Author Topic: Opening Scene - Horror - 1025 words  (Read 1593 times)

Offline Griff

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Opening Scene - Horror - 1025 words
« on: July 08, 2018, 02:38:50 PM »
It would be lovely if someone could look this over for me. I struggle with "show don't tell", and similar writing cliches, so any critique helps! I'm going to give this a mild warning of horror, it might be a little bit gross? I am a bad judge.

People do not go gently into that good night. Their bodies may collapse like marionettes cut from strings, eyes cloudy and vacant, but their spirits wail and scream, grasping for anything that may keep their mortal coils tethered to this earth. They shriek and claw at walls, tearing vocal cords and rupturing eardrums, leaving behind severed nails and the acrid tang of blood, all in a desperate attempt to crawl away from their greatest fear. The fear of all who live. Death.

I've known this my entire life.

From birth my sister said I was different. "You would never stop crying," she whined, "No one could get any sleep with your infernal screaming."

There is a clear difference between the cries of the dead and the cries of the living. The living's are loud and shrill, but the dead's carry for miles, warbled and distorted, like tv static.

"Rashid," my mother used to say, "quit cowering and go to the market." But I could not, for the streets carried the wails of the damned which echoed into my young ears. Father thought I was crazy, flinching and covering my ears at every step. Maybe that was why he left, escaping into the night which housed my eternal fear.

It took nine years of agony and confusion before I learned the source of the shrieking. I don't remember how I ended up on that street. I was lost in the maze of cobblestone, the screaming in my ears growing louder and louder. I stumbled into an alleyway and I saw it. A man was lying on the ground, chest still and eyes glazed over, a beast crouching over him. It was hunched figure, as tall as three or more men, wrapped in a cloak as dark as night. Its flesh was blood red and sickly, oozing black veins littered like patchwork across it, wriggling like worms. A man, translucent, was hanging from its teeth, shrieking and wailing loud enough to make me flinch. I whimpered as the beast turned towards me, dropping the man, standing up and looming over my tiny frame.

Its face was a frozen monstrosity, dark crimson blood smeared around the gaping void where eyes should be, face contorted into a permanent smile with uneven, dripping teeth. My throat closed, my eyes locked on the abomination, like the rabbit who looks upon a wolf.

"Hello," it whispered, breath ghosting over my flesh, leaving goosebumps. "Can you see me child?" Its voice rang with the cries of a thousand people, sounding like child, woman, and man.

I nodded, tremors moving from only my hands to my entire frame, encompassing me.

It moved closer, its face nearly touching mine. Looking into its empty eye sockets revealed hundreds, thousands of worms coated in blood and bile, moving restlessly in the creature’s skull. The world tilted as I fell, retching and scrambling back away from the nightmare.

"That's strange," it said, shuffling even closer, ignoring my whimpers, "What's your name?"

"R-Rashid." I stutter, blood rushing even further away from my pale face.

"Hello Rashid. I am Death."

The hair on my arms raised.

“I’ve never met anyone who could see me,” it continued, “you must be very special.”

I wasn’t listening to Death’s words. My eyes were locked upon its fearsome form, my ears upon the renewed screaming of the translucent man behind it. It was an incessant noise, drilling into my skull, turning my other thoughts into static.
The pause stretched.

“Rashid?” Death asked, moving until it was nearly atop me, to my horror.

I couldn't respond. Terror had beaten my brain into a fine paste, thoughts firing wildly into another, leaving no trace of any coherence.

Death tilted its head, before turning back to the screaming man. “I have to take care of this soul,” Death said, sounding dejected, “but I’ll be back soon. I hope we get to see more of each other.” It unhooked its distorted jaws, picking up the wailing man.

“No, please, help me!” The man yelled, voice cracking. He scrambled for purchase on the cobblestone wall, nails scraping against the rough surface. His eyes darted around, locking onto my own petrified form. “You,” he pleaded, “you can see me. Help me! I don’t want to go!”

My breath quickened. The man was still shrieking.

“Wait!” Someone yelled.

It was me, but my mind was hardly in enough order to figure that out. Death turned back towards me, and I once again was trapped beneath the repulsive gaze.

“P-Please,” my throat was dry, and it cracked painfully, “please let him go.”

Death made a questioning noise, dropping the soul once more. “Why?”

“U-uh, he, he doesn’t want to go.” My body was shaking again, and my consciousness felt miles away from my body.

Death stared at me, occasionally glancing back at the soul. He had rolled up into a fetal position, a steady stream of pleases and prayers falling from his lips.


I startled. “Okay?”

“I’ll let this man stay,” Death said, staring into my eyes, “but you must agree to speak with me again.”

My stomach plummeted. I shook my head, “No-,”

The man whimpered, the sound cutting off my denial.

Tears began to form, but I blinked them away, staring at my feet. “I accept.”

“Excellent!” Death crowed. It bit into the soul, roughly shaking and shoving it back into the body on the ground. “I have other places to be now, but I expect you’ll see me sometime soon.”

It appeared directly in front of me, faster than I could ever hope to follow, grabbing my jaw and angling it towards itself. “Don’t ignore me.” Its voice was deeper, each word slowly emphasized. The tension in the air could be cut with a knife. The worms in its head were still.

I made a noise of assent, it crawling out of my throat from sheer terror.

Death took a step back. “Thank you very much. I look forward to our next meeting.”

It vanished, silence stretching out while my shellshocked mind sputtered to life. With a gasp, the dead man awoke. I began to cry in earnest.

Thanks for reading  :) I don't really know how to continue it, but from here I plan to make Rashid become Death's unwilling apprentice as he slowly discovers more abilities and slowly comes to learn more about Death

Offline geethr75

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Re: Opening Scene - Horror - 1025 words
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2018, 06:44:30 AM »
Very intriguing start, and extremely interesting premise. It is very well written, and held my attention from start to finish. I do hope you continue this. All the best.

Offline Mascutt

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Re: Opening Scene - Horror - 1025 words
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2018, 01:58:13 PM »
I do not feel overburdened with “show don’t tell,” one bit.  It’s good, tight, writing that is not cluttered by a lot of unnecessary words.  Though horror is not my genre, I read this to the end in appreciation of the writing style.  Good luck with this!

Offline Griff

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Re: Opening Scene - Horror - 1025 words
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2018, 04:00:08 PM »
Thanks both of you! I have yet to continue this but I think I will pick it back up this afternoon  ;D

Offline sandy123

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Re: Opening Scene - Horror - 1025 words
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2018, 03:12:54 PM »
hi, loved the plot, lots of action, but too many unnecessary words. The words 'gently' and 'good' are too weak for what follows. 2. their spirits wail, leave out 'but' 3. leave out 'would'  you never stopped crying 4. leave out 'could' no one got 5. leave out 'used to'  would say 6.too many I's, rewrite so you don't use so many in one paragraph. 7.leave out 'was' a man lying on the ground. 8. the word 'and should come in the last thought, and a beast. 9. leave out 'was' its flesh blood red. 10. use a rabbit, not the rabbit which tells me it is a certain rabbit. 11.leave out 'from only my hands' my entire frame. you don't need encompassing, you already said it with the word entire. 12. leave out 'back' scrambling away from the 13. leave out 'even' snuffling closer 14.  in the paragraph where it says 'strange' what is it talking about? what is strange? 15. leave out 'even further' rushing away from.  16. no 'raised' yes' rose '17. it was hard to crtitique, some sites let you make suggestions directly on the work. It's a great story. I enjoyed it very much but you should try not to use so many unnecessary words to make your writing as tight as it can be.  My words are only suggesstions, you have a great start of an exciting story.


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Re: Opening Scene - Horror - 1025 words
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2018, 03:07:23 AM »
Good writing, very expressive and captivating.

Only two small points where my belief was suspended. 1. Would the child not, after years of hearing the wailing, grow acclimatized to it? You can not expect a child to be always in a state of terror. 2. The recently deceased man, would he immediately in his new spirit form, know that others can not see him? Yet he begins with “you can see me." It might be better to simply remove this. 

Other than those 2 nibbles, I enjoyed this a great deal.
Thanks for sharing.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2018, 03:09:20 AM by NothingName3 »

Offline Adsixnine

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Re: Opening Scene - Horror - 1025 words
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2018, 12:44:05 AM »
great work.

I love it. :)

Offline Kit

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Re: Opening Scene - Horror - 1025 words
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2019, 01:49:27 PM »
Great opening paragraph.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  Well, maybe one tiny thing.  After such wonderful descriptive writing, I would have liked to see a little more description about Death, a little more to really feel the bang of the answer: Death.

I would have liked to have seen a connection between the man lying on the ground and the translucent man, that immediately indicates it is the same man.  Maybe a unique scar, gem or piece of clothing that you could mention each man has.

Just my thoughts, but really enjoyed the story.  Hope you are continuing with it.



Offline stepsbobet

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Re: Opening Scene - Horror - 1025 words
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2019, 01:31:53 PM »
thank you

Offline Griff

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Re: Opening Scene - Horror - 1025 words
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2019, 06:14:10 PM »
Who are you thanking?