further tortured me.
    I woke up and looked around the house; it was a mess. I remembered everything, the type writer and the man. I knew he would come back. I walked around my house when a pounding came at my door. I didn’t want to answer it so I stood frozen looking at the door. The handle turned but it stopped and the person slowly released their grip when a voice came from the other side. “Now you here this Barron, you have twenty-four hours to pay your rent before I bust down this door and trash everything in their, even those bottles that you treasure so much.” I slowly started for the door but I stopped when I heard his footsteps trail off down the hall. I sat on my couch and I started to cry. My life was gone, I was no one and there was nothing in my life. This figure wanted me to pay, as it seemed, for Evelyn’s death and I could give it what it wants.
    Night fell and I found myself sitting in the chair waiting for him to come. He came out of the darkness that had hid him from my view. “I know what you want…” His smile didn’t fade and I got up and went into the closet where a long thick rope laid in a pile. I back over and fashioned a small noose and fitted it around my neck. “This is what you want isn’t it?” His smile didn’t change but he spoke,
    “Evelyn…” I slowly lifted myself up onto the chair and tied the rope over the rafter and positioned myself to kick the chair from under me. I looked at the mantel and saw a picture of her; a tear dripped down my face and I kicked. It was almost like in slow motion that I began to fall. Everything I had stood for gone in an instance and my life was nothing now. I closed my eyes and waited for it to happen but something happened. The rope snapped and I fell, landing on my knees I cried out and looked up with red eyes dripping with my sorrow. I looked at the end of the rope, it was cut, something had cut the rope and I looked over and saw that the figure was gone. Was it him who cut it, though confused I knew that it had to be him and I knew that he didn’t want me going in that manner so for the next night I promised myself id be ready for what ever happened. I looked over and saw the clock it was one and I needed sleep. I shuffled my way to my bed and for the first time I slept somewhere besides my table.
    The next night I sat, no brandy and no noise came from the streets outside and that is when he came. He stepped out of the darkness and with his grin still stretched across his face. I sat and looked at him and I could feel him looking back at me even though I couldn’t see his eyes. He wanted me to pay but for what; I paid for what had happened to Evelyn just by breathing but this thing wanted me to pay even more; he wanted me to suffer. I got up and grabbed a small toaster that I had gotten from my mom when Evelyn and I first moved to the city. I dragged it to the bathroom. I looked back the man had moved to see me in the small room and I got into the tub and turned the water on and closed the drain. I plugged the toaster in and held it out in front of me and looked at him. “Is this what you want? Do you want me to kill myself like this?” I screamed and threw the toaster to my feet and shut my eyes waiting for the pain to hit my body; but nothing. I opened my eyes and looked down, the toaster was there floating in the water and I looked up and the figure was still standing there but the smirk was gone and replaced was a blank expression. I looked down at my feet as I stepped out of the tub; “why?” and then I heard him speak but not saying Evelyn’s name he said’
    “Jack…” The pain spread back up my back and the room began to widen as it disappeared and I was back on that road’ looking at myself trying to save Evelyn. I tried to walk over but I was stuck, frozen in place as I watched as I ran to the other side and pulled her out, but something I didn’t know that happened, happened. I saw a hand Jack’s had touch the glass before being engulfed by the spark of flame that rose from the seat; I had let him burn to death and I didn’t even know. The pain returned and my apartment appeared before me. I collapsed to the ground as I gasped for air that seemed to be absent in my lungs. Breathing heavily I cried out; I was the reason he was dead I didn’t see him breathing so I just assumed but I was wrong and I was paying for it. I crawled my way to the table and lifted myself to the chair. Weak, tired and hopeless I knew what I had to do; I sat there until the sun rose and looked out the window from my seat to see that golden glow that enveloped the room; the tear had returned but a smile found its way to my face and I closed my eyes.
    I woke up sitting in the chair and it was starting to get dark as the glow of the sun disappeared behind the many buildings. I knew I had to act quickly before he would come. I walked to the closet and grabbed a mall canister of gas I had used to light the stove one night when I couldn’t buy wood. I went through the house and poured as much as I could before I went back to the kitchen and poured it over the table and around the chair, and sat down waiting for him to show himself to me again; for the last time. The room grew dark and he had stepped from the corner. I looked up at him and without speaking I lit the match in my hand and dropped it. The flame traveled like lighting through the house and around me. I could feel the heat rise up my body and I looked at the figure; his smile had returned. I smiled back at him and nodded my head. “This is what you wanted; isn’t it” and this that he lifted his hand and took the hat off. His hair flopped down over his forehead and I saw his face for the first time; it was Jack. He stood there with his smile on his face and he too nodded and he set the hat on the table and backed away disappearing into the flames. I could feel them begin to burn my skin but I didn’t cry out or scream, I sat and laughed as my vision blackened and the pain was no longer then; only light existed.
    The fire continued and burnt the apartment to a charred back hole, but the fire didn’t spread it had went out before reaching the other homes. The papers would be cover with my story for weeks as they tried to piece together what had happened on that night. The fire department would break down the door the next day to find my body sitting in the chair with a haunting smile still present on my face. They would also find an undamaged top hat sitting among the remnants of the burnt apartment. They knew I started the fire but they would never know the true reason why.

  2. #2
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    Apr 2010
    I haven't commented on the first half, but after now reading the complete story here goes.

    First, you should be aware that most readers will give up on this once they see such a solid block of text. You need to break it up by separating each paragraph with white space so it's easier on the eye.

    Now to the story itself and the writing:

    The opening to a story needs to grab our attention - hook us so we're anxious to read further. Unfortunately yours is rather drab - in keeping with the scene you are trying to set up (a narrator lost in his own thoughts seated on a park bench). But you still need some sense of conflict or ay least intrigue. Perhaps a better opening line would be
    'A year had passed but I could still hear the screams at night.'
    At least then we're curious. Describing the leaves and the trees can come later if they're in any way relevant to the plot.

    Then we have a very long sentence beginning with 'The insomnia drove me to find help in lesser means...'
    It rambles after a while and we're not told what those 'lesser means' are so it leaves us confused.

    You're also guilty of over-writing at times - choosing the more convoluted way to say something when simpler would be better:
    'the detectives, that had butchered my consciousness as they beat the questions into me...'
    I'm not sure how consciousness can be butchered - any more than I was of how the singing of birds can enter one's subconscious. Why not write 'the detectives, that had beaten the questions into me...'? It serves the same purpose without sounding quite so profound.

    'A familiar tear ran down my face.' - really?
    This tear had visited in many nights where I sobbed till my eyes shut tight. This tear had only projected my guilt and hatred towards myself into the plain of reality. I looked at it as is soaked into my black pant. I could feel that this tear would return but held back, as though not to make a scene in public.
    It's very nice but rather pretentious. If this single tear has indeed soaked into your trousers it's unlikely ever to return. Sometimes a metaphor can be stretched so much that it becomes absurd - and I think you have gone beyond that point here.

    'The question ran though my head but had diminished in personal value as I remembered where I was...' doesn't even make sense.
    By this time I was getting bored because we have an MC who's reflecting on a death (presumably) but all we're seeing is him drowning in self-pity.

    The strange man lurking at his side is an interesting development but again his behaviour is recorded by another endless sentence 'Was he a shy fan...'

    and this
    'Though in some cases a story may stop with that...'
    where you take 80 words to tell us you're not going to keep on rambling with your 'rather lengthy tail' (I assume you meant tale).

    I'm sure this is an intentional style you have chosen - along the likes of Poe perhaps, but times have moved on. Readers are perhaps more fickle, especially when there are more than enough stories out there in the same genre that can provide a more engaging ride than this. It's deadly slow and unless you can make your main character spring to life from the page he's going to remain forever undiscovered and unread about.

    Sections like this 'I found myself sitting at the round table...' dragging on for another 60 words to describe the MC sitting at a table with a bottle of wine won't do. Even if we need to know where he's seated, having him 'find himself' there is rather quaint but totally contrived.

    The story only perks up when he stands to call out to 'the figure' but by then you'll have few readers left.

    'Still no answer came from his cold, emotionless lips, only a smile arouse arose? out of this stranger.
    “Evelen…” came from his mouth and I could feel anger arise from my heart.

    Poor verb choice both times.

    And the plot is still dreadfully slow - he shouts at a man but gets no reply then the man disappears. Put simply, nothing happens and we're already well into the second half of the story. It's like smoke and mirrors - all atmosphere but absolutely no action.

    'I began to shake in fear that someone was actually here and someone had followed him to his own house.
    doesn't make sense unless your MC is in this other man's house.

    a chill ran up my spine is a cliché, and I think you've already used it earlier.
    and the abrupt jump in time here 'I shut the door and walked away not letting this ruin my nerves for the day.
    I stormed through my door some hours later...'

    doesn't work for me because so far you've accounted for almost every hour. By all means have a jump-cut, but make the reader aware there's a clean break in the narrative.

    'I shout out to an audience that was not present in my apartment.
    A weak, clunky sentence; made worse by inconsistent verb tenses.

    Then we have the hysterics with the typewriter and 'the man' reappears (or doesn't he?). The plot seems to be crawling on its knees through sludge - so lethargic that it takes an effort to continue reading. And, truth be told, I only managed to skim through the rest of it.

    Apart from the occasional glaring typo - 'the street lights shinned' (one assumes you meant 'shined' but one would more commonly write 'shone') and some punctuation issues (long, long sentences and monster paragraphs) you write well enough.
    But you have chosen to have your MC tell his 'story' in such an introverted, tediously self-aware fashion that it didn't add up to a very rewarding read. Something to ponder on perhaps, but hopefully not take to heart.


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