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VcatoV
December 17th, 2010, 12:01 AM
This is my second story, and I have a lot of apprehensions about it. I would appreciate criticism more on the work as a whole and the progression of the narrative as opposed to specific elements of style or grammar critiques (though those too are always welcome!).

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The night was damp. One could feel the suffocating embrace of moisture, roaming the earth free from the tyranny of the sun, clinging to all matter like folds of skin hugging the hungry bones of a destitute dog. An interrogative owl marked the time by the only measure known to a forest; the seconds in between hope and sudden expiration. In such a place, it was not surprising that the beauty of tranquility was frequently rocked by the treacheries of a velvet world. They knew no other way, no other method, no other song. Yet not all the contents of a sunless world are drab and hopeless. There are those who dance to an undetectable rhythm, who construct shining wonders in the echoes of the moon. The night is young and the hour long.

She knew he would come. She could seemingly smell the subtle scents seeping from his satin skin. He would arrive within the hour and she would have to be ready. Imminent contact. A mad race ensued as she scrambled to make her home presentable. These moments, the gut-wrenching agony that somehow tore itself into a creeping smile, the pain of expecting a moment to occur so soon that the short distance of time multiplies into eons, the joy of desire above life itself—she existed for these moments. Pride never occurred to her; these were the tools of her craft. It was not the hours spent in preparation which propelled her to act, but the seconds savored in lust.

Instinctively she puffed out her chest. A crimson hourglass glistened on her body, the mark of good breeding. Presentability, quality in craft, and the delicacies of body language were traits that would be passed on to her offspring. For they were the raison d’être. They were calling him, her body merely a vessel. In the stillness that is not silent the wind danced with the leaves. Her anticipation fueled a force within her being so strong that at times she wondered if a butterfly would burst from her bosom, fluttering in a fit of ecstasy. But these were not the times to dream—she must be vigilant. Slowly she stroked her poisonous dagger.

Tension collapsed when the coo-who of the night’s guardian signaled the arrival of the object of her labors. He was much smaller than her with surprisingly longer legs, faint colors of brown being noticeable in the moonlight. It was hoped that her offspring would not pick up on such pedestrian qualities—a foolish wish indeed. Wearing a faded, jaundice-yellow figure, he approached. A sudden shiver surged through her spindly legs, and though she struggled to retain her energy, the need to breed overwhelmed her. He ambulated towards her, each step taking longer than the last. With one leg he rapped a beat upon the entryway. Her spine ached as she stretched her back to its limits, her black body irresistibly contrasting the red hue. By flaunting, she acquiesced. The next few moments occurred in the length of a lifetime, yet would be forgotten in a flash. He reached out and they met.

First contact put into motion a long-hatched plan. With grace they touched and writhed, danced and tried—yes tried—to answer to the greatest call of nature. It was not that she had any objections, for she was prepared to meet any challenge; it was not his revolting appearance, for he was her first in too long; it was not the chill of the fog which blanketed their sin, for vice is relative to life; it was her madness, her delusion, her fear of Medea that tore apart at the fabric of her values. The suitor would soon be suited yet too feeble to push daisies.

In the span of an instant, she knew. The children would arrive to spread her dominion. He had rendered his services, and now collapsed over what he thought was a job well done. Lying there he appeared so vulnerable, hubris at his conquest blinding his flanks. For a second she pitied him, the wretched existence he called life, wandering from meal to meal, driven by an insatiable desire to create something he would never see. Were she to spare him, to pardon his ineptitude, to sacrifice her needs, the consequences would have been irreparable; not only was he her first in awhile, but she too clung to life more tightly than her beloved home. It must be done.

She sank the poisoned penetrators into his supple flesh with the finesse of a moment completed before it began. What once had been the eyes of a man collapsed in pleasurable exhaustion became mirrors to the dread of betrayal in his soul, begging in the most despicably helpless manner to spare what had already been achieved. It was not remorse she felt, not pity or guilt. As the toxins embraced his nerves more intimately than their preceding courtship, her stomach began to grumble as his jilted corpse transformed into a holiday feast. The last inkling of life, dripping from his eyes, were unable to observe the ritualistic orgy of consumed flesh. These same legs which had caressed her thighs, these eyes which had gazed upon her most personal of places, she engulfed with veracity, dropping to the ground those pieces she could not digest. They would eventually find their way to the forest floor, fertilizing the flora as efficiently as planned. She left no part of her scheme to chance.

Commotion in a dense bush in the distance signaled victory for the owl. He flew away, darting through the limbs and gliding over the tree-tops, the spoils of his victory limply dangling from his beak. Watching the wise one flutter off, she was suddenly overcome with the most unforgivable sense of fatigue. Full and fermenting, she knew that her children would face a harsh world. That they would never know their father was none of their concern; that they live, was. The harshness of life is never jarring to the acclimated, and she knew that in time, her daughters would venture forth to create their dream homes, and her sons would march on, blindly pursuing their consumptive demise. For the moment, though, nothing mattered. She gazed off into the distance, waiting for the tempest of the breeze to rock her to sleep.

Gumby
December 17th, 2010, 02:55 AM
This is very good VcatoV, I found nothing to nit about. :) Though spiders creep me out, you gave them a beauty with your words, that for me, they lack in real life. Good read, thank you for that.

Bilston Blue
December 17th, 2010, 10:12 PM
I like this story, alot. I quite agree with Gumby's comments, about giving something considered by many to be creepy a certain tragic beauty. There's one thing to criticize from a personal point of view, though others may disagree, and it's the over use of alliteration in one sentence: 'She could seemingly smell the subtle scents seeping from his satin skin.'

I'm assuming this is intentional, though I think it's over done, it reminds me of 'Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper.' I think repeating an initial letter works well, though here I think you could lose seemingly, subtle and satin and the sentence remains equally as strong; reading 'She could smell the scents seeping from his skin.' Just my opinion though.

'Presentability, quality in craft, and the delicacies of body language were traits that would be passed on to her offspring. For they were the raison d’être.' Because of the strong connection between the two sentences I would join them with a semi-colon, others may argue a comma, though not a full stop.

Great story.

Scott.

Sync
December 17th, 2010, 10:39 PM
Hello

Please keep in mind that what ever I say, is just MY OPINION and not a need for change.

Your first sentence could be stronger. The second one is better, perhaps consider attaching the first to the end of that somehow.

this part here

you wrote:

An interrogative owl marked the time by the only measure known to a forest; the seconds in between hope and sudden expiration.

Okay, this is just how I see this, but, you have an image of this owl being the only mark of time as measured by the forest, and then you go to 'seconds' which is a man-made indicator, is there a way to keep the time marks owlish?

***

the words 'could seemingly' don't really belong together if you look at them close. One is definite, the other is not, the fact that it is 'she' who is thinking this, makes it even stranger to have that doubt.

again, could be just me. Don't spiders 'taste' scents vice smell?

These moments, the gut-wrenching agony that somehow tore itself into a creeping smile, the pain of expecting a moment to occur so soon that the short distance of time multiplies into eons, the joy of desire above life itself—she existed for these moments.

excellent description of that feeling.

It was not that she had any objections, for she was prepared to meet any challenge; it was not his revolting appearance, for he was her first in too long; it was not the chill of the fog which blanketed their sin, for vice is relative to life; it was her madness, her delusion, her fear of Medea that tore apart at the fabric of her values.

this felt too drawn out.

***

she watched the wise one - for some reason, the human comparison of owl/wise from a spiders pov felt weird.


***

all in all a nice story

enjoyed

Sync

len_ryuka
December 18th, 2010, 09:58 AM
I would appreciate criticism more on the work as a whole and the progression of the narrative

You asked for it, here's my honest opinion

Overall, I feel like this piece was extremely overdone with flowery language, metaphors, and periphrastic wording.

If beauty in prose is what you're looking for, then you've got it. I can see that you have a great economy of language, vocabulary, and easy references to metaphors - but I can never care for these types of stories. Why? you may ask, because you spend so much time describing everything(from emotions to physical settings) with roundabout metaphors and periphrastic wording that it slows the plot down exponentially. And by the time anything happens, the next thing I see is another periphrastic description, it's just overly cumbersome and does not appeal outside of the poetically-well-developed. The action(what's happening) just gets lodged in there with unnecessary descriptions and the actions become lost, and therefore the reader is lost.

It's like watching a slow motion movie on a 500 inch High Definition screen where I can see every pore of a person's skin. I don't care about the pores! I care about what's happening!

Dr.Strangelove(A classic 1960s movie) shot on film is MUCH better than Twilight(A crappy 2010 movie) shot on cutting-edge High Definition camera. You see the difference?

Elynae
December 18th, 2010, 03:55 PM
Overall, this was a good story and enjoyable read.
I especially liked the rather unusual perspective and the way it was told; a story from a spider's viewpoint is nothing you come across every day, and this idea was put into writing well.
However, as the last poster stated, the writing style is a bit too flowery and metaphoric, often distracting from the actual happening and dwelling on certain parts of the action too long. If this could be improved, the story would be easier and more enjoyable to read; if the reader has to think about each metaphoric statement and description, it can be hard to actually focus on the plot and make your own thoughts (all said by len_ryuka, so will not carry on repeating stuff already said by others).
Likewise, you don't have to put an adjective in front of every word (the sentence with the subtle scents and satin skin is a very good example) - sometimes it is better to let the reader add these little details in his mind than have a sentence that looks artificial and overladen, and furthermore, the reader then interacts with the story more.
None the less, I think it was good, especially the idea behind it.

dwellerofthedeep
December 19th, 2010, 12:31 AM
Very interesting, and I think you've definitely got a good feel for expanding time in this piece, but I also think you could simplify your language a bit. As it is, I think it flows a little too densely for the most part, making it difficult to read.

Pretty entertaining, but I'd it'd work better at a brisker pace.

Good job. Keep writing.