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valo123
December 15th, 2010, 04:14 AM
A little background....Jason Berringer and girlfriend, Jill, are attending a neighbor's sister's wake. After speaking with an old woman and her husband (Beatrice and Fred, whom I mention later) he is about to pay his respects to the deceased. This is probably the last segment I'll be adding to this site (on this piece of work), so just let me know your thoughts on it, mainly if it's spooky or not. If it doesn't get under your skin as its intended to do, let me know what I can do to improve it.
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One of the only ones free of white hair was sitting on the single step leading up to the casket. A woman of no more than fifty, she patted her eyes with a tissue and stared solemnly at the ground.

"I'm sorry for your loss," I said, bending to give her a hug. Probably a relative, maybe Arnie's sister--who I met when I was younger but don't remember her face.

"Thank you she said," wiping her nose before giving me a squeeze. If it was Arnie's sister, she didn't remember me any more than I did her. Jill extended her condolences.

About to take the step, the one which will reveal Irene's bust, I stop. Maybe it's because I've never been properly acquainted with a corpse--I attended my grandmother's funeral but didn't look in the casket; I was absolutely sure I'd see her waxy dead face as I went to bed that night--but I suddenly felt a wave of unease. My face must have shown it because Jill asked if I was feeling alright. I nodded and sat at the step.

She huddled close to me, the casket to our backs.

"Babe, you don't look so good." She shifted her seating to a squat in front of me, put her hands on my knees, and inspected my eyes. Then felt my forehead. "There's no temperature."

"I feel . . . " My head falls toward Jill's shoulder. ". . . Submerged." I need to get out of here. My hands, no longer feeling attached, turn white. Prickly spines manifest on my back--crawling up the canal in the center like pin legged spiders drilling my flesh for nutrients. The points of contact are hot, the skin around them numb and itchy. How itchy, if numb, you ask? I don't know, but they are, and the heat radiates . . . like a warm-pack--if it were cool it might be comfortable--around to my front side. Prickles, the spider legs, crawl and crawl, until the numbness is at my neck. Infiltrating my head now, my dome bobs stupidly. Like blood dripped into water, the feeling disperses in my mind. I can see it: a murky substance meandering and growing from its source, latching onto my receptors, ripping free the proper neurons and inputs, and replacing them with its searing tendrils.

Like a drug . . . don't fight it--can't fight it. But everything is intact. Everything except what is behind me: what is no longer in the casket but craning its head out from behind it, the not yet dry cords in its neck stretching like rotting bungees. If I turned I would see a white gown, powdered legs, and gnarled feet from under the table. If I didn't, they would move, perhaps by rolling Irene's body along the sturdy box, eventually working its way around, inch by inch, until the gown brushed my back and I could smell the faint formaldehyde swooshing within its dank orifice. But I couldn't turn. I would scream. I could feel it lodged in my throat already; my survival instincts, so few and far between, couldn't find any alternative. I would scream until the legs went, the vein-less sticks that shouldn't work but did, and if they didn't, I would keep screaming to warn others around me. Like I said, a psychedelic sequence, except walls didn't wave, faces didn't warp and noses didn't grow; Jill's face was as pretty as ever, looking into mine with . . .

"I feel . . . " hanging my head toward Jill, I suddenly needed to get out of there. I felt . . . submerged. My hands, no longer feeling attached, turned white. A prickly sensation manifested on my back--it crawled up my spine like pin legged spiders drilling my flesh for nutrients. The points of contact grew hot, the skin around them numb and itchy. How itchy, if numb, you ask? I don't know, but they were, and the heat radiated around to my front side. And the pricks, the spider legs, crawled and crawled, until the numbness reached my neck and was infiltrating my head. Like blood dripped into water, the feeling dispersed in my mind. I could see it: a murky substance meandering and growing from its source, latching onto my receptors, ripping free the proper neurons and inputs, and replacing them with its searing tendrils.

I felt under the influence of a drug; the way a hardcore hallucinogen would affect you with its powerful and foreboding daze, except this kept everything in tact. Everything except what was behind me: what was no longer in the casket but craning its head out from behind it, the not yet dry cords in its neck stretching like rotting bungees. If I turned I would see a white gown, powdered legs, and gnarled feet from under the table. If I didn't, they would move, perhaps by rolling her body along the side of the sturdy box, eventually working its way around, inch by inch, until the gown brushed my back and I could smell the faint formaldehyde within its dank orifice. But I couldn't turn. I would scream. I could feel it lodged in my throat already; my survival instincts, so few and far between, couldn't find any alternative. I would scream until the legs went, the vein-less sticks that shouldn't work but did, and if they didn't, I would keep screaming to warn others around me. Like I said, a psychedelic sequence, except walls didn't wave, faces didn't warp and noses didn't grow; Jill's face was as pretty as ever, looking into mine . . .

Jill is looking past me. Over my shoulder and through the gutless table on which the coffin is laying. I want to ask her if she--if it's--coming, if its pruned feet are softly tottling toward us. But I'll scream. I know I'll scream. The woman to my right is still crying. Arnie is mingling and looking at the various pictures set up on ornate wooden tables. Very old pictures. There are newer ones too, sitting on tables appropriately closer to me and the casket. Several of Irene in her wheel chair, and a couple of her on the grass in front of the crab-apple tree in Arnie's back yard. They had rolled her until she was among the fallen green globes, some of which were beginning to turn a dirty orange color in their early stage of rotting. The lighting was dim and the tree looked haggard despite the bitter fruit decorations hanging on it. A drab photo if there ever were one. Irene's lifeless black eyes stared. The same eyes which had occupied the empty sockets Jill was certainly looking at behind me. Sockets waiting for me to turn so I too could witness them; the wrinkled slits which had acted as eye lids but now as a narrow window into a hollow and still moist skull cavity.

I turned then. The legs were there, corpse white and vein-less, but there was no white gown. A purple dress, slightly longer than the white, was in its place.

I looked up. A younger face, draped in sleek black hair was nodding behind the coffin. Through the veil of black, I could see empty slits which should have belonged to Irene but were my mother's. A grin spread across the bleak plane of her face, and she dropped to the carpet in a pounce, still focused on me through the space under the table. Her dress caught the air and puffed around her neck like an over-sized clown collar as she stalked. She extended her arms and began to drag herself across the carpet. Her nails, not flaky and dull as expected, but firm and shiny, dug in and pulled her head and dress along like a fat spider, overburdened by its sagging abdomen. That awful head, drowning in a sea of purple, still held its terrible grin as it pushed forward on its dead chariot. I shook violently. The shakes were so violent--and they were fear induced shakes, regardless of what the doctor would later say about seizures--that the muscles in my neck seized up and pain took me to the ground so I was eye level with my mom's face.

The crying woman wiped her eyes, shot up, and steadied my head. Jill began calling my name. The words came quiet and drowned out, as though she were speaking through twelve-ply insulation. Although faint, the words had an immediate calming affect on me. But the shaking spell persisted. The others in attendance watched in horror as I shook faster and more obscenely, unsure of how to react to such a situation.

I could see Beatrice up front by the television displaying more pictures of Irene. She said something, raised her hand to her mouth, her eyes growing wide behind her horned spectacles, and grappled onto Fred's arm, as if begging him to make things better. For the first time tonight, Fred looked engaged, he looked younger and more determined. His hand shot in the air, waving and calling for a worker--anybody with a cell phone, anyone at all. Arnie, previously absorbed in chatter with another couple, as he had been the entire time, joined in Fred's panicked cries for a cell phone, waving his hands like a distressed maiden as he ran to the front to lend support.

Little did they all know, I was in no danger of choking on my own tongue, or breaking my own neck with the increasingly jarring motions my body (mostly my head) had begun to make. The only danger was an unproven possibility that I could be scared to death in my delirious and sketched out state. And at that moment, with my heart pounding my chest hard enough to simulate a large piston under my shirt, that possibility seemed more real than the growing crowd of onlookers staring in horror as my head took on a rattle snake's rattling characteristic.

ODaly
December 15th, 2010, 04:48 AM
Hmm, well as for your specific requests for feedback...

I can't say it got my skin crawling or anything. Sure the feelings and events described would certainly be more distressing in person (to put it mildly), but that thought as I read was about the extent of my unease. I'm no good at writing horror, so I have no specifics on what you could do to improve the creepy factor. Sorry.

In general, there are just a couple needling mechanical improvements, though nothing major. Quick example: "rattle snake's rattling characteristic." Firstly rattlesnake is one word, and overall the phrase is pretty weak.

On the whole, I would like to read more of it. Thanks for sharing.

valo123
December 15th, 2010, 05:00 AM
Great, thanks for the input. I thought it sucked, too, just threw it in pretty much as a place holder haha.

ODaly
December 15th, 2010, 05:37 AM
Haha, well it might have sucked at scaring me, but it's good enough that I'd read the whole thing if I had the chance. I didn't mean to come off as that critical in my first reply.

Sync
December 15th, 2010, 03:14 PM
Hello.

I think if you went inside the mind of the mc more, placed his fears inside the readers, vice letting them just stand outside of them, this would be stronger. There are a few things that could be tightened. you have speech tags and dialogue errors, but nothing that can't be fixed. but for example about bringing the reader in. you can use the same words, its just a matter of reworking them to show more than tell ie



So don't just tell his feelings. show me them also.

I wondered at the beginning who Irene was, she seemed to come from nowhere, and wouldn't there be 3 people on that single step before the coffin. On steps reminded me of a funeral home showing, so 'ground' sort of had me looking at the gravesite because of its association to 'earth/soil'

Try to be the mc, but show all aspects of his discomfort.

thanks for the read

continue :)

Sync

valo123
December 15th, 2010, 05:58 PM
Oh, you didn't Odaly. I'm just saying I agree with you. No worries.

Sync- Very good with the showing instead of telling thing. I preach it too, but it's easy for an untrained eye to miss it. Thanks. Irene is the deceased sister of Jason's neighbor, Arnie.

Sync
December 15th, 2010, 06:08 PM
That 'ewwww' in your title. are you going to keep that?

as for show and tell, yup I'm still playing with that myself. You can brush the crap out of mine posted on here. As you said, it's easy to miss when I write it myself.

valo123
December 15th, 2010, 06:20 PM
haha nooo. That's not going to be the title of the book. I'm going to decide on the real title when its complete, or when and if it just comes to me. I've made a few changes and know there's more to revise but I need to get ready now so I'll do that in a bit. Also, I'm thinking some inner thought dialogue is in order; something one of the bodies might be saying to him pertaining to the story. I hate when I miss obvious things. Thanks for the help.

Sync
December 15th, 2010, 07:01 PM
lol glad to here. you should consider modifying that off though. I almost never came in because of it :)

I'm sure you'll have this polished up fine. rough drafts are rough for a reason

valo123
December 15th, 2010, 07:14 PM
Amen to that