Author Topic: The Siren (1171 words)  (Read 392 times)

Offline Paperback_Princess

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The Siren (1171 words)
« on: December 25, 2019, 07:43:07 AM »

  Dinner had ended with a marvelous feat. It wasn’t easy for him to get through awkward after-meal discussions and silence. The food was high quality and he couldn’t remember the last time he ate that much. As the night wind set a breeze through his hair, Mina arrived at the garage with him. Hands in both straps of her backpack, and eyes filled with so much satisfaction he hadn’t seen in a while.
  “She quite threw me off.” Donovan started.
  “Who?”
  “Well, Mrs. Lennox. I really wasn’t expecting her to invite me for dinner.”
  She laughed, “Me neither, but I’m not surprised. I ate with her almost every day unless I have to get home early or meetings. Mr. Lennox isn’t as hospitable as she is.”
  Mrs. Lennox opened the door and unlocked the car. Mina entered, followed by Donovan. Inside, the smell of raspberries calmed him. The woman reminded them to put on their seatbelts before she started the vehicle.
  The pink villa had turned into purple when they left it. They had entered back into the wilderness and the lamp posts already looked like hovering lights. The radio had nothing but static noises so they turned it off, and now he could hear Mrs. Lennox’s quiet humming to herself. Lyrics already forming in his head as he listened:

Michelle, ma belle,
These are words that go together well.
My Michelle,
Michelle, ma belle,
Sont les mots qui vont très bien ensemble
Tres bien ensemble
I love you, I love you, I love you,
That’s all I want to say.
Until I find a way,
I will say the only words I know that you’ll understand-

  One of the lights grew and grew until I felt the warmth radiating against the window pane. It stayed, so I crept a little closer. My face touched the glass and now I burned with its heat. The little light sizzled and burst with vibrant colours of blue, red and purple like fireworks.
  “Come with me!,” the light beckoned.
An unnamed desire breathed into me as I heard these words. I pushed the car door, then the car stopped and Mrs. Lennox fell silent. It was as if she permitted me to go with it. But as I obeyed, the light went away towards the trees.
  My eyes couldn’t adjust to the darkness, but I heard the water trickling between the rocks, the soft crumble of grass as I chased the light. The smell of grass filled me until all I could hear is my quick breaths, panting… gasping for air, yet I didn’t stop. When I saw it past through one of the trees, it disappeared.  I ran after it, but no more… I was alone again.  Now that the light was gone, my eyes finally made out some of my surroundings. I saw trees around me with trunks like pillars. A wind whistled, and their leaves rustled above them putting the soft moonlight patches into a little dance. The way they sync with the wind’s music made me calm again. Nothing else followed after that. I walked a little further slipping into thin pathways. One of the branches caught my T-shirt for a bit before I quickly tore it off. Soon, I made out a little trickling coming from the creeks. At this point, I remembered how I passed it a few minutes ago. So, I began to retrace my steps.
  Then, I hear a sweet tune playing Michelle by the Beatles. I stopped my tracks and turned. Between the pillar-trunks and thinner ones past an even greater source of light more radiant than the moonlight or the one from the lamppost, and it was gone again. I followed it with its music guiding me, attracting me like a moth to a flame, I could not break that force. Now that we have exited the domain of trees and entered the fountain, the creeks, and the waterfalls, I could see it clearly before me. I held my breath.
  The light held the figure of a human girl. Only when she struggled a bit upon the rocks of the creeks and almost slipped, I saw skin beneath its whiteness, her glow-free arms scrambling for her next support while her hair flew in accordance to the breeze.
  ‘She seems lost,’ , I thought, so I called after her.
  She fled into the walls of trees. I pursued. Climbing wasn’t my forte. Back in high school, I was known for wobbly legs because, in tango, I stepped on my partner’s feet a lot and sometimes our legs would hit each other.  She complained and Mr. Abott wouldn’t let me take second chances.
  I looked back at the creeks before me. This time, the night was a bit brighter and I could see the creeks in full view. The rocks, the vegetation, and the falls formed a sort of jagged staircase. It was a slightly narrow pathway where sharp boulders piled on the border between more rocks and the waterfall. In the middle, peaking just above the surface of the water, were the smaller rocks and the unseen pebbles and sand. I set my foot on a medium-sized rock, checked for its stability, and put my other foot carefully on another. Dirty water had already seeped into the fabric of my sneakers, but I tried not to mind. Sometimes, the moss and the wetness got too slippery that I slipped a couple of times. Other times, the rock or the pebble I tried to settle on moved and before I could fall into my death, I latched against the sharp boulders despite the sharp sting it left sometimes. I knew I didn’t have much time to wait and catch my breath or to check on the wound it might cause because my mind was filled with her. One lag could lose her forever. Even when my lungs cried for air, legs straining, heart aching, body protesting, inside, I still felt like I had all the energy in the world. Like I could do anything, and my eyes could turn at the slightest movement, ears detecting even the footsteps of a squirrel or a shifting bird, touch for every bump and gap on the boulder.
  Once I have reached the peak, there was no sign of her. Dishearten but without a loss for hope,  I ventured the forest realm once more with no guidance or light, except a silent intuition whispering which turns to take.
  Then, at long last, I found her. She did not appear as she had when we last met, but she leaned immobile against one of the pillar-trunks. She wore a flimsy garment like a white glowing silhouette brighter and more beautiful than the moon itself. Hands on her back and facing the stars with that beautiful calm expression of hers, she hummed Michelle with the voice of an angel, and at that moment, my heart yearned for nothing but to savour, for as long as I could, the taste of her true form.

Offline jadynm1234567

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Re: The Siren (1171 words)
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2019, 02:36:24 PM »
So, I feel like the first part of your story is drastically different then the second. The second has beautiful detail, great build up, and is very well written. It is unearthly, gorgeous, and wonderful. The first part was confusing. I'm just going to copy it here so I can explain why:

  Dinner had ended with a marvelous feat. It wasn’t easy for him to get through awkward after-meal discussions and silence. The food was high quality and he couldn’t remember the last time he ate that much. As the night wind set a breeze through his hair, Mina arrived at the garage with him. Hands in both straps of her backpack, and eyes filled with so much satisfaction he hadn’t seen in a while.
  “She quite threw me off.” Donovan started.
  “Who?”
  “Well, Mrs. Lennox. I really wasn’t expecting her to invite me for dinner.”
  She laughed, “Me neither, but I’m not surprised. I ate with her almost every day unless I have to get home early or meetings. Mr. Lennox isn’t as hospitable as she is.”
  Mrs. Lennox opened the door and unlocked the car. Mina entered, followed by Donovan. Inside, the smell of raspberries calmed him. The woman reminded them to put on their seatbelts before she started the vehicle.

So, I have several questions. Isn't the dinner over? It seems so, after the first line. So why are they are at a garage? Why are they getting into her house? Is Mina a she or a he? You use both pronouns. How do they know each other? This whole part feels rushed, which is very different than the rest of it. Why not slow down a little? Your character is relaxed, so it makes sense to slow down the scene. Let them chat more about the Lennox's, figure out the connections. Let us get to know the characters a little better. Also, is Donovan the main character? You switch between the names and I, so that's pretty confusing. How's the I? Mina or Donovan?

Once you get past that confusing first paragraph, it's a beautiful piece. You're doing great! I look forward to seeing more of your work.

Offline PIJ1951

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Re: The Siren (1171 words)
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2019, 07:56:17 AM »
I have to agree that the italicised part reads better than the opening scene - but I understood what was going on up to a point.
I have no idea what the 'marvelous feat' is supposed to be, but I gather Donovan and Mina have already eaten and are about to get into Mrs Lennox's car. The confusion arises from this line:
Quote
  Mrs. Lennox opened the door and unlocked the car. Mina entered, followed by Donovan. Inside, the smell of raspberries calmed him.
One could assume they 'entered' the house, given that there's a smell of raspberries 'inside'. Exchanging 'entered' with 'got in' would clear up any ambiguity - and as for the smell, it's an unnecessary distraction at best.

The second section is mostly well-written but your verb tenses are very inconsistent. Choose one and stick with it otherwise all we have is a mess.

The smell of grass filled me simple past tense until all I could hear is simple present tense my quick breaths. . .
The way they sync simple present tense with the wind’s music made simple past tense me calm again.
So, I began  simple past tense to retrace my steps. Then, I hear simple present tense  a sweet tune playing Michelle by the Beatles.
I could not break simple past tense that force. Now that we have exited present perfect tense the domain of trees and entered the fountain, the creeks, and the waterfalls, I could see simple past tense it clearly before me.
Once I have reached present perfect tense the peak, there was simple past tense no sign of her. Disheartened but without a loss for hope,  I ventured into the forest realm once more with no guidance or light, except a silent intuition whispering which turns to take.


It's also worth noting that quoting the lyrics of popular songs at such length is a major no-no. The cost of reproduction rights on such a scale would be beyond the means of most publishers, and if you intend self-publishing and inserting these verses without the original copyright owner's permission you could well find yourself in a Court of Law.