Author Topic: No Remorse  (Read 421 times)

Offline Cliff Sombito

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No Remorse
« on: July 09, 2020, 06:14:42 AM »
This is a short story called No Remorse. I want to know if this story works. All critique is welcome.

Here it goes:

I was the spirit that dwelled inside the walls of San Sebastian Cathedral. It became my home when I died there from a heart attack which was sudden death. But after I died no one claimed me and no one guided me to where I was bound to go if it was heaven or hell. So I was left to wander the cathedral for eternity. Maybe I was still here for a reason, something which I had to do before I could go to my final destination.

The cathedral was big and spacious so I was happy to roam such a place. But most of the time all I saw were some pious people that came and went, the carved wooden figure of angels and saints, a large crucifix, portraits that depicted the life and death of Christ. And there was nothing to do except to observe. I was doing great for a couple of days, then I realized how bored I was at the cathedral.

But something strange happened on the day that was the seventeenth of July, year twenty-fourteen. That morning was sunny and the chirping of birds could be heard. And there's only a handful of people inside the cathedral and among them was an odd young man who was kneeling and praying in front of the cross; black Jesus from the cross was facing him, silent and brokenhearted. He wore a white uniform that cadets wore in the JBL naval academy. And among the men and women inside the cathedral, he alone was different for I had sensed a tinged of bloodlust about him.

I circled about in the air near his head as I observed him. He was fidgeting as though his bowels trembled from excitement, his eyes kept winking at the floor as if transmitting a signal in Morse, and his mouth twitched frequently out of habit. I could have easily possessed him if I wanted to because his vulnerability has increased at his distress. But I didn't, I thought it was best to see the things that would unfold if I continued to watch over him.

"Lord," he said. "Can humanity clip their horns by attending church service once a week?"

"No. . . . no amount of punctuality and diligence in going to church can ever save your soul," I said.

He turned to his left, then to his right and his back but he saw no one. And he closed his eyes and laughed inaudibly with subtle mirth.

"Then they are hopeless," he said. "Those foul-mouthed beasts had been persecuting me for more than two years. They had pretended to be my friends and spat venom at my face, and worse still was their venom that stank like vomit and excrement."

"Remember, the blood of Jesus was the payment for the price of sin. Thus all evil deeds can only be paid by blood," I said.

He chuckled and rose from where he kneeled and left.

I gave him a haunting, it's the only way that I could follow him wherever he went. So I followed him to his academy, and when we arrived at the gates, there was a vendor at a nearby food stall that waved at him. "Hi, Jeremy, late for class?" Said the vendor who was wearing a greased apron. But the young man ignored him as though he didn't see him at all. The vendor only shrugged and moved on to his next work.

So the young man's name was Jeremy as the vendor had called him, let us call him that as well. And so Jeremy pressed on and it seemed that he was sulking. He was glaring at the people that gathered in front of the accounting office as he passed them by. And when he was now in the hallway of the building where his class was, he broke a glass cabinet with his bare fist. The sound of glass that broke and shattered on the floor was alarming, but luckily it didn't draw any attention toward him for there were no classes nearby. He got a scratch on his hand but he ignored it as if it wasn't bleeding. And he grabbed a fire ax and went to his classroom.

When he opened the door of his classroom, his classmates cheered and whistled at the sight of him. "He's on fire!" said one of his classmates and they laughed at him.

And he wept.

"Be quiet!" said the instructor and then he turned towards Jeremy. "And you, why are you late? And why are you holding an ax?"

"I need it to chop something," said Jeremy.

"Don't you play games with me boy. There will be no chopping things up in this room, you hear me? Return that ax from where it belongs or you'll get suspended from the academy."

Jeremy laughed so loud that it filled the whole room with his voice.

"He has lost his mind," somebody gasped. "And there's no knowing what he'll do with that ax."

Then another said: "What a total creep, laughing like a maniac. But who is he scaring with that ax? We all know that he's a coward, I bet his soft heart won't even let him swing that ax at anyone."

"And who'll go to prison if he tries to harm us?"

"Boy, have you not heard me? Return that ax now!" said the instructor as he slapped his desk with his hand.

"Don't shout sir, or you'll make him cry again," his classmates laughed.

"I said be quiet all of you, goddammit!"

"Or maybe I could just give it to you sir," Jeremy said as he moved towards the instructor.

His classmates were chanting his name repeatedly as if to cheer for what he was about to do, but they were mocking him. And when he was about to hand the ax to the instructor, he held it back and swung the ax. The instructor uttered a shout and raised his arm for cover but it was useless. The blade of the ax bit the flesh and fresh blood gushed out from the neck of the instructor.

"Run, he just killed the instructor!" someone shouted.

And his classmates immediately ran towards the door, but I closed it tightly and locked it so that none might escape. And his classmates were terrified and they panicked as they watched him as he hacked to pieces the dead body of the instructor. He was hysterically laughing at his work as splashes of blood covered him from head to toe. He seemed to think that he was already finished and that his will to murder had vanished but I thought to differ as vengeance was not yet served. I possessed him so that he might fulfill his wish.

I controlled his mind and body, and together we picked off one by one his classmates and hacked them to bits and pieces while they screamed and begged for mercy. None of them survived the onslaught. And it was well after we killed the last one of them when somebody saw us and the bloodbath. That was when I let go of him and as he regained consciousness he couldn't believe what he saw. Then I saw on his face the brightest smile, he seemed to be the happiest man on earth.

Offline PIJ1951

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Re: No Remorse
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2020, 09:07:22 AM »
You're asking if the premise of the story works.

The idea of a ghost haunting a cathedral is interesting, especially if the location of the 'sudden death' has a role to play. But I'm not sure it did, and there were parts where I felt you hadn't given much consideration to what you had written.

The narrator claims he's been left to wander the cathedral for 'eternity', and yet he gets bored after a couple of days and is able to possess Jeremy and follow him outside. So much for 'eternity'.

Also, I have a problem with Jeremy. He isn't believable so I quickly stopped taking the plot seriously. The whole point of horror is that there's a slim chance it could really happen - and be masked by normal people displaying normal behaviour. Unfortunately nothing about Jeremy - or his instructor and classmates - rings true.

The dialogue in the classroom is wooden. Do teenagers speak this way? And we're never given much insight into the ghost's motivation for latching onto the boy. Is he angry at being left in limbo between heaven and hell in a sacred building? Or did you just want a way to get inside your hero's skin while he went on the rampage and showed no remorse?

If you're planning on taking this further, it needs editing. Some of the way you express yourself is problematic. Here for example:
'But something strange happened on the day that was the seventeenth of July, year twenty-fourteen.'
Regardless of whether or not the reader needs to know the exact date, it's a very clunky sentence.
Also, the street vendor seems to play no part in the story other than to reveal the student's name - in which case this sentence
'So the young man's name was Jeremy as the vendor had called him, let us call him that as well.'
is not needed unless you're afraid your readers won't have been able to work that out for themselves. There has to be a smoother way than this of passing on information.

My advice, the advice every writer will give you, is to spend 9 hours reading for every hour spent writing.

Offline Cliff Sombito

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Re: No Remorse
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2020, 11:21:26 PM »
Thanks for the critique. It's very helpful. I couldn't have known that there's so much flaws in the story. But with the things you have pointed out I think I can salvage the story.